Esclavage et cannibalisme dans le monde moderne

octobre 29th, 2016 by Israel Shamir

J’avais prévu d’écrire sur la bataille au Congrès US où le lobby israélien tente de prendre le contrôle du veto présidentiel, ce qui pourrait causer une nouvelle guerre au Moyen Orient, déclencher une nouvelle vague de réfugiés, et en finir avec le creuset de notre foi et de notre civilisation. Cependant, la tendance la plus dangereuse à laquelle nous devions faire face vient de notre désir arrogant de rendre caduc l’ordre naturel de la naissance, de la vie et de la mort.

Dans les rues de Tel Aviv, de jeunes Philippins ou des Soudanais charpentés poussent des fauteuils à roulettes lestés de vieilles personnes juives. Elles s’accrochent à la vie, ces vieilles dames. Age et race juxtaposés : c’est génial d’être vieux, à condition d’appartenir à la bonne race ou ethnicité. Prendre soin des vieux, c’est un boulot pour sans-papiers, réfugiés, et immigrés de la mauvaise race. Chaque fois que je vois une de ces chaises roulantes, je n’exulte pas en renchérissant sur notre excellente protection des anciens et nos attitudessi débordantes d’humanité. Non; je plains le destin des Philippines et du Soudan, parce que si ces Etats n’avaient pas été dévastés par nous, les jeunes femmes s’occuperaient de leurs propres enfants au lieu de prendre l’avion pour le bout du monde afin d’aller  changer les couches des vieilles dames juives.

 

Autrefois, les esclavagistes devaient aller en Afrique, pour traquer et capturer les esclaves convoités, et les embarquer de force vers les plantations. Nous avons détruit leurs sociétés, et maintenant les esclaves paient leur propre billet d’avion et sont en concurrence entre eux pour aller vivre dans la case de l’Oncle Tom. Ils sont devenus indispensables pour les soins aux vieillards, et nous en avons des quantités dans nos pays développés. Voilà ce qui se passe là où la traite moderne des esclaves se combine avec le prolongement de vies en fin de course : or le moyen et l’objectif visé sont également répréhensibles.

Nous essayons de vivre toujours plus longtemps, comme si la solitude dans des résidences spécialisées, année après année, était un bienfait merveilleux. La médecine peut damer le pion à la Faucheuse, et les vieillards font mine de durer éternellement. Notre ancien premier ministre, le général Ariel Sharon, était mort, en pratique, en 2006, mais on lui a « sauvé la vie » et il s’est attardé dans les limbes jusqu’en 2014. Pendant huit longues années les docteurs informaient : « il réagit à la douleur », jusqu’au jour où il a été autorisé à partir pour sa résidence permanente, quelle qu’elle soit.

Un autre juif de renom, le rabbin loubavitch Schneerson a été maintenu « en vie » pendant de nombreuses années, jusqu’à ce que ses disciples désespèrent de son retour. Ces  exemples éclairent bien d’autres cas. J’ai un ami, un poète, qui était furieux parce que le système médical n’avait pas hospitalisé sa mère de 85 ans sur le champ, pour lui changer de cœur, lui remplacer d’autres morceaux, et la remettre en selle. Il ne se souciait pas du coût, car une société humaine ne devrait pas s’en soucier. A moins que ?

Prendre soin des vieillards coûte énormément à la société, et tous les soins de peuvent pas être délégués aux Soudanais. Mon vieux copain de classe a laissé tomber sa femme et sa fille pour s’occuper de sa vieille mère. Comme un bon fils ? Je me pose la question. En cinq ans sa fille négligée est devenue accro aux drogues et a fait des tentatives de suicide, sa femme esseulée a divorcé. mais sa mère est toujours en vie, elle est toujours grabataire et elle  va sur ses 90 balais.

Nous dépensons trop d’efforts pour préserver la vie, et les gens (je devrais peut-être dire nous, car j’approche des 70 ans) bref, nous vivons bien plus longtemps que jamais auparavant. Grâce à la médecine, des nourrissons qui ne survivraient jamais autrement, sont maintenant en vie. Ils ont besoin de traitemenst quotidiens, de drogues chères et d’opérations, pour mener leur triste existence, parce que leurs parents et la société sont convaincus que la vie devrait être préservée à tout prix. Conclusion habituelle : ne sommes-nous pas des gens formidables ?

Eh bien non, pas vraiment. Nos sociétés tuent des enfants parfaitement sains, soit par avortement soit par le bombardement de leurs pays populeux. 500 000 enfants irakiens ont été tués par Madeleine Albright, à sa grande satisfaction. Plus près de chez moi, je n’ai jamais pu comprendre pourquoi un enfant juif avec le syndrome de Down devrait être maintenu en vie à un coût élevé et en exigeant des efforts conséquents, tandis qu’un enfant palestinien en bonne santé peut être éliminé en toute gratuité.

Dans des pays moins prospères, les magazines publient sous forme d’encarts publicitaires des appels à l’aide pour retarder la mort. Les gens qui ont des enfants malades, des parents, des épouses, demandent des dons pour pouvoir emmener leur malade là où se pratiquent des guérisons miraculeuses ou pour acheter un médicament hors de prix, et  non couvert par leur assurance. Leurs pages vous montrent un enfant très doux ou un ancien paisible, décrivent en termes compliqués leurs maladies et le traitement miraculeux qui va eur redonner un cerveau, leur faire repousser un cœur ou de nouvelles jambes, le tout pour une somme modique apportée par vous et moi,  multipliée par des milliers d’autres dons, jusqu’à se transformer en un énorme tas de  dollars. Mais ce même argent pourrait servir à nourrir des milliers d’enfants en pleine forme, ou pourvoir à peu de frais à la santé de grandes foules!

Les gens riches s’y prennent autrement: ils ne nous demandent pas de contribuer, mais ils dépensent aussi énormément en soins. Les très riches font des dépenses colossales pour atteindre l’immortalité: mais ils crèvent aussi. Il y a des rumeurs, selon lesquelles le milliardaire centenaire David Rockefeller aurait reçu plusieurs greffes du cœur. Peut-être que ces rumeurs ne sont pas fondées, mais de toute façon, sa longévité reposait sur le sacrifice d’autres vies plus jeunes. Ces gens-là consomment bien d’autres vies, dans la mesure où ils rendent inaccessible la médecine ordinaire pour les gens ordinaires.

Les ressources humaines sont limitées. Un grand investissement en remèdes chers et en stratagèmes hors de prix  signifie forcément moins d’argent pour traiter tous ceux qui souffrent de maladies moins exotiques. Préserver et étirer l’existence de ceux qui ne peuvent pas vivre sans aide, qu’il s’agisse de gens âgés ou d’enfants en phase terminale, signifie moins de ressources pour tous les autres. La sacralité de la vie de quelques-uns implique la mort pour d’autres.

Il n’y a pas moyen de continuer à dépenser sans limite pour une minorité sans voler à la majorité ses chances de vivre.

Ce système a été dénoncé par Ivan Illich dans son ouvrage Némésis médicale il y a des années, mais les choses sont devenues pires depuis lors. La racine du problème est dans notre adoration de la vie et notre peur de la mort. Et cela n’est pas naturel, c’est une tendance relativement nouvelle. Les générations précédentes savaient qu’il y a beaucoup de choses plus importantes que la vie. Ils estimaient leur âme, leur honneur, leur intégrité au-dessus de la vie de leur corps. Ils acceptaient la mort comme un évènement inévitable dans une vie, nullement comme un imprévu qui vaille qu’on prenne la fuite. Ils voyaient les fleurs, les arbres, les animaux sauvages, et ils apprenaient d’eux.

Leur monde était centré sur Dieu, et dans un tel univers, la vie et la mort d’un homme sont des choses normales. Ils pouvaient prier pour que leur vie dure plus, mais ils ajoutaient, comme les chrétiens orthodoxes continuent à le dire encore à chaque office du dimanche : «Dieu veuille que j’aie une mort chrétienne, paisible, sans peine et sans honte. » Le chrétien demande qu’un répit lui soit donné pour se préparer à la mort, pour se repentir et pour recevoir les derniers sacrements, et si son vœu est exaucé, il meurt content, parce que sa mort est juste une transition vers la vie éternelle.

Les gens qui adorent la vie sont des païens, ou des animaux, du point de vue chrétien.

La peur de la mort devrait être chassée de notre monde. Nous devrions accepter la mort comme nous acceptons la vie : avec gratitude, comme saint Siméon le Stylite l’avait dit : « Seigneur, maintenant [après 39 ans passés à prier juché sur un pilier], vous laissez votre serviteur partir en paix ».

Si nous nous libérons de la peur de la mort, nous devrions aussi éliminer les greffes d’organes, forme moderne du cannibalisme. Comme à l’époque du capitaine Cook, des hommes riches consomment les reins ou les foies de leurs frères en humanité. Parfois il s’agit d’organes arrachés à une personne qui meurt, troublant  son dernier repos. Ce n’est pas tout: bien souvent on ampute de leurs reins de malheureux débiteurs qui sont forcés au sacrifice par leurs créanciers, ou par des gens réduits à la pauvreté qui ont besoin de nourrir leurs enfants.

En Israël, on a pris des parties de leur corps à des Palestiniens au profit des juifs, comme nous l’ont appris les aveux de Yehuda Hiss [directeur de l’Institut médico-légal de Tel Aviv][1]. Les organes étaient prélevés par les Albanais du Kossovo sur des  Serbes vivants, a dit Carla del Ponte, procureur à la Cour pénale internationale de La Haye [dans son livre La Traque, les criminels de guerre et moi]. Pourquoi sommes-nous choqués par le cannibalisme en Nouvelle Guinée ? Nous sommes pires !

Le monde médiéval connaissait le désir de sauver sa peau aux dépens d’une autre vie, ou au prix de blessures infligées à autrui. C’étaient les sorcières et les satanistes qui organisaient des bains de sang d’enfants innocents pour le ou la bénéficiaire qui voulait garder sa jeunesse après les années qui lui étaient dévolues. Voilà pourquoi la Bible appelait à les faire périr. Nos moissonneurs modernes ne sont pas meilleurs.

Nous devrions ramener la médecine à son niveau cubain : là-bas, un traitement médical simple est à la portée de chacun, gratuitement, tandis que les traitements compliqués ne sont accessibles pour personne, même pour David Rockefeller. L’égalité de traitement médical nous rappellera que nous sommes tous égaux devant la mort, et c’est une bonne nouvelle.

La crainte de Dieu est salutaire, la peur de la mort est maladive ; c’est un déni de Dieu et de la place privilégiée de l’homme dans l’univers. Nous partirons comme nous avons vécu. Les méchants font de mauvaises choses parce qu’ils sont certains qu’il n’y a rien après. Le père spirituel des néo-conservateurs, Leo Strauss, brandissait des arguments pleins d’acrimonie (contre Martin Buber entre autres), et niait Dieu. C’était important pour lui de clamer qu’il n’y avait pas de récompense ni de punition pour nos actions. Et ce sont ses disciples qui ont investi le Pentagone, mis à feu le Moyen Orient, et expédié de grandes vagues de réfugiés vers l’Europe. Seuls des gens qui nient le Christ sont susceptibles de faire des choses pareilles.

Bien des gens détestent le concept de droits humains parce qu’il a été utilisé pour les « interventions humanitaires » en Libye et en Irak. D’autres rétorqueraient que le concept a été dévoyé par Bush et Blair. Pour ma part je rejette l’idée des droits de l’homme, tout simplement parce que les devoirs humains sont plus importants, l’amour est plus important, et l’amour de Dieu est encore plus important. Les droits de l’homme ne devraient pas avoir la priorité sur le devoir, l’amour et la piété.

Le concept n’est nulle part plus fallacieux que dans la sphère des politiques reproductives. Non, une femme n’a aucun droit sur son corps, pas plus qu’un homme, ou un enfant. Notre corps, c’est Dieu  qui nous le prête. Nous ne sommes pas libres de faire avec lui tout ce que nous voulons. La mutilation, le suicide et l’avortement sont également pervers devant Dieu.

Nous n’avons pas de droit aux enfants. Que nous en ayons, c’est une grâce de Dieu. Les gens qui s’engagent dans le business des mères porteuses essaient d’obtenir des enfants de force ou par le vol. La maternité de substitution n’est pas différente de l’esclavage sous sa pire forme : le propriétaire d’esclaves pouvait avoir un enfant avec une fille esclave, mais normalement, il ne s’en emparait pas, et ne l’ôtait pas à sa mère [2]. Or c’est ce que fait le père avec l’enfant d’une GPA.

La société traditionnelle avait une institution, celle des « mamans subsidiaires », comme dans le cas de Jacob, de Rachel et de Bilha (Genèse 30[3]), mais la vraie mère de l’enfant n’était pas privée du fruit de ses entrailles.

La question correcte n’est pas « est-ce que les mères porteuses devraient être autorisées à porter un enfant dans leur corps pour d’autres ? », comme on nous présente parfois la chose. C’est une question du même acabit que celle-ci : « devrait-on autoriser les gens à nourrir les crocodiles de leur propre corps ? » Naturellement, aucune femme n’abandonnerait son enfant, sauf si elle y est forcée. Elle peut être forcée par la faim, par la pauvreté, ou par la force.

Israël, avec son immense communauté gay, est un grand acheteur de femmes dans les pays pauvres pour leur propre reproduction. Au départ, ils allaient en Inde, jusqu’au jour où les Indiens ont décidé de mettre fin à cette forme d’esclavage et d’enlèvement d’enfants. Alors ils se sont rabattus sur le Népal. Un tremblement de terre a dévasté le pays, et même cette catastrophe n’a pas fait comprendre aux habitants du Népal ni d’Israël que leur conduite était horriblement pécheresse et criminelle, et qu’ils avaient mérité le châtiment divin.

Il n’y a pas que les gays qui achètent des gosses. Bien des couples normaux en Israël sont incapables d’avoir des enfants, et ils s’adressent aux agences spécialisées dans le trafic d’esclaves. Ils devraient plutôt évaluer leur propre conduite et prier pour que Dieu leur pardonne. Les enfants sont une bénédiction, et tout le monde ne la mérite pas. La Bible regorge d’histoire de femmes stériles, qui priaient, se repentaient, et dont les prières ont été entendues. Les Israéliens devraient cesser d’affamer Gaza, ouvrir ses ports et frontières, et Dieu ouvrirait la matrice de leurs femmes.

Ils essayent de tricher avec Dieu, mais on ne filoute pas Dieu. Toutes les astuces techniques n’apporteront pas le bonheur que peut donner un vrai bébé né normalement.

Maria Poumier, spécialiste française en matière de Grossesse Pour Argent[4], pense que les acheteurs d’enfants esclaves vont au-devant de beaucoup de malheur. « Un enfant acheté n’est pas aimé de la même façon qu’un enfant naturel, mais comme un chat ou un chien, choisis en fonction de leur pedigree ; on peut les revendre s’ils sont désagréables ; cela s’appelle du « réhébergement »(rehoming) dans le cas des enfants adoptés. Il n’y a pratiquement plus d’adoption internationale, parce qu’il y a eu trop de cas avérés d’enfants volés, et que les enfants adoptés deviennent ingérables pour leurs parents adoptifs quand ils grandissent, même dans les familles les plus aimantes. »

Pourtant, elle est optimiste, dans l’espoir que les enfants esclaves élevés dans des foyers opulents se dresseront contre ceux qui les ont achetés et volés à leurs mères « de substitution » et esclaves.

A son avis, les agences font beaucoup d’argent et le  dépensent en élargissant leur base pour faire encore plus d’argent. L’intérêt récent des gays pour la chose a été provoqué par ces agences, parce qu’elles considèrent les gays comme des clients potentiels. [5] Comme l’exploitation de la « femme gisement » est une forme moderne de traite, les juifs sont les champions dans ce business comme ils l’ont été pour la traite des esclaves d’autrefois, écrit Maria Poumier[6].

L’infertilité est un excellent business, dit-elle en citant les recherches de Sébastien Renault. « Voilà pourquoi il y a une telle propagande séductrice pour le mode de vie gay, pour leur faire ressentir l’infertilité naturelle de la sodomie comme une injustice sociale. Les gays sont considérés comme de nouveaux consommateurs, qui augmentent les profits des agences. »

Je pense que derrière leur désir de faire de l’argent il y a une raison beaucoup plus perfide ; la recherche d’une domestication totale de l’homme, comme je l’ai écrit dans mon essai « Apocalypse Now »[7] . C’est cela qui doit être combattu. Il y a une loi mentionnée dans les livres contre l’enlèvement et le trafic d’esclaves, et cette loi devrait être mise en œuvre contre les agences en question.

Nous devrions prendre la naissance, la vie et la mort comme elles viennent, ce que faisaient nos ancêtres. Si nous n’arrêtons pas ce fléau maintenant, nous verrons nos enfants et petits-enfants dépecés pour que leurs organes soient greffés sur de riches banquiers qui veulent vivre éternellement, s’ils ne sont pas achetés et vendus pour le divertissement des couples gays. Nous verrons des enfants fabriqués et produits en masse pour des prélèvements d’organe, pour faire la guerre, pour bosser, comme l’a prophétisé Aldous Huxley dans son livre excessivement visionnaire. On peut prendre le contrôle des plans de Dieu, mais cela a un coût très élevé, un coût qui fera paraître dérisoire la désactivation du traité d’Obama avec l’Iran [ardemment souhaitée par les bellicistes israéliens].

 

Article original en anglais :

slavery

Slavery in Our Modern “Free Market” World, publié le 31 août 2015

Première publication : Unz Review

Traduction : Maria Poumier, Entre la Plume et l’Enclume, 26 octobre 2016

Contact : [email protected]


[2] « 1 Lorsque Rachel vit qu’elle ne donnait point d’enfants à Jacob, elle porta envie à sa soeur, et elle dit à Jacob : Donne-moi des enfants, ou je meurs ! 2 La colère de Jacob s’enflamma contre Rachel, et il dit : Suis-je à la place de Dieu, qui t’empêche d’être féconde ? 3 Elle dit : Voici ma servante Bilha; va vers elle; qu’elle enfante sur mes genoux, et que par elle j’aie aussi des fils… »

[3] En fait, les différents « Codes noirs » stipulaient bel et bien que les  enfants d’une esclave naissaient esclaves et pouvaient être revendus, quel qu’en fût le père. voir : L’expérience arfricaine dans le baby business, par ARMADA,

http:// plumenclume.org/blog/107-l-experienceafricaine-dans-le-baby-business

[4] Voir le documentaire Le Fruit de nos entrailles (59’) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYiCdGeow-E  

[5] Voir le film Bébés en kit , sur le réseau mondial israélien : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHj21kk1I18  . voir également « Le business israélien de la Grossesse Pour Argent », par Maria Poumier:

http://plumenclume.org/…/139-le-businessisraelien-de-la-grossesse-pour-arge…

[6] Marchandiser la vie humaine, par Maria Poumier, avec les contributions de ARMADA, Lucien Cerise, Francis Cousin, Françoise Petit Demange, Charybde, Sébastien Renault), éd. Le Retour aux Sources, 2016.

[7] Essai inclus dans le volume Notre-Dame-des-Douleurs, http://plumenclume.org/home/17-notre-dame-des-douleurs.html .

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The whole world is terrified at the sight of the images from Aleppo that the mass media have been presenting in recent days. Many of our friends abroad are concerned and want to hear from us. We are living tragic moments in our history and what’s happening here continues to make Aleppo and its people suffer, people that for more than five years have been unable to have peace, so harassed and massacred by armed groups that have come from all over the world, to conduct a self-styled holy war, in a country governed (according to them) by atheists and infidels!

For five years now the terrorists here have been calling the shots, where the civil authorities of the country have not managed to be present. They have sown terror everywhere, killed tens of thousands of innocent people, destroyed thousands of factories, businesses and institutions of public services, looted houses and stolen, without any concern, assets of the country and the citizens. They have have made victims of many innocent people, kidnapping and brutally murdering countless peaceful people, including nuns, priests and even bishops.

This still going on today: this morning a dozen shells fell in two of our residential areas, causing further destruction and in one neighborhood, numerous deaths and injuries.

Battles are raging on the outskirts of the city: the rebels from the « Al-Nusra Front » are attempting to take positions in areas considered strategic, almost completely depopulated and almost entirely destroyed, that they seized and held until last June at the city’e edge. Images of these places of utter desolation are spread widely by the TV networks.

And it is there that the great battles now going on are taking place. Three weeks ago we put high hopes on the ceasefire, hoping it would enable peace-making followed by national reconciliation and a resumption of normal life in the country! Unfortunately this truce, weakened by continued violations by the radical opponents, was officially broken in recent days, by the unexpected raid by the coalition allied to the rebels in Deir-El-Zor.

These raids were on a Syrian army military base and killed more than 90 soldiers in their barracks, not to mention the number of undeclared injured. Is that the way to stop the fighting?

Therefore we hope and we are counting on the grace of God, the only one able to arouse the conscience of the great decision-makers. The terrifying spectacle of what happens has to shake every man that respects the sanctity of human life. So if Mr. Staffan de Mistura can manage to revive the peace process, we can hope for a bright spell and perhaps even for the concrete results of peace, the sine qua non for the foundation of the long-awaited dialogue.

The hardest thing for Christians who are currently present in Aleppo would be the prospect of having to live, morning and evening, in anxiety in this situation of insecurity: destabilizing disconcerting uncertainty. They are afraid for the next day, and the future of their children troubles them greatly. Imagine that one day a Muslim fundamentalist state would be imposed on them — for them this is an unbearable nightmare.

This is why we turn to our brothers in France and throughout the West, and we beg you to help us ensure that this does not happen. We are not asking you to make war for us, but only to end the unjust claims of your allies that want to impose antiquated laws, laws that are unbearable for the people of the twenty-first century who want to be free to choose their culture, their style life and, finally, their faith. We call on our brothers in France to pray for us and all women and all men concerned about human dignity and love of freedom, to come to our rescue to save our dear country from the depth of the fundamentalist regime they are trying to put us in. Please help us to continue to live in dignity on this blessed land of our birth!

Aleppo, 28 settembre 2016 (translated from Italian)

Jean-Clément Jeanbart,  Archbishop of Aleppo 

 

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Last December I wrote an article entitled “Spain has Fallen – not Like Greece – but Fallen all the Same”.  The article was first published on 22 December  2015, two days after the Spanish elections. It analyzed the results of the elections then and concluded that they were a fraud and that the outcome was prepared by long arms, some two years in advance, to make sure another ‘Greece’ could be avoided, lest Spain might break-up the EU and particularly the Eurozone.

Now that the dice are cast, the fraud is confirmed. During the more than 300 days ‘without’ a government, the MSM touted the without to frighten the Spanish public into believing it was a shame to be without a government for so long. Now, probably close to a majority of the Spanish public, believe it’s a good thing that finally a decision was reached and the country will have again a government, never mind the disaster course already predicted. The ‘new’ / old Rajoy Government will lead the already impoverished population into more misery and hardship.

In fact, it is no shame at all to have ‘no government’ – which is in itself a misnomer. Spain was never really without a government. Although no party came out as a clear winner on 20 December 2015, nor was it possible to form a governable majority coalition, the country had a caretaker government, still under the acting leadership of the right-wing Popular Party (PP), steered by President Rajoy. Belgium was in a similar situation in 2010-2011, when the country was for 589 days without an elected government. Belgium was run better with the ‘acting government’ than under the current ultra-neoliberal right-wing PM, Charles Michel.

In Spain, as no agreement on a governable coalition could be reached, King Felipe VI decided for a second round of popular vote on 26 June, 2016. Predictably, the result was not much different from the 20 December vote. In fact, the PP gained 15 seats from 122 in December 2015) to 137, or 33% in a 350 seat Parliament (176 seats are needed for an absolute majority). The socialists (PSOE) had 85 seats, a loss of 5 from December 2015; and the ‘new-and-coming’ ‘Unidos-Podemos’ left coalition under Pablo Iglesias stayed about the same with 71 (69). Unofficial polling results hours before the 26 June elections showed ‘Unidos-Podemos’ with huge wins, coming in second, with only a few seats behind PP, followed by PSOE, third.

When asked for the reason of this apparent slump in voter support, way beyond the usual margins of error of election surveys, Iglesias had no explanation, other than ‘we have to analyze it’ – which was apparently never done. Are Iglesias and his party leadership handlers of the invisible elite supported from abroad? Was PODEMOS about two years ago stamped out of the blue to grow fast – and to divide the Spanish mainly two-party culture, following the old rule, ‘divide to conquer’? This could well be, as explained in the article-analysis of 22 December 2015.

Spain is not allowed to fall to the left. Spain like Greece, is a NATO country, bordering on the strategic Mediterranean and therefore must stay in the EU, and must stay in the Eurozone, and foremost, must stay in the NATO. The risk of a break-up of the Eurozone could be – and might be – detrimental for the EU, for NATO and for the scam-driven profit-making bankster machinery. The Spanish elite, like the Greek elite, call them capitalist or ‘new intellectuals’, support the continuous decay of the living conditions of their compatriots, as they reap the benefits from their brothers and sisters’ misery. Hard words, but see also “Greece: Disaster after the Capitulation“ –

During this entire process of forming a government under PP leader Rajoy, Pedro Sánchez, the head of the socialist party, resisted to participate in any Rajoy-led government. His main argument was, and rightly so, either we are a true socialist party, or we are a ‘subordinate’ of the right. Party-internal fights, disputes and disagreements, most certainly influenced from outside, probably even from outside Spain, put enormous pressure on Sánchez, who wouldn’t budge to the very end. Eventually he resigned on 1 October, falling victim to bitter disagreements and squabbling over the future direction of the PSOE. The official version calls it a “coup orchestrated by an alliance of regional party barons.” – Was he perhaps threatened – do as we say, ‘or else’…

Sanchez’ duly primed anti-Podemos successor as head of PSOE, Asturia’s PSOE leader, Javier Fernandez, immediately compromised for the socialist party to abstain from voting in a forthcoming parliamentary vote, which took place on 27 October. This gave Rajoy 170 seats, six short of an absolute majority. In the next round, on Saturday 29 October, a simple majority will suffice to reinstate Rajoy as the ultra-neocon Spanish President. Thus, Mr. Fernandez handed effectively and willingly the leadership of Spain for the next four years to the ultra-neoliberal Mariano Rajoy.

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

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Big Pharma and the Causes of Parkinson’s Disease

octobre 29th, 2016 by Gary Kohls

Recently I read an online essay that was written by a person whose father has had progressive Parkinson’s disease for several decades. The tone of the essay was one of despair, confusion and frustration from a son who truly loved his father and would do anything to help him.

Given the fact that a lot of the medical information that is on the internet comes from Big Pharma websites, the author understandably repeated many of the myths about Parkinson’s disease, such as the “no known cause” myth or the “it might be genetic” myth.

However, in the middle of the essay, the author did reveal that his dad had been a farmer in his younger years and had been exposed to some of the common agribusiness-promoted neurotoxins (such as insecticides and herbicides) that seem to have been accepted by the industry as normal parts of farming. Of course, physicians have known for a long time that neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease are one of the occupational hazards of farmers who are exposed to neurotoxins like farm chemicals, solvents and heavy metals.

So, wanting to encourage the author to keep on with his research, I wrote a note to him. As is my wont, the note turned into a 2500 word essay. I submit it below, keeping in mind Dr Marcia Angell’s wisdom:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” 

Mr S.,

I just finished reading your fine essay about your father’s Parkinson’s disease and want to express my sympathies. I understand your need to wade through the massive amounts of online information on the subject and your efforts to look for hope in what is, unfortunately, an essentially incurable neurodegenerative, neurotoxin-induced illness.

My own father developed permanent, disabling Guillain-Barre syndrome shortly after he was vaccinated in the fraudulent Swine Flu pseudo-epidemic of 1976 which resulted in thousands (perhaps millions) of other under-reported neurotoxic, neurodegenerative disorders that were caused by the mercury-containing vaccine. (BTW, there was only one case of “flu” that caused the death of a physically and emotionally exhausted soldier during his basic infantry training that led to that infamously fast-tracked, CDC-mandated, freak-out vaccine campaign – a total fraud perpetrated by an alliance between the CDC, the FDA, Big Pharma, Big Medicine and Big Media. In the months that it took Big Pharma to concoct a mercury-loaded vaccine, there had developed no other cases of “swine flu” – and yet the momentum that had been generated resulted in a media campaign that urged everybody to get their flu shot! The vaccine industry and the CDC had heavily invested in the vaccines and would have lost hundreds of millions of dollars if the fraud had been exposed and the campaign halted. There were no Mea Culpas from any of these previously honorable professional organizations.

There have been many highly profitable false hopes that have been regularly offered by Big Pharma’s giant for-profit multinational corporations that distracts us from the reality of causative environmental neurotoxins (like your father’s sub-lethal exposure to neurotoxic pesticides, fungicides and herbicides) that are known to cause dementia, Parkinson’s and many other degenerative brain disorders.

Of course many healthcare industries in this nation are interested in the profit potential of self-limited, curable or preventable disorders that could instead become chronic, life-long, difficult to diagnose, incurable, or even autoimmune disordered clients who would then need life-long follow-up visits, life-long drug-prescribing, life-long lab testing and life-long med checks. Prevention and cure is not good for the “healthcare” bottom line.

The abnormal protein that you mentioned that has recently been found in the brains of autopsied Parkinson’s patients is, in reality, just a clue that was left behind following the death of the killed-off neurons in the substantia nigra, the site of degenerated dopamine neurons in Parkinson’s disease and the brainstem location where the poisoning of 80% of the dopamine neurons will cause Parkinson’s disease in any animal.

The protein thus may simply represent abnormal left-over protein molecules from the putrifying process that occurs in all dead and dying proteinaceous carcasses. Magnifying the importance of an abnormal protein that is found within dead tissue is just another disinformation ploy perpetrated by some Big Pharma corporation and their scientists.

Corporate spokespersons will claim that they are giving patients and their families something to hope for, but at the same time they are giving an optimistic picture to potential investors. The corporation wants investors to think the new information will result in the creation of the next pharmaceutical block-buster, like the following very short list of lethal and then banned pharmaceuticals:

Avandia (a blood sugar-lowering drug), Baycol (a cholesterol-lowering drug), Cylert (an ADHD drug), Darvon (a pain pill), Diethylstilbestrol (to prevent premature labor), Duract (a pain pill), Fenfluramine (half of the disastrous weight loss combination Fen-Phen), Halcion (a benzodiazepine-type sleeping pill), Melleril (an antipsychotic), Meridia (an appetite suppressant), Lotronex (and also Zelnorm, both irritable bowel drugs), Oraflex (an NSAID drug), Phenformin (a glucose-lowering drug), Phenylbutazone (an arthritis drug), Propulsid (a drug for slowing down peristalsis), Seldane (an allergy pill), Trovan (a fluoroquinolone antibiotic), Vioxx (an arthritis drug), etc, etc.

Please note that the above list only contains a small number of the hundreds of similarly banned prescription drugs that hadn’t been tested adequately prior to being granted marketing approval from regulatory agencies like the FDA.

Of course, giving false hope is actually an act of cruelty, because the false hope disrupts the efforts needed for the prevention of such diseases by de-emphasizing the real root causes of a disease – especially the iatrogenic ones.

The truth is that the finding of an unusual protein in the chemically-poisoned wasteland of the brain’s is just another of the many types of evidence that can be found at any crime scene which is not necessarily the cause of the crime. Correlation does not mean causation, but Big Pharma jumps at such correlations because it is good for their business.

Thus the best efforts to deal with Parkinson’s or so-called Alzheimer’s or Autistic Spectrum Disorders – all caused by exposures to neurotoxic substances of one kind or another – are often made considerably worse in the presence of one or more toxic substances.

Good medical practice should prevent people from becoming ill with neurodegenerative disorders in the first place, but it also should be trying to prevent already-ill patients like your father from getting worse by pointing out the avoidable neurotoxins in the environment or the clinician’s armamentarium that could worsen the illness. I submit that that should include the avoidance of prescribing additional drugs that might be neurotoxins or mitochondrial toxins or vaccines that could contain neurotoxins or mitochondrial toxins. It seems to me to be the height of absurdity for the pharmaceutical industry to be proposing a new vaccine (that will have neurotoxic ingredients in it) for a degenerative nerve disorder that has no connection to a theoretically vaccine-treatable infectious disease.

It would be safe to say that much of the research that you have found online originates from the laboratories of for-profit pharmaceutical companies that are in the business of increasing shareholder value and not for making sick patients well.

Big Pharma’s most visible cheerleaders in these matters are (co-opted-by-the-drug-industry) academic physicians that have MDs or PhDs behind their names and who, for their professional survival, need to get published.

It is also important to acknowledge that virtually all of the mainstream medical journals (that most clinicians subscribe to [but mainly speed-read through]) are beholden to Big Pharma’s wealthiest drug advertisers. Many of those research scientists and teaching academics are outright Big Pharma employees, shareholders, own stock options in the companies, receive honoraria as lecturers or are highly paid salespersons for the industries or are on well-paid panels of so-called “experts” that advise the CDC or FDA on what new drugs or vaccines to approve. Many of the scholarly articles to which they claim authorship are actually ghost-written by company employees.

Most practicing physicians do not have significant financial conflicts of interest with Big Pharma, but they DO have professional conflicts of interest in Big Pharma’s drugs and vaccines, for many of Big Pharma’s synthetic chemicals can cause any number of drug- or vaccine-induced chronic illnesses (including autoimmune disorders) which then produces a lot of chronic patients that will directly benefit them, their clinics and their healthcare organizations.

The story above is true for the synthetic chemical causes of Parkinson’s, drug-induced dementia, or Autism Spectrum Disorders or Multiple Sclerosis or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Gulf War Syndrome, or any of the many Vaccine-induced or Psychiatric Drug-induced disorders, both categories of which involve the poisoning of the energy-producing organelles of the body called mitochondria.

I suspect that you are among the many who have wondered about the regularly scheduled media campaigns that seem to come from the CDC, the FDA and/or from Big Pharma and their co-opted academic physicians – like the notorious academic pediatrician and multimillionaire Dr Paul Offfit (who got rich because he developed a rotavirus vaccine), who once claimed that infants could safely receive 10,000 vaccines at one sitting without suffering any adverse effects!

Those media blitz campaigns have regularly over-publicized infectious disease clusters and then blamed allegedly inadequate vaccination rates for the occasional outbreak of some childhood infections disease like measles , whereas in actuality, the so-called “measles” clusters were never proven to be measles – only measles-like rashes. And what is worse, the CDC or local health organizations never admitted that many of the victims of those outbreaks had been fully vaccinated!

There have also been well-funded media campaigns to smear independent, scholarly, altruistic scientists whenever they exercised their duty to warn others after they had connected the dots between the multitude of iatrogenic disorders (“iatrogenic” = physician-caused or medication-induced) and the multitude of cellular toxic and neurotoxic synthetic chemicals that are commonly prescribed by physicians.

The reality is that most of the medications on the market today were never adequately tested for long-term safety or long-term effectiveness in human subjects prior to gaining marketing approval. So anybody who has been urged or ordered to take more than one drug has no assurance that either one has been proven to be safe or effective long-term, especially in combination.  What is even worse is the fact that any combination of two or more drugs has never been subjected to either short or long term trials in the pre-clinical animal lab (rat, mouse, guinea pig or monkey) experiments, where microscopic examination of brain tissue is done.

It has been well established that every one of the five classes of psychotropic drugs can cause dementia, brain damage, brain shrinkage, mitochondrial toxicity, drug dependence [addiction], worsening depression, worsening anxiety, insomnia, somnolence, mania, lethargy, psychosis, irrational behaviors, aggression, suicidality, homicidality, etc, etc, depending on whether the drugged-up, intoxicated person is experiencing some of the multitude of adverse effects of the psychoactive drugs or is experiencing the often serious withdrawal symptoms that commonly occur when the drugs become intolerable.

And it has been well established that all intramuscularly injected vaccines – whether they 1) are live virus-type (MMR/polio), 2) contain the preservative mercury/thimerosal (all multi-dose flu shots and most childhood vaccines prior to 1999) or 3) contain the adjuvant aluminum (including most of the non-live virus vaccines, including the HPV and pneumonia vaccines) have both lethal and sub-lethal consequences (which can manifest themselves immediately or in a delayed fashion).

And here is the upshot for you and your father: the annual vaccinations that he has been urged or ordered to submit to by well-meaning and often naïve clinicians, may be making his neurodegenerative disorder worse. The heavy metal neurotoxicities of the aluminum-containing pneumovax shot and the mercury containing flu shot are known to bio-accumulate in the brain and body tissues with each dose, and aluminum has been consistently found in the degenerated brain tissue of well-vaccinated patients, particularly in the amyloid deposits of so-called (and mis-labeled) “Alzheimer’s dementia of unknown etiology” patients.

And there is another serious upshot if you have infants or small children, because at the time when an infant’s brain and body are at their most vulnerable (at their 2, 4 and 6 months “well baby” pediatrician visits, after which there is a significant increase in sudden infant death syndrome [SIDS] or near-SIDS episodes), up to 9 antigenic substances (along with their toxic vaccine ingredients and inadvertent contaminants) are injected at one sitting! And Dr Offit and his pro-vaccine colleagues concur, despite their having taken the Hippocratic Oath at the beginning of their careers.

You touched upon a very telling truth in your essay. You talked about the many neurotoxic substances (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides – you omitted petroleum products, solvents and molds) to which your farmer father was regularly exposed – with no hazmat protection – in his early life. Those toxic exposures, as serious as they can be all by themselves, can be expected to have additive (and, more seriously, even synergistic) toxic effects with the many similarly toxic additives in the “food” supply.

Those toxic food additives include the non-nutritive synthetic flavor enhancers High Fructose Corn Syrup, NutraSweet (aspartame), Splenda (sucralose), Saccharin, Acesulfame potassium and MSG and the equally toxic additives that make dead meat look pink, such as nitrates, sulfites and dyes, and the so-called  preservatives such as sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate (both of which, when exposed to ascorbic acid/vitamin C, turn into benzene, a known carcinogen and DNA toxin.

Well, this lengthy message exceeded my initial goal of applauding your efforts to de-mystify Parkinson’s disease. I will probably make use of this missive as one of my weekly Duty to Warn columns (I will let you know if and when it is published). Be assured that I will avoid any information that could identify you.

I hope that I have challenged you enough for you to do some additional research into information about America’s iatrogenic neurodegenerative disease pandemic that happens to be a taboo subject for Big Pharma, Big Vaccine, Big Medicine (including the AMA, AAP, APA, AAFP, CDC, FDA, NIMH, NIH), Big Insurance, Big Chemistry, Big Food, Big Agribusiness, Big Finance, Big Media and other giant multinational corporations – the first three of which fund 90% of American medical research and therefore expect a significant return on their investments. Please check out if the sources of the information you run across are industry shill. Before you trust the information.

I am sending a recent essay of mine that reveals a number of unwelcome facts about drug-induced or vaccine-induced dementia (they ARE NOT Alzheimer’s!). The article can be found at (http://www.globalresearch.ca/drug-induced-dementia-is-not-alzheimers-disease/5545492). The article contains many of the facts that you need to know about America’s history of iatrogenic, drug-induced, vaccine-induced, neurologic illnesses like Parkinson’s and dementia. Diseases like those could have been prevented, but are now clogging up America’s medical system. Physicians like me are partially responsible for the pandemic.

Drug- or vaccine-induced, iatrogenic illnesses are the focus of many Big Pharma corporations that are always looking for ways to profitably expand their markets by developing new products to “treat” new diseases that may have been caused by the old products in the first place.

And unless the propaganda coming from Big Pharma and their partners is effectively countered, that unholy alliance will continue to manufacture, advertise, market and prescribe increasingly unaffordable, illness-producing drugs and vaccines that will surely make America’s physical, neurological and mental health even worse than it is already.

Happily for holistic and preventive healthcare practitioners and their lucky patients, prevention and cure doesn’t create permanent clients (aka, “cash cows” for Big Pharma and Big Medicine). Anyone who has followed the get-rich schemes of most of Big Pharma’s and Big Medicine’s CEOs, boards of directors and co-opted academic physicians easily understands how obscene medical costs has made healthcare a major cause of individual bankruptcies in America. One only has to consider the fraud, corruption and price gouging involving EpiPen, Mylan, Merck, GSK, Pfizer, Lilly, Astra-Zeneca, Bayer, Novartis, Sanofi Aventis, etc).

Any aware person knows that those entities are making obscene amounts of money by creating permanent patients who will be over-diagnosed, over-medicated, increasingly ill, increasingly disabled and over-inoculated with aluminum-adjuvanted vaccines – and therefore increasingly likely to also develop iatrogenic autoimmune disorders.

My hope is that increased awareness and self-education will eventually lead to more accurate diagnoses, real prevention and real cures of toxified people like your father.

Sincerely yours,

 

Gary G. Kohls, MD, Duluth, MN

Dr Kohls is a retired physician from Duluth, MN, USA. In the decade prior to his retirement, he practiced what could best be described as “holistic (non-drug) and preventive mental health care”. Since his retirement, he has written a weekly column for the Duluth Reader, an alternative newsweekly magazine. His columns mostly deal with the dangers of American imperialism, friendly fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism, and the dangers of Big Pharma, psychiatric drugging, the over-vaccinating of children and other movements that threaten American democracy, civility, health and longevity and the future of the planet.

Many of his columns are archived at

http://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn,

http://www.globalresearch.ca/authors?query=Gary+Kohls+articles&by=&p=&page_id=

or at

https://www.transcend.org/tms/search/?q=gary+kohls+articles

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For the first time since UNHRC’s inception in 2006, Russia has lost an election to the UN Human Rights Council after being narrowly beaten by Croatia in a vote. Saudi Arabia was successfully re-elected, despite criticism from human rights organizations.

The 47 places on the council are distributed on a regional basis, with staggered ballots seeing a third of the body re-elected each year. Russia had finished its three-year term and was running against Hungary and Croatia for the two available seats from Eastern Europe.

With Hungary far ahead, Croatia received the votes of 114 of the 193 member countries, and Russia was selected on 112 ballots.

«  »It was a very close vote and very good countries competing, Croatia, Hungary. They are fortunate because of their size, they are not exposed to the winds of international diplomacy. Russia is very exposed. We’ve been in the UNHRC for several years, and I am sure next time we will stand and get back in, » said Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin. Russia is eligible to run next year, against a new set of countries.

Saudi Arabia sailed through the Asian ballot with 152 votes, and will represent the region on the UNHRC alongside China, Japan and Iraq for the next three years.

South Africa, Rwanda, Egypt and Tunisia were chosen from the African group, Cuba and Brazil from Latin America and the Caribbean, and the US and the UK will represent the Western bloc, which comprises Western Europe and North America.

Over the next term, which will last between 2017 and 2019, the 14 chosen members will be tasked with formulating the UN’s official position on conflicts occurring around the world, as well as the domestic policies of member states.

The elections took place against a backdrop of criticism from non-governmental human rights organizations, who say that the body has been hijacked by oppressive regimes looking to deflect criticism and drive their own agendas.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International produced a joint statement earlier this year condemning Saudi Arabia for “an appalling record of violations” in Yemen, where it has conducted a bombing campaign against Houthi rebels since 2015, which has resulted in the deaths of up to 4,000 civilians. The two organizations called for Saudi Arabia, a member of the UNHRC since it was created in 2006, apart from a mandatory year-long break after two terms, to be suspended – to no avail.

Saudi Arabia used its power in the council to block an outside inquiry into the campaign last month, while leading a successful resolution that placed the responsibility of investigating human rights abuses in the hands of its allies, the exiled Yemeni government.

Saudi Arabia carried out 157 executions domestically last year – the highest number in two decades, and is on pace to match the number this year. Critics of the regime have often faced detention, while women do not enjoy autonomy and equal status before the law.

Riyadh has repeatedly refused visits from UNHRC rapporteurs looking to investigate the justice system, incidences of torture, and discrimination.

In its official campaign brochure, published ahead of the vote, Saudi Arabia boasted about its human rights record, claiming, for example, that it supports “the empowerment of women at all levels” in compliance with “Sharia law, which guarantees fair gender equality.”

 

Ahead of this year’s vote Russia came under concerted pressure from human rights organizations.

“The non-election of Russia shows that the nations of the world can reject gross abusers if they so choose,” said executive director Hillel Neuer. “This makes the election of Saudi Arabia, China and Cuba even more preposterous.

A petition signed by 80 NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Refugees International, asked the voting countries to « question seriously whether Russia’s role in Syria which includes supporting and undertaking military actions which have routinely targeted civilians and civilian objects renders it fit to serve on the UN’s premier inter-governmental human rights institution. »

Russia dismissed the petition, published this week, as “cynical” and “dishonorable,” and said the accusations were motivated more by politics than by concern for human rights. Moscow, which has been conducting airstrikes in the country over the past year, says that it is acting legally, following an official call for assistance from the Syrian government, and insists that its war efforts are targeted at terrorists.

 

China, Cuba, Egypt, Iraq, Rwanda, which all succeeded in their quest for council membership, were also accused by NGOs of being undeserving of a place on the UNHRC.

The current human rights body replaced the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 2006, which was plagued with identical accusations of domination by authoritarian regimes and preoccupation with Israeli violations in Palestine, at the expense of human rights crimes elsewhere in the world. The election of Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya to head the commission in 2003 was lambasted by Western media and politicians, and was seen as the catalyst for the reforms that have resulted in the formation of the UNHRC.

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In classical mythology, the Acheron is one of the rivers of the Underworld. It marks the boundary between the living and the dead. The ferryman Charon ferries the dead across the Acheron to a place where they lose memory. Nothing of what made them human remains—happiness, suffering, love, hatred, guilt, regret, redemption, betrayal, forgiveness.

From Gilgamesh to Odysseus to Aeneas, the living heroes of the epic descend into the Underworld at a point of despair in the sense of their quest. Burdened by a fate that requires momentous courage and tragic self-sacrifice for the sake of their people’s survival, they resent the absurdity of their lot. Down there on a visit, they return from the shadow land strengthened. They recognize that the business of living is not oblivion but action.

Photo by manhhai | CC BY 2.0

John Marciano’s recently published book, The American War in Vietnam: Crime or Commemoration? functions as such a Charon in reverse. It ferries readers back to the realm of remembering. This slim volume could not have come at a more opportune moment. American political culture is punch-drunk with the pursuit of war. The altered state is reaching the point of delirium tremens. Thwarted in the neocolonial scheme of annexing Syria by Russia’s legal intervention, the American elite are pushing for confrontation. Though it is hard to think the unthinkable, the nuclear holocaust may happen if not by intention then by spontaneous americanwarvietnamcombustion from over-intoxication with the fumes of war.

This reckless confrontation results from decades of accumulated unaccountable power. Its boldness reflects a cumulative experience of impunity for aggressive behavior by soft and hard neocolonial postures since the end of WW II. The war in Vietnam, as Marciano suggests, should have functioned as the lesson that checked the nation’s historical thrust for conquest, but the turning point would have required a national effort to relinquish the myth of the Noble Cause, the delusion that America is vested with a divine mandate to assimilate the people of the world to the American image–for the people’s own good. Britain had its White Man’s Burden; France its mission civilatrise; America its Manifest Destiny.

This timely volume traces the war to the apocalyptic finale of the most powerful military in the world defeated by the determination, courage, and self-sacrifice of a peasant people unwilling to be enslaved. But this is as much a book about the past as it is about the present. It reminds us, with Tolstoy, “The reality of war is in the killing, “ a realization officialdom would like to block. In fact, they have prepared a falsifying celebration of that moral and military debacle.

As Marciano writes in his introduction,

In May 2012, President Barack Obama and the Pentagon announced a Commemoration of the Vietnam War to continue through 2025, the fiftieth anniversary of the conflict’s end. Among the Commemoration’s objectives, three stand out: ‘to thank and honor’ veterans and their families . . . ‘to highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to military research conducted during’ the war; and to ‘recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies’.

President Obama claimed in the commemoration announcement speech that the war had been “an honorable cause.” Marciano challenges this notion. America’s historic ideology of the Noble Cause, he writes, rests on the belief that the United States is

A unique force for good in the world, superior not only in its military and economic power, but in the quality of its government and institutions, the character and morality of its people, and its way of life.

This is the mystical bigotry of a messianic faith typical of empires. Imperial militarism seeks in a Noble Cause the justification for subjugating large chunks of humanity. In the distant past, the Noble Cause may have received the sword directly from a god—as it did in postcolonial America when it sought to exterminate the native inhabitants. By the anointment of the sword, the divinity also endowed, supposedly, the conquering “race” with moral superiority. Thus, imperialism, in the perverse arrogance of its twisted psyche, contains the germ of genocide. As a result, the superstition of a superior “race” has been endured by most of the “races” on the planet as a most Ignoble Cause. In Vietnam alone, the Big Lie of the Noble Cause sent four million Vietnamese to their death.

Marciano leaves us in no doubt that the White House and the Pentagon are commemorating a crime. They are falsifying history in order to shape the future, which will be and is the reenactment of the war against Vietnam on a global scale. They want to establish the altar for a “sacred union,” the nation united behind the Noble Cause of war. On the altar will sit the fetish of the export of the “miracle of democracy, ” in reality the imposition of regimes of terror such as the Vietnam War planners established in Saigon. We see today in Ukraine that the “miracle of democracy,” brought to Kiev by the US in 2014 to the tune of five billion dollars, amounts to a handful of dry dust, collected from the WW II graveyard of European Nazism, inciting a lot of blind, anti-democratic and noxious nationalism.

As through a glass darkly, Marciano shows us that in the war crime against Vietnam we can see reflected the crimes perpetrated today from Afghanistan to Yemen, from Iraq to Syria, from Yugoslavia to Libya and across the African continent. As in Vietnam (the fakery of the Gulf of Tonkin incident), today’s war are based on fabricated pretexts; as in Vietnam (napalm and agent orange), today’s wars are chemical wars (depleted uranium for Yugoslavia and Iraq; phosphorus for Falluja); as in Vietnam (Hanoi and Haiphong) the bombings destroy urban life, vital infrastructure, schools and hospitals; as in Vietnam (Laos, Cambodia) the bombings spreads out (today to Yemen); as in Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh) the leaders who resist US penetration are demonized (Milosevic, Saddam, Qaddafi, Assad) as enemies of humanity. As in Vietnam, all the wars of today are fought mostly to prevent or reverse independence and self-determination of former colonial places.

Finally, as in Vietnam the USSR, today’s Russia is emerging as the displacement of all the guilt that weighs on the shoulders of the Noble Cause. The Washington Post recently wrote “the Kremlin annexed Ukraine.” I read it twice—not “annexed Crimea,” the standard disinformation, but the whole of Ukraine! Does one laugh or weep? Does one have to take a hallucinogenic to see Russian flags and images of Putin blanketing Kiev instead of Neo-Nazi emblems and images of Bandera?

The next president will certainly be Hillary Clinton, whom I call “the centripetal president.” From Republicans to Democrats to Neo-Cons, all converge on endorsing the war candidate. In her consensus war regime, the elite will decide everything. We will not be consulted. This is why The American War in Vietnam: Crime or Commemoration? is a vital read. It calls for our re-democratization–to question our leaders, to be skeptical of the media, to avert our eyes from the petrifying stare of the Medusa decked with the aegis of the Noble Cause; to challenge—even ridicule– the vaunted humanitarianism of an elite of bloodhounds baying for war; to refuse to commemorate war crimes and to work to stop them.

Above all, we need to remember that the crimes of other governments are the responsibility of the people of those governments—not of our bombs. Though our elite have abrogated to themselves the power and the right to remake the map of the world by force, we need to reassert the legal principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign states if we are serious about peace. We, citizens, do not have the right (or the power, unless we line up behind the power of the militarist state) to change the practices of other states, but we do have the right to demand change for those of our own. Let’s start exercising that right. We did for Vietnam; we can do it again. Commemorate the people who protested the war in Vietnam, not the crime the governing elite committed there in our name, as Marciano’s book amply documents.

The US government is now engaged in waging eight wars. We better get busy.

Luciana Bohne is co-founder of Film Criticism, a journal of cinema studies, and teaches at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. She can be reached at: [email protected]

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Canada’s Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland’s sense of amour propre was clearly dented last week when the latest talks to salvage the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union and Canada appeared to fall apart in face of the refusal of the Belgian regional parliament in Wallonia to accede to the Belgian government’s support for it. The story is by no means over, but it would be quite wrong to think that what really threw this spanner in the works was that the EU was incapable of reaching an agreement, as she put it, “even with a country with European values such as Canada, even with a country as nice and patient as Canada.”

First of all, Canadians might be expected to understand why Belgium’s failure to secure the consent of the Walloons mattered so much. The Canadian federal experience has often required securing inter-governmental unanimity, and lent an effective veto not only to Quebec, but even to the tiny province of Prince Edward Island. If Manitoba, with a population of around one million, could write finis to Canada’s last attempt at a Constitutional accord, why should Wallonia, with well over three million inhabitants, not be able to stop a trade agreement?

Moreover, Canadians know well enough that the opposition being registered by one provincial government usually resonates with a substantial body of opinion in other regions. And that is certainly the case with CETA, which has aroused very considerable concern right across Europe. It was only by a hair’s breadth that CETA secured the approval last month of the German Social Democratic Party, the junior partners in Europe’s most powerful government. The disquiet over CETA in fact followed on directly from what disturbed so many Europeans about the U.S.-EU free trade agreement that bore the acronym TTIP.

So-Called Free Trade Agreements

All free trade agreements since the U.S.-Canada FTA (over which the 1988 Canadian election was fought, with the Liberal Party then strongly opposing the deal) have created the illusion that they have primarily been about reneging on the old political economy of tariff protectionism. But this was already accomplished by the progressive reduction in tariffs that took place in the post-war decades under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and in Europe itself by the Treaty of Rome and the Common Market it spawned. The so-called free trade agreements kicked off by the FTA have been much more about dismantling so-called ‘non-tariff barriers’ which establish rights for multinational corporations, deploying the talent and resources of the foremost international law firms, to escape and undermine domestic economic regulation.

What is especially worrying to a great many Europeans, now that they believe they have managed to render TTIP a dead letter, is that CETA will bring it in via the back door. A U.S. company with a subsidiary that does business in Canada will qualify as a Canadian investor under CETA, so it is not just a matter of Canadian resource and finance companies posing a real threat of claims against Europe. Under CETA’s investor-state dispute provisions, to be implemented through a new investment court system, individual companies could sue states for alleged discriminatory practices in their regulations, and if successful thereby allow domestic investors to escape regulation as well. Yet despite allowing special claims and access to public money by foreign investors, CETA sets out no actionable investor responsibilities, domestic or foreign, alongside these rights.

Moreover, no one else affected by such a dispute, e.g. a local municipality or a province or a First Nation, is given a right of standing in the juridical process – making it fundamentally unfair as well as undemocratic.

That Canada under the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper should have conceived and promoted CETA was perhaps not surprising, but it must surprise many Europeans that the Trudeau Liberals who came to office last year with such progressive fanfare should now, with only minor edits, be on the same page. And it is by no means clear that most Canadians are really so eager to be the conduit for foreign investors to escape economic, labour and environmental regulation, and thereby help domestic investors escape regulation as well. Indeed, under CETA, Canada’s own exposure to foreign investor claims would roughly double because Western European companies invest about as much in the Canadian economy as do U.S. investors. Under NAFTA, the decisions of the Canadian judiciary on the constitutionality of many laws and regulations cannot be taken as final until all foreign investors eligible to bring claims have not done so or have run out of time to do so. Moreover, no one else affected by such a dispute, e.g. a local municipality or a province or a First Nation, is given a right of standing in the juridical process – making it fundamentally unfair as well as undemocratic.

Under enormous pressure to back down, the Walloons appear to have managed to at least secure the concession from the Belgian government not only to assess the economic and environmental impact of CETA, but also to insist on the right to go to the European Court of Justice to determine whether the decisions of the new investment court system were compatible with EU law. But even as the Belgian government joins the other 27 European governments in signing CETA, its ratification by all their parliaments is far from assured, since the broad coalition in Wallonia that stood up to CETA – encompassing Christian Democrats and Socialists as well as Marxists – is reflective of the breadth of the opposition across Europe.

CETA whael, by Mike Constable.

The social attitudes of those opposing CETA are quite different from those of the xenophobic far right parties which have made such gains in Europe. The rejection of CETA as well as the TTIP would not have anything to do with rejecting the values of diversity and democracy, as Ms. Freeland’s comments implied. If anything, it has been the failure of the mainstream parties to articulate in a progressive manner the discontent with what has come with state promotion of ‘free trade’ over the last three decades that has opened so much political space for the Le Pens, on one side of the Atlantic, and for the Trumps, on the other. •

Leo Panitch is emeritus professor of political science at York University, co-editor (with Greg Albo) of the Socialist Register and author (with Sam Gindin) of the Making of Global Capitalism (Verso).

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The US, dragging the western allies behind them, is preparing for war with Russia and China.  Washington also wants India ‘onside’ for obvious reasons of geography, history, and growing economic power.  The US also needs allies with some money to help pay for the Pentagon’s endless war machine that is heavily dependent on expensive space technology.

GETTING INDIA “ONSIDE”

Washington wishes to bring India under its ‘Space Command’ so that all its military will be run through the Pentagon space warfighting satellite program.  A term ‘interoperability’ has been coined to describe the process where all allies must have suitable warfighting systems that can be technically run through the US Space Command system.  In the end this means the US is controlling the deadly tip of the spear because no other nation has all the satellites and ground stations around the globe that give Washington the ability to see everything on Earth, hear everything, and ultimately target every place on the planet.

All the new NATO allies (and ‘partners’ like Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand) are being brought into the global military alliance to control and dominate the planet on behalf of western corporate capitalism.  That means London-Washington-Brussels-Paris-Berlin running the world. Russia, China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba and a few other nations are on the list for ‘regime change’ in the coming years.  They still stand outside full control by the western bankers and militarists.

The recent formation of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) alternative economic institution would loan money to developing countries and not exploit them the way western bankers do using the IMF and World Bank as their tools of domination.  The west is not happy about BRICS and thus we saw the leader of Brazil was recently dethroned in a coup essentially orchestrated by Washington.

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Raytheon’s global missile system.

The US-NATO alliance is not happy to currently see many nations around the world begin to stand up against this long run of western imperialism.  The BRICS nations are calling for a multi-polar world and the US demands to remain as the unipolar leader of the planet.  Washington appears willing to go to war to defend its collapsing empire.

The US is like a cowboy gambler with a black hat on a Mississippi riverboat playing cards.  The cowboy looks around and sees himself surrounded by those he has exploited for years.  He thinks his only way out is to start shooting – the law of the west.  That, I think, is essentially still the foreign and military policy of the US.  Its part arrogance and part fear that the world has woken up at last and is rejecting the cowboy mentality of ‘full spectrum dominance’.

A HISTORY OF DOMINANCE

Growing global poverty and the reality of climate change though are banging on Washington’s front door.  The corporations are trying to make money from climate change – their love for the dollar bill is so great that they cannot see beyond their lust for power and greed.  I call them pirates.

The pirates have buried a treasure chest in the US – it is our national treasury created from the taxes from the people’s hard work.  About 55% of every federal tax dollar under the discretion of Congress goes to the Pentagon.  America has become a war culture.  Our economy is addicted to military production.  People are increasingly  being indoctrinated that the ‘Muslims’ are coming to attack us so we must spend more on weapons for war and we must have the very best space technology system in place to protect ourselves.  We are a paranoid nation – massive guilt and fear comes from our long legacy of genocide.

First was the destruction of the Native Americans and then the illegal and immoral importation of slaves from Africa.  During the days of slavery that very institution became America’s dominant economic institution.  Slave labor made America rich.  This (let’s call it fascist) element of our culture might have lost the civil war in the 1860’s but they are running the country today.  We have a wedding in America of the government and corporate power – they are one in the same.  Democracy has been drowned in the United States.

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Raytheon sea-launched missiles.

Thus no one anywhere on our Mother Earth should ever listen to the moralistic preaching that comes from Washington about democracy, freedom, peace, or the rule of law.  It’s all Hollywood talk – a scripted propaganda machine that has sold an image to the world.  Fortunately the initial shine has worn off the Stars & Stripes and most people around the globe clearly understand what is really going on.

THE “PIVOT TO ASIA”

I have been working on space issues for the last 33 years and today coordinate the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.  We are very worried about aggressive US moves to create more conflict with Russia and China – in particular the Pentagon claim that the US Space Command should “control and dominate space and deny other nations the use of space”.

The dangerous notion of US ‘exceptionalism’ has now been extended to outer space.  In order to successfully operate the current US global space war fighting system ‘downlink ground stations’ have been based around the world to relay military communications from one place to another via space satellites. Activists around the planet are opposing the presence of these Star Wars bases in their communities and are the active membership of the Global Network.

The US today is feverishly deploying so-called “Missile Defense” (MD) systems around the globe – essentially encircling Russia and China.  Added to that is Obama’s provocative ‘pivot’ of 60% of US military forces into the Asia-Pacific – what the Pentagon calls ‘rebalancing’.  This pivot is dangerous and hugely expensive, so costly that Washington’s allies in are being pressured to help pay for the program.

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US military bases around China. 

China imports 80% of its resources on ships and thus we see the Pentagon ‘pivot’ as a military strategy to possibly block China’s sea routes – literally putting a loaded gun to Beijing’s head.  China has responded by building a couple new bases on tiny coral reefs to ensure their unhampered access to the sea lanes in their region.

Last summer the Global Network held its 23rd annual space conference in Kyoto, Japan.  We were invited to meet in Kyoto in order to show support for the campaign opposing the recently deployed US MD radar at Kyogamisaki in the Kyoto prefecture.  One day during the conference we took a bus ride to have lunch with the Ukawa villagers and then joined them in a protest at the base.

The MD radar base at Kyogamisaki would assist the Pentagon’s attempt to intercept Chinese retaliatory nuclear missiles that they would fire after the US launched a first-strike attack.  We are constantly told that MD is being deployed by the Pentagon in Japan, Okinawa, South Korea, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines, and Australia to protect against North Korean missiles.  This is a lie and a tactic to redirect the discussion.  In fact the US is deploying MD to be able to control and dominate China and Russia.

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US THAAD missiles.

I’ll never forget a few years ago, when North Korea test fired a rocket, I read a story in a space industry publication that quoted US military personnel who were laughing at North Korea.  One US airman said that North Korea had virtually no space technology and thus could not really track their own rocket while the US, with its robust space capability, could follow the North Korean rocket with no trouble at all.  This made it clear to me that the Pentagon over hypes the treat from Pyongyang.  The truth is that the US is aiming their massive space-directed military machine at Beijing and Moscow.

MISSILE OFFENSE

MD used to be illegal under the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty between Russia and the US.  Both sides knew that MD is a destabilizing program that would give one side an advantage over the other.  MD’s key job is to be the shield that is used to pick-off a nation’s nuclear retaliatory capability after the Pentagon’s first-strike sword lunges into the heart of the opponent’s nuclear forces.

One of the very first things President George W. Bush did after taking office in 2001 was to give Russia notice that the US was pulling out of the ABM Treaty.  Since that time US research, development, testing, and deployment of MD systems has been on steroids. At the time of the collapse of the former Soviet Union the US promised that NATO would not expand one centimeter toward Russia.  Since then that promise has been repeatedly broken and today NATO has established bases along Russia’s border in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.  Pentagon MD systems were this year deployed in Romania and next year will be deployed in Poland.  US Navy Aegis destroyers also carry MD interceptor missiles on-board and today are being deployed in the waters off the coasts of Russia and China.

The first of two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors is launched during a successful intercept test. The test, conducted by Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) Operational Test Agency, Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, and U.S. Pacific Command, in conjunction with U.S. Army soldiers from the Alpha Battery, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, U.S. Navy sailors aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG-73), and U.S. Air Force airmen from the 613th Air and Operations Center resulted in the intercept of one medium-range ballistic missile target by THAAD, and one medium-range ballistic missile target by Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD). The test, designated Flight Test Operational-01 (FTO-01), stressed the ability of the Aegis BMD and THAAD weapon systems to function in a layered defense architecture and defeat a raid of two near-simultaneous ballistic missile targets

THAAD missiles being launched. 

In early 2014 the US spent $5 billion in a coup d’état in Ukraine that took down an elected government and replaced it with a government in the capital city of Kiev that included Nazis.  The US has established a base in western Ukraine where Army Special Forces troops come from the US to train neo-Nazis that have been assigned to the newly created Ukrainian National Guard.  These forces have then gone to eastern Ukraine, along the Russian border, where for the last two years they have killed thousands of innocent citizens by shelling their homes, hospitals, churches, schools, day care centers, airports and rail stations.  The only crime of the people in eastern Ukraine is that they are of Russian ethnic origin.

The US intends to destabilize Ukraine in order to ultimately force regime change in Moscow.  One reason for this is that because of climate change the Arctic Sea ice is melting and the oil corporations are eager to drill in the once frozen Arctic region.  But Russia has the largest land border with Russia thus the supposed need to break the large Russian Federation into pieces (like happened to Yugoslavia during the presidency of Bill Clinton).  By doing this the oil companies believe they’d have an easier time in grabbing the oil near the Russian Arctic coastline.

The Pentagon is deploying four basic MD systems today.  Inside the US (California and Alaska) are Ground-Based Midcourse MD interceptors buried deep underground.  Their job is to hit a bullet with a bullet in deep space after a retaliatory strike by Russia or China.  This program has the most difficult technical task and has the worst testing results.

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Lockheed Martin’s THAAD designs.

In order to increase the chances of being able to knock missiles out of the sky it helps to put the MD interceptors closer to the intended targets.  Thus the US is deploying MD systems on Navy Aegis destroyers and porting them in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Guam.  These ship-based interceptors have the best testing success rates.

Mobile ground-based MD interceptors like the Patriot (PAC-3) and Theatre High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) are used to knock out incoming missiles in the terminal phase.  These systems are now being deployed in Japan, Okinawa, South Korea and Guam.

MISSILES IN ASIA

This past August I spent three weeks in South Korea attending various protests against the announced deployment of the US THAAD (Theater High Altitude Area Defense) ‘missile defense’ system. The Pentagon plans to station THAAD in the farming village of Seongju (population 10,000). The right-wing South Korean government, following orders from Washington, likely chose this village because it had backed the conservative government by a margin of 85 percent in the last national election. But that has now changed.

Just before I arrived in South Korea the residents of Seongju held a mock funeral where they announced that they had, en masse, resigned from the ruling party. Then, just before I left Korea, 900 of these same residents took the sacred step of sitting together and shaving their heads. In Korea this is a big deal. It indicates the commitment to fight to the death, and in this case many women also joined the hair shaving, which is rare.  This anti-THAAD movement has become a national issue and one of the top concerns for the peace movement in South Korea today. So the US is currently developing MD systems to hit nuclear missiles in the boost phase, mid-course phase, and the terminal phase.  This clearly indicates the seriousness that the Pentagon attaches to being able to launch a first-strike attack on China and/or Russia and then knock out any retaliatory strike they might be able to fire in return.

MD is not just a theoretical program.  The US Space Command holds a computer war game each year where they practice such a first-strike attack – they call it the ‘Blue’ team against the ‘Red’ team.  In the war game a US first-strike is launched against Russia and China. When they respond by firing their own nuclear missiles that have survived the initial Pentagon attack, the Space Command’s MD systems go to work to pick of the remaining missiles.

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South Koreans protesting the THAADs. 

Of course in the real world things don’t always work out so nicely.  But the main point is that the Pentagon is actively preparing for such a first-strike attack. The Pentagon deployments of MD interceptor missiles and radars gives Space Command the confidence (and arrogance) that they can use this system.  Thus MD becomes highly destabilizing and very dangerous to world peace. While in Okinawa in late 2015 on a solidarity trip to stand with those actively opposing US expanding bases on their island, I spotted a base called Fort Buckner which plays a critical role in “inter-base, tactical and strategic Command, Control, Communications and Computer (C4) network support of joint Pacific warfighters”. Fort Buckner relays military satellite communications between bases in South Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Guam, the Philippines, Hawaii, and the Pentagon.

TRIGGERING WWIII

Sadly Washington is now run by corporate interests who have determined that America’s role under globalization of the world economy will be ‘security export’ which translates to endless war.  The number one industrial export product of the US today is weapons.  When weapons are your #1 industrial export, what is the global marketing strategy for that product line?

Despite Pentagon claims that they are out to create peace, democracy and stability around the world with their more than 800 military bases, quite the opposite is the truth.  I came away from recent trips to Japan, Okinawa, and South Korea seeing that the expansion of US bases in the Asia-Pacific is largely about creating the military infrastructure to take down China and Russia.

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Thousands of Japanese protest US bases. 

Add up the current US ‘pivot’ into the Asia-Pacific; the Japanese Shinzo Abe government’s ‘reinterpretation’ of peaceful Article 9 in their constitution to allow Tokyo to deploy offensive military forces; the destabilizing US-Japan-South Korean military alliance; and we find the makings of a very aggressive program that could easily trigger World War III.

The Chinese and Russian governments have repeatedly said that they would like to reduce their nuclear forces but cannot do it as long as the US is encircling their countries with MD systems.  China and Russia each year go to the United Nations and introduce a new treaty to ban all weapons in space.  The US and Israel (which has 200 nuclear weapons) annually block serious negotiations on that important treaty.  Both Russia and China have been forced to expand their military operations and to even build more nuclear weapons as they face the US MD program and an expanding NATO.

When Japan recently launched a satellite into space few took notice.  When North Korea launches a satellite or test fires a missile the world screams bloody murder.  Clearly the US and its allies are hypocrites as they lecture North Korea and Iran about weapons of mass destruction but at the same time they are creating the largest military buildup in world history. US foreign military occupation must end if there will ever be true world peace. The Global Network is determined to do what we can to help build such a peace with justice.  We are grateful to those in India who are working so hard to put an end to this madness.

We need peace workers in India to educate your fellow citizens about US plans to bring Delhi into the Pentagon’s Space Command program aimed at China.  We hope you can help prevent this growing danger of WW III that could consume the entire planet in a hell fire of nuclear war. Our governments need to be dealing with the reality of climate change and growing global poverty.  We must demand they convert the expensive military industrial complex to sustainable technology development to help us protect the future generations. Keep going – we all need each other.  Holding hands let us work together.

Bruce K. Gagnon lives in Bath, Maine, USA and is Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space  www.space4peace.org

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Western accusations against Russia concerning its reported involvement in attacking a school in the Syrian province of Idlib are fabricated and based on a hoax story, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

“Currently a story is being spun concerning the October 27 attack on Idlib school, which is directed primarily against Russia and Syria. We are accused of being the ones who carried out strikes against this school,” the foreign minister said during a joint press conference with his Syrian and Iranian counterparts.

“In response to these fabrications, Russia’s Defense Ministry has released factual information that refutes these statements and shows the falsity of this hoax,” Lavrov stated.

 

On Thursday, Russian Defense Ministry released photos made by an UAV dispatched to the area of the alleged airstrike that showed “no signs of damage to the roof of the school, or craters from airstrikes around it.”

The ministry also said that a video published by opposition groups on the ground and circulated by a range of Western media outlets “appears to consist of more than 10 different shots, filmed at different times of the day and in different resolutions, that were edited into a single clip.”

The findings of the Russian drone could easily be verified by the American side, as during its photo mission a US MQ-1B Predator UAV was in the same area, according to Moscow.

So far, all available evidence suggests that it was not an aerial attack, a former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT. Allegations of an attack, which is said to have claimed the lives of 22 children and six teachers, were first made on Wednesday by the controversial two-man Syrian Observatory for Human Rights based in London, and the Civil Defense Network, also known as the White Helmets.

Following the initial reports, the US and France immediately accused Russia and Syria of conducting the strike on school, despite the lack of independent verification.

“It’s either the Syrians – the regime of Assad – or the Russians,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told the media in Paris at that time.

“We know it was one of the two,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said during a press briefing in Washington the next day.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNICEF, the UN children’s body, both issued statements condemning the reported attack and urging investigation into the incident. Moscow also urged an open and independent probe.

 

The behavior of Western, and in particular French, leaders is “hypocritical,” Marie-Christine Arnautu, a French Member of the European Parliament and National Front’s vice-president for social affairs, told RT, adding that“everyone says we should combat Syrian threat of Islamism but behavior on the ground is ambiguous as it fights again Assad – and not against Islamism.”

The true goal of the West is apparently “is to defeat Bashar Assad,”which according to Arnautu is “a priority and their only aim, instead of fighting Islamism and resolving humanitarian crisis, which is absolutely urgent in Syria.”

Meanwhile, director of the Crisis Research Institute Mark Almond has raised questions concerning the West’s inability to substantiate its claims with any proof.

“Both Russia and the US have sophisticated satellites and other forms of reconnaissance. We have seen … that Russians can produce pictures of how things are going in Iraq, so the US ought to be able to produce evidence for this various instances that have become scandalous in the western media in the recent three or four weeks,” Almond told RT.

There is no evidence suggesting it was either Russia or Syrian government forces that carried out the strike, Almond said, adding that it “is not completely impossible that the rebels… may be callous enough to shoot into their own territory to set Russia and Syrian government up.”

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In October a series of reports appeared in The Washington Post and other US media about expected supplies of various modern weapon systems to the so-called ‘moderate opposition’ in Syria. The reports argued that Washington was considering the new plan for Syria that included massive supplies of weapons that had to allow the oppositioneers to defend themselves from the Russian and Syrian air power and artillery.

This fact was described as an indication of Washington’s skepticism about the prospects of so-called ‘peaceful solution’ in the country. Nonetheless, it was neither approved nor denied, according to the media.

The secret CIA program of training and arming ‘moderate terrorists’ has been the core of American strategy, aiming to overthrow Assad and set a puppet government in Syria, since the start of the war. Nonetheless, the Obama administration is likely set to postponed the resumption and expansion of this program and to pass the need to make a decision to next president. The US leadership is not ready to make the decision now because the recent military developments have shown that despite all money spending, supplies and CIA efforts, Washington still cannot rely on the moderate terrorists as a clearly pro-US force on the ground. Every US attempt to separate secular militant groups from jihadi factions, at least for PR needs, have failed. And the recently created New Syrian Army (NSyA) has shown an impotence in clashes with ISIS. The US propaganda campaign to discredit Russian-Syrian-Iranian operations to liberate Aleppo faced a significant problem – massive civilian casualties during the Mosul offensive, supported by the US-led coalition.

In this case, open and massive supplies of arms and munitions to the terrorist groups in Syria could lead to significant loses for Washington in political and PR terms and will hardly lead to strengthening of the US influence on the Syrian conflict. If the US administration avoids to do this, Moscow, Damascus and Tehran will fully take the initiative in the war that would also lead to negative effects to the US influence in the Middle East.

So, most likely, Washington will make a compromise decision to allow its regional allies – Saudi Arabia or Qatar – to supply limited numbers of man-portable air-defense systems to the so-called ‘opposition’, even if this opposition is al-Nusra Front. At the same time, the US-controlled media and diplomats will continue to put pressure on Syria, Russia and Iran over alleged civilian casualties in Aleppo city and ignore the humanitarian situation in Iraq. It will not allow the terrorists to re-take the initiative in the war but will buy time until the new US president comes into the office and start to impellent own strategy in the region.

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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GR Weekend Reader: Bayer and Monsanto: A Marriage Made in Hell

octobre 29th, 2016 by Global Research News

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GMO and Monsanto-Bayer: Global Agribusiness’ Wild Game of Monopoly Endangers Food Diversity

By Brent Gregston, October 28 2016

Agriculture’s biggest deal ever will leave farmers and consumers paying more for less, and could accelerate a potentially catastrophic decline in the diversity of what we plant and eat. A wave of Big Ag mergers is threatening to entrench a food system that reduces nature’s edible abundance to a handful of plants on your plate.

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Seeds of Occupation and India’s “Stockholm Syndrome”: GMO and Monsanto-Bayer’s “Strategic Presence in India”

By Colin Todhunter, October 09 2016

Occupation can take many forms. It does not necessarily imply a military presence or military domination. For example, in India right now, there is a drive to get genetically modified (GM) mustard sanctioned for commercial cultivation; this would be the first GM food crop to be grown in the country. Unfortunately, this push for GM is based on a flawed premise and an agenda steeped in fraud and unremitting regulatory delinquency, and any green light to go ahead would open the floodgates for more unnecessary and damaging GM food crops.

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Bayer and Monsanto: Two Destructive Corporate Conglomerates Become One

By Dr Mercola, October 01 2016

Just when you thought the takeover of the global food supply couldn’t get a whole lot worse, it did. Monsanto recently announced it has accepted Bayer AG’s $56 billion takeover offer (a deal totaling $66 billion if you take into account Monsanto’s debt) which will make the new entity the largest seed and pesticide company in the world. The merger is expected to be finalized by the end of 2017. Should the deal end up being blocked by regulators, Bayer will pay Monsanto $2 billion.

Vandana Shiva

Monsanto Merges with Bayer, “Their Expertise is War”. Shady Historical Origins, IG Farben, Part of Hitler’s Chemical Genetic Engineering Cartel

By Dr. Vandana Shiva, September 18 2016

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.

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The Complete History of Monsanto, “The World’s Most Evil Corporation”

By E Hanzai, September 15 2016

Of all the mega-corps running amok, Monsanto has consistently outperformed its rivals, earning the crown as “most evil corporation on Earth!” Not content to simply rest upon its throne of destruction, it remains focused on newer, more scientifically innovative ways to harm the planet and its people.

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Monsanto and Bayer: Why Food And Agriculture Just Took A Turn For The Worse

By Colin Todhunter, September 15 2016

Monsanto has accepted a $66 billion takeover bid from Bayer. The new company would control more than 25 per cent of the global supply of commercial seeds and pesticides. Bayer’s crop chemicals business is the world’s second largest after Syngenta, and Monsanto is the leading commercial seeds business.

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Ante Upped on Bayer Monsanto Merger – Billions on the Table

By Brandon Turbeville, September 14 2016

The possibility of a merger between German pharmaceutical and chemical company Bayer AG and multinational seed and pesticide corporation Monsanto Co. has just increased with the recent rounds of discussions between the two companies. Having been in discussion regarding Bayer’s potential purchase of Monsanto for some time, Bayer has now suggested that it is now willing to offer more than $65 billion dollars. This is a two percent increase from the previous offer made by Bayer. On the other side of the deal, Monsanto has agreed to open its books for Bayer to conduct thorough checks into the company’s business status.

Death of the Bees. Genetically Modified Crops and the Decline of Bee Colonies in North America

Bayer AG Makes “Bee Contraceptives”. It’s the German Chemical Company Which Absorbed Monsanto

By F. William Engdahl, August 15 2016

Most will wonder what I mean when I say Bayer AG, the German chemicals and drug company, the same one that just absorbed Monsanto, makes bee contraceptives. This is precisely what a newly-published, peer-reviewed scientific study confirms. Contraceptives for bees are not good for the world, no better than another product invented in the labs of Bayer, namely heroin. Bayer makes a class of insect killers known as neonicotinides. Their free use worldwide threatens bee pollination and the entire food chain.

Bayer

The Rebranding of Monsanto. “Evil Personified”, Will the Public be Fooled?

By Chemical Concern, May 31 2016

The FT reports that Bayer, which has made a bid to take over Monsanto, has a relatively squeaky-clean brand, with ‘lots of positive connotations’. This, despite the company being rocked by scandal in 2001 when its cholesterol drug Lipobay was found to have serious side-effects and its production of a neonicotinoid insecticide which may have contributed to the decline in the bee population.

Monsanto (1)

Germany Buys Monsanto – and Sells the TTIP to Europe

By Peter Koenig, May 25 2016

Is it coincidence that Berlin approves and even recommends the ‘hostile’ takeover of Monsanto by the German agro-and pharma giant, Bayer? – Or is another occult strategic arrangement between Washington and its vassal-in-chief of the EU, Berlin, to push the nefarious, Europe-destructive TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) down the throat of the European population?

merger-company-monsanto-bayer-735-350

Bayer and Monsanto: A Marriage Made in Hell

By Steven MacMillan, May 22 2016

In a world infected with a plethora of immoral multinational corporations, it is hard to think of two corporations which have more nefarious histories than Bayer AG and Monsanto. Considering this, it is a harrowing prospect that the two corporations could potentially strike a deal in the near future.

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This week’s Yemen vote demonstrates something apparent since the vote to invade Iraq: the party of war holds a majority in the Commons

Last month, Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected as Labour leader. It was his second victory by an overwhelming majority in a year, and it should have given Corbyn uncontested authority.

Yet he is still regarded with mutinous contempt by a significant proportion of his own side. They flatly refuse to accept Corbyn’s leadership.

I have reported politics from Westminster for almost 25 years and can recall few more shocking parliamentary events

This became clear on Wednesday night, when more than 100 Labour MPs failed to support a three-line whip on British policy towards the Yemen. It was disloyalty on an epic scale.

Corbyn cannot be faulted for calling a debate on Yemen. For the past 18 months, Britain has been complicit with mass murder as our Saudi allies have bombarded Yemen from the air, slaughtering thousands of innocent people as well as helping fuel a humanitarian calamity.

Corbyn clearly felt that it was his duty as leader of a responsible and moral opposition to challenge this policy. He nevertheless bent over backwards to make sure that the Yemen vote was uncontroversial. The Labour motion therefore stopped short of calling for the suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia which has been demanded by many charities and campaign groups.

This is because Corbyn and his foreign affairs spokeswoman Emily Thornberry were mindful that some Labour MPs represented constituencies where local jobs depended on the arms industry. So they contented themselves with demanding an independent United Nations inquiry into crimes committed by all sides – not just the Saudis – in this terrible and bloody conflict. They reasonably suggested that Britain should suspend support for the Saudis until this investigation was completed.

Green light to Saudi

This is the position taken by the bulk of the international community, by all reputable aid agencies and, as far as I can tell, by almost all ordinary Yemenis. In her excellent speech on Wednesday afternoon, Thornberry set out the reasons why the Saudis could no longer be trusted to investigate their own affairs.

But for Labour abstainers and absentees, Corbyn’s motion would have been carried and parliament would have voted for an independent investigation

Yet more than 100 Labour MPs – not far short of half the Labour Party – defied Corbyn. As a result, Labour’s call for an independent inquiry was defeated by 283 votes to just 193, a majority of 90. But for Labour abstainers and absentees, Corbyn’s motion would have been carried and parliament would have voted for an independent investigation.

The vote is bound to be interpreted by Saudi King Salman as a vote of confidence in his deeply controversial assault on the Yemen.

It will also lift pressure on the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as he resists a growing international clamour for Britain to throw its weight behind an independent UN investigation.

To sum up, on Wednesday night, the British parliament sent the green light to Saudi Arabia and its allies to carry on bombing, maiming and killing. I have reported politics from Westminster for almost 25 years and can recall few more shocking parliamentary events.

Party of War

Shocking – but not surprising. The Yemen vote demonstrates something that has been apparent ever since the vote on 18  March 2003 to support the invasion of Iraq: the party of war holds a majority in the Commons.

It comprises virtually all of the Conservative Party and the Blairite wing of Labour. As Nafeez Ahmed wrote in July, there is a clear and demonstrable connection between the vote for war in Iraq, opposition to an Iraq inquiry, support for the calamitous intervention in Libya, and opposition to Jeremy Corbyn.

For the past 15 years, parliament has been governed by a cross-party consensus in favour of war

Ahmed showed the majority of those who tried to unseat Corbyn last summer were interventionist. Some 172 supported the motion of no confidence in Corbyn’s leadership. By coincidence or not, exactly the same number of MPs have supported Britain’s calamitous overseas wars.

Now let’s look at the Labour MPs who put a smile on the faces of King Salman and Boris Johnson by defying Corbyn’s three-line whip and abstaining in Wednesday night’s vote: once again we are at least partly talking about a confederacy of Blairites.

It turns out that Ann Clywd, who made such a sparkling speech in favour of war during the 2003 Iraq debate, has abstained over Corbyn’s call for an independent investigation of Yememi war crimes. So have John Spellar, Gloria de Piero, Fiona MacTaggart, Barry Sheerman, Angela Eagle, Liz Kendall, Luciana Berger, Lucy Powell, Mike Gapes, Stephen Kinnock, Tristram Hunt, Margaret Hodge etc etc.

Even Keith Vaz, who was born in Aden and makes a big deal of his Yemeni antecedents, defied Labour’s three-line whip and abstained.

It is important to highlight the fact that some of the most prominent opponents of Jeremy Corbyn did traipse through the division lobbies with their leader on Wednesday night. Alan Johnson, Hilary Benn and Yvette Cooper are just three examples. And, of course, the majority of those who abstained on Wednesday were not in parliament for the Iraq vote in 2003.

The Neocons and the unforgiven

Nevertheless there is a telling pattern here. For the past 15 years, parliament has been governed by a cross-party consensus in favour of war. During that period, Britain has undertaken three major foreign interventions, each one of them utterly disastrous. In each one, military success was swiftly followed by political and, ultimately, state failure.

Despite the hard-won experience of 15 years, there is still a parliamentary majority in favour of intervention.

There is an intimate connection between politicians who style themselves as moderate and neoconservative policies overseas

Very few parliamentarians opposed all these interventions. Jeremy Corbyn was among them and he has never been forgiven for it.

This brings me to the final paradox of Wednesday night’s vote: the intimate connection between politicians who style themselves as moderate or occupying the centre ground in Britain and neoconservative policies overseas.

For the past 20 years, the so-called « modernisers », whether Blair’s Labour or Cameron’s Conservatives, have been in charge at Westminster. As has been well-documented (not least by Labour’s Jon Cruddas), they have hollowed out British politics through techniques of spin and electoral manipulation.

It is these same modernisers who have caused havoc in the Middle East, condemning the region to bloodshed and war. They were at it again on Wednesday by sending a signal to the Saudi dictatorship that it was acceptable to carry out its murderous policies in the Yemen. Thirteen years after Iraq, neoconservatism still rules.

Peter Oborne was named freelancer of the year 2016 by the Online Media Awards for an article he wrote for Middle East Eye. He was British Press Awards Columnist of the Year 2013. He resigned as chief political columnist of the Daily Telegraph in 2015.

 

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Vladimir Putin took part in the final session of the Valdai International Discussion Club’s 13th annual meeting, which this year took the theme The Future in Progress: Shaping the World of Tomorrow.

Over the three-day event, 130 experts and political analysts from 35 countries examined current issues concerning development of international relations, internal political organisation, the economy, demography, and technology.

The participants looked, in particular, at ways to mitigate the consequences of radical changes on the global political map and the crisis in democratic systems and their work, and discussed development roads for Russia-EU relations and what the global system might look like in 10 years’ time.

The final session was also attended by former President of Finland Tarja Halonen, former President of Austria Heinz Fischer, and former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki.

Video of President Putin’s Speech, scroll down for the complete transcript of the speech and proceedings of the Valdai venue 


Timothy Colton: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

My name is Timothy Colton. I know quite a few of the people in the room, and I am very happy to have been asked to moderate this final session of our 2016 “Big Valdai” as we call it.

I’d like to start with a special welcome to our lead-off speaker, our main speaker this afternoon, that is, of course, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, who has taken the time to come here and participate. We know how busy he is. We also appreciate as always his willingness to entertain questions. At some point, Mr Putin, when you’re retired and writing your memoirs, you may want to sit down and calculate how many hours you’ve spent answering people’s questions. Just for this group alone, it’s already high, and I know you do it in other fora as well. We deeply appreciate that. So thank you for coming.

Let me also, at this point, introduce the other participants in this afternoon’s panel. I’ll say them in the order in which they will be speaking, beginning with Tarja Halonen, sitting over there to the President’s right. She’s had a long a varied career. And for a dozen years, 2000 to 2012, she was the president of Russia’s neighbour, the Republic of Finland.

She will be followed by Mr Heinz Fischer who is seated to President Putin’s left. Also a long and diverse career, and he just recently finished his term as president of the Republic of Austria, which he was from 2000 to July 2016. Austria today, unfortunately, does not have a president, but that’s another story.

And thirdly, I would like to introduce Thabo Mbeki, another long and very diverse career, and he served from 1999 to 2008 as the president of South Africa.

I would like to, at this point – I don’t think I need to introduce Andrei Bystritsky, who has been very active in our meeting. But he’s going to say just a few words about the Valdai Discussion Club’s meeting here. He is the chairman of the board of the foundation that oversees all of this.

So, Andrei, please.

Board Chairman of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club Andrei Bystritsky: Thank you very much.

Mr President, moderator, ladies and gentlemen,

We have come together for the final plenary session of the annual Valdai meeting. I think we have done a great deal during our three-day meeting. In my opinion, it was an exceptionally interesting conference. We discussed current issues that will determine our future. Generally, we focused on some five areas where developments determine our future.

They are international relations, the economy, demographics and migration, technology and the social fabric. These areas are important for obvious reasons. The issues of war and peace depend on international relations, and humankind’s development depends on the economy. Demographic and migration issues can disrupt stability in many countries. And technology can change our views on what is possible in this world.

And lastly, the social structure has always influenced foreign policy, but this influence has become especially pronounced now. In general, the conference shed light on many issues and raised many new questions. On the one hand, we seem to have agreed that the modern world is unthinkable without international institutions and international law, but the current state of these is not ideal. The world needs to develop and improve the existing institutions and possibly create new or additional ones.

It is interesting that when discussing the natural contradictions between large global players, the majority of our experts agreed that these contradictions are not insurmountable, and that there is a chance, however small, to overcome them and come to an agreement. It is curious that many experts pointed out that while the United States continues to play an important role, the influence of many countries, primarily China, India and Russia, has been growing, which is not the case of Western Europe, whose capability and activity have been insufficient, despite its economic might. Moreover, they seem to be decreasing compared to Asia and Russia, which are rising.

We also discussed areas that do not directly depend on politics and the authorities, namely technologies and migration. At a session on migration entitled The World after Migration, the idea was raised that the session should have been called The World before Migration, because the biggest waves of migration and the greatest threats may be still ahead.

Much has been said about technology. Although we are aware of the growing power of technology, and even see some serious consequences, we still cannot fully perceive its scale, influence or long-term consequences. This is partly why, as we have said today, the Valdai Club and the VTSIOM Public Opinion Research Centre are creating a new index to gauge the readiness level of the world’s countries for the future.

Furthermore, we had two other very interesting sessions: on the Middle East and Europe. The participants expressed widely different and sometimes even opposite opinions.

I also think that our meetings with Igor Shuvalov, Vyacheslav Volodin, Sergei Lavrov and Alexei Kudrin were very interesting. These discussions were attended by Ella Pamfilova and many other prominent Russian and foreign experts.

In short, it is impossible to tell you in just three minutes about what happened over the past three days. As usual, we will submit a report on this Valdai Club conference to your exacting attention.

Thank you.

Timothy Colton: Very good.

So let’s get right down to business. We have an absolutely grand topic, as you can see by looking at the programme: A Philosophy of International Development for the New World. And this brings to mind some very large issues which lead off, I think, potentially in many different directions.

I think we’ll see a fair amount of diversity in the comments that we’ll hear today. Philosophy is a rather demanding word, but I think when it comes to international development, it’s not misplaced. I did a Google search yesterday using the words philosophy, international and development and I got 13 million hits. So there’s no shortage of words expended on the topic but is so complex and multidimensional, I think there are many pieces of this that deserve exploration at a time when the headlines in our newspapers and what we see on the internet are dominated by and large by a different range of questions – those having to do, of course, with security, conflict and all the rest. So it’s easy to lose sight of the development agenda, which is truly a massive one, and it is changing like the rest of our world.

It is striking to see particular pieces of it, for example our joint understanding of the appropriate paradigm for development, which for a decade or 15 years was the so-called Washington consensus – it’s now under attack from every conceivable direction. It’s also intriguing to see what’s happened with development assistance, which is a specialised piece of this. There was a time not so long ago when development aid was dominated by a relatively small number of very wealthy countries, with developed capitalist economies, the OECD rich countries. This has really started to change with the arrival of the so-called emerging donors, which are countries that used to be aid recipients and are now increasingly aid donors, countries like the BRICS five – all five, including South Africa by the way – South Korea, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Venezuela, Chile, Thailand. Just to make things even more complicated, a number of these emerging donors are still recipients, so the categories themselves are becoming increasingly soft and porous.

So, with this by way of prelude, I would now like to invite President Putin to take the podium to deliver his remarks. Mr President, please.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Tarja, Heinz, Thabo, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to see you again. I want to start by thanking all of the participants in the Valdai International Discussion Club, from Russia and abroad, for your constructive part in this work, and I want to thank our distinguished guests for their readiness to take part in this open discussion.

Our esteemed moderator just wished me a good departure into retirement, and I wish myself the same when the time comes. This is the right approach and the thing to do. But I am not retired yet and am for now the leader of this big country. As such, it is fitting to show restraint and avoid displays of excessive aggressiveness. I do not think that this is my style in any case.

But I do think that we should be frank with each other, particularly here in this gathering. I think we should hold candid, open discussions, otherwise our dialogue makes no sense and would be insipid and without the slightest interest.

I think that this style of discussion is extremely needed today given the great changes taking place in the world. The theme for our meeting this year, The Future in Progress: Shaping the World of Tomorrow, is very topical.

Video: President Putin’s Speech


Last year, the Valdai forum participants discussed the problems with the current world order. Unfortunately, little has changed for the better over these last months. Indeed, it would be more honest to say that nothing has changed.

The tensions engendered by shifts in distribution of economic and political influence continue to grow. Mutual distrust creates a burden that narrows our possibilities for finding effective responses to the real threats and challenges facing the world today. Essentially, the entire globalisation project is in crisis today and in Europe, as we know well, we hear voices now saying that multiculturalism has failed.

I think this situation is in many respects the result of mistaken, hasty and to some extent over-confident choices made by some countries’ elites a quarter-of-a-century ago. Back then, in the late 1980s-early 1990s, there was a chance not just to accelerate the globalisation process but also to give it a different quality and make it more harmonious and sustainable in nature.

But some countries that saw themselves as victors in the Cold War, not just saw themselves this way but said it openly, took the course of simply reshaping the global political and economic order to fit their own interests.

In their euphoria, they essentially abandoned substantive and equal dialogue with other actors in international life, chose not to improve or create universal institutions, and attempted instead to bring the entire world under the spread of their own organisations, norms and rules. They chose the road of globalisation and security for their own beloved selves, for the select few, and not for all. But far from everyone was ready to agree with this.

We may as well be frank here, as we know full well that many did not agree with what was happening, but some were unable by then to respond, and others were not yet ready to respond. The result though is that the system of international relations is in a feverish state and the global economy cannot extricate itself from systemic crisis. At the same time, rules and principles, in the economy and in politics, are constantly being distorted and we often see what only yesterday was taken as a truth and raised to dogma status reversed completely.

If the powers that be today find some standard or norm to their advantage, they force everyone else to comply. But if tomorrow these same standards get in their way, they are swift to throw them in the bin, declare them obsolete, and set or try to set new rules.

Thus, we saw the decisions to launch airstrikes in the centre of Europe, against Belgrade, and then came Iraq, and then Libya. The operations in Afghanistan also started without the corresponding decision from the United Nations Security Council. In their desire to shift the strategic balance in their favour these countries broke apart the international legal framework that prohibited deployment of new missile defence systems. They created and armed terrorist groups, whose cruel actions have sent millions of civilians into flight, made millions of displaced persons and immigrants, and plunged entire regions into chaos.

We see how free trade is being sacrificed and countries use sanctions as a means of political pressure, bypass the World Trade Organisation and attempt to establish closed economic alliances with strict rules and barriers, in which the main beneficiaries are their own transnational corporations. And we know this is happening. They see that they cannot resolve all of the problems within the WTO framework and so think, why not throw the rules and the organisation itself aside and build a new one instead. This illustrates what I just said.

At the same time, some of our partners demonstrate no desire to resolve the real international problems in the world today. In organisations such as NATO, for example, established during the Cold War and clearly out of date today, despite all the talk about the need to adapt to the new reality, no real adaptation takes place. We see constant attempts to turn the OSCE, a crucial mechanism for ensuring common European and also trans-Atlantic security, into an instrument in the service of someone’s foreign policy interests. The result is that this very important organisation has been hollowed out.

But they continue to churn out threats, imaginary and mythical threats such as the ‘Russian military threat’. This is a profitable business that can be used to pump new money into defence budgets at home, get allies to bend to a single superpower’s interests, expand NATO and bring its infrastructure, military units and arms closer to our borders.

Of course, it can be a pleasing and even profitable task to portray oneself as the defender of civilisation against the new barbarians. The only thing is that Russia has no intention of attacking anyone. This is all quite absurd. I also read analytical materials, those written by you here today, and by your colleagues in the USA and Europe.

It is unthinkable, foolish and completely unrealistic. Europe alone has 300 million people. All of the NATO members together with the USA have a total population of 600 million, probably. But Russia has only 146 million. It is simply absurd to even conceive such thoughts. And yet they use these ideas in pursuit of their political aims.

Another mythical and imaginary problem is what I can only call the hysteria the USA has whipped up over supposed Russian meddling in the American presidential election. The United States has plenty of genuinely urgent problems, it would seem, from the colossal public debt to the increase in firearms violence and cases of arbitrary action by the police.

You would think that the election debates would concentrate on these and other unresolved problems, but the elite has nothing with which to reassure society, it seems, and therefore attempt to distract public attention by pointing instead to supposed Russian hackers, spies, agents of influence and so forth.

I have to ask myself and ask you too: Does anyone seriously imagine that Russia can somehow influence the American people’s choice? America is not some kind of ‘banana republic’, after all, but is a great power. Do correct me if I am wrong.

The question is, if things continue in this vein, what awaits the world? What kind of world will we have tomorrow? Do we have answers to the questions of how to ensure stability, security and sustainable economic growth? Do we know how we will make a more prosperous world?

Sad as it is to say, there is no consensus on these issues in the world today. Maybe you have come to some common conclusions through your discussions, and I would, of course, be interested to hear them. But it is very clear that there is a lack of strategy and ideas for the future. This creates a climate of uncertainty that has a direct impact on the public mood.

Sociological studies conducted around the world show that people in different countries and on different continents tend to see the future as murky and bleak. This is sad. The future does not entice them, but frightens them. At the same time, people see no real opportunities or means for changing anything, influencing events and shaping policy.

Yes, formally speaking, modern countries have all the attributes of democracy: Elections, freedom of speech, access to information, freedom of expression. But even in the most advanced democracies the majority of citizens have no real influence on the political process and no direct and real influence on power.

People sense an ever-growing gap between their interests and the elite’s vision of the only correct course, a course the elite itself chooses. The result is that referendums and elections increasingly often create surprises for the authorities. People do not at all vote as the official and respectable media outlets advised them to, nor as the mainstream parties advised them to. Public movements that only recently were too far left or too far right are taking centre stage and pushing the political heavyweights aside.

At first, these inconvenient results were hastily declared anomaly or chance. But when they became more frequent, people started saying that society does not understand those at the summit of power and has not yet matured sufficiently to be able to assess the authorities’ labour for the public good. Or they sink into hysteria and declare it the result of foreign, usually Russian, propaganda.

Friends and colleagues, I would like to have such a propaganda machine here in Russia, but regrettably, this is not the case. We have not even global mass media outlets of the likes of CNN, BBC and others. We simply do not have this kind of capability yet.

As for the claim that the fringe and populists have defeated the sensible, sober and responsible minority – we are not talking about populists or anything like that but about ordinary people, ordinary citizens who are losing trust in the ruling class. That is the problem.

By the way, with the political agenda already eviscerated as it is, and with elections ceasing to be an instrument for change but consisting instead of nothing but scandals and digging up dirt – who gave someone a pinch, who sleeps with whom, if you’ll excuse me. This just goes beyond all boundaries. And honestly, a look at various candidates’ platforms gives the impression that they were made from the same mould – the difference is slight, if there is any.

It seems as if the elites do not see the deepening stratification in society and the erosion of the middle class, while at the same time, they implant ideological ideas that, in my opinion, are destructive to cultural and national identity. And in certain cases, in some countries they subvert national interests and renounce sovereignty in exchange for the favour of the suzerain.

This begs the question: who is actually the fringe? The expanding class of the supranational oligarchy and bureaucracy, which is in fact often not elected and not controlled by society, or the majority of citizens, who want simple and plain things – stability, free development of their countries, prospects for their lives and the lives of their children, preserving their cultural identity, and, finally, basic security for themselves and their loved ones.

People are clearly scared to see how terrorism is evolving from a distant threat to an everyday one, how a terrorist attack could occur right near them, on the next street, if not on their own street, while any makeshift item – from a home-made explosive to an ordinary truck – can be used to carry out a mass killing.

Moreover, the terrorist attacks that have taken place in the past few years in Boston and other US cities, Paris, Brussels, Nice and German cities, as well as, sadly, in our own country, show that terrorists do not need units or organised structures – they can act independently, on their own, they just need the ideological motivation against their enemies, that is, against you and us.

The terrorist threat is a clear example of how people fail to adequately evaluate the nature and causes of the growing threats. We see this in the way events in Syria are developing. No one has succeeded in stopping the bloodshed and launching a political settlement process. One would think that we would have begun to put together a common front against terrorism now, after such lengthy negotiations, enormous effort and difficult compromises.

But this has not happened and this common front has not emerged. My personal agreements with the President of the United States have not produced results either. There were people in Washington ready to do everything possible to prevent these agreements from being implemented in practice. This all demonstrates an unexplainable and I would say irrational desire on the part of the Western countries to keep making the same mistakes or, as we say here in Russia, keep stepping on the same rake.

We all see what is happening in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and a number of other countries. I have to ask, where are the results of the fight against terrorism and extremism? Overall, looking at the world as a whole, there are some results in particular regions and locations, but there is no global result and the terrorist threat continues to grow.

We all remember the euphoria in some capitals over the Arab Spring. Where are these fanfares today? Russia’s calls for a joint fight against terrorism go ignored. What’s more, they continue to arm, supply and train terrorist groups in the hope of using them to achieve their own political aims. This is a very dangerous game and I address the players once again: The extremists in this case are more cunning, clever and stronger than you, and if you play these games with them, you will always lose.

Colleagues, it is clear that the international community should concentrate on the real problems facing humanity today, the resolution of which will make our world a safer and more stable place and make the system of international relations fairer and more equal. As I said, it is essential to transform globalisation from something for a select few into something for all. It is my firm belief that we can overcome these threats and challenges only by working together on the solid foundation of international law and the United Nations Charter.

Today it is the United Nations that continues to remain an agency that is unparalleled in representativeness and universality, a unique venue for equitable dialogue. Its universal rules are necessary for including as many countries as possible in economic and humanitarian integration, guaranteeing their political responsibility and working to coordinate their actions while also preserving their sovereignty and development models.

We have no doubt that sovereignty is the central notion of the entire system of international relations. Respect for it and its consolidation will help underwrite peace and stability both at the national and international levels. There are many countries that can rely on a history stretching back a thousand years, like Russia, and we have come to appreciate our identity, freedom and independence. But we do not seek global domination, expansion or confrontation with anyone.

In our mind, real leadership lies in seeing real problems rather than attempting to invent mythical threats and use them to steamroll others. This is exactly how Russia understands its role in global affairs today.

There are priorities without which a prosperous future for our shared planet is unthinkable and they are absolutely obvious. I won’t be saying anything new here. First of all, there is equal and indivisible security for all states. Only after ending armed conflicts and ensuring the peaceful development of all countries will we be able to talk about economic progress and the resolution of social, humanitarian and other key problems. It is important to fight terrorism and extremism in actuality. It has been said more than once that this evil can only be overcome by a concerted effort of all states of the world. Russia continues to offer this to all interested partners.

It is necessary to add to the international agenda the issue of restoring the Middle Eastern countries’ lasting statehood, economy and social sphere. The mammoth scale of destruction demands drawing up a long-term comprehensive programme, a kind of Marshall Plan, to revive the war- and conflict-ridden area. Russia is certainly willing to join actively in these team efforts.

We cannot achieve global stability unless we guarantee global economic progress. It is essential to provide conditions for creative labour and economic growth at a pace that would put an end to the division of the world into permanent winners and permanent losers. The rules of the game should give the developing economies at least a chance to catch up with those we know as developed economies. We should work to level out the pace of economic development, and brace up backward countries and regions so as to make the fruit of economic growth and technological progress accessible to all. Particularly, this would help to put an end to poverty, one of the worst contemporary problems.

It is also absolutely evident that economic cooperation should be mutually lucrative and rest on universal principles to enable every country to become an equal partner in global economic activities. True, the regionalising trend in the world economy is likely to persist in the medium term. However, regional trade agreements should complement and expand not replace the universal norms and regulations.

Russia advocates the harmonisation of regional economic formats based on the principles of transparency and respect for each other’s interests. That is how we arrange the work of the Eurasian Economic Union and conduct negotiations with our partners, particularly on coordination with the Silk Road Economic Belt project, which China is implementing. We expect it to promote an extensive Eurasian partnership, which promises to evolve into one of the formative centres of a vast Eurasian integration area. To implement this idea, 5+1 talks have begun already for an agreement on trade and economic cooperation between all participants in the process.

An important task of ours is to develop human potential. Only a world with ample opportunities for all, with highly skilled workers, access to knowledge and a great variety of ways to realise their potential can be considered truly free. Only a world where people from different countries do not struggle to survive but lead full lives can be stable.

A decent future is impossible without environment protection and addressing climate problems. That is why the conservation of the natural world and its diversity and reducing the human impact on the environment will be a priority for the coming decades.

Another priority is global healthcare. Of course, there are many problems, such as large-scale epidemics, decreasing the mortality rate in some regions and the like. So there is enormous room for advancement. All people in the world, not only the elite, should have the right to healthy, long and full lives. This is a noble goal. In short, we should build the foundation for the future world today by investing in all priority areas of human development. And of course, it is necessary to continue a broad-based discussion of our common future so that all sensible and promising initiatives are heard.

Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, I am confident that you, as members of the Valdai Club, will actively take part in this work. Your expertise enables you to understand all angles of the processes underway both in Russia and in the world, forecast and evaluate long-term trends, and put forward new initiatives and recommendations that will help us find the way to the more prosperous and sustainable future that we all badly need.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Timothy Colton: Thank you very much, Mr Putin. I will now ask Ms Halonen to speak, and she will be going to the tribune as well, as I understand. Right, there we go.

Tarja Halonen: Mr President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, dear participants.

Thank you for the organisation of the Valdai Club for having invited me to participate in this panel. The theme is very relevant and timely, as we have noticed. And as the world has seen the new dynamics that affect us all, from the global order to the local activist, to every single human being.

I’m also very glad that my colleagues and good friends, former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Heinz Fischer, and of course Mr Putin, are also here sharing this podium. We have worked together many times during the past decades, and I think we share many ideas about the world and how we would like it to develop in the future. So I think the discussion will be very open and frank.

The phrase “philosophy of international development for the new world,” as in the title of this panel, rings a bell and takes me back to the years of George Bush Sr. and Mikhail Gorbachev and other before them who spoke about the “new world order.” The new order has happened partially and partially not. So it’s always this “both ends.” And I’m not sure if we can talk about “order.” The optimism is welcome, and we have achieved a lot. The world has changed. However, I think not everyone understood that the world would consist of many powerful players, multipolarity. And also what does it mean when we have so many actors at the same time? Collective global action has faced many challenges, particularly in the field of global security policy, which has also been the theme of this seminar for quite a long time.

People say that change is always an opportunity. But things can go right or wrong. Today, despite efforts to stabilise international relations, the global economy and human well-being are on a good sustainable path. So we still have, as was mentioned already also during President Putin’s speech, wars, disasters, economic turbulence and a slowly advancing crisis, climate change, I would add some others, desertification, and many others. We really have a lot of challenges. And what I have seen this in different forums I’ve been to during the last years, especially after being free from being the president of the Republic of Finland.

People always say that this world is a world of uncertainty, and that’s true. People feel everywhere that they have doubts in the future. And it is sometimes very paradoxical, as we have still advanced so much. So now, anyway, this is the world in which we now live, in which we have to build the foundations for a sustainable future. It doesn’t become better if we wait. We need to be able to work on different fronts and with complex dynamics at the same time. So even as violent conflicts unfortunately continue, and they are more and more hybrid, at least the global understanding, I believe, of what sustainable development it has involved, maybe we could refer to as the “order” part. Perhaps we know already what could be “order” in the future.

Of course, the media is always more interested – and for a reason – in present conflicts. But I would like to take you further into the future. The Agenda 2030 adopted at the United Nations in September 2015 provides a very strong framework within which to work. And this was the UN which we all have said have these old structures, the Big Five and so on. But still we succeeded in making these decisions.

I’m very happy that the fight against inequality is at the core, and particularly the fight against gender inequality.Since theRio +20 summit, I think we have said that we have overused our natural resources, and that’s true. But another way around, we have underused human potential, especially some groups, like women, poor, and the youth. And if I, with all my sympathy, looking around here, I think this conclusion is true.

Much political commitment was shown in New York in 2015, but now promises have to be kept and leaders will have to deliver. We know what to do. We have the resources and the science. It is a matter of political will that we can do it. It is not only morally right and absolutely necessary but also preventive work and good investment and it’s smart economics. The payback, I guarantee, will be great.

The United Nations has traditionally had three pillars: security, human rights and development. On the development and rights sides, I think the things have progressed very well historically. Of course, for the contradiction, conflicts, however, seem to continue to be harsh and violent and much stronger and multiple than we would hope. But, as I said, unfortunately the time of catastrophe and extreme armed conflict is not over. Traditional wars are more and more rare but armed conflicts are deeply affecting the whole society, especially civilian life. In armed conflicts, women and children are targeted, even purposely, what I consider to be really tragic. I have worked in recent years with different UN bodies and working groups to advance the rights and health and well-being, especially of women and children. And therefore, it is horrible and very sad to see what is going on, for instance, in Syria and in Yemen and in other places.

But the picture also takes another side. Sad enough, sometimes we even see that military power has been so violent so I thing that I am also ready to say that sometimes we have to use the military power to stop violence, but not in the way we see. We know peace with the arms is not easy for the future. We cannot accept the sufferings of children and civilians more generally. And we know also that, with globalisation, everyone knows what it happening in real time all over the world. So also people will react worldwide. People sense and understand what is right and needs to be respected and supported by us and by the politicians. This is the base.

I take only one example, to finalise my speech. I come from Finland, from Helsinki, from the workers’ area of Kallio. And my home church, they tolled the bells for many weeks up until United Nations day on October 24, to commemorate the Syrian victims in Aleppo. This voluntary movement then spread to over a hundred churches across Finland and also now abroad. Churches in Finland have also kept their doors opened for the asylum seekers who have not been granted refugee status. So the public opinion sees what is right and what is wrong in many, many countries. They all say that the violence has to stop in Syria, in Yemen, in other places. They say that we have to be more human beings for each other.

So, Mr President, my dear Vladimir, I was already worried about you, because your picture for the future was so gloomy. But then I noticed that you still have a glimpse of hope and also the will for cooperation. And I will say that when even people from the rank and file level who have very bad situations; they also want to have hope in the future. And we have to work together in order to make it happen. So I’m very happy to continue the discussion. Thank you.

Timothy Colton: Thank you. Please now, Mr Fischer.

Heinz Fischer: Mr President, distinguished audience, excellences, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I want to thank the organisers of this meeting for the invitation to the Valdai conference dedicated to an exchange of views about the problems and chances in international relations, including the question of the future of international relations. I think everyone wants to know as much as possible about the future. Personal future, political, economic future, etc. But there is never a satisfying answer because the future is neither only a product of human will and human personalities nor is it only or mainly a product of objective factors, but it is a complicated mixture of these two elements. And there are many philosophies to explain this mixture. And I read with great interest books expressing different approach at how we should look at the future. There are two main streams insofar. Something at the beginning of civilisation was a golden age, a paradise and then human beings with their sins and with their failures went deeper and deeper and further down in history. Another approach says at the beginning there was the chaos, everyone against everyone. The rule of the stronger, the rule of violence continuing to a society of slavery, feudalism, capitalism and final, the last stage where reasons for antagonism and for using violence are behind us. I think it is neither nor.

I myself was born before WWII and I have memories on the last phase of this war and, in particular, memories on the difficult but promising time of reconstruction after the war. A very positive highlight of the post-war era in our area was the signing of the Austrian State Treaty in 1955, which re-established Austria as a sovereign state and arranged the withdrawal of foreign troops. And we have the feeling that from that point that started a very, very positive successful period not only in Austria but in all Western Europe.

But there was one shadow cast over this positive development, which was the division of Europe, the so-called Cold War and the imminent threat of war. At the turn of the 90s, when the division of Europe and, therefore, one of the most prominent reasons for tensions had been overcome, the perspective for the future, for the continued development in international relations seemed bright and promising. However, again, the development was not a straight one. These expectations could not be fulfilled. One could also say the existing opportunities from this time were not used to their full extent. And once again, it was demonstrated that history doesn’t, as I just said, work in a linear fashion much rather develops in waves. It alternates between progress and setbacks, between positive and negative developments. Of course, these developments vary from continent to continent regardless of globalisation. And I would mainly focus on Europe and its neighbourhood. And I remain convinced that the project of European cooperation enshrined in the ideas of the European Union or vice versa is and was necessary and an outstanding undertaking, and it will also remain an important goal and an important strategic element for a reasonable future. This is partly due mainly to the fact that the European Union, as we have heard in many discussions, has lost some of its cohesion and of its attractiveness. This is due to a sufficient amount of economic and financial coordination, since different interests between member states become increasingly visible with increased challenges, and because European solidarity does not work in the way it would be necessary. I just have to mention the problem of refugees where the European Union demonstrated a lot of incapacities and a lack of solidarity.

The relationship between Russia and the European Union also did not develop in a way we had hoped it would 25 years ago. I know the arguments on both sides, who or what is responsible for this development. Yet, when we now speak not about the past but about the future, both sides should demonstrate that they are aware of the importance of their relationship. The European Union, in particular, should not lose sight of how the relations between Russia and the West have developed in the past, in the last century, for instance. And that the evolution of NATO is seen differently by Moscow, from the perspective of Moscow than it is by Washington or Brussels. And Russia, in my opinion, should increasingly consider that certain actions, which are connected to military force and incompatible with international law, irritate and worry the European public and the European policy. A recent example goes by the name of Crimea. And Aleppo is differently a symbol for how difficult it is to distinguish between a fight against terrorists and bombing innocent people. There’s obviously, and I listened carefully this morning, a lot of problems included in this necessity. The war in Syria, by the way, has lasted already longer than WWI and longer than from the invasion of Hitler into the Soviet Union till the end of the WWII. And this damned, confusing and horrible war costs hundreds and thousands of human lives, produces millions of refugees and damages the trust between states that do not even share common borders with Syria.

And connected with the rise of terrorism, I must say, terrorism produces fear, fear produces aggression, aggression produces inter alia fanatism and strict nationalism who in turn, are enemies of freedom and peace. This is also on a smaller scale but still depicted in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, which to me seems to be further away from resolution than ever. I recently assisted at the funeral of Shimon Peres in Jerusalem. And even the eulogies referenced that Shimon Peres was convinced of the necessity of peace with the Palestinians, since without the courage for peace, so Shimon often said Israel cannot safely exist. The current Israeli government focuses on security and they say, without security there can be no peace. However, security cannot take precedence over peace, both are needed simultaneous and full.

Ladies and gentlemen, at this point, one can ask whether there are also some positive aspects and opportunities ahead. And the answer is yes. The negotiated agreement between the 5+1 and Iran regarding the production of nuclear weapons is one very important example. Another one is the successful conclusion of the Paris Agreement on climate change as the first positive step even though a lot remains to be done to address this challenge as a whole. And European integration as such, even if there are several negative developments I just have touched and decisions or non-decisions to be criticized, is altogether a success story. I also give great expectations in the work of the United Nations that are so often faced with criticism pertaining to their powerlessness and yet remain an essential player in international relations as well as a moral authority. The Millennium Development Goals of the year 2000, for instance, were instrumental in reducing extreme poverty by almost 50 percent. Since then, in addition, maternal and infant mortality rates have dropped by 45 and almost 50 percent, respectively. And a new agenda, 2030, aims at continuing this endeavour and have formulated reasonable and very important goals.

Ladies and gentlemen, even though it is not possible to measure and quantify the development of democracy, I’m convinced that democracy is a political system limiting the power of those who rule, monitoring abidance by the laws and enable peaceful transition of power will increasingly assert itself. Also human rights and respect for human dignity are increasingly recognized as an important benchmark for good government. And I think that democracy has to play a big role in our deliberations about the future, including the fact – that’s my opinion – that the democratic system and readiness to peace or to avoid war has somehow a connection and interaction.

Distinguished guests, in soccer the next match is always the most important one. In domestic politics, the next elections are always the most important ones. And in international relations, the next ten years are the most important ones and the most difficult ones at the same time. But one is for sure. History, as I said at the beginning, is not a linear development. But since history is made by mankind, mankind, you are responsible for how history will change in those ten years ahead of us, which is why it is our collective responsibility to maintain peace, seize opportunities that present themselves, learn from past mistakes and work towards positive developments in the period ahead of us.

Thank you for your attention.

Timothy Colton: Thank you, Mr Fischer. Mr Mbeki, please.

 Former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki: Thank you very much, moderator. Like my colleagues I have to say thank you very much to the Valdai Discussion Club for inviting me.

Your Excellency President Putin, fellow members of our panel, distinguished delegates,

I would like to believe that you will understand why I address you today to present an unauthorised African perspective on the matter at issue, even as I refer also to the United Nations.

I am certain that all of us will recall that the UN Millennium Declaration adopted in 2000, which accompanied the approval of the Millennium Goals, contain the specific global commitments, I quote, “to meet the special needs of Africa.”

In the following year, in September 2002, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, which, among others, affirmed, and I quote again, that “international support for the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development is essential.”

In October 2014, the UN Secretary-General convened a high-level panel charged with the task to make recommendations about UN peace operations today and tomorrow. The report of the panel was tabled at the UN General Assembly in June last year. Among other things, the report said, and I quote, “whether in preventing conflict or responding to it, regional partnerships of the United Nations in Africa must be intensified.”

I think fully to understand the importance of this recommendation, the conference must bear in mind that in 2015, 80 percent – eight zero – of UN peacekeepers were deployed in Africa.

The distinguished delegates will have noticed that I have so far cited UN documents relating to two African challenges of socioeconomic development and peace and security. I’ve done this to make the statement that one, these are two of the major challenges that Africa confronts and is waiting to address. And secondly, that this reality is recognised by the world community of nations. And thirdly, that this international community has accepted its own solemn responsibility to enter into a conscious partnership with Africa to successfully address these challenges.

Given the theme which has been prescribed for our panel, I will proceed to make a few remarks about how the African challenges I’ve mentioned and the extent to which the UN responses I’ve cited relate to the larger matter of a philosophy for the development of a new world.

The first categorical assertion I would like to make in this regard is that for Africa to achieve the objectives I’ve mentioned, Africa needs the new world visualised in the theme of the panel. The second categorical assertion I must make is that this demands a strategic break with a view that globally Africa is a mere peripheral dependency. The third categorical assertion I will make is that genuinely shared global prosperity and world peace cannot be achieved while Africa is excluded as a forlorn exception to such an admirable outcome. And the fourth and last assertion I’ll make is that the sustained success of the developed north cannot be achieved in a situation of a relative autarchy as this relates to the African continent.

To revert back to the matter of the continuing African struggle to eradicate poverty and so on, I would like to confirm that our continent enthusiastically accepted the unanimous global adoption of the very ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, as was mentioned by Presidents Tarja Halonen and Heinz Fischer. This was because the global commitment to ensure that during the effort to achieve those Sustainable Development Goals, I quote, “nobody is left behind.”

For us as Africans this means that the system of global governance must be constituted in a manner, which makes the achievement of the STGs and the Peace Objectives I have mentioned possible. The whole millennium to date, has during various periods entrenched systems of generally unequal all-round global governance among nations, which since the end of the Cold War resulted in what has been correctly characterised as a unipolar hegemony with the United States as its hegemon.

Relating to Africa, the millennium I’ve mentioned has included even the Roman destruction of Carthage in African Tunisia, slavery, imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism. I think all human history confirms that the existence of a hegemonic power resulting in the emergence of the phenomenon of a centre, which thrives on the existence of the periphery, can only result in inequality, conflict and instability.

It is exactly because of this arrangement in terms of the global distribution and exercise of power that today we have a world situation which, to borrow the words of Shakespeare, is clearly out of joint. I think the comments made by President Putin this afternoon point very much to how much this world is out of joint.

It is not possible for Africa and humanity as a whole to extricate themselves from the situation outside the context of a multipolar exercise of power, which respects the equality of all nations with regard to the determination of the world order.

For this reason, as Africans, precisely because we are globally relatively weak in all respects – politically, economically, militarily, technologically and otherwise – we are in desperate need of a freely and universally agreed and fully respected system of international law, which all states, big and small, must respect.

Accordingly, in our view, whatever legitimate proposal is advanced about a better and new world, it must be based on such extant international law as has already been agreed, especially during the period since the end of the Second World War.

This emphasises the absolute imperative for all nations practically and seriously to return to the spirit and the letter as amended to take into account material developments since 1945 as reflected in the UN Charter and other related strategic decisions and documents adopted since then through the United Nations.

The existence of agreed international law and reliance on the established but reformed UN institutions to ensure the observance of such law must constitute the very core of the philosophy of international development for the new world.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Timothy Colton: Thank you, sir.

So we have now heard from all four of our panelists and we’re going to start some discussion here at the front, rather briefly, I think, because there are so many people here who want to ask questions. So maybe I’ll lead off with just one very short question to any members of the panel who would like to answer it.

I was struck in President Putin’s comments by the emphasis on security and, well, insecurity, the security dilemmas that we all face. Then he moved on to the development issues later on and I think in fact, this was a natural way to do it because, I think, one thing we have learned from history is that without security and the predictability that goes with it there is not going to be development. So we are in a very painful moment now when we had a lot of development, each of the four countries that are represented here, people who live there live much better than their parents and their grandparents did. This has happened all over the world but there’s something about the current moment that makes so many of us uneasy and I think the word insecurity captures it very well.

The great 17th century English philosopher Hobbes formulised this into the notion of the state of nature in which there is no authority, the lack of authority breeds insecurity and instability, and inability by individuals to plan and make their lives better. His solution to this dilemma was to advocate the creation of a strong state. And that started to happen in the world around that time and the state-building process continues. But of course, states need to be controlled. And they also need to learn to live with one another in a peaceful fashion. So the way I would put this very general question to our panelists would be something along the lines of the following: in the comments, the presentations of each of you there was reference to the Hobbesian solution, generally speaking, which was to do something about building institutions, building or perhaps changing institutions. So if I were to ask you naively, what should be our top priority right now? President Putin emphasised towards the end the importance of the United Nations and making it more effective and somehow using it, I gather, in concert with other forces to develop a Marshall Plan to the Middle East. Some of the other speakers referred to the need to reform established institutions, that was in President Mbeki’s argument. From our European colleagues, we heard reference to success stories. Institutions, including the EU, which is a relatively recent invention, so it was new, it was invented relatively recently. So what is the most important thing here? Should we be thinking collectively about creating new institutions to deal with security development questions? Should we be talking about returning to institutions that have been neglected like the UN? Or should we be concentrating first and foremost on reforming the institutions that already exist? And when I say institutions I guess I’m thinking primarily about international institutions. So I would invite members of the panel, perhaps starting with President Putin, to share a few thoughts with us on this floor if they wish to do so.

Vladimir Putin: I fully agree with President Thabo Mbeki, who said – I even wrote it down – that we need a system of international law that all countries would respect. We should resume gauging our actions based on the UN Charter. This is absolutely correct. Had he not said this, I would have had to bring it up myself. I fully share this view. We are losing respect for the UN Charter, disregarding it when taking important decisions and pretending that its provisions have become obsolete and lost their relevance.

And then, when the world comes up against big problems, those who violated the UN Charter demand respect for its basic provisions. Everyone should always remember and respect the UN Charter. We need a reliable system of international law that will provide protection against abuses by any force.

Timothy Colton: Please.

Tarja Halonen: So I think it’s the basics, the biggest unit of what we have organised now, I mean at the local level, is the nation state. But we also know the weaknesses of the nation state. But still I think that we should try to build it strong in a way that I, coming from the north, of course I speak about the wealth first. So not only the politics rights, the democratic and human rights, rule of law and good governance but also the welfare, the source of economic and cultural rights of the people, all people, also minorities. But then when we think now that there is a difference between the millennium goals and SDGs, I remember the feeling when I was co-chairing the Millennium Summit, the real feeling I had about the people that they wanted to make a better future. And I think this is very important through the years. Because some people said to us that we are just innocent or naïve or have blue eyes or that we hope that we can make a better world. It is succeeding as we all have said, not in all points but much better than without. And now, if we compare these MDGs and SDGs, the MDGs were mainly made for the governments – especially for those who are richer, better doing, to show the solidarity, global solidarity for the south. But now the SDG contains still these elements but we know that the world is something else than the nation states. It’s also NGOs and business community. And I say very openly that this is our challenge. Without the monitor that sees that you have more actors than just the governments. And that’s why I welcome all those ideas. Fischer is coming, Heinz is coming from Austria which has a very good researcher institute IIASA, which is specialised in systemic analysis. There are also others. And I think, in this group, Valdai, you could have a good possibility to try and connect the experts who are specialised in system analysis. I think this is one part of the answer to your question. And then very simple words, confidence building. Because I think this is even in the base of the nation state that all the things that we can do for confidence building, whether it’s the Baltic Sea, our common sea, or whether it’s some bigger area. And then I would be also very interested to know that, when we are now in Russia, how you see Mr Putin, Vladimir, how do you see what is the goal of Russia in the future? I understand that the others will answer first but then I have a glimpse of hope for your interest concerning the UN.

Timothy Colton: Would you like to respond now, Mr Putin? Or we’ll get to the others.

Vladimir Putin: Let’s hear what Heinz and Thabo have to say.

Timothy Colton: Okay, very good. Sure.

Mr Fischer, sir.

Former President of Austria Heinz Fischer: We all know that institutions and wrongly constructed institutions may be a part of the problem. But in most cases they are not the whole problem. And the same institution that functions very well in a certain situation may in a different environment or in a different economic situation seem much weaker or even wrongly constructed.

As far as the European Union is concerned the last years, the present situation, if we look at the trade agreement with Canada, for instance, it is obvious that part of the answer at least would be a stronger possibility for the central institutions in the European Union, more power for the Parliament, more power for the Commission, and a common economic and fiscal policy.

On the other hand, it is obvious that exactly that is a sensitive point and many people have the feeling that our autonomy, our possibilities asa state are more and more transferred to Brussels, to a central institution, and we do not want more.

So if somebody says, let’s start the process of modernising and changing institutions of the European Union, at this moment I would say, wait a little bit, not too much hurry, because at the moment it would create a very bitter fight in most or in several European countries.

As far as the United Nations are concerned, I listened with great interest to the arguments saying the Security Council, which is the most powerful institution, was shaped more than 70 years ago. It would be helpful and it would be necessary to give the Security Council a structure, which takes care of the present situation and the present distribution of inhabitants and power and economic power, etc. But here again we can see how difficult it is and how, if I ask the Austrian representatives in the United Nations, they say, no chance, there is too much antagonism, too many different opinions. So, solving problems through changing institutions may only be a part of what can and what should be done.

Timothy Colton: Thank you. Mr Mbeki.

Thabo Mbeki: But must be done. You see, President Halonen, when she spoke she aid the UN had to focus on three matters, if I heard correctly: security, human rights and development. And I am really convinced that globally, talking about security globally, the human rights issue globally, development globally, it is not possible to address any of those three big issues successfully – I am talking about globally – unless we look at the United Nations again in the context of the UN Charter, in the context of agreed policies, agreed by everybody. I think the conference recognises this point that we have a multipolar world, and you need the exercise of that multipolarity in order to address all of these challenges successfully globally.

Now, what multipolar institution exists? It should be the UN. The matter of the reform of the Security Council becomes important in that respect. Because, as Heinz Fischer said, it is old, it was established a long time ago. Does it reflect that mulitpolarity today? It doesn’t. It needs changing. It’s difficult. Russia is a permanent member that might be one of the obstacles to changing it, I don’t know. But you see, it needs transformation, the Security Council. We need to look at the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly, which means looking at all of the structures of the UN to express that multipolarity so that we can globally succeed in addressing matters of security, human rights and development.

You can’t avoid it. I am not saying it’s the only thing that needs to be done but you need those structures strengthened, you need them more representative, you need them transformed. And you need them activised in a manner that indeed truly respects what would be international law as amended and addresses the matter that President Putin mentioned of respect for the right to… I am not saying that because you have the UN, therefore nation states and the right of people’s identity and so on ceases to exist. You’ve got to recognise that and respect that. But equality of nations recognises the existence of nations. But I think the reform of the UN structures so that they effectively can be a home of that multipolarity and the exercise of that multipolar power is really translated into something real. Otherwise we would not have Iraq, we would not have Iran, we would not have the disaster in Libya if this thing was functioning properly.

As a continent, just to finalise, we are talking about the STGs, which are very important for the African continent, as I was saying, and I am sure for all developing countries. But one of the problems we face on the continent is very difficult negotiations with the EU about the economic partnership agreements. I am sure that the economic partnership agreements,

on which the EU is insisting are contrary to what the STGs seek to achieve. But the Europeans are insisting that this must be done because it is consistent with the agreements, etc. But look at it at the global level. You’d have to say: let’s look at those EPAs to see if they are consistent with the objectives stated in the STGs. That brings back into focus the importance of the UN structures, even on these development issues. Thank you.

Timothy Colton: I was a bit nervous that my general question would not elicit interesting responses but I was quite wrong. Thank you very much. Mr Putin, if you care to respond briefly to any of these things, please, go right ahead.

Vladimir Putin: I would just like to make a quick response to what Mr Fischer has just said. He mentioned discussions in the EU on the trade agreement with Canada. This is an internal EU matter, but if you permit, I would just like to make one small remark.

I know that some in Europe find Wallonia’s position irritating, after all, the region is home to only 3.5 million people, but these 3.5 million people are blocking a decision on an issue of global importance, namely, this trade agreement with Canada. But when Belgium took part in the EU’s creation, it did so on the basis of particular principles, including that Belgium overall, and Wallonia, would have certain rights.

The EU has grown greatly since then and has a much different membership now, but the rules have not changed. Perhaps these rules need to be changed, but in this case, you would first have to give the people who created this organisation a chance to change it through a democratic process and then obtain their approval.

As for the dispute itself, I am not as familiar with all the details as the Europeans are, of course, but whatever the prerogatives of the EU supranational bodies (note that I have already spoken publicly on this point), the European Parliament adopts a far greater number of binding decisions with regard to the member states than did the USSR Supreme Soviet with regard to the Soviet Union’s constituent republics during the Soviet period. It is not for us to say whether this is good or bad. We want to see a strong and centralised Europe. This is our position. But in Europe itself there are many different views, and I hope that this whole issue will be resolved in positive fashion.

On the matter of the UN, I have said before but will say again now that we must return to what is written in the UN Charter, because there is no other such universal organisation in the world. If we renounce the UN, this is a sure road to chaos. There is no other universal alternative in the world. Yes, the world has changed, and yes, the UN and the Security Council do need reform and reconstruction. But as they say in our Foreign Ministry, we can do this in such a way as to preserve the organisation’s effectiveness. We can do this on the basis of broad consensus. We need to ensure that the vast majority of international actors give their support to these reforms.

Today, we must return to a common understanding of the principles of international law as enshrined in the UN Charter. This is because when the UN was established after World War II, there was a particular balance of power in the world. Later, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States decided that there was no one to coordinate things with and they did not really need to get anyone’s approval on fundamental matters. This was the start of everything.

First, in the 1990s, we had the airstrikes against Belgrade. I will not go into the humanitarian aspect that preceded these decisions, but just seeing airstrikes carried out in the heart of Europe at the end of the twentieth century seemed to me simply barbaric. This was all the more so as it was done in violation of the UN Charter and without approval. When this happened, people immediately started saying that the old rules were outdated and something had to change.

Things got worse from there with the events in Iraq. Did the UN sanction the operations in Iraq? No. Before this there were operations in Afghanistan in 2001. Yes, we all know the tragedy of September 11, 2001, but even so, under existing international law, a relevant UN Security Council resolution should have been sought first, which was not done.

Then came Iraq, and then came the resolution on Libya. You are all experts here, you have read the resolution on Libya, and know that it was about establishing a no-fly zone there. But what kind of no-fly zone can we speak of if airstrikes began against Libyan territory? This was a flagrant violation of the UN Charter. And then came Syria.

It was either Tarja or Heinz who said that the operations in Aleppo are only increasing the number of terrorists. But did the terrorist ranks start swelling only with Aleppo? Were there terrorists in Iraq? There were no terrorists there until the country’s state structures were destroyed. The same was true of Libya, where there were no terrorists at all. But as soon as this country’s statehood was destroyed, who came along to fill the vacuum? Terrorists. The same is happening in Syria.

I understand the insinuations made about our action in Aleppo or elsewhere. But let’s remember that as soon as the conflict began in Syria, and it began long before we became involved, terrorists appeared there and began receiving arms supplies. I mentioned this in my opening remarks. Attempts were made to train these terrorists and set them against al-Assad, because there were no other options and these groups were the most effective. This continues today because these are the most effective fighting units and some think that it is possible to make use of them and then sort them out later. But this is an illusion. It won’t work, and this is the problem.

I would also like to respond to the absolutely proper developments in Finland, for instance. Bells are tolling for those who have been killed in Aleppo. Bells should also be tolling for those now losing their lives in Mosul and its vicinity. The operation in Mosul is getting underway now. As far as I know, the terrorists have already shot more than 200 people in the hope of stopping the offensive on the town. Let’s not forget this. And in Afghanistan? Whole wedding parties of 120 people were wiped out with a single airstrike. A single strike! Have we forgotten this? And what about what’s happening in Yemen? Let the bells toll for all of these innocent victims. I agree with you here.

We keep hearing Aleppo, Aleppo, Aleppo. But what is the issue here? Do we leave the nest of terrorists in place there, or do we squeeze them out, doing our best to minimise and avoid civilian casualties? If it is better to not go in at all, then the offensive against Mosul shouldn’t go ahead at all either. Let’s just leave everything as it is. Let’s leave Raqqa alone too. Our partners keep saying, “We need to take back Raqqa and eliminate the nest of terrorists there”. But there are civilians in Raqqa too. So, should we not fight the terrorists at all? And when they take hostages in towns, should we just leave them be? Look at Israel’s example. Israel never steps back but always fights to the end, and this is how it survives. There is no alternative. We need to fight. If we keep retreating, we will always lose.

Regarding what Tarja said on the subject of security in the Baltic Sea area, I remind you that this matter came up not on our initiative but during my visit to Naantali in Finland, and on the initiative of Mr Niinisto, the president of Finland. Quite out of the blue, he requested that Russian aircraft do not fly with their transponders off. For those not familiar with military matters, I note that transponders are instruments that signal an aircraft’s location in the air. Of course, if aircraft fly with their transponders on, this increases security in the Baltic Sea region. This is the truth of the matter. I responded immediately then, noting firstly that there are far more flights by NATO aircraft in the region than by our aircraft.

Secondly, I promised the Finnish President that we would definitely raise this issue with our partners at the next Russia-NATO Council meeting. I can tell you that we did this. The result was that our NATO partners rejected Putin’s proposal, as they said. But this has nothing to do with Putin. They rejected the proposal made by Mr Niinisto, the president of Finland.

This was not such a straightforward matter for us either, I would say, because there is a technical dimension involved, a purely military dimension. But I did give the Defence Ministry instructions to find a way to do this without detriment to our security. The Defence Ministry found a solution, but our NATO colleagues rejected it. So please, direct your questions to the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Timothy Colton: Tarja, you wanted to reply briefly.

Tarja Halonen: If I can answer, it’s good that we still have this good dialogue between us, Mr Putin.

So, speaking openly and frankly, normally in a little bit smaller group… But I think this proposal by President Minister, was, I think a very good example. It’s really I mean necessary for the security in our area, but also, like Mr Putin said, also that it has also a lot of technicalities, trainings, and other issues in both sides. It also tells us that even if it’s a very short issue, or limited issue, it takes time and experts and so on, but I think we could still agree that it should be because of the safety in the area that should be organised. So I hope good luck further, and patience to do the good work.

If I could very briefly also… I’ll say two other aspects that you, Vladimir, approached me. One is, of course, that when I mention Aleppo and Yemen. These are two examples that have been very much in the media and publicity, especially in the Western countries, I think might be also on the Russian side. We know also it’s not black and white. It is difficult. But what I said was that we have to respect these feelings of the people, that they quite correctly say that this is not right. And UNICEF said the same from the UN side. But now again, it’s good to criticise; it’s difficult to give the good responses, but that’s why we have the experts to say it further.

And coming back to the UN, I am very happy that we have spoken so much about the United Nations, I am a UN animal, that’s why I have worked for years and years with UN, and I still will work, and I have promises to Ban Ki-moon and the next secretary-general. But all that happens in the United Nations, there’s also that doing nothing can be also very expensive. We are lucky that we noticed this with the climate change but, for instance, concerning the Security Council, I also follow Mr Lavrov with great interest. So I think that if we cannot succeed, or as Mr Putin said, with the Security Council issue… So the other things we have, for instance, the General Assembly, the Ecosoc and many others, because the security is a broad system. And that way the difficult tasks don’t become easier if we push them forward, and so thank you that you promised that you would take it again on all sides.

Thank you.

Timothy Colton: Ok, so now what I would like to do, thank you all, is field some questions from the audience.

We have a rather large set of people here today; almost everyone wants to ask a question, so when you’re the one who is responsible for recognising questions. My popularity ratings, Mr Putin, were higher than yours yesterday, in this building. But there’s only so much time and I’m sure by the end of the evening my popularity will have plummeted towards zero. So I’m going to do my very best. I have been talking with a lot of people about the questions they might ask, and I have a few at the very beginning that I’ve settled on and once those have been asked and responded to we’re just going to open it up, and I’ll try to recognize hands as I see them, so I want to start. And these questions now. Many will be addressed to Mr Putin if history is any guide, but we’ll have people on panel who will want to comment even if it’s not addressed directly to them, so we’ll really play that by ear.

So I’m going to start with Clifford Kupchan, please. Where are you? Here he is. Microphone…

Clifford Kupchan: Mr Putin, President Putin, Cliff Kupchan with Eurasia Group. As you know there is increasing concern in the international community about cyberspace and about cyber-conflict. The key issue, of course, is the worry of cyber-attacks to achieve political goals, especially at a time where cyber is a very young problem, not like traditional war. And the norms and dynamics of cyberspace are very largely unknown. There is a UN report, a group of governmental experts, which Russia endorsed, and it stated that nations should not use cyber to attack the critical infrastructure of other nations.

So my question to you, first, should, in theory, and I heard what you said before, so in theory, should national electoral systems, in your view, be considered critical national infrastructure?

Secondly, what specific rules would you propose, as the international community thinks through cyber, to reduce the risk of future cyber war? Thanks.

Vladimir Putin: I think that intervention by any country in another country’s internal political process is unacceptable, no matter how these attempts are made, with the help of cyberattacks or through other instruments or organisations controlled from the outside within the country.

You know what happened in Turkey, for example, and the position taken by President of Turkey Recep Erdogan. He believes that the coup attempt in Turkey was undertaken by groups inspired by and with the direct help of an organisation run by a certain Gulen, who has lived in the United States for the last 9 years. This is unacceptable, and cyberattacks are unacceptable.

But we probably cannot avoid having an impact on each other, including in cyberspace. Your question was about the very specific matter of the electoral system though. I think this is absolutely unacceptable. How can we avoid this sort of thing, if it does happen? I think the only way is to reach agreement and come up with some rules on which we will have a common understanding and which will be recognised at the government and state level and can be verified.

Of course, the issue of internet freedom and everything related to it arises, but we know that many countries, including those that support internet freedom, take practical steps to restrict access out of concern for people’s interests. This concerns cybercrime, for example, attacks against banking systems and illegal money transfers. It concerns suicides too, crimes against children and so forth. These are measures taken at the national level. We can take appropriate measures both at the national level and at the intergovernmental level.

Timothy Colton: I’d like to recognise Andrey Sushentsov now, and then we’ll do Mr Bystritskiy.

Andrei Sushentsov: Andrei Sushentsov, MGIMO University, member of the Valdai Club.

Foreign media takes the view that Russia has a distinct favourite in the US presidential elections – Donald Trump. What role will the next American president really play for Russia and for bilateral relations? What conditions would US foreign policy need to meet for a normalisation of relations with Russia?

Vladimir Putin: On the question of favourites in the US presidential campaign, you said that the media have created this view. Yes, this is the case, and this is not by chance. In my observation, it is a rare occasion that the mass media forms a view purely by chance. I think that this idea, inserted into the public consciousness in the middle of the US presidential campaign, pursues the sole aim of supporting those defending the interests of Ms Clinton, the Democratic Party candidate, in her fight against the Republican Party candidate, in this case, Donald Trump.

How is this done? First, they create an enemy in the form of Russia, and then they say that Trump is our preferred candidate. This is complete nonsense and totally absurd. It’s only a tactic in the domestic political struggle, a way of manipulating public opinion before the elections take place. As I have said many times before, we do not know exactly what to expect from either of the candidates once they win.

We do not know what Mr Trump would do if he wins, and we do not know what Ms Clinton would do, what would go ahead or not go ahead. Overall then, it does not really matter to us who wins. Of course, we can only welcome public words about a willingness to normalise relations between our two countries. In this sense, yes, we welcome such statements, no matter who makes them. That is all I can say, really.

As for Mr Trump, he has chosen his method of reaching voters’ hearts. Yes, he behaves extravagantly, of course, we all see this. But I think there is some sense in his actions. I say this because in my view, he represents the interests of the sizeable part of American society that is tired of the elites that have been in power for decades now. He is simply representing these ordinary people’s interests.

He portrays himself as an ordinary guy who criticises those who have been in power for decades and does not like to see power handed down by inheritance, for example. We read the analysis too, including American analysis. Some of the experts there have written openly about this. He operates in this niche. The elections will soon show whether this is an effective strategy or not. As for me, I cannot but repeat what I have said already: we will work with whichever president the American people choose and who wants to work with us.

Question: Mr President, my question follows on the subject of security addressed just before. Obviously, cooperation is an essential part of this, and we realise that cooperation is not always easy. We saw an example just before with the case of the transponders. The planes can still fly at least.

But there are areas of vital importance, areas where innocent people’s lives are at stake. You mentioned recently the case of the Tsarnayev brothers. As far as I know, Russia passed on information but no action was taken. Does this mean that practical cooperation in security is now in a critical situation?

Vladimir Putin: I spoke about this matter at a meeting with French journalists, if I recall correctly. Yes, we passed information on the Tsarnayev brothers on to our American partners. We wrote to them but received no response. After we wrote a second time we got a reply that they are US citizens and so it was none of our business and they would take care of everything themselves. I told the director of the FSB to archive the file. The response we received is still there, in the archives.

Sadly, a few months later, the Boston marathon terrorist attack took place and people were killed. It is a great shame that this tragedy took place. If contacts and trust between us and our partners had been better this could have been avoided. The Americans came here immediately following the attack and we gave them the information in our possession. But it was too late. People had already lost their lives. This partly answers the last question too. We do not know if those who say they want to work with us really will or not, but they do say quite rightly that this is essential for all of us, especially in the fight against terrorism. In this sense, we welcome all who declare such intentions.

As I have also said in the past, the Americans have provided us with real help, during the preparations for the Olympic Games in Sochi, for example, and we are grateful to them for this. Our cooperation was very efficient here, on site and at the level of our intelligence service heads. There have been other good examples of cooperation too. Overall, we have quite a good situation in this area with our European partners. We have open and professional contacts with the French intelligence services, for example, and exchange information. In general, the situation is not bad, but it could be a lot better.

Timothy Colton: Alright, I would like to ask now Sabine Fischer from Berlin. Here she is.

Sabine Fischer: Thank you.

I have a question for President Putin on Ukraine.

Mr Putin, after quite a long hiatus, there was a Normandy format meeting in Berlin just recently. The different parties diverged somewhat in their interpretation of the talks’ results. I would like to hear your assessment of these results and of the atmosphere at the talks.

Also, do you think the Normandy format is effective in its present form, and do you think it might be more productive if, for example, the United States were to take part?

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Could you clarify something? What do you mean by different interpretations of the meeting’s results? What are you talking about? Oddly enough, I have not heard of any different interpretations. What are they?

Sabine Fischer: There was discussion about sending a policing mission to Donbass, and also emphasis on the roadmap that we saw in Russia, for example, in the media and in political debate. I think this was really a case of diverging interpretations of the results.

Vladimir Putin: This is no secret. I can tell you how it was. I might leave something out, so as not to put anyone in a difficult position or interfere with the process itself.

As you know, the Minsk agreements, which I think the experts have all read, say in black and white: “Thirty days after the signing of the Minsk agreements Ukraine’s Rada must adopt a resolution outlining the geographical boundaries of areas where the law on the special status of these unrecognised republics would become effective immediately.” Because the only thing needed for it to work was the description of those geographical boundaries.

That had to be established, not by law, but by a parliamentary resolution, and the resolution was finally adopted, even if past the deadline. So one would think that this law was to take effect immediately. It was passed, I would like to remind you, by the Parliament of Ukraine. The lawmakers voted for it, and it was coordinated with the unrecognised republics, which is very important, and in this sense, in my view, makes it viable legislation and a key element of a political settlement.

But after passing this resolution, Ukraine and its Parliament adopted an amendment, a paragraph to Article 9 or 10, which said the law would take effect only after municipal elections in these areas. That once again postponed the law’s enforcement. I repeat, in our opinion, that law is absolutely key to a political resolution to the crisis in southeastern Ukraine. Moreover, that was done without even consulting anyone, least of all the unrecognised republics.

We discussed this very actively a year ago in Paris. I insisted that this be done then and done immediately, as it was part of the Minsk Agreements and is, in our view, a key component. But the Ukrainian president said that this was not possible and everything ended up in a dead end. In this situation, everything could have ended then and there a year ago in Paris, but Mr Steinmeier, the German Foreign Minister, suddenly proposed a compromise.

He suggested that we agree to have the law come into force on the day of the local elections in these regions, temporarily, and have it come into force permanently after the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights recognises the elections as having taken place in accordance with OSCE rules. This was not at all what was set out in the Minsk Agreements, but in order to get us out of the deadlock we were in, I expressed my agreement and said we would settle the matter with Donetsk and Lugansk, which we did.

But then in Berlin, the Ukrainian president suddenly also attempted to change this proposal, already the result of a compromise. He went even further, essentially renouncing the law’s implementation whatever the case. We thus found ourselves back in the same crisis we had in Paris a year before. But I want to note the Federal Chancellor’s role here. She found arguments to persuade everyone present that we could and should keep to the agreement we reached and said that it was not possible to change what we’d already agreed on a year later, or we would never reach an agreement. But we agreed to bundle the nuances and details of how it would be implemented together with the concept you spoke about, and which still has to be worked through.

That is it, really. But in principle, a lot was accomplished in terms of ensuring security. We reached agreement on nearly every point. We made very little progress on humanitarian matters. These regions remain tightly blockaded and are in a very difficult situation. But the so-called civilised world prefers not to notice this. I do not want to get into debate on this matter now. As far as the [Normandy] format goes and whether it is useful or not, we simply have no alternative.

Yes, the discussions proceed with difficulty, and this is not very effective, I agree, but we have no other option, and if we want to make progress, we have to continue working in this format. As for the question of getting any other actors involved, our position is that we are not opposed to the idea of others taking part, including our American partners. But we have reached an agreement with all participants in the process that we will work in parallel with our American colleagues. My aide and Ms Nuland have regular meetings, discuss these issues and look for compromise. This is not being done in secret though, of course. All participants in the Normandy format meetings are informed and we take into account our American partners’ position too, of course.

Timothy Colton: Please now, Angela Stent

Angela Stent: This question is for President Putin. I’m Angela Stent; I’m a professor at Georgetown University in Washington. Mr President, Russia recently withdrew from an agreement with the United States to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium, but at the same time, the Russian Government said that it would consider re-joining the agreement if three conditions were met: firstly, that NATO troops should withdraw to the level that they were before 2000 in Europe; secondly, the Magnitsky Act should be repealed; and thirdly, that the sanctions imposed on Russia after the beginning of the Ukraine crisis should be lifted, and Russia should be paid compensation for them. So my question is: we will have a new President on January 20, I’m optimistic about that. Are we to understand, in the United States, that these three conditions would form the basis of an initial negotiating position on the Russian part with the American president, when she re-establishes high-level relations with the Kremlin? Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: One can tell straight away that you are an academic and not a diplomat. If you ask the diplomats, they will tell you about the concept of ‘starting position’. As for our decision on the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, we did not withdraw from it. The United States withdrew from the missile defence treaty, but we did not withdraw from the plutonium agreement, we suspended it. Why did we do this? What were this agreement’s provisions? Under its terms, both countries were to build facilities for disposing of the surplus weapons-grade plutonium that had accumulated in both Russia and the USA.

Not only did the USA not meet its obligations under the agreement, but said that it would not do so because of financial difficulties. As if Russia does not have financial difficulties of its own, but we built our facility and are disposing of this plutonium using industrial methods. Without any prior coordination with us, the United States made a unilateral announcement that they would not dilute this weapons-grade plutonium but would store it in some beds and so forth.

This means that they retain what the experts call return potential, in other words, the plutonium could be returned and re-enriched at any moment. But we are eliminating our plutonium using industrial methods. We built our facility and spent money on it. Are we wealthier than the United States? There are many issues it has become difficult to discuss with the current administration because practically no obligations are met and no agreements are respected, including those on Syria. Perhaps we will be able to come back to this. We are ready, in any case, to talk with the new president and look for solutions to any, even the most difficult, issues.

Question: Mr President, my question is on Russian policy towards Asia. The emphasis today in Russian foreign policy is on the construction of a multipolar world. But do you also give some thought to the importance of a multipolar Asia? Both in your speech today, and the general construction of the Russian foreign policy, points, I think, to the growing, deepening contradictions between the US and the West on the one hand, and the Eurasian situation. But it’s also a fact that there are internal contradictions within Eurasia. The rise of new powers is creating a lot of fears; the breakdown of the old order in some parts is releasing primordial forces. These are internal to Eurasia. But is there a danger that Russia, by its emphasis on a multipolar world, is underestimating the dangers of a unipolar Asia, and the need for great powers to work together to construct a genuinely democratic multipolar Asia?

Vladimir Putin: We are actively developing relations with Asian countries not because of tension in relations with Europe or the United States, but simply because life itself dictates this choice. Why do I say that life itself dictates that we expand these contacts?

The Asian countries’ development and influence is growing and will continue to do so, and, what’s more, they are growing fast. With a sizeable part of its territory in Asia, Russia would be foolish not to make use of its geographical advantages and develop ties with its neighbours.

China is our neighbour and I mentioned this in my opening remarks. We have longstanding good relations with India and it would be a mistake not to make use of this and develop solid long-term relations with India today. We have many common interests. We can naturally complement each other in politics and the economy.

As for the question of a multipolar or unipolar Asia, we see that Asia is not unipolar and this is very evident.

Life is very diverse and complex in general and is full of contradictions. It is important to resolve these contradictions in a civilised fashion. I think that the Asian countries’ leaders today have sufficient common sense to work in just this way with each other, and we are ready to work the same way with them all.

I visited India just recently and our Defence Minister has just returned from India. We have cooperation between our defence ministries and also between industry in the defence sector, as well as in the civilian sector, where we have many common interests with India, China, Vietnam and other countries in the region. These ties are extensive and promising.

Thomas Gomart: In September 2014, at the Valdai Club, you described the relations between Ukraine and Russia with the following sentence: “Two countries, one people”. Today, how would you describe the relations between the two countries? Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: I will not go into who is to blame for what now. I have always considered, and still do today, that Russians and Ukrainians are really one people. There are people who hold radical nationalist views both in Russia and in Ukraine. But overall, for the majority, we are one people, a people who share a common history and culture and are ethnically close. First we were divided, then we were set against each other, but we are not to blame for this. We must find our own way out of this situation. I am sure that common sense will prevail and that we will find a solution.

Question: Mr President, before putting my question, I would like to pass on my young students’ words. Two years ago, you came to Shanghai on other important business and our students missed the chance to meet at the university with you and ask their question, but they asked me to tell you that they would be happy to see you any time, regardless of whether you have retired or not.

My question is as follows: We have discussed the philosophical matter of international relations today. Humanity has already gone through different types of international systems. In your view, to what extent will future systems resemble past ones? What are the positive components we should emphasise in particular? Should we seek more universality or more diversity as far as principles go? What kind of combination of components would you prefer to see?

And I have a specific question too. We have been actively discussing here the relations between Russia, the West, and China.

Vladimir Putin: Heinz said that this is a very philosophical question and that we could spend a long time discussing it.

Will tomorrow’s world resemble the past? No, of course not. How is this possible? Does today’s China resemble the China of the 1960s-70s? They are two completely different countries, and the Soviet Union is gone today too.

Mr Mbeki spoke about Africa before. I share his arguments. But Africa cannot be some kind of peripheral place. If anyone thinks this way, they are deeply mistaken. If we follow this kind of thinking, we can expect very serious trials ahead. We already hear the talk about refugees and Syria. I saw today the news about the latest incident in the Mediterranean, where the Italian coastguard rescued refugees from Africa. What has Syria got to do with this? Africa’s future and the world’s future are very serious issues. The same goes for relations in Asia, where there are also many conflicts or potential conflict situations.

I want to repeat what I have just said. The question is whether we have the wisdom and the courage to find acceptable solutions to these various problems and complicated conflicts. I certainly hope that this will be the case, that the world really will become more multipolar, and that the views of all actors in the international community will be taken into account. No matter whether a country is big or small, there should be universally accepted common rules that guarantee sovereignty and peoples’ interests.

As for our relations with our partners in Europe, the United States, America in general, and the Asian countries, we have a multi-vector policy. This is not just in virtue of our geographical location. Our policy with regard to our partners is built on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

Nikolai Zlobin: Mr President, I also have a philosophical question. I imagine that you have reflected on this subject too, and so I would like to get an answer from you in your characteristic style. We all know that you are good at using aphorisms.

I will come back to your speech, since no one has done so yet. There is one point you made on which I disagree with you. You described the world and did so correctly, but I do not think it is quite right to put everything down to the will of the elite or of particular leaders. A large number of objective factors influence countries’ behaviour. You said yourself, speaking of Eurasian cooperation just now, that life itself dictates this course. I remember when the events in Crimea took place you said that you could not act otherwise, even if the entire world failed to see this as the greatest act of goodwill.

My question is related to this. I think that countries act under the influence of their national interests and the way they view the world. These national interests frequently lead to contradictions between countries.

In one of your interviews for a Western news agency, you said that your job is to promote Russia’s national interests. I therefore have a suspicion that you know what constitutes Russia’s national interests, and not only today’s interests, tactical interests, but the fundamental interests that existed before and will exist in the future. I think it is still early for you to retire, but this will happen sooner or later, while the national interests will remain. Do you have a good succinct formula at hand to explain these interests to the world? One of the problems, after all, is that Russia is perceived as an unpredictable country. Perhaps you can explain in one simple and lasting formula just what Russia’s national interests are?

Vladimir Putin: What is good for Russians and for all of Russia’s peoples makes up Russia’s national interest. The question is not one of promoting these national interests at any price, but of how to go about this. Let me take you back to the key question here: we believe that we need to pursue our national interests in dialogue with all players in international life, respecting their interests and following the common, universally accepted rules that we call international law.

When Tarja spoke earlier, she said that my view of the situation was a bit gloomy. If you understood my words as suggesting that the elites are solely to blame for the mistakes that have been made, this is not what I was trying to say. The divergence of interests between the general public and the ruling classes is one of the most serious problems today, though it is not the only problem, of course. Interests are at the root of this problem, but what is important is how we pursue and achieve our objectives.

Alexei Mukhin: Alexei Mukhin, Centre for Political Technology.

Mr President, Ukraine is constantly trying to prohibit things Russian. We get the impression that everything Russian is being squeezed out of Ukrainian life. In this respect, I have a philosophical question too. Petro Poroshenko said that he plans to sell his Russian business interests. Does this business actually exist? What is your view on this?

Vladimir Putin: We seek to respect ownership rights. Mr Kudrin is a staunch advocate of property rights, seeing it as one of the pillars of economic policy, and I fully agree with him. We have not always been entirely successful in this area and we still have improvements to make and much legislative work to do, but we will always keep working in this direction.

The same concerns our foreign investors, including from Ukraine. Mr Poroshenko is one of our investors in the sense that he is the owner of a sizeable business in Lipetsk Region, the Roshen factory. Actually, there are two businesses there. The second is engaged in selling the products, as far as I know. There are a few problems there concerning non-return of VAT, and the courts have imposed some restrictions, but the factories are operating, paying wages and earning profits, and there are no restrictions on using these profits, including transferring them abroad. I do not recall the figures now and do not get into such detail, but I know the business is turning a profit and is working with success.

Pyotr Dutkevich: Pyotr Dutkevich, Canada

Mr President, I already put this question yesterday to the Deputy Foreign Minister, but I realise my mistake, because you are the only person this question should really be addressed to.

My question is as follows: We have heard reports, I do not know how accurate they are, that you discussed a ceasefire in Syria at your meeting with Mr Obama in September. I do not know how accurate this information is, but it seems a 7-day ceasefire was proposed. You expressed doubts and said that it would not be possible to separate the radicals from the moderates in such a short time and that this task would likely prove impossible. You were given the answer then that if we failed in this task, you would have a free hand. Can you recall this conversation? It is very important for the history of what is taking place in Syria now.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, I do not need to recall it because I never forgot it. It was a very important conversation. There was indeed talk on the lines that Russian and Syrian aircraft would cease their airstrikes against terrorist targets in Aleppo until the healthy opposition forces could be separated from the forces of Jabhat al-Nusra, a terrorist organisation recognised as such by the United Nations and included on the list of international terrorist organisations.

In this respect, I note that it is no secret that our American partners promised to do this. First, they recognised the need to do this, and second, they recognised that part of Aleppo is occupied by terrorist organisations – ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. We can see this for ourselves from the news reports, where you see the banners of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in some parts of the city. They recognised that this needs to be done and assured us that they would do this.

After this, we agreed that we would decide right there on the battlefield who the moderates were, and we would not touch them, and who the terrorists were, and we and our American partners would target the terrorists. They made repeated promises. These promises were made at the level of our defence ministers, foreign ministers, intelligence services, but unfortunately, this fell through each time and they did not keep their promises.

The question was raised again during our meeting in China. Yes, my American partner, President Obama, did indeed propose separating these different forces once again. But he insisted that we must first declare a D-day, cease hostilities, stop the airstrikes, and then, within 7 days, they would take on the responsibility of separating the moderates from Jabhat al-Nusra. I will not go into detail her because I do not think I have the right to make these details public. After all, when we have talks like these, there are always some things we say in confidence. But the fact remains.

Instead of separating the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists from the healthy opposition, our American partners broke the ceasefire themselves. I had originally insisted that they first separate the terrorists from the moderates and we would then end the airstrikes, but in the end, I decided to agree with the American proposal at the talks. They were persistent and I decided to accept a compromise, said that we would go with their proposal, declare a ceasefire first and stop the airstrikes, giving them the seven days they asked for.

The ceasefire was declared on September 12, I think, and on the 17th, American aircraft carried out a strike against Syrian troops, and this was followed by an ISIS offensive. We were told that the strike was a mistake and that the ISIS offensive was only a coincidence. Perhaps this is so, but the ceasefire was broken and we are not to blame for this.

As for what the US President promised or didn’t promise, you should ask him. I imagine that he will speak with our European partners about this when he goes to Europe. I think this should be done openly and honestly and not simply in an attempt to use this to influence our position on Syria.

By the way, do you realise that Russian and Syrian aircraft have not been carrying out any operations around Aleppo for 9 days now. We gave them not 7 days, but already 9, soon to be 10 days. But where is the effort to separate the terrorists from the moderates? You have to realise that if we do not meet our obligations we will never succeed in this fight against terrorism.

I realise that this is not an easy task and we are not looking to make any accusations, but we do have to try to keep our promises. In any case, it should not be we who end up accused of every possible sin. This is simply indecent. We have been showing restraint and do not respond to our partners with insolence, but there is a limit to everything and we might have to reply at some point.

T.Colton: Mr Čarnogurský from Slovakia. Please.

Ján Čarnogurský: Čarnogurský, Bratislava.

This will sound like a follow-up to Angela Stent’s question, but we did not coordinate our questions. Mr President, the conditions you have placed on the plutonium disposition agreement actually sound aggressive. Meeting these conditions would mean essentially erasing all Russia’s retreats since Mikhail Gorbachev’s time.

I am asking about the timeframe. When can these conditions be met, or, to put it differently, do you think you will still be President of Russia when these conditions are met?

V.Putin: The conditions you referred to as aggressive have been set to paper in the form of a presidential executive order. It’s a piece of paper.

But the plutonium disposition conditions, which the United States has violated, are a crucial issue pertaining to international security and the management of nuclear materials. These are two different types of conditions. We have withdrawn from this agreement because the United States did not meet its obligations. As for conditions for negotiations on a wide range of issues, we can reach an agreement.

T.Colton: Mikhail Pogrebinsky, from Kiev, please.

Mikhail Pogrebinsky: Mr President, I would like to return to the question our German colleague asked. I do not think you gave a complete answer, but it seems important to get one.

The thing is that Kiev and Moscow have different interpretations of the results of the Berlin meeting. Here is a brief summary of Kiev’s interpretation: Poroshenko’s main achievement at these talks is that he convinced the UN, and the other parties at the talks have convinced you to accept a policing mission.

Moreover, Kiev understands policing as a group of armed people who will ensure security before the elections and for some time after them. According to official information from Moscow, that’s not exactly how it is.

Can you clarify this for us?

Vladimir Putin: I can turn to Tarja and Heinz who know very well how the OSCE works. But I will give my opinion.

President Poroshenko has advanced the initiative of a so-called policing mission for the duration of the possible future elections in Donbass, Donetsk and Lugansk. I was the only one there who supported him. It is another matter that I do not describe this as a policing mission because the other parties in the process have objected to it. They objected not because they do not want to help Mr Poroshenko, but because the OSCE has never done anything like this before. It does not have the experience, the people or any practice in implementing policing missions.

At this point, the other parties in the process have not supported the idea Mr Poroshenko advanced, while I did. However, we do not describe this initiative as “a policing mission” but as an opportunity for those responsible for the elections and security during the campaign to carry weapons. Those who objected to this initiative pointed out that it could provoke others to use weapons against the armed people.

They believe that the power of OSCE observers is not in weapons but in the fact that they represent a respectable international organisation, and the use of weapons against them when they are not armed is absolutely unacceptable and will be seen as the least acceptable behaviour. This is their power, not their guns.

On the other hand, if Mr Poroshenko believes that this would help the cause, I agree with him. However, I was the only one to do so. The situation is strange; it is the only issue on which I agree with Mr Poroshenko. I have spoken about this more than once; there is nothing new here. Ultimately, all parties have agreed that it can be done, but only after careful consideration, including at the OSCE. I think this has never happened before in OSCE history. If I am wrong, Tarja can correct me. What do you think, Tarja?

Tarja Halonen: No, I cannot remember anything like this before. We probably should ask someone who has the latest information. I will look into it.

T.Colton: Representative from Beijing, please.

Question: Thank you. Just now, former President of Austria Mr Fischer said that the relationship between the EU and Russia is not as expected 25 years ago. It’s unfortunate, and it’s hard to be optimistic. So I want to ask you, Mr President, from your point of view, why is this so? And were the expectations or the assumptions 25 years ago wrong, or did something go wrong along the way? And from a philosophical point of view, what do you think is the lesson to be learned for the next 25 years?

Vladimir Putin: What was done correctly and what was not? Expectations were high after the Soviet Union switched to a policy of openness, since ideological differences, which were considered the main cause of division between the Soviet Union and then Russia, and the Western world, have disappeared. Frankly, we, in the Soviet Union, under Gorbachev, and then in Russia, believed that a new life would begin for us. One of our experts rightly said that there are things that, as we found out, run even deeper than ideological differences, namely, national and geopolitical interests.

Could we have done things differently? Yes, indeed. During our previous meeting in this room, I said that there was a German politician, Mr Rau, a well-known figure from the Social Democratic Party of Germany, he is no longer with us, but he used to engage in lively discussions with Soviet leaders. Back then, he said (we have these conversations on record, but cannot get around to publishing them, which we need to do), that a new international security system should be built in Europe.

In addition to NATO, he said, it is imperative to create another entity, which would include the Soviet Union and former Warsaw Pact countries, but with the participation of the United States in order to balance the system out. He went on to say that if we fail to do so, ultimately this entire system created during the Cold War would work against the Soviet Union. He said that it bothers him only because it would unbalance the entire system of international relations, and security in Europe would be jeopardised in a big way.

What we have now is what this old gentleman warned us about in his own time. The people who worked on transforming the world, some of them did not want to change anything, as they believed that they already were riding high, while others did not have the political will to act on these absolutely correct ideas of this wise and experienced German politician.

However, I hope that as the global alignment of forces in the world changes, political, diplomatic and regulatory support for these changes will follow. The world will be a more balanced and multipolar place.

Heinz Fischer: I can also add that 25 years ago was the early ‘90s. And in the early ‘90s, the European Union had 12 members: Sweden, Finland and Austria joined only in ‘94 or ‘95. It was a sort of honeymoon time between Russia and Europe, in particular Russia and Germany, and Russia and other important European countries. It was the time before the economic crisis; growth rates were bigger. It was even the time before the introduction of the Euro; the Euro is very important, but the Euro is also accompanied with some problems, if you look at Greece or at Italy, etc. So these factors also have to be taken into consideration. Thank you.

Tarja Halonen: I will also add that 25 years ago, Russia was different, and the European Union was different. Russia joined the Council of Europe after quite a long process, and I was myself also involved in that. So I think that one lesson that we could perhaps learn, also on the EU side, and from the Council of Europe side, is that this was a very good time to make an enlargement. But perhaps we should, to be fair, invest more in the enlargement process, not only before the enlargement, but also afterwards, and perhaps then the process could be easier today. But you know, sometimes things have to be hurried up, and you have not quite enough time. But we cannot take back the past, we have to try to build further on how it is now.

Timothy Colton: Gabor Stier, please.

Gabor Stier: My question to President Putin is about Ukraine.

In the past few years we have often talked about Ukraine and the safety of Russian gas exports. Will Ukrainian flats be warm? Will Kiev pay for the gas? Are talks on gas exports to Ukraine underway? Was this discussed with Ukrainian President in Berlin?

Vladimir Putin: We are concerned about what is happening now with this very important energy component in Ukraine because in our opinion, in the opinion of our specialists – and they are no worse than Ukrainian experts because in Soviet times this was a single complex – we do realise what is going on there. To guarantee uninterrupted supplies to Europe, it is necessary to pump the required amount of gas into underground gas storage facilities. This gas is for transit, not for domestic consumption. This is the technological gist of what was done in Soviet times.

The amount of gas in these facilities is too low. It’s not enough. It is necessary to load from 17 to 21 billion and I think now only 14 billion have been loaded. Moreover, they have already started to syphon it off. These are grounds for concern. I discussed gas shipments to Ukraine with the Ukrainian President at his initiative. He wanted to know whether Russia could resume deliveries. Of course, it can do so anytime. Nothing is required for this.

We have a contract with an annex. Only one thing is necessary and this is advance payment. We will provide timely and guaranteed energy supplies for Ukrainian consumers for the amount of this advance payment. But today the price for Ukraine – and we had agreed on this before and said so last year – will not be higher than the price for its neighbours, for instance, Poland.

I do not know the current prices but when we had this conversation Poland was buying gas from us for $185 or $184 per thousand cubic metres in accordance with the contractual commitments that are still valid. We could sell gas to Ukraine for $180. I mentioned this price – $180 per thousand cubic metres of gas. But we were told that they prefer reverse supplies, so be it. By the way, this is a violation of Gazprom’s contracts with its partners in Western Europe but we are turning a blind eye to this and showing understanding.

If they prefer reverse supplies, okay, let them get that, but as far as I know the cost of gas for end users – industrial enterprises — has already topped $300 per thousand cubic metres. We sell gas for $180 but they do not want to buy it from us yet.

I have reason to believe that the middlemen in these reverse deals are close to certain executives in Ukraine’s fuel and energy complex. Good luck to them; let them do this but, most importantly, they must guarantee transit to European countries.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Fyodor Lukyanov, the Valdai Club.

Mr President, as a follow-up to the issue that you raised in your remarks and that was picked up later. We all read newspapers, leading international magazines, and we see their front covers, which can also be very nice, and maybe you also see some of them. Are you pleased to feel as the most dangerous and the most powerful man in the world? After all, this is a very high compliment.

Vladimir Putin: You know, I am pleased of course to be talking to you today. I like this – I will not deny it. However, I consider it far more important that the Russian parliament passes the Russian budget in order to ensure its impact on the resolution of the most important issues facing the country. Namely, ensuring sustained growth rates, which is crucial for our economy, and resolving social problems. We have lots of them. Fortunately, we manage to control inflation, which as I hope and as experts say, will be under six percent this year. I hope that our budget deficit will not exceed the set targets: about three percent.

As you know, capital flight has fallen significantly, drastically. There are various reasons for that, but this outflow has declined. We have a lot of unresolved problems in the country. The resolution of these problems, above all in the economic and social spheres, is crucial for internal political stability and Russia’s weight in the world. This is what is on my mind – not some mythical might.

Timothy Colton: We have been working for two and a half hours now. As the moderator, I need to ask you a question. How much time and patience do you still have? Your decision.

Vladimir Putin: I have come here to talk with the audience. You are in charge here…

Timothy Colton: I am the local president, so to speak.

Vladimir Putin: I am willing to follow the rules that you set here. Please.

Timothy Colton: I have somewhat of a list here, and I’m going to try to renew it. I’ll recognise another speaker, Yuri Slezkine from Berkeley, California. And please keep your hands up for a minute so I can try to repopulate… Oh my goodness. Well, we may be here all night.

So, Yuri.

Yuri Slezkine: Yuri Slezkine, a professor of Russian history at UC Berkeley.

What do you think about the issues that will be covered in future Russian history textbooks in the chapter about the Putin era? These textbooks are being written now, and some people are already composing these chapters. Some describe you as the builder of the Russian state, a reformer and consolidator, and compare you to Catherine, Peter the Great and other historical figures.

Others see you as a conservative and guardian. Some divide your leadership into two periods, the period of building and strengthening the Russian state, and the period of reaction. These people compare you to Stalin and Ivan the Terrible. How do you see this chapter in a future history textbook?

And I would also like to ask one more question that is connected with my first question. What and who will be the main subjects in the chapter that will come after the one on the Putin era? Two days ago, Vyasheslav Volodin repeated a statement he made two years ago, that there is no Russia without Putin. I believe this highlights the importance of a key aspect for any political system – the mechanism of succession of power, which seldom worked predictably and without a hitch in Russian history. What should be done so that the next chapter is not titled The Time of Trouble?

Vladimir Putin: I certainly do not resemble Catherine the Great, at least for reasons of gender.

As for the main thing that future students of Russian history would like to know, the main thing is how we managed to bring Russian society and the Russian nation together, to unite everyone towards achieving the national goal. I would like to remind everyone that Soviet historical science said that despite the importance of the individual, it is the people, the citizens who are the real creators of the country.

As for your question on who or what will be the main subject of the next chapter, the people themselves will answer that when they elect the next leader and work together with the new government.

Question: Good afternoon, I represent the Washington office of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. I have three concrete, non-philosophical questions.

Vladimir Putin: Are you a spy?

Remark: No. (Laughter)

Vladimir Putin: Then who are you?

Remark: A researcher.

Vladimir Putin: There is nothing wrong with that. Fine, later I will tell you a story about a prominent and well-known US political figure whom I greatly respect and love. We once had an interesting conversation on this subject.

Please excuse me.

Question: I have a question about the INF Treaty, which is under a lot of pressure today as I am sure you are aware; there are lots of bitter mutual recriminations, and so on. In this regard, it is important to understand Russia’s general approach to this treaty. Does Russia see any value in this treaty, and if yes, then what exactly? Is it even worthwhile to be part of this treaty?

Vladimir Putin: It would be of great value to us, if other countries followed Russia and the United States. Here’s what we have: the naive former Russian leadership went ahead and eliminated intermediate-range land-based missiles. The Americans eliminated their Pershing missiles, while we scrapped the SS-20 missiles. There was a tragic event associated with this when the chief designer of these systems committed suicide believing that it was a betrayal of national interests and unilateral disarmament.

Why unilateral? Because under that treaty we eliminated our ground complex, but the treaty did not include medium-range sea- and air-based missiles. Air- and sea-based missiles were not affected by it. The Soviet Union simply did not have them, while the United States kept them in service.

What we ultimately got was a clear imbalance: the United States has kept its medium-range missiles. It does not matter whether they are based at sea, in the air, or on land; however, the Soviet Union was simply left without this type of weapons. Almost all of our neighbours make such weapons, including the countries to the east of our borders, and Middle Eastern countries as well, whereas none of the countries sharing borders with the United States, neither Canada nor Mexico, manufacture such weapons. So, for us it is a special test, but nevertheless we believe it is necessary to honour this treaty. All the more so since, as you may be aware, we now also have medium-range sea- and air-based missiles.

To be continued.

  • Posted in Non classé
  • Commentaires fermés sur President Putin’s Speech: « The Russian Military Threat » is a « Profitable Business », « Russia has No Intention of Attacking Anyone »

On October 28, the joint militant forces launched a full-scale offensive in order to break the siege of militant-controlled neighborhoods of Aleppo city that had been set by the Syrian government forces. The operation was led by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian Al-Qaeda branch).  Jaish al-Mujahideen, Fastaqim Kama Umirt, Faylaq al-Sham, Ajnad al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham and the Islamic Front joint the offensive.

The attack begun with massive shelling of the al-Assad Neighborhood in western Aleppo with ‘Grad’ missiles, artillery and mortars. Then, three vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices [suicide – 2, remote controlled – 1] targeted the government positions and the militants launched the main phase of the attack in the direction of Al-Assad Military Academy.

In total, about 3,000 fighters, up to 30 artillery units and unspecified number of heavy military equipment were involved in the operation. The pro-government forces responded with massive artillery fire and air strikes. Air raids were also reported in the area of Khan Tuman, serving the rear base of attack.

Considering the sides’ military capabilities and the terrain features, SF forecasts that the terrorists will not be able to break the siege of Aleppo in case of the effective operations by the Syrian military staff.

The Kurdish YPG have killed over 30 members of Turkish-backed militant groups in clashes near the village of Tall Malid in northern Syria, according to pro-Kurdish sources. Since October 26, YPG units have conducte da series of attacks on the Turkish-backed militant alliance, known as the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and retook the villages of Tall Malid, Jisr ash-Samuqah and others – from it.

In a separate development, the Turkish forces seized the villages of Diwêr El-Hewa and Eblayê that had been controlled by ISIS.

On October 27, the Syrian army’s Tiger Forces and the National Defense Forces liberated the strategic town of Suran in northern Hama. Then, the government forces launched an advance on Taibat Imam. On October 28, clashes continued in the area.

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  • Posted in Non classé
  • Commentaires fermés sur Syria: Heavily Armed Al Qaeda Terrorists Attempt To Break Aleppo Siege by Government Forces

Myanmar’s defacto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi of the  National League for Democracy (NDL) political party, has paved her time since coming to power earlier this year with both irony and hypocrisy. She has not only illegally declared herself “leader” of the Southeast Asian state in contravention of its constitution, she has also embarked on an iron-fisted purge of her political opponents identical to the one she fought against as she struggled to seize power to begin with.

During elections earlier this year, Myanmar’s constitution prevented Suu Kyi from holding the nation’s highest office due to her inordinate amount of time overseas, her status of having been married to a foreign, and her children’s dual citizenship. Instead of adhering to the law, her party once in power, simply contrived an entirely new post for her, State Counsellor of Myanmar, which makes her the “defacto leader” of Myanmar.

Canada’s Globe and Mail in an article titled, “Stéphane Dion says Aung San Suu Kyi is the ‘de facto’ leader of Myanmar,” would note that Canada’s government recognized this legal side-stepping, stating:

Dion called Suu Kyi, now Myanmar’s foreign minister, “the de facto national leader” of her country “because they have a strange rule that if you have married somebody who’s not of the country, you cannot be the leader of the government and of the state.”

Suu Kyi, the internationally recognized democracy advocate, is barred from becoming president because her late husband was British, as are her two sons. The rule was crafted during Myanmar’s decades of military rule, which Suu Kyi fought against during years of house arrest before finally prevailing last fall.

In essence, she is unelected, and illegally holding power. For a woman who’s Western backers – particularly in the United States and United Kingdom – have held her up as a champion for democracy and the rule of law, she and her party’s first act upon taking power was trampling both.

The Inhumane Humanitarian

Another myth built up around Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi by the West has been her advocacy for “human rights.” Her advocacy for human rights, however, appears only to extend out to protect only as far as her immediate political allies are concerned. For groups beyond this self-serving political protection, and particularly regarding her political opponents, she and her NDL are just as eager to jail, crush, or kill political opponents as they claimed the ruling military government had been.

In addition to escalating violence targeting the nation’s Rohingya’s population, several activists online have been sent to jail for “insulting” the ruling government and Western-backed media fronts and organizations.

Myanmar’s Eleven Media Group (EMG) in its article, “Facebook offender brought to court for insulting Suu Kyi,” attempted to distance what Suu Kyi and her political supporters had once called draconian censorship as now, a simple matter of enforcing the law. It would state:

A Facebook user named Zaw Zaw (aka Nga Pha) was brought to the North Dagon Township court on October 24 to face prosecution for his defamatory posts about State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. 

He has been charged under Section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law. 

“He’s being sued for defamatory writing and photos about the State Counsellor [posted on Facebook],” said plaintiff Nay Myo Kyaw, a 34-year-old resident of North Okkalapa Township. 

Around 50 people showed up at the hearing wearing shirts affiliated with a group called the Network of Supporters of the Rule of Law. They shouted: “You deserved it for insulting a good person.”

The article also admits:

The Myawady Township Court sentenced Aung Win Hlaing (aka A Nyar Thar), the first man to be prosecuted under the current government, for defamatory posts on Facebook about President Htin Kyaw, to nine months in jail after he was convicted under Section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law. 

Aung Myint Tun (aka Ko Pho Htaung), a member of the National League for Democracy, is still facing legal action under the same law for the wording of a resignation letter. 

Another man named Yar Pyay was arrested and is being prosecuted for creating a fake Facebook account under the name of Nay Myo Wai, the chairman of Peace and Diversity Party. 

Hla Phone was also arrested and is being prosecuted for defamatory posts on Facebook about the Commander-in-Chief.

EMG – ironically awarded for its work in opposing the previous military-led government by Reporters without Borders – would also admit that it itself had taken advantage of Myanmar’s laws to silence its own critics, claiming:

Eleven Media Group (EMG) also filed complaints about repeated defamatory posts on Facebook against the group. Though EMG lodged complaints against film director Mike Tee, who is the owner of a Facebook account named Than Tun Zaw, and another Facebook user named Myat Maw for offensive posts about the group and its staff, the legal process has yet to begin. EMG lodged the complaints on January 27 and March 31 this year.

One would expect such a tidal wave of abuse – as defined by the West in regards to media, governance, and censorship around the world – to be met with sweeping condemnation from the West’s various human rights advocacy organizations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and a no doubt embarrassed Reporters Without Borders – yet the silence is as deafening as it is telling.

Taking Over Where Accused Dictators Left Off 

The West’s champions of democracy, rule of law, and human rights in Myanmar appears to have simply taken over right where Suu Kyi and her NDL party had claimed the military-led government left off. And despite the overt nature of Suu Kyi’s breaches of Western standards of “democracy” and “human rights,” the US is on track to lift all sanctions from Myanmar as Suu Kyi and her government open the nation, its people, and its resources to exploitation by Western corporations.

The overt nature of both the West’s and Suu Kyi’s hypocrisy illustrates that “democracy,” “rule of law,” and “human rights” are merely facades behind which the West and its proxies wield their power – hiding behind such principles rather than truly upholding them. And in reality, such behavior undermines these principles more than any overt abuse by an openly  tyrannical regime ever could – because genuine advocates thus become associated with hypocrites like the Western governments supporting the current regime in Myanmar, their faux-nongovernmental organizations aiding and abetting the regime, and proxies like Suu Kyi and her NDL themselves.

International audiences must keep this example of hypocrisy in mind as the West attempts to overturn other governments in Southeast Asia and beyond under similar pretexts and using similar rhetoric – supporting supposed “pro-democracy” and “pro-human rights” advocates who have every intention of trampling both upon seizing power.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.
http://journal-neo.org/2016/10/28/irony-redefined-human-rights-champion-suu-kyi-jails-dissidents/

  • Posted in Non classé
  • Commentaires fermés sur Myanmar: “Human Rights Champion” Aung San Suu Kyi Jails Dissidents

NATO says it is going ahead with its plans to deploy thousands of troops and military hardware to three Baltic States and Poland that all border Russia. The military alliance claims that the measure is a response to a Russia’s military build-up and increased activity around NATO’s borders.

The Russian president, however, has denounced NATO’s expansion in Eastern Europe.

President Putin has blamed the military alliance for global instability. NATO’s latest venture to encircle Russia & its repercussions, in this edition of the Debate.

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  • Commentaires fermés sur Video: US-NATO are Beating the Drums of War. « The US is Threatening Every Country on Planet Earth », Michel Chossudovsky

Sélection d’articles du 23 au 28 octobre 2016


Capture d’écran 2016-10-23 à 20.30.03

La bataille de Mossoul ou la tromperie partagée par Washington et Ankara. 

Par Mouna Alno-Nakhal, 23 octobre 2016

La plupart des observateurs de la région soulignent que les USA retardaient délibérément la libération de Mossoul, dernière grande ville irakienne contrôlée par Daech, lui-même contrôlé par les USA, et qu’ils n’ont assuré leur soutien à l’Armée irakienne et donné le signal de départ de l’opération qu’à l’approche de la date des élections présidentielles US.

mitin de cierre

Veronika Mendoza : « Il faut ouvrir un débat politique avec la population, mais à partir de ses propres réalités et de son propre langage » 

Par Veronika Mendoza et Romain Migus, 24 octobre 2016

Au Pérou, l’espoir populaire a désormais un visage. Veronika Mendoza, candidate à l´élection présidentielle de 2016 pour la plateforme politique de gauche, le Frente Amplio, nous livre son analyse de la politique de son pays, et des défis qui attendent le peuple péruvien dans sa quête de changement.

brics2

Les BRICS doivent faire face à la guerre financière des États-Unis 

Par Ariel Noyola Rodríguez, 24 octobre 2016

Pour faire face à la guerre financière provoquée par les États-Unis, il est urgent que les BRICS renforcent leurs liens de coopération dans les domaines de l’économie et de la finance. La nouvelle banque de développement des BRICS devrait augmenter son volume de prêts, de même que leur fond de réserves.

Italia USA

USA/Otan – Pactes clairs, sujétion longue 

Par Manlio Dinucci, 25 octobre 2016

Après avoir appelé les Italiens à voter Oui au référendum, en s’ingérant dans notre politique nationale avec le silence complice de l’opposition parlementaire, le président Obama a confirmé à son « bon ami Matteo » qu’avec l’Italie les USA ont « des pactes clairs, une amitié longue ». Aucun doute, les pactes soient clairs, et avant tout le Pacte atlantique qui soumet l’Italie aux USA.

Michel Raimbaud

Panne de courant au pays des lumières ! Sont-ils tombés sur la tête ? 

Par Michel Raimbaud, 25 octobre 2016

En ces temps troublés, la « communauté internationale » – nom de scène des trois Occidentaux qui se piquent d’être les maîtres de droit divin de notre planète – semble perdre les pédales. Voilà donc nos larrons en quête de nouvelles aventures. Comme d’habitude, l’Amérique, cette nation qui se croit indispensable et dispense aux quatre coins de l’univers ses leçons de morale, de démocratie et de droits de l’homme…

pro-assad

Cette révolution syrienne qui n’existe pas… 

Par Stephen Gowans, 25 octobre 2016

Dans certains milieux circule une rengaine dans le vent qui veut que le soulèvement syrien, comme Eric Draitser l’écrivait dans un récent article de Counterpunch, « a commencé en réaction aux politiques néolibérales du gouvernement syrien et à sa brutalité », et que « le contenu révolutionnaire de la faction rebelle en Syrie a été mis sur la touche par un ramassis de djihadistes, financés par les Qataris et par les Saoudiens. » Cette théorie semble, à mon esprit défendant, reposer sur une logique de présomptions mais non de preuves.

algerie drapeau

L’Algérie est sur la voie d’une nouvelle Révolution par la paix

Par Cherif Aissat, 26 octobre 2016

Et si les prédictions de troubles populaires et même de chaos en Algérie pour sa soumission à l’ultralibéralisme par les instruments d’ajustement structurel appuyés par l’application des théories du choc et de la diversion par son gouvernement, ses partis politiques pédoncules, une presse d’obligés par son inféodation au capital et toute cette série de self fulfilling prophecies (prophéties auto-réalisatrices) s’avèrent fausses ?

esclavage

Trois vagues de répudiations de dettes publiques aux États-Unis au 19e siècle

Par Eric Toussaint, 26 octobre 2016

Saviez-vous qu’aux États-Unis, à trois reprises, des gouvernements ont répudié avec succès les dettes publiques dues aux banquiers privés ? Dans les années 1830, quatre États des États-Unis ont répudié leurs dettes ; il s’agissait du Mississipi, de l’Arkansas, de la Floride et du Michigan…

no-fly-zone

La « zone d’exclusion aérienne » de Clinton en Syrie ne va pas « sauver des vies ». Elle mènera à une guerre contre la Russie. C’est le président du Comité des chefs d’état-major interarmées des USA qui le dit.

Par Prof Michel Chossudovsky, 27 octobre 2016

 Le président du Comité des chefs d’état-major interarmées, le général Dunford a déclaré sans ambages au sénat des USA et au secrétaire d’État John Kerry qu’une « zone d’exclusion aérienne » au‑dessus de la Syrie mènerait à une guerre contre la Syrie et la Russie, ce qui entraînerait une escalade militaire.

Cuba ONU

Vote historique à l’ONU contre le blocus imposé à Cuba

Par André Chassaigne, 27 octobre 2016

Le 26 octobre 2016, la communauté internationale a une nouvelle fois réclamé la levée du blocus imposé à Cuba depuis 1960. Pour la vingt-cinquième fois consécutive, 191 nations sur 193 représentées à l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies ont approuvé la résolution présentée par Cuba exigeant la fin des sanctions économiques anachroniques, cruelles et illégales qui portent gravement préjudice à la population de l’île.

Raqqa-in-Syria

Le scénario de la partition de la Syrie. Après Mossoul, Raqqa «capitale de Daech».

Par Chems Eddine Chitour, 27 octobre 2016

Depuis quelques jours nous sommes saturés par les médias occidentaux concernant la bataille de Mossoul présentée comme la «Mère des batailles» qui permettrait de mettre un point final à Daech. En fait, une analyse fine nous apprend qu’il n’en est rien. On ne sait toujours pas à quoi tout cela rime si nous n’avons pas une vue d’ensemble du problème du Moyen-Orient.

ceta

« Le CETA, c’est le TTIP déguisé » : l’accord commercial entre le Canada et l’UE est un projet hégémonique

Par Prof Michel Chossudovsky et Sputnik, 28 octobre 2016

La Wallonie a porté un sérieux coup aux espoirs de l’Union européenne de signer un accord de libre-échange avec le Canada, lorsque le président-ministre de cette région de la Belgique a annoncé qu’il n’appuierait pas l’Accord économique et commercial global (AECG, mieux connu sous le sigle anglais CETA) avant la date limite de vendredi.

European-union

BLOQUONS L’ACCORD COMMERCIAL CETA : Les ministres du Commerce de l’UE reportent la décision relative à l’accord de libre-échange avec le Canada

Par Prof Michel Chossudovsky, 28 octobre 2016

L’Accord économique et commercial global (AECG, mieux connu sous le sigle anglais CETA) entre le Canada et l’Union européenne (UE) est décrit par les médias comme « un accord de grande qualité qui renforce la relation fondamentale entre le Canada et l’Union européenne ». Mais cet accord dissimule bien plus qu’il n’en laisse voir.

ONU Jaafari

Bachar al-Jaafari : Assez d’hypocrisie, ni est, ni ouest, il n’y a qu’une Alep et qu’une Syrie !Par Dr. Bachar al-Jaafari, 28 octobre 2016

Réponse du Délégué permanent de la Syrie auprès des Nations Unies à ses homologues qui ont pris l’habitude tenace de s’esquiver, avec tous leurs diplomates émérites, dès qu’il prend la parole. Il s’agit de la dernière réunion du Conseil de sécurité sur la situation au Moyen-Orient en ce 26 octobre 2016.

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  • Commentaires fermés sur Bataille de Mossoul: Tromperie partagée par Washington et Ankara

Rusia, China y Arabia Saudita ponen en jaque la hegemonía del dólar

octobre 29th, 2016 by Ariel Noyola Rodríguez

Estados Unidos encuentra cada vez más obstáculos a su paso para mantener la hegemonía del dólar como moneda de reserva mundial. En los meses recientes, los países emergentes han vendido una gran cantidad de bonos del Tesoro de Estados Unidos, principalmente Rusia y China, pero ahora también Arabia Saudita. Además, a fin de protegerse de las violentas fluctuaciones del dólar, los bancos centrales de varios países han venido adquiriendo enormes volúmenes de oro a fin de diversificar sus reservas monetarias. En definitiva, la ofensiva global contra el dólar se está recrudeciendo a través de la venta masiva de deuda norteamericana y, en paralelo, compras colosales de metales preciosos.

La supremacía de Washington en el sistema financiero mundial recibió un golpe tremendo el pasado mes de agosto: Rusia, China y Arabia Saudita vendieron bonos del Tesoro de Estados Unidos por la suma de 37,900 millones de dólares, de acuerdo con la última actualización de datos oficiales publicada hace unos días. Desde una perspectiva general, las inversiones globales en la deuda del Gobierno estadounidense se desplomaron a su nivel más bajo desde julio de 2012. Es evidente, el papel del dólar como moneda de reserva mundial nuevamente se ha puesto en cuestión.

Ya en 2010, el almirante Michael Mullen, presidente de los Jefes del Estado Mayor Conjunto de Estados Unidos, lanzó la advertencia de que la deuda representaba la principal amenaza para la seguridad nacional. A mi juicio, no es tanto que un alto nivel de endeudamiento público (actualmente por encima de los 19 billones de dólares) sea una piedra en el zapato para la economía estadounidense, sino que más bien para Washington es decisivo garantizar diariamente un enorme flujo de recursos desde el exterior a fin de cubrir sus déficit gemelos (comercial y presupuestario); es decir, para el Departamento del Tesoro es un asunto de vida o muerte vender títulos de deuda a todo el mundo para de esta manera poder financiar los gastos del Estado norteamericano.

Hay que recordar que tras la quiebra de Lehman Brothers, en septiembre de 2008, el Banco Popular de China se vio fuertemente presionado por Ben Bernanke, en aquel entonces presidente del Sistema de la Reserva Federal (FED), para que no vendiera sus títulos de deuda estadounidense. En un primer momento, los chinos aceptaron sostener el dólar. Sin embargo, ya en un segundo momento, el Banco Popular de China se resistió a comprar más bonos del Tesoro de Estados Unidos y, en simultáneo, puso en marcha un plan de diversificación de sus reservas monetarias.

Pekín ha venido comprando oro de forma masiva en los años recientes, y lo mismo ha estado haciendo el banco central de Rusia. En el segundo trimestre de 2016, las reservas de oro del Banco Popular de China alcanzaron las 1,823 toneladas frente a las 1,762 toneladas registradas el último trimestre de 2015. La Federación rusa por su parte, incrementó sus reservas de oro en alrededor de 290 toneladas entre diciembre de 2014 y junio de 2016, con lo cual, cerró el segundo trimestre de este año con un acumulado de 1,500 toneladas.

Frente a los brutales bandazos del dólar, es crucial comprar activos más seguros como el oro que, en momentos de gran inestabilidad financiera, actúa como un valor refugio. Por eso la estrategia de Moscú y Pekín de vender bonos del Tesoro de Estados Unidos para luego comprar oro ha sido seguida por muchos países: según las estimaciones del Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI), las reservas de oro de los bancos centrales del mundo alcanzan ya el nivel más alto de los últimos 15 años luego de registrar a principios de octubre un volumen total de casi 33,000 toneladas.

La geopolítica también está jugando su parte en la configuración de un nuevo orden financiero mundial. Tras la imposición de sanciones económicas en contra del Kremlin, a partir de 2014, la relación con China tomó gran relevancia para los rusos. Desde entonces, ambas potencias han profundizado sus vínculos en todos los ámbitos, desde la economía y las finanzas, hasta la cooperación militar. Además de comprometer el suministro de gas a China para las próximas tres décadas, el presidente Vladímir Putin construyó junto con su homólogo Xi Jinping una poderosa alianza financiera que busca terminar de una vez por todas con la dominación de la divisa estadounidense.

Actualmente, los hidrocarburos que Moscú vende a Pekín se pagan en yuanes, ya no en dólares. De este modo, la “moneda del pueblo” (‘renminbi’, en chino) se está abriendo paso poco a poco en el mercado mundial de hidrocarburos a través de los intercambios comerciales entre Rusia y China, los países que, a mi modo de ver, encabezan la construcción de un sistema monetario multipolar.

La gran novedad es que a la carrera por la desdolarización de la economía global se ha sumado Arabia Saudita, país que desde hace varias décadas se había mantenido como un aliado incondicional de la política exterior de Washington. Sorpresivamente, durante los últimos 12 meses Riad se deshizo de más de 19,000 millones de dólares invertidos en bonos del Tesoro de Estados Unidos, convirtiéndose junto con China, en uno de los principales vendedores de deuda norteamericana. Para colmo de males, la furia del Reino Saudita contra la Casa Blanca viene incrementando su intensidad.

Sucede que a finales de septiembre, el Congreso norteamericano aprobó la eliminación del veto del presidente Barack Obama a una ley que permite a los estadounidenses denunciar a Arabia Saudita ante tribunales por su presunta participación en los ataques del 11 de septiembre de 2001. En respuesta, la Organización de Países Exportadores de Petróleo (OPEP) llegó a un acuerdo histórico con Rusia para disminuir el nivel de producción de crudo y, con ello, promover un incremento de precios.

Es llamativo también que, justo por esos días, Pekín haya abierto la negociación directa entre el yuan y el riyal de Arabia Saudita a través del Sistema de Comercio de Divisas Extranjeras de China (CFETS, por sus siglas en inglés) a fin de realizar transacciones entre ambas monedas sin necesidad de pasar antes por el dólar. En consecuencia, es altamente probable que, más temprano que tarde, la empresa petrolera Saudi Aramco acepte pagos en yuanes en lugar de dólares. De concretarse, la Casa de los Saud estaría apostando de lleno por el petroyuan. Ante nuestros ojos, el mundo está cambiando.

Ariel Noyola Rodríguez

Ariel Noyola Rodríguez : Economista egresado de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).

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  • Commentaires fermés sur Rusia, China y Arabia Saudita ponen en jaque la hegemonía del dólar

L’Accord économique et commercial global (AECG, mieux connu sous le sigle anglais CETA) entre le Canada et l’Union européenne (UE) est décrit par les médias comme « un accord de grande qualité qui renforce la relation fondamentale entre le Canada et l’Union européenne ».

Mais cet accord dissimule bien plus qu’il n’en laisse voir.

Le CETA comprend toute une panoplie de politiques néolibérales (commerce de transactions sur marchandises, commerce de services, investissements, propriété intellectuelle, fournitures de services financiers) se retrouvant aussi dans le Partenariat transatlantique de commerce et d’investissement (TTIP) parrainé par les USA. Le CETA est en fait une « copie carbone » du TTIP, cet accord controversé entre l’Union européenne et les USA, temporairement « bloqué » par le parlement européen et le congrès des USA.

Présenté à la population comme un accord bilatéral inoffensif entre l’UE et le Canada, le CETA est en fait un TTIP déguisé, qui pourrait éventuellement mener à l’intégration de l’ALÉNA et de l’UE dans ce qu’on pourrait décrire comme une énorme « zone de commerce et d’investissement de l’Atlantique Nord ». Les participants aux négociations sont pleinement conscients que le CETA est un moyen détourné de créer les conditions propices à la formation d’un bloc commercial de l’Atlantique Nord, véritable « projet impérial » des USA contrôlé par Washington.

Tout dernièrement, le gouvernement régional de la Wallonie, en Belgique, s’est opposé au CETA, ce qui a fait dérailler le processus de négociations. Il est important que ce genre d’entraves et d’autres prévalent, de manière à bloquer la ratification du CETA.

Les ministres du Commerce de l’UE ont décidé de reporter leur décision concernant le CETA, qui devait être ratifié plus tard ce mois‑ci. Outre la Belgique, la Roumanie, la Bulgarie et d’autres États membres ont exprimé des réserves.

Selon la Deutsche Welle :

« Pendant qu’un certain nombre de pays ont fait par de leur préoccupation à l’égard de l’entente controversée, le ministre du Commerce slovaque Peter Ziga a dit que les réserves exprimées par la Belgique ont fini par stopper le processus. La Slovaquie assume actuellement la présidence de l’UE.

M. Ziga a ajouté qu’il reste sûr que l’accord avec le Canada soit signé d’ici le 27 octobre au cours du sommet UE-Canada, comme cela était planifié à l’origine :

« Je ne peux pas croire que la Belgique sera la pierre d’achoppement finale », a indiqué M. Ziga, en faisant un rapprochement entre les affinités linguistiques étroites entre la Belgique et le Canada.

Les observateurs s’attendent toutefois à obtenir des détails au cours du sommet de l’UE de cette semaine. Des dirigeants de tout le bloc européen doivent se rencontrer à Bruxelles les 20 et 21 octobre pour le sommet annuel, qui devrait porter principalement sur la politique commerciale.

La commissaire européenne au Commerce Cecilia Malmström a également dit espérer que l’accord soit signé à temps. »

Il faut absolument que ces négociations commerciales s’enrayent et bloquent. Que nous soyons dans l’UE ou au Canada, opposons‑nous fermement à la ratification de cet accord.

Michel Chossudovsky

Article original :

European union

BLOCK THE CETA TRADE AGREEMENT: EU Trade Ministers Postpone Decision On CETA Free Trade Agreement with Canada, publié le 23 octobre 2016

Traduit par Daniel pour Mondialisation.ca

  • Posted in Francais @fr
  • Commentaires fermés sur BLOQUONS L’ACCORD COMMERCIAL CETA : Les ministres du Commerce de l’UE reportent la décision relative à l’accord de libre-échange avec le Canada

Réponse du Délégué permanent de la Syrie auprès des Nations Unies à ses homologues qui ont pris l’habitude tenace de s’esquiver, avec tous leurs diplomates émérites, dès qu’il prend la parole. Il s’agit de la dernière réunion du Conseil de sécurité sur la situation au Moyen-Orient en ce 26 octobre 2016. Le lecteur pourra suivre les interventions des vrais et des faux amis du peuple syrien sur webtv.un.org [*] à la fin de ce texte. Il pourra juger de ce que le Dr Al-Jaafari a précédemment qualifié de « Théâtre de l’absurde », alors que l’escalade du terrorisme dépasse l’entendement là ou ladite Coalition internationale pense pouvoir en profiter [NdT].


Attendons un peu, le temps que certains hypocrites quittent cette salle…

Merci Monsieur le Président,

La sortie des représentants de certains États qui ont versé des larmes de crocodile sur la situation à Alep démontre l’étendue de leur hypocrisie et de leurs mensonges outranciers, fabriqués pour un spectacle qu’ils nous ont servi à maintes reprises. Mais, par un tel comportement, ils ne font que confirmer nos soupçons quant aux politiques de leurs pays absolument dénuées d’objectivité à l’égard de mon pays.

Nous entendons parler d’Alep-Est et d’Alep-Ouest. Nous ne permettrons pas que se répète le triste et douloureux scénario de Beyrouth-Est et de Beyrouth-Ouest, car il n’y a qu’une seule Alep, comme il n’y a qu’une seule Syrie. Et quiconque complote contre n’importe quelle partie de notre territoire ne sera pas en paix avec nous.

Un blocus injuste est imposé à toute la Syrie, non seulement à Alep ou plus particulièrement à Alep-Est. Nous l’avons dit, puis redit des milliers de fois et nous continuerons à le répéter, comprendra qui voudra.

Certains représentants d’États qui, aujourd’hui encore, ont fait mine de pleurer sur Alep selon le même mode théâtral précédemment adopté pour Daraya, Al-Waer [quartier de Homs] et ailleurs, ignorent délibérément les vérités suivantes :

Premièrement : Ces représentants ignorent l’actuel paysage géopolitique de la région, lequel a été engendré par les violations des règles les plus élémentaires du droit international par les gouvernements qu’ils représentent.

Telle la Turquie qui rêve de ressusciter ses gloires ottomanes passées, lesquelles ne reviendront pas, par des agressions à répétition visant la souveraineté de la Syrie et de l’Irak.

Telle l’Arabie saoudite qui œuvre pour soutenir le terrorisme dans la région et le monde entier, au nom d’une religion qui ne lui correspond en rien, en plus de prononcer ses fatwas wahhabites d’un prétendu jihad, lequel autoriserait l’effusion du sang des Syriens, des Irakiens, des Libyens, des Yéménites etc.

Tels les États-Unis, la Grande Bretagne et la France qui ont envahi et détruisent la Libye, alors que les deux premiers États cités avaient précédemment envahi et détruit l’Irak, tuant des millions d’Irakiens.

Tel le Qatar qui consacre l’argent du pétrole et du gaz pour offrir aux terroristes toutes sortes d’armes meurtrières.

Tel Israël qui fait alliance avec le Front al-Nusra dans le Golan syrien occupé.

Tout ceci n’a aucunement suscité l’ire de M. O’Brien, de M. Feltman, de M. Ladsous, ou du Secrétaire général. Tous ces faits outrepassant le droit international n’ont suscité la colère de personne. Jamais. C’est normal : business as usual !

Deuxièmement : Les représentants de ces États, qui viennent juste de quitter cette salle pour fuir leurs responsabilités, ont fait mine d’ignorer la principale raison de la douloureuse détérioration de la situation en Syrie en général et à Alep, en particulier. Ils font mine d’ignorer comment s’est opérée la transformation de cette capitale économique de la Syrie, où il faisait bon vivre et dont les habitants jouissaient d’un niveau de services élevé, en une ville qui souffre et dont la population endure du manque de sécurité, de soins médicaux, d’établissements scolaires et des nécessités du quotidien.

La responsabilité de ce qui est arrivé à cette ville martyre incombe aux agissements des groupes terroristes armés et des terroristes armés étrangers, recrutés dans le monde entier, de la Nouvelle Zélande au canada, pour venir en Syrie via le territoire turc ; le régime d’Erdogan étant chargé de faciliter leur traversée, les régimes qatari et saoudien de les financer. Quant aux gouvernements des États-Unis, de la France, de la Grande-Bretagne et d’autres pays, ils se sont chargés de leur fournir leurs armes meurtrières diverses et variées.

Voici des photos de quelques nouvelles armes envoyées à la soi-disant « opposition modérée » dans Alep-Est : des missiles de fabrication américaine pour bombarder Alep-Ouest ! En voici une autre photo montrant ces terroristes, génétiquement modifiés en opposition modérée, en train de mettre en place une batterie de missiles à lancer sur Alep-Ouest. Et en voici une autre où l’un de ces missiles est tombé dans une église d’Alep-Ouest. Des milliers de photos que nous gardons à la disposition de qui voudrait en savoir plus.

Troisièmement : Les représentants de ces États qui viennent de quitter cette salle, pour fuir leurs responsabilités envers la paix et la sécurité internationales, ont fait mine d’ignorer le fait que les terroristes demeurés à Alep-Est utilisent les civils comme boucliers humains, de la même manière que les terroristes de Daech utilisent la population innocente de Mossoul en Irak.

Ceci, en sachant que les terroristes sévissant en Irak sont les mêmes que ceux qui sévissent à Alep-Est, d’où ils continuent à envoyer, quotidiennement, une pluie d’obus sur Alep-Ouest. Des obus qui ont fait des milliers de morts et de blessés dans le silence suspect de ladite communauté internationale, notamment les États dont les représentants sont sortis de cette salle. Il est donc déplorable qu’ils continuent à désigner ces terroristes par « opposition armée modérée », une arnaque flagrante contraire aux dispositions du droit international.

Quatrièmement : Les représentants de ces États qui viennent de quitter cette salle, pour fuir leurs responsabilités envers la paix et de la sécurité internationales, ont fait mine d’ignorer pourquoi l’accord russo-américain concernant l’arrêt des combats à Alep, conclu le 9 Septembre dernier et respecté par le gouvernement de la République arabe syrienne, n’a pas tenu.

Lequel accord a été exploité par les groupes armés terroristes pour se regrouper, importer encore plus de combattants armés, recevoir encore plus d’équipements militaires de la part de ces États versant des larmes généreuses sur les souffrances de notre peuple à Alep, pour affronter le gouvernement syrien.

Ces États ont fermé les yeux sur le fait que ce sont les groupes terroristes armés qui ont violé et sapé l’accord russo-américain ; 27 factions terroristes ayant déclaré, immédiatement après sa signature, qu’elles ne le respecteront pas. Vingt-sept factions ! Mais c’est quelque chose qui n’est pas arrivé jusqu’aux oreilles de M. Obrien ; comme pour le convoi d’aides humanitaires dans le quartier d’Orem al-Kubra.

Ces États ont fait mine d’ignorer que la raison principale de l’effondrement de cet accord est dû au fait que la partie américaine n’a pas respecté son engagement concernant la séparation de la prétendue « opposition armée modérée » des organisations terroristes, alors que le 17 septembre elle frappait les positions de l’Armée syrienne à Deir ez-Zor ; ce qui a permis aux terroristes de Daech de renforcer leur mainmise sur plus de 300 000 civils habitant cette ville.

Cinquièmement : Les représentants de ces États qui viennent de quitter cette salle, pour fuir leurs responsabilités envers la paix et de la sécurité internationales, ont fait mine d’ignorer la décision unilatérale d’arrêt des combats à Alep-Est, prise dans le cadre de la coordination russo-syrienne à des fins humanitaires, dont l’évacuation des blessés, des malades et des infirmes, avec mise en place de couloirs de sortie, destinés à faciliter l’arrivée de l’équipe formée par des organisations de l’ONU œuvrant à Damas sous la direction d’un coordinateur onusien, par le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge et par le Croissant-Rouge syrien, afin d’accompagner le processus d’évacuation des civils et des individus armés ; ces derniers étant sommés de déposer leurs armes et de régulariser leur situation pour bénéficier de l’amnistie et, sinon, de quitter la ville.

Ces États ont fait mine d’ignorer que les groupes terroristes, usant de la population d’Alep-Est comme boucliers humains, ont sapé ce processus, puisque huit couloirs d’évacuation ont été aménagés, six pour les civils et deux pour les individus armés, contrairement à ce qu’ont prétendu les délégués américain et britannique.

Sixièmement : Les représentants de ces États qui viennent de quitter cette salle, pour fuir leurs responsabilités envers la paix et de la sécurité internationales, ont fait mine d’ignorer les véritables responsables des souffrances de tous les habitants d’Alep du fait des pénuries d’eau, de nourriture, de médicaments, et notamment d’électricité coupée par les terroristes, la station de pompage étant sous leur contrôle.

C’est là une autre vérité sur laquelle j’attire votre attention à tous : à Alep, la station de pompage de l’eau est sous le contrôle des terroristes. Ce sont eux qui ont assoiffé les civils de cette ville en plus d’avoir volé l’aide alimentaire et les médicaments qui leur étaient destinés ; ceci, sans oublier la responsabilité partagée par les terroristes et ladite Coalition internationale dans la destruction de la centrale hydraulique de Souleiman al-Halabi ainsi que d’autres centrales et usines de traitement des eaux.

Par conséquent, ce sont les terroristes et ladite Coalition internationale qui privent les habitants d’Alep d’eau et d’électricité !

Monsieur le Président,

Le gouvernement de mon pays refuse l’approche biaisée de la situation à Alep-Est ou d’autres régions de son territoire, car toute la Syrie, du nord au sud et de l’est à l’ouest, souffre du terrorisme wahhabite soutenu par des régimes connus de tous avec, en premier lieu, l’Arabie saoudite, la Turquie le Qatar, Israël, eux-mêmes soutenus par les frappes aériennes de ladite Coalition internationale et par les mesures économiques coercitives décrétées par les Américains et les Européens.

Le gouvernement syrien réaffirme sa ferme détermination à ce que la résolution de la crise passe par une solution politique fondée sur le dialogue entre Syriens, mené par les Syriens, sans ingérence ni conditions préalables américaine, britannique, française, etc, et que le processus politique doit avancer parallèlement à la lutte contre le terrorisme ; une lutte qui ne saurait s’arrêter tant que tous les groupes terroristes armés actifs, sévissant et se déployant en Syrie, n’auront pas été éliminés. Et c’est dans ce contexte qu’il réaffirme l’importance des missions confiées à l’Envoyé spécial du Secrétaire général de l’ONU.

Monsieur le Président,

Comment se fait-il que certains représentants d’États soutenant le terrorisme puissent, dans cette enceinte, prétendre le combattre et répandre, comme des perroquets, des informations erronées et trompeuses sur les opérations militaires actuellement menées par l’Armée syrienne et l’allié russe ? Comment lutter contre le terrorisme en comptant sur les terroristes comme seules sources d’informations ?

Par conséquent, un certain lien existe entre ces gouvernements et le terrorisme !

Pour conclure, Monsieur le Président,

La bataille pour la libération de Mossoul et de tout l’Irak de la souillure terroriste est la bataille du gouvernement syrien et de son armée. Le gouvernement de ce pays frère a le droit absolu de libérer Mossoul de cette souillure, comme le gouvernement syrien a le droit absolu d’en libérer Alep, car le Syrie et l’Irak combattent le même terrorisme.

Nombre de similitudes existent entre les opérations militaires en cours à Mossoul et à Alep. Pourquoi soutenir l’opération de Mossoul et faire obstacle à l’opération d’Alep ? Pourquoi ouvrir des couloirs humanitaires aux terroristes de Daech fuyant de Mossoul en direction de Raqqa, en Syrie ? Pourquoi ne pas frapper leurs convois sur le trajet Mossoul-Raqqa ? Pourquoi sont-ils dispensés des frappes aériennes de ladite Coalition internationale ? Pourquoi refuse-telle la proposition russo-syrienne d’ouverture de couloirs pour évacuer les mêmes terroristes sévissant à Alep-Est ?

À croire que les pays soutenant le terrorisme nous disent que les terroristes en Irak sont du sexe des anges, tandis que les terroristes en Syrie sont du sexe des démons !

J’aurais bien aimé demander à la représentante des États-Unis pourquoi son gouvernement n’a pas ouvert un couloir humanitaire au terroriste qui s’en est pris à une boîte de nuit en Floride ? Pourquoi ce terroriste n’a-t-il pas reçu nourriture et médicaments afin de continuer à terroriser pour des raisons humanitaires que M. O’Brien doit connaître ? Et pourquoi le gouvernement français n’a-t-il pas fourni aux terroristes qui ont attaqué le Bataclan aide alimentaire et couloir de sortie de Paris, pour des raisons humanitaires que, là aussi, M. Obrien doit connaître ? De même, pour d’autres questions concernant la Grande-Bretagne et d’autres lieux.

Assez de cette hypocrisie ! Le peuple syrien en paye le prix. Cette mise en scène doit s’arrêter et tous les membres de ce conseil doivent s’élever au niveau des responsabilités qui sont les leurs et non régler leurs comptes, entre eux, aux dépens de notre peuple !

Dr Bachar al-Jaafari

Délégué permanent de la Syrie auprès des Nations Unies.

26/10/2016

 

Transcription et traduction de l’arabe par Mouna Alno-Nakhal

Source : Al-Fadaiya TV [Syrie],[à partir de 1H52’ sur webtv.un.org]

https://www.facebook.com/seyasi/videos/1167414500001232/

[*] The situation in the Middle East / Syria – Security Council, 7795th meeting

http://webtv.un.org/watch/the-situation-in-the-middle-east-syria-security-council-7795th-meeting/5186395449001

 

***

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  • Commentaires fermés sur Bachar al-Jaafari : Assez d’hypocrisie, ni est, ni ouest, il n’y a qu’une Alep et qu’une Syrie !

On October 28, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian Al-Qaeda branch) and its ‘moderate allies’ launched a fresh full-scale offensive in order to break the siege from militant-controlled areas of Aleppo city.

Since the start of operation, the joint terrorist forces have been massively using car bombs (also known as vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices or suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive devices).

The usage of car bombs remains a significant threat to the Syrian government forces and has already allowed al-Nusra & Co to achieve some gains in western Aleppo. How this strategy can be countered? South Front provides an answer.

Car Bombs

A suicide bomber of the group “Islamic State” attacked a convoy of the Iraqi military east of Mosul, as reported by the Kurdish Firat agency. According to the agency, the attack took place on October 17, 2016 near the village of Bilavet in an area to the east of Mosul. At the time, the column of Iraqi military vehicles and accompanying infantry were advancing to attack IS forces in the city. The resultant explosion killed about 70 soldiers.

There are reports on the use of suicide car bomber by IS and other terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria on an almost daily basis. Such vehicles have historically been used for attacks against troops and civilians many times before, but the “Islamic State” began to utilize them on a massive scale, and to aid them in achieving tactical battlefield victories.

In order to determine how to deal with this enemy threat, adversaries of IS need to understand the improvised weapons themselves, as well as the methods and tactics of their use.

Now, we define the purpose of the use car bombs. They are:

  1. The destruction of command and control points, checkpoints, staging points;
  2. Defeat the enemy’s manpower by causing mass casualties;
  3. The demoralization of the armed forces and intimidation of the civilian population.

It is necessary to identify the means used by the terrorists in employing these improvised explosive vehicles. Their design depends on the available transport purposes and degrees of importance of the target. The means of transport is dominated by the use of pickup trucks, vans, dump trucks, and military all-terrain and on-road trucks. As a rule, they are further improving armored protection in the form of welding on steel pipes, mounting mesh netting to defeat grenades and shape charges, and layering on iron sheets for additional protection. It is worth noting that in recent times there were cases where additional crew would man car bombs in case of the death or incapacitation of the driver. In this case, the injured or killed primary driver could be replaced by another suicide bomber within the team. Examples of car bombs can be seen on Figures 1-4.

1

Fig. 1. Car bomb on the basis of a pickup truck. The metal sheets cover the entire body. Protection is provided from RPG hits on the cab through use of a steel grid or mesh.

2

Fig. 2. Car bomb on the basis of a van. The metal sheets cover the entire body.

3

Fig. 3. Shahid-mobility on the basis of a truck. Only the cab is enclosed by armor.

4

Fig. 4. Car bomb based on a 3-axle army truck. The metal sheets cover the entire body.

In regards to defeating their use, you need to identify the means and methods to counter these types of car bombs. These measures include:

Engineering

During defensive action, a huge role for the protection units from undermining car bombs is played by the engineering of physical barriers. The most effective means to counter suicide bombers can be accomplished through the erection of tank ditches, obstacles, hedgehogs, escarpments and counter-escarpments. It is also necessary to take into account the terrain around the point to use the natural obstacles to defensive advantage. Also, the erection of watchtowers for the early detection of the approach of car bomb vehicles, and the provisioning of the materials to construct them, is advisable. If time and resources are available, it is also advisable to build reactive obstacles with antitank and antipersonnel minefields around the most important areas.

Firepower 

The most effective, and in the offensive, perhaps the only way to defeat car bombs can be considered adequate firepower. Insurgents constantly show ingenuity in terms of increasing the chances of transport survivability, as well as taking measures to ensure successful operations by reinforcing vehicle crews to overcome the weakness of only a single driver. Firstly, the chief means of fire damage afforded are heavy machine guns (12.7mm and 14.5mm in caliber) and automatic cannons (23mm and 30 mm in caliber). At the onset it is most appropriate to mount these weapons on pickup trucks for mobility and quick reaction. It is possible to mount these vehicles with machine guns DSHK (1×12,7mm or 2×12,7mm). Anti-aircraft guns ZPU-4 (4 KPVT gun caliber 14.5 mm) or ZU-23-2 (2×23 mm automatic guns) can be mounted on trailers in the form of standard trailers hauled by prime movers of varying size, or mounted in the beds of all terrain trucks. In reinforcing or substituting the above vehicles, in the defense, you can add armored fighting vehicles such as the BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle, equipped with a 30 mm automatic gun.

Communication and Cooperation

A large number of military equipment used by government forces has been rendered out of order in the course of prolonged hostilities, so the armed forces are forced to use civilian vehicles. These same civilian vehicles are also used by the terrorists. This creates great difficulties in the recognition of “friend-or-foe”. To overcome these obvious difficulties it is necessary to organize effective means of communication and cooperation with neighboring units. Of course, this does not solve the whole problem, because the cycle of “challenge-response” takes time; however, it gives you a chance to save the lives of your troops.

Troops Formation

Analyzing explosions of car bombs, we can conclude that the terrorists are trying to hit the places of the greatest congestion of people and vehicles. Therefore, in defense and attack, as much as possible, it is important to spread out the troops and at the same time be able to concentrate fire on dangerous or suspicious objects.

Counterintelligence

Any terrorist act is prepared beforehand. In our case, car bombs are not an exception. Long before the attacks, terrorists are identifying targets (exhibiting interest in targeted areas or points of interest and sending reconnaissance), and preparing the transport (acquiring metal grids and steel sheets and mounting them). They are also preparing a large quantity of explosives (from artillery shells to the derivatives of ammonium nitrate). Such transport, during the preparation and release at the starting line, will be heavily guarded and masked from observation. Therefore, it is important to work with the local population, as for the preparation of a terrorist attack event can not be completely hidden from outsiders. The effective organization of counterintelligence activities against the terrorists, who are interested in important facilities, will protect the troops or objects being targeted.

Warning fire 

In case of the approach of suspicious vehicles towards defensive positions, especially when there is no forewarning or communications received from the neighboring troops or orders from staff, it makes sense to open warning fire (several bursts in the direction of the approaching vehicle). If it is friendly forces, then they will stop and try to identify themselves. On the contrary, terrorists would respond by increasing speed in an effort to rush to the target point.

Finally, I want to mark the occasion of the attack on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice which occurred July 14, 2016, when a truck driver rammed a crowd of people who gathered to watch the fireworks display on the occasion of Bastille Day. The truck did not stop; zigzagging, pressuring people for nearly two kilometers of waterfront, while the driver also opened fire. He was eventually eliminated by the police. 80 people became victims of the attack. In this case, the terrorist did not even have to additionally acquire and armor the vehicle or acquire any explosives. The success of the operation was due to the element of surprise, and that the police were armed with small arms, which could not immediately kill the terrorist or disable the vehicle. A high level of vigilance, as well as the combination of a complex of organizational and firepower measures against these vehicular weapons, will minimize losses and keep troops alive.

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Le  Club de Discussion Valdaï « est un forum international annuel qui vise à rassembler des experts pour débattre de la Russie et de son rôle dans le monde.

La mission du club est de créer une plateforme internationale pour permettre aux élites russes de débattre du développement du pays et de son rôle dans le monde, avec des experts étrangers issus du monde académique, de la politique et des médias1.

Le club Valdaï défend la vision d’un monde multipolaire, par opposition à un monde unipolaire dominé par les États-Unis d’Amérique. »

La présence annuelle du Président Poutine à ces rencontres annuelles permet de mieux comprendre les enjeux qui se présentent au monde dans lequel nous vivons et de mieux saisir l’esprit de celui qui est à la tête, non seulement d’un grand pays, mais aussi promoteur d’un monde multipolaire susceptible d’apporter plus de paix, de prospérité et de sécurité dans le monde. Pour lui, les Nations Unies sont une référence incontournable pour avancer sur cette voie du fait qu’en elle se trouve consigné l’ensemble des droits des personnes et des peuples.

En cette période, plus que trouble, que nous traversons, je mets à votre disposition la version française de l’intervention de Vladimir Poutine. Ce documentaire en français ne reproduit pas les échanges, questions et réponses, qui ont suivi. Ils existent évidemment en russe et si vous mettez la main sur une version française, faites-le-nous savoir. La version anglaise de l’ensemble de cette intervention es ici.

Une intervention qui prend d’autant plus de sens que nos médias et nos politiciens le présentent comme un ennemi à abattre. Les sanctions contre la Russie se font toujours plus persistantes et la désinformation sur le personnage ne cesse de le noircir aux yeux des Occidentaux. À vous, maintenant d’apprécier.

Oscar Fortin

Le 28 octobre 2016
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I am now convinced that the Oligarchy that rules America intends to steal the presidential election. In the past, the oligarchs have not cared which candidate won as the oligarchs owned both. But they do not own Trump.

Most likely you are unaware of what Trump is telling people as the media does not report it.

Video of Trump Statements regarding the Oligarchs

A person who speaks like this is not endeared to the oligarchs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYozWHBIf8g&app=desktop

Who are the oligarchs?

—Wall Street and the mega-banks too big to fail and their agent the Federal Reserve, a federal agency that put 5 banks ahead of millions of troubled American homeowners who the federal reserve allowed to be flushed down the toilet. In order to save the mega-banks’ balance sheets from their irresponsible behavior, the Fed has denied retirees any interest income on their savings for eight years, forcing the elderly to draw down their savings, leaving their heirs, who have been displaced from employment by corporate jobs offshoring, penniless.

—The military/security complex which has spent trillions of our taxpayer dollars on 15 years of gratuitous wars based entirely on lies in order to enrich themselves and their power.

—The neoconservartives whose crazed ideology of US world hegemony thrusts the American people into military conflict with Russia and China.

—The US global corporations that sent American jobs to China and India and elsewhere in order to enrich the One Percent with higher profits from lower labor costs.

—Agribusiness (Monsanto et.al.), corporations that poison the soil, the water, the oceans, and our food with their GMOs, hebicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers, while killing the bees that pollinate the crops.

—The extractive industries—energy, mining, fracking, and timber—that maximize their profits by destroying the environment and the water supply.

—The Israel Lobby that controls US Middle East policy and is committing genocide against the Palestinians just as the US committed genocide against native Americans. Israel is using the US to eliminate sovereign countries that stand in Israell’s way.

What convinces me that the Oligarchy intends to steal the election is the vast difference between the presstitutes’ reporting and the facts on the ground.

According to the presstitutes, Hillary is so far ahead that there is no point in Trump supporters bothering to vote. Hillary has won the election before the vote. Hillary has been declared a 93% sure winner.

I am yet to see one Hillary yard sign, but Trump signs are everywhere. Reports I receive are that Hillary’s public appearances are unattended but Trumps are so heavily attended that people have to be turned away. This is a report from a woman in Florida:

“Trump has pulled huge numbers all over FL while campaigning here this week. I only see Trump signs and stickers in my wide travels. I dined at a Mexican restaurant last night. Two women my age sitting behind me were talking about how they had tried to see Trump when he came to Tallahassee. They left work early, arriving at the venue at 4:00 for a 6:00 rally. The place was already over capacity so they were turned away. It turned out that there were so many people there by 2:00 that the doors had to be opened to them. The women said that the crowds present were a mix of races and ages.”

I know the person who gave me this report and have no doubt whatsoever as to its veracity.

I also receive from readers similiar reports from around the country.

This is how the theft of the election is supposed to work:

The media concentrated in a few corporate hands has gone all out to convince not only Americans but also the world, that Donald Trump is such an unacceptable candidate that he has lost the election before the vote.

By controllng the explanation, when the election is stolen those who challenge the stolen election are without a foundation in the media. All media reports will say that it was a run away victory for Hillary over the misogynist immigrant-hating Trump.

And liberal, progressive opinion will be relieved and off guard as Hillary takes us into nuclear war.

That the Oligarchy intends to steal the election from the American people is verified by the officially reported behavior of the voting machines in early voting in Texas. The NPR presstitutes have declared that Hillary is such a favorite that even Republican Texas is up for grabs in the election.

If this is the case, why was it necessary for the voting machines to be programmed to change Trump votes to Hillary votes? Those voters who noted that they voted Trump but were recorded Hillary complained. The election officials, claiming a glitch (which only went one way), changed to paper ballots. But who will count them? No “glitches” caused Hillary votes to go to Trump, only Trump votes to go to Hillary.

The most brilliant movie of our time was The Matrix. This movie captured the life of Americans manipulated by a false reality, only in the real America there is insufficient awareness and no Neo, except possibly Donald Trump, to challenge the system. Americans of all stripes—academics, scholars, journalists, Republicans, Democrats, right-wing, left-wing, US Representatives, US Senators, Presidents, corporate moguls and brainwashed Americans and foreigners—live in a false reality.

In the United States today a critical presidential election is in process in which not a single important issue is addressed by Hillary and the presstitutes. This is total failure. Democracy, once the hope of the world, has totally failed in the United States of America. Trump is correct. The American people must restore the accountability of government to the people.

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

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Donald Trump And The Power Of Money

octobre 28th, 2016 by Peter Koenig

Imagine, Donald Trump would accede to the US Presidency, an unlikely event with the presstitute media relentlessly slamming, slashing and demonizing him, not unlike they do with President Putin – while cheering no-end for the warmonger Killary, no matter what atrocities she has on her hands and body, no matter that blood is dripping out of her mouth every time she opens it – like Iraq, Libya, Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan, Sudan – and more, much more.

They, the elite, the military-security complex, Wall Street want War. War is good for business – so said the Washington Post. The warmongering MSM (mainstream media) also propagates for more weapons to enrich the military-security complex that pays them. But just for a moment, let’s assume, Trump would get elected with such a large margin that voter fraud would be difficult to manage.

Trump is sending a different narrative from that of eternal war. Trump seems to be looking into a different direction. He essentially says – stop the conflict with Russia, make Russia a partner, stop outsourcing jobs, bring them back, give labor back to Americans, slash the unemployment rate – which is, of course, everybody knows, way above the silly fabricated 5%. The reality is that unreported but real unemployment in the US is hovering between 22% and 25%, a real hammer for the economy, increasing anger and unhappiness and crime. Trump also says in the same vein as bringing back jobs – STOP globalization, restrain NATO, rein in the banks – yes, Wall Street, the Goldman Sachs-es and Co. of this world of fake pyramid money, dominated by the Rothschild-Rockefeller-Morgan clan. Trump says, let’s have a financial system that works for the people.

Does he mean it? – I don’t know. Could be true.

Most of what he says makes sense for America, for Americans – and by extension for much of the rest of the world, especially Europe, the genuine Europe, not the puppet-commandeered Europe. He also says a lot of outright discriminatory and xenophobic rubbish – like building a wall separating Mexico from the US of A, emulating Israel; and propagates a crackdown on Moslems. Does he mean it? Or does he want to please potential voters? – Such statements are indeed dangerous rubbish, but they are secondary to all the other things that are PRIORITARY, as they would help restore American society, workforce, dignity – most important: DIGNITY. Dignity is important for Americans to wake up to realize that they are living in a country that wastes their money, the peoples’ resources – on countless criminal wars around the world, feverishly racing towards Full Spectrum Dominance to benefit a few. The secondary stuff is important too, but can be dealt with in parallel by Americans that have come to senses.

Trump is in many ways like France’s Marine LePen, representing the extreme right, and therefore, no matter what sensible things she says and has on her agenda to do – and I don’t doubt one minute that she means what she says – like EUREXIT and send NATO to hell – she is still framed by the ‘left intellectuals’ – if such a thing still exists in our neoliberal universe – as a discriminatory xenophobe who would expel all ‘colored’ and ‘veiled’ foreigners. Of course, that’s bad. But let her first initiating France exiting from the EU, the Euro and NATO – the likely salvation of Europe, then tackle the other issues. First comes first. A true intellectual left would have to understand that – and not bend to the presstitute promoted clichés.

Trump has enough money power. He doesn’t have to bend to the military security complex, to the banks, to the Obamacare pharma-fiefdom. He doesn’t really have to bend to anybody. That worries the elite. He is independent. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. In no case could he be worse than Hillary – the killer – so much can be read from every word she says. Her pattern of pathology – “We came, we saw, he died”, when she saw the bloodstained image of the NATO-slaughtered Ghaddafi – indicates that she would not stop from pressing this infamous Red Button of Death and total world annihilation – perhaps even repeating that same smirk,  “We came, we saw, the world exploded”.

Now let’s go to the next hypothesis, assuming Trump would be elected and ‘they’ – the elusive high-powered small elite that pulls the strings on Washington and the White House’s overseas puppets, and let’s assume ‘they’ would let him live, at least for a while, Trump might be doing ‘irrational’ things in the eye of the Beltway slaves. Recognizing the perils for his own country and those for his neighbor, Canada, Mr. Trump might call on the western stooges, in Europe particularly, who for the sake of brown-nosing the naked king in Washington, are prepared to sell-out 500-plus million European and their future generations to the most nefarious trade deals the world has ever known – CETA, TTIP and TiSA (let alone the TPP, where 12 Pacific countries are about accept Washington) – telling them to come to senses, think democracy and stop the deals that 80% or more of Europeans despise and reject.

As a parenthesis and philosophically speaking, one could say that given the hundreds of years of colonization around the globe, of shameless exploitation, of raping and killing millions of people throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America – and mind you, an exploitation that continues to this day under the guise of trade and international banking – that these nefarious trade ‘deals’, TTIP, CETA, TiSA, are Europe’s historically deserved heritage, perpetrated by her own kind. The United States is Europe on steroids. The chickens are coming home to roost, so to speak.

The Saker wrote a great essay on the aberration of this upcoming US election and what might follow after the election, “The US Is About To Face The Worst Crisis in Their History” –

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45729.htm .

One of the article’s commenters pinned it down to the point: “If Trump does become Commander in Chief, his first job will be securing his life. Those who really run the show in the US will stop at nothing to safeguard their empire. Truly the US is at a cross roads and by extension the world. Times are really scary.”

What Trump says he would do during his first 100 days in office, he presented in a groundbreaking speech at Gettysburg, Pa. this past weekend, is for the most part truly astounding

http://www.veteransnewsnow.com/2016/10/24/donald-trump-delivers-a-powerful-policy-speech-on-his-first-100-days-in-office/.

It is not less than revolutionary, because no US politician, let alone a Presidential candidate or President has said something for the most part so sensible as did Presidential candidate Trump. Summarizing, he promises bringing back overseas jobs, would prevent the continued outsourcing of the American production processes, bring order to the crime-ridden communities, he would seek friendly partnership with Russia, defusing the WWIII threat – and he would tackle, restrain and control the corrupt banking system, including the endless money-making machine, the privately owned, Rothschild dominated FED. – That is a challenge other Presidents have failed to master, including Lincoln and JFK. We know how they ended.

Trump has already hinted that to revive the American economy the zero-interest policy may have to be changed, so that banks become more responsible. The owners of the system would hardly allow Trump’s interference in their obscene profit-making scheme. They’d rather at their calling let the bomb explode. A sudden change of this policy would hit many over-stretched banks like a bombshell – reminiscent of 2008 Lehman Brothers, just magnified by a factor of 10. There are currently at least three, possibly five Wall Street giants that are on the edge. They get by, because of the FED’s zero interest policy- and they make sure that this doesn’t change, as several if not all of them are part of the private FED system. Would Trump dare touching this highly protected scheme? – It’s a deadly challenge. He knows it.

This time there may be more at stake than just another banking collapse, a planned emulation of the 2007 / 2008 crisis, where Wall Street was copiously rewarded for its excesses by tax-money bail-outs. Be aware, this time it would not be tax-payer’s money that would rescue the Too-Big-To Fail (TBTF) banks, but it would be YOUR money, your deposits, your savings, your pension funds, 401(k)’s, possibly even your shares if you have any in the bank being ‘collapsed’ – and the process would be called ‘bail-ins’.

The (western) world is under the hegemon of a privately-owned money system, the US-dollar – and most people don’t even know it. The accent is on the western world, because the east, comprising Russia, China, the SCO countries (Shanghai Cooperation Organization – consisting of China and Russia and most of the Central Asian former Soviet Republics, plus Iran and Pakistan – and others are waiting in the wings), the EEU (Eurasian Economic Union), as well as most of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), are forming their own eastern economic and monetary block. – I have said this before, but will repeat it for readers to realize – this ‘economic block’ – is largely, if not entirely, delinked from the dollar scheme. It consists of about half the world’s population and one third of the world’s GDP, a solid GDP that is. In contrast to the western, especially the US GDP; in the eastern block much of the GDP is based on real labor output and manufacturing.

In reality, this eastern economic power block which is also displaying the world’s largest economic development potential, since history remembers, the New Silk Road – or the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) economic development scheme, stretching from Vladivostok to Lisbon (if Europe chooses to participate), does not need the west anymore. The OBOR project has already begun. It represents a view into the future, with job opportunities and the outlook for a truly better life for hundreds of millions, possibly billions of people during coming generations – a dynamic vision for the future. The east is where the future lays.

Donald Trump as President notwithstanding, a new western well-planned banking collapse may start in the US, the ramifications and impact would be felt around the globe – sinking millions, hundreds of millions of people into poverty, misery, the like we haven’t seen in recent history. The banks ‘depositors’ money might not be enough. The reptiles are hungry. They might privatize public properties, infrastructures, roads, ports railways, health care, education, pensions, natural resources – anything that is still in the hands of the people. If Greece is a reminder, then think of Greece blown up by a factor of 1000 – all around the globe, touching in extremis the vulnerable people of the vulnerable countries – billions of people. While the money flows again from the poor to the rich, to an ever-shrinking pool of super-rich; widening the rich-poor gap to a disgusting yawn. Leaving the 99.99 % – by now the 99.99999% – ever more powerless, having to fend for sheer survival – seeking refuge in ‘better lands’. It’s a war by money. Canons, bombs and guns could rest – for a while.

For years, I have felt the Empire will have to be brought down from inside – from the people who can’t take it anymore, from an internal revolt that eventually would break the worldwide extended monster’s back. Rome and most subsequent empires have fallen this way. It may still happen. But now I side more with The Saker’s theory, namely that the defeat may come from a combination of inside revolt and outside forces, not so much military forces, but economic forces. In theory, it could happen tomorrow. Just imagine, the one third of world-GDP-countries would drop all their dollar reserves, all the dollar denominated international contracts, all dollar issued trade agreements – and in particular, abandon at once the unwritten rule of hydrocarbons to be traded only in US-dollars. It would most likely wipe out the western economy.

This will not happen, of course. Simply, because the One Third GDP holders do not want to destroy the economy of the rest of the world, especially the so-called developing and emerging countries, many – or most of them – eventually to become allies of this eastern block that promises peaceful co-existence rather than the current western pattern of ever multiplying wars and conflicts – a sheer dollar-fed killing spree, with destruction and weapons manufacturing no end.

The Power of Money. Would Donald Trump, as President, himself a moneyed powerhouse, survive such a calamity? In fact, would he be able and strong enough to veer the ship around, guiding the world away from such destructive scenarios and towards peace and cooperation between East and West? – Or is the train already too far out of the station? – No telling at this time. The signals are certainly not good. But, let’s put in a grain of optimism and ‘bank’ on a positive strand of dynamics fueled by an increasing human consciousness – one that would not allow Hillary to push the Death Button.

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

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This essay is intended to counter the despair generated by the American presidential campaign (and the associated global chaos and wars) with a positive, constructive reaction to what is occurring.  I want to try to explain why the current state of affairs, as depressing and frightening as it may seem, represents a tremendous opportunity to accelerate Social Progress and create unprecedented Social Beauty (the foundation of which is creation of collaborative, independent, national Public Economies).

Exemplary of the despair and fear is an email message I recently received from a patient who lives in Eastern Europe:

“I hope that your president (whether Clinton or Trump) will do not much harm to our planet and its people.”

She is scared, worried, and depressed by the American presidential campaign and what is happening in the world as a whole. She feels anger and frustration—particularly when considering how difficult it is to make sense out of what is happening, and how little control she feels over what seems so out of control and so difficult to remedy.

As with this patient, the current U.S. presidential campaign, and the associated chaos and wars going on in so many countries of the world, have left most Americans and most aware global citizens similarly frightened, worried, depressed, angry, frustrated, confused, and despondent—and I am talking about people other than those in the Middle East, north Africa, and elsewhere who have directly suffered (killed, maimed, or displaced) from the chaos and war. The indecency (past and present) of both Trump1 and Clinton2, the lies both have told, the fears and hatred each has stirred, the beguiling confusion each has created, the depth and breadth of their mis-education, and their failure to present adequate solutions, have left people feeling frightened, hopeless and helpless, and have caused people to even question their own decency and their own ability to make sense out of life.

People feel belittled, betrayed, and bewildered.  Furthering the frustration and depression, has been the absence of a clear vision of how Social Suffering could be transformed into Social Beauty.  Most seem to have accepted the depressing (but untrue) notion that such transformation is impossible.

This essay is intended to remind readers that just because Trump and Clinton have exhibited so much sleaze and indecency does not mean that we, too, are indecent and sleazy.  Their hateful behavior need not make us hate ourselves, or others, and need not undermine confidence in our own goodness and our own ability to bring remedy to social Suffering.  Just because they have exhibited the worst aspects of Human Nature, does not mean that Human Nature is bad.

Human Nature is comprised of capacity for both good and bad—and we can create opportunities that give practice to Human capacity for goodness, allowing it to prevail.  Just because Trump and Clinton seem likely to exacerbate, rather than resolve current national and global crises, does not mean that we cannot find just and kind solution. In fact, the theme of this essay is that both Trump and Clinton, precisely because they represent such horrible Caricatures of What’s Wrong, are providing us with a tremendous opportunity to transform Social Suffering into Social Beauty.  We can seize that opportunity

But, before going further, please consider the following historical analogy, regarding how “Instructive Caricatures of What’s Wrong” have accelerated Social Progress in the past:

One could argue that the three people who did the most to accelerate Civil Rights advances during the 1960s were Martin Luther King (of course), George Wallace, and Lester Maddox (the racist governors of Alabama and Georgia, respectively, who insisted on blocking little black girls from attending “whites only” schools)—Dr. King, because of his exemplary social conscience, social philosophy, and leadership; Wallace and Maddox because they represented highly Instructive Caricatures of What’s Wrong.

Wallace and Maddox were gross caricatures of horrible racism.  Their racism was so blatant and so obvious, that segregation, which had been continually and successfully defended and accepted by politicians for decades, very quickly became obviously indefensible and “socially unacceptable,” once the behaviors of Wallace and Maddox were witnessed on television.   Lynching, which had occurred frequently for decades, also suddenly stopped (or at least became rare, at least in the literal sense), because Wallace and Maddox had so effectively exposed how awful and obviously unacceptable it was.  The racist attitudes and actions caricatured by Wallace and Maddox were very instructive.  Thanks to them, attitudes and actions that had been socially defended and tolerated for decades, suddenly became “socially unacceptable.”  Little progress in Civil Rights had been made, for decades, until Wallace and Maddox became Instructive Caricatures of What’s Wrong.  Their behavior helped Dr. King to drive home his message

Fast forwarding to Trump, Clinton, and the current global crises:

The good news is that because both Trump and Clinton, in their own different ways, represent such gross Caricatures of What is Wrong with American thinking and behavior1,2, 3, their caricatures will be more instructive (to all of the world’s people) than would more bland and masked representatives of American exceptionalism , mis-education, and mis-behavior (e.g. Obama).   Grotesque caricatures (if we can survive them, and we will!) raise social consciousness and social understanding faster and more accurately than do bland, gentler, masked representatives of the status quo.  So, the good news is that either one (Trump or Clinton) will make it more obvious than ever before “what’s wrong” and what we can do to fix it.

There is a medical analogy here:  How have physicians learned about normal human physiology and how beautifully it works?

Much of that learning has occurred (or at least been reinforced or confirmed) by studying diseases.

Diseases, particularly extreme versions of diseases, are “instructive caricatures” of things gone wrong.  By studying those diseases, we can figure out how human physiology works normally and optimally (and most beautifully).  Often, the most severe versions of disease (the greatest caricatures of what’s wrong) teach us more quickly and definitively than do subtle versions of disease (some of which even go unrecognized, undiagnosed, and unaddressed).  Similarly, Trumps and Clintons provide better learning opportunities than do “kinder, gentler” (but just as harmful) versions of mis-education and misbehavior (like Obama)—and, thereby, advance knowledge, understanding, and Social Progress more quickly.

Physicians are physicians because they deeply care about learning from and treating diseases.  They don’t ignore, deny, or run away from disease; they run towards disease and eagerly embrace the challenges of diagnosing, finding cause, and creating remedy.  They view presence of disease as opportunities to make things better, not as depressing experiences to avoid.

Likewise, it would be good if all people cared deeply to understand and treat caricatures like Trump, Clinton, and current US foreign policy—to figure out what is wrong and determine how societies could work and think optimally and most beautifully, individually and together; i.e. determine how to transform Social Suffering and diseased thinking into Social Beauty.  Trump1 and Clinton2, and the USA itself3, all caricatures of diseased thinking and diseased social behavior, have been giving us that opportunity.  Unwittingly, Trump, Clinton, and the USA, because they are caricatures of American mis-education and misbehavior, have, in fact, presented an unprecedented opportunity for us to advance Social Progress and create Social Beauty. If we take advantage of this opportunity, the world can become a much better place, even rapidly so.  If we ignore this opportunity, if we run away from this chance to diagnose social illness, seek its causes, and create remedy—then, disease will worsen and the world’s people and the earth itself will succumb—either quickly (via nuclear disaster), or more slowly (via neglect).

The most positive and helpful response, therefore, to Trump, Clinton, and current USA foreign policy, is not to allow ourselves to become depressed and despondent, not to run from these problems; but, rather, for all of us to become enthusiastic Social Clinicians—committed to bringing the nation’s and the world’s problems before the Social Clinic, where Social Suffering can be rigorously examined, diagnosed, understood, and treated; where work can be done to create Social Beauty.  The positive response to Trump, Clinton, and the USA is to view them for what they are—Instructive Caricatures of What’s Wrong—that teach us, give us new clarity, and give us new opportunity to make things better, to create Social Beauty and Social Justice, to reverse the Social Suffering of so many of the world’s people.  In that sense, this is an exciting time, not a time for fear, despondency, self-doubt, resignation, and acceptance of the status quo.

It is difficult to know who will be granted the Presidency.  We will be able to survive either one—but, only if we recognize these caricatures for what they are and use their caricatured mis-education and misbehavior as “teaching moments” to facilitate and expedite true social learning and Social Progress, and only if we rigorously evaluate and challenge their policies and actions every step of the way, always holding them accountable.  In that sense, they both represent a better “teaching opportunity” than has Obama and those before him.

So, don’t let Trump and Clinton demoralize you, undermine your sense of self-worth, and snuff out your hopes for Humanity and Mother Earth.  Recognize them as Instructive Caricatures of What’s Wrong—caricatures who can serve to accelerate Social Progress.  Yes, both are dangerous, in their own different ways, as well as in similar ways.  But, don’t be overly frightened.  All diseases are dangerous and strike some fear.  But, don’t run away from disease.  Those who are suffering the most need you to run towards it.  With knowledge, discipline, focus, practice, hard work, deep empathy, high spirit, resolve, and appropriately bold risk-taking—diseases can be conquered.  Physicians have demonstrated that.   Similarly, all of us can become Social Clinicians, participate in the Social Clinic, and contribute to the transformation of Social Suffering into Social Beauty.  That Transformation will likely require creation of collaborative, independent, national Public Economies, starting with thorough public discussion of this notion—but, further specific discussion of how to work towards creation of Social Beauty is a subject for a subsequent essay.

 1,2,,3  – Both Trump and Clinton represent horribly flawed candidates—each in different ways, neither being fit for public office.

1) Trump appears to be an arrogant, egotistical, narcissistic, undisciplined, impulsive, crude, predatory merchant who also appears to be a sexual predator, a racist, a pathological liar, and prone to fascist behaviors. He is either ignorant or ignorant (or both) of national and world history—particularly of our nation’s long and continued history of exploiting and abusing people all over the world.3  His views on human rights, civil rights, women’s rights, health care, guns, economics, immigration, and climate change reflect gross mis-education, at best.  He threatens to reverse social progress and dangerously increase social unrest, hatred, and incivility within the USA. He is a clear and present danger to American society, particularly to minorities.

His views and actions are full of contradictions. The only good things about Trump (if we can trust any of the following) are that he is not afraid to speak truth to power, he is not afraid to shake things up, he is willing to expose much of what is wrong with the current Establishment, he has awakened an apathetic American public, he dares to state that getting along with Russia could be a good thing, he questions why the USA is supporting ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria, he has been critical of the wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and he questions the money we spend on NATO. There is also a possibility (though this cannot be trusted) that he actually has a big heart, truly cares about suffering people, and that most of his misbehavior and mis-guided thinking is due to mis-education and mis-culture, rather than absence of compassion or intelligence.  Trump has presented himself as the populist, anti-establishment candidate who threatens to up-end the status quo.  But, because he is so untrustworthy, it is difficult to know whether his anti-establishment rhetoric is a true reflection of what he believes and plans; or whether his rhetoric is all a ploy, with plans (once in power) to execute the Establishment’s plans exactly as the Establishment tells and rewards him to execute them, and with greater force than we have seen them executed to date.

2) Clinton is particularly disturbing because of her foreign policy decisions and actions:  She orchestrated the brutal murder of Gaddafi and the total destruction of Libya, both of which were unwarranted, unnecessary, unwise, and grossly illegal.  Predictably, Libya became a failed state, over-run by ruthless terrorists—and she laughed about this accomplishment afterwards, in public (“We came, we saw, he died—ha, ha, ha”).  She similarly orchestrated a brutal regime change in Ukraine, deliberately placing fascist thugs in power, who then carried out a reign of terror on the Russian population of Ukraine and Crimea—then, she falsely blamed all of the carnage on “Russian invasion of Ukraine and Crimea.”  Despite knowing full well that Saudia Arabia and Qatar were financing and arming ISIS, she and Obama continued to ship huge amounts of arms and money to these countries, knowing that it was ending up in the hands of ISIS and similar terrorist groups.

She also orchestrated regime change in Honduras, ousting the democratically elected President Zelaya, replacing him with a brutal regime whose death squads murdered Berta Caceres, (right) a principled indigenous environmental activist who was on a hitlist distributed to US-trained “special forces units.” Berta was trying to protect the Aguan River from the ravages of US-supported (and Clinton-supported) corporate mining and hydroelectric projects. And, during her husband’s Presidency, she, Bill, and her friend, Madeleine Albright, imposed economic sanctions on Iraq that resulted in the deaths of 500,000 people, many of them innocent women and children—a sacrifice that Ms. Albright concluded “was worth it.”  (To whom was it worth it, Mrs. Albright, and who were you to decide?)  The Clintons’ “humanitarian efforts” in Rwanda and Yugoslavia, which they and Samantha Power justified by their “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine, were anything but humanitarian.  There is more, but we will stop here.

Like Trump, Clinton is either ignorant or ignorant (probably more the latter) of national and global history.  Despite her shameless claims to the contrary, she is willingly beholden to Wall Street/Big Finance. She appears to be committed to ruthlessly doing whatever is necessary to achieve the neo-conservative/neo-liberal goal of a uni-polar world totally dominated by Transnational Corporations (even killing thousands of innocent women and children, if necessary, as Mrs. Albright’s policies did in Iraq and Obama’s policies are now doing in Syria and Yemen). Guided by her gross mis-education and quest for power and wealth, she has dangerously and erroneously demonized Putin and Russia—e.g. irresponsibly calling Putin “a Hitler.”

If she becomes President, there is high risk that she will take the world to the brink of World War III, if not over the brink.  She is a carefully disciplined fraud, a pathological liar, a disingenuous empathizer, and a heartless war criminal.  She is a clear and present danger to world peace. The only good thing about Clinton is that, compared to Trump, she would do more for the human rights, women’s rights, minority rights, and health care rights of Americans (not globally)—not because she has genuine compassion, but because she realizes that it is “good politics” to do so.  She would be more effective (than Trump) at saving American Capitalism, thereby delaying its collapse and temporarily propping up the American economy (but this is a negative, in my opinion). Clinton is the pro-Establishment candidate, who will seek to maintain the status quo and will do so with greater force and zeal than has Obama, whose main contribution has been a pathetic modicum of self-serving restraint.

3) Sadly, Trump and Clinton are not alone in their mis-education and mis-behavior.  All of the American Presidents, since at least 1900, have caused great harm to the world’s people and great damage to the earth itself.  The most racist, arrogant, fascist, ignorant, ignorant, and dangerous notion of all is the American belief that the USA is “the exceptional and indispensable nation;” and that the USA’s wealth has primarily been due to unique American industriousness, ingenuity, competence, and the goodness of our foreign policy.  Nothing could be farther from the truth!!

America’s exceptional wealth and power has primarily been due to more than a century of exceptionally brutal global exploitation of the world’s people and resources—to the great harm of both.  Yes, there have been some “trickle down” benefits to many, in terms of an increase in material “standard of living.”   But, even those improvements in material well-being (including all of the scientific and technological advances generated by the USA) could have been achieved and distributed (even faster and better) by other countries, other peoples, and other economic and social models, if only they had been given a chance.

Not only have other countries and peoples not been given a proper chance to create their own existences, they have been deliberately sabotaged by American orchestrated chaos and war (e.g. Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, north African countries, most of central America, and most of South America to name just a few recent examples).  The chaos and wars have been deliberately designed to prevent other peoples, countries, and social systems from successfully competing with American supremacy (which pretty much amounts to White Supremacy).  The USA has not just built itself up; it has deliberately torn other people down and kept them from rising, so that no one else has a chance to threaten the USA’s insistence on its supremacy and its economic model.  Such a strategy is not only shameful and racist, it is enormously cowardly.

Even Obama believes in “American exceptionalism” and, astonishingly, believes Hillary Clinton is the “best prepared and most competent presidential candidate during our life-time.” These comments reflect profound mis-education, at best.

The fact is that the USA (its corporate and government leadership) is very far from exceptional, very far from indispensable, and has not been a force for good.  Clinton claims that “America is great because it is good.” I will agree that most American people, like the vast majority of the world’s people, are good.  But, history clearly reveals that the USA is powerful and wealthy, not because of altruism and goodness, but because of its rulers’ ruthless greed and heartless exploitation of the billions of “unpeople” living in the rest of the world.  The world will be a better place, if the USA is put in its proper place and is held accountable (for once).  If any country deserves to have economic sanctions placed on it, it is the USA.

If any leaders deserve to be brought before a world court for crimes against Humanity, it is the leaders of the USA.  If any country should have its armed forces stripped to a minimum (for defense only), it is the USA.  If any country should be disallowed from having military bases outside of their own country, it is the USA.  A Trump or Clinton Presidency, because they are such caricatures of wrong-thinking, mis-education, and mis-behavior, will make this much more obvious than has the Obama presidency.  Frankly, a Trump presidency would be more instructive/educational than a Clinton presidency (because she is more disciplined in hiding her true nature and the true nature of American thinking and plans for Supremacy).  Yes, Trump would be risky, but Clinton is just as risky—they are just risky in different ways. Trump clearly poses a greater risk domestically (within the U.S.), but Clinton probably poses a greater risk globally.

Clinton will probably “win” the election.  But, a surprise Trump victory is possible—not because more than a third of the electorate supports his attitudes and policies, but because many caring and wise people are absolutely fed up with the hypocrisy and lies associated with Clinton and the dangerous foreign policies of American Exceptionalism that she shamelessly promotes.  I might not vote—because I think an embarrassingly low turn-out of eligible voters would make the most effective statement, and because I refuse to give my consent to a Trump or Clinton presidency.  I refuse to be an accomplice to their crimes, policies, and sleaze.  Furthermore, as awful as both are, I believe that we have the capacity to control either one.  If we care enough, we will be able to prevent either from creating the disasters they threaten to create.  However, if it looks as though an embarrassingly low turn-out is not going to happen (because the American public has been successfully tricked and frightened into flocking to vote for the “lesser of two evils”), I will vote for Jill Stein, whose policies and attitudes seem the most wise and the most kind—by far.

We will be able to survive either candidate (Trump or Clinton)—but, only if we know our history and use their caricatured mis-education as “teaching moments” to facilitate and expedite true social learning and Social Progress; only if we rigorously evaluate and challenge their policies and actions and insist on holding them accountable; and only if we believe in our capacity to develop and discuss alternative plans for creation of Social Beauty.  Mass re-education will be necessary.  The focus of mass public discussion will need to be ideas such as creation of collaborative, independent, national Public Economies.  Creation of Social Beauty will depend on such discussions.

Robert Rennebohm, MD has practiced pediatric rheumatology since 1979, when he started his pediatric rheumatology fellowship training at the Special Treatment Center for Juvenile Arthritis at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati.

For 17 years he was Chief of the Division of Pediatric Rheumatology at Ohio State University College of Medicine and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to coming to the Cleveland Clinic (in July, 2012), he was Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Rheumatology at the University of Calgary and Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (2008-2012).

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US officials have threatened Syria and its allies – including Russia specifically – that the collapse of a US-proposed ceasefire will lead “Gulf states” to arm militants with shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.

A Reuters article titled, “Gulf may arm rebels now Syria truce is dead: U.S. officials,” would elaborate, claiming:

One U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss American policy, said Washington has kept large numbers of such man-portable air defense systems, or MANPADS, out of Syria by uniting Western and Arab allies behind channeling training and infantry weapons to moderate opposition groups while it pursued talks with Moscow.

But frustration with Washington has intensified, raising the possibility that Gulf allies or Turkey will no longer continue to follow the U.S. lead or will turn a blind eye to wealthy individuals looking to supply MANPADS to opposition groups.

“The Saudis have always thought that the way to get the Russians to back off is what worked in Afghanistan 30 years ago – negating their air power by giving MANPADS to the mujahideen,” said a second U.S. official.

However, in reality, ambitions to down Russian and Syrian aircraft over Syria are not Saudi in origin, but rather come from the highest levels of policy and politics within Washington.  Washington-based corporate-financier policy think tank, the Brookings Institution, in a paper titled, “What to do when containing the Syrian crisis has failed,” would admit (emphasis added):

We must also be clever about employing various options for no-fly zones: We cannot shoot down an airplane without knowing if it’s Russian or Syrian, but we can identify those aircraft after the fact and destroy Syrian planes on the ground if they were found to have barrel-bombed a neighborhood, for example. These kinds of operations are complicated, no doubt, and especially with Russian aircraft in the area—but I think we have made a mistake in tying ourselves in knots over the issue, since there are options we can pursue.

In a 2015 Fox News interview, US Senator John McCain would admit:

I might do what we did in Afghanistan many years ago, to give those guys the ability to shoot down those planes. That equipment is available.

When asked to clarify his statement as to who would be shooting down the planes, McCain would answer:

The Free Syrian Army, just like the Afghans shot down the Russian…

In essence then, the US is merely laundering anti-air weapons and the ambition to use them through Saudi Arabia, as it has done so with all the weapons, terrorists, vehicles, money, and support used to trigger and perpetuate the ongoing war in Syria – with the Saudis at best, merely partners.

The US is Knowingly Going to Arm Al Qaeda, ISIS with Anti-Air Missiles

US politicians and policymakers are already acutely aware that any weapons they send into Syria – including anti-air missiles – will immediately end up in the hands of designated foreign terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda and ISIS. They are aware of this because thousands of anti-tank missiles the US has sent into the country, as well as fleets of Toyota trucks, ammunition, food, and other supplies have already ended up in Al Qaeda and ISIS’ hands.

This is not only through the seizure of weapons by terrorist organizations from “moderate rebels,” but because America’s “moderate rebels” have either voluntarily joined the ranks of designated terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda and ISIS – or were affiliated with terrorists from the very beginning and even before the conflict even began.

In a particularly embarrassing episode, it was reported by the pro-war, corporate-financier funded and chaired Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) blog, The Long War Journal in an article titled, “Islamic State used US-made anti-tank missiles near Palmyra,” that:

In a new video released by the Islamic State, the jihadist group shows the capture of the ancient city of Palmyra, also known as Tadmur in Arabic. During the video, at least one US-made BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile is seen being used against Syrian regime troops near the city.

The report continued by stating:

This is not the first time the Islamic State has shown with TOWs. Last December, the jihadist group also published photos showing its forces using TOW missiles against Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces in the Damascus countryside. The United States has supplied several FSA groups with TOW missiles, which have sometimes fallen into the hands of jihadist groups or have been used to assist jihadist groups. The TOW used in Palmyra was likely captured from battles with the FSA in other parts of Syria.

It is not only possible that any anti-air weapons sent into Syria will end up in the hands of Al Qaeda or ISIS, it is inevitable.

Any nation supplying militants with such weapons is all but intentionally ensuring they eventually end up in the hands of terrorist organizations.

America Sowing the Seeds for New Levels of Global Terrorism for Decades to Come

And what US policymakers seem unaware or unconcerned with is the possibility that such weapons may be turned against their own forces not only in Syria – including US and European warplanes – but across the region, including on the battlefield in Yemen, targeting US-made Saudi warplanes.

Also possible is that these weapon systems are spirited out of the region and used to target civilian aircraft in terrorist attacks around the world.

As the US continues leveraging the downing of MH-17 over Ukraine against Russia, it simultaneously attempts to all but ensure the most dangerous terrorist organizations on Earth gain access to anti-air weaponry. It is a clear indicator that the US, not Russia nor the Syrian government, pose a threat to global peace and stability.

The same US who knowingly created and wielded Al Qaeda against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s before claiming to be victimized by this mercenary force on September 11, 2001 -precipitating a decade and a half of “War on Terror” – is hereby standing up a terrorist mercenary force larger and better armed than ever before. The US is sowing the seeds of global terrorism for decades to come by doing so.

America’s fueling of the Syrian conflict directly and through its Persian Gulf proxies has turned the entire Middle East and North African region into a hotbed of failed states, terrorism, and humanitarian crises. Russia’s failure to prevent US intervention in Libya has left the nation divided and destroyed, hemorrhaging refugees across the Mediterranean Sea into Europe and inviting terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS to expand across not only the ruins of Libya, but also across the rest of the region and beyond.

Russia’s failure to stop the division and destruction of Syria will result in a catastrophe greater still – and despite the level of destruction and violence unfolding today in Syria – should Damascus collapse and militant groups be left intact – Syria will face exponentially greater violence and destruction that will make Libya’s ongoing sociopolitical and humanitarian catastrophe pale in comparison.

The US, by erasing the lines of even rhetorical sensibility, does however open a window of opportunity for Syria and its allies to respond with asymmetrical warfare, targeting US and European warplanes illegally operating over Syria in such a way as to make it difficult if not impossible to determine whether or not America’s own anti-air weapons are being used against its and its allies’ warplanes.

US policy which essentially places anti-air missiles into the hands of terrorists – is so ill-conceived and desperate, the fact that it has been tabled in the first place illustrates Washington’s increasingly weak and desperate hand. If this policy is properly exposed for what it truly implies both for Syria and the state of global security for decades to come, and should it be countered intelligently by Syria and its allies, it can be turned back against Washington and add further impetus to finally end this war in the Syrian people’s favor – not Washington’s.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.
http://journal-neo.org/2016/09/30/us-threatens-to-arm-al-qaeda-isis-with-anti-air-missiles/

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Qayyarah may have been liberated from IS, but noxious gases and burning oil fields have left residents gasping for clean air

QAYYARAH, Iraq – When Islamic State militants were chased out of the small Sunni town of Qayyarah, the town’s 13,000 or so remaining residents were praised by the Iraqi government for staying put during the fighting.

By not fleeing the Islamic State’s occupation, they did not add to the growing population displacement crisis in Iraq, and they also showed steely determination to withstand the brutality of the most hated terror group in the world.

But if marauding militants were not enough to force the largely Sunni town to flee, it appears the toxic pollution created by IS’s masochistic violence just might be.

On leaving the town, the groups few remaining militants set fire to the nearby oil fields. The fields are small, particularly compared to others in Iraq, producing around 10,000 barrels of heavy, sulphurous oil per day, according to Patrick Osgood of the Iraq Oil Report.

Retreating IS militants torched part of the Mishraq sulphur plant, releasing noxious sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide into the air (MEE / Gareth Browne)

Primarily retained for domestic use, the oil field was an important employer, giving jobs to hundreds of the town’s residents, and with thousands more financially dependent on their relatives employment in the industry.

According to Osgood, an estimated $150,000 worth of oil is being burned each day, in just one oil field, ejecting a thick plume of black smoke that gives the whole town an apocalyptic feel.

They also serve as a scar, a reminder that the Islamic State group is still a threat. Indeed as you wander around the town, machine gun fire is plainly audible and the ash-black carcasses of car bombs are everywhere. The Iraqi army’s frontlines are just a few hundred metres outside the town’s perimeter.

An Iraqi soldier looks on as the oil fields of Qayyarah give off vast plumes of sulphurous black smoke after being set on fire by Islamic State group militants (MEE/ Gareth Browne)

One man, a resident of the town, who gave his name as Ahmed, explains why he had stayed through it all. “When they came to Qayyarah, they would execute people in the street. They killed my brother. I stayed through all of that because this is my home. The Islamic State will not last forever and I knew we must stay to rebuild Qayyarah, to rebuild Iraq, so that it is standing long after Daesh (IS) are exterminated. It was my responsibility.”

Despite his stoicism, however, now even he is considering leaving. “Every morning I wake up and I feel ill. I can’t stop coughing. IS didn’t kill me, but I’m fearful that the fumes might.”

Liberated but toxic

Ahmed is not alone. Several hundred of the town’s residents have been hospitalised for respiratory problems as a result of the plumes, and at least 30 deaths have been reported.

Qayyarah now finds itself in a situation where, despite being liberated, its remaining residents are beginning to flee. They fear that the toxic smoke might achieve what the Islamic State group were unable to do.

Medical clinics in the area are reopening, but they lack the resources to deal with the effects of smoke inhalation – notably bottled oxygen – and they tend to prioritise combat wounds instead.

One person to have already fled the plumes of smoke is Muna. She returned to her home in Qayyarah briefly following the town’s liberation. But after two days she returned to a makeshift camp on the outskirts of Erbil. “There is nothing for me to go back to,” she said. “My husband is gone and I can’t live a simple life there. I will not raise my children amid the poison. »

She elaborates saying, « Even under Daesh we could try to stay out of trouble. We would stay indoors and pray when they told us to pray, but you cannot hide from the smoke, » she added. “When I returned I was coughing all the time, the doctors there could do nothing, they couldn’t help me. I had to help myself.”

Qayyarah’s 13,000 remaining residents were praised by the Iraqi government for staying put during the fighting (MEE / Gareth Browne)

Although official measurements have yet to be taken, Timothy Atkin, a consultant geologist, suggests that the levels are almost certainly above US-proscribed pollutant limits, adding that “at these sorts of levels the pollutants, which initially cause mainly coughing and headaches, can be immediately dangerous to life”.

There are no signs of the situation improving. Following the routing of his army from Kuwait in the first Gulf war, Saddam Hussein set fire to some of the country’s largest oil wells. The largest of those burned for more than 10 months, and they were only put out following the efforts of specialist teams from the United States.

However, there is no sign that similar efforts are being made to extinguish the fires in Qayyarah or elsewhere. As Osgood of Iraq Oil Report says: “Rocket and mortar attacks continue in the area, so the security situation prevents the close-quarters fire fighting needed to pump enough water at the wellheads.”

In the days before MEE’s visit, at least three cars laden with explosives blew up in the town. Fortunately, they were brought to a halt outside the city but the threat is still very real. Even if the safety situation was to finally be brought under some semblance of control, authorities still lack the capability to tackle the blazes.

An Iraqi soldier walks near the carcass of an exploded car bomb outside Qayyarah (MEE / Gareth Browne)

Osgood explains: “The North Oil Company likely lacks the equipment to tackle a severe fire of this size. There are probably not many who can. The Iraqi government has claimed to have made progress putting out fires, but the reality is all the wells [that were] lit, remain lit. Meanwhile Iraq is lobbying the US for assistance, but no contractor is going to put men on the ground when they might take fire or be killed by another explosion. So until the area is secure, the fires will leak and burn, perhaps for many more weeks to come.”

Smoke seen from space

The issue has become even more lethal in recent days. Retreating IS militants torched at least part of the nearby Mishraq Sulphur plant, one of the largest such factories in the region. Noxious sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide are now also being released into the air in plumes visible from the International Space Station. Local authorities claim that at least two people have been killed, and more than 30 hospitalised.

Shifting winds have sent the fumes towards the nearby Qayyarah airbase, where hundreds of US military personnel have been forced to operate in gas masks.

The Iraqi army too has provided some of their nearby personnel with respirators, but the reality is that it is local residents who are most at risk. Few have gas masks or realise the danger the fumes pose.

A sudden change in wind direction also poses serious risks to the operation to take back Mosul. Nearby frontlines to the east of Mosul are mainly manned by Kurdish Peshmerga forces, very few of whom have the equipment to protect themselves against, and operate in the toxic smoke.

Acid rain threat

Both forms of pollution – the thick black smoke from the burning oil and the chemical output from the sulphur plant, also present serious risks to Iraq’s environment in the long term.

As Timothy Atkin warns, “when sulphur dioxide is mixed with water it can form sulphuric acid, which once in the atmosphere can cause acid rain,” and with Iraq’s winter – a period during which approximately 90 percent of the country’s annual rainfall comes down – fast approaching, the risk is deadly and growing.

But the risk extends beyond simply adverse health effects. Acid rain is likely to kill much of the vegetation in the areas it falls on, whilst a lack of sunlight courtesy of the oil plumes poses similar risks to both vegetation and residents.

Qayyarah may have been liberated from the Islamic State group, but it is clear the biggest threats to its residents and authorities are yet to come. It is perhaps symptomatic of the sort of challenges a post-IS Iraq will face.

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The Western media seizes every chance to twist the truth in favor of another round of Putin bashing as its worn out flimsy excuse to escalate further hostilities against Moscow. The liars of the West never fail to add fuel to their propaganda war machine fire.

The latest hype is blaming a Russian airstrike for destroying a school in the rebel held Idlib Province in northern Syria, killing 22 children and six teachers.

Immediately the UN as the Washington vassal it is, through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for added sensational effect no less began milking the tragedy for all it‘s worth, denouncing the killing as “an outrage” and probable war crime, adding that it’s the deadliest attack on a school in the near six year Syrian conflict.

What’s being left out of this heavily biased narrative is that the war in Syria was maliciously started by the United States, specifically the CIA funding protests in 2011 (actually as far back as 2005) targeting Assad as part of its infamous Arab Spring uprising in accordance with Empire’s illegal regime change policy. As an independent, secular leader unwilling to succumb to US pressure to allow a 2009 proposed Qatar gas pipeline to Europe be built through his country, the fixated neocons have been gunning for Assad’s removal ever since.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov explained that after closer examination and careful analysis, the video released to Western media allegedly depicting the airstrike in Idlib Province consists of more than ten separate pieces of footage fragmented together. Thus, it appears to be a hoax designed to incriminate the Russian aerospace group for killing innocent kids. He added:

« As one can see on a photo from the Russian drone, the roof of the school is not damaged and there are no bomb craters in the area adjacent to the school… All this means that the UNICEF leadership fell a victim to a new deception of swindlers in White Helmets. That is why, before making loud statements, UNICEF officials should check sources of their information in order not to undermine reputation of a respected organization. »

Of course this latest false flag isn’t the first time Russia’s been falsely blamed for attacks in Syria. Through CIA and military intelligence, the West has an elaborate network of anti-Russian and anti-Assad provocateurs waging staged events to implicate and vilify Putin and Assad as the enemy.

General Konashenkov mentioned the White Helmets as part of the organized setup of US false flag operations in Syria. A former UK military intelligence officer owns the private security company responsible for training and handling the so called White Helmets, discredited Syrian provocateurs pretending to be Syria’s Civil Defense corps regularly staging fake photo-ops after US backed terrorist groups kill innocent civilians making it appear that Assad and Putin are willfully and inhumanely murdering them. This latest school tragedy appears no different as incident after incident has been exposed in recent months.

Like last month’s attack on that UN humanitarian aid convoy north of Aleppo several weeks ago, engineered by Western intelligence working with the terrorists to accuse Russia of yet another airstrike that didn’t happen, covering up the a rocket attack perpetrated by the US backed al Nusra Front (forget their recent name change designed to distance themselves from being US proxy war terrorists no different from al Qaeda or ISIS/Daesh/Islamic State). Bottom line, Terrorists-R-US, Inc.

In this latest propaganda ploy, on-the-ground eyewitness reports vis-à-vis White helmets state that 10 airstrikes around midday on Wednesday were responsible for striking the residential compound containing two schools in session at the time resulting in the bloodbath. Of course the go-to propagandist organization out of London that the Western media never fails to quote, the already outed fraudulent Syrian Observatory of Human Rights consisting of one anti-Assad expatriated Syrian, began immediately pointing the finger at Russia, like Clinton, Obama and all the Western axis-of-evil liars determined to demonize Putin and Russia as false justification for starting their next world war.

In response to the tragedy, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Thursday called for an urgent international investigation without delay. She had this reaction to the Western pressitutes blaming her nation:

This is not surprising, but at the same time it deserves the strongest criticism. Al-Jazeera, The Independent, and other mass media sharing the same attitude to the journalistic profession at once blamed the tragedy on Russia, on the Russian aerospace group and on the Syrian armed forces. They claimed outright that it was a bombardment carried out by Russia and Syria. This is a lie. Russia has nothing to with that terrible tragedy, with that attack.

Zakharova also mentioned concern that the UN humanitarian relief in Syria has not nearly been enough to evacuate the wounded and sick from East Aleppo after Russia and Syria agreed to a humanitarian pause there several days ago. However, US backed rebels and snipers fired on civilians attempting to leave the city. Moreover, the US took full advantage of the lull in the Russian-Syrian fighting by opportunistically resupplying their terrorists on the ground with 50 ton airdrops of fresh ammo and weapons. Again, clearly it’s the US that’s the war crime culprit, needlessly causing only more war and more deaths in the war ravaged nation reeling from nearly a half million lives lost.

Another reality check for the Washington neocon war maniacs determined to blame Russia for all the ills of the world (including the corrupt US political system responsible for the rigged election) as their deceptive sleight of hand brainwash to feebly cover up their own slaughterhouse carnage raping our planet, just one day prior to the Idlib school violence, the Beirut branch of Amnesty International (AI) chastised the US led coalition pretending to fight the terrorists for its wanton killing of civilians in Syria as “collateral war damage.” The inhumanities that Empire commits is never admitted or acknowledged but instead constant lies claiming that Russian and Syrian forces are cold-bloodedly mowing down innocents continue nonstop. The hubris and hypocrisy stemming from Washington’s rotten core is American exceptionalism at its diabolical worse.

Deputy Director for research at the Beirut Amnesty International office Lynn Maalouf, stated:

It’s high time the US authorities came clean about the full extent of the civilian damage caused by coalition attacks in Syria. We fear the US-led coalition is significantly underestimating the harm caused to civilians in its operations in Syria.

AI estimates that in 11 US coalition airstrikes since September 2014 killed more than 300 civilians in Syria. Maalouf maintains that in each case, “the coalition forces failed to take adequate precautions to minimize harm to civilians and damage to civilian objects.” So who’s really the inhumane kid-killing bad guy in Syria? Definitely not Russia nor the Syrian government but once again the enemy of the world US Empire.

Ultimately to silence this never-ending US blame game against Moscow, the Russian ambassador to the UN on Thursday began circulating the original September 9th US-Russian peace treaty to the UN Security Council as well as to the UN Geneva branch. This document clearly shows that Russia has exhausted every sincere effort to bring an end to the war in Syria and stop global terrorism but the United States and its Western lackeys have willfully and deceitfully sabotaged that process at every turn in order to save their precious terrorists and endless war on terror. The evildoers behind the lifted curtain are exposed and guilty as charged.

Or how can we forget the Obama staged false flag attack in August 2013 when the liar-in-chief falsely blamed Assad for sarin gassing his own Syrian children in the nearby Damascus suburb of Ghouta. Despite the real child murderers being Obama and his backed rebels he and Hillary created soon to be named ISIS, the Manchurian president given the mission to destroy America and his then recently resigned Secretary of State designated to be his successor to finish the job were trying to launch airstrikes on Syria to start World War III over three years ago. Putin outsmarted the US traitors in charge by brokering the last minute deal for Assad to turn in his chemical weapons arsenal. But with White House approval, US backed terrorists guilty of the Ghouta massacre are still using their Saudi and Turkish supplied chemical weapons to kill Syrian civilians even to this very day. Where are the humanitarian cries about those war crime atrocities?

Or what about all the civilians dying in Syria from mortar shelling of residential neighborhoods in West Aleppo? A mere one day after the Idlib school bombing, the US backed al Nusra fired rockets in two locations in West Aleppo, one a school killing six children under the age of 16 and injuring more than a dozen others. In response to the Thursday school bombing in West Aleppo by US backed terrorists, the Aleppo police chief Zuher Said Aldin commented:

There are no military units there, only schools. Nevertheless, militants carried out a strike on this area, moreover, when classes were underway. Innocent children were killed, they just wanted to study.

But where are all the humanitarian cries against US financed and supported terrorists constantly murdering innocents throughout the Middle East and North Africa? Conveniently absent, because the US plotters of wars around the world couldn’t care less about any dead children anywhere on this planet.

Or the 10,000 civilians in Yemen slaughtered by the US backed Saudi coalition consisting of US Special Force boots on the ground and more al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists deployed there as well, in addition to Israeli and Gulf State airstrikes and now US destroyers pounding the Yemen coast killing more civilians with cruise missiles after yet more US false flag claims that the Houthis fired missiles at the US Navy without any evidence to prove it. Where are the sanctimonious humanitarian cries over dead Yemen children?

This historic, incessant use of false flags designed to bring about yet more war, terror and carnage to further destabilize the world for Empire hegemonic unipolar control needed to usher in the elite’s one world government tyranny that the puppet masters have been plotting for over a century has been and currently is Washington’s fulltime modus operandi.

Because the globalists are getting desperate knowing that the world is now onto their demonic genocidal bloodletting and is now seeking justice and accountability in their relentless crimes against humanity, they’re racing against time to bring us all down with Hillary as their rigged presidential choice launching WWIII and their preplanned global economy collapse as justification to finalize global governance using the climate change hoax and the Trojan horse excuse of protecting survivors with Agenda 2030 mass relocation as their prime vehicles to make it happen.

By the way, this elitist plan includes preemptive nuclear first strikes against the Eastern nuke powered nations Russia and China while leaving humanity at the earth’s surface to die from fatal exposure to radioactive fallout. For decades they’ve been planning for this nightmarish endgame scenario, quietly building their subterranean luxury bunkered homes that include several years of survival supplies, deep underground military bases (DUMB’s) and elaborate transcontinental transport systems.

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.id/.

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Inside the Invisible Government: War, Propaganda, Clinton and Trump

By John Pilger, October 27 2016

Propaganda is most effective when our consent is engineered by those with a fine education – Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Columbia — and with careers on the BBC, the Guardian, the New York Times, theWashington Post. These organisations are known as the liberal media. They present themselves as enlightened, progressive tribunes of the moral zeitgeist. They are anti-racist, pro-feminist and pro-LGBT. And they love war.

money illuminati

Who Was Behind the 2008 Financial Crash? US Aristocracy’s Immunity From Prosecution. Proposal to Hold Top Level Wall Street “Crooks” Accountable

By Eric Zuesse, October 27 2016

For the very first time, on October 25th, a high federal official, the “SIGTARP” or Special Inspector General for the TARP program that bailed out the largest financial institutions and their top investors after the 2008 economic crash, is now making a specific proposal to hold the top-level crooks accountable for the incentive-systems they had put into place motivating their employees to pump-and-dump ‘investments’ during the growth-phase of the ‘free market’ Ponzi game that existed since 2000 when the end of the FDR-era Glass-Steagall Act and the start of totally unregulated financial marketeering went wild after 2005 and came crashing down in 2008.

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Agrochemicals And The Cesspool Of Corruption: Dr. Mason Writes To The US EPA

By Colin Todhunter, October 28 2016

In her recent open letter to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason documents what amounts to a cesspool of corruption surrounding sections of the agrochemicals industry and the regulation of glyphosate (as found in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup).

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The Illusion of Meritocracy: “Rock Star Economist” Thomas Piketty in Australia

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark, October 28 2016

No one likes being lectured, and when it comes in the form of Gallic smugness delivered from literally the left of centre, it can grate. The equally smug social engineers and commentators who see their society as an exemplar to emulate find that hardest to stomach. Thomas Piketty, repeatedly introduced as a “rock star” economist by those short of words, is certainly full of advice for the places he visits.

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The True Flag – Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of the American Empire

By Jim Miles, October 28 2016

The American empire is usually not spoken of as such within today’s current mainstream media discussions, but is generally recognized as such during infrequent candid moments, and within discussions in much of the alternate media. The discussion is not new, and the factors within the discussion, while changing somewhat with the times, tend to have remained the same. Stephen Kinzer’s illustrative new history, The True Flag, takes the reader back to the turn of the Twentieth Century when the first acts of overseas empire were argued and acted on.

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Voilà un peu plus de trois mois que certains membres dévoyés de l’armée turque ont échoué à renverser le président Erdogan dans leur tentative spectaculaire de coup d’État en juillet dernier. Depuis lors, la décantation de l’événement a permis à de nombreux analystes d’évaluer plus calmement ce qui s’est produit pendant cette période dramatique et enquêter en détail sur ses origines.

Cette révision cherche à réévaluer les motivations de la tentative de changement de régime et à faire valoir l’idée que les États-Unis ont exploité les importantes divergences préexistantes au sein de l’élite militaire – et de la société turque – pour fomenter le coup d’État avec la finalité d’arriver à un résultat géostratégique à somme nulle dans le conflit avec la Russie.

Reconceptualiser la situation socio-politique

Une illusion, entretenue de longue date, voulait que la Turquie soit une démocratie libérale sur le modèle occidental – avant la tentative de coup d’État, et la répression qui a suivi –, mais cette présomption ne rend pas fidèlement compte des processus de transformation qui se sont produits depuis que Erdogan est arrivé au pouvoir en 2003. Les observateurs extérieurs, qui ne suivent pas de près la politique intérieure turque, pourraient naïvement avoir supposé que la forme existante de la gouvernance en Turquie serait immuable en raison de son adhésion à l’OTAN, de ses aspirations pour adhérer à l’UE, et de son partenariat avec les États-Unis, mais aucune de ces trois conditions n’est un préalable nécessaire à une démocratie libérale durable. Le cours des treize dernières années en Turquie a vu le pays glisser d’une démocratie libérale de style occidental séculaire vers une «démocratie nationale» islamiste, l’ancien système demeurant comme une coquille vide afin de dissimuler, à grand peine, le noyau du nouveau.

La seule autre Démocratie islamique célèbre est en Iran, bien que l’on soit officiellement en présence d’une république relativement plus ouverte que la Turquie. Erdogan est connu comme admirateur de l’idéologie des Frères musulmans, il est donc probable que les caractéristiques relativement plus centralisées de son modèle d’évolution soient dues à l’influence de cette organisation. Le président turc a officiellement accueilli le groupe après son expulsion du Qatar en 2014. Avant cela, son Tour de la victoire en 2011, lors des Printemps arabes en Égypte, en Libye et en Tunisie, a montré qu’il a longtemps désiré prendre la tête du groupe de pays où il s’attendait à voir les Frères musulmans usurper le pouvoir, après leurs opérations réussies de changement de régime. Dans le cadre de sa mission islamiste, Erdogan veut changer la constitution laïque que le fondateur des temps modernes, Kemal Mustafa Atatürk, avait mise en œuvre en Turquie [au début du XXe siècle, NdT], dont les critiques craignent que cela n’entraîne l’imposition d’un état de style salafiste à tous les Turcs, qui subiraient ensuite une pression pour accepter un système socio-politique religieux par divers moyens de coercition.

En toute justice, cependant, l’État laïque du XXe siècle en Turquie est une anomalie historique pour son peuple, considérant qu’il avait vécu pendant des siècles sous le califat, mais les réformes d’Atatürk ont été un tel succès que la laïcité est devenue un élément déterminant de l’identité nationale de la Turquie pour symboliser sa modernisation rapide en termes socio-politiques. La Turquie a maintenu ce système jusqu’après la guerre froide, quand la société rurale a commencé progressivement à s’islamiser à la grande consternation des citadins laïques. Le résultat final de ce processus est que la majorité du pays en est venue à embrasser l’expression extérieure de la religion, en particulier sous la forme socio-politique, et c’est la raison pour laquelle l’AKP, parti de Erdogan, est arrivé au pouvoir, en premier lieu en 2003. Erdogan a représenté la politisation formelle de cette tendance, mais il savait qu’il devait procéder progressivement avec sa vision afin de ne pas effrayer les membres restants de la société laïque, les partenaires internationaux occidentaux de son pays, et les militaires.

Les guerres de l’État profond.

Mais dans le même temps, Erdogan n’a pas caché ses intentions d’islamisation, ce qui a stimulé une réaction prévisible de certains membres de l’État profond : l’armée, les services de renseignement et les bureaucraties diplomatiques. L’armée a une longue tradition de coups d’État, en particulier ceux qui sont censés préserver la laïcité constitutionnelle du pays, ce qui explique pourquoi Erdogan n’a pas avancé aussi vite qu’il le voulait avec ses plans et a plutôt passé les treize dernières années à démanteler minutieusement l’infrastructure de cet État profond. La série de scandales domestiques, pendant cette période, était symptomatique de la férocité atteinte par la  guerre contre l’État profond, étant donné que ces sortes de conflits ne sont jamais destinés à se répandre dans le domaine public, sauf nécessité absolue.

erdoganandlocaladministratorsLa raison pour laquelle de tels scandales se sont produits vient du fait que Erdogan a non seulement été confronté à l’État profond formel, mais aussi à l’informel représenté par des acteurs non étatiques tels que les Gulenistes [disciples de Gülen exilé aux US, NdT] qui sont idéologiquement opposés à sa règle. Parfois, ces personnes et leurs sympathisants s’infiltraient dans les institutions de l’État profond, mais d’autres fois ils s’intégraient dans les médias et les milieux universitaires. La quête d’Erdogan pour débarrasser le pays de la formidable opposition voulant changer le régime, à dicté sa conduite durant tout son temps au pouvoir jusqu’à ce jour. Car malgré le goût du pouvoir et l’action radicale de transformation menée par Erdogan et son Parti AKP, il ne faut pas perdre de vue le fait gênant qu’il s’agit toujours d’un gouvernement démocratiquement élu, et légitime, qui représente les désirs électoraux de la majorité turque.

Même ainsi, les politiques d’Erdogan étaient vraiment polarisantes, et il en est venu à symboliser ce que l’opposition considérait comme une menace existentielle pour la République turque. Le nœud du problème est que le Parti Islamiste AKP se dresse contre la laïcisation inscrite dans la Constitution turque, ce qui le met ainsi devant une contradiction incommensurable avec tous les laïcs, certains des militaires, et les Gulenistes qui ont conspiré en exploitant ces tensions socio-politiques préexistantes pour leur propre but de changement de régime. C’était le climat intérieur de la Turquie à la veille de la tentative de coup d’État, mais rien ne serait arrivé s’il n’y avait pas eu la mèche géopolitique que Erdogan a lui-même involontairement allumée et qui a incité les États-Unis à encourager les comploteurs à faire un geste décisif contre son gouvernement.

Politiques des grandes puissances

Aucune des politiques d’islamisation et de centralisation d’Erdogan n’aurait eu d’importance pour l’Ouest, l’OTAN et les États-Unis sur un plan stratégique de haut niveau aussi longtemps que la Turquie continuait de soutenir leur politique au Moyen-Orient. En fait, on peut même défendre l’idée qu’une Turquie islamiste est bénéfique pour les États-Unis si l’on comprend le Printemps arabe comme le vaste théâtre d’une révolution de couleursalafiste où l’hégémon turc dirigerait – par derrière, dans le style Lead From Behind – une constellation de gouvernements des Frères musulmans. Cela n’a pas marché comme prévu parce que le peuple syrien, historiquement laïc, a bravement refusé de tomber pour ce complot de changement de régime concocté à l’étranger et s’est fermement rassemblé derrière son gouvernement, bien que les États-Unis et la Turquie n’aient évidemment pas pris leur refus pour une réponse et ont donc commencé la guerre en Syrie, guerre qui continue à ce jour.

Mais la nature de ce conflit a changé parce que la Turquie a rétabli rapidement des relations avec la Russie qui s’étaient tendues après l’attentat contre le jet russe en Syrie, ce qui a magistralement changé la donne dans les calculs des États-Unis au Moyen-Orient. L’initiative de Erdogan ne se produit pas sans motif, mais plutôt en réponse à la divergence stratégique américano-turque qui s’est finalement élargie au cours de la guerre en Syrie, en particulier en ce qui concerne les Kurdes. La Turquie a mené une guerre de longue durée contre le PKK kurde depuis les années 1970, avec seulement une brève interruption au cours des deux dernières années, mais le conflit a été relancé en raison de deux facteurs déterminants. Le premier est que les Kurdes turcs ont été encouragés par les gains anti-Daesh de leurs frères syriens et irakiens et par la sympathie et le soutien international qui a suivi. Le second facteur est que Erdogan a décidé de brutaliser un peu les Kurdes, comme tactique électorale avant le second tour de scrutin afin d’attirer le vote nationaliste du MHP – ça a marché.

Pendant tout ce temps et même avant, les États-Unis fournissaient aux Kurdes syriens et irakiens des armes, de la formation, des fournitures variées, des appuis aériens et l’aide de forces spéciales. Ce qui était prévisible a suivi, un dilemme de sécurité classique entre les États-Unis et la Turquie. Ankara croit vraiment que les États-Unis ont pour but non seulement de vaincre Daesh, mais également des arrière-pensées pour aider les Kurdes à concevoir un sous-État transnational, le Kurdistan, à cheval sur la Syrie et l’Irak. Cette organisation politique prospective permettrait aux États-Unis de faire puissamment pression sur la Turquie. Ankara considère la milice kurde syrienne YPG comme un groupe terroriste inséparable du PKK, de sorte que la Turquie identifie naturellement la création de cette entité [le Kurdistan] comme un État terroriste le long de sa frontière sud et perd ainsi sa confiance aveugle d’antan envers les États-Unis. Le Kurdistan est une menace existentielle pour la République turque, mais il met également en danger les grands desseins stratégiques de la Syrie, de la Russie et de l’Iran, qui reconnaissent tranquillement que cet état pro-américain ne serait rien moins qu’un «deuxième Israël géopolitique au cœur du Moyen-Orient». C’est la convergence des évaluations, de la part de la Turquie et de la Russie, sur la menace posée par le Kurdistan, qui a stimulé la réinitialisation politique ultra-rapide entre les deux parties.

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Aux grands maux les grands remèdes

Le rapprochement russo-turc change fondamentalement la donne pour saper la stratégie des États-Unis au Moyen-Orient en raison du potentiel qu’il offre de se transformer en une plate-forme de coordination quadrilatérale entre la Russie, la Turquie, l’Iran et la Syrie. De plus, la restauration de relations russo-turques positives permet de renforcer le lien irano-turc, compte tenu de l’intérêt commun de Moscou et de Téhéran dans la lutte contre le terrorisme en Syrie. L’alliance des grandes puissances russe, iranienne et turque est désignée par l’auteur comme la Tripartite. Une série antérieure d’articles pour Katehon a exploré le large potentiel géopolitique de ce nouveau regroupement de puissance pour inverser la déstabilisation que les USA ont causée à travers les «Balkans eurasiens». En outre, il ne faut pas oublier que chaque membre de la Tripartite a sa propre relation avec la Nouvelle Route de la soie chinoise, donc on peut s’attendre à voir Pékin utiliser cette nouvelle période de pragmatisme multilatérale entre grandes puissances à son avantage pour changer le monde en cherchant à avancer ses projets transnationaux multipolaires de connexion des infrastructures, ce qui est collectivement qualifié de vision Une Ceinture, Une Route – One Belt One Road (OBOR).

Tout cela est un cauchemar pour les stratèges américains. C’est la raison pour laquelle ils se sont sentis immédiatement contraints d’agir contre le catalyseur de ce profond scénario prévisible en stoppant Erdogan dans son élan avant qu’il ne puisse diriger la Turquie plus loin sur la voie de la multipolarité. Les agences de renseignement américaines, par la nature même du travail qu’elles sont chargées d’effectuer, ont évidemment une influence, et un accès, à l’intérieur de l’État profond turc, accès rendu encore plus facile, dans ce cas en raison de l’adhésion du pays à l’OTAN et de sa position de dirigeant en coulisse – Lead From Behind – de la guerre contre la Syrie. En conséquence, ils ont profité des clivages antécédents dans le système socio-politique de la Turquie pour encourager les comploteurs à exécuter prématurément leurs plans avant même qu’ils ne soient prêts, en leur assurant qu’ils réussiraient parce que la CIA dirigerait l’ensemble des opérations à partir d’une île dans la mer de Marmara et leur fournirait même les coordonnées d’Erdogan pour qu’ils puissent l’assassiner. Les divisions internes que les États-Unis ont cherché à exploiter pour justifier le coup d’État sont les suivantes :

  • Une évolution graduelle de la Turquie, loin de la laïcité constitutionnelle, vers l’intensification, de facto, d’un système islamiste ;
  • La transition qui s’ensuit d’un système démocratique libéral au modèle occidental vers une démocratie nationale ;
  • Le profond malaise ressenti par certains membres de l’armée en raison des efforts systémiques que Erdogan a entrepris pour affaiblir leur institution et centraliser son propre pouvoir ;
  • Enfin, la suspicion internationale croissante entourant la Turquie pour son islamisation centralisée, son soutien à Daesh, et son rôle dans la facilitation de la crise des réfugiés, qui,  ironiquement, ont tous été portés à l’attention mondiale par les efforts des médias internationaux russes.

Ces quatre facteurs seuls n’auraient pas été suffisants pour que les États-Unis apportent leur soutien aux préparatifs du coup d’État, que certains acteurs avaient déjà entrepris contre Erdogan, tant que Washington pensait qu’il pouvait encore contrôler Ankara, mais la restauration rapide des relations russo-turques a amené les États-Unis à douter de la fidélité soumise de son sous-fifre au Moyen-Orient, ce qui a servi d’impulsion géopolitique pour la mise en route, brusquement, du processus du coup d’État. Ce dernier a finalement échoué parce que Erdogan en a été averti à la dernière minute, échappant à la mort de façon spectaculaire pour rallier son peuple de manière iconique grâce à un message iPhone Facetime à la télévision nationale lui demandant son soutien dans la rue. Qu’il l’ait reconnu ou non, ce fut une mise en œuvre de la technologie inversée des révolutions de couleur, où la tactique traditionnelle des manifestations de rue n’a pas été utilisée à des fins de changement de régime, mais au contraire pour un renforcement de régime.

Supercherie de l’information

Bien qu’il ait repris victorieusement le pouvoir peu de temps après, Erdogan a eu beaucoup plus de difficultés à contrer la récit de contrôle des dommages que les États-Unis ont commencé à mouliner à la suite de l’échec de leur opération. Washington et ses affidés internationaux des médias traditionnels ont commencé à promouvoir la théorie du complot, selon laquelle Erdogan aurait organisé le coup d’État lui-même afin de renforcer son pouvoir, et cette suggestion rusée a rapidement marché, même auprès de nombreux partisans des médias alternatifs, des commentateurs et des relais d’information. Les gens sont tombés dans le panneau, car cette ruse a parfaitement profité de la toile de fond d’informations que les radiodiffuseurs internationaux russes avaient eux-mêmes déjà mise en place pendant les périodes de tensions russo-turques, à savoir, principalement, que Erdogan est un dictateur islamiste dangereux qui ne reculera devant rien dans sa soif de pouvoir, notamment en soutenant les terroristes de Daesh en Syrie. Tout cela est factuellement vrai, mais le problème avec les médias et la politique est que les médias ne peuvent élégamment accueillir des changements marquants inopinés de la politique, ce qui explique pourquoi beaucoup de gens se sont soudainement gratté la tête en se demandant pourquoi la Russie faisait tout d’un coup équipe avec le même tyran qu’elle détestait précédemment.

Pour tout expliquer simplement, la Russie n’a pas de «médias contrôlés par l’État» dans le même sens qu’en Occident, aussi surprenant que cela puisse paraître à beaucoup. Bien que RT et Sputnik soient financés par l’État, ils ne sont pas directement contrôlés par le Kremlin ou d’autres organes de l’État profond russe qui prend les décisions. En revanche, les sociétés de médias occidentaux privés tels que CNN, le Washington Post et le New York Times sont paradoxalement à un degré bien plus intense sous influence de l’État que leurs homologues russes, qu’ils accusent de soumission au pouvoir. Voilà pourquoi, par exemple, il y avait différents récits sur les origines du complot et sa légitimité normative dans les deux médias russes mentionnés ci-dessus, parce que, assez clairement, ils permettent une diversité de points de vue et ne sont pas «contrôlés par l’État». S’ils l’étaient, ils auraient été en mesure d’adapter de manière plus souple leurs messages avant, pendant et après le coup d’État soutenu par les USA afin de tenir compte du rapide rapprochement russo-turc et d’expliquer clairement à leur public les fondements géopolitiques de ces faits, de manière à ce qu’ils ne soient pas confus au point où beaucoup d’entre eux le sont encore. L’Occident n’a pas de tels problèmes à cet égard, car les médias n’ont pas la liberté d’expression, peu importe à quel point ils clament le contraire, car c’est prouvé hors de tout doute par le récit consensuel qu’ils ont tous vomi à l’unisson sur la façon dont Erdogan a prétendument truqué son coup d’État afin d’asseoir encore plus son pouvoir.

turkL’auteur a complètement démystifié cette affirmation dans un précédent article intitulé Pourquoi le coup d’État raté en Turquie n’est pas un coup monté par Erdogan, et le lecteur est invité à le lire en entier s’il est intéressé par une explication plus détaillée à ce sujet, mais il y a des détails très pertinents qui doivent être mentionnés maintenant. Le premier est que le pouvoir de centralisation de Erdogan était déjà en place depuis longtemps avant que cet événement ne se produise, et qu’il le faisait déjà d’une manière tellement systématique qu’il aurait dû être évident pour tout le monde qu’il avait déjà identifié ses cibles bien à l’avance. La tentative de coup d’État manqué a seulement donné à Erdogan un mandat d’accélérer le processus et de le réaliser plus publiquement, sans crainte de manifestations importantes contre lui – qu’il pourrait réprimer en utilisant l’état d’urgence. En plus de cela, la réaction de soutien enthousiaste de la Russie, et surtout de l’Iran, à la victoire annoncée de Erdogan sur les comploteurs en dit long sur les analyses de la situation telle que vue par ces États. De toute évidence, ils ont tous deux calculé qu’il est bien meilleur pour leurs intérêts respectifs et collectifs – en particulier en ce qui concerne la Syrie – que Erdogan reste au pouvoir plutôt que de le voir remplacé par un coup US orchestré. Encore plus convaincante a été la réaction très douce que chacun d’eux a eue suite à l’intervention militaire de la Turquie dans le nord de la Syrie, qui pourrait logiquement être interprétée comme due à une connaissance préalable à ce sujet et avoir tacitement soutenu – sinon coordonné – ce mouvement afin d’entraver la création, par les États-Unis, du «deuxième Israël géopolitique au Moyen-Orient», le Kurdistan.

Le chemin à parcourir

Après en être arrivé à une meilleure compréhension des origines de la tentative de coup d’État soutenu par les États-Unis contre Erdogan, il est maintenant possible de prévoir le chemin que la Turquie suivra à l’avenir. Ankara n’abandonnera pas totalement les États-Unis, ni l’UE, ni l’Ouest, ou l’OTAN, mais il sait qu’il est impossible de rejoindre le bloc européen dans la réalité post-Brexit, surtout compte tenu de la complicité de la Turquie dans l’ingénierie de la crise des réfugiés qui a contribué au retrait volontaire de Londres par le Brexit. Ce que Ankara va faire en réponse, par contre, est de se rapprocher du monde multipolaire, et cela pourrait prendre la forme d’une coopération multidimensionnelle renforcée dans la Tripartite [Turquie-Russie-Iran] et / ou un engagement multilatéral plus large avec l’OCS et les BRICS.

L’effet le plus conséquent de la Tripartite serait que la Russie, l’Iran, la Turquie et la Syrie coordonnent ouvertement leur activité anti-Daesh en République arabe. Chacune de ces grandes puissances a déjà son propre type de forces militaires actuellement séparées et actives dans le pays qui pourraient effectivement se compléter les unes les autres si elles sont déployées en coordination. Par exemple, la puissance aérienne de la Russie augmenterait grandement la viabilité au combat des forces spéciales de l’Iran, des chars de la Turquie et des troupes conventionnelles de la Syrie, mais le problème est que ces acteurs ne travaillent pas ensemble à cette fin. La Syrie coordonne bilatéralement ses offensives avec la Russie et l’Iran, mais il ne semble pas que Moscou et Téhéran travaillent directement ensemble. Damas ne semble pas avoir d’influence sur ce que fait Ankara dans le nord de la Syrie, alors que la Russie et l’Iran cherchent à avoir affaire avec leur pair turc – une grande puissance – et ce au nom de la Syrie. Ce qui est nécessaire pour les quatre pays est de se réunir, mettre en commun les ressources militaires disponibles qu’ils ont la volonté politique d’engager, et de pousser de côté la coalition anti-terroriste des États-Unis en devançant Washington dans la «course vers Raqqa».

Même si Erdogan ne fait pas équipe avec Poutine, Rouhani/ayatollah et Assad en éliminant Daesh, il a toujours commis le péché impardonnable aux yeux des États-Unis d’avoir survécu au coup d’État et de normaliser ses relations avec Moscou et Téhéran. Il est maintenant clair pour tous que, depuis le choix fatidique des États-Unis en faveur de Gülen et des Kurdes, contre Erdogan, l’homme fort de la Turquie est à juste titre convaincu que Washington continuera d’utiliser ces deux acteurs non étatiques contre lui dans le futur. La manière la plus évidente dont cela peut arriver est par une insurrection kurde dans le sud de la Turquie, menée par des peshmergas formés par les Américains et les forces de YPG qui ont été équipées directement par le Pentagone, ostensiblement sous le prétexte de la «lutte contre Daesh». À cet égard, le terrorisme de gauche qui a sévi en Turquie pendant les années 1970 pourrait aussi bien revenir, sans parler de Daesh lui-même se retournant plus farouchement contre son ancien patron turc. Il n’est également pas exclu que les plans de Erdogan de réviser la Constitution afin de renforcer la présidence et islamiser formellement l’État peuvent servir de déclencheur pour une autre tentative de révolution de couleur contre lui. Que ces scénarios soient «d’origine naturelle» ou des processus prédéterminés encouragés et / ou orchestrés par les États-Unis à des fins géopolitiques, ils ont tous la possibilité d’être, individuellement ou collectivement, auto-entretenus et d’entrer dans un état d’auto-synchronisation qui répond à l’arsenal néocon de la théorie du chaos.

Les guerres hybrides qui pourraient éclater contre la Turquie seraient prévues par la théorie de la loi qui détermine le cours de ces conflits, à savoir de perturber, contrôler ou influencer les projets d’infrastructure multipolaires transnationaux par l’exploitation des conflits d’identité. La Turquie est située au carrefour des routes eurasiennes qui relient les inestimables ressources énergétiques asiatiques et le commerce en Europe, ce qui lui donne une position accrue à la fois dans les grandes stratégies de la Chine, et de l’Iran, respectivement. La Turquie doit conserver la stabilité à l’intérieur de ses frontières et pacifier le sud-est de telle sorte que la nouvelle route de la soie puisse traverser le pays, venant d’Iran, et fortifier les plans globaux de transformation de Pékin pour repenser la géopolitique eurasienne. Même si Erdogan atteint son objectif de contrôler les Kurdes en Turquie, il pourrait ne jamais être en mesure de garder un couvercle entièrement étanche sur la dissidence interne qui est destinée à grésiller sans cesse tant qu’il poursuit ses plans constitutionnels pour formaliser l’islamisation de sa société. Les complots de révolution de couleur qui naîtront sans doute en réaction à cela pourraient être déjoués par les services de sécurité turcs, mais ils vont au moins accomplir leur mission de dépeindre Erdogan comme un «dictateur islamique» qui, aux yeux de l’opinion publique de l’Ouest, aurait du être éliminé depuis longtemps.

L’ironie principale de l’histoire turque au cours des cinq dernières années semble être que le pays unipolaire a eu les yeux plus gros que le ventre dans la guerre contre la Syrie, et maintenant son État profond s’est rétracté et a commencé à virer dans la direction de la multipolarité, mû par le désir égoïste de préserver sa propre sécurité stratégique. Le mécène américain de la Turquie a fait son choix en préférant les Kurdes à Erdogan, et le gambit d’Ankara dans la promotion de ses intérêts néo-ottomans aux frais de Damas a fini,  paradoxalement, par diminuer sa propre sécurité intérieure et sa stabilité socio-politique, encore aggravée par l’effet de polarisation de Erdogan vers une islamisation centralisée.

Bien que plus faible qu’elle ne l’a jamais été dans son histoire récente, la Turquie a curieusement plus de potentiel que ce qu’on peut imaginer, en raison des avantages qu’elle tire de ses partenariats pragmatiques avec les grandes puissances multipolaires : la Russie, la Chine et l’Iran. Mais il reste à voir si les États-Unis vont permettre à leur ancien subordonné de goûter au «fruit défendu» que Washington lui avait interdit depuis des générations.

Andrew Korybko

Article original en anglais :

turkish soldiers turkey

Reassessing The Reasons For The Failed Turkish Coup Attempt

Source originale Oriental Review, 21 octobre 2016

Traduit et édité par jj, relu par Catherine pour le Saker Francophone

Andrew Korybko est un commentateur politique américain travaillant actuellement pour l’agence Sputniknews. Il est l’auteur du livre Guerres hybrides : l’approche adaptative indirecte pour un changement de régime (2015).

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Le lobby, Trump et Hillary

octobre 28th, 2016 by Bruno Guigue

Dans son édition du 27 octobre, le quotidien israélien « Haaretz » révèle que les cinq principaux donateurs de la campagne d’Hillary Clinton sont juifs. C’est le « top five donors ». Je cite dans le texte pour éviter les mauvais procès. « They are Donald Sussman, a hedge fund manager; J.B. Pritzker, a venture capitalist, and his wife, M.K.; Haim Saban, the Israeli-American entertainment mogul, and his wife, Cheryl; George Soros, another hedge funder and a major backer of liberal causes, and Daniel Abraham, a backer of liberal pro-Israel causes and the founder of SlimFast. »

Bigre. On a même les noms ! Comment est-ce possible ? Juge suprême du vice et de la vertu directement branché sur Yahvé, le CRIF va-t-il porter plainte contre « Haaretz » pour avoir osé colporter des clichés antisémites ? Va-t-il accuser Hillary Clinton de contribuer aux thèses complotistes en prenant un malin plaisir à solliciter les fonds provenant de la communauté juive ? Que fait la police ?  En tout cas, il sera difficile d’accuser d’antisémitisme ceux qui en parlent, puisque la presse israélienne elle-même ne s’en prive pas.

Cette bienveillance communautaire à l’égard de la candidate démocrate, évidemment, n’est pas le fruit du hasard. Depuis son discours devant l’AIPAC, le 21 mars, Hillary Clinton est littéralement adoubée par un lobby pro-israélien (dont on rappellera encore une fois qu’il a une existence officielle) qui y voit la meilleure avocate de ses ambitions. Il faut dire que pour lui faire plaisir ladite candidate a sorti l’artillerie lourde, et pas seulement au sens figuré. Elle a soigneusement caressé son auditoire dans le sens du poil, en lui tenant un langage qu’on peut résumer en trois points.

Premièrement, non seulement Israël et les USA appartiennent au même monde, le monde merveilleux de la démocratie et de la civilisation, mais ils en sont les leaders naturels. C’est pourquoi leur union (voulue par Dieu en personne, a-t-elle omis de préciser) est indéfectible. « Nous sommes deux nations construites par des immigrants et des exilés cherchant à vivre et à adorer dans la liberté, des nations fondées sur des principes d’égalité, de tolérance et de pluralisme. Israël et l’Amérique sont .. une lumière destinée à éclairer les nations en raison de ces valeurs« . (Avis à ceux qui tâtonnent dans l’obscurité, ce condominium fluorescent est la solution à leur problème).

Deuxièmement, ce monde, bien que dirigé par un tandem aussi lumineux, est malheureusement engagé dans une lutte à mort avec les forces du mal. Ces entités diaboliques, on les connaît. Ce sont l’Iran, le Hezbollah et la résistance palestinienne. L’accord sur le nucléaire iranien est un bon accord, dit Mme Clinton, s’il empêche la République islamique de se doter de l’arme nucléaire. Mais si le moindre risque existe, il faudra passer à l’offensive. « Si les dirigeants de l’Iran violent leur engagement de ne pas faire de recherche, mettre au point ou acquérir des armes nucléaires, les Etats-Unis agiront pour le faire cesser, et nous le ferons en utilisant la force si nécessaire. »

Troisièmement, et c’est essentiel, Israël et l’Amérique doivent absolument conserver leur suprématie militaire. Mieux, il faut livrer de nouveaux armements à nos amis israéliens qui souffrent tant du terrorisme perpétré par des fanatiques assoiffés de sang. « Les Etats-Unis doivent fournir à Israël la technologie de défense la plus sophistiquée« , ce qui inclut « les défenses israéliennes par missiles avec de nouveaux systèmes comme les Arrow 3 et les David’s Sling, deux générations de missiles financées et mises au point par Israël et les USA« . Vous voulez de la grosse artillerie, en voilà.

Camp du bien, forces démoniaques, arsenal de destruction massive. Tel est en substance le message de la candidate. Le triptyque salvateur. La sainte trinité. Lorsqu’elle détaille l’arsenal destiné à préserver Israël des barbares, Mme Clinton adresse aussi un clin d’oeil au complexe militaro-industriel. Dont acte. Les magnats de l’armement et les matamores en pré-retraite ne ménageront pas non plus leur appui à cette candidate au discours viril. Elle sera donc soutenue par le lobby pro-israélien, le lobby des marchands de canon et, bien sûr, le lobby des financiers de Wall Street. Hillary Clinton cumule les avantages client. C’est clair : elle est la candidate organique de l’oligarchie prédatrice qui dirige le pays.

Elle a toutes les chances, du coup, de vérifier à son profit la loi non écrite de l’élection présidentielle. Cette loi dit en effet que le candidat élu est celui qui a dépensé le plus pour sa campagne électorale. Comme Barack Obama en 2012, Hillary Clinton va sans doute battre un nouveau record, expédiant dans les cordes un concurrent qui comptait surtout sur sa fortune personnelle. Ce handicap est d’autant plus important qu’il était difficile, pour Donald Trump, de faire jeu égal avec son adversaire du côté des donateurs juifs. Flairant le danger, il a alors tenté d’allumer des contre-feux, quitte à faire de la surenchère.

Invité lui aussi à l’assemblée annuelle de l’AIPAC, le 21 mars, le candidat républicain a tout fait, visiblement, pour faire oublier ses déclarations antérieures. Il refusait de prendre position sur la question palestinienne tant qu’il ne serait pas à la Maison-Blanche. Il hésitait à dire si les États-Unis devaient reconnaître ou non Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël. Il disait que l’Etat hébreu devait payer l’aide militaire octroyée par les USA. Désormais, c’est fini. Aux oubliettes. En vingt minutes, il a dit à son auditoire ce qu’il voulait entendre et obtenu des salves d’applaudissements. Debout. En « standing ovation ».

Il a commencé par dire qu’il était un « soutien de longue date et ami réel d’Israël ». Avec lui à la présidence des États-Unis, a-t-il assuré, Israël ne serait plus traité « comme un citoyen de seconde zone » ! Manifestement décidé à faire mieux que Clinton, il a accusé l’Iran d’être « le plus grand sponsor du terrorisme mondial« , d’établir en Syrie un nouveau front dans le Golan contre Israël, de fournir des armes sophistiquées au Hezbollah libanais, et de soutenir le Hamas et le Djihad islamique en leur versant de l’argent en rémunération des attaques terroristes.

Mais ce discours complaisant n’a pas suffi. Délaissé par les siens, Trump manque de supporters parmi les donateurs juifs du parti républicain. Ces bailleurs de fonds à l’ancienne, sponsors traditionnels du parti conservateur, sont rebutés par la rhétorique d’un candidat hostile au libre-échange et allergique au « système ». Ils préfèrent se tourner vers une candidate qui n’a jamais lésiné dans son soutien à Israël, au complexe militaro-industriel et à Wall Street. L’argent n’a pas d’odeur, et l’important c’est le business. Pour Donald Trump, du coup, la tâche est rude.

trump-netanyahou - (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Republican nominee Donald Trump)

Benjamin Netanyahou et Donald Trump à New York City, le 25 Septembre 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

C’est la panique à bord. Il faut faire quelque chose. A neuf semaines du scrutin, le candidat républicain abat sa dernière carte. Elle lui permettra, espère-t-il, de damer le pion à Hillary Clinton, de la prendre à revers sur son propre terrain. Le 26 septembre, après avoir rencontré Benjamin Netanyahou à New York, il promet de reconnaître Jérusalem comme « la capitale indivisible d’Israël » et d’y installer l’ambassade américaine s’il est élu à la présidence. Violation flagrante du droit international, fabuleux cadeau à l’Etat d’Israël, ce fait accompli serait lourd de conséquences. Mais difficile de faire mieux pour séduire le lobby. Une véritable corbeille de la mariée. Pour quel résultat ? Réponse le 8 novembre.

Elle est belle, l’élection présidentielle américaine. Une course à l’échalote entre deux candidats qui rivalisent d’obséquiosité pour dire aux riches et aux puissants ce qu’ils veulent entendre. Habiles marionnettistes, Netanyahou et ses mandataires auront manipulé jusqu’au bout les deux pantins désarticulés qui se disputent un pouvoir fantoche au paradis des lobbies. Le lobby, Trump et Hillary, c’est un ménage à trois, mais il finira à deux. En attendant, cette joute électorale aura au moins clarifié la question de savoir si un candidat pouvait se soustraire à cette mascarade. Visiblement non.

Bruno Guigue

 

Bruno Guigue, ex-haut fonctionnaire, analyste politique et chargé de cours à l’Université de La Réunion. Il est l’auteur de cinq ouvrages, dont Aux origines du conflit israélo-arabe, L’invisible remords de l’Occident, L’Harmattan, 2002, et de centaines d’articles.

Source: http://arretsurinfo.ch/le-lobby-trump-et-hillary-par-bruno-guigue/

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O mundo do faz-de-conta das classes mais abastadas do Brasil, moldado pelas reportagens-fantasia da mídia de imbecilização das massas encontra-se em situação cada vez mais difícil de seguir sendo sustentada – ainda que ambos os setores resistam tão patética quanto estoicamente!
Afinal, tanto quanto sonhar em limpar privada de Tio Sam, há uma ideologia por trás da defesa do indefensável: uma das elites mais reacionárias, discriminatórias, agressivas, ignorantes e dessituadas do planeta não se pode se dar por vencida!
Se conseguir sobreviver em um Estado altamente policialesco, entre uma das sociedades mais violentas e discriminatórias do mundo, outro grande desafio é ser explorado no berço do capital hoje: se não bastassem todas as históricas humilhações, a decadência econômica (certamente, reflexo da crise intelectual e moral por que atravessa o país), a realidade da vida na América está bem distante das cores, dos fogos de artifício e de toda a alegria imperante na Disney, e de toda a sorte das precárias propagandas midiáticas.
A pobreza nos Estados Unidos, desde o desmantelamento do Estado de Bem-Estar Social pós-II Guerra Mundial, esfacelado especialmente por Ronald Reagan, tem experimentado vertiginoso crescimento. E a situação tem se agravado ainda mais após a crise financeira de 2008.
A literal falência de Detroit (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/detroit-bankruptcy) em 2013, em tempos não muito remotos capital da indústria automobilística norte-americana, é apenas a ponta do iceberg. Em 2014, 47 milhões de pessoas viviam em estado de pobreza nos Estados Unidos, o que significa uma taxa de 15% da população nacional. Naquele ano, o nível de pobreza atingiu patamares 2,3% mais altos que em 2007 (Ver Poverty USA:  http://www.povertyusa.org/the-state-of-poverty/poverty-facts/).
Uma em cada oito famílias passa fome no Império dos aloprados (outro sítio norte-americano (http://www.worldhunger.org/hunger-in-america-2015-united-states-hunger-and-poverty-facts/). 40% de crianças encontram-se em estado de pobreza, sem condições, portanto, de estudar. Total: 16 milhões de pequenos com fome no sonho de consumo da elite tupiniquim (ler Poverty Is Killing Us, A Pobreza Está Nos Matando, sítio norte-americano Truth Out: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/23296-poverty-is-killing-us).
633.782 cidadãos amontoam-se nas ruas, no berço de Tio Sam e de seus patetas com mente devidamente lavada pela mídia de desinformação das massas (çer outro sítio norte-americano: http://frontsteps.org/u-s-homelessness-facts/). A taxa de suicídio no berço do capital – do ódio racial e de classe – hoje, é a maior em 30 anos. O motivo? Crescimento vertiginoso da pobreza, desesperança e má saúde dos cidadãos (mais detalhes na rede de notícias dos próprios Estados Unidos, Democracy Now!: http://www.democracynow.org/2016/4/22/headlines/us_suicide_rates_hit_30_year_high)
Crise Intelectual nos Estados Unidos – Dados
Sobre a crise intelectual que assola os Estados Unidos, o que em grande parte explica por que o país caminha a passos largos para a perda da hegemonia global (conquistada à base de invasões, boicotes, assassinatos, genocídios, golpes,crimes de lesa-humanidade e da indústria da guerra) em 1994 já observava José Arbex Júnior em seu brilhante livro A Outra América – Apogeu, Crise e Decadência dos Estados Unidos:
O ex-secretário de Defesa dos Estados Unidos e ex-presidente do Banco Mundial, Mc Namara, apresentou uma importante declaração à Comissão de Orçamento da Câmara de Deputados do país, reunindo a crise econômica, política, ambiental, tecnológica, de saúde, dos serviços públicos, de criminalidade, de preconceito, e também fez séria menção à crise intelectual por que atravessam os EUA. É esta declaração, no que diz respeito á crise intelectual, que será aqui exposta., junto dos dados da Entidade Federal para o Ensino de Ciências Humanas dos EUA.Em sua declaração (resumida aqui), Namara afirma:

13% dos alunos do secundário que completaram o curso fazem-no com habilidade de leitura equivalente à de alunos da sexta série;

Resultados de testes dos alunos norte-americanos hoje, equivalem aos dos alunos japoneses de quatro anos atrás. Enquanto no Japão os alunos empregam 61 horas semanais em sala de aula e estudo em casa, os norte-americanos dedicam apenas 30 horas ao estudo;

A National Science Foundation revelou que no 3º Colegial os alunos do país obtêm, em matemática e ciências, os resultados mais baixos, ou quase, entre os alunos dos países desenvolvidos.

Pesquisa de outubro de 1989 do Instituto Gallup, encomendada pela National Endowment for the Humanities (Entidade Federal para o Ensino de Ciências Humanas), constatou uma crise sem precedentes na formação cultural dos estudantes norte-americanos. Dos 700 entrevistados:

25% atribuíram à Constituição dos Estados Unidos um princípio que, segundo Karl Marx, seria a pedra angular da sociedade socialista: « De cada um segundo sua capacidade, a cada um segundo sua necessidade »;

23% disseram que o ex-ditador soviético Stalin foi o autor da sentença com que o premiê britânico, Winston Churchill, sintetizou a divisão do mundo em blocos em 1946: « Uma cortina de ferro desceu sobre a Europa ».

11% acreditavam que o czar Nicolau II foi o líder, e não vítima da Revolução Russa de 1917;

Mais de 50% não sabiam que William Shakespeare foi o autor de « A Tempestade », uma de suas mais celebradas peças.

A fonte de Arbex em relação à pesquisa da Entidade Federal para o Ensino de Ciências Humanas foi o jornal O Globo, de 10 de outubro de 1989.
Tudo isso, certamente, também explica o complexo de inferioridade e o caráter idiotizado dos cidadãos tupiniquins com mentalidade made in USA, importadores de toda a sorte de lixo informativo e cultural do Norte que norteia sua morte.
Já dizia Goethe: « Ninguém é mais escravo do que aquele que se julga livre sem o ser ».
Edu Montesanti
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The True Flag – Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of the American Empire. Stephen Kinzer. Henry Holt and Company, New York. 2017.

The American empire is usually not spoken of as such within today’s current mainstream media discussions, but is generally recognized as such during infrequent candid moments, and within discussions in much of the alternate media. The discussion is not new, and the factors within the discussion, while changing somewhat with the times, tend to have remained the same. Stephen Kinzer’s illustrative new history, The True Flag, takes the reader back to the turn of the Twentieth Century when the first acts of overseas empire were argued and acted on.

It can be argued that ‘empire’ starts with the first movement across the continent by the new United States, incorporating, by various means, Florida, the Louisiana Purchase, the northern half of Mexican territory, and the lands of the native population. Kinzer acknowledges all that indirectly, as do some of the characters in the history, but his focus is on the pivotal years of 1898 to 1901 when the arguments concerning overseas territories focussed on the Spanish empire in Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and the then sovereign state of Hawaii.

The writing is history at its best. Kinzer writes an interesting history with a casual anecdotal style of reading rather than the more common dry textbook style. While doing so the reader receives a sense of the actual personality and characteristics of each person within the narrative. As the story unwinds, these personality traits become as important as the actual facts of what happened, the latter having devolved form each individual’s interests and intentions.

The title highlights Roosevelt and Mark Twain as the prime protagonist/antagonist pair. The history itself presents a significant group on either side: McKinley, Hearst, Lodge, and Roosevelt promoting empire; Hoar, Carnegie, Bryan, and Twain opposing the annexation/conquest of overseas territories. Many other characters come into play, but his group displays the personal characteristics that helped shape the overall argument.

The themes of the arguments are surprisingly familiar to contemporary empire critics.

The racist nature of U.S. endeavours runs throughout the discussion, ranging from the idea of “benevolent assimilation” allowing the “blessings of good and stable government…under the free flag of the United States [McKinley],” to “the misguided Filipino [Mckinley]”, but more strongly worded in the sanctimonious terms of “savage tribes [Roosevelt]” and from the military commander in the Philippines, a people “in the childhood stage of race development.”

Sound familiar to today’s rhetoric? So do the underlying rationalizations and apologetics for empire. The Filipinos “shall for ages hence bless the American republic,” for their “emancipation” not just from another empire but from the “arrogant rule of a native dictator.” On the other hand, when the fighting became bloody and fierce, the insurrection fighters were attacked as “They assailed our sovereignty [Mckinley – again],” while the anti-imperialists at home became “complicit in the killing of U.S. soldiers [Roosevelt].” Rally ‘round the flag boys.

Other current themes run through the works. The ideas of the U.S. as a moral nation collided with the now consistent idea that “it was foolish to dwell on constitutional niceties when vital interests were concerned.” The concept of forceful morality came into play as it does today. Mckinley argued, Forcible intervention of the United States as a neutral to stop the war [would be] in the cause of humanity.” The imperialists in general “considered war purifying”, and “In their imagined future, humanity would be guided by a virtuous United States and disciplined by American military power.” Sounds like something out of our contemporary Thomas Friedman and his “hidden fist.”

The reality underlying most of the rhetoric was markets, resources, and profits, much as it is today with the U.S. concern for maintaining its petrodollar hegemony. With the U.S. in an economic downturn, and millions unemployed (still familiar?) the imperialists argued that “commerce would have to be protected, or imposed on unwilling nations by naval power…[fusing] America’s commercial and strategic interests into a global strategy.” Empire would create “outlets for the surplus” and guarantee America’s “commercial supremacy.” Cuba was already mostly owned by fruit and sugar farmers, and the Philippines represented a market of 10 million citizens who would be educated to the U.S. manner of consumption and also would serve as a stepping stone into Asian markets.

The anti-empire people obviously lost the argument – perhaps not the argument, but certainly the reality. Their central focus was the adverse effects overseas acquisitions would have on the very nature of the Republic that would eventually lead to its decline and its dislike and distrust by much of the world. In that sense, yes, they won the argument, but not the reality.

Similar to his other works, Stephen Kinzer presents an easily readable, entertaining, and informative history of these important years. The True Flag is an important addition to not only understanding this particular time of imperial expansion, but also as a basis for understanding most of the subsequent events leading up to today’s aggrandizing imperial rhetoric – it is not new.

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La Wallonie a porté un sérieux coup aux espoirs de l’Union européenne de signer un accord de libre-échange avec le Canada, lorsque le président-ministre de cette région de la Belgique a annoncé qu’il n’appuierait pas l’Accord économique et commercial global (AECG, mieux connu sous le sigle anglais CETA) avant la date limite de vendredi.

L’accord doit être ratifié par les 28 États membres de l’UE. Cependant, la Belgique ne peut signer l’accord sans le consentement de ses parlements régionaux.

Radio Sputnik a discuté de cet accord avec Michel Chossudovsky, professeur d’Économie à l’Université d’Ottawa et fondateur et directeur du Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation.

« Ce n’est pas un accord bilatéral entre le Canada et l’UE. C’est un […] mécanisme visant l’intégration de l’ALÉNA et de l’Union européenne dans ce qu’on pourrait appeler l’organisation de commerce et d’investissement de l’Atlantique Nord, qui intégrerait littéralement l’Amérique du Nord et l’Union européenne au chapitre du commerce et de l’investissement », a précisé M. Chossudovsky à Sputnik.

On dit que le CETA offrira de meilleures possibilités d’affaires au Canada pour les entreprises de l’UE et qu’il créera plus d’emplois. Les opposants à cet accord affirment toutefois que le CETA, tout comme le TTIP d’ailleurs, qui est un autre accord commercial que l’UE négocie avec les USA, va abaisser les normes du bloc européen en matière d’alimentation, de santé et de sécurité, tout en permettant aux entreprises étasuniennes et canadiennes de poursuivre les gouvernements de l’UE pour des prétendues pratiques discriminatoires en vertu du mécanisme de règlement des différends entre investisseurs et États.

Selon M. Chossudovsky, les économies des USA et du Canada sont étroitement liées, ce qui fait en sorte que le CETA peut être considéré comme un « succédané » au TTIP.

 

« Ce n’est pas seulement un projet entre le Canada et l’UE. C’est aussi un projet de Washington, a souligné le spécialiste. Le TTIP et le CETA ont été mis en œuvre de façon concertée. Il ne s’agit pas d’initiatives distinctes, mais bien d’une seule et même initiative », a‑t‑il ajouté.

M. Chossudovsky est d’avis que si le TTIP n’arrive pas à faire consensus, parce que les gens disent « nous ne voulons pas devenir une colonie des États‑Unis », mais qu’ils acceptent le CETA, cela ne changera pas grand-chose quant à la dépendance de l’UE envers Washington.

« Le CETA est un succédané. Cet accord économique global entre le Canada et l’UE est en fait un TTIP déguisé, a fait remarquer le spécialiste. Nous devons être très prudents par rapport à ce que cela signifie politiquement. Ces accords commerciaux ne sont pas [faits] pour la population, ils font partie d’un programme mené par les grandes sociétés. »

D’après le spécialiste, les deux accords mèneraient à l’intégration de l’ALÉNA et de l’UE dans une sorte de bloc commercial atlantique, qui aurait de sérieuses conséquences géopolitiques.

« L’Union européenne a une certaine dynamique. Mais une fois intégrée à l’ALÉNA, elle pourrait ne plus relever de Bruxelles. Ce pourrait être Washington qui mènera la barque », de conclure le spécialiste.

 

Article original en anglais :

ceta

‘CETA is a TTIP in Disguise’: The Canada-EU Trade Deal is a US Hegemonic Project, publié le 21 octobre 2016

Traduit par Daniel pour Mondialisation.ca

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To be “wireless” has replaced “wired-up” for being connected and cool. Wi-fi is now in hotels, airport departure lounges, universities, schools, homes, and entire cities. You cannot get away from it. We shall all be submerged in a sea of microwaves, whether we choose to go wireless or not.

Soon, all one can do is to lock oneself away in a shielded room, an electro-smog-proof yellow submarine. And for the estimated 1.5 – 3 percent of populations worldwide that are “electromagnetic hypersensitive” [1], that may well be the only option open. Unlike cigarette smoke, passive involuntary exposure to electromagnetic radiation cannot be avoided easily.

What is wi-fi?

 and used for mobile computing devices such as laptops, but is now increasingly used for more services including the internet and connection to consumer electronics such as TV, DVD player and digital camera [2]. A user can connect to the internet via an enabled device, such as a personal computer, when in range of an ‘access point’ (AP).

A region covered by one or more APs is called a ‘hotspot’. Hotspots can range from a single room to many square miles of overlapping hotspots. Wi-fi can also be used to create a mesh network, and allow devices to connect directly with each other in peer-to-peer ( ad-hoc network) mode, as in consumer electronics and gaming applications.

A typical wi-fi consists of one or more APs and one or more clients. An AP broadcasts its SSID (Service Set Identifier, or network name) in small (short-duration) packets, called beacons, every 100 ms. Wi-fi networks operate in the unlicensed 2.4 and 5 G Hz microwave bands, with an 11 Mbps (Megabytes per second) or 54 Mbps data transmission rate, or both (dual band), and clients can choose which service to use.

Wi-fi has the advantage that it operates without cables, and is built into most modern laptops, and rapidly expanding into other devices as prices continue to drop. It operates on a global set of standards, so it can work in different countries. However, the operational limitations are not consistent around the world and power consumption is fairly high. Wi-fi is not secure, and worries about health risks of microwaves from mobile phones are growing (see main text).

Wireless explosion out of control

There are now more than 250 000 public hotspots for wi-fi worldwide [2]. Wi-fi is available in millions of homes, corporations, and university campuses. According to one estimate, wi-fi use has increased 74 percent in Europe and 75 percent in the UK between the first and second half of 2006 [3].

Birmingham is to have Britain’s first city wide wireless communication by early 2007, and Manchester is planning the largest European wi-fi zone covering 400 square miles. Norwich and Milton Keynes already have wi-fi, and Brighton is set to follow [4].

Most worrying of all, wi-fi has been installed in up to 80 percent of secondary schools in the UK and more than half of the primary schools [5] , exposing the most vulnerable populations to microwave irradiation.

The increasing popularity of wi-fi comes on the heels of the explosive growth in wireless mobile telephones, and amid heightened concerns over the health hazards of saturating levels of electromagnetic radiation [6] ( Cancer Risks from Microwaves Confirmed , SiS 34).

Microwaves at current exposure levels are linked to brain damage, DNA damage, brain tumours, cancers, microwave sickness, impairment of cognitive functions, impairment of reproduction and fertility, affecting humans, rodents, birds, and bees (Box 2).

Health hazards of microwave radiation

  • Rats exposed to microwave radiation from mobile phones for two hours showed signs of brain damage due to leakage of the blood brain barrier that persisted 50 days later [7] ( Mobile Phones & Brain Damage , SiS 24).
  • DNA breaks and chromosomal abnormalities were found in animal and human cells exposed to low levels of microwaves [8] ( Confirmed: Mobile Phones Break DNA & Scramble Genomes , SiS 25)
  • Risk of cancers – breast, prostate, bowel, skin (melanoma), lung and blood – trebled with microwave exposure in the Southern German town of Naila 5 to 10 years after the mobile phone transmitter was installed [6].
  • Risk of cancers quadrupled in area exposed to microwave radiation in Netanya, an female cancers 10.5 fold compared with the general population in Israel [6].
  • Risk of acoustic neuroma and glioma increased 2 to 3 fold on 10 years or more of mobile phone use [6].
  • Mobile phone use correlates strongly with chronic illnesses [9]; Sweden has had a seven-fold increase in the long-term ill since 1981.
  • Men who used mobile phones more than 4 hours a day had lower sperm count and poorer quality sperm compared to those who did not use mobile phones [10].
  • A study in Greece showed that mice exposed to mobile phone microwaves at 1.68 m W/m 2 became completely sterile after five generations, while those exposed to 10.53 mW/m 2 became completely sterile after three generations [11]
  • Reproduction and breeding success of sparrows and white storks are reduced near mobile phone transmitters, and exposure to microwaves in the laboratory caused high mortality rates in chick embryos [12] ( Mobile Phones and Vanishing Birds , SiS 34).
  • Bees fail to return to their hives when cordless phone base-stations were installed, raising strong suspicion that microwave radiation may be responsible for the colony collapse disorder now devastating beekeepers and farmers in the United States and Europe [13] ( Mobile Phones and Vanishing Bees , SiS 34).
  • Up to 3.5 percent of people suffer a range of symptoms including headache, nausea, lack of concentration, depression and allergy, known collectively as microwave sickness syndrome when in proximity of mobile phone transmitters.

Sir William Stewart, Chair of the [UK] Health Protection Agency and former chief scientific adviser to the Government, has issued the most authoritative warning on mobile phones in successive reports and public statements to the press [7], which have been ignored by the government. He is becoming worried about the rapid spread of wi-fi, and is privately pressing for an official investigation into the risks. He is not alone among government scientists to be concerned. Dr. Ian Gibson, former Chair of the Commons Science and Technology Committee, called on the Department of Health to conduct an enquiry into potential health risks of wireless computer networks [14]. Gibson is an honorary Professor and former Dean of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia.

Growing backlash against wi-fi

Meanwhile the backlash against wi-fi installations is growing. Teachers are leading the calls for more research into wireless communication networks in Britain, fearing it may become the “asbestos of the 21 century” [4]. The Professional Association of Teachers with 35 000 members wrote to Education Secretary Alan Johnson expressing deep concern.

One of its members, Michael Bevington, became ill after the wi-fi network was installed at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire where he has taught for 28 years. He suffered from nausea, headaches and a lack of concentration, symptoms typical of microwave sickness (Box 3).

The German Union for Education and Science had already advised its members to resist the roll out of wLAN in its schools in March 2006 [15].

Microwave sickness recognized

There have been numerous reports from physicians that mobile phone base stations are associated with a number of health symptoms in people living nearby: headaches, fatigue, sleep disorders, memory impairments, collectively known as microwave sickness syndrome, or electro-hypersensitivity. These have been documented in several recent studies.

A French study found that people living within 100 m of a cell phone transmitter station suffered from irritability, depression and dizziness, while those living within 200 m of the station suffered from tiredness [16]. In Austria, researchers detected a correlation between electromagnetic field strength and cardiovascular symptoms in people living near mobile phone base stations [17]. A study in Spain confirmed that microwave radiation was linked to a host of symptoms: headache, nausea, loss of appetite, unwellness, sleep disturbance, depression, lack of concentration and dizziness [18].

In order to counteract the criticism that the symptoms were ‘psychosomatic’ in origin, scientists in the University of Vienna carried out a new study covering urban and rural areas in Austria, involving 365 subjects in 10 locations [19]. Two network providers were each asked to identify about five base stations within both regions that have been operating for at least two years and there had been no protests against the base station from residents. These stations also have no other base station nearby, and transmission are mostly only in the 900 MHz band.

The results showed that microwave exposure from the mobile phone base stations is orders of magnitude below current guideline levels in Austria, which is 4.1mW/m 2 . But people still suffered from headache and difficulty in concentrating.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) conference on hypersensitivity to electromagnetic fields (October 2004, Prague, Czech Republic), 1.5 to 3 percent of the population currently suffers from the condition. (The WHO otherwise denies that electromagnetic radiation has any health impacts [20].)

A number of schools in Britain had dismantled their wireless networks after lobbying from worried parents; others are under pressure to do the same [21]. Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada, with 7 400 students has removed wi-fi because of what its Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Fred Gilbert, calls “the weight of evidence demonstrating behavioural effects and physiological impacts at the tissue, cellular an cell level.”

Dr. Ger Oberfeld of the Public Health Department in Salzburg Austria, had written an open letter addressed to “Governor/Head Teacher/ Concerned Parent” worldwide in December 2005, giving them the official advice from his Department not to use wLAN or cordless phones in schools and kindergardens [22]. In September 2006, more than 30 scientists from all over the world signed the Benevento Resolution issued by the International Commission on Electromagnetic Safety, stating, “there is evidence for adverse health effects, including cancer and EHS (electro-hypersensitivity) from microwave radiation at current exposure levels and that a precautionary approach should be adopted [23].

Precaution/defensive measures

Evidence is emerging that the health hazards associated with wireless microwave are at least comparable to, if not worse than, those associated with cigarette smoking. Unlike cigarette smoking, passive exposure to microwaves is hard to avoid if wi-fi becomes ubiquitous. Now that smoking bans are in place all over the world, there is no reason not to do the same with wi-fi.

All wi-fi networks in public places should be dismantled, especially in schools and universities, and a ban imposed. For the same reasons, citywide networks should not be installed. Lounges, coffee bars, restaurants and hotels with wi-fi networks should carry warning signs.

The use of cell phones should be reduced to a minimum, especially for populations at risk, such as children. There should be mandatory adoption of cellphones and microcells with ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) levels of radiation, together with hand-off and earphone technologies.

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Inter-racial conflict in the US continues to escalate despite the fact that a black president has been leading the country for 8 years. All of the various ethnic groups that comprise American society, hoped that Barack Obama would be able to “sew” together the fabric of a nation torn by racial and social divisions, but racism is still on the rise. This poses a significant threat to US homeland security. Government institutions and big business continue to be controlled by the white elites and the perilous social situation of ethnic minorities continues to be accompanied by an increase in crime. This causes growing racial intolerance at all levels. People are frustrated by the lack of change in inter-racial relations, which has led to a new round of racial violence.

The most striking example of the exacerbation of racial conflict is the situation prevailing around so-called police violence. Every case of the killing of an unarmed African American in recent years becomes an occasion for demonstrations, which very often degenerate into riots. The new mass protest movements are thriving and growing in influence, aided by social media. For example, “Black Lives Matter,” which is compared to the ‘Black Panthers’ of the 70s. Despite the lack of talented leaders and clear programs, in such associations, their ongoing radicalization is evident. That was demonstrated by the riots in Ferguson of 2014 and the case of the murder of police officers in Baton Rouge.

The indignation of the African American population at police actions is justified. The level of police violence in the United States is quite high. It is known that American cops kill 5 times more people than Canadian police, 40 times more than German police, and 140 times more than  police in England and Wales.

Video

 

All segments of the American population are suffering from a disproportionate use of force by police. According to the resource “Mapping police violence”, from the 1st of  January, 2013 to the 31st of December 2015, 3,486 people were killed by police, or approximately 1100 people per year. Of these, 571 were Hispanic (16%), 949 African-American (27%) and 1522 (43%) were White. These figures must be compared to the fact that Whites are 64% of the US population, African-Americans are 13% of the overall population, while 16% are Hispanic. However, the divergent behavior of the white population is much rarer due to a higher level of income and social stability. Of course, most of those killed by police were carrying weapons, and the lives of the policemen were in danger. But it is generally thought that US cops are more willing to open fire on people of color, because the policemen believe that the level of criminality and readiness for violence of Hispanics and African Americans is much higher. Additional factors which lead to an increase in racial tensions are racial prejudices and the established practice of cops consistently being acquitted by the U.S. court system.

Largely because of the actions of the US ruling elites, there now exists a group of people who are above the law whose members have a license to kill. Shooting at unarmed people, including children and teens, beating of pregnant women, shooting at people with disabilities and other “controversial” actions of American cops all are commonplace occurrences in the United States. The Members of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) noted that in the United States there exists such inhumane methods as testing experimental medicines on inmates (predominantly African American) in prisons, the forced sterilization of minority women, and numerous incidents of police abuse of power directed towards the non-white population. However, the increased use of cameras amongst both the civilian population and police departments has facilitated increasingly frequent recordings of such cases of violence and has helped in gaining them publicity. That increased awareness that, in turn, has led to the outrage of the African-American population.

Many US police forces continue to subject African Americans to more thorough searches and more forceful tactics during arrests. Unofficially, they explain these practices by referring to statistical data presented by such sources as American Renaissance and Daily Stormer. For example, blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery. They are also three times more likely to use a hand gun, and twice more likely to use a knife. A number of police officers believe that “special attention” to African American citizens improves crime detection rates. However, it has a significant impact on the rise in police dissatisfaction. Although the number of attacks on police and their killings has declined in recent years, experts explain it by the fact that US police are increasingly avoiding “black” neighborhoods, where they can be particularly vulnerable.

Moreover, a large part of the US population is puzzled with the public position of President Obama who invariably condemns the actions of the police and grieves for the black victims of police violence, but is silent about the cases of murder of police officers in the course of discharging their official responsibilities. Such a situation leads to an increase in real crime, which is not reflected in official statistics. We should not forget that the number of firearms in the United States recently surpassed the number of inhabitants and according to various estimates there are more than 320 million guns in the US, of which more than 270 million are in the hands of the civilian population. Therefore, a further escalation of violence in the American society, at any time, can lead to very dire consequences.

In general, ethnic tensions peaked since the beginning of the Barack Obama presidency. Thus, according to the official FBI statistics, in 2015 the number of white-on-black murders and vice versa reached their highest levels in 2008. The number of white-on-black murders has increased by 12%, while the number of black-on-white murders increased 22%.

According to the report of the Chair-Rapporteur of the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent Ricardo III Sunga (Philippines), the US maintains “structural racism”. It is a correct assessment of the situation. Despite the fact that the police officers are under the special protection of the state, laws aimed at fighting race discrimination, have the opposite effect of reverse discrimination, harming ordinary Americans. The use of unofficial, but very real quotas for the appointment of people of color at schools and businesses sometimes does not allow qualified “white” experts to get jobs or promotion. In case of conflicts of a civil nature between people with different skin color, they are usually subjected to racial profiling. At the same time, public opinion and the Supreme Court often find themselves on the side of national minorities.

On the other hand, the US still has a low level of political representation of ethnic minorities. As of November 2015, there have been a total of 1,963 members of the United States Senate, but only nine have been black, including Barack Obama. Out of 10,884 US Representatives, only 131 have been black. At present, there are no black governors at all. This lack of political representation also leads to more social tension.

No improvement has been observed during the final year of the first US African American presidency, instead, considerable aggravation of interracial conflict has been noted, to the point of it becoming one of the most dangerous threats to homeland security. Obama failed to cope with social problems, although he managed to stabilize the economy following the crisis. Still, 27% of African Americans continue to live below the poverty line, an average of 12% do not have steady employment. In some cities this figure reaches 40% and even as high as 50%. The level of culture, education and labor skills is also low. All this leads to an increase in crime among African Americans, and thus foments racist sentiment in society at large. This also leads to an exacerbation of black on black crime. For example, in Chicago, over the past 3 years, 75% of murder victims are young black males and 72% of murder perpetrators are also young black males. Social conditions in such places are affected by the fact that a large percentage of children grow up in broken homes.

As far as inter-party competition is concerned, it is obvious that in spite of the election of a black president, the Democrats failed to improve the lives of African Americans. Their criticism of the GOP’s harsh race rhetoric in order to attract voters, this is also an attempt to hide the fact they are not interested in changing the status quo. Paradoxically, only Republicans with their strict “law and order” approach are truly interested in the implementation of certain changes. Although the consequences of their policies in the event of capturing the White House, remain to be seen.

Summing up President Obama’s activities in the sphere of interracial relations, we can say that he has not developed a new national idea in order to deal with the problem of racism. US history will remember the first black president not as an idealist fighting for the rights of the oppressed, but as a servant of the ruling white elite and its interests.

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Almost exactly 20 years ago, President Bill Clinton signed into law a bill creating an interstate agreement for emergency management. That inconspicuous law has opened the door for the current flood of out-of-state law enforcement agents present at the continuing protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota.

The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) authorized states to enter into agreements with other states in order to share emergency management–related personnel during crisis situations. One of the only other times this compact was deployed outside of a natural disaster was for the Black Lives Matter protests in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray.

DeSmog reviews the use of this controversial authorization below. News is just breaking now that police are removing protesters at the site right now.

According to a history of EMAC published in September 2014, the compact centers around empowering states to respond to massive hurricanes, and in particular, Hurricane Andrew, which caused nearly $25 billion in damages when it hit Florida and Louisiana in 1992.

“Passage of EMAC in Congress was a relatively smooth process,” reads the history of EMAC. “It was mainly a matter of obtaining sponsors and getting EMAC on the congressional calendar. Introduction of the bill occurred soon enough after Hurricane Andrew that memories of the hurricane’s destruction still lingered.”

More recently, states used EMAC to work together during both Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

All 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, participate in EMAC. With language mostly centering around natural disaster relief, the congressional joint resolution creating EMAC also notes it exists to help manage things like “community disorders, insurgency, or [an] enemy attack.”

State of Emergency

On August 19, North Dakota Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple declared a state of emergency surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, which triggered the ability of other states to offer help in North Dakota as part of EMAC.

“The State of North Dakota remains committed to protecting citizens’ rights to lawfully assemble and protest, but the unfortunate fact remains that unlawful acts associated with the protest near Cannon Ball have led to serious public safety concerns and property damage,” Dalrymple said in the press release announcing the emergency order.

“This emergency declaration simply allows us to bring greater resources to bear if needed to help local officials address any further public safety concerns.”

Six States

States which have recently deployed personnel to North Dakota include Wisconsin, Indiana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, and Nebraska, according to an October 23 press release from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department.

Wisconsin Division of Emergency Management spokesperson Lori Getter told DeSmog that “under any EMAC request, agencies are asked if they are able to assist. In this case, the request came to the state of Wisconsin and we sent out a request to law enforcement to see who could support this mission. It is strictly voluntary by each department. Those departments responded and agreed to send officers.”

Getter said that officers from seven different law enforcement and public safety agencies throughout Wisconsin have gone to North Dakota. She said that a total of 57 law enforcement officers were deployed so far, while 13 officers still remain but plan to return to Wisconsin on October 30.

A public information officer for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security said that nine different agencies have sent officers to North Dakota. ABC news affiliate RTV6 in Indianapolis reported that 37 officers have been sent to North Dakota from the Hoosier State. According to the Omaha World-Herald, 11 state troopers from Nebraska have been sent to North Dakota.

Who Pays?

A common question is who is paying for these officers to police protests in another state?

During the April 2015 BLM protests in Baltimore, Pennsylvania sent in 300 state troopers and New Jersey sent in 150 more in an attempt to manage the volatile situation that erupted after a young black man’s death while in police custody. In that case, Maryland compensated the Pennsylvania officers for their time and effort, which according to Getter, is also the case with North Dakota.

A police officer from Indiana reiterated this in a story published by The Times of Northwest Indiana, noting that the reimbursement “includes all wages, overtime and cost of benefits to the officers, meals while the officers are on duty, a per diem while they are off duty, lodging for the officers during their time of stay and mileage reimbursement for the communities who sent vehicles.”

Backlash Grows

Authorized by EMAC, out-of-state officers have arrived in North Dakota at a time of increasing tension, arrests, and strip searches at the Standing Rock Camp, where the largely Native American protesters are based.

Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a no-fly zone within a 4-mile radius of the Standing Rock Camp and 3,500 feet between the air and ground.

However, those flight restrictions do not apply to law enforcement, according to a FAA-designated spokesperson in North Dakota, which means protesters are no longer permitted to fly drones to monitor law enforcement behavior.

“Protesters continue to escalate unlawful tactics endangering officers and residents,” said the Morton County Sheriff’s Department in an October 23 Facebook posting, which served as a prelude to the no-fly zone announcement. “Sunday protesters attacked a helicopter with a drone, fired arrows at a helicopter, established an illegal road block on highway 1806 and illegally occupied private property moving in tents and teepee’s to a DAPL construction site.”

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have submitted multiple open records requests in the attempt to lift the curtain on state- and federal-level law enforcement techniques used at Standing Rock.

“In an affront to First Amendment rights, Water Protectors and allies have been continuously surveilled by low-flying planes, helicopters, and drones, and have had local cell phone communications jammed and possibly recorded,” reads an NLG press release announcing the filing of the requests. “Dozens of local and out-of-state law enforcement have been called in, maintaining a heavily militarized presence at the site in an effort to intimidate activists and chill dissent.”

The Associated Press reports that law enforcement are attempting to remove protesters who have encamped in teepees and tents situated on Dakota Access LLC’s land.

Ironically, given the implementation of EMAC and out-of-state cops pouring into North Dakota, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department released a graphic pointing to arrests of those from out of state.

A congressional aide from an office critical of the pipeline said the office had never even heard of EMAC. Only one member of Congress, U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), has weighed in so far on this use of EMAC in North Dakota.

Hoeven did so only in passing in a recent press release, noting the agreement is in place for the Dakota Access pipeline. As revealed on DeSmog, Hoeven has investments in wells which do hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for oil in North Dakota’s Bakken shale basin and will likely feed into the Dakota Access pipeline.

“World is Watching”

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Chairman Dave Archambault II and over 121,000 signatories to a petition circulated by CREDOMobile have called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the on-the-ground tensions at the pipeline protest sites.

“The world is watching the violence of local police at the Camp at Standing Rock — and we are horrified,” Josh Nelson, Deputy Political Director at CREDO, said in a press release. “We demand that Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice launch an investigation into reported abuses by local North Dakota law enforcement. Clearly these law enforcement officers believe they are above the law — and we won’t see justice until the DOJ investigates.”

The EMAC office did not respond to requests for comment.

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Agriculture’s biggest deal ever will leave farmers and consumers paying more for less, and could accelerate a potentially catastrophic decline in the diversity of what we plant and eat.

A wave of Big Ag mergers is threatening to entrench a food system that reduces nature’s edible abundance to a handful of plants on your plate.

Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, has been purchased by Bayer, the German pharma and agrochemical multinational. Bayer paid $66 billion — the biggest cash buy-out in history.

The stakes could not be higher. The deal threatens to put the genetic erosion of the world’s food supply on steroids, just as serious doubts are emerging about the genetically modified organism (GMO) “revolution” that began 20 years ago and the claim that US-style industrial farming will “feed the world.” The risks of monoculture are well documented: more than one million people died of starvation and disease during the Irish Potato Famine (also known as the Great Famine), between 1845 and 1852. It took 168 years to find out what went wrong.

The loss of crop diversity in the United States is already staggering: an estimated 93% of vegetable seed varieties have gone extinct in the last century.

The merger will also lead to higher seed prices. Since Monsanto’s commercial introduction of its GM seeds in 1996, the cost of seeds has skyrocketed. Farmers now pay 325% more for soybean seeds than in 1996, and 259% more for corn. The price of genetically modified cotton has soared 516%.

The new company will control almost a third of the world’s seed stock. It will not only be the biggest maker of seeds but also the largest producer of the pesticides that douse them. Kansas farmer Tom Giessel, the former vice president of Farmers Union, told Modern Farmer that “it’ll have a large impact. I have no choice when I purchase inputs, be it seeds, chemicals, whatever. There is no choice. They own me.”

There are now only two people who can abort the deal: the EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager and US  Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Once it lays hands on Monsanto’s GMO factory, Bayer will have “more than 2000 varieties of seeds for crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat,” explains Bloomberg. “Adding that portfolio to its own vegetable, rice, cotton and oilseed offerings gives Bayer a virtually unassailable position at the head of the market.”

The merger’s global ambition aligns Monsanto’s dominance in the Americas (80% of US corn and 93% of soybeans) with Bayer’s market strength in Europe and Asia. The new supersized agribusiness will respond to the challenges of climate change and population growth by pushing pesticides, monoculture and GMOs on the world’s farmers.

Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant, who stands to make $123 million if the deal goes through, claims the merger is driven by the need to pool resources and create more innovation to improve “the lives of growers and people around the world.”

But Phil Howard, author of a book about consolidation in the food industry, says “innovation is an incredibly weak argument” for the merger. Debt will force the new enterprise to slash costs and “narrow their seed catalogs, to focus on the most profitable varieties.”

The more likely reason for the merger, he explains, is to put the new company in a position to further hike seed prices.

The agri-industrial complex has witnessed a string of mega-mergers in 2016 that is turning the Big Six agribusinesses into Four: Bayer-Monsanto, Dow-DuPont, BASF and ChinaChem-Syngenta. If all these the mergers go through, the three top agrochemical companies will sell almost two-thirds of the world’s patented seeds and pesticides. Meanwhile, most independent seed producers have gone out of business.

The loss of crop diversity in the United States is already staggering: an estimated 93% of vegetable seed varieties have gone extinct in the last century. Filmmakers Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel, who have produced a documentary about the loss of seeds and attempts by seed banks to rescue them, call the decline in diversity “a recipe for catastrophic crop failure and human suffering.”

The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) notes that 75% of the world’s food is generated from only 12 plants and five animal species. Out of 30,000 known edible plant species, three (rice, maize and wheat) provide almost 60% of calories and proteins.

Starving boy and girl raking the ground for potatoes during the Irish Potato Famine.
Photo credit: James Mahony / Wikimedia

Will the Name “Monsanto” Disappear?

It would be ironic if “Monsanto” simply disappears and becomes Bayer (which Germans pronounce as  BUY-er). A group of international lawyers, scientists and NGOs has just put Monsanto, arguably the world’s most hated company, on symbolic trial in the Dutch capital The Hague.

The Monsanto Tribunal charges the company with “depletion of soil and water resources, species extinction and declining biodiversity, and the displacement of millions of small farmers worldwide.”

One of Monsanto’s most notable critics taking part in the Monsanto Tribunal is Swiss scientist Hans Herren, a World Food Prize winner who saved millions of lives in Africausing biological pest control. Herren was co-chairman of a UN report that calls for redirecting agricultural development toward more sustainable practices.

“We need good seed varieties,” he said in an interview at the Paris Climate Summit, “but that has to come from the diversity of the farmer’s seeds because they’re locally adapted. You cannot have one variety which is good for everywhere — that’s the Monsanto dream because then they can make one variety and sell it all over the world.”

Bayer, now set to become the world’s largest seed company, is currently a small player compared to Monsanto. But its Crop Science Division is the dominant producer of neonicotinoid pesticides (“neonics”) used as a seed coating on more than 140 crops.

Scientists are finding ever more evidence that neonics are linked to a global decline in insect pollinators —  a third of global cultivated crops depend on pollination — and the “large-scale population extinctions” of wild bees.

In the US, 42% of bee colonies have been lost over the past year — the largest loss ever.

The question now is whether the United States and the EU will cede unprecedented control over the world food supply to a Bayer-Monsanto mega-seed company.

Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition, has flagged the merger for review, saying farmers and consumers should have choices so they “are not locked with just one producer and just one set of pesticides.”

She is under pressure from the EU Parliament. The new “mega-corporation Bayer would be able to decide virtually single-handedly what is grown in our fields and ends up on our plates,” writes Molly Scott Cato, a British member of European Parliament for the Green Party, in an online petition against the merger.

Public opinion in Europe is mostly hostile to the merger. Seventy percent of Germans, for example, fear the deal will have “negative consequences” and two-thirds want to see it canceled.

Germany-based Bayer claims that it won’t force the genetically modified seeds on its European neighbors. GMO cultivation is banned in most of Europe and Monsanto’s best-selling weed killer, glyphosate, could be banned by the end of 2017.

In the US, it remains to be seen whether the Department of Justice will exercise its authority to stop the merger. Bayer and Monsanto are two lobbying “superpowers” that spend a great deal of money to make sure that government takes their side. Just how much? Over six million in 2016 and 120 million in the past decade. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is now representing Bayer.

But there are signs that Monsanto plus Bayer might be “too big to swallow.”

“I’m afraid this consolidation wave has become a tsunami,” commented Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that held a hearing about the merger last month.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has called on the Department of Justice to not only block the merger but also reopen its investigation of Monsanto’s monopoly over the seed and chemical market: “The attempted takeover of Monsanto by Bayer is a threat to all Americans. These mergers boost the profits of huge corporations and leave Americans paying even higher prices.”

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Introduction

The refugee crisis is triggered by US-NATO led wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya… ) « regime change », « civil wars » and extreme poverty.

Poverty and despair are the result of  the imposition of neoliberal economic reforms which have led to the demise of local industry and agriculture, the collapse of social services and state institutions.

The « civil wars » in the Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among others are not « civil wars ». They are the result of armed insurrections financed ands supported by foreign powers, which have resulted in the destruction of entire countries.

These so-called « civil wars » are an integral part of a US foreign policy agenda which consists in « militarizing » the African continent (under the helm of US Africa Command, AFRICOM).

Neoliberalism and Militarization go hand in hand: « Strong economic medicine » under the helm of  the IMF and the World Bank has contributed since the early 1980s to destabilizing national governments and public institutions, while undermining Africa’s fundamental economic and social structures, transforming countries into « open territories ».

« Poverty is good for business »: The peasant economy and local manufacturing have been destroyed. An entire continent has been opened up to a process of economic pillage (and environmental destruction) by the West’s energy, mining and agribusiness conglomerates.  

War and Globalization: The refugee crisis is triggered by the despair of millions of people fleeing their homeland, whose lives have been destroyed as a result of US led wars and civil wars coupled with devastating macro-economic reforms imposed by « The Washington Consensus ».

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research Editor, October 28, 2016

*       *       *

With just two months left in 2016, and despite a substantial drop in the number of migrants and refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean, the number of people losing their lives has witnessed a three-fold overall increase this year, and in one particular route by more than five-fold, the United Nations refugee agency said today.

“From one death for every 269 arrivals last year, in 2016 the likelihood of dying has spiralled to one in 88,” William Spindler, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told journalists at the regular news briefing at the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG).

“On the Central Mediterranean route between Libya and Italy the likelihood of dying is even higher, at one death for every 47 arrivals,” he added.

The grim ratio for this route has worsened by more than 5.7-times.

“This is the worst we have seen,” expressed the UNHCR spokesperson.

According to the agency, at least 3,740 lives are reported lost between January and October 2016 – just short of the 3,771 deaths reported for the whole of 2015. This high loss of life comes despite a large overall fall this year in the number of people seeking to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

Last year at least 1,015,078 people made the crossing. This year so far, crossings stand at 327,800.

About half those who have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year have travelled from North Africa to Italy – a known more perilous route,” said Mr. Spindler explaining one of the causes behind the rise.

He further said that other causes include people smugglers using lower-quality “vessels” – no more than flimsy inflatable rafts that often do not last the journey; and the changing tactics of smugglers, with mass embarkations of thousands of people at a time.

Such changes could be used to lower detecting risks but also make the work of rescuers much more difficult, according to UNHCR.

Against this bleak backdrop, the UN agency urged all countries to do more, calling for, among others, greater and urgent attention to means such as enhanced resettlement and humanitarian admissions, family reunification, private sponsorship, and humanitarian, student and work visas for refugees.

UNHCR official also underscored that the high death rate is a reminder of the importance of continuing and robust search and rescue capacities – without which the fatality rates would almost certainly be higher.

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NATO defense ministers convened a two-day meeting in Brussels Wednesday to thrash out final plans for the deployment of some 4,000 combat troops organized in four battle groups within striking distance of Russia’s border.

These front-line forces are to be backed by a 40,000-strong rapid reaction force capable of going into battle within days.

The plan represents the largest military escalation in the region since the height of the Cold War between the US and the former Soviet Union and carries with it the heightened threat of an armed confrontation between Washington and Moscow, the world’s two largest nuclear powers.

At the end of Wednesday’s session, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that the United States, Britain, Germany and Canada had agreed to provide the leading elements of the battle groups to be deployed respectively in Poland and the three former Soviet Baltic republics: Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

Stoltenberg added that other NATO member states would contribute soldiers and armaments to the buildup. Describing the deployment as “multinational,” he stressed that it underscored that “[a]n attack on any ally will be considered an attack on us all.”

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that Washington would send a “battle-ready battalion task force” of approximately 900 solders into eastern Poland. The troops are to be drawn from the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, named for the Stryker armored fighting vehicle. The unit was sent repeatedly into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In addition, the Pentagon is sending the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division, replete with battle tanks and heavy artillery, which will be based in Poland, but operate in the general periphery of ex-Soviet republics and former Warsaw Pact nations on Russia’s western flank. Also being sent is the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, equipped with Black Hawk attack helicopters.

Washington has also announced it is dispatching 330 Marines to a base in Norway after the Norwegian government approved the deployment Monday. “We expect a sustained challenge from the East, from Russia, by way of its military activity,” Douglas Lute, the US ambassador to NATO, said in explaining the move.

Britain, meanwhile, spelled out its plans to deploy 800 troops to Estonia, equipped with battle tanks, armored infantry fighting vehicles and drones. It is to be joined by units from France and Denmark. British warplanes are also being sent to Romania.

Germany will deploy a battalion of between 400 and 600 troops to Lithuania, marking the first entry of the German military into the country since its occupation by the Nazis, who carried out the murder of close to a quarter of a million Jews there. The German deployment will be backed by units from Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Croatia and Luxembourg.

Canada is reportedly sending 450 troops to Latvia, to be joined by 140 Italian military personnel.

Defending the deployments in an interview with the German broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, the outgoing American deputy secretary general of NATO, Alexander Vershbow, claimed the US-led alliance “had no choice.”

“Russia changed the whole paradigm in 2014 with its aggression against Ukraine, its illegal annexation of Crimea,” said Vershbow.

This is a barefaced lie. The crisis in Ukraine was triggered not by “aggression” on the part of the Kremlin oligarchy, but rather the conspiracy of Washington and Berlin to overthrow the elected government in Kiev through the mobilization of violent fascist and right-wing nationalist forces. The US openly associated itself with this coup, with Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland bragging that the US had spent $5 billion to further Ukrainian regime change.

The reintegration of Crimea into Russia–it was only placed under Ukrainian administration in 1956, when both Russia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union–was overwhelmingly supported by the territory’s population in a popular referendum. From Moscow’s standpoint, this was a defensive measure taken to safeguard the historic base of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

The coup in Ukraine was the culmination of the relentless military encirclement of Russia, which has seen NATO shift its borders 800 miles eastward. Now, the deployments announced Wednesday have turned into a dead letter the agreement negotiated between NATO and Moscow not to send “substantial” numbers of Western troops into these areas.

In the wake of the Ukrainian coup, US President Barack Obama flew to Estonia to declare Washington’s “eternal” commitment to defend it and the other two Baltic states with “American boots on the ground,” thereby committing the US to war in defense of three tiny territories ruled by right-wing and fanatically anti-Russian governments eager for confrontation.

Further justifying the current NATO buildup, Stoltenberg declared Wednesday, “Close to our borders, Russia continues its assertive military posturing.” Given that NATO has expanded its reach to Russia’s own borders, this effectively means that Russia is a threat because it maintains armed forces on its own soil.

Tensions with Russia, as well as within the NATO alliance itself, have been further ratcheted up over Moscow’s dispatch of an eight-vessel flotilla led by the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov to the eastern Mediterranean to support Russian operations in support of the Syrian government.

After reports that this Russian flotilla would stop in Ceuta, the Spanish-ruled port city on the north coast of Africa, for refueling, the NATO powers exerted immense pressure on the Spanish government to refuse to allow the Russian warships to dock there.

British Defense Secretary Michel Fallon declared that his government “would be extremely concerned if a NATO member should consider assisting a Russian carrier group that might end up bombing Syria.”

Spain has reportedly allowed nearly 60 Russian warships to take on fuel and supplies in Ceuta since 2011. The practice led to denunciations in the US Congress and an amendment being attached last May to the US military spending bill requiring the Pentagon to report to Congress on countries hosting Russian vessels.

The Russian media reported Wednesday that Moscow rescinded its request to refuel at the port, while Russian government sources said the ships had adequate fuel and supplies to reach their destination.

The controversy reflects the widening divisions that have opened up within the NATO alliance under the pressure of the escalating confrontation with Russia. The countries of southern Europe, particularly Spain, Italy and Greece, have grown increasingly hostile to the regime of sanctions against Russia that has only deepened their own economic crises. Meanwhile, Germany and France have floated plans for turning the European Union into an independent military alliance, reflecting the growing conflict between US and European interests.

NATO officials have couched the issue of the Russian flotilla in alleged “humanitarian” concerns over the situation in Syria, with warnings that the fighter jets onboard the Kuznetsov will join in air strikes against eastern Aleppo and other areas controlled by the Al Qaeda-linked Islamist militias supported by Washington and its allies.

Undoubtedly a more fundamental concern is that the Russian naval buildup in the eastern Mediterranean, coupled with Russia’s deployment of fighter jets and advanced mobile S-400 and S-300 missile defense systems in Syria itself, is challenging the control of the area historically exercised by the US Sixth Fleet, which has been sorely depleted by the US “pivot” to Asia.

The Russian firepower in and around Syria has also effectively precluded the imposition of a “no-fly zone,” a policy promoted by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and much of the US foreign policy establishment, outside of a direct military confrontation with Russia.

This was acknowledged Tuesday by US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations. “I wouldn’t put it past them to shoot down an American aircraft if they felt that was threatening to their forces on the ground,” Clapper said of the Russian military during a talk at the Council of Foreign Relations. “The system they have there is very advanced, very capable, and I don’t think they’d do it–deploy it–if they didn’t have some intention to use it.”

Whether the flashpoint emerges in Eastern Europe or in Syria, the drive by US imperialism to achieve global hegemony is steadily escalating the threat of world war.

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The Modern History of ‘Rigged’ US Election

octobre 28th, 2016 by Robert Parry

The United States is so committed to the notion that its electoral process is the world’s “gold standard” that there has been a bipartisan determination to maintain the fiction even when evidence is overwhelming that a U.S. presidential election has been manipulated or stolen. The “wise men” of the system simply insist otherwise.

We have seen this behavior when there are serious questions of vote tampering (as in Election 1960) or when a challenger apparently exploits a foreign crisis to create an advantage over the incumbent (as in Elections 1968 and 1980) or when the citizens’ judgment is overturned by judges (as in Election 2000).

Presidents Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan photographed together in the Oval Office in 1991. (Cropped from a White House photo that also included Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.)

Strangely, in such cases, it is not only the party that benefited which refuses to accept the evidence of wrongdoing, but the losing party and the establishment news media as well. Protecting the perceived integrity of the U.S. democratic process is paramount. Americans must continue to believe in the integrity of the system even when that integrity has been violated.

The harsh truth is that pursuit of power often trumps the principle of an informed electorate choosing the nation’s leaders, but that truth simply cannot be recognized.

Of course, historically, American democracy was far from perfect, excluding millions of people, including African-American slaves and women. The compromises needed to enact the Constitution in 1787 also led to distasteful distortions, such as counting slaves as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of representation (although obviously slaves couldn’t vote).

That unsavory deal enabled Thomas Jefferson to defeat John Adams in the pivotal national election of 1800. In effect, the votes of Southern slave owners like Jefferson counted substantially more than the votes of Northern non-slave owners.

Even after the Civil War when the Constitution was amended to give black men voting rights, the reality for black voting, especially in the South, was quite different from the new constitutional mandate. Whites in former Confederate states concocted subterfuges to keep blacks away from the polls to ensure continued white supremacy for almost a century.

Women did not gain suffrage until 1920 with the passage of another constitutional amendment, and it took federal legislation in 1965 to clear away legal obstacles that Southern states had created to deny the franchise to blacks.

Indeed, the alleged voter fraud in Election 1960, concentrated largely in Texas, a former Confederate state and home to John Kennedy’s vice presidential running mate, Lyndon Johnson, could be viewed as an outgrowth of the South’s heritage of rigging elections in favor of Democrats, the post-Civil War party of white Southerners.

However, by pushing through civil rights for blacks in the 1960s, Kennedy and Johnson earned the enmity of many white Southerners who switched their allegiance to the Republican Party via Richard Nixon’s Southern strategy of coded racial messaging. Nixon also harbored resentments over what he viewed as his unjust defeat in the election of 1960.

Nixon’s ‘Treason’

So, by 1968, the Democrats’ once solid South was splintering, but Nixon, who was again the Republican presidential nominee, didn’t want to leave his chances of winning what looked to be another close election to chance. Nixon feared that — with the Vietnam War raging and the Democratic Party deeply divided — President Johnson could give the Democratic nominee, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, a decisive boost by reaching a last-minute peace deal with North Vietnam.

President Richard Nixon with his then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger in 1972.

The documentary and testimonial evidence is now clear that to avert a peace deal, Nixon’s campaign went behind Johnson’s back to persuade South Vietnamese President Nguyen van Thieu to torpedo Johnson’s Paris peace talks by refusing to attend. Nixon’s emissaries assured Thieu that a President Nixon would continue the war and guarantee a better outcome for South Vietnam.

Though Johnson had strong evidence of what he privately called Nixon’s “treason” — from FBI wiretaps in the days before the 1968 election — he and his top advisers chose to stay silent. In a Nov. 4, 1968 conference call, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, National Security Advisor Walt Rostow and Defense Secretary Clark Clifford – three pillars of the Establishment – expressed that consensus, with Clifford explaining the thinking:

“Some elements of the story are so shocking in their nature that I’m wondering whether it would be good for the country to disclose the story and then possibly have a certain individual [Nixon] elected,” Clifford said. “It could cast his whole administration under such doubt that I think it would be inimical to our country’s interests.”

Clifford’s words expressed the recurring thinking whenever evidence emerged casting the integrity of America’s electoral system in doubt, especially at the presidential level. The American people were not to know what kind of dirty deeds could affect that process.

To this day, the major U.S. news media will not directly address the issue of Nixon’s treachery in 1968, despite the wealth of evidence proving this historical reality now available from declassified records at the Johnson presidential library in Austin, Texas. In a puckish recognition of this ignored history, the library’s archivists call the file on Nixon’s sabotage of the Vietnam peace talks their “X-file.” [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “LBJ’s ‘X-File’ on Nixon’s ‘Treason.’”]

The evidence also strongly suggests that Nixon’s paranoia about a missing White House file detailing his “treason” – top secret documents that Johnson had entrusted to Rostow at the end of LBJ’s presidency – led to Nixon’s creation of the “plumbers,” a team of burglars whose first assignment was to locate those purloined papers. The existence of the “plumbers” became public in June 1972 when they were caught breaking into the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate in Washington.

National Security Adviser Walt Rostow shows President Lyndon Johnson a model of a battle near Khe Sanh in Vietnam. (U.S. Archive Photo)

Although the Watergate scandal remains the archetypal case of election-year dirty tricks, the major U.S. news media never acknowledge the link between Watergate and Nixon’s far more egregious dirty trick four years earlier, sinking Johnson’s Vietnam peace talks while 500,000 American soldiers were in the war zone. In part because of Nixon’s sabotage — and his promise to Thieu of a more favorable outcome — the war continued for four more bloody years before being settled along the lines that were available to Johnson in 1968. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Heinous Crime Behind Watergate.”]

In effect, Watergate gets walled off as some anomaly that is explained by Nixon’s strange personality. However, even though Nixon resigned in disgrace in 1974, he and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, who also had a hand in the Paris peace talk caper, reappear as secondary players in the next well-documented case of obstructing a sitting president’s foreign policy to get an edge in the 1980 campaign.

Reagan’s ‘October Surprise’ Caper

In that case, President Jimmy Carter was seeking reelection and trying to negotiate release of 52 American hostages then held in revolutionary Iran. Ronald Reagan’s campaign feared that Carter might pull off an “October Surprise” by bringing home the hostages just before the election. So, this historical mystery has been: Did Reagan’s team take action to block Carter’s October Surprise?

President Ronald Reagan, delivering his Inaugural Address on Jan. 20, 1981, as the 52 U.S. hostages in Iran are simultaneously released.

The testimonial and documentary evidence that Reagan’s team did engage in a secret operation to prevent Carter’s October Surprise is now almost as overwhelming as the proof of the 1968 affair regarding Nixon’s Paris peace talk maneuver.

That evidence indicates that Reagan’s campaign director William Casey organized a clandestine effort to prevent the hostages’ release before Election Day, after apparently consulting with Nixon and Kissinger and aided by former CIA Director George H.W. Bush, who was Reagan’s vice presidential running mate.

By early November 1980, the public’s obsession with Iran’s humiliation of the United States and Carter’s inability to free the hostages helped turn a narrow race into a Reagan landslide. When the hostages were finally let go immediately after Reagan’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 1981, his supporters cited the timing to claim that the Iranians had finally relented out of fear of Reagan.

Bolstered by his image as a tough guy, Reagan enacted much of his right-wing agenda, including passing massive tax cuts benefiting the wealthy, weakening unions and creating the circumstances for the rapid erosion of the Great American Middle Class.

Behind the scenes, the Reagan administration signed off on secret arms shipments to Iran, mostly through Israel, what a variety of witnesses described as the payoff for Iran’s cooperation in getting Reagan elected and then giving him the extra benefit of timing the hostage release to immediately follow his inauguration.

Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush with CIA Director William Casey at the White House on Feb. 11, 1981. (Photo credit: Reagan Library)

In summer 1981, when Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East Nicholas Veliotes learned about the arms shipments to Iran, he checked on their origins and said, later in a PBS interview:

“It was clear to me after my conversations with people on high that indeed we had agreed that the Israelis could transship to Iran some American-origin military equipment. … [This operation] seems to have started in earnest in the period probably prior to the election of 1980, as the Israelis had identified who would become the new players in the national security area in the Reagan administration. And I understand some contacts were made at that time.”

Those early covert arms shipments to Iran evolved into a later secret set of arms deals that surfaced in fall 1986 as the Iran-Contra Affair, with some of the profits getting recycled back to Reagan’s beloved Nicaraguan Contra rebels fighting to overthrow Nicaragua’s leftist government.

While many facts of the Iran-Contra scandal were revealed by congressional and special-prosecutor investigations in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the origins of the Reagan-Iran relationship was always kept hazy. The Republicans were determined to stop any revelations about the 1980 contacts, but the Democrats were almost as reluctant to go there.

A half-hearted congressional inquiry was launched in 1991 and depended heavily on then-President George H.W. Bush to collect the evidence and arrange interviews for the investigation. In other words, Bush, who was then seeking reelection and who was a chief suspect in the secret dealings with Iran, was entrusted with proving his own guilt.

Tired of the Story

By the early 1990s, the mainstream U.S. news media was also tired of the complex Iran-Contra scandal and wanted to move on. As a correspondent at Newsweek, I had battled senior editors over their disinterest in getting to the bottom of the scandal before I left the magazine in 1990. I then received an assignment from PBS Frontline to look into the 1980 “October Surprise” question, which led to a documentary on the subject in April 1991.

PBS Frontline’s: The Election Held Hostage, co-written by Robert Parry and Robert Ross.

However, by fall 1991, just as Congress was agreeing to open an investigation, my ex-bosses at Newsweek, along with The New Republic, then an elite neoconservative publication interested in protecting Israel’s exposure on those early arms deals, went on the attack. They published matching cover stories deeming the 1980 “October Surprise” case a hoax, but their articles were both based on a misreading of documents recording Casey’s attendance at a conference in London in July 1980, which he seemed to have used as a cover for a side trip to Madrid to meet with senior Iranians regarding the hostages.

Although the bogus Newsweek/New Republic “London alibi” would eventually be debunked, it created a hostile climate for the investigation. With Bush angrily denying everything and the congressional Republicans determined to protect the President’s flanks, the Democrats mostly just went through the motions of an investigation.

Meanwhile, Bush’s State Department and White House counsel’s office saw their jobs as discrediting the investigation, deep-sixing incriminating documents, and helping a key witness dodge a congressional subpoena.

Years later, I discovered a document at the Bush presidential library in College Station, Texas, confirming that Casey had taken a mysterious trip to Madrid in 1980. The U.S. Embassy’s confirmation of Casey’s trip was passed along by State Department legal adviser Edwin D. Williamson to Associate White House Counsel Chester Paul Beach Jr. in early November 1991, just as the congressional inquiry was taking shape.

Williamson said that among the State Department “material potentially relevant to the October Surprise allegations [was] a cable from the Madrid embassy indicating that Bill Casey was in town, for purposes unknown,” Beach noted in a “memorandum for record” dated Nov. 4, 1991.

Two days later, on Nov. 6, Beach’s boss, White House counsel C. Boyden Gray, convened an inter-agency strategy session and explained the need to contain the congressional investigation into the October Surprise case. The explicit goal was to ensure the scandal would not hurt President Bush’s reelection hopes in 1992.

C. Boyden Gray, White House counsel under President George H.W. Bush.

At the meeting, Gray laid out how to thwart the October Surprise inquiry, which was seen as a dangerous expansion of the Iran-Contra investigation. The prospect that the two sets of allegations would merge into a single narrative represented a grave threat to George H.W. Bush’s reelection campaign. As assistant White House counsel Ronald vonLembke, put it, the White House goal in 1991 was to “kill/spike this story.”

Gray explained the stakes at the White House strategy session. “Whatever form they ultimately take, the House and Senate ‘October Surprise’ investigations, like Iran-Contra, will involve interagency concerns and be of special interest to the President,” Gray declared, according to minutes. [Emphasis in original.]

Among “touchstones” cited by Gray were “No Surprises to the White House, and Maintain Ability to Respond to Leaks in Real Time. This is Partisan.” White House “talking points” on the October Surprise investigation urged restricting the inquiry to 1979-80 and imposing strict time limits for issuing any findings.

Timid Democrats

But Bush’s White House really had little to fear because whatever evidence that the congressional investigation received – and a great deal arrived in December 1992 and January 1993 – there was no stomach for actually proving that the 1980 Reagan campaign had conspired with Iranian radicals to extend the captivity of 52 Americans in order to ensure Reagan’s election victory.

Former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Indiana.

That would have undermined the faith of the American people in their democratic process – and that, as Clark Clifford said in the 1968 context, would not be “good for the country.”

In 2014 when I sent a copy of Beach’s memo regarding Casey’s trip to Madrid to former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Indiana, who had chaired the October Surprise inquiry in 1991-93, he told me that it had shaken his confidence in the task force’s dismissive conclusions about the October Surprise issue.

“The [Bush-41] White House did not notify us that he [Casey] did make the trip” to Madrid, Hamilton told me. “Should they have passed that on to us? They should have because they knew we were interested in that.”

Asked if knowledge that Casey had traveled to Madrid might have changed the task force’s dismissive October Surprise conclusion, Hamilton said yes, because the question of the Madrid trip was key to the task force’s investigation.

“If the White House knew that Casey was there, they certainly should have shared it with us,” Hamilton said, adding that “you have to rely on people” in authority to comply with information requests. But that trust was at the heart of the inquiry’s failure. With the money and power of the American presidency at stake, the idea that George H.W. Bush and his team would help an investigation that might implicate him in an act close to treason was naïve in the extreme.

Arguably, Hamilton’s timid investigation was worse than no investigation at all because it gave Bush’s team the opportunity to search out incriminating documents and make them disappear. Then, Hamilton’s investigative conclusion reinforced the “group think” dismissing this serious manipulation of democracy as a “conspiracy theory” when it was anything but. In the years since, Hamilton hasn’t done anything to change the public impression that the Reagan campaign was innocent.

Still, among the few people who have followed this case, the October Surprise cover-up would slowly crumble with admissions by officials involved in the investigation that its exculpatory conclusions were rushed, that crucial evidence had been hidden or ignored, and that some alibis for key Republicans didn’t make any sense.

But the dismissive “group think” remains undisturbed as far as the major U.S. media and mainstream historians are concerned. [For details, see Robert Parry’s America’s Stolen Narrative or Trick or Treason: The 1980 October Surprise Mystery or Consortiumnews.com’s “Second Thoughts on October Surprise.”]

Past as Prologue

Lee Hamilton’s decision to “clear” Reagan and Bush of the 1980 October Surprise suspicions in 1992 was not simply a case of miswriting history. The findings had clear implications for the future as well, since the public impression about George H.W. Bush’s rectitude was an important factor in the support given to his oldest son, George W. Bush, in 2000.

President George W. Bush is introduced by his brother Florida Gov. Jeb Bush before delivering remarks at Sun City Center, Florida, on May 9, 2006. (White House photo by Eric Draper)

Indeed, if the full truth had been told about the father’s role in the October Surprise and Iran-Contra cases, it’s hard to imagine that his son would have received the Republican nomination, let alone made a serious run for the White House. And, if that history were known, there might have been a stronger determination on the part of Democrats to resist another Bush “stolen election” in 2000.

Regarding Election 2000, the evidence is now clear that Vice President Al Gore not only won the national popular vote but received more votes that were legal under Florida law than did George W. Bush. But Bush relied first on the help of officials working for his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, and then on five Republican justices on the U.S. Supreme Court to thwart a full recount and to award him Florida’s electoral votes and thus the presidency.

The reality of Gore’s rightful victory should have finally become clear in November 2001 when a group of news organizations finished their own examination of Florida’s disputed ballots and released their tabulations showing that Gore would have won if all ballots considered legal under Florida law were counted.

However, between the disputed election and the release of those numbers, the 9/11 attacks had occurred, so The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other leading outlets did not want the American people to know that the wrong person was in the White House. Surely, telling the American people that fact amid the 9/11 crisis would not be “good for the country.”

So, senior editors at all the top new organizations decided to mislead the public by framing their stories in a deceptive way to obscure the most newsworthy discovery – that the so-called “over-votes” in which voters both checked and wrote in their choices’ names broke heavily for Gore and would have put him over the top regardless of which kinds of chads were considered for the “under-votes” that hadn’t registered on antiquated voting machines. “Over-votes” would be counted under Florida law which bases its standards on “clear intent of the voter.”

However, instead of leading with Gore’s rightful victory, the news organizations concocted hypotheticals around partial recounts that still would have given Florida narrowly to Bush. They either left out or buried the obvious lede that a historic injustice had occurred.

Former Vice President Al Gore. (Photo credit: algore.com)

On Nov. 12, 2001, the day that the news organizations ran those stories, I examined the actual data and quickly detected the evidence of Gore’s victory. In a story that day, I suggested that senior news executives were exercising a misguided sense of patriotism. They had hid the reality for “the good of the country,” much as Johnson’s team had done in 1968 regarding Nixon’s sabotage of the Paris peace talks and Hamilton’s inquiry had done regarding the 1980 “October Surprise” case.

Within a couple of hours of my posting the article at Consortiumnews.com, I received an irate phone call from The New York Times media writer Felicity Barringer, who accused me of impugning the journalistic integrity of then-Times executive editor Howell Raines. I got the impression that Barringer had been on the look-out for some deviant story that didn’t accept the Bush-won conventional wisdom.

However, this violation of objective and professional journalism – bending the slant of a story to achieve a preferred outcome rather than simply giving the readers the most interesting angle – was not simply about some historical event that had occurred a year earlier. It was about the future.

By misleading Americans into thinking that Bush was the rightful winner of Election 2000 – even if the media’s motivation was to maintain national unity following the 9/11 attacks – the major news outlets gave Bush greater latitude to respond to the crisis, including the diversionary invasion of Iraq under false pretenses. The Bush-won headlines of November 2001 also enhanced the chances of his reelection in 2004. [For the details of how a full Florida recount would have given Gore the White House, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Gore’s Victory,” “So Bush Did Steal the White House,” and “Bush v. Gore’s Dark American Decade.”]

A Phalanx of Misguided Consensus

Looking back on these examples of candidates manipulating democracy, there appears to be one common element: after the “stolen” elections, the media and political establishments quickly line up, shoulder to shoulder, to assure the American people that nothing improper has happened. Graceful “losers” are patted on the back for not complaining that the voters’ will had been ignored or twisted.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Al Gore is praised for graciously accepting the extraordinary ruling by Republican partisans on the Supreme Court, who stopped the counting of ballots in Florida on the grounds, as Justice Antonin Scalia said, that a count that showed Gore winning (when the Court’s majority was already planning to award the White House to Bush) would undermine Bush’s “legitimacy.”

Similarly, Rep. Hamilton is regarded as a modern “wise man,” in part, because he conducted investigations that never pushed very hard for the truth but rather reached conclusions that were acceptable to the powers-that-be, that didn’t ruffle too many feathers.

But the cumulative effect of all these half-truths, cover-ups and lies – uttered for “the good of the country” – is to corrode the faith of many well-informed Americans about the legitimacy of the entire process. It is the classic parable of the boy who cried wolf too many times, or in this case, assured the townspeople that there never was a wolf and that they should ignore the fact that the livestock had mysteriously disappeared leaving behind only a trail of blood into the forest.

So, when Donald Trump shows up in 2016 insisting that the electoral system is rigged against him, many Americans choose to believe his demagogy. But Trump isn’t pressing for the full truth about the elections of 1968 or 1980 or 2000. He actually praises Republicans implicated in those cases and vows to appoint Supreme Court justices in the mold of the late Antonin Scalia.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Trump’s complaints about “rigged” elections are more in line with the white Southerners during Jim Crow, suggesting that black and brown people are cheating at the polls and need to have white poll monitors to make sure they don’t succeed at “stealing” the election from white people.

There is a racist undertone to Trump’s version of a “rigged” democracy but he is not entirely wrong about the flaws in the process. He’s just not honest about what those flaws are.

The hard truth is that the U.S. political process is not democracy’s “gold standard”; it is and has been a severely flawed system that is not made better by a failure to honestly address the unpleasant realities and to impose accountability on politicians who cheat the voters.

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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No one likes being lectured, and when it comes in the form of Gallic smugness delivered from literally the left of centre, it can grate. The equally smug social engineers and commentators who see their society as an exemplar to emulate find that hardest to stomach.

Thomas Piketty, repeatedly introduced as a “rock star” economist by those short of words, is certainly full of advice for the places he visits. For Australia, he has specific observations about rising inequality, being at a historic high since the post-war period.  Such points are noted with specific sensitivity by the myth makers who believe that Australian society is somehow egalitarian, with small income gaps between ever widening tiers.

Much of Piketty’s critical armoury is laid out in Capital in the Twenty-First Century.  His target, as ever, is emerging uncorrected inequality, the sort that has seen a doubling of the income share of the top 1 per cent between 1980 and 2010.  The returns of capital, be it dividends, rent, capital gains and savings interest, have left labour returns stuttering in their wake.

Last Sunday, Piketty shone a light on historic comparisons before his Sydney Opera House audience that made some squirm in disbelief.  His overall thesis is that the after-tax rate return on wealth, coupled by sluggish growth, compounds inequality.  The stress caused on that level is so profound as to make inequality “oligarchic” in nature, the sort not seen since the nineteenth century.

The Australian case is far from pretty.  Despite boasting about less disparity between the poor and the wealthy, the income share of the top 10 per cent of earners rose to 30 per cent in 2013.  This disparity is noted as being the highest since 1951.

As a consequence, the three richest Australians possess more wealth than the poorest one million. “Certainly Australia has a more egalitarian tradition and a more egalitarian culture than the US or Brazil but relative to this tradition, the country has become more unequal in recent decades.”[1]

Piketty has also gone into waving the red flag of taxation to his Australian hosts. Those who should fork out to fill that particular chest should be the well-endowed.  Naturally, that means a return to that great tradition of taxing, if not the dead, then certainly what is bequeathed by the dead to their inheritors.

“Japan,” he noted, “just raised its top inheritance tax rate from 45 to 55 per cent last year.”  Never mind the fact that it was a “right-wing government” – there was a general consensus in many European countries and Japan that such a tax was appropriate and necessary. No policy maker in those states had seriously considered a reduction from say 40 per cent, “to the Australian level of zero per cent”.[2]

Piketty’s enthusiasm should not be confused with a lust to prey on the wealthy, except perhaps those in the filthy wealthy category.  The point is to exempt smaller properties and lesser inheritances, focusing instead on the multimillion dollar transactions that go unattended.  “The objective must be to reduce taxes for others and in particular for those with middle wages and lower wages.”

Left only with your labour income, and being short in the family wealth department, is bound to leave you behind in the modern state, a point that Australians are not exempt from.  The market of house ownership, deemed a near divine right of the Australian resident, has become prohibitive.  Property in such cities as Sydney and Melbourne appreciate at exponential rates, creating seemingly indestructible bubbles of inflating prices.

“Families who can transmit property and some part of the young generation who don’t have that kind of family connection and wealth, this is the big challenge to the kind of meritocratic ideal that we believed in the postwar decades, where indeed it was easier to start from zero and access property yourself” (ABC News, Oct 24).

Rejoinders were bound to follow, and they were bound to come from economists keen to point out the missing parts in the Piketty analysis.  Former Reserve Bank of Australia board member Warwick McKibbin insisted that egalitarianism remained a sound reality in the antipodes. “Everybody had a share in the pie.”

The point that Piketty had missed, charged McKibbin, was the fact that income inequality had also been accompanied by an overall rise in income growth. “We don’t seem to have income distribution causing problems for growth, when everybody’s income is rising.”[3]

The Australian Financial Review proved even less accommodating, sneeringly suggesting that Piketty sought to do “what socialists have always done: empirically prove that socialism is not only morally right, but scientifically correct.”[4]  The AFR, indeed, revelled in mocking Piketty’s France, different from Australia, which is a country of “immigrant opportunity”.  Australia was also unlike France, with its “large ghettos of intergenerational poverty that are now rearing battalions of Islamist terrorists.”

Such a charming view, stemming from the AFR and the Murdoch press, is predictable.  It is to accept that there will always be inequality, which is not a bad thing.  Focus, instead, on the exceptional immigrants, the millionaires made good. (No mention of tax systems and inequalities on that score.) Think of 39-year-old property developer Kosta Drakopoulous, who dropped out of vocational education and eventually achieved wealth approaching $60 million.

Piketty’s fundamental appeal is that he has pulled the rug from under the carpet of the capitalist system, notably on the illusory point of championed meritocracy. Be sceptical, he suggests, of those who bandy the term about, those merry accumulators.  “Meritocracy is largely a myth invented by the winners of the system.”

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

 Notes

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In her recent open letter to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason documents what amounts to a cesspool of corruption surrounding sections of the agrochemicals industry and the regulation of glyphosate (as found in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup).

As with all her previous ‘open letters’ to officials, Mason cites ample sources to support her arguments and claims, not least those about the health- and environment-damaging impacts of glyphosate, a highly financially lucrative product for Monsanto. Readers may access these sources by consulting her original 15-page letter to the EPA here: open-letter-to-us-enviro nmental-protection-agency- about-glyphosate-and-the- international-monsanto-tribuna l

Mason notes that CropLife America, the agribusiness lobby association, put pressure on the EPA to exclude individuals who had in the past expressed a negative opinion of glyphosate from sitting on the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP). EPA immediately bowed to that request and delayed the date of the SAP to find further figures approved by industry. She documents in some detail how Croplife America pressured the FIFRA SAP to rely on assessments of glyphosate tainted by conflicts of interest and wanted to have excluded specific scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (whose negative evaluation of glyphosate had upset the industry) and the Consensus Statement on Glyphosate written by 16 scientists.

To keep the pressure on in support of glyphosate, Mason describes how Monsanto commissioned five reviews published in ‘Critical Reviews in Toxicology’ and also funded them. A stunt whereby science took a back seat to crass public relations.

PR masquerading as science published in questionable journals is part of the industry’s aim to create doubt. And it’s an endless activity. In the meantime, Mason argues that as powerful corporations attempt to muddy the waters, people die unnecessarily by being exposed to dangerous agrochemicals like glyphosate and the environment is degraded even further.

But for many, none of this comes as any surprise. Based on evidence given to the Monsanto Tribunal, Mason says the truth is there for the world to see: the US EPA, the European Food Safety Authority, the European Commission, the UK Chemicals Regulation Directorate and the Republic of Ireland have been conspiring with Monsanto against civil society to destroy the environment with chemicals and poison their food. More on the Monsanto Tribunal later.

Shifting her focus to Europe, Mason focuses on Professor Alan Boobis, Chairman of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN/World Health Organization/Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues panel, who claimed he had no conflicts of interest. He is also vice-president of the International Life Science Institute (ILSI) Europe, an organisation that had received money from both Monsanto and CropLife International. Mason quotes The Guardian journalist Arthur Neslen from May 2016:

“A UN panel that on Tuesday ruled that glyphosate was probably not carcinogenic to humans has now become embroiled in a bitter row about potential conflicts of interests. It has emerged that an institute co-run by the chairman of the UN’s joint meeting on pesticide residues (JMPR) received a six-figure donation from Monsanto, which uses the substance as a core ingredient in its bestselling Roundup weed-killer. Professor Alan Boobis, who chaired the UN’s joint FAO/WHO meeting on glyphosate, also works as the vice-president of the International Life Science Institute (ILSI) Europe. The co-chair of the sessions was Professor Angelo Moretto, a board member of ILSI’s Health and Environmental Services Institute, and of its Risk21 steering group too, which Boobis also co-chairs. In 2012, the ILSI group took a $500,000 (£344,234) donation from Monsanto and a $528,500 donation from the industry group Croplife International, which represents Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and others, according to documents obtained by the US right to know campaign.”

Mason states that when glyphosate was reassessed in 2002, Alan Boobis was also Chairman of the UN’s JMPR meeting on pesticide residues. Prof Boobis is current Chairman of the UK Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT), which is alleged to be an independent scientific body.

As in her many previous letters to various institutions and officials, Mason provides much evidence to show how the concept of independent science is being made a mockery of by what to all intents and purposes is arguably corporate-sponsored corruption facilitated by prominent public agencies and officials. And once Mason peels away a very thin veneer – it is not a very subtle form at that.

Finally, Mason comes to the recent International Monsanto Tribunal in The Hague. A civil society initiative to hold Monsanto accountable for human rights violations, crimes against humanity and ecocide, eminent judges heard testimonies from victims and delivered an advisory opinion following procedures of the International Court of Justice.

Two of the tribunal judges wrote to Monsanto to invite them to participate in the tribunal. Monsanto decided not to appear for their defence. They issued a sanctimonious statement in five languages saying that the Tribunal was “pushing the wrong issues, since the real discussion is about feeding the world.”

Well the people there would say that, wouldn’t they? It seems the tendency to rely on public relations cliches runs deep.

Nnimmo Bassey at the opening said:

“Being an ambassador to this Tribunal is like being an ambassador to mother Earth. If mother Earth could speak, Monsanto ought to be in jail long before now. Food is a celebration, it is culture, it is life. This is a struggle not against one multinational corporation, it is a struggle for life, it is a struggle for liberty. A struggle to stop big companies from colonizing our food systems, colonizing our agriculture, holding mother Earth as a slave for their profits.”

Judge Tulkens said:

“We will try to deliver the legal opinion before December 10th, the International Day of Human Rights. It will be addressed to Monsanto and to the United Nations. From this legal opinion, other jurisdictions can be involved and more judges will step in. We, as the judges [at the Monsanto Tribunal] have seen, heard, noted and deliberated. Chances are that the international law will take into consideration new issues such as the ones related to ecocide. »

Mason goes on to discuss some of the witness testimonies, which again highlight the close ties between the agrochemicals cartel and government/regulatory agencies across the globe at national and international levels.

In finishing, she discusses the harmful impacts of glyphosate on human health and the environment and notes how a combination of bought-and-paid for science (and by implication scientists), conflicts of interest and compromised governments and agencies allow the agrochemicals sector to poison the planet with various toxins, in addition to glyphosate. The media’s role in this is complicit.

Mason also refers to the new book ‘OurDaily Poison: From Pesticides to Packaging, How Chemicals Have Contaminated theFood Chain and Are Making Us Sick’ by Marie-Monique Robin to add to the reams of evidence she has provided over the years in her correspondence with senior officials: officials who, for the large part, appear to be unable or unwilling to address Mason’s concerns, regardless of the amount of credible (peer-reviewed scientific) sources she uses to support her case.

Given the evidence presented by Mason, the Monsanto Tribunal and many others, we appear to have public officials working on behalf of agrochemicals industry. Perhaps these figures should bear in mind what Mason concludes in her letter to the US EPA:

“It is outrageous that US EPA is bowing to pressure from a corrupt and criminal pesticides industry that pays lobbyists to assess their products… The US EPA, EFSA, the European Commission and the UK Chemicals Regulation Directorate should study carefully the evidence given to the Monsanto Tribunal from witnesses about Monsanto’s violation of human rights. It is possible that they might end up being prosecuted in the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity and for assisting Monsanto in ecocide and genocide. In the International Criminal Court, ignorance is no defence against prosecution.”

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The United Nations on Thursday adopted a landmark resolution calling for the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide.

Resolution L.41 (pdf) was accepted by a vote of 123-38, with 16 member nations abstaining. The vote was held during a meeting of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, which deals with disarmament and international security matters.

« For seven decades, the UN has warned of the dangers of nuclear weapons, and people globally have campaigned for their abolition. Today the majority of states finally resolved to outlaw these weapons, » said Beatrice Fihn, executive director of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (ICAN).

Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the Hiroshima and leading proponent of a ban, also celebrated Thursday’s vote.

« This is a truly historic moment for the entire world, » Thurlow said. “For those of us who survived the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is a very joyous occasion. We have been waiting so long for this day to come. »

As expected, nuclear powers including the United States, France, Canada, Israel, Russia, and the United Kingdom, as well as several of their European allies, were among the nations who voted against the ban.

Earlier:

In what is being called a historic moment for nuclear disarmament, United Nations First Committee meeting in New York City on Thursday are voting on a nonbinding resolution to ban nuclear weapons.

Co-sponsored by 57 nations, the resolution (pdf), known as L.41, states: « Deeply concerned about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, » as well as « the risks related to the existence of nuclear weapons, » the General Assembly « Decides to convene in 2017 a United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. »

Ahead of the vote, the European Parliament declared its support for the resolution and encouraged EU member states to « support the convening » and « participate substantively » in the negotiations.

Noting that there are currently 15,395 nuclear weapons in the arsenals of nine countries, the EU resolution states, « MEPs are deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation around the EU and beyond, due to the deterioration of relations between the nuclear powers such as Russia and the United States, or India and Pakistan, as well as the recent spike in the nuclear potential of North Korea. »

Updates on the vote are being shared on social media with the hashtags #goodbyenukesand #firstcommittee while the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has a live blog. The live United Nations video feed can be viewed below:

According to reports inside, the United Nations chambers was packed to capacity as the roll call began.

 

Unsurprisingly, according to Bloomberg, nuclear powers—the U.S., Russia, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, China, France, and the U.K.—attempted to head off the resolution ahead of Thursday’s vote.

Opposing the call for a « nuclear-free world is awkward for world leaders, and none more so than U.S. President Barack Obama, » Bloomberg noted, who « was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in large part for what the award panel called his ‘vision of, and work for, a world without nuclear weapons.' »

But that didn’t stop Robert Wood, the U.S. special representative to the UN’s Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament, from telling the Assembly earlier this month that the U.S. would be voting « no » on L.41 and « would refuse to participate in the negotiations over a nuclear ban if it passes, » Bloomberg reported. Wood argued that the « ban treaty runs the risk of undermining regional security. » U.K. representative Matthew Rowland reportedly made a similar statement.

Indeed, the U.S. reiterated this position during arguments on the General Assembly floor Thursday.

Countering that claim, Jen Maman, peace adviser for Greenpeace International, argues that the presence of nuclear weapons anywhere is affront to peace everywhere. « As long as nuclear weapons exist, the risk of accidental or deliberate use will be present, » Maman wrote in a blog post ahead of the vote. « If used, nuclear weapons would have catastrophic humanitarian consequences, and in the case of a detonation, no state or humanitarian organization could provide any meaningful relief. »

Throwing Greenpeace’s support behind L.41, Maman explained that such a ban « would even affect the behavior of those states outside the treaty. »

She continued:

The existence of the treaty would require states to decide if they support nuclear weapons or not. This pressure would influence other international forums, as well as debates at the national level. 
  A ban on nuclear weapons will establish an international norm against the possession of nuclear weapons, which will help to reduce the perceived value of such weapons. It will draw the line between those states that believe nuclear weapons are unacceptable and illegitimate and those states that believe nuclear weapons are legitimate and able to provide security.

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What Is It Really Like To Be A Syrian Refugee?

octobre 28th, 2016 by Graham Vanbergen

The UNHCR says that by the end of the year it is estimated that half of the population of Syria will be in need of aid. The Regional Response Plan for Syrian refugees totals US$2.9 billion. The governments of Lebanon and Jordan are also appealing for funds, asking for US$449 million and US$380 million respectively. The humanitarian appeal for inside Syria is for US$1.4 billion…

This all adds up to US$5 billion, the largest appeal in history.

The Syrian conflict is now well into its fifth year and the Syrian agony continues without end in sight. The battle between the West and its allies and the Syrian government rages with all of its complexities, little understood by Western politicians and the media.

In the last few years the conflict has resulted in what is now considered the worst humanitarian disaster in modern history. A third of the population has been displaced internally, and some 3.8 million Syrian refugees languish in refugee camps in neighbouring countries. The United Nations and Arab League envoy to Syria put actual deaths due to the conflict at close to half a million as at April 2016.

One in 4 people in nieghbouring Lebanon (which forbids permanent refugee camp construction) are refugees. Private land owners, known as ‘Shawishes’ charge exorbitant fees for refugees to camp away from official government sites. Syrians are forbidden from working in Lebanon and the vast majority are unable to pay the huge cost of residency permits to stay legally.

A single Syrian child in an apocolyptic image with makeshift fire in Aleppo (image source unknown)

Under these circumstances, Syrian children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to mistreatment and abuse. Forced prostitution and rape are commonplace. As Foreign Policyreported a few months ago – “In April, 75 Syrian women were rescued from sexual slavery at a brothel in Lebanon. They had been beaten, tortured, electrocuted, and compelled to have sex more than 10 times a day. Increasing numbers of teenage Syrian girls are entering early marriages in order to receive financial and physical protection from their adult husbands.”

The abject misery and despair forced onto their lives through no fault of their own has led to truly desperate measures. According to a 2014 United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) study, the dismal conditions have led to 41 percent of Syrian youths in Lebanon to say they have had suicidal urges. A big problem is that local NGO workers are unable to compile statistics on suicide attempts and completions – the conditions, religious beliefs and implications make it impossible to know. Death is endemic to this way of life.

A quarter of a million fled to Iraq thinking it was safer than Syria. Here, 20,000 people are violently killedeach year for no known reason. Before America’s invasion, just 3 people a month were murdered each month; that escalated immediately afterwards to 1,300 a month; it still is today. The official “iraqbodycount” (Read: The shocking truth of UK involvement of 6-8 million in Iraq and Afghanistandatabase is well known to report far less than actual numbers.

Another way of putting it is that half of Syria’s pre-war population — more than 11 million people — have been killed or forced to flee their homes. Harsh winters and hot summers make life as a refugee even more difficult. At times, the effects of the conflict can seem overwhelming.

Syrian children arrive at refugee camps suffering from the living nightmare of conflict and open warfare having lost parents, siblings, homes and basic family security

In one child refugee centre in the Bekka valley run by a Lebanese NGO, the children arrive both mentally and physically shattered. Piecing their lives back together seems impossible. The arrive with no hope whatsoever after a nightmare ordeal you and I are simply unable to imagine.

Makeshift tented classrooms attempts to act as normality, as a safe haven. There is painting and music, the children interact with other refugees, there is chatter and sometimes laughter. Just as the children start to make some sort of sense of their predicament and hope starts to build for a future, the centre has been told it must close by UNHCR due to funding cuts and political decisions.

Rima, the woman who runs the centre says“We have three months to prepare the children to tell them that we’re leaving.… The new model [for the U.N.] is to work with governments in regards to refugees. It’s all very political. They want to make the Lebanese government responsible for taking care of the refugees. But we don’t have basic health services even for the Lebanese, and there is barely anyplace in schools for Lebanese children, let alone Syrians.”

UNHCR say they need nearly $500 million to keep the centres in Lebanon open but funding is short by 60 percent.

“When this place closes, all our services will end,” Rima says. “The girls will all get married, and if they can’t find work, the boys will become criminals. Lebanon will become less safe not only for the Syrians, but also for the Lebanese.… It’s like we took them halfway and abandoned them. What kind of a future will they have now?”

The resulting wave of refugees from Syria is having serious repercussions. Lebanon’s real GDP growth has been cut by 2.85 percent a year between 2012 to 2014, unemployment has doubled to above 20 percent and it has widened the deeply indebted nation’s deficit by $2.6 billion. That might not sound a lot but Lebanon has an annual GDP of less than $10 billion. And according to the World Bank, the crisis has cost Lebanon £7.5billion so far – the equivalent to over $2 trillion to the UK economy, or running the NHS for nearly 20 years.

Many Syrians have been forced to make the journey to Europe as the region is now simply too dangerous, especially for young males. Many have lost their lives. Many escaped death by a whisker. It was found that over 100,000 people had been killed in conflict around the region in 2014 alone, it almost makes no difference where to flee to, death lurks in every corner – Europe is a safe haven.

Migrant, refugee boat sinks off Libyan coast, kills at least 37 (Image – Libya’sChannel)

Hamed Shurbaji, 24, was one of the “lucky” ones. His storytestifies to the struggle of many. He survived three attempts to make it to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea.

His long journey began when he left Syria to Egypt via Lebanon. He struggled for 40 days in Egypt until he decided to go to Europe.

He decided to travel to Libya to find a way to Europe. He spent a day and a half walking on foot near the border in an effort to enter, but was caught by Libyan guards. Accused of being a jihadist he was detained and jailed for few days before he was released. He then decided to travel to Tripoli, to find work and save money for his trip to Europe. After seven months of hard work, he was able to make some money and start planning a way out to Europe. Already, one has to admire his tenacity.

He headed to Zowara, the Libyan coastal city near Tunisia, where he met a people smuggler. “It took me a whole month to finally get on a boat to Europe, but unfortunately it did not work. The Libyan coast guards stormed the boat and detained us all for two days and then let us go,” Hamed said, describing his first attempt.

On his second attempt, while Shurbaji was still in Zowara, he met a Syrian people smuggler who charged him $1,000 to guarantee a place on the next boat to Europe. When he finally got on the boat, they spent 30 hours at sea without moving. “The boat was very small, about 12 meters long at most, but the smugglers put over two hundred people on it. The load was way too heavy for the boat to move,” Hamed said.

Not long after that, an Egyptian rescue boat came and took them all back to Zowara again.

His third and final attempt was truly terrifying. On a two-level boat, the smugglers this time crammed in hundreds of people.

“They put all the African people in the lower level where the engine was located, and on the upper level they put all the Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese,” Hamed explained.

After a few hours they noticed a helicopter in the horizon. It circled around them in the air for few minutes then left. “Right after that, we saw a ship with a Danish flag approaching us fast,” Hamed said. “While we tried to get close to it, the big ship hit the nose of our boat and made it sink.”

He added “I started to swim toward the ship. When I finally reached it, I looked back and saw this horrifying scene of all these people fighting for their lives.” A maltese coast guard finally arrived but some had drowned and dozens of others who were in the lower level of the boat suffocated to death from the smoke from the engine, Hamed explained.

The rescue boat dropped them off in Catania, Sicily, where they were put in a camp and warned that they would be fingerprinted the next day. But early in the morning the very next day, Hamed and a few others managed to escape the camp to a train station and made it to Milan, Italy.

“My friend and I headed to France after that, but we were caught by the French police, who took our fingerprints and sent us back to Italy,” Hamed declared. Back in Milan, they met another smuggler who took them by car into Germany. Once he entered Germany, he turned himself in to the German police in Dortmund.

After three months in Germany, Hamed was finally granted refugee status and became a legal resident of Germany.

We are now living in a shameful chapter of human history as if the lessons of the cumulative wars and conflicts over our life time have taught us nothing. It is not known how many thousands of desperate refugees die in the Mediterranean Sea. It is not known how many are murdered along the way or what dreadful futures the survivors face, or what will become of orphaned and abandoned children – there is no database. We do know that as a result of Western aggression this region the world now has more refugees than at any time in human history – including the last world war, and our response is to shut the door and let them drown one way or the other.

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Die Charta der Vereinten Nationen beginnt mit den Worten: « WIR, DIE VÖLKER DER VEREINTEN NATIONEN – FEST ENTSCHLOSSEN, künftige Geschlechter vor der Geißel des Krieges zu bewahren, die zweimal zu unseren Lebzeiten unsagbares Leid über die Menschheit gebracht hat. »

In dieser Woche wird die Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen über die Resolution A/C.1e/71/L.41 abstimmen, die erklärt: « 12. Die Teilnehmerstaaten der Konferenz sind aufgefordert sich so schnell wie möglich, nach besten Kräften zu bemühen, rechtsverbindliche Instrumente für das Verbot von Nuklearwaffen zu beschließen, die zu ihrer vollständigen Vernichtung führen. »

Die Schnecken-ähnliche Geschwindigkeit, mit der Beschlüsse der Generalversammlung umgesetzt werden, ist berühmt-berüchtigt. Diese neue Resolution mit dem Titel « Das Voranbringen multilateraler Verhandlungen über die nukleare Abrüstung » kann, immerhin, als kosmetischer Fortschritt betrachtet werden.

Nichtsdestotrotz haben Beschlüsse der Generalversammlung weder die Macht und den rechtsverbindlichen Status von Beschlüssen des Sicherheitsrates noch die Kapazität Sanktionen oder weitere Strafen im Fall ihrer Verletzung umzusetzen

Österreich kündigt VN-Gereralversammlung zum Verbot von Nuklearwaffen im Jahr 2017 an 22. September

Österreichs Außenminister, Sebastian Schulz, kündigte am Mittwoch an, daß sein Land sich im kommenden Monat anderen VN-Mitgliedsstaaten, beim Einbringen einer Resolution zur Einberufung einer Versammlung über Verhandlungen rechtsverbindlicher Instrumente zum Verbot von Nuklearwaffen für das Jahr 2017, anschließen werde.

Bei der hochrangigen Debatte der VN-Generalversammlung sagte er, « die Erfahrung zeigt, daß der erste Schritt zur Vernichtung von Massenvernichtungswaffen deren Verbot durch rechtsverbindliche Normen sei ».

In Verachtung ihrer eigenen « entschlossenen » Worte, scheinen die Vereinten Nationen die tödliche Bedrohung zu leugnen, welche die Vereinigten Staaten, das Vereinigte Königreich und Deutschland, mit der Investition von einer Billion Dollar in die Entwicklung von modernen Nuklearwaffen in den kommenden Jahren, darstellen. Diese Investition wird von VS-Bürgern bezahlt, die derzeit unter dem fortwährenden Anstieg der Armut, wirtschaftlicher Ungleichheit, der Obdachlosigkeit, astronomisch steigende Bildungskosten (die eine höhere Bildung unerschwinglich und für viele Amerikaner tatsächlich unerreichbar macht), eines unzureichenden Gesundheitswesens, der Verschlechterung der Infrastruktur, etc. leiden.

Das Vereinigte Königreich hat angekündigt 60 Milliarden Dollar in die Modernisierung ihrer Nuklearwaffen zu investieren, während seine Bürger ebenfalls einen bedauerlichen Abstieg des Lebensstandards erdulden, und Deutschland (dessen Bürger von ihrer Regierung ebenfalls geplündert werden / Anm. d. Übers.) wurde von NATO-Staaten für die kürzlich angekündigte Erhöhung seiner Militärausgaben auf 150 Milliarden Dollar gelobt.

Es ist nicht nachvollziehbar, daß sich viele Beamte der Vereinten Nationen bei der bloßen Erwähnung der, durch massiv erhöhte Ausgaben für Nuklearwaffen, geschaffenen Probleme winden und bestenfalls Lippenbekenntnisse zur Abrüstung machen, während sie gleichzeitig im Sicherheitsrat feindselige Erklärungen abgeben, die Rußland dämonisieren und das kleine Nordkorea als Rechtfertigung für astronomisch gestiegene Investitionen in die tödlichsten aller Massenvernichtungswaffen, die Atomwaffen, heranziehen.

Als ich machen VN-Beamten Fragen bezüglich der hohen Investitionen von NATO-Staaten in Nuklearwaffen stellte, antworteten erhielt ich von einigen die zögerliche Antwort, daß das Thema der Verringerung von Militärbudgets « einige bestimmte, mächtigen Interessen bedrohe », und ein Beamter antwortete offener, daß das Problem der Aufstellung von Nuklearwaffen nicht gelöst werden kann, solange ideologische Konflikte existieren.

Unter den über einhundert Treffen, die innerhalb der ersten Woche der 71. Sitzung der Allgemeinen Aussprache stattgefunden haben, an denen die meisten Staatsoberhäupter und Regierungschefs zwischen den 19. und dem 24. September teilnahmen, waren sicherlich zahlreiche lobenswerte Sitzungen über Geschlechtergleichheit, den Klimawandel, die Agenda 2030 zur Nachhaltigen Entwicklung, Public-Private Partnerships, der Flüchtlings- und Migrationskrise, Fortschritte in der LGBT-Gleichheit und gewiß die unvermeidlichen, strittigen Tiraden im Sicherheitsrates über Syrien, die allen 193 Mitgliedsstaaten der Vereinten Nationen ein großes Anliegen sind.

Allerdings hat in der ersten, hochkarätig besetzten Woche nicht ein Treffen stattgefunden, das sich auf die unbedingten Notwendigkeit der nuklearen Abrüstung und die Bedrohung konzentrierte, der die Menschheit und alle anderen Lebensformen auf dem Planeten durch das Wettrüsten ausgesetzt sind, einschließlich der Gefahren durch einen nuklearen Winter, der den gesamten Fortschritt in Hunderten von Belangen, die von den höchsten Regierungsstellen der Welt bisher erreicht worden sind, auslöschen würde. Obwohl am 23. September Sitzungen zur « Allianz der Zivilisationen » und der  » Aktivierung der Rechtsprechung des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofs », der « offenen Regierungspartnerschaft » etc. stattgefunden haben, gab es nur ein Treffen am 21. September um 11:30 Uhr, das « Achte Ministerialtreffen über einen umfangreichen Vertrag zur Ächtung von Atomwaffentests » (CTBT).

Schließlich fand, ganz zum Schluß der Generaldebatte am 26. September, nachdem die hochkarätigsten Regierungsbeamten bereits abgereist waren, im Gedenken an den « Internationalen Tag zur vollständigen Vernichtung der Nuklearwaffen » ein « informelles » Treffen statt, das, fast wie ein nachträglicher Gedanke, formulierte, was viel früher höchste Priorität hätte haben sollen. Einige wenige der wichtigeren Regierungsbeamten und ständigen Vertretern behandelten schließlich das Thema der « völligen Vernichtung von Nuklearwaffen » und und brachten schließlich die Empörung über derzeit mögliche Opfer des erschreckend ungerechten weltweiten atomaren Ungleichgewichts, (bei dem einige wenige nuklear bewaffnete Staaten die Macht über die Zerstörung der ganzen Welt besitzen), zum Ausdruck.

Es ist verblüffend, daß Atomwaffen, die zerstörerischsten aller Waffen, die einzigen Massenvernichtungswaffen sind, die nie einem rechtsverbindlichen Vertrag zum Verbot ihrer Anwendung ihres ihres Besitzes unterworfen worden sind. Die Delegationen von Südafrika, Marokko, Chile und zahlloser anderer nicht atomar bewaffneter Staaten beklagten die Tatsache der Nichtexistenz internationaler Instrumente zur Ächtung von Nuklearwaffen. Bei der Buchstabensuppe von teilweisen und erbärmlichen Versuchen, den Gebrauch von Nuklearwaffen zu kontrollieren, einschließlich von Verträgen wie CTBE, NPT, START, SALT, ABM etc., ist nicht nur die Tatsache ihrer bloßen Existenz, sondern die ihrer tatsächlichen Modernisierung zu exorbitanten Kosten ein weltweites finanzielles, psychologisches, politisches, geostrategisches und gesellschaftliches Verbrechen, und das Versagen der Vereinten Nationen, dieses Problem nicht erfolgreich zu thematisieren, ist so groß, daß es letztlich möglicherweise zu der Verletzung des Versprechens der Vereinten Nationen führt, die Menschheit vor « der Geißel des Krieges » zu bewahren, wozu die Vereinten Nationen gegründet worden sind.

Zu den ergreifendsten Reden die am 26 über die « völlige Vernichtung von Atomwaffen » gehalten worden sind, zählte die des schwedischen Botschafters, seiner Exzellenz Olof Skoog, der erklärte:

« Wir können nicht damit fortfahren Jahr für Jahr der Atomwaffenopfer zu gedenken, während diese Waffen zur selben Zeit weiterhin existieren. Schweden hat eine eindeutige Position. Die einzige Garantie, daß diese Waffen nie wieder zum Einsatz kommen besteht in ihrer totalen Vernichtung…Meine Regierung ist über den mangelnden Fortschritt der atomaren Abrüstung tief besorgt. Während wir einen Fortschritt bei ihrer Abrüstung sehen sollten, existieren in Wahrheit weltweit 16.000 Atomwaffen, und jede einzelne von ihnen stellt eine Bedrohung für die Menschheit dar. Es besteht das Risiko, daß diese Waffen aus Versehen, aus falscher Berechnung oder absichtlich eingesetzt werden. Anstatt sich für Abrüstung einzusetzen, sehen wir Staaten, die über den Besitz von Nuklearwaffen verfügen, diese modernisieren. Manche Staaten reden sogar über ihren Einsatz und einige erweitern ihre Nuklear-Arsenale. All dies ist völlig inakzeptabel. Vergegenwärtigen Sie sich die Kosten dieser Waffen und vergleiche Sie diese mit dem beständigen Defizit bei der Finanzierung der Entwicklungshilfe und menschlicher Bedürfnissen. Eine wahrhaft schwindelerregende Diskrepanz….Während der vergangenen Jahre gab es einen ernsthaften und gefährlichen Verlust an Dynamik und Richtung bei den  Bemühungen um Abrüstung und deren Nichtverbreitung. »

Am Freitag, dem 14. Oktober, übergab die Internationale Kampagne zum Abbau von Atomwaffen der Gesellschaft der bei den Vereinten Nationen als Korrespondenten akkreditierten Journalisten einen Bericht, in dem sie erklärte:

« eine überregionale Gruppe von Nationen hat formell einem Resolutionsentwurf durch den Ersten Ausschuß der Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen der Errichtung eines Mandats für Verhandlungen über « rechtsverbindliche Instrumente » für ein Verbot von Nuklearwaffen mit dem Ziel ihrer vollständigen Vernichtung zugestimmt. …Über 100 Nationen nahmen an der Arbeitsgruppe teil, von denen eine überwältigende Mehrheit ihre Unterstützung eines Verbots von Nuklearwaffen als ersten Schritt zu deren Vernichtung zum Ausdruck brachte….Die meisten Nationen stimmten darin überein, daß, hinsichtlich der katastrophalen humanitären Konsequenzen durch ihren Einsatz, ein Verbot von Nuklearwaffen der einzig angemessene Weg ist. »

Am 10. Oktober hat der Botschafter Wang Qun, Generaldirektor der Waffenkontrollbehörde des chinesischen Außenministerium, auf der 71. Sitzung des Ersten Ausschusses erklärt:

« China war immer für ein absolutes Verbot und die vollständige Vernichtung von Atomwaffen und beachtete stets die Strategie des verbotenen Ersteinsatzes von Atomwaffen zu jeder Zeit und unter allen Umständen. » (Die chinesische Wirtschaft sucht nicht nach Profiten, wie sie der militärisch-industrielle Komplex seinen Unterstützern in den Vereinigten Staaten zur Verfügung stellt. In der Tat verzerren Militärinvestitionen die sehr sozialistische Basis, auf der die chinesische Wirtschaft beruht.)

Die Sowjetunion hatte sich auch dazu bekannt « Atomwaffen nicht präventiv einzusetzen » und gehofft ihre Ressourcen in Sozialprogramme zu investieren, jedoch hat Rußland diese Position, seit deren Zusammenbruch und der derzeitigen kapitalistischen Umzingelung durch die feindliche NATO im Westen und das THAAD-Raketensystem im Osten, zwangsläufig aufgegeben. Vielleicht gäbe es, wenn die Vereinigten Staaten sich zu einer Abkehr vom « Präventiveinsatz » von Nuklearwaffen bekennen würde, Hoffnung auf eine atomwaffenfreie Welt.

Wenn die Vollversammlung die Resolution L.41, die zu einem rechtsverbindlichen Instrument des Verbots von Nuklearwaffen führt, annimmt, eröffnet dies zumindest die Möglichkeit der Stigmatisierung von Staaten, die enorme Summen ihres Haushalts in die Modernisierung von Nuklearwaffen investieren. Allerdings bleibt abzuwarten, ob eine Stigmatisierung die Kraft hat Waffenhersteller wie  Lockheed, Northrup-Group, etc. davon zu überzeugen auf die exponentiellen Gewinne zu verzichten, die sie mit der Herstellung von modernen Nuklearwaffen erzielen, und den noch gewaltigeren, die sie beim Kriegseinsatz dieser monströsen Waffen erzielen würden. Nehmen sie die Konsequenzen dieser Entwicklung nicht war?

Carla Stea ist die Korrespondentin von Global Reasearch am Stammsitz der Vereinten Nationen in New York, NY.

Quelle: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-real-dangers-of-nuclear-war-will-the-un-general-assembly-resolution-to-prohibit-nuclear-weapons-change-anything-before-it-is-too-late/5552822

Übersetzt von wunderhaft 

Zusätzlich eingefügter Link: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminal_High_Altitude_Area_Defense

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Trump déchaîné

octobre 27th, 2016 by Mike Whitney

«Pour tout citoyen américain doté d’un minimum de conscience, il est absolument évident que Donald Trump est non seulement face à la gigantesque machine politique Clinton, mais aussi aux forces combinées des médias malhonnêtes dominants.» Boyd D. Cathey, La bande, la conspiration, et la mort de la vieille politique, Revue Unz «L’élection est absolument truquée par les médias malhonnêtes et déformés favorisant Hillary la corrompue.» Donald Trump, Twitter

À quand remonte la dernière fois que les médias ont donné leur soutien à 100% au candidat présidentiel d’un seul parti ? Qu’est-ce que cela dévoile, concernant ces médias ? Vous sentez-vous à l’aise avec l’idée qu’une poignée de TV et de dirigeants de la presse écrite s’insèrent eux-mêmes, à notre place, dans le processus et le choix de nos dirigeants ? Est-ce ainsi que la démocratie est censée fonctionner ? Voyez ce condensé de The Hill :

«Les nouvelles du soir diffusées par ABC, NBC et CBS ont couvert, pendant plus de 23 minutes jeudi soir, les allégations contre Trump de plusieurs femmes qui prétendent qu’il les a agressées sexuellement . Mais les révélations sur la dernière livraison, par les fuites de WikiLeaks, des e-mails de John Podesta, directeur de campagne de Clinton qui attestaient […] de sa sympathie pour Wall Street, de son désir d’ouverture des frontières et présentaient des exemples flagrants de collusion avec les médias […] ont bénéficié, en tout et pour tout, de 1 minute et 7 secondes de temps d’antenne. Le ratio de couverture négative de Trump par rapport à Clinton est de 23 contre 1. La presse écrite, ce jeudi, ne valait pas mieux. Le New York Times a raconté onze histoires négatives sur Trump… Mais rien sur Clinton ni les fuites de WikiLeaks. Ratio : 11 contre 0″ Source : Media and Trump bias; Not even trying to hide it anymore, The Hill.

L’article paru dans The Hill fait également référence à une enquête menée par leWashington Post et ABC News,posant aux participants six questions sur les allégations d’inconduite sexuelle de Trump, mais aucune question sur les e-mails compromettants de Podesta. Est-ce là ce que vous appelez l’équilibre ? Je dois dire d’abord que je ne prévois pas de voter pour l’un des deux candidats, Trump ou Clinton, donc mes réclamations concernant le biais ne sont pas fondées à l’appui de l’un ou l’autre candidat. Je suis tout simplement scotché par le fait que les grands manitous des médias ont lâché la bride et sont eux-mêmes intégrés dans le processus de production du résultat qu’ils veulent. Voilà ce qu’on appelle truquer une élection. Lorsque vous regardez Washington Week(Gwen Ifil) à la télévision publique et voyez un aréopage de six experts – trois conservateurs et trois libéraux – tous les six déclarant leur amour pour Hillary et leur haine de Trump, vous pouvez être raisonnablement certain que l’élection est truquée, parce que c’est exactement la définition du trucage. Plutôt que de fournir des informations générales sur la position du candidat concernant des questions que se posent les électeurs, afin qu’ils puissent prendre une décision éclairée, les médias utilisent des faiseurs d’opinion pour adresser des louanges à un candidat, en dénigrant sauvagement l’autre. Le but évident est de façonner l’opinion publique de la manière qui convient le mieux aux intérêts des personnes qui possèdent les médias et qui appartiennent à l’establishment des élites riches et puissantes qui dirigent le pays, le 1%. Dans ce cas, la classe dirigeante soutient unanimement Hillary Clinton, ce qui est évident. Heureusement, le vent tourne pour les médias traditionnels, car les gens se tournent vers d’autres sources, plus fiables, pour leur information. Il ne faut donc pas s’étonner que les gens soient plus méfiants que jamais à l’égard des médias et que beaucoup d’entre eux estiment que les médias mènent une guerre de classe brutale contre les travailleurs ordinaires. Assurément, quiconque a suivi les développements économiques au cours des sept dernières années, sait que les politiques de la Fed ont créé un gouffre béant entre riches et pauvres, qui ne fait qu’empirer tant que les leviers du pouvoir restent dans les mains des politiciens de l’establishment. Hillary Clinton est certainement la pire de ces politicards. En plus d’être le candidat le plus largement vilipendé que les démocrates aient jamais désigné au cours de leur histoire, elle est l’incarnation de la corruption politique et du copinage. Comment se fait-il, pourriez-vous vous demander, que quelqu’un comme Clinton ait réussi à gober «plus de $225 000 par discours», offerts par Goldman Sachs, si ce n’est pas du trafic d’influence ? Ce qu’elle a dit dans ces discours est-il vraiment important ? Pas pour moi. Les énormes sommes d’argent prouvent sans aucun doute possible, que Clinton vend son influence, acceptant tacitement de «donner du mou» aux grandes banques d’investissement de Wall Street, à condition qu’elles gardent bien remplis les coffres de sa fondation. Quelle autre explication pourrait-il y avoir ? Les Américains en savent-ils autant à propos des transactions sordides de Hillary avec Wall Street, que sur le badinage sexuel allégué de Trump ?Bien sûr que non, loin de là. Est-ce qu’ils savent que Clinton était la force motrice de l’intervention en Libye et en Syrie, où des centaines de milliers de civils sont morts et sept millions d’autres réfugiés ? Est-ce qu’ils savent qu’elle a été impliquée dans le renversement d’un gouvernement démocratiquement élu au Honduras ou qu’un certain nombre de néocons éminents, qui ont traîné les États-Unis dans la guerre en Irak, basée sur des mensonges d’armes de destruction massive, lui accordent maintenant leur soutien ? Nan. Est-ce que les gens savent qu’Hillary avait la preuve que l’ennemi numéro un de l’Amérique – ISIS – a été financé et soutenu par nos alliés, l’Arabie saoudite et le Qatar et, pourtant, elle n’a jamais annoncé cette nouvelle au peuple américain ? Voici un extrait accablant, de l’un des e-mails de Podesta :

«Nous devons utiliser nos moyens de renseignement diplomatiques et plus traditionnels pour faire pression sur les gouvernements du Qatar et de l’Arabie saoudite, qui fournissent un soutien financier et logistique clandestin à ISIS et d’autres groupes radicaux dans la région.»

Rappelez-vous quand George W. Bush avait déclaré : «Nous allons traiter de la même façon les terroristes et les personnes qui soutiennent les terroristes.» Hillary ne doit pas avoir obtenu cette note de service, sinon nous aurions bombardé Riyad maintenant. Les gens savent-ils qu’il n’y a jamais eu de guerre qu’Hillary n’ait soutenue, aucun projet de loi de libre-échange – tueur d’emplois – qu’elle n’ait ardemment appuyé, ni aucune législation pour éviscérer les libertés – Clinton a voté pour le Patriot Act en 2001, ainsi que pour sa version révisée en 2006 – qu’elle n’ait pas été désireuse de signer ? Oh, mais elle prend en charge les droits de reproduction des femmes, devenant ainsi une grande championne de la liberté personnelle, dans le cercle démographique étroit des femmes blanches instruites et couronnées de succès. Excusez-moi de ne pas faire le poirier pour ça. Voici un autre extrait court du World Socialist Web Site :

«Hillary et Bill Clinton ont accumulé un total de $153 millions en rémunération pour leurs discours, depuis que Bill Clinton a quitté la Maison Blanche. Il faudrait être très naïf pour croire que ces sommes énormes ont été payées pour les discours eux-mêmes. C’était le paiement des services rendus à l’aristocratie financière américaine sur une longue période.» Source : In secret Goldman Sachs speeches, Clinton explains why the rich should rule,World Socialist Web Site

Vous-voyez le tableau ? Hillary Clinton n’est pas une candidate, elle est une franchise, un distributeur automatique de billets sur pattes. Et sa fondation obscure n’est rien de plus qu’une vaste poubelle de recyclage des fonds illicites, qui se déversent dans la machine politique à saucissonner les décisions, sous la forme de contributions qui, comme par magie, se transforment en faveurs spéciales pour la classe milliardaire. Est-ce que le système est truqué ? Vous avez sacrément raison, un peu qu’il l’est ! Lisez-ça, de Zero Hedge, sous la rubrique «73% des républicains disent que l’élection pourrait être volée, comme Trump l’assène en parlant d’élections truquées» :

«Un sondage de Politico / Morning Consult a révélé que 41% des électeurs inscrits disent que l’élection pourrait être volée à Trump et que 73% des électeurs républicains craignent la même chose. L’électorat américain est devenu très sceptique quant à l’intégrité de l’appareil électoral de la nation, avec 41% des électeurs disant que l’élection de novembre pourrait êtrevolée à Donald Trump, en raison de la fraude électorale généralisée. Le nouveau sondage – mené auprès de 1 999 électeurs inscrits, entre le 13 et le 15 octobre – montre que les avertissements répétés de Trump au sujet d’une élection truquée font de l’effet : 73% des Républicains pensent que l’élection pourrait lui être subtilisée. Seulement 17% des démocrates s’accordent avec la perspective d’une fraude massive dans les urnes.» Source Zéro Hedge 

Faut-il être inquiet au sujet d’une élection truquée ? Faut-il craindre qu’un nombre important d’Américains ne fassent plus confiance à «l’intégrité du processus électoral» ? Et comment ces allégations que l’élection a été volée vont-elles influencer la capacité de Hillary à gouverner ? Cela aura sur elle un impact dramatique, en fait, cela pourrait l’immobiliser sur place, précipitant même une crise constitutionnelle. Et voilà où tout cela nous mène, non ? Considérez ceci : peut-être que Trump n’essaie plus vraiment de gagner. Peut-être sait-il qu’il ne peut pas surmonter un déficit de 12 points en fin de match, donc il va le jouerstyle Samson. Il va ébranler les piliers du temple, pour le faire s’écraser autour de lui. Il va utiliser toute son influence, pour discréditer ce faux système démocratique que les élites ont soigneusement mis en place pour contrôler le public, il va organiser sa foule de supporters en colère dans une petite armée qui sera le fer de lance d’un mouvement populiste (principalement) de droite pour imposer l’impasse à Washington, approfondir les divisions politiques, l’acrimonie et la polarisation à travers le pays, et faire du mandat de Clinton, en tant que présidente, un enfer vivant. Voilà le plan. Il va mobiliser suffisamment de soutien populaire pour que Clinton passe ses quatre années embourbée dans des enquêtes interminables, se défendant contre des accusations d’inconduite criminelle, et jouant à saute-mouton d’un scandale sordide à l’autre. Non, Trump ne prévoit pas sa victoire. Il ne veut pas être président. Il veut être unBraveheart moderne, conduisant les paysans dans la bataille contre l’establishment de la classe dirigeante complètement corrompu et odieux. Voilà ce qu’il veut, et voilà pourquoi des has been politiques, comme Gingrich et Giuliani, se sont attachés à lui comme des morpions. Ils voient en lui une ouverture pour ressusciter leurs sinistres carrières . En tout état de cause, Hillary va gagner l’élection, c’est sûr. Pourtant, ne croyez pas que Trump soit hors jeu pour l’instant. Il est juste à l’échauffement.

Mike Whitney

Article original en anglais :

Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore_3_(cropped)

Trump Unchained, “Distorted Media Pushing Crooked Hillary”

CounterPunch, 19 octobre 2016

Traduit par jj pour le Saker Francophone

 

Mike Whitney vit dans l’État de Washington. Il est contributeur à Hopeless : Barack Obama et la politique de l’illusion (AK Press). Hopeless est également disponible dans une édition Kindle. Il peut être joint à [email protected] Photo DR.

  • Posted in Francais @fr
  • Commentaires fermés sur Trump déchaîné

With the UK’s Digital Economy Bill set to be finalised today, new 5G microwave spectra are about to be released across the planet without adequate safety testing, writes Lynne Wycherley. Global neglect of the Precautionary Principle is opening the way to corporate profit but placing humans and ecosystems at risk, and delaying a paradigm shift towards safer connectivity.

In Drowning in a Sea of Microwaves, the late geneticist Dr Mae-Wan Ho – a visionary voice who opposed GMOs – identified pollution from wireless technologies as a pressing issue of our times.

Noting evidence for « DNA damage … cancers, microwave sickness, [and], impairment of fertility », she concluded:

« Evidence is emerging that the health hazards associated with wireless microwaves are at least comparable to, if not worse than, those associated with cigarette smoking. »

Since the advent of radar, followed by mobile phones and dense WiFi networks, such anthropogenic radiation has sky-rocketed. Although it is non-ionising, and does not destabilise molecules directly, evidence of other harm has been growing since 1950s studies on radar workers.

According to the updated Bio-initiative Report (2012+) by 29 precautionary scientists, effects on biology feature in several thousand, peer-reviewed papers. Yet troubling new findings rarely filter into the media. Or global Green discourse.

Though many studies have reported ‘no significant effect’, research by University of Washington biology professor Henry Lai, and others, reveals that wireless-industry funding is far more likely to yield such findings.

« Toujours ils créent doubte » (‘they are forever creating doubt’), explains former Luxembourg Green MP Jean Huss, whose research on the wireless industry inspired the Council of Europe to call for many precautions (2011), including protection of warning scientists, and wired internet in schools.

But wireless-product marketing has a loud voice. Few of us realise that genetic effects and free radical damage – both disease risks over time – are the most common, cautionary findings. Device-crowded spaces, such as our peak commuter trains or all-wireless classrooms, may be creating a subtly toxic environment.

Wide-ranging, oxidative harm to animals has been found from WiFi sources. And linked pre-diabetic and pre-cancerous changes. Ground-breaking work by biochemistry professor Martin Pall, Washington State University – winner of eight international awards – reveals a viable mechanism for such harm. But as with other ‘inconvenient truths’, it is going unheard.

Bee-whispers: the sensitivity of life on Earth

Life’s exquisite electro-physiology is still being discovered. Researchers at Bristol University reported in May that bees’ hairs are highly sensitive to flowers’ delicate EMFs. In controlled trials in Switzerland, bees reacted to mobile-phone signals with high-pitched ‘piping’: a cue to desert a hive.

Other studies show that mitochondria, the tiny power houses in our cells, are at risk from our new EMFs. And that even DNA, in its delicate antenna-like structure, may be frequency-sensitive.

The long-term, ecological implications of our new, anthropogenic radiation are not known. But peer-reviewed studies revealing harm to birds, tadpoles, trees, other plants, insects, rodents and livestock, offer clues.

Biology professor Lukas Margaritis, at Athens University, for example, uncovered harm to fruit flies from just a few minutes’ exposure to our everyday wireless devices, including cordless phones, Bluetooth, and even digital baby monitors. Reviewing research, India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests warned that sensitive habitats may need some protection.

The UK’s Digital Economy Bill, about to receive its final seal, has sensible proposals for increasing country-wide access to fibre broadband: a technology that does not, in itself, stoke microwave pollution, though wireless add-ons do so. But probe beyond the bill to Ofcom’s 5G consultations, and new EMF exposures emerge: part of global trend.

The worldwide rush towards 5G or ‘fifth generation’ wireless rollouts is set to raise our pulsing pollution to new levels. Untested, high microwave frequencies are being lined up to increase bandwidth, automation, and usage – at great profit to the industry.

 Source: laroccasolutions.com

These millimetre and centimetre waves, though too weak to heat us, may pose possible risks to our skin, and deeper surface tissue, including that of plants. High-density transmitters are envisaged. A troubling prospect for the many hundreds of patients seen by professor Dominique Belpomme‘s clinic in Paris: patients whose disabling symptoms from wireless technologies are supported by new brain scans and blood tests.

A delegation of scientists have petitioned for such electrosensitivity to be recognised as an environmentally-induced illness, with an International Disease Code (2015).

Rip-tides: when profits outpace caution

Pushing for fast rollouts, the wireless industry is also in conflict with the Internatonal EMF Scientists’ Appeal to the United Nations. Signed by 223 scientists from 41 nations, it calls for remedial action – such as new safety limits, wave-free zones, and education of doctors – to protect our DNA, fertility, and nervous systems, plus children and pregnant women, from growing wireless exposure. And from rising, mains-electricity fields.

Signs that such caution may be needed are growing. The pulsed, polarized, microwaves used by wireless technologies pose more biological risks than smooth or natural waves. Weak millimetre waves have a known potential to increase antibiotic resistance: what ecological effects might they risk, perhaps, if used universally?

Studies also reveal a risk to skin pain receptors. Published associations between radiomasts and skin cancers, though at lower frequencies, plus mobile-phone masts and EMF-sensitive cancers (Adilza Dode, Minas Gerais University 2013), raise further questions.

In his summer press conference, Tom Wheeler – former head of the CTIA, the vast telecoms lobby- group, and controversial chair of the Federal Communications Commission – proposed unbridled « massive deployment » of commercial 5G transmitters, taking off in 2020.

Anticipating « tens of billions of dollars » of economic growth, with US telecoms « first out of the gate », he warned « Stay out of the way of technological development! Turning innovation loose is far preferable to expecting … regulators to define the future ».

With no mention of health-testing, carbon costs, or corporate responsibility, the FCC voted unaminously to go ahead by releasing swathes of untested high frequencies for private sector exploitation – so setting a trend. To questionable ends: added to other issues, how will our communities be affected by addiction to 5G multi-stream videos? How will it impact our spiritual communion with Nature?

Many American health activists, and cautioning scientists, are aghast. Dr Joel Moskowitz, director of community health studies at the University of California, warns « precaution is warranted before 5G is unleashed on the world ».

Former government physicist Dr Ron Powell points out the plans « would irradiate everyone, including the most vulnerable to harm from radiofrequency radiation: pregnant women, unborn children, young children…the elderly, the disabled, and the chronically ill… It would set a goal of irradiating all environments ».

Fracking the air? Fault-lines in safety

This drive to mine the electromagnetic spectrum come-what-may has echoes of fracking, and other headlong trends. In Captured Agency, the Harvard ethics report on the FCC, and the wider wireless industry, Norm Alster exposes ruthless « hardball tactics », supported by « armies of lawyers », at expense to our health.

Microwaves, Science and Lies (2014), filmed by Jean Hêches across Europe, exposes similar patterns that are driving our pulsed radiation to risky levels. Western « safety limits », based only on high levels that heat tissue, far exceed those of Russia, China, and some other nations.

Professor Yuri Grigoriev, long-serving chair of Russia’s non-ionising radiation protection body (RNCNIRP), warned the UK’s Radiation Research Trust « ionising radiation is monitored…[but] levels of non-ionising radiation are constantly increasing and ubiquitous: it is out of control … Urgent action is needed ».

Stealthy pollution-raisers, such as the 5G Internet of Things – with 30 billion tiny transmitters forecast for 2020 – and also, sadly, wireless smart-meters [1, 2*], vetoed by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, may run counter to a cherished Green goal: that of nurturing healthy environments.

Can we manage our energy, perhaps, in more bio-sensitive ways? Court claims for wireless-meter health harm, supported by medical testimonies – including by neurology professor Andrew Marino (Louisiana) – are sweeping America. Professor Pall explains such meters’ « high intensity » microwave pulses may be more toxic than we realise: « We know from the nanosecond studies these can be very damaging ».

Data obtained by a judge revealed all-hour, house-piercing pulses every few seconds. New data-over-wiring innovations (if free of « dirty electricity ») may offer inspiring, alternative ways forward.

Chrysalis: a paradigm in waiting

To create – in Wheeler’s phrase – a global ‘5G ecosystem’ of wireless super-saturated environments, at insidious risk, over time, to living ecosystems, not least our own bodies, is dysfunctional. And spiritually disturbing. It suggests a mindset deeply at odds with the orchid-like beauty of the Earth.

But cleaner innovations, such as LiFi, ‘eco-dect-plus’ phones, and the latest fibre-optics, suggest a wiser course. A new paradigm – safer connectivity, plus more balanced use – is emerging. And reminds of other step-changes in awareness. From pesticides to organic, from smoke-filled to smoke-free.

We can accede, if we wish, to our rising, planetary smog. To safety limits as high as the moon, in many scientists’ eyes. And to wireless rollouts’ growing carbon costs. Or taking pause, we may begin to call the industry to account – plus governments lulled by it.

We may air helpful new findings, such as risks from tablet-like exposures (Alexander Lerchl, Jacob Bremens University, 2015). And stark risks from passive exposure, bared by Leif Salford, medical professor at Lund University. We may defend DNA, if we wish, from ionizing and published non-ionizing risks, just as we defend our planet.

And alongside French Green Party MPs Laurence Abeille and Michèle Rivasi, plus the interntional Baubiologie movement, we can explore electromagnetic hygiene. Uplifting possibilities for a safer, cleaner world.

Lynne Wycherley is a nature poet with six published collections. Working in parallel with pioneering doctors, she has been investigating non-ionising radiation for 5 years.

Notes

Dr Mae-Wan Ho It seems fitting to begin with her voice, so well known in Green / holistic circles (inc. Ecologist), following the sad news of her death earlier this year.

industry funding / manufacturing doubt ‘product defence’ strategies to delay reform, as in Dr D Michaels’ ‘Doubt is their Product’, OUP, 2008

Council of Europe (all 41 member states) Resolution 1815

WiFi was also found to reduce growth/thyroid hormones in animals, and trigger aggression/a racing heartbeat, and cordless phones to retard root-growth, harm bee-hives, alter gene expression, and disturb the human heartbeat in blind tests (their stands produce harsh, all-hour microwave readings).

Mitochondria emerging as unusually vulnerable to microwaves (many papers), including low-intensity (damaged mitochondria are a risk factor for many chronic health conditions)

Centimeter/millimetre waves penetrate less far, as you know, but with more energy. The pulse will increase bio-risks (re: 25 years’ data on pulsed v. pure sine waves). 5G will be additional to 2G,3G, 4G.

Antibiotic resistance And other changes, found by other researchers, in e.g. yeast / E Coli (Belyaev)

EMF-sensitive cancers e.g. prostrate, breast, liver, lungs, skin… (Adilza Dode, now professor, Minas Gerais University, reviewing research prior to her peer-reviewed research on mobile-phone masts)

the CTIA International umbrella group now known only by its acronym; originally ‘Cellular Telephone Industries Association’ (Figures vary, but telecoms revenue is catching up with fossil fuels’, it seems). Wheeler: « Everything that can connected will be connected » – blanket electro-smog.

Smart meters (overlap with 5G). I continue to realise, sadly, under-acknowledged toxic risks need to be aired for ethical reasons. Professor Martin Pall: « ‘Smart meters’ should be abolished because they use short high-intensity pulses [3, 4 ]1 of microwave radiation. We know from the nanosecond studies these can be very damaging and act via VGCC activation [his research] with activation continuing long after the pulse has ceased ». Dr Andrew Goldsworthy, EMF biologist (to Parliament): « To carry out compulsory mass exposure to pulsed microwave radiation [smart meters] without the fully informed consent of the people affected is in contravention of the Nuremberg code. »

This testimony, from journalist Amy Worthington (here) typifies so many known to me (even UK): « Cindy deBac (Arizona, new meter)…’ I’ve never been so sick in my life’, she says. ‘Nausea, a crushing migraine headache, and painful heart palpitations laid me low right away’. Healthy and exuberant before the installation, deBac…struggled with rashes and a chronically racing heart. For respite she spent nights away in her car ». Australian GP Federica Lamech’s peer-reviewed paper relates 92 such cases, herself included (sensitivity seems to vary, re: allergies).

dirty electricity kilohertz transients, creating complex EMFs with emerging bio-risks

Eco-dect-plus (cordless phones): emit microwaves at full power only during calls, saving energy

Professor Leif Salford (neurosurgery).Work on blood-brain barrier 1988-2010. Discovered passive exposure to other people’s mobile phones might risk serious, delayed damage. « Those who might normally have got Alzheimer’s dementia in old age could get it much earlier » Industry moves to fund diluting research were exposed in, e.g., Microwaves, Science & Lies.

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Massive Voter Suppression In Ohio Stopped Just In Time…

octobre 27th, 2016 by Maya Lowenstein

This article was originally published by WhoWhatWhy

Long before Donald Trump ever talked about rigged elections, Ohio’s Republicans, behind Secretary of State Jon Husted, tried to put a thumb on the scale in the Buckeye state by keeping hundreds of thousands of voters — more likely to be Democrats than not — from casting ballots. And they almost got away with it.

The battle over Ohio’s voter purge illustrates that voting rights remain under relentless assault. It is predominantly perpetrated by Republicans, who are fighting the country’s shifting demographics with rules designed to keep core Democratic constituencies away from the polls.

All of this happens under the guise of combating the near non-existent threat of in-person voter fraud.

In this case, it took a court order issued less than three weeks before the election to stop a major voter suppression effort. Specifically, a federal court last week overturned the state’s massive voter purge. Since June 2016, more than 200,000 voters were removed from the Ohio voter registration because they had not cast ballots since the 2008 presidential election.

Not all voters are welcomed in Ohio. Photo credit: nshepard / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The court deemed this purge to be illegal and stated, “If those who were unlawfully removed from the voter rolls are not allowed to vote, then the Secretary of State is continuing to disenfranchise voters in violation of federal law.”

The court ordered that purged voters must be allowed to cast provisional ballots but also acknowledged that any remedy so close to the election would be imperfect.

Still, the ACLU of Ohio, which was a plaintiff in the suit, was pleased with the outcome.

“Our biggest concern was to make sure that voters who were illegally purged from the voter rolls will be able to cast their ballots in November and we believe this ruling largely resolves that,” said Mike Brickner, senior policy director for the ACLU of Ohio. “People who were purged are trying to vote right now and trying to get an absentee ballot.”

Prior to the ruling, Brickner had told WhoWhatWhy that the purge could have had a devastating effect in a close election.

“Hundreds of thousands of people could have shown up to their polling place and been told that they couldn’t cast a ballot,” Brickner said.

Though Ohio’s Secretary of State Jon Husted pledged to comply with the ruling, the ACLU does not appear to be fully convinced.

On Monday, the group sent out an appeal to its supporters to sign a petition calling on officials in Ohio (and Kansas and Wisconsin) to follow court orders reversing their voter suppression efforts.

“A victory in an Ohio court determined that a voter purge conducted by the Secretary of State was illegal, paving the way to restore tens of thousands of purged voters to the rolls,” the ACLU call for action said.

“But the state initially refused to permit vast numbers of these voters to use regular ballots, and is already refusing to send them absentee ballots.”

The Buckeye State, which has traditionally been a must-win state for Republicans in presidential elections, has tried to tilt the playing field for some time.

“Ohio has aggressively been purging voters more than other states since Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted took office,” Camille Wimbish, the election administration director of the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition, told WhoWhatWhy.

Husted had justified his purge by saying: “If this is [a] really important thing to you in your life, voting, you probably would have done so within a six-year period.”

While the voter purge has been reversed, other voter suppression efforts initiated by Husted remain.

In late August, the US Supreme Court decided against the restoration of Golden Week, a seven-day period during which residents have the opportunity to register and cast their votes on the same day.

“The loss of Golden Week is disappointing for the tens of thousands of Ohio voters who have used this convenient option in the past,” Brickner said.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. Photo credit: Ibagli / Wikimedia

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. Photo credit: Ibagli / Wikimedia

Misrepresenting Minorities

A Reuters study shows that the purge has eliminated twice the number of people living in Democratic-leaning areas in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus, compared to Republican areas. According to the study, Republicans are more likely to vote more frequently in both congressional and presidential elections.

The purge particularly targeted black residents living in low socioeconomic neighborhoods and the homeless, who are less likely to show up at the polls. In urban neighborhoods, more than 10% of black residents had been purged due to a lack of voter participation since 2012.

Wimbish noted that “African Americans tend to vote Democratic so there’s not a lot of interest in programs or laws that are perceived to benefit them.”

The elimination of Golden Week will likely damage the black voter turnout as many minority voters took advantage of the convenience of registering and voting on the same day. Brickner agrees, citing “racial bias” as a factor for cutting the program.

Professor Leonard Moore of McGill University, an expert on 19th and 20th century United States social and political history, told WhoWhatWhy, “The biggest problem is the new network of state laws enacted by conservative, Republican state legislatures around the nation for the express purpose of making it harder for voters likely to oppose conservative candidate to cast their vote.”

Disenfranchisement is not a modern phenomenon, especially when aimed at limiting minority voters. “Beginning in the 1890s, states began to build a network of laws such as poll taxes, intelligence tests, literacy tests, highly restrictive registration hours, and other tactics that eventually stripped away the right to vote from almost all African American men in the South by the early 20th century,” according to Moore.

Spotlight on Ohio

Why is Ohio a focal point of disenfranchisement? As a swing state, Ohio has a long history of switching its political preferences. While other swing states such as Virginia and Florida have also flip-flopped, Ohio is a more accurate indicator of candidate winners. The 1960 election was the only instance in history when Ohio voters failed to predict the election results, choosing Nixon over Kennedy.

Northern Ohio, including the cities of Cleveland and Toledo, has a high concentration of traditionally Democratic-leaning voters, while central and southern Ohio tends to vote Republican. Exceptions include Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton, located in central/southern Ohio; these are blue cities in a sea of red.

Although the court ruling reversing Ohio’s voter purge is a step in the right direction, the instigator of that purge, Secretary of State Husted, remains in charge of the state’s voting process. Voting-right advocates warn that there is still much work to be done to challenge disenfranchisement in Ohio, and elsewhere in the US.

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Tom Hayden, Courageous Warrior For Peace

octobre 27th, 2016 by Marjorie Cohn

The death of Tom Hayden at age 76 marked the passing of a major progressive leader who championed causes from civil rights to Vietnam War opposition to the environment, as Marjorie Cohn recalls.

When Tom Hayden died on Oct. 23, we lost a courageous warrior for peace and equality. Hayden was on the front lines of nearly every major progressive struggle for more than 50 years. Vilified by the Right and at times criticized from the Left, Hayden remained steadfast in his commitment to social, economic and racial justice.

An activist, political theorist, organizer, writer, speaker and teacher, Hayden was a Freedom Rider in the South during the 1960s; a founder of Students for a Democratic Society; a leader of the anti-Vietnam War movement; a community organizer; a negotiator of a gang truce in Venice, California; the author of more than 19 books; and an elected official in California for nearly two decades.

Tom Hayden, anti-war activist and progressive leader.

“Tom made important contributions as a writer and a political leader, but his greatest strength was as a visionary strategist,” said Bill Zimmerman, who worked with Hayden in the Indochina Peace Campaign and later managed his 1976 U.S. Senate campaign.

“Tom was able to see far over the political horizon, and was then able to create and lead political movements that were often ahead of their time.  Whether it was radical opposition to war or mainstream support for candidates, progressive ballot initiatives and necessary legislation, he was a true leader, clay feet and all.”

The Indochina Peace Campaign (IPC), founded in 1972 by Hayden and Jane Fonda, who became his wife the following year, was a traveling road show that opposed the war in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Daniel Ellsberg, whose leak of the Pentagon Papers helped to end the war, traveled with Fonda, Holly Near and others for two weeks, speaking around the clock against the war.

According to Ellsberg, IPC was instrumental in ending the war. While some in the organization took to the road to organize opposition to the war, others lobbied Congress to cut the funding for combat operations. Although the Paris Peace Accord was signed in 1973, many, including Ellsberg, knew the war was not over.

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was pressuring President Richard Nixon to restart the bombing. Congress cut the funding in 1975 and the U.S. war in Vietnam finally ended.

“IPC was a model of grassroots activism and lobbying,” Ellsberg said.

Hayden was steadfast in his opposition to the Vietnam War. He made several trips to North Vietnam, calling attention to the U.S. bombing of civilians. On one trip, at the request of the North Vietnamese government, Hayden returned to the U.S. with American prisoners of war. Since the U.S. government refused to recognize the government in Hanoi, the Vietnamese would only release the prisoners to Americans in the anti-war movement.

Advice from Dr. King

A transformative event in Hayden’s life occurred in 1960 when he was a college student. He interviewed Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on a picket line outside the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. The picket demanded that the Democratic Party include a strong commitment to civil rights in its platform. King told Hayden, “Ultimately, you have to take a stand with your life.”

Martin Luther King Jr. meeting with President Lyndon Johnson at the White House in 1966.

Hayden took King’s exhortation to heart, dedicating his life to the struggles for peace, freedom, justice and equality.

Hayden will perhaps best be remembered for his lead authorship of the 1962 Port Huron Statement, which provided an ideological manifesto for the New Left. The 22-year-old began writing it while in an Albany, Georgia jail cell, after an arrest for trying to integrate a railroad station waiting room during a Freedom Ride from Atlanta.

The iconic document began, “We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.” It focused on organizing students to oppose the Vietnam War, supporting the civil rights movement in the South, promoting campus student activism, and establishing community projects to fight poverty. The idealistic document concluded, “If we appear to seek the unattainable, as it has been said, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable.”

After Hayden moved to Newark, New Jersey, in 1964 to be a community organizer, he did not escape the notice of local FBI agents, who sought increased surveillance of Hayden. They wrote, “In view of the fact that Hayden is an effective speaker who appeals to intellectual groups and has also worked with and supported the Negro people in their program in Newark, it is recommended that he be placed on the Rabble Rouser Index.”

Hayden’s effectiveness was also noticed by J. Edgar Hoover, the notorious director of the FBI. Hoover once wrote in a memo, “One of your prime objectives should be to neutralize [Hayden] in the New Left movement.” Hoover’s objective was never realized. Hayden continued to serve as a bulwark of the Left.

In 1968, in what a national commission later called a “police riot,” law enforcement officers in Chicago attacked and injured hundreds of demonstrators outside the Democratic National Convention. Hayden, who helped plan the protests, and seven others were charged with crimes. Although they were acquitted of conspiracy, five, including Hayden, were convicted of crossing state lines to incite a riot and sentenced to five years in prison. Their convictions were reversed on appeal for judicial bias.

Hayden’s work for economic justice and democracy was far-reaching. Marc Weiss, Chairman and CEO of Global Urban Development, worked with Hayden in the Campaign for Economic Democracy, which Hayden and Fonda founded in 1976. Weiss said Hayden “cared deeply about making progressive change for a more peaceful, prosperous, equitable, sustainable, innovative, inclusive, and much better world for everyone.”

Legislative Initiatives

Elected to the California State Assembly in 1982 and the state Senate in 1992, Hayden was dubbed “the conscience of the Senate” by the Sacramento Bee. He sponsored or co-sponsored 100 pieces of legislation, including laws to lower college tuition costs, prevent discrimination in hiring, and attach safety controls to guns. In 1993, he sponsored a bill to require electric-vehicle-charging stations and legislation to require the state to find alternatives to refrigerants that destroy the ozone layer.

“Tom had an amazing capacity and commitment to linking environmental issues to local communities and minority community struggles,” California Senate Majority Leader Bill Monning said. “He pushed a progressive agenda within the Democratic Party and continued to visit us in Sacramento with legislative ideas to address climate change,” Monning added. “We will miss his insight, advocacy, and friendship.”

Hayden co-founded Progressives for Obama in 2008. But, Hayden wrote,

“No sooner had a social movement elected [Obama] than it was time for a new social movement to bring about a New Deal, lest his domestic initiatives sink in the quagmires of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and a new peace movement must rise as well.”

In his contribution to my recent book, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues, Hayden wrote, “The limitations of the drone war should be clear from any study of history and strategy. Wars cannot be won from secret aerial launches against unknown forces and figures on the ground.”

Indeed, Obama’s use of armed drones in seven nations has made those countries more unstable and violent. And the resulting civilian casualties serve as an effective recruitment tool for those who would harm the United States.

In 2015, Hayden spoke at a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the end of the U.S. war in Vietnam. He said, “We gather here to remember the power that we had at one point, the power of the peace movement, and to challenge the Pentagon now on the battlefield of memory.”

Hayden was responding to the Pentagon’s attempt to sanitize the history of what the U.S. did in Vietnam. “President Obama has reminded us to remember, he said, Selma, Seneca Falls and Stonewall,” Hayden noted. “But not Saigon, not Chicago, not Vietnam. We have to ask ourselves collectively why that omission exists, and realize that only we can restore a place in the proper history of those times.”

Exhorting the audience to remember, and to “unify,” Hayden bemoaned “our collective refusal to admit that the Vietnam War was wrong and that the peace movement was right.”

Humanizing War Victims

Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies said, “I remain inordinately grateful to Tom for what I learned from him – most especially that if you’re going to build a powerful movement against a war waged against a nation far away, you have to build into the center of your organizing some understanding of that country, its people, its culture.

Photos of victims of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam galvanized public awareness about the barbarity of the war. (Photo taken by U. S. Army photographer Ronald L. Haeberle)

“I learned that lesson first about Vietnam, working with Tom and Jane at the Indochina Peace Campaign for a couple of years right out of college.” Bennis added, “I worked with others later to build that same understanding into the work we did on Central America, on Iran, on Palestine and beyond.”

Many of the themes of the Port Huron Statement resonate today. In 2012, Hayden wrote in The Nation,

“The Port Huron call for a life and politics built on moral values as opposed to expedient politics; its condemnation of the cold war, echoed in today’s questioning of the ‘war on terror’; its grounding in social movements against racism and poverty; its first-ever identification of students as agents of social change; and its call to extend participatory democracy to the economic, community and foreign policy spheres – these themes constitute much of today’s progressive sensibility.”

Hayden has been criticized by some on the Left for favoring reform over revolution. Most recently, Hayden switched from supporting Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton during the presidential primary. The main reason was his belief that Clinton has a stronger commitment to combatting racism than Sanders, citing the Congressional Black Caucus’ (CBC) support for Clinton. In fact, the CBC did not support Clinton. It was the CBC’s political action committee that favored her.

In refusing to wait for the general election to support Clinton, Hayden also overlooked Sanders’s record on civil rights. A leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Sanders served as president of the Congress of Racial Equality at the University of Chicago, organizing pickets and sit-ins, which led to his 1963 arrest for resisting arrest.

Before his death, Hayden worked with the Peace and Justice Resource Center, which he founded a decade ago. He published The Peace Exchange Bulletin, “critically following the Pentagon’s Long War in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as well as the failed US wars on drugs and gangs, and US military responses to nationalism and poverty around the world.”

During Ellsberg’s 1973 Pentagon Papers trial (at which Hayden testified), Hayden’s book, The Love of Possession is a Disease With Them, was published. Ellsberg was struck by the parallels Hayden drew in the book between the U.S. anti-Indian campaigns and the U.S. “pacification” campaign in Vietnam. The book title, taken from a Sitting Bull quote, is still relevant today as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Sitting Bull, a Lakota Indian leader who led resistance to U.S. government policies against the Native American populations before being killed by Indian agency police in 1890.

“Yet hear me, people, we have now to deal with another race – small and feeble when our fathers first met them but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil and the love of possession is a disease with them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break but the poor may not. They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule.” — Sitting Bull, at the Powder River Council, 1877

Hayden’s many books also include Radical Nomad (1964), Irish Hunger (1968), Rebellion and Repression (1969), Trial (1970), Tom Hayden: An Activist Life (1981), Irish on the Inside (2001), The Zapatista Reader (2002), Street Wars (2004), Ending the War in Iraq (2007), Writings for a Democratic Society (2008), The Long Sixties: From 1960 to Barack Obama (2009), and Listen Yankee: Why Cuba Matters (2015). His final book, Hell No: The Forgotten Power of the Vietnam Peace Movement, will be published posthumously by Yale University Press in March 2017.

As we face the daunting challenges of U.S. militarism abroad, militarization of the police at home, and persistent economic and racial inequality, the absence of Tom Hayden is an incalculable loss.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild. A veteran of the Stanford anti-Vietnam War movement, she is a member of the national advisory board of Veterans for Peace. Her books include Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent. See http://marjoriecohn.com/ and follow her on Twitter @marjoriecohn

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Ramallah, occupied West Bank – Enas Taha, a resident of the Palestinian village of Kafr al-Deek in the occupied West Bank, has become desperate.

« Since the [water] crisis started in June, the municipality has been able to supply water for only one hour twice a week, » Taha told Al Jazeera. « I am checking the weather forecast every day; they announced rain three weeks ago, but it has not come yet. The only thing I can do is to pray to God. »

Many West Bank communities are facing similar problems, amid an acute water shortage that has lasted for months. In the Salfit, Jenin and Hebron governorates, some villages have gone as long as 40 days in a row without running water.

In mid-July, residents in the Bethlehem area staged a sit-in for days to protest against the shortages, sparking clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces.

« It is a very stressful situation. I have to consider and prioritise every single drop of water I use, » Taha said. « We have barely enough to drink, cook, shower and use the bathroom. Sometimes I don’t do the laundry or clean the house for weeks. It is hot and dusty. This is exhausting. »

Enas Taha shows her garden, which has turned brown due to the severe water shortages since June [Eloise Bollack/Al Jazeera]
We have been facing shortages for decades, and the reason is not natural, but man-made – meaning the Israeli occupation and Israeli control over water resources in the Palestinian territories.Deeb Abdelghasoul, PWA’s director of the water resources department

Some Palestinians have joked that the water bill collector comes to their homes more often than water. As demand rises, the cost of drinking water has skyrocketed, with some families spending up to 30 percent of their meagre incomes to purchase it.

Israel implements a policy of water cuts each summer, but this year, it reached an unprecedented peak. In early June, Israeli water company Mekorot informed the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) of summertime supply cuts totalling more than 50 percent – and the cuts, while not as dramatic, remain in effect today, more than a month after the official end of summer.

« We are in regular contact with [Mekorot] to find a solution, but they constantly give us different excuses, such as the increase in demand, rising temperature, etc, » Deeb Abdelghafour, the PWA’s director of the water resources department, told Al Jazeera.

The notion that the region is suffering from water scarcity is a myth, he added:

« We have been facing shortages for decades, and the reason is not natural, but man-made – meaning the Israeli occupation and Israeli control over water resources in the Palestinian territories. »

Israeli officials have stated that water resources are shared equally in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, a unit in the Israeli army, noted that Israel provides 64 million cubic metres of water to the Palestinians annually, even though it is only obliged to provide 30 million under the Oslo accords.

However, disparity is evident in the lush gardens, parks and swimming pools in illegal Israeli settlements. The key difference is that Palestinian villages in the West Bank are not connected to the national water grid, relying instead on local underground supplies.

Palestinians living in remote areas have been hit the hardest by the ongoing water crisis, as access roads are often poor and the additional costs of delivery result in higher prices.

« We need special 4×4 trucks to drive on the unpaved roads, and it can take up to two hours to reach the communities, » said Hafez Hureini, a resident of at-Tuwani village and leader of the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee.

Taha shows her empty beehives: ‘Last year, we had bees so we could produce our own honey, but all the bees died due to lack of water; there are not enough flowers’ [Eloise Bollack/Al Jazeera] 

Over the summer, Israeli media reported that illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank were also suffering from daily disruptions to water supplies, prompting the Israeli government to establish a new drilling site, Ariel 1, which would provide 250 cubic metres of water per hour.

Abdelrahman Tamimi, director of the Palestinian Hydrology Group for Water and Environmental Resources Development, said that this was not where water was needed the most.

« The wells should be drilled where there is important demand, such as north and south of Jenin, south of Hebron, or northwest of the Jordan valley. Why in Ariel, I wonder, as a hydrologist? There is already a well there; they can simply improve its capacity … [This measure] was definitely not designed to supply Palestinian communities, » Tamimi told Al Jazeera.

In the meantime, Israel has accused Palestinians of tapping into pipes, with the Israeli Water Authority asserting that 5,000 cubic metres of water is stolen every day by Palestinians.

« We are aware there is water theft … However, we should ask ourselves why are the people stealing water? Simply because they are thirsty, » Abdelghafour said.

At the same time, increased water demands owing to growing Israeli and Palestinian populations is stretching the limits of existing water infrastructure. Most of the water network was installed in 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank. Today, the diameters of the pipes are inadequate, and the system is reaching the end of its life cycle.

« Even to upgrade infrastructure in Area A and B is a headache, » Abdelghafour said. « They [Israel] impose long and complicated procedures in order to issue permits to import the smallest pieces or equipment. »

Data released by the Israeli Water Authority shows that a large expansion in agriculture in the settlements has led to an estimated rise of 20 to 40 percent in water consumption this year.

« The [Palestinian Authority] has no solution for the water crisis. In my opinion, Israel has used this summer to put more pressure on us to purchase desalinated water, so they can allocate groundwater for the settlements and their future expansion, » Tamimi said.

Since 2005, five desalination plants have been built in Israel, now producing approximately 50 percent of the country’s water supply.

« We don’t want to substitute water from desalination plants for our historical rights to all shared water resources, » Abdelghafour said. « Once we have our basic rights, based on equitable allocation of resources and international law, then we can think of other development options, such as desalination or treatment of waste water. »

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Playing « a dangerous game, » NATO pushes allies to send more troops and military equipment to Eastern Europe

NATO is pushing all allies to deploy more troops and military equipment to Russia’s borders, further ratcheting up tensions as the West prepares for « its biggest military build-up on Russia’s borders since the Cold War, » as Reuters observed.

« France, Denmark, Italy and other allies are expected to join the four battle groups led by the United States, Germany, Britain, and Canada to go to Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia, with forces ranging from armored infantry to drones, » Reuters reported.

« With the U.S. openly talking [about] a war with Russia, the continued deployments seem far from a purely defensive measure. »
—Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com« The battle groups will be backed by NATO’s 40,000-strong rapid-reaction force, » noted Deutsche Welle, « and if need be, further follow-on forces, for any potential conflict, which could move into Baltic states and Poland on rotation. »

Prior to Wednesday’s North Atlantic Council meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Reuters that the military commitments would be « a clear demonstration of our transatlantic bond. »

The U.K. was the first to release the specifics of its plan: the nation will deploy 800 troops alongside tanks and drones, according to the Wall Street Journal. « That battalion will be defensive in nature, but it will be fully combat-capable, » British defense secretary Michael Fallon told the newspaper.

This latest show of force follows the United States’ March announcement that it plans to greatly increase its troop numbers in Eastern Europe, and fulfills NATO’s July promise to bolster its military presence on Russia’s borders, purportedly in response to Russian aggression.

Diplomats also suggested it was only partly about sending a message to Russia, and that the real point of the latest push is to get a bunch of nations involved as a « message » to U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has complained the U.S. is spending too much defending Europe and that Europe isn’t doing enough on its own.

That underscores the cynical nature of the deployments, and indeed the sort of thing adding to the sense of NATO being obsolete, that they feel they can afford to organize major deployments just for the sake of scoring political points in member nations’ elections.

These moves are shortsighted, to say the least, wrote Gilbert Doctorow of the American Committee for East-West Accord: « America’s steady campaign of expanding NATO, […] its vilification of Russia, and its information war based on lies » are part of « a dangerous game » that is pulling all sides inevitably closer to war, Doctorow argued.

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The Zika Virus Is Harmless. It Does Not Cause Birth Defects

octobre 27th, 2016 by Moon of Alabama

After nearly a year of causing hysteria, mass travel cancellations and unnecessary abortions it finally daunts to « journalists » and « experts »  that the Zika virus is harmless. It can cause a very minor flue – two days of a low fever and uncomfortable feeling for a quarter of those infected – that is all. It does not cause, as was claimed by sensationalists in the media and various self-serving « scientists », birth defects like microcephaly.

We told you so.

In February we wrote: The Zika Virus Is Harmless – Who Then Benefits From This Media Panic?.

The piece refereed to a Congressional Research Service report and various sound scientific papers. It concluded:

There is absolutely no sane reason for the scary headlines and the panic they cause.The virus is harmless. It is possible, but seems for now very unlikely, that it affects some unborn children. There is absolutely no reason to be concerned about it.

The artificial media panic continued and huge amounts of money were poured into dangerous insecticides to kill mosquitoes (and important pollinators) that did not do any harm. Indeed, generous use of some of these insecticides likely were the very cause of a blip in microencephaly cases in northeastern Brazil.


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In March we wrote: Reading About Zika May Hurt Your Brain.

We listed 35 sensational « news » headlines about potential catastrophes related to a Zika epidemic. The common factor of those panic creating media wave – all those headlines included the miraculous little word may. The pieces were pure speculations with some quoting this or that « expert » who was hunting for research funds or lobbying for some pharmaceutical or pesticide conglomerate.

In June we added: Zika Virus Does Not Cause Birth Defects – Fighting It Probably Does.

New serious research found what some people in Brazil had suspected from the very start of the small and strictly locally limited jump in microencephaly cases in Brazil:

[D]octors in the Zika affected areas in Brazil pointed outthat the real cause of somewhat increased microcephaly in the region was probably the insecticide pyriproxyfen, used to kill mosquito larvae in drinking water:

The Brazilian doctors noted that the areas of northeast Brazil that had witnessed the greatest number of microcephaly cases match with areas where pyriproxyfen is added to drinking water in an effort to combat Zika-carrying mosquitoes. Pyriproxyfen is reported to cause malformations in mosquito larvae, and has been added to drinking water in the region for the past 18 months.

Pyriproxyfen is produced by a Sumitomo Chemical – an important Japanese poison giant. It was therefore unsurprising that the New York Times and others called the Brazilian doctors’ report a « conspiracy theory » and trotted out some « experts » to debunk it.

But [s]cientist at the New England Complex Systems Institute also researched the pyriproxyfen thesis. They found:

Pyriproxifen is an analog of juvenile hormone, which corresponds in mammals to regulatory molecules including retinoic acid, a vitamin A metabolite, with which it has cross-reactivity and whose application during development causes microcephaly.

[T]ests of pyriproxyfen by the manufacturer, Sumitomo, widely quoted as giving no evidence for developmental toxicity, actually found some evidence for such an effect, including low brain mass and arhinencephaly—incomplete formation of the anterior cerebral hemispheres—in rat pups. Finally, the pyriproxyfen use in Brazil is unprecedented—it has never before been applied to a water supply on such a scale.

Given this combination of information we strongly recommend that the use of pyriproxyfen in Brazil be suspended pending further investigation.

Today the Washington Post finally admits that the Zika virus does not cause birth defects:

[T]o the great bewilderment of scientists, the epidemic has not produced the wave of fetal deformities so widely feared when the images of misshapen infants first emerged from Brazil.Instead, Zika has left a puzzling and distinctly uneven pattern of damage across the Americas. According to the latest U.N. figures, of the 2,175 babies born in the past year with undersize heads or other congenital neurological damage linked to Zika, more than 75 percent have been clustered in a single region: northeastern Brazil.

The wide areas where the flue virus occurred outside of the small area in Brazil saw no increase in birth defect numbers. The number of (naturally occurring) microcephality cases stayed constant despite a very large increase in (harmless) Zika virus infections. The numbers in Brazil also turned out to be partially inflated because of a lack of standard diagnosis criteria and unreliable statistics. A factor we had pointed to in our very first piece.

The WaPo piece today muses about several « possible » causes for the local increase in cases in northeastern Brazil that indeed happened. It quotes some of the very « experts », like from the pharmaceutical industry influenced CDC, that were wrong on the issue since the very first panic headline. It strenuously avoids to even mention the most likely cause – the excessive local use of an insecticide that is supposed to cause birth defects – in developing mosquitoes. Thus the reporting is still void of journalistic ethics and irresponsible in its conclusions.

It did not take much effort to get this right. An hour or two of skimming through publicly available sources of good standing, some basic higher education and sound reasoning was enough. But instead of doing such basic inquiries « journalists » and media « served » panic and speculations by biased « experts ». Keep this story in mind for the next sensationalist onslaught of panic headline. There surely will be some « interests » behind those; just don’t expect unbiased facts and basic logic reasoning.

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Avoiding Conflict In Asia Pacific’s Waters

octobre 27th, 2016 by Ulson Gunnar

A look at a map of Asia Pacific, and one sees that it is a region dominated by bodies of water. Namely there is the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Andaman Sea, the Philippines Sea, the South China Sea and numerous gulfs, bays, straits and smaller seas.

Several nations are in fact described as “island nations.” Commerce by sea between and beyond Asian nations factors in as an important geopolitical and economic issue each nation must face. There is also fishing as well as gas and oil extraction performed throughout Asia’s waters.

It is no surprise then that across Asia, many disputes surface between nations regarding the use of Asia’s waters. Unlike on land, enforcing borders and perceived claims across seas and oceans is infinitely more difficult. Despite this, Asian states have resolved these issues through bilateral resolutions both for individual cases and in a more general sense. Very rarely do these disputes escalate toward serious or enduring confrontations, and more rarely still do they result in actual conflicts.

If an external force sought to destabilize Asia, it would likely seek several vectors including fostering confrontations over the use of Asia’s waters.

The United States in particular, has cultivated a multinational, multifaceted confrontation in the South China Sea for this very purpose, attempting to pit nations like Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and even nations removed from the sea, all against China. Minor, isolated disputes that could otherwise be resolved through bilateral relations directly with Beijing, have now been consolidated into a larger and growing confrontation prodded forward by the involvement of the United States, its military forces and its attempts to involve international institutions.

By doing so, Asia is being destabilized. The vast majority of Asia’s economic activity unfolds within Asia itself. While exports and imports from beyond Asia are no doubt important as well, instability in Asia would be a threat to nation security and undermine economic stability for each respective state, whether they were directly involved in the South China Sea row or not.

For this purpose, Asia must resolve itself to settling disputes regarding the use and exploitation of Asia’s waters bilaterally between nations before such disputes evolve into confrontations or conflicts. External forces seeking to escalate tensions and exploit them geopolitically must be removed from the region through a series sanctions by both individual nations, and by the region collectively.

When the Philippines drastically changed tack from a growing confrontation between Manila and Beijing driven by US military and political actions, and toward bilateral negotiations between Manila and Beijing (excluding the United States), regional stability breathed a marked sign of relief.

The New York Times in an article titled, “Rodrigo Duterte and Xi Jinping Agree to Reopen South China Sea Talks,” would note:

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, agreed on Thursday to resume direct talks on disputes in the South China Sea after years of escalating tension, a sign of warming relations with Beijing. 

The announcement came during Mr. Duterte’s state visit to China, as he repeatedly sought to distance the Philippines from the United States, a treaty ally. Mr. Duterte, speaking to business leaders shortly after meeting with Mr. Xi, openly declared a “separation from the United States.”

Economically and politically, Asia was to gain nothing, and perhaps lose everything had the US-backed confrontation continued to spiral out of control. While it is unlikely that the Philippines will immediately “separate” from the US, Manila’s actions to discard a policy of confrontation for one of bilateral communications with Beijing certainly diminished US influence in the region.

A Balance of Power 

Within Asia, to ensure one nation does not find itself exercising unwarranted power and influence over another, a balance of power must be established through a commitment by all nations to develop strong economies, formidable armed forces and skillful diplomatic corps so that it is easier for feuding parties to make equitable concessions than to escalate toward confrontations and conflict.

For China, emerging as both a regional and global power, it is incumbent upon Beijing to avoid overreaching and thus encouraging its neighbors to seek out external powers for support and the instability they bring with them. America’s military presence across the Asia Pacific region is today predicated on “underwriting security” in the region and advertised as a means of keeping Beijing in check. A Beijing openly willing to pursue equitable bilateral resolutions with other nations in the region regarding use of its waters creates an Asia the US has no justification for keeping its military in.

In the short-term, individual Asian states may see an opportunity to gain from US-backing amid disputes throughout Asia’s waters, however the instability that will result when such disputes inevitably escalate, will cost all of Asia its collective stability and as a result, its collective prosperity.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
http://journal-neo.org/2016/10/27/avoiding-conflict-in-asia-pacifics-waters/

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European Parliament Votes In Favour Of A Ban on Nuclear Weapons

octobre 27th, 2016 by International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Brussels/Strasbourg. European Union’s legislature takes clear stance on upcoming negotiations on international treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons: the EU’s Member States should “support the convening” and “participate substantively” in its negotiation. 

Today the European Parliament took a clear stance to support the negotiations of a treaty banning nuclear weapons. In this resolution, the EU’s Parliament:

  • “Welcomes the recommendation to the UN General Assembly … to convene a conference in 2017 … to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons”
  • “Invites the EU Member States to support the convening of such a conference in 2017 and to participate constructively in its proceedings”
  • “Invites VP/HR Federica Mogherini and the European External Action Service to contribute constructively to the proceedings of the 2017 negotiating conference”

This resolution is adopted on the same day as United Nations General Assembly votes on starting negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. Unlike EU parliamentarians, however, the majority of the EU’s governments appear to defend the possession and legitimacy of nuclear weapons instead of strengthening humanitarian law and banning the last weapons of mass destruction.

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The European Parliament’s resolutions are not binding on Member States in regards to foreign policy matters, but act as recommendation and send a message to the governments across Europe that parties from the entire political spectrum are supportive of this process.

“The resolution is a particularly encouraging development, as even the EU’s centre-right and conservative parties voted for strong language in favour of the start of negotiations to prohibit nuclear weapons under international law in 2017”, says Leo Hoffmann-Axthelm, ICAN campaigner in Brussels.

While their governments at home, together with the world’s nuclear armed states, are almost the only countries globally to oppose a Ban Treaty, the people’s representatives in the European Parliament took a view that much closer mirrors what surveys have been showing for a long time: we reject nuclear weapons, and will not want to entrust our “security” to a deterrence gamble that has failed far too often to guarantee 100% reliability.

While also condemning Russia’s nuclear sabre-rattling, the resolution sends a clear signal of de-escalation and calls on all EU Member States, the EU’s diplomatic service and HR/VP Federica Mogherini to participate constructively in the negotiations to prohibit nuclear weapons.

While this resolution was adopted in Brussels, many European governments at the United Nations in New York are preparing to vote ‘No’ to the UN resolution setting up negotiations for a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons under international law. “Aside from some strong European leaders in Austria, Ireland and Sweden, it’s hypocritical of the majority of European governments to claim seeking a world free of nuclear weapons while working hard to keep nuclear weapons legal to possess and use for their military alliances. Nuclear weapons are inhumane and indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction, and should have no place in a Europe that is committed to upholding humanitarian law and values, ” says Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN.

The resolution to start negotiations of a treaty banning nuclear weapons will be voted upon by governments on 27 October 2016, at the United Nations in New York.

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The American journalist, Edward Bernays, is often described as the man who invented modern propaganda. The nephew of Sigmund Freud, the pioneer of psycho-analysis, it was Bernays who coined the term “public relations” as a euphemism for spin and its deceptions.

In 1929, he persuaded feminists to promote cigarettes for women by smoking in the New York Easter Parade – behaviour then considered outlandish. One feminist, Ruth Booth, declared, “Women! Light another torch of freedom! Fight another sex taboo!” Bernays’ influence extended far beyond advertising. His greatest success was his role in convincing the American public to join the slaughter of the First World War.

The secret, he said, was “engineering the consent” of people in order to “control and regiment [them] according to our will without their knowing about it”.

He described this as “the true ruling power in our society” and called it an “invisible government”.

Today, the invisible government has never been more powerful and less understood. In my career as a journalist and film-maker, I have never known propaganda to insinuate our lives as it does now and to go unchallenged.

Award-winning author  and filmmaker John Pilger (image right)

Imagine two cities. Both are under siege by the forces of the government of that country. Both cities are occupied by fanatics, who commit terrible atrocities, such as beheading people. But there is a vital difference. In one siege, the government soldiers are described as liberators by Western reporters embedded with them, who enthusiastically report their battles and air strikes. There are front page pictures of these heroic soldiers giving a V-sign for victory. There is scant mention of civilian casualties.

In the second city – in another country nearby – almost exactly the same is happening. Government forces are laying siege to a city controlled by the same breed of fanatics. The difference is that these fanatics are supported, supplied and armed by “us” – by the United States and Britain. They even have a media centre that is funded by Britain and America. Another difference is that the government soldiers laying siege to this city are the bad guys, condemned for assaulting and bombing the city – which is exactly what the good soldiers do in the first city.

Confusing? Not really. Such is the basic double standard that is the essence of propaganda. I am referring, of course, to the current siege of the city of Mosul by the government forces of Iraq, who are backed by the United States and Britain and to the siege of Aleppo by the government forces of Syria, backed by Russia. One is good; the other is bad.

What is seldom reported is that both cities would not be occupied by fanatics and ravaged by war if Britain and the United States had not invaded Iraq in 2003. That criminal enterprise was launched on lies strikingly similar to the propaganda that now distorts our understanding of the civil war in Syria. Without this drumbeat of propaganda dressed up as news, the monstrous ISIS and Al-Qaida and al-Nusra and the rest of the jihadist gang might not exist, and the people of Syria might not be fighting for their lives today.

Some may remember in 2003 a succession of BBC reporters turning to the camera and telling us that Blair was “vindicated” for what turned out to be the crime of the century. The US television networks produced the same validation for George W. Bush. Fox News brought on Henry Kissinger to effuse over Colin Powell’s fabrications. The same year, soon after the invasion, I filmed an interview in Washington with Charles Lewis, the renowned American investigative journalist. I asked him, “What would have happened if the freest media in the world had seriously challenged what turned out to be crude propaganda?”

He replied that if journalists had done their job, “there is a very, very good chance we would not have gone to war in Iraq”.

It was a shocking statement, and one supported by other famous journalists to whom I put the same question — Dan Rather of CBS, David Rose of the Observer and journalists and producers in the BBC, who wished to remain anonymous. In other words, had journalists done their job, had they challenged and investigated the propaganda instead of amplifying it, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children would be alive today, and there would be no ISIS and no siege of Aleppo or Mosul. There would have been no atrocity on the London Underground on 7th July 2005.  There would have been no flight of millions of refugees; there would be no miserable camps.

When the terrorist atrocity happened in Paris last November, President Francoi Hollande immediately sent planes to bomb Syria – and more terrorism followed, predictably, the product of Hollande’s bombast about France being “at war” and “showing no mercy”. That state violence and jihadist violence feed off each other is the truth that no national leader has the courage to speak.

“When the truth is replaced by silence,” said the Soviet dissident Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.”

The attack on Iraq, the attack on Libya, the attack on Syria happened because the leader in each of these countries was not a puppet of the West. The human rights record of a Saddam or a Gaddafi was irrelevant. They did not obey orders and surrender control of their country.

The same fate awaited Slobodan Milosevic once he had refused to sign an “agreement” that demanded the occupation of Serbia and its conversion to a market economy. His people were bombed, and he was prosecuted in The Hague. Independence of this kind is intolerable. As WikLeaks has revealed, it was only when the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in 2009 rejected an oil pipeline, running through his country from Qatar to Europe, that he was attacked.

From that moment, the CIA planned to destroy the government of Syria with jihadist fanatics – the same fanatics currently holding the people of Mosul and eastern Aleppo hostage. Why is this not news? The former British Foreign Office official Carne Ross, who was responsible for operating sanctions against Iraq, told me: “We would feed journalists factoids of sanitised intelligence, or we would freeze them out. That is how it worked.”

The West’s medieval client, Saudi Arabia – to which the US and Britain sell billions of dollars’ worth of arms – is at present destroying Yemen, a country so poor that in the best of times, half the children are malnourished. Look on YouTube and you will see the kind of massive bombs – “our” bombs – that the Saudis use against dirt-poor villages, and against weddings, and funerals. The explosions look like small atomic bombs. The bomb aimers in Saudi Arabia work side-by-side with British officers. This fact is not on the evening news.

Propaganda is most effective when our consent is engineered by those with a fine education – Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Columbia — and with careers on the BBC, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post. These organisations are known as the liberal media. They present themselves as enlightened, progressive tribunes of the moral zeitgeist. They are anti-racist, pro-feminist and pro-LGBT.

And they love war.

While they speak up for feminism, they support rapacious wars that deny the rights of countless women, including the right to life. In 2011, Libya, then a modern state, was destroyed on the pretext that Muammar Gaddafi was about to commit genocide on his own people.  That was the incessant news; and there was no evidence. It was a lie.

In fact, Britain, Europe and the United States wanted what they like to call “regime change” in Libya, the biggest oil producer in Africa. Gaddafi’s influence in the continent and, above all, his independence were intolerable. So he was murdered with a knife in his rear by fanatics, backed by America, Britain and France.  Hillary Clinton cheered his gruesome death for the camera, declaring, “We came, we saw, he died!”

The destruction of Libya was a media triumph. As the war drums were beaten, Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian: “Though the risks are very real, the case for intervention remains strong.” Intervention — what a polite, benign, Guardian word, whose real meaning, for Libya, was death and destruction.

According to its own records, Nato launched 9,700 « strike sorties » against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. They included missiles with uranium warheads. Look at the photographs of the rubble of Misurata and Sirte, and the mass graves identified by the Red Cross. The Unicef report on the children killed says, « most [of them] under the age of ten ». As a direct consequence, Sirte became the capital of ISIS.

Ukraine is another media triumph. Respectable liberal newspapers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian, and mainstream broadcasters such as the BBC, NBC, CBS, CNN have played a critical role in conditioning their viewers to accept a new and dangerous cold war. All have misrepresented events in Ukraine as a malign act by Russia when, in fact, the coup in Ukraine in 2014 was the work of the United States, aided by Germany and Nato.

 This inversion of reality is so pervasive that Washington’s military intimidation of Russia is not news; it is suppressed behind a smear and scare campaign of the kind I grew up withduring the first cold war. Once again, the Ruskies are coming to get us, led by another Stalin, whom The Economist depicts as the devil.

The suppression of the truth about Ukraine is one of the most complete news blackouts I can remember. The fascists who engineered the coup in Kiev are the same breed that backed the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Of all the scares about the rise of fascist anti-Semitism in Europe, no leader ever mentions the fascists in Ukraine – except Vladimir Putin, but he does not count.

Many in the Western media have worked hard to present the ethnic Russian-speaking population of Ukraine as outsiders in their own country, as agents of Moscow, almost never as Ukrainians seeking a federation within Ukraine and as Ukrainian citizens resisting a foreign-orchestrated coup against their elected government.

There is almost the joie d’esprit of a class reunion of warmongers. The drum-beaters of the Washington Post inciting war with Russia are the very same editorial writers who published the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

 To most of us, the American presidential campaign is a media freak show, in which Donald Trump is the arch villain. But Trump is loathed by those with power in the United States for reasons that have little to do with his obnoxious behaviour and opinions. To the invisible government in Washington, the unpredictable Trump is an obstacle to America’s design for the 21st century.

This is to maintain the dominance of the United States and to subjugate Russia, and, if possible, China.

To the militarists in Washington, the real problem with Trump is that, in his lucid moments, he seems not to want a war with Russia; he wants to talk with the Russian president, not fight him; he says he wants to talk with the president of China. In the first debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump promised not to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into a conflict. He said, “I would certainly not do first strike. Once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over.” That was not news.

Did he really mean it? Who knows? He often contradicts himself. But what is clear is that Trump is considered a serious threat to the status quo maintained by the vast national security machine that runs the United States, regardless of who is in the White House. The CIA wants him beaten. The Pentagon wants him beaten. The media wants him beaten. Even his own party wants him beaten. He is a threat to the rulers of the world – unlike Clinton who has left no doubt she is prepared to go to war with nuclear-armed Russia and China.

Clinton has the form, as she often boasts. Indeed, her record is proven. As a senator, she backed the bloodbath in Iraq.  When she ran against Obama in 2008, she threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran. As Secretary of State, she colluded in the destruction of governments in Libya and Honduras and set in train the baiting of China. She has now pledged to support a No Fly Zone in Syria — a direct provocation for war with Russia. Clinton may well become the most dangerous president of the United States in my lifetime –a distinction for which the competition is fierce.

Without a shred of evidence, she has accused Russia of supporting Trump and hacking her emails. Released by WikiLeaks, these emails tell us that what Clinton says in private, in speeches to the rich and powerful, is the opposite of what she says in public. That is why silencing and threatening Julian Assange is so important. As the editor of WikiLeaks, Assange knows the truth. And let me assure those who are concerned, he is well, and WikiLeaks is operating on all cylinders.

Today, the greatest build-up of American-led forces since World War Two is under way – in the Caucasus and eastern Europe, on the border with Russia, and in Asia and the Pacific, where China is the target. Keep that in mind when the presidential election circus reaches its finale on November 8th,  If the winner is Clinton, a Greek chorus of witless commentators will celebrate her coronation as a great step forward for women. None will mention Clinton’s victims: the women of Syria, the women of Iraq, the women of Libya. None will mention the civil defence drills being conducted in Russia.  None will recall Edward Bernays’ “torches of freedom”.

George Bush’s press spokesman once called the media “complicit enablers”.

Coming from a senior official in an administration whose lies, enabled by the media, caused such suffering, that description is a warning from history.

In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor said of the German media: “Before every major aggression, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack. In the propaganda system, it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons.”

 This text is adapted from an address to the Sheffield Festival of Words, Sheffield, England.     

JohnPilger.com – the films and journalism of John Pilger

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Caroline Galactéros est intervenue le 22 octobre 2016 sur France Culture pour Les Discussions du Soir, émission radiophonique animée par Régis Debray.

Régis Debray interroge Caroline Galactéros sur la situation en Syrie – [Durée 44.00]

A partir de 32.00 Caroline Galactéros s’exprime sur la guerre en Syrie à partir de 32.00 

Caroline Galactéros est Docteur en Science politique, ancien auditeur de l’IHEDN; elle a enseigné la stratégie et l’éthique à l’Ecole de Guerre et à HEC. Colonel de réserve, elle dirige aujourd’hui la société de conseil PLANETING et tient la chronique « Etat d’esprit, esprit d’Etat » au Point.fr. Elle a publié « Manières du monde. Manières de guerre » (éd. Nuvis, 2013) et « Guerre, Technologie et société » (avec R. Debray et V. Desportes, éd. Nuvis, 2014). Polémologue, spécialiste de géopolitique et d’intelligence stratégique, elle décrit sans détours mais avec précision les nouvelles lignes de faille qui dessinent le monde d’aujourd’hui.

Crédit photo : ASAF JUIN 2015 – CAROLINE GALACTEROS

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As she marches toward the US presidency, Hillary Clinton has stepped up her promotion of the idea that a no-fly zone in Syria could “save lives” and “hasten the end of the conflict” that has devastated that country since 2011.

It has now been revealed, of course, that Clinton hasn’t always expressed the same optimism about the no-fly zone in private. The Intercept (10/10/16) reported on Clinton’s recently leaked remarks in a closed-door speech to Goldman Sachs in 2013:

To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk—you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians.

Other relevant characters, such as US Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Joseph Dunford (Daily Caller, 9/26/16), have warned that a no-fly zone in Syria would simply intensify the conflict—which presumably isn’t the best way to hasten its end.

Luckily for those who prefer to rally around illogic, however, plenty of media have already rolled out the welcome mat for peddlers of the “humanitarian” vision of increased Western military interference in Syria.

New York Times: ‘I Am Very Afraid I Will Die Tonight’

The New York Times‘ Nicholas Kristof (10/6/16) argues against “Obama’s paralysis” and for “more robust strategies advocated by Hillary Clinton.”

The New York Timesself-appointed savior of women, Nicholas Kristof (10/6/16), invoked the plight of a young Syrian girl in Aleppo to conclude that Obama’s alleged “paralysis” on Syria “has been linked to the loss of perhaps half a million lives” in the country, as well as to “the rise of extremist groups like the Islamic State,” among other unpleasant outcomes. We have no “excuse,” we’re told, for “failing to respond to mass atrocities.”

Never mind that the rise of ISIS has much to do with that mass atrocity known as the US invasion of Iraq, thanks to which many young Iraqi girls and other human beings have suffered rape, mutilation and death. It’s convenient for certain industries, at least, when US weapons are deemed the solution for problems US weapons helped to create in the first place.

Furthermore, plenty of US weapons continue to flow to countries known for arming and funding ISIS and similar outfits—an arrangement unlikely to be rectified by a no-fly zone targeting the Syrian government and the Russians.

USA Today (10/8/16), meanwhile, ran an opinion piece by an American doctor who worked briefly at a now-destroyed hospital in Aleppo, arguing that the US “should lead the way in establishing real no-fly zones, either under United Nations auspices or with the British and the French”—because “otherwise, our inaction will continue to be an embarrassment and stand as an example of our spineless irresponsibility.”

But considering that there has already been plenty of US action in Syria—including the mistaken “pulverization” of whole families with children—it would seem we’ve already exhibited a fair amount of lethal irresponsibility.

Beyond the opinion pages, media figures are pushing the “humanitarian” approach with varying degrees of subtlety. Meet the Press host Chuck Todd (10/16/16) recently pressed Vice President Joe Biden on the lack of a no-fly zone over Aleppo, suggesting that the Obama administration will “look back and wonder what if? What if? What if? What if?”

Of course, no campaign for saving lives with bombs would be complete without everyone’s favorite examples of feel-good destruction from the former Yugoslavia. The Washington Post (9/9/16) hosted an opinion by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first ambassador to the UN, Muhamed Sacirbey, straightforwardly headlined: “Western Military Intervention Saved Lives in Bosnia. It Can Work in Syria, Too.”

Sacirbey warns that “Syria’s largest city is on the brink of starvation. Bombed from the skies and besieged on the ground, Aleppo’s 2 million residents may soon be exterminated.” Gone, apparently, are the days of factchecking, when someone at the Post might have alerted the author to the reality that the vast majority of Aleppo’s residents live in government-controlled areas and are thus not under attack by said government.

Comparing Aleppo to besieged Sarajevo, Sacirbey determines that Sarajevans ultimately “escaped many of the horrors now awaiting Aleppo’s residents… because NATO opted (albeit belatedly and, too often, inadequately) to uphold its responsibility to protect Bosnian civilians.”

After lauding Bosnia’s no-fly zone, Sacirbey pulls this prediction out of a hat: “Limited military intervention in Syria would save civilian lives, perhaps as many as 200 a week.”

In their indispensable essay for Monthly Review (10/07), “The Dismantling of Yugoslavia: A Study in Inhumanitarian Intervention (and a Western Liberal-Left Intellectual and Moral Collapse),” Edward S. Herman and David Peterson make it unavoidably clear that the West’s business in Bosnia had nothing to do with saving lives—and much to do with the contrary.

The Bill Clinton administration, they note, actively sabotaged agreements to end the war at an earlier date, while “helping arm the Bosnian Muslims and Croatians and helping bring thousands of Mujahedin to fight in Bosnia.” America’s support in this case for jihadists—a secret alliance also discussed by scholar Tariq Ali (Guardian, 9/9/06)—further complicates the assumption that the US is somehow capable of fixing the current jihad problem.

In predictable fashion, US media led the charge to the Bosnian intervention (Extra!, 10-11/92), dutifully painting the Serbs as demonic aggressors, parroting inflated Bosnian casualty estimates and otherwise behaving as the official PR arm of the establishment.

A similar performance was repeated shortly thereafter with Kosovo, where minimal regard was given to actual facts on the ground and the specter of Serbian-waged genocide was instead hysterically invoked. Noam Chomsky (Monthly Review, 9/08) cited various reports, including from the British government, that the US-backed Kosovo Liberation Army was actually responsible for more killings than the Serbs in the run-up to NATO’s bombing campaign—a project that naturally also managed to kill several thousand people.

While Yugoslavia has now been fully dismantled, the myth of Western humanitarian intervention there has emerged unscathed; in his recent dispatch on Syria, Kristof brought up Kosovo as an example of how “the military toolbox has saved lives.”

To be sure, “saving lives” is a much nobler goal than, say, endowing NATO with a new lease on life or clearing the way for total neoliberal assault—two outcomes of the West’s Yugoslav ventures. Hence the utility, as Herman and Peterson write, of the “edifice of lies that serves and protects the Western interventions in the former Yugoslavia—and which laid the ideological foundations for the US role in Iraq and for future so-called humanitarian interventions.”

In Syria’s brutal war, meanwhile, humanitarian motives will presumably be utilized as a veneer for pursuing more fundamental goals, like neutralizing resistance to US/Israeli regional designs and promoting that profitable sort of chaos that produces massive arms sales.

And just as those in the West who failed to leap onto the bandwagon in Yugoslavia were denounced as “apologists for genocide” and the like, opponents of increased Western military action in Syria will be increasingly assailed as pro-Assad fanatics with Syrian blood on their hands.

One strong candidate for fanatic-hood is Greg Shupak, who in a recent Jacobin magazine dispatch (10/20/16) dared to argue that a no-fly zone “would actually represent an escalation of war that is guaranteed to harm civilians in the name of protecting them.” Emphasizing that opposition to said zone is not meant in any way “to minimize or rationalize the torture, mass killings or severe sieges enacted by the Syrian state and its allies,” Shupak continues: “The imminent question, however, is not, ‘Is the Syrian government good?’; it’s ‘Should America drop more bombs on Syria?’”

Because, at the end of the day, humanitarian war just isn’t humanly possible.

Belén Fernández is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work and Martyrs Never Die: Travels through South Lebanon.

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L’offensive dirigée par Washington pour reprendre Mossoul de l’Etat islamique (EI) fait de plus en plus de morts et de blessés parmi les civils irakiens, piégés dans la ville, qui craignent les représailles à la fois de l’EI et des milices fidèles à Bagdad.

Selon Abdul-Ghani Asadi, le chef du contingent antiterroriste de l’armée irakienne, l’artillerie irakienne s’était assez rapprochée de Mossoul lundi pour pilonner systématiquement la ville, autrefois la deuxième métropole du pays, et qui compte toujours plus d’un million d’habitants. L’EI l’a capturée en 2014, quand des troupes irakiennes formés par les Etats-Unis se sont enfuis devant l’avancée de combattants islamistes bien moins nombreux.

Si cette milice islamiste brutale et réactionnaire a pu tenir la ville si longtemps, c’est en grande partie à cause de l’hostilité populaire à Mossoul envers l’Etat central à Bagdad. Les forces gouvernementales, dominées par les chiites, ont systématiquement réprimé les sunnites à travers l’Irak.

L’offensive contre Mossoul aggrave ces divisions sectaires, produites par les destructions causées la guerre américaine lancée en 2003 et la stratégie de diviser pour mieux régner employée par Washington pendant huit années d’occupation. Les civils en font les frais.

Selon certains reportages, des civils sunnites, qui ont risqué la mort aux mains de l’EI en fuyant Mossoul, auraient été emprisonnés et torturés par les forces gouvernementales.

Mardi, le Washington Post a décrit une femme qui, avec ses six enfants, a fui Mossoul vers sud et les forces irakiennes.

Alors qu’elle « parlait dans un camp pour les nouveaux réfugiés au sud de Mossoul, surveillée par des hommes armés, sans électricité et sans nourriture dans sa tente, ses enfants jouant dans la poussière, son évasion semblait avoir été le prélude à une autre épreuve misérable ».

Dans le même camp, un groupe de bergers a dit « qu’ils avaient été battus par des soldats après s’être échappés de l’Etat islamique ».

Dans un autre camp à l’est de Mossoul, selon le Post, « on gardait des dizaines de jeunes qui avaient fui la ville et ses alentours derrière une porte cadenassée, séquestrés de familles qui se déplaçaient librement dans d’autres parties du camp. Certains y étaient depuis 40 jours sans aucune indication du moment où ils seraient autorisés à partir, ont-ils expliqué ».

«’Nous avons fui une prison pour nous retrouver dans une autre,’ dit Mohamed Asad, qui était assis avec un groupe de jeunes dans une tente. »

Lors des offensives antérieures pour chasser l’EI de Falloujah et de Ramadi, des centaines de sunnites ont été massacrés, et les troupes gouvernementales irakiennes et les milices chiites ont maintes fois eu recours à la torture.

A Kirkouk – la ville riche en pétrole au sud de Mossoul où les Peshmergas kurdes contrattaquent l’EI, qui avait attaqué afin d’attirer des forces gouvernementales depuis Mossoul – on inflige des punitions collectives à l’importante population d’Arabes sunnites.

L’ONU et des habitants de la ville ont dit au New York Times que les responsables kurdes à Kirkouk « ont réagi en chassant des centaines de familles arabes qui y cherchaient refuge ».

« Des habitants arabes de Kirkouk interviewés mardi ont rapporté que des agents de sécurité kurdes armés avaient enlevé les familles pour les forcer à regagner les camps », écrit le Times. « Selon eux, plusieurs maisons ont également été détruites, dans ce qui semblait être une tentative méthodique de chasser autant d’Arabes que possible ».

A Kirkouk et à Mossoul, l’offensive soutenue par Washington menace de déclencher une guerre sectaire qui impliquerait les puissances régionales, dont la Turquie et l’Iran.

Des informations émergent également de Mossoul, selon lesquelles l’EI organiserait des représailles brutales contre ceux qu’ils soupçonnent de contester son pouvoir.

A Genève, le porte-parole de l’ONU sur les droits de l’homme Rupert Colville a dit que les forces irakiennes avaient découvert les corps de 70 civils, criblés de balles, à Tuloul Naser, près de Mossoul, le 20 octobre. 50 anciens policiers détenus à l’extérieur de la ville auraient également été massacrés.

Dans un incident signalé dans un autre village, Safina, 15 civils ont été assassinés et leurs corps jetés dans la rivière ; six hommes attachés à un véhicule avaient été traînés à travers le village, afin de terroriser la population.

Selon Colville, l’EI a également abattu trois femmes et trois filles et blessé quatre autres enfants, quand ils ont pris du retard au cours d’un déplacement forcé.

Vu le passé de l’EI, ces informations sont très crédibles, comme celles selon lesquelles l’EI utilise les civiles comme « boucliers humains ». Le fait qu’elles sont largement rapportées rend d’autant plus frappant le silence que font les médias sur les atrocités similaires commises par les « rebelles » soutenus par Washington en Syrie, les milices liées à Al Qaïda tout à fait semblables à l’EI.

Cela fait longtemps que les médias adoptent la pratique de deux poids, deux mesures. L’EI ne posait aucune problème à Washington avant qu’il n’envhaisse une grande partie de l’Irak, dévoilant au grand jour la dégenerescence de l’Etat bâti par les Etats-Unis dans ce pays.

Plusieurs reportages suggèrent que l’un des objectives de Washington dans l’offensive actuelle contre Mossoul serait de pousser les combattants de l’EI vers la Syrie pour qu’ils y continuent de combattre le régime du président syrien, Bachar al-Assad.

Sheikh Abdullah Alyawer, un chef tribal à Rabia, à la frontière syrienne, a dit à CNN que des centaines de combattants de l’EI traversaient la frontière avec leurs familles à un endroit contrôlé par l’EI à Ba’aaj, au sud de Sinjar.

Ceci confirmerait les accusations formulées par Damas et Moscou, selon lesquelles les Etats-Unis et leurs alliés laissent ouvert un couloir à l’ouest de Mossoul volontairement, afin de faciliter la fuite des combattants islamistes vers la Syrie. Ceci renforcerait les forces islamistes qui servent de truchement à l’OTAN dans leur guerre pour renverser Assad.

Lors d’une réunion des ministres de la défense de 13 pays à Paris, le président français François Hollande a souligné le transfert de combattants de l’EI de Mossoul assiégée à Raqqa en Syrie.

Le commandement militaire russe a déclaré mardi qu’il surveillait la frontière irako-syrienne et se tenait prêt à mener des frappes contre les forces de l’EI. Une telle intervention mettrait à mal tous les objectifs des États-Unis et augmenterait encore le danger d’une confrontation entre les deux principales puissances nucléaires.

Dans un éditorial mardi sur Mossoul, le Wall Street Journal a souligné l’un des principaux objectifs de Washington en envoyant des milliers de soldats américains appuyer l’offensive.

« Vaincre l’EI à Mossoul est un intérêt américain vital, mais la seule façon pour le prochain gouvernement d’empêcher une résurgence de l’EI ou la domination iranienne de la région est d’envoyer plusieurs milliers de soldats américains à long terme en Irak, à la fois en tant que force de réaction rapide régionale et pour exercer une pression politique sur l’Irak », affirme l’éditorial. En clair, la bataille pour Mossoul n’est qu’un préparatif pour des guerres beaucoup plus larges, au Moyen-Orient et au-delà.

Bill Van Auken

Article paru en anglais le 26 octobre 2016

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In northeastern Aleppo, the Syrian army and Liwa al-Quds also continued operations against Jaish al-Fatah militants (mostly members of Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki).  The main clashes took place inside the neighborhoods of Bustan Al-Basha and ‘Ard Al-Hamra.

Pro-government forces argue that the Syrian military seized the whole ‘Ard Al-Hamra Neighborhood. However, this has not been confirmed. On October 27, the government forces also launched an offensive on the strategic Hanano Youth Housing Complex. Fierce clashes are ongoing there.

In southwestern Aleppo, the army and allies have repelled another attempt by militants to retake the Air Defense Battalion Base. 5 militants were killed. Local sources say that Iranian military servicemen were operating in the area along with Syrian troops.

The Kurdish YPG launched a series of attacks on the alliance of Turksih-backed militant groups known as the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the area northwest of Al-Bab.

YPG units entered the villages of Til Madîq, Hecinê, Qarami, Jabal Na’i and Mişerefê. Some pro-Kurdish sources argue that some villages have been already taken.

The Syrian air strike allegedly killed one of the FSA highest ranking commanders in northern Homs – the Chief of Staff for the Free Syrian Army, Colonel Shouki Ayyoub – on October 26. Ayyoub had played an important role in creation a brand of the FSA.

The Syrian Army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) continued to attacks Jaish al-Islam militantsnear the strategic city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta. Fierce clashes took place in the area of al-Reihan and along a road connecting Tal Kurdi and Douma. The army also advanced near near al-Shifouniyeh town. The clashes resulted in killing of 22 militants and destroying of 3 technical vehicles with machine guns. The government forces lost some 8 fighters and a vehicle.

Actions of the Russian air grouping in Syria have resulted in a 70% decrease of the oil trafficking by the ISIS terrorist group, Vitaly Naumkin, President of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) said on October 26. According to the RAS’ information, the Russian Aerospace Forces have destroyed over 300 facilities involved in the production and transportation of oil and oil products.

Naumikn added that efforts of the Russian military allowed the government forces to liberate 568 settlements, including 150 towns. Some 3700 militants have surrendered to the Syrian government and 847 settlements jointed to the reconciliation process promoted by Moscow.

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