The People’s Forum met from 13-14 October 2016, ahead of the BRICS 2016 heads-of-state summit which was hosted in India at a time when humanity and the planet face severe, overlapping crises that were analysed in our Forum.

Global Research brings to the attention of its readers this important declaration of the People’s Forum on BRICS held in Goa, India, 14 October 2016.  

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Building Solidarities for Social, Economic and Environmental Justice:  

Goa Declaration of the People’s Forum on BRICS 

Alto Porvorim, Goa, India 

14 October 2016 

·         democracy is under threat, as the illegitimate Brazilian ‘President’ Michel Temer’s presence reminds us, along with attacks on democratic space in the other BRICS;

·             state repression is rising, such as in India where movements’ dissent is met with brutal repression, and in South Africa where university students have been brutally victimised by local police in recent days;  

·             ecological destruction is widespread, with catastrophic rates of species loss, pollution of land and air, freshwater and ocean degradation, and public health threats rising, to which no BRICS country is immune;

·             in particular, climate change is already having disastrous effects –for example, in India and Southern Africa where large regions face extreme drought – with no relief expected from the Paris COP21 agreement in which negotiators regrettably agreed to non-binding commitments that benefit mainly the North and the BRICS corporations;

·             the world economy is teetering on the brink of a financial meltdown, reflected in the chaos that several BRICS’ stock and currency markets have been facing, as well as in our countries’ vulnerability to crisis-contagion if major European banks soon fail in a manner similar to the US-catalysed meltdown in 2008-09;

·             the longer-term crisis of capitalism is evident in the marked slowdown in international trade and in declining global profit rates, especially evident in the three BRICS countries (South Africa, Russia and Brazil) which have negative or negligible GDP growth;

·             in addition to commodity crashes, one cause of the economic crisis is the deregulatory, neoliberal philosophy adopted by BRICS governments, which puts corporate property rights above human and environmental rights; in the guise of development

·             in the World Trade Organisation, BRICS’ contributions to negotiations were disastrous in the latest round, where food sovereignty was lost because India and Brazil joined the US and EU to reinforce liberalisation;

·             the new generation of Bilateral Trade and Investment Treaties will potentially have adverse impacts on lives and livelihoods of people across the BRICS and their hinterlands, and need complete rethinking.

·             the world’s workers are losing rights, farmers are suffering to the point of suicide, and labour casualisation is rampant in all our countries, with the result that BRICS workers are engaged in regular protest, including the strike by 180 million Indian workers which inspired the world on 2 September 2016;

·             on the social front, the threat to our already-inadequate welfare policies is serious, especially in Brazil’s coup regime but also across the BRICS where inadequate social policies are  driving people on the margins to destitution;

·             the commodification and privatisation of public services is causing misery, such as in South Africa where university students are fighting hard for a fee-free, decolonised tertiary education;

·             patriarchy and sexual violence, racism, communalism, caste discrimination, xenophobia and homophobia run rampant in all the BRICS, and because these forces serve our leaders’ interests, they are not addressing the structural causes, perpetuating divide-and-rule politics, and failing to dissuade ordinary people from contributing to oppression;

·             unsustainable energy options such as nuclear power and large infrastructure projects are being undemocratically pushed in BRICS countries. The spirited resistance from peoples movements is being met with brutal repression of those fighting against land appropriation, loss of livelihoods and environmental and health hazards

·             the destructive arms trade is rampant in the BRICS, such as India’s with Israel, or South Africa’s notorious corrupting arms deal with Northern firms; and

·             the whole world is concerned about geopolitical tensions in West Asia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Haiti.

Everywhere that people’s movements have made alternative demands – such as democracy, peace, poverty eradication, sustainable development, equality, fair trade, climate justice – the elites have co-opted our language and distorted our visions beyond recognition. Many of our leaders are hopelessly corrupt, and so while BRICS spin-doctors claim that their work in Goa will “build responsive, inclusive and collective solutions,” we have spent two days looking beyond the pleasing rhetoric and have found a very different, harsh reality.

While we criticise the way world power is created and exercised, the BRICS leaders appear to simply want power sharing and a seat at the high table. For example, the BRICS New Development Bank is working hand-in-glove with the World Bank; the Contingent Reserve Arrangement empowers the International Monetary Fund; and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank serves mainly corporate interests – and all these financial institutions, despite their rhetoric of transformation, are opaque and untransparent to people in BRICS countries, with no accountability mechanisms or space for meaningful participation by our movements

Whether or not these crises are resolved in coming decades, or degenerate into full-blown catastrophes, the BRICS governments and peoples will be central to most, if not all. The need for our popular movements to focus on how the BRICS as a bloc contribute to these global problems or could address these, and to combine our forces across borders, is the reason the People’s Forum was convened.

Building on the work of prior meetings of progressive movements in Durban (2013) and Fortaleza (2014), the Goa BRICS People’s Forum brought together more than 500 representatives of movements from numerous countries in two plenaries, 14 workshops and countless informal collaborations, apart from 8 workshops in the run up in the host State of Goa and in Delhi.

We heard testimonies confirming that the BRICS countries and corporations are reinforcing the dominant neoliberal, extractivist paradigm. Negative trends in the areas of global and local politics, and on issues of economics, environment, development, peace, conflict and aggressive nationalism, or social prejudice based on gender, race, caste, sexual orientation are not being reversed by the BRICS, but instead are often exacerbated. The BRICS speak of offering strong alternatives to the unfair North-dominated regimes of trade, finance, investment and property rights, climate governance, and other multilateral regimes. But on examination, we find these claims unconvincing.

Consider the way the BRICS leaders bulldozed their way into Goa. The summit was thrust on our society, the environment was damaged during road-widening, fisherfolk were prevented from pursuing their livelihood during the summit and ordinary people who make a living along the roadside have been displaced – to give the visitors a false impression of our state. Tibetans who wanted to raise the status of Tibet with China were arrested and imprisoned.

We have raised constructive critiques of BRICS in our plenaries and workshops. But beyond the analysis, we understand that only people’s power and activism, across borders, can make change. Some of our most successful struggles – such as access to life-savings medicines or ending apartheid – required and were strengthened by international solidarity. This Forum found many routes forward for cross-cutting BRICS internationalism on various issues.

We recognise the need for a just solution to the Syrian crisis in accordance with the principles of international law, and condemn the US-backed aggression and the Pentagon/NATO doctrine of regime change. We reaffirm our solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against colonialism and occupation, and we endorse Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against apartheid Israel, including opposition to Israel’s attempted export of its unsustainable water and agricultural technologies to BRICS countries.

We intend to win our demands for social, economic and environmental justice. The victories we have won already on multiple fronts – such as halting numerous multinational corporations’ exploitation, gaining access to essential state services, occupying land and creating agricultural cooperatives,  and generating more humane values in our societies – give us momentum and optimism.

In 2017 and beyond, the BRICS People’s Forum will reconvene, and redouble our efforts with new-found allies and united transcontinental movements in solidarity and struggle from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

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Cette révolution syrienne qui n’existe pas…

octobre 25th, 2016 by Stephen Gowans

Note de la rédaction: l’article traduit ci-dessous est une dénonciation, en bonne et due forme, des mensonges de propagande qui empoisonnent « la gauche » aux USA concernant le conflit syrien, en l’occurrence sous le clavier d’Eric Draitser qui écrivait sur le site web Counterpunch. Il s’agissait pour l’auteur de démontrer que certains discours se disant « de gauche » cachent en réalité des projets inavouables et manipulateurs au service d’agendas impérialistes occidentaux, et sionistes. Dans le même temps, il offre au lecteur une chronologie très instructive sur le conflit syrien et ses origines cachées dans les ambitions post-coloniales des nations occidentales. De plus, c’est un excellent travail journalistique a posteriori de « débunkage » des manipulations oligarchiques (relayées par leurs médias aux ordres) par l’usage de leur propre travail « à contre-emploi ». Enfin, les reproches émis envers la distorsion du discours « de gauche » aux USA sont parfaitement transposables à la France (ainsi qu’à la plupart des pays francophones) et à ses partis « de gauche », qui diabolisent tous – et à tort – le régime syrien. – Will Summer


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.

Une revue des dépêches médiatiques pendant les semaines précédant et suivant immédiatement l’éruption d’émeutes à Deraa, au milieu du mois de mars 2011 – généralement reconnues pour avoir marqué le début des troubles – ne fournit aucune indication que la Syrie ait été aux prises avec un empressement révolutionnaire, anti-néolibéral ou autre. Au contraire, des journalistes travaillant pour Time Magazine et pour le New York Times ont évoqué le large soutien dont bénéficiait le gouvernement, que les opposants d’Assad lui concédaient sa popularité et que les Syriens ne témoignaient guère d’intérêt à manifester. Dans le même temps, ils ont décrit les troubles comme une série d’émeutes concernant des centaines – et non pas des milliers ou des dizaines de milliers – de personnes, mues par un agenda principalement islamiste et exhibant un comportement violent.

Time Magazine rapporta que deux groupes djihadistes, qui allaient plus tard jouer des rôles de premier plan dans l’insurrection, Jabhat al-Nusra et Ahrar al-Sham, étaient déjà en activité à la veille des émeutes alors que seulement trois mois auparavant des dirigeants des Frères Musulmans avaient exprimé « leur espoir d’une révolte civile en Syrie ». Les Frères Musulmans, qui avaient plusieurs décennies plus tôt déclaré la guerre au Parti Ba’as au pouvoir en Syrie par rejet du laïcisme du parti, étaient enferrés dans une lutte à mort avec les nationalistes arabes depuis les années 1960, et s’étaient engagés dans des bagarres de rue avec des partisans du Parti Ba’as depuis les années 1940. (dans l’une de ces bagarres Hafez al-Assad, père du Président actuel qui allait lui-même servir comme Président de 1970 à 2000, fut poignardé par un adversaire Frère Musulman.) Les dirigeants des Frères Musulmans ont fréquemment rencontré, à partir de 2007, des représentants du State Department US et du Conseil National de Sécurité US, ainsi que de la Middle East Partnership Initiative financée par le gouvernement US, qui endossait ouvertement le rôle de financement d’organisations putschistes à l’étranger – une tâche que la CIA avait jusqu’alors rempli clandestinement.

Washington avait conspiré pour purger la Syrie de l’influence nationaliste arabe dès le milieu des années 1950 quand Kermit Roosevelt Jr., qui avait été le maître d’œuvre de l’éviction du Premier Ministre Mohammad Mossadegh en Iran, renversé pour avoir nationalisé l’industrie pétrolière de son pays, ourdit avec les renseignements britanniques d’exciter les Frères Musulmans pour renverser un triumvirat de dirigeants nationalistes arabes et communistes à Damas, considérés par Washington et Damas comme nuisibles aux intérêts économiques occidentaux dans le Moyen-Orient.

Washington alimenta les combattants des Frères Musulmans en armes pendant les années 1980 pour mener une guérilla urbaine contre Hafez al-Assad, que les bellicistes à Washington traitaient de « Communiste arabe ». Son fils Bachar poursuivit l’attachement des nationalistes arabes à l’unité (de la nation arabe), à l’indépendance et au socialisme (arabe). Ces objectifs guidaient l’état syrien – comme ils avaient guidé les états nationalistes arabes de Libye sous Mouammar Qaddafi, et d’Irak sous Saddam Hussein. Ces trois états étaient les cibles de Washington pour la même raison: leurs principes nationalistes arabes s’opposaient fondamentalement à l’agenda impérialiste US d’hégémonie planétaire des États-Unis.

Le refus par Bachar al-Assad de renoncer à l’idéologie nationaliste arabe consterna Washington qui se plaignit de son socialisme, la tierce partie de la sainte trinité des valeurs ba’athistes. Des plans pour évincer Assad – partiellement inspirés par son refus d’embrasser le néolibéralisme de Washington – étaient déjà en préparation à Washington en 2003, sinon plus tôt. Si Assad était un champion du néolibéralisme comme le prétendent Draitser et d’autres, cela a étrangement échappé à l’attention de Washington et de Wall Street, qui se plaignaient de la Syrie « socialiste » et de ses politiques économiques résolument anti-néolibérales.

Un bain de sang déclenché avec l’aide des USA

Fin janvier 2011, une page Facebook a été créée avec le titre « The Syrian Revolution 2011 ». Elle annonçait qu’un « Jour de Colère » serait tenu le 4, et le 5 février [1]. Les manifestations « s’évanouirent d’elles-mêmes », selon Time. Le Jour de Colère se solda par un Jour d’Indifférence. En plus, les liens avec la Syrie étaient ténus. La plupart des slogans scandés par les quelques manifestants présents concernaient la Libye, exigeant que Mouammar Qaddafi – dont le gouvernement était assiégé par des insurgés islamistes – quitte le pouvoir. Des projets pour de nouvelles manifestations furent faits pour le 4 et le 5 mars, mais elles n’attirèrent pas davantage de soutien [2].

La correspondante de Time Rania Abouzeid attribua l’échec des organisateurs de ces manifestations pour attirer un soutien significatif au fait que la plupart des Syriens n’étaient pas opposés à leur gouvernement. Assad avait une réputation favorable, en particulier parmi les deux-tiers de la population âgée de moins de 30 ans, et les politiques de son gouvernement jouissaient d’un large soutien. « Même des opposants concèdent qu’Assad est populaire et jugé proche de l’énorme cohorte de jeunes du pays, à la fois émotionnellement, psychologiquement et, bien entendu, chronologiquement », rapportait Abouzeid en ajoutant qu’au contraire « des dirigeants pro-US renversés de Tunisie et d’Égypte, la politique étrangère d’Assad hostile envers Israël, son soutien acharné en faveur des Palestiniens et de groupes militants comme le Hamas et le Hezbollah sont en accord avec les sentiments du peuple syrien. » Assad, en d’autres termes, avait une légitimité. La correspondante de Time poursuivait pour écrire qu’Assad « conduisant lui-même jusqu’à la Mosquée des Omeyyades en février pour prendre part aux prières marquant l’anniversaire du Prophète Mohammed, et flânant parmi la foule du Souq Al-Hamidiyah entouré d’une garde restreinte » s’était « attiré, à titre personnel, l’affection du public » [3].

Cette description du Président syrien – un dirigeant aimé de son peuple, idéologiquement en phase avec les sentiments syriens – s’érige en contraire du discours qui allait émerger peu de temps après l’éruption de manifestations violentes dans la ville syrienne de Deraa moins de deux semaines plus tard, et qui allait s’implanter dans celui des gauchistes US dont Draitser. Mais à la veille des événements déclencheurs de Deraa, la Syrie se faisait remarquer par sa quiétude. Personne ne « s’attend à un soulèvement de masse en Syrie », rapportait Abouzeid « et, malgré l’expression d’une dissidence une fois de temps en temps, il y en a très peu qui souhaitent y prendre part » [4]. Un jeune Syrien dit à Time: « Il y a beaucoup d’aides du gouvernement pour la jeunesse. Ils nous donnent des livres gratuits, des écoles gratuites, des universités gratuites. » (Pas trop l’image d’un état néolibéral comme dépeint par Draitser…) Elle continue: « Pourquoi y aurait-il une révolution? La probabilité en est peut-être d’un pour cent. » [5] Le New York Times partageait cette opinion. La Syrie, rapportait le journal, « semblait immunisée contre la vague de révoltes frappant le monde arabe. » [6] La Syrie était libre de troubles.

Mais le 17 mars, il y eut un violent soulèvement à Deraa. Il y a des récits contradictoires quant à qui, ou ce qui l’a déclenché. Time rapporta que la « révolte à Deraa a été provoquée par l’arrestation d’une poignée de jeunes pour avoir peint un mur avec des graffitis anti-régime. » [7] Robert Fisk de The Independent offrait une version légèrement différente. Il rapportait que « des agents des services de renseignement avaient tabassé et tué plusieurs garçons qui avaient tagué des graffitis sur les murs de la ville. » [8] Un autre récit soutient que le facteur ayant mis le feu aux poudres à Deraa ce jour-là, avait été l’usage extrême et disproportionné de la force par les services de sécurité syriens en réponse à des manifestations s’opposant à l’arrestation des garçons. Il y a eu « quelques jeunes dessinant des graffitis sur les murs, ils ont été mis en détention, et comme leurs parents voulaient les récupérer, les services de sécurité ont réagi de façon vraiment très, très brutale. » [9] Un autre récit, provenant du gouvernement syrien, affirme que rien de tout cela ne s’est produit. Cinq ans après les événements, Assad déclara lors d’une interview que cela « n’est pas arrivé. Ce n’était que de la propagande. En fait, nous en avons entendu parler, et nous n’avons jamais vu ces enfants ayant été emmenés en prison à l’époque. Donc, c’était une histoire fausse. » [10]

Mais s’il y a eu des désaccords sur ce qui avait déclenché le soulèvement, il y en a eu peu pour dire qu’il était violent. Le New York Times rapporta que « les manifestants ont mis le feu au quartier-général du Parti Ba’as au pouvoir ainsi qu’à d’autres bâtiments gouvernementaux… et ont affronté la police… En plus du quartier-général du parti, les manifestants ont incendié le palais de justice de la ville et les bureaux locaux de la compagnie de téléphone SyriaTel. » [11] Time ajoutait que les manifestants avaient mis le feu au bureau du gouverneur, ainsi qu’à ceux de la succursale locale d’une deuxième compagnie de téléphonie mobile. [12] L’agence de presse du gouvernement syrien, SANA (Syrian Arab News Agency), publia des photographies de véhicules en flammes sur son site web. [13] Clairement il ne s’agissait pas là d’une manifestation pacifique, ainsi qu’elle serait décrite plus tard. Ce n’était pas non plus un soulèvement populaire. Time rapporta que les manifestants se dénombraient par centaines, et pas en milliers ou en dizaines de milliers. [14]

Assad a immédiatement réagi aux troubles de Deraa, annonçant « une série de réformes, y compris une augmentation du salaire des fonctionnaires, une plus grande liberté pour les médias d’information et les partis politiques, et un réexamen de la loi sur l’état d’urgence, » [15] une restriction des libertés politiques et civiques de temps de guerre en vigueur parce que la Syrie était officiellement en guerre contre Israël. Avant la fin du mois d’avril, le gouvernement allait abroger « la loi sur l’état d’urgence du pays vieille de 48 ans » et abolir « la Cour Suprême de l’État sur la Sécurité. » [16]

Pourquoi le gouvernement a-t-il fait ces concessions? Parce que c’est ce qu’avaient demandé les manifestants de Deraa. Les manifestants se sont « rassemblés dans et autour de la Mosquée d’Omari à Deraa, scandant leurs exigences: la libération de tous les prisonniers politiques… l’abolition de la loi sur l’état d’urgence vieille de 48 ans; davantage de libertés; et la fin de la corruption endémique. » [17] Ces exigences étaient cohérentes avec l’appel, articulé début février sur la page Facebook « The Syrian Revolution 2011 », pour « mettre fin à l’état d’urgence et à la corruption en Syrie. » [18] Un appel exigeant la libération de tous les prisonniers politiques fut également rédigé dans une lettre signée par des religieux et posté sur Facebook. Les exigences des religieux incluaient l’abrogation de la « loi sur l’état d’urgence, la libération de tous les détenus pour des raisons politiques, la cessation du harcèlement par les services de sécurité du régime et un combat contre la corruption. » [19] Relâcher les détenus pour des raisons politiques équivalait à libérer des djihadistes ou, pour employer le terme communément usité en Occident, des « terroristes ». Le State Department US avait reconnu que l’Islam politique était la principale force d’opposition en Syrie [20]; les djihadistes constituaient la majeure partie du corps des opposants à même d’être incarcérés. Que des religieux réclament que Damas libère tous ses prisonniers politiques est comparable à ce que l’État Islamique exige de Washington, Paris et Londres la libération tous les Islamistes détenus dans les prisons US, françaises et britanniques pour des affaires liées au terrorisme. Il ne s’agissait pas d’exigences pour des emplois ou davantage de démocratie, mais de l’issue de détention d’activistes inspirés par l’objectif d’instaurer un état islamique en Syrie. L’appel à lever l’état d’urgence, pareillement, semblait avoir peu de rapport avec la promotion de la démocratie et davantage avec l’amélioration de la mobilité des djihadistes et de leurs acolytes, pour organiser l’opposition à l’état laïc.

Une semaine après l’explosion des violences à Deraa, Rania Abouzeid de Time rapportait qu’il « ne semble pas y avoir d’appels répandus pour la chute du régime ou pour l’éviction du Président, relativement populaire. » [21] Effectivement, les exigences émises par les manifestants et par les religieux ne comprenaient pas d’appel à la démission d’Assad. Et les Syriens se ralliaient à leur Président. « Il y a eu des contre-manifestations dans la capitale en soutien au Président, » [22] réunissant d’après les rapports beaucoup plus de monde que les quelques centaines de manifestants qui avaient pris les rues de Deraa pour incendier des bâtiments et des voitures, et affronter la police. [23]

Le 9 avril – moins d’un mois après les événements de Deraa – Time rapportait qu’une série de manifestations avait été organisées et que l’Islam y jouait un rôle prééminent. Pour quiconque un tant soit peu familier avec l’enchaînement sur plusieurs décennies de grèves, de manifestations, d’émeutes et d’insurrections qu’avaient initié les Frères Musulmans contre ce qu’ils estimaient être le gouvernement « infidèle » ba’athiste, tout cela ressemblait à l’histoire qui se répétait. Les manifestations n’atteignaient pas la masse critique. Au contraire, le gouvernement continuait à bénéficier de « la loyauté » d’une « large partie de la population », selon Time. [24]

Les Islamistes ont joué un rôle éminent dans la rédaction des Déclarations de Damas au milieu des années 2000, qui réclamaient le changement de régime. [25] En 2007 les Frères Musulmans, archétypes du mouvement politique islamiste sunnite, ayant inspiré al-Qaeda et sa progéniture de Jabhat al-Nusra à l’État Islamique, se sont mis en cheville avec un ancien vice-président syrien pour fonder le Front du Salut National. Cet organe a fait de fréquentes rencontres avec le State Department US et le Conseil National de Sécurité US, ainsi qu’avec la Middle East Partnership Initiative [Inititative de Partenariat au Moyen-Orient, NdT] financée par le gouvernement US, [26] qui accomplissait ouvertement ce que la CIA faisait naguère en secret, c’est-à-dire acheminer des fonds et de l’expertise aux cinquièmes colonnes des pays où Washington n’aimait pas le gouvernement.

En 2009, juste deux ans avant l’éruption des troubles à travers le monde arabe, les Frères Musulmans de Syrie ont dénoncé le gouvernement nationaliste arabe de Bachar al-Assad comme élément exogène et hostile à la société syrienne, qui devait être éliminé. Selon la réflexion du groupe la communauté des Alaouïtes, à laquelle appartient Assad et que les Frères considéraient comme hérétiques, se servait du nationalisme arabe laïc comme couverture pour la progression d’un agenda sectaire, dont l’objectif était la destruction de la Syrie de l’intérieur par l’oppression des « vrais » Musulmans (c’est-à-dire des Sunnites). Au nom de l’Islam, il était nécessaire de renverser ce régime hérétique. [27]

Seulement trois mois avant le début des violences de Syrie en 2011, l’érudit Liat Porat écrivit un billet pour le Crown Center for Middle East Studies, basé à l’Université de Brandeis. « Les dirigeants du mouvement, » concluait Porat, « continuent d’exprimer leur espoir d’une révolte civile en Syrie, dans laquelle ‘le peuple syrien remplira son devoir et libérera la Syrie du régime tyrannique et corrompu’. » Les Frères Musulmans stressaient le fait qu’ils étaient engagés dans une lutte à mort contre le gouvernement nationaliste arabe laïc de Bachar al-Assad. Il était impossible de trouver un arrangement politique avec ce gouvernement car ses dirigeants n’appartenaient pas à la nation syrienne, musulmane et sunnite. L’appartenance à la nation syrienne était réservée aux vrais Musulmans affirmaient les Frères, et pas aux hérétiques alaouïs qui embrassaient des croyances étrangères aussi anti-islamiques que le nationalisme arabe. [28]

Que les Frères Musulmans syriens aient joué un rôle clé dans le soulèvement s’est vu confirmé en 2012 par la Defense Intelligence Agency US [renseignements militaires, NdT]. Un document ayant fuité de l’agence déclarait que l’insurrection était sectaire et emmenée par les Frères Musulmans et al-Qaeda en Irak, précurseur de l’État Islamique. Le document poursuivait pour dire que ces insurgés étaient soutenus par l’Occident, les pétromonarchies arabes du Golfe Persique et la Turquie. L’analyse prédisait correctement l’établissement d’une « principauté salafiste » – un état islamique – en Syrie orientale, soulignant que c’était là le souhait des appuis étrangers de l’insurrection, qui voulaient voir les nationalistes arabes isolés et coupés de l’Iran. [29]

Des documents mis au point par des chercheurs du Congrès US en 2005 ont révélé que le gouvernement US envisageait activement le changement de régime en Syrie longtemps avant les soulèvements du Printemps Arabe de 2011, ce qui défie l’opinion que le soutien US en faveur des rebelles syriens reposait sur leur allégeance à un « soulèvement démocratique », et démontrent qu’il s’agissait de l’extension d’une politique de longue date visant à renverser le gouvernement de Damas. En effet, les chercheurs reconnaissaient que la motivation du gouvernement US pour renverser le gouvernement nationaliste arabe laïc à Damas n’avait rien à voir avec la promotion de la démocratie au Moyen-Orient. Pour être précis, ils relevaient que la préférence de Washington allait vers les dictatures laïques (Égypte) et les monarchies (Jordanie et Arabie Saoudite). Le moteur des efforts visant le changement de régime, selon les chercheurs, était le désir de balayer un obstacle à l’accomplissement des objectifs US au Moyen-Orient en lien avec: le renforcement d’Israël, la consolidation de la domination US en Irak et l’instauration d’économies de marché sur le mode néolibéral. La démocratie n’a jamais fait partie du décor. [30] Si Assad faisait la promotion de politiques néolibérales en Syrie comme le prétend Draitser, il est difficile de comprendre pourquoi Washington a pu citer le refus syrien d’épouser l’agenda US d’ouverture des marchés et de liberté des entreprises comme prétexte pour procéder au changement du gouvernement syrien.

Afin de mettre un accent sur le fait que les manifestations manquaient de soutien populaire massif le 22 avril, plus d’un mois après le début des émeutes à Deraa, Anthony Shadid du New York Times rapportait que « les manifestations, jusqu’ici, ont semblé ne pas atteindre le niveau des soulèvements populaires des révolutions d’Égypte et de Tunisie. » En d’autres termes, plus d’un mois après que des centaines – et pas des milliers, ni des dizaines de milliers – de manifestants aient provoqué des émeutes à Deraa, il n’y avait pas de signes d’un soulèvement populaire de type Printemps Arabe en Syrie. La rébellion restait une affaire essentiellement circonscrite aux Islamistes. Par contraste, il y avait eu à Damas d’énormes manifestations en soutien – et non pas hostile – au gouvernement, Assad était toujours populaire et, selon Shadid, le gouvernement profitait de la loyauté des « sectes hétérodoxes chrétiennes et musulmanes. » [31] Shadid n’a pas été le seul journaliste occidental à rapporter que les Alaouïtes, les Ismaïliens, les Druzes et le Chrétiens soutenaient fortement le gouvernement. Rania Abouzeid de Timeobserva que les Ba’athistes « pouvaient compter sur le soutien des groupes minoritaires conséquents de Syrie. » [32]

La réalité que le gouvernement syrien commandait la loyauté des sectes hétérodoxes chrétiennes et musulmanes, telle que rapportée par Anthony Shadid du New York Times, suggère que les minorités religieuses de Syrie décelaient dans ce soulèvement quelque chose qui n’a pas assez été rapporté par la presse occidentale (et que les socialistes révolutionnaires aux États-Unis ont manqué), c’est-à-dire qu’il était alimenté par un agenda sectaire sunnite islamiste qui, s’il devait porter ses fruits, aurait des conséquences désagréables pour tous ceux n’étant pas considérés comme de « vrais » Musulmans. Pour cette raison les Alaouïtes, les Ismaïliens, les Druzes et les Chrétiens s’alignaient avec les Ba’athistes qui cherchaient à réduire les clivages sectaires dans leur engagement programmatique de génération d’unité de la nation arabe. Le slogan « les Alaouïtes dans la tombe et les Chrétiens à Beyrouth! » entonné pendant les manifestations des premiers jours [33] ne faisait que confirmer le fait que le soulèvement s’inscrivait dans la continuité de la lutte à mort proclamée par l’Islam politique sunnite contre le gouvernement nationaliste arabe laïc, et n’était nullement une révolte populaire en faveur de la démocratie ou contre le néolibéralisme. S’il s’était agi de l’une ou l’autre de ces choses, alors comment expliquer que la soif de démocratie et l’opposition au néolibéralisme n’aient été présentes qu’au sein de la communauté sunnite, et absentes dans les communautés des minorités religieuses? Assurément, un déficit de démocratie et une tyrannie néolibérale auraient dépassé les frontières religieuses, si jamais ils avaient figuré parmi les facteurs déclencheurs d’un soulèvement révolutionnaire. Que les Alaouïtes, les Ismaïliens, les Druzes et les Chrétiens n’aient pas manifesté, et que les émeutes aient reposé sur les Sunnites avec un contenu islamiste suggère fortement que l’insurrection, dès le départ, constituait la recrudescence de la campagne djihadiste sunnite engagée de longue date contre la laïcité ba’athiste.

« Dès le tout début le gouvernement Assad a déclaré qu’il était engagé dans un combat contre des militants islamistes. » [34] La longue histoire des soulèvements islamistes contre le Ba’athisme antérieurs à 2011 suggère certainement que c’était très probablement le cas, et la façon dont le soulèvement évolua par la suite, en tant que guerre emmenée par des Islamistes contre l’état laïc, ne fait que renforcer ce point de vue. D’autres preuves à la fois positives et négatives corroboraient l’affirmation d’Assad que l’état syrien subissait l’attaque de djihadistes (tout comme il l’avait déjà été maintes fois dans le passé). Les preuves négatives, que le soulèvement n’était pas une révolte populaire dirigée contre un gouvernement impopulaire, transpiraient des rapports médiatiques occidentaux qui démontraient que le gouvernement nationaliste arabe de Syrie était populaire et commandait la loyauté de la population.

Les manifestations et les émeutes anti-gouvernementales à petite échelle ont attiré beaucoup moins de monde, par contraste, qu’une énorme manifestation à Damas en soutien au gouvernement et assurément, également beaucoup moins que les soulèvements populaires d’Égypte et de Tunisie. De plus, les exigences des manifestants étaient centrées sur la libération de prisonniers politiques (principalement des djihadistes) et sur la levée des restrictions de temps de guerre sur la dissidence politique, pas sur des appels à la démission d’Assad ou au changement des politiques économiques du gouvernement. Les preuves positives proviennent des rapports médiatiques occidentaux démontrant que l’Islam politique a joué un rôle prééminent dans les émeutes. En outre, alors qu’il était crédité que les groupes islamistes armés n’étaient entrés dans l’arène que dans le sillage des émeutes initiales du printemps 2011 – « piratant » ainsi un « soulèvement populaire » – en réalité, deux groupes ayant joué un grand rôle dans la révolte armée post-2011 contre le nationalisme arabe laïc, Ahrar al-Sham et Jabhat al-Nusra étaient tous les deux actifs, au début de cette année-là. Ahrar al-Sham « avait commencé à former des brigades […] bien avant la mi-mars 2011, » quand l’émeute de Deraa a eu lieu, selon Time. [35] Jabhat al-Nusra, franchise d’al-Qaeda en Syrie, « était inconnu jusqu’à fin janvier 2012 où le groupe a annoncé sa formation [… mais] il était déjà actif depuis des mois. » [36]

Un autre élément de preuve corroborant l’idée que l’Islam militant a joué très tôt un rôle dans les soulèvements – ou du moins, que les manifestations ont tout de suite été violentes – est qu’il y « avait dès le départ des signes que des groupes armés étaient impliqués. » Le journaliste et écrivain Robert Fisk se souvient avoir vu un enregistrement des « tous premiers jours du ‘soulèvement’ montrant des hommes équipés d’armes de poing et de Kalashnikovs, pendant une manifestation à Deraa. » Il se souvient d’un autre événement survenu en mai 2011, où « une équipe d’Al Jazeera a filmé des hommes armés tirant sur des troupes syriennes à quelques centaines de mètres de la frontière du nord du Liban, mais la chaîne a décidé de ne pas diffuser l’enregistrement. » [37] Même des officiels US, qui étaient hostiles au gouvernement syrien et dont on aurait pu attendre qu’ils contestent la version de Damas selon laquelle la Syrie était engagée dans une lutte contre des rebelles armés, ont « concédé que les manifestations n’étaient pas pacifiques et que certains participants étaient armés. » [38] En septembre, les autorités syriennes faisaient savoir qu’elles déploraient la perte de plus de 500 policiers et soldats, tués par les insurgés. [39] À la fin du mois d’octobre ces chiffres avaient plus que doublé. [40] En moins d’un an, le soulèvement était parti de l’incendie de bâtiments du Parti Ba’as et de bureaux gouvernementaux avec des affrontements contre la police, à la guérilla comprenant des méthodes qui seraient plus tard définies de « terroristes », quand elles sont menées contre des cibles occidentales.

Assad allait se plaindre plus tard que:

Tout ce que nous avons dit depuis le début de la crise en Syrie, ils le disent plus tard. Ils ont dit que c’était pacifique, nous avons que ça ne l’était pas, ils tuent – ces manifestants, qu’ils ont appelé des manifestants pacifiques – ils ont tué des policiers. Et ce sont devenus des militants. Ils ont dit oui, ce sont des militants. Nous avons dit ce sont des militants, et c’est du terrorisme. Ils ont dit que non, ce n’est pas du terrorisme. Et ensuite, quand ils admettent que c’est du terrorisme nous disons que c’est al-Qaeda et ils disent non, ce n’est pas al-Qaeda. Alors quoique nous disions, ils le disent plus tard. [41]

Le « soulèvement syrien », écrivait le spécialiste du Moyen-Orient Patrick Seale, « ne devrait être considéré que comme le dernier épisode, sans nul doute le plus violent, de la longue guerre entre Islamistes et Ba’athistes qui remonte à la fondation du Parti Ba’as laïc dans les années 1940. Le combat qui les oppose a désormais atteint le niveau de lutte à la mort. » [42] « Il est frappant, » poursuivait Seale en citant Aron Lund qui avait rédigé un rapport pour l’Institut Suédois des Affaires Internationales sur le djihadisme syrien, « que quasiment tous les membres des divers groupes armés sont des Arabes sunnites; que les combats ont surtout été circonscrits uniquement dans les zones de peuplement arabes sunnites, tandis que les régions habitées par les Alaouïtes, les Druzes ou les Chrétiens sont demeurées passives ou ont soutenu le régime; que les défections du régime sont sunnites presque à 100%; que l’argent, les armes et les volontaires proviennent d’états islamistes ou d’organisations et d’individus pro-islamistes; et que la religion soit le dénominateur commun le plus important du mouvement des insurgés. » [43]

La brutalité qui met le feu aux poudres?

Est-il raisonnable de croire que l’usage de la force par l’état syrien ait enflammé la guérilla qui a commencé peu de temps après?

Cela défie le raisonnement, qu’une réaction excessive de la part des services de sécurité face au déni de l’autorité du gouvernement dans la ville syrienne de Deraa (s’il y a vraiment eu sur-réaction), puisse déclencher une guerre majeure impliquant une foule d’autres pays et mobilisant des djihadistes venant de dizaines de pays différents. Il aura fallu ignorer un éventail de faits discordants dès le départ, pour pouvoir donner à cette histoire le moindre soupçon de crédibilité.

D’abord, il aura fallu passer outre la réalité que le gouvernement Assad était populaire et considéré comme légitime. Il est possible de plaider qu’une réaction trop excessive, issue d’un gouvernement hautement impopulaire en face d’un défi trivial à son autorité ait pu fournir la mèche indispensable à l’embrasement d’une insurrection populaire, mais malgré les insistances du Président Barack Obama selon lequel Assad manquait de légitimité, il n’existe aucune preuve que la Syrie, en mars 2011, ait été un baril de poudre de ressentiment anti-gouvernemental sur le point d’exploser. Comme Rania Abouzeid de Time le rapportait la veille des émeutes à Deraa, « même ses opposants concèdent qu’Assad est populaire » [44] et « personne ne s’attend à des soulèvements de masse en Syrie et, malgré l’expression d’une dissidence de temps en temps, il y en a très peu souhaitent y prendre part. » [45]

Ensuite, il nous aura fallu délaisser le fait que les émeutes de Deraa impliquaient des centaines de participants, un piètre soulèvement de masse, et les manifestations qui ont suivi ont également échoué à atteindre une masse critique comme l’avait rapporté Nicholas Blanford, de Time. [46] De même, Anthony Shadid du New York Times n’a relevé aucune preuve révélant un soulèvement de masse en Syrie, plus d’un mois après les émeutes de Deraa. [47] Ce qui se passait vraiment, à l’inverse de la rhétorique propagée par Washington évoquant le Printemps Arabe qui aurait atteint la Syrie, c’était que des djihadistes étaient engagés dans une campagne de guérilla contre les forces de sécurité syriennes qui avait, déjà en octobre, pris les vies de plus d’un millier de policiers et de soldats.

Enfin, il nous aura fallu fermer les yeux sur le fait que le gouvernement US, avec son allié britannique, avait concocté des plans en 1956 pour la création d’une guerre en Syrie par l’embrigadement des Frères Musulmans, devant provoquer des soulèvements intérieurs. [48] Les émeutes de Deraa et les affrontements qui ont suivi contre la police et les soldats ressemblent au plan qu’avait ourdi le spécialiste en changements de régimes, Kermit Roosevelt Jr. . Il ne s’agit pas d’affirmer que la CIA ait épousseté le projet de Roosevelt et l’ait recyclé pour être déployé en 2011; seulement que le complot démontre que Washington et Londres étaient capables de projeter une opération de déstabilisation impliquant une insurrection emmenée par les Frères Musulmans, afin d’obtenir le changement de régime en Syrie.

Il nous aurait fallu également avoir ignoré les événements de février 1982 quand les Frères Musulmans ont pris le contrôle de Hama, la quatrième plus grande ville du pays. Hama était l’épicentre du fondamentalisme sunnite en Syrie, et une base importante pour les opérations des combattants djihadistes. Aiguillonnés par la fausse nouvelle du renversement d’Assad, les Frères Musulmans se livrèrent à un joyeux et sanglant saccage de la ville, prenant d’assaut les commissariats et assassinant les dirigeants du Parti Ba’as ainsi que leurs familles, et des fonctionnaires du gouvernement ainsi que des soldats. Dans certains cas les victimes étaient décapitées, [49] une pratique qui serait revigorée des décennies plus tard par les combattants de l’État Islamique. Chaque responsable du Parti Ba’as de la ville de Hama fut assassiné. [50]

L’Occident se souvient davantage des événements de Hama en 1982 (s’il s’en souvient du tout) non pour les atrocités commises par les Islamistes, mais pour la réaction de l’armée syrienne qui, comme il faut s’y attendre de la part de n’importe quelle armée, a impliqué l’usage de la force pour restaurer la souveraineté de contrôle du territoire saisi par les insurgés. Des milliers de troupes furent déployées pour reprendre Hama aux Frères Musulmans. L’ancien responsable du State Department US William R. Polk a décrit les suites de l’assaut de l’armée syrienne sur Hama comme similaires à celles de l’assaut US contre la ville irakienne de Falloujah en 2004, [51] (à la différence évidemment que l’armée syrienne agissait de manière légitime à l’intérieur de son propre territoire, tandis que les militaires US agissaient de façon illégitime en tant que force d’occupation pour écraser l’opposition à leurs activités.) Le nombre de morts au cours de l’assaut contre Hama demeure encore disputé. Les chiffres varient. « Un rapport précoce paru dans Time affirmait que 1000 personnes y avaient trouvé la mort. La plupart des observateurs estimaient que 5000 personnes avaient été tuées. Des sources israéliennes et les Frères Musulmans – des ennemis jurés des nationalistes arabes laïcs qui avaient donc intérêt à exagérer le bilan des morts – « ont déclaré que le nombre de morts avait dépassé les 20 000 victimes. » [52] Robert Dreyfus, qui a écrit sur la collaboration de l’Occident avec l’Islam politique, plaide que les sources occidentales ont délibérément gonflé les chiffres du bilan des morts afin de diaboliser les Ba’athistes et les dépeindre en tueurs sans pitié, et que les Ba’athistes ont laissé courir ces histoires pour intimider les Frères Musulmans. [53]

Alors que l’armée syrienne déblayait les décombres de Hama dans les suites de l’assaut, des preuves furent découvertes attestant que des gouvernements étrangers avaient fourni de l’argent, des armes et du matériel de communication aux insurgés dans Hama. Polk écrit que:

Assad voyait bien les fauteurs de troubles à l’œuvre parmi son peuple. C’était, après tout, l’héritage émotionnel et politique du règne colonial – un héritage douloureusement évident pour la majeure partie du monde post-colonial, mais qui est passé presque inaperçu en Occident. Et cet héritage n’est pas un mythe. C’est une réalité que, souvent des années après les événements, nous pouvons vérifier d’après des documents officiels. Hafez al-Assad n’a pas eu besoin d’attendre des fuites de documents classés: ses services de renseignements et des journalistes internationaux ont dévoilé des douzaines de tentatives de subversion de son gouvernement par des pays arabes conservateurs et riches en pétrole, par les États-Unis et par Israël. La plupart s’étaient engagés dans des « sales tours », de la propagande ou des injections d’argent, mais il importe de relever que lors du soulèvement de Hama en 1982, plus de 15 000 fusils automatiques d’origine étrangère ont été capturés, ainsi que des prisonniers comprenant des éléments des forces paramilitaires jordaniennes, entraînés par la CIA (à peu près comme les djihadistes qui apparaissent si souvent dans les rapports médiatiques sur la Syrie en 2013). Et ce qu’il a vu en Syrie a été confirmé par ce qu’il a pu apprendre des changements de régime à l’occidentale en d’autres lieux. Il était informé de la tentative d’assassinat du Président Nasser d’Égypte par la CIA, ainsi que du renversement anglo-US du gouvernement du Premier Ministre d’Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh. [54]

Dans son livre « De Beyrouth à Jérusalem », le chroniqueur du New York Times Thomas Friedman a écrit que « le massacre de Hama peut être considéré comme la réaction naturelle d’un politicien progressiste dans un état-nation relativement jeune, s’efforçant de réprimer des éléments rétrogrades – ici des fondamentalistes islamiques – cherchant à miner tout ce qu’il avait pu accomplir pour construire la Syrie en république laïque du vingtième siècle. C’est également pourquoi, » continuait Friedman, « s’il y avait eu quelqu’un pour faire un sondage d’opinion objectif en Syrie dans le sillage du massacre de Hama, le traitement par Assad de la rébellion y aurait reflété un assentiment significatif, même au sein des Musulmans sunnites. » [55]

L’émergence d’un Djihad islamiste sunnite contre le gouvernement syrien pendant les années 1980 défie l’interprétation selon laquelle le militantisme islamiste sunnite au Levant est une conséquence de l’invasion par les USA de l’Irak en 2003, et des politiques sectaires pro-Chiites des autorités d’occupation US. Cette perspective est historiquement myope, et aveugle à l’existence d’un militantisme islamiste sunnite depuis plusieurs dizaines d’années comme force politique signifiante au Levant. Dès l’instant où la Syrie obtint formellement son indépendance de la France après la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, dans les décennies qui suivirent au cours du vingtième siècle et jusqu’au siècle suivant, les forces antagonistes présentes en Syrie ont été le nationalisme arabe laïc et l’Islam politique. Comme l’écrivait le journaliste Patrick Cockburn en 2016, « l’opposition armée syrienne est dominée par Da’esh, al-Nusra et Ahrar al-Sham. » La « seule alternative à ce règne (du nationalisme arabe laïc) est celui des Islamistes. » [56] C’est depuis longtemps le cas.

Finalement, il nous aura fallu en plus ignorer le fait que les stratèges US avaient projeté depuis 2003 – et peut-être aussi tôt qu’en 2001 – de contraindre Assad et son idéologie nationaliste arabe laïque à quitter le pouvoir, et financé depuis 2005 l’opposition syrienne – y compris des groupes affiliés aux Frères Musulmans. Donc, Washington avait œuvré au renversement du gouvernement Assad dans le but de dé-ba’athifier la Syrie. Une lutte de guérilla dirigée contre les nationalistes arabes laïcs de Syrie se serait déployée, que la réaction du gouvernement syrien à Deraa ait été excessive ou pas. La partie était déjà lancée, et il ne fallait plus qu’un prétexte. Deraa l’a fourni. Ainsi, l’idée selon laquelle l’arrestation de deux garçons à Deraa, pour avoir peint des graffitis anti-gouvernementaux sur un mur, ait pu enflammer un conflit de cette ampleur est aussi crédible que la notion accréditant l’embrasement de la Première Guerre Mondiale, en tout et pour tout à l’assassinat de l’Archiduc François-Ferdinand.

La Syrie socialiste

Le socialisme peut être défini de plusieurs façons, mais s’il peut l’être par l’exercice de la propriété publique sur les mécanismes de l’économie de pair avec une planification économique étatique, alors la Syrie selon ses Constitutions de 1973 et 2012 en remplit clairement les critères. Toutefois, la République Arabe Syrienne n’a jamais été un état socialiste prolétarien selon les catégories reconnues par les Marxistes. C’était plutôt un état arabe socialiste, inspiré par l’objectif de réaliser l’indépendance politique arabe et de surmonter l’héritage de sous-développement de la nation arabe. Les concepteurs de la Constitution voyaient le socialisme comme un moyen d’accomplir la libération nationale et le développement économique. « La marche vers l’établissement d’un ordre socialiste, » ont écrit les rédacteurs de la Constitution de 1973, est une « nécessité fondamentale pour mobiliser les potentialités des masses arabes dans leur lutte contre le Sionisme et contre l’impérialisme. » Le socialisme marxiste se préoccupait de la lutte entre une classe nantie exploitante et une classe laborieuse exploitée, tandis que le socialisme arabe situait le combat entre nations exploitantes et nations exploitées. Bien que ces deux socialismes différents opéraient en fonction de niveaux d’exploitation différents, ces distinctions n’avaient aucune importance pour les banques, les multinationales et les gros investisseurs occidentaux tandis qu’ils scrutaient le monde à la recherche de bénéfices à leur portée. Le socialisme travaillait contre les intérêts commerciaux du capital industriel et financier US, qu’il soit orienté vers la fin de l’exploitation de la classe laborieuse ou le dépassement de l’oppression impérialiste de groupes nationaux.

Le socialisme ba’athiste irritait Washington depuis longtemps. L’état ba’athiste avait exercé une influence considérable sur l’économie syrienne par le biais d’entreprises nationalisées, de subventions données à des entreprises nationales privées, de limites imposées à l’investissement extérieur et de restrictions appliquées aux importations. Les Ba’athistes considéraient ces mesures comme les outils économiques indispensables d’un état post-colonial, s’appliquant à arracher sa vie économique aux griffes d’anciennes puissances coloniales et à cartographier une voie de développement libre de la domination d’intérêts étrangers.

Les objectifs de Washington, cependant, étaient évidemment antinomiques. Washington ne voulait pas que la Syrie nourrisse son industrie et conserve énergiquement son indépendance, mais qu’elle serve les intérêts des banquiers et des gros investisseurs qui comptaient vraiment aux États-Unis en ouvrant les forces vives de la Syrie à l’exploitation, ainsi que son territoire et ses ressources naturelles à la propriété étrangère. Notre agenda, déclarait l’Administration Obama en 2015, « se concentre sur l’abaissement des tarifs [douaniers] pour les produits américains, l’effacement des barrières à nos biens et services, et à l’application de normes plus draconiennes pour niveler le terrain à l’avantage des entreprises américaines. » [57] Ce n’était guère un nouvel agenda, c’était celui de la politique étrangère US depuis des décennies. Damas ne rentrait pas dans le rang dicté par Washington, qui insistait pouvoir et vouloir « diriger l’économie mondiale. » [58]

Les partisans de la ligne dure à Washington avaient vu Hafez al-Assad comme un Communiste arabe, [59] et les responsables US considéraient son fils Bachar comme un idéologue incapable de se résoudre à délaisser le troisième pilier du programme du Parti Socialiste Arabe Ba’as: le socialisme. Le State Department US se plaignait que la Syrie avait « échoué à rejoindre une économie mondiale de plus en plus interconnectée, » ce qui revenait à dire qu’elle avait échoué à abandonner ses entreprises nationalisées entre les mains d’investisseurs privés comprenant des intérêts financiers de Wall Street. Le State Department US exprimait également sa déception que « des raisons idéologiques » avaient empêché Assad de libéraliser l’économie syrienne, que « la privatisation des entreprises n’est toujours pas très répandue, » et que l’économie « demeure hautement contrôlée par le gouvernement. » [60] Clairement, Assad n’avait pas appris ce que Washington avait appelé « les leçons de l’histoire, » c’est-à-dire, que « les économies de marché, pas les économies entièrement planifiées par la lourde main du gouvernement, sont les meilleures. » [61] En rédigeant une Constitution qui mandatait que le gouvernement maintienne un rôle dans l’orientation de l’économie pour le bien des intérêts syriens, et que le gouvernement ne ferait pas travailler les Syriens pour les intérêts des banques, des multinationales et des investisseurs occidentaux, Assad affermissait l’indépendance de la Syrie contre l’agenda de Washington visant à « ouvrir les marchés et niveler le terrain à l’avantage des entreprises américaines… à l’étranger. » [62]

En sus de tout cela, Assad a souligné son allégeance aux valeurs socialistes contre ce que Washington avait naguère défini comme « l’impératif moral » de la « liberté économique » [63] en inscrivant les droits sociaux dans la Constitution: sécurité contre la maladie, le handicap et la vieillesse; accès aux soins médicaux; éducation gratuite à tous les niveaux. Ces droits vont continuer à être gardés hors d’atteinte des législateurs et des politiciens, qui auraient pu les sacrifier sur l’autel de la création d’un climat de basse fiscalité, attractif pour les affaires des investisseurs étrangers. Affront supplémentaire à l’encontre de l’orthodoxie pro-business de Washington, la Constitution contraignait l’état à pratiquer une fiscalité progressive.

Enfin, le dirigeant ba’athiste a inclus dans sa Constitution mise à jour une provision qui avait été introduite par son père en 1973, un pas vers une démocratie réelle et authentique – une provision que les preneurs de décisions à Washington, avec leurs légions de connexions aux monde de la banque et de l’industrie, ne pouvaient pas supporter. La Constitution exigeait qu’au moins la moitié des membres de l’Assemblée Populaire soit tirée des rangs de la paysannerie et du prolétariat.

Si Assad est un néolibéral c’est certainement au monde, l’un des adeptes les plus singuliers de cette idéologie.

Sécheresse?

Un dernier point sur les origines du soulèvement violent de 2011: quelques sociologues et analystes ont puisé dans une étude publiée dans les minutes [Proceedings] de la National Academy of Sciences pour suggérer que « la sécheresse a joué un rôle dans les troubles syriens. » Selon ce point de vue, la sécheresse a « provoqué la perte de récoltes qui ont mené à la migration d’au moins un million et demi de personnes, des zones rurales aux zones urbaines. » Ceci, en conjonction avec l’afflux de réfugiés venant d’Irak, a intensifié la compétition dans un bassin d’emplois limité dans ces zones urbaines, faisant de la Syrie un chaudron de tension économique et sociale sur le point d’entrer en ébullition. [64] L’argument semble raisonnable, même « scientifique », mais le phénomène qu’il cherche à expliquer – un soulèvement de masse en Syrie – n’a jamais eu lieu. Comme nous l’avons vu, une revue de la couverture médiatique occidentale n’a révélé aucune référence à un soulèvement de masse. Au contraire, les journalistes qui s’attendaient à trouver un soulèvement de masse ont été surpris de n’en déceler aucun. À la place, les journalistes occidentaux ont trouvé que la Syrie était étonnamment calme. Les manifestations organisées par les administrateurs de la page Facebook « The Syrian Revolution 2011 » ont été des pétards mouillés. Des opposants concédaient qu’Assad était populaire. Les journalistes n’ont pu trouver personne croyant qu’une révolte était imminente. Même un mois après les incidents de Deraa – qui ont impliqué des centaines de manifestants, éclipsés par les dizaines de milliers de Syriens qui ont défilé à Damas pour soutenir le gouvernement  – le correspondant du New York Times sur place, Anthony Shadid, ne parvenait à trouver en Syrie aucun des signes des soulèvements de masse qu’avaient vécu la Tunisie ou l’Égypte. Au début du mois de février 2011, « Omar Nashabe, un observateur et correspondant de longue date du quotidien arabe Al-Akhbar, basé à Beyrouth » disait à Time que « les Syriens souffrent sans doute de la pauvreté qui afflige 14% de la population combinée à un taux de chômage estimé à 20%, mais Assad conserve sa crédibilité. » [65]

Que le gouvernement commandait le soutien populaire a été confirmé quand l’entreprise britannique YouGov publia un sondage fin 2011, qui montrait que 55% des Syriens désiraient qu’Assad reste au pouvoir. Le sondage ne récolta presque aucune mention dans les médias occidentaux, poussant le journaliste britannique Jonathan Steele à poser la question: « Imaginez qu’un sondage d’opinion respectable découvre que la majorité des Syriens préfère que Bachar al-Assad demeure au pouvoir, est-ce que cela ne serait pas une nouvelle importante? » Steele décrivit les résultats du sondage comme « des faits incommodes » qui ont « été étouffés » parce que la couverture médiatique des événements en Syrie avait « cessé d’être juste » et s’était transformée en « arme de propagande ». [66]

De beaux slogans en lieu et place de politique et d’analyse

Draitser peut être déclaré fautif non seulement pour avoir propagé un argument établi par présomption ne reposant sur aucune preuve, mais aussi pour avoir remplacé la politique et l’analyse par l’émission de slogans. Dans son article du 20 octobre sur Counterpunch, « Syria and the Left: Time to Break the Silence » [La Syrie et la Gauche: Il est Temps de Rompre le Silence, NdT], il affirme que les objectifs devant définir la Gauche sont la quête de paix et de justice comme si c’étaient des qualités inséparables, ne se trouvant jamais en opposition. Que la paix et la justice puissent parfois être antithétiques est illustré dans la conversation qui suit, entre le journaliste australien Richard Carleton et Ghassan Kanafani, un écrivain, romancier et révolutionnaire palestinien. [67]

C: Pourquoi ton organisation n’entame-t-elle pas des pourparlers de paix avec les Israéliens?

K: Tu n’entends pas vraiment « pourparlers de paix ». Tu veux dire capituler. Abandonner.

C: Pourquoi ne pas simplement parler?

K: Parler à qui?

C: Parler aux dirigeants israéliens.

K: C’est comme une espèce de conversation entre l’épée et le cou, c’est ça?

C: Hé bien, s’il n’y a aucune épée ni aucun fusil dans la pièce, tu pourrais toujours parler.

K: Non. Je n’ai jamais vu de conversation entre un colonialiste et un mouvement de libération nationale.

C: Mais malgré tout ça, pourquoi ne pas parler?

K: Parler de quoi?

C: Parler de la possibilité de ne pas se battre.

K: Ne pas se battre pour quoi?

C: Ne pas se battre du tout. Pour quoi que ce soit.

K: D’habitude, les gens se battent pour quelque chose. Et ils arrêtent de le faire pour quelque chose. Alors tu ne peux même pas me dire pourquoi, et de quoi nous devrions parler. Pourquoi devrions-nous parler d’arrêter de nous battre?

C: Parler d’arrêter de se battre pour faire cesser la mort et la misère, la destruction et la douleur.

K: La misère et la destruction, la douleur et la mort de qui?

C: Des Palestiniens. Des Israéliens. Des Arabes.

K: Du peuple palestinien qui est déraciné, jeté dans des camps, qui souffre de la faim, assassiné pendant vingt ans et interdit d’employer son propre nom, « Palestiniens »?

C: Pourtant, mieux vaut ça plutôt qu’ils soient morts.

K: Pour toi, peut-être. Mais pas pour nous. Pour nous, libérer notre pays, avoir notre dignité, le respect, posséder simplement des droits humains est une chose aussi essentielle que la vie elle-même.

Draitser n’explique pas les valeurs auxquelles devrait se consacrer la Gauche aux USA quand la paix et la justice sont en conflit. Son invocation du slogan « paix et justice » en tant que mission d’élection pour la Gauche US semble n’être rien de plus qu’une invitation faite aux gauchistes d’abandonner la politique pour s’embarquer plutôt sur une mission les vouant à devenir de « belles âmes » se situant au-delà des conflits sordides qui empoisonnent l’humanité – sans jamais prendre parti, hormis celui des anges. Son affirmation comme quoi « aucun groupe n’a à cœur les meilleurs intérêts de la Syrie » est presque trop stupide pour mériter un commentaire. Comment le saurions-nous? L’on ne peut s’empêcher d’avoir l’impression qu’il croit qu’il sait, et avec lui la Gauche US, seuls parmi tous les groupes et tous les états du monde, ce qui est le mieux pour « le peuple syrien ». C’est peut-être pourquoi il annone que la responsabilité de la gauche US est vouée « au peuple de Syrie, » comme si le peuple de Syrie était une masse indifférenciée dotée d’intérêts et d’aspirations identiques. Les Syriens dans leur ensemblecomprennent à la fois les républicains laïques et les Islamistes politiques, qui possèdent des opinions irréconciliables sur la manière d’organiser l’état, et qui ont été enferrés dans une lutte à mort pendant plus d’un demi-siècle – lutte entretenue, du côté islamiste, par son propre gouvernement. Les Syriens dans leur ensemble comprennent ceux qui sont en faveur de l’intégration dans l’Empire US et ceux qui s’y opposent; ceux qui collaborent avec les impérialistes US et ceux qui s’y refusent. De cette perspective, que signifie donc l’affirmation que la gauche US ait une responsabilité envers le peuple de Syrie? Quel peuple de Syrie?

Je pensais que la responsabilité de la gauche US se situait auprès des travailleurs des États-Unis, pas du peuple de Syrie. Et je pensais pareillement que la Gauche US aurait considéré que parmi ses responsabilités figure la diffusion d’analyses politiques rigoureuses et fondées sur des preuves, démontrant comment les élites économiques US utilisent l’appareil d’état US pour faire progresser leurs propres intérêts aux dépens des populations, domestiquement et à l’étranger. Comment la longue guerre de Washington contre la Syrie affecte-t-elle la classe laborieuse aux USA? C’est ce dont Draitser devrait parler.

Mon livre, « La Longue Guerre de Washington contre la Syrie », paraîtra en avril 2017.

Stephen Gowans

 

Article original en anglais :

syria.pixels

The Revolutionary Distemper in Syria That Wasn’t. US-NATO Sponsored Al Qaeda Insurgency Since the Outset in March 2011 , 22 octobre 2016

Traduit par Lawrence Desforges, globalepresse.net

 

_______________________

NOTES

1 Aryn Baker, “Syria is not Egypt, but might it one day be Tunisia?,” Time, 4 février 2011

2 Rania Abouzeid, “The Syrian style of repression: Thugs and lectures,” Time, 27 février 2011

3 Rania Abouzeid, “Sitting pretty in Syria: Why few go backing Bashar,” Time, 6 mars 2011

4 Rania Abouzeid, “The youth of Syria: the rebels are on pause,” Time, 6 mars 2011

5 Rania Abouzeid, “The youth of Syria: the rebels are on pause,” Time, 6 mars 2011

6 “Officers fire on crowd as Syrian protests grow,” The New York Times, 20 mars 2011

7 Nicholas Blanford, “Can the Syrian regime divide and conquer its opposition?,” Time, 9 avril 2011

8 Robert Fisk, “Welcome to Dera’a, Syria’s graveyard of terrorists,” The Independent, 6 juillet 2016

9 « President Assad to ARD TV: Terrorists breached cessation of hostilities agreement from the very first hour, Syrian Army refrained from retaliating », SANA, 1 mars 2016

10 Ibid

11 “Officers fire on crowd as Syrian protests grow,” The New York Times, 20 mars 2011

12 Rania Abouzeid, “Arab Spring: Is a revolution starting up in Syria?” Time, 20 mars 2011; Rania Abouzeid, “Syria’s revolt: How graffiti stirred an uprising,” Time, 22 mars 2011

13 “Officers fire on crowd as Syrian protests grow,” The New York Times, 20 mars 2011

14 Rania Abouzeid, “Arab Spring: Is a revolution starting up in Syria?,” Time, 20 mars 2011

15 “Thousands march to protest Syria killings”, The New York Times, 24 mars 2011

16 Rania Abouzeid, “Assad and reform: Damned if he does, doomed if he doesn’t,” Time, 22 avril 2011

17 “Officers fire on crowd as Syrian protests grow,” The New York Times, 20 mars 2011

18 Aryn Baker, “Syria is not Egypt, but might it one day be Tunisia?,” Time, 4 février 2011

19 Nicholas Blanford, “Can the Syrian regime divide and conquer its opposition?” Time, 9 avril 2011

20 Alfred B. Prados and Jeremy M. Sharp, “Syria: Political Conditions and Relations with the United States After the Iraq War,” Congressional Research Service, 28 février 2005

21 Rania Abouzeid, “Syria’s Friday of dignity becomes a day of death,” Time, 25 mars 2011

22 Rania Abouzeid, “Syria’s Friday of dignity becomes a day of death,” Time, 25 mars 2011

23 “Syrie: un autre éclairage du conflit qui dure depuis 5 ans, BeCuriousTV , » 23 mai 2016, http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-aleppo-doctor-demolishes-imperialist-propaganda-and-media-warmongering/5531157

24 Nicholas Blanford, “Can the Syrian regime divide and conquer its opposition?” Time, 9 avril 2011

25 Jay Solomon, “To check Syria, U.S. explores bond with Muslim Brothers,” The Wall Street Journal, 25 juillet 2007

26 Ibid

27 Liad Porat, “The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and the Asad Regime,” Crown Center for Middle East Studies, Brandeis University, décembre 2010, No. 47

28 Ibid

29 http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf

30 Alfred B. Prados and Jeremy M. Sharp, “Syria: Political Conditions and Relations with the United States After the Iraq War,” Congressional Research Service, 28 février 2005.

31 Anthony Shadid, “Security forces kill dozens in uprisings around Syria”, The New York Times, 22 avril 2011

32 Rania Abouzeid, “Syria’s Friday of dignity becomes a day of death,” Time, 25 mars 2011

33 Fabrice Balanche, “The Alawi Community and the Syria Crisis Middle East Institute, 14 mai 2015

34 Anthony Shadid, “Syria broadens deadly crackdown on protesters”, The New York Times, 8 mai 2011

35 Rania Abouzeid, “Meet the Islamist militants fighting alongside Syria’s rebels,” Time, 26 juillet 2012

36 Rania Abouzeid, “Interview with official of Jabhat al-Nusra, Syria’s Islamist militia group,” Time, 25 décembre 2015

37 Robert Fisk, “Syrian civil war: West failed to factor in Bashar al-Assad’s Iranian backers as the conflict developed,” The Independent, 13 mars 2016

38 Anthony Shadid, “Syria broadens deadly crackdown on protesters”, The New York Times, 8 mai 2011

39 Nada Bakri, “Syria allows Red Cross officials to visit prison”, The New York Times, 5 septembre 2011

40 Nada Bakri, “Syrian opposition calls for protection from crackdown”, The New York Times, 25 octobre 2011

41 « President al-Assad to Portuguese State TV: International system failed to accomplish its duty… Western officials have no desire to combat terrorism », SANA, 5 mars 2015

42 Patrick Seale, “Syria’s long war,” Middle East Online, 26 septembre 2012

43 Ibid

44 Rania Abouzeid, “Sitting pretty in Syria: Why few go backing Bashar,” Time, 6 mars 2011

45 Rania Abouzeid, “The youth of Syria: the rebels are on pause,” Time, 6 mars 2011

46 “Can the Syrian regime divide and conquer its opposition?” Time, 9 avril 2011

47 Anthony Shadid, “Security forces kill dozens in uprisings around Syria”, The New York Times, 22 avril 2011

48 Ben Fenton, “Macmillan backed Syria assassination plot,” The Guardian, 27 septembre 2003

49 Robert Fisk, “Conspiracy of silence in the Arab world,” The Independent, 9 février 2007

50 Robert Dreyfus, « Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Fundamentalist Islam », Holt, 2005, p. 205

51 William R. Polk, “Understanding Syria: From pre-civil war to post-Assad,” The Atlantic, 10 décembre 2013

52 Dreyfus

53 Dreyfus

54 William R. Polk, “Understanding Syria: From pre-civil war to post-Assad,” The Atlantic, 10 décembre 2013

55 Cité dans Nikolas Van Dam, « The Struggle for Power in Syria: Politics and Society under Assad and the Ba’ath Party », I.B. Taurus, 2011

56 Patrick Cockburn, “Confused about the US response to Isis in Syria? Look to the CIA’s relationship with Saudi Arabia,” The Independent, 17 juin 2016

57 National Security Strategy, février 2015

58 Ibid

59 Robert Baer, « Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude », Three Rivers Press, 2003, p. 123

60 Site Internet du State Department US. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3580.htm#econ. Accédé le 8 février 2012

61 The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, septembre 2002

62 National Security Strategy, février 2015

63 The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, mars 2006

64 Henry Fountain, “Researchers link Syrian conflict to drought made worse by climate change,” The New York Times, 2 mars 2015

65 Aryn Baker, “Syria is not Egypt, but might it one day be Tunisia?,” Time, 4 février 2011

66 Jonathan Steele, “Most Syrians back President Assad, but you’d never know from western media,” The Guardian, 17 janvier 2012

67 “Full transcript: Classic video interview with Comrade Ghassan Kanafani re-surfaces,” PFLP, 17 octobre 2016, http://pflp.ps/english/2016/10/17/full-transcript-classic-video-interview-with-comrade-ghassan-kanafani-re-surfaces/

 

  • Posted in Francais @fr
  • Commentaires fermés sur Cette révolution syrienne qui n’existe pas…

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 en faisant oublier qu’elle doit son existence au génocide des amérindiens et sa prospérité actuelle au pillage du monde considéré comme une arrière-cour, donne le ton. Ses sbires, les ci-devant « grandes puissances européennes », qui se plaisent à jouer aux gros poissons dans les petites mares, ne sont pas en reste…Ayant remis les pendules à l’heure avec son Brexit et lancée dans le compte à rebours d’un Scotxit, la perfide Albion peut s’investir à fond dans son rôle traditionnel de cheval de Troie de l’Amérique. Pour sa part, notre « grande nation », qui fait tout pour ne plus l’être, se distingue par son arrogance ordinaire, sa prétention anachronique et le naufrage de sa diplomatie.

Nos fanfan-la-tulipe, nos malbroughsmironton-mirontaine,nos lafayette-nous-voilà, prennent de grands airs de chefs de guerre qui nous feraient rire si leurs desseins n’étaient pas aussi sinistres : appeler à envoyer « à six pieds sous terre »Bachar Al Assad, s’acharner à peaufiner la mise à mort dupeuple syrien et à détruire la vieille terre qui fut la matrice de notre civilisation, de nos religions et de notre alphabet ne sont pas des objectifs dignes d’unpays à l’histoire prestigieuse, qui se réclame si volontiers des « lumières ». Enchaîner les provocations et les incidents diplomatiques en pensant humilier ou braver ce Vladimir Poutine qui tient tête à l’Amérique, divinité révérée par nos élites, est du plus haut ridicule.

La diplomatie française est disqualifiée, marginalisée, ignorée, y compris par ses maîtres de Washington

Dans la posture qui est la sienne depuis son retour au « bercail atlantique », la France a perdu sa crédibilité, son prestige et le respect des pays qui jadis la trouvaient « juste même lorsqu’elle est injuste ». La diplomatie française est disqualifiée, marginalisée, ignorée, y compris par ses maîtres de Washington,au point d’être tenue à l’écart des grands dossiers et évincée des négociations décisives, tant est évidente sa capacité de nuisance.

Certes, nous rétorquera-t-on, la Francea encore des alliésstratégiques qu’elle choisit apparemment selon des critèresinnovants. Certainsde ces critères tiennent à des affinités profondes avec nos valeurs traditionnelles (droits de l’homme, condition de la femme, respect des travailleurs immigrés, tolérance religieuse, démocratie, libertés…), d’autres sont inspirés par une complémentarité naturelle (ils ont du pétrole et des dollars, nous avons des idées et surtout des besoins d’argent frais), d’autres enfin sont en relation avec des facteurs auxquels on ne s’attendrait pas, à savoir la proximité avec des terroristes « modérés » et des « démocrates » djihadistes: c’est ainsi qu’après l’heure du Qatar (merci pour ce moment)et une brève idylle avec Erdogan le Maléfique(gâchée par le souvenir d’un génocide),nousvivons « l’instant saoudien », avec une farandole de princes et d’émirs comme s’il en pleuvait, des promesses de contrats mirifiques, une  «identité de vues totale »propice à tous les mauvais coups. Si Paris valait bien une messe, Riyad vaut bien quelques promesses voire quelques compromissions : la distance nous sépare, mais la volonté de détruire la Syrie et de« neutraliser » Bachar al Assad nous unit…

Il y a quelque chose de pourri au royaume des grandes démocraties 

Le déferlement d’inepties, de mensonges, de trucages, de faux pavillons, de références en trompe-l’œil devrait interpeller quelque part nos élites ployant sous le fardeau de leur « mission civilisatrice et bombardière ». Hélas, nous avons beau tendre l’oreille, c’est à peu de choses près le silence radio. N’y aurait-il pas quelque chose de pourri au royaume des grandes démocraties ? N’y aurait-il pas un maillon manquant dans cette sainte trinité occidentale où l’on cherche en vain l’esprit sain qui pourrait inspirer le père anglo-américain et le fils franco-européen.

S’il n’y avait que les déclarations martiales, les contre-vérités flagrantes, les mensonges sans vergogne, les imprécations sans foi ni loi, cene serait que le énième tableau de lamauvaise série B que les médias, intellectuels et politiques, de gauche, de droite et du milieu, déversent depuis plusieurs années sur le bon peuple français qui en a vu, entendu et gobé bien d’autres. C’est agaçant et ignoble, c’est inquiétant, mais on s’y fait. L’important n’est pas la rose ou même le rouge au front, c’est de voter, quitte à choisir le plus beau, le plus hâbleur, le plus menteur, le plus martial ou le plus bête…Les campagnes électorales débutantes ou finissantes en témoignent : l’Amérique devra choisir entre la prévisible harpie, Hillary, l’égérie des néocons, faucons et autres variétés du « parti de la guerre », et l’imprévisible Trump, qui a annoncé la couleur.

Pour l’instant, il est particulièrement angoissant d’entendre, au sein de ce temple de la diplomatie que devrait être le Conseil de Sécurité,vociférer les mégères et les gorgones qui ont investi la diplomatie US et s’égosiller les diplomates aux longs doigts et aux costumes gris à rayures verticales des « grandes diplomaties », toutes et tous à l’unisson pour répercuter vers les quatre coins de la planète le courroux denos bons maîtres chahutés par l’Histoire.

Laréuniondu Conseil consacrée à la Syrie, tenue le dimanche 25 septembre 2016, devrait rester inscrite aux annales de l’arrogance et de la perfidie. Grâce soit rendue aux chevaliers de l’Axe du Bien comme Samantha Power, égérie des néoconsaméricains, au ministre anglais des affaires étrangères,qui doit sa promotion ahurie au Brexit, et au représentant français au Conseil de Sécurité, relayés de près ou de loin par les Kerry, Ayrault et consorts, le spectacle était prometteur et n’a pas déçu, qu’il s’agisse de la richesse des pauvres réparties, de la majesté du style oratoire, de la haute tenue morale des contre-vérités et acrobaties de langage ( parler sans filet est un exercice de haute volée).

De réunion en réunion, le spectacle continue, sans cesse renouvelé comme les vagues de la mer, dans une ambiance de tragédie : ceux qui veulent libérer les habitants d’Alep de la sauvagerie terroriste sont des criminels de guerre passibles de la Cour Pénale Internationale, ceux qui financent et protègent les dits terroristes sont des héros à casques blancs passibles du Nobel de la Paix. C’est beau la dialectique et comprenne qui pourra…

Ban et le sacre de Dame bêtise…

Pour couronner le sacre de Dame bêtise, nous avons droit à la prestation de Ban. Ce falot personnage, qui s’apprête à nous quitter après avoir brillé par sa servilité, a bien mérité de la patrie (américaine) : il n’aura pas eu besoin de fermerl’électricité derrière lui tant l’obscurité était déjà profonde au Secrétariat Général des Nations Unies, mais il n’aura pas attendu d’avoir rendu sa livrée pour tenir un discours qui, tranchant avec la banalité habituelle de ses propos, témoignait de sa perfidie et de son allégeance au dieu Amérique, accablant l’Etat syrien de ses affirmations mensongères et de ses accusations frelatées.

Bref, nous avons droit à une mobilisation générale du ban et de l’arrière-ban de la « communauté internationale » occidentale mobilisée au service des terroristes et de leurs parrains, dans un déferlement de haine et de bassesse qui sied mal à l’ambiance feutrée des instances diplomatiques. Tout ce beau monde, à coup d’effets de manches, de tirades grandiloquentes et patelines, de sorties collectives théâtrales, veut faire croire qu’il essaie de sauver le droit international que depuis vingt-cinq ans les maîtres impériaux de la planète ont dévasté. Est-ce parce qu’ils sont tombés sur la tête qu’ilsvoient le monde à l’envers ? En tout cas, menteurs ils sont, menteurs ils resteront !

Pour la France, quel gâchis d’avoir mis un point d’honneur à se complaire dans le déshonneur. Injuste, immorale, suicidaire, la diplomatie française est devenue  si stupide qu’elle nous fait parfois désespérer. Tout se passe comme si nos élites avaient jeté aux orties l’héritage national, les références, les valeurs, les convictions qui nourrissent une politique étrangère digne d’un grand pays…La France n’avait pas de pétrole ; voilà qu’elle semble n’avoir plus d’idées, sa diplomatie en étant réduite à racler dans les tiroirs pour proposer des trucs de concours Lépine. Il ne sera pas dit que l’aménagement de notre diplomatie  est  un aménagement de cuisine : « Lapeyre, y en a pas deux », dit le slogan, mais les ambassadeurs, il pourra y en avoir deux, comme les Croates vont en faire l’expérience. Panne de courant ? Couvre-feu de la pensée ? C’est en tout cas dans une obscurité de mauvais aloi qu’est plongée la « terre des lumières ».Et pour l’instant, il reste bien caché, l’homme d’Etat qui réussira à lui redonner sa place au soleil, levant de préférence.

Pourtant le temps presse : comme l’écrivait Paul Valéry, « le vent se lève et il faut tenter de vivre »…

Michel Raimbaud 

Michel Raimbaud est ancien ambassadeur français, écrivain et essayiste. Dernier livre paru : « Tempête sur le Grand Moyen-Orient » chez Ellipse, Paris

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Venezuela’s oil-dependent economy suffers greatly from low crude oil prices and US economic warfare – waged to destabilize the country, create enormous hardships, mobilize majority opposition to President Nicolas Maduro’s leadership, and end nearly 18 years of economic and social progress. The collapse in the price of crude oil was the result of a carefully designed speculative operation. 

Neocons in Washington want control over Venezuela’s vast oil reserves, among the world’s largest. With full US support and encouragement, the right wing opposition which controls the National Assembly want Maduros ousted – its latest tactic by recall referendum as constitutionally permitted.

On October 18, Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled valid signatures of 20% of voters in each of the nation’s 24 states must be collected to proceed with a process against Maduro.

“(F)ailure…will render the call for the presidential recall referendum as nullified,” the High Court said in its ruling.

On October 21, Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) suspended the referendum until further notice, following Supreme Court allegations of fraud. Over 30% of signatures collected had irregularities – including listing over 10,000 deceased persons.

A previous article explained how Venezuela’s recall referendum works. Article 72 of Venezuela’s Constitution states “(a)ll magistrates and other offices (including the president) filled by popular vote are subject to revocation.”

“Once half (their) term of office…has elapsed, 20% of (registered) voters (by petition may call for) a referendum to revoke such official’s mandate.”

“When a number of voters equal to or greater than the number of those who elected the official vote in favor of revocation (provided the total is 20% or more of registered voters), the official’s mandate shall be deemed revoked…”

Signatures collected must be verified for authenticity before proceeding further with the recall process. If achieved, it’ll be organized within 90 days. Removing Maduro requires support from more than the 50.6% of voters supporting his 2013 election.

Timing is important. If held by January 10, 2017, a new election will be called if Maduro loses. If things go against him after this date, Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz will serve as president until January 2019, when his term expires.

In response to CNE’s suspending the recall process, the factions controlling the National Assembly barely stopped short of urging coup d’etat action to remove Maduro forcefully.

Last Sunday, they said they’ll impeach him for “violating democracy.” The body has no legal standing after ignoring the Supreme Court’s October 18 ruling.

United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) leader Hector Rodriguez mocked them, saying parties violating the “rules of the game come and talk about democracy…There will be no recall referendum in 2016 because of fraudulent signatures collected. »

Violent demonstrations may follow, similar to what occurred in 2014 – perhaps another US coup attempt.

On October 24, WaPo editors disgracefully headlined “How to derail Venezuela’s new dictatorship.” What followed was a disgraceful litany of misinformation, exaggeration and Big Lies.

WaPo: Maduro “made clear (he and his government are) prepared to shred what remained of the country’s constitutional order…(They) stripped the opposition-controlled national assembly of its powers, imprisoned several top leaders and tried to slow” the recall process.

Fact: Maduro and Venezuela’s CNE observe the letter of constitutional law. No opposition powers were “stripped.” Their imprisoned officials plotted to remove Maduro by coup d’etat.

Collecting fraudulent signatures “slow(ed)” the recall process, not administration officials.

WaPo: Opposition National Assembly members “issued a declaration saying Mr. Maduro had staged a coup. That is accurate – and it ought to provoke a consequential reaction from the United States and Venezuela’s Latin American neighbors.”

Fact: No Maduro “coup” occurred, nor is one in prospect. WaPo calling for “consequential” action sounds ominously like urging Washington to oust him forcefully.

WaPo: “The recall referendum the opposition was pursuing offered a democratic way out of what has become one of the worst political and humanitarian crises in Latin America’s modern history.”

Fact: US dirty tricks and economic manipulation leading to disruptions in the distribution of food, bear much responsibility for hard times in Venezuela. Real problems exist. Hunger isn’t one of them. WaPo lied claiming “(t)he vast majority of low-income families say they are having trouble obtaining food.”

Venezuelans changed their dietary practices because of the scarcity of commonly eaten foods, at times consuming less than earlier. Profiteers hoarding and diverting foodstuffs for resale are responsible, along with high inflation resulting economic manipulation.

WaPo: “(T)he United States should be coordinating tough international action.”

Fact: Neocon WaPo editors want Maduro toppled and replaced. Do they mean by coup d’etat by calling for “tough international action?”

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled « Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III. » http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

 

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US-backed militants launched a wide scale attack on the Syrian army’s positions near Khan Al Sheh in the Western Ghouta region, but failed to achieve a success in the battle.

The militants lost up to 25 fighters and some 8 units of heavy military equipment in the failed attack. 4 units of heavy military equipment belonging to terrorists were destroyed by 1 Syrian soldier with the Russian-made Kornet guided missile launcher. The military situation of militant groups remains critical in the region.

The Syrian government forces, led by Maj General Suheil Al Hassan and his Tiger Forces, liberated more areas from the joint terrorist forces led by Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham in the northern part of Hama province. They took control of few checkpoints at the western outskirts of Ma’an and advanced in the eastern countryside of Souran and Taybat al-Imam.

A large number of militants of Jabhat al-Nusra militants, including their commander Ahmad Abdu Razaq al-Henesh, were killed in the recent air raids in the province.

Turkish air strikes and artillery shelling have killed 96 civilians, including 22 children, since the start of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield on August 24, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed on October 24. The UK-based monitor provides a wide range of anti-Assad and pro-Western views and is constantly quoted by the mainstream media. So, such claims show the attitude of the UK, the US and their partners over the ongoing Turkish military operation in Syria.

The Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Turkish Armed Forces launched a full-scale advance on the direction of strategic ISIS-controlled town of Al-Bab in the northern part of Aleppo province. They took control of the villages of Tuways, Jub al-As and Thalthanah. The crossroad town of Ebla will become the next target of the pro-Turkish forces. If Ebla is captured, the Ankara-led military grouping will be deployed in a striking distance from Al-Bab.

This move could indicate that the Turkish military and their proxies temporarily suspended the idea to purge Kurdish units in southeast of Mare.

The ISIS-linked Amaq news agency released a video on October 24 that depicts a destruction of the US-made Abrams M1 main battle tank at the Qarayyah crossroads, south of Mosul. The battle tank was reportedly blown up with the Kornet anti-tank guided missile. It is not clear to whom – the Iraqi army or the US military – the tank belonged.

The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) liberated the villages of al-Khastan, al-Harrah, Ain al-Nimrudand and the Mishraq Thermal Plant. The town of Hammam Ali is a mid-term target of the ongoing ISF advance.

The Iraqi Air Force’s Mi-35M attack helicopters carried out a series of air raids near the ISIS stronghold of Mosul, killing a top adviser to the group’s ringleader. Abu Usama was a top adviser to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the second-in-command to the ISIS shadow governor for Mosul. The air raids took place at the town of Tal Kayf last weekend.

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Area designated as “the jungle” contained 6,000-10,000 displaced persons seeking refuge

Some 1,200 French security forces descended on the migrant camp in Calais on the English Channel with riot gear, buses and sledgehammers in an attempt to relocate the thousands of people awaiting admission into Britain. 

This is the latest tragic episode revealing the plight of Africans, Middle Easterners and Asians who have fled the turmoil taking place within their respective geo-political regions due to United States and NATO imperialist wars and the worsening global economic crisis fostered by the exploitative policies of Washington and Wall Street.

Hundreds of the people housed in the camp have resisted the forced removals by leaving the processing areas set up by the authorities. There was no official announcement about the location of where those living in makeshift housing at the camp were to be transferred.

By early morning October 25, construction workers wearing hard hats and oranges jumpsuits began to dismantle the temporary housing units using sledgehammers rather than bulldozers. French authorities say that the entire operation of removal should be complete by October 28.

Ostensibly this is an attempt to ease pressure on the border area between France and Britain allowing for the shifting of the problem to another section of the country. Conditions at the camp were described as deplorable with children living there absent of any parental custody. Much speculation is that those engaged in smuggling people from Libya across the Mediterranean are involved in human trafficking networks into Europe and the possibly the U.S.

Although the area has been a staging point for the migration into Britain from the sand dunes of northern France for at least two decades, the situation has worsened as a result of the escalation of human trafficking into Europe over the last three years. The migrant camp in Calais has been designated as the largest slum on the continent becoming a testament to the failure of European Union (EU) policy of resettlement of displaced persons.

The Independent newspaper in Britain emphasized on October 24 “That the Calais Jungle has been allowed to fester and endure for so long is a blot on the copybooks of governments, both here and on the continent. Whether you believe all of its residents should be allowed into Britain or not, few can say that people living in a state of limbo in makeshift squalor is anything other than barbarism, when there should exist procedures and facilities to process, house and deport such a population efficiently. That said procedures are evidently not in place, which begs serious questions about the preparedness and seriousness of government agencies responsible for such matters.”

With elections coming up soon in France this is a major consideration for both the Conservative and Socialist parties. Politicians have attempted to position themselves as being tough on migrant camps and the need for stricter border controls.

This process of handling the migrant crisis has taken on more of a militarized character. The presence of security agents, the threat of arrests if people do not comply with removal orders and the immediate demolition of the camps illustrates the lack of humanitarian concern for problems that were created by the proliferation of U.S. and NATO interventions which have been abysmally catastrophic.

This same article published in the Independent continues by saying: “The camp is a source of misery for those who live there. People are not safe. Food, shelter and medical assistance are not guaranteed. For all the charity pouring in, theft, assault, sexual harassment and worse is infinitely more likely in a settlement such as this. The human thing to do would have been to close it as soon as it emerged. Either way, migrants in Europe will have to be resettled or deported. Both are painful decisions, but delaying them has only made the situation worse.”

The Root Causes of Imperialist Militarism and Global Capitalism

However, framing the discussion over how to handle the migration crisis in Europe and Britain conveniently avoids the underlying issues which have spawned this dilemma. Many of the European governments such as France and England have allowed themselves to become willing accomplices in the Pentagon and NATO driven wars of conquest stemming from Afghanistan and Iraq, to Libya, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Sudan, Somalia and other geo-political regions.

European ruling interests embody their own imperialist designs seeking to outmaneuver Washington in effort to reassert influence lost since the conclusions of World War I and II during the 20th century. Germany which is viewed as the most stable of the 21st century EU economies has been engaged in a political struggle with elements within its own body politic along with governments further to the east and south which have endured the bulk of migration into the continent. According to statistics released by Eurostat the majority of migrants are applying for asylum in Germany.

The inability of the EU countries to develop a unified position on the underlying reasons behind the crisis only provides for more repression against migrants inside these states. Mass deportations into Libya and Turkey have been suggested nonetheless the logistics of such a task would be unfeasible. Images of raging fires in Calais, the herding of thousands of children and adults onto buses with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the possession in their bags are grim enough. An escalation of removals and further dispersals of migrants would worsen the overall view of Europe to many people throughout the world.

Electoral Politics and the U.S. Dimension

In light of the developing migrant question in Europe, the U.S. has also avoided their principal role in the current situation. Countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Somalia, among others have been severely damaged as a direct result of the interference into the internal affairs of these states.

Consequently, successive U.S. administrations, both Republican and Democratic, have continued these military interventions while creating the conditions for mounting instability. The migration crisis in the U.S. is also articulated as a criminal justice issue along with the so-called “war on terrorism.”

The Republican candidate for president, Donald Trump, has built up a substantial bloc of voters by promising to deport undocumented residents from the country. Trump accuses the immigrant population as being a source of crime and a potential threat related to “Islamic terrorism.” He has pledged to intensify the already militarized and deadly U.S.-Mexican border.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton says in response that this plan advanced by Trump would be nearly impossible to implement. Nevertheless, the administration of President Barack Obama, where she served for the first four years as secretary of state, has deported more undocumented workers and families out of the U.S. than any other head-of-state in the history of the country.

In the U.S. and Europe, the migrant question blends with the unresolved character of national oppression against African Americans, Latinos and other people of color communities. There are continuous efforts underway by both parties to divide the African American community against other oppressed peoples.

However, there is a growing level of consciousness that understands that it is the racist capitalist system that manipulates immigration policy to serve its own class interests. The labor of both the existing nationally oppressed and incoming migrant workers is being exploited at higher levels every year.

Working people in the U.S. in general are toiling for less return on their labor power. There are more people being driven into poverty and therefore a direct link joining these elements of the population can be created aimed at its elimination.

These issues are not being discussed in an honest manner during the 2016 elections. It is up to the people themselves to develop a program of action to liberate those who are being exploited by the ruling interests.

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The International Criminal Court charges only Africans with human rights crimes while granting impunity to U.S. officials and their allies, undermining what had been a noble idea of universal justice, writes Nicolas J S Davies.

In the past week, Burundi and South Africa have joined Namibia in declaring their intention to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). They are likely to be followed by a parade of other African countries, jeopardizing the future of an international court that has prosecuted 39 officials from eight African countries but has failed to indict a single person who is not African.

Ironically, African countries were among the first to embrace the ICC, so it is a striking turnaround that they are now the first to give up on it.

President George W. Bush and members of his national security team in Iraq in 2007

President George W. Bush and members of his national security team in Iraq in 2007

But it is the United States that has played the leading role in preventing the ICC from fulfilling the universal mandate for which it was formed, to hold officials of all countries accountable for the worst crimes in the world: genocide; crimes against humanity; and war crimes – not least the crime of international aggression, which the judges at Nuremberg defined as “the supreme international crime” from which all other war crimes follow.

As the ICC’s founding father, former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz, lamented in 2011,

“You don’t have to be a criminologist to realize that if you want to deter a crime, you must persuade potential criminals that, if they commit crimes, they will be hauled into court and be held accountable. It is the policy of the United States to do just the opposite as far as the crime of aggression is concerned. Our government has gone to great pains to be sure that no American will be tried by any international criminal court for the supreme crime of illegal war-making.”

The U.S. has not only refused to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC over its own citizens. It has gone further, pressuring other countries to sign Bilateral Immunity Agreements (BIA), in which they renounce the right to refer U.S. citizens to the ICC for war crimes committed on their territory.

The U.S. has also threatened to cut off U.S. aid to countries that refuse to sign them. The BIAs violate those countries’ own commitments under the ICC statute, and the U.S. pressure to sign them has been rightly condemned as an outrageous effort to ensure impunity for U.S. war crimes.

Resistance to U.S. Impunity

To the credit of our international neighbors, this U.S. strategy has met with substantial resistance. The European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution stating that BIAs are incompatible with E.U. membership, and urged E.U.- member states and countries seeking E.U. membership not to sign them.

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

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

Fifty-four countries have publicly refused to sign BIAs, and 24 have accepted cut-offs of U.S. aid as a consequence of their refusal. Of 102 countries that have signed a BIA, only 48 are members of the ICC in any case, and only 15 of those countries are on record as having ratified the BIAs in their own parliaments.

Thirty-two other ICC members have apparently allowed BIAs to take effect without parliamentary ratification, but this has been challenged by their own country’s legal experts in many cases.

The U.S. campaign to undermine the ICC is part of a much broader effort by the U.S. government to evade all forms of accountability under the laws that are supposed to govern international behavior in the modern world, even as it continues to masquerade as a global champion of the rule of law.

The treaties that U.S. policy systematically violates today were crafted by American statesmen and diplomats, working with their foreign colleagues, to build a world where all people would enjoy some basic protections from the worst atrocities, instead of being subject only to the law of the jungle or “might makes right.”

So current U.S. policy is a cynical betrayal of the work and wisdom of past generations of Americans, as well as of countless victims all over the world to whom we are effectively denying the protections of the U.N. Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and other multilateral treaties that our country ignores, violates or refuses to ratify.

Avoiding the jurisdiction of international courts is only one of the ways that the U.S. evades international accountability for its criminal behavior. Another involves an elaborate and well-disguised public relations campaign that exploit the powerful position of U.S. corporations in the world of commercial media.

Major Propaganda Funding

The U.S. government spends a billion dollars per year on public relations or, more bluntly, propaganda, including $600 million from the Pentagon budget. The work of its P.R. teams and contractors is laundered by U.S. newspapers and repeated and analyzed ad nauseam by monolithic, flag-waving TV networks.

David Petraeus, a two-star general during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, with Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace.

David Petraeus, a two-star general during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, with Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace.

These profitable corporate operations monopolize the public airwaves in the U.S., and also use their financial clout, slick marketing and the support of the U.S. State Department to maintain a powerful presence in foreign and international media markets.

Foreign media in allied countries provide further legitimacy and credibility to U.S. talking-points and narratives as they echo around the world. Meanwhile, Hollywood fills cinema and TV screens across the world with an idealized, glamorized, inspirational version of America that still mesmerizes many people.

This whole elaborate “information warfare” machine presents the United States as a global leader for democracy, human rights and the rule of law, even as it systematically and catastrophically undermines those same principles. It enables our leaders to loudly and persuasively demonize other countries and their leaders as dangerous violators of international law, even as the U.S. and its allies commit far worse crimes.

Double Standards in Syria/Iraq

Today, for instance, the U.S. and its allies are accusing Syria and Russia of war crimes in east Aleppo, even as America’s own and allied forces launch a similar assault on Mosul. Both attacks are killing civilians and reducing much of a city to rubble; the rationale is the same, counterterrorism; and there are many more people in the line of fire in Mosul than in east Aleppo.

President Barack Obama shakes hands with U.S. troops at Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama shakes hands with U.S. troops at Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

But the U.S. propaganda machine ensures that most Americans see one, in Mosul, as a legitimate counterterrorism operation (with Islamic State accused of using the civilians as “human shields”) and the other, in east Aleppo, as a massacre (with the presence of Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the former Nusra Front, virtually whited out of the West’s coverage, which focuses almost entirely on the children and makes no mention of “human shields”).

The phrase “aggressive war” is also a no-no in the Western media when the U.S. government launches attacks across international borders. In the past 20 years, the U.S. has violated the U.N. Charter to attack at least eight countries (Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria), and the resulting wars have killed about two million people.

A complex whirlwind of conflict and chaos rages on in all the countries where the U.S. and its allies have lit the flames of war since 2001, but U.S. leaders still debate new interventions and escalations as if we are the fire brigade not the arsonists. (By contrast, the U.S. government and the Western media are quick to accuse Russia or other countries of “aggression” even in legally murky situations, such as after the U.S.-backed coup in 2014 that ousted the elected president of Ukraine.)

Systematic violations of the Geneva Conventions are an integral part of U.S. war-making. Most are shrouded in secrecy, and the propaganda machine spins the atrocities that slip through into the public record as a disconnected series of aberrations, accidents and “bad apples,” instead of as the result of illegal rules of engagement and unlawful orders from higher-ups.

The senior officers and civilian officials who are criminally responsible for these crimes under U.S. and international law systematically abuse their powerful positions to subvert investigations, cover up their crimes and avoid any accountability whatsoever.

Pinter’s Complaint

When British playwright Harold Pinter was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, he bravely and brilliantly used his Nobel lecture to speak about the real role that the U.S. plays in the world and how it whitewashes its crimes. Pinter recounted a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in London in the 1980s in which a senior embassy official, Raymond Seitz, flatly denied U.S. war crimes against Nicaragua for which the U.S. was in fact convicted of aggression by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Seitz went on to serve as Assistant Secretary of State, U.S. Ambassador to the U.K., and then Vice-Chairman of Lehman Brothers.

Early detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison, dressed in orange jumpsuits with goggles covering their eyes, photographed on Jan. 11, 2002. (Defense Department photo by Petty Officer 1st class Shane T. McCoy, U.S. Navy)

Early detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison, dressed in orange jumpsuits with goggles covering their eyes, photographed on Jan. 11, 2002. (Defense Department photo by Petty Officer 1st class Shane T. McCoy, U.S. Navy)

As Pinter explained: “this ‘policy’ was by no means restricted to Central America. It was conducted throughout the world. It was never-ending. And it is as if it never happened.

“The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.

“Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn’t know it.

“It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

If in 2016 the world seems to be more violent and chaotic than ever, it is not because the United States lacks the will to use force or project power, as both major party candidates for President and their military advisers appear to believe, but because our leaders have placed too much stock in the illegal threat and use of force and have lost faith in the rule of law, international cooperation and diplomacy.

After a century of commercial dominance, and 75 years of investing disproportionately in weapons, military forces and geopolitical schemes, perhaps it is understandable that U.S. leaders have forgotten how to deal fairly and respectfully with our international neighbors. But it is no longer an option to muddle along, leaving a trail of death, ruin and chaos in our wake, counting on an elaborate propaganda machine to minimize the blowback on our country and our lives.

Sooner rather than later, Americans and our leaders must knuckle down and master the very different attitudes and skills we will need to become law-abiding global citizens in a peaceful, sustainable, multipolar world.

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

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The Obama administration’s National Security Council has discussed proposals for a “Plan B” in Syria, involving a major escalation of the five-year-old US intervention aimed at toppling the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

“Plan B”—meant to signal Washington’s response to its failure to secure its goal of “regime change” by means of a negotiated agreement with Russia, the main ally of the Assad government—would involve significantly increasing the supply of weapons to the so-called rebels, a collection of Al Qaeda-linked Islamist militias. This would include the provision of antiaircraft weapons capable of shooting down not only Syrian government warplanes, but also those of the Russian air force.

The secret talks were convened in the context of the breakdown of a short-lived ceasefire agreement brokered between Washington and Moscow and the prospect of a Russian-backed Syrian government offensive overrunning the last urban stronghold of the Islamist forces in eastern Aleppo.

According to a report published Monday in the Washington Post, the National Security Council met at the White House October 14 to hear the proposals, but “neither approved nor rejected” them, reflecting sharp divisions within the US government and its military and intelligence complex.

Identified as strong supporters of “Plan B” were both US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and CIA Director John Brennan. According to the Post, they and other advocates of escalation argued that the “rebels” had to be reinforced because they constitute “the only force in Syria capable of prolonging the war and possibly pushing Moscow to abandon Assad as part of a political solution.”

The language is significant. It identifies a major strategic goal of US imperialism as that of “prolonging” a war that has already killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions.

Carter is said to have advocated a “doubling down” of the CIA program in order “to inflict higher costs on Moscow for its intervention” in support of the Assad government.

Opponents of the plan, who apparently now include Secretary of State John Kerry, an earlier advocate of escalation, reportedly argued that an intervention aimed at bringing down Syrian and Russian warplanes would likely end in a direct confrontation between Washington and Moscow.

One senior administration official told the Post, “You can’t pretend you can go to war against Assad and not go to war against Russia.”

Another senior US official quoted by the Post acknowledged that the so-called Free Syrian Army, which has been armed, trained and paid by the CIA and Pentagon, as well as Washington’s regional allies, is “increasingly dominated by extremists,” i.e., Al Qaeda.

Among the major concerns voiced within US government circles about providing heavy weapons to the “rebels,” and particularly MANPADs, highly portable shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, is that these Al Qaeda-linked forces will just as likely turn them against civilian passenger jets as Russian fighter planes.

The advocates of the escalation, according to the Post report, proposed “a compromise in which the CIA and its partners would deliver truck-mounted antiaircraft weapons that could help rebel units but would be difficult for a terrorist group to conceal and use against civilian aircraft.”

The fact that the heads of both the Pentagon and the CIA are at odds with the White House on the proposed “Plan B” raises the serious question of whether the powerful US military and intelligence apparatus will not find means to circumvent the administration’s policy in order to further an intervention in which they are deeply invested. One means of doing this would be to use regional allies, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, which are already heavily involved in the war for regime change in Syria.

Moreover, it appears certain that an incoming administration led by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will introduce a change of course of Syria, opting for a more aggressive US military intervention.

In two debates with Republican rival Donald Trump, Clinton has voiced her support for the imposition of a “no-fly zone” in Syria on the pretext of humanitarian protection of civilians. The US military has warned that imposing such a zone would entail a military confrontation with Russia. Clinton herself, as revealed in a 2013 speech she delivered to Goldman Sachs released by WikiLeaks, acknowledged that creating such a zone would require extensive air strikes on government positions in densely populated areas in which “you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians.”

According to earlier reports, there is strong support from both Republican and Democratic wings of the US foreign policy establishment for an escalation in Syria.

Two pieces published in the Washington Post give a sense of the criminality of these layers. The first by the Post’s foreign policy columnist Josh Rogin and published Monday expresses support for the “interventionist side” of Clinton’s transition team, including “the Center for American Progress, the think tank founded by her campaign chairman, John Podesta, which last week released a report calling for the use of American air power to protect civilians in Syria.”

Rogin concludes the article exhorting Clinton to “accept the security and political risks that come with committing more American resources to ending the slaughter and confronting the regime and its partners.”

In an earlier op-ed piece published Saturday by the Post, John Allen, the retired Marine Corps general who headed US-led occupation forces in Afghanistan and was a speaker at the Democratic convention in July, endorsing Hillary Clinton, joined with Charles Lister of the Middle East Institute in lashing out at US policy in Syria, including “our unwillingness to tangle with the regime, and now with the Russians.”

The piece demands that the US government ratchet up the confrontation with Russia, first by “imposing an escalatory set of economic sanctions” against Moscow.

It continues: “The second option is one the Russians believe the United States will never do: Escalate the conflict. The United States must challenge the status quo and end the regime’s war crimes, by force if necessary.”

Washington, the article argues, “must both accelerate and broaden the provision of lethal and nonlethal assistance” to the so-called rebels. It goes on to advocate the formation of a “coalition of the willing,” the term coined by the Bush administration in preparing the criminal US war in Iraq, “to credibly threaten military actions against Assad’s military infrastructure.”

It acknowledges, “We should expect the possible intentional co-mingling of Syrian and Russian forces and assets,” but insists, “we should not miss the opportunity to hit offending Syrian elements and units.”

The piece concludes, “The credibility of the United States, as the leader and the defender of the free world, must be salvaged from the horrific devastation of Syria.”

The recklessness of such policies, aimed at deliberately provoking military confrontation with Russia, a power that controls the world’s second-largest arsenal of nuclear weapons, is staggering.

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A pipeline owned by the same company behind Dakota Access leaked 55,000 gallons of gasoline into a major river, endangering the drinking water of six million people.

A pipeline managed by Sunoco logistics burst Thursday night after heavy rainfall in Pennsylvania. The spill dumped 55,000 gallons of gasoline into Wallis Run, a tributary of the Loyalsock Creek that drains into the Susquehanna River. The breach was detected at 3 am when the pressure of the pipeline dropped significantly, leading Sunoco to shut down the pipeline. Though the pipeline has been shut down, the heavy rains that led to the leak are expected to continue, so the actual break in the pipeline will remain unidentified until the weather clears. The Pennsylvania water authorities have warned customers to refrain from using water from the river as a precaution. No official data has been released regarding how long the ban on water use will continue.

sunocospillpa

The Susquehanna had previously been declared the third most endangered river in the US by the NGO American Rivers. It has come under threat due to the development of the natural gas industry, particularly the practice of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” Fracking has caused major problems in the US due to the so-called “Cheney’s loophole” that exempts natural gas companies from the vast majority of US environmental regulations. Many other rivers in the US are endangered by fracking. American Rivers has said that fracking “poses one of the greatest risks our nation’s rivers have faced in decades. We are taking a major gamble on the clean drinking water for millions of Americans.”

A previous Sunoco spill dumped 63,000 gallons of crude oil into the Kentucky river.   Credit – Fortune

Though the recent floods have been blamed for the spill, some are calling this into question due to Sunoco’s lengthy history of poor pipeline management. Indeed, pipelines managed by Sunoco Logistics spill more frequently than another, with more than 200 recorded leaks since 2010. This is also not the first spill of a Sunoco pipeline in Pennsylvania. In 2008, an improperly installed valve “blew out” a pipeline in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection said that the area affected by the spill may never completely recover.

Sunoco is also a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners Limited, the company that also owns the controversial Dakota Access pipeline. The Dakota Access pipeline has been the site of a major protest against its construction, led by the Standing Rock Sioux with support from environmental activists and the United Nations.

The Sioux and others argue that the pipeline threatens their water supply as well as their sacred sites. The protests have been brutally suppressed on several occasions by both private security and state police. Also concerning is the fact that both US “duopoly” presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are major advocates of fracking and pipeline construction, suggesting that – unless the general public stands up – the US’ fossil-fuel nightmare could quickly become worse as soon as January.

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Yesterday, 1,250 riot police backed up by over 2,000 other security forces surrounded the “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais, France and began to forcibly expel its residents and destroy the camp.

The operation had started the night before. Police wearing armor and armed with shields and batons surrounded and marched around the camp, which houses 7,000 refugees fleeing impoverished, war-torn countries of Africa, Asia and the Middle East and trying to reach Britain.

In the early morning, police fired tear gas to crush protests that erupted as dozens of refugees lit fires and tried to fight off the security forces, throwing rocks and bottles. Thousands of refugees were then herded into processing zones, many with only light jackets or sandals to wear despite the cold, to be loaded onto buses and transferred to so-called Orientation and Greeting Centers (CAO) across France.

By the end of the day, according to Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, police had taken 1,918 refugees out of the refugee camp, loaded onto 45 buses.

This is only the prelude to an all-out assault to crush the resistance of those refugees, including women and children, who intend to remain in the camp to the end, to keep trying to reach Britain. Le Monde wrote, “When, on Thursday or Friday, all the volunteer migrants will have taken the bus, only the recalcitrant ones will remain. ‘Then, we will be finished with the humanitarian operation,’ said one official. The police operation will begin.”

With unparalleled cynicism, France’s Socialist Party (PS) government is hailing the police assault on the “Jungle” and the forcible deportation of refugees to CAOs as a “humanitarian” operation. In fact, it is a drastic attack on fundamental democratic rights to asylum that has long been demanded by the neo-fascist National Front (FN).

The operation, Cazeneuve said, would “provide shelter to those who can justifiably obtain refugee status in France and who should not be in a precarious, vulnerable situation in Calais, in the hands of people traffickers who are real actors of the trade in human beings.”

State authorities brought in hundreds of journalists to give wall-to-wall coverage of the police operation that focused on the busing, while keeping silent on the police assaults and echoing PS claims that it is a “humanitarian” enterprise.

The Pas-de-Calais police prefecture’s press release stated, “Over 700 journalists are now accredited. They can rely on the services of the Pas-de-Calais prefecture, who are doing their best to reconcile journalists’ ability to report on the operation and the continuation of the operation itself, in the interests of the migrants.”

The PS’s claim that the assault on the “Jungle” aims to protect refugees is an odious political lie. Together with the British government, which refuses to admit most of the refugees, it is carrying out a drastic attack on democratic rights. The anti-refugee operation aims to divide the workers with the anti-immigrant hatreds that the ruling class is stoking across Europe, and to appeal to the only social base the PS retains after being discredited by its policies of austerity and war—namely, the police.

Despite the appalling conditions that prevailed in the “Jungle,” where refugees were forced to live in tents and with minimal resources, they will face even more difficult and uncertain conditions once they are scattered across hundreds of tiny camps in villages and towns across France.

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) stressed that the estimated 1,200 children in the “Jungle” will be at risk from the clearing of the camp. UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said aid to those displaced by the operation was vital, so “that children don’t move on to other destinations and risk becoming exploited by human traffickers or end up living in the streets without any support.” He stressed the need to reunite children with any relatives now living in Europe.

At the request of the French police, British authorities cut off even the trickle of admissions of refugees into Britain as the assault on the “Jungle” began. In recent days, around 200 children had been brought to Britain, including 60 girls.

“Due to planned operational activity in Calais, and at the request of the French authorities, we have reluctantly agreed that the transfer process will be temporarily paused,” a British Home Office spokesman said.

The closure of the “Jungle” is part of a reactionary European Union (EU) policy of closing its borders and denying asylum to the tens of millions of people who are fleeing imperialist wars and ethnic conflict in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Sudan and beyond. This has led to thousands of deaths, as refugees piled into unseaworthy ships drowned in the Mediterranean—an outcome EU officials tacitly welcome, insofar as they have declared that refugee deaths could dissuade others from attempting the journey.

The significance of this barbaric policy goes beyond the number of refugees who have died, or who are being deported from Calais. As the European imperialist powers escalate their participation in unpopular US-led wars across the Middle East, they are massively building up police powers at home. Nowhere is this more obvious than France, where the PS has imposed a state of emergency after terror attacks carried out in Paris by Islamist networks mobilized in NATO’s war in Syria.

While refugees, immigrants and Muslims are currently the main target of the police in France, the central target is the working class. Already, masses of French youth and workers were targeted in brutal assaults by riot police when they protested the PS’s reactionary labor law this spring.

A central component of this political offensive is the PS’s promotion of neo-fascism’s historical legacy and political program. After trying to inscribe in the constitution the principle of deprivation of nationality—the legal pretext for the deportation of Jews from Nazi-Occupied France in World War II, long defended only by the far right—the PS recently adopted another FN proposal, to create a National Guard. Its purpose, ominously, is to assist the army in military operations on French soil.

Now, the PS is adopting another longstanding FN demand: the closure of refugee camps housing refugees trying to reach Britain in northern France. Yesterday, the FN supported the assault on the “Jungle” but demanded that the PS expel the refugees. “The solution is not distributing them among smaller camps, it’s expulsion,” said FN official Nicolas Bay. “We should above all keep them from coming in before we prevent them from leaving to go to England.”

It will not be long before the PS or its successor again turns the police apparatus against opposition in the working class to social austerity and war. It doubtless hopes that, by giving the police free rein for a reactionary assault on defenseless refugees in Calais, it will further strengthen them for their next attack against refugees, or against social protests by workers and youth at home.

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Selected Articles: The Iran Nuclear Deal – Debunking A Myth

octobre 25th, 2016 by Global Research News

Iran-US-nuclear

The Iran Nuclear Deal – Debunking A Myth. A Short List of “Negative” US Foreign Policy Decisions

By Don L. Durivan, October 24 2016

With the first anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA,  recently having passed, and the Obama Administration near its end, this seems to be a good time to consider one (there are a number) of the myths about the deal, and put it soundly to bed. Within the Obama Administration and in fact among those within the Beltway that support the JCPOA is the notion that “Iran needs the agreement, but we want it”.

Nuclear-War-Weapons

The Real Dangers of Nuclear War: Will the UN General Assembly Resolution To Prohibit Nuclear Weapons “Change Anything Before It Is Too Late”?

By Carla Stea, October 25 2016

This week the United Nations General Assembly will vote on Resolution A/C.1/71/L.41 which states: “12.  Calls upon States participating in the conference to make their best endeavours to conclude as soon as possible a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.” The glacial speed with which General Assembly resolutions are implemented is notorious.  This new resolution, entitled “Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations” can be considered, at least, cosmetic progress.

United-States-US-Military-Bases-Asia-1-400x273

Washington’s ‘Pivot to Asia’: A Debacle Unfolding

By Prof. James Petras, October 25 2016

In 2012 President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter launched a new chapter in their quest for global dominance:  a realignment of policies designed to shift priorities from the Middle East to Asia.  Dubbed the ‘Pivot to Asia’, it suggested that the US would concentrate its economic, military and diplomatic resources toward strengthening its dominant position and undercutting China’s rising influence in the region.

Abayomi Azikiwe Speaks at the International League of Peoples Struggle US Chapter National Conference, Chicago Oct. 22, 2016 (Photo by Danielle Boachie)

Building Anti-Imperialist Solidarity in the United States: The Need for Internationalism

By Abayomi Azikiwe, October 25 2016

There is a fundamental weakness in the peoples’ movement in the United States and that is the necessity for anti-imperialist internationalism. The struggles against racism, national oppression and class exploitation cannot be separated from the need to end Washington’s and Wall Street’s interference in the internal affairs of most states throughout the world. In order to win recognition in these monumental struggles it is heavily dependent upon the degree to which we can create widespread awareness of the plight of the people of color communities and the working class in general.

hungary uprising

Manipulating Uprisings: Hungary 1956

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark, October 25 2016

Magic, and tragic years, tend to fill the calendar of commemoration for central European patriots. There are religious intercessions; guiding symbols; omens.  Then there are the calamities, the crushing battles that empty entire classes and countries. For Hungary, a country ever dreamy and mournful about such events, there are two notable disasters of rollicking value.

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Dénouer l’écheveau Alep–Mossoul

octobre 25th, 2016 by Pepe Escobar

Il ne fait aucun doute que Bagdad a besoin de reprendre Mossoul à EI / EIIL / Daech. Il ne pouvait pas le faire avant. En théorie, c’est le moment.

La vraie question ce sont les motivations contradictoires du grand who’s who de qui fait quoi. Au choix – et dans le désordre – la 9e division de l’armée irakienne, les peshmergas kurdes sous la houlette de  l’opportuniste corrompu et rusé Barzani, les seigneurs tribaux sunnites, les dizaines de milliers de milices chiites du sud de l’Irak, le support opérationnel des Forces spéciales américaines, les bombardements ciblés par l’US Air Force ou, planquées en coulisse, les forces spéciales turques et leur puissance aérienne.

Voilà une recette certifiée pour garantir les ennuis.

Tout comme Alep, Mossoul est – littéralement – une affaire de légende. Elle succède à l’ancienne Ninive, installée il y a 8 000 ans, ancienne capitale de l’empire assyrien sous Sennacheribin au VIIe siècle av. J.-C., conquise par Babylone au VIe siècle av. J.-C., annexée mille ans plus tard à l’empire musulman gouverné par les Omeyyades et les Abbassides, la plaque tournante, du XIe au XIIe siècle, de l’État médiéval Atabegs, un carrefour ottoman clé sur l’ancienne Route de la soie au XVIe siècle couvrant tout le chemin de l’océan Indien au golfe Persique puis par la vallée du Tigre, jusqu’à Alep et Tripoli sur la Méditerranée.

Après la Première Guerre mondiale, tout le monde aspirait à Mossoul – de la Turquie à la France. Mais ce sont les Britanniques qui ont réussi à duper la France en laissant l’Irak, nouvelle colonie de l’Empire britannique, annexer Mossoul. Puis vint la longue domination du parti nationaliste arabe Ba’ath. En 2003, après l’opération Shock and Awe et son enfer, vint l’invasion puis l’occupation par les États-Unis, pour finir avec le tumultueux gouvernement à majorité chiite de Nouri al-Maliki à Bagdad et la prise de contrôle par EI / EIIL / Daech à l’été 2014.

Les parallèles historiques concernant Mossoul ne pouvaient pas ne pas avoir une saveur particulière. L’État médiéval du XIe / XIIe siècle se trouvait avoir à peu près les mêmes frontières que l’actuel faux Califat de Daech – incorporant à la fois Alep et Mossoul. En 2004, Mossoul a été de facto dirigée par le disgracié et failli général David Petraeus à stature présidentielle. Dix ans plus tard, après le ressaut bidon du «surge» de Petraeus, Mossoul a été gouvernée par un Califat, tout aussi bidon, inventé [par les US et d’anciens cadres de l’armée irakienne vaincue, NdT] dans une prison américaine près de la frontière koweïtienne.

Depuis lors, des centaines de milliers d’habitants ont fui Mossoul. La population d’environ deux millions à l’origine est peut être divisée par deux. Cela fait encore beaucoup pour pouvoir être correctement libérée.

Alep tombe

Le récit hégémonique au sujet de la bataille qui continue à l’Est d’Alep est le suivant: un axe du mal – nouvelle trouvaille d’Hillary Clinton [après l’axe du même nom de G.W. Bush, passé de mode et relooké, avec la Russie, mais sans l’Irak, NdT] – composé de la Russie, de l’Iran et du régime syrien bombarde sans répit des civils innocents et des rebelles modéréstout en provoquant une crise humanitaire terrible.

La majorité absolue de ces plusieurs milliers de rebelles modérés est en fait incorporée et/ou affiliée à Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (Front de Conquête de la Syrie), qui se trouve être nul autre que Jabhat al-Nusra, alias al-Qaïda en Syrie, aux côtés d’un babillage d’autres groupes djihadistes tels que Ahrar al-Sham. Les objectifs d’al-Nusra – et de ceux qui les soutiennent – sont entièrement documentés ici.

Pendant ce temps, quelques civils restent piégés dans l’Est d’Alep – sans doute pas plus de 30 000 ou 40 000 sur une population initiale de 300 000.

Et cela nous amène au cœur de la question expliquant le sabotage, par le Pentagone, de la trêve russo-américaine, les crises de rage de Samantha Power la cinglée, aveuglée par le pouvoir, et le baratin non-stop selon lequel la Russie est en train de commettre des crimes de guerre.

Si Damas contrôle, en dehors de la capitale, Alep, Homs, Hama et Lattaquié, il contrôle la Syrie qui compte 70% de la population et tous les centres industriels et commerciaux importants, alors la partie est pratiquement jouée : game over. Le reste au-delà est rural, presque vide.

Pour les poulets sans tête de la politique étrangère pratiquée actuellement par l’administration du canard boiteux Obama, le cessez-le-feu était un moyen de gagner du temps et de réarmer ce que Washington décrit comme des rebelles modérés. Pourtant, même cela était trop pour le Pentagone, qui fait face à une alliance Syrie / Iran / Russie déterminée à lutter contre toutes les déclinaisons de salafistes-djihadistes déments – quelle que soit leur terminologie – et se sont engagés à maintenir une Syrie unitaire.

Donc, reconquérir la totalité de la ville d’Alep doit être la priorité absolue de Damas, Téhéran et Moscou. Au-delà, l’Armée arabe syrienne (SAA) ne sera jamais assez forte pour reconquérir militairement l’arrière pays rural ultra-sunnite inconditionnel. Damas ne pourra également jamais reconquérir le nord kurde, le Kurdistan syrien embryonnaire. Après tout le YPG [milice kurde] est directement soutenu par le Pentagone. Qu’un Kurdistan syrien indépendant puisse jamais voir le jour sera un problème interminable à résoudre dans l’avenir.

La SAA, l’armée syrienne, une fois de plus, est extrêmement surchargée. Ainsi, la méthode pour reconquérir l’est d’Alep est vraiment extrêmement dure. Il y a une crise humanitaire. Il y a des dommages collatéraux. Et cela ne fait que commencer. Parce que tôt ou tard, la SAA, soutenue par le Hezbollah et les milices chiites irakiennes, devra reconquérir l’est d’Alep avec des bottes sur le terrain – soutenue par des avions de combat russes.

Le cœur de la question est que l’ancienne Armée syrienne libre, absorbée par al-Qaïda en Syrie et d’autres salafistes-djihadistes, est sur le point de perdre l’est d’Alep. Le changement de régime à Damas – d’où «Assad doit partir» – par la voie militaire est maintenant impossible. De là le désespoir total manifesté par Ash Carter, le chef du Pentagone – Empereur des pleurnicheurs –, par les cellules néocons implantées partout dans l’équipe du canard boiteux Obama, et leurs hordes de collabos médiatiques.

Entre en piste le plan B : la bataille de Mossoul.

Fallujah revisité ?

Le plan du Pentagone est trompeusement simple. Effacer tous les signes de présence de Damas et de son armée, la SAA, à l’est de Palmyre. Et c’est là que la bataille de Mossoul converge avec la récente attaque aérienne du Pentagone sur Deir Ezzor [tuant plus de 80 soldats syriens, NdT]. Même si nous avons une offensive dans les prochains mois contre Raqqa, menée par les Kurdes du YPG ou même par les forces turques, nous aurons encore une principauté salafiste depuis l’est de la Syrie jusqu’à l’Irak occidental, tout cela regroupé, exactement comme la Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA ) l’avait planifié – rêvé ? – en 2012.

L’historien syrien basé à Londres Nizar Nayyouf, ainsi que des sources diplomatiques anonymes, ont confirmé que Washington et Riyad ont conclu un accord pour laisser des milliers de djihadistes du faux Califat s’échapper de Mossoul vers l’ouest, aussi longtemps qu’ils se dirigent directement vers la Syrie. Un regard sur la carte de bataille nous montre que Mossoul est complètement encerclée… sauf à l’ouest.

Et le Sultan Erdogan dans tout ça ? Il a imaginé que les forces spéciales turques entreront dans Mossoul, tout comme elles sont entrées dans Jarablus à la frontière turco-syrienne, sans tirer un coup de feu, quand la ville sera nettoyée des djihadistes.

Pendant ce temps, Ankara prépare son entrée spectaculaire dans le champ de bataille, avec Erdogan, en pleine majesté dans son accoutrement sultanesque, tirant au hasard tout autour de lui. En effet, pour lui, Bagdad n’est rien d’autre que «l’administrateur d’une armée de chiites» et les Kurdes du YPG «seront expulsés de la ville syrienne de Manbij»après l’opération de Mossoul. Sans oublier que Ankara et Washington discutent activement d’une offensive contre Raqqa, alors qu’Erdogan n’a pas abandonné son rêve d’unezone de sécurité de 5 000 km2 dans le nord de la Syrie.

En un mot, pour Erdogan, Mossoul est une distraction. Ses priorités demeurent une Syrie fracturée et fragmentée, zone de sécurité incluse, et l’écrasement des Kurdes du YPG – tout en travaillant côte à côte avec les peshmergas [combattants kurdes] en Irak.

En ce qui concerne le Plan B américain, le cheikh Nasrallah du Hezbollah a clairement décelé l’ensemble du dispositif. «Les Américains ont l’intention de répéter l’intrigue de Fallujah, quand ils avaient ouvert une voie à EIIL pour s’échapper à l’est vers la Syrie avant que les avions de guerre irakiens ne viennent cibler les convois terroristes.» Il a ajouté que «l’armée irakienne et les forces populaires» doivent vaincre EI / EIIL / Daech à Mossoul,  sinon, ils devront les pourchasser dans l’est de la Syrie.

Il n’est également pas étonnant que le ministre russe des Affaires étrangères Sergueï Lavrov ait clairement vu le Grand Schéma : «Pour autant que je sache, la ville n’est pas complètement encerclée. J’espère que c’est tout simplement parce qu’ils ne peuvent pas le faire, et non parce qu’ils ne le veulent pas. Mais ce corridor pose le risque de voir les combattants d’État islamique fuir Mossoul et aller en Syrie.»

Il est clair que Moscou ne restera pas les bras croisés si tel est le cas : «J’espère que la coalition menée par les USA, qui est activement engagée dans l’opération pour prendre Mossoul, va le prendre en compte.»

Bien sûr, Mossoul – plus encore que d’Alep – pose une question humanitaire grave.

Le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge (CICR) estime que jusqu’à un million de personnes risquent d’être affectées. Lavrov va droit au but quand il insiste sur le fait que «ni l’Irak, ni ses voisins n’ont actuellement la capacité d’accueillir un si grand nombre de réfugiés, et cela aurait dû être un facteur dans la planification de l’opération de Mossoul».

Ce n’est peut être pas le cas. Après tout, pour la Coalition dirigée par les US – de derrière ? –, la priorité numéro un est d’assurer la survie du Califat bidon, quelque part dans l’est de la Syrie. Plus de quinze ans après le 9/11, la chanson reste la même, avec la guerre contre la terreur, cadeau vivace qui continue à fonctionner.

Pepe Escobar

 

Article original en anglais : The Aleppo/Mosul Riddle, Strategic Culture, 20 octobre 2016

Traduit et édité par jj, relu par Cat pour le Saker Francophone

 

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

Le 13 octobre, la chaîne de télévision TF1 a organisé un premier débat entre les candidats à l’investiture du parti de droite Les Républicains (LR) pour la présidentielle de 2017, dont le vote aura lieu du 20 au 27 novembre. Le débat, le premier événement majeur de la campagne présidentielle française de 2017, regardé par 5 millions de téléspectateurs, a confirmé le fait que toute la classe dirigeante a l’intention de faire en sorte que l’incitation du sentiment anti-musulmans et le régime d’État policier deviennent des caractéristiques permanentes de la vie politique.

Les candidats, tout en évitant soigneusement toute mention de la guerre syrienne et du risque croissant d’une guerre de l’OTAN avec la Russie au sujet de la Syrie, ont unanimement soutenu les attaques profondes contre les droits sociaux des travailleurs, et les mesures d’État policier telles que l’état d’urgence actuelle.

Les sept candidats comprennent le favori, l’ancien Premier ministre Alain Juppé, l’ancien président Nicolas Sarkozy, et d’autres candidats plus mineurs qu’ils devancent dans les sondages.

Dans une première déclaration expliquant pourquoi il brigue la présidence, Juppé a déclaré : « Je veux d’abord restaurer l’autorité de l’État et la dignité de la fonction présidentielle ». Il a appelé à « un État fort contre le terrorisme et l’immigration illégale, éliminer le fléau du chômage, lever les obstacles à la création d’emplois ; rénover en profondeur de notre système de formation ».

Cela revient essentiellement à poursuivre la mise en place de l’État policier, des mesures d’austérité et des cadeaux aux grandes entreprises effectués par le gouvernement actuel du Parti socialiste (PS) discrédité. Juppé a appelé à jusqu’à 100 milliards d’euros de coupes budgétaires, à la prolongation de l’âge de la retraite de 62 à 65 ans, à 28 milliards d’euros de réductions d’impôt pour les entreprises, à des coupes dans les prestations familiales, à la suppression de 250 000 emplois du secteur public, et au renforcement des services de sécurité, notamment la police et la gendarmerie.

Les propositions économiques réactionnaires de Juppé ne se distinguent guère de celles de Sarkozy, qui a bâti sa campagne autour d’appels à l’identité ethnique française et d’appels aux sentiments néo-fascistes. Sarkozy s’est engagé à éliminer purement et simplement l’impôt sur la fortune qui concerne les individus dont la valeur nette est de plus de 1,3 millions d’euros, et à supprimer 300 000 emplois du secteur public.

Juppé veut aussi donner des pouvoirs extraordinaires aux autorités policières. Il soutient les appels de Sarkozy à l’internement des personnes avec des fichiers « S », c’est-à-dire, celles que les services de renseignement ont classées comme menaces à la sécurité nationale française, sur la base d’un contrôle judiciaire. Ils ont tous deux préconisé des mesures sévères pour bloquer les immigrants qui arrivent en France et pour expulser les immigrants sans papiers.

Le débat fut largement axé sur la stigmatisation des musulmans. Le candidat Bruno Le Maire a appelé à « combattre l’islam politique », insistant pour que le port de la burqa soit un crime.

Sarkozy, qui a introduit l’interdiction de la burqa quand il était au pouvoir, veut étendre l’interdiction du voile musulman dans les écoles aux universités, aux hôpitaux et à toutes les institutions publiques.

Juppé a parfois exprimé des préoccupations concernant la domination de la campagne présidentielle par l’agitation anti-immigrés et anti-musulmans, adressant des critiques légères de ses rivaux. Cependant, il continue à soutenir les mesures qui ciblent les musulmans et les immigrés.

Juppé se positionne lui-même pour profiter d’un effondrement du PS aux élections en raison de son impopularité. L’on s’attend à ce que le PS soit éliminé au premier tour, et que le Front national (FN) néo-fasciste passe facilement au deuxième tour, se retrouvant face à un candidat de droite. Juppé se présente comme le candidat le plus « modéré », capable de rallier au second tour les électeurs déçus du PS, ainsi que les électeurs de droite, contre Marine Le Pen la candidate du Front national.

Il se tourne vers les électeurs déçus du président PS François Hollande avec des appels vagues pour construire « le chemin de l’espérance ». C’est devenu la base d’une campagne médiatique internationale pour présenter Juppé comme en quelque sorte une alternative acceptable au tournant de LR vers la droite extrême.

Après le débat, Süddeutsche Zeitung a écrit : « Non, tous les candidats LR n’accompagnent pas cette marche vers la droite. Alain Juppé, le libéral conservateur favori dans la primaire, s’oppose quelque peu aux excès de Sarkozy. Il met en garde contre une « guerre civile » et ne veut pas exclure collectivement tous les musulmans ».

Yves-Marie Cann du cabinet de conseil politique Elabe, a déclaré à BFM TV : « Alain Juppé, de par ses déclarations, son style de campagne, apparaît plus modéré qu’un Nicolas Sarkozy qui est plus dans l’invective, et peut avoir des propos caricaturaux. Juppé semble davantage faire appel à la raison et tient une posture beaucoup plus équilibrée dans ce qu’il donne à voir au grand public ».

L’idée que Juppé est une alternative « modérée » à Sarkozy est une illusion politique. Bien sûr, au milieu de l’émergence d’un système électoral tripartite en France entre les électeurs PS, LR et FN, il s’oriente plutôt pour gagner des voix PS, alors que Sarkozy est plus clairement à la recherche de votes FN. Cependant, sur les questions fondamentales de guerre, d’austérité et d’attaques sur les droits démocratiques auxquelles sont confrontés les travailleurs en France et en Europe, les différences entre les trois principaux partis sont minimes.

Le PS a alimenté l’hystérie anti-musulmans et sécuritaire après les attentats terroristes de Paris menés par les réseaux islamistes utilisés par les puissances de l’OTAN dans leur guerre de changement de régime en Syrie. Hollande a repris une grande partie du programme du FN en imposant un état d’urgence, la formation d’une garde nationale, et la tentative de légitimer la politique de déchéance de la nationalité telle qu’elle était pratiquée sous l’occupation nazie, comme il a cherché à façonner une base politique afin d’imposer des guerres et des mesures d’austérité impopulaires.

Sarkozy et Juppé ont tous les deux géré des gouvernements discrédités qui ont mené des attaques profondes contre la classe ouvrière. S’ils viennent à être élus, les deux agiraient immédiatement pour imposer des guerres, des mesures d’austérité et des attaques contre les droits démocratiques.

En tant que premier ministre sous le président Jacques Chirac, Juppé a introduit des réformes libérales attaquant le système de sécurité sociale, ce qui a provoqué les grèves des chemins de fer de novembre-décembre 1995.

En tant que président de 2007 à 2012, Sarkozy a imposé une série de mesures d’austérité pendant la crise économique mondiale de 2008, a fermé de nombreuses usines, et a introduit des réformes favorables aux entreprises, y compris la réforme des retraites qui a provoqué la grève pétrolière de 2010. Ministre des Affaires étrangères sous Sarkozy, Juppé a joué un rôle clé dans le lancement de la guerre de Sarkozy en Libye, sous le couvert frauduleux de la protection des droits de l’Homme et des civils libyens.

Kumaran Ira

Article paru en anglais, WSWS, le 24 octobre 2016

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The video below highlights President Vladimir Putin’s keynote presentation at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, June 2016, including his conversations with members of the media.

Putin reviews the confrontation between Washington and Moscow and highlights the real dangers of nuclear war.

« Today, there is no instrument in international law that prevents the possibility of mutually assured destruction. Putin has been sending out warnings for over 10 years – all of which fell on deaf ears. »

English sub-titles and analysis (below): our thanks to Fort Russ

Nobody has anything to gain from a nuclear stand-off against Russia. The power hungry decision-makers are few in number, but powerful enough to have subverted mainstream media to misrepresent Russia as the main threat to international security.

Back in 2007, Putin informed the Western world that Russia will develop its weaponry to counter US advances. This was said in response to the US missile defense system that was starting to be developed at the time (previously prohibited in international law.)

With the NATO missile defense system on Russia’s doorstep – the threat to international security is very real; not that you would know it via mainstream Murdoch media.

In 2002, the United States unilaterally and without consultation, withdrew from the landmark Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. President George W. Bush noted that the treaty is “now behind us,” describing the ABM Treaty as a Cold War relic.

Signed in 1972, the ABM Treaty barred both the US and the USSR from deploying national defenses against long-range ballistic missiles. The treaty was based on the premise that if either superpower constructed a strategic defense, the other would build up its offensive nuclear forces to offset the defense.

The superpowers would therefore quickly be put on a path toward a never-ending offensive-defensive arms race, as each tried to balance its counterpart’s actions. Until Bush took office, the Treaty was referred to as a “cornerstone of strategic stability” because it facilitated later agreements, reducing U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals.

The US, assuming that a weakened Russia will never again be in a position to counter US hegemonic power, proceeded to encroach on Russia’s borders through its manipulation of NATO objectives.

Today, there is no instrument in international law that prevents the possibility of mutually assured destruction. Putin has been sending out warnings for over 10 years – all of which fell on deaf ears.

Who will push the button first?

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Patti chiari, sudditanza lunga

octobre 25th, 2016 by Manlio Dinucci

Dopo aver chiamato gli italiani a votare Sì al referendum, ingerendosi nella nostra politica nazionale col complice silenzio dell’opposizione parlamentare, il presidente Obama ha confermato al «buon amico Matteo» che con l’Italia gli Usa hanno «patti chiari, amicizia lunga».

Non c’è dubbio che i patti siano chiari, anzitutto il Patto atlantico che sottomette l’Italia agli Usa. Il Comandante supremo alleato in Europa viene sempre nominato dal Presidente degli Stati uniti d’America e sono in mano agli Usa tutti gli altri comandi chiave.

Dopo la fine della guerra fredda, in seguito alla disgregazione dell’Urss, Washington affermava la «fondamentale importanza di preservare la Nato quale canale della influenza e partecipazione statunitensi negli affari europei, impedendo la creazione di dispositivi unicamente europei che minerebbero la struttura di comando dell’Alleanza», ossia il comando Usa. Concetto ribadito dal segretario della Nato Stoltenberg nella recente tavola rotonda sulla «grande idea di Europa»: «Dobbiamo assicurare che il rafforzamento della difesa europea non costituisca un duplicato della Nato, non divenga una alternativa alla Nato». A garanzia di ciò c’è il fatto che 22 dei 28 paesi della Ue (21 su 27 dopo l’uscita della Gran Bretagna) fanno parte della Nato sotto comando Usa, riconosciuta dall’Unione europea quale «fondamento della difesa collettiva».

La politica estera e militare della Ue è quindi fondamentalmente subordinata alla strategia statunitense, su cui convergono le potenze europee i cui contrasti d’interesse si ricompattano quando entra in gioco il loro interesse fondamentale: mantenere il predominio dell’Occidente, sempre più vacillante di fronte all’emergere di nuovi soggetti statuali e sociali. Basti pensare che l’Organizzazione di Shanghai per la cooperazione, nata dall’accordo strategico cino-russo, dispone di risorse tali da farne la maggiore area economica integrata del mondo.

Nel quadro della strategia Usa/Nato – documenta la Casa Bianca –  l’Italia si distingue quale «saldo e attivo alleato degli Stati uniti». Lo dimostra il fatto che «l’Italia ospita oltre 30 mila militari e funzionari civili del Dipartimento Usa della difesa in installazioni dislocate in tutto il paese».

Allo stesso tempo l’Italia è «partner degli Usa per la sicurezza globale», fornendo forze militari e finanziamenti per una vasta gamma di «sfide»: in Kossovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libia, Siria, Baltico e altrove, ossia ovunque è stata e viene impiegata la macchina da guerra Usa/Nato.

Un ultimo fatto conferma quale sia il rapporto Usa-Italia: stanno per arrivare alla base di Amendola in Puglia, probabilmente l’8 novembre, i primi due dei 90 caccia F-35 della statunitense Lockheed Martin, che l’Italia si è impegnata ad acquistare.

Il costo della partecipazione dell’Italia al programma F-35, quale partner di secondo livello, è ufficialemente quantificato nella Legge di stabilità 2016: 12 miliardi 356 milioni di euro di denaro pubblico, più altre spese per le continue modifiche al caccia che ancora non è pienamente operativo e necessiterà di continui ammodernamenti. Nonostante ciò – conferma Analisi Difesa – l’Italia avrà una «sovranità limitata» sugli stessi F-35 della propria aeronautica. Una legge statunitense vieta che i «dati di missione» (i software di gestione dei sistemi di combattimento dei caccia) siano comunicati ad altri. Saranno dunque  gli Usa a controllare gli F-35 italiani, predisposti per l’uso delle nuove bombe nucleari B61-12 che il Pentagono schiererà contro la Russia, al posto delle attuali B-61, sul nostro territorio «nazionale».

Manlio Dinucci

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The Grenada Revolution Can Teach Us About People’s Power

octobre 25th, 2016 by Dr. Ajamu Nangwaya

The collapse of the Grenadian Revolution on 19 October 1983[1] should be carefully examined for the lessons that it might offer to organizers in the Caribbean who are currently organizing with the labouring classes. If the working-class shall be the architect of its liberation, the process of revolution-making should enable them to fulfill that role. Fundamental change should not be the outcome of a vanguard force that usurps the initiative of the people. Self-emancipation of the people, as advocated by Walter Rodney and C. L. R. James, is the prudent and humanistic approach to struggle, if “all power to the people” is not simply an exercise in empty sloganeering.

The Grenadian Revolution of 1979-1983 was the most significant revolutionary political development or experimentation in the post-independence Anglophone Caribbean. This Caribbean revolution broke away from the inherited Westminster political governance of British imperialism and embraced the ideological path of revolutionary state socialism. The latter path was a rejection of capitalism that is associated with genocide, slavery, indentureship and continued neocolonialism in the Caribbean.

Ken Boodhoo makes this assessment of the legacy of the Grenadian Revolution: “The 1979-1983 experiment in Grenada will undoubtedly be regarded by historians as one of the major progressive mile-stones in the region’s history.”[2] This revolution was the result of centuries of resistance to capitalist exploitation, anti-African racism, oppression of women and European domination in the Caribbean.[3] This Grenadian Revolution was greeted with enthusiasm and solidarity within the ranks of progressive forces across the Americas.

Unfortunately, internal conflicts over political direction and organisational leadership structures and practices within the New Jewel Movement (NJM) between its two major leaders, Prime Minister Maurice and Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard, led to a palace coup and the disarming of the revolution and the people.[4]

On 19 October 1983, the army fired on the people, executed Bishop and other leaders (Jacqueline Creft, Norris Bain, Fitzroy Bain, Unison Whiteman and Vincent Noel) and imposed a four-day round-the-clock curfew on the country. The leaders and civilians were murdered after the people released Bishop from house arrest and stormed Fort Rupert, the army’s headquarters.

The Revolutionary Military Council was declared the new sheriff in town on 20 October 1983 and the people were effectively chased away from the staging of history as its principal actors.[5] This repressive development officially communicated to the people that power was never located in their mass organizations and workers, zonal, and parish councils, the erstwhile grassroots democratic organs of the Grenadian Revolution. The men and women at the top of the NJM’s organisational food chain, a distinct minority, were and have always been the effective rulers of revolutionary Grenada, notwithstanding the leadership’s claim that it was constructing a system wherein the people are the decision-makers.[6]

The means that we use to pursue or achieve revolutionary outcomes will unavoidably shape the processes, relations, programmes and political, economic and social institutions in the emancipated society. When some revolutionaries dismiss the general operationalising of the notion “the end justifies the means” or “by any means necessary,” their concerns or critiques extend beyond an action that might not be guided by a moral code of action.

These revolutionaries are preoccupied with the real fear that the means unguided by strict moral or ethical guidelines could undermine the goals and practices that are the foundation of the very society being pursued by the forces of human emancipation. With respect to the Grenadian Revolution, authoritarian means could not have given birth to the following end – the self-emancipation of the people. Effective control, initiative and power must be in the hands of the working-class in order for it to carry out the tasks associated with the development of a socialist society.

The NJM mimicked the organizational processes, structures and beliefs and spirit of the Leninist model of organising the people for revolution. It went in this direction after the failure of the series of mass protest actions of 1974 and January 1975 to overthrow the entrenched, authoritarian and repressive Eric Gairy regime, even with one mass protest that attracted 20,000 participants. The expected spontaneous uprising of the masses did not materialize and the NJM looked for other models of fomenting a successful insurrection.

After 1974, the NJM embraced the idea and practice of the Leninist vanguard party with its restrictive and exacting membership criteria, a hierarchical, commandist organisational structure and a conspiratorial, secretive ethos.[7] This approach to the exercise of power was maintained during the tenure of the People’s Revolutionary Government of 1979-1983.

During the present period of struggle, it is critically important for organisers to centre self-emancipation or the people taking centre stage in the theorizing and practical actions that are executed in the movements for peace, dignity, justice, respect and socialism. The Grenadian Revolution has taught us that power-from-above as expressed through a vanguard party and an all-powerful state coupled with community-based consultative structures is not a substitute for the direct exercise of power by the working-class and other oppressed groups.

Based on the accumulated experience of the working-class with revolutionary or radical parties that have captured state power, it should be clear that the power to make the final economic, social and political decisions are usually sequestered in the hands of the politicians, party bosses and the bureaucracy. Today’s organisers cannot ignore the fact that top-down decision-making structures are a fundamental character of the state. The preceding state of affairs is hostile to the possibility of the people shaping the decisions that impact their lives.

The revolutionary socialist or communist society will be a stateless one. If means are ends in a state of becoming that which is self-consciously desired or planned, the state with its hierarchy, centralist nature and power-from-above tendencies cannot serve as the instrument for engendering socialism. Since 1917 to today, we have almost one hundred years of revolutionary history to examine the capacity of the state to engender the self-organisation of the masses. The venerable Caribbean Marxist C. L. R. James was also skeptical of the ability of the state to promote socialism with the self-management of the people over the workplace and the rest of society’s critical institutions.[8]

The programmes, projects and institutions that emerge from the organising work of the revolutionary organizers in the Caribbean should reflect the participatory democratic or self-emancipatory principles and practices that will be found in the future socialist or communist society. The organisations and institutions of the labouring classes should be laboratories that prepare the people for the communist or anarchist society that will be classless, stateless and self-organised by the people.

Therefore, as we organise against the exploitative and alienating nature of the capitalist workplace, the revolutionary organisers and the people must embrace labour self-management as a way to get the working-class ready for a society in which capital is under the control of the workers. This self-organization or self-emancipatory philosophy, attitude and beliefs should be extended to all areas of activities in the organising that is done in the Caribbean and the rest of the Americas.

The Grenadian Revolution has made it clear that the hierarchically organized and centralist vanguard party and the overwhelming power imbalance between the state and civil society will not give birth to a socialist society that is defined by the self-emancipation of the labouring classes. Imperialism’s acts of aggression and destabilization cannot serve as an excuse to not actualize the self-organization of the masses.

Notes

[1] The violent seizure of power by a faction of the New Jewel Movement and disarming of the labouring classes provided the pretext for the invasion and destruction of the Grenadian Revolution by the United States on 25 October 1983.

[2] Ken I. Boodhoo, The Grenada Revolution: Rationale for Failure and Lessons for the Caribbean (Dialogue #61) (1986). LACC Occasional papers series. Dialogues (1980 – 1994), Paper 8: 29.

[3] David Hinds, “The Grenadian Revolution and the Caribbean Left: The Case of Guyana’s Working People’s Alliance,” Journal of Eastern Caribbean Studies, 35, 3 and 4 (2010): 76.

[4] Brian Meek’s argue in his book Caribbean Revolutions and Revolutionary Theory: An Assessment of Cuba, Nicaragua and Grenada (Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2001 [1993]) that no sharp ideological differences existed between Bishop and Coard with respect to their commitment to Leninism and socialism. The political conflict was centred upon the role of the principal leader and the party in the process of the revolution’s activities (pp. 170-74).

[5] Steve Clark, “The Second Assassination of Maurice Bishop,” New International: A Magazine of Marxist Politics and Theory, no. 6 (1987): 62-63.

[6] Tony Martin, Ed, In Nobody’s Backyard: The Grenada Revolution in its Own Words, Volume I: The Revolution at Home, (Dover, Massachusetts: The Majority Press, 1983), 58-61.

[7] Tennyson S D Joseph, “C.L.R. James’ Theoretical Concerns and the Grenada Revolution: Lessons for the Future,” Journal of Eastern Caribbean Studies, 35, 3 and (2010): 15-18; Meeks, Caribbean Revolutions, 149-52.

[8] Tennyson S D Joseph, “C.L.R. James’ Theoretical Concerns,” 6-9. 

Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D., is an organizer, writer and a lecturer at the University of the West Indies.

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USA/Otan – Pactes clairs, sujétion longue

octobre 25th, 2016 by Manlio Dinucci

Après avoir appelé les Italiens à voter Oui au référendum[1], 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 ».

Il ne fait aucun doute que les pactes soient clairs, et avant tout le Pacte atlantique qui soumet l’Italie aux USA. Le Commandant suprême allié en Europe est toujours nommé par le Président des Etats-Unis d’Amérique et tous les autres commandements clé sont aux mains des USA.

Après la fin de la guerre froide, à la suite de la désagrégation de l’URSS, Washington affirmait l’«importance fondamentale de préserver l’Otan comme canal de l’influence et de la participation étasuniennes dans les affaires européennes, en empêchant la création de dispositifs uniquement européens qui mineraient la structure de commandement de l’Alliance», c’est-à-dire le commandement étasunien. Concept réaffirmé par le secrétaire de l’Otan, Stoltenberg dans la récente table ronde sur la « grande idée d’Europe » : « Nous devons assurer que le renforcement de la défense européenne ne constitue pas un doublon de l’Otan, qu’il ne devienne pas une alternative à l’Otan ». Garantie de cela : le fait que 22 des 28 pays de l’Ue (21 sur 27 après la sortie de la grande-Bretagne) font partie de l’Otan sous commandement USA, reconnue par l’Union européenne comme « fondement de la défense collective ».

La politique extérieure et militaire de l’Ue est ainsi fondamentalement subordonnée à la stratégie étasunienne, sur laquelle convergent les puissances européennes dont les conflits d’intérêt se re-compactent quand entre en jeu leur intérêt fondamental : conserver la domination de l’Occident, de plus en plus vacillant face à l’émergence de nouveaux sujets étatiques et sociaux. Il suffit de penser que l’Organisation de Shanghai pour la coopération, née de l’accord stratégique sino-russe, dispose de ressources capables d’en faire la plus grande aire économique intégrée du monde.

Dans le cadre de la stratégie USA/Otan -documente la Maison Blanche- l’Italie se distingue comme « allié solide et actif des Etats-Unis ». Le démontre le fait que «l’Italie abrite plus de 30 mille militaires et fonctionnaires civils du Département USA de la défense dans des sites déployés dans tout le pays ».

En même temps l’Italie est « partenaire des USA pour la sécurité mondiale », en fournissant des forces militaires et des financements pour une vaste gamme de « défis » : au Kosovo, Afghanistan, Irak, Libye, Syrie, Baltique et ailleurs, partout où a été et se trouve engagée la machine de guerre USA/Otan.

Un ultime fait confirme ce qu’est le rapport USA-Italie : sont en train d’arriver à la base d’Amendola dans les Pouilles, probablement le 8 novembre, les deux premiers des 90 chasseurs F-35 de l’étasunienne Lockheed Martin, que l’Italie s’est engagée à acheter.

Le coût de la participation italienne au programme F-35, en tant que partenaire de second niveau, est officiellement quantifié dans la Loi de stabilité 2016 : 12 milliards 356 millions d’euros d’argent public, plus d’autres dépenses pour les modifications continues au chasseur qui n’est pas encore pleinement opérationnel et nécessitera des mises à jour continues. Malgré cela -confirme Analisi Difesa–  l’Italie aura une « souveraineté limitée » sur les F-35 de sa propre aéronautique. Une loi étasunienne interdit que les « données de mission » (les software de gestion des systèmes de combat des chasseurs) soient communiqués à d’autres. Ce seront donc les USA qui contrôleront les F-35 italiens, prédisposés à l’utilisation des nouvelles bombes nucléaires B61-12 que le Pentagone basera contre la Russie, à la place des actuelles B-61, sur notre territoire « national ».

 Manlio Dinucci

Edition de mardi 25 septembre 2016 de il manifesto :

Italia USA

Patti chiari, sudditanza lungaL’arte della guerra

 

Traduit de l’italien par Marie-Ange Patrizio


[1] https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Référendum_constitutionnel_de_2016_en_Italie

Manlio Dinucci est géographe et journaliste. Il a une chronique hebdomadaire “L’art de la guerre” au quotidien italien il manifesto. Parmi ses derniers livres:  Geocommunity (en trois tomes) Ed. Zanichelli 2013; Geolaboratorio, Ed. Zanichelli 2014;Se dici guerra…, Ed. Kappa Vu 2014.

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The Charter of the United Nations opens with the words:  “Determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought sorrow to mankind.” 

This week the United Nations General Assembly will vote on Resolution A/C.1/71/L.41 which states:

“12.  Calls upon States participating in the conference to make their best endeavours to conclude as soon as possible a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.” 

The glacial speed with which General Assembly resolutions are implemented is notorious.  This new resolution, entitled “Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations” can be considered, at least, cosmetic progress.

Nevertheless,  General Assembly resolutions do not have the force and legally binding status of Security Council resolutions, nor the capacity to impose sanctions or further punitive measures in case of violation.

 

Ignoring its own “determined” words, the United Nations still appears to be conspicuously in denial of the deadly trajectory that the US, the UK and Germany are spearheading, as the US invests one trillion dollars in development of advanced nuclear weapons in coming years.  This investment is paid for by US citizens who are currently enduring increasing poverty, economic inequality, homelessness, astronomical increases in the cost of education (which makes advanced education prohibitively expensive, and, indeed inaccessible for many Americans), inadequate health care, infrastructure deterioration, etc.

The UK announced a 60 billion dollar investment in upgrading nuclear weapons, as their own citizens also endure a deplorably lowered standard of living, and Germany has been applauded by NATO countries for its recently announced 150 billion dollar investment in a military buildup.

It defies comprehension that the mere mention of the problems created by grossly increased investment in nuclear weapons causes many United Nations officials to squirm, and at best give lip service to disarmament, while simultaneously delivering bellicose statements at the Security Council, demonizing Russia and the tiny DPRK as justification for this astronomically profitable increased investment in the deadliest of all weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons.

When I have raised questions, with some United Nations officials, concerning the implication of the huge investments in nuclear weapons by NATO states,  some reply defensively that the subject of reduction of military budgets “threatens certain powerful interests,” and one official more candidly replied that this problem of nuclear weapons buildup cannot be resolved as long as the present ideological conflicts exist.

Throughout over one hundred meetings held during the first week of the 71 Session of the General Debate, at which most Heads of State and Heads of Government were present, from September 19 through September 24, there were, of course, numerous laudable meetings on Gender Equality, Climate Change, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, Refugee and Migrant Crisis, Public-Private Partnerships, Progress Toward LGBT Equality, and of course the inevitable contentious Security Council harangues on Syria, all of which are important subjects of great concern to all 193 member states of the UN.

However, during that first Star-Studded week not one meeting focused upon the imperative need for nuclear disarmament and the threat that the renewed nuclear arms race poses to the survival of the human species and to all other living species on the planet, including the dangers of a nuclear winter which will obliterate all progress made on the hundreds of issues which were attended to and by the highest government officials in the world.  Though on September 23 there were meetings on “Alliance of Civilizations,” and “Activating the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, “Open Government Partnership,” etc., there was only one meeting on September 21 at 11:30AM, the “Eighth Ministerial Meeting of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Finally, it was only after the highest level government officials had left, at the very end of the General Debate, on September 26, in commemoration of the “International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons,” that an “informal” meeting was held,  almost as an afterthought, addressing what should have earlier been a top priority.    The few remaining higher level government officials and permanent representatives finally addressed the subject of the “Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons,” and the outrage of the current potential victims of this horrifically unjust global nuclear imbalance, (where a few nuclear armed states have the power to demolish the entire world), was finally expressed.

It is stupefying that nuclear weapons, the most destructive of all weapons, are the only weapon of mass destruction which have never been subjected to a legally binding treaty prohibiting their use and prohibiting their possession.  The delegations of South Africa, Morocco, Chile, and innumerable other non-nuclear weapon states deplored the fact that there is no international instrument banning nuclear weapons.  Where there has been an alphabet soup of partial and paltry attempts to control the use of nuclear weapons, including the CTBE, the NPT, START, SALT, ABM treaties, etc., the fact that nuclear weapons not only still exist, but are actually being upgraded at exorbitant cost, financially, psychologically politically geo-strategically, socially, is a global crime, and the failure of the United Nations to successfully address this problem is so great that it may ultimately result in  the violation of the United Nations pledge to save humanity from the “scourge of war” that the United Nations was created to prevent.

Among the most powerful speeches at that September 26 meeting for the “Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons” was the address given by H.E. Ambassador Olof Skoog of Sweden, who stated:

“We cannot continue to commemorate the victims of nuclear weapons year after year while at the same time accepting that these weapons still remain in existence.  Sweden’s position is clear.  The only guarantee that these weapons will never be used again is their total elimination…My Government is deeply concerned by the lack of progress in nuclear disarmament.  While we should be seeing real progress on disarmament, in reality 16,000 nuclear weapons remain in the world, each and every one of them posing a real threat to humanity.  There is a risk that these weapons could be used by accident, miscalculation or design.  Rather than engaging in disarmament, we see that the states possessing nuclear weapons are modernizing design.    Some states even talk about using them and some are expanding their nuclear arsenals.  All this is utterly unacceptable.  It is also economically irrational.  Consider the cost of these weapons and put it next to the constant shortfalls in financing for development and humanitarian needs.  A truly mind-boggling discrepancy….During the past years there has been a serious and dangerous loss of momentum and direction in disarmament and non-proliferation efforts.”

On Friday, October 14, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons gave a briefing at the United Nations Correspondents Association, and stated:  “a cross-regional group of nations formally submitted a draft resolution to the First Committee of the UN General Assembly to establish a mandate for negotiations in 2017 on a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.  …More than 100 nations participated in the working group, with an overwhelming majority expressing their support for the prohibition of nuclear weapons as a first step towards elimination.…Most nations agree the prohibition of nuclear weapons is the only appropriate course of action in light of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of their use.”

On October 10, Ambassador Wang Qun, Director-General of the Arms Control Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China stated at the First Committee 71 Session:

“China has always stood for complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, and adhered to the policy of no-first use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstance.”  (China’s is not an economy seeking the massive profits which the military-industrial complex provides its supporters in the United States .  Indeed, investment in the military distorts the very socialist basis on which the Chinese economy rests.)   The Soviet Union had also stated their commitment to “no-first use of nuclear weapons,” and had hoped to invest their resources in social programs, but since its collapse, and capitalist Russia’s current encirclement by hostile NATO powers in the West, and the THAAD missile system in the East, Russia has, inevitably, abandoned that no-first use policy.  Perhaps if the United States was committed to a “no-first use” of nuclear weapons, there might be hope of reaching a nuclear free world.

If the General Assembly this week adopts L.41, leading toward a legally binding instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons, that may, at least, make possible the stigmatization of nations investing huge sums of their budgets in modernization of nuclear weapons.  However, it remains to be seen whether stigmatization will have the power to persuade such weapons manufacturers as Lockheed, Northrup-Grumman, etc., to forego the exponential profits they are accruing from the manufacturing of advanced nuclear weapons, and the even more gargantuan profits they will reap from using these monstrous weapons in a war.  Are they oblivious to the consequences of this trajectory?

Carla Stea is Global Research’s Correspondent at United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY.

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The Green Party in the U.S. is a « Movement Party »

octobre 25th, 2016 by Ann Garrison

David Cobb is the campaign manager of the Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka. I spoke to him on October 22, 2016.

Ann Garrison: David Cobb, most people who’ve even considered voting for Jill Stein are familiar with her platform now, with the Green New Deal, the peace offensive and the idea that « We don’t need no friggiin’ wall; we just need to stop invading other countries. » What they may not understand is the significance of the five percent goal, the goal of getting five percent nationally in this election. Can you explain that?

David Cobb: Yes, Ann. First we have to understand that, if the Green Party receives five percent of the overall vote nationally, we will qualify for a minimum of $10 million for matching funds for the next election cycle. The Stein/Baraka campaign will finish this campaign probably raising something between four to five million dollars. So imagine starting a campaign with more money than we raised during this entire election cycle. That’s what we’re talking about. And it’s not just about the money. It’s also about the apparatus and institution building, because we are running a campaign to guarantee being on the ballot in the next election cycle. Each state has different ballot access laws, but we are focusing our effort, focusing our energy, focusing our candidate time on those states where we can maintain ballot access. So the point I’m making is that the Green Party strategy is about building an apparatus for the future.

We’re not merely a protest vote, we’re a movement vote. We are preparing to take and exercise state power. We know that this struggle must be protracted, this cannot happen in just one election cycle. A political revolution is absolutely necessary in this country, but a political revolution cannot be run, r-u-n, in just one election cycle. And a political revolution cannot be won, w-o-n, by any one candidate or two candidates, no matter how good she or they are. A real political revolution requires sustained effort over time, an understanding of how power operates, an understanding of the historic moment that we’re in, an understanding of a shared political analysis around race and gender and class and sexual orientation, and understanding of social, political and economic institutions. You see, the Green Party is a serious, credible revolutionary force and I’m inviting people to think about the Green Party differently than they may have before this campaign.

AG: As a bunch of tree huggers.

DC: Hahahaha.  Ann, there’s worse things to hug than trees!

AG: Good point. Like maybe Wall Street and the military industrial complex. Now I want to know about the ten million dollars. Would it go into the party’s infrastructure?

DC: That money would be available for the candidate and the party, for the party’s convention and for the party’s nominee. So there are multiple ways the party would be able to leverage that five percent and we would be able to leverage it.

AG: A lot of the complaints about the Green Party are that it doesn’t spend enough time and money on its local infrastructure, on local party building, local elections, that it just runs a candidate for president every four years.

DC: Well, let’s first actually dispel that myth. The realty is that there are approximately 400,000 registered Greens and Green Party members across this country. The second thing is that there have been thousands, literally thousands, of Green Party local candidates in the last eight years. The Greens have elected hundreds of people to office at the local level, and Greens win about 34% of the time that we run in local elections. So please do not allow independent media to repeat a myth that the corporate media creates. The Green Party is actually very involved in local elections, and Greens are very involved in multiple movements for peace, justice, democracy and ecology across this country. The problem has been that Greens have not been seen being Green, but Greens are usually on the front lines of most of the social justice and social change efforts in this country.

AG: As Jill Stein surrogate YahNé Ndgo said, the Green Party is a party of activists.

DC: There’s no doubt. We aim to be the electoral arm of the social movements that so many of our members are engaged in.

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The elephant in the room is now visible to everyone. All the developments of the past years, from the extreme violence and cynicism of the “memoranda of understanding” imposed upon Greece to the decision of the British referendum in favour of Brexit, point to the same direction: the deep crisis of European Integration. It was supposed to be the most advanced example of economic and political integration and the first successful introduction of a single currency in such a broad area. It presented itself as a paragon of stability and human rights. Yet the reality is very different.

Faced with the global capitalist crisis of 2007-8 not only did the EU not find a means to react and protect European economies from the fall-out of the crisis, but the embedded austerity of the European project just made things worse. The global crisis was combined with the accentuated contradictions and structural inequality of the Eurozone to create a true recipe for destruction, leading to extreme social crisis in the European South and intensifying recession tendencies in the global economy.

Faced with the debt-crisis of most European countries, with Greece as the most notable case, the EU answered with increased indebtedness and using the debt crisis as the excuse for the biggest experiment in neoliberal social engineering of past decades, an attempt to dismantle social rights won with the struggles of decades.

Something Rotten at the Heart of Europe

Faced with an open legitimization crisis, exemplified in the fact that almost all democratic processes, in which the people actually had a say, were against further integration, the answer of European elites has been the insistence on ‘bureaucratic caesarism’, to use the phrase of Durand and Keucheyan. This was expressed in the most cynical manner in Jean-Claude Juncker’s infamous phrase “there is no democratic choice against the European treaties.”

Faced with increased American aggression and attempts toward a “New Cold War,” exemplified in aggressive geopolitical moves from the part of American imperialism, the EU has been even more immersed in the politics of “Euro-Atlanticism” such as sanctions against Russia.

Faced with the refugee crisis, the EU has opted for the murderous policies of “Fortress Europe,” making the tragedy even worse, with thousands of dead refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean showing the true and very ugly face of Europe.

Faced with the new conditions in Europe and the fact that important segments of the working classes in European countries are not of European origin, the answer of the EU and European governments has been a return to the darkest traditions of colonialism and racism, leading to the current wave of anti-immigrant, anti-refugee policies and the increasing ideological climate of intolerance, chauvinism and islamophobia.

And faced with the fact, obvious to everybody, that after a referendum the world’s fifth largest economy decided to leave the EU, the reaction has been a collective “burying of the head in the sand” instead of a facing up to the reality that “there is something rotten at the heart of Europe.”

All these attest to the deep crisis of the European project. However, at the same time we know very well the class forces that will continue to support it. Despite the fact that European policies have not managed to reverse austerity and the economic crisis, the bourgeoisies are happy with the neoliberal discipline imposed upon societies by means of the euro and rules of European economic governance. Even the bourgeoisies of the lesser developed countries accept these difficulties as the price to pay for the advantages of reduced labour cost, mass privatization, flexible labour and anti-union laws. European corporations, especially of the European centre take advantage of the unified market but also of the fact that they can invest in those countries that are being turned into “special economic zones,” without labour rights, social or environmental protection, Greece being the example that easily comes to mind.

A Socialist Strategy

Therefore, it is more than obvious that the only possible progressive, radical, socialist answer is a strategy for exit from the euro and the EU. Some years ago, perhaps there was some excuse for those that still had illusions about the possibility to change the EU from within or to suggest plans for ‘another’ EU, with ‘another’ euro and ‘another’ ECB. After the crisis and in particular after the Greek experience, we all know that this is impossible. The EU cannot be reformed. It was never designed to be reformed. It was from the beginning an attempt toward safeguarding capitalist social relations and accumulation, by means of reduced sovereignty and the embedded neoliberalism of the euro. Therefore, the only left strategy is that of exit. Left Europeanism has been and still is the high point of the defeat of the Left in Europe, the most visible result of bourgeois ideological and political hegemony inside the Left.

Some people on the Left still say ‘yes, but what about the Far-Right?’ I will say it in very simple terms: the rise of the Far-Right with its ersatz “Euroscepticism” has been the result of the strategic deficits of the Left and its inability to be the leading political force in the struggle against the EU, ceding political and ideological space to the reactionary, xenophobic and deeply systemic forces of the Far Right, political forces who in reality actually support the EU. It was the Left that let a position, historically belonging to the Left, namely the refusal of European Integration, to be hijacked by the Far-Right. Moreover, if one wants to realize where does left Europeanism lead to, the answer is very simple: Tsipras. The limit of left Europeanism is capitulation to the EU, its austerity and capitalist restructuring.

So, what is important? The task we face is exactly to create a new relation of forces inside the European Left, in favour of a strategy of exit, by opening up the debate and coordinating all the forces that are in favour of ‘Left exit’, both at the national and at the European level.

And yes this is something that has to be done by political forces and movements that refer to the Left, that refer to the working class movement, that have an anticapitalist and anti-imperialist line, that have a socialist perspective, that want the exit to be part of a strategy for social emancipation, that want to create new “historical blocs” of the forces of labour, of knowledge and of culture under the hegemony of the working class.

Today, it would be a great error to say that we have to move beyond the distinction between Right and Left. No, the divide is active. Not, in the sense of ‘self-proclaimed’ identity, as parties like Syriza do, but in the sense of the actual divide between the working class and in general the subaltern classes and the capitalists. Saying that the Right-Left divide is irrelevant, only helps the Far Right which uses the same rhetoric. We must reclaim the very notion of the Left and make it again synonymous with struggle, justice and emancipation.

Popular Sovereignty

To do this we must say that yes sovereignty matters and that reduced sovereignty and transfer of authority from nation-states to transnational organizations such as the EU has been part of the capitalist and neoliberal attack upon societies. When we talk about sovereignty we talk about democracy. This why we must insist on the necessary reclaiming of popular sovereignty as a strategic goal of the Left. And popular sovereignty is not just simply about institutional arrangement, nor does it imply some naive belief in bourgeois parliamentarism. It has to do with democracy as ability of the subaltern to impose their collective will and change the course of history of a certain historical formation. Popular sovereignty in this sense has to do with power and the social bloc that exercises it.

European Integration is not the perverse form of a cosmopolitanism or internationalism; it is the actual nationalism of capital. The euro is the nationalism of capital. The recuperation of monetary sovereignty that represents a form of popular internationalism.

Popular sovereignty has nothing to do with nationalism or social-chauvinism. In contrast, we need to rethink the very notion of the people as the alliance and unity and common struggle of the subaltern, regardless of ethnicity or religion. This new conceptualization of the people can be much more inclusive in reality and is our answer to the reactionary investment of the Far Right upon imaginary “national identities” and myths of “common origin” and “blood.” Our conception of the people as a collective subject in struggle, as alliance in struggle, as unity along class lines and political strategies, can create new forms of belonging that have nothing to do with nationalism and racism but can actually offer societies a new and emancipatory form of unity and ‘coherence’.

To do this we also need to articulate the strategy for rupture with a transition program, as an alternative narrative for societies. We need to rethink the transition program as a strategy of reclaiming sovereignty and democratic control against the Eurozone, the EU and in general the systemic violence of internationalized capital, and at the same time as initiating a profound process of social transformation, based upon public ownership, self-management and democratic and participatory planning, as a process of experimentation, based upon the collective ingenuity of a people in struggle, in a radical and social horizon. Exiting the Euro and the EU should not be considered just a step toward a more favourable macro-economic condition; the pervasive effects of European Integration and their devastating results upon the productive base of society make a socialist orientation a necessity and not a luxury, in contrast to the traditional reformism and economism of the Left. In this sense, it is imperative to rethink socialism beyond both social-democracy and bureaucratic state socialism, that is to rethink it as a transition process, full of conflicts and struggles in order to expand the ‘traces of communism’ already emerging in collective aspirations and demands for a social organization freed of the rule of capital.

We need to go beyond any conception of the State as a neutral instrument. Contemporary capitalist states, especially within processes of integration such as the EU that are based upon ceding aspects of sovereignty, bear the marks of the most aggressive neoliberal strategies. A new form of radical left governance must begin with profound transformations of the state, by means of a Constituent Process, in order to facilitate new forms of democracy, worker’s control and restrictions upon the activities of capital. At the same time, it has to be based upon the strength of the autonomous movements that have to be independent of the State and always pressing for more radical changes. Otherwise, the neoliberal and capitalist logic already inscribed in the material configuration of the state and the institutional networks and decision processes inside it will take precedent.

Despite the tragic condition of the European Left, we need not despair. The new conjuncture with all the elements of the crisis of European Union creates new opportunities for a refoundation of the Left based upon the centrality of the rupture with the “European road.” We must seize this opportunity and work toward this target, beginning with coordinating all the radical left anti-EU, anti-euro forces in Europe.

Panagiotis Sotiris teaches at the University of the Aegean. This article first appeared on his blog The Future Lasts a Long Time.

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There is a fundamental weakness in the peoples’ movement in the United States and that is the necessity for anti-imperialist internationalism.

The struggles against racism, national oppression and class exploitation cannot be separated from the need to end Washington’s and Wall Street’s interference in the internal affairs of most states throughout the world.

In order to win recognition in these monumental struggles it is heavily dependent upon the degree to which we can create widespread awareness of the plight of the people of color communities and the working class in general. There are efforts underway to achieve these objectives although much more work has to be done.

Racist State Violence

International consciousness in regard to the character of the U.S. state is growing immensely. This is in part due to the mass demonstrations and urban rebellions which have sprung up by and large spontaneously in response to the vigilante death of Trayvon Martin in 2012 and the not-guilty verdict handed down in the trial of George Zimmerman. When Zimmerman’s acquittal was announced it did more to turn public opinion domestically and internationally against institutions which devalue African American life and democratic rights. It was during this period that the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter began to trend. Since then there have been efforts to build BLM chapters across the U.S., spreading internationally into the United Kingdom and Latin America.

Later on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, 18-year-old Michael Brown was gunned down by a white police officer. Immediately demonstrations erupted in Ferguson both nonviolent and violent. These manifestations spread nationally bringing attention to the false notion that America had become a so-called “post-racial society” in the period following the election of President Barack Obama in 2008.

Obama, who was forced to address the problems of the “special oppression” of African Americans after the unrest in Ferguson, the situation of African Americans gained international attention prompting editorials in leading periodicals both in the U.S. and internationally questioning this false assertion of post-racialism.

The administration responded in its signature dubious fashion leaning in favor of maintaining the status-quo of national oppression. Obama, of course, gave his view of what “African Americans feel” and in the next instance denounces violence saying it will not accomplish anything. This is a blatant falsehood because the U.S. state was born in violence and maintains its existence through brute force and coercion inside the country and abroad.

What these developments further exposed was the failure of the Obama administration to not only have refused to address the special oppression of African Americans but to also advance a policy of public avoidance in the face of worsening social conditions.

It was the African American masses and other oppressed groups who suffered the brunt of the economic crisis beginning in 2007. Detroit was one of the hardest hit urban areas and when Obama came into office in 2009, there was considerable “false hope” that these difficulties would attract the attention of the White House and the-then majority Democratic House and Senate (2008-2010).

Subsequent rebellions and waves of mass demonstrations in the streets, campuses, and now athletic fields, have stripped the administration of any pretense of political legitimacy. Colin Kapernick and others within professional, college and high school sports settings illustrated that no matter how they are classified as “privileged”, the specter of racist violence remains within their purview. No matter how “privileged” these people are the threats from the armed agents of the state remains with them at all times. Racism is on the increase in the U.S. and the refusal of the ruling class and the capitalist state to advance any reforms in this regard speaks volumes about the current phases of imperialism and its public posture.

The Crisis of U.S. Capitalism and Its Global Implications

The degree to which the capitalist class can claim any semblance of a “recovery” is related to the expansion of low-wage labor and the mega-profits of transnational corporations. This is reinforced by the systematic defunding of public education, municipal services and environmental safeguards.

There are examples too numerous to outline within the context of this presentation. We could speak about the undemocratic system of emergency management and forced bankruptcy in Detroit and other Michigan cities that have majority African American populations. There is also the water crisis in Flint and the near collapse of public schools in Detroit, Highland Park, Inkster and other cities.

A nationally-coordinated movement led by trade unions demanding a minimum wage of $15 per hour is growing immensely across the country. People of all generations are working more for less money.

The prison-industrial-complex, now encompassing approximately 2.2 million people, with millions more under judicial and law-enforcement supervision, represents another form of super-exploitation and social containment that is connected to racial profiling and the unjust court system.

These are some of the principal issues we must take up in the U.S. Our internationalism must be informed by the specific conditions of the workers and oppressed and the movements that have sprung up in the last four years.

Drawing the Links Between Domestic Oppression and the International Situation

In conclusion we would like to point to some of the major areas of U.S. imperialist interventions and the need to make comparisons to what is happening domestically.

Perhaps the most profound crisis today of displacement is starkly revealed by the migration from North Africa into Southern Europe. This movement of dislocated persons has been documented by the United Nations Refugee Agency as the largest since the conclusion of World War II. There are 60 to 75 million people who have been internally and externally displaced in the modern world.

These forced removals stem directly from the foreign policy imperatives of war and economic exploitation engineered by Washington and Wall Street. The interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Libya, Yemen and Somalia are fueling underdevelopment and balkanization.

Many of these wars remain largely hidden from people in the U.S. Much of the social impact of these wars of regime-change and genocide are being manifested inside these geo-political regions and in Southern, Central and Eastern Europe.

Nonetheless, the crisis of imperialist war has its economic components. The overproduction of oil and other commodities are driving down prices and consequently engendering higher rates of joblessness, poverty, food deficits, class conflicts and civil war. Countries such as Somalia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria, rich in natural resources, land and strategic waterways are facing varying levels of recession, depression and further enslavement to international finance capital.

Finally, it is our task at present to point to the direct relationship between U.S. domestic and foreign policy. A policy of national oppression inside the U.S. is reflected in the military and economic destruction of countries from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, extending across Africa, the Middle East, the Asia–Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The problems we are facing in North America cannot be effectively tackled or solved independent of the people of the international community. The world’s peoples must unite in a program of anti-imperialism aimed at ending all forms of oppression and exploitation.

The above text is is a paper delivered at the ILPS U.S. Chapter national conference held on October 22, 2016 at Teamster City in Chicago, Illinois. The event was attended by several hundred delegates who participated in the panels, workshops and cultural presentations as well as an evening march through the Magnificent Mile retail district in the Loop opposing police brutality in honor of Laquan McDonald who was gunned down by the police prompting a citywide civil disobedience campaign during November and December 2015. The author attended the founding ILPS U.S. Chapter congress in May 2012 also held in Chicago. Azikiwe began his presentation acknowledging the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in October 1966.

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Washington’s ‘Pivot to Asia’: A Debacle Unfolding

octobre 25th, 2016 by Prof. James Petras

In 2012 President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter launched a new chapter in their quest for global dominance:  a realignment of policies designed to shift priorities from the Middle East to Asia.  Dubbed the ‘Pivot to Asia’, it suggested that the US would concentrate its economic, military and diplomatic resources toward strengthening its dominant position and undercutting China’s rising influence in the region.

The ‘pivot to Asia’ did not shift existing resources from the Middle East, it added military commitments to the region, while provoking more conflicts with Russia and China.

The “pivot to Asia” meant that the US was extending and deepening its regional military alliances in order to confront and encircle Russia and China.  The goal would be to cripple their economies and foster social unrest leading to political instability and regime change.

The US onslaught for greater empire depended on the cooperation of proxies and allies to accomplish its strategic goals.

The so-called ‘pivot to Asia’ had a two-pronged approach, based on an economic trading pact and various military treaty agreements.  The entire US strategy of retaining global supremacy depended on securing and enhancing its control over its regional allies and proxies.  Failure of the Obama regime to retain Washington’s vassal states would accelerate its decline and encourage more desperate political maneuvers.

Strategic Military Posturing

Without a doubt, every military decision and action made by the Obama Administration with regard to the Asia-Pacific Region has had only one purpose – to weaken China’s defense capabilities, undermine its economy and force Beijing to submit to Washington’s domination.

In pursuit of military supremacy, Washington has installed an advanced missile system in South Korea, increased its air and maritime armada and expanded its provocative activities along China’s coastline and its vital maritime trade routes.  Washington has embarked on a military base expansion campaign in Australia, Japan and the Philippines.

This explains why Washington pressured its client regime in Manila under the former President ‘Nonoy’ Aquino, Jr., to bring its territorial dispute with China over the Spratly Islands before a relatively obscure tribunal in Holland.  The European ruling, unsurprisingly in favor of Manila, would provide the US with a ‘legal’ cover for its planned aggression against China in the South China Sea.  The Spratly and Paracel Islands are mostly barren coral islands and shoals located within the world’s busiest shipping trade routes, explaining China’s (both Beijing and Taipei) refusal to recognize the ‘Court of Special Arbitration’.

Strategic Economic Intervention: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

The US authored and promoted Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) is a trade and investment agreement covering 12 Pacific countries designed to ensure US regional dominance while deliberately cutting out China.  The TPP was to be the linchpin of US efforts to promote profits for overseas US multi-nationals by undercutting the rules for domestic producers, labor laws for workers and environmental regulations for consumers.  As a result of its unpopular domestic provisions, which had alienated US workers and consumers, the electorate forced both Presidential candidates to withdraw their support for the TPP – what one scribbler for the Financial Times denounced as “the dangers of popular democracy”.  The Washington empire builders envisioned the TPP as a tool for dictating and enforcing their ‘rules’ on a captive Asia-Pacific trading system.  From the perspective of US big business, the TPP was the instrument of choice for retaining supremacy in Asia by excluding China.

The Eclipse of Washington’s “Asian Century”

For over seventy years the US has dominated Asia, ravaging the continent with two major wars  in Korea and Indo-China with millions of casualties, and multiple counter-insurgency interventions in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Timor, Myanmar, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  The strategic goal has been to expand its military and political power, exploit the economies and resources and encircle China and North Korea.

Under the Obama-Clinton-Kerry Regime, the imperial structures in Asia are coming apart.

Washington’s anti-China TPP is collapsing and has been replaced by the Chinese sponsored Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with over fifty member countries worldwide, including the ten nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASAEN), plus Australia, India, South Korea and New Zealand.  Of course, China is funding most of the partnership and, to no one’s surprise, Washington has not been invited to join…

As a result of the highly favorable terms in the RCEP, each and every current and former US ally and colony has been signing on, shifting trade allegiances to China, and effectively changing the configuration of power.

Already Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Indonesia have formalized growing economic ties with China.  The debacle of the TPP has just accelerated the shift toward China’s new trade pact (RCEP).  The US is left to rely on its ‘loyalist four’, a stagnant Japan, Australia, South Korea and its impoverished former colony, Philippines, to bolster its quest to militarily encircle China.

The Dangers of ‘Popular Democracy’: President Duterte’s Pivot to China and the End of US Supremacy in SE Asia?

For over a century (since the invasion of the Philippines in 1896), especially since the end of WWII, when the US asserted its primacy in Asia, Washington has used the strategic Philippine Archipelago as a trampoline for controlling Southeast Asia.  Control of the Philippines is fundamental to US Imperialism: Washington’s strategic superiority depends on its access to sea, air, communications and ground bases and operations located in the Philippines and a compliant Philippine ruling class..

The centerpiece of US strategy to encircle and tighten control over China’s maritime routes to and from the world-economy is the massive build-up of US military installations in the Philippines.

The US self-styled “pivot to Asia” involves locating five military bases directed at dominating the South China Sea.  The Pentagon expanded its access to four strategic air and one military base through the ‘Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement’ signed by the Philippine President Aquino in 2014 but held up by the Philippine Courts until April 2016.  These include:

(1) Antonio Bautista Airbase on the island of Palawan, located near the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

(2) Basa Airbase 40 miles northwest of the Philippines capital of Manila, overlooking the South China Sea.

(3) Lumbia Airbase located in the port of Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, a huge US facility under construction.

(4) Mactan – Benito Ebuen airbase located on Mactan Island off the coast of Cebu in the central Philippines.

(5) Fort Magsaysay located in Nueva Ecija, on Luzon, the Philippine Army’s Central Training and command center, its largest military installation which will serve the US as the training and indoctrination base for the Philippine army.

Pentagon planners had envisioned targeting Chinese shipping and air bases in the South China Sea from its new bases on western shores of the Philippines.  This essentially threatens the stability of the entire region, especially the vital Chinese trade routes to the global economy.

Washington has been intensifying its intervention in the South China Sea relying on decrees issued by its previous proxy President Benigno (Noynoy) Aquino, III (2010-2016).  These, however, were not ratified by the Congress and had been challenged by the Philippine Supreme Court.

Washington’s entire “pivot to Asia” has centered its vast military build-up on its access to the Philippines.  This access is now at risk.  Newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte, who succeeded Aquino in June 2016, is pursuing an independent foreign policy, with the aim of transforming the impoverished Philippines from a subservient US military colony to opening large-scale, long-term economic trade and development ties with China and other regional economic powers.  Duterte has openly challenged the US policy of using the Philippines to encircle and provoke China.

The Philippine “pivot to China” quickly advanced from colorful rhetoric to a major trade and investment meeting of President Duterte and a huge delegation of Philippine business leaders with his Chinese counterparts in Beijing in late October 2016.  During his first 3 months in office Duterte blasted Washington for meddling in his ongoing campaign against drug lords and dealers.  Obama’s so-called ‘concerns for human rights’ in the anti-drug campaign were answered with counter-charges that the US had accommodated notorious narco-politician-oligarchs to further its military base expansion program.  President Duterte’s war on drugs expanded well beyond the alleged US narco-elite alliance when he proposed two strategic changes: (1) he promised to end the US-Philippine sea patrols of disputed waters designed to provoke Beijing in the South China Sea; and (2) President Duterte announced he would end military exercises with Washington, especially in Mindanao, because they threatened China and undermined Philippine sovereignty.

President Duterte, in pursuit of his independent nationalist-agenda, has moved rapidly and decisively to strengthen the Philippines ‘pivot’ toward China, which in the context of Southeast Asia is really ‘normalizing’ trade and investment relations with his giant neighbor.  During the third week of October (2016) President Duterte, his political team and 250 business leaders met with China’s leaders to discuss multi-billion-dollar investment projects and trade agreements, as well as closer diplomatic relations.  The initial results, which promise to expand even more, are over $13 billion dollars in trade and critical infrastructure projects.  As the Philippine’s pivot to China advances, the quid pro quo will lead to a profound change in the politics and militarization of Southeast Asian.  Without total US control over the Philippines, Washington’s strategic arc of encirclement against China is broken.

According to a recent ruling by the Philippine Supreme Court, the controversial US military base agreement (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) imposed by the former President Aquino by fiat without congressional ratification can be terminated by the new President by executive order.  This ruling punches some major holes in what the Pentagon had considered its ‘ironclad’ stranglehold on the strategic Philippine bases.

The Duterte government has repeatedly announced its administration’s commitment to a program of economic modernization and social reconstruction for Philippine society.  That agenda can only be advanced through changes that include multi-billion dollar infrastructure investments, loans and technical cooperation from China, whereas remaining a backward US military colony will not only threaten their Asian economic partners, but will condemn the Philippines to yet another generation of stagnation and corruption.  Unique in Southeast Asia, the Philippines has long been mired in underdevelopment, forcing half of its qualified workforce to seek contract servitude abroad, while at home the society has become victims of drug and human trafficking gangs linked to the oligarchs.

Conclusion

Washington’s ‘pivot to Asia’, enshrined in its effort to corral the Asian countries into its anti-China crusade is not going as the Obama-Clinton-Kerry team had envisioned.  It is proving to be a major foreign policy debacle for the outgoing and (presumably) incoming US presidential administrations.  Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton has been forced to denounce the Transpacific Trade Partnership (TPP), one of her own pet projects when she was Secretary of State.  The Pentagon’s military base strategy stuck in a 1980’s time-warped vision of Southeast Asia is on the verge of imploding.    The Philippines, its former colony and vassal state, is finally turning away from its total subservience to US military dictates and toward greater independence and stronger regional ties to China and the rest of Asia.  Southeast Asia and the South China Sea are no longer part of a grand chessboard subject to Pentagon moves for domination.

In desperation, Washington may decide to resort to a military power grab– a coup in the Philippines, backed by a coalition of Manila-based oligarchs, narco-bosses and generals.  The problem with a precipitate move to ‘regime change’ is that Rodrigo Duterte is immensely popular with the Philippine electorate – precisely for the reasons that the Washington elite and Manila oligarchs despise him.  The mayor of Manila, Joseph Estrada, himself a former victim of a Washington-instigated regime change, has stated that any US backed coup will face a million-member mass opposition and the bulk of the nationalist middle and powerful Chinese-oriented business class.  A failed coup, like the disastrous coup in Venezuela in 2002 against Hugo Chavez could radicalize Duterte’s policy well beyond his staunchly nationalist agenda and further isolate the US.

See James Petras latest book from Clarity Press: ISBN: 978-0-9972870-5-9, $24.95 / 252 pp. / 2016 http://www.claritypress.com/PetrasVIII.html

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Washington’s ‘Pivot to Asia’: A Debacle Unfolding

octobre 25th, 2016 by Prof. James Petras

In 2012 President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter launched a new chapter in their quest for global dominance:  a realignment of policies designed to shift priorities from the Middle East to Asia.  Dubbed the ‘Pivot to Asia’, it suggested that the US would concentrate its economic, military and diplomatic resources toward strengthening its dominant position and undercutting China’s rising influence in the region.

The ‘pivot to Asia’ did not shift existing resources from the Middle East, it added military commitments to the region, while provoking more conflicts with Russia and China.

The “pivot to Asia” meant that the US was extending and deepening its regional military alliances in order to confront and encircle Russia and China.  The goal would be to cripple their economies and foster social unrest leading to political instability and regime change.

The US onslaught for greater empire depended on the cooperation of proxies and allies to accomplish its strategic goals.

The so-called ‘pivot to Asia’ had a two-pronged approach, based on an economic trading pact and various military treaty agreements.  The entire US strategy of retaining global supremacy depended on securing and enhancing its control over its regional allies and proxies.  Failure of the Obama regime to retain Washington’s vassal states would accelerate its decline and encourage more desperate political maneuvers.

Strategic Military Posturing

Without a doubt, every military decision and action made by the Obama Administration with regard to the Asia-Pacific Region has had only one purpose – to weaken China’s defense capabilities, undermine its economy and force Beijing to submit to Washington’s domination.

In pursuit of military supremacy, Washington has installed an advanced missile system in South Korea, increased its air and maritime armada and expanded its provocative activities along China’s coastline and its vital maritime trade routes.  Washington has embarked on a military base expansion campaign in Australia, Japan and the Philippines.

This explains why Washington pressured its client regime in Manila under the former President ‘Nonoy’ Aquino, Jr., to bring its territorial dispute with China over the Spratly Islands before a relatively obscure tribunal in Holland.  The European ruling, unsurprisingly in favor of Manila, would provide the US with a ‘legal’ cover for its planned aggression against China in the South China Sea.  The Spratly and Paracel Islands are mostly barren coral islands and shoals located within the world’s busiest shipping trade routes, explaining China’s (both Beijing and Taipei) refusal to recognize the ‘Court of Special Arbitration’.

Strategic Economic Intervention: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

The US authored and promoted Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) is a trade and investment agreement covering 12 Pacific countries designed to ensure US regional dominance while deliberately cutting out China.  The TPP was to be the linchpin of US efforts to promote profits for overseas US multi-nationals by undercutting the rules for domestic producers, labor laws for workers and environmental regulations for consumers.  As a result of its unpopular domestic provisions, which had alienated US workers and consumers, the electorate forced both Presidential candidates to withdraw their support for the TPP – what one scribbler for the Financial Times denounced as “the dangers of popular democracy”.  The Washington empire builders envisioned the TPP as a tool for dictating and enforcing their ‘rules’ on a captive Asia-Pacific trading system.  From the perspective of US big business, the TPP was the instrument of choice for retaining supremacy in Asia by excluding China.

The Eclipse of Washington’s “Asian Century”

For over seventy years the US has dominated Asia, ravaging the continent with two major wars  in Korea and Indo-China with millions of casualties, and multiple counter-insurgency interventions in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Timor, Myanmar, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  The strategic goal has been to expand its military and political power, exploit the economies and resources and encircle China and North Korea.

Under the Obama-Clinton-Kerry Regime, the imperial structures in Asia are coming apart.

Washington’s anti-China TPP is collapsing and has been replaced by the Chinese sponsored Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with over fifty member countries worldwide, including the ten nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASAEN), plus Australia, India, South Korea and New Zealand.  Of course, China is funding most of the partnership and, to no one’s surprise, Washington has not been invited to join…

As a result of the highly favorable terms in the RCEP, each and every current and former US ally and colony has been signing on, shifting trade allegiances to China, and effectively changing the configuration of power.

Already Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Indonesia have formalized growing economic ties with China.  The debacle of the TPP has just accelerated the shift toward China’s new trade pact (RCEP).  The US is left to rely on its ‘loyalist four’, a stagnant Japan, Australia, South Korea and its impoverished former colony, Philippines, to bolster its quest to militarily encircle China.

The Dangers of ‘Popular Democracy’: President Duterte’s Pivot to China and the End of US Supremacy in SE Asia?

For over a century (since the invasion of the Philippines in 1896), especially since the end of WWII, when the US asserted its primacy in Asia, Washington has used the strategic Philippine Archipelago as a trampoline for controlling Southeast Asia.  Control of the Philippines is fundamental to US Imperialism: Washington’s strategic superiority depends on its access to sea, air, communications and ground bases and operations located in the Philippines and a compliant Philippine ruling class..

The centerpiece of US strategy to encircle and tighten control over China’s maritime routes to and from the world-economy is the massive build-up of US military installations in the Philippines.

The US self-styled “pivot to Asia” involves locating five military bases directed at dominating the South China Sea.  The Pentagon expanded its access to four strategic air and one military base through the ‘Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement’ signed by the Philippine President Aquino in 2014 but held up by the Philippine Courts until April 2016.  These include:

(1) Antonio Bautista Airbase on the island of Palawan, located near the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

(2) Basa Airbase 40 miles northwest of the Philippines capital of Manila, overlooking the South China Sea.

(3) Lumbia Airbase located in the port of Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, a huge US facility under construction.

(4) Mactan – Benito Ebuen airbase located on Mactan Island off the coast of Cebu in the central Philippines.

(5) Fort Magsaysay located in Nueva Ecija, on Luzon, the Philippine Army’s Central Training and command center, its largest military installation which will serve the US as the training and indoctrination base for the Philippine army.

Pentagon planners had envisioned targeting Chinese shipping and air bases in the South China Sea from its new bases on western shores of the Philippines.  This essentially threatens the stability of the entire region, especially the vital Chinese trade routes to the global economy.

Washington has been intensifying its intervention in the South China Sea relying on decrees issued by its previous proxy President Benigno (Noynoy) Aquino, III (2010-2016).  These, however, were not ratified by the Congress and had been challenged by the Philippine Supreme Court.

Washington’s entire “pivot to Asia” has centered its vast military build-up on its access to the Philippines.  This access is now at risk.  Newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte, who succeeded Aquino in June 2016, is pursuing an independent foreign policy, with the aim of transforming the impoverished Philippines from a subservient US military colony to opening large-scale, long-term economic trade and development ties with China and other regional economic powers.  Duterte has openly challenged the US policy of using the Philippines to encircle and provoke China.

The Philippine “pivot to China” quickly advanced from colorful rhetoric to a major trade and investment meeting of President Duterte and a huge delegation of Philippine business leaders with his Chinese counterparts in Beijing in late October 2016.  During his first 3 months in office Duterte blasted Washington for meddling in his ongoing campaign against drug lords and dealers.  Obama’s so-called ‘concerns for human rights’ in the anti-drug campaign were answered with counter-charges that the US had accommodated notorious narco-politician-oligarchs to further its military base expansion program.  President Duterte’s war on drugs expanded well beyond the alleged US narco-elite alliance when he proposed two strategic changes: (1) he promised to end the US-Philippine sea patrols of disputed waters designed to provoke Beijing in the South China Sea; and (2) President Duterte announced he would end military exercises with Washington, especially in Mindanao, because they threatened China and undermined Philippine sovereignty.

President Duterte, in pursuit of his independent nationalist-agenda, has moved rapidly and decisively to strengthen the Philippines ‘pivot’ toward China, which in the context of Southeast Asia is really ‘normalizing’ trade and investment relations with his giant neighbor.  During the third week of October (2016) President Duterte, his political team and 250 business leaders met with China’s leaders to discuss multi-billion-dollar investment projects and trade agreements, as well as closer diplomatic relations.  The initial results, which promise to expand even more, are over $13 billion dollars in trade and critical infrastructure projects.  As the Philippine’s pivot to China advances, the quid pro quo will lead to a profound change in the politics and militarization of Southeast Asian.  Without total US control over the Philippines, Washington’s strategic arc of encirclement against China is broken.

According to a recent ruling by the Philippine Supreme Court, the controversial US military base agreement (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) imposed by the former President Aquino by fiat without congressional ratification can be terminated by the new President by executive order.  This ruling punches some major holes in what the Pentagon had considered its ‘ironclad’ stranglehold on the strategic Philippine bases.

The Duterte government has repeatedly announced its administration’s commitment to a program of economic modernization and social reconstruction for Philippine society.  That agenda can only be advanced through changes that include multi-billion dollar infrastructure investments, loans and technical cooperation from China, whereas remaining a backward US military colony will not only threaten their Asian economic partners, but will condemn the Philippines to yet another generation of stagnation and corruption.  Unique in Southeast Asia, the Philippines has long been mired in underdevelopment, forcing half of its qualified workforce to seek contract servitude abroad, while at home the society has become victims of drug and human trafficking gangs linked to the oligarchs.

Conclusion

Washington’s ‘pivot to Asia’, enshrined in its effort to corral the Asian countries into its anti-China crusade is not going as the Obama-Clinton-Kerry team had envisioned.  It is proving to be a major foreign policy debacle for the outgoing and (presumably) incoming US presidential administrations.  Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton has been forced to denounce the Transpacific Trade Partnership (TPP), one of her own pet projects when she was Secretary of State.  The Pentagon’s military base strategy stuck in a 1980’s time-warped vision of Southeast Asia is on the verge of imploding.    The Philippines, its former colony and vassal state, is finally turning away from its total subservience to US military dictates and toward greater independence and stronger regional ties to China and the rest of Asia.  Southeast Asia and the South China Sea are no longer part of a grand chessboard subject to Pentagon moves for domination.

In desperation, Washington may decide to resort to a military power grab– a coup in the Philippines, backed by a coalition of Manila-based oligarchs, narco-bosses and generals.  The problem with a precipitate move to ‘regime change’ is that Rodrigo Duterte is immensely popular with the Philippine electorate – precisely for the reasons that the Washington elite and Manila oligarchs despise him.  The mayor of Manila, Joseph Estrada, himself a former victim of a Washington-instigated regime change, has stated that any US backed coup will face a million-member mass opposition and the bulk of the nationalist middle and powerful Chinese-oriented business class.  A failed coup, like the disastrous coup in Venezuela in 2002 against Hugo Chavez could radicalize Duterte’s policy well beyond his staunchly nationalist agenda and further isolate the US.

See James Petras latest book from Clarity Press: ISBN: 978-0-9972870-5-9, $24.95 / 252 pp. / 2016 http://www.claritypress.com/PetrasVIII.html

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Manipulating Uprisings: Hungary 1956

octobre 25th, 2016 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

“Nobody foresaw it.  Nobody was ready for it – neither in Budapest, Moscow, Washington or anywhere else.” — Ralph Walter, Radio Free Europe executive, RFE, Oct 22, 2006

Magic, and tragic years, tend to fill the calendar of commemoration for central European patriots. There are religious intercessions; guiding symbols; omens.  Then there are the calamities, the crushing battles that empty entire classes and countries.

For Hungary, a country ever dreamy and mournful about such events, there are two notable disasters of rollicking value. There is Mohács 1526, where a good deal of the country’s aristocratic elite fell before the relentless Ottoman advance.  The event effectively gave the Hapsburgs the ascendency to the west, assuming the role of defender against the Turkish advance into Europe.

Then there is 1956, where the invaders assumed the form of Soviet tanks and a hundred thousand troops, precipitating the 200,000 refugees and the execution of then premier Imre Nagy two years later.  The turning point came on November 1, 1956.  Nagy decided that Hungary would exit the Warsaw Pact, declaring itself neutral.

The crushing force of the subsequent Soviet invasion traumatised the communist movement in Western Europe, stripping the ranks of various party branches while hardening others who felt that ideology needed tanks to back its strictures against the waverers. Behind the Iron Curtain, it was a warning to dissidents to play it by ear – and a resolutely acute one at that.

It also brought revolution into homes.  “Hungary 1956,” the late historian Eric Hobsbawm reminds us, “was the first insurrection brought directly into Western homes by journalists, broadcasters and cameramen, who flooded across the briefly breached Iron Curtain from Austria.”[1]

As with any such historical events, more tends to be made of less.  The initial protests were hardly premised on a back breaking revolution.  Inspired by anti-Soviet protests in Poland, thousands of students marched through Budapest sporting the famous “Sixteen Points” on October 23.

Central to these demands was a freeing up of Hungary from its labouring satellite status, entailing the withdrawal of Soviet troops, freer foreign policy, and free elections.  Then came the greater numbers, posing a direct challenge to the authority of the first secretary Ernő Gerő, the enthusiastic removal of Stalin’s statue, and fire from nerve wracked secret police.

As Charles Gati’s Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest and the 1956 Hungarian Revoltsuggests, “relatively few Hungarians actually fought against Soviet rule, and their ultimate aim was to reform the system, not to abolish it.”

Nor was there anything systematic or steely about the organisation of the protest.  Hungary’s doomed Imre Nagy was not as skilful as he might have been, despite showing courage before the proceedings arrayed against him.  If history takes place on a moving train, this particular one proved wobbly and uncertain.

Caught between the absolute aims of the fighters, and reassuring Moscow that their disruption might be kept minimal, Nagy failed to do both, a symptom of what Hobsbawm termed “heroic victimisation”.  Much of this had to do with the fact that the Hungarian Communist Party, by that point, was in tatters.

Misinformation and mishandling, in short, was everywhere.  Assertions that the Soviet leadership were compulsively “trigger happy” are dismissed by Gati.  There were concessions sought; there was a hope for a solution more reminiscent of Yugoslavia or Poland.  But it becomes increasingly hard to avoid the sense that historical actors, once unleased, have no sense of what can happen next. Folly tends to be a default outcome.

The other story was the interplay of the other side of the now thick curtain, which had only been momentarily pierced by the de-Stalinising rhetoric of Nikita Khrushchev.  Many of the Hungarian students laboured under some presumption that Western intervention in some guise, marshalled with US support, would take place.  Such outlets as Radio Free Europe fed the manna of presumed freedom to the “student movement”, as it was termed.

This was aided by the counter-revolutionary rhetoric of rollback, encouraged by initial US Cold War administrations keen to arrest, and repel Soviet influence. Like some radical mystique, Soviet rule was meant to melt into to the background before the idea of a popular uprising.

But the eyes of then US President Dwight D. Eisenhower were glued to another spectacle: that of the Anglo-French-Israeli attack on Egypt after the nationalisation of Suez by the Nasser regime.  The pretext for gradualism was set, with neither superpower too eager to place the other in direct line of potential nuclear conflict.

Such a train of events also supply current regimes with counterfeit political currency.  Acts become unvarnished in their heroism.  The government of Viktor Orbán has tended to be greedy in that regard, using historical shibboleths as readily as slogans.

The chance of commemorating 1956 after six decades was always going to be impossible.  “People who love their freedom,” he said on Sunday, “must save Brussels from Sovietization, from people who want to tell us who we should live with in our countries.”[2] Russian tanks had been replaced by Muslim immigrants and Brussels.

The opposition party Egyutt (Together) begged to differ, with several members attempting to interrupt this display of self-love.  Hundreds of whistles and red cards were distributed to assist heckling and disruption.

According to the party’s vice president, Péter Juhász, “Viktor Orbán’s policies are exactly the kind Hungarians rebelled against in 1956.”[3] While 1956 saw a revolt against the Soviet bloc’s Stalinist chill, with its glacial response, Juhász saw Orbán as getting all too warm with Moscow – literally, with the decision to permit Russian construction of nuclear reactors in Paks.  “Back then, Hungarians stood up to Soviet domination, while today Orbán has committed Hungary to Russia for decades.”

Orbán’s dog whistle world is set in hard blocs of culture and civilization, usually what he considers the better ones against the worst.  The refugee debate in Hungary took that turn when Orbán decided that foreboding fences rather than processing centres provided better solutions.  Besides, he insisted, Hungary was taking the lead again – this time against resurgent Ottomans and Islam. That’s historical Hungary for you: a self-touted figure part vanguard, and always, part heroic victim.

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

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Over the course of its history, the New York Times has reported on many American elections that have been rigged or stolen or are suspected of having been being rigged or stolen. For example, as a supporter of the black civil rights movement, the NY Times has many stories in its archives of elections rigged by disenfranchisement of black voters.

But this was when the NY Times was an independent voice before it became a whore for the Oligarchs who rule America. When the NY Times reported that black Americans could have no confidence in the integrity of American elections, the NY Times did not denounce itself for delegitimizing American democracy.

The NY Times forgot all of this when it published Max Fisher’s article yesterday. Fisher fished up “scholars” among the Hillary advocates, and they obligingly told him that Trump’s questioning of the integrity of American elections were the tactics of a would-be dictator who is at work delegitimizing democracy so that he can take over.

What Fisher and his “scholars” overlook is that the US government is already delegitimized in the eyes of the American population, as well as foreign populations. If the US government was not already delegitimized, Donald Trump would not have been successful in what, despite Trump’s damnation by the presstitutes, was an easy sweep-aside of the Establishment’s candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.

The US government is delegitimized, not only in the eyes of Americans, but also in the eyes of most of the world

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, their careers, their hopes, because corrupt bought-and-paid-for-Washington enabled Globalism to send the futures of the American people to China and India.

Millions of Americans lost their homes, because the corrupt Federal Reserve came down on the side of five “banks too big to fail” at the expense of the American people. Millions of Americans along with much of the world know that the US government has been slaughtering millions of peoples in seven countries based on lies, wasting not only countries and the lives of millions of peoples, but trillions of American dollars that Americans needed for their welfare. Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. Assad did not use chemical weapons.

Gaddafi was innocent of all the absurd charges that Washington used to destroy Libya, a country that had the most progressive social system on earth. Russia did not invade Ukraine. The Taliban had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11. Yet countries are in ruins because of Washington’s war crimes justified by transparent lies.

If the NY Times does not know this, the organization is too stupid to justify its existence. Of course the Times knows it. But the NY Times is no longer a newspaper. It is a cog in the Ministry of Propaganda that works to create a Matrix in which brainwashed Americans accept the dictates of the Oligarchs.

The purpose of the Times’ article is to discredit in advance criticism of an election that the ruling Oligarchs intend to steal. If the Times believed that Hillary would have a clear election victory, there would be no point to Fisher’s article.

We see voluminous signs of the intended theft of the election. For example, Hillary’s lead in the polls is based on the pollsters skewing the affiliation of those polled to Democrats. The percentage of Democrats in the samples is far higher than their percentage of registered voters. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-23/how-wapos-latest-poll-give-hillary-12-point-advantage-over-trump 

It the past it was difficult to steal elections unless they were very close. Exit polls were a check on vote count, and the disenfranchisement of blacks could be risky if it attracted the attention of the US Department of Justice. The new method, which is unfolding before our eyes, steals the election in advance with the Oligarchs’ candidate far ahead in the polls (now by 12 points according to the latest fiction) and by making anyone who questions the faked results into a fascist dictator.

Obviously, if Hillary was really ahead by 12 points — a landslide — there would be no need for Fisher’s article or for the constant drumbeat against Trump.

Judging from the hysteria, as reflected in Fisher’s NY Times article, for example, the Oligarchs are aware that objections to their rule has elevated Trump. In order to hold on to power, the American Oligarchs must smash Trump and put their bought-and-paid-for-candidate, Hillary — whom the Oligarchs have provided along with Bill a personal fortune of $120 million and endowed the Clinton Foundation with $1,600 million — into the Oval Office.

Pollsters by nature of their business are unreliable. If truthful results offend the establishment political organizations, the pollsters are out of work. Polls have to serve the Oligarchs or the polling firms go down. Trump is an outsider toward whom the ruling Oligarchy is totally opposed, which is why Americans support him. Therefore, polling firms are adverse to betting their future on poll results favorable to Trump, especially when the whores who constitute the American print and TV media, such as the NY Times, are all out to put Hillary in the White House.

As Hillary’s public statements have made clear, Hillary is antagonistic toward Russia and the Russian government, calling the president of Russia “the new Hitler.” She promises conflict with Russia, which would certainly be nuclear and end life on earth.

Trump says in the face of contrary ruling neoconservative opinion that he sees no point in conflict with Russia and no point in NATO’s continued existence a quarter century after the purpose of NATO collapsed with the Soviet Union. Trump might not be successful in appointing a government that serves his instincts, but at least he gives us hope of avoiding military conflict with Russia and China. With Hillary there is no hope whatsoever. My opinion is that the world would not survive Hillary’s first term. I have known the neoconservatives since the 1970s. They are crazed fanatics, and they hate Russia. Hillary is their agent.

It is unclear that the Russian government understands, or takes seriously, the neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony. Putin’s hesitant, indecisive behavior in Syria has done more to set himself and Russia up for demonization than to defeat ISIS. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/10/24/by-cooperating-with-washington-on-syria-russia-walked-into-a-trap-paul-craig-roberts/ 

The Western world is corrupt and evil. The list of its victims is almost endless. What disconnect makes some Russians desire association with the Western world?

How the Media and Democrats Rig the Perception of Trump

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/18/undercover-video-shows-democrats-saying-they-hire-/ 

The Orchestrated Trump-Putin Connection

Leaked emails prove that the Trump-Putin connection was orhestrated as campaign talk
to deflect attention from damaging content of Clinton’s released emails.

https://www.rt.com/usa/363779-clinton-trump-putin-isis/ 

Integrity Of US Elections Among Lowest Of All Countries

According to Shyla Nelson, the co-founder of Election Justice USA, US elections are manipulated in many ways, including «voter suppression, unauthorized registration purges, district gerrymandering, gross exit poll variances, the privatization of voting machinery, and the lack of transparency in ballot processing – our elections will continue to rank among the lowest in the world in integrity.

US elections are so corrupt that the US has threatened Russian diplomats with arrest if they attempt to monitor the US November presidential election.

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/10/23/us-gives-another-reason-believe-democracy-deeply-flawed.html 

Bill Clinton’s Victims of Alleged Sexual Abuse (the ones we know about)

http://www.albertpeia.com/oxfordassault.htm 

But we must not tolerate Trump’s lewd comments.

Bill and Hillary are lawless because they have never been held accountable. As the justice system has given Hillary a pass, will voters hold her accountable in November, or will the American public also give her a pass?

Hillary Has Never Been Held Accountable For Anything

What is worse, Hillary laughing about her success in getting a child rapist off or Trump’s lewd comments about women? Why is it that the TV women can’t come up with the right answer? How can democracy function when a propaganda ministry takes the place of the media?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2658801/I-never-trusted-polygraph-Hillary-Clinton-LAUGHS-recalls-helped-suspected-child-rapist-walk-free-prosecution-lost-crucial-evidence.html 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/20/exclusive-hillary-clinton-took-me-through-hell-rape-victim-says.html 

A Comparison of Trump’s and Hillary’s Crowds

Trump’s crowds are hundreds of times larger than Hillary’s, so how is it that she is in the lead? We are being told lies in order to cover up the coming election theft.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4K56KaJ7Ds&app=desktop 

Poll of Likely Voters Finds 53% Want Hillary Indicted

If 53% of voters want Hillary indicted, how can she be leading in the presidential race?

Which of the polls is wrong?

https://www.rt.com/usa/363759-hillary-emails-indicted-poll/ 

Rigged Elections Are An American Tradition

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/10/21/rigged-elections-are-an-american-tradition-paul-craig-roberts/ 

Stephen Lendman pleads: don’t let them steal the election, reject the presstitutes’ propaganda:

« November 8 isn’t election day. It’s orchestrated grand theft theater to anoint Hillary Obama’s successor. Americans are deluded to believe their vote matters.

This year’s outcome was decided well in advance, likely last year before aspirants announced their candidacy for the nation’s highest office.

Power brokers running America bear full responsibility for concocting a sham system, fantasy democracy, not the real thing.

Disgracefully one-sided pro-Hillary media scoundrels and corporate pollsters share blame for creating the impression of her unbeatability.

Press agent journalism proliferates. Biased corporate polls are easily manipulated to show what sponsors want. On Sunday, The New York Times virtually declared Hillary November’s winner and next president, saying she “has a 93% chance to win.”

The dirty game aims to discourage Trump supporters, convince them he has no chance to win, hoping many will stay home, while encouraging rank and file for Hillary to show up en masse.

Any number of dirty tricks can be used to assure she’s anointed president-elect. Stolen elections are a longstanding US tradition from the early days of the republic.

Now it’s done by methods explained above, electronic ease, voter roll stripping and other dirty tricks.

Paul Craig Roberts explains turnout for Trump stump speeches overwhelming exceeds what Hillary attracts.

So how come most polls show her leading, he asks? “We are being told lies in order to cover up the coming election theft,” he justifiably explains.

Want more evidence? Here it is. Citing an October 18 – 19, Rasmussen poll, RT International reported 65% of voters surveyed saying Hillary acted extrajudicially by storing classified State Department emails on her private server.

A 53% majority believe she should be indicted. When asked if Hillary’s email scandal was important in influencing their vote, 70% replied affirmatively – 49% calling it very important.

If Hillary wins as expected, around 70% of Republican voters believe it’s by election-rigging, according to a separate Reuters/Ipsos poll RT cited.

If most voters want her indicted, polls showing her leading Trump lack credibility.

She’s the establishment candidate, Wall Street’s choice, Trump an outlier, relentlessly denigrated, things rigged to assure he loses.

Democracy in America serves its privileged few alone — indifferent to the needs, rights and welfare of most others, especially the nation’s poor and vulnerable. (Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]).

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the WestHow America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.
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Campaign finance records show Clinton ally and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe donated nearly $500,000 to the election campaign of the wife of the FBI deputy director who later oversaw the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.

McAuliffe’s political action committee, Common Good VA, donated $467,500 to the 2015 senate campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe, who happens to be the wife of Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Thanks to his impressive fundraising abilities, McAuliffe has enjoyed a long-standing political and personal relationship with the Clintons. He was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005, and chaired Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008.

During the presidency of Bill Clinton, McAuliffe and his team raised an unprecedented $275 million for Clinton’s causes. McAuliffe also guaranteed Bill and Hillary’s $1.35 million mortgage for their post-presidential house in Chappaqua, New York, and sat on the board of the Clinton Foundation for a time.

In addition to McAuliffe’s cash donation, the Virginia Democratic Party funneled another $207,788 worth of support to McCabe’s campaign, which brought the funding total “from entities either directly under Mr. McAuliffe’s control or strongly influenced by him” to over $675,000, according to the WSJ. McCabe ended up losing the election to Republican Richard Black.

There were no inappropriate motives behind the generous donations, McAuliffe told the paper.

[Gov. McAuliffe] supported Jill McCabe because he believed she would be a good state senator. This is a customary practice for Virginia governors… Any insinuation that his support was tied to anything other than his desire to elect candidates who would help pass his agenda is ridiculous,” said McAuliffe’s spokesman.

The FBI also denied any wrongdoing by emphasizing that as a federal employee McCabe had no involvement in his wife’s campaign and was promoted to Deputy Director of the bureau after the election was over.

[Mr. McCabe] played no role, attended no events, and did not participate in fundraising or support of any kind”, said the FBI in a statement.

Months after the completion of her campaign, then-Associate Deputy Director McCabe was promoted to Deputy, where, in that position, he assumed for the first time, an oversight role in the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s emails.”

The motivation behind the political backing has been somewhat disputed on Twitter, with liberal pundits suggesting the governor could simply have been making a play to shift the Virginia legislature towards the Democrats.

While others say the coincidental timeline raises too many suspicions:

• March 2015: News of Clinton’s private server used to send and receive classified emails is revealed, that same month Dr. McCabe announces candidacy.

• July 2015: FBI investigation into Clinton’s emails in launched. McCabe, who was running FBI’s Washington, DC office (which had a part in the probe) is promoted to No. 3 position at FBI headquarters and joins the team overseeing the Clinton investigation.

• September 2015: McAuliffe donates to Dr. McCabe campaign.

• February 2016: Mr. McCabe becomes FBI Director James Comey’s second-in-command.

• July 2016: FBI announces decision to not press charges against Clinton.

The political waters become even muddier when considering McCabe’s FBI office actually investigated Mr. McAuliffe during the same time period, over donations he reportedly made on behalf of a Chinese businessman.

Virginia’s political reputation has been tarnished by authorities in other ways. McAuliffe’s predecessor, Republican Robert McDonnell, was convicted of corruption in 2014, but the verdict was eventually overturned by the US Supreme Court.

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Denied a « Human Standard of Living » by the State of Israel: The Gaza Blockade has Entered its Tenth Year

octobre 25th, 2016 by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

“I have survived the past three wars, but that is not the problem. In this place, wars come and go. The bigger struggle is not to lose hope. The only way I can do that is to retreat, and create my own world, and become oblivious.” This was told to me by 36-year old Ali, who works as a waiter in one of the coffee shops in Gaza city.

Ali was born in Gaza and for almost ten years has been living under a tight blockade on air, land and sea, entering its tenth year in June 2016. The blockade keeps him and the rest of the 1.8 million people of Gaza isolated and locked into a tiny 365 square kilometres-enclave – the Gaza Strip has one of the highest population densities in the world – tormented by extreme poverty and dilapidated by repeated conflicts.

Chronic fuel and electricity shortages, with power cuts between 18 and 22 hours per day, extreme water pollution  – 95 per cent of the Gaza groundwater is undrinkable – and devastated infrastructure, as a dire reminder of repeated cycles of armed violence, are the daily reality. Gaza’s people are denied a human standard of living. This was not always the case: before the imposition of restrictions on movements of people and goods, the Gaza Strip was a relatively developed society with a productive base and a thriving economy.

Blockade and occupation have reversed this process, accelerated by repeated Israeli military operations and widespread destruction, and today Gaza is subject to what the UN calls de-development. Located at the Mediterranean Sea between Egypt and Israel, Gaza could be famous for its palm trees, fruits and white beaches. Instead, it is known for a sewage and hygiene crisis titled by the Time magazine a “ticking global-health time bomb”.

UNRWA not only frequently spoke out against the disastrous impact of recurrent conflicts in Gaza, but has also – along with the UN at the highest level – repeatedly condemned the rockets launched from the enclave. We are disturbed by all risks to loss of life. At the same time we believe that the current, and increasing, restrictions on the movement of people and goods may in a very significant manner lead to exactly the opposite result of their stated reasons to enhance security in Israel. The severe restrictions represent a potential risk for increased frustration, violence and radicalisation, and could even be the trigger for another devastating conflict in the Gaza Strip.

THE REPEATED WARNINGS WILL BECOME REALITY

The UN has issued repeated warnings about the unsettling and serious conditions prevailing in the tiny enclave; we warned already four years ago that the Gaza Strip will become unliveable – meaning that there will effectively not be enough resources for people to survive – by 2020. This is in less than four years. These warnings have been repeated ever since. If no fundamental and immediate action is taken to address the underlying causes of conflict such as the blockade which must be fully lifted, they will become reality; the catastrophe will not be looming on the horizon anymore.

When a place becomes unliveable, people move. This is the case for environmental disasters such as droughts, or for conflicts, such as in Syria.

Yet this last resort is denied to the people in Gaza. They cannot move beyond their 365 square kilometres territory. They cannot escape, not the devastating poverty or the fear of another conflict. Its highly educated youth – almost 50 per cent of the population are below 17 years of age – do not have the option to travel, to seek education outside Gaza, or to find work, anywhere else beyond the perimeter fence and the two tightly-controlled border-checkpoints in the north and south of the Gaza Strip.

With the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza almost entirely closed except for a few days per year, and with Israel often denying exit even for severe humanitarian cases or staff of international organizations, the vast majority of the people have no chance of getting one of the highly sought-after “permits”. They can also not leave across the sea without the risk of being arrested or shot at by the Israeli or Egyptian navies, and they cannot climb over the heavily guarded perimeter fence between Israel and Gaza without the same risks.

The blockade has effectively eroded what was left of a middle class, sending almost all of the population into aid-dependency and destitution. The unemployment rate in quarter two of 2016 stood at 41.7 per cent – not including heavy underemployment – and 80 per cent of the population are forced to rely on humanitarian assistance to be able to cover their very basic needs, such as food, but also basic education, basic health care, shelter, or even items such as blankets, mattress or a cooking stove. While UNRWA in 2000, before the blockade, provided food assistance to 80,000 beneficiaries, we support over 930,000 persons today – a 12-fold increase.

PSYCHOSOCIAL IMPACT: HIGH LEVELS OF STRESS AND DISTRESS

The compounded effects of the blockade have also had a less visible, but yet profound and palpable psychological impact on the people in Gaza. Whatever resilience people have left, it is being eroded with every day the blockade continues. The UNRWA Community Mental Health Programme has found that Palestine refugees in Gaza are experiencing increasingly higher levels of stress and distress. The reporting of suicide cases across the Gaza Strip, once unheard of but now becoming a regular occurrence, clearly suggest that the coping capacity of Palestinians is being exhausted.

Among Palestine refugee children, UNRWA estimates that a minimum of 30 per cent require some form of structured psychosocial intervention. Their most common symptoms are: nightmares, eating disorders, intense fear, bed wetting.

“Boredom is a key factor for the depression and hopelessness of the young people. They sit in the dark – literally because of the lack of electricity – and feel helpless. They think about their life and only see negative solutions. Gaza is full of ideas; there is so much creativity in this place.  But we don’t focus enough on our own ideas.  We focus on our aid-dependency. The blockade has also led to a blockade in the mind-set of people. Young people are retreating. Why should we try, if there is always and every time a big NO to everything?” summarised Rana Quffa, a youth community leader from Gaza’s Middle Area, the feelings that engulf Gaza’s youth to me.” Life in Gaza is a vicious cycle. Who will help us break it?” she also asked.

The blockade on Gaza is not just political terminology; it is also not a natural disaster that just “happened”. The blockade on Gaza is man-made, and it is about real lives, about real stories. It is time to give Gaza, and its youth, its future back. The blockade must be lifted.

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This week the European Parliament will be debating the general EU budget for 2017/18. The main focus of the debate is likely to be the knock-on impacts of Brexit and the falling pound, infrastructure, migration and the many other major challenges facing the continent.

Understandably, a lot of significant items are likely to be overlooked, including a crucial point, that could see the EU taking steps towards adopting an institutional military-industrial strategy. Buried within the budget is the EU’s first proposed Preparatory Action for defence research.

If the budget is agreed, this would effectively be a trial-run that would see the European Parliament subsidising military research for the first time. It would represent an important precedent. At present, the European Commission finances exclusively civilian or dual-use R&D through its €80 billion Horizon 2020 programme.

The proposal, would cover the period of 2017-2020 at the estimated cost of€50-100 million – paving the way for a full research programme that the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), which made the proposal in the first place, estimates would cost at least €3.5 billion between 2021-2027.

Arms trade influence over decision making

Right from the start, the process has been influenced by those with a vested interest. The group that put the EUISS report together included high level representation from some of the biggest arms companies in the world. In fact, the majority of those on the Group of Personalities that the EUISS appointed to develop proposals are from the arms trade, so the pro-military conclusion is not particularly surprising.

In effect the arms industry has been brought in to advise the EU on military strategy and reached the conclusion that what is needed is more military spending.

Needless to say, arms companies already benefit from huge amount of public money. A lot of arms company R&D is already funded by member states. Supporters of the change have made clear that they do not foresee any parallel reduction of national budgets for military research, with manyn Member States still bound by their NATO commitments.

There is an international dimension to it too. The ADS, a trade body for arms companies, is clear about its motivations for supporting the proposal, which it says is focused on trying to “maintain and improve long-term competitiveness in the European Defence Industry.”

No explanation is provided for where the money would come from. Would it mean cutting 3.5bn EUR from other budgets? What would be cut in order to fund it? There is also very little explanation of how it will be spent or what checks-and-balances will be in place to stop it from becoming a blank-cheque for arms companies.

What kind of Europe do we want?

There is no question that security is a major challenge and that the EU has a critical role to play in addressing it. However, threats to security are multi-faceted and the solutions that the EU proposes to address them must be clearly based on the Treaties and core values of the EU.

The EU was envisaged as a peace project. The European Parliament stood up for those values this February, when it voted to support an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia due to its devastating bombardment of Yemen. Many of the weapons being used in the destruction are made in Europe, with many being manufactured by the same companies that would benefit from the proposed subsidy.

The EU should be investing in jobs and research projects that promote sustainable industries and contribute to the prevention of conflicts. This proposal could mean taking funds from other projects for something that would only benefit those that profit from war and conflict.

In a busy news agenda, the change may not be generating the headlines that the precedent deserves, but it is getting grass-roots opposition, with over 62,000 people having signed a European Network Against Arms Trade petition to oppose the spending.

Underpinning the opposition is the broader question of what kind of Europe we want. Do we want a social Europe that invests in people and peace, or do we want one that focuses on arms, militarism and war?

As UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has said ‘the World is over-armed and peace is under-funded.’ The EU could play a big role in changing this, but right now it risks doing the exact opposite.

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Not only are these borders artificially drawn, they highlight the utter insanity of fencing an entire population in the world’s largest open-air prison simply because of Israel’s need to maintain a Jewish demographic majority.

Summer days are long, but in Gaza, they are longer than one might think. They get even longer when the electricity and the internet are shut off, which is most of the time. This had been my daytime nightmare ever since Israel imposed its siege on the Gaza Strip in 2007. To escape it, you could read or visit a friend to talk to, but when the weather gets hot and humid, the energy to do any of these activities evaporates.

On one such hot and humid day, I went to the roof of my house out of boredom. Although this was not the first time I had looked at the landscape from my family’s rooftop in Deir Al-Balah, some thoughts and reflections made this day unforgettable. I looked east and there were the borders between the Gaza Strip and Israel, and I looked west and there was the sea. From that same spot, both borders were visible, and between them, the familiar scene of innumerable drab houses stretching towards both horizons.

Palestinian workers salvage building materials near Erez Crossing at Gaza’s northern border, Beit Hanoun, May 11, 2014. Human rights organizations have documented dozens of cases of Israeli army gunfire at persons who posed no threat and were well outside the 300-meter so-called “no-go zone” imposed by the Israeli military inside Gaza’s borders. In many cases, no warning was given before soldiers opened fire. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

At that moment, I recalled one of the famous common sayings used by Palestinians in Gaza to refer to the Strip: we’re trapped ‘min al-silik ila al-silik’ (from the fence to the fence). This simple phrase sums up Gaza’s current reality: a fenced place, surrounded by dead-ends and, within it, a caged human sea with almost no hope or future. Such thoughts never abandoned me. They chased me most of the time I spent in Gaza, where I observed how the Strip grew ever more overcrowded.

‘From fence to fence’ is a simple enough expression, and yet it reflects the geographic space Palestinians inhabit. For them, ‘the fence’ is the most pernicious manifestation of the Zionist conquest in 1948, and its continuity into the present. The fence is a physical barrier that was imposed by an external force, which divides what the Palestinians in Gaza consider as their historic land, and which prevents them from returning to their original towns and villages. The fence is a constant reminder of the rupture caused by the 1948 War, which pushed many Palestinians out of their towns and villages in what is today the State of Israel.

Even when some Gazans refer to the armistice line of 1949, few people refer to it as a border. It is mostly referred to in Arabic as ‘al-silik’ — literally, ‘the wire,’ or ‘the fence.’ For the Palestinians in Gaza, the fence evokes the Nakba, the refugee struggle, and the occupation. The fence, as a physical barrier to refugee return, was the beginning of the tragedy. The fence today is its continuation. And since the fence caused the problem, the solution must include its removal. The fence is the history that Palestinians in Gaza never want to forget, and no amount of aid can induce them to do so.

Barbed wire, and behind that the border wall can be seen through the fence at Erez Crossing terminal, the northern checkpoint leading from the Gaza Strip to Israel. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

The central element of the historical context behind Gaza’s present reality is the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948. The Nakba is not history relegated to the past, but history lived in the present: in the narrow alleys of the crowded refugee camps, in the women who leave their humble houses in the camps every morning to receive their food packages, in the barefoot children who play soccer on Gaza’s beach, and in the lands of depopulated villages just beyond the fence still visible from the rooftops of Gaza’s refugee camps. The Nakba is still present in Gaza, not only by the continuation of the state of refuge, but also by the continuity of the rupture that it caused.

By the time the 1949 armistice agreement was signed, around 200,000 refugees had already arrived in the Strip and gathered in eight refugee camps. Unlike many of the refugees that fled to neighboring Arab countries, Gaza’s new arrivals were never far from their original homes. Across the armistice lines, many could see their old villages.

In 1950, the Israeli Knesset passed the ‘Law of Return,’ which allows only Jews to ‘return’ to Israel proper, whereas its policy towards the Palestinian refugees who were spirited across the borders and the demarcation line was clear: they will never come back.

After the Six-Day War in 1967 and the beginning of Israel’s occupation and military administration, these refugees were allowed to travel into Israel with special permits where they were able to finally see their towns and villages, but of course, they were never allowed to return permanently.

The post-Nakba history shows that Palestinian refugees in Gaza resisted the demarcation line. For them, the land beyond the line was perceived as a lost paradise to which generations of refugees yearned to return. As for the early refugees, it took them time to understand that the line had become practically impassable. Attempts by refugees to cross to their towns and villages, including farmers who tried to cultivate their land, were brutally confronted by kibbutz residents and Israeli military outposts located near the demarcation line, and led to the deaths of many of those who attempted to cross.

During this period, the armistice line began to develop into a frontier of confrontation and resistance, despite its artificial nature. Later on, the line would take the physical shape of a fence, to be engraved in the Palestinian collective memory and awareness as both a material and a symbolic monument of rupture and territorial and emotional disconnection.

Metaphors such as ‘from fence to fence’ remind Palestinians in Gaza — both as refugees and natives — of their loss, their tragedy, and the abnormality of the fence that divides their land and prevents their return. Not only are these borders artificially drawn and reinforced with the use of brutal force, but they highlight the utter insanity of fencing an entire population in the world’s largest open-air prison simply because of Israel’s need to maintain a Jewish demographic majority.

The fact that Gaza’s crisis could be solved tomorrow if the majority-refugee population were granted its right of return is completely ignored by the humanitarian discourse. The tragedy of Gaza needs to be understood through the intensity of loss, especially since in Gaza’s situation, what was lost is only a stone’s throw away for many refugees, who can still see their former towns and villages beyond the fence.

The author, a Palestinian from Deir al-Balah city in the Gaza Strip, is a PhD candidate at New York University for a joint program in Hebrew and Judaic Studies and History.

A version of this article was originally published on The Nakba Files, part of The Nakba & the Law, a joint project of the Columbia University Center for Palestine Studies and Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. The piece is an edited excerpt of an essay that appears in Gaza as Metaphor, a new volume edited by Helga Tawil-Souri and Dina Matar.

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Obama, Clinton and the mainstream media all say that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and released emails to throw the election to Trump.

But former CIA, State Department, and House Intelligence Committee security expert Fred Fleitz notes:

Only two intelligence entities – the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – have weighed in on this issue, not 17 intelligence agencies [as Hillary Clinton had claimed]. And what they said was ambiguous about Russian involvement. An unclassified October 7, 2016 joint DNI-DHS statement on this issue said the hacks

“. . . are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow — the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

Saying we think the hacks “are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts” is far short of saying we have evidence that Russia has been responsible for the hacks. Maybe high-level officials would have authorized them if Russian hackers were responsible, but the DNI and DHS statement did NOT say there was evidence Russia was responsible.

Headline: National Review

Indeed, the NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information, who served as the senior technical director within the agency, who managed six thousand NSA employees, the 36-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency and the NSA’s best-ever analyst and code-breaker, who mapped out the Soviet command-and-control structure before anyone else knew how, and so predicted Soviet invasions before they happened (“in the 1970s, he decrypted the Soviet Union’s command system, which provided the US and its allies with real-time surveillance of all Soviet troop movements and Russian atomic weapons”) – says that Russia probably would not have used a “known” hacking method to gather and then leak DNC emails to sway the election.

Instead – if it were Russia – they probably would have used a different, covert method, so people couldn’t see their fingerprints (like the U.S. did with the Stuxnet hack).

Moreover, Binney said that he thought the hack may have been conducted by an NSA employee who was upset at Clinton’s careless handling of America’s most sensitive intelligence.

On the other hand, the head of the organization which leaked the emails to the press – Julian Assange of Wikileaks – not only denied that it was the Russians, but has strongly and repeatedly hinted that the hacker was a DNC insider.

Washington’s Blog asked NSA technical director Bill Binney about these two – NSA leaker and DNC leaker – and he explained:

Both are clear possibilities.

Also, there could be other governments, groups or individuals that hacked into HRC [i.e. Hillary Rodham Clinton] or the DNC and had the emails. Now the question is who sent them to Wikileaks? It could be any one of them or as Julian [Assange] somewhat implied that it was an insider in the DNC.

If the idiots in the intelligence community expect us to believe them after all the crap they have told us (like WMD’s in Iraq and “no we don’t collect data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans”) then they need to give clear proof of what they say. So far, they have failed to prove anything.

Which suggests they don’t have proof and just want to war monger the US public into a second cold war with the Russians.

After all, there’s lots and lots of money in that for the military-industrial-intelligence-governmental complex of incestuous relationships.

We asked Binney:

What if the intelligence community spokespeople say “we can’t reveal the evidence we have that the Russians did it, because that would reveal our sources and methods?”

He responded:

If you recall, a few years ago they pointed to a specific building in China that was where hacks on the US were originating. So, let’s see the same from the Russians. They don’t have it. That’s why they don’t show it. They want to swindle us again and again and again. You can not trust these intelligence agencies period. (And see this.)

The former intelligence analyst, British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, and chancellor of the University of Dundee, Craig Murray, wrote last week:

I left Julian [Assange] after midnight. He is fit, well, sharp and in good spirits. WikiLeaks never reveals or comments upon its sources, but as I published before a fortnight ago, I can tell you with 100% certainty that it is not any Russian state actor or proxy that gave the Democratic National Committee and Podesta material to WikiLeaks. The claim is nonsense. Journalists are also publishing that these were obtained by “hacking” with no evidence that this was the method used to obtain them.

[We’ll update this post with a quote from Murray as soon as we reach him.]

Remember also that the intelligence official – DNI Director Clapper – who pushed the claim that the Russian might be behind the hack guy who started is a documented liar and political hack.

In any event, if Russia did hack the DNC emails, what does it actually mean?   Well, the former head of both the CIA and NSA said:

I have to admit my definition of what the Russians did [in alleging hacking the Democratic National Committee] is, unfortunately, honorable state espionage.

A foreign intelligence service getting the internal emails of a major political party in a major foreign adversary? Game on. That’s what we do.

By the way, I would not want to be in an American court of law and be forced to deny that I never did anything like that as director of the NSA. 

emphasis added

In other words, even if Russia was the source of the DNC emails, the U.S. has done the same exact thing.

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Heather Ann Thompson’s book Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy” is a detailed study of the inner workings of America. The blueprint for social control employed before and after the crushing of the Attica revolt is the same blueprint used today to keep tens of millions of poor people, especially poor people of color, caged or living in miniature police states.

Thompson meticulously documents the innumerable ways the state oppresses the poor by discrediting their voices, turning the press into a megaphone for government propaganda and lies, stoking the negative stereotypes of black people, exalting white supremacy, ruining the lives of people who speak the truth, manipulating the courts and law enforcement, and pressuring state witnesses to lie to obstruct justice. Her book elucidates not only the past but also the present, which, she concedes, is worse.

“America by the early twenty-first century had, in disturbing ways, come to resemble America in the late nineteenth century,” Thompson writes near the end of her book. “In 1800 the three-fifths clause gave white voters political power from a black population that was itself barred from voting, and after 2000 prison gerrymandering was doing exactly the same thing in numerous states across the country.

After 1865, African American desires for equality and civil rights in the South following the American Civil War led whites to criminalize African American communities in new ways and then sent record numbers of blacks to prison in that region. Similarly, a dramatic spike in black incarceration followed the civil rights movement—a movement that epitomized Attica. From 1965 onward, black communities were increasingly criminalized, and by 2005, African Americans constituted 40 percent of the U.S. prison population while remaining less than 13 percent of its overall population. And just as businesses had profited from the increased number of Americans in penal facilities after 1870, so did they seek the labor of a growing captive prison population after 1970. In both centuries, white Americans had responded to black claims for freedom by beefing up, and making more punitive, the nation’s criminal justice system.”

click image to order book

On Sept. 9, 1971, prisoners at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York rebelled in the face of intolerable conditions. They were sick of the racist-fueled violence of the white, rural guards; angry at poor medical care and the dearth of vocational and educational programs; underfed (the prison allocated only 63 cents a day to feed a prisoner); unhappy about their mail being censored, or destroyed if it was in Spanish; living in poorly ventilated cells with little or no heat or stifling heat; unable to buy basic commissary items on salaries that averaged 6 cents a day; and tired of being given only one bar of soap and one roll of toilet paper a month and allowed only one shower a week.

The uprising was not premeditated. It took place when prisoners, trapped inadvertently by guards in a tunnel that led to the yard, thought they were going to be given another beating by sadistic correction officers. The spontaneous uprising took place “because ordinary men, poor men, disenfranchised men, and men of color had simply had enough of being treated as less than human,” Thompson writes.

Four hundred fifty prisoners had previously staged a peaceful sit-down strike in the prison’s metal shop to protest wages that, as a witness later testified at a New York state hearing, were “so low that working at Attica [was] tantamount to slavery.” Prisoners had formed committees and sent respectful letters to prison authorities asking them to address their concerns. The requests were largely ignored. Despite authorities’ promises that there would be no retribution, those who organized the protests were put in isolation or transferred to other prisons. The callousness of the officials was especially unconscionable in light of the fact that the state had netted huge sums for sales of products made by the prisoners.

After three days of negotiations, in which the prison authorities refused to grant the rebellious prisoners amnesty, 550 New York state troopers, 200 sheriff’s deputies and numerous Attica prison guards were issued high-powered weapons, including rifles loaded with especially destructive bullets that expanded on impact, bullets banned in warfare under the Geneva Conventions. The prisoners had no firearms. The assault force members were fed a steady diet of lies and unfounded rumors to stoke their hatred of the prisoners. Black radicals were coming, they were falsely told, to the town of Attica to kidnap white children, a rumor that led to the closing of the schools.

Through clouds of CS gas, the assault force stormed the yard, where some 1,200 prisoners held 42 guards and civilian staff members. It unleashed a blizzard of gunfire, shooting 130 people. Twenty-nine prisoners and nine hostages died. (One guard beaten by prisoners in the first moments of the uprising died later in a hospital.)

The assault force, which had done all the killings that day, immediately began to hide evidence of its crimes. State officials told the press outside the prison that seven or eight of the hostages had died when the prisoners slit their throats. They claimed that the genitals of one of the guards were cut off and stuffed in his mouth. These reports were untrue, but they dominated the news coverage.

Meanwhile, inside the retaken institution, many prisoners were suffering from gunshot wounds that would not be treated for days. Some were stripped and made to run gantlets in which they were beaten by guards with ax handles, baseball bats and rifle butts. Those singled out as the leaders of the rebellion were marked with Xs on their backs, forced to crawl through mud, tortured and in few cases, it appears, executed.

New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and the Nixon White House feared that the rebellion presaged armed revolution. The scores of dead and wounded were, for them, a message to the rest of the country—defy us and we will kill you. Today, any citizen who seriously resists the corporate state can expect the same response.

Thompson writes, “All of those assembled in the president’s office agreed that while the morning’s events made a particularly ‘gruesome story,’ news of the slashings and castration would go a long way toward discrediting America’s ‘bleeding hearts’ like ‘the Tom Wickers of the world.’ ‘I think this is going to have a hell of a salutary effect on future prison riots,’ Nixon said. ‘Just as Kent State [the May 4, 1970, shooting by National Guardsmen of unarmed students that left four dead and nine wounded] had a hell of a salutary effect. … They can talk all they want about force, but that is the purpose of force.’ ”

The avalanche of government lies permeates the narrative—not a surprise to anyone who has reported on the inner workings of power or spent time in our prisons and marginal communities.

There are heroes in the narrative. Their fate, which is almost universally bleak, is also instructive. The prisoner Sam Melville, who was serving an 18-year sentence in Attica for setting off explosives in government buildings to protest the Vietnam War, who taught classes to other inmates and who researched prison operations to show how the institution cruelly exploited prisoner labor for profit, was executed by guards after the uprising, according to other prisoners. So, apparently, was Elliot “L.D.” Barkley, who was in prison for violating parole by driving without a license and who, although he was only 21, was one of the most articulate spokespeople for the prisoners. Prisoners such as Frank “Big Black” Smith, savagely tortured by guards after the uprising, and Bernard “Shango” Stroble rose up majestically during the revolt to protect hostages and maintain order, and they fought for justice long after their release from prison. Civil rights attorneys such as Ernie Goodman and William Kunstler came to the prisoners’ defense.

A few within the governmental system exhibited rare moral courage. Among them were Dr. John Edland of the Monroe County medical examiner’s office, who refused to falsify autopsy reports and told the public that the hostages had been killed by state gunfire; Attica guard Michael Smith, who defied his own fraternity to speak the truth about state abuse; and government attorney Malcolm Bell, who exposed the state cover-up of the killings by the state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and prison guards. However, most who knew the truth remained silent.

Edland was especially singled out for condemnation. He was attacked as incompetent by state officials and called a clown and, although a Republican, a radical left-winger. (State troopers were dispatched to local funeral homes to prevent morticians from informing families of the cause of death of hostages.) Edland received death threats and other hate mail, was shunned by the local community and saw state troopers menacingly idle their automobiles in front of his home. Edland called the day he released the autopsy findings “the worst day of my life.”

When the state decides to isolate, discredit and crush you it has innumerable ways to do so. The press often is manipulated. Employers blacklist you. A gullible population is made to believe the caricature of you as a traitor or an enemy. Such smear campaigns are now directed against Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

New York State Police Capt. Henry “Hank” Williams oversaw the investigation into the 1971 assault. This meant that, in Thompson’s words, “the main investigators of the crimes of Attica were those who may well have committed them.” Williams made sure that “nothing related to the shooting—shell casings, the weapons themselves—was collected.” No chalk outlines, usually required at a crime scene, were drawn to indicate where the bodies had fallen. No calculations were made regarding bullet trajectories. The yard where the killings took place was cleaned up under Williams’ supervision as quickly as possible.

Prisoners were threatened with violence or indictment if they refused to incriminate the leaders of the uprising. The goal was not justice; it was to punish and isolate the prisoner leadership and protect law enforcement.

“When strong-arm tactics still proved ineffective,” Thompson writes concerning one interrogation, “they switched their approach: should this witness help them, investigators suggested, they would, in turn, help him get paroled. In addition to enticing the witness with the possibility of parole, they also promised to make prison life easier for him in the meantime.”

Scores of prisoners were indicted in connection with the uprising; only one member of the assault force was charged, with a minor offense. The state’s entire case when it went to the courts was built on a scaffolding of lies designed to exonerate the assault force and punish prisoner leaders. Jurors, who saw doctored films and photographs, never knew they were being presented with fabricated and tainted evidence, including photos of crude knives that had been planted next to slain prisoners. Witnesses recited stories fed to them by government investigators.

The state has never admitted wrongdoing for the Attica assault, and important parts of the record—autopsies, ballistics reports, trooper statements, and depositions—remain sealed nearly five decades later. Thompson stumbled onto Attica files in the Erie County courthouse and the New York State Museum, but since her discovery, she writes, they have vanished or “been removed from anyone’s view.”

“American voters ultimately did not respond to this prison uprising by demanding that states rein in police power,” she concludes. “Instead they demanded that police be given even more support and even more punitive laws to enforce.

“Indeed, the 1960s and 1970s were all about the politics of the ironic. At the Democratic National Convention protests of 1968, Kent State in 1970, and Wounded Knee in 1973, unfettered police power each time turned protests violent, and yet, after each of these events, the nation was sent the message that the people, not the police, were dangerous. Somehow, voters came to believe that democracy was worth curtailing and civil rights and liberties were worth suspending for the sake of ‘order’ and maintaining the status quo.”

Though immediately after the Attica uprising there were minor reforms, these improvements were soon rolled back. Conditions in prisons today are worse than those that led to the 1971 revolt. Control of prison populations is more brutal, more sophisticated and more inhumane. It is doubtful that the press, unlike at Attica in 1971, would ever be allowed inside a prison during an uprising to air the voices of the prisoners.

Much of the worst damage was done during the Clinton administration. President Bill Clinton signed into law, with Republican support, the draconian 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. It provided $9.7 billion to build more prisons. By 1995 the prison population exceeded 1 million. It would soon double.

“The fact that so many of these people now in prison had been arrested because they were drug addicts, mentally ill, poor, and racially profiled concerned few if any politicians, whether in a statehouse or in Washington, D.C.,” Thompson writes. “Then, to make sure that this now enormous group of the incarcerated did not resist their deteriorating conditions of confinement via the nation’s legal system as they had done so effectively both before and after the Attica uprising, in 1996 legislators passed the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA).”

The PLRA made it difficult and often impossible for prisoners to use the courts to protect their Eighth Amendment right not to endure cruel and unusual punishment.

The New York Times columnist Tom Wicker, who was part of the negotiating team that tried to resolve the Attica uprising without bloodshed, singled out white fear as the central issue in the 1971 case. “White fear fixed itself upon the literal presence of black human beings. Black people, to whites, were the symbolic representation of the evil in man and thus were also the handy instruments by which white people could hold themselves symbolically innocent of that evil.” Wicker concluded, “The heart of the matter was the fear of blackness.”

This white fear remains unexamined in America. It allows us to stand by passively and watch the daily murders by police of unarmed black men and women. It allows us to maintain a prison system that holds a staggering 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, the majority of them poor people of color. This white fear condemns us as a nation. It perpetuates the evil of white supremacy. Poor people of color have been robbed of the most elemental forms of justice and basic constitutional rights. But the state, in the age of deindustrialization, has no intention of stopping there. These forms of social control, so familiar to poor people of color, will bear upon all of us.

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With the first anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA,  recently having passed, and the Obama Administration near its end, this seems to be a good time to consider one (there are a number) of the myths about the deal, and put it soundly to bed. Within the Obama Administration and in fact among those within the Beltway that support the JCPOA is the notion that “Iran needs the agreement, but we want it”. 

The truth is that Iran needs the agreement as does the current Administration of the United States. It is embarrassing for a superpower to acknowledge such a need. It suggests vulnerability, a state of mind anathema to the American political psyche, too difficult to tolerate, and so better to flip the truth with a distortion.

Turning to key statements from the Obama Administration is one means to uncover this need. Take, for example, national security advisor Susan Rice, stating in 2013:

“The Iranian nuclear issue remains one of the gravest threats to international security”. (1)

Take her word at face value for a moment – no such statement could more indicate dire need. Obama himself touts the agreement as a prevention of war with Iran.

Obama, as well as Rice, are politicians. It is difficult to know whether they truly believe their own words, but they have provided them. Putting their words aside and looking at track record in foreign policy is far more compelling, revealing and closer to the truth of how need has propelled the Administration.  Also, exposure of selective negotiated elements within the 165 page JCPOA helps to show in a practical way how need has been played out.

Someone needs only to imagine that they are President Obama and the following short list of foreign policy negative decision-making and pronouncements leaps out. With your Administration, you have:

•    Entrenched yourself as history’s greatest arms merchant, including exceptional promotion  of arms to the most unstable part of the world, the Middle East

•    Planned a $1 trillion dollar modernization of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, after being awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace with no real accomplishment to show for it but for speaking and advocating for a nuclear weapons    free world.

•    Announced in the 2008/2009 period broadly that Al Qaeda was so decimated as to be essentially buried. Reasonably informed private citizens recognized the remarkable ignorance of the comments. Events throughout Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Syria and other locations have proven the statement to be hollow.

•    Stated more currently, in early January ’16 and two days before the horrific ISIS attack on Paris that “We had contained ISIS” in Syria and Iraq. Assuredly the same reasonably informed portion of the public recognized that the assertion would prove to be empty.

•    With special influence from Hillary Clinton, decided that a policy of unprovoked war against the country of Libya in 2011 was both sensible thinking and a reflection of “Smart Power”.  Refusals to accept two different cease fire/peace accords, one in fact worked out between the American military and Libya’s army, with endorsement by Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi, led to mayhem, evident today. After launching 67 cruise missiles on the country in the first day of “operations” decidedly refused to call this a war, but a “kinetic military action”. Most of mankind surely recognized the offensiveness of such language.  By virtue of the war, Libya went from being one of the most advanced countries in Africa (though not without problems, assuredly) to state disintegration, to the point of it being officially declared a failed state.

•    Officially supported the development of ISIS in Syria, from 2012 until 2015, as official Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) declassified documents revealed. In 2015, claiming to be fighting ferociously against ISIS, mysteriously failed to bomb the ISIS stolen-oil truck convoys running from Syria into Turkey, until Russia shamed your Administration by bombarding these itself.   And at least indirectly, supported the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, the Al-Nusra Front, working hand in glove with countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to provide financing and weapons, and to push a military agenda in the already horrendous civil war in Syria.

•    Deliberately provoked Russia in Ukraine by supporting a coup d’etat, and thereby created tensions that never should have been and which could well have been either avoided altogether, or greatly lessened. In an effort  apparently unparalleled since the Cold War, have launched a deliberate policy of blame, this against Vladimir Putin  for virtually every ill, and have been so intent to poison the atmosphere of relations with Russia that your press secretary was allowed to criticize the way Mr. Putin sat when speaking with another head of state.

•   Were exposed by Edward Snowden for promoting the massive National Security Administration surveillance program, so widespread as to even be tapping the phone of Angel Merkel, head of state of Germany, one of America’s most reliable allies. Even the sleepy American public was alarmed.

•    Failed to offer any real support to the plight of the Palestinians, never mind justice, in either seriously trying to prevent excessive, disproportionate violence by Israel against them, or stand up to Prime Minister Netanyahu when Israel continued to build West Bank settlements.

•    Announced in 2008 the coming “most transparent Presidency”. In a remarkably secretive manner, proceeded to design the TPP trade agreement. The content and details of the Agreement have been shrouded, except for those multi-national corporations which would be the expected biggest beneficiaries.

Could a President with such a record ever not need some self-defined signature foreign policy achievement? The answer is easy. American Presidents, Obama among them, are obsessed with their “legacy”, or what they leave in their wake. The media’s promotion of legacy adds to the obsession. The Iran nuclear agreement was to be an essential part of Obama’s legacy, given his track record in so many places around the world. While there are other reasons assuredly for having the agreement, it is debatable that they might reflect need more than want. Among them would be prospects for multi-nationals to work deals with Iran. The foreign policy track record suggests no debate, however.

The fact that there even has been an agreement with Iran is proof that the Administration line of want, not need is empty rhetoric. Successive American Administrations, Clinton-Bush-Obama, maintained consistent stances in “negotiations” or behavior toward Iran that reflected what Mohamed El-Baradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 1997-2009 described as at times bullying, prodding, dominating and refusing to show respect to Iran as a nation.

Consider his quote:

“The Western notion of how to approach Iran was like going into a souk and offering the proprietor a fair sum for the desired merchandise but also threatening to burn down the shop if he didn’t accept. While the tactic might play well in a Clint Eastwood movie, it was doomed from the start in Tehran. » (2)

He was also very critical of Iran, but the point here is that bullies do not enter into agreements simply when they want to – they enter when they need to enter. The power posturing reared its head even during the opening of negotiations, with Wendy Sherman, Obama’s chief negotiator for the Iran negotiations, offering the accusatory line that “lying is in the DNA of Iran”.

Elements of the JCPOA with Iran

Enter the elements of the JCPOA. The Agreement was negotiated between Iran and collectively the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China, defined as the E3/EU+3. There are negotiation outcomes that would not likely have been secured by Iran if the E3/EU+3 merely wanted the agreement. A tortuous and even pathological distrust has existed for decades between the United States (especially) and Iran, working in both directions. This type of distrust does not tend to promote concessions unless an opposing party, in this case Iran, insists upon them, and the other driving party (United States) feels a strong need for the agreement.

•    An Administration that really needed an agreement might well relent on an “anytime, anywhere” provision regarding inspecting Iran’s nuclear facilities, and this is exactly what the Obama Administration did. Anytime anywhere refers to unannounced inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the international watchdog agency for nuclear proliferation. Iran would not allow this. In other words, just don’t show up. Requests are required. The Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, long a facility of concern by western powers, is   one such example. It is to be converted into a nuclear and physics research center. (3)

•    Additionally, consistent with its policy of refusing to recognize Iran’s right to safeguarded enrichment, the Administration and its predecessor worked hard to thwart negotiations with Iran unless Iran first suspended its nuclear program, including enrichment. Iran repeatedly refused. The Obama Administration never got the precondition of suspension, including in the interim agreement to the JCPOA, whose terms were published by the European Union in its “Factsheet” of 17 January, 2014. (4) This was another striking example of need over want.

•    While the west would never have preferred the following protective language for Iran, it conceded, out of need. When requesting access per the JCPOA, “good faith, with due observance of the sovereign rights of Iran” must be honored, and  “such requests will not be aimed at interfering with Iranian military or other national security activities”.(5) The latter refers in part to the Parchin military complex, which America and its European allies have long had suspicions about as to use and research but which Iran has maintained has no nuclear application.

•    To prevent feared United States double-standards, Iran achieved language whereby once the IAEA is satisfied that all nuclear material in Iran is for peaceful purposes, the US will seek legislative action to end or encourage the end of nuclear-related sanctions on the acquisition of nuclear commodities or services, “to be consistent with the US approach to other non-nuclear-weapon states under the NPT” (the nuclear non-proliferation treaty). (6) A superpower never wishes to have language in an agreement restricting its ability to use double standards unless it in fact needs the agreement.

•    The agreement also contains language that requires the United States and its allies to “take all measures required to lift sanctions and will refrain from imposing exceptional or   discriminatory regulatory and procedural requirements in lieu of the sanctions and restrictive measures covered by the JCPOA”. (7)

As well the U.S. specifically will “take appropriate steps” and “will actively encourage officials at the state or local level to take into account the changes in the U.S. policy reflected in the lifting of sanctions”. (8) These possible preventive measures by Iran signal its understanding of the long political reach of sanctions in the U.S. Concessions to this understanding reflect something other than a mere we want.

Unfortunately, the evidence of need does not assure the JCPOA’s success, and the pattern of implementation leaves a sense of skepticism, not due to Iran, which has met its requirements on schedule and well, but for the EU/EU+3 (primarily the U.S., France and Britain) who are stumbling along dealing with the effects of the needless atmospheric poison they worked so hard to create about Iran, but now need to detoxify, if the parties to the Agreement are to reap the benefits they anticipated.

Notes

1. Peter Jenkins, Asia Times, March 15, 2013, “A strange way to build trust with Iran”.
2. Mohamed El Baradei, The Age of Deception (Macmillan, 2011), page 196
3. The JCPOA, page 17
4. European Union FACTSHEET, Terms of the agreement on a Joint Plan of Action, 17 January, 2014:
www.eeas.europa.eu
5. The JCPOA, page 22
6. The JCPOA, page 7
7. The JCPOA, page 8
8. The JCPOA, page 7

Don L. Durivan is a Boston area long-time student of foreign policy, and writes occasionally on either the processes that lead to war making, or uncovering aspects of war or conflict resolution that go largely unaddressed. He works professionally on both domestic and developing-world health care projects.

 

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The Syrian army and militia fighters have beat back terrorists from the Bazo hill in southern Aleppo, the city militia  has reported to RIA Novosti.

“The offensive is continuing successfully. Together with the army, we have taken the Bazo height, another hill, and the militants in the 1070 neighborhood are completely surrounded,” the source reported.

From the Bazo height, a large portion of the 1070 neighborhood captured by terrorists can now be controlled.

As part of the offensive which began in southern Aleppo yesterday following the three-day humanitarian pause, Syrian troops plan to seize the neighboring Hekma height, which would allow them to completely cut off all militant supply routes to the 1070 neighborhood.

On Sunday night, Syrian troops successfully recaptured anti-air defense positions and the neighboring height, where a mobile communications tower is situated. The terrorists have put up fierce resistance and the army and militia’s positions have been subjected to intense mortar fire.

 

 

 

 

 

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AT&T, the telecommunications and cable TV colossus, announced Saturday that it has struck a deal to acquire the pay TV and entertainment giant Time Warner. The merger, if approved by the Justice Department and US regulatory agencies under the next administration, will create a corporate entity with unprecedented control over both the distribution and content of news and entertainment. It will also mark an even more direct integration of the media and the telecomm industry with the state.

AT&T, the largest US telecom group by market value, already controls huge segments of the telephone, pay-TV and wireless markets. Its $48.5 billion purchase of the satellite provider DirecTV last year made it the biggest pay-TV provider in the country, ahead of Comcast. It is the second-largest wireless provider, behind Verizon.

Time Warner is the parent company of such cable TV staples as HBO, Cinemax, CNN and the other Turner System channels: TBS, TNT and Turner Sports. It also owns the Warner Brothers film and TV studio.

The Washington Post on Sunday characterized the deal as a “seismic shift” in the “media and technology world,” one that “could turn the legacy carrier [AT&T] into a media titan the likes of which the United States has never seen.” The newspaper cited Craig Moffett, an industry analyst at Moffett-Nathanson, as saying there was no precedent for a telecom company the size of AT&T seeking to acquire a content company such as Time Warner.

“A [telecom company] owning content is something that was expressly prohibited for a century” by the government, Moffett told the Post.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, in keeping with his anti-establishment pose, said Saturday that the merger would lead to “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,” and that, if elected, he would block it.

The Clinton campaign declined to comment on Saturday. Democratic vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine, speaking on the NBC News program “Meet the Press” on Sunday, said he had “concerns” about the merger, but he declined to take a clear position, saying he had not seen the details.

AT&T, like the other major telecom and Internet companies, has collaborated with the National Security Agency (NSA) in its blanket, illegal surveillance of telephone and electronic communications. NSA documents released last year by Edward Snowden show that AT&T has played a particularly reactionary role.

As the New York Times put it in an August 15, 2015 article reporting the Snowden leaks: “The National Security Agency’s ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T.”

The article went on to cite an NSA document describing the relationship between AT&T and the spy agency as “highly collaborative,” and quoted other documents praising the company’s “extreme willingness to help” and calling their mutual dealings “a partnership, not a contractual relationship.”

The Times noted that AT&T installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its Internet hubs based in the US, provided technical assistance enabling the NSA to wiretap all Internet communications at the United Nations headquarters, a client of AT&T, and gave the NSA access to billions of emails.

If the merger goes through, this quasi-state entity will be in a position to directly control the content of much of the news and entertainment accessed by the public via television, the movies and smart phones. The announcement of the merger agreement is itself an intensification of a process of telecom and media convergence and consolidation that has been underway for years, and has accelerated under the Obama administration.

In 2009, the cable provider Comcast announced its acquisition for $30 billion of the entertainment conglomerate NBCUniversal, which owns both the National Broadcasting Company network and Universal Studios. The Obama Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission ultimately approved the merger.

Other recent mergers involving telecoms and content producers include, in addition to AT&T’s 2015 purchase of DirecTV: Verizon Communications’ acquisition of the Huffington Post, Yahoo and AOL; Lionsgate’s deal to buy the pay-TV channel Starz; Verizon’s agreement announced in the spring to buy DreamWorks Animation; and Charter Communications’ acquisition of the cable provider Time Warner Cable, approved this year.

The AT&T-Time Warner announcement will itself trigger a further restructuring and consolidation of the industry, as rival corporate giants scramble to compete within a changing environment that has seen the growth of digital and streaming companies such as Netflix and Hulu at the expense of the traditional cable and satellite providers.

The Financial Times wrote on Saturday that “the mooted deal could fire the starting gun on a round of media and technology consolidation.” Referring to a new series of mergers and acquisitions, the Wall Street Journal on Sunday quoted a “top media executive” as saying that an AT&T-Time Warner deal would “certainly kick off the dance.”

The scale of the buyout agreed unanimously by the boards of both companies is massive. AT&T is to pay Time Warner a reported $85.4 billion in cash and stocks, at a price of $107.50 per Time Warner share. This is significantly higher than the current market price of Time Warner shares, which rose 8 percent to more than $89 Friday on rumors of the merger deal.

In addition, AT&T is to take on Time Warner’s debt, pushing the actual cost of the deal to more than $107 billion. The merged company would have a total debt of $150 billion, making inevitable a campaign of cost-cutting and job reduction.

The unprecedented degree of monopolization of the telecom and media industries is the outcome of the policy of deregulation, launched in the late 1970s by the Democratic Carter administration and intensified by every administration, Republican or Democratic, since then. In 1982, the original AT&T, colloquially known as “Ma Bell,” was broken up into seven separate and competing regional “Baby Bell” companies.

This was sold to the public as a means of ending the tightly regulated AT&T monopoly over telephone service and unleashing the “competitive forces” of the market, where increased competition would supposedly lower consumer prices and improve service. What ensued was a protracted process of mergers and disinvestments involving the destruction of hundreds of thousands of jobs, which drove up stock prices at the expense of both employees and the consuming public.

Dallas-based Southwestern Bell was among the most aggressive of the “Baby Bells” in expanding by means of acquisitions and ruthless cost-cutting, eventually evolving into the new AT&T. Now, the outcome of deregulation has revealed itself to be a degree of monopolization and concentrated economic power beyond anything previously seen.

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On October 22, clashes resumed between the Syrian government forces and the Al-Nusra-led coalition of militant groups in Aleppo city. Next days, heavy clashes were reported in the southern neighborhoods of Aleppo – Amiriyah, Sheikh Saeed and the 1070 Apartment Project – and in the southern Aleppo countryside.

Air strikes have been reported inside and outside Aleppo since October 21. According to local sources, the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Air Force have bombed al-Nusra’s supply lines southwest of the city. Unspecified number of air strikes was also delivered inside Aleppo, according to pro-militant sources.

The Syrian army, Lebanese Hezbollah and Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba (an Iraqi pro-government militia) deployed in total up to 4,000 fighters to the area of Aleppo within the ceasefire.

Al-Nusra and the so-called ‘Free Syrian Army’ additionally deployed some 1,500 fighters, over 10 units of heavy military equipment and some 20 vehicles equipped with machine guns and mortars. The total manpower of the joint terrorist forces outside Aleppo city is about 12,000 fighters. The Russian Ministry of Defense informed that the terrorists received additional arms and military equipment, including portable anti-aircraft missile systems (MANPADS), and now they are preparing to attack the government forces from the southwestern direction.

The Syrian military decided to counter this threat during a fresh operation in the same area, taking control of the Air Defense Battalion south of Mushrifah. Some 30 terrorists were killed in the clashes there. The strategic goal of the operation is Khan Tuman that remains the advance base of al-Nusra-led coalition.

The whole Syria must be “liberated,” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman announced. “There are just two options: Assad sitting in Damascus or the Nusra sitting in Damascus,” Dmitry Peskov said. The statement came at the day with the resumption of battle for Aleppo and followed the US State Demartment’s confirmation that the US-led coalition was not going to fight the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group because it was not the ‘goal’ in Syria.

An alliance of Turkish-backed militant groups that operates under the Free Syrian Army (FSA) brand continue attempts to break the defense lines of Kurdish YPG in the northern part of province. The FSA’s advance on the YPG-controlled villages of Sheikh Isa, Harbul, Hasiyah is supported by the Turkish Armed Forces’ battle tanks and artillery. There are also reports about Turkish troops embedded with FSA militants at the frontline. Over the weekend, the YPG were pushed to retreat to the previous front lines west of Hawsh. Over 10 Turkish battle tanks arrived to the town of Marea to participate in further clashes with the YPG. The Turkish army is also massing military equipment northwest of Al-Bab, preparing for an advance on this ISIS-controlled town.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that the Syrian city of Aleppo and the Iraqi city of Mosul belong to Turks, speaking during an opening ceremony for an educational institution in Bursa on October 23. Erdogan compared the way that Syrians and Iraqis have been driven away from homes because of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, to how Turkish people were once forced out from their cities. The speech indicates that Ankara is set to continue its military expansion in Syria and Iraq.

The Syrian Air Force conducted a series of air strikes on ISIS terrorists near the city of Deir Ezzor on October 23. The air strikes took place near the Panorama checkpoint and the Deir Ezzor military airport and resulted in killing of 50 ISIS terrorists.

At least 14 militants were killed by the Syrian Army after launching an attack on the town of Jobar, east of Damascus. The militants used underground tunnels to approach the government-controlled areas but were repelled.

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US Attempts to Shame Asia for “Caving in to China”

octobre 24th, 2016 by Tony Cartalucci

It is becoming clear that US influence – despite its “pivot toward Asia” – is waning across the Asia Pacific region. Washington has suffered geopolitical setbacks in virtually every nation in Asia Pacific, including those now led by regimes it has meticulously organized, funded, and backed for decades. It is also waning, however, among those nations considered long-time and crucial US allies.

This includes Southeast Asia’s Thailand, whom the US repeatedly reminds the world has been Washington’s ally since the Cold War and America’s war in Vietnam, and allegedly, even before that.

324232131231Washington’s Waning Influence is Based on Floundering Fundamentals  

However, in reality, Thailand has incrementally dismantled American influence over it, and has diversified its trade and cooperation with a large variety of nations – including China – as a means of depending on ties with no single nation in particular.

Thailand’s economic trade is focused primarily within Asia, with the majority of its imports and exports divided equally between China, Japan, and ASEAN, with the West collectively representing a smaller – though not insignificant – market.

It is no coincidence that Thailand’s geopolitical ties thus reflect its economic ties around the world – revealing that economic and sociopolitical realities are driving intentional relations regardless of the vast array of “soft power” means at Washington’s disposal.

A look at Thailand’s military inventories reveals a similar strategy of diversifying weapon acquisitions and partnerships as well as developing systems through indigenous industry. What used to be a military dominated by American hardware and military exercises, is transforming with the acquisition of Chinese tanks, European warplanes, Middle Eastern assault rifles, Russian helicopters, and Thai-made armored vehicles – as well as joint drills held with a variety of nations, including for the first time, China.

A similar shift is occurring throughout the rest of Asia, with China naturally assuming a large share of regional cooperation due to its geographic, economic, and demographic size.

Asia’s transformation was entirely predictable, and despite the fact that the United States attempted to “contain” China and preserve its influence throughout the rest of Asia, it did so ignoring the fundamentals of economics and sociopolitical factors, and instead focused on coercion through “trade deals,” compromising military “alliances,” and the creation and perpetuation of artificial strategies of tension both within targeted nations and between Asian states.

More Gimmicks Instead of Fixing Fundamentals 

The United States, indifferent apparently to the factors that have led to its decline in Asia Pacific, has decided to double down on “soft power” gimmicks rather than examining and improving its economic fundamentals.

This includes the use of programs aimed at co-opting cadres of “young leaders” in the region to promote US interests and attempt to reverse politically the gains Asia has made economically and geopolitically.

It also includes a relentless propaganda campaign aimed at portraying nations throughout the region as capitulating to Beijing on a variety of issues that are transparently in the entire region’s best interests.

An op-ed in the Bangkok Post – a newspaper literally created by the US government – titled, “Wong saga backfires on regime,” attempts to argue that the recent deportation of a US-funded agitator from Hong Kong back to China symbolizes Bangkok’s “caving in” to China’s “every whim.”

The article claims:

The 12-hour detention of well-known Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong at Suvarnabhumi airport has backfired on the military regime as criticism has poured in from local and international human rights activists over Thailand’s excessive accommodation of Beijing’s demands.

The op-ed then enumerates several other recent deals made between Bangkok and Beijing, claiming they too were made strictly to accommodate Beijing. They include the deportation of suspected terrorists to China who were bound for Turkey and likely on their way to join international terrorist organizations operating in neighboring Syria.

What’s Good for China is Good for Asia 

In reality, Joshua Wong was admittedly attempting to enter Thailand to help sow the same US-backed instability in Bangkok he led in Hong Kong. He was specifically meeting US-backed agitators in Bangkok who form one of several fronts attempting to seize back political power for parties backed by and tied to Washington.

Thus, the move to deport Wong back to China was in both Beijing and Bangkok’s best interests.

Likewise, the deportation of terror suspects to China benefited both nations as well. Had Thailand continued serving as a conduit for terrorists bound for Syria – and should Syria eventually collapse under pressure from US-armed terrorists – it will lead to global instability that will reverberate across all of Asia, affecting both China and Thailand.

US attempts to destabilize China – the primary trading partner for nations across the entirety of Asia – is a direct threat to the entire region, not just Beijing.

It is not “caving in” to Beijing to ensure stability prevails and that the US is unable to repeat the “success” of its efforts to stir up political instability in North Africa and the Middle which has led to region-wide war, the death or displacement of tens of millions, the socioeconomic collapse of entire nations, and the potential for wider and more direct war across several regions of the planet.

A final irony the Bangkok Post omits amid its transparent propaganda is the fact that absent of China’s interests, Asia has for decades been made to “cave” to Washington’s every whim. It should be no surprise that a newspaper founded by a former US intelligence officer and funded by the US State Department would exhibit in its editorial pages the same sort of shameless exceptionalism that the US itself exhibits upon the international stage.

However, it is a corrosive, counterproductive “exceptionalism” Asia has collectively decided to move on into the future without.

The sooner Washington can recognize and accept this, the sooner it  can rationally realign its relations with Asia toward something tangibly more constructive. While Washington will have to accept Asia as an independent and self-driven region as well as a significant competitor, it can decide whether that competition is healthy and constructive, or unfolds in an atmosphere of confrontation and perpetually impending war.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

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In the previous week, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said Washington and its allies consider the Mosul offensive to be one of the turning points in the fight against the Islamic State.

It should be mentioned that Mosul has a lot in common with Syria’s Aleppo. Both cities with a population of more than one million are captured by terrorists, in both cases government troops are striving to free them.

But as for Aleppo, the US and its Middle East allies including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Israel are attempting to do anything they can to curb the offensive of  Syrian government forces. In a twisted logic, Washington claims that Damascus is not attacking the terrorists but is deliberately targeting civilians. As far as Mosul is concerned, Americans are trying to portray the attack as a « Liberation ».

One may ask then: what’s the difference between Aleppo and Mosul? Why is the West once again implementing a policy of double standards?

As known, the Mosul “defenders” don’t include the so-called “moderate” opposition e.g. the US-backed militants. Meanwhile, in Aleppo the government troops have to fight the terrorists whom Washington keeps calling the “moderate” opposition.

However, can those rebels who routinely shell residential areas and prevent civilians from leaving the city be called « moderate »opposition?

Moreover, Washington keeps accusing Damascus and its allies including Russia that their planes are striking civilians. Along with this, the international coalition keeps bombing Mosul without paying attention to whether there are civilians among the victims. In fact, the US led coalition is protecting the terrorists.

Moreover, the Inside Syria Media Center earlier reported, that the US and Saudi Arabia have created a so-called “humanitarian corridor” for Mosul. But this corridors seems to have been created for ISIS terrorists to enable them to leave the city and move to Raqqa to fight against  Syrian government troops. [In other words, the humanitarian corridor was set up the facilitate the transfer of US-Saudi sponsored ISIS-Daesh terrorists from Iraq into Syria. M. Ch. GR Editor]

In turn, many experts think that the Mosul offensive and Liberation is an instrument of propaganda (launched by Obama) on behalf of the candidate of the Democratic Party in the US presidential elections.

That’s why, the West is attempting to portray two similar situations in different ways. What is abundantly clear is that the US is not fighting the ISIS-Daesh and other terror groups. It is coming to the rescue of the terrorists, who are fighting Bashar al-Assad and his allies.

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«Je parle au nom de ces milliers d’êtres qui sont de cultures différentes et qui bénéficient d’un statut à peine supérieur à celui d’un animal. Je souffre au nom des Indiens massacrés, écrasés, humiliés, et confinés depuis des siècles dans des réserves […] Je parle au nom des femmes du monde entier, qui souffrent d’un système d’exploitation imposé par les mâles […] Oui, je veux donc parler au nom de tous les  »laissés-pour-compte‘‘ parce que je suis homme et rien de ce qui est humain ne m’est étranger.» (Thomas Sankara)

Cette phrase : « Homo sum ; humani nihil a me alienum puto » « je suis homme et rien de ce qui est humain ne m’est étranger »  empruntée à Térence un écrivain berbère africain du deuxième siècle avant Jésus Christ, montre que Thomas Sankara connait ses humanités et se rattache à cette tradition africaine de tolérance et d’empathie envers son prochain. Il est vrai que du point de vue colonial, l’Afrique n’est pas sortie des ténèbres qu’elle est   en dehors de l’historie à en croire un chef d’Etat français. Justement, dans l’histoire récente, la mémoire collective humaine reste marquée par le passage trop bref voire météoritique d’icones. Ainsi   les  mois d’octobre ont été à quelques égards funestes pour des personnalités qui ont marqué leur temps et ont d’une façon ou d’une autre servi et servent encore de référents quand il s’agit de lutter pour la dignité de leur peuple  Il s’agit de  la disparition de deux icônes du mouvement révolutionnaire qui aspiraient à un monde plus juste, Che Guevara le 9 octobre 1967 et Thomas Sankara vingt ans plus tard, en Afrique, le 15 octobre 1987. Dans le même mouvement de description de ces hommes qui moururent d’une façon violente, nous devons aussi rappeler Patrice Lumumba disparu en janvier 1961.

Quels dangers présentaient ces hommes qui, à des degrés divers, ont essayé de sortir de la dépendance idéologique dominante, à savoir l’impérialisme des pays occidentaux et, plus clairement l’exploitation des masses par un libéralisme puis par un néo-libéralisme sauvage sans état d’âme? Indépendamment des peuples qui sont respectables quelles que soient leurs latitudes, l’oligarchie dominante impose un nouvel ordre et une doxa qui seule a droit de cité. Ces morts violentes ont en commun le fait que ces personnes dérangeaient l’ordre établi. Nous allons dans ce qui suit présenter brièvement ces apôtres du bien commun en insistant particulièrement sur le parcours méconnu de Thomas Sankara.

Qui se souvient de Che Guevara ?

Mis à part le portrait de Alberto Korda du  6 mars 1960 le fameux cliché du « Guerrillero Heroico », il reste une énigme Voilà  un jeune homme bien instruit, médecin de formation   qui a voué sa vie à la justice à en mourir  seul entouré d’ennemis dans un maquis de Bolivie, après avoir été ministre de la république cubaine . Cela ne peut s’expliquer que par une cause qui le transcende et à laquelle il ne peut répondre que par l’engagement total. Alors qu’il faisait ses études, Guevara observe la pauvreté de la population des pays d’Amérique du Sud. Il aboutit à la conclusion que les inégalités socioéconomiques ne peuvent pas être abolies par le jeu démocratique toujours truqué, mais par la nécessité de créer un nouvel ordre: la révolution. Dans son dernier discours à Alger en 1965, alors qu’il était encore ministre cubain, il commence à prendre ses distances avec Castro, il dénonce l’exploitation du tiers-monde et renvoie dos à dos les deux blocs de la Guerre froide. On le retrouve dans les maquis boliviens. Traqué par les troupes du général Barrientos, il est capturé et exécuté sommairement sur ordre de la CIA.

Sankara et la révolution burkinabée

Quelques vingt ans plus tard  dans un autre continent – l’Afrique-, un jeune trentenaire comme lui, voulait changer le monde et le rendre plus juste.  Thomas Sankara aurait pu faire une carrière sans faute en rentrant dans le moule néo-libéral et en obéissant aux injonctions néo-coloniale. Rien n’y  fit le feu sacré lui fit  prendre une toute autre direction. Dans un discours à l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies, en 1984 Thomas Sankara déclarait : «Notre révolution au Burkina Faso est ouverte aux malheurs de tous les peuples. Elle s’inspire aussi de toutes les expériences des hommes, depuis le premier souffle de l’humanité

Le sociologue Saïd Bouamama décrit dans son ouvrage consacré à des personnalités qui ont marqué le monde, le parcours de Thomas Sankara:

«(…) Dix ans après l’assassinat de Cabral, Thomas Sankara devient à trente-trois ans le plus jeune président d’Afrique et même de la planète (…) Thomas Sankara doit faire face à un «basculement du monde» marqué, dans les années 1970 et 1980, par des bouleversements majeurs de l’économie mondiale (fluctuation des cours du pétrole, crise de la dette des pays du tiers-monde, triomphe du néolibéralisme dans les pays occidentaux) (…) Reste que son enthousiasme révolutionnaire, son charisme hors du commun et sa fin tragique ont fait de Thomas Sankara «un symbole et une référence politique majeurs pour toute l’Afrique.» (1)

«Interrogé en 1985 par le journaliste Jean-Philippe Rapp sur les dirigeants africains, Sankara distingue ceux qui ont «une disponibilité mentale de condescendance» et ceux qui ont été amenés à «baigner au milieu du peuple». Il résume cette approche en février 1986: «Karl Marx le disait, on ne pense ni aux mêmes choses ni de la même façon selon que l’on vit dans une chaumière ou dans un palais.» (..) L’enfance de Thomas Sankara est également très pieuse. (…) Ayant obtenu son bac en 1969, Sankara entame une formation de quatre ans d’officier à l’Académie militaire d’Antsirabe, à Madagascar (…) De retour au pays avec le grade de sous-lieutenant, fin 1973, Sankara est affecté à la formation des jeunes recrues. Invité par ses supérieurs, le 22 août 1974, à donner une conférence sur le rôle des forces armées dans le «développement», il fustige – au grand dam de sa hiérarchie – l’«armée budgétivore» et l’«oisiveté des soldats». En décembre 1974, Sankara participe à la guerre qui oppose le Mali et la Haute-Volta Les faits d’armes lors de cette guerre ouvrent à Sankara les portes de la promotion militaire.» (1)

«En 1980, poursuit Saïd Bouamama, la Haute-Volta est l’objet d’un nouveau coup d’État, le troisième depuis l’indépendance. (…) Conscient de la popularité de Sankara, le nouveau gouvernement le nomme capitaine, en février 1981, puis secrétaire d’État à l’Information, (…) Au cours de ces quelques mois, le jeune secrétaire d’État détonne dans le gouvernement. Il circule en vélo. Le 12 avril, lors d’une conférence des ministres africains il s’exclame en présence du chef de l’État et en direct sur les ondes de la Radio nationale: «Malheur à ceux qui bâillonnent le peuple […].» Une telle audace lui vaut d’être arrêté, dégradé et déporté loin de la capitale. S’appuyant sur le mécontentement produit par l’arrestation, le commandant Gabriel Somé Yorian prend le pouvoir le 7 novembre 1982. (…). Le poste de Premier ministre dans un nouveau Conseil de salut du peuple (CSP) est proposé à Sankara, qui l’accepte. (…) Il dénonce tour à tour les ennemis du peuple qui sont «à l’intérieur comme à l’extérieur», la «fraction de la bourgeoisie qui s’enrichit malhonnêtement par la fraude», «Lorsque le peuple se met debout, l’impérialisme tremble. Il tremble parce qu’il a peur. Il tremble parce qu’ici à Ouagadougou même, nous allons l’enterrer». Tel est le «style Sankara (…) Ces succès populaires du Premier ministre achèvent de convaincre l’aile conservatrice du régime de la nécessite de se débarrasser de l’encombrant capitaine. Le 17 mai, Sankara est arrêté. Un groupe composé de sous-officiers, de dirigeants d’organisations de gauche et de leaders prend le pouvoir. Le 4 août 1983 Thomas Sankara annonce le soir même à la radio la destitution du pouvoir, la création d’un Conseil national de la révolution (CNR) (…) Dans la foulée, Sankara est nommé chef de l’État.» (1)

Le credo de Sankara «Oser inventer l’avenir»

Sankara met en oeuvre d’abord une organisation d’autogestion Il fait de l’autosuffisance alimentaire le credo de son sacerdoce. Pour symboliser cette nouvelle étape ouverte par la révolution d’août, le pays est rebaptisé Burkina Faso, «le pays des hommes intègres».

«Dans tous les domaines écrit le sociologue Saïd Bouamama, alors qu’il importe encore 220.000 tonnes de céréales en 1984, le pays atteint, deux ans plus tard, son objectif de deux repas et de dix litres d’eau par jour et par personne. Quelques années plus tard, Jean Ziegler, ex-rapporteur spécial pour le droit à l’alimentation pour les Nations unies, décrira les réformes de Sankara comme un grand succès: «Il a vaincu la faim: il a fait que le Burkina, en quatre ans, est devenu alimentairement autosuffisante.» La même situation prévaut en ce qui concerne les productions non alimentaires. «Consommez burkinabé» et se «vêtir burkinabé» deviennent des mots d’ordre. «(…) La même dynamique est mise en oeuvre pour des campagnes plus ambitieuses comme l’aménagement de la «vallée de la Sourou» destiné à irriguer 41.000 hectares, la «vaccination commando» ayant pour objectif de vacciner 3 millions d’enfants en deux semaines ou encore l’«alphabétisation commando» visant à alphabétiser 35.000 paysans en cinquante jours. (…)» (1)

Faisant preuve d’une rare lucidité pour l’époque, il dénonce la pollution engendrée par des nations industrialisés:

«Comme il le fait, en 1986, sur un plateau de télévision française, alors qu’il est interrogé sur la désertification dans son pays: «Nous estimons que la responsabilité de ce fléau n’incombe pas seulement à ces hommes et à ces femmes qui vivent au Burkina Faso, mais également à tous ceux qui, loin de chez nous, provoquent de façon directe ou indirecte des perturbations climatiques et écologiques. […] Oui, la lutte contre la désertification est un combat anti-impérialiste». (…) Il institue la coutume de planter un arbre à chaque grande occasion pour lutter contre la désertification. Dans ses discours, il dénonce le colonialisme et le néo-colonialisme, dont celui de la France, en Afrique. Devant l’ONU, il défend le droit des peuples à pouvoir manger à leur faim, boire à leur soif, et à être éduqués. (…) Enfin, il prend position contre la dette odieuse dans ces années 1980 qui ont vu le triomphe du néolibéralisme. Il refuse de payer la dette (…) Nous ne pouvons pas rembourser la dette parce que nous n’avons pas de quoi payer. Moins de trois mois après, Thomas Sankara est assassiné.(…)» (1)

Comment Sankara a-t-il été éliminé?

A l’évidence, Thomas Sankara dérangeait l’ordre établi. Il fallait trouver un exécuteur de basses oeuvres. Durant le règne de Blaise Campaoré-son frère d’armes- soupçonné d’avoir commandité l’assassinat. Il n’empêche que le 15 octobre de chaque année voyait des processions humaines aller sur sa présumée tombe, bien que la thèse officielle assurait que Sankara avait péri «de mort naturelle», à 37 ans. La veuve du président tué en 1987 soupçonne le nouvel homme fort du pays, le général Gilbert Diendéré, d’être «impliqué dans l’assassinat». Coïncidence ou pas, le nouvel homme fort du pays issu du coup d’Etat, le général Gilbert Diendéré,«était à l’époque le responsable de la sécurité et des commandos de militaires. On pense qu’il est impliqué dans l’assassinat (…). En 2006, le Comité des droits de l’homme des Nations unies condamne l’absence de tout procès ou de toute enquête de la part du gouvernement burkinabé. Au Burkina Faso, le général Gilbert Diendéré, ex-chef d’état-major particulier de la Présidence et homme de confiance de l’ancien président Blaise Compaoré, a été inculpé pour «complicité» dans l’assassinat de Thomas Sankara.» (2)

Patrice Lumumba: un météore

Un parcours tout aussi remarquable fut celui de Patrice Lumumba   premier à occuper le poste de Premier ministre du Congo belge entre juin et septembre 1960. Après un parcours militant de plusieurs années,  en mai 1960, Lumumba remporte les élections et devient Premier ministre le 23 juin. Il s’opposa contre l’ordre établi et eut contre lui le Royaume belge, et l’Empire.

« Né le 2 juillet 1925 à Onalua (territoire de Katako-Kombe au Sankuru) au Congo Belge (actuelle République démocratique du Congo).  Il fréquente l’école catholique des missionnaires puis, élève brillant, une école protestante tenue par des Suédois. Il travailla comme employé de bureau dans une société minière de la province du Sud-Kivu jusqu’en 1945, puis comme journaliste à Léopoldville (Kinshasa) et Stanleyville (Kisangani), période pendant laquelle il écrit dans divers journaux. En septembre 1954, il reçoit sa carte « d’immatriculé », honneur chichement accordé par l’administration belge à quelques noirs (à peine 200 sur les 13 millions d’habitants de l’époque!) » (3)

« En 1955, il crée une association « APIC » (association du personnel indigène de la colonie) et aura l’occasion de s’entretenir avec le roi Baudouin en voyage au Congo, sur la situation des Congolais. Le ministre du Congo de l’époque, Auguste Buisseret veut faire évoluer le Congo et notamment mettre en place un enseignement public. Lumumba adhère au parti libéral avec d’autres notables congolais.(…) En 1958, à l’occasion de l’exposition universelle, des congolais sont invités en Belgique. Outrés par l’image dégradante du peuple congolais qui est véhiculée par l’exposition, Lumumba et quelques compagnons politiques nouent des contacts avec les cercles anti-colonialistes. Dès son retour au Congo, il crée le Mouvement National congolais (MNC), à Léopoldville le 5 octobre 1958  (…) Il revendique l’indépendance devant plus de 10 000 personnes. Premiers démêlés politiques en octobre 1959: le MNC et d’autres partis indépendantistes organisent une réunion à Stanleyville. Malgré un fort soutien populaire, les autorités belges tentent de s’emparer de Lumumba, c’est l’émeute et une trentaine de morts. Lumumba est arrêté quelques jours plus tard, est jugé en janvier 1960 et condamné à 6 mois de prison le 21 janvier. En même temps les autorités belges organisaient des réunions avec les indépendantistes auxquelles participe finalement Lumumba, qui est libéré  le 26 janvier. À la surprise générale, la Belgique accorde au Congo l’indépendance qui est fixée au 30 juin1960. Le MNC et ses alliés remportent les élections organisées en mai et, le 23 juin 1960, Patrice Emery Lumumba devient le Premier Ministre du Congo indépendant. Mais pour les autorités belges l’indépendance ne se voulait pas pleine et entière. » (3)

Une indépendance qui doit perpétuer la dépendance

Même si l’indépendance est octroyée, il n’est pas question de toucher aux privilèges du Royaume belge et Lumumba a d’une certaine façon signé son arrêt de mort :

«  Lumumba  défie la Belgique en décrétant l’africanisation de l’armée. Celle-ci répond par l’envoi de troupes au Katanga (la région minière) et soutient la sécession de cette région menée par Moïse Kapenda Tschombé. En septembre 1960, le président Joseph Kasa-Vubu révoque Lumumba ainsi que les ministres nationalistes. Lumumba déclare alors qu’il restera en fonction. A sa demande, le parlement acquis à sa cause révoque le président Kasavubu. Suite à un coup d’état, Joseph Désiré Mobutu prend le pouvoir, crée le Collège des Commissaires généraux et assigne à résidence les dirigeants congolais. En décembre 1960, Lumumba s’échappe de la capitale pour tenter de gagner Stanleyville, région où il a de nombreux partisans. Il est arrêté et transféré au camp militaire deThysville sur ordre de Mobutu. Le 17 janvier 1961, Lumumba, Mpolo et Okito  (…) seront exécutés le soir même en présence de Tshombé, Munongo, Kimba et d’autres dirigeants de l’État du Katanga. Le lendemain, une opération sera menée pour faire disparaître dans l’acide les restes des victimes ». (3)

La responsabilité  première du Royaume belge

On l’aura compris Patrice Lumumba dérangeait l’ordre néo-colonial d’abord en tentant de s’affranchir en nationalisant les richesses nationales mais aussi en tentant de trouver des soutiens à l’extérieur auprès de l’Union Soviétique le grand satan :

« On s’est beaucoup interrogé sur le rôle des puissances occidentales, des États-Unis en particulier dans la mort de Lumumba, sous le prétexte qu’il faisait craindre une dérive du Congo Belge vers l’URSS.   l’ONU ne répondit pas à ses demandes d’aide militaire pour mettre fin à la guerre civile. On sait aujourd’hui que la CIA a aidé financièrement les opposants à Lumumba et a fourni des armes à Mobutu. Le gouvernement belge a reconnu en 2002, une responsabilité dans les événements qui avaient conduit à la mort de Lumumba: « A la lumière des critères appliqués aujourd’hui, certains membres du Gouvernement d’alors et certains acteurs belges de l’époque portent une part irréfutable de responsabilité dans les événements qui ont conduit à la mort de Patrice Lumumba. Le Gouvernement estime dès lors qu’il est indiqué de présenter à la famille de Patrice Lumumba et au peuple congolais ses profonds et sincères regrets et ses excuses pour la douleur qui leur a été infligée de par cette apathie et cette froide neutralité ».  (3)

La lutte de la Belgique contre le Premier ministre Lumumba était préméditée, agencée, calculée visant son élimination politique et physique. Un solde de tout compte qui a hypothéqué et hypothèque encore ces pays toujours englués dans les même travers, celui de  l’instabilité chronique qui vit  ce grand pays subir d’abord une partition et ensuite des renversements successifs dans les deux pays qui en sont issus. Cependant la Belgique n’est pas seule à porter une responsabilité comme nous verrons plus avant

La Françafrique toujours à la manœuvre

On connaît la politique de la Ve République avec le puissant Jacques Foccart qui faisait et défaisait les chefs d’Etat africains. Quels que soient les présidents de droite ou de gauche il y a la cause sacrée qui est celle des intérêts de la France en Afrique. Saïd Bouamama nous indique que La France craint pour sa part ce dirigeant qui condamne ouvertement le franc CFA comme «une arme de la domination française» et la Francophonie comme «une stratégie néocolonialiste». Et qui, en plus de boycotter le sommet franco-africain de Lomé (novembre 1986), n’hésite pas à critiquer publiquement François Mitterrand».

L’indépendance octroyée est formelle.:

«On ne touche pas à la Françafrique!  Aujourd’hui encore, alors que nos intérêts en Afrique sont de plus en plus menacés par la Chine, il ne fait pas bon critiquer les liens traditionnels qui unissent la France aux dirigeants de ses anciennes colonies… Depuis l’indépendance de ces pays, Paris n’a jamais cessé d’imposer sa tutelle pour préserver ses intérêts économiques et politiques (uranium nigérien, pétrole gabonais, cacao ivoirien…). Pour réaliser cette ambition, les gouvernements français successifs ont employé les moyens les plus retors: putschs, envois de mercenaires, accords secrets autorisant Paris à s’immiscer dans les affaires intérieures, constitutions de réseaux barbouillis, pressions économiques… Ces intrusions ont parfois donné lieu à des épisodes sanglants et à des massacres dans lesquels la responsabilité de la France est engagée.»(4)

On s’est beaucoup interrogé sur le rôle des puissances occidentales, des États-Unis en particulier dans la mort de Lumumba, sous le prétexte qu’il faisait craindre une dérive du Congo belge vers l’Urss. On sait aujourd’hui que la CIA a aidé financièrement les opposants à Lumumba et a fourni des armes à Mobutu. Le gouvernement belge a reconnu en 2002, une responsabilité dans les événements qui avaient conduit à la mort de Lumumba » (5)

«La France et la Belgique lit-on dans ce témoignage, vont-elles enfin reconnaître leurs responsabilités historiques? C’est en tout cas un des objectifs des actions menées en France autour de l’assassinat de Thomas Sankara et en Belgique autour du meurtre de Patrice Lumumba. En France, une demande d’enquête sur l’assassinat de Thomas Sankara a été déposée le 10 juin 2011. (…)Selon un proche de l’ancien président libérien Charles Taylor: «Le piano fut accordé par les Américains et les Français. Il y avait un homme de la CIA à l’ambassade des États-Unis au Burkina qui travailla en étroit contact avec le chef des services secrets de l’ambassade française, eux ont pris les décisions les plus importantes.» (6)

Dans le même ordre de la domination néo-coloniale, et l’emprise des anciennes puissances sur les richesses des pays « indépendants » d’une façon factice et dans le sillage de la création des « Printemps arabes » suite aux « révolutions colorées », après Ben Ali, Après Moubarek , le tout de la Libye est arrivé. La résolution  1973 qui fut à bien des égards une tromperie donna aux exécuteurs le droit d’assassiner le 20 octobre 2011 le chef d’Etat El Gueddafi était exécuté de la main d’une coalition franco-anglo-américaine dont le moins que l’on puisse dire est que l’on ne voulait pas de lui vivant. Il ne présentait aucun danger pour les populations.  On le voit, le néolibéralisme a éliminé tous les «ismes» comme le socialisme et le communisme, sauf l’islamisme qu’il a créé pour  tenter d’asseoir définitivement son hégémonie d’un ordre où 1% de riches sont plus riches que les 99% de la planète. Est-ce ainsi que les hommes vivent ?

Professeur Chems Eddine Chitour

Ecole Polytechnique enp-edu.dz

1.Saïd Bouamama http://www.contretemps.eu/sankara-revolution-burkina-bouamama/

2.http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20151206-bukrina-faso-assassinat-thomas-sankara-general-diendere-inculpe-complicite

3.http://www.congoforum.be/fr/congodetail.asp?subitem=21&id=5918&Congofiche=selected

4. Les Dessous de la Françafrique, Patrick Pesnot, M.X, Nouveau Monde Éditions, 2008

5.http://www.congoforum.be/fr/congodetail.asp?subitem=21&id=5918&Congofiche=selected

6. http://thomassankara.net/thomas-sankara-patrice-lumumba-verite-justice-et-reparation/

Article de  référence :

http://www.lexpressiondz.com/chroniques/analyses_du_professeur_chitour/252641-des-destins-contraries-par-les-puissants.html

 

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The ‘White Helmets’ Controversy

octobre 24th, 2016 by Rick Sterling

The saturation of propaganda from massive investments by Western interests in NGOs like the “White Helmets” has skewed the public’s understanding of foreign crises, such as Iraq in 2003 and Syria today, writes Rick Sterling.

Across the mainstream Western media, the “White Helmets” are hailed as heroic first responders rescuing injured civilians in rebel-controlled parts of Syria. The U.K. Guardian and The Independent urged the Nobel Committee to award this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the “White Helmets.” As it turned out, they didn’t get that one, but they did receive the prestigious 2016 “Right Livelihood Award.”

On the U.S. side of the Atlantic, the “White Helmets” are treated with similar uncritical acclaim. They were the subject of the Oct. 17 TIME magazine cover story. Netflix has released a special “documentary” movie about them. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has gushed over them for years, helping the group’s one-sided depiction of events inside Syria shape the pro-rebel narrative that is pretty much all the American and European publics hear about Syria.

The "White Helmets" symbol, expropriating the name of "Syria Civil Defense."

The “White Helmets” symbol, expropriating the name of “Syria Civil Defense.”

And, this love-fest is not just confined to establishment media. DemocracyNow! ran a puff piece interview with the White Helmet infomercial directors. The Intercept published an uncritical promotion of the “White Helmets” and the group’s controversial leader. Codepink recommended the Netflix movie (though after receiving criticism about the endorsement, the anti-war group removed it).

Yet, despite the favorable “group think” regarding the “White Helmets” – and more broadly about the rebel cause in Syria – there is another side to the story, including the fact that the “White Helmets” are not just some well-meaning Syrians who emerged to help all civilians suffering from the five years of war.

Not only do they only operate in rebel-controlled areas but they are a source of propaganda about the war, indeed their very existence is an element in the larger propaganda campaign to rally international support for a “regime change” war in Syria. The “White Helmets” brand was conceived and directed by a New York-based marketing company named “The Syria Campaign,” which itself was “incubated” by a larger politically oriented marketing company called Purpose.

Along with managing the online and social media promotion of the White Helmets, the Syria Campaign has parallel efforts in support of “regime change” in Syria. One of these efforts has been to criticize United Nations and humanitarian relief organizations that supply aid to displaced persons living in areas protected by the Syrian government.

The allegations made by the Syria Campaign and others were written by people who know nothing about the UN and how it must work,” according to an NGO worker operating in Damascus.

Exaggerated Claims

Claims that the “White Helmets” have saved 65,000 people also appear to be wildly exaggerated. The areas, served by the White Helmets and controlled by Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and its rebel allies, have few civilians living in them. A medical doctor visiting east Aleppo two years ago described it as a “ghost town,” yet Western media reports cite a highly inflated estimated population of 250,000. 

Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN, addresses the Security Council meeting on Syria, Sept. 25, 2016 (UN Photo)

Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN, addresses the Security Council meeting on Syria, Sept. 25, 2016 (UN Photo)

Perhaps unintentionally, the “White Helmets” and one of their video teams confirmed this reality in producing a “cat video” when cat videos were all the rage on social media. In an apparent bid to bring cat lovers onto the side of “regime change” in Syria, the White Helmets’ video showed White Helmet members playing with stray cats in empty neighborhoods, saying: “The homeowners abandoned this district and its kittens.”

Besides promoting themselves as a humanitarian group, the White Helmets have become essential to the propaganda war by gaining — along with similar pro-rebel “activists” — a virtual monopoly on information from rebel-controlled areas, supplying a steady stream of heart-rending stories and images about suffering children to a credulous Western media wanting to believe everything bad about the Syrian government.

One of the reasons why the “White Helmets” have been so successful in inserting their propaganda into Western media is that most of the rebel zones of Syria, especially east Aleppo, have been off limits to Western journalists and other outside observers for years. Two of the last Western reporters to venture into rebel territory, James Foley and Stephen Sotloff, were subsequently beheaded by the Islamic State.

So, as the Syrian government and its allies finally try to expel Al Qaeda terrorists and their cohorts from east Aleppo, the White Helmets have become a major source for the Western news media which treats these “relief workers” as credible providers of on-the-ground information.

Thus, the positive image of the White Helmets and the group’s skillful use of social media deflect attention from the sectarian, violent and unpopular nature of Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front (recently renamed the Syria Conquest Front) and other armed opposition groups while hyping accusations that Syrian and Russian attacks are primarily hitting civilians.

In other words, the White Helmets have gone from being talked about to being the ones doing the talking. News stories increasingly use White Helmet witnesses as their sources, often in ways that promote the self-serving myth of White Helmet heroism. One day, CNN announced that a White Helmet aid center had been hit. Another day, TIME magazine claimed that White Helmet workers were being “hunted”.

‘Eyewitness’ Accounts

Reports from the White Helmets also have served as “eyewitness” accounts about the Syrian military using “barrel bombs,” including in an attack to destroy a Syrian Arab Red Crescent humanitarian convoy and warehouse on Sept. 19 in Orem al Kubra. But there were reasons to be suspicious of this claim since this town is controlled by the infamous Nour al Din al Zinki terrorist group, which recently filmed itself beheading a Palestinian Syrian boy.

U.S.-backed Syrian "moderate" rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the  YouTube video]

U.S.-backed Syrian “moderate” rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video]

It was also illogical that Syrian or Russian planes would attack a SARC convoy, which they could have stopped when it was in government held territory. Plus, the Syrian government works with SARC. And, the ones to “benefit” from the attack were the rebels and their Western backers who cited this atrocity as another reason for “regime change” and to condemn the Russians for assisting the Syrian government. The attack also took attention away from the U.S. airstrike that killed some 70 Syrian soldiers on Sept. 17.

After the convoy was struck, the Russian and Syrian governments called for an independent investigation of the attack site but this has not been done, presumably because the terrorists controlling the area have not allowed it. Nevertheless, the narrative supplied by the White Helmets and other pro-rebel factions – blaming the Syrian government and their Russian allies – has dominated the Western media’s handling of the story.

The “White Helmets” also played a dubious role in allegations that the Syrian government was using chlorine gas in 2013 and 2014 by warning residents before the attacks to expect the Syrian military to drop chlorine bombs, although it was unclear how the activist first-responders would know that fact in advance. In one of the cases, seven witnesses told U.N. investigators that the rebels had staged the chlorine-gas attack, which could suggest that the “White Helmets” were in on the scam.

So, are the White Helmets heroes or a politically motivated hoax? The time to investigate is now, since it does little good to uncover the lies and manipulations years later, as has happened with the Iraqi and Libyan “regime change” invasions.

A Dangerous Replay

Evidence now suggests that we are seeing a replay of Curveball and the Iraqi WMD in 2003 and the bogus hysteria about stopping a Libyan “genocide” in 2011, both debunked by later investigations but too late to spare those countries from massive death and destruction.

A scene from the "Collateral Murder" video in which an Iraqi man stops his van to aid those wounded in a lethal U.S. helicopter attack in Baghdad on July 12, 2007, only to be gunned down by the American gunners.

A scene from the “Collateral Murder” video in which an Iraqi man stops his van to aid those wounded in a lethal U.S. helicopter attack in Baghdad on July 12, 2007, only to be gunned down by the American gunners.

The belated recognition by some Americans that they are being “had” again in Syria has led to some pushback against the mainstream media’s promotion of the “White Helmets” and other pro-rebel activists. In April 2015, Dissidentvoice published an expose of the group’s creation and purpose. Since then there have been other articles and videos revealing the reality behind the “feel good” veneer.

Vanessa Beeley has produced a number of articles about the fraudulent pretense that the “White Helmets” are Syrian Civil Defense, including documentation about the real Syrian Civil Defense, which was founded six decades ago. She initiated an online Change.org petition to NOT give the Nobel Peace Prize to the “White Helmets,” an initiative that must have upset some influential people because Change.org removed the petition without explanation. (You can read the text of the petition here.)

The real Syrian Civil Defense works on a shoestring budget with real volunteers without video teams accompanying and promoting them. Most in the West are unaware the real Syrian Civil Defense even exist. The situation is similar for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, which is a genuinely neutral and independent relief organization and has a good website.

Another online petition, also at CHANGE.ORG, which is still up and running, calls on the Right Livelihood Foundation to rescind its award to the “White Helmets.” The petition includes a number of reasons why the group does not deserve the prize and are not what they are presented to be: they stole the name Syria Civil Defense from the real Syrian organization; they appropriated the name “White Helmets” from the Argentinian rescue organization Cascos Blancos/White Helmets; they are not independent; they are funded by governments; they are not apolitical; they actively campaign for a “no-fly zone” (which even Hillary Clinton has acknowledged would “kill a lot of Syrians” although she continues to promote the idea); they do not work across Syria; they only work in areas controlled by the armed opposition, mostly under the command of Al Qaeda’s affiliate Nusra Front; they are not unarmed; they sometimes do carry weapons and they also celebrate terrorist victories; they assist in terrorist executions.

Max Blumenthal wrote a two-part exposé at Alternet: “How the White Helmets became International Heroes while Pushing US Intervention and Regime Change in Syria” and “Inside the Shadowy PR Firm that’s Lobbying for Regime Change in Syria.” 

Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who was one of the few voices daring to contest President George W. Bush’s false claims about Iraq’s WMD, wrote an article which challenged the White Helmets’ “lionization.”

Internationally, the Israeli TV station I24 ran a special report with the title “White Helmets: Heroes or Hoax?” – giving equal coverage to supporters and critics. Even “The National” out of United Arab Emirates has documented the controversy around the White Helmets.

Not surprisingly, this dissent to the mainstream media’s love affair with the White Helmets drew return fire. The British military contractor who initially set up the group accused critics of being “proxies” for the Syrian and Russian governments (much as Ritter and other skeptics about the Iraqi WMD “group think” were called “Saddam apologists” in 2003).

The controversy also has done little to chasten the Western press corps from relying on the “White Helmets” as the go-to sources for information in Syria’s conflict zones.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist and member of Syria Solidarity Movement.

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Un sommet de l’Union européenne (UE) de deux jours a pris fin hier à Bruxelles sans accord sur la guerre en Syrie, ni sur l’Accord économique et commercial global (AECG) avec le Canada, ni sur la sortie de la Grande-Bretagne de l’UE.

Il est de plus en plus clair que le vote pour le Brexit de cet été a marqué une étape importante dans une désintégration continue de l’UE. Déchirée par de multiples conflits, surtout autour de la campagne américaine belliqueuse contre la Russie et la Chine et ses relations avec Washington, l’UE est incapable non seulement de parvenir à un accord commun sur la politique à suivre, mais aussi de cacher les tensions de plus en plus vives entre ses États membres.

Le sommet des ministres des Affaires étrangères de lundi a montré que l’UE devrait rejeter la pression des États-Unis pour plus de sanctions contre la Russie liée à la situation en Syrie. Ces sanctions menacent de paralyser l’économie déjà moribonde de l’UE. L’Allemagne, la Grande-Bretagne et la France espéraient néanmoins forcer le passage d’une résolution de l’UE condamnant hypocritement les bombardements russes des milices de l’opposition soutenues par l’OTAN à Alep et se référant à la possibilité d’imposer de nouvelles sanctions contre la Russie dans le futur. Cela n’a pas réussi, cependant, en raison de l’opposition du Premier ministre italien, Matteo Renzi.

Après de longs débats, jeudi soir, les dirigeants européens sont apparus après 2 heures du matin le vendredi pour exposer leurs positions contradictoires sur la Syrie et la Russie.

Avec le système bancaire italien au bord de l’effondrement et un référendum constitutionnel prévu le 4 décembre, Renzi avait apparemment calculé que, même la mention des sanctions était une menace intolérable pour l’Italie, qui a des liens commerciaux et énergétiques étroits avec la Russie.

« Je pense que faire référence dans le texte à des sanctions n’a pas de sens », a-t-il dit. « Je pense donc que les mots que nous avons écrits dans le document final sont les bons – à dire que nous devons faire tout notre possible pour promouvoir un accord en Syrie ».

Les commentaires de Renzi ont attiré une réplique mordante de Varsovie, qui s’est étroitement aligné sur la poussée américaine belliqueuse contre la Russie. Le vice-ministre des Affaires étrangères polonais, Konrad Szymanski, a affirmé qu’il y avait un soutien « sans équivoque » pour une action contre la Russie. « Toutes les options couvrent les sanctions, et divers outils limitant la Russie par rapport à ce qui se passe en Syrie aujourd’hui », a-t-il dit. Toute « absence de changement de comportement de la Russie en Syrie va nous amener à revenir sur ce sujet très rapidement ».

La tension a également éclaté entre Varsovie et Berlin sur le conflit avec la Russie. Dans le Financial Times, Szymanski a écrit un commentaire attaquant le gazoduc « Nord Stream » reliant la Russie et l’Allemagne via la mer Baltique. La Pologne et d’autres pays d’Europe orientale se sont longtemps opposées à ce pipeline, négocié en 2005 par Moscou et Berlin, craignant que l’Allemagne puisse se ravitailler en gaz, même si les conflits avec la Russie conduisaient Moscou à couper leurs approvisionnements en énergie.

Qualifiant ce pipeline de « cheval de Troie, capable de déstabiliser l’économie et d’empoisonner des relations politiques à l’intérieur de l’UE », Szymanski a averti qu’il « pourrait faire l’objet d’une contestation judiciaire par la Pologne ou d’autres pays, à la Cour [la Cour de justice de l’UE] si besoin est. »

Les contradictions insolubles qui se manifestent à l’intérieur de l’UE reflètent les conflits amers entre les grandes puissances impérialistes au milieu de la poussée belliqueuse téméraire menée par les États-Unis contre la Russie et la Chine.

L’année prochaine marquera un quart de siècle depuis la signature du Traité de Maastricht, qui a fondé l’Union européenne. Depuis lors, les illusions que la restauration du capitalisme en URSS et la fondation de l’Union européenne pourraient unifier l’Europe, apportant la paix, la prospérité et la démocratie à tous, ont été brisées. L’économie européenne stagne au milieu du chômage de masse et des attaques contre les droits sociaux, en dépit des milliers de milliards d’euros d’aumônes aux banques. Pendant ce temps, l’Europe s’est à nouveau militarisée, tandis que l’OTAN déploie des dizaines de milliers de soldats au Moyen-Orient et le long des frontières de la Russie en Europe.

L’UE est en train de susciter témérairement la propagande anti-russe, couvrant son propre rôle dans l’armement des milices islamistes de l’opposition syrienne à Alep et dans l’assaut sanglant sur Mossoul. Alors que l’OTAN fait écho à la ligne de Washington qui consiste à justifier l’augmentation des dépenses militaires et d’inciter à l’hystérie de l’État policier sur le front domestique, les rivalités inter-impérialistes en son sein sont de plus en plus impossibles à cacher.

Refusant de renoncer à l’accès à des occasions de profit en Russie et en Chine, la plupart des puissances de l’UE ont rejeté les appels des États-Unis à des sanctions économiques majeurs contre la Russie ou une action contre la Chine, telle un boycott de sa Banque asiatique d’investissement pour les infrastructures (AIIB).

Cela va de pair avec des tensions militaires et économiques de plus en plus visibles. L’an dernier, Berlin et Paris se sont opposés sur le plan de la CIA d’armer les milices nationalistes Ukrainiens contre la Russie, dont ils redoutaient qu’il provoque des représailles militaires de la Russie ; cette année, les responsables de l’UE ont déclaré qu’ils ne prendraient pas position dans le conflit de Washington avec Pékin en mer de Chine du Sud. Des responsables de l’UE maintenant sont en train d’annoncer des plans pour une armée européenne indépendante de Washington, provoquant des déclarations ouvertes d’hostilité du gouvernement britannique.

Ces tensions ont menacé de dégénérer en guerre commerciale cet automne, l’UE imposant une amende de plusieurs milliards d’euros à Apple pour évasion fiscale en Irlande, et Washington ripostant avec une amende massive contre la Deutsche Bank en difficulté. L’escalade de ces conflits inter-impérialistes sous-tendait l’échec du sommet à parvenir à un nouvel accord sur l’AECG et le Brexit.

Les négociations sur l’AECG ont échoué hier, moins de deux mois après que les responsables allemands et français ont appelé à la fin de pourparlers avec Washington sur le Partenariat transatlantique de commerce et d’investissement (PTCI). L’opposition est venue de la région belge francophone de Wallonie, qui exigeait plus de protection pour les agriculteurs européens face à la concurrence canadienne. Les responsables wallons auraient également pour but de saper la région Flandre économiquement dominante en Belgique, dont le gouvernement soutient l’AECG.

En quittant la Belgique, le ministre du Commerce du Canada, Chrystia Freeland, a déclaré : « Il semble évident pour moi et pour le Canada que l’Union européenne n’est pas actuellement capable d’avoir un accord international, même avec un pays qui a des valeurs aussi européennes que le Canada […] Le Canada est déçu, mais je pense que c’est impossible ».

La difficulté de la négociation de ces accords commerciaux souligne également les conflits profonds qui sont prêts à se lever quand Londres commencera le processus de sortie de l’UE, et tentera de renégocier ses accords commerciaux, qui jusqu’à présent ont été établis sous l’égide de l’UE. Bien que peu de détails aient émergé des discussions de jeudi soir sur le Brexit entre des responsables de l’UE et le Premier ministre britannique Theresa May, qui assistait à son premier sommet de l’UE, la tension monte clairement dans les coulisses.

Le dirigeant du Parti du peuple européen, Manfred Weber, a menacé Londres parce qu’elle est en train de bloquer les projets d’armée européenne et d’une capacité militaire qui serait indépendante des États-Unis et de la Grande-Bretagne.

« Quand quelqu’un veut quitter un club, il n’est vraiment pas normal qu’un tel membre qui veut quitter le club veuille aussi décider de l’avenir de ce club. Cela, le comportement du gouvernement britannique, est vraiment en train de créer beaucoup de colère », a-t-il déclaré à la BBC. Il a ajouté : « Je pense qu’il est tout à fait compréhensible que nous, en tant qu’Allemands, Français, et Italiens, pensons à notre – et non pas le vôtre – projet à long terme. S’il vous plaît, ne l’arrêtez pas, ne le bloquer pas, parce que cela va avoir beaucoup d’effet sur les négociations du Brexit si vous le faites ».

Alex Lantier

Article paru d’abord en anglais, WSWS, le 23 octobre 2016

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ceta

The Great CETA Swindle – Signing Of Trade Deal Hits Last Minute Glitch

By Corporate Europe Observatory, October 20 2016

Today, Belgium followed a ‘no’ vote by two of its regional Parliaments on the controversial EU-Canada trade deal CETA, temporarily blocking the first step towards the treaty’s ratification in a meeting of EU trade ministers. A close look at the CETA – and a recent declaration designed by Brussels and Ottawa to reassure critics and gain support for its ratification – shows that concerns over CETA are well-founded.

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Breaking: Constitutional Challenge against CETA Trade Agreement Filed in Canada’s Federal Court

By Hon. Paul Hellyer and Rocco Galati, October 24 2016

The statement of claim challenging the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was filed at the Federal Court of Canada on Friday October 21. This development comes at a time when the EU country of Belgium refused to sign the free trade pact citing objections from the Belgian territory of Wallonia. This constitutional challenge is therefore highly important, and has implications for other such international agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the Canadian government is pursuing.

European unionBLOCK THE CETA TRADE AGREEMENT: EU Trade Ministers Postpone Decision On CETA Free Trade Agreement with Canada

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, October 23 2016

The Canada and European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is described by the media as “a high quality agreement that reinforces Canada’s fundamental relationship with the European Union.” But there more than meets the eye. CETA includes the entire neoliberal policy gamut: commodity trade,  trade in services, investment, intellectual property, financial services provisions, all of which are contained in the US sponsored TTIP agreement. CETA is a de facto “carbon copy” of the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union and the United States, which has been temporarily “blocked” by both the European Parliament and the US Congress.

CETA-protest

SAY NO TO CETA: Wallonia’s “Red Card” Is A Chance For The EU To Be A Beacon To The World

By Paul de Clerck, October 23 2016

CETA and TTIP have generated unprecedented levels of public opposition in the EU. We are at a crossroads for international trade policy. The failure of TTIP and CETA would pave the way for a fairer and more democratic world, argues Paul de Clerck. The European Union, the world’s biggest trading bloc, is, for the second time in a matter of months, on the verge of seeing one of its mega trade deals fall into disarray.

CETA

SAY NO TO CETA TRADE AGREEMENT: Millions of Europeans Against CETA

By European United Left Nordic Green Left European Parliamentary Group, October 21 2016

The European Union’s trade ministers were unable to reach consensus on the EU-Canada trade agreement at today’s Council meeting, as Belgium has stood in opposition to the deal. Belgium was unable to agree on CETA today as the French-speaking Walloon Parliament voted last week to oppose the deal. The national trade minister was unable to go ahead with the agreement without the consent of its regional parliaments.

TTIP

Towards NAFTA-EU Economic Integration? “Back-Door” Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA) Sets the Stage…

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, October 19 2016

NAFTA-EU integration would modify the political architecture of the European Union. It’s part of Washington’s neoliberal agenda. It’s an imperial project. Towards the formation of a North Atlantic Trade and Investment Area (NATIA)? .

CETA-protest

The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Fosters Deregulation, Unemployment, Rising Social Inequalities

By Progressive Caucus of the European Parliament, October 19 2016

This opinion piece was co-signed by 17 members of the European Parliament, from three different political groups. In reality, the EU-Canada trade deal fosters excessive liberalisation and deregulation: it weakens governments’ rights to regulate in the public interest and the so-called “additional declaration” does not provide legal protection in key areas and does not meet the requirements of our legal traditions.

ceta‘CETA is a TTIP in Disguise’: The Canada-EU Trade Deal is a US Hegemonic Project

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky and Sputnik, October 21 2016

Belgium’s region Wallonia has dealt a severe blow to European Union’s hopes to sign a free trade deal with Canada. The region’s President-Minister said he would not support the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or CETA by the Friday deadline. The deal has to be ratified by all EU’s 28 member states. However, Belgium cannot sign the agreement without the consent of its regional parliaments. Radio Sputnik discussed the CETA agreement with Michel Chossudovsky Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

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The EU-Canada CETA Trade Agreement is Both Illegal and Immoral: Paul Hellyer’s Western Canada Speaking Tour

By Global Research News, October 20 2016

  Do you know that the Parliament Of Canada has the power to create all of the money necessary to meet our country’s legitimate needs for healthcare, education, the arts and infrastructure but stubbornly refuses to use that power? Come and Hear THE HONOURABLE PAUL HELLYERFormer minister of national defense, explains how the Canadian prosperity train came off the rails, and exactly how  to put it back on again.

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The statement of claim challenging the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was filed at the Federal Court of Canada on Friday October 21.

This development comes at a time when the EU country of Belgium refused to sign the free trade pact citing objections from the Belgian territory of Wallonia.

There has been a lot of pressure to see this agreement ratified, and those powerful entities pushing for its passage will likely not let Wallonia’s NO interrupt their ambitions.

This constitutional challenge is therefore highly important, and has implications for other such international agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the Canadian government is pursuing. 

Media Release

CETA: Comprehensive Economic and Trade  Agreement

Lawyer Rocco Galati, on behalf of the Honourable Paul Hellyer, P.C., and others, launches a constitutional challenge against the CETA, in the Federal Court of Canada

October 21st, 2016 – Canada’s longest-serving member of the Queen’s privy Council, the Honourable Paul Hellyer, P.C., along with two co-plaintiffs, Ann Emmett and George Crowell, both prominent members of the Committee on Monetary  and Economic Reform (‘COMER”), launched a constitutional challenge against the much-maligned Canada-Europe Trade Agreement (“CETA”), at the Federal Court  of Canada today.

Their lawyer, constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati, filed the statement of claim on his clients’ behalf on October 21st, 2016

The Plaintiff’s central challenge is four-fold, namely that:

(1) the federal government does not have the constitutional authority to sign, execute and implement treaties without the express prior authority of Parliament through an Act of Parliament

(2) the vast majority of the CETA articles and their impact encroach on exclusive Provincial spheres of jurisdiction protected by the division of powers under the Constitution Act, 1867

 (3) the CETA guts and extinguishes the constitutionally  protected Judiciary in Canada by creating foreign tribunals to determine property and legal issues in Canada without any judicial oversight or jurisdiction of the Canadian Courts over the disputes; and

(4) various articles of the CETA violate constitutional enshrined rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedomsand over-rides Charter guarantees that ground Canada’s ability to mount public programs on Health, Education, Social Services, and public utilities including the elimination of subsidies, monopolies, and state enterprises for public welfare. In short, the treaty places the rights of private foreign investors over those of the Canadian Constitution and Canadian citizens.

The Plaintiffs further argue that the federal government breached its right to vote under section 3 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms inseparable from the constitutional right of “no taxation without representation” because the CETA was not properly debated and authorized by Parliament.

In addition to seeking several declarations, to clarify the Constitutional authority of the Executive branch of government to do this, the Plaintiff’s also seek interim injunctions to prevent the federal government from signing, ratifying and implementing the CETA.

Video: SAY NO TO CETA, with Hon. Paul Hellyer

 

More details will be disclosed tomorrow, Tuesday October 25, in Toronto.

Hon, Paul Hellyer, former Minister of Defense is one of the plaintiffs and is visiting Western Canadian cities over the next two weeks outlining his concerns.

Calgary: October 24, 7:00PM – John Dutton Theatre Library  –  616 Macleod Trail SE

Edmonton: October 26, 7:00PM – Central Lions Recreation – 11113 113 Street

Victoria: October 28 – 7:00PM –  Camosun College  Lansdowne Campus  (Fisher 100) – 3100 Foul Bay Road

Vancouver: November 1 –  7:-00PM UBC Campus  (Buchanan A201) – 1866 Main Mall

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

octobre 24th, 2016 by Ariel Noyola Rodríguez

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. En outre, les BRICS devraient mettre en œuvre dès que possible leur propre agence de notation. Pour intensifier la cohésion économique, la mise en œuvre d’une zone de libre-échange devrait faire tomber les barrières tarifaires et ainsi augmenter sensiblement les échanges entre eux. En bref, si des mesures appropriées ne sont pas prises dans les meilleurs délais, les BRICS courent le risque de sombrer au cours du prochain ouragan financier.

Les 15 et 16 octobre a eu lieu dans l’État de Goa (Inde) le huitième sommet du BRICS – Brésil, Russie, Inde, Chine et Afrique du Sud. Nous devons reconnaître que la réunion a eu lieu dans le contexte d’une situation profondément critique pour l’économie mondiale. Cependant, les BRICS ont montré, une fois de plus, leur capacité extraordinaire à transformer un mauvais moment en une occasion d’approfondir leurs liens à partir d’un point de vue stratégique.

Après que les économies des BRICS ont bénéficié d’un âge d’or, au cours des dernières années, les taux de croissance ont subi un ralentissement drastique. Face à cette situation difficile, les BRICS ont maintenant, plus que jamais, besoin de tirer avantage des institutions financières qu’ils ont présentées au monde il y a quelques années à Fortaleza (Brésil), lors de leur sixième sommet.

En avril dernier, la Nouvelle Banque de développement a fait son premier prêt pour plus de $800 millions et on estime qu’en 2017, les prêts pourraient atteindre $2 500 millions. En outre, en juillet de cette année, l’institution financière a mené à bien une réalisation historique avec l’émission des ‘bonos verdes’ – obligations vertes – en yuans, pour un montant équivalent à $450 millions. Ces instruments financiers, tout en augmentant l’influence de la monnaie chinoise à l’échelle mondiale, servent à financer de grands projets d’investissement.

Pendant ce temps, le fond de réserve (ARC, pour son sigle en anglais), d’une valeur de $100 milliards, est prêt à ouvrir ses premières lignes de crédit afin de stabiliser la balance des paiements des BRICS, comme l’a annoncé le ministre des Finances indien, Arun Jaitley. Chaque fois que la Réserve fédérale des États-Unis (FED) évoque, comme à l’habitude, la menace d’une augmentation des taux d’intérêt fédéraux, déclenchant ainsi une nouvelle crise financière mondiale, il est urgent que les BRICS augmentent le plus rapidement possible les ressources monétaires de leur fond de stabilisation, sinon ils courent le risque de dommages graves suite aux paris spéculatifs des grandes banques d’investissement.

En même temps, les BRICS ont besoin d’ouvrir de nouveaux fronts pour défier ouvertement l’hégémonie des États-Unis et du dollar dans le système financier international, non seulement en commerçant avec les monnaies locales, mais aussi, par exemple, par le biais de l’accumulation de réserves en yuan dans leurs banques centrales, d’autant plus que la monnaie du peuple – le renminbi en chinois – a officiellement été admise, le 1er octobre dernier, dans le panier des monnaies d’élite soutenant les droits de tirage spéciaux créés par le Fonds monétaire international (FMI) à la fin des années 1960.

En outre, les BRICS ont la capacité d’articuler une alliance financière grâce aux puissants liens géopolitiques entre l’Amérique latine, l’Asie, l’Afrique et le Moyen-Orient. Les banques régionales de développement, qui sont façonnées principalement par des pays périphériques, peuvent bien servir cet objectif, qu’il s’agisse de la Banque asiatique pour les investissements dans l’infrastructure (AIIB), de la Banque de l’ALBA (Alliance bolivarienne pour les peuples de Notre Amérique) et même de la Banque du Sud, qui va enfin démarrer avant la fin de cette année.

La mise en œuvre d’une agence de notation propre est également devenue un besoin urgent pour les BRICS, afin de se libérer de l’écrasante domination maintenue par les États-Unis à travers Fitch, Moody et Standard & Poor’s. Ces trois agences de notation, plutôt que de conduire des évaluations à partir de critères techniques, agissent principalement par des impulsions [téléguidées, NdT] de nature politique. Ce mode de fonctionnement en fait une authentique machine de guerre : dégradant les notes des obligations souveraines et augmentant ainsi les coûts d’emprunt dans des pays tels que la Grèce, la Russie ou le Venezuela, de façon spectaculaire.

La cohésion économique est un autre défi majeur, bien qu’il n’y ait aucun doute qu’elle se soit substantiellement développée au cours des dernières années, entre 2001 et 2015, le commerce entre les BRICS en proportion de leur commerce total a doublé, passant 6 à 12%. La Chine est de loin l’économie la plus intégrée avec les autres BRICS. En revanche, les liens entre des pays comme l’Inde et l’Afrique du Sud sont marginaux. La même chose est vraie entre le Brésil et la Russie. Ceci dénote la grande pertinence de la prochaine mise en œuvre d’une zone de libre-échange entre les BRICS. Cependant, en plus d’abattre les barrières commerciales entre eux, les BRICS doivent promouvoir ensemble la construction de chaînes de valeur, par l’intégration de leurs systèmes de production, afin d’encourager l’industrialisation des pays les moins favorisés.

En conclusion, il y a de nombreux défis à l’horizon pour ces cinq puissances émergentes. Je suis convaincu que, pour la suite, le succès des BRICS dépendra de la capacité qu’ils auront à se réinventer, de leur créativité dans l’expression de nouvelles dimensions de la coopération pour atteindre leurs objectifs à plus long terme. Face à la nouvelle guerre financière que prépare l’Amérique, il est à nouveau temps pour les BRICS de revenir à la charge…

Ariel Noyola Rodriguez

Article original en espagnol :

brics2

Los BRICS plantan cara a la guerra financiera de Estados Unidos

Traduit et édité par jj, relu par nadine pour le Saker Francophone

Ariel Noyola Rodríguez est économiste, il a fait ses études supérieures à l’Université nationale autonome du Mexique. Contact : [email protected]. Twitter:@noyola_ariel.

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Portable perdu, mots de passe élémentaires et partagés… À l’aide de données semblables, même un enfant de 10 ans aurait pu pirater la boîte courriels du directeur de campagne d’Hillary Clinton. Mais Washington est déjà habitué d’accuser les hackers russes…

Le directeur de campagne d’Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, a perdu son téléphone portable et a utilisé des mots de passe fiables pour sa boîte courriels, connus non seulement par lui-même, mais aussi par ses assistants, apprend-on dans les courriels de l’intéressé publiés par WikiLeaks. Le site Wikileaks a commencé à publier la correspondance de John Podesta le 8 octobre, la rendant publique par lots de plusieurs milliers de lettres par jour. Pourtant, les médias américains, se référant au FBI, accusent les hackers russes de piratage. Entre-temps, certains médias américains et utilisateurs des réseaux sociaux portent leur attention sur l’extrême vulnérabilité de la boîte courriels de John Podesta.

Ces maux profonds que les médias US cachent sous l’hystérie antihausse Photo© flickr/ jonathan

Selon une lettre, en juillet 2015, il aurait perdu son téléphone en descendant d’un taxi et n’aurait réussi à le récupérer que le jour suivant. « Y aurait-il plusieurs espions russes parmi les chauffeurs de taxi ? », commente un utilisateur du réseau social Reddit. Dans une autre lettre adressée à John Podesta par son assistant en février 2015, il devient clair que le directeur de campagne d’Hillary Clinton a utilisé son nom et le mot « password » comme login et mot de passe.

« On aurait pu éviter cette histoire avec WikiLeaks, si John Podesta avait mieux surveillé son portable et s’il avait eu un mot de passe normal », écrit sur Twitter l’un des abonnés de WikiLeaks.

© Reuters/ Dave Kaup

Clinton à propos d’Assange: «Pourquoi ne pas l’éliminer avec un drone?»

Washington a accusé plusieurs fois Moscou des cyberattaques perpétrées contre certains sites américains. Le ministre russe des Affaires étrangères Sergueï Lavrov a demandé à plusieurs reprises au secrétaire d’État américain John Kerry de présenter à Moscou des preuves concrètes en appui de ces accusations, pourtant aucune information n’a été fournie. En outre, Hillary Clinton a accusé la Russie d’essayer d’influencer les résultats des élections aux États-Unis par le biais de ces cyberattaques. Le président russe Vladimir Poutine a pour sa part déclaré que les données publiées ne contenaient rien d’intéressant pour la Russie, l’hystérie créée autour de la correspondance piratée servant à détourner l’attention de leur contenu, selon le président russe.

 

La seizième partie des emails du directeur de campagne de la candidate démocrate américaine Hillary Clinton est disponible sur le site WikiLeaks.

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C’est en m’inspirant de la médaille de l’Ange de la paix, remis par le pape François au président Poutine, que j’ai qualifié cette patience d’« angélique ».  Par contre, le sous-titre m’est venu de cette phrase d’inspiration biblique « La coupe des offenses a maintenant débordé, la patience de DIEU est éteinte et ne retient plus le bras de Sa colère ».

Déjà, en octobre 2014, lors de sa fameuse rencontre internationale de Valdaï, à Sotchi, Vladimir Poutine avait eu, entre autres, ces propos  pour définir la conjoncture du monde dans lequel nous vivons :

« …le monde s’est engagé dans une époque de changements et de mutations profondes, époque où nous devons tous faire preuve d’un degré élevé de prudence et d’une capacité à éviter les démarches irréfléchies ».

« L’Occident donne l’impression d’être en perpétuelle lutte contre les résultats de sa propre politique. On a parfois l’impression que nos collègues et amis ne cessent de lutter contre les résultats de leur propre politique. Ils lancent toute leur puissance pour éliminer les risques qu’ils créent eux-mêmes, en le payant de plus en plus cher. »

« …il n’y a, malheureusement, plus de garanties ni de certitude que le système actuel de sécurité mondiale et régionale soit capable de nous épargner des bouleversements ».

« Ce système est sérieusement affaibli, morcelé et déformé. Les institutions internationales et régionales de coopération politique, économique et culturelle traversent une période difficile »

Pas surprenant qu’il évoque le besoin d’un nouveau consensus des forces responsables de l’avenir de l’humanité et une meilleure compréhension des principales sources des conflits.

« Après l’entretien du 10 juin 2015 au Vatican   : le sourire des voies de la paix. » (© Osservatore romano)

En novembre 2015, une année plus tard, lors de sa rencontre avec les experts internationaux, réunis de nouveau à Sotchi, il a, entre autres, ces paroles :

« Les États-Unis possèdent un grand potentiel militaire, mais il est toujours difficile de mener un double jeu : lutter contre les terroristes et en même temps en utiliser certains pour poser des pions sur le damier du Moyen-Orient dans leur propre intérêt. Il est impossible de vaincre le terrorisme si l’on utilise une partie des terroristes comme un bélier pour renverser des régimes que l’on n’aime pas. On ne peut pas ensuite se débarrasser de ces terroristes. C’est une illusion de croire qu’on pourra les chasser du pouvoir. Le meilleur exemple nous est donné par la situation en Libye. On espère que le nouveau gouvernement pourra stabiliser la situation, mais ce n’est pas le cas pour l’instant. »

« Il ne faut pas diviser les terroristes entre modérés et non-modérés. On voudrait savoir la différence. Les experts disent que les terroristes « modérés » décapitent les gens de façon modérée ou tendre, »

Voici ici cinq déclarations franches de Poutine à cette rencontre de Valdaï. Le détour en vaut la peine.

Que s’est-il passé depuis lors ? Où en sommes-nous  en ce mois d’octobre 2016 ? 

«Les évènements des derniers mois n’augurent rien de bon ». Il y a eu cet accord de cessez-le-feu, du 9 septembre, obtenu après de nombreuses heures de négociation. Il  n’aura duré que quelques jours. Les  forces aériennes des États-Unis ont attaqué de nui, le 17 septembre, les forces le l’armée syrienne qui observaient la trêve, faisant plus de 62 morts et près de 100 blessés. Les auteurs de ces attaques ont reconnu les faits qu’ils ont aussitôt qualifiés de bavures,  d’erreurs malheureuses. 

Cette explication n’a pas tenu la route bien longtemps, une fois connus les préparatifs et les suites  de ces bombardements. De fait, à peine terminée cette attaque nocturne, les terroristes qui avaient perdu cette partie du territoire s’élancèrent aussitôt pour la récupérer, comme s’ils en avaient été informés à l’avance.  Moscou a vu dans cette opération une forme de complicité entre les États-Unis et les terroristes. La réaction du gouvernement syrien fut de se dissocier de cet accord, surtout utilisé par la coalition des États-Unis et de l’OTAN pour permettre aux terroristes de refaire leur force et de reprendre le terrain perdu.

Cette trahison de l’accord de cessez- le-feu, signé quelques jours plus tôt, n’a fait que renforcer cette conviction que les États-Unis et ses alliés de l’OTAN sont de mèches avec les terroristes pour renverser le gouvernement légitime de Bachar Al Assad. Les subtilités utilisées pour distinguer les terroristes modérés des autres terroristes qui ne seraient pas modérées ne sont que des couvertures pour brouiller les pistes et faire de la Russie la responsable de tous les maux qui se produisent.

Récemment à été mis à nue la véritable identité des « Casques blancs ». Une autre mascarade qui permet de couvrir les perversions de la soi-disant coalition internationale dans sa lutte contre le terrorisme. Ils en font eux-mêmes parties. Les populations occidentales sont devenues prisonnières de l’information qui leur est servie à travers des montages dont seul Hollywood a le secret.

Alep est présentement au cœur de l’actualité. On y accuse la Syrie et la Russie d’y massacrer d’innocentes victimes.  On se garde bien de préciser la présence des terroristes et la partie de la population prise en otage comme bouclier humain. La Russie et la Syrie ont décidé de suspendre leurs attaques aériennes pour permettre l’évacuation de la population ainsi que des terroristes. La première nuit de la trêve, deux avions  de la coalition internationale ont survolé et bombardé un village de ce territoire d’Alep, faisant fi de ce cesser-feu  des autorités syriennes. Une autre bavure dont ils ne peuvent s’extirper, la Russie ayant toutes les preuves de ces vols.

Que conclure de tout cela ?

Du point de vue du président Poutine, la coalition internationale est de mèche avec les terroristes qui leur servent de relais pour atteindre leurs objectifs au Moyen-Orient.  Ce ne sont pas eux qui vont lutter pour les faire disparaître. Ils font partie de leur arsenal militaire.

Les perspectives de l’arrivée à la Maison-Blanche d’Hillary Clinton représentent une véritable menace pour la Russie et l’humanité.  Son obsession pour une guerre contre la Russie doit être prise très au sérieux.

Les pays membres de l’OTAN demeurent soumis à Washington, bien que certaines fissures commencent à fragiliser son unité.

On peut se demander si pour le président Poutine se confirme le constat qu’aucune solution politique n’est possible  avec de tels « partenaires ». Si tel était le cas, nous connaissons tous ce que les rues de Saint Petersburg lui ont enseigné lorsqu’il était jeune : « « Si la bagarre est inévitable, il faut frapper le premier »

Oscar Fortin

Le 22 octobre 2016
  • Posted in Francais @fr
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This week, delegations to the UN General Assembly could help shift the course of history.

This sounds dramatic, especially for First Committee. While it always presents a good opportunity for progress, First Committee can sometimes seem like a recycling facility for statements and resolutions. Some of the proposals under discussion have been on the books for decades, while outside the conference rooms levels of armaments rise and bombs continue to fall.

This year is different. This year we have L.41.

L.41 is the document number for a resolution that will establish multilateral negotiations for a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons. We have never had such a resolution. We have never had anything close.

None of the nuclear-armed states support this resolution. They are legally obligated to eliminate their nuclear arsenals, and have been for 46 years, since the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entered into force. Instead, however, they are investing billions of dollars into nuclear weapon modernisation.

Some of their allies that support the retention of nuclear weapons—because they believe that the ability to threaten the rest of the world with massive nuclear violence provides them with security—are torn. Many of their parliaments and publics are demanding they support a ban on nuclear weapons, but their state apparatus are resistant.

These governments are quite upset about L.41. Some of them warn about the unspeakable horrors that banning nuclear weapons will bring to the world—destroying the NPT and the nuclear non-proliferation regime; furthering regional and international tensions; etc. Underpinning this line of arguments is the assertion that a nuclear weapon ban treaty will not have any positive effect whatsoever on nuclear disarmament whilst angering the nuclear-armed states so greatly that they might become even more intransigent about retaining nuclear weapons and make even fewer commitments to disarmament and that they might even use nuclear weapons or start a nuclear war. We have been treated to various formulations of these overwrought warnings for more than two years.

Others argue that the ban treaty is not a “quick fix” for nuclear disarmament and does not “guarantee” the elimination of nuclear weapons—which is a strange argument coming from countries that support incremental measures on nuclear disarmament, or that have previously championed prohibitions on other weapon systems such as landmines, cluster munitions, chemical weapons, and biological weapons.

The reality is that the problem with the ban treaty for these countries is that it is incompatible with the possession of nuclear weapons. A legally binding prohibition of nuclear weapons will stigmatise these weapons. It will draw a clear line around them for what they are—instruments of violent death and irredeemable destruction. It will help make unconscionable the concept of these weapons providing security or preventing conflict or deterring attack. It will create legal, political, and economic obligations on the basis of this stigma. It will change the way nuclear weapons are treated by people, corporations, banks, governments, and others. It will undercut the power, privilege, and profit that the few seek to derive from wielding weapons of mass destruction.

It is this that upsets those states that want nuclear weapons. It is this that has driven some of the extreme rhetoric against the ban treaty and its proponents. It should not, of course, be this way. The NPT does not confer legitimacy on their possession of nuclear weapons, or on the inclusion of nuclear weapons in security doctrines. On the contrary, the NPT seeks to prevent states from acquiring nuclear weapons and committed those that already had them to disarm. The idea that a small group of states would find it shocking and unacceptable that rest of the international community would press them to comply with their legal obligations is rather bewildering.

Not all of the rhetoric is aggressive. Some have tried to strike a more reasonable tone.  “We and many others are frustrated by the pace of nuclear disarmament,” assured the delegation of Canada last week. But Canada, like many others, still finds fault not with the retention of nuclear weapons but with those who challenge this state of affairs. “Unfortunately, this frustration has spawned diverging approaches which threaten to overshadow our accomplishments, rather than renew our common commitment to the universal goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. It also risks undermining the foundation of trust and compromise essential for further action.”

Why? How? These are questions that those opposed to banning nuclear weapons have not answered. Who is undermining trust and compromise? When the majority of states in the world, parties to and in full compliance with the NPT, have worked within that system for 46 years, trying in vein to encourage and facilitate the nuclear-armed states to proceed with multilateral nuclear disarmament as mandated by that Treaty, whose trust has been undermined? Who has made compromises time after time, only to see their good faith efforts trampled upon by those that say the “conditions are not ripe” to follow through on their legally binding obligations?

Divisions have been created by those states that possess nuclear weapons and those that rely on them in their security doctrines. They created these divisions decades ago by developing, testing, using, and stockpiling nuclear weapons. They have made agreements and broken them. They insist that they need a different “international security environment” before they can commence real work on disarmament—and in the meantime, they will keep building up their arsenals, as if preparing for the use of nuclear weapons will make it less likely.

It has been alarming to hear the way nuclear-armed and nuclear-supportive states defend these weapons as essential to their security. This is an incitement to proliferation, as well as being morally, legally, economically, and politically unjust. As Trinidad and Tobago argued, “There should be no prestige attached to the ability to threaten the life of the planet and every living thing on it. Any such prestige can only beget proliferation and runs counter to the intention of the NPT.”

It is also alarming to hear some of the nuclear-armed states denigrate those that support a ban treaty, locating the problem in states or others that bring attention to violations of law rather than in those that have violated the law. This reflects a broader societal tendency from the “powerful” to try to stop those who act to hold them accountable for committing or threatening violence or injustice. This imbalance of power, rooted in our established systems of patriarchy and militarism, is used relentlessly and in various ways to try to silence those that believe a different kind of world is possible.

This can’t be allowed to succeed. “There comes a time when choices have to be made and this is one of those times,” said Ireland in its remarks on the ban treaty last week. “Given the clear risks associated with the continued existence of nuclear weapons, this is now a choice between responsibility and irresponsibility. Governance requires accountability and governance requires leadership.”

This week (probably), on Thursday afternoon (subject to change), in New York at the United Nations (definitely), all governments in the world have the chance to be responsible, to be accountable, and to be a leader. Every government needs to attend the most historic vote First Committee has ever seen, and we hope that courage and justice prevail when it comes time to take action on L.41. Collectively, as humans, we need a better story than the one we’re writing now. This could be a turning point.

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A month ago I wrote a column , “He Who Hesitates Is Lost—And Russia Hesitated.”

The consequences of this hesitation are now apparent:

1. A UN report orchestrated by Washington has accused Syria and Russia of war crimes in Aleppo. According to the report,

“indiscriminate airstrikes across the eastern part of the city by Government forces and their allies [Russia] are responsible for the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties. These violations constitute war crimes. And if knowingly committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against civilians, they constitute crimes against humanity.”

The UN Human Rights Council has now voted to start an “independent” investigation. The purpose of the investigation is to indict Russia and Putin as war criminals and to “bring to justice those responsible for the alleged abuses.” Moreover,

“the situation should be urgently referred to the International Criminal Court. Every party to this conflict must know that they will be held accountable for the international crimes they commit – all, without selective protection or discrimination.”

Keep in mind that Washington provides the largest share of the UN’s budget, and the UN will overlook that it was Washington that sent ISIS to Aleppo.

Obviously, neither Washington nor the UN will be able to drag Putin into the International Criminal Court, but a war criminal charge can serve Washington’s purpose by stopping Putin from traveling abroad and curtailing his diplomatic efforts.

The purpose of this orchestrated exercise is its propaganda value.

Among Washington’s many concerns is that some Eastern European countries, alarmed by the conflict that Washington is leading them into with Russia, will threaten NATO with a non-participation statement. If Russia is branded a war criminal, it becomes even more difficult for countries that foolishly and thoughtlessly joined NATO to extricate themselves from the consequences.

2. Washington has succeeded in bringing to power in Poland the far right-wing Law and Justice Party. These agents of Washington have re-opened the matter of the death of Poland’s President Kaczynski in a plane crash, making wild claims that the crash was a terror attack by Russia aimed at depriving Poland of its political leadership

Despite massive and convincing evidence to the contrary, the Law and Justice Party’s claims will find traction thanks to the scary portrait of Russia painted by Washington’s demonization campaign. The intended result is to further blacken and isolate Russia and its government.

3. As the anointed spokesperson for the neoconservative warmongers, Hillary wants Washington to enforce a no-fly zone in Syria. A no-fly zone would require Washington to attemp to prevent Syrian and Russian air strikes against ISIS positions. It seems clear enough that Syria and Russia would not accept any attempt to deny Syria the use of the country’s own airspace in the conflict against forces sent by Washington to overthrow the Syrian government, as happened to Gaddafi in Libya. Unless Russia and Syria surrender, Hillary’s no-fly zone would result in military conflict between Russia and the US.

To advance the no-fly zone proposal, the “use of chemical weapons” ruse has been resurrected. Fabricated reports are appearing that the Syrian airforce is guilty of dropping chemical weapons on the Syrian population. On October 22, the Indian Express reported that on October 21 the UN-Led Joint Investigative Mechanism informed the UN Security Council that the chemical attack on Qmenas

“was caused by a Syrian Arab Armed Forces helicopter dropping a device from a high altitude which hit the ground and released the toxic substance that affected the population.”

The report concluded that three of the chemical attacks investigated were made by Syria and one by the Islamic State.

The fact that the Russians resolved the chemical weapons issue in 2014, a year before the alleged attack on Qmenas, by taking possession of the weapons and removing them from Syria means that the report has little credibility.

However, at no time during Washington’s 15-year-old attack on Muslim countries have facts played any role, and certainly facts have played no role in Washington’s demonization of Russia.

4. Diana Johnstone has concluded that Hillary intends regime change for Russia and will use the presidency for that purpose.

It is impossible to imagine a purpose more reckless and irresponsible. Many members of the Russian government have stated that Washington’s provocation and demonization of Russia have brought trust between the nuclear powers close to zero and that Russia will never again fight a war on her own territory. Sergey Karaganov told the German news magazine, Der Spiegal, that if Washington and NATO move from provocations to encroachments against Russia, a nuclear power, they will be punished.

Many foolish people believe that nuclear war cannot happen, because there can be no winner.

However, the American war planners, who elevated US nuclear weapons from a retaliatory role to a pre-emptive first strike function, obviously do not agree that nuclear war cannot be won. If nuclear war is believed to be unwinable, there is no point in a war doctrine that assigns the weapons the role of surprise attack.

The Russians are aware and disturbed that Washington has made the situation between the US and Russia more dangerous than during the Cold War. Vladimir Putin himself has stated that the West does not hear his warnings. In an effort to avoid war, Putin wrings everything possible out of diplomacy. He enters into agreements with Washington that he must know will not be kept.

So much has happened to teach him this lesson— the Washington instigated invasion of South Ossetia by Georgia while he was at the Beijing Olympics, Washington’s coup in Ukraine while he was at the Sochi Olympics, Washington’s abandonment of the Minsk Agreement, the advantage Washington took of the Syrian ceasefire agreements, the violation of Washington’s promise not to move NATO to Russia’s border, Washington’s sacking of the Anti-ABM Treaty, the orchestrated blame of Russia for MH-17, Hillary’s hacked emails, etc.

Washington clearly intends to use Russia’s military and diplomatic assistance to Syria to convict Russia in world public opinion of war crimes. It was Russia’s hesitancy in Syria that enabled Washington to recover from the defeat of its ISIS mercenaries and substitute control of the explanation for defeat on the ground.

Russia’s air assault on ISIS in Syria caught Washington off guard and quickly rolled up the Washington-supported ISIS forces, completely reversing the tide of war. Had Russia finished the job, Syria would have been cleared of hostile forces before Washington could catch its breath.

Instead, pressured by the Atlanticist Integrationist element in the Russian elite, the Russian government withdrew, announcing mission accomplished and relying on the Syrian Army to complete the job. This strategic error allowed Washington not merely to replenish the ISIS munitions that had been destroyed and to muster more mercenaries, but more importantly to come up with a plan for Russia’s and Assad’s undoing.

By the time that the Russian government realized that early withdrawal was a mistake and re-entered the conflict, Washington had decided that if Dasmacus could not be “liberated,” Syria could be partitioned and pressure kept on Assad in that way. Yet the Russian government continued to postpone victory by cease fire agreements that Washington used to rearm ISIS and as propaganda weapons against Russia.

Whatever the outcome of the military conflict in Syria, Russia faces a war criminal conviction by the Western media, if not by the UN Human Rights Council, and a no-fly zone in Syria if Hillary becomes president of the US.

This is the huge cost that Putin paid for listening to the unrealistic, American-worshipping Atlanticist Integrationists who are determined that Russia be accepted by the West even if it means being a semi-vassal.

If there is nuclear war, the Russian Atlanticist Integrationists will share the blame with the American neoconservatives. And all of us will pay the price for the disaster produced by these few, the neoconservatives demanding war and the Atlanticist Integrationists demanding appeasement of Washington.

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

The ships are being carefully monitored by NATO ships and aircraft.

Media in NATO countries have raised ballyhoo about it.

The reaction is negatively emotional.

The ships’ movement is covered like an unexpected event, though the news was first announced this summer.

Perhaps, many believed that Russia’s maritime power projection capability should not be taken seriously. Now those who thought so are proven wrong.

 

 

Reuters cited a diplomat saying on condition of anonymity

«They are deploying all of the Northern fleet and much of the Baltic fleet in the largest surface deployment since the end of the Cold War».

«This is not a friendly port call. In two weeks, we will see a crescendo of air attacks on Aleppo as part of Russia’s strategy to declare victory there», the diplomat said.

The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is sailing to Syria to serve as a platform for carrying out airstrikes against terrorists until at least February 2017. The ship can carry more than 50 aircraft. This time the air group’s configuration includes 15 Sukhoi Su-33 all-weather air superiority jets and Mikoyan MiG-29K/KUB multirole fighters, and 10 Kamov Ka-52K, Ka-27, and Ka-31 helicopters.

The NATO diplomat’s affirmation that “all of the Northern Fleet” joined by Baltic Fleet ships is on the way to the Mediterranean is an exaggeration, to put it mildly. The flattop is escorted by seven other ships as part of battlegroup, including Pyotr Velikiy nuclear battlecruiser, two large anti-submarine warships – the Severomorsk and Vice-Admiral Kulakov – and four support vessels.

They will join some 10 other Russian vessels already off Syria. The Baltic Fleet ships are not going to the Mediterranean. Two new Steregushchiy class Project 20380 corvettes –Boikiy and Stoikiy – just joined the group for joint exercises in the Northern Sea – nothing special, it’s a routine procedure for an ocean going navy.

Russian Zvezda TV channel reported that several submarines would probably move from the Atlantic to escort the battle group.

Strategic aviation will boost the group’s air cover capability while on the move.

True, the Air Space Forces have shouldered the burden of the operation in Syria striking most of the targets with aircraft either based in Syria or flying from bases in Russia itself. But the Navy also has a role to play in the war effort. The operation in Syria has highlighted advances in integration among the branches of the military.

The Navy provided sealift, as well as long-range air defense with the S-300 system carried by Slava-class cruiser Moskva, the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship, in the first half of the campaign. Much has been said about the demonstrated capability of Russian warships to fire long range cruise missiles at land targets in Syria from both the Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean. So far, the naval missions have been mainly carried out by the Black Sea Fleet. The group sailing to Syria is homeported in the Northern Fleet.

This will be the first ever combat deployment of Admiral Kuznetsov and the battlecruiser – the largest surface ship in the world, excluding aircraft carriers. Deployed near the Syrian shore, the multi-mission naval group will beef up the air strike power by increasing the number of jets and provide extra capabilities to counter air and submarine threats. Sea-based MIG-29K warplanes will also go through their first combat trial.

The carrier’s naval aircraft may test the new X-38 missiles in combat action. Unlike NATO ships of the same type, Admiral Kuznetsov is well armed with anti-ship, air defense, artillery and anti-submarine warfare systems. Russia is the only country in the world with such a heavily armed aircraft carrier, which does not need many escort ships – it can defend itself against a wide range of threats. More importantly, when the battle group reaches Syria, the Russian Navy will rival the firepower of the US Sixth Fleet in the region.

Few nations in the world possess the capability to deploy an aircraft carrier group at great distances from their shores. It makes Russia a member of the elite club to include the US and France and, to a limited extent, India and China. Some countries have amphibious and other air-capable ships, that can launch some aircraft, but they are no match for aircraft carriers.

Other nations will closely watch the Admiral Kuznetsov’s performance. India will reportedly shortly announce a tendering procedure for building its fourth aircraft carrier. This year, the Krylov State Research Centre, a Russian shipbuilding institute, held talks with Indian partners about eventually buying a version of Moscow’s future nuclear-powered carrier (image left), known as Project 23000E.

The project was first revealed to the public in June at the Army-2015 show near Moscow, where a scale model of the ship was exhibited. Russia will have many more chances if Admiral Kuznetsov and its sea-borne aircraft prove to be effective in combat conditions. If signed, the deal will become a boon for Russia’s ship-building industry.

Russian warships became a very rare sight after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Overseas deployments were marked as signal events because of their rarity. Those days have become history now with the Navy ensign, the St. Andrew’s Cross, increasingly seen in the world’s harbors as a sign of Russia’s clearly visible expanded ocean presence.

Before Syria the Russian Navy had already acquired combat experience fighting pirates in the Indian Ocean near the Somalia’s coast. Today, the nation’s naval power is on the rise making great strides ahead to showcase drastic advances in its ability to carry out expeditionary operations.

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In order to receive the IMF funding the Belarusian authorities are willing to sacrifice some social benefits for the population. However, Minsk is uncompromising about preserving the high share of state ownership in the economy. The Belarusian government hopes to preserve the existing economic model, but partially dismantle its social components.

Head of the IMF mission to Belarus Peter Dolman emphasised during a public lecture at the TUT.BY Gallery that Minsk should accelerate and deepen economic reforms.

The Belarusian authorities continue to revise the social contract with the population and have confirmed that the state would discontinue some support for the population, which would lower people’s wellbeing. Apparently, the Belarusian government reckons that the population has adapted to zero wage growth and does not count on the state as a source of growth in prosperity. In addition, during the current year, the authorities are carrying out gradual cuts in wages in the public sector.

Nevertheless, the Belarusian government is firmly negative about reducing the presence of the state in the economy and seeks to keep the current share in the state property. That said, the government has once again announced plans to raise utility tariffs for the population, which, in the same manner as the increase in the retirement age, is pitched as reforms to external creditors.

Cutting state subsidies to the housing sector may be sufficient to meet the IMF requirements, but does not mean structural reforms in order to enhance participation of private businesses in the economy. Incidentally, while talking external creditors, the Belarusian leadership has shifted the focus from the denationalisation of state property to improving the efficiency of state-owned enterprises.

Simultaneously, the authorities manifest the development of new compensatory mechanisms of social protection for the population in the case of reforms, but they are unlikely to introduce them any time soon. The authorities’ attitude could be explained by the absence of intention to carry out large-scale de-nationalisation, which would require new mechanisms of state support for the population.

Overall, the authorities intend to preserve control over the workforce due to the high share of state ownership in the economy. Apparently, the Belarusian government aims to obtain funding for the economy from international lenders through revising of social guarantees to the population.

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Norway is debating a “long-standing US wish” to allow American marines to deploy troops in the Scandinavian nation, furthering NATO’s encirclement of Russia.

Norway may allow the United States to deploy up to 300 marines “on a rotational basis” on its soil, advancing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) long-standing goal of encircling Russia’s border with US-allied military assets.

The marines would be stationed in Vaernes, an air station just outside the Norwegian city of Trondheim – only 100 kilometers from Russia. NATO has claimed that this move is part of a long-standing effort to deter “Russian aggression” despite the fact that Russia has in no way threatened Norway or other countries on its borders. NATO ended cooperation with Russia following the Ukrainian coup of 2014, which led Russia to annex Crimea. According to Norwegian Defense Ministry spokeswoman Ann Kristin Salbuvik, “there is no question of permanent deployment” as the presence of the Marines would be temporary, though no timeline has been specified.

cold-weather-training-marines_usmclife

Credit – USMC Life

Not everyone in the Norwegian government was aware of the plan until it was publicly announced last week. Several members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee were kept unaware of the plan, which has allegedly been in the planning stages for quite some time, according to local media. The plan, before being enacted, must first be approved by the Norwegian Parliament, where it faces opposition from several political parties. US officials, however, maintain that 300 US marines in Norway would be “beneficial.” Norway s already stockpiling NATO weapons and, according to some reports, has enough military equipment to support around 15,000 US Marines.

The move will undoubtedly further escalate tensions between Russia and Norway as any presence of US troops in the country would break Norway’s promise not to deploy foreign troops in its territory – a promise it made in 1949. However, the promise was conditional on Norway not feeling threatened. Norway has not publicly announced feeling threatened by Russia or any other country. Meanwhile, NATO has also announced plans to deploy 4,000 more troops to the Baltic region, also on Russia’s border, by next May. According to the commanding officer of NATO’s European forces, Czech Army General Petr Pavel, the troops will “serve as a deterrent and if necessary a fighting force.”

Since the Ukrainian coup of 2014, NATO has overseen a military buildup unprecedented since 1941, when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. Russia has been on edge regarding the buildup and has threatened to respond numerous time, but neglected to militarize its Western border until relatively recently. The buildup has also coincided with increasingly dangerous developments in US-Russian relations over the Syrian conflict, with each side accusing the other of helping ISIS and needlessly killing civilians. With US-dominated NATO rubbing salt in the wound, it is no small wonder that Russians are preparing for the worst case scenario – a full-scale, global war between NATO and those who oppose its interests.

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The three days of unilateral ceasefire Syrian and Russia had announced and kept for the besieged east-Aleppo expired today. No evacuations took place, no civilians or fighters left and no aid was delivered as « rebels » inside the besieged area shelled all possible crossings.

The U.S. supported al-Qaeda aligned Jihadis have used the pause to prepare for another attack on the government held parts of Aleppo city with the aim of opening a passage into the besieged eastern areas. They received enormous amounts of new weapons and munitions from the U.S. and their other supporters. The child beheaders of the U.S. supported radical Zinki group warned civilians in west-Aleppo city to stay away from military positions. That is impossible as the refugee filled, densely populated areas are in the immediate neighborhood of the front lines.

The renewed attack is expected in the south-west of government held west-Aleppo near the Ramoush-area and the Artillery Academy where the first attempted breach battle also took place. A second attack is expected in the north-west near the Castello road. It is possible that Turkish supported forces, who battle Kurdish troops to the north-east of Aleppo-city, will also try an attack on the city. The fight against the Kurds is a Turkish attempt to keep its logistic lines of communications to the Islamic State open. Turkey has supportedlike Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the Islamic State for years. An attack on Aleppo by directly Turkish supported forces would be a serious breach of the Turkish-Russian agreements and lead to a further serious escalation and internationalization of the war. Turkey will not dare such a move without full U.S. support.

We have maintained here for some time that the Turkish President Erdogan has designs for Aleppo as well as Mosul. He wants to incorporate both cities and all areas north of and between them into Turkey. Erdogan now publicly announced these aims:

Speaking during an opening ceremony for an educational institution in Bursa on Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared the way that Syrians and Iraqis have been driven away from homes because of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; ISIS/ISIL), to how Turkish people were once forced out from the same cities.Erdogan added that the cities of Mosul and Aleppo belong to the Turkish people.

This is a serious misinterpretation of teh areas population history and of Turkey’s international agreements and borders as delineated after the first world war.

Erdogan also lamented that Turkeys national leaders were born outside of Turkey’s current borders. Something he implied he will strive to correct. The Greek will not be happy to hear that. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, was born in Thessaloniki.

The U.S. and its machinations against Syria and Iraq have set fire to a combustive area. It created an Islamist « revolution » in Syria that had no genuine base within the country. The Obama administration is now again fanning the flames. It supports Turkish moves on Mosul which the Iraqi government strongly rejects. Instead of calming down the war in Syria it again and again supports with new arms, money and propaganda the advances of al-Qaeda with its expansive designs in the area and beyond. An explosion, involving Russian forces and war with and within Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon is longer impossible. This is a very shortsighted playing of the great game. Serious consequences for countries of important U.S. interests, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, will then become inevitable.

But the U.S. induced pro-Jihad propaganda is endless. Consider this tweet by the president of the Eurasia Group, a « political risk consultancy ». Bremmer has 200,000 Twitter followers:

ian bremmer @ianbremmerStatue of Liberty made from bombed rubble of Aleppo, by Syrian artist Tammam Azzam. Devastating.


8:36 AM – 22 Oct 2016

When I saw it first it had some 1,200 retweets.

It took me two minutes to find out that this picture was photoshopped (which is obvious) and published first in February 2013 by an Italian news-site. The artist lives and works in Dubai, not Aleppo. I responded:

Moon of Alabama @MoonofAPic first published in February 2013 – http://www.italnews.info/2013/02/12/tammam-azzam-larte-per-ricostruire-la-siria/ …
Artist lives+works in Dubai not Aleppo
@ianbremmer is a propagandist

9:57 AM – 22 Oct 2016

My tweet was retweeted some 90 times. But it found an echo in an Al Arabia interview with the artist and at the Independent’s Indy100 site:

[D]uring an interview with Al Arabiya.net, Azzam said he was ‘surprised’ by what he said was the ‘wrong interpretation’ the picture had recently received, compared to the more positive reactions it received in 2012.

The Syrian artist explained: “The Statue of Liberty in New York does not represent US politics and I used it only as the symbol of freedom.”“The piece at the time was carrying a message of optimism despite all of the destruction in Syria,” he added “but that was a long time ago.”

Meanwhile Bremmer’s propaganda has been retweeted some 13,000 times with just as many « likes ». He didn’t retract it despite being called out and the multiple proven lies it contains. Why should he? The propaganda effect, with its implied call for military U.S. war intervention, is obviously great and such propaganda is what he gets paid for. His group is consulting on « political risk » it seem to actively help to create.

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Rarely ever does hypocrisy align so succinctly as it does within the pages of American policy and media coverage. US policy think tank, the Brookings Institution, recently provided an extreme example of this in a paper titled, “A convenient terrorism threat,” penned by Daniel Byman.

The paper starts by claiming:

Not all countries that suffer from terrorism are innocent victims doing their best to fight back. Many governments, including several important U.S. allies, simultaneously fight and encourage the terrorist groups on their soil. President George W. Bush famously asked governments world-wide after 9/11 whether they were with us or with the terrorists; these rulers answer, “Yes.”

Some governments—including at times Russia, Egypt, Turkey, and Pakistan among others—hope to have it both ways. They use the presence of terrorists to win sympathy abroad and discredit peaceful foes at home, even while fighting back vigorously enough to look plausible but not forcefully enough to solve the problem. This two-faced approach holds considerable appeal for some governments, but it hugely complicates U.S. counterterrorism efforts—and the U.S. shouldn’t just live with it.

Byman then begins labelling various nations; Somalia as a “basket-case,” Iran as a “straightforward state sponsors of terrorism” and attempts to frame Russia’s struggle against terrorism in Chechnya as somehow disingenuous or politically motivated.

Byman also attempts to claim Syrian President Bashar Al Assad intentionally released terrorists from prison to help escalate violence around the country and justify a violent crackdown, this despite reports from Western journalists as early as 2007 revealing US intentions to use these very terrorists to overthrow the governments of Syria and Iran specifically, the New Yorker would reveal.

The US is as Much a Sponsor of Terrorism in Reality as Byman Claims Others are in Fiction

But worse than Byman’s intentional mischaracterisations and lies of omission regarding US allies like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel’s overt, global-spanning sponsorship of terrorism, is the fact that not only is the US itself engaged in sponsoring terrorism as it poses as fighting against it globally, the Brookings Institution and Byman have specifically and publicly called for the funding, training and arming of designated foreign terrorist groups in pursuit of self-serving geopolitical objectives.

Indeed, Daniel Byman is one of several signatories of the 2009 Brookings Institution report, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran.”

The report not only reveals the blueprints of using supposedly “peaceful” and “democratic” protests as cover for violent, US sponsored subversion (as was precisely done in Syria beginning in 2011), it specifically lists a US State Department-designated foreign terrorist organisation as a potential US proxy in violently rising up against, and eventually overthrowing the government in Tehran.

The report would explicitly state (our emphasis):

Perhaps the most prominent (and certainly the most controversial) opposition group that has attracted attention as a potential U.S. proxy is the NCRI (National Council of Resistance of Iran), the political movement established by the MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq). Critics believe the group to be undemocratic and unpopular, and indeed anti-American.

In contrast, the group’s champions contend that the movement’s long-standing opposition to the Iranian regime and record of successful attacks on and intelligence-gathering operations against the regime make it worthy of U.S. support. They also argue that the group is no longer anti-American and question the merit of earlier accusations. Raymond Tanter, one of the group’s supporters in the United States, contends that the MEK and the NCRI are allies for regime change in Tehran and also act as a useful proxy for gathering intelligence. The MEK’s greatest intelligence coup was the provision of intelligence in 2002 that led to the discovery of a secret site in Iran for enriching uranium.

The report then admits MEK’s status as a designated foreign terrorist organisation and that it has targeted and killed both American officers and civilians in the past (our emphasis):

Despite its defenders’ claims, the MEK remains on the U.S. government list of foreign terrorist organizations. In the 1970s, the group killed three U.S. officers and three civilian contractors in Iran. During the 1979-1980 hostage crisis, the group praised the decision to take America hostages and Elaine Sciolino reported that while group leaders publicly condemned the 9/11 attacks, within the group celebrations were widespread.

The Brookings Institution also admits in its report that undoubtedly MEK continues to carry out undeniable terrorist activity against political and civilian targets within Iran, and notes that if MEK is to be successfully used as a US proxy against Iran, it would need to be delisted as a foreign terrorist organisation (our emphasis):

Undeniably, the group has conducted terrorist attacks—often excused by the MEK’s advocates because they are directed against the Iranian government. For example, in 1981, the group bombed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, which was then the clerical leadership’s main political organization, killing an estimated 70 senior officials. More recently, the group has claimed credit for over a dozen mortar attacks, assassinations, and other assaults on Iranian civilian and military targets between 1998 and 2001. At the very least, to work more closely with the group (at least in an overt manner), Washington would need to remove it from the list of foreign terrorist organizations.

And eventually, that is precisely what was done. MEK would be delisted by the US State Department in 2012, announced in a US State Department statement titled, “Delisting of the Mujahedin-e Khalq,” which noted:

With today’s actions, the Department does not overlook or forget the MEK’s past acts of terrorism, including its involvement in the killing of U.S. citizens in Iran in the 1970s and an attack on U.S. soil in 1992.

The Department also has serious concerns about the MEK as an organization, particularly with regard to allegations of abuse committed against its own members. The Secretary’s decision today took into account the MEK’s public renunciation of violence, the absence of confirmed acts of terrorism by the MEK for more than a decade, and their cooperation in the peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf, their historic paramilitary base.

MEK’s inability to conduct violence in the decade preceding the US State Department’s decision was not because of an ideological commitment to nonviolence, but a matter of strategic limitations placed on the terrorist organisation by Iraqi and Iranian security forces who were determined to liquidate it and who forcibly disarmed the group.

And even if the 2012 US State Department decision was based on an alleged decade of nonviolence, the policymakers at the Brookings Institution who signed their names to “Which Path to Persia?” including Daniel Byman, certainly did not apply the same criteria in suggesting its use as an armed proxy.

In all likelihood, had Iraq and Iran not successfully cornered and disarmed the group, it would be fighting America’s proxy war against Tehran on both sides of the Iran-Iraq border. MEK fighters would be carrying out US-backed armed violence against Iran and Iraq side-by-side other US-backed terrorist groups operating across the region as part of America’s current proxy war against Syria, Russia and Iran.

Daniel Byman of the Brookings Institution’s latest paper even at face value is disingenuous, full of intentional mischaracterisations meant to direct attention away from the US and its closest allies’ own sponsorship of terrorism amid a very much feigned “War on Terror.” Understanding that Byman quite literally signed his name to a policy paper promoting the arming and backing of a US State Department designated foreign terrorist organisation makes his recent paper all that more outrageous.

What is also as troubling as it is ironic, is that Byman not only signed his name to calls for arming a listed terrorist organisation, he was also a staff member of the 9/11 Commission, according to his Georgetown University biography. A man involved in sorting out a terrorist attack who is also advocating closer cooperation with listed terrorist organisations is truly disturbing.

The political and ethical bankruptcy of American foreign policy can be traced back to its policy establishment, populated by unprincipled hypocrites like Byman and co-signatories of Brookings’ “Which Path to Persia?” The US certainly cannot convince other nations to abandon an alleged “two-faced” policy of promoting and fighting terrorism simultaneously when it stands as a global leader in this very practise.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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Trump, Clinton, and « Nuclear Launch Codes »

octobre 24th, 2016 by Dillon Aubin

During the course of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, a recurring criticism is the possibility of a nuclear armed Trump administration. Media pundits, celebrities, and political officials alike have revived Cold War fears of a nuclear holocaust that would follow a republican victory. While campaigning with Hillary Clinton this past August, Vice President Joe Biden frantically proclaimed:

“He is not qualified to know the code!”

and criticized Trump’s positive comments on Russian president Vladimir Putin (1). Later that month, MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell delivered an ominous segment in which he asked viewers to

“imagine team Trump in the middle of the night, facing what could turn out to be a false alarm or could turn out to be nuclear war” (2)

During a childish twitter scrap earlier this month, Harry Potter author J.K Rowling posted:

“When a man this ignorant & easy to manipulate gets within sniffing distance of the nuclear codes, it’s everyone’s business” (3).

But if we take a closer look at the track records of Trump’s political rivals, a republican victory in November could be the safest route for preserving global stability.

The Republican Primary debates presented a narrow spectrum of foreign policy approaches towards the Middle East. The only candidate who favored a limited military response to Syria and Iraq was libertarian senator Rand Paul, who dropped out early in the race.

Top candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump supported a relatively moderate approach, in which ground troops alone would be deployed to counter ISIS expansion. In typical neocon fashion, the majority of Republican candidates proposed the disastrous concept of both a ground offensive and a no-fly-zone (4), a combination that would push the US closer to a direct conflict with Russia.

Since September of 2015, Moscow has been maintaining a military presence in the Syrian War (5). Though Russia had been financially and diplomatically supporting the Assad regime since the war’s beginning in 2011, a series of rebel advances prompted Putin’s military escalation. Both ground forces and air support are currently in active duty, most notably in the rebel held city of Aleppo. An American no-fly-zone in Syria would potentially mean downing Russian or Syrian aircraft, an event that could bring two nuclear armed states to war. During an interview on Fox News, former Republican candidate Chris Christie bluntly explained the process:

“Well, the first thing you do is you set up a no-fly zone in Syria, and you call Putin, and you say to him, ‘Listen, we’re enforcing a no-fly zone, and that means we’re enforcing it against everyone, and that includes you. So, don’t test me” (6).

With this type of rhetoric plaguing mainstream republican thought, Donald Trump is easily among the safest choices for a party nominee.

Though Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton opposes a ground offensive, she too is in favor of a no-fly-zone over Syria. While Trump has been calling for renewed relations with Russia, Clinton and her supporters criticize his willingness to cooperate with a supposed adversary (7).

What is most puzzling is how the cultural elite paint Clinton as a safer choice despite her long history of pushing for war (8). In her early years as a senator, Clinton supported the Bush administration’s call for an invasion of Iraq. As Obama’s Secretary of State, Clinton played a starring role in NATO’s destruction of Libya and even boasted about Colonel Gaddafi’s death in a CBS interview (9). Clinton’s most damaging position is her backing of the CIA’s plan to fund Syrian rebels, an operation that has perpetuated the worst humanitarian crisis of the century thus far. With so much blood on her hands, it’s hard to believe that Hillary Clinton could resist escalating the Syrian conflict into a global catastrophe.

So the next time you hear an A-list celebrity whine about a nuclear codes, consider the alternatives. Trump defeated the most powerful republicans in the country, most of whom casually spoke of downing Russian aircraft over Syria. Though he is inexperienced and buffoonish, he is the only candidate open to sharing a fair dialog with Russian officials. And though he repulsively bragged about sexually assaulting women, at least he didn’t brag after murdering a world leader.

Notes

1 http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/15/politics/joe-biden-hillary-clinton-scranton/
2 http://www.msnbc.com/the-last-word/watch/imagine-trump-with-the-nuclear-codes-737794115604
3 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/11/jk-rowling-insults-donald-trump-on-twitter-after-being-told-to-m/
4 http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2015/dec/26/comparing-gop-candidates-isis-strategies-obamas/
5 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/14/russias-military-action-in-syria-timeline
6 http://www.breitbart.com/video/2015/10/12/christie-establish-no-fly-zone-in-syria-shoot-down-russian-jets-that-enter-it/
7 http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-says-he-could-meet-putin-before-inauguration-companies-used-clinton-fundraisers-to-lobby-state-department-2016-10-18
8 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/hillary-is-the-candidate_b_9168938.html
9 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2051826/We-came-saw-died-What-Hillary-Clinton-told-news-reporter-moments-hearing-Gaddafis-death.html

Dillon Aubin is the North American correspondent for jobanbd.com. He graduated from York University, Canada, with a degree in English and Professional Writing and a specialization in the institutional stream.

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Recent media focus on the humanitarian crisis in the Syrian city of Aleppo has revealed the government promoted propagandistic methods of the Western mainstream media, which shorn of context and rich in bias uncritically accepts the narrative presented by politicians and attempts to shape public opinion to suit the needs of a war agenda.

An opinion piece in the UK Daily Mail by the historian Dominic Sandbrook which accused the leader of the British opposition Labour Party of ideological Left-inspired anti-American sentiment and lack of patriotism is part and parcel of the attempt to pathologize and demonize those who are critical of the West’s role in fomenting and sustaining the Syrian conflict.

The disingenuous media blitzkrieg on Aleppo is designed to justify military intervention on the part of the United States starting with the declaration of a ‘No Fly Zone’, which as the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has plainly stated “will lead to war with Russia.” If such a catastrophic event were to ensue, it will not be the fault of the supposedly Putin-worshipping Left, but of the hubris of American post-Cold War foreign policy and the ‘useful idiots’ in the Western press who have promoted American militarism.

It was Vladimir Lenin who is claimed to have coined the phrase ‘useful idiot’. By useful idiot, Lenin is supposed to have been referring to those who did the bidding for the cause of Bolshevism in its propaganda war with the western capitalist nations. The term continued to be used as one to label those in the West who acted as mouthpieces for the Soviet Union by representing it as democratic when it was in fact repressive and as reasonable where its critics found it to be an inflexible monolith.

While there is no evidence that Lenin actually uttered these words, its usage in relation to those who backed policies perceived as being directly or indirectly favourable to the Soviet Union and its system has been contemporarily revived in relation to those who speak in ways which that are perceived as being supportive of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation, whose leader Vladimir Putin is also claimed to be subject to a species of personality cult often referred to as ‘Putin Worship.’

A recent article in the Daily Mail written by the historian Dominic Sandbrook entitled, “Putin’s useful idiots: Warped, deluded, ignorant. Corbyn’s support for Russia shames his party and his country”, utilized this angle in attacking Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition party leader in the United Kingdom Parliament, over over his rejection of British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson’s calls for people to demonstrate outside the Russian Embassy in London. Sandbrook, who describes Russian bombardment of the Syrian city of Aleppo as “one of the defining atrocities of our time”, likens the fate of the city to that of Guernica, the Basque town which in 1937 was subjected to heavy and indiscriminate bombing by the Luftwaffe during the Spanish Civil War.

Corbyn’s official spokesman, Seumas Milne’s response to Johnson, that the real tragedy was that Aleppo is “diverting attention” from the true villains in Syria; namely Britain and the United States, drew the ire of Sandbrook who accused Corbyn and Milne of exhibiting a characteristic of the “hard left” which is naturally inclined to anti-American sentiment and that is unabashedly unpatriotic and idealistic to the point of foolhardiness.

But whatever the merits of the criticism meted out against the ideological foibles of the political Left, Sandbrook’s disavowal of Western responsibility for the condition in which Syria is presently in is erroneous. What is more his piece, which is totally devoid of the true context of the Syrian conflict, smacks of being a propaganda-laden piece that is calculated to drum up public support for United States and NATO intervention in a tragedy which was the brainchild of the Western powers and their allies in the Middle East.

It is useful to begin by addressing the origins of the war in Syria. This cannot fail to take into account the unjustified invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq by a coalition of forces led by the United States, a feat which was accomplished with the wholesale connivance and support of Britain. This event and the subsequent occupation created the circumstances for the radicalisation of large elements of the Sunni population. The genesis of what has come to be known as the Islamic State starts in Iraq with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian jihadist who pledged allegiance to Osama Bin Laden and formed al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a militia which became a major force in the anti-American insurgency. A direct line can be traced from the formation of AQI in 2004 to the April 2013 inauguration of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is also known by the shorter form of Islamic State (IS). Both the al-Qaeda affiliated Jabhat al Nusra and IS duly became embroiled in the insurrection against Bashar al Assad in Syria which commenced in 2011.

The Syrian conflict has complex origins which were rooted in genuine grievances against the Baathist government which has dominated Syria for decades. And the heavy-handed response by state enforcers to genuine protests when the idea of an ‘Arab Spring’ was gaining momentum did not show the Assad government in a good light. However, the present situation of warfare and carnage is not the result of a natural and progressive germination of a popular insurrection. Rather, it is one which has been sponsored by outside powers who have imported Islamist mercenaries to overthrow the secular government led by Bashar al Assad; the ‘Arab Spring’ presenting a convenient cover for the swamping of Syria with an assortment of Islamist death squads and militias.

It is against international law to overthrow the governments of foreign states and this criminal enterprise is directed by the United States which is aided by Britain and France, its major allies in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Other allies such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are also heavily complicit in the Syrian tragedy.

The evidence is incontrovertible.

Speaking on the French Parliamentary TV network station LCP in June of 2013, the former French foreign minister Roland Dumas asserted that the Syrian War was “prepared, conceived and organized” at least two years in advance of what became an insurgency. He learnt of the project after been approached by British officials who informed him that they were preparing a project involving infiltrating Syria with rebel fighters.

Other prominent political figures have acknowledged that the United States was aware of the fact that funding for jihadist groups such as IS and al Nusra has come from Saudi, Qatari and other patrons from the Gulf states. Recently leaked email correspondence between Hillary Clinton and John Podesta, her current campaign chairman, confirms this. In one from 2014, Clinton writes that “…we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”

In fact, an earlier leak of a US State department cable that was sent under her name in December of 2009, stated that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan).”

Again at a speech at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in October of 2014, US Vice President Joe Biden also let slip the following about American allies in the Middle East such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia:

They were so determined to take down Assad…that they poured hundreds of millions of dollars (and) thousands of tonnes of weapons to anyone who would fight against Assad except that those who were being supplied were al Nusra and al Qaeda and extremist elements of jihadis who were pouring in from other parts of the world.

The role of the Turkish Army High Command in providing rebels with training camps and allowing them to infiltrate Syria via several parts of its porous border became common knowledge as did the Turks role in nourishing and sustaining IS by buying oil produced from wells seized by the insurgents in territories previously governed by the Assad government.

Confirmation of this state of affairs has also come from the highest echelons of the United States military. General Martin Dempsey, then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee in September 2014 when he asked whether he knew of “any major Arab ally who embraces ISIL”. He responded by saying, “I know major Arab allies who fund them”. This was echoed by Wesley Clark, a retired US army general and a former supreme commander of NATO, who told CNN in February 2015 that “ISIS got started through funding from our friends and allies.”

But there is evidence that the United States was not merely turning a blind eye towards the support given to jihadists by its Middle Eastern allies. It actively promoted it. Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) admitted in an interview with al Jazeera that support for a jihadist insurgency in Syria appeared to have been a wilful decision on the part of the American government. Indeed, in March of 2013, both the British Daily Telegraph and New York Times reported on the purchase and transfer of arms from Zagreb, Croatia to Turkey and Jordan for the use of Syrian rebels. These massive airlifts were coordinated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with the costs of purchase being borne by the Saudis.

There is confirmation of this transaction as having benefited radical Islamist militias. A report issued in 2014 by Conflict Armament Research was able to forensically pinpoint the origins of weapons recovered from Islamic State fighters in the battlefields of Syria via the serial numbers of anti-tank pieces which linked them to the aforementioned joint CIA/Saudi program.

Another compelling piece of evidence ascertaining what must be the existence of a series of ‘rat lines’ is that which relates to the British MI6’s cooperation with the CIA in 2012 over the transfer to Syrian rebels of stockpiles of munitions of the fallen army of Colonel Gaddafi.

While General Flynn told al Jazeera that the intelligence the DIA provided to the White House warned that “the Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda in Iraq are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria”, the Pentagon’s role in enabling the insurgency is almost certainly part of a conscious application of long term planning.

In 2008, the RAND Corporation published a Pentagon-funded report describing the “long war”, a reference to an enduring conflict which the United States and its armed forces would be engaged in over the control of resources in the Middle East.

Entitled Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prospects and Implications for the U.S. Army, the report explicitly refers to the need for fomenting conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims as a means through which the interests of the West could be served:

Divide and rule focuses on exploiting fault lines between the various Salafi-jihadist groups to turn them against each other and dissipate their energy on internal conflicts. This strategy relies heavily on covert action, information operations (IO), unconventional warfare and support to indigenous security forces…the United States and its local allies could use the nationalists jihadists to launch proxy IO campaigns to discredit the transnational jihadists in the eyes of the local populace…US leaders  could also choose to capitalize on the ‘sustained Shia-Sunni conflict’ trajectory by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes against Shi’ite empowerment movements in against the Muslim world…possibly supporting authoritative Sunni governments against a continually hostile Iran.

The references to a “hostile Iran” as well as to sustaining a Shia-Sunni conflict acknowledge an established plank of American and Western policy which seeks to destroy the growing influence of the ‘Shia Crescent’; an alliance that stretches from Iran to Lebanon through Syria. A confluence of interests aiming to nullify this alliance is found among America’s allies in the region. The Israelis wish to destroy Syria in order to disrupt the flow of arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon, the only military force in the Arab world willing and capable of taking on the Israeli armed forces. The Saudis are desirous of overthrowing the minority Alawite government of Syria in order to establish Sunni hegemony, while the Turks, as with the Saudis and Qatar, were upset at Assad’s rejection of an oil pipeline deal that would link the Gulf with Western Europe via Turkey.

The specific recruitment of jihadis to undertake this task is no accident according to General Wesley Clark. “If you want somebody who will fight to the death against Hezbollah, you don’t put out a recruiting poster and say, ‘Sign up for us, we’re going to make a better world.’ You go after zealots and you go after these religious fundamentalists. That’s who fights Hezbollah.”

The credibility of the contention that groups such as IS and al Nusra are enabling the fulfilment of the Western agenda in the Middle East was significantly bolstered by the declassification of a DIA document from August 2012 which stated that the existence of an Islamic State in the eastern part of Syria was desired to effect the West’s policies in the region. A key aspect of the document, which was circulated to various US government agencies including the State Department, the CIA and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), reads as follows:

The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey (which) support the (Syrian) opposition…There is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor) and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime…

It is important to note that far from designating the burgeoning Islamic State militia as an enemy, the document envisioned it as a strategic asset.

The role of Israel as a major influence on this policy cannot be underestimated. As Roland Dumas said:

In the region (i.e. the Middle East), it is important to know that this Syrian regime has a very anti-Israeli stance…and I have this from the former Israeli prime minister who told me “we’ll try to get on with our neighbours, but those who don’t agree with us will be destroyed.”

The centrality of Israel to this conflict and Western backing of it is clear to all who acknowledge the powerful role of the Israel lobby in the United States, Britain and France and the effect on their respective foreign policies in the Middle East. It still holds true for those who prefer to view Israel as a ‘client state’ of the West in the Middle East. After all, as Vice President Biden has noted, “If there weren’t an Israel we’d have to invent one.” Israel is to Biden “a strategic necessity”.

The attitude of Israel to the Assad government was clearly enunciated by Michael Oren in September of 2013 as he stepped down from his role as ambassador to the United States. The Jerusalem Post quoted him thus:

The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc. That is a position we had well before the outbreak of hostilities in Syria. With the outbreak of hostilities we continued to want Assad to go.

The goal of weakening Arab countries with strong nationalist governments has been a clear one from the time of Israel’s inception and is clearly articulated in the ‘Yinon Plan’ of the early 1980s. Formally titled A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties, Oded Yinon ‘s strategy involved Israel working towards dividing its Arab neighbours into ethnic and sectarian based mini-states. Egypt, the most populous Arab nation was earmarked for balkanisation into a Coptic Christian state and several Muslim statelets. Special attention was also given to the Ba’athist governments of Iraq and Syria. Of Syria, Yinon soothsayed the following:

Syria will fall apart in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so there will be a Shi’ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern nature and the Druzes will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan.

While Israel has a peace treaty with Egypt, and has created a geopolitical arrangement that renders Jordan as its protectorate together with developing what effectively is a symbiotic alliance with the Saudis, both Hezbollah and the Syrian state have not been compliant neighbours. Israel has long forsworn the aim of achieving a comprehensive peace with the Arab world and instead has worked in stealth with its ‘friendly’ neighbours to “contain, destabilize and roll-back” shared common enemies.

This was the thinking behind A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm; a policy document produced in 1996 for Binyamin Netanyahu during his first stint as prime minister. Part of the strategy explicitly alludes to the “weakening, controlling and even rolling back” of Syria.

But this, if it needs reminding, is not the policy alone of the Israeli state. The fundamental policy of the United States towards the Middle East is virtually in sync with the goals of Israel. Those goals mentioned in the aforementioned ‘Clean Break’ document are synonymous with that of the neoconservative-authored ‘Statement of Principles’ by the Project for the New American Century. Featured among a list of states considered as hostile to the “interests and values” of the United States and which America needed to “challenge” in the post-Cold War era were Iraq, Syria and Iran.

That this was put into effect in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks of 2001 cannot be denied. General Wesley Clark recalled how former colleagues at the Pentagon alerted him to the existence of a memorandum detailing how the United States was going to “take out seven countries in five years”. These were to be Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.

This correlation between Western foreign policy objectives and those of Israel’s security aims are almost never acknowledged by serving Western leaders who are not challenged by the Western media over why Bashar Assad’s overthrow is being sought. Yet, Roland Dumas’ comments provide a much needed insight into this as do the words of Hillary Clinton in a leaked email written while she was still the serving Secretary of State: “The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability,” Clinton wrote, “is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.”

This was, of course, not the brainchild of the Obama administration within which Clinton served, but was a continuum of policies devised during the tenure of George W. Bush. And as laid bare in an article published in the March 2007 edition of the New Yorker magazine, the United States had recalibrated it foreign policy in such a way as to provide support to Sunni militants sharing the ideology as the supposed perpetrators of the September 11 attacks on America. In doing so, Syria was firmly within America’s sights as a target for destruction. As the Pulitzer award-winning Seymour Hersh wrote:

The Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashar Assad of Syria. The Israelis believe that putting such pressure on the Assad government will make it more conciliatory and open to negotiations

In fact, if any confirmation were needed of the wiring of United States policy to the needs of Israel and the United States overarching culpability in fomenting the violent overthrow of Assad’s government as an essential part of destroying the ‘Shia Crescent’, the leaked Clinton email provides it. In Clinton’s own words:

Iran’s nuclear program and Syria’s civil war may seem unconnected, but they are. For Israeli leaders, the real threat from a nuclear-armed Iran is not the prospect of an insane Iranian leader launching an unprovoked Iranian nuclear attack on Israel that would lead to the annihilation of both countries. What Israeli military leaders really worry about -but cannot talk about- is losing their nuclear monopoly.

It is thus with an understanding of the background to Western involvement with the long term goals for the region and the modus operandi of supporting jihadists that the general attitude towards Russian military action in Syria and specifically towards ongoing events centred on the ancient metropolis of Aleppo can be best understood.

The Russian Federation, which has had an enduring relationship with Syria dating from the time of the Soviet Union, is involved in the Syrian conflict for reasons of fundamental national interest. It has a longstanding naval base in the coastal city of Tartus; one of only a few warm sea ports that it has at its disposal. It also has an interest in preventing the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad because the Western goal of securing the installation of a radical Islamic state or collection of mini-states in the stead of the secular-orientated Ba’athist government he heads would create the conditions for exporting Islamist terror to the Central Asian republics that border Russia.

The more overt form of Russian intervention which commenced at the end of September of 2015 was largely viewed as a welcome development by those who favour the idea of a return to a system of multipolarity in global security arrangements in contrast to the unipolar model that had existed since the ending of the US-Soviet Cold War.

The subsequent re-conquest of large swathes of Syrian territory from Assad’s opponents such as IS, laid bare the disingenuous claims of an earnest fight on the part of the United States and its allies. It certainly painted a stark contrast between fighting a war dedicated to defeating the jihadist militias as opposed to one geared merely towards ‘containing’ them.

The lukewarm response and outright hostility on the part of the United States and its allies towards Russian action in Syria was and is clearly based on the fact that Russia is succeeding in frustrating the policy objectives of using jihadist groups as a foreign legion tasked with creating a new order in the Middle East.

Put simply, the Western alliance does not want Russia to succeed because it wants the armed jihadist rebels, dominated by IS and al Nusra, to succeed.

Thus it is the case that the fall of Aleppo, after the reclaiming of other cities by the Syrian Army alongside Hezbollah and Iranian advisors, would mark a decisive setback for the West. The cries from the Western media over a “humanitarian crisis” in Aleppo also reveal with disturbing clarity the largely biased nature of the corporate Western media in effectively serving as a propaganda mouthpiece for the governments of the United States and Britain.

Western policy has created ongoing humanitarian crises in other parts of Syria and in other countries subjected to NATO intervention such as Iraq and Libya which are not of present concern to the media. The humanitarian disaster in the Yemen which is presently being caused by unrestrained Saudi Arabian military force is also not a priority for either Western governments or mainstream media organisations. The Saudis are, of course,  mainly armed by American and British manufacturers.

The fate of the US-Russian ceasefire over Aleppo, undermined by a purportedly accidental massacre of over 60 Syrian Army troops in Dier al-Zour by NATO action, can be understood to be the inevitable ending of an agreement with a disingenuous party. The statement on September 22nd by the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford before a US Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on US strategy in the Middle East, that the US military had no intention of sharing intelligence with their Russian counterparts if Moscow and Washington were ever to work together against Islamist militants in Syria, offered a great degree of clarification of the ‘accident’ at Dier al-Zour. The result of the attack had been to enable jihadist militias to take offensive positions.

The Western media allowed itself to report the issues surrounding Aleppo as partly being one associated with the need for the Russian Air Force to separate locations held by so-called ‘moderate rebels’ from those held by jihadist militias. The resurgent notion of the existence of ‘moderate rebels’, implying that a significant amount of anti-government fighters are both secular and democratic in ethos is a long discredited one.

Early studies undertaken of a range of indigenous anti-government militias fighting in the different regions of Syria found most subscribed to a Salafist agenda. These included groups such as Ahara Al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam, Suqour al-Sham Brigade, Liwa al-whid and Liwa al-Tarmouk. A report by the Times of Israel in June 2014 quoted the Israeli Defence Force’s head of Military Intelligence Research and Analysis Division as estimating that over eighty percent of the opposition fighters “have a clear Islamist agenda.”

The United States itself admitted the abject failure of its plan to build a viable opposition political movement and a ‘Free Syrian Army’ when it announced that its $500 million dollar investment had only yielded a paltry five guerillas. But even when some militias have identified themselves as ‘Free Syrian Army’, they have been quick to reveal their underpinning ideology. Reporting from Aleppo earlier this year, the British journalist Peter Oborne related the story of a Syrian woman who sought refuge in the city. When her village had been taken over by a species of FSA, she was forced to stay at home and wear a black veil.

But the Western media has been sparing in its references to al Nusra, the dominant rebel force in and around Aleppo, during its reporting of the siege of the city. The media has also shown its acquiescence to government propaganda by unquestioningly accepting the explanation of an accident as having occurred at Dier al-Zour while unhesitatingly subscribing to Russian responsibility for an attack on an aid convoy heading to Aleppo.

While much of the media has revelled in filming half-naked and bloodied children evidently coached to mention “barrel bombs” and the name of “Bashar” as the instigator of the calamity surrounding them, there is little mention of al Nusra reportedly destroying hospitals and water supplies or of it holding people as human shields. The taking by al Nusra of the southwestern part of the city cut off over a million people and enabled the opposition to organise a siege which has prevented humanitarian aid from reaching them.

The al Nusra group is also reported to have executed militants attempting to flee the city and has followed this by killing their families. The media ignores Syrian government offers of safe passage for the terrorists of the sort that it has arranged in the past such as when reclaiming the city of Homs. When the media shows the physical destruction of the city, the implication is that Russian bombing is the sole cause. No regard is given to the fact that it had already sustained a great deal of damage before the Russian campaign began.

The Western mainstream media’s reporting of the Syrian crisis has for some time consistently followed a pattern of biased reporting of Russia alongside a campaign of demonization against its leader Vladimir Putin. Yet, whatever the shortcomings there are in regard to Russia’s internal governance, an objective reading of the flashpoints of Russian-NATO tensions reveals the Russian position as one that is reactive rather than aggressive. These include the NATO inspired provocations which led to the Russo-Georgian War of 2008 and the Ukrainian crisis which commenced in 2014.

The former involved an attack on South Ossetia by US and Israeli-trained Georgian troops while the latter involved a US-sponsored coup d’etat which deposed the democratically elected president and installed an ultra-nationalist regime which immediately made known its hostility towards Russia and the mainly Russian speaking eastern region. Russia withdrew from the parts of Georgia that it had occupied and did not mount an invasion of the Ukraine; it being content to apply its ‘Black Sea Doctrine’ by securing its warm sea port in Sevastopol via the annexation of Crimea after the holding of a plebiscite. Without its port in Crimea, Russian action in Syria would have been made more difficult.

In the same manner, the Russian action taken in Syria is one which was reacting to events imposed by the policies of the United States and its allies. America’s embrace of militarism through the Wolfowitz Doctrine has imbibed its policymakers with a belief in the limitless reach of an American sphere of influence while entitling Russia to none.

The Syrian conflict and the United States attitude towards Putin’s Russia is also best understood by reference to the key tenets of the Brzezinski Doctrine through which the United States has sought to militarily intimidate, weaken and ultimately dismantle what remained of the former Soviet Union in order to prevent the rise of a Eurasian power able to compete economically and militarily with the West. It has as its end game, the reducing of Russia, or its balkanized components, into a vassalage designed primarily to serve the energy needs of the West.

While there is some truth in the thesis of an extension of the use of the Russian military technique of Maskirovka into the realm of foreign policy propaganda, a dissection of the respective records of both Western governments and their Russian counterpart demonstrably show where the aforementioned aggressive and reactive currents of events have emerged.

Criticism of Western policy towards Russia does not only emanate from the traditional Left but from all parts of the political spectrum. The utility of ‘idiot’ analysts cannot be limited to those who are critical of Western foreign policy so far as it relates to Russia and the wider world. The Western media has been shown to be susceptible to forms of pressure and influence from the intelligence services.

For instance, ‘Operation Mass Appeal’ was set up by the British Secret Intelligence Service in the run up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It was a campaign of media disinformation designed to exaggerate the military capabilities of the Iraqi military and thus influence public opinion. In 2005, the Lincoln Group, a Washington-based public relations company was revealed to have been placing articles in Iraqi newspapers which had been secretly written by the US military. The potential use of ‘black propaganda’ among other tried and tested devices of manipulation needs to be borne in mind in regard to the present media portrayal of Aleppo.

What also needs to be borne in mind are the possible affiliations of journalists to the intelligence services. In 2014, Udo Ulfkotte, a former editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, alleged that many of the top journalists in Western Europe are in the pay of the CIA. He claimed that both the CIA and the German Federal Intelligence Service or Bundesnachrichtendiens, bribe journalists to write articles favourable to NATO issues and other stories with a pro-Western agenda. This is done on the understanding that they may lose their jobs if they do not comply.

So while some analysts may be more prone to being critical of Western foreign policy than others owing to a residue of empathy the political Left may have towards the successor state of the Soviet Union or those white nationalists who tout Vladimir Putin as the saviour-in-waiting of the European races, it is clear that many reasonable pundits spanning the gamut of the political spectrum have come to the conclusion that the philosophies and doctrines guiding the conduct of Western foreign policy have been predicated on a hubristic drive for global hegemony.

It has not been Russia but the United States-led Western alliance which has destroyed Iraq, Libya and Syria. Yet, there is an apparent lack of reflection on the part of writers such as Dominic Sandbrook on the damage wrought by Western policy on Western prestige and its civilizational values.

The destruction of nation states and the attitudes expressed by leaders such as Madeleine Albright that the deaths of half a million Iraq children as a result of the imposition of sanctions prior to the war of 2003 were “worth it”, as well as the “we came, we saw, we died” remark by Hillary Clinton over the lynching of Colonel Gaddafi, have served to cast the West in a barbaric light.

It cannot by an stretch of the imagination be “warped” or “ignorant” -to use Sandbrook’s descriptions- to point out the West’s culpability for the Syrian tragedy. Britain’s role in fomenting the conflict has been clear from the earliest time of the conflict when reports indicated that British military officers were stationed at the border shared between Syria and Jordan and offering training to rebels and prospective insurgents arriving from abroad. The British Guardian newspaper reported in March 2013 that British, French and American military advisers were giving rebels what it termed “logistical and other advice in some form”.

The British role in Syria has provided clear evidence of the moral contradictions inherent in participating in foreign interventions of dubious legality. Consider for instance the collapse of the 2015 trial of a man charged with terrorist activities in Syria on the grounds that Britain’s security and intelligence services would have been “deeply embarrassed” because of their covert support for anti-Assad militias, and the conviction two weeks earlier of a London cab driver who received a life sentence for making improvised explosive devices while serving as part of the resistance to the illegal occupation of Iraq by US and British armed forces.

The connection between consciously and strategically utilizing radicalised Islamist guerrillas as a tool in unseating secular Arab governments such as in Syria and the perpetration of terror outrages on Western European soil by those sharing the same ideology appears rarely to be part of the public discourse.

The focus on Aleppo amid calls by leaders of the United States for war crimes investigations against Russia when the United States itself has refused to put itself under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court reeks of hypocrisy.

And in keeping with the deception at the very heart of Western involvement in Syria, which unlike that of Russia is not based on an invitation from the legitimate government of Syria, the calls for a ‘No Fly Zone’ over Aleppo are concerned less with ongoing human suffering and more to do with protecting the jihadist legions that are central to Western policy. As the aforementioned DIA document of 2012 provides, the declaration of ‘safe havens’, which is another term for ‘No Fly Zones’, is a technique used by the United States to shield and preserve areas conquered by Islamist insurgents. It is based on the template utilised in overthrowing the Gaddafi government in Libya and forms the first step towards a so-called ‘humanitarian war’.

By abandoning the idea that both Russia and the US-led alliance have jihadist militias as the common enemy in place of one earmarking Russia as the enemy and the obstacle to peace, the West and its mainstream media are effectively inviting a catastrophic collision between two nuclear armed powers. As General Dunford informed the Senate hearing of September 22nd, the imposition of a ‘No Fly Zone’ “will mean war with Russia.”

A war, it may be added, which would arise as a result of the illegal enterprise of arming a largely foreign-imported contingent of mercenaries to overthrow the government of a sovereign state. A war that would happen after consistent illegal violations of Syrian airspace and one for which the United States Congress has not given constitutional authorization.

Jeremy Corbyn proved to be right in his dissent in regard to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and he is clearly right when he ascribes blame to the United States, Britain and their allies for the Syrian tragedy.

In the final analysis, it is Western journalists with the stances of Dominic Sandbrook who are fulfilling the appellation of ‘useful idiots’.

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer and law lecturer with an interest in geo-politics who is based in London, England.

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Washington’s public relations operations for the military contracting firms that surround the US Capitol aren’t by for-profit PR firms, so much as they’re by ‘non-profit’ foundations and think tanks, which present that ‘non-profit’ cover for their sales-promotion campaigns on behalf of the real beneficiaries: owners and top executives of these gigantic ‘defense’ contracting corporations, such as Lockheed Martin, and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Among the leading propagandists for invading Iraq back in 2002 were Kenn Pollack  and Michael O’Hanlon, both with the Brookings Institution; and both propagandists still are frequently interviewed by American ‘news’ media as being ‘experts’ on international relations, when all they ever really have been is salesmen for US invasions, such as that 2003 invasion, which destroyed Iraq and cost US taxpayers $3 trillion+ or $4.4 trillion – benefiting only the few beneficiaries and their agents, such as the top executives of these ‘non-profits,’ which receive a small portion of the take, as servants usually do.

More recently, Brookings’s Shadi Hamid headlined on 14 September 2013, «The US-Russian Deal on Syria: A Victory for Assad», and the PR-servant there, Dr Hamid, argued that

 «Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is effectively being rewarded for the use of chemical weapons, rather than ‘punished’ as originally planned… Assad and his Russian backers played on Obama’s most evident weakness, exploiting his desire to find a way – any way – out of military action… One might be forgiven for thinking that this was Assad’s plan all along, to use chemical weapons as bait, to agree to inspections after using them, and then to return to conventional killing».

Three weeks after that Brookings ‘expert’ had issued it, the great investigative journalist Christof Lehmann, on 7 October 2014, headlined and offered facts to the exact contrary at his nsnbc news site,

«Top US and Saudi Officials Responsible for Chemical Weapons in Syria», and he opened by summarizing his extensive case: «Evidence leads directly to the White House, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, CIA Director John Brennan, Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Bandar, and Saudi Arabia´s Interior Ministry».

Then, on 14 January 2014, the MIT professor Theodore Postal and the former UN weapons-inspector Richard Lloyd performed a detailed analysis of the rocket that had delivered the sarin, and found that it had been fired from territory controlled by the anti-Assad rebels, not by Assad’s forces. Then, yet another great investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, bannered in the London Review of Books, on 17 April 2014, «The Red Line and the Rat Line: Seymour M Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels», and he reported that what had actually stopped Obama from invading Syria was Obama’s embarrassment at British intelligence having discovered that Obama’s case against Assad regarding the gas attack was fake.

Obama suddenly needed a face-saving way to cancel his pre-announced American bombing campaign to bring down the Assad government, since he wouldn’t have even the UK as an ally in it: 

«Obama’s change of mind [weakening his ardor against Assad] had its origins at Porton Down, the [British] defense laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff».

Did Dr Hamid or any other Brookings ‘expert’ ever issue a correction and make note of of their earlier falsehoods, or did they all instead hide this crucially important reality – that not only was the rocket fired from rebel territory but its sarin formula was different from that in Syria’s arsenals, and the actual suppliers were the US, Sauds, Qataris, and Turks – did they not correct their prior war-mongering misrepresentations, but instead hide the fact that the Obama allegations had been exposed to have been frauds and that Obama himself had been one of the planners behind the sarin gas attack? They hid the truth.

Back on 14 June 2013, a Brookings team of Dr Hamid, with Bruce Riedel, Daniel L Byman, Michael Doran, and Tamara Cofman Wittes, had headlined, «Syria, the US, and Arming the Rebels: Assad’s Use of Chemical Weapons and Obama’s Red Line», and they alleged that, although «President Obama has been extremely reluctant to get involved in Syria», «Regime change is the only way to end this conflict», and they applauded the «confirmation that the Assad regime used chemical weapons in Syria», but doubted that Obama would bomb Syria hard enough and often enough. None of them ever subsequently acknowledged that, in fact, they had misstated (been suckered by a US government fraud, if even they had believed it), and that Obama actually drove this hoax harder than his Joint Chiefs of Staff had advised him to.

These are the US aristocracy’s ‘experts’: basically PhD’d crass ‘non-profit’ (or at least tax-exempt, regarding Brookings and most of the other PR-fronts) war-mongers – stenographers to power, who hide the truth, instead of report the truth.

And then, of course, there’s the secretive but proudly profit-making, part of this operation, where the really big money is made, and billionaires become multibillionaires.

Public Integrity’s report, «Investing in War: The Carlyle Group profits from government and conflict» observes that, «From its founding in 1987, the Carlyle Group has pioneered investing in the defense and national security markets, and through its takeover of companies with billions of dollars in defense contracts became one of the US military’s top vendors». Carlyle Group is now «the largest private equity firm in the world» as a result of such things as the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the burgeoning terrorism and military responses to that – also profitable – which have followed in its wake. For example, ISIS started in Iraq in 2006, and has been a boon to Carlyle Group, as the US drops bombs to address that problem.

The military conflicts in Ukraine are also profitable to them, because that’s now yet another place where the US sends weapons and advisors, after Obama’s February 2014 coup in Ukraine turned that country into a US satellite against its neighbor Russia – which it hadn’t previously been – thus extending the US aristocracy’s control even further.

In 2003, Dan Briody’s exposé «The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group» described how the former Wall Street lawyer and advisor to US President Jimmy Carter, David L Rubenstein, teamed up briefly with Stephen L Norris, a senior executive of the Republican firm, Marriott Corporation, to create Carlyle Group, and to bring in as its leader the Republican Frank Carlucci, who had been US President Ronald Reagan’s last Secretary of Defense and who privatized much of the Pentagon’s operation to Booze Allen Hamilton and other large firms. Carlucci brought in Reagan-Bush friend Fred Malek, and then George Herbert Walker Bush, George W. Bush, James Baker, Richard Darman, Fidel Ramos, John Major, and other believers in privatizing government and whose friends included many of the people to whom it became privatized. These people all live by their networking, and by the revolving door between private contractors and ‘public servants’.

The «Annual Report 2015» from the Brookings Institution, opens with the «Co-Chairs’ Message» on page 2, which is signed by Brookings’s co-chairmen, David L Rubenstein and John L Thornton. Thornton is a former Chairman of Goldman Sachs. Cheng Li is the Director of the John L Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, and he attended the super-secretive Bilderberg meetings both in 2012 and in 2014, and so might have been Thornton’s agent there. Peter Sutherland, the Chairman of Goldman Sachs International, was also there. The main topic at the 2014 meeting was the war in Ukraine, but other wars were also on the agenda, such as Syria, and so were President Obama’s ‘trade’ treaties: TPP, TTIP, and TISA.

Other luminaries present at those secret discussions were Timothy Geithner, Eric Schmidt, Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, Charles Murray, etc., and Europeans such as Christine Lagarde and Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Perhaps some sales were made. In 2013, Jeff Bezos and Donald Graham met at the Bilderberg conference, and two months later, Bezos agreed to buy the Washington Post from Graham. Less than a year after that, Bezos’s Amazon won the CIA-NSA cloud computing contract, vital to the US military. Bezos’s most profitable operation has allegedly been that military contract, and the money-losing Washington Post is a longstanding supporter of US armed invasions, which require lots of cloud computing. For example, the WP was gung-ho for regime-change in Iraq in 2002, as well as, more recently, for bombing Libya, Syria, and the bombing in Ukraine’s civil war after the coup.

That Annual Report lists ten donors who gave «$2,000,000 and Above» during the prior year; and one of them was David M Rubenstein, and another was John L Thornton. Another was «Embassy of the State of Qatar», Qatar being the fundamentalist Sunni chief financial backer of the fundamentalist Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, and also one of the two chief funders of the jihadist groups that are trying to take over the non-sectarian but mainly Shiite-ruled Syrian government. The Thani family that own Qatar want to run a pipeline through Syria, but they can’t do that unless a fundamentalist Sunni government takes over Syria. Also, the US takeover of Ukraine disrupts Russia’s pipelining gas to Europe, which pipelines run mainly through Ukraine. So, Brookings is a major PR agency for that goal of boosting gas-sales by the Thanis, and cutting gas-sales by Russia.

During February 2015, Brookings issued a report from their team of Ivo Daalder, Michele Flournoy, John Herbst, Jan Lodal, Steven Pifer, James Stavridis, Strobe Talbott, and Charles Wald, titled «Preserving Ukraine’s Independence, Resisting Russian Aggression», and it urged President Obama to increase the supply of US weapons to the civil war in Ukraine. Strobe Talbott is the President of the Brookings Institution, and he is a lifelong hater of Russia and of Russians; so, maybe he actually enjoys this shoddy shilling for mass-killing.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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It’s been a little over 3 months since some rogue members of the Turkish military failed to oust President Erdogan in their spectacular coup attempt last July, and the passage of time has allowed many analysts to more calmly assess what happened during this dramatic time and fully investigate its origins. This review aims to reevaluate the motivations for the regime change attempt and argues that the US exploited sharp preexisting differences within Turkey’s military, elite, and society in order to instigate the coup for envisioned zero-sum geostrategic ends against Russia.

Reconceptualizing The Socio-Political Situation

There was a long-standing illusion that Turkey was a Western-modelled liberal-democracy before the coup attempt and subsequent crackdown, but that presumption doesn’t accurately capture the transformational processes that have occurred since Erdogan first rose to power in 2003. Outside observers that don’t closely follow Turkish domestic politics might naïvely have assumed that Turkey’s prior form of governance would be unchanging due to its NATO membership, EU aspirations, and US partnership, but none of these three are necessary prerequisites for an enduring liberal democracy. What’s been happening in Turkey over the past 13 years is that the country has been transitioning from a secular western liberal democracy to an Islamist “national democracy”, with the former only remaining as a shell of its older self in order to barely disguise the core of the latter.

The only other famously regarded Islamic Democracy is Iran’s, though that one is formally a republic and is relatively more open than Turkey’s. Erdogan is known as an admirer of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology, so it’s likely that the comparatively more centralized characteristics of his evolving model are due to the influence that this organization has had on him. The Turkish President formally hosted the group after its 2014 expulsion from Qatar, and prior to that, his 2011 “Arab Spring” “victory tour” to Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia showed that he has long held a desire to lead the countries where he expected the Muslim Brotherhood to usurp power after their successful regime change operations. As part of his Islamist mission, Erdogan wants to change the secular constitution that Turkey’s modern-day founder Kemal Mustafa Ataturk implemented, which critics fear will result in the imposition of a Salafist-style state on all Turks that would then pressure them to accept a religious socio-political system through various means of coercion.

In all fairness, however, the 20th-century secular state of Turkey is an historical anomaly for its people considering that they had lived for centuries under the caliphate, yet Ataturk’s reforms were so successful that secularity became a defining feature of Turkey’s national identity and came to symbolize its rapid modernization in socio-political terms. Turkey maintained this system until after the Cold War, when rural society began to progressively Islamify much to the dismay of the secular urbanites. The eventual outcome of this process was that the majority of the country came to embrace the outward expression of religion, particularly in the socio-political form, and they were the reason why Erdogan’s AK Party came to power in the first place in 2003. Erdogan represented the formal politicization of this trend, but he knew that he had to proceed incrementally with his vision so as not to scare the remaining members of the secular society, his country’s international (Western) partners, and the military.

“Deep State” Wars

At the same time, though, Erdogan didn’t hide his Islamization intentions, and this spurred a predictable reaction from some members of Turkey’s “deep state”, or its permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies. The military has a long tradition of coups, especially those that were meant to safeguard the country’s constitutional secularity, which is why Erdogan didn’t move as fast as he wanted to with his plans and instead spent the past 13 years steadily dismantling this “deep state” infrastructure. The series of domestic scandals during this time were symptomatic of just how fierce the “deep state” war had become, since these sorts of conflicts are never meant to spill out into the public domain unless they absolutely have to.

erdoganandlocaladministratorsThe reason that such scandals as these happened is because Erdogan wasn’t just confronting the formal “deep state”, but also the informal one as represented by non-state actors such as the Gulenists that are ideologically opposed to his rule. Sometimes these individuals and sympathizers would infiltrate into “deep state” institutions, but other times they’d be embedded in the media and academic spheres. Erdogan’s quest to rid the country of all formidable regime change opposition to his rule defined his time in power thus far. For as power-hungry and radically transformational as Erdogan and the AK Party might be, one shouldn’t lose sight of the ‘inconvenient’ fact that they’re still the democratically elected and legitimate government of the country that represents the electoral desires of the Turkish majority.

Even so, Erdogan’s polices were indeed polarizing, and he came to symbolize what the opposition saw as an existential threat to the Turkish Republic. The crux of the problem is that the Islamifying AK Party stands against the secularization enshrined in the Turkish Constitution, which thus puts them at immeasurable odds with all secularists, some of the military, and the Gulenists who conspired to exploit these preexisting socio-political tensions for their own regime change ends. This was the domestic climate in Turkey on the eve of the coup attempt, but nothing would have happened had it not been for the geopolitical trigger that Erdogan himself unwittingly pulled and which prompted the US to encourage the coup plotters to make a decisive move against his government.

Great Power Politics

None of Erdogan’s centralizing Islamization policies would have mattered to the West, NATO, and the US on a high-level strategic plane so long a Turkey still continued to support their Mideast policies. In fact, the case can even be made that an Islamifying Turkey is beneficial to the US if one understands the “Arab Spring” as a theater-wide Salafist Color Revolution and Turkey as the envisioned “Lead From Behind” hegemon of a constellation of Muslim Brotherhood governments. This didn’t pan out as expected because the historically secular Syrian people stoutly refused to fall for this foreign-concocted regime change plot and stood firmly behind their government, though the US and Turkey obviously didn’t take their refusal for an answer and thus commenced the ongoing War on Syria that continues to this day.

The nature of that conflict has changed, however, because Turkey rapidly restored its strained relations with Russia after the tense freeze that followed the shooting down of the Russian anti-terrorist jet over Syria, and this has served as a major game-changer in the US’ Mideast calculations. Erdogan’s initiative didn’t occur in a vacuum, but played out in response to the US-Turkish strategic divergence that eventually widened over the War on Syria, particularly as it relates to the Kurds. Turkey had been fighting a long-running war against the PKK since the 1970s, with only a brief intermission over the past couple of years, but the conflict was reignited because of two driving factors. The first is that the Turkish Kurds were encouraged by the anti-Daesh gains of their Syrian and Iraqi brethren and the international sympathy and support that followed, while the second is that Erdogan decided to “rough up” the Kurds a bit as an electioneering tactic before the second round of voting in order to attract the MHP nationalist vote (which he succeeded in winning).

All the while this was happening and even beforehand, the US was providing the Syrian and Iraqi Kurds with weapons, training, supplies, airstrikes, and special forces assistance. What predictably followed was a classic security dilemma between the US and Turkey. Ankara truly believed that the US wasn’t just trying to defeat Daesh, but also had ulterior motives in in helping the Kurds craft a sub-state transnational “Kurdistan” between Syria and Iraq. This prospective polity would allow the US to powerfully pressure Turkey. Ankara views the YPG Syrian Kurdish militia as a terrorist group inseparable from the PKK, so Turkey understandably identifies the creation of this entity as a terrorist state along its southern borderland and thus lost its erstwhile blind trust in the US. “Kurdistan” is an existential threat to the Turkish Republic, but it also endangers the grand strategic designs of Syria, Russia, and Iran, which quietly agree that this pro-American proxy state would be nothing less than a “second geopolitical ‘Israel’” in the heart of the Mideast. It’s the convergence of Turkey and Russia’s threat assessments vis-a-vis “Kurdistan” that spurred the lightning-fast political reset between both sides.

turkey-syria-lebanon-cyprus-map-1949

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures

The Russian-Turkish rapprochement is a fundamental game-changer for undermining the US’ Mideast strategy because of the potential that it has to morph into a quadrilateral coordination platform between Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Syria. Moreover, the restoration of positive Russian-Turkish relations also allows for Iranian-Turkish ties to become strengthened too, given the shared interest that Moscow and Tehran have in fighting terrorism in Syria. The linking of the Russian, Iranian, and Turkish Great Powers is referred to by the author as the Tripartite, and an earlier article series for Katehon explored the broad geopolitical potential that this new power grouping has to reverse the destabilization that the US has wreaked all across the “Eurasian Balkans”. Additionally, it shouldn’t be forgotten that each member of the Tripartite has their own New Silk Road relationship with China, so one can expect for Beijing to use this renewed period of multilateral Great Power pragmatism to its world-changing advantage by seeking to advance the transnational multipolar connective infrastructure projects that are collectively referred to as the One Belt One Road (OBOR) vision.

All of this is a nightmare for US strategists, which is why they felt immediately compelled to act against the catalyst of this profound scenario forecast by stopping Erdogan in his tracks before he could take Turkey further down the path of multipolarity. US intelligence agencies, by the very nature of doing the job that they’re tasked to perform, obviously have influence within and access to the Turkish “deep state”, which was made even easier to acquire in this case because of the country’s NATO membership and its “Lead From  Behind” position in the War on Syria. They accordingly took advantage of the antecedent cleavages in Turkey’s socio-political systems in order to encourage the coup plotters to prematurely execute their plans before they were even ready, assuring them that they’d succeed because the CIA would direct the entire operation from an island in the Sea of Marmara and even provide them with Erdogan’s coordinates so that he could be assassinated.

The domestic differences that the US sought to exploit in ‘justifying’ the coup were as follows:

* Turkey’s gradual progression away from constitutional secularity and towards an intensifying de-facto Islamist system;

* the affiliated transition from a Western-modelled liberal democratic system to one of national democracy;

* the deep unease that some members of the military felt because of the systemic efforts that Erdogan undertook to weaken their institution and centralize his own power;

* and the growing international suspicion surrounding Turkey for its centralized Islamization, its support of Daesh, and its role in facilitating the Immigrant Crisis, all of which were ironically brought to global attention by the efforts of Russia’s international media outlets.

These four factors alone wouldn’t have been enough for the US to throw its backing behind the coup preparations that certain actors were already undertaking against Erdogan so long as Washington thought that it could still control Ankara, but the rapid renewal of Russian-Turkish relations made the US second guess the submissive loyalty of its Mideast underling and thus served as the geopolitical impetus for abruptly setting the regime change events into motion. The coup ultimately failed though because Erdogan was tipped off about it at the last minute, dramatically escaping death to iconically rally his people through a nationally televised iPhone Facetime message to take to the streets in his support. Whether he recognized it or not, this was an implementation of Reverse Color Revolution technology, in which traditional Color Revolution tactics such as street protests are used not for the purpose of regime change, but for ‘regime reinforcement’.

Information Trickery

Despite victoriously regaining power shortly thereafter, Erdogan had a much tougher time deflecting the fallback damage control narrative that the US began to spin in the aftermath of its failed operation. Washington and its affiliated international mainstream media outlets began to promote the conspiracy theory that Erdogan had staged the coup himself in order to gain more power, and this clever suggestion quickly caught on even among many alternative media supporters, commentators, and outlets. People fell for this ruse because it took perfect advantage of the information backdrop that Russian international broadcasters themselves had previously promoted during the times of Russian-Turkish tensions, chiefly that Erdogan is a dangerous Islamifying ‘dictator’ who will stop at nothing in his lust for power, including supporting Daesh terrorists in Syria. All of this is factually true, but the problem with media and policy is that the former doesn’t predict nor can elegantly accommodate for pivotal changes in the latter, which is why many people were suddenly left scratching their heads and wondering why Russia would all of a sudden team up with the same ‘tyrant’ that it had previously despised.

To simply explain it, Russia does not have a “state-controlled media” in the same sense as the West does, as surprising as this may seem to many. Although RT and Sputnik are publicly funded, they are not directly controlled by the Kremlin or any other Russian decision-making “deep state” organs. In contrast, Western “private” media companies such as CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times are paradoxically under an even more intense degree of state influence that they accuse their Russian counterparts of being exposed to. This is why, for example, there were differing narratives about the origins of the coup plot and its normative legitimacy in both of these aforementioned Russian outlets, because plainly enough, they allow for a diversity of viewpoints and are not “state-controlled”. If they were, then they would have been able to more flexibly adapt their messaging before, during, and after the US-backed coup in order to account for the rapid Russian-Turkish rapprochement and clearly explain the geopolitical underpinnings of this to their audience so that they wouldn’t be as confused as many of them still are. The West has no such problems in this regard because they don’t have “free speech”, no matter how much they claim the contrary, and this is proven beyond a doubt by the consensual narrative that they all spewed in unison about how Erdogan purportedly faked his own coup in order to seize more power.

turkThe author thoroughly debunked this claim in a previous article about “Why The Failed Turkish Coup Attempt Wasn’t A “False Flag” Power Grab By Erdogan”, and the reader is welcomed to read it in full if they’re interested in a more comprehensive explanation about this, but there are a very relevant details pertaining to it which should be mentioned at this time. The first is that Erdogan’s power centralization had already been occurring for a long time before this happened, and that he was already doing it in such a systematic way that it should have been obvious to all that he had previously identified his targets well in advance. The failed coup attempt just gave Erdogan a mandate to accelerate this process and to carry it out more publicly without fear of significant protests against him (which he could use the state of emergency to quell). On top of that, the enthusiastically supportive reaction of Russia and especially Iran to Erdogan’s successful victory over the coup plotter speaks volumes about these state’s analyses of the situation. Quite clearly, both of them calculated that it’s much better for their own respective and collective interests (especially in regards to Syria) for Erdogan to remain in power than if he were replaced in a US-orchestrated coup. Even more convincing was the very mild reaction that each of them gave to Turkey’s military involvement in northern Syria, which could logically be taken to mean that they had previous knowledge about it and tacitly supported (if not coordinated) this move in order to disrupt the creation of the US’ “second geopolitical ‘Israel’” of “Kurdistan”.

The Path Ahead

Having come to a clearer understanding about the origins of the US-backed coup attempt against Erdogan, it’s now possible to forecast the path that Turkey will tread in the future. Ankara won’t totally ditch the US, EU, West, and NATO, but it knows that it is impossible for it to join the European integrational bloc in the post-Brexit reality, especially given Turkey’s complicity in engineering the same Immigrant Crisis that contributed to London’s voluntary removal from the organization. What it will do, however, is move closer to the multipolar world in response, and this could take the form of strengthened multidimensional cooperation with the Tripartite and/or broader multilateral engagement with the SCO and BRICS.

The most dramatic expression of the Tripartite would be if Russia, Iran, Turkey, and Syria were to openly coordinate their anti-Daesh activity in the Arab Republic. Each of the Great Powers already have their own separate type of military forces presently active in the country which could effectively supplement one another if deployed in coordination. For example, Russia’s airpower would greatly augment the combat viability of Iran’s special forces, Turkey’s tanks, and Syria’s conventional troops, but the problem is that none of these actors are multilaterally working together for these ends. Syria is bilaterally coordinating its liberation offensives with Russia and Iran, but it doesn’t appear as though Moscow and Tehran are directly working together with one another. Damascus doesn’t seem to have any influence over what Ankara is doing in northern Syria, whereas Russia and Iran look to be dealing with their Turkish Great Power peer and handling this on Syria’s behalf. What’s needed is for all four countries to get together, pool the available military resources that they have the political will to commit, and push aside the US’ “anti-terrorist” coalition in beating Washington in the “Race for Raqqa”.

Even if Erdogan doesn’t team up with Putin, Rouhani/Ayatollah, and Assad in taking out Daesh, he’s still committed an unpardonable sin in the eyes of the US by surviving the coup and normalizing relations with Moscow and Tehran. It’s now clear to all that since the US fatefully chose Gulen and the Kurds over Erdogan, the Turkish strongman is rightly convinced that Washington will continue to use these two non-state actors against him in the coming future. The most obvious way that this can happen is through an emboldened Kurdish insurgency in southeastern Turkey, fought by American-trained “Peshmerga” and YPG forces which were directly supplied by the Pentagon ostensibly under the pretenses of “fighting Daesh”. Related to this, the leftist terrorism that plagued the country during the 1970s might return as well, to say nothing of Daesh itself turning more fiercely against its former patron. It also can’t be ruled out that Erdogan’s plans to revise the constitution in order to strengthen the presidency and formally Islamify the state could serve as a trigger for another Color Revolution attempt against him. Whether all of these scenarios are ‘naturally occurring’ or predetermined processes encouraged and/or orchestrated by the US for geopolitical purposes, they all have the likelihood to individually or collectively become self-perpetuating and enter into a state of auto-synchronization that fulfills the neoconservative weaponization of chaos theory.

The Hybrid Wars that could break out against Turkey would be predicted on the theoretical law that determines the course of these conflicts, which is to disrupt, control, or influence multipolar transnational connective infrastructure projects through the exploitation of identity conflicts. Turkey is pivotally situated at the Eurasian crossroads that invaluably connect Asian energy resources and commercial trade to Europe, thus giving it a heightened position in both Iran and China’s grand strategies, respectively. Turkey needs to retain stability within its borders and pacify the southeast so that the New Silk Road could travel into the country from Iran and fortify Beijing’s globally transformational plans to re-engineer Eurasian geopolitics. Even if Erdogan achieves his goal of controlling the Turkish Kurds, he might never be able to fully keep a lid on the domestic dissent that’s bound to incessantly sizzle so long as he pursues his constitutional plans to formalize the Islamization of his society. The Color Revolution plots that will undoubtedly spring up in reaction to this might be put down by the Turkish security services, but they’ll at least accomplish the mission of painting Erdogan out to be an “Islamic dictator” who in the eyes of the Western audience is long overdue for removal.

The chief irony of the Turkish story over the past five years looks to be that the unipolar country bit off much more than it could chew in the War on Syria, and now its “deep state” has recanted and begun to veer in the direction of multipolarity out of the self-interested desire to preserve its own strategic security. Turkey’s American patron turned on it by choosing the Kurds over Erdogan, and Ankara’s gambit in promoting its Neo-Ottoman interests at Damascus’ expense paradoxically ended up diminishing its own internal security and socio-political stability, made even worse by Erdogan’s polarizing drive towards centralized Islamization. Although weaker than it ever has been in its recent history, Turkey interestingly has more potential than anyone would have previously thought possible due to the advantages that it stands to reap from its pragmatic partnerships with the multipolar Great Powers of Russia, China, and Iran, though it remains to be seen whether the US will allow its former subordinate to taste the ‘forbidden fruit’ that Washington had forcibly withheld from it for generations.

Andrew Korybko is the American political commentator currently working for Sputnik agency. He is the author of “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach To Regime Change” (2015).

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The West blames Russia for the bloody mess in Syria, but U.S. Special Forces saw close up how the chaotic U.S. policy of aiding Syrian jihadists enabled Al Qaeda and ISIS to rip Syria apart, explains ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

“No one on the ground believes in this mission or this effort”, a former Green Beret writes of America’s covert and clandestine programs to train and arm Syrian insurgents, “they know we are just training the next generation of jihadis, so they are sabotaging it by saying, ‘Fuck it, who cares?’”. “I don’t want to be responsible for Nusra guys saying they were trained by Americans,” the Green Beret added.

In a detailed report, US Special Forces Sabotage White House Policy gone Disastrously Wrong with Covert Ops in Syria, Jack Murphy, himself a former Green Beret (U.S. Special Forces), recounts a former CIA officer having told him how the “the Syria covert action program is [CIA Director John] Brennan’s baby …Brennan was the one who breathed life into the Syrian Task Force … John Brennan loved that regime-change bullshit.”

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

In gist, Murphy tells the story of U.S. Special Forces under one Presidential authority, arming Syrian anti-ISIS forces, whilst the CIA, obsessed with overthrowing President Bashar al-Assad, and operating under a separate Presidential authority, conducts a separate and parallel program to arm anti-Assad insurgents.

Murphy’s report makes clear the CIA disdain for combatting ISIS (though this altered somewhat with the beheading of American journalist James Foley in August 2014): “With the CIA wanting little to do with anti-ISIS operations as they are focused on bringing down the Assad regime, the agency kicked the can over to 5th Special Forces Group. Basing themselves out of Jordan and Turkey” — operating under “military activities” authority, rather than under the CIA’s coveted Title 50 covert action authority.

The “untold story,” Murphy writes, is one of abuse, as well as bureaucratic infighting, which has only contributed to perpetuating the Syrian conflict.

But it is not the “turf wars,” nor the “abuse and waste,” which occupies the central part of Murphy’s long report, that truly matters; nor even the contradictory and self-defeating nature of U.S. objectives pursued. Rather, the report tells us quite plainly why the attempted ceasefires have failed (although this is not explicitly treated in the analysis), and it helps explain why parts of the U.S. Administration (Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and CIA Director Brenner) have declined to comply with President Obama’s will – as expressed in the diplomatic accord (the recent ceasefire) reached with the Russian Federation.

The story is much worse than that hinted in Murphy’s title: it underlies the present mess which constitutes relations between the U.S. and Russia, and the collapse of the ceasefire.

“The FSA [the alleged “moderates” of the Free Syria Army] made for a viable partner force for the CIA on the surface, as they were anti-regime, ostensibly having the same goal as the seventh floor at Langley” [the floor of the CIA headquarters occupied by the Director and his staff] – i.e. the ousting of President Assad.

But in practice, as Murphy states bluntly: “distinguishing between the FSA and al-Nusra is impossible, because they are virtually the same organization. As early as 2013, FSA commanders were defecting with their entire units to join al-Nusra. There, they still retain the FSA monicker, but it is merely for show, to give the appearance of secularism so they can maintain access to weaponry provided by the CIA and Saudi intelligence services. The reality is that the FSA is little more than a cover for the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra. …

The fact that the FSA simply passed American-made weaponry off to al-Nusra is also unsurprising considering that the CIA’s vetting process of militias in Syria is lacklustre, consisting of little more than running traces in old databases. These traces rely on knowing the individuals’ real names in the first place, and assume that they were even fighting-age males when the data was collected by CTC [Counterterrorism Centre] years prior.

Sympathy for Al Qaeda

Nor, confirms Murphy, was vetting any better with the 5th Special Forces operating out of Turkey: “[It consisted of] a database check and an interview. The rebels know how to sell themselves to the Americans during such interviews, but they still let things slip occasionally. ‘I don’t understand why people don’t like al-Nusra,’ one rebel told the American soldiers. Many had sympathies with the terrorist groups such as Nusra and ISIS.”

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

Others simply were not fit to be soldiers. “They don’t want to be warriors. They are all cowards. That is the moderate rebel,” a Green Beret told Murphy, who adds:

“Pallets of weapons and rows of trucks delivered to Turkey for American-sponsored rebel groups simply sit and collect dust because of disputes over title authorities [i.e. Presidential authorities] and funding sources, while authorization to conduct training for the militias is turned on and off at a whim. One day they will be told to train, the next day not to, and the day after only to train senior leaders. Some Green Berets believe that this hesitation comes from the White House getting wind that most of the militia members are affiliated with Nusra and other extremist groups.” [emphasis added.]

Murphy writes: “While the games continue on, morale sinks for the Special Forces men in Turkey. Often disguised in Turkish military uniform, one of the Green Berets described his job as, ‘Sitting in the back room, drinking chai while watching the Turks train future terrorists’ …

“Among the rebels that U.S. Special Forces and Turkish Special Forces were training, ‘A good 95 percent of them were either working in terrorist organizations or were sympathetic to them,’ a Green Beret associated with the program said, adding, ‘A good majority of them admitted that they had no issues with ISIS and that their issue was with the Kurds and the Syrian regime.’”

Buried in the text is this stunning one-line conclusion: “after ISIS is defeated, the real war begins. CIA-backed FSA elements will openly become al-Nusra; while Special Forces-backed FSA elements like the New Syrian Army will fight alongside the Assad regime. Then the CIA’s militia and the Special Forces’ militia will kill each other.

Well, that says it all: the U.S. has created a ‘monster’ which it cannot control if it wanted to (and Ashton Carter and John Brennan have no interest to “control it” — they still seek to use it).

U.S. Objectives in Syria

Professor Michael Brenner, having attended a high-level combined U.S. security and intelligence conference in Texas last week, summed up their apparent objectives in Syria, inter alia, as:

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

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

–Thwarting Russia in Syria.

–Ousting Assad.

–Marginalizing and weakening Iran by breaking the Shi’ite Crescent.

–Facilitating some kind of Sunni entity in Anbar and eastern Syria. How can we prevent it falling under the sway of al-Qaeda?  Answer: Hope that the Turks can “domesticate” al-Nusra.

–Wear down and slowly fragment ISIS. Success on this score can cover failure on all others in domestic opinion.

Jack Murphy explains succinctly why this “monster” cannot be controlled: “In December of 2014, al-Nusra used the American-made TOW missiles to rout another anti-regime CIA proxy force called the Syrian Revolutionary Front from several bases in Idlib province. The province is now the de facto caliphate of al-Nusra.

That Nusra captured TOW missiles from the now-defunct Syrian Revolutionary Front is unsurprising, but that the same anti-tank weapons supplied to the FSA ended up in Nusra hands is even less surprising when one understands the internal dynamics of the Syrian conflict, i.e. the factional warfare between the disparate American forces, with the result that “Many [U.S. military trainers] are actively sabotaging the programs by stalling and doing nothing, knowing that the supposedly secular rebels they are expected to train are actually al-Nusra terrorists.”

How then could there ever be the separation of “moderates” from Al-Nusra – as required by the two cessations of hostilities accords (February and September 2016)? The entire Murphy narrative shows that the “moderates” and al-Nusra cannot meaningfully be distinguished from each other, let alone separated from each other, because “they are virtually the same organization.”

The Russians are right: the CIA and the Defense Department never had the intention to comply with the accord – because they could not. The Russians are also right that the U.S. has had no intention to defeat al-Nusra – as required by U.N. Security Council Resolution 2268 (2016).

So how did the U.S. get into this “Left Hand/Right Hand” mess – with the U.S. President authorizing an accord with the Russian Federation, while in parallel, his Defense Secretary was refusing to comply with it? Well, one interesting snippet in Murphy’s piece refers to “hesitations” in the militia training program thought to stem from the White House getting wind that most of the militia members were “affiliated with Nusra and other extremist groups.”

Obama’s Inklings

It sounds from this as if the White House somehow only had “inklings” of “the jihadi monster” emerging in Syria – despite that understanding being common knowledge to most on-the-ground trainers in Syria. Was this so? Did Obama truly believe that there were “moderates” who could be separated? Or, was he persuaded by someone to go along with it, in order to give a “time out” in order for the CIA to re-supply its insurgent forces (the CIA inserted 3,000 tons of weapons and munitions to the insurgents during the February 2016 ceasefire, according to IHS Janes’).

U.S.-backed Syrian "moderate" rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video]

U.S.-backed Syrian “moderate” rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video]

Support for the hypothesis that Obama may not have been fully aware of this reality comes from Yochi Dreazen and Séan Naylor (Foreign Policy’s senior staff writer on counter-terrorism and intelligence), who noted (in May 2015) that Obama himself seemed to take a shot at the CIA and other intelligence agencies in an interview in late 2014, when he said the community had collectively “underestimated” how much Syria’s chaos would spur the emergence of the Islamic State.

In the same article, Naylor charts the power of the CIA as rooted in its East Coast Ivy League power network, its primacy within the intelligence machinery, its direct access to the Oval Office and its nearly unqualified support in Congress. Naylor illustrates the CIA’s privileged position within the Establishment by quoting Hank Crumpton, who had a long CIA career before becoming the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism.

Crumpton told Foreign Policy that when “then-Director Tenet, declared ‘war’ on Al-Qaeda as far back as 1998, “you didn’t have the Secretary of Defense [declaring war]; you didn’t have the FBI director or anyone else in the intelligence community taking that kind of leadership role.”

Perhaps it is simply – in Obama’s prescient words – the case that “the CIA usually gets what it wants.”

Perhaps it did: Putin demonized, (and Trump tarred by association); the Sunni Al Qaeda “monster” – now too powerful to be easily defeated, but too weak to completely succeed – intended as the “albatross” hung around Russia and Iran’s neck, and damn the Europeans whose back will be broken by waves of ensuing refugees. Pity Syria.

Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, which advocates for engagement between political Islam and the West.

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Entretien vidéo Antipresse sur YouTube (14 minutes).

En juin 2011, une frappe de l’OTAN vise la propriété du général El Hamidi, un allié de la première heure du colonel Kadhafi. Les huit missiles tirés ne parviennent pas à tuer le militaire retraité, mais massacrent sa famille. 17 personnes, dont trois enfants, sont tuées dans le raid. S’ensuivra une cascade de dénégations et de justifications plus invraisemblables les unes que les autres.

Me Ghislain Dubois, à Bruxelles, est l’avocat des victimes de cette attaque criminelle et délibérée contre des civils. Il mène aujourd’hui le seul procès en cours visant l’OTAN en tant qu’institution. S’il existe des crimes de guerre caractérisés, cet assassinat politique ciblé en est indiscutablement un. Cela ne veut pas dire pour autant que la justice belge soit prête à le reconnaître. Me Dubois nous livre le récit d’un combat révoltant contre le déni de justice et de ses implications. Il rappelle aussi l’ignorance dans laquelle ont été tenues les opinions sur les motifs et les circonstances de l’élimination du leader libyen.

 

 

 

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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.

Photo : Veronika Mendoza lors du rassemblement de fin de la campagne présidentielle de 2016
Romain Migus : Commençons par la « fiche technique ». Qui est Veronika Mendoza, d´où vient-elle et comment est-elle rentrée en politique?
Veronika Mendoza : Je suis née à Cuzco en 1980. J´ai suivi des études d´anthropologie en France, où je travaillais sur l´éducation bilingue interculturelle. J´ai travaillé avec des communautés paysannes de Cuzco pour trouver la meilleure façon de leur apprendre l´espagnol comme seconde langue, tout en respectant leur propre culture et leur langue maternelle, le quechua.
Je suis en politique depuis 2009, j´ai été élue député pour la ville de Cuzco, et plus récemment j’ai été candidate à la présidence du Pérou.
Comment tu évalues ton passage au Parlement?
Les différents gouvernements, au lieu d´écouter les citoyens et de résoudre leurs problèmes ont toujours préféré adopter la manière forte pour imposer leurs politiques. Cela a eu des conséquences tragiques. Il y a eu des blessés, et même des morts. J´ai été élue sous les couleurs du Parti Nationaliste Péruvien, et j´ai démissionné de ce parti en juin 2012, un peu moins d´un an après l´élection d´Ollanta Humala à la présidence (1). Dans ma région de Cuzco, il y eut un conflit social entre la communauté d´Espinar et l´entreprise minière Xtrata Copper. Trois personnes sont mortes lors d´affrontements avec les forces de l´ordre. Cela m´a paru inadmissible et injustifiable.
Au Parlement, j´ai participé activement au débat sur la réforme de l´éducation et de l´Université, à tout ce qui tenait aux luttes pour l´environnement et pour les droits sexuels et reproductifs des femmes. J´ai aussi essayé d´ouvrir un débat sur l´indispensable diversification de l´économie de notre pays.
Pourquoi, lors de la précédente décennie, le Pérou n´est-il pas monté dans le train du Socialisme du XXIe siècle ?
En raison de plusieurs facteurs, à mon sens. En premier lieu, à cause du conflit armé dans notre pays (1980-1992). L´existence du Sentier Lumineux nous a porté énormément préjudice. La gauche péruvienne a été marquée par ce conflit, car la droite nous accusait systématiquement de collusion avec le terrorisme, malgré le fait que les forces de gauche revendiquaient une distance politique claire avec le Sentier lumineux, et ce depuis plusieurs années.
Par ailleurs, la dictature fujimoriste (2) a criminalisé, traqué, et même assassiné plusieurs leaders de gauche. Elle a démantelé tout notre système institutionnel. Avec le retour de la démocratie en 2000, la gauche a, peu à peu, commencé à se recomposer, mais n´a pas eu la force suffisante pour conquérir le pouvoir.
Comment est née cette plateforme politique qu´est le Frente Amplio ?
Le Frente Amplio est né de la rencontre de plusieurs luttes sociales, à l’occasion desquelles différents acteurs se retrouvaient dans la rue pour résister, ensemble. Ces acteurs ont commencé à structurer leur opposition aux politiques qui nous étaient imposées. Nous avons décidé de constituer une plateforme politique et sociale pour articuler nos luttes et pour tenter de leur donner un sens politique.
La gauche traditionnelle péruvienne n´a pas fait partie du dernier processus de construction du Frente Amplio, notamment à cause de divergences tactiques. Les personnes qui la composent pensaient qu´il valait mieux procéder à de grandes alliances au centre, en comptant sur des retombées électorales immédiates.
Nous, nous pensions, que le moment était venu de créer une identité propre et de réaffirmer un projet politique clair et de gauche. Nous avons donc décidé de convoquer des élections citoyennes ouvertes à tous pour définir nos candidatures.
Tu peux nous décrire la façon dont tu as été choisie comme candidate du Frente Amplio à la présidence, parce qu´une jeune femme, de province, et de surcroît franco-péruvienne, ça n´a pas l´air très commun dans l´Histoire politique du Pérou. 
Ça ne fait pas l´ombre d´un doute ! Si nous avions décidé de la candidature au sein d´une négociation entre les Partis qui composent le Frente Amplio, je n´aurais jamais été désignée comme candidate. Si j´ai été désignée candidate, c´est parce que nous avons permis aux citoyens et citoyennes de choisir celui ou celle qui allait les représenter.
Qu´est-ce qui vous réunit au sein du Frente Amplio ?
Notre principale problématique est de traduire les revendications des Peuples péruviens en politique publique, et de faire en sorte que ces demandes s´articulent en un programme de gouvernement.
Notre programme a, comme axe central, la recherche d´un modèle de développement alternatif à celui qui est actuellement en vigueur au Pérou. Cela passe par une diversification de l´économie afin de rompre avec la dépendance à l´exploitation des matières premières, ce qui nous met dans une situation de vulnérabilité par rapport aux fluctuations des marchés internationaux.
Nous nous mobilisons également autour de la défense d´un Etat fort, moderne, efficient, qui puisse garantir l´égalité des droits pour tous (santé, éducation, retraites, etc.). Ces services, au Pérou, relèvent aujourd´hui de la logique marchande.
Comment avez-vous réussi à coller aux attentes populaires?
Je crois qu´au sein du Frente Amplio, nous avons fait un grand effort pour que notre langage soit compris par la population. Un des gros problèmes de la gauche dans notre pays a été de s´enfermer dans un discours, dans une forme de langage qui n´est pas en phase avec la population. Nous avons tenté de nous rapprocher du Peuple avec une proposition clairement de gauche mais que nous ne nommions jamais ainsi. Nous nous référions aux besoins des gens, ou au sens commun qui aspire au changement, à plus de justice, à une égalité des droits, à un Etat qui répond à leurs attentes, et à une économie renouvelée.
Au Pérou, non seulement vous affrontez les partis qui représentent la vieille caste néolibérale, mais vous devez aussi faire face à un appareil politique éminemment populaire : le fujimorisme. Leurs électeurs pourraient très bien constituer un réservoir pour le Frente Amplio. Comment résoudre ce problème?
Nous sommes très conscients des racines populaires du fujimorisme. Dans notre pays, au moment où l´Etat était totalement absent pour des secteurs importants de la population, où il n y avait aucun service public comme la santé, l´éducation ou bien l´accès à l´eau potable, le fujimorisme a su faire acte de présence. Pour beaucoup, il a constitué le seul référent politique, le seul qui, à un moment donné, allait voir les gens,  les regardait dans les yeux et écoutait leurs problèmes, et leur apportait un semblant de réponse. Durant la dictature, ce système clientéliste profitait de l´argent public. Ce système a prospéré et s´est maintenu dans les années postérieures.
La gauche avait abandonné le terrain. Elle s´était réfugiée parmi les ONGs ou à l´Université. Elle a délaissé ce bastion qui constituait son essence : être aux côtés du Peuple, dans les secteurs populaires, et accompagner leurs luttes de manière concrète au quotidien. C´est à partir de ce combat que l´on peut articuler un agenda national. Pas le contraire.
La gauche a toujours eu cette tendance à expliquer aux gens comment devrait être le pays, comment les problèmes allaient être résolus, mais elle n´écoute pas la population. Le défi que nous nous sommes imposés est d’abord d´écouter, et ensuite de comprendre. Et à partir de cet exercice, construire notre programme. Il faut ouvrir un débat politique avec la population, mais à partir de ses propres réalités et de son propre langage.
C´est pour cela que le Frente Amplio parle de disputer les sens communs. Et cela prend du temps car le discours hégémonique au Pérou reste profondément autoritaire, machiste, consumériste, individualiste. Nous même, nous venons de cette culture mais nous sommes disposés à la déconstruire, en commençant par notre mouvement pour ensuite pouvoir l´appliquer à l´Etat et à la société.
Quelles sont les principales revendications des péruviens et péruviennes ?
Dans un pays aussi riche que le nôtre, la souveraineté est une des premières revendications, afin que les bénéfices obtenus grâces à l´exploitation des ressources naturelles servent au développement du pays et ne terminent pas dans les poches des multinationales. C´est une demande très concrète de notre Peuple qui a aussi à voir avec ces centres de décisions qui, de l’étranger, imposent à notre pays des politiques d´austérité, de démantèlement de l´Etat, de privatisations, qui nous causent un dommage énorme.
Il existe aussi une demande de démocratisation de la société, qui est d´ailleurs liée à cette exigence de souveraineté. Les peuples qui composent mon pays doivent avoir la possibilité de décider de l´utilisation des ressources naturelles et du développement du territoire. Il nous faudra de profondes réformes pour que les décisions prennent en compte les populations locales. Cela exige une plus grande participation citoyenne, et une démocratie interculturelle qui doit inclure des mécanismes de dialogue avec les populations indigènes, en respectant leurs cultures et leurs visions du développement.
Parlons un peu de la dernière campagne présidentielle. Quelle a été la participation populaire dans la campagne du Frente Amplio ? Avec un budget extrêmement réduit, vous avez réussi à avoir 18.8% des voix. Vous avez fait comment ? 
C´était une campagne très, mais alors très austère. Nous n´avions pas d´argent, mais nous avions des convictions, nous avions l´espoir, et nous avions un Peuple qui demandait un changement. Ce fut la base de notre campagne. Je crois que le fait de ne pas compter sur d´importantes ressources financières a fini par être un atout, car la population a fait sienne la campagne du Frente Amplio. Nous avons pu compter sur une importante solidarité, et sur une forte autogestion locale. Les gens se sont penchés sur notre projet, et ils se le sont appropriés. A la différence des autres Partis qui arrivaient dans des villes ou des villages avec des cadeaux, nous arrivions avec des propositions de changement. Cela s´est transformé en une valeur pour la population et a ainsi réveillé et activé quelque chose qui est aussi très présent dans notre culture et notre tradition andine: la solidarité populaire.
Veronika Mendoza, tu seras en France du 23 au 31 octobre 2016. Je suis sûr que mes compatriotes ont envie d´écouter et de partager ton expérience. Où est ce qu´ils peuvent venir te voir? 
Je suis ravie de cette tournée dans un pays qui, personnellement et politiquement, a toujours représenté quelque chose pour moi. Je donnerai une conférence sur « la nouvelle gauche latino-américaine », le samedi 29 octobre à 17h, dans l´amphithéâtre du Collège d´Espagne, à la Cité internationale universitaire à Paris, 7 E Boulevard Jourdan dans le XIVe arrondissement (RER: Cité universitaire). J´espère de tout cœur que vous pourrez venir en nombre, et désolée pour ceux qui n´habitent pas la région parisienne. Il me semble que vous êtes en campagne présidentielle d´ailleurs, non ? Ca nous promet un sacré débat….
Notes:
(1) Ollanta Humala, président du Parti Nationaliste Péruvien, fut élu à la présidence de la République du Pérou le 28 juillet 2011. Son mandat a couru jusqu´en 2015.
(2) Alberto Fujimori fut président du Pérou de 1990 à 2000. Jugé pour violation des droits de l´homme et détournement de fond, il est aujourd’hui en prison. Sa fille, Keiko, est l´actuelle leader de ce mouvement politique. Elle a été battue au second tour de l´élection présidentielle de 2016.
 
A Quito, Romain Migus avec Veronika Mendoza et Anahi Durand
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Ce papier est co-publié par www.madaniya.info et la revue Afrique Asie

À l’aube des indépendances africaines, le Sénégal, pays qui compte 94 % de musulmans, élisait à la magistrature suprême un chrétien, Léopold Sedar Senghor, indice d’une grande maturité politique et d’esprit de tolérance.

60 ans après, sous couvert de religion, le pays est devenu terre de mission pour les islamistes rigoristes venus d’Egypte et de la Péninsule arabique. Les Frères musulmans et les divers mouvements de réislamisation wahhabite y étendent désormais leur tentacule au grand dam de l’islam confrérique tolérant.

Pour faire face à cette vague venue de loin, les confréries sont tentées par la radicalisation de peur d’être balayées. L’islam confrérique n’est plus désormais à l’abri de certaines dérives. Ainsi, les Mourides, la plus puissante des confréries du Sénégal, ont constitué un véritable État dans l’État à Touba, leur ville sainte qui compte près d’un million d’habitants.

Dans cette «cité radieuse», les cinémas sont interdits, ainsi que la musique non religieuse. Les écoles de la République de ce pays officiellement laïc sont elles aussi interdites. Le football n’a pas davantage droit de cité.

I – GENÈSE D’UNE DÉRIVE

À l’indépendance, le pouvoir post colonial, sur l’incitation de son ancien tuteur français, a favorisé un rapprochement avec les pétromonarchies du Golfe pour faire barrage au marxisme à l’apogée de la guerre froide soviéto-américaine. Une politique amorcée dans la foulée de la 3ème guerre israélo-arabe d’octobre 1973, dans le prolongement du boom pétrolier et de la rupture collective des relations entre l’Afrique et Israël.

Sous l’effet du mirage pétrolier et des conseils de la firme pétrolière française ELF, Bernard Albert Bongo est ainsi devenu Omar Bongo et le Gabon francophone s’est mué en grande oreille de la France au sein de l’OPEP, le cartel anglophone des pays producteurs de pétrole, (Organisation des Pays Exportateurs de Pétrole).

À son tour, la Finance islamique fait son apparition sur le marché africain pour suppléer la France en phase de chômage structurel et de «charter de la honte», avec son cortège de Madrassas, de banques islamiques et de prosélytisme religieux, selon le rite wahhabite.

Une vingtaine de dirigeants de la Confrérie des Frères Musulmans, dont Ayman al Zawahiri, qui deviendra le successeur d’Oussama Ben Laden à la tête d’Al Qaida, bénéficiaient à cette époque d’un droit de cité dans les principales villes européennes.

La ré-islamisation des communautés immigrées d’Europe occidentale, -politique connue sous le nom pudique de «réappropriation de la culture d’origine»-, a été menée directement par l’Arabie saoudite, de concert avec le pacte atlantiste, afin de faire barrage à la propagation du communisme dans les franges immigrées de la population expatriée, de l’ordre de 12 millions de personnes à l’époque, et de freiner leur insertion dans les partis et mouvements syndicaux contestataires de l’ordre capitaliste et atlantiste (Parti communiste, CGT).

La décapitation des dirigeants emblématiques du continent, la neutralisation des représentants authentiques de l’islam noir a privé l’Afrique d’anti-corps en mesure de doter le continent d’un système immunitaire efficace face à la subversion téléguidée à distance et attisée par la gangrène locale.

II – LE LABORATOIRE SÉNÉGALAIS

Les Frères Musulmans, le plus ancien parti transnational du Monde arabe, ont entrepris de s’implanter au Sénégal, plaque tournante de l’Afrique occidentale francophone, en vue de s’aménager une base de repli face à une Europe gagnée par l’islamophobie et de compenser ainsi leurs déboires en Egypte, en Arabie saoudite et en Tunisie.

A dire vrai, l’influence des Frères Musulmans au Sénégal– alliés à cette époque du royaume wahhabite ennemi déclaré du nassérisme et des régimes nationalistes dans le monde arabe – remonte à la décennie 1970, où la confrérie a bénéficié du boom pétrolier consécutif à l’usage par les Arabes de l’arme du pétrole contre les alliés occidentaux d’Israël dans la guerre d’octobre 1973.

Deux autres facteurs ont joué dans la propagation de l’islamisme en Afrique noire: le parrainage saoudien de la confrérie ainsi que la rupture des relations collectives entre l’Afrique et Israël qui s’est ensuivie, de même que l’instrumentalisation de l’Islam comme arme de combat contre l’athéisme de l’Union soviétique et de ses alliés régionaux ou locaux.

Depuis cette date, l’influence des FM s’est propagée de manière diffuse, par l’entremise d’associations de bienfaisance ou via des mouvements étudiants qui leur sont proches idéologiquement, tels l’association des Élèves et Étudiants Musulmans du Sénégal (AEEMS) créée en 1993 ou l’Association des Étudiants de l’Université de Dakar (AEMUD), formée entre 1984 et 1986.

Point de passage vers l’Amérique latine, le Sénégal est un territoire stratégique en Afrique de l’ouest. Indépendant depuis 1960, il occupe une place importante dans l’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) ; du fait de ses relations étroites avec la France et une place majeure au sein de l’Organisation de la Coopération Islamique (OCI) ; aux côtés de l’Arabie Saoudite et du Qatar. L’islam est arrivé au Sénégal au XIème siècle.

Rompant avec cette tradition de discrétion, une délégation de la confrérie a effectué, en février 2014, une visite officielle au Sénégal. Cette première visite officielle des FM a paru répondre à une logique de légitimation de l’organisation, alors que la confrérie venait d’être frappée d’ostracisme par son ancien parrain, l’Arabie saoudite.

L’islamisation de la société sénégalaise à l’époque contemporaine a été favorisée en outre par le déploiement des banques islamiques dans une société en voie de paupérisation croissante tant du fait de la sécheresse que des gros scandales de corruption.

Le Qatar, parrain de substitution aux Frères Musulmans, a constitué un puissant vecteur au déploiement de la confrérie, notamment via les finances islamiques et leur chaîne vedette Al-Jazeera, un de ses instruments de pénétration économique et idéologique. Le Qatar a souhaité implanter une antenne francophone de la chaîne de télévision à Dakar, mais le président sénégalais y aurait opposé son veto à ce projet, privilégiant la chaîne française France24.

En dépit de ce camouflet, le Qatar a continué de témoigner d’un intérêt persistant pour le Sénégal, qui s’est récemment traduit d’ailleurs par sa contribution à la libération le 24 juin 2016, à la veille de la fin du Ramadan de Karim Wade, le fils de l’ancien président Karim Wade, incarcéré dans son pays pour fait de corruption. Karim Wade est arrivé à Doha, à bord de l’avion privé du procureur général du Qatar, en une caution indirecte de la principauté à l’affairisme de son protégé.

La stratégie rampante des FM n’a pas l’heur de plaire à tout le monde. L’un des plus virulents censeurs de la confrérie est un enseignant-chercheur de l’Université à Saint-Louis, Bakary Sambe, qui n’a cessé de mettre en garde contre l’islamisation de la société sénégalaise. Dans une polémique restée célèbre, qui l’a opposée l’été 2013, à Tariq Ramadan, Bakary Sambe a accusé notamment le petit fils du fondateur de la confrérie «de vouloir faire de l’Afrique francophone sa nouvelle zone d’influence pour régler ses comptes avec l’Occident».

Au delà de la polémique et sans se prononcer sur le bien fondé des arguments de l’un comme de l’autre, l’universitaire sénégalais gagnerait en objectivité s’il portait les mêmes accusations à l’égard de l’entrisme feutré israélien au Sénégal et au delà en Afrique, dont l’objectif sous jacent est de cogérer le pré carré africain de la France en tandem franco israélien. Selon le bout de la lorgnette, la vue varie.

III – LIAISONS DANGEREUSES

La soumission des pouvoirs sénégalais successifs à la stratégie globale saoudienne était présentée comme un investissement à même de contribuer au développement économique du pays.

Le «socialiste» Abdou Diouf avait envoyé en 1990 l’armée sénégalaise participer à la Tempête du désert pour, disait-il, «défendre les lieux saints de l’islam». 93 soldats sénégalais périront dans le crash d’un avion militaire. En récompense de cet engagement militaire mercenaire, l’Arabie saoudite confiera au Sénégal l’organisation deux sommets islamiques en 1992 et 2008 grassement financés par la Banque islamique du développement dont Riyad est le principal bailleur. Une sorte de bakchich dont une bonne partie servira à renflouer les comptes bancaires de certains membres de la nomenklatura sénégalaise.

Rebelote quinze plus tard. En avril 2015, le Sénégal de Macky Sall accède à la demande du nouveau roi Salmane et décide, «dans l’intérêt bien compris des deux pays», de jeter 2100 militaires dans la fournaise yéménite (sic)! Soit trois fois plus qu’il n’a envoyé combattre les terroristes au Mali tout proche.

Le risque n’est pas seulement d’essuyer de grosses pertes parmi ses soldats, mais surtout de les voir revenir au pays contaminés par l’idéologie wahhabite à l’origine de la création d’Al-Qaïda et de Daech.

René Naba

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