(Please read the previous parts prior to this article)

Insular ASEAN has a strategic role in presiding over maritime access points to the region and beyond, but it’s mainland ASEAN and its political stability that most directly affect China’s core strategy at the moment. It’s highly unlikely that circumstances will rapidly change to the point where China is completely cut off from the South China Sea and the international waterways around it, but it looks ever case that its access will come under the watchful gaze of the Chinese Containment Coalition (CCC) and that the potential for military-strategic blackmail might one day arise. In order to counteract this crippling scenario, Beijing is progressively taking steps to circumvent its full dependence on the waterways and balance this with a more substantialized on-the-ground infrastructure presence, the ASEAN Silk Road and the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor.

Both of these ambitious projects were comprehensively discussed at the beginning of the research’s ASEAN focus, and it’s predicted that the US will go to extraordinary lengths to disrupt their full implementation. To remind the reader, the Law of Hybrid War is “to disrupt multipolar transnational connective projects through externally provoked identity conflicts (ethnic, religious, regional, political, etc.) within a targeted transit state”, so it naturally follows that Color Revolution and Unconventional War schemes with be hatched against these countries in order to stop China’s strategic ‘escape’ from maritime containment. There are essentially three situational theaters in mainland ASEAN – Indochina, Thailand, and Myanmar – and the research will progress to examining each of these Hybrid War battlefields in that sequential order.

Indochina Backgrounder

The first area to be studied is Indochina, taken to mean the former French colonies of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. As with the other countries that have been geopolitically dissected thus far, it’s imperative that the reader first acquaint themselves with a relevant historical background prior to commencing the Hybrid War investigations. This will imbue the individual with an understanding that allows them to recognize the utility of certain socio-political variables to the scenarios that are subsequently described.

The Indosphere Meets The Sinosphere:

2000px-French_Indochina_subdivisions.svgIndochina lies precisely at the geographic convergence point of Indian and Chinese civilizations, and as such, there’s actually a clear delineation point between them inside this subregion. For the most part, Cambodia and Laos fell under Indian cultural influence and their historical kingdoms were “Indianized” to a broad extent, while Vietnam was under Chinese control for over a millennium from 111 BC to 938 AD. The effect of these separate civilizational forces on such a small geographic area was to accentuate identity differences between these two adjacent parts, the legacy of which continues into the present day and is likely to once more become a driving factor in forthcoming events.

By itself, the civilizational separateness that “Indianized” Cambodia and Laos feel towards “Sinified” Vietnam wouldn’t coalesce into a sufficient agent for political action on its own, but the historical trend of Vietnamese expansionism at their expense (some of it subjectively so, other parts only perceived as such) reveals itself to be the catalytic cause. Neither country outright rejects Vietnamese influence, nor are they in an economic position to do so even if they wanted to, but the point is that their history of relations with Vietnam undoubtedly plays a role in why these two states want to diversify away from their former mono-dependence on their neighbor (experienced from 1975-1991) and achieve a balance through complementary relations with civilizationally similar Thailand and economically expanding China.

Caught In The Middle:

Being situated between their larger Thai and Vietnamese neighbors, Cambodia and Laos have historically been under pressure from both of these powers and eventually turned into the object of their conquests. The golden age that each of these modern-day states had prior to their submission came during the era of Cambodia’s Khmer Empire and Laos’ Lan Xang kingdom, stretching between 802-1431 and 1354-1707, respectively. After that, each of these once-glorious entities fell under the control of the Kingdom of Ayyuthaya, nowadays referred to as Thailand. Vietnam didn’t become a significant player in the rest of Indochina until after it completed its centuries-long “Nam tiến”, which was the state’s piecemeal incorporation of the southern parts of the country that only ended in the early 1800s.

Siamese Ebb, Vietnamese Flow:

After Vietnam’s contemporaneous consolidation, it fought two wars with Thailand from 1831-1834 and1841-1845 over Cambodia, but the object of their mutual rivalry eventually requested French “protection” in 1867 and threw off both of its neighboring rivals. It became France’s second colony after “Cochinchina”, the southern part of Vietnam, fell to an invasion and was occupied by the Empire a couple years earlier in 1862. Just a little over three decades later, Laos was added to the list of French conquests in 1893 following the Franco-Siamese War of the same year.

With their Indochinese imperial realm acquiring a great deal of strategic depth and coming to encompass almost the entirety of its eventual territory, the French were in a comfortable position to accelerate the economic exploitation of their colonies, with a concentrated focus on what is today Vietnam. It should be noted, however, that modern-day Vietnam was actually divided into three separate colonies by the French – Tonkin, Amman, and Cochinchina – but taken as an aggregate, Vietnam’s colonial economic output was much more valuable to Paris than Cambodia and Laos’. The period of French Indochina was also the first time that these two states were grouped together under the same umbrella as Vietnam, heralding a state of affairs that would go on to continue with various ups and downs until the end of the Cold War.

World War II And Greater Thailand:

Indochina was largely spared from the ravages of Japan’s traditional wartime occupational practices, although by no means was it totally immune. Still, Tokyo had less of a militant presence in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos than it did in Indonesia and the Philippines, for example, and the entire territory of French Indochina remained under their control until the end of the war. What’s notable about this period though isn’t necessarily the influence that Japan exercised over the former French colonies, but the role that Thailand played in reasserting its territorial claims eastward.

thailand_in_world_war_ii_by_fenn_o_manic-d87eun0.pngField Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram (popularly known as Phibun) became Prime Minister of Thailand in 1938 and led his country on an irredentism campaign to re-annex parts of Cambodia and Laos after the Franco-Thai War from 1940-1941. He also expanded Thailand’s territoryinto northeastern Myanmar’s present-day Shan State and the northern territories of Malaysia, all of which he claimed used to be part of his kingdom prior to the advent of colonialism. Thailand was able to get away with all of this because it was an ally of fascist Japan at the time, and it wasn’t until 1946 that it rescinded all of its irredentist claims as part of a deal in exchange for joining the UN.

Despite representing an outburst of militant Thai nationalism, this brief period was not overly influential in determining the future attitudes of Cambodians and Laotians towards Bangkok, partly because of the civilizational similarities between all three peoples and also due to the fact that only portions of their respective territory (and not all of it) were annexed. Another factor that played a role was that the annexations were only in effect for five years. After World War II, Vietnam’s influence replaced Thailand’s and remained the paramount social factor impacting on these two countries’ affairs.

The First And Second Indochinese Wars:

The struggle against the French and Americans was a heroic one of epic proportions, and readers should look more into it on their own time if they have an interest in these exploits. For the sake of time and scope, the summarized relevance of this period of time to the research at hand is that it represented the on-the-ground expansion of (North) Vietnamese influence into Cambodia and Laos, with the Vietnamese communists training and supporting their Khmer Rouge and Pathet Laos counterparts during the entire conflict. In fact, if it wasn’t for crucial support from Hanoi, neither Phnom Penh nor Vientiane would have cast off their respective pro-Western governments, with all three countries liberating themselves from imperialism in full during the dramatic year of 1975. Alas, the conclusion of these two anti-imperialist wars weren’t a harbinger for the end of the region’s conflicts in general, and a few forthcoming ones would soon break out that would derail Indochina’s dynamics.

Post-Imperialist Conflicts:

Vietnam vs. Cambodia

The first war that broke out after the end of the anti-imperialist struggle was the one between Vietnam and Cambodia in 1978-1979. Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge government had turned on its former Vietnamese benefactors and began aggressively demanding territorial revisions in southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region. The supposed reasoning for this is that the lands of the late Cochinchina had historically been inhabited by ethnic Khmer (the majority demographic in Cambodia) and were only forcibly incorporated into Vietnam after the end of Nam tiến. There were also intra-communist Cold War considerations at play too, with Vietnam and its Laotian ally being aligned with the Soviet Union, while Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge authorities were very close to China (partly in order to balance against Vietnam’s 19th-century historic interests over the country). Although Vietnam righteously and quite accurately claimed that it was liberating Cambodia from the genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge (which had killed up to a quarter of the country’s population in only four years’ time), it’s clear in retrospect that it was also pursuing clear geopolitical interests at the same time, installing a pro-Vietnamese government in Pol Pot’s wake and bringing the country fully under its influence as a result.

Vietnam vs. China

As an immediate response to the overthrow of China’s regional ally, Beijing invaded the northern part of Vietnam in mid-February 1979, intent on punishing its erstwhile partner and sending the strongest possible message that it totally denounced its actions. Neither side gained anything tangible from this brief but bloody campaign, but it’s worthwhile to remind the reader that this conflict occurred after China had already de-facto sided with the US in the Cold War. Seen from this vantage point of contextual insight, it’s evident that Beijing was enforcing Washington’s will by proxy against its hated Vietnamese enemy, whether it wittingly did so or was unknowingly guided into this scenario.

The exacerbation of intra-communist Cold War tension between China and the USSR also played to the US’ grand strategic advantage, and it was shortly after this conflict ended that the US took the decision to provocatively arm the Afghan Mujahedin on 3 July, 1979 in order to provoke a Soviet intervention.  In the grand global scheme of things, China had put the Soviets’ position in Southeast Asia on the relative defensive while also ensuring that it would redirect a sizeable number of its forces to defending the joint border. Concurrently, the US started using radical Islam to stir up trouble in the USSR’s southern front with Afghanistan, and it was only one year later in 1980 that the anti-Soviet,CIA-influenced Solidarity movement would be created in order to tempt an Afghan-like intervention in Eastern Europe.

Taken together, the situationally coordinated anti-Soviet advances that had popped up in this short two-year period in Southeast Asia, the Chinese frontier, Afghanistan, and Poland are evidence that the US was serious in influencing a concerted effort aimed at destabilizing the USSR along as many of its strategic fronts as possible. Seeing as how this also coincided with the “Reagan Doctrine” of ‘rolling back’ the Soviet influence in Africa (e.g. Ethiopia, Angola, and Mozambique) and Latin America (Nicaragua), it can be said that the Sino-Vietnamese War was actually the opening salvo in this forthcoming worldwide campaign.

Vietnamese-Thai Border Skirmishes

8047588_origAfter militarily withdrawing from Indochina, the US resorted to using Thailand as itsLead From Behind to promote their strategic vision in the region. Both Washington and Bangkok supported the Khmer Rouge and other insurgents against the Cambodian-based Vietnamese forces and newly installed pro-Hanoi government, effectively giving the Cambodian Civil War the foreign support that it needed to continue indefinitely. As part of its anti-insurgent campaign, the Vietnamese military would launch raids along the joint Thai-Cambodian border, even engaging in select cross-border attacks against fleeing militants.

The tensions that boiled up with Vietnam all along Thailand’s southeastern border with Cambodia would later directly express themselves in the Thai-Laotian Border War of 1987-1988, during which Bangkok and Vientiane (the latter supported by the Vietnamese forces that were based in the country) had a brief military conflict over their disputed frontier. Despite not resulting in any status quo changes, the incident was symbolic in the sense that it showed that the entire Thai-Indochinese border region was ‘fair game’ for proxy conflicts, especially considering that the Vietnamese military was based in both Cambodia and Laos at the time. The escalation of border tension with Laos was significant in that it occurred at the period of time when hostilities between Thailand and Vietnam were subsiding over Cambodia, thus showing that the US-backed authorities in Bangkok were insistent on advancing their anti-Vietnamese goals in some form or another no matter what third-party state was used to achieve these ends.

Interestingly enough, the US’ proxy policy of Southeast Asian destabilization via its Lead From Behind partner of Thailand carries with it a strong foreshadowing of what would later happen in the Mideast after the formal US military withdrawal in 2011. Just as the US withdrew from South Vietnam in 1973 but later used Thailand as its base of covert operations to destabilize its regional foe, so too did it do something similar by withdrawing from Iraq in 2011 but using Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to continue promoting its anti-Syrian and anti-Iranian agendas, albeit in a more accelerated manner than it had done vis-à-vis Vietnam. Therefore, clear links of strategic continuity can be witnessed between the US’ Cold War policy in Indochina after 1973 and its current one in the Mideast after 2011, with both being characterized by an asymmetrical proxy offensive that follows a conventional retreat.

Indochina After The Cold War:

The changing global dynamics brought about by the end of the Cold War had a monumental impact on Indochina. First off, the most noticeable change was that Vietnam formally withdrew its military from Cambodia and Laos, thereby lessening the direct expression of its influence over these two neighboring states. In turn, Vietnam was able to concentrate its focus on internal economic affairs as opposed to external military-political ones, and the Western community lifted its anti-Vietnamese sanctions that were initially implemented in response to the 1978 Vietnamese-Cambodian War and subsequent military presence there. Due to the institutional relief that Vietnam experienced from this and the positive reaction that the pro-Western members of the region had to these dual developments, Hanoi was able to rapidly incorporate itself into the global economy, joining ASEAN in 1995 and establishing very close trade ties with the US, Japan, and South Korea afterwards.

Cambodia and Laos would go on to join ASEAN as well, albeit in 1999 and 1995, respectively. Instead of moving closer to the US and its East Asian allies, however, they would actually opt to intensify full-spectrum relations with China and Thailand. While both maintain cordial and somewhat close ties with Vietnam (Laos much more so than Cambodia), it can subjectively be assessed that they are no longer as strongly under its influence as they once were. Laos is integrating itself into the ASEAN Silk Road and becoming the literal link between China and Thailand, whereas Cambodia has blossomed into a bastion of Chinese economic and diplomatic influence. The current governments of these two Indochinese states are firmly in the sphere of the multipolar world, with their position exponentially increased by Thailand’s new pro-multipolar leadership.

That isn’t to say that Vietnam isn’t somewhat multipolar as well, seeing as how it beneficially cooperates with Russia in the economic and military realms, but overall the country has come under the strong influence of the unipolar anti-Chinese states of the US and Japan, with the TPP being the ultimate epitome. Going forward, it’s expected that Vietnam will balance its South China Sea maritime strategy with ambitious asymmetrical mainland inroads into its former ‘backyards’ of Cambodia and Laos, partly out of its own desire to economically entrap these two states into its subregional TPP influence zone, but also due to the US’ strategic guidance in using Hanoi’s historical proxy leadership over them to complicate China’s One Belt One Road plans.

The Vendetta Against Vietnam

Vietnam is currently one of the US’ closest strategic partners in the South China Sea, with bilateral relations on the strong upswing out of the shared economic interests and the joint vision of containing China. While ties are unprecedentedly positive between these two states, Vietnam might one day begin reasserting its strategic sovereignty against the US vis-à-vis a possible improvement of relations with China.

That doesn’t look all that probable in the given moment, but it certainly can’t be disregarded, especially since China is Vietnam’s largest trading partner and likely will remain so for at least the rest of the decade (despite the TPP and barring any anti-Chinese sanctions over the Spratly Islands dispute).  In the event that Vietnam more pragmatically engages China and perhaps even chooses to fully participate in the One Belt One Road project, then it would draw the strong consternation of the US, whether this is publicly expressed or relegated to backdoor talks.

Just as the US stands to manipulate domestic Hybrid War factors in the presently pro-American countries of insular ASEAN, so too could it do so in Vietnam if Hanoi doesn’t behave as “loyally” as Washington envisions it to be. One of the possible ‘symptoms’ of an assuredly sovereign state policy would be if Vietnam refuses to go along with some of the US’ CCC practices, for which it would obviously experience certain punitive repercussions. For this reason, it’s useful to explore what kind of destabilization potentials exist in Vietnam and game out the various means for how the US could possibly manipulate them if its newfound ally wavers in its strategic anti-Chinese commitment.

The six most realistic variables and scenarios can be categorized into those that deal with ethnic, regional, and social divides, and they will be examined in that order below. The ethnic groups function as support actors, while the social ones are expected to be the primary ones that take the lead in sparking the destabilization. The regional divide that’s explained below allows for a supportive and encouraging backdrop for ideological predisposed or indoctrinated individuals, and it also creates high hopes for those that are already entertaining anti-systemic notions.

Ethnic:

Khmer Krom3.0

Khmer Krom

A little more than one million Khmer inhabit the southern reaches of Vietnam, and in the past their presence was used by Pol Pot as justification for Cambodia’s historic claims over the Mekong Delta. While the issue itself has largely receded in the decades since Vietnam put a stop to the aggression in 1979, it still remains possible that this demographic could be used in some manner to stir local anti-government discontent. As it currently stands, the Cambodian government is anathema to such suggestions, both out of multipolar pragmatism and stark remembrance of how disastrously it turned out last time around, but that doesn’t mean that a third-party actor (either the US directly or via one of its many NGO pawns) could do aggravate the situation instead.

There’s no practical way that the Khmer Krom could ever destabilize the whole of Vietnam, but a coordinated campaign could be implemented to use them as bait for provoking a military crackdown that leads to collateral damage against ethnic Vietnamese and/or international condemnation, especially if this scenario is mixed with a labor rights dispute of some sort. What’s pivotal in this example is that the Khmer Krom, separate in culture and language from the majority Viet ethnicity, are vulnerable to identity mobilization and thenceforth to being led into a bloody confrontation with the state, with the end result of the clashes (collateral damage, misleading media exposure) being more important than whatever short-term aims the ethnic group had been misled into coalescing around.

Hmong corregido

Hmong

Infamous for their collaboration with the US military during the Vietnam War, this scattered ethnic group poses a joint destabilization threat to both Vietnam and Laos. The Hmong are divided through dialect but united through geography, occupying a crescent of territory from northern Vietnam into northeast Laos. There are estimated to be over one million Hmong in Vietnam and less than half of that in Laos, so altogether they only form a recognizable percentage of the population in the latter (which has about 6.7 million people). The Hmongs’ significance derives from their identity in being a restive, anti-communist demographic with experienced cross-border travel between Vietnam and Laos, raising the tactical prospects that they could once more be used for drug and/or weaponssmuggling.

While the ones that remained in both countries after the US retreat have mostly been re-incorporated into society, if they were to resort back to their illegal transnational practices (whether being contracted by an intelligence agency to do so or out of their own pursuit of profit), they could create some trouble in this rugged and underpopulated frontier despite their miniscule numbers. Strategically speaking, any eruption of instability in Laos could then more easily spill over into Vietnam, with the Hmong communities once more plying their militant trade across the border and potentially arming distressed factory workers that are preparing for a local, regional, and/or nationwide uprising. Just like with the Khmer Krom, the Hmong by themselves are not in any position to destabilize Vietnam aside from being an isolated nuisance, but if their specific on-the-ground advantages are utilized in a certain manner, then they could be used as a force multiplier in any larger unfolding scenario.

Degar/”Montagnard”

Degar people areal

Degar people areal

These mutually synonymous terms are used to refer to the native people of the Western Highlands. These Christianized tribal groups were allied with the French and US forces during the First and Second Indochinese Wars, and in terms of geopolitical importance, they abut the country’s borders with Cambodia and Laos and are located at a critical position in the country’s south. They have a history of rebelling against all aspects of Vietnamese rule, be it from the former South or the current reintegrated state, and they partook in a low-intensity anti-government insurgency that wasn’t disbanded until 1992.

The Degar join the likes of their fellow Khmer Krom and Hmong minority compatriots in being unable to affect significant disturbances on their own (especially with the current Cambodian government being unwilling to offer them any type of sanctuary to do so), but having the opportunity to maximize the potential of other destabilization scenarios if their actions are coordinated in sync. For example, if the 2001 “land rights” unrest and 2004 Easter protests (both of which were instigated from abroad) were to repeat themselves in some form concurrent with violent labor disputes elsewhere in the country, then it could possibly offset the authorities and create an opening for asymmetrical advances such as a renewed insurgency.

Furthermore, Degar destabilizations could ultimately lead to a large refugee flow into Cambodia if they end up failing, and this carries with it a risk to the Kingdom’s overall balance. The northeastern provinces bordering the Western Highlands are rural and mostly underpopulated, so it’s possible that this demographic could exploit the feeble governance there in order to set up anti-Vietnamese training camps. For now, at least, this doesn’t seem likely at all, but if Phnom Penh were in the midst of putting down its own anti-government riots (likely initiated under the cover of a labor revolt and to be explained in the relevant section), then it could be expected that this might occur to some extent.

Regional:

The days of a distinct division between North and South Vietnam are long gone, but certain socio-cultural differences still remain between the two. The reunification of the two entities after 1975 was fraught with many challenges, but none so more difficult than integrating the formerly capitalistic market of the South into the state-controlled system of the North. After experiencing some economic turbulence related to this undertaking and feeling the winds of American-supported global change that were sweeping across the world, the Vietnamese authorities decided to progressively open up their economy through the 1986 Doi Moi reforms. What’s ironic about this is that it represented an about-face for the communist state, which had just gone through great lengths to implement a strict top-down system in the South, but only to retreat from this policy about a decade later.

Other than some of the global and structural factors that were at play and exerting an undeniable impact, it’s unmistakable that Southern-based liberals also had a role over this decision. It’s not to insinuate that they had any ulterior motives in doing so, but that they genuinely believed from their experience that the economic model previously in place in South Vietnam was relatively more efficient than the one that they were later ordered to transition into by the North. No matter the degree of influence that the Southern liberals had over initiating the Doi Moi reforms, the fact remains that they were a comparative reversal of the previous system and an embrace of capitalist principles, the same operating structure that had earlier been in place in the South.

The pertinence of that period to the present is that the pro-Western economic thinking of that time is once more on the ascent in Vietnam, and with it, the possibility of a complementary pro-Western foreign policy. The last time that Hanoi followed the lead of Western influencing factors in the mid-1980s, it ended up unassumingly doing the West’s foreign policy bidding a few years later by withdrawing from Cambodia and Laos at the end of the Cold War. This time, Vietnam is on the verge of entering into the forthcoming TPP arrangement, and it’s playing a more militant role in the CCC hand-in-hand with this development. Whereas in the past it may have been contextually pragmatic for Vietnam to implement Doi Moi and remove its troops from the rest of Indochina, no such rationale can be evoked when it comes to the TPP and the CCC, both of which Vietnam is lunging into head-first.

It’s the author’s understanding that the 1980s Doi Moi and Cambodian and Laotian withdrawals symbolized the victory of the ‘spirit of the South’, or in other words, of certain policies that wittingly or unwittingly corresponded to Western preferences. In the same vein, joining the TPP and the CCC, and perhaps reinvigorating soft (economic) Vietnamese influence in Cambodia and Laos, accomplishes the same thing, albeit this time in full and witting compliance to the US’ regional vision. Therefore, the regional differences in Vietnam are less of a geopolitical nature and more of an ideological one, with the North (in ideas, not necessarily in terms of actual politicians) typically representing independent pragmatism, whereas the South symbolizes pro-Western bandwagoning. Ultimately, it’s the rivalry between these two camps that defines the current state of Vietnam’s international economic and political decision making, with the South obviously in charge at the moment. Should that change, then it’s likely that the US would fall back on utilizing the country’s ethnic and/or social destabilization variables in order to enact pro-Southern pressure on the government to bring it back in line with its CCC preferences.

Social:

Banned Religious Groups

One of the largest social disruptors in Vietnam could potentially come from the religious community in the country. Freedom of religion is guaranteed in Vietnam per the 1992 Constitution, and the country currently boasts a belief rate of around 46%, with 16% practicing Buddhism, 8% partaking in Christianity (be it Catholicism or Protestantism), and the rest following unorganized traditional beliefs. On the whole, these individuals are peaceful and apolitical, and it’s very rare for regular believers to encounter any sort of trouble from the state. The issue arises when adherents of banned Buddhist and Christian organizations such as the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and the Vietnam Evangelical Fellowship, to name just two of them, illegally gather for services and proselytization practices. As a general rule, such groups are banned because they have a track record of engaging in political practices, and this is why they could present such a difficult challenge for the authorities if they go out of control.

2007_Vietnam_ThichNhatHanhTo expand on this idea, so-called “religious freedom” is a powerful rallying cry for indoctrinated individuals and those susceptible to Western liberal-democratic thought. The general concept holds that governments should unrestrictedly allow any and all religions to be practiced, including obscure cult beliefs affiliated or unaffiliated with a major religion. Obviously, the individuals experiencing some type of state restriction on their religious practices (whether semi-conventional or outright cultish) are the ones most eager to reverse this state of affairs, and they may go about recruiting related co-confessionalists (as in the case of the banned Buddhist and Christian organizations) in order to assist them in this endeavor. At this point, what’s important to concentrate on is broader religious affiliation (be it Buddhist, Christian, or sympathy to both) being used as a mobilization issue for non-state agenda-driven actors. It doesn’t matter whether they use their socio-physical networks to agitate against state atheism and certain religious “restrictions” or any other object of protest, since the saliency lies in them simply organizing a critical mass of demonstrators that can ultimately disrupt the state’s stability.

Another critical component of this disruption strategy is that the religious-driven organizations and their affiliates could easily mislead their congregants to the conclusion that the only way for them to achieve their goals is through a violent overthrow of the state. They might point to “state-suppression” of their prior ‘activism’ as ‘evidence’ that working within the system is futile, thus compelling them to resort to Color Revolution and Unconventional Warfare practices (Hybrid War) in order to actualize their objectives when the time is right. While keeping their faith and religiously motivated end goal of regime change a secret, they can then take to recruiting other citizens to join their ‘dissident’ cause, most likely using a more encompassing and non-religious rallying issue such as workers’ rights to broaden their movement’s base.  There’s a high chance that the majority of people brought into this fold might not be aware of the regime change purposes of the growing underground movement, being guided instead into thinking that they’re lending their support to a short-term, low-intensity protest movement about a seemingly ‘legitimate’ issue such as workplace safety. Unbeknownst to them, they’re actually being attached to a preplanned provocation that will inevitably result in violence, with the most ardent of the religious believers leading the way in sparking the militant conflict against the authorities.

To summarize the strategic framework that’s been articulated above, select members of the banned religious community in Vietnam and their supportive state-approved counterparts could quite easily band together in building a covert anti-government network. The more radical of the bunch could have already been convinced that the only way to affect the tangible change that they’re aiming for is to violently overthrow the government, and they’ll probably keep these intentions hidden from the more moderate members of the group. Even if this religiously affiliated organization sought to commence a destabilizing protest or an outright putsch, they’d likely fail without garnering enough supporters in advance. Since it can safely be assumed that the vast majority of Vietnamese are against a violent overthrow of their government, the only way to get them to physically support the regime change movement is to conceal its ultimate intentions, using more inclusive and broad-based language such as protecting/advancing labor rights and other non-religious issues that the majority of people could relate to in order to motivate them enough to come out in the street with their support. Even then, it’s not guaranteed that the scheme will appeal to enough people to make it effective, but the vehemence of the religiously motivated core organizers might be enough to give it some gusto.

Labor Rights Activists

The final Hybrid War factor impacting on Vietnam is also the most important, and it deals with the forthcoming institutionalized unionization in the country. One of the TPP’s precepts is that it mandatesthat Vietnam “legalize independent labor unions and workers’ strikes”, which in and of itself is certainly a welcome and positive gesture, but considering the regime change reputation that Washington has mustered, such a seemingly innocuous and well-intentioned prerequisite must defensively be viewed with the utmost suspicion. The author doesn’t intend to imply that all labor unions and workers’ strikes are potentially nefarious fronts for anti-government plots, but that under certain national conditions, there’s no doubt that they could be used as vehicles for advancing this agenda.

tmp_XNjclAVietnam has been dragged into a stereotypical dilemma – on the one hand, it needs to ensure and better workers’ rights and conditions, but at the same time, it needs to prevent its reforms from being abused by politically motivated actors. The crux of the problem is that the state waited so long to legalize these labor privileges, so that neither it nor the citizenry fully know what to expect. Hanoi is predicating its decision on the notion that this move will strengthen the government’s appeal and preempt socio-economic disturbances, but it might inadvertently end up weakening its power over the country and ushering in the same type of destabilization that it hopes to avoid.

It’s inevitable that some of the unions will be co-opted by politically motivated elements or outright created as front organizations for them, yet their magnetic appeal and the popular acceptance that they’re expected to attain in Vietnamese society could indicate that an uncontrollably large segment of the population might vehemently be in support of them. As was earlier stated, there’s nothing inherently wrong with labor unions, but from the Hybrid War perspective, these groups are capable of gathering a large amount of people and assembling highly charged and easily manipulatable crowds that could be turned against the government. For example, if the unions and their supporters enter into a confrontation with the authorities (which is bound to happen in any organized labor dispute and/or strike) and provocateurs steer the situation along a preplanned scenario of violence, then the government reaction, no matter how justified it may be, could end up upsetting many people and enflaming anti-government sentiment.

There’s no clear-cut solution to handling this dilemma, and it’s obvious that both the state and the citizenry will have to learn as they go along. As regards the government, it needs to be able to identify the difference between a peaceful and legitimate labor-related protest and one which is on the verge of bubbling into an anti-government riot. It also needs to learn how to handle such incidents so that it doesn’t unwittingly do more harm than good in the tactics that it uses in breaking such demonstrations up. Alternatively, the public needs to get a handle on what sorts of behaviors are acceptable and which aren’t, and legitimate protesters need to learn how to police their own ranks to root out any provocateurs before they have the chance to act. The issue, as mentioned previously, is that neither side has the necessary experience to engage in this sort of civil society discourse without there being some unavoidable ‘growing pains’ such as Color Revolution infiltration and/or overreactive government crackdowns, both of which may serve to exacerbate preexisting anti-state sentiment and advance an externally directed regime change scenario.

Out of all of the variables discussed thus far, the “labor rights activist” one is the most all-encompassing, since it can conceivably envelop most of the working-age population within its ranks in some form or another. It doesn’t matter if they’re card-carrying members or sympathetic citizens, what’s important for the Hybrid War observer to realize is that the banner of labor rights is capable of organizing millions of people for the same shared objective, and that this critical mass of individuals can be guided against the government by adept practitioners of crowd-control psychology. Put another way, an untold number of regular, law-abiding, and well-intentioned citizens could get drawn into participating in what they believe to be a labor rights-focused protest, but only to in effect function as human shields protecting a radical core of urban terrorists that are intent on attacking the state. These political and/or religious radicals aim to provoke ‘incriminating’ and visually-documented police-on-protester violence that could then deceptively be disseminated as ‘truth’ and used to help recruit more people into the growing anti-government movement.

Along the same lines, nationwide or strategically focused regional labor disputes and strikes could be used to enact economic war against a targeted state from within, especially if the “union” has been co-opted by externally directed anti-government elements or is an outright front organization for them. In the circumstances where this is the case, the external actor (in mostly every imaginable situation, this would be the US and its intelligence/NGO apparatus) can inflict a two-for-one destabilization against their target. If the state is compelled to violently crack down on the rioters in order to restore order, then this could be manipulated against it via the social and physical anti-government ‘activist’ networks in generating even more dissatisfaction against the authorities; but at the same time, if the government doesn’t react and it allows the labor dispute and/or strike to continue indefinitely, then it risks experiencing a prolonged economic loss, especially if the factory, industry, and/or locale chosen for the disruption is of a strategic nature. In both instances, there isn’t a ‘win-win’ solution for the authorities, and they’re pressed to choose what they believe will be the lesser of two evils.

Putting the state on the defensive and forcing it to continuously react to these sorts of strategic lose-lose dilemmas are precisely the sort of tactics that Hybrid War practitioners specialize in. No matter what specific form they take or whatever particular issue the infiltrated or front organization claims to support at the time (be it labor rights, “free elections”, or the environment, for example), the indisputable pattern is that they always find a way to lure as many civilians into their ranks as possible in order to use them as human shields and ‘collateral damage’ for their preplanned anti-government provocation. The next step follows naturally enough, and it’s that the average citizen who hears about what happened (either on their own or via a nifty NGO-directed social media campaign) starts to lose faith in the government, largely unaware that what they had seen or read was totally staged and/or guided to occur by a foreign intelligence agency. The compound effect of this occurring on a large enough scale and with a certain context-specific frequency is that the population begins to either actively turn against the authorities and/or passively comes to accept the individuals that are fighting against them and whatever new state entity emerges in the wake of the current one’s possible defeat.

The Chances For A Hybrid War Crisis In Cambodia

Moving along in the book’s examination of Hybrid War threats in mainland ASEAN, it’s time now to turn to Cambodia, the first of the studied states to most likely be in the US’ regime chance crosshairs. Up until this point, the research was addressing countries where engineered Hybrid War scenarios were possible only in the event that their governments strayed from the general anti-China line (to varying degrees of rhetoric and form) that the US had ‘preferred’ that they abide by. Cambodia is a completely different matter altogether, since it’s the first ASEAN state that the book addresses in which bilateral relations with China are at an extraordinarily high level.

Although not a key node in Beijing’s primary ASEAN Silk Road from Kunming to Singapore, there are plans in motion to make it a supporting spoke, and the close ties between Beijing and Phnom Penh have drawn the ire of the US. Cambodia occupies a strategic position in China’s ASEAN strategy, and thereby it’s likely that it will experience some sort of renewed regime change destabilization in the coming future despite not being a chief transit state for Beijing’s transnational connective infrastructure designs. Additionally, the US is aware of the strategic regional advantages that it would gain from overthrowing Cambodia’s current government, and these calculations further increase the odds that long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen might become Washington’s next regime change target.

This segment of the research begins by explaining the geopolitical significance that Cambodia has to China and the mainland ASEAN region. Afterwards it looks into the present political situation in the country and highlights the determined efforts of the ‘opposition’ in trying to topple Hun Sen. Finally, the last part draws attention to the most realistic Hybrid War scenario facing Cambodia, which just like in Vietnam, is the infiltration of the labor rights movement and its hijacked repurposing into the optimal regime change instrument.

Why Strategists Care About Cambodia:

The average reader might be perplexed about why ASEAN’s poorest state has any significance whatsoever in terms of Great Power planning, but the answer lies no so much in economics (although there’s plenty of opportunity there, as will later be explained), but in geopolitics. This is partly explained by China’s historical relations with Cambodia and general strategy towards ASEAN, but it’s also due to the demographic and state-to-state destabilization potential that Cambodia could potentially release towards its neighbors if it ever became a pro-American satellite state.

The China Factor

The most important issue to address in describing Cambodia’s geostrategic significance is its relationship with China. In the eyes of Beijing’s decision makers, Cambodia occupies a similar geopolitical importance to China as Serbia does to Russia, in that the strong partnership between the two allows the Great Power to ‘jump’ past a wall of obstructionist states. In the instance of mainland ASEAN, these historically had been Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, with the first two actually becoming pretty pragmatic towards China since the end of the Cold War. Even if those two diplomatic successes hadn’t been achieved, the relationship with Cambodia allows China to maintain a strategic presence in the Gulf of Thailand and have a firmly committed ally in the ranks of ASEAN. Most importantly in terms of China’s contemporary global strategy, Cambodia has proven to be the ideal testing ground for China’s overseas investment vision. The lessons that it learned by investing $9.17 billion in the nearby state during the period from 1994-2012, begun during the early days of China’s international rise and carried into the present, were obviously instrumental in helping it acquire the feel for managing similar overseas projects. Altogether, these experiences would blend together and contribute to forming the global One Belt One Road vision, with China’s initial investment forays in historically allied Cambodia undoubtedly playing an influential role.

From the Cambodian perspective, its leadership has historically looked to China as a type of ‘big brother’ in helping it hedge against Thailand and Vietnam. The historical memory of having been an object of rivalry between these two powers, and in one sense or another, the military basing ground for each of them at different times, weighs heavily on its decision-making imperatives. The collapse of the Khmer Empire brought Cambodia under the Siamese (Thai) fold for centuries, whereas the country was institutionally closer with Vietnam during the French imperial period. During the Vietnam War, its territory was continuously traversed by the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong, and although the Vietnamese later liberated Cambodia from the genocidal Khmer Rouge, nationalist elements interpret the subsequent years as an unnecessary military occupation by an historic rival. Aside from the decade-long Peoples Republic of Kampuchea period from  1979-1989 when it hosted Vietnamese troops and was barred from dealing with China, there’s a clear continuity of pragmatic relations with its ‘big brother’ that was practiced by Sihanouk, the Khmer Rouge, and then Hun Sen. Nowadays, other than the political-economic benefits that it reaps from its partnership with China, Cambodia also gains elevated prestige in ASEAN simply by being so closely aligned with Beijing, which has thus transformed the country from a diplomatic backwater to a premier outpost for regional states to engage China’s interests in the region.

GMS-TransportCorridor_30_Lo-Res_30From an overall perspective, Chinese-Cambodian relations are a win-win for both sides, and they’re about to be taken to a totally new level of mutual benefit through the Greater Mekong Region’s “Central Corridor” project. To remind the reader, this is one of the various connective projects in mainland ASEAN, with this particular route being a branch of the North-South Corridor through Laos. The Central Corridor branches off from Vientiane and slithers southwards down the country’s spine towards Cambodia, following the Mekong River along the way. This variation of the ASEAN Silk Road is important in its own right because of the potential that it has for deepening trade between China and Cambodia via an optimal unimodal system (solely ground-based as opposed to transshipment from boat to land), but it lacks the geostrategic capability of providing Beijing with an alternative route to the Indian Ocean. The China-Myanmar Economic Corridor fully avoids the South China Sea headache and Strait of Malacca bottleneck, while the primary ASEAN Silk Road through Thailand has the possibility of doing so in the region of southern Thailand. This explains why Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand have a higher chance of falling victim to the US’ anti-Chinese plans (either in co-opting their elite or wreaking havoc) than Cambodia does, although Phnom Penh’s chummy ties with Beijing unquestionably puts it on the target list as well, albeit in a relatively lesser prioritization.

Transnational Ethnic Trouble

The Khmer ethnic majority in Cambodia are a very proud people, infused with the civilizational glory of the ancient Khmer Empire. Accordingly, they’re also very patriotic, and their manifestations of pride could sometimes translate into nationalist demonstrations that put Thailand and Vietnam in an uncomfortable position. The reason that Cambodia’s neighbors feel uneasy at the exercise of Khmer patriotism is because they have their own Khmer minority within their borders, a legacy that nationalists have tried to exploit by attributing it to colonialism. In the case of the Thailand, these are the Northern Khmer that inhabit the northeastern region of Isan and live close to the Cambodian border. They constitute around a quarter of the population in Buriram, Sisaket, and Surin provinces. There are also scattered segments of the Western Khmer living in Chanthaburi and Trat provinces, although they have less of an impactful contemporary presence than in Isan. All told, it’s estimated that there are a little over one million Khmer living in Thailand. The situation with the Khmer Krom in southern Vietnam was already discussed in the earlier section about that country’s Hybrid War vulnerabilities, but to revisit the details for a moment, there are also about one million Khmer living there as well.

The geographically contiguous presence of ethnic Khmer diaspora living in the Thai and Vietnamese border regions means that a nationalist-driven Cambodia could pose a serious threat to the region’s stability. At the moment, it’s extraordinarily unlikely that Hun Sun would ever proceed down this destabilizing path, but in the event that he’s overthrown by a Pravy Sektor-like band of ultra-nationalists, it’s foreseeable that this demographic variable could become a complication in Cambodia’s bilateral relations with each of these states. If history is an indication, then a future nationalism-obsessed government might follow in the Khmer Rouge’s footsteps and stage aggressive border provocations against Vietnam, possibly to the point of tempting Hanoi to launch a retaliatory strike to snub out the threat just as it did back in 1979. Drawing a parallel to the present, this might turn out to be a Southeast Asian variation of the “Reverse Brzezinski” stratagem, with the entire provocation predicated on the intent of dragging Vietnam into a quagmire (in this scenario, possibly as punishment for bettering relations with China).

Using these strategic principles, the same concept can actually more realistically be applied towards Thailand in the Khmer-populated areas of its already distressed Isan region. Bangkok has been rapidly warming up to Beijing since the 2014 military coup and is now an integral transit state for the ASEAN Silk Road, thus meaning that any future Khmer-nationalist government in Cambodia would most likely be directed or implicitly guided by the US to targeted Thailand before Vietnam. The only thing that needs to happen to turn this Hybrid War projection into an actual plan is for an ultra-nationalist opposition movement to seize power in Phnom Penh just as they did in Kiev two years ago, most likely following a similar template of urban terrorism as their pro-American predecessors on the other side of Eurasia. In fact, such a possibility is actually being actively prepared for, the specifics of which will be explored more in-depth when the research discusses the internal political situation in Cambodia.

Border Rumblings

Aside from the asymmetrical destabilization that a hyper-nationalist Cambodian government could bring to its Thai and Vietnamese neighbors, there are also more conventional dangers that would go with this type of American-imposed government as well. As the reader likely realized by this point, Cambodia hasn’t always had positive relations with its two largest neighbors, and these have also manifested themselves into border disputes, the most recent and acute of which is the one with Thailand. The two countries almost went to war in 2008 over a disputed patch of land right near the Preah Vihear Temple in northern Cambodia. The reasons for the disagreement extend well past the physical territory in question and broach the larger historical and cultural issues, but the immediate root of the problem was the use of differing imperial-era border maps to support either case. The problem was eventually settled in Cambodia’s favor by the International Court of Justice in 2011, but because of the broader historical-cultural disagreements at play and the potential for a Khmer-nationalist Cambodian government to aggravate the situation with Northern Khmers, there’s a plausible chance that Phnom Penh might render irredentist claims against Thailand one day. Adding a branch to this scenario, the US might extend some form of outward or implicit diplomatic support for this initiative in order to pressure the Bangkok authorities and incite grassroots reactionary violence against the Northern Khmer in Isan.

Border marker No.314 between Vietnam and Cambodia.

Border marker No.314 between Vietnam and Cambodia.

The border situation with Vietnam hasn’t been as dramatic as the one with Thailand since the time of the Khmer Rouge, and currently there aren’t any feasible scenarios that it could apply against its eastern neighbor. The Khmer Krom are vastly outnumbered in southern Thailand when compared to the majority ethnic Viet, unlike the situation in the underpopulated provinces of Isan where they form a critical mass concentrated nearby the border. The prospective problem, then, isn’t so much ethnic irredentism (which is logically impossible to pull off against Vietnam), but a militant dispute over their recently delineated border. Historic flukes and random kinks along their frontier had long marred bilateral relations after the Vietnamese withdrawal from Cambodia, and even now, the border demarcation issue been exploited by the nationalist opposition in the latter in an attempt to score political points. Sam Rainsy, head of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNPR) and the country’s main opposition leader,criticized Hun Sen for allegedly ceding land to Vietnam. His politically ally, Senator Hong Sok Hour, was arrested in August 2015 for presenting a forged government document that purportedly ‘proved’ Rainsy’s accusation, and the opposition leader himself was later issued his own arrest warrant in early January 2016 for involvement in the case. By that time he had already fled to France to avoid doing jail time for an unrelated defamation offense, but the fact that this issue has continued to bubble indicates that Rainsy may militantly act on his supposed claims if he ever succeeds in violently seizing power.

King Of The Cambodian Political Jungle:

The mentioning of Sam Rainsy is a perfect time to transition the research into discussing the internal political setup in the country. In a sense, it can read as a lead-up to what most likely will be a forthcoming Color Revolution attempt sometime between now and the July 2018 general elections. There are only two main players – Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy – but only one can be king of the Cambodian political jungle.

Hun Sen

Cambodia’s prevailing leader has been in some capacity or another of the premiership since 1985, making him one of the world’s longest-serving heads of state. He was briefly a member of the Khmer Rouge before defecting to Vietnam, after which he reentered his homeland following its liberation by the Vietnamese military. He became Prime Minister in 1985 and served under the Kampuchean People’s Revolutionary Party, which later rebranded itself as the Cambodian People’s Party in 1991 and continues to hold power to this day. Hun Sen was almost booted from the government after losing the disputed 1993 elections, but after protesting the result and threatening that he’d lead the eastern part of Cambodia to secession, an agreement was reached whereby he’d serve in the position of co-Prime Minister.

His counterpart Norodom Ranariddh attempted to clandestinely seize power in 1997 through the use of covertly infiltrated Khmer Rouge and mercenary units to the capital, but Hun Sen was able to preempt the coup and stage his own countermoves that removed his rival from power and solidified his sole leadership. The next and last threat to his premiership came during the aftermath of the 2013 elections, whereby Sam Rainsy and his newly formed Cambodian National Rescue Party clinched 44.46% of the vote compared to Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party’s 48.83%, which prompted Rainsy to accuse the authorities of fraud. The resultant protests descended into riotous behavior and closely resembled a Color Revolution attempt at times, but the drama was officially resolved when both parties agreed to a parliamentary power-sharing proposal on 22 July, 2014. Still, the close election results and the regime change behavior that was exhibited for a prolonged period afterwards indicates that a repeat of such events is very likely to happen in 2018, if not beforehand.

Looked at more broadly in an international perspective, Hun Sen is an adept pragmatic, skillfully able to maneuver his country between its two historical rivals and still retain the dominant political position within his country. Although he began his career as being ardently pro-Vietnamese during his premiership of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea, he moderated his approach the moment that his nominal ally’s military forces departed from his country. While never taking any anti-Vietnamese moves, he then swiftly sought to replace his former patron’s role with that of China, as has been the historic post-independence tradition of most Cambodian leaders. This decision was made on geopolitical grounds in hedging against both Vietnam and Thailand, although not doing so in an aggressive security dilemma-like manner that would jeopardize profitable relations with each. Consequently, he was able to retain his country’s friendship with Vietnam while making positive inroads with Thailand, and his partnership with China allowed Cambodia to secure its strategic independence and safeguard its decision-making sovereignty in what otherwise could have been a complicated geopolitical situation (especially after having just emerged from a ravenous US-supported civil war).

Sam Rainsy

Cambodia’s main opposition leader is the son of Sam Sary, one of the organizers of the Dap Chhuon Plot. Also known as the Bangkok Plot, this failed 1959 coup attempt sought to remove Sihanouk from power and is suspected of having been assisted by the CIA.  Rainsy moved to France in 1965 and remained there for 27 years until 1992, after which he returned to his homeland and became a member of parliament. Since then, he has consistently remained involved in politics and founded the Khmer Nation Party in 1995, before changing its name to the Sam Rainsy Party in 1998. It’s interesting to note that he initially chose nationalistic name for his organization, which corresponds to the thesis that his opposition movement seeks to capitalize on such sentiment and may plan to take it to a destabilization international extent against Thailand and/or Vietnam if he ever attains full power.

Rainsy’s own actions attest to his nationalist bent, since he was arrested in 2009 for encouraging villagers to destroy border markets along the Vietnamese frontier, for which he was found guilty in-absentia for inciting racial discrimination and intentionally damaging property. He was pardoned by the King in July 2013 and returned that month to run in the general elections under the newly formed Cambodian National Rescue Party, a merger organization composed of his namesake party and the “Human Rights Party”. He eventually lost the vote and used his defeat as a rallying cry for organizing a Color Revolution attempt to seize power, which as was mentioned, ended up diffused after a parliamentary power-sharing proposal was agreed to.

True to his nationalist ‘credentials’, he continued to agitate that Hun Sen was apparently ‘ceding’ land to Vietnam, and he worked hand-in-hand with his political ally Senator Hong Sok Hour in having the latter produce a forged government document ‘proving’ this outrageous charge. His sidekick was soon arrested, and when Rainsy’s own parliamentary immunity was stripped from him and a warrant issued for his arrest during a visit to ‘supporters’ tin South Korea, he opted to evade the courts and currently remains abroad. Days before, he had gone on social media to intimate that Suu Kyi’s electoral victory forebodes well for what he believes will be his own forthcoming one in Cambodia, seemingly confirming that he too might also have been groomed by the CIA for future leadership. Overall, in assessing Sam’s political strategy, it’s evident that he has repeatedly gone out of his way to emphasize Khmer nationalism, which for the reasons described in the previous section, could end up being very destabilizing for the region if he ever succeeds in seizing power.

Constructing Cambodia’s Next Regime Change Scenario:

Rainsy The Rascal

Wrapping up the research on Cambodia, it’s now time to finally address the most likely scenario in which Hun Sen’s government could be overthrown. Sam Rainsy, like has been earlier described, is a clear nationalist and has sought to fuse his aggressive ideological rhetoric and provocations with Color Revolution tactics. His near-victory in the 2013 elections demonstrates that there’s a sizeable proportion of the population that agrees with him, although not quite enough to democratically legitimize his leadership aspirations. Rainsy will face arrest due to his two outstanding warrants (one for defamation and the other for his involvement in Senator Hour’s forged government documents case) if he returns to Cambodia, and Hun Sen has recently said that he’d “cut off [his] right hand” before he allows his rival to be pardoned again. In all probability, he’s likely to do whatever it takes to make sure that Rainsy doesn’t come back to Cambodia before the July 2018 elections, seeing as how he so bluntly put his entire reputation on the line through his dramatic threat.

Thematic Backdrop

What will probably happen then is that Rainsy will become a type of political symbol either through his ‘self-imposed exile’ (as he styles it) or the ‘political martyrdom’ that would result in his return to Cambodia. If he chooses the latter, it might be a lot easier to stir the Color Revolution pot and paint him as following in the footsteps of Tymoshenko or Suu Kyi, two of his regime change predecessors whose imprisonment catapulted them to global (Western) media stardom. No matter how it occurs, it’s certain that the Color Revolution movement will aim to socially precondition both the Cambodian masses and the foreign media into viewing the upcoming vote as a battle between a pro-Chinese (and possibly even falsely slandered as a pro-Vietnamese) “dictator” and a pro-Western “democrat”, bringing the tiny Southeast Asian state into the forefront of global attention. By that time, the Color Revolution infrastructure would be in place and the opposition can then commence their regime change operation, knowingly taking it as far as urban terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, thus representing the latest Hybrid War battleground.

Tactical Considerations

Be that as it may, the scenario can actually be fast-forwarded and deployed before the elections. Like with the newer Color Revolution templates that have been experimented with across the world, a concrete “event” such as a ‘disputed election’ or some other conventional rallying cry need not actually happen in order to spark the premeditated insurgency. What’s most important is that the necessary social infrastructure be capable of gathering large crowds of ‘human shields’ (civilian protesters) in order to protect a small core of violent provocateurs and engineer what can later manipulatively be made to appear as a “bloody government crackdown” against “peaceful protesters”. While nationalism is visibly a strong unifying force in Cambodian society, patriotism is equally as strong, and even though these two could clash (manifested by anti-government and pro-government demonstrators, respectively), the patriots might neutralize the disruptive “nationalists” and spoil their plans for a larger uprising. Along the same lines of thinking, a minor border spat in one of the frontier villages might not be enough to motivate people in the capital to come out to the streets in protest, especially since they have to worry about their own mouths to feed in ASEAN’s poorest state.

Labor Unions’ Unifying Role

That last point is actually the most important, and it’s precisely the one that’s capable of bringing large segments of the population out to protest against the government. Unlike in Vietnam, labor unions are already legalized in Cambodia and have played an active role in the country’s post-civil war history. The threat of labor disturbances has become increasingly common in the past few years, and garment workers recently prevailed in pressuring the government to once more raise their minimum wage in October 2015, this time to $140 a month from the previous $128 that they succeeded in gaining the year prior. To put this into context, the minimum wage had earlier been $80 a month in 2012, before being raised to $100 a month for 2014 prior to the aforementioned increases, all of which were the result of threatening labor strikes and engaging in selective clashes with police. Just like the author argued in the preceding analysis for Vietnam, there’s nothing at all inherently wrong with an organized labor movement that agitates for worker’s rights, but the danger presents itself when these organizations are exploited by politically minded actors working for regime change ends.

Hun Sen is the Prime Minister of Cambodia.

Hun Sen is the Prime Minister of Cambodia.

Unleashing The Dogs Of Hybrid War

In the prospectively forthcoming scenario for Cambodia, labor rights activists take center stage in leading a renewed anti-government movement, perhaps even before the July 2018 elections. They may either do so independently as part of their strategy to continuously raise the minimum wage, or they might craft a provocation in order to prompt a “government crackdown” against the “peaceful protesters”. Additionally, if Hun Sen accepts Washington’s offer to join the TPP but then gets cold feet like Yanukovich did with the EU Association Agreement, then that event in and of itself might be the spark needed to ‘justify’ the preplanned anti-government movement. No matter which route is finally decided upon, the end result is that the labor movement, particularly one which involves the country’s 700,000 garment factory workers (responsible for $5.8 billion in exports for 2014), takes the leading role in opposing the authorities.

This critical mass of individuals could then enact or threat to enact a paralyzing strike that would cripple the country’s economy and immediately cast it as an unpredictable and unstable place to do business in. The nationalist appeal of this campaign would be maximized if it’s coordinated in such a way as to target Vietnamese business, which account for $3.46 billion worth of projects in Cambodia and are the country’s sixth largest investor.

Expectedly, the ‘labor protesters’ will link up with the Cambodian National Rescue Party to create a unified front against Hun Sen, and the combined sum of their efforts might realistically be enough to topple the government. The only alternative in such a case would be large-scale state-inflicted violence, which even if it’s done in the interests of self-defense and the preservation of overall peace and harmony, could be damage the authorities’ legitimacy to the point of unwittingly engendering even more anti-government sentiment. Worse still, Western countries could pull out their investments and cooperate with ASEAN in sanctioning Phnom Penh. In this dire scenario, Hun Sen hangs on to power by a thread and the consequent economic warfare that’s launched against the country is impactful enough to lead to his government’s dissolution within the next few years.

To be continued…

Andrew Korybko is the American political commentator currently working for the Sputnik agency. He is the post-graduate of the MGIMO University and author of the monograph “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach To Regime Change” (2015). This text will be included into his forthcoming book on the theory of Hybrid Warfare.

PREVIOUS CHAPTERS:

Hybrid Wars 1. The Law Of Hybrid Warfare

Hybrid Wars 2. Testing the Theory – Syria & Ukraine

Hybrid Wars 3. Predicting Next Hybrid Wars

Hybrid Wars 4. In the Greater Heartland

Hybrid Wars 5. Breaking the Balkans

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‘Most of the questions involving the Flint water crisis and Gov. Snyder are still unanswered,’ says Common Cause

Six additional state employees now face criminal charges for hiding unsafe lead levels leading up to the Flint water crisis—but Gov. Rick Snyder and his top officials continue to evade accountability.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced the charges in a press conference on Friday, in which he vowed that « the families of Flint will not be forgotten; we will provide the justice they deserve. »

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Friday charged six more state employees with felonies for their alleged role in Flint’s water contamination. (Screenshot)

Of those charged, Schuette said: « Their offenses vary but there is an overall theme and repeated pattern. Each of these individuals attempted to bury, or cover up, to downplay or hide information that contradicted their own narrative, their story. Their story was there was nothing wrong with Flint water and it was perfectly safe to use. »

« These individuals concealed the truth, » he said. « They were criminally wrong to do so. »

According to news reports, those charged are Michigan Department of Health and Human Services workers Nancy Peeler, Corinne Miller, and Robert Scott and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality employees Leanne Smith, Adam Rosenthal, and Patrick Cook.

MLive reports:

Peeler, Miller and Scott were charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to commit misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty.

Shekter Smith was charged with misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty.

Cook is accused of misconduct in office, conspiracy to engage in misconduct in office and neglect of duty.

Rosenthal was charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence and neglect.

According to the Detroit News:

Peeler and Scott’s charges center around a report epidemiologist Cristin Larder prepared last fall showing elevated blood lead testing in Flint residents last July, August and September, according Jeff Seipenko, an investigator in Schuette’s office.

« Scott and Peeler conspired together and with others known and unknown to effectively bury Larder’s report warranting further investigation, » Seipenko said Friday morning in court. « Defendants Peeler and Scott’s failure to disclose Larder’s report was to the detriment of the health and welfare of the citizens of Flint. »

Three other local and state employees were charged in April, bringing the total number of people charged in connection to the health crisis to nine.

Schuette said Friday that his team was « way far from done »—offering a modicum of assurance to those seeking accountability from Snyder and other top officials.

And Andrew Arena, lead investigator in the case and former head of the FBI office in Detroit, added: « You don’t start at the top. Like organized crime, we are working our way up in the DEQ and expanding the scope of investigation. »

But Special Prosecutor Todd Flood may have eroded some of that confidence by declining to say at Friday’s press conference whether he has interviewed Snyder or the governor’s former top aide, Dennis Muchmore, or issued subpoenas to either man to compel testimony under oath in a deposition.

« The charges filed today against six state employees involved in the Flint water crisis are a step in the right direction to ensure our government is accountable to its citizens, » the pro-democracy group Common Cause and its Michigan affiliate said in a statement on Friday.

« However, there is still a lack of transparency and accountability surrounding the crisis in Flint, » the statement continued. « Most of the questions involving the Flint water crisis and Gov. Snyder are still unanswered. The people of Flint, and the entire state of Michigan, deserve to know the full extent of Gov. Snyder’s involvement and knowledge of this crisis. »

Meanwhile, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver told the Democratic National Convention this week that in her city, the

« water is still not safe to drink or cook with from the tap. Our infrastructure is broken, leaking and rusting away. Our local economy, already down when the water crisis struck, struggles to rebound. And there are many more Flints across the country where environmental issues are hurting our kids and families. »

She specifically called out the « Republican state government » for using Michigan’semergency manager law « to take over control of the city. »

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When in doubt, it’s Russia’s fault, Vladimir Putin designated the West’s No. 1 bad guy.

He’s blamed for virtually anything Washington and NATO contrive. A longterm adversarial relationship persists, risking potentially devastating consequences.

Facts never interfere with Western propaganda, outrageous accusations featured with no corroborating proof.

The New York Times is the lead disseminator, mouthpiece for Washington and Hillary’s campaign, journalistic ethics and principles discarded entirely – neocon/neoliberal credentials replacing them.

Citing an unnamed “federal law enforcement official,” The Times accused Russia of hacking into Hillary’s computer system. Her campaign blames Moscow for “trying to sway the outcome of the election,” according to The Times, adding:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fund-raising arm for House Democrats, also said on Friday that its systems had been hacked.

What happened

“appears to have come from an entity known as ‘Fancy Bear,’ which is connected to the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, according to an official involved in the forensic investigation.”

American intelligence agencies have told the White House they have ‘high confidence’ that the Russian government was behind the theft of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee.

Fact: Believe nothing US sources, the Clinton campaign and their media echo chamber report – especially from The New York Times, Hillary’s press agent, conducting an ongoing campaign to get her elected in November.

Fact: Blaming Russia for virtually anything without verifiable proof is part longstanding Putin bashing.

He’s vilified solely for political reasons, notably his support for nation-state sovereignty, diplomacy over force in resolving conflicts, and multi-world polarity – positions Washington opposes, irreconcilably opposite its hegemonic agenda.

The possibility of Hillary succeeding Obama next year should terrify everyone, energizing mass activism to stop her.

Her ruthless agenda includes endless wars of aggression. The issue in November is simple and unambiguous, without a shadow of a doubt: Hillary must be defeated! Humanity’s fate depends on it!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at[email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled « Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III. »

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site atsjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

 

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Speaking to MEE, Labour leader calls for powers for Parliament to control arms sales to Saudi Arabia and oversee deployment of special forces

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has demanded a root-and-branch review of Britain’s alliance with Saudi Arabia in the wake of the brutal Saudi interventions in Bahrain and the Yemen.

Corbyn: ‘If we want to live in a world of peace, then there has to be a foreign policy that reflects that’ (AFP)

Speaking to Middle East Eye, Corbyn called for a fundamental change in Britain’s relationship with the Middle East, establishing a foreign policy based on democracy rather than military interventions. The Labour leader said that Britain’s relationship with the Saudi monarchy should focus on human rights – not arms sales.

“We have got to look again at the whole arms relationship with Saudi Arabia and look again at the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia, sustained by the supply of arms largely, but not exclusively, from Britain which is used… both in Bahrain and in Yemen. Bahrain has now had significant Saudi involvement for quite a long time to prop up the regime there,” Corbyn said.

The Labour leader claimed that the British government was responsible for the deaths of Bahraini protesters: “Well who’s guilty? Who is responsible? Are we not responsible? We sold those arms knowing they were going to be used in Bahrain.”

He said Britain was “incredibly selective” on human rights issues. “We sign up of course to the Universal Declaration, the European Convention and we do have the Arms Export Control Committee in Parliament, but we are actually very selective about this and we’ve done precious little about Saudi Arabia for a very long time. »

Corbyn said that if he became prime minister he would reinstate human rights advisers in British embassies around the world, put human rights clauses in the contracts British firms make, and clamp down on arms sales: ”If we want to live in a world of peace, live in a world of justice towards human rights, then there has to be a foreign policy that reflects that. That is where I’m at.”

Call for war powers act

Breaking new ground, Corbyn called for an American-style « war powers act » to give Parliament new powers to block military intervention. He said the “parliamentary convention now requires that for the deployment of British troops there has to be a parliamentary mandate. Except – and they’ve all used the except – when there are special forces involved. The question of this of course goes back a long way to Vietnam in 1963, when the US managed to have I think 50,000 advisers to the South Vietnamese government before the Congress was even invited to vote on whether or not it should be involved in the Vietnam War. I think the parallel is a very serious one.”

He insisted that MPs should have oversight and control over when British special forces – and not only the regular army – get involved in combat.

Asked about MEE reports establishing the presence of British special forces in Libya, the Labour leader said: “Clearly Britain is involved. Either through special forces in Libya or through arms supplies to Saudi Arabia to the war in Yemen. And indeed by the same process to the supply of anti-personnel equipment that is being used in Bahrain by Saudi Arabia. So I think we have to have a War Powers Act that is much more watertight on this.”

He said the effect of British intervention in Libya has been to destroy the state and create in its place an arms bazaar: “A number of us pointed out in debates in the House at that time that if you simply destroyed the structure of the Libyan state, which is what happened, then you will end up with a series of warring factions.

And the spread of arms which were given to the opponents of Gaddafi has then spread into Mali and many other places. So we’ve actually created an arms bazaar of in some cases relatively small scale arms, but nevertheless very powerful ones.

Backing for Blair prosecution

Corbyn said he supported the families of British soldiers killed in Iraq in their efforts to bring a private prosecution against former prime minister Tony Blair.

He pointed to the words he used when he apologised on behalf of the Labour Party for the invasion of Iraq: “The words I said during the apology [were]: ‘those that are responsible for the war in Iraq must be prepared to face up to their responsibilities’.

« People must face up to their responsibilities for what they did. I met the families of the soldiers who died, and when you meet a family of anyone who has died it’s very hard. I meet the families of young people who have been stabbed to death. It’s very hard for them to understand their son’s life has gone through a random act of violence.

If you join the army,  you join knowing there are risks involved. Obviously. And then you die in a war like Iraq. And then it becomes apparent that the war was based on misinformation or deception, that it wasn’t a necessary war, that it wasn’t a defensive war, and your son or daughter has died in that particular conflict. It’s very hard for those families to come to terms with that, so I spent a lot of time over the past years talking to the families of those that have died. They are very, very impressive people. I think the way Reg Keys and Peter Bradley have conducted themselves is very, very impressive.

The families are appealing for funds to create a team of lawyers that will mount a private prosecution accusing Blair of “misfeasance in public office” on the grounds that he misused his constitutional powers, which led to mass casualties.

Corbyn told MEE he viewed the departure of Hilary Benn as shadow foreign secretary as a chance to develop Labour policy regarding Israel and Palestine.

He said that thanks to recent changes in Labour’s foreign affairs team “you will see more on this from me,” adding that “I will be developing foreign policy a great deal and my views and determination to promote a peace settlement in the Middle East which obviously has to involve recognition of Palestine as something that is very important to me.”

Confident mood

A tanned Corbyn, who on Thursday saw off a legal challenge over his place on the ballot for a new leadership contest brought by Labour MPs, appeared more relaxed and confident than at any time since he was elected Labour leader 10 months ago.

He laid down a clear marker to the majority of Labour MPs who had repeatedly called for him to step down. He said he was dismayed at the way they had launched a coup against him following the Brexit vote: ”I was appalled at the way it was conducted and the way it was designed to cause maximum damage to the party day in day out. I was invited to resign. I absolutely refused to do so. I said I’m responsible for the people who elected me. I’m responsible for the mandate I was given. I will carry out that responsibility – and so I have.

I think some of them [Labour MPs] are confusing the position of the parliamentary party with the party as a whole. The parliamentary party is very, very important, but it is not the entirety of the Labour Party, and I have reached out in a way no other leader ever has in appointing people to my shadow cabinet last September who were very critical of me; some of whom remained critical within the shadow cabinet.

Corbyn said he expected more former shadow ministers who had joined the parliamentary revolt against him to return to the front bench, as MP Sarah Champion did this week.

The Labour leader spoke of his political heroes from the British radical dissenting tradition. He cited the British pamphleteer and political activist Tom Paine as one of his main influences and William Godwin as another, adding that “long-term political changes often come from quite profound and very brave individuals”.

When asked whether he saw himself in the tradition of Paine and Cobbett, Corbyn replied: “You don’t want to put yourself into history too quickly. But I do draw inspiration from those people that stood up in very difficult circumstances.”

Second referendum not ruled out

However, Corbyn notably failed to rule out a second referendum on last month’s Brexit vote.

He ruled one out for “the immediate future,” adding “one has to respect the result”.

However, he added that “at some point in the future, somebody might say we ought to have a referendum on how we deal with the future with Europe”.

The Labour leader presented himself as a new kind of political leader, challenging the elitist, modernising politics of Tony Blair and David Cameron.

The New Labour project was very much Third Way economics, it was aggressive foreign policy, and it was essentially marketisation of a lot of public services. I’m trying to take things in a very different direction of a human rights, democracy-based foreign policy rather than an interventionist one, and an economically interventionist economy in Britain in order to promote good-quality jobs and employment as well as promote decent levels of public service.

With Labour Party membership now more than half a million since his election and still growing, he claimed that he had brought a “new audience” into British politics.

I think there is, because it’s an involvement of a new audience in politics who felt very disillusioned. It is very difficult to measure everything on the basis of personal contact, emails, postcards, whatever it happens to be. But I meet a significant number of people – a significant number of people have contacted me and said ‘I’ve now become interested in politics because what I see with the Labour Party at the moment is that you’re trying to reach out in a way that no one has reached out before.’

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How long will this go on? How long will we see the photographs of a Mr. Tsipras and his Finance Minister in despair. Yet the blood-letting continues.

Already new austerity measures are being projected for 2018 – between 5.4 billion EUR asked by Europeans and 9 billion EUR requested by IMF – and the securing of the Greek debt sustainability through deep restructuring measures (meaning more selling of public assets to foreign corporations), as reported by journalist Yannis Kibouropoulos.

Tsipras and Juncker. CC.

Tsipras and Juncker. CC.

Yes, € 9 billion by the IMF, of all institutions! The very organization that has ostensibly pledged with Greece’s creditors to forgive some of the debt to let the country breathe. This noble idea seems to have given in to the abject, murderous greed of the banks, one among them, the Deutsche Bank, currently the most vulnerable and indebted in the world, not just in Europe, for its derivative exposure of almost € 66 trillion, or about the world’s GDP. The globe’s most criminal financial speculator is to be paid more of Greek blood to nurture its horrendous vampire thirst for more criminal acts, clubbing the weakest of this globe, sucking out the last drop of blood.

When does it stop? – When does the Greek People stand up and demand that the government stop unilaterally this bloodletting – which of course affects none of the ‘leftist’ SYRIZA’s decision makers, to the contrary, we can only imagine how they are being compensated for allowing this monster theft of the peoples’ assets to continue – apparently endlessly, until the last straw, the last drop of water, the last health clinique has been privatized by foreign corporations.

Greece’s debt to GDP today stands at close to 200% in mid-2016, as compared to a mere 109% in 2008 when the man-made crisis started, inspired by the FED-IMF-Wall Street- ECB-EC – instigated by the one big western criminal schemer organization. It was supposed to trigger the crisis in Europe for saving the dollar – and as a by-product steal European peoples’ social assets, assets that belong to the people who paid for it. Greece was to be framed. Her debt was unsurmountable and would affect all of Europe. Greece – the EU country that contributed barely 2% to Europe’s GDP, was ‘guilty’ of provoking a European crisis that eventually had and still has worldwide implications. How ridiculous!

A debt-GDP ratio of 109% was and is totally manageable, without outside interference. Incidentally, the US current debt today is about what Greece’s debt was in 2008. Is anybody paying attention to it? – Of course not. The masters of the universe have all the rights. They make the law but are not accountable for any of them, not even the ones they make. That’s the stupefied world we are living in.

But would it have occurred to anyone to discard the lie-riddled propaganda jargon from the IMF and Co. and ask the question how Greece could be targeted as the culprit? How was this possible? – Not even today this question is asked. The lies and manipulations of the nefariously criminal killer troika and its occult behind the scene corporate-finance handlers seem to be all persuasive. – Killer troika – yes killer – thousands if not ten thousands of people have died prematurely due to lack of access to medication, health services, proper housing – and by suicide through sheer despair.

From the very beginning, when this trend of purposeful destruction of an entire population and her country became clear, there was the one solution that would have salvaged Greece and make it a happy country again: Leave the Euro zone! – And if necessary even the European Union. But with indoctrinated fear of an uncertain future, with the proud notion of belonging to and remaining in the Eurozone – and with a purposeful neglect of the Syriza government informing the people with the truth about the debt-onslaught – nobody dared to question the government on why it defied the overwhelming people’s vote against the austerity packages in July 2015. – Sorry, it wasn’t ‘nobody’, but it wasn’t a critical mass, it wasn’t the right influential people to ask that question – and to oppose the government’s handling of Greece’s ‘crisis’, and why SYRIZA was working in connivance with the troika. Those who did ask were sidelined. They were not snotty enough wanting to stick to the fraudulent Euro.

As of this day, there is a majority of Greek – of middle-class Greek, that is – who after more than six years externally imposed annihilation still want their country (almost nothing of it is theirs any more), to remain in the fraudulent pyramid scheme called Eurozone. These people, who are also the ones who influence the Greek power elite, have apparently little regard for those Greek that can hardly survive, for those Greek, who have lost their pensions, their health services, their employment and have no time to think about politics, whose life is entirely dedicated to survive from one day to another – or eventually to commit suicide, as many do. Are the statistics of suicides for despair published in Greece? By now they have reached the thousands.

Have these middle-class hangers-on to power any idea and compassion for their fellow citizens whose head is more under water than above? Do they have enough compassion to discard their pride to belong to this illegal Eurozone and to associate with their destitute brothers? – Yes, illegal, because what the troika are doing thanks to the common currency, called Euro, defies any standards of international law, all of the agencies behind this economic killing are disobeying their one charters and constitutions. Take the IMF – one of its principal rules is no lending to countries whose debt has made them financially unviable. This rule is being broken in Ukraine, in Greece and elsewhere, just anywhere where the empire wants to suck blood and achieve total subordination – on its way to full spectrum dominance.

Do you know, People of Greece – that the EU as well as the Euro has never been a European idea? That both are actually constructs of the CIA? The EU was never meant to become a political federation with a common goal and with common development objectives. To the contrary, whenever such a concept ‘threatened’ to become a reality, Washington pushed for admitting new countries, especially the former Eastern Bloccountries which were presumably due to their Soviet past all ferociously anti-Europe and pro-Washington. This was the age-old tactic of divide to conquer- and it succeeded. It was pushed through via the UK which was Washington’s Trojan Horse in Europe – hopefully no longer after BREXIT.

Have you noticed, People of Greece, how there is an ever growing integration between the EU and NATO? – Do you want to continue being militarized by foreign forces that are every day more threatening world peace?

So – why stay in the EU and the Eurozone, when all indications point to another direction? The writing is clearly on the wall.

My appeal to the People of Greece, take BREXIT as an example; dare to say NO to the system that enslaves you. Greek – take back your national sovereignty, your national currency, make the Greek Central Bank Greek again, working for the Greek economy, with a public banking system and interest free loans, to re-launch the Greek economy! – And you will be fine and happy again in no more than 5 years. You – People of Greece – have all the stamina and resourcefulness to drive your country forward and into a prosperity ‘made in Greece’.

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

 

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Glyphosate herbicides, harmful pharmaceuticals, infected blood transfusions, mercury preservative in infant vaccines, organophosphate insecticides, GM technology and fluoridation of the water supply . . . the damage to human and environmental health has been incalculable.

As Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Chief Scientist and Director of the Division of Early Warning and Assessment of the United Nations Environment Programme, said in her preface to Late lessons from early warnings: science, precaution, innovation:

pprof mcgladeThere is something profoundly wrong with the way we are living today. There are corrosive pathologies of inequality all around us — be they access to a safe environment, healthcare, education or clean water. These are reinforced by short-term political actions and a socially divisive language based on the adulation of wealth . . .

One thing that has become clearer over the past decade is that certain chemical substances are highly stable in nature and can have long-lasting and wide ranging effects before being broken down into a harmless form. The risk of a stable compound is that it can be bio-accumulated in fatty tissues at concentrations many times higher than in the surrounding environment . . . So exposure to toxic chemicals and certain foodstuffs are at risk of causing harm, especially to vulnerable groups such as foetuses in the womb or during childhood when the endocrine system is being actively built. Even with small dose exposures, the consequences can in some instances be devastating with problems ranging from cancer, serious impacts on human development, chronic diseases and learning disabilities.

Professor McGlade points out that well-informed individuals and communities would ‘more properly’ set ‘the power to act’, than current political systems which have become ‘silted up by vested interests and a determination to protect assets’ – and, we would add, to accumulate profits. She calls for “a more ethical form of public decision-making based on a language in which our moral instincts and concerns can be better expressed . . .”

chemical exposures cover

Above, a book by Claudia Miller, M.D., M.S., a tenured Professor in Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Vice Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), who has written extensively on the health effects of low-level chemical exposures.

One simple measure could be adopted. Every scientific report or review should be prefaced by a declaration of the researcher’s competing financial interests

From the Nature/ British Dental Journal’s declaration of the authors’ competing financial interests Critique of the review of ‘Water fluoridation for the prevention of dental caries’ published by the Cochrane Collaboration in 2015, we learn that – out of 17 – these authors had such an interest – see footnote, with names added to the initials in the list.

The Cochrane review noted- amongst many other findings – that only two studies since 1975 have looked at the effectiveness of reducing cavities in baby teeth, and found fluoridation to have no statistically significant impact – and within the ‘before and after’ studies none showed the benefits of fluoridated water for adults.

In view of the authors’ competing interests it is not surprising thatthey cast doubt on the validity of the unfavourable findings of the Cochrane Review, which is ’unconstrained by commercial and financial interests’.

Notes:

  1. A. J. Rugg-Gunn: AJRG was a member of the MRC (UK) working group on water fluoridation and health and is a trustee of The Borrow Foundation (long associated with milk fluoridation).
  2. A.J. Spencer: AJS is a member of the Australian Government Department of Health, Nutritional Reference Values Fluoride Expert Working Group and the National Health and Medical Research Council Fluoride Reference Group.
  3. H.P. Whelton: HPW is Principal Investigator of the FACCT study funded by the Irish Health Research Board and is an evaluation of the impact of changes in the policy on children’s oral health in Ireland. She is an independent advisor to the British Fluoridation Society.
  4. C.Jones: CJ is a member of the British Fluoridation Society, the Cochrane Oral Health Group and commented on the Cochrane review protocol.
  5. J. F. Beal: JFB is vice-chairman, British Fluoridation Society.
  6. P.Castle: PC is a communications adviser to the National Alliance for Equity in Dental Health and the British Fluoridation Society. 
  7. P.V. Cooney: PVC was Chief Dental Officer for Canada.
  8. J. Johnson: JJ is President, American Fluoridation Society. 
  9. M.P. Kelly: MPK is co-investigator on the CATFISH study of a water fluoridation scheme in Cumbria.
  10. M.A. Lennon: MAL was a member of the Advisory Panel for the York Review, a member of the MRC Expert Group and formerly Chair of the British Fluoridation Society.
  11. J. McGinley: JMcG is manager, Fluoridation Activities, American Dental Association.
  12. D. O’Mullane: DO’M is a member of the Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health.
  13. P.P. Sharma: PPS is the President, Ontario Association of Public Health Dentistry. 
  14. W.M. Thomson: WMT was a member of the panel which produced the Royal Society of New Zealand report on community water fluoridation.
  15. S. M. Woodward: SMW works for The Borrow Foundation.
  16. S.P. Zusman: SPZ is Chief Dental Officer with Israeli Ministry of Health.
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Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His ‘Small People’

juillet 30th, 2016 by Andre Vltchek

Possibly I have spent too many years ‘abroad’, outside of North America and Europe. Perhaps I don’t feel ‘white’, or ‘Western’ anymore. Or who knows, maybe I never really felt too ‘Western’ anyway, thanks to my Russian and Chinese blood.

That could help to explain why, when I listened to the acceptance speech delivered by Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, I felt detached. In fact I felt great emptiness. I understood the words and their meaning, and I was even able to analyze what these words would mean to the world, were this forceful man to be elected to the highest office in the most powerful country on Earth. But for a while, inside, I felt nothing; absolutely nothing, except, perhaps, exhaustion.

Outside my window was a great mass of water, separating the historic Penang Island from the rest of Malaysia. Cargo ships were majestically sailing to and from the nearby port, and it was raining heavily.

Photo by IoSonoUnaFotoCamera

I was watching Donald Trump’s speech live on Al-Jazeera. There was hardly any other choice available, as in this suddenly pro-Western country there were no international alternative channels, for which I work for– no RT, no Press TV, and no Telesur.

Trump spoke and spoke, much longer than expected. Whenever cameras showed people listening to his speech, I felt a sense of déjà vu, that I had witnessed all this on many other occasions. Like when Obama was speaking and thousands of people were, religiously, as if in a trance, moving their lips, whispering ‘yes we can’…  like when George W. Bush was being sworn in. Like…

The Messiah has arrived! Oh, that need for a religious experience, which is so omnipotent in the United States. The evangelical, putatively religious Trump (in reality, the man has no religious passion of any kind except a case of unquenchable Narcissism), defending ‘little people’! How lovely, honest and unexpected. Bravo!

And then, a few hours later, came the first ‘reviews’ of the speech. And the Western ‘left’ began doing something extremely weird, unexpected and in my opinion, thoroughly sick: in their indirect way, many prominent writers and alternative publications, actually endorsed Trump, while firing constant salvos of accusations against Hilary Clinton. (For the record before going any further: I am NOT arguing here that Clinton does not deserve all the hatred and contempt that any decent person, wherever s/he may be on the political spectrum, would level at a woman who has been, along with her huckster husband, little but an abject corporate shill and dangerous warmonger practically her entire public career. By the same token, there’s no question that the Democrats continue to be the more hypocritical side of the murderous duopoly, and that their betrayals are by now normalized, not to mention that, as witnessed with Sanders, they remain the graveyard of progressive movements.)

In any case, let us continue.

One could read directly or between the lines: “You see, the Democrats actually betrayed the ‘little people!’ They teamed up with big business, and they ruined the middle class. And now, so many good but angry folks will actually vote for Trump, because at least he is honest and he is sick of the establishment…”

Of course I am simplifying, but yes, there was that clear self-congratulatory tone I have written about in so many essays and analyses. Trashing Hilary Clinton, and trashing Democrats, was suddenly in vogue. One writer after another had to demonstrate to the world that he or she is simply too bright to believe that the Democratic Party is still the party left of center, and that it is still the force which is ready to defend the interests of the ‘common people’.

For years and decades, I thought that this was not a secret. The Republicans and Democrats were two sides of the same, crooked coin. Western ‘democracy’ —which never really came anywhere near its promise—was dead, in both North America and Europe. Why this sudden explosion of trivial statements, why this repetition of something that is so obvious, and for such a long time?

And then it hit me, as if a heavy sandbag had crashed on my head: many so-called left-wingers in the West actually do like Donald Trump! They really do! And they truly enjoyed his speech. And if it weren’t so embarrassing, they would put that religious fanatical mask on their face, hug each other, shed a few tears and begin whispering: “Yes we can!”


Yes, obviously the West’s anti-Communist ‘left’ also needs its Messiah. It needs a bunch of good Samaritans as well as those truly bad capitalists who are now suddenly ‘seeing the light’ and ‘changing their course’. It needs ‘popular revolts’.

The similarities are simply beyond amusing. Benito Mussolini Trump – the US President to be? (Source : prince.org)

Most of the West’s left has no ideology, really. It is too cowardly to aim at true revolution, and it is too Western and ‘Christian’ to actually push for internationalist ideas, ideals and solutions. And so it justifies its existence by concentrating on several local social issues, defending the interests of those so-called ‘little people’ who reside predominantly in both Europe and North America.

Now let us be very careful and define this correctly – let me repeat it once again: we are talking about the social issues that are preoccupying the West, and we are talking about the interests of those ‘little people’ living in North America and Europe, and perhaps in Australia, New Zealand, Israel and Japan (which had already been defined as a ‘honorary white nation’ by South African apartheid).

Africa, the Middle East, Asia, or Latin America: be damned! Nobody in Paris or New York cares about what is being done to those parts of the world. At most, a few people in the West shout, once in a while: “Stop the wars!” Or: “Down with our foreign interventions!” But the tremendous and continuous plunder of the planet by the Empire never really becomes the main concern of the so-called Western left. It is mainly because the entire West benefits from it, including those sacred ‘little people’ (not to be confused with the ‘un-people’, defined as such by George Orwell and inhabiting almost the entire non-Western world).

In his recent outstanding essay “COMMUNIST CHINA vs. CAPITALIST PHILIPPINES vs. IMPERIAL FRANCE”, published on this site and his China Rising blog, my Beijing-based friend and comrade Jeff J. Brown, explained:

Westerners are deluded and brainwashed into believing that thanks to capitalism, they have their great monuments, skyscrapers, plazas, parks, museums, infrastructure, prosperity, luxury and grotesque super-consumption. Wrong. They can live like the Hampshire hogs of humanity, only because of the larcenous extraction and exploitation of 15th-21st century imperialism and colonialism.

So, who suffers the indignities, humiliation and hand-to-mouth existence of capitalism? The 30,000 children who die every day… for a lack of clean water, food, shelter and medical care, along with their surviving family members in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania. These 30,000 young innocents, 11,000,000 per year who die like starved rats, really ought to be sacrificed on altars of expropriated super-consumption, their throats slit in ritualistic fashion on the National Mall in Washington, DC; Hyde Park in London and Place de la Concorde in Paris. Ten thousand children in each capital, slaughtered every sunrise, so that Westerners can continue to luxuriate like sated gods and goddesses. It should be the civic duty of every Eurangloland citizen to at least witness it once in their life, if not plunge the knife themselves in a sacrifice’s neck, as atonement for their vulgar excesses.

People like Jeff and I cannot stomach to live in the West, anymore. And those moral and powerful statements, like those above, are constantly censored in the mainstream media. Both of us care about the ‘small people’, we care very much. But we mainly care about the common and small people living all over the world, people who are, somehow, much smaller, much tinier, weaker and more defenseless, that the tiniest ones in the West.

Such issues are not discussed by the US Presidential candidates, or by the would-be leaders in Europe. Such issues are actually taboo. All mainstream politicians in the West are well aware of the fact that their voters (those ‘small people’) do not want to hear anything about the suffering of others, no matter how excessive and monstrous the suffering is (and especially if that suffering is due to the global ‘arrangement’ which sustains astronomically high standards of living in the West, at the expense of impoverished and robbed masses in virtually all other parts of the world).

The West’s ‘small people’ only want to hear about their own misfortunes and ordeals. They want to be pitied. They want a much better deal than the one they are getting these days. If they go to the barricades, it is not to protest against the holocausts which their countries are committing all over the world. It is only to get more, more and more, for themselves, by any means available, and no matter who is really paying the bill.

In his “Donald Trump and the Revolt of the Proles”, Mike Whitney recently argued:

Liberals and progressives love to point across the aisle and accuse their opponents of racism, misogyny and xenophobia, but that’s not what the Trump campaign is all about. And that’s not what Brexit was about. While it’s true that anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise in Europe and the US, the hostility has less to do with race than it does jobs and wages. In other words, Brexit is a revolt against a free trade regime in which all the benefits have accrued to the uber-rich while everyone else has seen their incomes slide, their future’s dim and their standard of living plunge.

Donald Trump knows perfectly well how to cash in on those sentiments.

He is promising to make America great again. “America first!”

He creates an imaginary country, which almost resembles a war zone, where cops are not murdering but are being murdered, and where homicide rates have risen sky-high, somehow due to those ‘bad immigrants’ who are destroying both American lives and the country’s resources.

He is naming some of the names of those parents in the US who recently lost their children. He drops three names of the parents… And somehow it works; what he is doing is extremely effective. He is a talented demagogue.

I have encountered thousands of parents who lost their children, in the US-sponsored wars and coups, all over Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. And those I saw were only a handful compared to those millions, tens of millions of the silent victims. But these are not Americans. They should not be ‘first’. They are nothing more than just some insignificant numbers, statistics and yes, ‘un-people’.

Trump’s United States resembles a ‘failed’ state. In many ways it is, of course, but mostly for quite different reasons than he is presenting.

In his speech, he singles out one country, one true ally of the United States – it is Israel. (Both parties are simply repugnant in their wooing of the Jewish vote, especially reactionary Zionist tycoons like Sheldon Adelson, the Vegas magnate Trump is hoping will donate the campaign $100 million in the next few weeks.—Eds.)

He further antagonizes China, calling its actions ‘criminal’. And he insults Iran, a country that had been suffering, for decades and centuries, from Western imperialism and colonialism.

He utters some usual Christian fundamentalist rhetoric, just so no one forgets where he stands in respect to the most aggressive religion, which has been devastating the Planet for so many centuries.

And it goes on and on, it seems that it will never stop, the same as the rain outside the window of my hotel room in Penang.

But it does stop, at some point, as everything in this world usually does. And then the roaring applause comes, and the camera shows some people crying, overwhelmed by emotion. Their leader has just spoken! Their leader just promised to make their country great again. Their leader declared that he is on their side – on the side of the ‘common people’, of hard-working Americans.

And then, almost immediately, the commentaries, analyses begin to appear online.

For some time, I cannot believe what I am reading. Several ‘progressive’ writers and publications are openly, or covertly, expressing their support for a real-estate magnate, who keeps promising to build an impenetrable wall around the United States of America! Yes, really, dudes: Bravo!

The fact that there is no difference between the Republican and Democratic parties, is something that I thought till now has been common knowledge for at least several decades. But it also appears that there is almost nothing that remains of the West’s ‘left!

I kept thinking about what several people recently told me in Beijing, Moscow, Iran and Latin America: “most of the so-called ‘left’ in Europe and the United States actually hates Communists and all socialist countries. It hated the USSR and now it hates China and Venezuela. And Russian as well as Chinese people don’t trust them, anymore; they don’t see them as an ally, but as yet another aggressive threat.”

And now comes Donald Trump, the Messiah! I’m afraid that the consensus among US ‘progressives’ will soon be: in order to damage corporatism and to defeat Hillary Clinton, let’s vote for Donald Trump!” Or is this consensus already there?

Vote for a fascist, vote for someone so clearly, so openly a fascist, in order to defeat market fundamentalism.

I think: “Damn it! No way! Never!”

Fascism and imperialism are two sides of the same coin.

If you really have that neurotic tick that forces you to stick some piece of paper into a box, periodically, every few years, then go and vote for your cat or your neighbor’s bulldog. They’d do a much better job as President. If they are not on the ballot, just add them, with your pen or a marker, then stick the paper in and go home. And you’ll not have to face the judgment and verdict of history, a few years or decades later!

Glyph

Oh, and please, do not forget: both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini were fully on the side of their ‘small people’. They wanted them to recover their pride, to get well-paid jobs, all sorts of social benefits. German and Italian trains began to run on time. Hitler began building the legendary Autobahns, and he believed that each German family should own its own automobile. (Volkswagen is not called “the People”s Car” for nothing!).

Both Germany and Italy were to become the greatest countries on Earth.

There was just one tiny detail and, so to speak, a defect throwing a shadow on those ‘noble’ designs: for Germans and Italians to thrive, millions, even tens of millions of human beings had to vanish! They were to be bombed, torn to pieces, gassed, or burned alive. Or forced into abject domination. But it did not matter much, did it? As these people were only lower beings, nothing more.

So long as that white ‘chosen’ race, those ‘supermen’ and ‘superwomen’ got their benefits and pride back, no price was considered to be too high.

If Hilary Clinton gets elected, the world will be on fire. She has demonstrated her ruthlessness, her ability to destroy entire nations. She may even force China and Russia into a military conflict with the West. Corruption will flourish, and the horrific corporatism will continue ruling over the Planet. We know what is ahead!

But the horrors that the humanity would have to endure, if Donald Trump gets elected, are unimaginable. Although, ‘to his credit’, he is honest, and he is providing plenty of hints. Nobody, absolutely nobody who will go and vote for him in November, will be able to later say that he or she ‘did not know’.

Both the choices given to the voters by the US regime are appalling.

But the true choice should not be between Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump, but between this profoundly sickening and defunct system, and something totally different and new!

The bottom line is: to vote for either of these two candidates would be unpatriotic, but above all, it would be thoroughly immoral!

Philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist, Andre Vltchek has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or Twitter account. 

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During the occupation of Iraq U.S. intelligence and military services contracted CACI International Inc, a U.S. company in Virginia, to provide « intelligence services » in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. CACI employees were directly involved in torturing Iraqi prisoners.

The U.S. army recently contracted CACI for « intelligence analysis services » in Syria. The Syrian government has not invited or otherwise allowed U.S. military or its contractors to enter the country. Any such activities infringe on Syria’s sovereignty and are thereby in violation of international law.

The re-engagement of such a controversial company for services in the area boosts the recruitment appeal of the Islamic State.

A recent U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Press Announcement (Release No: CR-143-16, July 27, 2016) lists under the rubric « Army »:

Six3 Intelligence Solutions Inc., McLean, Virginia, was awarded a $ 9,578,964 modification (P00001) to contract W564KV-16-C-0058 for intelligence analysis services. Work will be performed in Germany, Italy, and Syria, with an estimated completion date of June 29, 2017.

CACI does business under the name Six3 Systems and Six3 Intelligence Solutions. The web-domain six3systems.com reroutes directly to www.CACI.com.


bigger

The announcement was found by Micah Zenko.

As of 2014 CACI, aka Six3 Systems, was still accused of direct involvement in torture and interrogations in Abu Ghraib:

A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit against CACI International Inc by four former Iraqi detainees who claimed the U.S. defense contractor’s employees directed their torture at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

Writing for a unanimous three-judge 4th Circuit panel, Circuit Judge Barbara Milano Keenan also said Congress has a « distinct interest » in not turning the United States into a « safe harbor » for torturers.

The lawsuit accused CACI employees who conducted interrogation and other services at Abu Ghraib of directing or encouraging torture, in part to « soften up » detainees for questioning, while managers were accused of covering it up.Photos depicting abuse of Abu Ghraib detainees emerged in 2004. Some detainees claimed they endured physical and sexual abuse, infliction of electric shocks, and mock executions.

The re-hiring of this company for services to U.S. forces against Syria and ISIS is of great propaganda benefit for the Islamic State. Some of those who endured treatment by CACI employees will join ISIS to take revenge for their suffering. Relatives of those who were tortured and humiliated by CACI personnal will feel urged to use this chance for retaliation. Islamists in other countries will find motivation in this repeat of « western » denigration of their (religious) honor.

Many leading figures of the Islamic State are former prisoners of U.S. military and intelligence in Iraq. Al-Jawlani, the head of al-Qaeda in Syria aka Jabhat al Nusra, is also a former U.S. prisoner in Iraq. Will these people meet familiar faces when they come into contact with CACI employees in Syria?

The question is not theoretical.

Islamic State media just released video from inside a camp in Jordan which shows U.S. personnal providing military and intelligence training to anti-Syrian-government « rebels ».


(via Anna Ahronheim)

Such training seems to include ideological indoctrination.


(via Hassan Ridha)

Publishing this video is a great Public Relation success for the Islamic State. It is another example of the direct benefit to IS from U.S. military and intelligence activities in and around Syria.

The publishing of the video suggests that the Islamic State penetrated -one way or another- a U.S. training camp in Jordan. Will the « intelligence services » provided by CACI in Syria likewise be open to Islamic State infiltration?

 


Sidenote:

*The contract series W564KV is handled by the 409th Contracting Support Brigade of the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Other contracts in the series seem to relate to general facility management, probably for U.S. bases in Syria. A somewhat similar numbered contract (W564KV-12-C-0058) as the CACI one above was announced in 2012:

Lenoir City, Tenn., was awarded a $17,172,085 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the top secret security guard services. Work will be performed in Germany, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 27, 2017.

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Leaked DNC Emails Confirm Anti-Sanders Conspiracy

juillet 30th, 2016 by Eric Draitser

The release by Wikileaks of a trove of emails from high-ranking Democratic Party officials has confirmed what many Americans – both progressive and conservative – have suspected throughout this election cycle: that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) actively conspired against Bernie Sanders in an attempt to ensure the nomination for Hillary Clinton.

But it wasn’t simply party apparatchiks like the disgraced Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the recently resigned Chair of the DNC and close ally of Clinton, but also their trusted cronies in the corporate media who actively collaborated with DNC officials to ensure that nothing too critical of Hillary would make it into the Mighty Wurlitzer of contemptibly ‘respectable’ journalism.  Indeed, what the Wikileaks revelations expose to the world is the fact that there’s nothing democratic about the Democratic Party, or America’s alleged democracy in general.

More specifically however, the question that really must be asked is: why Hillary Clinton?  What is it about this woman that unites nearly the entirety of the political, financial, socio-cultural, and military establishment?  Is it really just hatred of Donald Trump?  Or is there something more insidious, something that makes Hillary the irresistible flame of belligerence and exceptionalism to which the corporate-imperialist moths are slavishly attracted?

From Conspiracy Theory to Conspiracy Fact

For months the sentinels of the liberal media fortress derided all allegations of a DNC conspiracy against Bernie Sanders and the millions of Americans who #FeelTheBern, caricaturing these accusations as no different from the Illuminati-Freemason-Rothschild-Lizard People.  Articles like Bernie Sanders Fans’ DNC ‘Collusion’ Conspiracy Theory is Embarrassing Garbage and Can we please stop with the Bernie Sanders conspiracy theories? were staples of the campaign once it became clear that the Berners were a real political force, and that the Sanders campaign could actually pose a threat to the establishment’s preferred proxy, Hillary Clinton.

And with each new article the level of condescension and derision seemed to increase to the point where Sanders’ supporters had been transformed into the embarrassingly clichéd tinfoil-hat wearers of Alex Jones land.  But here we are, just a few months later, and Hillary Clinton has knelt for her coronation as Queen of the imperial castle.  And in the midst of the insufferable Hollywood endorsements, the amnesiac revisionism, and the identitarian phantasmagoria, something amazing happened on the internet: the conspiracy theories were proven true.

Indeed, the Wikileaks emails show direct interventions against Bernie by the DNC.  For instance, in late May, just three weeks before the all-important California primary, a DNC staffer emailed DNC Communications Director, Luis Miranda, pitching him a story about Bernie’s campaign being “a mess.”  Specifically, the staffer wrote,

“Wondering if there’s a good Bernie narrative for a story, which is that Bernie never ever had his act together, that his campaign was a mess…It’s not a DNC conspiracy, it’s because they never had their act together.”

What is particularly damning about the email is not that Bernie’s campaign was disorganized (entirely plausible), but rather that DNC staffers and communications director were attempting to manufacture and propagate news stories with that narrative, rather than acting as the impartial party functionaries that they shrilly proclaim themselves to be.  In fact, corporate media outlets did indeed pick up parts of that narrative in the days and weeks leading up to the California primary, specifically the fact that Bernie’s campaign was poorly organized in terms of delegate education and other issues.

Even more egregious is the email from Communications Director Luis Miranda to a number of high-ranking DNC officials, including Wasserman-Schultz, in which he notes that the DNC was able to suppress key information from this New York Times article.  Miranda was pleased that he was “able to keep him from including more on the JVF [Joint Victory Fund], it has a mention in there, but between us and a conversation he had with Marc Elias he finally backed off from focusing too much on that.”

This information is quite damning as it’s clear that Miranda, the spokesman for the DNC, deliberately attempted to shield Clinton from media criticism over the highly dubious “joint fundraising venture” the Joint Victory Fund, which is essentially a Hillary-DNC fundraising machine.  While the JVF gets a passing mention in the article, there is no substantive examination of it, nor is there any context or comparison to the Bernie Sanders campaign whose fundraising was almost entirely based on small, individual contributions.  In contrast, JVF included on its list of donors the Pritzker Group, Saban Capital Group, and other major players in finance capital and industry.  Perhaps this information might have been valuable to the American public trying to decide whether to support Bernie or Hillary.

Or how about the Politico reporter who agreed to allow the DNC to review his article about Clinton’s fundraising before it was published?  Does this strike you as real journalism?  In an April 30, 2016 email, National Press Secretary and Deputy Communications Director Mark Paustenbach wrote to his boss Luis Miranda noting that Politico reporter Kenneth Vogel “gave me his story ahead of time/before it goes to his editors…Let me know if you see anything that’s missing and I’ll push back.”

In a sadly predictable, and grossly unethical, move, the DNC seems to have worked out deals with major media outlets that allowed them to censor corporate media stories about the Clinton campaign, or at the very least to slant them so as to make Clinton look like something less than the Voldemort of Wall Street and capital.

But it goes much further, and indeed gets even more unethical, than just collusion between corporate media and the DNC.  The emails also reveal attempts to smear Sanders with quite literally any information that might damage him in key primary states.  For instance, this email exchange between top DNC officials shows that they intended to “get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. [sic] He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”  Clearly, in Kentucky and West Virginia, the DNC wanted to use Sanders’s religious beliefs, or lack thereof, against him.  Such tactics are, to put it bluntly, reprehensible.

And of course we could go on and on with dozens of other emails demonstrating the level of collusion within the DNC, and with its media partners, to effectively undermine the Sanders campaign while propping up Clinton.  I guess those arrogant pundits who derisively referred to the “embarrassing conspiracy theories” have some ‘splaining to do.

Why, Exactly, Is Everyone #WithHer?

For veterans of US politics, it should be relatively obvious why Hillary Clinton has been the clear darling of the establishment from the beginning of the race.  And, considering the Democratic Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street and the financial elites in the US, it almost goes without saying why the DNC would carry water for the Clinton campaign.  Her record really speaks for itself.

Hillary Clinton is an unabashed warmonger, a woman who has demonstrated time and again her willingness to bomb, invade, and destroy nations all over the globe.  From championing her husband’s criminal bombing of Serbia, to supporting George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, to being the principal cheerleader for bombing and destroying Libya and Syria, Hillary’s devotion to the military-industrial complex and the mentality of the Cold War is beyond dispute.

While running for Senate in 2000, Clinton explicated her foreign policy outlook when, according the New York Times, “She cited American involvement in Bosnia and Kosovo as examples of foreign engagements she favored on moral and strategic grounds.” And, according to Hillary biographer Gail Sheehy, Clinton proudly proclaimed “I urged [Bill Clinton] to bomb [Serbia].”  One could be forgiven for thinking these are the smug, egomaniacal claims of a sociopath; they are, but they’re also the words of America’s likely next president.

But aside from simply delighting in the death and destruction she can rain down upon weaker nations, Hillary is also the standard-bearer for finance capital and Wall Street.  Her connections to Goldman Sachs and nearly every major bank make her statements about reining in Wall Street both laughable and deeply infuriating; there’s only so much cynicism a country can take.  So, wealthy benefactors like George Soros, the Pritzker family, Haim Saban, and many others fall over themselves to line up behind the First Woman PresidentTM just as they did behind The First Black PresidentTM.

And this point must not be understated.  Identity politics is one of the principal levers by which the Democratic Party keeps liberal America in line.  Never mind that The First Black PresidentTM expanded AFRICOM, killed the single most important African leader, continued the oppression and exploitation of millions of Africans all over the continent, presided over the rapid expansion of drone assassinations, and so much worse; forget all that, I mean, he’s black.  Similarly, Hillary is able to translate her gender into political currency, one that allows the Democratic Party to continue the charade that it is a party for everyone.

And of course, who could forget economic policy?  Clinton represents the best of what Wall Street has to offer.  She is a devout neoliberal, the high priestess of the Church of Free Trade.  She and her husband presided over the passage of NAFTA which has devastated millions of Mexican families while gutting the American industrial base, all the while making superprofits for Big Agribusiness, Big Retail, and big banks.

In effect, Clinton is quite similar to Obama in that both have an insatiable appetite for war and the economic orthodoxy of neoliberalism.  As such, both are the quintessential Democrats: political snake-charmers whose smiles and warm embraces hide the coldness of their hearts, whose devotion to the multicultural rainbow belies their deep hatred of the working class and poor.

And of course, it is imperialism abroad and neoliberalism at home that makes an establishment leader.  It is a reckless disregard for the rights of ordinary Americans, as well as those around the world, that makes one “Presidential.”  It is a deep sociopathy that truly demonstrates that a politician is ready for the office.  So, given that, it would seem that America is indeed #ReadyForHillary.

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US Warplanes Massacre Syrian Civilians Unaccountably

juillet 30th, 2016 by Stephen Lendman

Longstanding US policy has no regard for human life.

High crimes committed globally, notably in its war theaters. Syria is in the eye of the storm, US aggression continuing against a sovereign independent state, now in its sixth year with no prospects for resolution.

On Friday, Damascus responded to US-led “coalition” airstrikes, killing or injuring nearly 100 civilians in the city of Manbij near Aleppo – Obama’s latest atrocity against a beleaguered people.

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said Damascus “condemns in the strongest terms targeting innocent civilians and infrastructure by the so-called international coalition and (foreign-supported) armed terrorist groups,” citing its Foreign Ministry.

It demanded UN action to stop “attacks and atrocities committed against civilians, calling for bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

Commenting on Jabhat al-Nusra’s announcement of changing its name to Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham, the ministry described it as a desperate attempt to erase its notorious track record of crimes and bloodletting.

The myth of so-called “moderate opposition” permits “overt support for terrorism roiling Syria and the world.”

US-led deadly airstrikes on civilians along with its death squad mercenaries reflect Washington’s longstanding imperial ruthlessness – raping and destroying countries into submission, puppet regimes replacing sovereign governance, aiming for hegemonic global dominance no matter the human cost.

Over half a million Syrian deaths attest to America’s barbarity – along with millions more in multiple other war theaters post-9/11 alone – a policy of endless carnage, appalling ruthlessness, no end to this in sight.

Separately, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said (US-supported) Jabhat al-Nusra renaming itself to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham won’t change Moscow’s policy to destroy the group entirely.

“(A)ttempts of terrorists to change their image are in vain,” the Ministry said. “No matter (what) it…call(s) itself, (it) has been and remains an illegal terrorist organization…”

It

“has no other aim but to create the so-called Islamic Caliphate through cruel and barbarous methods. Consistent fight against these fanatics will be continued with the support of the world community until they are fully destroyed.”

No so-called “moderate rebels” in Syria exist. All anti-government forces are imported death squads. Operating with foreign support makes conflict resolution unattainable.

It’s time for Syria with the support of Russia to act decisively in waging actions on all terrorist elements in Syria, stepping up operations to eliminate them all – the only way to restore peace and stability.

Diplomacy hasn’t worked and won’t because Washington wants war, not peace until Assad is forcibly ousted.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at[email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled « Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III. »

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site atsjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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Turkey’s Nuclear Weapons

juillet 30th, 2016 by Jan Oberg

Turkey is a NATO member, the second largest militarily.

It hosts 50 nuclear weapons at a base about hundred kilometres from the Syrian border – ISIS territory. Each of them with a capacity of up to six times a  Hiroshima bomb.

Great to have them there now, right?

It’s been secular, quite West-oriented, Muslim, European and modern. Different. Diverse. And has wanted to join the EU.

But it was told by Brexit Cameron that it may take more than 3000 years and by French warrior President Sarkozy that it just doesn’t belong.

However, the EU could use it and paid it to get rid of its war-created refugee problem. It pledged its decency and humanity with Turkey.

It’s a very close ally of the U.S. too, but with warming relations to Russia.

Then it falls apart in some kind of strange coup and in 5 days about 60,000 people are purged or arrested, 2300 institutions closed down. One-man rule by decree.

More troubles and violence can be expected down the road. Who will be put in all these people’s place?

But no particular outcry, some ‘worries’ expressed but mostly endorsement of the dictatorial leader.

Imagine the headlines and the words Western politicans and human-rights cheerleaders would speak if it had been Russia or Iran.

No mention of suspension from NATO, or of sanctions.

Don’t worry too much: NATO protects freedom, human rights, democracy and peace as it always has. Oh really?

So of course, it’s stability and militarism before human rights, democracy and freedom. Particularly when a lot is at stake and the strongman is our strongman.

Or perhaps not so much longer?

Jan Oberg

 

 

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

The strident anti-Corbyn headlines are endless.  Almost every day a new headline drums the message home: Jeremy Corbyn must go.  So many ‘false’ stories.  Take the story of Corbyn ‘threatening rebel MPs with deselection’.  When he launched his leadership campaignCorbywas asked if he could move to deselect unsupportive MPs.  His concise answer was that if proposed constituency boundary changes come into force before the next general election, “there will be a full selection process with every constituency.”

That is the way the rules work, and no, he doesn’t favour changing the rules.  He acknowledged that some Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) may well want to replace their current MP with one whose views support their own.  He also later pointed out that, as Leader, he has no power to intervene, one way or the other.  That is also how the rules work.  Cue a whole set of headlines based on Corbyn’s ‘threats’.

How the very democratically elected Labour leader keeps his cool under this constant onslaught of verbal abuse and false smears being fed into the right-wing media from the very MPs who should be supporting him is a wonder.

His reaction to the nastiness has been called Zen-like. As a person who believes in peaceful dialogue and who never resorts to threats and bullying, he lets it all wash over him, although he did admit to a trade unionist at the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival that he worried about the effect it might have on his family.

He’s right to worry.  The pressure will only get worse in the next few weeks as the ‘New Labour’ MPs who are trying so desperately to get rid of Corbyn feed the mainstream media with false stories about him and his many supporters, some of whom have been labelled as dangerous thugs.

The person to whom Corbyn spoke later told a Momentum meeting that she had been approached by the BBC – the reporter wanted to interview Corbyn.  He also wanted to speak to an anti-Corbyn person – ‘for balance’.  Was there an anti-Corbyn person there he could speak to?  At Tolpuddle, the birthplace of modern unionism?  A vain hope.

Stories have been fed to the media from the day Corbyn was elected as leader last September.  Since the pre-arranged and unsuccessful attempt to oust him via a ‘vote of no confidence’, false stories have come thick and fast.

The willing media have been used as a tool by the remnants of Tony Blair’s New Labour.  Media Lens documented how very biased the angles of the headlines and articles have been in their efforts to belittle and smear a politician who is known and respected for his honesty and principles.  The London School of Economics published a damning study into the media coverage following Corbyn’s election last year.

It is a sorry and dirty tale.  As the press refused to even publish details of Corbyn’s tireless travelling across the country, making speech after speech asking people to back Remain in the recent EU referendum, his enemies among Labour MPs were able to dishonestly claim he ‘had not done enough’ to prevent the vote for Brexit.

If the media even bothered to report Corbyn’s reaction to the accusations, it was misreported.  Craig Murray posted a powerful piece giving examples of events where the media reported an entirely different story to what actually happened, usually involving violence and ‘thuggish’ behaviour, if not sexist, misogynist or racist as well.

It really is time that the elite, the politicians and the media caught up with the fact that now just about everything gets filmed by the public on their phones, and they can only deny the evidence by refusing it a space in their papers and on their TVs.

Having been democratically elected, with the largest mandate any UKleader has received, Corbyn refused to resign his position, despite all the pressure from his ‘fellow’ MPs.  Up springs a leadership challenge in the person of Angela Eagle, who then came out with a story that a brick had been thrown through the window of her constituency office (see Craig Murray above).

Eagle, who looks set to be deselected by her constituency party at the next general election, made other mistakes, much to the amusement of the ‘Corbynistas’.  Then another challenger appeared – Owen Smith.  Owen who?  Few Labour members were familiar with the name, but surprisingly, Eagle stepped back and Smith became the sole challenger.

The CLPs are also having a difficult time.  They are expected to nominate their preferred candidate for the leadership election.  But, as Croydon North demonstrates, many CLP anti-Corbyn committees are doing their best to exclude pro-Corbyn members from taking part in the votes.

When Brightonand Hove CLP held its AGM recently it elected a new executive committee, which happened to be pro-Corbyn.  The next day Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) annulled the vote and suspended the branch.  It has also, undemocratically, suspended all constituency meetings across the country until after the leadership election.  Many CLPs are reported to be holding unofficial meetings at the local pub!

A Labour peer, who claims to have supported Corbyn, now says she’s surprised by his lack of energy in shadow cabinet meetings.  Probably because he is working harder and going to many more meetings than she does.  He has also been accused of not having any policies.  In response, former Labour MP Chris Williamson offered this:

His commitment that a future Labour Government would build council houses and regulate private sector rents struck a chord with millions affected by the housing crisis. 

His pledge to scrap tuition fees and reintroduce student maintenance grants was greeted with acclaim by everyone who is dismayed by the commodification of higher education. 

His promise to renationalise the railways and take a stake in our utilities is hugely popular with the vast majority of the British public who are sick of being ripped-off by these privatised industries. 

His determination to substantially increase the minimum wage, invest in hi-tech manufacturing and stop corporations offshoring skilled and semi-skilled jobs is acknowledged as plain common sense. 

His guarantee that a future Labour government would repeal the anti-trade union legislation, clamp down on tax evasion and stop British dependencies being used as tax havens would improve the living standards of millions. 

Funnily enough, Owen Smith appears to have stolen most of them and is now claiming them for his own, as though people wouldn’t know they’d been there all along.  As the Telegraph notes:

The lack of vision in Owen Smith’s campaign means he has had to borrow someone else’s: Jeremy Corbyn.

If this wasn’t enough to cope with, a funder of the Labour Party, a billionaire called Michael Foster (perhaps one of those that Peter Mandelson felt intensely relaxed about being filthy rich) went to court, claiming that the NEC took the wrong decision when it ruled that Corbyn, as the current leader, should automatically be on the ballot paper.

It is worth noting that Foster gave £400,000 to Labour.  But in just two days 183,000 people registered (and paid a fee of £25 to do so) so they could vote for Corbyn.  Many of these were full members of the party who had been denied the vote because they hadn’t been members for long enough – another shameful and undemocratic attempt by the establishment to block Corbyn.

Through these people, many of whom could ill afford the fee, Labour has just been given over £4.5 million.  Beat that, Mr Foster.

Foster lost his case and Corbyn remains on the ballot paper, but one wonders quite what the anti-Corbyn brigade were hoping for.  Having tried to force Corbyn into resigning, they went for a leadership contest.  None of the leaders of the coup could have stood against Corbyn.  They are still too closely linked to Tony Blair and needed someone safer.

With Eagle gone, their ‘safe’ candidate Owen Smith is looking every inch the loser.  Apart from having been a lobbyist for Pfizer and not having much experience as an MP, he also has a long history of making misogynistic remarks – hardly a vote winner except with fellow misogynists.

Had Corbyn been removed from the ballot, the old New Labourites would have automatically found themselves with a leader that probably no one wants.  As it is, if Corbyn wins and remains as leader, they have threatened to force another leadership election next year.  And the year after that.  In fact, they appear quite willing to destroy the party just to rid Westminster of Corbyn.

What is it about this man that so frightens them?  He is not perfect, but perhaps it is simply that his principles are so clear, so unbendable or unbreakable, that he makes these self-important people all look small – which, in competition with someone of his stature, they are.

But what is even more worrying from their point of view is that when this aging, non-egotistical and upright politician speaks, he makes every individual in the huge crowds that he attracts feel and look big.  And every day there are more people joining the crowd.  Labour now has well over half a million members, more than all the other UK parties combined.

People don’t follow Corbyn because they believe he will change the world for them, but because he makes them believe that they can change the world.  And they’ll make a start by changing the Labour Party.

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False Flags Fluttering in the Empire’s Hot Air

juillet 30th, 2016 by The Saker

When I think of the recent developments in the USA (Dallas shooting, Orlando shooting) and Europe (Nice, murdered priest, Germany shooting) I get this unpleasant feeling that something is not quite right.

For one thing, the perpetrators are absolutely ridiculous: pseudo-Muslims who turn out to be drinking homosexuals, ex-patients of mental institutions – the kind of people I call “overnight Muslims”: they all make darn sure to say Allahu Akbar a number of times, but other than that, they have no sign of Islam at all.

In fact, far from being trained Daesh fighters, they are all losers with weak personalities. Exactly the kind of people the special services (and religious sects) like to prey upon because they are weak and easy to manipulate. Oh yes, I know, the good folk a Daesh do end up claiming that the perpetrator is one of them, but that really proves nothing (except maybe that Daesh is desperate to increase its notoriety).

I have no proof of that, of course, but I am getting the very strong feeling that somebody is putting a great deal of effort to scare the bejesus out of the TV-watching crowd. But why? Why would anybody go to the effort to create a completely fictional threat?

And should we really dismiss all the innumerable witnesses who speak of “more than one shooter”? What about the absolutely ridiculous police “overkill” when hundreds of policemen are sent in to deal with one single shooter. Does that not strike you as odd? Am I the only one with the feeling that what is shown to us is a carefully choreographed show?

Roman Yanushevsky / Shutterstock.com

Roman Yanushevsky / Shutterstock.com

Then there is the canard about the Islamic threat. Okay, it is true that all these Islamo-terrorists told the cops, and anybody else willing to listen, that they are killing infidels for the greater glory of God. That reminds me of the passports helpfully found in NY on 9/11 (and at the Charlie-Hebdo attacks) or how the alleged Islamic-terrorists of 9/11 left copies of the Quran in the bars were they were getting “lap dances”.

The problem with all that nonsense is that there is exactly zero real evidence that any of these terrorists had any real Islamic education or beliefs. Besides, even if every single one of them turned out to be a deeply religious and pious Muslim, that would hardly prove anything. The IRA was “Roman Catholic” and yet nobody spoke of a “Catholic threat”. True, there is a very real threat to the entire Middle-East from the Daesh crazies (yes, the very same ones whom the US wants the Russians to stop bombing), but there is no evidence whatsoever of any real subordination/coordination between the Takfiris in the Middle-East and the perpetrators of the recent mass murders in the USA and Europe.

The cui bono, of course, immediately points to those interests who desperately want the prop-up the shaky “Islamic threat” myth: the Zionists, of course, but also the Neocon elites in the USA and the EU.

Think of it: their great hope was that Russia would “invade” the Donbass (or, even better, the entire Ukraine) against the Nazi crazies in the Neocons put in power in Kiev. Such a Russian move would have been used as a “proof” that the evil revanchist Russkies are about to rebuild the Soviet Union, invade Eastern Europe and maybe even drive their tanks to the English channel. And if enough people would buy the “Russian threat” theory, they would also have to accept larger military budgets (to further fatten the US MIC) and more US forces deployed in Eastern Europe (where they would provide a much needed, and sometimes only, source of income). Then all the internal problems of Europe could be blamed on, or at least eclipsed by, the Russian threat (in the “Putin wants a Brexit” style). But that irritating Putin did not take the bait and now Europe is stuck without a credible threat with which to terrorize people. NATO, of course, and its prostitute-colonies in the Baltics and Poland, likes to pretend that a Russian invasion is imminent, but nobody really believes this. According to some polls, even the people in the Baltics are dubious about the reality of a Russian threat (forget Poland: a country with a national hero like Pilsudski is a hopeless case).

But then, almost at the same moment when the Neocons came to realize that the Russians were not taking the bait, the steady flow of refugees coming from the Middle-East and Africa suddenly sharply increased, courtesy of the mayhem and chaos created by the Neocon policies in the Middle-East. How long do you think it took the rulers of the Empire to realize the fantastic opportunity this influx of refugees had just created for them?

First, this wave of refugees creates a series of major social problems which all could be used to provide distractions from the massive credibility crisis and economic woes of the EU. No matter how bad the economic indicators are, you can always “hide them” behind a headline like “Refugee rapes 79yo woman at German cemetery” (true case, just click on the link to see for yourself).

Second, just at the time when the ruling comprador elites of the EU are threatened by popular discontent, the refugee crisis creates the perfect pretext to adopt emergency legislation and, possibly, introduce martial law.

Third, the worse the crisis in Europe becomes, the better it is for the US Dollar which becomes the safe(r) currency to run to.

Fourth the more military units, as opposed to regular police forces, are deployed in Europe, the more the Europeans will get used to the notion that “only the military can protect us”.

Fifth, if, at the end of the day, the EU really tanks and riots, uprisings and chaos spread – guess who will show up to “save Europe yet again”? That’s right – Uncle Sam and NATO. Pretty good for an otherwise illegitimate leftover from the Cold War, no?

Ideally, the European population should become polarized between, on one hand, those who pretend they like the refugees are no problem at all, and those who blame everything on them. The more polarized the society becomes, the more there will be a “need” to keep law and order.

Does that all look familiar to you?

Yes, of course, this is also exactly what is happening in the USA with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

While there are plenty of immigrants in the USA, they are mostly Hispanics and Asians who adapt rather well to US society. The good news for the US “deep state” is that Blacks in the USA can very much accomplish the same function as the refugees do in Europe: they are a vocal, mostly deeply alienated minority, with a great deal of pent-up anger against the rest of society which can very easily be set-off to create riots and commit crimes. It is also rather easy to find a few crazies amongst these Blacks to start murdering policemen (the ideal symbol of the oppressive White establishment) and create a sense of crisis acute enough to justify the use of police, National Guard and, potentially, military forces to restore and uphold “law and order”.

Is it really a coincidence that the US Presidential elections features two extremely polarizing figures like Hillary and Trump and that low-levels of violence have already been triggered by the hysterically anti-Trump propaganda of the US corporate media? Just imagine for one second what could happen in the USA if a “lone gunman” was to kill either Hillary or Trump? The society would literally explode and law and order would have to be “restored”.

The modalities might be different, but in both the EU and the USA we now see heavily armed and generally militarized forces in the streets to “protect” us from some exotic and scary threat.

Might that have something to do with the fact that the ruling elites are absolutely hated by the vast majority of Europeans and Americans? Of course it does!

I am convinced that what is taking place is the gradual suppression of the civil society under the pretext of protecting it – us – from some very scary threat. I am also convinced that part of this plan is to polarize our society as much as possible to create civil strife and to hide the real systemic and structural problems of our completely dysfunctional society and discredited and illegitimate political order.

The panem et circenses (bread and games) only works in a society capable of providing enough wealth to its people to enjoy them. But when an Empire is agonized, when its military cannot win wars anymore, when its leader is being ridiculed, when its currency is being gradually weakened and even replaced and when its power is not feared anymore, then the Empire becomes unable to provide the minimal conditions needed to keep its subjects quiet and obedient. At this point the choice becomes simple: either find an external enemy or, at least, identify an internal one. This time around, the AngloZionist found what they think is the perfect combo: a diffuse/vague external threat (Islam) and an easily identifiable internal “carrier” threat (refugees in Europe, Blacks in the USA). The fact that the US government has been planning for various kind of emergency rule or martial law situations for years is not much of a secret (see: National Security Presidential Directive 51 and National Continuity Policy Implementation Plan or Rex84 ) but now there is also evidence that the Germans are also planning for it. In fact, we can be confident that they are all doing it right now as we speak.

The last time around, when the Empire felt the need to regain control over Europe and prevent the election of anti-US political parties to power they engaged in the notoriousGLADIO false flag campaign to neutralize the “Communist threat” (see full documentary here). It appears that the same people are doing the same thing again, but this time against the putative “Islamic threat”. And just to make sure that the common people really freak out, it appears that the AngloZionists have settled on a rather counter-intuitive plan:

1) officially (politicians) condemn any anti-Islamic rhetoric

2) unofficially (media, public figures) warn of an threat of Islamic extremism

3) take some highly visible but totally useless measures (TSA, anti-terror training) to prepare for an Islamic attack

4) covertly but actively foster and support Daesh-like Takfirism in the Middle-East and oppose and subvert those who, like the Russians, the Iranians and the Syrian, really fight it on a daily basis.

What does such an apparently illogical and self-defeating plan achieve? Simple! Itmaximizes fear and polarizes society.

That kind of artificial polarization is nothing new. For example, this is why those who hate Obama call him a socialist (or even a communist) while those who hate Trump call him a fascist (when in reality both Obama and Trump are just the figureheads of different capitalist factions of the same 1% elite).

What our imperial overlords really want is for us to either fight each other or, at least, fight windmills. Look at the American public – it is totally obsessed with non-issues like homosexual marriage, gun control vs “active shooters”, Black Lives Matter vs cops, and the time tested pro-life vs anti-abortion protests. To some minority of Americans these issues do matter, I suppose, but for the vast majority of Americans these are total non-issue, meaningless crap which does not affect them in any way other than through the corporate media. This really reminds me of the Titanic’s orchestra playing while the ship was sinking: the Empire is cracking at all its seams, there is a very real chance of a nuclear war with Russia and we are seriously discussing whether trannies should pee in male or female toilets when in the Target store. This is crazy, of course, but this is hardly coincidental. This is how our leaders want us: terrified, confused and, above all, distracted.

Frankly, I am pessimistic for the near to mid-term future. When I see how easily the “Islamic threat” canard has been bought not only by official propagandists but even by otherwise mostly rational and educated people, I see that 9/11 has taught us very little. Just like a bull in a bullfight we are still willing to go after any red rag put before our noses regardless of who is actually holding that rag or actually making us bleed.

The good news is that regardless of our gullible passivity the Empire is coming down, maybe not as fast as some of us would wish, but fast enough to really worry our rulers. Look at the Israelis – they have already read the writing on the wall and are now in the process of changing patrons, hence their newfound big friendship with Russia – a marriage of convenience for both sides, entered into with both sides holding their noses. Ditto for Erdogan who has apparently decided that neither the EU nor the US could be considered reliable protectors. Even the Saudis have tried, however clumsily and crudely, to get the Russians on their side.

For the time being the “Islamic threat” show will continue, as will the “active shooters”, Black Lives Matter and all the rest of the program brought to us by the Empire. False flags will contiune to flutter in great numbers in the Empire’s hot air.

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This video was aired on Russia’s State TV Network « Russia 1 ».   Click the image to view with complete English subtitles

Click image to view video on vimeo:

 

https://vimeo.com/174777588

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  • Commentaires fermés sur The Americans are Coming… « The NATO Block is Preparing War Against Us »

The Democratic Party that once was concerned with workers’ rights, the elderly, civil rights, and the constitutional protections of America liberty no longer exists. As the just completed Democratic presidential primaries and the Democratic presidential convention have clearly demonstrated, the United States now has two Republican parties in service to the One Percent.

The organized Democrats–the Democratic National Committee–have shown themselves to be even more venal and corrupt than the Republicans. Leaked emails document that the Democratic National Committee conspired with the Hillary campaign in order to steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders. It is clear that Sanders was the choice of Democratic Party voters for president, but the nomination was stolen from him by vote fraud and dirty tricks.

The DNC and the media whores have tried to discredit the incriminating emails by alleging that the leaked emails resulted from a plot by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in behalf of “Putin’s American agent,” Donald Trump. “A vote for Trump is a vote for Putin,” as the presstitute scum put it.

This diversionary tactic has not worked. Not even Americans are stupid enough to fall for it.

Consequently, the corrupt “leader” of the DNC had to resign and was unable to deliver her speech at the nominating convention from fear of being booed off the stage.

Sanders’ supporters have abandoned Hillary and the fake “Democratic Party.” Probably most of them will vote for the Green Party candidate.

The organized Republicans–the Republican National Committee–and the zionist neoconservatives wanted to block Donald Trump from the nomination just as the DNC blocked Sanders, but could not. The neoconservatives are organizing for Hillary as she is their warmonger and Trump says he is not, but as the Presidential contest is really a contest between the two Republican parties about which gets to be the whore for the One Percent, the RNC, impressed with Hillary’s lack of voter support, seems to be sticking with Trump. Better to be a well-paid whore than to be out in the cold.

In the coming presidential election, the outcome will probably be determined by whether the powerful oligarchic interest groups decide whether Trump is an actual threat or whether they can cosy up to him and rope him in by appointing his government.

Trump’s disability is that no matter how able an individual is, that person cannot simultaneously make themselves a multi-billionaire and be knowledgeable of economic and foreign policy issues. The bald fact is that Trump, if he becomes president, does not know whom to appoint in order to have the support from his government to effect the changes for which his supporters hope he stands.

When a person becomes President, that person doesn’t suddenly become an encyclopedia with full knowledge. The President is dependent on the information flows from his government. If those information flows support the interests of Wall Street, the corrupt “banks too big to fail,” the military-security complex, the Israel Lobby, agribusiness, and the extractive industries (energy, mining, timber), the President’s decisions will support these material interests.

Donald Trump is the American people’s choice, because he is opposed to the offshoring of American jobs–a corporate practice that has enriched the One Percent at the expense of the American middle class.

Donald Trump is the American people’s choice, because he opposes the fabricated, gratuitous conflict with Russia. Even Americans understand that taking war to a major nuclear power will not end well.

Donald Trump is the American people’s choice because he realizes that NATO–an organization whose purpose disappeared 25 years ago when the Soviet Union collapsed as a result of the coup against Gorbachev by extreme elements of the Soviet Communist Party–now serves as a vehicle and cover for Washington’s aggressions, which are war crimes under the international statutes that Washington created. Washington’s wars benefit some of the One Percent at the expense of both the 99 Percent and millions of innocent peoples in many countries.

What will happen now is that the presstitutes will demonize Donald Trump even more than they have demonized Vladimir Putin. The scum presstitutes will do everything that they can possibly do to make a vote for Trump into an act of treason against America.

Now that the presstitutes have learned that they can tell the most blatant lies–Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Iranian nukes, Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Russian invasions–without being held accountable, they know that they can lie about Trump.

And they will. To the hilt.

But the presstitutes have lost credibility. A person has to be an imbecile to believe a word that they say.

“Progressives” will wander off the track. They will be turned off by Trump’s stand on immigration, which is where the American people stand. “Progressives” will be worried about whether the ‘fascist” Trump will persecute transgender and homosexual people or revoke the right of women to abort the unborn. To “progressives” this will seem all important as Washington and its NATO vassals hurl the world into nuclear war.

Neither can any intelligence be expected from the defunct American left-wing. The American left-wing supports the official story of 9/11, the excuse for the last 15 years of illegal wars and the American Police State. To find the American left-wing totally allied with the official explanation of what is in reality a false flag event, committed in order that the neoconservatives would have their new Pearl Harbor in order to invade the Middle East, is demonstrable proof that the American left-wing is irrelevant.

The American left interprets 9/11 and subsequent false flag events as oppressed peoples striking back at their oppressors. The emotional satisfaction of this takes the impotent American left-wing out not only of action but of relevance in commentary. The American left-wing has become an asset of the enemy–the neoconservatives who control policy in Washington.

So, where do we stand? The answer is that we are closer to nuclear annihilation than ever before. I know of what I speak. I held the highest security clearances. I was a member of a secret committee that enabled President Reagan to end the Cold War.

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin is doing everything he can possibly do to avoid the nuclear war that the crazed American neoconservatives are bringing to humanity. For his efforts in behalf of planet Earth he is demonized 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year after year. For simply stating facts, I am described by the presstitutes as “an apologist for Putin.”

The endless lies about Russia have convinced the Russian media that Washington is mobilizing its NATO vassals for an attack on Russia.

Read the transcripts to this Russian media broadcast.

Click image to view video:

 

https://vimeo.com/174777588

If you aren’t scared after absorbing this Russian news broadcast, you are stupid beyond belief. The message is clear: the West has declared war on Russia but is trying to keep Russia off guard by denying it.

The video of the Russian news broadcast also shows the dismissive way the Russian media was treated at the recent NATO conference in Poland. The non-entity representatives of the non-entity countries of Latvia, which has been ruthlessly looted by the West, Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland, and the Ukraine representative either refuse to speak to the Russian media or use the interview to repeat Washington’s false accusations against Russia. These imbeciles insulting Russia are representatives of countries that Russia could destroy in a few minutes. If these idiots think Washington could save them, they are as stupid as the Polish colonels who thought that the British guarantee in March 1939 meant anything and could save Poland from the rash action of sticking Poland’s fingers in Hitler’s eye. This Polish stupidity provoked by the stupid British set off World War II with the British and French declaration of war against Germany, thus consigning Poland to Soviet rule for a half century. Some guarantee! The imbecile Chamberlain who wanted peace started WWII with Britain’s worthless “guarantee.”

Does it make you feel safe that the arrogant warmongering imbeciles in Washington have convinced a nuclear power the equal of the United States that America is going to attack?

Moreover, Russia is a nuclear power allied with another nuclear power, China, which has had enough of Washington’s imbecilic provocations. Are you willing for “your” government to lead your future into nuclear war with two nuclear powers?

Here we Americans are going into a presidential election and the overpowering fact of our time–that Washington is threatening humanity with nuclear war–is not a subject for discussion! What is the matter with us Americans? Are we stupid beyond all belief? We sit stupidly, thinking that issues of no importance are the most important issues of our time while “our” insane government provokes nuclear war. Have any people in history failed their obligation to this extent? If so, who?

My case rests. There is no countervailing evidence against the fact that unadulterated evil rules the West and is driving the world to extinction. Western democracy is a total failure. Democracy could not prevent the crazed warmonger Hillary from presidential nomination despite the opposition of the American people.

How long can Russia, and China, wait before they conclude that they have to pre-empt the coming attack from Washington? Does anyone, even stupid Americans, think that once Russia and China are convinced that they are targets for attack that they will just sit there and await the attack?

Do peoples as guilty of dereliction of duty as Western peoples are have any right to survive?

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Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!

juillet 30th, 2016 by Prof Michael Hudson

Leading up to Monday’s Democratic Party convention, Hillary chose Blue Dog Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia as her VP. This was followed by the Wikileaks release of Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mail files showing it acting as the Clinton Campaign Committee even to the point of using the same lawyers as her own campaign to oppose Bernie Sanders.

The response across the Democratic neocon spectrum, from Anne Applebaum at the Washington Post to red-baiting Paul Krugman and the Sunday talk shows it was suggested that behind the Wikileaks to release DNC e-mails was a Russian plot to help elect Trump as their agent. Former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul lent his tattered reputation to claim that Putin must have sponsored the hackers who exposed the DNC dirty tricks against Bernie.

The attack on Trump was of course aimed at Sanders. At first it didn’t take off. Enough delegates threatened to boo DNC head (and payday-loan lobbyist) Debbie Wasserman Schultz off stage if she showed her face at the podium to gavel the convention to order. The down-note would have threatened the “United Together” theme, so she was forced to resign. But Hillary rewarded her loyalty by naming her honorary chairman of her own presidential campaign! If you’re loyal, you get a pay-off. The DNC was doing what it was supposed to do. No reform seems likely.

shutterstock_448299589

The Democratic machine orchestrated a media campaign to distract attention by attributing the leaks were to a Russian plot to undermine American democracy (as if the e-mails did not show how undemocratic the DNC had operated in stacking the primaries). A vote against Hillary would be a vote for Trump – and a vote for Trump would really be for Putin. And as Hillary had explained earlier, Putin = Hitler. The media let it be known that attacking Wasserman Schultz – and by extension, Hillary’s neocon policies – makes one a Russian dupe. This theme colored the entire convention week.

Endorsing Hillary’s presidential bid on Monday evening, Sanders joined in the chorus that this November will pit Good against Evil – or as Ray McGovern put it on RT’s Cross Talk, at least proxies for Netanyahu vs. Putin. Wall Street Senator Chuck Schumer went on TV to heave a sigh of relief that the party was indeed united together.

Many Sanders’ supporters felt no obligation to follow his obeisance. Many walked out after he closed Tuesday’s state-by-state roll call by throwing his support behind Clinton. Others chanted “Lock Her Up”.

VP Kaine as Hillary’s stand-in if she’s indicted or seems unelectable

The potential “Hillary Republicans” who are turning away from Trump – whose ranks include Mike Bloomberg, the neocon Kagan family (Robert and Victoria Nuland) and William Kristol – far outnumber the Sanders supporters who may stay home or vote for Jill Stein on the Green Party ticket. Hillary sees more votes (and certainly more campaign contributions and future “speaking fees”) from the Koch Brothers, George Soros, Wall Street, Saudi Arabia and the corporatist Chamber of Commerce.

Kaine recently has fought to “free” small and medium-sized banks from being subject to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. He has long supported the TPP, deregulation of Wall Street, and most everything that Sanders opposes. Appointed as DNC head by President Obama in 2008, he dismantled Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy, not bothering to fight Republicans in the South and other solid Republican states. His move let them elect governors who gerrymandered their voting districts after the 2010 census.

The DNC designated these “neglected” states to come first in the presidential
2KillingTheHost_Cover_ruleprimaries. They were the ones that Hillary won. Sanders won most of the swing states and those likely to vote Democratic. That made him the party’s strongest nominee – obliging the DNC to maneuver to sideline him. His criticism of big donors and Citizens United threatens to dry up the source of funding not only for Hillary but also for the DNC. They are going after the money – whose chief providers are Wall Street, neoliberal corporatists and New Cold War neocons.

Bernie’s campaign targeted Wall Street and corporate deregulation (the essence of TTP and TTIP) as the key to the One Percent’s monopolization of income and wealth since Obama’s post-2008 sacrifice of the economy on the altar of rescuing banks and their bondholders. That is why the Wall Street’s Donor Class that controls the Democratic Party machine want to discourage new voter enrollment and turnout. The last thing they want is an influx of new voters advocating real reform. Millennial newcomers are more progressive, born into a generation that has no opportunity to obtain jobs and housing as easily as their parents. So it’s best to keep out independents in favor of the old-time voters with brand loyalty to Democrats.

Demonizing Trump for saying what Bernie Sanders has been saying

Trump made his quip about Russia in what actually was an eloquent and funny press conference.[1] The media took this out of context to depict him as urging the Russians to hack into our e-mails. What he actually said was that if Russia – or China, or somebody “sitting in his bed” – did indeed read Hillary’s State Department and Clinton Foundation dealings, they should do the world a favor and release them to reveal her self-dealing.

Trump is right in saying that there has not really been a recovery for the Rust Belt or for the 99 Percent. Hillary brazens it out by claiming that Obama’s neoliberal economics have helped wage-earners, despite the debt deflation blocking recovery. She promises to continue his policies (backed by his same campaign funders).

That would seem to be a losing strategy for this year’s election – unless the Democrats gain control of the electronic voting machines, especially in Ohio. But the Republicans may decide to throw the election to Hillary, who is fortunate to have Donald Trump as her opponent. Demonized as Putin’s “Siberian candidate,” he has become the Democrats’ unifying force: “Hillary isn’t Trump.”

That’s what voting for the “lesser evil” means. Hillary’s message is: “Even though we support TPP and a New Cold War, at least you’ll have a woman at the helm. Anyway, you have nowhere else to go, because the other side is even more evil!” Her logic is that (1) if you criticize Hillary, you’re supporting Trump; (2) Trump is the Siberian candidate; hence (3) Criticism of Hillary, NATO’s New Cold War escalation or the TPP’s anti-labor treaty and financial deregulation is pro-Russian and hence anti-American.

All that strategists for the One Percent need to do is fund an even worse party platform to the right of the Democrats. So the choice will be between Evil A (economic evil with ethnic and sexual tolerance) and Evil B (without such tolerance).

It doesn’t have to be this way. But Sanders gave up, not feeling up to the task. Having mocked him as a socialist, Hillary is acting as the Joe McCarthy of the 2010s, mobilizing a wave of commie bashing against her Republican opponent.

On Monday leading up to the convention, the Democratic Party’s cable channel MSNBC kept juxtaposing pictures of Trump and Putin. Criticizing Hillary’s neocon stance supporting Ukraine’s military coup is depicted as support of Russia – while other commentators followed President Obama claiming that criticism of TPP means making China the new leader of Asia. The message is that criticizing NATO’s adventurism risks being called a Soviet – I mean, Russian – puppet.

Bernie’s dilemma – and that of other would-be reformers of the Democratic Party

Back in the 1950s and ‘60s I heard labor leaders ask whether there really was nowhere to go except the Democratic Party. Most who joined got co-opted. Instead of moving the Democratic Party to the left, its leadership machine corrupted labor, and in due course the anti-war movement and socialists who joined hoping to move it to the left.

What then is Bernie’s plan to save his followers from being forced to make one compromise after another? The party machine demonizes policies with which Hillary’s neocons disagree, and demand support of NATO escalation and Obama’s (and Hillary’s and Kaine’s) underlying support of the TPP on the pretense that this will help rather than hurt labor. Hillary has denounced Bernie’s socialized medicine on the ground that it is utopian (as if Canada and the eurozone are anti-capitalist utopias).

While Trump sent out tweets and gave interviews about how Hillary and Debbie have screwed Bernie’s supporters, Sanders made no parallel attempt to ask why progressive Democrats didn’t applaud Trump’s assertions that he would wind down confrontation with Russia, that NATO is obsolete and needs restructuring, and his opposition to the TPP. Bernie didn’t seize the opportunity to mobilize non-partisan support for their critique of neoliberal economic policies. He cast his lot with Hillary, contradicting his claim during the primaries that she was not qualified to be president.

After Sanders ended Monday evening’s opening by endorsing Hillary Clinton, the MSNBC camera crew went down to talk to his supporters. They eagerly asked the first one who she would vote for, after hearing Bernie’s endorsement. “For Jill Stein,” the lady said, explaining that there was no way she would vote for Hillary.

The next interview produced a similar result. “I just don’t trust her,” the Bernie supporter said. A third said the same thing. The MSNBC booth tried to save face by assuring viewers that everyone they talked to had said they were going to vote for Hillary. But it sounded hollow. I suspect that viewers didn’t trust the TV media any more than they trusted Hillary.

The problem facing Hillary’s rivals is that she has wrapped herself in the legacy of President Obama. Having shied from criticizing the president, Sanders and his supporters are facilitating what may be a Lame Duck session sellout after the November election. My fear is that Obama will try to “save his legacy” by joining with the Republicans to drive through the TPP, and also may escalate the New Cold War with Russia and China so as to make it easier for Hillary to sign onto these moves.

Selecting Tim Kaine as her running mate means neoliberal, pro-TPP business as usual. Hillary didn’t oppose TPP. She just said she would put in rhetoric saying that its “purpose” was to raise wages – whereas most voters have shown themselves to be smart enough to realize that the effect will be just the opposite.

Yet Sanders endorsed her. Evidently he hopes to keep his position within the Party chairing the Senate Minority Budget Committee, while simultaneously trying to promote a revolution outside the Democrats. I was reminded of a Chinese proverb: When there is a fork in the road, a man who tries to take two roads at once gets a broken hip joint.

This straddle may have led Sanders to miss his big chance to make a difference. He is trying to take two roads at once, continuing to run as an Independent senator while caucusing with the Democrats without being able to block TPP and new Wall Street giveaways and more favoritism to the One Percent he has so eloquently denounced. Revolutions are a matter of timing. As a former YPSL he might have recalled what happened when Trotsky shied from breaking from Stalin after Lenin died early in 1924. Soon it was too late, and all Stalin’s opponents were purged. The moment was not seized.

Bernie has been an effective catalyst in this year’s election campaign. But as in chemistry, a catalyst is not really part of the equation. It merely helps the equation take place. Sanders didn’t say, “Thank god for Wikileaks. It shows that I was right and the DNC needs radical reform.” He left it to his supporters to hold up anti-TPP signs. His new message was “trust Hillary.” But even so, she will not forgive him for being against her before he was for her. He may still end up being marginalized in 2017.

I had hoped that in addressing the convention, Sanders would have said that its aim was not only to elect a president but congresspersons and officials all down the line. He could have mentioned the people he is supporting, starting with Wasserman Schultz’s opponent in Florida’s House race (supported by Obama as well as Hillary).

Bernie’s supporters who walked out on Tuesday have been duly radicalized. But he himself seems akin to be an American Alex Tsipras. Tsipras thought withdrawal from the eurozone was even worse than capitulating to austerity, while Sanders believes that withdrawing from the Democrats and backing a political realignment – perhaps electing Trump in the interim is even worse than Hillary’s pro-Wall street Obama-like agenda.

Matters were not improved when Bill Clinton gave a hagiographic biography of Hillary emphasizing her legal aid work to protect children, without mentioning how the 1994 welfare “reform” drastically cut back aid to dependent children. Madeline Albright said that Hillary would keep America safe, without mentioning Hillary’s promotion of destabilizing Libya and backing Al Quaeda against Syria’s government, driving millions of refugees to Europe and wherever they might be safer.

The many anti-TPP signs waved by Sanders delegates on Wednesday saw Hillary say that she would oppose TPP “as currently written.” This suggests that a modest sop thrown to labor – a rhetorical paste-on saying that the TPP’s aim was to raise living standards. This simply showed once again her sophist trickery at lawyering, giving her an out that she and long-time TPP supporter Tim Kaine were sure to take.

Obama’s brilliant demagogy left many eyes glazed over in admiration. Nobody is better at false sincerity while misrepresenting reality so shamelessly. Probably few caught the threatening hint he dropped about Hillary’s plan for corporations to share their profits with their workers. This sounds to me like the Pinochet plan to privatize Social Security by turning it into exploitative ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Programs). The idea is that wage withholding would be steered to buy into the company’s stock – bidding it up in the process. Employees then would end up holding an empty bag, as occurred recently with the Chicago Tribune. That seems to be the great “reform” to “save” Social Security that her Wall Street patrons are thinking up.

One might think that the Democrats would see the Obama administration as an albatross around their neck, much as Gore had Bill Clinton around his neck in 2000. Gore didn’t want him showing his face in the campaign. Yet Hillary presents herself as continuing the Obama policies with “business as usual,” as if she will act as his third term.

Voters know that Obama bailed out the banks, not the economy, and that Hillary’s campaign backers are on Wall Street. So this year would seem to have been a propitious time to start a real alternative. Hillary is mistrusted, and that mistrust is spreading to the Democratic Party machine – especially as the Koch Brothers and kindred backers of failed Republican candidates find neoliberal religion with Hillary. A third party Green/Socialist run might indeed have taken off – with Sanders stealing Trump’s thunder by pre-empting his critique of TPP, free trade and NATO, adding Wall Street and Citizens United campaign financing.

This fall’s presidential debates

Hillary and even Bernie assured the Democratic convention again and again how much President Obama has revived the economy from the “mess” that Bush left. While Trump centers his disdain on the TPP (much as he knocked Jeb Bush out by saying that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake), he can reply, “What recovery? Have you voters reallyrecovered from 2008?”

Hillary and other speechmakers at the Democratic convention criticized Trump for saying that “things are bad.” But according to the July 13 NBC/WSJ poll, 73% of voters believe that the country is going “off on the wrong track.” If Trump shifts his epithet from simply “Crooked Hillary” to the more nuanced “Crooked Wall Street and their candidate, Crooked Hillary,” he’ll score a ratings spurt.

Debt deflation and shrinking markets over the next two years do not provide much hope for increasing the minimum wage – which wouldn’t help much if one can’t find a job in the first place! By 2018 the continued stagnation of the 99 Percent may lead to a midterm wipeout of Democrats (assuming that Hillary wins this year against Trump), catalyzing an alternative party (assuming that she does not blow up the world in her neocon military escalation on the borders of Russia and China).

The problem with Trump is not mistrust; it is that nobody knows what policies he will back. The media are giving him the same silent treatment they did with Bernie, while accusing him of being in Putin’s pocket. He did admit selling some real estate to Russian nationals. Perhaps some of these gains fueled his presidential campaign …

The solution is not to save the Democratic Party, but to replace it. The debate reminds me of that about the Soviet Union in the 1950s: Is it a degenerated workers’ state, or a Stalinist bureaucratic mutation going the opposite direction from real socialism?

I wonder how many years it will take for Hillary to end up booed so loudly that she has to leave hotels and other speaking venues via their back alleys, much as Lyndon Johnson had to sneak out to avoid the anti-war booers leading up to the 1968 election.

Michael Hudson’s new book, Killing the Host is published in e-format by CounterPunch Books and in print by Islet. He can be reached via his website, [email protected]

Notes

[1] Available on https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HGHWou0h1kk). This should be seen as an antidote to most media coverage.

For a run-down on Russia-Trump accusations see Lambert Strether, “Hoisted from Comments: Can We Even Know Who Hacked the DNC Emails?Naked CapitalismJuly 28, 2016.

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Focusing on domestic issues, Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech sidestepped the deep concerns anti-war Democrats have about her hawkish foreign policy, which is already taking shape in the shadows, reports Gareth Porter.

As Hillary Clinton begins her final charge for the White House, her advisers are already recommending air strikes and other new military measures against the Assad regime in Syria.

The clear signals of Clinton’s readiness to go to war appears to be aimed at influencing the course of the war in Syria as well as U.S. policy over the remaining six months of the Obama administration. (She also may be hoping to corral the votes of Republican neoconservatives concerned about Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy.)

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at NATO conference in Munich, Germany, Feb. 4 (Official Defense Department photo)

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at NATO conference in Munich, Germany, Feb. 4 (Official Defense Department photo)

Last month, the think tank run by Michele Flournoy, the former Defense Department official considered to be most likely to be Clinton’s choice to be Secretary of Defense, explicitly called for “limited military strikes” against the Assad regime.

And earlier this month Leon Panetta, former Defense Secretary and CIA Director, who has been advising candidate Clinton, declared in an interview that the next president would have to increase the number of Special Forces and carry out air strikes to help “moderate” groups against President Bashal al-Assad. (When Panetta gave a belligerent speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, he was interrupted by chants from the delegates on the floor of “no more war!”

Flournoy co-founded the Center for New American Security (CNAS) in 2007 to promote support for U.S. war policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and then became Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the Obama administration in 2009.

Flournoy left her Pentagon position in 2012 and returned to CNAS as Chief Executive Officer.  She has been described by ultimate insider journalist David Ignatius of the Washington Post, as being on a “short, short list” for the job Secretary of Defense in a Clinton administration.

Last month, CNAS published a report of a “Study Group” on military policy in Syria on the eve of the organization’s annual conference.  Ostensibly focused on how to defeat the Islamic State, the report recommends new U.S. military actions against the Assad regime.

Flournoy chaired the task force, along with CNAS president Richard Fontaine, and publicly embraced its main policy recommendation in remarks at the conference.

She called for “using limited military coercion” to help support the forces seeking to force President Assad from power, in part by creating a “no bombing” zone over those areas in which the opposition groups backed by the United States could operate safely.

In an interview with Defense One, Flournoy described the no-bomb zone as saying to the Russian and Syrian governments, “If you bomb the folks we support, we will retaliate using standoff means to destroy [Russian] proxy forces, or, in this case, Syrian assets.”  That would “stop the bombing of certain civilian populations,” Flournoy said.

In a letter to the editor of Defense One, Flournoy denied having advocated “putting U.S. combat troops on the ground to take territory from Assad’s forces or remove Assad from power,” which she said the title and content of the article had suggested.

But she confirmed that she had argued that “the U.S. should under some circumstances consider using limited military coercion – primarily trikes using standoff weapons – to retaliate against Syrian military targets” for attacks on civilian or opposition groups “and to set more favorable conditions on the ground for a negotiated political settlement.”

Renaming a ‘No-Fly’ Zone

The proposal for a “no bombing zone” has clearly replaced the “no fly zone,” which Clinton has repeatedly supported in the past as the slogan to cover a much broader U.S. military role in Syria.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Panetta served as Defense Secretary and CIA Director in the Obama administration when Clinton was Secretary of State, and was Clinton’s ally on Syria policy. On July 17, he gave an interview to CBS News in which he called for steps that partly complemented and partly paralleled the recommendations in the CNAS paper.

“I think the likelihood is that the next president is gonna have to consider adding additional special forces on the ground,” Panetta said, “to try to assist those moderate forces that are taking on ISIS and that are taking on Assad’s forces.”

Panetta was deliberately conflating two different issues in supporting more U.S. Special Forces in Syria. The existing military mission for those forces is to support the anti-ISIS forces made up overwhelmingly of the Kurdish YPG and a few opposition groups.

Neither the Kurds nor the opposition groups the Special Forces are supporting are fighting against the Assad regime.  What Panetta presented as a need only for additional personnel is in fact a completely new U.S. mission for Special Forces of putting military pressure on the Assad regime.

He also called for increasing “strikes” in order to “put increasing pressure on ISIS but also on Assad.” That wording, which jibes with the Flournoy-CNAS recommendation, again conflates two entirely different strategic programs as a single program.

The Panetta ploys in confusing two separate policy issues reflects the reality that the majority of the American public strongly supports doing more militarily to defeat ISIS but has been opposed to U.S. war against the government in Syria.

poll taken last spring showed 57 percent in favor of a more aggressive U.S. military force against ISIS. The last time public opinion was surveyed on the issue of war against the Assad regime, however, was in September 2013, just as Congress was about to vote on authorizing such a strike.

At that time, 55 percent to 77 percent of those surveyed opposed the use of military force against the Syrian regime, depending on whether Congress voted to authorize such a strike or to oppose it.

Shaping the Debate

It is highly unusual, if not unprecedented, for figures known to be close to a presidential candidate to make public recommendations for new and broader war abroad. The fact that such explicit plans for military strikes against the Assad regime were aired so openly soon after Clinton had clinched the Democratic nomination suggests that Clinton had encouraged Flournoy and Panetta to do so.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. (Photo by Lorie Shaull, Wikipedia)

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. (Photo by Lorie Shaull, Wikipedia)

The rationale for doing so is evidently not to strengthen her public support at home but to shape the policy decisions made by the Obama administration and the coalition of external supporters of the armed opposition to Assad.

Obama’s refusal to threaten to use military force on behalf of the anti-Assad forces or to step up military assistance to them has provoked a series of leaks to the news media by unnamed officials – primarily from the Defense Department – criticizing Obama’s willingness to cooperate with Russia in seeking a Syrian ceasefire and political settlement as “naïve.”

The news of Clinton’s advisers calling openly for military measures signals to those critics in the administration to continue to push for a more aggressive policy on the premise that she will do just that as president.

Even more important to Clinton and close associates, however, is the hope of encouraging Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which have been supporting the armed opposition to Assad, to persist in and even intensify their efforts in the face of the prospect of U.S.-Russian cooperation in Syria.

Even before the recommendations were revealed, specialists on Syria in Washington think tanks were already observing signs that Saudi and Qatari policymakers were waiting for the Obama administration to end in the hope that Clinton would be elected and take a more activist role in the war against Assad.

The new Prime Minister of Turkey, Binali Yildirim, however, made a statement on July 13 suggesting that Turkish President Recep Yayyip Erdogan may be considering a deal with Russia and the Assad regime at the expense of both Syrian Kurds and the anti-Assad opposition.

That certainly would have alarmed Clinton’s advisers, and four days later, Panetta made his comments on network television about what “the next president” would have to do in Syria.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. He is the author of the newly published Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.

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Desde varias semanas circula en la red un llamado colectivo suscrito por una gran cantidad de profesores de derecho internacional, asistentes e investigadores, titulado “Contra una invocación abusiva del derecho de legítima defensa para hacer frente al terrorismo” (A plea against the abusive invocation of self-defence as a response to terrorism  / Contre une invocation abusive de la légitime défense pour faire face au défi du terrorisme).

Entre los suscriptores, que ya llegan a los 230 profesores y a medio centenar de asistentes/investigadores (véase la lista disponible  aquí  al 28 de julio, regularmente actualizada por el Centre de Droit International de l´Université Libre de Bruxelles, ULB), encontramos a renombrados miembros de la comunidad académica del derecho internacional, así como a  docentes e investigadores mucho más jóvenes provenientes de diversas partes del mundo.  El objetivo de este manifiesto colectivo consiste en denunciar la invocación abusiva del argumento jurídico de la legítima defensa por parte de los Estados  en el contexto de la lucha contra el denominado “Estado Islámico” (más conocido por sus siglas ISIS, EJIL o Daesh).

La legítima defensa en la Carta de San Francisco de 1945

Como bien se sabe, la Carta de Naciones Unidas es extremadamente clara con relación a la única excepción a la prohibición del uso de la fuerza consagrada como tal desde 1945: la legítima defensa (y las operaciones militares realizadas con la aprobación del Consejo de Seguridad bajo el Capítulo VII de la Carta). No obstante, desde el 11/S, diversas interpretaciones hechas por Estados Unidos y por sus aliados con relación a la noción de legítima defensa intentan justificar legalmente acciones militares unilaterales o colectivas en el territorio de otros Estados, sin contar con el consentimiento previo de sus autoridades.  La compilación sistemática de cada bombardeo registrado en Siria y en Irak por parte de la denominada “coalición” liderada por Estados Unidos  (véase los  ilustrativos gráficos  realizados por la ONG Airwars.org) evidencia que las bombas que caen en suelo sirio e iraquí provienen en su inmensa mayoría de aeronaves norteamericanas. Al revisar con detenimiento la figura 9, para el único mes de julio del 2016 (al corte del 25 de julio), se contabilizan en Siria 4414 bombardeos norteamericanos y 249 realizados por los miembros de la “coalición” (la cual cuenta con nueve integrantes, a los que hay que restar Canadá desde febrero del 2016).

En una reciente nota publicada en el sitio del European Journal of International Law (EJIL) sobre este mismo llamado colectivo, se lee que: “Particularly since 9/11, several States have supported a broad reading of the right to use force in self-defence, as allowing them to intervene militarily against terrorists whenever and wherever they may be. A consequence of that conception is that any State could be targeted irrespective of whether that State has ‘sent’ the irregular (in this case terrorist) group to carry out a military action or has been ‘substantially involved’ in such an action” (Nota 1).

Las extrañezas de la diplomacia francesa

El uso de la fuerza de un Estado (o de una coalición de Estados) amparado en el ejercicio de la legítima defensa solo se puede realizar de conformidad las reglas vigentes en el ordenamiento jurídico internacional, y las interpretación de estas hecha por la Corte Internacional de Justicia (CIJ),  en particular en cuanto al alcance exacto de las disposiciones de la Carta de Naciones Unidas. Sobre este punto en particular, es de recordar que los delegados de Francia presentaron un sorprendente proyecto de resolución a sus homólogos en el Consejo de Seguridad días después de los atentados de Paris del 13 de noviembre  del 2015  (véase el texto completo  de la « blue version » circulada entre las delegaciones)  evitando toda referencia a la Carta en su parte dispositiva: se trató, sin lugar a dudas, de una verdadera “première” de la diplomacia francesa en Naciones Unidas que ameritaba, como mínimo, ser señalada como tal (Nota 2). Como nos permitimos escribirlo en su momento en las páginas del sitio jurídico Derecho al Día (Costa Rica), “… en la ciencia del derecho, la ambigüedad de los términos y la confusión que conlleva su uso son particularmente útiles cuando las reglas son claras. Resulta evidente la prontitud con la que los delegados de Francia intentaron justificar desde el punto de vista jurídico sus acciones militares en Siria, obviando el hecho que la resolución adoptada no refiere expresamente a acciones militares, las cuales solamente pueden ser las previstas en el Capítulo VII de la Carta” (Nota 3).

También tuvimos la oportunidad de analizar en una breve nota   (titulada “Francia en guerra: breves apuntes desde la perspectiva internacional” publicada el 25/11/2015 en la Revista Pensamiento Penal, Argentina) el juego de palabras al que Francia procedieron las autoridades francesas de manera muy sutil días después del atentado de París del 13 de noviembre del 2015, recordando extrañamente lo oído en Estados Unidos en el 2001 después del 11/S:

Lo que podríamos denominar un sutil “glissement sémantique” al que ha procedido Francia en días recientes responde en gran medida a la necesidad de justificar (de manera un tanto retroactiva …) sus bombardeos del 27 de setiembre y los realizados después del 13 de noviembre. El representante francés en Naciones Unidas el pasado viernes 20 de noviembre fue muy explícito al respecto, después de aprobada una resolución por parte del Consejo de Seguridad (resolución 2239 (2015) adoptada de forma unánime por el Consejo de Seguridad): “Cette résolution encadre notre action dans le cadre du droit international et dans le respect de la Charte des Nations Unies qui est notre bien commun, qui est notre trésor commun. Il offre aussi une garantie de lutte efficace contre le terrorisme transnational. Les attentats du 13 novembre ont constitué une agression armée contre la France. Nos actions militaires dont nous avons informé le Conseil de sécurité dès l’origine, qui étaient justifiées par la légitime défense collective, peuvent désormais se fonder également sur la légitime défense individuelle conformément à l’article 51 de la Charte des Nations Unies » (ver texto del discurso pronunciado). Es de recalcar que lo que no dice el representante de Francia, es que las referencias expresas a la misma Carta de las Naciones Unidas incluidas en la resolución 2249 (ver texto en francés al final de este enlace ) se deben a las enmiendas propuestas por Rusia al texto original propuesto por la delegación francesa”.

La nota precitada nuestra fue ilustrada con una foto en la que el Presidente galo aparece posando con el primer diplomático que vino a visitarlo personalmente después de los atentados del 13 de noviembre: el Secretario de Estado norteamericano John Kerry (17 de noviembre). El primer destino  en el exterior del mismo presidente se daría días después (el 24 de noviembre del 2015) en su visita a su homólogo en Washington.

El llamado inequívoco de los especialistas en derecho internacional

El texto de este llamado de la comunidad académica del derecho internacional, que han suscrito  diversos especialistas en derecho internacional y sus mentores (texto disponible aquí  en francés, en inglés, en portugués, en español y en árabe) considera, entre otros puntos que:

« De esta manera, ha sido justificado, en nombre de la legítima defensa, un número importante de intervenciones militares, como aquella contra Al-Qaida, el Levante (EIIL, también conocido como Daesh), o contra grupos afines. Si bien algunos Estados han minimizado dichos precedentes por su carácter excepcional, existe un gran riesgo que el derecho de legítima defensa se transforme rápidamente en una llave que permita justificar de manera sistemática el origen de acciones militares en todas las direcciones y en forma unilateral.  Ahora bien, sin oponernos por principio al uso de la fuerza contra los grupos terroristas – particularmente en el actual contexto de la lucha contra Daesh – nosotros, profesores e investigadores en derecho internacional, estimamos que dicha invocación creciente del derecho de legítima defensa es objetable. El derecho internacional prevé en efecto una serie de medidas para luchar contra el terrorismo que deberían ser utilizadas previo a la invocación de la legítima defensa ».

Para los firmantes del texto,

«… el terrorismo representa un desafío en lo concerniente a su prevención y represión, en particular esto implica la persecución y el juzgamiento de los autores de dichos actos terroristas. Las herramientas que ofrece el derecho en ese sentido son variadas: ellas hacen referencia principalmente a una cooperación policial et judicial, que posee como principal objetivo la represión de los crímenes cometidos y la prevención de su repetición. Si bien dicha cooperación merecería ser profundizada y mejorada, ella ha demostrado su eficacia en varias ocasiones, a través del desmantelamiento de redes, desbaratamiento de atentados o de la detención de sus autores. El hecho de situarse en forma inmediata en el plano de la “guerra contra el terrorismo” y la “legítima defensa”, haciendo referencia generalmente a un estado de excepción derogatorio del derecho común, podría desembocar en el riesgo de minimizar, olvidar o inclusive ignorar este último”.

Cabe señalar que académicos e investigadores en derecho internacional pueden aún suscribir este texto, ello hasta el próximo 31 de julio.  El documento recuerda algunas verdades sobre el alcance preciso de ciertas reglas, que conocen perfectamente bien los diplomáticos en Nueva York, pero cuyos homólogos en el Consejo de Seguridad se han encargado de interpretar de manera ambigua, en particular desde el inicio de las operaciones militares aéreas en  Siria (Nota 4).

Este verdadero manifiesto global en favor de una interpretación correcta de la Carta de 1945 precisa que:

« … es el Consejo de Seguridad a quien le incumbe, conforme al Capítulo VII de la Carta de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas, la responsabilidad primordial en el ámbito del mantenimiento y el restablecimiento de la paz. Este último ha calificado en diferentes oportunidades al terrorismo internacional como una amenaza contra la paz y resulta lógico que, exceptuando los casos de urgencia que no permitan disponer del tiempo suficiente para su tratamiento, sea dicho órgano el responsable de decidir y, posteriormente, coordinar y supervisar una acción eventual de seguridad colectiva. La práctica consistente a confinarlo a un rol de productor de resoluciones ambiguas y con un alcance principalmente diplomático, como por ejemplo en el caso concerniente a la adopción del a resolución 2249 (2015) relativa a la lucha contra Daesh, debe ser superada en beneficio de un retorno a la letra y espíritu de la Carta, en orden a asegurar un punto de vista multilateral de la seguridad. /…/ El simple hecho que el Estado sea, a pesar de sus esfuerzos, incapaz de dar término a los actos terroristas en su territorio, no puede ser suficiente para justificar el bombardeo de su territorio sin su consentimiento. Dicho argumento no encuentra justificación alguna en los textos jurídicos existentes, ni en la jurisprudencia establecida por la Corte Internacional de Justicia. Su aceptación implicaría llevarnos a los abusos más graves y, como consecuencia de ello, las operaciones militares podrían llevarse a cabo contra la voluntad de un número importante de Estados, bajo el único pretexto que estos último no serían, a la vista la potencia interviniente, suficientemente eficaces en la lucha contra el terrorismo.».

Con relación al otro Estado del hemisferio americano que ha acompañado a Estados Unidos en su campaña de bombardeos aéreos en Siria, en febrero del 2016, las nuevas autoridades electas en Canadá optaron por suspender todos los bombardeos aéreos en Siria, y también en Iraq. En esta   nota oficial  de las Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) se lee que:

In accordance with Government of Canada direction, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) ceased airstrike operations in Iraq and Syria on 15 February 2016. From their first sortie on 30 October 2014 to 15 February 2016, the CF-188 Hornets conducted 1378 sorties resulting in 251 airstrikes (246 in Iraq and 5 in Syria), expended 606 munitions and achieved the following effects: 267 ISIL fighting positions, 102 ISIL equipment and vehicles, and, 30 ISIL Improvised Explosive Device (IED) factories and ISIL storage facilities”.

Cabe mencionar que en el 2015, un jurista canadiense concluyó un muy completo artículo sobre las bases jurídicas de los bombardeos aéreos canadienses en Siria y en Irak en los siguientes términos, que nos permitimos reproducir:

However, there is a further legal hurdle for Canada to overcome. Unless Canada can attribute ISIS´ attacks in Iraq to Syria, then the question becomes whether Canada may lawfully target ISIS, as a nonstate actor in Syria’s sovereign territory, using the ‘unwilling or unable’ doctrine to prevent ISIS’ extraterritoriality attacks against Iraq. This justification moves significantly away from the Nicaragua, Congo and Israeli Wall cases’ requirement for attribution. There appears to be a lack of consensus on whether opinion juris and state practice have accepted the “unwilling or unable” doctrine as customary international law. There is no escaping the conclusion that Canada’s air strikes on Syria are on shaky, or at least shifting, legal ground ” (Nota 5).

Con relación a las muertes y daños a la población causados por estos bombardeos aéreos cuya legalidad es altamente cuestionable, se lee en un reciente  informe  de junio de 2016 dedicado a analizar los regitros oficiales militares de Estados Unidos en Siria lo siguiente:

This raises concerns that important, corroborating information was either never identified or discounted with little justification, a concern confirmed by a comparison to an investigation by Airwars into one of the strikes involved, which demonstrates that open source data was overlooked. As a result of these apparent shortcomings, it is highly likely that there is a significant amount of information regarding civilian harm and its strategic impact that the United States simply does not know”(p. 55).

A modo de conclusión

Este manifiesto colectivo, ampliamente difundido en redes  sociales y universitarias,  y en algunos medios de prensa en Europa y Canadá, viene también a  poner en evidencia la existencia de una comunidad académica de especialistas en derecho internacional, unida y dispuesta a demostrarlo cuando un grupo de Estados optan por una peligrosa deriva interpretativa que amenaza la base del ordenamiento jurídico internacional consagrado desde 1945.

Los firmantes del llamado colectivo, cuyo número aumenta día con día, incluyendo a académicos de muy diversas edades y partes del mundo, concluyen reafirmando de manera solemne que:

«El orden jurídico internacional no puede reducirse a una lógica intervencionista similar a aquella que hemos conocido previo a la adopción de la Carta de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas. Esta última tuvo como principal objetivo substituir las operaciones militares unilaterales por une sistema multilateral basado en la cooperación y en el role primordial del derecho y las instituciones. Sería dramático que, sobre la base de la emoción comprensible que genera la multiplicación de los atentados terroristas, terminemos por olvidar dichas características ».

 Nicolas Boeglin

 

 

Nota 1: Véase CORTEN O., « A Plea Against the Abusive Invocation of Self-Defence as a Response to Terrorism”, European Journal of International Law (EJIL Talk), July 14, 2016, disponible  aquí .

Nota 2: Véase nuestra modesta nota publicada en Francia,  BOEGLIN N., «Attentats à Paris: remarques à propos de la résolution 2249 », Actualités du Droit, 6 décembre 2015, disponible  aquí . La misma fue publicada en español unos días antes en el sitio de Voltaire.net.org bajo el título, “La Resolución 2249 no autoriza a bombardear Siria”, 3 de diciembre del 2015, disponible aquí. También remitimos a lector a la nota redactada después del debate parlamentario acaecido en el Reino Unido a finales de noviembre del 2015 que concluyó con la autorización al Ejecutivo británico para proceder a  bombardeos en Siria: BOEGLIN N. «Arguments based on UN resolution 2249 in Prime Minister´s report on airstrikes in Syria: some clarifications needed », Global Research, December 3, 2015, disponible aquí  así como en el sitio de Human Rights Investigation, December 4, 2015, disponible aquí .

Nota 3: Véase nuestro breve análisis, BOEGLIN N., “Francia en guerra: breves apuntes desde la perspectiva del derecho internacional”, Derecho al Dia, 26 de Noviembre del 2015. Texto de la nota disponible aquí.

Nota 4: Sobre la controvertida noción de Estado « unwilling or unable » que justificaría, para algunos diplomáticos y militares, operaciones militares en su territorio sin contar con el consentimiento previo de sus autoridades, véase: CORTEN O., “The ‘Unwilling or Unable’ Test: Has it Been, and Could it be, Accepted?”, Leiden Journal of International Law, 2016. Texto y referencias del artículo disponibles aquí .

Nota 5: Véase LESPERANCE R.J. , “Canada’s Military Operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the Law of Armed Conflict”, Canadian International Lawyer, Vol. 10 (2015), pp. 51-63, p. 61. Texto completo del artículo disponible  aquí .

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Middle-East-Map-460x319

The Neo-Con “West” And Global Destruction. A “New World Order” of Globalized Despair

By Mark Taliano, July 29 2016

The neo-con “West” and its allies want to destroy the Middle East so that they can control the Middle East. Under the auspices of their imperial “New Middle East” project, the criminals (U.S–led NATO, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Israel, are targeting everything that they falsely profess to cherish.

Map-Ocean-World

A Decade of Evidence Demonstrates The Dramatic Failure Of Globalisation

By Graham Vanbergen, July 29 2016

According to wikipedia, Globalisation is the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas and other aspects of culture. However, over the last ten years there has been a sea change decline in all the indicators that would measure the success of this model.

hillary-clinton-for-war

A New Low in US Presidential Politics: The Anointment of Hillary, the Neocon “War Goddess”

By Stephen Lendman, July 29 2016

Anointing her by electoral rigging to lead one wing of America’s duopoly system reveals the deplorable state of the nation – tyranny posing as democracy. A new low in presidential politics was reached with a candidate representing Washington’s lunatic fringe, a neocon war goddess drooling for endless conflicts.

Sino-Filipino dispute

Former American Colony Takes Center Stage In South China Sea Dispute

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, July 29 2016

The Philippines was under American colonial rule from 1898 to 1946. Despite gaining independence, the island nation is now being used as a tool to apply pressure on China, America’s biggest rival in the South China Sea.

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Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU

By Colin Todhunter, July 29 2016

Over half the population of the European Union (EU) is overweight or obese. Without effective action, this number will grow substantially in the next decade warns an important new report.‘A Spoonful of Sugar: How the Food Lobby Fights Sugar Regulation in the EU’, by the research and campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), notes that obesity rates are rising fastest among lowest socio-economic groups.

Religions dans le monde

The Psychology of Ideology and Religion

By Robert J. Burrowes, July 29 2016

Two of the drivers of world affairs that manifest in the daily decisions that affect our lives are ideology and religion.Ideology is the term widely used to describe the underlying set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that shape the behavioral approach to political, economic, social, cultural and/or ecological activities of an individual or organization.

 

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Anointing her by electoral rigging to lead one wing of America’s duopoly system reveals the deplorable state of the nation – tyranny posing as democracy.

A new low in presidential politics was reached with a candidate representing Washington’s lunatic fringe, a neocon war goddess drooling for endless conflicts.

If elected, Hillary risks committing greater high crimes of state than her predecessors, including possible nuclear war – why it’s crucial to defeat her in November. Humanity’s fate hangs in the balance.

Her Thursday night acceptance speech was what you’d expect – featuring rambling lofty rhetoric, dreary and dull pontificating, empty promises, an unprincipled display of dishonesty.

Claiming “economic and social justice issues (are) front and center where they belong” on her agenda belies her record as a corrupt lawyer, first lady, US senator, secretary of state and influence-peddler to the highest bidders through the Clinton Foundation, for self-aggrandizement and wealth enrichment.

Hillary represents a new low in US politics, featuring unrestrained imperial lawlessness, endless wars of aggression, risking WW III by confronting nonexistent Sino/Russian threats, serving monied and warmongering interests exclusively, along with ignoring the welfare and concerns of ordinary people.

Defeating her presidential ambitions tops all other priorities for people everywhere.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled « Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III. » 

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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Attacks on doctors, teachers and agricultural advisers were also a deliberate Contra tactic encouraged by their U.S. advisers.

The internationalists. Some may consider them simply tourists. I don’t know how they are looked upon in official U.S. circles. Reagan calls them ‘terrorists.’ Of course, they do terrify him, and rightly so. The internationalists in the field of culture, health, construction, information … internationalists in solidarity, to put it simply. In the chapel in the little settlement of Santa Clara a Delegate of the Word defined them clearly: `The internationalists internationalize love.’
—Bishop Pedro Casaldaliga

In the 1980s many thousands of people from all over Europe and North America traveled to Nicaragua to demonstrate their solidarity with the Nicaraguan Revolution led by the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN). They joined women and men from all over Latin America and the Caribbean who also rallied in a great wave of solidarity defending Nicaragua’s revolution against the terrorist aggression of the U.S. government under President Reagan. For people in North America, the foremost figure of that solidarity is Benjamin Linder, who was murdered by U.S. armed and supported Contra fighters in 1987. Less remembered are European martyrs like Albrecht Pflaum from Germany and Pierre Grosjean from France, both doctors, who were murdered in separate Contra attacks in 1983. 2016 marks thirty years since the deaths in 1986 of five other Europeans. Maurice Demierre, Joël Fieux, Ambrosio Mogorrón, Yvan Leyvraz and Berndt Koberstein. It is worth remembering these people now because their example and vision entirely contradict what Europe has become under the misrule of the European elites.

Pierre Grosjean and Albrecht Pflaum

Pierre Grosjean and Albrecht Pflaum

Maurice Dèmierre was a Swiss agronomist working in rural areas of Nicaragua’s north western department of Chinandega. From a devout Catholic family, Maurice was sentenced to three months in prison as a conscientious objector against his country’s national military service. He was 28 when his vehicle set off a couple of U.S. Claymore mines on Feb. 16, 1986. The explosion killed Maurice and five of his Nicaraguan passengers. Such incidents were very common in Nicaragua because the U.S. government encouraged the Contra fighters it armed and trained to deliberately target civilians so as to create fear and paralyse normal social and economic activity.

Among the most notorious of these attacks were one near San Juan de Limay and another near San Jose de Bocay destroying public transport vehicles and murdering almost 60 people all told, leaving dozens wounded. Attacks on doctors, teachers and agricultural advisers were also a deliberate Contra tactic encouraged by their U.S. advisers.

Ambrosio Mogorron was a Basque doctor in the area around San Jose de Bocay in northern Jinotega one of the most intense war zones at the time. He too, like Maurice Dèmierre, died on May 24, 1986 along with 9 others when a U.S. anti-tank mine detonated under his pick-up vehicle, carrying 12 Nicaraguans, while he was helping organize a vaccination campaign in the many remote communities around San José de Bocay. His Nicaraguan co worker Senia remembers,

“When we brought the bodies to San José de Bocay it was night time. People resisted believing it was Ambrosio and kept lifting the coffin cover to be sure it was him, with much weeping. They brought him every kind of flower. If the Contra had any support in the area it certainly fell away with Ambrosio’s death.”

At the time he died Ambrosio had been working for years accumulating data on leishmaniasis, the much feared disease better know as “mountain leprosy” and had accumulated analysis of around 2500 cases in the region.

Maurice Demierre and Ambrosio Mogorron

Orlando Rizo was the regional director of health in those days and recalls “Ambrosio was indeed what you might call a popular leader. I don’t think the Contra respected him. They respected nothing and their Radio “September 15th” had threatened him. But it’s quite possible he gave medical attention to family members of Contra fighters. It’s normal for us to do that in certain areas if the family turns up for a consultation. For us, Ambrosio symbolized life. He had three qualities, a deep conviction of the cause of the people and what it meant to work, live and if necessary die for that cause. Then his bravery, working for six years in really difficult circumstances and, finally, his humility. He was an example for all of us.”

In the deadliest attack involving European volunteers, five people were killed when their vehicle was ambushed near Zompopera in northern Nicaragua on the way south to Matagalpa. This attack killed Yvan Leyvraz, Joël Fieux and Berndt Koberstein as well as their Nicaraguan comrades, Mario Acevedo and William Blandón. Yvan, 31 when he died, was an electrician from Lausanne, Switzerland. He had left his country objecting to its policy of national military service and traveled through Latin America before arriving in Nicaragua in 1983. For a while Yvan worked around the town of La Dalia. A woman Nicaraguan cooperative member remembers, “Here in the country around Yale we’d never seen a housing project for people in poverty. It was something unusual, seeing the effort those comrades made to build 42 houses and the school. People were grateful for that help since we’d never had it before. Yvan finished the project here and went to build projects elsewhere while we continued finishing building the settlement. At the same time in La Dalia we trained a group of workers to coordinate with the brigade of Swiss workers. When Yvan left, people were ready to carry on building.”

Berndt Koberstein, 29, was a German mechanic from Freiberg, then in East Germany, who first came to Nicaragua in 1981 to help install a printing press for the Sandinista Youth. Very active in his local communist party in Germany, Berndt intensified his solidarity work after the murder of Albrecht “Tonio” Pflaum in 1983. He returned to Nicaragua to work in the town of Wiwilí in northern Jinotega installing drinking water systems for local people there. When the vehicle Berndt and his companions traveled in was attacked, Berndt was unarmed and was shot dead during the combat. Yvan Leyvraz was killed by a rocket propelled grenade as he tried to get out from the vehicle under fire. Joël Fieux took a weapon and fired back at the Contra attackers until he too was shot dead.

Yvan Leyvraz, Joel Fieux and Berndt Koberstein

From France, Joël Fieux, a communications worker, was 28 when he died. He had left France to avoid military service there in 1980 and settled in Nicaragua in 1983. Joël’s partner Fatima remembers,

“We were good friends and accomplices too, as well as being a couple. He liked the country life, friendships with rural people, getting to know rural idiosyncrasies and problems… He was never afraid of getting involved in the difficulties of the war and getting out to the farthest corners of the region around Jinotega and Matagalpa, setting up radio communications for the people facing the brunt of the Contra war…I don’t want to talk about his absence because I prefer having his presence here in my heart and I think many people feel the same as me, remembering his way of being. For some he was a teacher, for others an unruly worker, a dreamer, a great cook who loved his food, a great friend, and for me, my great love.”

At Ben Linder’s funeral in Matagalpa in 1987 following his murder in La Camaleona near San José de Bocay, Daniel Ortega said,

“From La Camaleona where the mercenaries murdered him following the plans of the CIA , to El Cuá, Río San Juan, Oregon and Washington, the song full of love, full of peace, and of Benjamin Linder’s hopes, multiplies with his sacrifice. What’s more powerful than war? And what is more powerful than a hundred million dollars or the threat of invasion? Far more powerful is the power of love among peoples, the example and sacrifice of people like Benjamin…”

Similarly, leading Sandinista strategist Orlando Nuñez Soto wrote in relation to these internationalist martyrs,

“In every historical moment, a part of youth reminds older generations of the need for and the commitment to freedom. Each generation sees a mortal struggle in which each of us choose either to defend the status quo or to change it. Maurice, Yvan, Joël and Berndt, like so many young people were on the side of hope to be able to change the world so as to build a new world”.

As contemporary Europe struggles to free itself from its squalid, corrupt elites and to remake itself from its all too pressing history of brutal colonialism and genocidal war, its peoples could well take inspiration from the great example of their heroes and martyrs in the cause of international peace and justice in Nicaragua.

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The Psychology of Ideology and Religion

juillet 29th, 2016 by Robert J. Burrowes

Two of the drivers of world affairs that manifest in the daily decisions that affect our lives are ideology and religion.

Ideology is the term widely used to describe the underlying set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that shape the behavioral approach to political, economic, social, cultural and/or ecological activities of an individual or organization. This organization might be a political party, government, multinational corporation, terrorist group, non-government organization, community or activist group.

Religion usually describes the belief in a superhuman controlling power involving a God or gods; it entails a system of faith and worship as well as, like ideology, an underlying set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that shape the behavioral approach to political, economic, social, cultural and/or ecological activities of an individual or organization.

At the macro level, there are worldwide or regional ideologies such as capitalism, fascism, conservatism, communism, socialism, feminism, pacifism and environmentalism as well as religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. There are also variations of these major ideologies and religions. But even at the micro level, the local service club, neighborhood charity and sporting club operates in accordance with an ideology or religion that is shared by its members too.

Frequently, a shared ideology or religion is a functional way for like-minded people to find each other and to work together to achieve a shared aim. When this helps to achieve a desirable social outcome, the shared ideology or religion has a valuable purpose.

Unfortunately, however, often enough the shared ideology or religion has a dysfunctional basis and the outcome is detrimental both individually and socially with the (violent) consequences sometimes reverberating throughout a national or even global society. This is why it is useful to understand the psychology of ideology and religion.

When a child is very young, they start to learn from the people around them. Predominantly, they learn by being participants, one way or another, in the events in which they are involved. That is, when their parents, other significant adults (such as relatives, school teachers and religious figures) or an older sibling involve the child in an activity, the child is taught and copies the mental responses and behaviours of those around them. This is what is called ‘socialization’.

However, it is important to identify the ideological/religious elements in this process too. First, there are ideological and religious imperatives around raising children. These imperatives are sometimes deliberately shaped by an ideology or a religion but, often enough, they are simply copied on the advice of, or by observing the behavior of, other nearby adults.

Second, and more importantly however, the child unconsciously acquires a set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine (in relation to social, cultural, political, economic, religious, sporting and ecological issues) that are approved by the adults in the child’s life.

There is much that is functional about this process and, historically, it can explain a great deal about human behavior, including in particular cultural contexts.

But I would like to discuss the dysfunctional aspects of this process which arise from the way in which the child’s fear is deliberately played upon so that, consciously or unconsciously, they copy the ideology or religion of the adults around them. And the reason that the child does this is so that the ideology or religion that they acquire, together with the behavioral outcomes that arise from this, does not scare these same adults.

In an ideal world, a child would be socialized in an environment devoid of fear and in which they are loved, there is no ‘visible’, ‘invisible’ or ‘utterly invisible’ violence – see ‘Why Violence?’ – damaging them in any way, they have their needs met and they are utterly free to choose (and later change if they wish) the values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine by which they will live their life, preferably with the benefit of substantial aware listening from adults while they work this out for themselves. Needless to say, this never happens.

In fact, the typical child is endlessly terrorized into adopting some version of the individual ideologies and religions, which are sometimes bizarrely conflicting, of the people around them.

This means that a fixed set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine – including those in relation to violence – become fearfully and unconsciously embedded in the child’s mind and they cease to be values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that are easily and consciously accessible for review and reconsideration in light of new information or evidence. Let me briefly illustrate this point.

For some people, it is easy to laugh at or be outraged by the absurd statements they hear uttered by a very conservative politician, especially if they display a pronounced bias against a particular racial or religious group or a class of people. But to a conservative, their ideology is imperative and it reflects a childhood of being terrorized into believing certain things. There is no conscious awareness of this unconscious terror and even if asked, they would readily proclaim that they are not terrified (because they have been terrorized into suppressing their awareness of this terror, which is why it is now unconscious to them).

Similarly, most socialists are very attached to the ideology that puts class (based on the production relations of capitalism) predominantly at the centre of their analysis, feminists usually believe that gender relations under patriarchy are the primary problem in society, many people who combat racism view white domination as the core issue in social oppression, and religious fundamentalists believe that they know the one truth to the exclusion of people of other faiths. Irrespective of the proclaimed original basis of the ideology or religion, often enough, at least some of its adherents also learn to believe that violence is the appropriate behavior for achieving some or all of their aims.

The issue in this context, however, is not whether any of these people is right or wrong but why they hold so tenaciously to a worldview that they do not willingly and fearlessly subject to ongoing scrutiny. And that is why the psychology of ideology and religion is so important.

If any person is willing to fearlessly and open-mindedly consider other worldviews and analyses of society’s social relationships and problems, as well as how to tackle these problems, then it is likely that their ideology or religion is one that has been genuinely and intelligently acquired of their own free will and their mind will be capable of analysis and reconsideration if compelling evidence of the merits of an alternative worldview or explanation is made available. They are also likely to be highly tolerant of other worldviews as some religions, for example, specifically teach.

But if someone, whatever their ideology or religion, is dogmatically insistent on their own worldview, then their fear of further analysis and reconsideration will be readily apparent and it is a straightforward conclusion that they were terrorized out of the capacity to think fearlessly for themselves when they were a child. They are also more likely to behave violently.

If you would like to read a detailed explanation of how a child is terrorized, to a greater or lesser extent, into unconsciously absorbing a version of the ideologies and/or religions of the adults around them, you can do so in ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice.’

These documents explain the visible, invisible and utterly invisible violence to which children are subjected throughout childhood and which few survive. Moreover, it is this adult violence against children that leads to all other manifestations of violence.

Now, you might well ask: Is this simply my ideology? Well perhaps it is. But five decades of research, which included substantial reading and thoughtful consideration of many ideologies and religions, led me to this conclusion. Nevertheless, I remain happy to review my beliefs in this matter if someone offers me compelling evidence in support of another explanation.

Even better, when I witness Christian parents raising children who have chosen to be Muslims and conservative parents raising children who have chosen to be anarchists and… I will have all of the evidence I need to know that I am wrong.

If you would like to work towards creating a world in which fear does not shape every single outcome of human endeavor, you might like to sign the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’.

In essence, most children are terrorized into believing what the adults around them want them to think. This is because most adults are far too (unconsciously) frightened to let children think for themselves and to then let them believe and behave as they choose.

Consequently, therefore, it is fear, often mediated through ideology and religion, that drives most human behavior.

Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence His email address is [email protected] and his website is at http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on July 25 details of a “U.S. plan” for military cooperation and intelligence sharing with Russia on Syria were expected to be announced in early August. Kerry’s statement followed the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of a meeting of Southeast Asian nations in Laos.

According to the plan, Russia and the U.S. will share intelligence to coordinate air strikes against the Syrian Al Qaeda branch “Jabhat Al Nusra” and prohibit the Russian and Syrian air powers from attacking the so-called “moderate rebels.”

However, the ongoing progress on the ground remains questionable. Al Nusra is the most powerful “opposition group” in Syria, excluding ISIS. According to the group’s statements, Al Nusra currently stands at 60,000 fighters, although this number is impossible to verify. The group’s units are able to conduct a classic warfare with usage of artillery, battle tanks and other equipment, including drones, as well as they conduct guerrilla warfare and terror attacks of suicide bombers.

According to intelligence information, Al Nusra has been receiving direct support from Turkey and Saudi Arabia and indirect support through the U.S. programs aimed to train “moderate rebels” in Syria. In other words, if Washington agrees to coordinate its efforts against the terrorist group with Russia, the US-backed Syrian opposition will lose its main striking power.

Entirely by accident, the very same day with Kerry’s statement, Abu Mohammad Al Golani, leader of Al Nusra, made a public statement announcing that Jabhat Al Nusra has separated from Al Qaeda, organizationally and taken a new name, Jabhat Fateh Al Sham (Sham Liberation Front).

This move signifies the start of full-scale rebranding campaign, clearly aimed to evade the effects of Russian-U.S. deal to coordinate efforts against the terrorist group. Al Nusra is aiming to depict itself as a “moderate opposition group,” adjusting to the constant pressure from Russians that had pushed Washington to accept the deal. It’s easy to expect a series of reports in the Western media that will depict Al Nusra’s rebranding as an important step on the way to better “democratic” Syria. Because, now, when the group changed its name, nobody has to doubt that it remains a terrorist organization. These reports will likely call the group “rebels” and hide the original source of “opposition fighters” from Jabhat Fateh Al Sham. Indeed, they have never avoided doing this.

It’s possible to expect that Al Nusra’s rebranding will allow the U.S. to avoid any significant actions under the long-awaited deal with Russia, claiming that there is no such entity as Jabhat Al Nusra at the battlefield. Moreover, Jabhat Fateh Al Sham units will likely further shuffle with vestiges of the so-called “moderate opposition.” Strategically, it could create a foothold for the groups’ foreign sponsors to push the terrorist group as a part of the Vienna talks and post-war Syria consensus.

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A Muslim youth commits a terrible violent crime and then takes his own life. His suburban family, immigrants in the US for more than two decades is advised to relocate; his parents are divided over how to handle the crisis; his teenage siblings, shunned and mocked by classmates, retreat into fantasy; the community in which they were once so nicely integrated spurns them.

The scenario could be any national news story. Whatever the perpetrator’s motive or mental state, his crime is a ‘Muslim’ one– an uncivil act; everything associated with him becomes tainted. The religion itself is blighted and criminalized. The violence is seen as further evidence that Islam bears responsibility.

Our media’s preoccupation with and prejudgment of this category of crime is so intense that Muslims find themselves floundering in its wake. With regular frequency, Muslim writers pen commentaries explaining our angst, and cohorts of Muslim spokespeople appear on TV to refute generalizations about Islam and to assure others of the peace-loving nature of our religion and our community.

We know the scenario too well. Yet those eloquent efforts seem naïve, ineffective and superficial. At the same time we find precious few attempts by our Muslim creative community to explore the human repercussions of these events at a deeper level:–through novels, film and drama.

I can think of just three writers, Hanif KureishiWajahat Ali and Laila Halaby who’ve addressed Muslim family experience in these turbulent decades in the West where our social lives are thrown into turmoil, where we are psychologically traumatized, and where our own spiritual values are undermined.  (“My Son the Fanatic”, a 1994 story by London-based Kureishi was made into an good film; Ali’s 2005 play “Domestic Crusaders”   was later published as a book; Halaby’s novel “Once in a Promised Land” appeared in 2007. I suppose we could include “My Name Is Khan” a 2010 Indian-produced film set largely in the USA.)

We now have a novel that tackles this contemporary theme in a fresh and effective approach. Rajia Hassib’s  “In the Language of Miracles” explores how one American Muslim family is impacted by violence. I don’t know if Hassib intended her fictional piece to be a domestic prism through which to view the American Muslims’ experience of “terror” in our midst. Because there’s nothing explicit here about what’s commonly labeled “Islamic terror”. For me however, her story is essentially a metaphor of our recurring nightmare– alleged “Islamic violence” directed at Western targets.

The plot of “In the Language of Miracles” is an astute tactic to remove the crime from its normally fraught political context to explore what transpires when a simple youth, motivated by jealousy, family tensions and personal stress, carries out an ordinary (American) killing. What happens to his family and his community?”

This cleverly crafted story opens with a veiled reference to a past family tragedy when Cynthia, a (white) neighbor invites the Al-Menshawy (Muslim) family to a forthcoming event; it’s the first anniversary memorial of her daughter Nathalie’s death. The invitation precipitates divisions among family members: Samir, the father and a successful doctor, his wife Nagla suffering from unspecified ailments, their son Khaled, their daughter Fatima, and Nagla’s mother Ehsan visiting from overseas. Each reacts differently to the neighbor’s invitation and we are pulled into the evolving drama over the few days between that awkward announcement and the ceremony itself. We soon learn that the al-Menshawys not only also lost a child, Hosaam, by suicide; it was their son who killed Nathalie, his longtime childhood friend.

We hardly have time to mourn Hosaam or to learn his motives since author Hassib’s story focuses around Nathalie’s approaching memorial which is to be a community affair with speeches and a tree planting. Flyers are posted on social media and across the town, stirring up the community’s grief and anger; not unexpectedly much emotion is directed at the killer’s family.

What should they do? Samir insists they attend the memorial where he intends to make a statement. Nagla rejects this; she’s unfocused and indolent, a condition likely precipitated by the death of Hosaam. Her surviving son Khaled is withdrawn while Fatima tries to ride above the fray. (She’s recently befriended another Muslim girl and is perhaps becoming more devout.) Khaled, rejected by all but one school friend, retreats into social media and seeks out a young woman in New York City. With this stranger he’s able to share his distress and revisit events leading to Hosaam’s action. He returns to his troubled home in New Jersey in time for the memorial but too late to rescue his father from his blundering performance there.

The story is presented through Khaled’s eyes, from his grandmother’s pseudo-Islamic incantations and dream interpretations during a childhood illness to his alienation from his brother, the son for whom Samir had high expectations. (In the final chapter we find Khaled and his sister residing in the US while their father, humiliated after his misstep at the memorial, has returned to Egypt with Nagla and their grandmother.)

To build the character of Samir whose psychology Hassib seems most interested in exploring, she takes us back to his arrival in New York as a medical graduate from Egypt to begin his residency. While achieving his ambitions of establishing his own clinic and enjoying social acceptance among Americans, Samir has eschewed his Egyptian culture and his religion. Yet he misreads the very culture he feels so proud to be part of; his children are unanchored and his wife is ill. Worst, he completely disregards his own son’s death anniversary.

Tellingly, the least acculturated family member, grandmother Ehsan, offers her folk remedies, common sense, and some invocations of Islamic texts that she barely understands to address the pain of her traumatized family. She alone seems to possess the cultural integrity to properly recognize the death anniversary of their child Hosaam. In familiar simple Islamic tradition she prepares special pastries and spends the day at the cemetery to commute with his spirit (and to scrub offensive graffiti off his gravestone) where she also consoles a grieving stranger at a nearby grave.

Published in 2015, « In the Language of Miracles » offers plenty of material on the domestic side of Islam, on migrant trauma, and on the sociology of Muslim Americans. In this debut novel, Rajia Hassib establishes herself as an Arab American writer of great talent.

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When American firms dominate a global market worth more than $70 billion a year, you’d expect to hear about it.  Not so with the global arms trade.  It’s good for one or two stories a year in the mainstream media, usually when the annual statistics on the state of the business come out.

It’s not that no one writes about aspects of the arms trade. There are occasional pieces that, for example, take note of the impact of U.S. weapons transfers, including cluster bombs, to Saudi Arabia, or of the disastrous dispensation of weaponry to U.S. allies in Syria, or of foreign sales of the costly, controversial F-35 combat aircraft.  And once in a while, if a foreign leader meets with the president, U.S. arms sales to his or her country might generate an article or two. But the sheer size of the American arms trade, the politics that drive it, the companies that profit from it, and its devastating global impacts are rarely discussed, much less analyzed in any depth.

So here’s a question that’s puzzled me for years (and I’m something of an arms wonk): Why do other major U.S. exports — from Hollywood movies to Midwestern grain shipments to Boeing airliners — garner regular coverage while trends in weapons exports remain in relative obscurity?  Are we ashamed of standing essentially alone as the world’s number one arms dealer, or is our Weapons “R” Us role such a commonplace that we take it for granted, like death or taxes?

The numbers should stagger anyone.  According to the latest figures available from the Congressional Research Service, the United States was credited with more than half the value of all global arms transfer agreements in 2014, the most recent year for which full statistics are available. At 14%, the world’s second largest supplier, Russia, lagged far behind.  Washington’s “leadership” in this field has never truly been challenged.  The U.S. share has fluctuated between one-third and one-half of the global market for the past two decades, peaking at an almost monopolistic 70% of all weapons sold in 2011.  And the gold rush continues. Vice Admiral Joe Rixey, who heads the Pentagon’s arms sales agency, euphemistically known as the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, estimates that arms deals facilitated by the Pentagon topped $46 billion in 2015, and are on track to hit $40 billion in 2016.

To be completely accurate, there is one group of people who pay remarkably close attention to these trends — executives of the defense contractors that are cashing in on this growth market.  With the Pentagon and related agencies taking in “only” about $600 billion a year — high by historical standards but tens of billions of dollars less than hoped for by the defense industry — companies like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and General Dynamics have been looking to global markets as their major source of new revenue.

In a January 2015 investor call, for example, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson was asked whether the Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration and five other powers might reduce tensions in the Middle East, undermining the company’s strategy of increasing its arms exports to the region.  She responded that continuing “volatility” in both the Middle East and Asia would make them “growth areas” for the foreseeable future.  In other words, no worries.  As long as the world stays at war or on the verge of it, Lockheed Martin’s profits won’t suffer — and, of course, its products will help ensure that any such “volatility” will prove lethal indeed.

Under Hewson, Lockheed has set a goal of getting at least 25% of its revenues from weapons exports, and Boeing has done that company one better.  It’s seeking to make overseas arms sales 30% of its business.

Good News From the Middle East (If You’re an Arms Maker)

Arms deals are a way of life in Washington.  From the president on down, significant parts of the government are intent on ensuring that American arms will flood the global market and companies like Lockheed and Boeing will live the good life.  From the president on his trips abroad to visit allied world leaders to the secretaries of state and defense to the staffs of U.S. embassies, American officials regularly act as salespeople for the arms firms.  And the Pentagon is their enabler.  From brokering, facilitating, and literally banking the money from arms deals to transferring weapons to favored allies on the taxpayers’ dime, it is in essence the world’s largest arms dealer.

In a typical sale, the U.S. government is involved every step of the way.  The Pentagon often does assessments of an allied nation’s armed forces in order to tell them what they “need” — and of course what they always need is billions of dollars in new U.S.-supplied equipment.  Then the Pentagon helps negotiate the terms of the deal, notifies Congress of its details, and collects the funds from the foreign buyer, which it then gives to the U.S. supplier in the form of a defense contract.  In most deals, the Pentagon is also the point of contact for maintenance and spare parts for any U.S.-supplied system. The bureaucracy that helps make all of this happen, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, is funded from a 3.5% surcharge on the deals it negotiates. This gives it all the more incentive to sell, sell, sell.

And the pressure for yet more of the same is always intense, in part because the weapons makers are careful to spread their production facilities to as many states and localities as possible.  In this way, they ensure that endless support for government promotion of major arms sales becomes part and parcel of domestic politics.

General Dynamics, for instance, has managed to keep its tank plants in Ohio and Michigan running through a combination of add-ons to the Army budget — funds inserted into that budget by Congress even though the Pentagon didn’t request them — and exports to Saudi Arabia.  Boeing is banking on a proposed deal to sell 40 F-18s to Kuwait (image left) to keep its St. Louis production line open, and is currently jousting with the Obama administration to get it to move more quickly on the deal.  Not surprisingly, members of Congress and local business leaders in such states become strong supporters of weapons exports.

Though seldom thought of this way, the U.S. political system is also a global arms distribution system of the first order.  In this context, the Obama administration has proven itself a good friend to arms exporting firms.  During President Obama’s first six years in office, Washington entered into agreements to sell more than $190 billion in weaponry worldwide — more, that is, than any U.S. administration since World War II.  In addition, Team Obama has loosened restrictions on arms exports, making it possible to send abroad a whole new range of weapons and weapons components — including Black Hawk and Huey helicopters and engines for C-17 transport planes — with far less scrutiny than was previously required.

This has been good news for the industry, which had been pressing for such changes for decades with little success. But the weaker regulations also make it potentially easier for arms smugglers and human rights abusers to get their hands on U.S. arms. For example, 36 U.S. allies — from Argentina and Bulgaria to Romania and Turkey — will no longer need licenses from the State Department to import weapons and weapons parts from the United States.  This will make it far easier for smuggling networks to set up front companies in such countries and get U.S. arms and arms components that they can then pass on to third parties like Iran or China.  Already a common practice, it will only increase under the new regulations.

The degree to which the Obama administration has been willing to bend over backward to help weapons exporters was underscored at a 2013 hearing on those administration export “reforms.”  Tom Kelly, then the deputy assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, caught the spirit of the era when asked whether the administration was doing enough to promote American arms exports.  He responded:

“[We are] advocating on behalf of our companies and doing everything we can to make sure that these sales go through… and that is something we are doing every day, basically [on] every continent in the world… and we’re constantly thinking of how we can do better.”

One place where, with a helping hand from the Obama administration and the Pentagon, the arms industry has been doing a lot better of late is the Middle East.  Washington has brokered deals for more than $50 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia alone for everything from F-15 fighter aircraft and Apache attack helicopters to combat ships and missile defense systems.

The most damaging deals, if not the most lucrative, have been the sales of bombs and missiles to the Saudis for their brutal war in Yemen, where thousands of civilians have been killed and millions of people are going hungry.  Members of Congress like Michigan Representative John Conyers and Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy have pressed for legislation that would at least stem the flow of the most deadly of the weaponry being sent for use there, but they have yet to overcome the considerable clout of the Saudis in Washington (and, of course, that of the arms industry as well).

When it comes to the arms business, however, there’s no end to the good news from the Middle East.  Take the administration’s proposed new 10-year aid deal with Israel.  If enacted as currently planned, it would boost U.S. military assistance to that country by up to 25% — to roughly $4 billion per year. At the same time, it would phase out a provision that had allowed Israel to spend one-quarter of Washington’s aid developing its own defense industry.  In other words, all that money, the full $4 billion in taxpayer dollars, will now flow directly into the coffers of companies like Lockheed Martin, which is in the midst of completing a multi-billion-dollar deal to sell the Israelis F-35s.

“Volatility” in Asia and Europe 

As Lockheed Martin’s Marillyn Hewson noted, however, the Middle East is hardly the only growth area for that firm or others like it.  The dispute between China and its neighbors over the control of the South China Sea (which is in many ways an incipient conflict over whether that country or the United States will control that part of the Pacific Ocean) has opened up new vistas when it comes to the sale of American warships and other military equipment to Washington’s East Asian allies.  The recent Hague court decision rejecting Chinese claims to those waters (and the Chinese rejectionof it) is only likely to increase the pace of arms buying in the region.

At the same time, in the good-news-never-ends department, growing fears of North Korea’s nuclear program have stoked a demand for U.S.-supplied missile defense systems.  The South Koreans have, in fact, just agreed to deploy Lockheed Martin’s THAAD anti-missile system.  In addition, the Obama administration’s decision to end the longstanding embargo on U.S. arms sales to Vietnam is likely to open yet another significant market for U.S. firms. In the past two years alone, the U.S. has offered more than $15 billionworth of weaponry to allies in East Asia, with Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea accounting for the bulk of the sales.

In addition, the Obama administration has gone to great lengths to build a defense relationship with India, a development guaranteed to benefit U.S. arms exporters.  Last year, Washington and New Delhi signed a 10-year defense agreement that included pledges of future joint work on aircraft engines and aircraft carrier designs.  In these years, the U.S. has made significant inroads into the Indian arms market, which had traditionally been dominated by the Soviet Union and then Russia.  Recent deals include a $5.8 billion sale of Boeing C-17 transport aircraft and a $1.4 billion agreement to provide support services related to a planned purchase of Apache attack helicopters.

And don’t forget “volatile” Europe.  Great Britain’s recent Brexit vote introduced an uncertainty factor into American arms exports to that country. The United Kingdom has been by far the biggest purchaser of U.S. weapons in Europe of late, with more than $6 billion in deals struck over the past two years alone — more, that is, than the U.S. has sold to all other European countries combined.

The British defense behemoth BAE is Lockheed Martin’s principal foreign partner on the F-35 combat aircraft (right), which at a projected cost of $1.4 trillion over its lifetime already qualifies as the most expensive weapons program in history.  If Brexit-driven austerity were to lead to a delay in, or the cancellation of, the F-35 deal (or any other major weapons shipments), it would be a blow to American arms makers.  But count on one thing: were there to be even a hint that this might happen to the F-35, lobbyists for BAE will mobilize to get the deal privileged status, whatever other budget cuts may be in the works.

On the bright side (if you happen to be a weapons maker), any British reductions will certainly be more than offset by opportunities in Eastern and Central Europe, where a new Cold War seems to be gaining traction.  Between 2014 and 2015, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, military spending increased by 13% in the region in response to the Russian intervention in Ukraine. The rise in Poland’s outlays, at 22%, was particularly steep.

Under the circumstances, it should be obvious that trends in the global arms trade are a major news story and should be dealt with as such in the country most responsible for putting more weapons of a more powerful nature into the hands of those living in “volatile” regions.  It’s a monster business (in every sense of the word) and certainly has far more dangerous consequences than licensing a Hollywood blockbuster or selling another Boeing airliner.

Historically, there have been rare occasions of public protest against unbridled arms trafficking, as with the backlash against “the merchants of death” after World War I, or the controversy over who armed Saddam Hussein that followed the 1991 Persian Gulf War.  Even now, small numbers of congressional representatives, including John Conyers, Chris Murphy, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, continue to try to halt the sale of cluster munitions, bombs, and missiles to Saudi Arabia.

There is, however, unlikely to be a genuine public debate about the value of the arms business and Washington’s place in it if it isn’t even considered a subject worthy of more than an occasional media story.  In the meantime, the United States continues to hold onto the number one role in the global arms trade, the White House does its part, the Pentagon greases the wheels, and the dollars roll in to profit-hungry U.S. weapons contractors.

William D. Hartung, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and a senior advisor to the Security Assistance Monitor. He is the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.

Our thanks to TomDispatch.

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If anyone doubted that a percentage of the global population are akin to zombies, the incidents following the release of Pokémon Go have surely convinced you. Despite the game only being released in early July, we have already seen a man driving into a tree and a women getting locked in a graveyard whilst chasing these furry little creatures.

Pokémon describes the game on their website in the following way:

“Travel between the real world and the virtual world of Pokémon with Pokémon GO for iPhone and Android devices. With Pokémon GO, you’ll discover Pokémon in a whole new world—your own! Pokémon GO is built on Niantic’s Real World Gaming Platform and will use real locations to encourage players to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon… In Pokémon GO, the real world will be the setting!”

Pokémon Go, Google, the State Department, the CIA and the DoD

The company behind Pokémon Go is a San Francisco software developer called Niantic, Inc, which was formed in 2010 as an internal startup at Google. The founder and current CEO of Niantic is John Hanke, a man who has connections both to the State Department and the CIA.

Before moving to San Francisco to study at the University of California, Hanke previously worked for the US State Department in Myanmar. Hanke also founded Keyhole, Inc in 2001, a company which specialized in geospatial data visualization applications. Google acquired the company in 2004, with many of the applications developed by Keyhole being instrumental in Google Maps and Earth. In 2003, the CIA’s venture-capitalist firm, In-Q-Tel, invested in Keyhole, with the CIA’s own website proudly detailing this investment:

“The CIA-assisted technology probably most familiar to you is one many of us use on a regular basis:  Google Earth. In February 2003, the CIA-funded venture-capitalist firm In-Q-Tel made a strategic investment in Keyhole, Inc., a pioneer of interactive 3-D earth visualization and creator of the groundbreaking rich-mapping EarthViewer 3D system. CIA worked closely with other Intelligence Community organizations to tailor Keyhole’s systems to meet their needs. The finished product transformed the way intelligence officers interacted with geographic information and earth imagery.”

One of the other intelligence organizations the CIA worked alongside was the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which is partly under the control of the US Department of Defense (DoD).

So we have a somewhat enigmatic former State Department employee with connections to the CIA and the DoD, being the CEO of a company that created what seems to be a silly, harmless game. What’s going on?

Selling and Sharing Your Data

Like so many new technologies in our digital age, Pokémon Go is constantly gathering information on the user and then openly admitting that they will share this data with anyone who wants it.

As James Corbett pointed out in his article titled: The CIA’s ‘Pokémon Go’ App is Doing What the Patriot Act Can’t, the privacy policy of the app states that Niantic will share all the information they gather (which is a lot) with the state and private organizations:

“We cooperate with government and law enforcement officials or private parties to enforce and comply with the law. We may disclose any information about you (or your authorized child) that is in our possession or control to government or law enforcement officials or private parties as we, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate.”

Corbett also details how the game requires the user to give excessive access to Niantic/CIA/NGA/DoD (including access to the users Google account and camera).

Oliver Stone on PG: “Totalitarianism” and a “New Level of Invasion”

Speaking at this year’s Comic-Con, Oliver Stone – the award winning filmmaker and director of the new film on Edward Snowden – had some very insightful views on the new craze and the growing business of data-mining. As Vulture magazine reported in a recent article, Stone denounced the game as a “new level of invasion” and a new form of “totalitarianism:”

“I’m hearing about it too; it’s a new level of invasion. Once the government had been hounded by Snowden, of course the corporations went into encryption, because they had to for survival, right? But the search for profits is enormous. Nobody has ever seen, in the history of the world, something like Google – ever! It’s the fastest-growing business ever, and they have invested huge amounts of money into what surveillance is; which is data-mining.”

Stone continues:

“They’re data-mining every person in this room for information as to what you’re buying, what it is you like, and above all, your behavior. Pokémon Go kicks into that. It’s everywhere. It’s what some people callsurveillance capitalism; it’s the newest stage. You’ll see a new form of, frankly, a robot society, where they will know how you want to behave and they will make the mockup that matches how you behave and feed you. It’s what they call totalitarianism.”

Predicting Human Behavior

It is interesting that Stone doesn’t just warn about the commercial aspect of data-mining, but the fact that the more data governments and private corporations collect on the citizens of the world, the easier it becomes to predict their behavior. It is not just Stone that is warning about this reality however. At the start of last year, the UK governments own surveillance commissioner, Tony Porter, revealed how data obtained from CCTV cameras can be used to “predict behavior.”

As we progress through the 21st century and more advanced algorithmic systems are developed to process the tsunami of data, intelligence agencies and governments will increasingly be able to predict (and manipulate) the behavior of their populations and the populations of foreign countries. We are already far along this path, will the trajectory for the future heading straight towards levels of surveillance far beyond even what George Orwell envisaged; with the fight for digital privacy being a major battleground in this century for those who value freedom.

Pokémon Go looks more like a Trojan horse of the CIA and the wider intelligence-security-data-mining-Big-Brother complex, than just a silly, innocent game.  With all these connections to the State Department, the CIA and the DoD, no wonder some countries are reportedly considering banning the game.

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

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The Chilcot Report – published earlier this summer – established the extent of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s role in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – and it found that much could have been done to resolve Saddam Hussein’s control over the region at that time via more peaceful means. Following the publication of the report, with a word count going into the millions and an outcome that the media generally regarded as being fairly damning for the ex-Prime Minister, Blair was quick to establish that he acted with appropriate action during that time. However, many media outlets, and people directly affected by the conflict at the time of it occurring feel otherwise – and there has been widespread concern as to whether or not Blair should be held to account for his role in the Second Gulf War.

Following the report’s publication, a petition has been gathering steam which demands that Blair should face further measures as a result of his role in proceedings – and as the petition has been submitted via the UK Parliament’s website, the British government is now required to respond to the submission as it breaches 10,000 signatures. It is not currently known what the stance of MPs will be on the matter – however, the Chilcot report made it clear based on evidence available that the Iraq war occurred as a result of flawed intelligence, meaning that many citizens feel it should be necessary for Blair in particular to face further action.

The petition in question requests that Parliament ‘should now agree to a process by which it can hold the former Prime Minister to account’. While it is a shout away from the 100,000 signatures needed for it to be debated in Parliament itself, it has already gained the attention of mainstream media and, as stated, will need to be addressed by elected representatives regardless of what the general consensus is in either Houses of Parliament.

The Chilcot Report arrived at the end of a whirlwind of a month in UK Politics, with the country having decided to leave the European Union via a ground-breaking referendum – and the resignation of a number of public figures, such as Prime Minister David Cameron. The UK now has a new PM in the form of former Home Secretary Theresa May, and the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn continues to stand his ground while faced with a forthcoming leadership election. Whether or not Blair will be taken to task, it is clear that the summer of drama for UK politics is far from over.

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Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted.  Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up.

Such a figure is former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has become something of a prattler in chief, roaming an assortment of international stages in the vain hope that he might, just might become the next UN Secretary General.

Nominees, of which former Portuguese prime minister António Guterres is said to be favourite, have already been put forth by a range of countries, including New Zealand (Helen Clark), Croatia (Vesna Pusić), Argentina (Susana Malcorra).  The one country lagging in the affair was Australia.

That Rudd would even think he had a chance offers an insight into a particular brand of megalomania. Each position he has occupied has seen a form of micro-managed mania take hold. Employees and staff have been run ragged. His infamous work ethic has been less a case of efficiency than paranoia about sticking with a decision, and fortifying it against rivals.

Then came the deeply personal portraits of a man of the permanent grudge.  Wayne Swan, former Treasurer, and troubled friend for a period of 20 years, spared nothing in his memoir, The Good Fight.  “Kevin,” he suggested, “was prone to vengeful behaviour” and distinctly unstable.

Internationally, various instances of such instability have been charged to Rudd.  His outburst at the Copenhagen summit on climate change in 2010, at which he suggested in moment of frustration that, “Those Chinese fuckers are trying to rat fuck us” has become somewhat legendary.[1]  (China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Qin Gang diplomatically suggested disbelief about what “those reports” claimed.)

This has been coupled with an awful obsequiousness at points, typified by the usual line that Australia, if required to go to war against China with the United States, would happily do so. Hardly the stuff of a UN Secretary General.

The picture of Rudd, then, was a poor one to begin with, whereas others vying for the Secretary position, including former NZ Prime Minister Clark, were always going to be streets ahead.[2]

The issue in Australia has also descended into farce. The conservative Liberal-National government has found itself at odds as to what to do with Rudd, a person many would rather not see at the UN’s top job. For Rudd to even be considered for the UN required him to be put forth by his sponsoring country.

The debate has taken a very public form.  On the one hand, the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, sees no problems with staying comradely on the subject.  Being a former prime minister, foreign minister and diplomat, was good enough, and party allegiance on this score did not matter.  To that end, she could count on the support of Attorney-General George Brandis.

The Treasurer, Scott Morrison, begged to differ, making the issue entirely in partisan terms.  As Labor did not push the candidacy for former treasurer Peter Costello’s bid to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund five years go, it was time to return the favour.

Ditto the right of right South Australian liberal senator Cory Bernardi, who sought to convince colleagues not to back an individual “dysfunctional”, “vengeful”, “unstable”, and a “megalomaniac”.

The opposition Labor Party was always going to assume that Rudd was suitable, a curious state of affairs given the fact that various members were thrilled at knifing their leader when he was prime minister.

Evidently, being UN Secretary General was far more appropriate than leading the country.  In the words of acting opposition leader, Tanya Plibersek, “There is no question that it is in our national interest to have an Australian in this vital role.”

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had one corner to hide in: the suitability of Rudd for the role.  “When the Australian Government nominates a person for a job, particularly an international job like this, the threshold question is, ‘do we believe the person, the nominee, the would-be-nominee is well suited for that position?’”[3]

After denying that the issue had been factional, that the party room had been deeply unsettled by the debate as to whether Rudd’s name should be put forth, the great red herring of objectivity was trotted out.  Rudd was simply not suitable.

That he wasn’t suitable for a range of reasons is hard to contest, be it temperament, timing, and the rank fact that having an Australian in such a post would be problematic for various powers. Russia and China, for starters, would be suspicious about having such a pro-Washington voice at the helm of the international body.

Turnbull kept mum on that subject, leaving Rudd up the creek with no paddle in sight.  Only Senator Bernardi gave us a sense about what had happened with a congratulatory note for the prime minister: “Our participation in international institutions is more important than an individual’s ambition.” The conservative wing of the party had triumphed.

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

Notes

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Heavy clashes are ongoing in and near Aleppo city as pro-government forces are tightening the siege of its militant-controlled areas.

On July 27, the Fateh Halab militant group launched an advance on the Kurdish controlled neighborhood of Aleppo city, Sheikh Maqsood. The Fateh Halab advance was supported by heavy artillery fire from the militant-controlled neighborhoods of Bani Zaid and Sakan Shababi. However, jihadists were not able to break the Kurdish YPG defenses and Fateh Halab lost several fighters in the failed advance.

Then, YPG units counter-attacked the militants in Youth Housing and seized it. This move contributed to the Syrian army’s operation aimed to encircle east of Aleppo.

When the Kurds were clashing with militants in Youth Housing, the Syrian army advanced in the Bani Zeid neighborhood, engaging the jihadi forces assisting Fateh Halab’s operations against the Kurds. Later, the Kurdish YPG also engaged militants in the area from the direction of Sheikh Maqsood.

By July 28, the Syrian army has captured a major part of the the district. If Bani Zeid is fully liberated, the Syrian army and the Kurdish YPG will need to consolidate their gains in west Aleppo, preparing for further clashes for the urban areas under the jihadi rule.

Reports appeared on July 28 that Jaysh Al-Fateh is massively deploying fighters in the southern countryside of Aleppo province in order to launch an offensive at Al-Hadher. This operation is aimed to lift the pressure from the militants encircled by pro-government forces in Aleppo city. There are no confirmed reports about numbers of fighters and military equipment that will be used by the militant group.

At least 44 people were killed and more than 170 others were wounded in a terrorist attack in the city of Qamishli on Wednesday. The ISIS terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by the US-led coalition, have been struggling to enter the Manbij city center. Recently, the SDF seized over 10000 ISIS intelligence documents after seizing the group’s command center in western Manbij.

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The European Union and the USA have been negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) behind closed doors since 2013. Negotiators kept insisting that their secret talks would work in the best interest of the public and the environment.

But since Greenpeace leaked the TTIP draft negotiating documents it became clearer than ever, that this trade agreement could become one of the most dangerous weapons in the hands of the fossil fuel industry in its effort to kill Climate Action for the 21st century. The elephant in the room is here and it is huge: the word « climate » means something totally different in the TTIP papers.

According to a United Nations report, 35 per cent of all cases in which corporations are suing governments on the basis of trade agreements, are related to Climate Change. And this will only increase

Trade agreements: weapons for the fossil fuel industry

In 2011, the government of Quebec responded to concerns over water pollution by implementing a moratorium on the use of fracking. The energy company Lone Pine Resources then filed an investor-state lawsuitbased on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), seeking US$109.8 million plus interest in damages. In 2009, Swedish energy multinational Vattenfall sued the German government, seeking €1.4 billion in compensation for environmental restrictions imposed on one of their dirty coal plants.

The TTIP would put in place a parallel judicial system that allows companies to bypass national courts altogether. « I think this is one of the most dangerous things we have seen in the last decade: this idea of Investor State Dispute Settlements (ISDS). If a regulation only potentially cuts into the profits of a company, these companies can turn to arbitration », warns Jesse Bragg from Corporate Accountability International.

According to a United Nations report, 35% of all cases in which corporations are suing governments on the basis of trade agreements, are so far related to Climate Change.  And with the fossil fuel industry currently under enormous pressure, these numbers are growing.

Fossil fuel corporations are increasingly using ISDS under existing trade and investment deals, thus contributing to a recent surge in legal cases. In 2014, for example, half of the new ISDS cases targeted policies affecting oil and gas extraction, mining, or power generation.

« As the anti-fossil fuel forces gain strength, extractive companies are beginning to fight back using a familiar tool: the investor protection provisions in free trade agreements », warned Canadian journalist and author Naomi Klein.

The fossil fuel industry now openly admits how it wants to make use of TTIP to maintain their polluting business. According to Houston attorney Tom Sikora, Legal Counsel with ExxonMobil, energy companies are particularly keen to turn to arbitration. And as US-based oil and gas giant Chevron stated in a 2013 statement, the company would lobby for « a world-class investment chapter » in TTIP. The company has had several meetings behind closed doors with the EU’s TTIP negotiators. To Chevron, TTIP is « one of our most important issues globally ». Meanwhile, Chevron remains one of the biggest polluters of our times, refusing to pay for its toxic mess, and currently facing a lawsuit for contamination of the Amazonian rainforest, as ordered by the Ecuadorian courts.

If an oil company describing a trade treaty between states as one of « our most important issues » raises suspicion, then what is actually written in the TTIP text?

TTIP – making climate protection a « trade barrier »

Elected governments normally have the right and power to regulate and adopt laws for protecting the air, the climate and people’s health. The TTIP would turn this principle upside down. Companies will no longer face restrictions such as having to prove that their operations violate a country’s environmental legislation. Instead, the TTIP imposes the complete burden of proof on the Governments, who will have to prove that all their measures are « necessary », « appropriate » and « legitimate ».

Some examples from the leaked TTIP documents:

The general idea behind trade agreements – that of reducing unnecessary regulations – is not necessarily a bad one but the TTIP has no « crash-barrier-clauses » in the form of strong paragraphs, which ensure that governments will keep their right to regulate when it comes to protecting the environment, people’s health or the climate. In fact, in the TTIP text, the word climate appears only in the context of good « investor climates » and this speaks volumes.

  • The chapter on national treatment and market access for goods demands that « all import and export licensing procedures are neutral in application and administered in a fair, equitable and transparent manner ». This might sound reasonable at first glance, but makes it potentially impossible to ban the import of certain products that destroy the climate or the environment, because this would be « discriminatory ». Furthermore, if there are any conditions to the import of certain goods, governments will have to prove that « other appropriate procedures to achieve an administrative purpose are not reasonably available. »
  • The article on risk management states that governments « shall design and apply risk management in a manner as to avoid arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination, or disguised restrictions on international trade ». Any restrictions on international trade would enable companies to sue governments in Investor State Dispute Settlements – just as Lone Pine did when Quebec implemented a moratorium on fracking to protect its ground water (as reported above).
  • The chapter on technical barriers to trade demands from governments to always choose the « least burdensome possible procedures » when they regulate. This means that democratically elected governments and parliaments could be forced to reduce restrictions for corporations, instead of controlling their emissions. This is an open invitation for corporations to sue governments for climate protection measures that would cut into the profits of the fossil fuel industry.

According to Professor Gus van Harten of Osgoode Hall Law School, « States may be deterred from implementing measures to fulfill their climate change responsibilities, faced with risks of uncapped financial liability due to ISDS claims ». In the case of Vattenvall and Germany mentioned above, just the threat of ISDS was enough for Germany to water down environmental standards related to the company’s coal plant.

A completely new scope

The TTIP would by far dwarf all trade agreements the world has seen so far, directly affecting the lives of 800 million people in the EU and the US. Of the 51,495 US-owned subsidiaries currently operating in the EU, more than 47,000 would be newly empowered to launch ISDS attacks on European policy making and government actions.

But the resistance of the global climate movement against the TTIP is rising. In June, a major coalition of more than 450 NGOs called on the US Congress to oppose TTIP because of its climate impacts. A letter signed by organisations including Greenpeace, 350.org and the Sierra Club reflects one of the broadest civil society coalitions to ever call on the US Congress officially. They state that « the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), as proposed, would empower an unprecedented number of fossil fuel corporations, including some of the world’s largest polluters, to challenge US policies in tribunals not accountable to any domestic legal system. »

Had the negotiation process leading to the TTIP remained so highly opaque, as was the case until the recent leaks, it would really sabotage the fight for energy transition. With the ink still wet on the Paris Agreement, citizens around the world are rising, demanding to keep fossil fuels in the ground. The TTIP and the ISDS are the latest tricks in the dirty industry’s book, which could turn out to be a valuable weapon in the hands of companies like Chevron and Exxon.

This is why it is important to stop it.

Further Resources:

TTIP Leaks: https://ttip-leaks.org

Profiling from Injustice: How law firms, arbitrators and financiers are fuelling an investment arbitration boom.

Polluters Paradise: How investor rights in EU trade deals sabotage the fight for energy transition.

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Brexit Earthquake Has Many Ruptures

juillet 29th, 2016 by Radhika Desai

The Brexit vote was a momentous political earthquake and the seismic shifts that caused it have been long in the making. It has ruptured so many political structures — decades and even centuries old, national and international — so deeply it could be decades before its damage can be fully reckoned. The damage reveals the fragility of Britain’s, and the West’s, political and economic structures caused by three-and-a-half decades of neoliberalism and austerity.

The Bremainers’ entirely laudable cosmopolitanism and anti-racism were tragically mixed up with a blindness to how fast and how far formerly social-democratic Europe had become neoliberal. The Brexiteers staged the latest popular revolt against neoliberalism and austerity, as the Greeks and the inhabitants of Donbass did in 2014 and the supporters in the United States of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are doing today. Despite the entire political establishment and all its financial and media resources backing remain — with even Labour’s Euro-sceptic leader Jeremy Corbyn urging « remain and reform » — the English and Welsh electorates voted decisively for Brexit.

While Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party and Tory Boris Johnson made racist appeals and there have been rising incidences of racist violence since the Brexit vote, most Brexiteers are not racist. They were rejecting the EU as the unelected enforcer of neoliberalism. The EU’s infamous democratic deficit is necessary to impose neoliberalism on social-democratically inclined populations. The largely right-wing leave campaign was aware of this, falsely claiming, for instance, that millions of pounds would be redirected from the EU into the National Health Service.

Brexit has revealed deep contradictions in both major parties. It was the decades-long fall in the Conservative party’s vote, most recently bleeding to the far-right UK Independence Party that led Prime Minister David Cameron to promise the ill-fated referendum so rashly, thinking nothing of dragging the entire country through a divisive and pointless referendum to solve an internal-party political problem. It has only become more acute: the Conservatives will now find it even more difficult to function as the party of property while retaining sufficient support to win elections.

Brexit has opened an equally fundamental divide in Labour. Socialist or social-democratic parties have typically been alliances between the manual working class and the professional and intellectual element, of what the Fabians, with quaint directness, called « brains and numbers. » Never easy — the social democrats split from Labour back in 1981 — this divide has been deepened by neoliberal inequality. The party’s « New Labour » professional elements dominate the parliamentary caucus while Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader with massive support from Labour’s union and working class base. This week, the parliamentary party attempted what former Scottish National Party leader, Alex Salmond, called a « disgusting coup » against Corbyn. If Corbyn wins the inevitably bitterly contested election, as he well might, Labour faces a deeper split.

Brexit has also disunited the Kingdom. Scots voted to remain. The SNP is promising another referendum on Scottish independence and leader Nicola Sturgeon was in Brussels to discuss Scotland’s continuing EU membership. Northern Ireland also voted to remain and Sinn Fein now wishes to open the question of Irish unification.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU leaders, aware of the dangerous example Brexit is setting, must now impose heavy penalties on Britain — though these will also hurt dominant EU interests — merely to prevent other countries from following suit. It remains to be seen whether they can impose these penalties and whether they will have the desired deterrent effect.

Internationally, Britain was the gateway into the EU for the U.S. and many other countries. Now, foreign companies that invest in Britain to access the EU markets will have to reconsider their strategies. The city of London, the financial sector that dominates the U.K.’s long deindustrializing economy, has suffered the greatest blow. It was led out of post-war doldrums by eurodollar business in the 1970s. Prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s first act in office was to lift capital controls and she followed it up with financial deregulation. Now London is Robin to New York’s Batman in the dollar-denominated international financial and monetary system, profiting from its vast asset inflations and torrential international capital flows that shored up demand for, and the value of, the U.S. dollar.

After they collapsed in 2008, however, international capital flows failed to recover and London became more reliant on Euro-denominated transactions. Its search for alternative business even led it to join China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank over U.S. President Barack Obama’s loud and clear objections. Brexit not only threatens Euro-denominated business but also Chinese business: EU membership was part of the attractions of London for China.

Who knew when Cameron rashly promised to hold this referendum it would be a game-changer at so many political and geopolitical levels?

Radhika Desai is a political studies professor and the director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group at the University of Manitoba.

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The recent book review “A Stark Nuclear Warning” by Jerry Brown, in which he has shared views on William J. Perry’s memoirs “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink”, raises a lot of questions and concerns.

Jerry Brown unequivocally describes Perry, who held many important positions in the past, including the U.S. Secretary of Defense in 1994-1997, as a double-hated man.

On the one hand, as the U.S. Secretary of Defense he helped to build a formidable U.S. nuclear arsenal several decades ago, being responsible for important technological advances with respect to U.S. nuclear forces, like launching the B-2 a heavy strategic bomberrevitalizing the aging B-52, a bomber from the same category as SOA (Strategic Offensive Arms) inventory; putting the Trident submarine program back on track; and making an ill-fated attempt to bring the MX ICBM, a ten-warhead missile, into operation.

On the other, William J. Perry has been identified as a staunch proponent of avoiding nuclear danger, nowadayswhen he has retired and embarked “on an urgent mission to alert us to the dangerous nuclear road we are travelling.” He is clearly calling American leaders to account for what he believes “are very bad decisions”, such as the precipitous expansion of NATO right up to the Russian border (William J. Perry was a very brave man when he became the lone Cabinet member who opposed President Bill Clinton’s decision to give Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic immediate membership in the Alliance). William J. Perry has also not been supportive of President George W. Bush’s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia in 2002.

It is interesting to note that a person who took an active part in the continuous U.S. SOA and TNW (tactical nuclear weapons) build-up today has concluded that there could be no acceptable defence against a massive-scale nuclear attack. According to him, the great paradox of the nuclear age is that deterrence of nuclear war is sought by building ever more lethal and precise weapons. For the sake of reality it should be underscored that this notion has to be attributed exclusively to the USA, who has a long time ago embarked upon an “offensive unconditional nuclear deterrence strategy” which has not practically been changed so far.

Jerry Brown observes that William J. Perry is convinced that parity is “old thinking” because nuclear weapons can’t actually be used – the risk of uncontrollable and catastrophic escalation is too high. Seemingly, he shares the earlier maxim once articulated by President Ronald Reagan: “A nuclear war cannot be fought, because it can never be won.

Unfortunately, in his remarks Jerry Brown has made a number of inaccuracies in describing some facts of the immediate past and the present-day military-political environment.

He writes that: “…both the Soviet Union and the United States had developed hydrogen bombs”. In reality, the USA was the first state that produced H-bomb (1952), the USSR responded lately (1953). As is known, the USA was the first one who has produced an A-bomb; while the Soviet Union did so only in 1949. The USA was the first one who has created a classic SOA triad (ICBM, SLBM and heavy bombers), and MIRV ICBM. The USSR followed suit.

That is why it is irrelevant to claim that “the Soviets just stepped up their nuclear efforts and so did the U.S.”

turquieJerry Brown reminds about the Cuban missile crisis, but does not clarify that it has been initiated by Washington who unilaterally has deployed medium-range nuclear missiles “Jupiter” with 1 megaton each in Italy and Turkey, and at a time when the USA had nuclear warheads superiority over the Soviet Union as 17:1 (revelation by Robert McNamara). Only after that dangerous action Moscow has decided to move its SNF to Cuba (note: before the Cuban missile crisis has been resolved, the Soviet leaders have not even authorized to install nuclear warheads upon the missiles and combat aircraft brought to Cuba).

Jerry Brown is of opinion that the Cold War was over, and the nuclear weapons of the former Soviet Union were located not only in Russia, but also in three new republics that “were not capable of protecting them.” After the demise of the USSR, Russia has brought all SOA and TNW from these republics back to its territory, despite the fact that all these nuclear assets have been strongly protected. This measure has been agreed upon between Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus and the Western nuclear powers.

I do not believe that the Cold War is over despite the Paris Charter for a New Europe heralded that in 1990. The Cold War has entered a new phase – qualitatively more dangerous that its first phase. Cold War 2.0 is characterized by a vast military build-up of NATO near the Russian borders, and a complete stalemate in arms control: currently there are 15 unresolved issues in this domain between the USA and Russia. In the first stage of Cold War Moscow and Washington signed 7 nuclear arms control accords, CWC and BWCCFE-1 and CFE-1A treaties, a number of CBM arrangements. Since 2010 nothing has been done in this sphere.

So, it is incorrect to state that “the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States did not make any effort to slow nuclear competition; they did just the opposite.”

The reaction of Moscow to the fielding of the U.S. ground-based BMD assets in Europe was portrayed by Jerry Brown inaccurately.  Such elements plus sea-based components of the U.S BMD “shield” really create formidable threat to Russia and its allies because of two major reasons:

(a) the launching tubes of the U.S. BMD system Mk-41 can house not only defensive interceptors, but also offensive cruise missiles and other war-fighting means in the framework of the “Prompt Global Strike” which can be used as a first-strike weapon versus Russia;

(b) the U.S. and NATO BMD system has been tied up to their nuclear and conventional forces – such “appropriate mix” has been stamped up at the three recent NATO Summits in Chicago (2012), Newport (2014) and Warsaw (2016).

Washington still does not want to abrogate its Cold War thinking: to cancel its first use of nuclear weapons’ concept. All U.S. Administrations have declined to accept several Soviet and Russian initiatives on that issue.

President Barack Obama failed to ratify the CTBT (1996), though he has promised to do it during his presidency.

1029655857Recently, in the framework of NATO the debates on the further strengthening of this largest military bloc reliance on nuclear weapons have intensified.

The talk is about expanding the geographic scope and the total number of military exercises conducted with simulated use of bombs equipped with mock nuclear warheads, carrying military computer games on the use of nuclear weapons on the European continent, as well as the development of special scenarios on transformation of hypothetical conflict involving the general conventional forces into the conflicts with the use of nuclear weapons.

Suggestions have been made that in the course of combined command and staff games of a “new type” with the help of computer simulation while resolving non-nuclear and nuclear tasks in the scenario of the regional and global environment the condition of the “use of Russian strategy of nuclear escalation” as a counterweight to the “nuclear counter-escalation” to NATO is included. The idea of involving in such games not only representatives of the military, but also high-ranking civilian government officials participating in making the important decisions of national importance is articulated.

On June 25, 2015, during a hearing before the Committee on Armed Services of the US Congress devoted to the prospective role of nuclear weapons the United States Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work called to oppose to the Russian nuclear doctrine by the U.S. nuclear capabilities with the aim to launch a strategy of “de-escalation of escalation.” In other words, it is interpreted in Washington in such a way that an escalation of threats of the limited use of nuclear weapons should be used to de-escalate conflicts fought with conventional weapons.

Commenting on the debate that took place during the meeting of the defense ministers of the member countries’ of the “transatlantic solidarity” in Brussels on 8 October 2015, the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to NATO Adam Thomson has publicly complained that before the Alliance held separate military exercises with the use of conventional and nuclear weapons, but has never tested the transformation of the first type of exercises in the second ones. But he further recognized with appreciation that the recommendation of the “transformation of NATO military exercises with the use of conventional weapons into nuclear drills” became the focus of attention within the Alliance.

Pentagon chief Ashton Carter on the same day told a news conference that the transatlantic pact should prepare an “updated instructions on the use of nuclear weapons” in order to adapt to new threats and challenges of the 21st century and, in particular, called for “better integrate non-nuclear and nuclear deterrence.” His compatriot Alexander Vershbow, NATO Deputy Secretary General, said at the Berlin Security Conference November 17, 2015, the Alliance also must “modernize nuclear deterrence, strengthening his best means of early warning and intelligence.”

In 2014-2016 in order to develop new nuclear posture the U.S. strategic nuclear forces held several military exercises in Central and Eastern Europe, and North Africa, employing heavy strategic bombers B-52H and B-2A, capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

In March 2004 Washington initiated on the constant basis a large-scale NATO air patrol operations in the airspace of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, code-named “Baltic Air Policing”. It involves combat aircraft (DCA), which are potential carriers of tactical nuclear weapons. Over the past twelve years, i.e. from March 2004 to July 2016, fifteen countries of the Alliance, that is, more than half of NATO member-states have been participated in this operation near Russian borders, including the three major Western nuclear powers: the USA, the United Kingdom and France. This operation is conducted day-in-day-out, and 365/366 days per annum.

Washington is modernizing its TNW, including those fielded in Europe, and has no intention to pull them back to the CONUS.

B61_2014_03

Two of the five existing types of nuclear bombs, namely B-61-7 and B-61-11, as well as a new perspective bomb B-61-12 have “of strategic importance”, as may be delivered to targets not only by tactical aircraft but also by heavy strategic bombers B-52H and B-2A: each can carry 16 such bombs. Both types of strategic bombers can to travel the distance of 11,000 km without refueling in the air, and more than 18,000 km with mid-air refueling. For this reason these types of bombs in the documents of the Pentagon and the State Department are labeled as “strategic”.

A new bomb B-61-12 with a pin-point accuracy is a first-strike nuclear weapon.

Hans Kristensen, a researcher, working at FAS, points out that

“… it is expected that in the next decade, NATO’s nuclear forces will undergo major improvements that will affect increasing quality performance characteristics of both the nuclear weapons and their means of delivery. The planned modernization will significantly increase the military potential of the Alliance’s nuclear policy in Europe.”

The “doomsday” clock is ticking. Nowadays it shows 23.57. Too alarming.

What to do? Seemingly, three initial steps are badly needed.

First. To make a pledge of no-fist-use of nuclear weapons a universal norm, starting from the USA and Russia. As a preliminary step towards this goal to make a commitment to resort to a defensive unconditional nuclear deterrence that threatens no one. Such notion will require no costs.

Second. The USA should withdraw all its TNW from Europe and the Asian part of Turkey.

Third. A multilateral new ABM Treaty limiting the number of BMD interceptors and their geographical deployments has to be elaborated.

The next U.S. Administration has to seriously consider these steps.

Prof. Vladimir Kozin is Head of Advisers’ Group at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and Professor of the Academy of Military Sciences of the Russian Federation.

More substantial remarks on these topics can be found in his monographs: “Evolution of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense and Russia’s Stance” (1945-2013); “The U.S. Military Doctrine and its Military Policy Forecasting till 2075: Critical Analysis and Practical Recommendations” (in Russian); “Military policy and strategy of the USA in geopolitical dynamics of the XXI century” (as a co-author; in Russian);  “Militarization of Outer Space and Its Impacts on Global Security Environment”; “The U.S. Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Reduction or Modernization?” (in Russian; the English translation ongoing); “Evolution of the U.S. Missile Defense Beyond 2040 and Russia’s Stance”; “The Chicago Triad of the USA and NATO and its Consequences for Russia” (in Russian).

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Convention confetti raining down on smiling faces should not conceal the bloody truth that trails Hillary Clinton.  As the balloons rise to celebrate her triumph, her victims continue to fall.

Following the bidding of her oligarchic backers in the hidden government, she has always been fervently eager to lend her immoral authority to the massacre of foreign peoples and the destruction of their central governments. Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Serbia, etc. – the list is as long as her moral turpitude is deep.

But as the “Queen of Chaos” is crowned and feted in the City of Brotherly Love, it is crucially important that we recall her role five years ago in the destruction of the African country that had the highest living standard on the continent, excellent health care, free education, good social services, etc. – Libya.

As Hillary Clinton Testifies, How Will Libya Shape Her Legacy ...

As Hillary Clinton Testifies, How Will Libya Shape Her Legacy …
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As Libya, according to plan, has descended into civil war and chaos (see Iraq, Syria, etc.) as a result of the 2011 “humanitarian intervention” instigated by Clinton and her ilk, it has disappeared from mainstream media propaganda. Out of sight, out of mind.  It will reappear in the corporate press if the American/Nato aggressors decide to bomb the country again in alliance with their friend, the Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, probably in support of the CIA-affiliated General Khalifa Haftar, who is presently wreaking havoc in eastern Libya with western support, as leaked tapes have shown.  The time for that renewed bombing may be fast approaching, though it might be delayed for political reasons until after the presidential election.

In the popular mind, of course, Clinton is associated with the controversial events of September 2012 in Benghazi that resulted in the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. As the Secretary of State, she was no doubt aware of Stevens’ work with the CIA organizing the transfer of the seized Gaddafi government weapons to Turkish ports.  As the Italian historian Paolo Sensini writes in his eye-opening book, Sowing Chaos: Libya in the Wake of Humanitarian Intervention, “The arms were then transferred to the jihadi forces engaged in terrorist actions against the government of Syria under Bashar al-Assad.”  While bi-partisan outrage over the Americans’ deaths was duly noted by the media and became a political football, the nature of Stevens’ work under Clinton and Obama received no mainstream media coverage, and the illegal and immoral wars against two countries continued apace.

But the Stevens’ issue pales in comparison to Clinton’s larger role in waging war on a sovereign nation for propagandistic “humanitarian” reasons.  As with Iraq (Hussein) and Syria (Assad), she was a central player in the lies told about Mu’ammar Gaddafi to justify a war of aggression.  Each in his turn was declared to be the new Hitler.  In Gaddafi’s case, he was falsely accused of killing 10,000 people in Tripoli, having his soldiers use Viagra and rape as a matter of policy, and of being a bloody mad dictator intent on genocide.  Rwanda and the Holocaust were elicited as warnings.  President Obama justified the savage attack on Libya, fully supported by his Secretary of State Clinton, with the following lie: “We knew that if we wanted [sic] … if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.” And he announced he was sending Clinton to London to meet with the Libyan “opposition” – aka terrorists.

The western media ran with these false accusations, as usual, as did Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, prominent Arab media.  Like Iraq, Syria, and Serbia, it was another war of aggression based on lies, and Clinton was a primary player.

She was fully aware of developments in Libya from the start; knew that the rebels were Islamic militants armed and trained by the US, Britain, France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and UAE; knew that they summarily executed anyone they considered their enemies; knew that this war of lies was aimed at preventing Gaddafi from fulfilling his goal of economic independence, not just for Libya, but for the entire continent of Africa by introducing the gold dinar into Africa as common currency; knew, in short, that Libya had to be raped, its Central Bank destroyed, for its exploitation by western globalists.  Thus her boss, Obama, in August 2011 confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank that Gaddafi had planned to use for the establishment of the African IMF and African Central Bank.  This is what Clinton termed “smart power at its best.” Under the pretext of ‘humanitarian intervention,’ Clinton supported the killing of tens of thousands and the destruction of an independent country to serve her masters.

Paolo Sensini characterizes the Democratic presidential nominee (and next president) perfectly:

Mrs. Clinton’s joyous exclamation on hearing the news of Gaddafi’s death sums up the recklessness and irresponsibility of an entire political class – an unrepentant class that has wreaked havoc around the world on a truly unprecedented scale.

When she thought cameras and microphones were off and exclaimed, “We came, we saw, he died,” she was speaking not just for herself but for the party and interests that she now represents.

“I’m with her,” says Michelle Obama.

“I am proud to stand with her,” says Bernie Sanders.

I wonder where the dead children of Libya stand.

But this is Hillary Clinton’s hour.  Congratulations!  Happy Anniversary!

We await your next war.

 

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America’s press covers the Trump campaign with barely concealed hostility toward it, and with an obsessive emphasis upon the candidate’s positions regarding Russia; they’re attacking Trump as being (wittingly or unwittingly) an agent of Russia – and portraying Russia as being America’s enemy.

It’s not only Republican news media that are apparently agreeing with the Republican Mitt Romney’s famous statement made on 26 March 2012, about «Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe». (Romney, who was the star at the last Republican National Convention, hates Trump so much as to have refused even to attend this Republican National Convention.)

How America’s Press Is Covering the Trump Campaign

Thus, on Friday, 22 July 2016, right after the Thursday-night end of the Republican National Convention and Donald Trump’s acceptance speech there, the top of the homepage of Huffington Post was this:

AMERICAN NIGHTMARE

DARK… H.W. Speechwriter: ‘Very Dark And Frightening’… Garry Kasparov: Sounded Straight Out Of Russia… David Duke: ‘Couldn’t Have Said It Better!’… Speech Riddled With Inaccuracies… Andrew Sullivan: ‘Massive Lies And Distortions, Crammed With Incoherence’… Republicans Have Made A World-Historical Mistake…

That «H.W. Speechwriter» is just an incompetent way of referring to a speechwriter for GHW Bush – whose entire family hates Trump – and Huffington Post’s ‘journalist’ there hid that key fact, when reporting on that speechwriter’s comment about the speech: that the comment came from a friend of that inimical family, the Bushes, who hate Trump.

In other words: this ‘news’ report, simply and uncritically, stenographically, transmitted that particular Bush-family propaganda, against Trump – and this was supposed to be ‘news’ ‘reporting’: people such as this ‘reporter’ get hired in America to write ‘news’ that gets positioned at the top of one of the nation’s major ‘news’ sites. The second headline-link there was from «Gary Kasparov», but they also didn’t indicate that this person happened to be a famous Russian opponent of Russia’s current President, Vladimir Putin. The last two of the eight headlines linked-to in that homepage-topper, came from two writers who had been prominent editors at the Democratic Party’s neoconservative magazine, The New Republic, which had been one of the leading PR organs for every American invasion, especially for George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, which Hillary Clinton also supported.

None of this background-information was supplied to its readers by Huffington Post,whose readers presumably are unaware that they’re reading (especially atop the front page) political propaganda, instead of political news.

Paul Krugman, in The New York Times, at the same time as that Huff Post propaganda, bannered Donald Trump: The Siberian Candidate, and he linked there to (as his article’s sources) the rabidly anti-Putin articles that will here be discussed below. All of these articles were written by neoconservatives whose careers have been assisted by some of American’s biggest weapons-makers (the profits of which are now booming with ‘the new cold war’ that those writers had helped to create by their hate-Russia propaganda). Krugman – an economist famous for arguing that producing weapons (and all other industries for war) is just as economically productive as is producing food or art or anything else (or, in other words, that producing bombs is just as good as producing bridges or education) – is now also showing, by this article, that his political views are likewise exclusively neoconservative (i.e., slanted in favor of promoting America’s war-industries). And yet, many readers in America consider Krugman to be ‘liberal’ or even ‘progressive’; he is considered to be the opposite of a fascist, in America.

If America’s readers were well-informed, they’d know that this particular war, the war against Russia, had already become a hot one, to overthrow Russia-friendly leaders in Ukraine and Syria. It started being a hot war, by Obama against Russia, when the Russia-friendly Muammar Gaddafi in Libya was overthrown in 2011 under US leadership, which was supported especially by the neoconservative Hillary Clinton (who famously exulted at Gaddafi’s assassination, «We came, we saw, he died. Ha, ha!!»).

Earlier, under neoconservative President George W Bush, the hot war against Russia had actually begun by invading in 2003 Russia’s then-ally Iraq, after a barrage of neoconservative propaganda in America’s press had been aimed against the ‘threat’ to the US posed (allegedly) by ‘Saddam’s WMD’. But, in 2002, Barack Obama condemned that invasion in advance (with a keen eye to his upcoming political career to win the Democratic Presidential nomination), just as, in 2012, Obama condemned his opponent Mitt Romney’s statement about «Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe» (when Obama was secretly, like a double-agent – pretending to be friendly toward Russia, while actually planning war against Russia – already preparing for Romney’s ‘number one geopolitical foe’ to be his own second-term’s chief military and diplomatic target and national enemy). Obama was a gifted deceiver, much more gifted than Hillary. However, now that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, the intent to conquer Russia is considerably more overt. (After all, the US government’s prior propaganda-operation has, by now, even bragged to the world its propaganda-success against Russia. And they had good reason to be proud: they had deceived the world, and especially deceived the American public, to fear Putin, when it is actually the US itself that has been the aggressor between the two.)

To Read complete article on the Strategic Culture Foundation website click here

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An interview by Be Curious TV with  Nabil Antaki a Syrian physician, and a Christian, who appeals to the West to open its eyes to the misinformation it is being fed.

BeCuriousTV: Welcome, Dr. Nabil Antaki. Please share with us what is happening in Aleppo and in Syria. You have been to Europe for a short while. You are Syrian, born in Syria and residing in Aleppo. You work as a doctor at the St Louis Hospital, in West Aleppo, meaning the area under the control of the regime. The people in the West do not realize what goes on in Syria after dusk. They could well ask which is worse, the violence perpetrated by the Syrian regime or that of the terrorists or “rebels”. This antagonism is reflected in the heart of our media, where on the one hand there are those who say that Bashar al Assad’s regime is terrifying his people, and on the other side those who maintain that Assad’s forces are defending their people against the “armed jihadis”. 

Dr Antaki: First of all I would like to clear up the so-called and often repeated Assad regime and  Assad army  confusion, which we do NOT appreciate in Syria. All over the media you read about Bashar’s aviation, Bashar’s army, while actually it’s the Syrian army, the army of the Syrian State, and when you said I live in the West of Aleppo, which is under the control of a regime, no, it’s the control of the Syrian state. Our people are not afraid of the Syrian army, because it’s an army that is defending all of Syria against terrorists who have invaded Syria in order to set up their Islamic state. This is why we should let everyone know that the Syrian people are not afraid of the Syrian army because it is not the army of a regime, as the media would have it, the people are actually very grateful for the presence of the Syrian army. Allow me to make an example. A few months ago the Syrian army went on the offensive to bring some relief to Aleppo which has been surrounded and besieged [by the terrorists] for the past 3 years. According to the Western media, it was the Syrian army that was setting siege to the Syrian people in Aleppo, while in fact the opposite was true, i.e. the Syrian army was trying to put a halt to the three years of terrorist siege of Aleppo. So, no, people are not afraid of the Syrian army, they are afraid of the terrorists.

BCT: So let me get this clear: the media of the West are not sending accurate news on what is being lived out in Aleppo? 

NA:  That’s exactly it. The Western media only report the events in East Aleppo. Since 2012 Aleppo has been cut into two. Three hundred thousand people live in the areas under the control of the terrorists to the East, while the remaining three quarters of the population, about 1.5 million people, live in the Western areas, which are under the control of the Syrian government.

So when we listen to what the Western media say is happening in Aleppo, they are focusing only on the Eastern area. When we cry out for help for Aleppo, it gets transformed into a cry for East Aleppo alone. When the media announced that the last pediatrician of Aleppo had been killed, it’s not true, because in West Aleppo there are about 100 pediatricians. Perhaps that was the last pediatrician in the other area, I have no idea, I have no information, but what I do know is that the inhabitants of the Eastern section live under the control of the terrorists.

BCT:  Have they let them escape from the area? 

NA: From the very start over a million and a half people ran to West Aleppo out of fear of the terrorists, but there are also some people who were afraid to leave, perhaps not having the means to leave, or afraid of losing what they had accumulated in the course of their lives, their little apartment, their TV. They thought that if they left they were liable to lose all they had, so they decided to remain, not out of ideological reasons but for practical purposes they preferred to stay put.

BCT: You have just told me about East Aleppo, which is under the control of the terrorists. Please explain to us the difference between the terrorists and the rebels.

NA: At the beginning of the war in Syria there were many different groups which included a tiny fraction of the democratic opposition, but most were terrorist groups intent on establishing an Islamic state. In the course of time these groups have been absorbed by the terrorist groups, which currently represent over 95% of the hundreds of armed opposition groups present in Syria. Therefore the Free Syrian Army and the opposition which are not terrorist, but are nonetheless armed, represent a mere 5% of the armed groups, the rest all being terrorists. The main terrorist groups are DAESH [ISIS] and Al Nusra. These two groups have been added to the list of “terrorists” by the United States and by Russia so that everyone has the right to target them from the air. However, there are other groups that come from Al Nusra, an affiliate of Al Qaeda, which have not yet been classified as terrorists. Among these are three main groups, Jaish al Islam [Army of Islam], Ahrar al Sham and Jaish al Fatah [Army of Conquest]. These three groups have been created by Al Nusra to avoid being included in the list of terrorists, however they originated in Al Nusra which is Al Qaeda in Syria. So, when these three groups are added to the list of terrorist groups, which will allow them to be neutralized, all we will have left will be the armed groups that don’t act as terrorists with whom we have managed to negotiate and reach a political compromise.

BCT: And what about the refugees? 12 million people in search of shelter.

NA: Half of the population of Syria has moved. There are 23 million people in Syria and 12 million have been thrown out of their homes, 3.5 million have sought refuge in neighboring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. 8 million are internally displaced people who have not left Syria but have been forced to leave their homes. This situation is very serious and these people need assistance just as much as those who have left the country. U.N. agencies focus only on the people who live in refugee camps outside of Syria. All these people are not running away from the acts of the Assad regime or of the Assad army, as depicted by the media. These people are not running from Assad’s government, nor from the Syrian army, nor from the hypothetical actions of one of these groups. These people are either running away from the battle zones or from penury.

Most of the Syrian people now live below the poverty threshhold. 80% of the population of Aleppo depend on the food packages provided by NGO’s. These people are poor. They have run out of their savings. Those who have lost their jobs, those who had assets such as a workshop or a factory, a store, have lost everything. These people are penniless, they are fleeing this misery and the battle zones. They are also worried about the future of their children; they have put up with the war for 2, 3, even 4 years, but the war has been going on for 5 years and they want to ensure their children’s future by taking the decision to pick up and seek a future somewhere else, to begin a new life.

BCT: How have the Syrians weathered the economic sanctions and embargoes imposed on them by the West since the beginning of the war?

NA: They are disgusted with these sanctions because these sanctions and embargoes are not against the government of Syria but against the Syrian people, all of the Syrian people. For example, I personally, as someone who lives in Syria, have lost the right to do even the tiniest of operations. If I want to send 1000 dollars to my children, I am unable to. I can neither import nor export anything. This means paralysis. I am a doctor, I wanted to replace a part of a piece of some medical instruments. Normally this would have taken a week. In this case it took a year and a half to get the piece because we had to import it from Japan. So you see, it is the Syrian people who are hurt by these sanctions and at a certain point the EU did revoke them but only for the people who live in the areas under the control of the terrorists! The people who live in the areas under the control of the Syrian government weren’t allowed to do a thing. Contrary to their intentions, these sanctions  do not penalize the regime, they punish the people of Syria.

BCT: You are a Christian. A Christian of the Middle East. If one were to shed doubt on how balanced your point of view might be, what would be your reaction?

NA: I am not talking to you as Nabil Antaki the Christian, I am talking as Nabil Antaki the Syrian who has witnessed his country being attacked and destroyed. It’s not a matter of being Christian or Muslim, Syria is an ethnic and religious mosaic. There are eleven different Christian churches and as many different Muslim faiths, and it’s not because the Syrian government protects the minorities that we support it. No, the government is secular, it protects everyone, whether minority or majority, all are respected within Syria. It’s a secular regime. Differently from the Islamic state which absolutely does not respect the minorities. If the Christians are pro -government or pro Syrian state it is because from the very beginning they came out for the secular state, in opposition to an Islamic state. The current President is very popular. I myself am not actually one of his fans, I defend Syria not the President. But his popularity is objectively undeniable and in my opinion if we had free elections tomorrow, based on international law, affording the right to vote to all Syrians, including those displaced abroad, we would see this President of ours re-elected. The West has never understood this. Assad was popular at the beginning of the war against Syria, and support for him today is even stronger, not because he defends minorities, which is what the media would have people believe, but because he defends all Syrians. Christians make up about ’8% of the Syrian population, so when you say that Assad is popular because he defends the Christians and that this is why the Christians support Assad, it’s a joke. Whether we are for or against him has no effect on his popularity. We have neither armed groups nor arms, and we are just 8% of the population. Assad is popular with all the groups and sectors of our society, therefore if we want this war to end we have to stop demanding as one of the conditions that Assad leave. We have to negotiate with him, conduct free elections and work for democracy.

BCT: Allow me to take up a few issues that you have mentioned. You speak of Assad’s enormous popularity. But was it enormous in 2011 too?

NA: That is the issue! When the problems began, there were demonstrations against Bashar that numbered ten to fifteen thousand participants at most. These demonstrations were broadcast on televisions and the numbers were enormously exaggerated, up to one or two hundred thousand. On the other hand, massive spontaneous demonstrations were generated in the streets in support of the Assad government, in Aleppo, in Damascus, in all of the big cities. Over a million people who supported Bashar. No one filmed these demonstrations, or perhaps I should say no one broadcast them in the West. Hence, the organic demonstrations of millions of people have been ignored, while the few thousands who protested in the streets against Bashar were inflated beyond all recognition and highly exaggerated. From the outset there was an enormous amount of prejudice and partiality on the part of the media. Assad has always been very popular and this hasn’t changed. He may be even more popular than in the last years before the war. … Life wasn’t perfect but no one wanted the war, they wanted reforms. Even the most explicit enemies of the government did not want war and most certainly not this war. They wanted reforms and they wanted democracy, but no one wanted to kill Syria in order to improve Syria.

BCT: We have two coalitions on the ground in Syria, in your opinion how effective are they?

NA: In my opinion the international coalition is ineffective because it is impossible to be on the same side. There is a coalition of the United States and Europe with Turkey and the Gulf States and at the same time we know that Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are financing the jihadis, Daesh, Al Nusra. On the one hand they want to fight against the terrorists, on the other hand they are helping them. This is a complete aberration.

Besides, the Kurds in Syria have also taken up arms against DAESH. The United States has found an ally in the Kurds in the fight against DAESH. However Turkey is completely against arming the Kurds and therefore fights against them. So we have two countries who are allies, the United States and Turkey, but one of them is allied to the Kurds and the other is against them, this can never work. There are too many contradictions within the Western coalition and this is why it hasn’t achieved a thing. Before the Russian intervention, the air strikes of the coalition were mere cosmetics… They began to be effective only after Russia stepped in.

From our point of view, the Russian intervention has been extremely advantageous and it has the full support of the Syrian people, which contradicts the Western narration. The West accuses Russia of striking not only the terrorist groups but also the “moderate rebels”. Russia has been very successful at bombing the groups of the Islamic state, so now the West is trying to slow them down, maintaining that they are not targeting the terrorist groups and accusing Russia of helping Bashar instead of attacking DAESH. Of course this is untrue, when the West does the bombing everything is ok but when Russia wants to bomb, it doesn’t do it well enough.

BCT: How do you think the Western media are depicting the facts on the ground in Syria?

NA: The Western media are not impartial. They are biased, they are against the Syrian state. They support the terrorist-rebels. We do not request that they be for or against the regime,  we simply ask that they look at things objectively.

BCT: What do you feel like saying as your personal point of view?

NA: All I want to say to the West is to be more objective. Educate yourselves, don’t accept disinformation, put pressure on your governments because Syria is a country that wants its freedom, its prosperity and its democracy. The war has destroyed us, we have had enough, we want it to stop!

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Over half the population of the European Union (EU) is overweight or obese. Without effective action, this number will grow substantially in the next decade warns an important new report.‘A Spoonful of Sugar: How the Food Lobby Fights Sugar Regulation in the EU’, by the research and campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), notes that obesity rates are rising fastest among lowest socio-economic groups. That’s because energy-dense foods of poor nutritional value are cheaper than more nutritious foods, such as vegetables and fruit, and relatively poor families with children purchase food primarily to satisfy their hunger.

The report argues that more people than ever before are eating processed foods as a large part of their diet. Bad for health, but good for the industry because sugar-rich processed foods have the highest profit margins (unlike fruit and vegetables), and the easiest way to make industrial, processed food cheap, long-lasting and enhance the taste is to add extra sugar as well as salt and fat to products.

There is an increasing body of scientific evidence showing the key role sugar plays in fuelling rocketing rates of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as some types of cancer, and the new report argues that in cold economic terms the cost to European GDP is alarming. In the United Kingdom, the cost of obesity is estimated at £27 billion per year, and approximately seven per cent of national health spending in EU member states as a whole is due to obesity in adults. This is aside from indirect costs to societies such as sickness and early death or the impacts on carers.

So why isn’t action being taken to address this health crisis?

Simply because the food industry is able to resist regulation. The CEO report notes that the food industry has vigorously mobilised to stop vital public health legislation in this area by:

Pushing free trade agreements and deregulation drives that undermine existing laws;

Exercising undue influence over EU regulatory bodies;

Capturing scientific expertise;

Championing weak voluntary schemes;Outmaneuvering consumer groups by spending billions on aggressive lobbying.

Health policies, like mandatory sugar reductions, sugar taxes and food labels, would help consumers make healthier choices. But the leverage which food industry giants have over EU decision-making has helped the sugar lobby to see off many of these threats to its profit margins.

The report argues that key trade associations, companies and lobby groups related to sugary food and drinks together spend an estimated €21.3 million annually to lobby the EU.

The bottom line is money and profit. This trumps any notion of public health and the public interest. CEO explains that Europe is the world’s biggest food and drinks exporter, and food giant Nestlé is its most valuable corporation, valued at €208 billion – even more than Royal Dutch Shell.

The report states:

The European Commission and institutions such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have been far too willing to listen to industry’s messages, reflecting their all too often overly close relationship with the food and drink industry.

It stresses that many of the initiatives that would help Europeans eat less sugar are weak and voluntary or challenged by the EU itself when enacted at nation state level: the capture of EU regulatory bodies is a major cause for concern.

Trade deals like TTIP and CETA could help the sugar lobby even more. The report notes that similar deals have already been used to force Mexico to pay hundreds of millions in compensation for taxing sugar.

While industry-funded studies influence European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) decisions, Coca Cola, Nestlé and other food giants engage in corporate propaganda by sponsoring sporting events and major exercise programmes to divert attention from the impacts of their products and give the false impression that exercise and lifestyle choices are the major factors in preventing poor health.The report goes on to say:

Trade lobby groups and food industry giants sponsor research into subjects such as obesity and diabetes, sometimes in partnership with the European Commission (EC). This can set industry-friendly parameters and result in publication bias. Decades of research emphasis on fat, exercise, and calorie counting has helped distract nutrition advice from the specific dangers of sugar.

The authors note that the EC Dutch Presidency of the first half of 2016 has been criticised for its Roadmap for Action on Food Product Improvement, which works hand in hand with the food industry; the Roadmap emphasises weak voluntary sugar reduction targets and public-private partnerships for industry.The report also notes that trade association FoodDrinkEurope spent approximately €1 billion in a successful campaign against a mandatory EU-wide ‘traffic light’ food labelling system that is most recommended by health experts and consumer groups. Food lobbyists are also mobilising PR tactics against sugar taxes.

Katharine Ainger, freelance journalist and co-author of the report says:

“So many independent scientific studies show a clear link between excessive sugar consumption and serious health risks. But the fact that there is still no consensus on the dangers of sugar among EU regulators proves just how powerful the food and drink lobby is. Sound scientific advice is being sidelined by the billions of euros backing the sugar lobby. In its dishonesty and its disregard for people’s health, the food and drink industry rivals the tactics we’ve seen from the tobacco lobby for decades.”

The industry is able to flex its considerable financial muscle to slant science, exert political influence and mount slick PR campaigns to carry on endangering the health of hundreds of millions of Europeans.It is not the first time that CEO has shown the EC to be a willing servant of a corporate agenda. Brussels swarms with corporate lobbyists whose spending power and political influence dwarfs that of civil organisations and consumer groups.

Industry lobbyists spend millions each year for good reason. They receive a return on what is essentially a key investment: the capture and corruption of public bodies, the co-writing of legislation, the avoidance of regulation and the bringing in of trade deals like TTIP that will effectively destroy any remnants of democracy and the existing limited ability of elected representatives and governments to check corporate power.While many advocate the democratic public ownership and management of key infrastructure, such as transport, health services, banking and utility companies, not much is ever mentioned about food. But what can be more vital to society than the control of the food supply and what we eat?

From the various chemical cocktails applied to our food to low-nutrient, sugar-rich products, the food and agriculture sector is knowingly damaging our health and has being doing so for decades. The powerful corporations that belong to this sector will continue to do so because their logic and corporate business models are based on maximisation of profit at all costs and by all means possible.

 

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Why We Need to Uncover the 9/11 Deception. WSF Panel, Montreal

juillet 29th, 2016 by World Social Forum 2016

Discussion workshop
Aug 10 2016  9:00 – 11:30

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER: WHY WE NEED TO UNCOVER THE 9/11 DECEPTION

The 9/11 Consensus Panel has developed 48 Consensus Points of evidence (some of it new) refuting the official narrative of 9/11: http://www.consensus911.org/the-911-consensus-points/ This work has been translated into Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

A selection of Panel members will host a discussion about the ongoing importance of the 9/11 deception, including selected Consensus Points. There will be time for questions.

The Panel employs a systematic medical model to determine the “best evidence” regarding the events of 9/11.

Panel Members include science academics, engineers, attorneys, commercial pilots, journalists, and others. Their bios are at http://www.consensus911.org/panel-members/

Speakers

Dr. Graeme MacQueen, Panel Member, Prof. Emeritus, Peace Studies, McMaster Univ.
Elizabeth Woodworth, Co-founder, consensus911.org, Writer
Dr. Sean Sweeney, moderator, Professor, Murphy Institute, International Program for Labor, Climate and the Environment
Dr. Niels Harrit, Prof. Emeritus of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen
Others, TBA,

Speaking the Whole Truth to Power: Why We Need to Uncover the 9/11 Deception

Activity Lead Organization

9/11 Consensus Panel

Group Admins

Elizabeth Woodworth

Programming theme

Culture of Peace and Struggle for Justice and Demilitarization

Objectives

To inform / To make aware of
Networking / To meet
Debate / deliberate / discuss
Converge for action / to decide
Partner development / alliances constitution
To engage the media

Discussion workshop
Aug 10 2016  9:00 – 11:30
Université McGill – Pavillon Bronfman (Local 151)
1001, rue Sherbrooke Ouest
Montréal, QC, Canada
Languages

English

Simultaneous translation

French

Target audiences

General, Those interested in the global war on terror

Activities extended on the Internet

yes

Last Modified
21 June 2016
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The failed coup in Turkey last week was a political and geopolitical earthquake as it has the potential to fundamentally alter the Middle East, NATO, and potentially the balance of power globally.  But while the implications of the recent developments are clear, what actually took place on the night/morning of July 15 – July 16 is still somewhat shrouded in mystery.  But why is that? Why are the connections for the most part not being made by Western pundits and journalists alike?

Here again we run into the controlled corporate media apparatus, one which is dominated by the very same interests that dominate the governments of the US and EU, and its incredible power to misinform.  As the great Michael Parenti famously wrote,

“[The media’s] job is not to inform but disinform, not to advance democratic discourse but to dilute and mute it. Their task is to give every appearance of being conscientiously concerned about events of the day, saying so much while meaning so little, offering so many calories with so few nutrients.”

Nowhere is Parenti’s contention more true than with the coup in Turkey. For while the media has certainly reported the allegations from President Erdogan and his government of the hidden hand of US-based billionaire Fetullah Gulen, almost none of the major media outlets have done the necessary investigation to uncover the real significance of Gulen and his movement.  Specifically, and almost as if by magic, there is virtually no mention of Gulen’s longstanding ties to the CIA, his penetration of the various institutions of the Turkish state, nor is there any serious investigation into the financial networks and connections leading from Gulen to nearly every corner of the Islamic (and non-Islamic) world.

And while Gulen, along with many neocons in the US, have been propagating the narrative that President Erdogan and his forces themselves staged the coup in order to justify the ongoing crackdown on political rivals, secularists, and other anti-Erdogan forces, the media by and large has not connected the events in Turkey to their larger geopolitical significance, one which should shed some light on what may have happened. And, in a further dereliction of duty, the media has also mostly ignored the absolutely critical likelihood of the involvement of US-NATO intelligence.

History as a Guide

From Iran in 1953 to Chile in 1973 and countless other countries, the CIA and its intelligence agency cousins in NATO have been involved in myriad coups similar to the one that took place in Turkey last week.  However, one would be remiss in not noting the striking similarities between the 2016 coup in Turkey and the one that took place on September 12, 1980.

Throughout the mid to late 1970s Turkey saw a major upsurge of terrorism and violence, much of which was attributed to fascist formations such as the Grey Wolves, along with other groups.  However, what is now known is that much of the violence took the form of provocations which many experts allege were orchestrated by CIA-affiliated individuals and networks.

Perhaps the most significant of these was Paul Henze, a man who spent decades as an intelligence coordinator in Ethiopia, Turkey, and elsewhere throughout the Cold War.  As Daniele Ganser noted in his book NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe,

 “A right wing extremist on trial later plausibly argued that the massacres and terrors of the 1970s had been a strategy to bring [coup leader General] Evren and the military right to power: ‘The massacres were a provocation by the [Turkish intelligence agency] MIT.  With the provocations by the MIT and the CIA the ground was prepared for the September 12 coup.’” (p. 239)

But of course, these actions did not take place in a vacuum; there were intelligence operators in place who facilitated the events that took place.  As renowned author and media critic Edward Herman and co-author Frank Brodhead wrote in their 1986 book The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection:

“Paul Henze began his long CIA career under Defense Department cover as a “foreign affairs adviser” in 1950. Two years later, he began a six-year hitch as a policy adviser to Radio Free Europe (RFE) in Munich, West Germany. By 1969, Henze was CIA chief of station in Ethiopia, and he served as station chief in Turkey from 1974 through 1977. When Zbigniew Brzezinski assembled his National Security Council team for President Jimmy Carter, Henze was hired as the CIA’s representative to the NSC office in the White House.”

Considering the intimate connection between Henze and Brzezinski (image right), it is not hard to see that Henze was essentially involved in the same global operation as Brzezinski, namely the weaponization of terrorism for strategic gain against the Soviet Union.  And while Brzezinski famously masterminded the creation of the mujahideen in Afghanistan, Henze already had achieved similar results in Turkey, organizing right wing forces for the purposes of destabilization. In his book, Gansler cites counter-terrorism scholar and expert on GLADIO operations Selhattin Celik, who wrote in 1999 that:

“[When US President Jimmy Carter] heard about [the 1980 coup in Turkey] he called Paul Henze, former Chief of the CIA station in Turkey who had left Ankara shortly before the coup to become a security adviser to President Carter in Washington on the Turkey desk of the CIA…Carter told Henze what the latter already knew: ‘Your people have just made a coup!’  The President was right.  Paul Henze, the day after the coup, had triumphantly declared to his CIA colleagues in Washington: ‘Our boys have done it!”

Celik bluntly referred to Henze as “the chief architect of the September 12, 1980 coup.”  It’s not hard to see why.  From having been on the ground in the early to mid-1970s, to then becoming a coordinator in Washington while being the point person on Turkey for the National Security Council under Brzezinski, Henze was clearly instrumental.  As Gansler notes, according to Celik,

“Brzezinski supported the position of Henze.  During a discussion in the National Security Council of the situation in Iran where in 1979 Khomeiny [sic] had seized power Brzezinski expressed his view that ‘for Turkey as for Brazil a military government would be the best solution.’”

While none of this should come as a surprise to anyone remotely familiar with how US intelligence operated in the Cold War, perhaps the depth of the connections between US intelligence, its NATO cousins, and the Turkish military and deep state represent something of an epiphany.  As Turkish politician and social activist Ertugrul Kurkcu wrote in Covert Action Quarterly in 1997:

The close ties between the Turkish, US military, and intelligence circles, along with US concerns over Turkey’s military cooperation, have been major obstacles in Turkey’s path to broader democracy. [Turkish politician and journalist Fikri] Saglar charges that US interest in Turkish affairs is not confined to official NATO relations and trade ties. He points to the notorious message by the CIA’s then-Turkey Station Chief Paul Henze in Ankara to his colleagues in Washington the day after the 1980 coup “Our boys have done it!” Henze crowed. Saglar concludes that foreign intelligence organizations including the CIA, have coopted collaborators from among the extreme-right and exploited them for their particular interests.

In effect, what the 1980 coup demonstrates more than anything is that the Turkish military, as well as the far right fascist terror gangs such as the Grey Wolves, are in various ways assets of the US, and under the thumb of US intelligence.  To be sure, one could quibble about the degree to which they are entirely assets, proxies, or simply longtime collaborators, but this distinction is of minor importance.  What matters is that the historical record clearly indicates collusion between the Turkish military and deep state and the CIA.

But this is all ancient history, right? Surely these networks and connections have eroded over time, and what happened in 1980 is of only secondary significance to the internal politics of Turkey and the ongoing struggles for power.  Well, yes…but on second thought, maybe not.

Who’s Who on the Turkish Chessboard?

In trying to provide analysis of what just took place in Turkey, one must have some understanding of the political factions vying for power in Turkey.  They can roughly be broken down into three camps, though there is often overlap between the groups.

The first faction is that of President Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP).  Erdogan and the AKP come from the “moderate Islamist” milieu of the Muslim Brotherhood, having spent years fighting against the militantly secular Turkish military and state order.  As Dr. Essam al-Erian, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, explained in 2007, “the Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic group that has a close relationship with all moderate Islamists, the most prominent of which is the Justice and Development Party.”

This point is of critical importance because it connects Erdogan and his political machine to a much broader international network active throughout the Middle East and North Africa.  It further provides an explanation as to Erdogan’s seeming fanaticism over the war in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad whose father crushed the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood in 1982, as well as his unwavering support for former Egyptian President Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader deposed by current President Sisi.

The second faction is that of the Kemalists, with its power generally residing in the military and elements of the deep state.  They see themselves as the custodians of the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.  The Kemalists are deeply connected to major capitalist interests in the country, and have a long history of collaboration with the US and NATO.  As noted above, the Turkish military has long-standing ties to the CIA and NATO intelligence, and has long been understood as one of the most reliable US-NATO partners.

The third political faction of note is that of Turkish billionaire Fetullah Gulen whose global network of schools has made him into one of the single most powerful individuals in the region, though he runs his network from the comfort of his Pennsylvania estate.  Not only has the Gulen network made significant inroads penetrating nearly every state institution in Turkey, it is also hugely influential in the US, both in terms of long-standing ties to US intelligence, and perhaps equally important, its massive lobbying and influence-peddling apparatus.  Indeed, in 2010 six major Turkish-American federations with ties to the Gulen movement joined together to create the Assembly of Turkic American Federations (ATAF), a non-profit organization that has become one of the more prominent lobbying groups in Washington dealing with Turkish and Turkic peoples issues.

It is essential to remember that although it is known that last week’s coup was carried out by elements of the military, it is unclear exactly which faction they were representing, or if it was a combination of two.  But here it is useful to examine the recent history of the Gulen network (known as Hizmet) and its penetration of state institutions in order to assess what potential role it may have played in the coup.

Connecting the Dots: Fetullah Gulen and CIA Fingerprints on Turkey Coup?

While it is easy to point the finger at the CIA and US-NATO intelligence for anything that happens anywhere in the world – the Empire’s reach is truly global – one must be cautious not to simply assert US culpability without properly drawing out the tangible connections. And in this case, that is doubly true.  However, it is here that Gulen’s significance really comes into play, for it is his far-reaching network of contacts, surrogates, and proxies that have penetrated nearly every significant state institution.

Long before last week’s failed coup, analysts had been making the connection between Gulen, infiltration of the Turkish state, and the CIA.  As political analyst Osman Softic wrote in 2014:

“Given that the Hizmet sympathizers skilfully [sic] infiltrated some of the most sensitive structures of the state such as the police, intelligence, judiciary and public prosecution, it is quite plausible that this movement may have served as a convenient mechanism for destabilization and even overthrow of the Erdoğan government, by much more powerful and sinister international actors… Gülen himself may have become a convenient pawn in their attempt to destabilize Turkey.”

The allegation that Gulen agents have penetrated all throughout the Turkish state is nothing new.  In fact, such assertions have dogged Gulen and the Hizmet movement for at least the last two decades.  But it is the connection to US intelligence and the elite circles of US foreign policy that truly completes the picture.

Enter Graham Fuller, former Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council, whose links to Gulen’s movement run deep.  Fuller has gone so far as to defend Gulen on Huffington Post in recent days in an article entitled The Gulen Movement Is Not a Cult — It’s One of the Most Encouraging Faces of Islam Today in which he admits – he had no choice as it is well documented – that he wrote a letter in support of Gulen’s green card application to the US in 2006.  Although his rhetoric attempts to distort the nature of, and reason behind, his support for Gulen, Fuller does imply that Hizmet represents a social movement aligned with, and amenable to, US interests, one which could be used as a potent weapon in a critical NATO ally.

Fuller fails to note that he doesn’t simply have a passing connection with the Gulen movement, but that he has attended numerous Gulenist functions including large events, such as those organized by the Turquoise Council for Americans and Eurasians, a reputed Gulenist umbrella organization run by Kemal Oksuz (a.k.a. Kevin Oksuz), a prominent member of the Gulen network.

In addition to Fuller, infamous former CIA operative and US Ambassador to Turkey, Morton Abramowitz, also wrote a letter backing Gulen as he sought sanctuary in the US.  Interestingly, Abramowitz was also the co-author, along with fellow neocons Eric Edelman and Blaise Misztal, of a fiery January 2014 op-ed in the Washington Post that all but demanded that the US topple Erdogan’s government. Yes, chin-scratchingly interesting.

So, let’s see if we got it all down.  Gulen leads a multi-billion dollar business empire and charter/private school network with global reach.  He is directly connected to two of the most notorious CIA operatives in the recent history of US-Turkish relations.  He has a political lobbying network whose tentacles stretch from Washington to Central Asia.  Oh, and by the way, according to former Turkish intelligence chief Osman Nuri Gundes, Gulen’s network of schools in the Central Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan provided the cover for at least 130 CIA agents in the mid to late 90s.

Now let’s add to that equation the fact that the RAND corporation, one of the most influential think tanks within US policy circles, suggested in a detailed 2004 report entitled Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies that US policy should:

“Support the modernists first, enhancing their vision of Islam over that of the traditionalists by providing them with a broad platform to articulate and disseminate their views. They, not the traditionalists, should be cultivated and publicly presented as the face of contemporary Islam…Support the secularists on a case-by-case basis.”

It would seem that, more than a decade ago, and at a time when Gulen and Erdogan were still friendly, their organizations still allied, that US policy was to push Gulen and the moderate Islamist elements that he and Erdogan represented.  It seems quite likely that the falling out between Erdogan and Gulen had less to do with personal issues and egos (though that undoubtedly played a part) than it did with policy and loyalty.

The Geopolitics and Strategy of the Failed Coup

Despite his commendable service to US imperialism in Syria, including hosting both terrorist and Syrian expatriate proxies of the US, Erdogan has clearly upset the apple cart with Washington.  Perhaps his most egregious crime came just recently when he issued an apology for the November 2015 downing of a Russian jet.  But, of course, it wasn’t the apology itself that set off official Washington, it was the reorientation of Turkish foreign policy away from the US, NATO, and Europe, and towards Russia, China, and the emerging non-western power bloc. This was his grave sin. And it wasn’t the first time, though undoubtedly Washington wanted to make sure it would be his last.

One must recall that Erdogan has a nasty habit of making deals with US adversaries, including the signing of the massive Turk Stream pipeline deal, the decision to purchase missile systems from China (which Erdogan later reneged on), the signing of a lucrative nuclear energy deal with Russia, and many others.  In short, for Washington, Erdogan proved to be an unreliable ally at best, and a dangerous political manipulator at worst.  So, as with so many leaders who came to be seen that way by the US political elites, he had to go.  And Gulen’s network would come in handy.

Perhaps one of the most striking aspects of the events of the failed coup was the use of the NATO base at Incirlik.  As the Los Angeles Times noted:

“Turkish officials said the organizers of the uprising were given crucial aid from officers at Incirlik Air Base, a facility that hosts most of the 2,500 U.S. military personnel stationed in Turkey and is a key base for the U.S.-led coalition’s ongoing air campaign to defeat the Islamic State militant group in neighboring Iraq and Syria… official media reported the arrest of the top Turkish military official at Incirlik, Gen. Bekir Ercan Van. Van was among 10 soldiers arrested at the base, part of an operation Turkish officials say provided air-to-air refueling for F-16 fighter jets…[which] were a crucial part of the coup attempt, used to intimidate government supporters in the streets.”

The implications of this information should not be understated.  While it is entirely possible that the story was concocted by Erdogan’s people in order to carry out a purge of top military officials perhaps seen as disloyal to Erdogan or much too loyal to secular Kemalists, it is also plausible that the Turkish government’s narrative is correct.

Were that to be the case, then the obvious implication would be that Incirlik was a base of operations for the coup, the locus of Turkish military power behind the coup, and US intelligence and military behind them.  Considering the centrality of Incirlik to NATO operations in the Middle East, it is not unreasonable to assume that aside from just military personnel, Incirlik is a node in the global CIA network.  In fact, considering that the base is home to both US drones conducting operations in the Syria-Iraq theater, as well as a hub of the US “extraordinary rendition” program, it almost goes without saying that Incirlik houses significant CIA assets.

Seen from this perspective then, Incirlik was obviously pivotal to the failed coup plot, and has since become essential to Erdogan’s purging of his rivals from the ranks of the military.  Moreover, it was long a bone of contention between Ankara and Washington, with Erdogan’s government wanting to assert more control over the base than Washington was prepared to allow.  In many ways, Incirlik became the nexus of a tectonic shift in Turkish politics, and in the geopolitics of the region.

Ultimately, the failed 2016 coup in Turkey will have lasting ramifications that will impact the years and decades ahead.  With Turkey now clearly breaking with the US-NATO-EU axis, it is rather predictable that it will seek to not only mend fences with both Russia and China, but to place itself into the non-western camp typified by BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China’s One Belt One Road strategy, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, etc.

The failure of the coup is clearly a failure for the US and its allies who see in Erdogan an adversary, not a partner.  For his part, Erdogan has much criminal behavior to answer for.  From his illegal fomenting of war in Syria, to the purges and arbitrary detentions ongoing in Turkey today, to the attacks on secular institutions and human rights, Erdogan has a rap sheet a mile long.   But of course sharing a bed with criminal regimes has never been a problem for Washington.

No, the problem has been, and will continue to be, that Erdogan doesn’t play by the rules; rules set forth by the US.  And with this US-backed coup, he will only get stronger.  Surely, many sleepless nights lay ahead for the strategic planners in Washington.

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According to Australian authorities, data recovered from a home flight simulator belonging to the captain of Malaysia Flight 370 indicates that the device was used to plot a course to where the flight is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

In the wake of reports that an FBI analysis of the simulator showed Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah simulated a flight with a similar path less than a month before the crash, there has been some dispute about the simulator’s significance. For some this revelation serves to confirm suspicions that the crash was a premeditated murder-suicide on Shah’s part.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre is overseeing a search for the plane’s remains off the west coast of Australia, and has confirmed that  « someone had plotted a course to the southern Indian Ocean. » In a previous statement, the agency said the data did not prove that the captain purposefully crashed the plane, but showed only the « the possibility of planning. »

Khalid Abu Bakar, Malaysia’s national police chief, said on Thursday that the investigation will not be complete until the « black box, » which contains a data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, is retrieved.

Bakar said, « We cannot confirm anything. Whatever findings now are not conclusive until we recover the black box which will tell us what actually happened… if not, everything else is speculative. » When asked whether police had ruled out suicide, he responded, « I never rule out anything. »

Even though Bakar claimed that Malaysian police have not given documents to foreign agencies such as the FBI, Malaysian transport minister Liow Tiong Lai, confirmed that Malay authorities and the FBI worked together to analyze data found on the simulator’s hard drives two years ago.

On Wednesday, Lai asserted that there was no evidence of Shah plotting the same course as MH370 on his flight simulator software.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull did not offer any new details on what was found on the machine earlier this week, saying that it was Malaysia’s case to handle, since they were taking the lead on investigating the downed craft.

He told reporters, « I just note that even if the simulator information does show that it is possible or very likely that the captain planned this shocking event, it does not tell us the location of the aircraft. »

Authorities have not been able to explain why the 239-passenger Boeing 777 veered from its course on March 8, 2014, on a flight to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. It has been theorized that the cause of the crash could be a murder-suicide by one of the pilots, a mechanical error, or possibly a hijacking. Despite a wide-ranging search for the aircraft, no significant wreckage has been found.

Officials from China, Malaysia and Australia announced last week that the underwater search would be suspended once the current area being searched has been thoroughly explored. Fewer than 10,000 square kilometers are left to scan of the 120,000 square kilometer search area, and the sweep is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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The Content of Donald Trump’s Character

juillet 29th, 2016 by Marjorie Cohn

Though some anti-war Americans see hope that Donald Trump would pull back from foreign wars, they also must face his undeniable record of racial and sexist bigotry, writes Marjorie Cohn.

In his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump declared, “My Dad, Fred Trump, was the smartest and hardest working man I ever knew. . . . It’s because of him that I learned, from my youngest age, to respect the dignity of work and the dignity of working people.”

Donald apparently forgot what his father taught him. The GOP nominee refuses to pay the people who work for him. “Among them: a dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs, coast to coast. Real estate brokers who sold his properties. And, ironically, several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others,” wrote Steve Reilly in USA Today.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Moreover, Fred Trump, “the smartest” man his son ever knew, did not respect the dignity of black people. The legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie rented an apartment in the elder Trump’s Brooklyn complex in 1950. It turned out blacks were not welcome there.

University of Central Lancashire professor Will Kaufman, a student of Guthrie’s life and songs, noted that Guthrie thought “Fred Trump was one who stirs up racial hate, and implicitly profits from it,” lamenting “the bigotry that pervaded his new, lily-white neighborhood.”

Guthrie responded to Fred Trump’s bigotry with this song:

I suppose

Old Man Trump knows

Just how much

Racial Hate

He stirred up

In the bloodpot of human hearts

When he drawed

That color line

Here at his Eighteen hundred family project

The acorn did not fall far from the tree of racial prejudice. In 1973, the Nixon Justice Department sued Fred and Donald Trump for systematic discrimination against African-Americans in housing rentals.

The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof cited the Trumps’ former building superintendent who said he was told to code rental applications with a “C” for colored, which would flag the office to reject the application. The Trumps only rented to “Jews and executives,” not blacks, according to a rental agent.

Kip Brown, a former Trump casino owner, told the New Yorker, “When Donald and [former wife] Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor.  . . . They put us all in the back.”

In his 1991 book, John O’Donnell, former president of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, quoted Donald Trump as saying “laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.”

The ‘Mexican’ Judge

Trump’s racial animus is not confined to African-Americans. He has vowed to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, calling Mexican immigrants “in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists”; build a wall on the southern U.S. border to keep people out; and temporarily forbid Muslims from entering the United States.

President Barack Obama bending over so a boy visiting the Oval Office could feel that the President's hair was like his. (White House photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama bending over so a boy visiting the Oval Office could feel that the President’s hair was like his. (White House photo by Pete Souza)

At one of his rallies, Trump condescendingly pointed to a black man in the crowd, saying, “Oh, look at my African-American over here – look at him.”

And Trump denounced Gonzalo Curiel, a well-respected federal judge of Mexican heritage who is presiding over a lawsuit in San Diego filed by people claiming they were scammed by Trump University. After Curiel unsealed documents, Trump declared that Curiel had “an absolute conflict” that should disqualify him from the case. Trump’s reason: “He is a Mexican,” adding, “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest.”

Trump’s overriding theme, “Make America Great Again,” is a euphemism for “Make America White Again.” Indeed, Trump was a founder of the birther movement, whose aim was to discredit Barack Obama by claiming he was born in Kenya, thus stoking racist attacks throughout his presidency. That movement evolved into the Trump for president campaign, which is steeped in racial hatred.

As Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in her speech at the Democratic National Convention, Trump pits blacks against whites, reminiscent of what occurred during the era of Jim Crow. She quoted Dr. Martin Luther King’s remarks about how poor white workers in the South were told, “No matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man,” noting, “Racial hatred was part of keeping the powerful on top.”

Trump is sexist as well as racist. His comments about women reveal his misogyny. He has referred to women as “dog,” “fat pig,” “slob,” “degenerate” and “disgusting animal.” And Trump disgustingly said of Megan Kelly, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

The GOP nominee has no more respect for the disabled than he does for women, workers and people of color, publicly mocking a reporter with a disability.

And although he declared in his acceptance speech that he would “protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” Trump said nothing about protecting them from the hateful ideology within the United States.

The next president may fill three or four seats on the Supreme Court. Trump has vowed to nominate justices like Antonin Scalia, who said during oral argument in the affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas, that he was not “impressed by the fact that the University of Texas may have fewer” black students.

Scalia added, “Maybe it ought to have fewer. I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible.”

Scalia opposed reproductive rights, universal health care, same-sex marriage, affirmative action, voting rights, immigrants’ rights, labor rights, LGBT rights and environmental protection. Trump, who has said he will pick his judicial nominations from lists drawn up by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society, could move the high court radically to the right for decades to come.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said he hoped his children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but rather “by the content of their character.” Donald Trump’s character is racist, sexist, and just downright mean. A Trump presidency would pose an unimaginable danger to the people of this country.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Her most recent book is “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.” Visit her website athttp://marjoriecohn.com/ and follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/marjoriecohn.

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I answered some heartbreaking calls from Dr. Léopold Munyakazi phoning from an Alabama jail this week. Dr. Munyakazi is a gentle Rwandan born scholar, with a PhD in linguistics and further advanced degrees in French and African linguistics. He has lost his immigration case in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and will all but certainly be deported to Rwanda to face prison or worse.  The Rwandan government accuses him of genocide crime committed in 1994, but they made no such accusations until after he gave several talks on northeastern college and university campuses in which he said that the Rwandan war and massacres of the 1990s were a class conflict, not an ethnic conflict, and therefore not genocide.  These talks constituted a threat to President Paul Kagame’s totalitarian Rwandan regime, to the Clinton dynasty, and to “humanitarian” war ideology.

On the phone Dr. Munyakazi protested his innocence. He spoke of witnesses who had testified that he was not where his accusers said he was and therefore could not have done what he was accused of doing there. I told him that he didn’t have to convince me because I have been following and reporting on cases like his for years.  A Rwandan exile speaks out against Rwandan totalitarianism, disagrees with Rwanda’s constitutionally codified description of the 1994 massacres as “genocide against the Tutsi,” or testifies in defense of another Rwandan, and soon a gaggle of anonymous witnesses say that he or she too was guilty of genocide in 1994 and the Rwandan government demands his or her return to Rwanda.

The Rwandan government has even accused  Lin Muyizere, the husband of celebrated Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire of genocide crime, and tried to have him extradited from the Netherlands. Ingabire herself is now in the sixth year of a 15-year sentence in Rwanda for daring to run for president against Paul Kagame in 2010 and for “genocide denial.”  She did not say, like Dr. Munyakazi, that the Rwandan conflict was about class rather than ethnicity, but she did say,  in an equally challenging statement, that there were extremists on both sides, Hutu and Tutsi, that there were victims on both sides, and that all the victims must be remembered.  I had the honor of speaking to Victoire many times in 2010, and putting her voice on the air on Pacifica Radio’s KPFA-Berkeley and WBAI-NYC.

Yet another challenge to the Wikipedia/Hotel Rwanda story has come from Professors Allan Stam and Christian Davenport, after 10 years of research in Rwanda. In the 2015 BBC documentary Rwanda’s Untold Story, Allan Stam had this exchange with the BBC’s Jane Corbin:

Allan Stam: If a million people died in Rwanda in 1994 — and that’s certainly possible — there is no way that the majority of them could be Tutsi.

Jane Corbin: How do you know that?

Allan Stam: Because there weren’t enough Tutsi in the country.

Jane Corbin: The academics calculated there had been 500,000 Tutsis before the conflict in Rwanda; 300,000 survived. This led them to their final controversial conclusion.

Allan Stam: If a million Rwandans died, and 200,000 of them were Tutsi, that means 800,000 of them were Hutu.

Jane Corbin: That’s completely the opposite of what the world believes happened in the Rwandan genocide.

Allan Stam: What the world believes, and what actually happened, are quite different.

The Rwandan – and Burundian – Hutu and Tutsi divide

Dr. Munyakazi stated what seemed obvious to many who have studied  the history of Rwanda and Burundi.  He said that Hutu and Tutsi speak the same language, share the same culture, eat the same food, and even marry each other, with membership in one group or the other determined patrilineally. Ninety-three percent of Rwandans are Christian. They are distinguished instead, by historical class privilege.  Prior to colonization, the Tutsi were a cattle owning, feudal ruling class, the Hutu a subservient peasant class.  Belgian colonists reified this divide by issuing ID cards that labeled Rwandans and Burundians as Hutu, Tutsi, or Twa.

Rwanda’s third population, the Twa, are traditionally forest people, hunter gatherers, but the Twa are only one percent of Rwanda’s population. They  also suffered in the Rwandan war and massacres of the 1990s, but the war and massacres were fundamentally a conflict between the historically privileged Tutsi and the historically oppressed Hutu.

There is nothing like the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide to prevent and punish class war.  Article II of the Convention says that “genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”  It says nothing about preventing or punishing the murder of masses of people in order to claim, reclaim or defend wealth and privilege. Nor does it say anything about the murder of masses of people in order to steal what they have, such as oil, land, water or mineral riches.

Dr. Munyakazi told me he believed the U.S. State Department had intervened in his case behind the scenes to make sure that he was sent back to Rwanda, and I told him that wouldn’t surprise me. President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, openly intervened as a litigant to make sure that Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana was extradited to stand trial at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda in 1999. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark defended Pastor Ntakirutimana in the U.S. and at the ICTR and called his conviction “a tragic miscarriage of justice.”

Dr. Munyakazi threatens President Paul Kagame, Samantha Power and the humanitarian warriors

Since a class conflict is not a genocide, Dr. Munyakazi is dangerous to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who justifies his ruthless totalitarian regime by claiming to be the savior who stopped a genocide.  He is also dangerous to the Holocaust and genocide industries, whose false equation of the Holocaust and the Rwandan massacres is at the ideological foundation of “humanitarian” war ideology, as codified in Obama’s Executive Order — Comprehensive Approach to Atrocity Prevention and Response and in Mass Atrocities Prevention Operations, a Military Handbook, a collaboration between the Pentagon and Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights.  He is dangerous to UN Ambassador Samantha Power, who has built her entire career on a historically inaccurate, decontextualized, and grossly oversimplified account of the 1994 Rwandan massacres, during which U.S. officials “stood by.”  What would come of all their moral urgencies about “stopping the next Rwanda” in Libya, Syria, etc., if “Rwanda” were not the story we were all told?

And the Clinton dynasty

As if that weren’t enough, Dr. Munyakazi is  dangerous to the Clinton dynasty, which is so wedded to the lies about the Rwanda war and massacres that Bill Clinton presented one of his Global Citizen Awards to President Paul Kagame in 2009. For the past 22 years, Clinton has shed crocodile tears and called his “failure to intervene” in Rwanda the greatest mistake of his presidency.  This year, in support of his wife’s campaign, Bill Clinton claimed that she urged him to intervene in Rwanda. She affirmed that claim as evidence of her commitment to humanitarian “intervention.”

Trouble is President Bill Clinton did not “fail to intervene” in Rwanda.  He refused to intervene and stopped the UN Security Council from organizing an intervention, because the U.S. and UK had already intervened in support of General Paul Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Army that invaded Rwanda from Uganda in October 1990.  Clinton was not going to let an intervention stop Kagame from finally overthrowing the existing, Hutu-led Rwandan government and seizing power.  The evidence of this is laid out in Robin Philpot’s Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa, Ed Herman and David Peterson’sEnduring Lies: Rwanda in the Propaganda System 20 Years Later, Peter Erlinder’s Accidental Genocide, Carla Del Ponte’s Madame Prosecutor: Confrontations with Humanity’s Worst Criminals and the Culture of Impunity and Jean-Marie Ndajigimana’s How Paul Kagame Deliberately Sacrificed the Tutsi.

Everything went according to the US/UK plan except that the loss of life in Rwanda was far greater than President Clinton or anyone at the Pentagon had anticipated. A massive cover-up was mounted at theInternational Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda, which indicted and prosecuted only Rwandan Hutus, and in the heroization of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.  Like Tony Blair, Clinton has tirelessly extolled the achievements of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, as the BBC reported in Rwanda’s Untold Story.  Belgian scholar Filip Reyntjens, in the same BBC doc, says that “their closeness is a closeness with what I call the most important war criminal in office today.”

On July 28, 1994, after General Paul Kagame had won the war and seized power in Rwanda, the New York Times reported that “the United States is preparing to send troops to help establish a large base in Rwanda to bolster the relief effort in the devastated African nation.”  Just over two years later, U.S. proxies Rwanda and Uganda invaded Zaire – what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo – in 1996 and then again in 1998, overthrowing first Mobutu, then Laurent Kabila, establishing the U.S. as the dominant power in the region, and leaving millions more dead in the wars and ongoing conflict over eastern Congo’s vast mineral wealth.  “The United States has been the superpower that has dominated what has happened in this area in the Congo and in Rwanda,” says Professor Edward S. Herman. “The American people know almost nothing about the area, and since the United States has had a strong position of support for Kagame and for the invasion of the Congo, that dominated all the institutions that were associated with it.”  Bill Clinton’s so-called “failure to intervene” was in fact a proxy intervention causing massive loss of life.

And what was the justification of Rwanda’s repeated invasion of Zaire and its  plunder and occupation of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo?  Kagame said he was going to hunt down the Hutus guilty of genocide, which the international community had been quick to equate with the Holocaust.

I asked myself what else to say to Dr. Munyakazi, on the other end of a cell phone connection between Oakland and Alabama, except that I know he is innocent?  I could barely hear him because the connection kept breaking up, but I was able to understand that he wants to appeal to the Supreme Court. I said I would speak to his lawyer and some other lawyers, doubtful as I am that the Court would hear his case. I said I would try to produce some radio coverage, but that it would be difficult to garner any attention for his story right now without tying it to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s decades of involvement in the events leading up to his pending “removal” to Rwanda, and that that would do nothing to help his case.  He said that he was committed to telling the truth about what really happened in his country, regardless of the consequences.

 

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist who also contributes to the San Francisco Bay View, Global Research, the Black Agenda Report and the Black Star News, and produces radio for KPFA-Berkeley and WBAI-New York City.  In 2014, she was awarded the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize by the Womens International Network for Democracy and Peace.  She can be reached at [email protected].

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Two weeks ago a new coalition of European civil society groups (including Drone Wars UK) launched a Call to Action on Armed Drones at a meeting in Brussels attended by, amongst others, US drone whistleblowers Cian Westmoreland and Lisa Ling.

The European Forum on Armed Drones (EFAD) launch was on the eve of an important European Parliament meeting, jointly organised by the subcommittee on Human Rights and the Subcommittee on Security and Security and Defence, focusing on the human rights impact of armed drones in counter-terrorism operations.   A video of the meeting, including inputs from Jennifer Gibson of Reprieve and Radhya Almutawakel of the Yemeni Mwatana Organisation for Human Rights is availablehere.

While the UK is the only European country so far to have used armed drones, other countries are on the verge of acquiring the capability and are already using large military drones on active military deployments.  Here’s a brief survey of how some other European countries are already using large military drones.

France

France currently has 5 drones – 3 Reapers and 2 French made Harfang drones – in active service in northern African as part of Operation Barkhane. This is a French military counter-insurgency /terrorism operation spread across five countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) in the Sahel region of Northern Africa.  France has around 3,500 troops deployed alongside fighter aircraft, helicopters and drones.  This long-term military operation grew out of the 2013 Operation Serval, launched following the request of the Malian government for military assistance against Islamist armed groups. Separate from the French military mission in the Sahal, around 12,000 UN peacekeepers also operate in Mali around 70 of whom have been  killed since operations began in 2013.

France has been operating Harfang drones since 2008 and ordered US Reaper drones in 2013.  Two were deployed to the Sahel in January 2014, with a third delivered in June 2015.  A third batch of three was ordered in December 2015 and are due to be delivered in 2019.  France has stated that it wants a total of 12 Reaper drones in its air fleet.

France’s drones in North Africa are based at Niamey in Niger, from where US drones also undertake surveillance missions.  A second US drone base in Nigeria is reportedly being developed at Agadez, 750km north of Niamey.  While the French drones are unarmed, they are very much involved in combat operations with Defence Minister Le Drian reporting soon after the French Reapers became operational that a French Reaper drone had led French and Mailian forces to engage and kill 10 suspected Islamist fighters.  There have been protests against the French military presence and the arrest of locals suspected of having links with militants – with some protesters being killed by security forces.

 

BBC footage from Niamey of French drones 

In 2014 airforce pilots in France took control of French Harfang drone operating in Mali in an experiment to conduct ‘remote split operations’ as the operation of drones at distance is called.  While the experiment was successful, it seems there are no on-going plans to operate them in this way.  Meanwhile France and the UK have been in discussion about launching a joint training effort to train more pilots for their reaper drones.

Italy

Italy currently operates 9 Predator and 6 Reaper drones, with the latter going through the process of being armed after gaining US approval to carry weapons in November 2015.  Italy will be only the second country after the UK to operate armed US drones.

Like the UK, Italy operates its drones remotely from its home territory at Amendola air base in southeast Italy. US drones also operate from Italy, based at the Sigonella Naval Station in Sicily and later this year NATO’s five Global Hawks will arrive and be permanently based there (see below).

Italian Reaper

Italian Reaper and operator

Italy first acquired US Predators in 2004 and deployed them to Iraq in early 2005 and then to Afghanistan in April 2007.  In 2011 Italy deployed its Reapers (as well as other military aircraft) over Libya during the Coalition air campaign to oust Muammar Gaddafi.

From 2014 Italy began replacing its Predators in Afghanistan with Reapers, with two of the Predators re-deployed to Kuwait for operations against ISIS in Iraq while others were deployed to Djibouti for anti-piracy operations on the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Aden.

In December 2015, Italian magazine L’Espresso was granted access to Italian drone pilots and footage of one of their missions over Iraq.  While some marvelled at the detail and very high resolution images in the footage, analysts warned in the New York Times that caution was needed as such clarity was rare (and may have been the reason this particular piece of footage was released).

Italy has also deployed its Predator and Reaper drones over the Mediterranean as part of Operation ‘Safe Sea’ to combat the threat of terrorism from Libya and in Operation ‘Our Sea’ to stop immigration from North Africa.  In February 2015 the drones were over Libya during the closure of the Italian embassy in Libya and the evacuation of Italian Nationals from the country

In January 2016 Italy gave permission for the US drones based in Sicily to fly armed missions in order to undertake strike missions in Libya and elsewhere in North Africa on a case-by-case basis.

Like other nations operating drones, Italy has had its fair share of crashes.  A Predator crashed in training accident in 2004, another crashed off Italian cost in Jan 2010 with another in June 2011.  Most recently in May 2016, the prototype of a new Italian developed drone called the Hammerhead crashed off the Sicilian coast.

Germany

Luftwaffe Heron drone

Currently the German Luftwaffe has three Israeli-made Heron 1 drones operating out of the Mazar-e-Sharif Base in northern Afghanistan since autumn 2010 as well as Luna drones operating from Gao in Mali in support of UN peacekeeping mission.

The drones operating in Afghanistan are leased from Israel via Airbus with Airbus contractors conduct the take-off and landings – the point most likely for crashes to occur.  As of November 2015, the German Heron drones in Afghanistan had completed more than 25,000 flight hours in support of German and Afghanistan Security Forces.

Germany has this month (July 2016)  deployed Luna drones to Mali as part of its contribution to the UN peacekeeping force.  These are to replace the much smaller Scan Eagle drones operated by the Dutch when they were on deployment. Germany has announced that it will deploy two Israeli-made Heron drones for the operation in Mali but this is unlikely to happen before November 2016.

In January 2016 Germany announced that from 2018 it will lease between 3 and 5 of the larger Heron TP drones from Israeli in a $650m contract to bridge the gap  until a new European combat drone is due to enter service in 2025.  According to Defence News the German Heron’s may be armed with the British made Brimstone missile.

However the use of armed drones has been extremely controversial in Germany, with concerns about purchase of such systems written into the German Coalition agreement signed in 2013. There has also been huge disapproval of the role played by the US base in Ramstein in US targeted killing with large protests regularly taking place. Nevertheless in September 2015 German as well as Swedish officers were reported to be taking part in US drone targeted killing operations in as part of US counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan.

Others

A number of other European countries are on the verge of acquiring US or Israeli large military drones.

The Netherlands ordered US Reapers in 2013 and four were expected to be delivered in 2016 but these have since been delayed due to budget issues. When confirming the deal the US stated  that the Reapers

will enhance the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability of the Dutch military in support of national, NATO, UN-mandated, and other coalition operations. Commonality of ISR capabilities will greatly increase interoperability between U.S and Dutch military and peacekeeping forces.

In November 2015 Spain too ordered four US Reapers with the first two due to arrive in July 2017 and another two in 2019/20.  In autumn 2015 Switzerland ordered six Israeli Hermes 900 drones in $200m contract, with the drones expected to be delivered by 2020.  The purchase was extremely controversial in Switzerland as the Hermes 900 have been used in Gaza operations.

Poland, which is looking to acquire a large number of drones under various projects is considering between US and Israeli drones for its combat drone programme while the UK is offering an armed version of the Watchkeeper drone for a tactical drone programme.   According to press report around 60 drones will eventually be based at a dedicated drone base in the north-west of Poland.

NATO

On top of these national programmes, five massive Global Hawk drones will arrive in Europe by the end of 2016 as part of a new NATO programme.  The Global Hawks, to be based at the Sigonella air base in Italy, are the core of the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) System which is collectively owned by 15 of the 28 NATO allies (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark,  Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway,Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, USA) under a $1.7 billion contract signed in May 2012.

NATO AGS UAV

One of the five NATO AGS (i.e. Global Hawks) drones due to be based in Italy from end of 2016

NATO states that the drones are to enable

persistent surveillance over wide areas from high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) aircraft, operating at considerable stand-off distances and in any weather or light condition. Using advanced radar sensors, these systems will continuously detect and track moving objects throughout observed areas and will provide radar imagery of areas of interest and stationary objects.

Although only 15 nations are involved in the purchase of the aircraft, all members of NATO will participate in operating and supporting AGS in service.  As part of the development plans, Global Hawks have already undertaken test flights across Europe including across UK airspace


taranis

BAE System’s Taranis Drone

On top of these deployments of existing drones, two major combat drone development programmes are underway in Europe.

In the UK, BAE Systems has built and flown theTaranis combat drone prototype,  while a number of nations (France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland) have been involved in Dassault-led nEUROn programme.

While development work continues on both of these prototypes, the UK and France are also co-operating and jointly funding work on the development of a future unmanned system currently dubbed the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

neuron

Dassault’s nEUROn drone

There has rightly been much attention paid to the US use of drones, particular for extra-judicial targeted killing, over the past few years.  However  with the increasing proliferation of these system it likely that we may look back and see such use as having only been the tip of the iceberg.  Armed drones are a real danger to global peace and security and it can only be right that much more attention is paid to all those nations operating such systems.

 

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The ISIS terror group, which is standing on its last legs in Iraq, razed Al-Hadba’a University in Mosul. Ghayas Surchi, media representative of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Iraq, in an interview with IRNA reporter in Arbil, stated: “On Monday morning, ISIS exploded law school of Al-Hadba’a University.” This private Iraqi University which is located in the city center, was completely demolished. Earlier ISIS had torn down other schools of this University. As stated by Sourchi, ISIS expressed that teaching non-Islamic law courses in the university, had been the reason.

ISIS, which is spending its last days in Iraq, has also razed lots of Iraq’s heritage to the ground, such as historical buildings, holy shrines, tombs of prophets, mosques and temples in this city.

Earlier, ARA News reported media activist Abdullah Mullah said that masked militants of ISIS executed professor Wadallah Ibrahim Sultan, head of the Faculty of Law at al-Hadbaa University.

The terror group had arrested the victim in his house in al-Muthanna sub-district north of Mosul.

Mullah pointed out that the group’s Court has sentenced Sultan to death in the village of Azba south of Mosul.

“Professor Sultan was beheaded in the village’s main square in front of a crowd of people,” the source said, adding that ISIS hasn’t explained the reasons behind Sultan’s execution. By razing the faculty one might estimate his guilt has been teaching law and being the head of the faculty.

Noteworthy, ISIS has been in control of the city of Mosul since June 2014, after a sudden collapse of the Iraqi army and security forces. The group has executed hundreds of civilians after imposing its control over the city and its suburbs.

After liberating Falluja, the Iraqi army is looking to conqure Mosul in fight against terror and defeat the ISIS in Iraq.

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According to wikipedia, Globalisation is the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas and other aspects of culture. However, over the last ten years there has been a sea change decline in all the indicators that would measure the success of this model. Democracy, economic growth, freedom and an interchange of world views and culture has all but been abandoned to a vice like grip of globalisation driven more  by the corporate principles of power and greed resulting in war, terrorism, a biblical refugee crisis, fear and a fully co-opted media.

The Economist has just published its annual index on democracy. They found that out of 167 countries, only twenty are “full democracies”. Less than 13 per cent of the world’s countries can now claim to be a democracy. Given that America has graciously forced so much democracy on the world, one could be forgiven for thinking all is not well.

In the meantime, Freedom House have published their annual Freedom Index that makes for just as sobering reading. It found that the number of countries showing a decline in freedom for the year, 72 to be precise, was the largest since the 10-year slide began. Over the past 10 years, 105 countries have seen a net decline. Think about that fact for a moment.

Unsurprisingly, ratings for the Middle East and North Africa region were the worst in the world during the course of 2015, followed closely by Eurasia.  It also found that over the last decade, the most significant global reversals have been in the rule of law.

Not to be outdone, the World Press Freedom Index published recently found that most of the movement in the world press was indicative of a climate of fear and tension combined with increasing control over newsrooms by governments and private-sector interests. The Index asserts that leaders across the world are now paranoid about journalists. And they don’t just mean the dictators and despots of countries many people have never heard of.

To make matters worse, the UNHCR Global Trends report finds 65.3 million people, or one person in 113, were displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution during last year alone. There are now more people displaced from their homes by force than there was from the last cataclysmic episode in human history than at the end of the second world war.

The UNHCR report also finds that the wave of global displacements is now four times greater than it was just ten years ago.

In an environment or war and fear other distasteful acts of human depravity unfolds. The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates that 45.8 million people are now subject to some form of modern slavery in the world today. This number is greater than at any time in history, let alone the last decade.

There are now many more slaves in the world than at the height of the slave trade in the 1800’s. Back then, the world only required eleven million slaves, today it’s over four times that number. Those countries with the highest absolute numbers of people in modern slavery are India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan. It should not be forgotten that these countries provide the low-cost labour that produces consumer goods for markets in Western Europe, Japan and North America.

Emergent in this new global climate are rival factions, belligerents, radical groups, extremists and governments behaving in an extreme fashion who are often highly adept at their own terror strategies. Amongst all this, innocent people are trapped in their millions.

Last year the Global Terrorism Index reported that “in 2014 the total number of deaths from terrorism increased by 80 per cent when compared to the prior year. This is the largest yearly increase in the last 15 years. In fact, since the beginning of the 21st century, there has been over a nine-fold increase in the number of deaths from terrorism, rising from 3,329 in 2000 to 32,685. Terrorism is spreading to more countries, with the number of countries experiencing more than 500 deaths increasing 120 per cent from the previous year with a 172 per cent increase in the deaths of private citizens.” The 2016 report will surely make depressing reading.

Across the West we are seeing counter-espionage and counter-terrorist measures being misused in the guise of security. Laws are being passed year after year allowing mass surveillance, previously considered illegal until Edward Snowden blew the whistle on this shadowy world. Civil liberties and civil rights are being dismantled all over the globe. In Britain, the most surveilled country in the world, the government even wants to discard the Human Rights Act.

Conflicts of interest have massively increased in the last decade. The West is now experiencing the vice like grip of increasing corporate power in the shape of trade agreements such as TTIP, TPP and CETA which have little to do with free trade and much more to do with profit leading to widespread corruption. Just 147 transnationals out of a total of 43,000 corporations operating worldwide now controls an eye-watering 40 per cent of global trade. In America, just ten companies controls almost all manufactured food.

Transnational organisations, huge as they are, employ less than 20 million people worldwide, less than one half of one per cent of the world population, whilst 1.8 billion adults remain unemployed.

Even the United Nations has been highjacked by a slow motion corporate coup d’tat that over the last ten years has seen the needs of people replaced by the demands of corporations.

The Panama Papers, Swiss leaks and Lux leaks have all combined to graphically demonstrate that what we have now is nothing more than anarchy by the rich and powerful. Social democracy is being dismembered by a surge of austerity where corporate power is usurping political power as revolving doors and lucrative contracts bribe politicians. At the same time we see unimaginable wealth being hidden in tax havens that is literally starving entire nations and depriving people of basics. It is estimated that well over $30 trillion of illegal cash is hidden from tax authorities, mostly by corporations who do not wish to contribute to the societies that raise, educate and provide healthcare for their own workers.

Authorities have tightened their grip on state media and in many cases privately-owned networks have swallowed up so much competition that they now drive national narratives, mainly for corporate interests. In the last ten years there has been a significant decline in media competition. Just one company, Google has an unassailable grip on what we see and hear. Combined with Facebook, we are now hearing of scientific evidence that these huge corporations can determine the outcome of elections. Governments are now fearful of their ability to silently swing opinion, hence both enjoy very low taxes and any form of real governance as their reward.

The world is being battered by wave after wave of crisis that has taken the form of aggression and fear resulting in a battle of states and corporations dependent on the acquisition and sale of natural resources. The principle of globalisation is now a win-at-all-costs scenario. This is globalisation at its shiniest.

The result of the sheer scale of conflict of interest, a piratical banking system, a fully controlled media and the creeping colonisation of nations by corporate domination is that over 70 per cent of the entire adult population of continental Europe now believes corruption by their government is endemic not just to their own country but that of the entire European Union.

And yet, one index, largely ignored by the global establishment press in this context is the Happy Planet Index. The HPI is the leading measure of sustainable wellbeing. It combines four elements – wellbeing, life expectancy, inequality of outcomes, and ecological footprint. It aims to show how efficiently residents of different countries are using environmental resources to lead long, happy lives.

No G8 country appears in the top 30. The UK ranks 34th but it still comes out ahead of France (44th) and Germany (49th). For all of its grand-standing of exceptionalism and global lecturing, America limps in at a thoroughly miserable 108th.

The overall results highlight success stories in Latin America and Asia Pacific, where residents enjoy relatively high and equally distributed life expectancy and wellbeing, while leaving a smaller ecological footprint than other more advanced economies.

It might surprise you to now that the tiny tropical nation of Costa Rica made it to the number one position – for the third time in a row.

In Costa Rica, people are living longer, and are more satisfied with life than people living in all western societies. What really sets the country apart is that it has managed to combine long, happy lives with an environmental impact that’s little more than one third (per capita) of the USA’s.

You might ask how it has achieved such wellbeing. For a start, it abolished its army in 1949. Costa Rica then reallocated its entire defence budget to funding better quality education, health and pensions. In Britain, that would equate to about £55 billion every year, in the USA about $600 billion.

There has been a culture of forming solid social networks of friends, families and neighbourhoods and this has proved to be an invaluable factor contributing to Costa Rican’s high levels of overall wellbeing.

Costa Rica also stands out as a world leader when it comes to environmental protection. It has just managed to achieve over 95% of electricity from renewable sources and the government is way ahead of all other wealthier nations, having committed the country to becoming completely carbon neutral by 2021.

For so-called world leaders, surely, here lies a model that requires little explanation of a route to success whilst proving what a total disaster globalisation has been to billions of people across the world so far.

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The neo-con “West” and its allies want to destroy the Middle East so that they can control the Middle East.

Under the auspices of their imperial “New Middle East” project, the criminals (U.S–led NATO, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Israel, are targeting everything that they falsely profess to cherish.

All of the “values” that the politicians falsely parade as important, even sacrosanct, are instrumentalized as false fronts that belie the dark undercurrents dragging humanity towards a barren “New World Order” of globalized degeneracy and despair.

Nation-state self-determination, sovereignty, territorial integrity – all vital components of world peace, prosperity, and democracy are meaningless to the elites, except for their propaganda value.

A meta-national project of top down control, enforced by anonymous elites, controls how we think, feel, and live.

Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, author of America’s « War on Terrorism »   identifies the largely hidden “powers” behind the system as

those of the global banks and financial institutions, the military-industrial complex, the oil and energy giants, the biotech and pharmaceutical conglomerates and the powerful media and communications giants, which fabricate the news and overtly influence the course of world.

This dystopian present has rendered political choices moot.  Choices are non-choices, puppet shows sold by empty words and conflicting narratives — all bereft of substance.

The real agenda is unspeakable.  The real agenda must be unspeakable, because it is poison, a dark distillate of degenerate barbarism, mostly hidden from view.

This real agenda, masked beneath the Big Lies, and the stories told by scripted “politicians”, bares its sanguine teeth, and imposes its dark will with barely a whimper.  There are no “mistakes”.  It’s all by design.

War planners knew full well that the sanctions imposed prior to the invasion of Iraq were targeting children.  They accurately predicted when the plants would fail, and how many lives would be lost.

A Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) document accurately predicted that,

IT PROBABLY WILL TAKE AT LEAST SIX MONTHS (TO JUNE 1991) BEFORE THE (water treatment) SYSTEM IS FULLY DEGRADED.

And that,

“FAILING TO SECURE SUPPLIES WILL RESULT IN A SHORTAGE OF

PURE DRINING WATER FOR MUCH OF THE POPULATION. THIS COULD LEAD

TO INCREASED INCIDENCES, IF NOT EPIDEMICS, OF DISEASE …

The end result?  Over 500,000 children under the age of five were killed, with intent (murder), in addition to over one million other people, none of whom who had committed a crime.

The “West” regularly targets innocent people, including children, with a view to weakening the morale of countries about to be conquered.  Madeleine Albright infamously intoned that the “price (murdering 500,000 children) … is worth it”, in one of the rare moments when dark truths and media messaging intersect.

War planners also knew that they were supporting al Qaeda ground troops in Libya when they exploited the Responsibility To Protect (R2P) clause to bomb the sovereign state of Libya, to assassinate Muammar Gaddafi, to destroy water infrastructure, to loot, to plunder, to commit genocide, and to set up an ISIS strongehold.  Prior to the invasion, Libya’s standard of living was the highest in Africa. There were no mistakes.

The weapons ratline from Libya to Syria was not a mistake either. The West intentionally funded its terrorist proxies so that they would be well provisioned to invade Syria.  The weaponization and training of its terrorist foot soldiers supplements the terrorists’ now dwindling additional sources of income such as funding from illicit drugs, the plunder of historical Syrian artifacts, the theft of Syrian oil resources, and so on.   All planned by the West.  Again, no mistakes.

Equally degenerate is the fact that the Western intelligence agencies, allied with Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan’s ISIS, perpetuate the degeneracy by raising new recruits into the culture of the un-islamic, Wahhabi ideology.  Chossudovsky explains that,

In 1979, the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA was launched in Afghanistan: With the active encouragement of the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI, who wanted to turn the Afghan Jihad into a global war waged by all Muslim states against the Soviet Union, some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 40 Islamic countries joined Afghanistan’s fight between 1982 and 1992. Tens of thousands more came to study in Pakistani madrasahs. Eventually, more than 100,000 foreign Muslim radicals were directly influenced by the Afghan jihad.

Just as the CIA, through the Pakistani ISI, creates “radicals” by indoctrinating children in “madrasah” schools, so too ISIS indoctrinates Syrian children in the ways of the degenerate Wahhabi ideology in ISIS occupied areas of Syria.

Samuel Westrop writes in “U.K: Jihadists as Charity Workers”,  that

ISIS has supplemented its violence with dawa’h programs – a system of social provision, or ‘soft-power outreach’ – in areas under its control. A key component of this dawa’h … is providing educational outreach initiatives ‘as part of its wider strategy to foster a new generation of Syrians in support of its ideological agenda.’

The cancer of this un-islamic ideology is intentionally promoted in occupied areas of secular, pluralist, democratic Syria with a view to “weaponizing” children, and to destroying the country with an internalized cancer of Wahhabism and violence.

None of this is accidental.  All of it is the fruit of considerable forethought and pre-planning by the imperial “West”, its allies, and their intelligence agencies.

Whereas the West proclaims that it is spreading democracy, it is spreading terrorism, Wahhabism, death and destruction on each and every one of its pre-planned imperial invasions.

Syria’s stand against the Western agencies of death and destruction is a stand for all of humanity against the dark forces that fester beneath our politician’s empty words and the courtesan media’s toxic lies.

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Former American Colony Takes Center Stage In South China Sea Dispute

juillet 29th, 2016 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

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South Korea Outlawing Opposition to War With North Korea: Seoul Used National Security Laws to Arrest Citizens Opposed to War

juillet 29th, 2016 by Korean Committee to Save Rep. Lee Seok-ki of the Insurrection Conspiracy Case

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Vaincre la haine christianophobe, en France et en Syrie

juillet 29th, 2016 by Bruno Guigue

Assassiner un prêtre catholique dans son église, c’est frapper cruellement la France, la tétaniser par l’horreur du crime commis. Mais c’est aussi la frapper au plus profond, la blesser, à travers la communauté catholique, dans une de ses traditions spirituelles les plus anciennes. Avec l’ignoble attentat de Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, une France qui était déjà meurtrie le 14 juillet vient de subir de plein fouet la haine sectaire, antichrétienne, des émules de Daech.

Les chrétiens d’Orient en savent quelque chose : cette vindicte meurtrière ne fabrique pas ses ennemis au hasard. Au Moyen-Orient, les communautés religieuses minoritaires dressent un obstacle symbolique sur les pas du projet totalitaire mené sous l’emblème de la « charia » wahhabite. Le pseudo-califat de Mossoul y exige une sanglante épuration confessionnelle qui frappe les chrétiens, les yézidis, les chiites, mais aussi les Kurdes, dont le sunnisme d’inspiration soufie est également suspect à leurs yeux.

Si le djihadisme est (notamment) christianophobe, c’est parce que son idéologie sectaire de matrice saoudienne est circulaire : tous ceux qui, en raison de leur confession, sont naturellement enclins à la tiédeur envers l’entreprise purificatrice s’exposent à en faire les frais. Cette règle d’intolérance est valable partout, en France comme au Moyen-Orient. Elle est constitutive de l’entreprise d’asservissement dont Daech est l’avatar contemporain, et l’attentat de Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, après tant d’autres, est l’application de cette doctrine mortifère.

Si les informations communiquées par les enquêteurs sont exactes, l’un des auteurs de ce meurtre, connu des services de police, aurait été refoulé par la Turquie à la fin de l’année 2015 lors d’une tentative de pénétration en Syrie. Ce candidat au « djihad » n’ayant pu exercer sa violence meurtrière au pays de Cham, il l’a donc déchaînée en France. Frustré de sa dose d’hémoglobine sur le théâtre syrien, il s’est offert une compensation à domicile. Difficile, une fois de plus, de nier le rapport entre la terreur qui s’abat sur nos têtes et la politique moyen-orientale de nos dirigeants.

Avec cet aller-retour France-Turquie, le crime du 26 juillet fournit une illustration saisissante de l’effet boomerang entretenu par une politique française particulièrement perverse. Car les petites frappes du djihad ont été encouragées par le discours officiel à mener leur sanglante équipée en Syrie, et elles y sont parties par centaines, la fleur au fusil, pour tuer en masse les partisans de « Bachar-le-boucher », pour reprendre l’expression de Jean-Pierre Filiu, principal conseiller du président français et ministre officieux de cette propagande de guerre contre un Etat souverain.

Ces desperados de la terreur, les Syriens de toutes confessions en subissent les exactions depuis 2011, et notamment les chrétiens du quartier de Bab Touma, à Damas, où les obus de mortier en provenance de la zone rebelle font régulièrement leur lot de victimes, jusque dans l’enceinte du Lycée français « Charles-de-Gaulle » ! Mais les « rebelles » de « l’armée de l’islam » font partie de l’opposition prétendument « modérée » reconnue par nos dirigeants, et ils bénéficient du précieux soutien de l’Arabie saoudite, ce pays allié de la France où le culte chrétien est rigoureusement interdit.

Cela n’empêchera pas un exécutif français complètement schizophrène, totalement cynique, ou les deux à la fois, de condamner le crime christianophobe en France au moment où il le cautionne en Syrie en déroulant le tapis rouge devant des chefs « rebelles » couverts de sang. Manifestement, il s’avère incapable de répondre à la crise gravissime que traverse notre pays autrement que par la persévérance dans une double absurdité, politique et militaire.

En diabolisant l’Etat syrien, le gouvernement français contribue à prolonger la prolifération du nid de serpents puisqu’il affaiblit la principale force qui l’affronte courageusement sur le terrain. Simultanément, il se livre à des bombardements aériens militairement ineptes qui ont pour principal effet, en tuant des civils, d’alimenter la haine de la France. Pour faire échouer cette tentative de déstabilisation de la société française, ni les discours compassionnels ni les mouvements de menton mussoliniens ne suffiront. Ce qu’il faut, c’est changer radicalement de politique et s’allier avec ceux qui combattent le terrorisme au lieu de distribuer des médailles à ceux qui le financent.

Bruno Guigue

26 juillet 2016

Bruno Guigue, ancien élève de l’École Normale Supérieure et de l’ENA, Haut fonctionnaire d’Etat français, essayiste et politologue, professeur de philosophie dans l’enseignement secondaire, chargé de cours en relations internationales à l’Université de La Réunion. Il est l’auteur de cinq ouvrages, dont « Aux origines du conflit israélo-arabe, L’invisible remords de l’Occident, L’Harmattan, 2002 », et de centaines d’articles.

 

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South Korea Outlawing Opposition to War With North Korea: Seoul Used National Security Laws to Arrest Citizens Opposed to War

juillet 28th, 2016 by Korean Committee to Save Rep. Lee Seok-ki of the Insurrection Conspiracy Case

Little is known in the outside world about the National Security Act in South Korea. It was enacted in 1948 and has been used to quash any opposition to the US military in South Korea or to the South Korean political establishment, which was founded by Washington when it selected the subservient and traitorous Korean collaborators that worked for the Japanese during Tokyo’s occupation of the Korean Peninsula to run South Korea instead of allowing the fiercely independent Korean resistance fighters that had fought against the Japanese during the Second World War takeover. Under the National Security Act in South Korea praising North Korea and questioning the stance of the South Korean or US governments on North Korea or Korean unification have been persecuted as crimes and threats to the security and the safety of South Korea. Ordinary South Korean citizens who visit North Korea are imprisoned for life, which is an improvement from the past when South Korean authorities use to execute South Koreans who visited North Korea. Even political parties and groups that are supportive of Korean unification or North Korea are disbanded and persecuted by South Korean authorities. In summary, the National Security Act has been used to censor support for North Korea or calls for unification, to violate human rights, and to neutralize legitimate opposition movements. Many innocent South Koreans have been executed or arrested as political prisoners under it.

It is in the context of the National Security Act that the case of Representative Lee Seok-ki, a lawmaker or legislator of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, and the conspiracy he is accused of leading should be studied and understood. The case of Lee started in 2013 when South Korean intelligence officials accused Representative Lee Seok-ki of planning to overthrow the South Korean government in the scenario of a possible war between South Korea and North Korea. South Korean officials alleged that Lee Seok-ki and an inner circle of the United Progressive Party held a secret meeting discussing how they could initiate an insurgency against the South Korean government.

Representative Lee was incarcerated as a criminal under a sentence that he serve twelve years in prison and the United Progressive Party, which formed a significant political force and legitimate opposition movement to the government in South Korea, was outlawed and disbanded by the South Korean government with the support of the Constitutional Court of Korea. Lee and the United Progressive Party, which was a constant target of the security and intelligence networks of South Korea before it was outlawed, maintained their innocence. They proudly admitted that they would oppose any type of war with North Korea as an attack on all the Korean people, as a collective and single nation, but consistently rejected the accusations that they were planning a coup in South Korea.

The twelve-year prison sentence of Representative Lee was reduced to nine years in 2015 and an appeal by him reduced the charges against that were made against him. The appeal judges upheld the charges made against Lee under the National Security Act, but ruled that Representative Lee did not actively plot a coup or insurgency and only encouraged it through his language or speech. Despite the 2015 court ruling that concludes that Lee and his associates were not actively planning an insurgency or conspiracy and only guilty of language encouraging and insurrection by saying that South Koreans should oppose a war with North Korea, the same dropped or overturned charges have been used by South Korean authorities to prosecute other South Korean citizens opposing a war with North Korea.

In effect opposing a war in the Korean Peninsula is being outlawed in South Korea. This serves both US foreign policy in East Asia and the South Korean political establishment, which seeks to legitimize itself by opposing North Korea. Those voices in South Korea calling for moderation, inter-Korean dialogue, and the criminalization of war are being silenced in the name of national security. 

The following text edited by Asia-Pacific Research is from South Korea and is based on an appeal for help and international solidarity from the Korean Committee to Save Representative Lee Seok-ki of the Insurrection Conspiracy Case. It also draws attention to the arrests of Park Min-jung, Lee Yung-chun, Wu Wi-young, and other South Korean citizens that are being prosecuted on the same charges that were made against Representative Lee that were judicially overturned in 2015.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Asia-Pacific Research Editor, 28 July 2016.


Korean Committee to Save Representative Lee Seok-ki of the Insurrection Conspiracy Case, July, 15, 2016

We strongly, denounce the decision of the Court of Appeals on three people additionally arrested with suspicious of getting involved in the case.

The Court of appeals in Korea additionally charged three persons with suspicion of getting involved in the ‘Lawmaker Lee Seok-ki Insurrection Conspiracy Case’ and sentenced them a maximum of three years of imprisonment for the violation of the National Security Law.

Even half a year after the so-called coup component of the ‘Insurrection Conspiracy Case’ was dismissed by the Supreme Court on January 22, 2015, it is a shame to confine these people on charge of participating in the discussion, which was really a debate on Korean political issues, two year ago. They, even now, are put in solitary confinement.

Today, the Court of Appeals dismisses the appeals of more than three people including Park Min-jung, Lee Yung-chun, Wu Wi-young who were arrested and sentenced to three years of imprisonment.

The hope that the rulings would be based on the law were brutally crushed by arbitrary decisions.

Calls for a Presidential Pardon

The presidential pardons planned for National Liberation Day (August 15, 2015), will grant an amnesty to all prisoners of conscience. President Park said she would introduce a special amnesty on the Seventy-first anniversary of National Liberation Day at the Cheong Wa Dae meeting to unite the people of South Korea.

Preferentially releasing numerous prisoners of conscience that have been politically suppressed is at the minimum needed to give authenticity to President Park’s gesture for national unity. The release of all the arrested victims of the ‘Lawmaker Lee Seok-ki Insurrection Conspiracy Case’ should be included as part of the presidential pardon.

There is no precedent of a politician or lawmaker serving a sentence of more than two years and six months in South Korea for the charges of conspiracy to launch and insurrection. In the case of Kim Dae-jung, the former president of South Korea, he was released within 951 days. Whereas by September 2016 Lee and the other victims will have served three years in prison.

Korea society is suffering from divisions according to the classes, generations, regions, and ideology of Koreans. Without healing these hurts, a historic and hopeful turning point will not emerge. In this regard, a resolute decision to release prisoners of conscience is needed as resolute prerequisite for sincere national unity. In the same vein, former governments drastically carried out pardons for political opponents.

President Park promised, “I will become a president who helps bring about great unity in the nation” during her presidential campaign. Again, we demand that she keep her promise to use a presidential pardon on National Liberation Day to release of all prisoners of conscience, including the victims of the’Lawmaker Lee Seok-ki Insurrection Conspiracy Case.’

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Democracy in America isn’t “messy” the way some duopoly power insiders portray it.  It’s nonexistent, policymakers ignoring the will of the people and their welfare entirely.

Events in Philadelphia alone expose how America is run, for its privileged class alone – flagrant electoral rigging anointing a party standard bearer belonging in prison, not high office.

Hillary is the most widely reviled Democrat in party history – beyond rehabilitation no matter how hard DNC handlers try reinventing her.

“I just don’t see how her numbers at this late date are going to improve on the likability issue or the trust factor,” University of Virginia’s Miller Center presidential studies director Barbara Perry explained.

Scandals since the 1990s made her damaged goods, most voters believing she’s a self-serving corporate shill, a law breaker not to be trusted – exposed electoral rigging the latest example.

She didn’t win her party’s nomination. It was handed to her, party bosses choosing her for standard bearer before campaigning began last year. Sanders never had a chance and he knew it.

Endorsements from party notables can’t erase her Lady McBeth image, her Machiavellian history, her high crimes too serious to paper over.

On Wednesday night, Obama gave it his best shot, his usual demagoguery, substituting fiction for facts, a deplorable display like all his speeches.

One anti-populist war criminal praised another. Obama turned truth on its head, “say(ing) with confidence there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America.”

The possibility of a neocon lunatic Sino/Russia hating war criminal/racketeer becoming US president should terrify everyone.

Outside Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, thousands protested. Police reacted violently as expected. Free speech and assembly are more myths than fundamental rights.

At stake is freedom v. fascism, the last vestiges of a free society disappearing in plain sight, tyranny replacing it no matter who succeeds Obama – already with a firm foothold controlling things.

What’s coming? Perpetual wars for conquest and dominance, harsher neoliberal pain and suffering for ordinary Americans while super-rich ones get richer, Wall Street and other corporate interests more dominant than ever, and militarized police terrorizing nonbelievers.

Humanity trembles at what’s coming once a new administration assumes power next January. All bets are off if Hillary heads it – the possibility of world war elevated to a high probability under her leadership.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled « Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III. » 

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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Olympic-logo

Cults of Security and Terror: Fear Ahead of the Rio Olympic Games

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark, July 28 2016

The Olympics remains a black hole of needless expenditure, sucking services into it with impending and merciless doom. Unused stadia, tracks left to moulder, services supposedly linked to urban renewal turned into dilapidated wonders. That is the Olympic legacy in its lingering aftermath.

Olympic-logo

Attempt to Ban Russian Olympic Team – New Cold War at Its ‘Best’!

By Andre Vltchek, July 28 2016

The Empire is becoming thoroughly unpredictable. It is attacking on all fronts. It lost all its shame and decency. New Cold War is now in full swing and the West is using both old and new tactics, in order to demonize and discredit all of its opponents: from Russia to China, Venezuela, North Korea, South Africa and Iran.

Financial Crisis Conducive to Instability of Asia's Currency Markets: South Korea Imposes Currency Controls

Police State South Korea Clamps Down on Peace Movement. Deployment of US THAAD Missile System in South Korea

By Gregory Elich, July 28 2016

On July 26, 2016, the South Korean government blocked the entry of two Korean American peace activists – Juyeon Rhee and Hyun Lee – into its country. The two are representatives of the U.S.-based Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea. They had traveled to South Korea to participate in the annual Jeju Peace March as well as join protests against the recent U.S.-South Korean decision to deploy the controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system in South Korea.

eu_usa

America’s Conquest of Western Europe: Is Europe Doomed By Vassalage To Washington?

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, July 28 2016

World War II resulted in Europe being conquered, not by Berlin but by Washington. The conquest was certain but not all at once.  Washington’s conquest of Europe resulted from the Marshall Plan, from fears of Stalin’s Red Army that caused Europe to rely on Washington’s protection and to subordinate.

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The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis

By Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin, July 28 2016

Most art either reflects local reality (landscapes, cityscapes, portraits) or internal ‘reality’ (surrealism, conceptual art). But there are artists (in this case, I will focus on painters) who do not shy away from depicting the difficulties facing ordinary people or the elites who create those difficulties in the first place. Here we will look at particular ways in which painters deal with contemporary reality using old and new forms of art to draw attention to injustices or general social issues.

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Former American Colony Takes Center Stage In South China Sea Dispute

juillet 28th, 2016 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

The Philippines was under American colonial rule from 1898 to 1946. Despite gaining independence, the island nation is now being used as a tool to apply pressure on China, America’s biggest rival in the South China Sea.

SHANGHAI — (Analysis) The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s non-binding ruling on the territorial dispute between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of the Philippines is largely misunderstood.

Sovereignty or ownership of disputed land formations were never going to be adjudicated or awarded as many Filipinos and Filipinas thought or were led to believe by the past and present leadership of the Philippines.

What the Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal studied were the geo-legal status definitions of the disputed territory. In part, the Chinese claim of sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal, which Beijing refers to as the Nansha Islands and Huangyan Island, respectively, is under dispute because of the status of the “adjacent waters.” It is mainly the definition and legal status of the adjacent waters that Manila — and Washington — are concerned about, and what The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration examined. This is the crux of the matter.

Adjacent waters are a 12 nautical mile territorial (22 kilometers) stretch in bodies of water that extends from the shoreline of any land territory. The water that is within the 12 nautical miles of territory claimed by a specific country is to be legally treated as its internal waters or territorial sea. This alone gives Beijing control over a large swath of strategic water.

Moreover, Beijing’s official position is that the Spratly/Nansha Islands are entitled to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and that China has legal control over the continental shelf under both Chinese domestic law and under the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. Although a country and its government do not have sovereignty in their EEZ or on the continental shelf, they do have “sovereign rights” and jurisdiction over a distance of up to 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) for the purpose of exploring and developing the natural resources of the seabed and subsoil in these areas.

However, low-tide elevations and rocks that cannot sustain human life do not include any of the maritime entitlements that Beijing claims. This is why the argument on the legal and geographic definition of the Spratly/Nansha Islands as rocks, reefs, low-tide elevations, or islands is so important.

Through its claims, the Philippines has, in part, sought to limit the nautical miles that China can claim for exploration and development. In fact, the Philippines brought the case against China to the Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal exclusively as a maritime dispute and not a territorial dispute as an ipso facto means of extending the EEZ of the Philippines and reducing China’s EEZ.

The location of the Spratly and Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

This is why China generally claims that the Spratly/Nansha Islands are geographically and legally islands, and the Philippines, now with the support of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, claims otherwise. In this context, fearing that the Chinese-controlled Ligao Island/Itu Aba could be categorized as an island that would give an extensive EEZ to the Chinese, Florin Hilbay, the acting solicitor-general of the Philippines, and Francis H. Jardeleza, who was the solicitor-general of the Philippines from 2012 to 2014, originally wanted to exclude Ligao Island/Itu Aba from the legal dossier Manila submitted to the Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal.

 

Nationalism and tactics of deliberate confusion

Despite their close proximity to the Philippines, the Spratly/Nansha Islands have not been recognized as Philippine territory. Manila has not even sought an answer on this from the case it brought to the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Instead, the tribunal ruled on geo-legal definitions, recommended that China should not build artificial islands in the area, and concluded that disputed islands are located on the continental shelf that forms the archipelago of the Philippines.

The Philippine claims that the disputed islands belong to the Philippines due to the ruling about the continental shelf by the tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration are misleading. This does not even legally mean that the Philippines has sovereignty or ownership over the islands. Geographic proximity is never an indicator of legal ownership. Many countries have islands located on continental shelves that other countries are situated on. For example, Greece has many islands located on the continental shelf of Turkey, and France has the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, which are located off Canada’s continental shelf. What the Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal did is simply answer a geographic question.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, attends the 23rd ASEAN regional retreat meeting in Vientiane, Laos. Despite the Philippines taking on China in a territorial dispute in the South China Sea and winning big, other Southeast Asian nations with similar disputes who attended the meetings are backing down from their claims.

 

Beijing has both a strong historical and legal case in regards to its claims over the disputed land formations. The Chinese established trade rights in the waters of the disputed territories over a thousand years ago under the Han Dynasty. Since then, the land formations there were tied to China during the Yuan, Ming, Qing, and Republican periods, until Japan annexed them. In 1947, after the Second World War and as part of China’s diplomatic, legal, and political efforts to regain the Chinese territory that Japan had annexed, the Kuomintang government of the Republic of China established the demarcation line that is the basis for Beijing’s territorial claims in its dispute with Manila. A year earlier, in 1946, when Philippine President Elpidio Quirino asked Washington to help secure the disputed area for the Philippines, he was told that the area in question was already claimed by the Chinese and French. Beijing has, however, refused to participate in the non-binding tribunal proceedings of the Permanent Court of Arbitration because the Chinese government realizes that the geo-legal definitions it promotes would be changed and that the nautical miles and EEZ it claims would be reduced and undermined.

The oldest direct claim of the Philippines is based on the establishment of the municipality of Kalayaan (Freedom) by Tomas Cloma in 1956, which Ferdinand Marcos used to support his regime’s claim of ownership over the area in 1978. What may surprise Filipinos and Filipinas is that the disputed islands were never included in Article III of the Treaty of Paris as part of the territory of the Philippines that the Spanish surrendered to the United States in 1898. Though a protest was made by the Philippines, Washington did not object when France claimed the disputed territory in 1933. For the same reasons, Washington, unlike the French government that claimed the islands, did not object when the Japanese occupied the disputed islands when Tokyo claimed that they were part of the Chinese province of Formosa/Taiwan in 1938. Washington was even involved in 1952 with the signing of the Treaty of Peace between Japan and the Republic of China, in which Japan renounced all territorial claims to the Pescadores Islands, the Spratly Islands, and Taiwan as a means of returning them to China.

Although any country has the right to change geographic names, the domestic renaming of the South China Sea to the West Philippine Sea by President Benigno Aquino III is a break with history. Historically, Filipinos and Filipinas have called the body of water the South China Sea. While the name change is meant to politically accent the objectives of the Philippines to gain a share of the South China Sea’s resources and challenge China, it is problematic. The name change that has been readily adopted in the Philippines illustrates how the Aquino III administration used a nationalist approach to Filipinos and Filipinas’ understanding of the dispute with China. Philippine citizens who do not call the South China Sea the West Philippine Sea are chided and scolded as unpatriotic or Chinese apologists. Even worse, under the atmosphere that the Aquino III administration has cultivated, the loyalty of Philippine citizens of Chinese ethnic background is being unjustly questioned over the dispute in the South China Sea.

Through a tactic of using nationalism and simplistic explanations that deliberately ignore history in preference of geographic proximity, the Aquino III administration misled the people of the Philippines on the dispute with Beijing. In the process, the Aquino III administration readily demonized China as a hostile country and the Chinese as an enemy of the Philippines.

 

Has Manila singled out Beijing at Washington’s behest?

The territorial disputes in the South China also include Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Vietnamese have historically been the most aggressive in their territorial claims, and the pre-Vietnamese unification state of South Vietnam even had tense military altercations with the Philippines over Southwest Cay in 1975. Even though the Spratly/Nansha Islands are divided among these states, Manila has focused on challenging and demonizing Beijing.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, welcomes U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, July 27, 2016.

The demonization of China not only comes at the expense of good relations between China and the Philippines. It serves Washington’s agenda to encircle China, which President Benigno Aquino III was all too happy to go along with. From a strategic standpoint, Washington wants China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea to be eroded so that the South China Sea can be an open body of water where the U.S. can position its military forces.

The purpose of eroding Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea is part of a U.S. strategic military balancing act in Asia. The positioning of the U.S. military in the waters of the South China Sea will give Washington the ability to obstruct Chinese shipping in the event of a conflict between Beijing and Washington. This is why Washington, which itself has refused to sign the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, has consistently encouraged the Philippines to challenge China and done everything possible to condense Chinese maritime jurisdiction in the South China Sea. In this regard, one of the objectives of the Philippines is to guarantee open access to the waters of the South China Sea for the U.S. military. This is why the main concern of the Chinese is not to get their nautical miles reduced as much as possible, but to keep the U.S. military out of the South China Sea to maintain their security.

 For Mint Press News by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya. Originally published  on July 27, 2016.

 

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Sur fond de corruption sans frein, de pathologies sociales et de brutalité politique nue, un nouveau gang de régimes vassaux a pris le contrôle de l’Amérique Latine. Les nouveaux dirigeants ont été strictement recrutés parmi les protégés des institutions financières et banquières US. C’est pourquoi la presse financière parle d’eux en les appelant les « nouveaux managers » de Wall Street.

Les médias financiers US ont une fois de plus fourni une couverture politique aux crimes les plus vils commis par ces « nouveaux managers » alors qu’ils lançaient leur offensive contre le monde du travail, au bénéfice de la finance étrangère ou nationale.

Pour comprendre la dynamique de ces nouveaux managers vassaux de l’empire, commençons par identifier 1) l’usurpation illicite du pouvoir, 2) les politiques néo-libérales qu’ils poursuivent, 3) l’impact de leur programme sur les structures de classes, 4) leurs résultats économiques et leurs perspectives socio-politiques.

La vassalité latino-américaine actuelle est de plus ou moins longue ou courte durée.

Les régimes vassaux de longue durée, avec le plus lourd lourd héritage historique de soumission, de corruption et de criminalité comprennent le Mexique et la Colombie, où les oligarques, les fonctionnaires gouvernementaux et les escadrons de la mort cohabitent de façon étroite avec l’armée US et le gratin des affaires et de la finance.

Au cours des dernières décennies, 100.000 personnes ont été assassinées au Mexique et plus de 4 millions de paysans ont été dépossédés en Colombie. Par les deux régimes, plus de 5 millions d’hectares de terres agricoles ou minières sont passées aux mains de multinationales des USA et de l’UE.

Des centaines de milliards de gains illicites provenant du trafic de drogues ont été blanchis par les oligarques mexicains et colombiens et sont arrivés sur leurs comptes au États-Unis en passant par des banques privées.

Les managers politiques actuels, Peña au Mexique et Santos en Colombie, sont occupés à dénationaliser des secteurs stratégiques du pétrole et de l’énergie, tout en s’attaquant férocement aux mouvements sociaux dynamiques : des centaines d’étudiants et d’enseignants au Mexique et des milliers de paysans et de militants des droits de l’homme en Colombie ont été assassinés.

Cette nouvelle vague de vassaux de l’Empire a pris le pouvoir dans toute l’Amérique Latine « grâce » aux interventions directes et indirectes des États-Unis. En 2009, le président du Honduras Manuel Zelaya a été renversé par un coup d’État militaire incité/soutenu par la Secrétaire d’État Hillary Clinton. Le programme de réforme agraire, d’intégration régionale (avec le Vénézuéla) et d’élections constitutionnelles de Zelaya a été aboli. Zelaya a été remplacé par un vassal des USA, Roberto Micheletti, qui s’est empressé de faire assassiner plusieurs centaines d’ouvriers agricoles sans terres et de militants indigènes. Washington a fabriqué une couverture pseudo-constitutionnelle en poussant à l’élection à la présidence d’un grand propriétaire terrien des plus malléables, Porfirio Lobo Sosa.

Le Département d’État a ensuite renversé le président paraguayen Francisco Lugo, qui a gouverné de 2008 à 2012. Lugo avait promis une réforme agraire modérée et avait un programme centriste d’intégration régionale.

En 2013, Washington a soutenu la candidature à la présidence du très connu boss du crime de la capitale Asuncion : un certain Horacio Castes, condamné pour fausse monnaie en 1989, pour trafic de drogues en 1990 et plus récemment (2010) pour blanchiment d’argent.

Les coups d’État du Honduras et du Paraguay ont été la répétition à échelle réduite du lancement de la nouvelle vague de vassaux politiques des « grands pays ». Le Département d’État s’est alors mis en devoir d’accélérer les prises de contrôle par les banques du Brésil, de l’Argentine et du Pérou.

En succession rapide, entre décembre 2015 et avril 2016, des managers vassaux se sont emparés du pouvoir en Argentine et au Brésil. En Argentine, le millionnaire Mauricio Macri s’est mis à gouverner par décrets, faisant fi de la légalité constitutionnelle. Macri a licencié des dizaines de milliers d’employés du secteur public, a fermé les agences nationales de services sociaux et nommé des juges et des procureurs sans le moindre vote du Congrès. Il a arbitrairement fait arrêter les dirigeants des mouvements sociaux en violation des procédures démocratiques.

Les ministres de l’Économie et des Finances de Macri se sont enrichis de millions de dollars en investissant massivement dans des multinationales du pétrole, juste avant de leur faire cadeau d’option préférentielle pour l’acquisition d’entreprises publiques nationales.

Les escroqueries et les fraudes globales réalisées par les « new managers » ont été bénies par les médias US, qui ont couvert d’éloges l’« équipe professionnelle » de Macri.

Bien entendu, les prestations économiques de Macri sont un désastre. Les frais d’utilisations exorbitants des services publics et des transports, multipliés par trois et même par dix, pour les consommateurs et les entreprises commerciales ont fait grimper en flèche les taux de faillites et entraîné des coupures du gaz et de l’électricité dans de nombreux foyers.

Les fonds vautours de Wall Street ont reçu, des « managers » de Macri, sept milliards de dollars sur des prêts non

Des données se basant sur des indicateurs économiques font apparaître les pires résultats économiques depuis quinze ans.

L’inflation dépasse les 40% ; la dette publique a augmenté de 20% en six mois. Le niveau de vie et l’emploi sont en forte baisse. La croissance et les investissements sont en négatif. La mauvaise gestion, la corruption des fonctionnaires et la gouvernance arbitraire n’incitent pas les petites et moyennes entreprises à la confiance.

Les médias « respectables », conduits par le New York Times, le Financial Times, leWall Street Journalet le Washington Post ont donné des informations falsifiées sur chacun des aspects du régime de Macri. Des politiques économiques calamiteuses mises en œuvre par des banquiers devenus ministres se sont vu qualifier de « succès sur le long terme » ; des politiques à base grossièrement idéologique n’ayant pour but que le profit des investisseurs étrangers ont été réinventées sous le pseudonyme de mesures d’encouragement commercial.

Les voyous politiques qui ont démantelé et remplacé les agences de services civils ont été étiquetés « nouvelle équipe de direction » par les scribouillards de basse propagande de la presse financière.

Au Brésil, la prise d’un faux pouvoir politique par des parlementaires opportunistes a renversé la président Dilma Rousseff. Elle a été remplacée par un escroc en série et soudoyé notoire approuvé par Washington, Michel Temer.

Comme on pouvait s’y attendre, les nouveaux managers économiques sont contrôlés par les banquiers de Wall Street, de la Banque Mondiale et du FMI. Ils se sont, bien entendu, empressés de faire avaliser des mesures consistant à sabrer dans les salaires, les retraites et autres dépenses sociales, baisser les impôts sur les sociétés et privatiser les entreprises publiques les plus rentables, dans les transports, les infrastructures, les propriétés foncières, le pétrole et des dizaines d’autres activités.

Alors même que la presse prostituée encensait les « nouveaux managers », des procureurs et des juges faisaient arrêter trois des nouveaux ministres « managers » pour fraude et blanchiment d’argent. Le « président » Temer est le suivant sur la liste des procureurs, pour son rôle dans le scandale des pots-de-vins sur les méga-contrats de Pétrobras.

Le programme économique des nouveaux managers ne sont pas conçus pour attirer de nouveaux investissements productifs. La plupart des entrées sont des entreprises spéculatives à court terme. Les marchés, surtout en matières premières, ne donnent aucun signe de croissance, au grand dam des technocrates du libre marché. L’industrie et le commerce sont déprimés par suite du déclin du crédit à la consommation, à l’emploi et aux dépenses publiques, du fait des politiques d’austérité imposées par « les managers ».

Au moment même où les États-Unis et l’Europe adoptent l’austérité qu’entraîne le marché libre, elle suscite [en Amérique du Sud, NdT] une révolte d’ampleur continentale. Néanmoins, la vague des régimes vassaux d’Amérique Latine reste profondément embarquée dans la  décimation  des états-providence et le pillage des trésors publics.

Conclusion

Alors que Washington et la presse prostituée saluent leurs « nouveaux managers » d’Amérique Latine, la fête se voit abruptement gâchée par une rage de masse causée par la corruption et par des revendications de changement de politique verts la gauche.

Au Brésil, le « président » Temer se précipite pour mettre en œuvre des mesures en faveur des grandes entreprises, le temps au poste qu’il occupe lui étant compté en semaines, pas en mois. Le temps qu’il lui à vivre en liberté approche de la date-limite. Son cabinet de « technocrates » prépare ses bagages pour le suivre.

Mauricio Macri pourra survivre à une vague de grèves et de manifestations et finir l’année à son poste. Mais l’économie en chute libre et le pillage du trésor conduisent tout droit le monde des affaires à la banqueroute, la classe moyenne à des comptes bancaires vides et les dépossédés à des soulèvements de masse.

Les nouveaux managers de Washington en Amérique Latine ne peuvent pas tenir le coup face à une population incontrôlable et à une économie de marché libre en échec.

Les coups d’État peuvent marcher pour s’emparer du pouvoir, mais pas pour établir une stabilité de gouvernement efficace. Les virements politiques à droite échappent en tournoyant à l’orbite de Washington et ne trouvent pas un nouveau contrepoids dans le démantèlement de l’Union Européenne.

Les prises de pouvoir capitalistes vassales en Amérique Latine ont anesthésié les médias et euphorisé Wall Street. Le choc que leur réserve la réalité des pathologies économiques n’en sera que plus dur.

Washington et Wall Street  et leurs managers d’Amérique Latine ont poursuivi une fausse réalité de profits sans contrainte et de richesses à piller. Le principe de réalité les force à reconnaître que leurs échecs provoquent la rage aujourd’hui et les soulèvements demain.

James Petras

7 juillet 2016

 

 

Article original en anglais :

america-latina

Washington’s ‘New Managers’ in Latin America: Oligarchs, Bankers and Swindlers

Traduction : c.l. pour Les grosses orchades

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«Le spectacle du monde ressemble à celui des Jeux olympiques: les uns y tiennent boutique; d’autres paient de leur personne; d’autres se contentent de regarder.»

Pythagore

 

Un feuilleton dans le droit fil de l’anomie du monde. Les Occidentaux veulent interdire les Jeux olympiques à la Russie pour cause de dopage avéré sous la supervision directe des autorités russes. Avant de tenter d’y voir clair nous allons décrire l’histoire des Jeux olympiques, l’avènement du dopage, une ancienne méthode de triche. Ensuite nous expliquerons pourquoi la décision du CIO est injuste, enfin nous ferons le constat de l’anomie du monde.

Les Jeux olympiques symboles de paix

Les Jeux olympiques ont accompagné la civilisation grecque. A une période de l’année tous les quatre ans les cités se déclaraient la paix. Ce sont des concours sportifs organisés entre les cités grecques antiques créés au cours du VIIIe siècle av. J.-C. et perdurent pendant plus de mille ans. On fixe traditionnellement les derniers jeux en 393 ap. J.-C. après l’interdiction de l’empereur Théodose sous les conseils de Ambrose l’évêque de Milan. (1)

Tenir mille ans c’est dire si cette manifestation sportive a eu du souffle. Près de 1500 ans plus tard, les Jeux olympiques ont été réhabilités dans une forme différente Pierre de Coubertin fut l’un de ceux qui participèrent à la réhabilitation. Ce dernier nous dit l’encyclopédie Wikipédia «Fervent partisan de la colonisation» – «dès les premiers jours, j’étais un colonial fanatique» il voit dans le sport, à l’instar de nombreuses élites de la IIIe République, un instrument utile de «disciplinisation des indigènes». (1)

« Pour certains, Coubertin est, de surcroît, clairement raciste: «Les races sont de valeur différente et à la race blanche, d’essence supérieure, toutes les autres doivent faire allégeance». Fidèle en cela à une vision inclusive des indigènes ayant l’apanage d’une certaine force physique, dont l’homme occidental lui apprend à se servir. Cette vision du monde ne se limite d’ailleurs pas aux seuls domaines colonial et ethnique; elle frise parfois l’eugénisme. Pour lui, toute société est divisée entre forts et faibles. «Il y a deux races distinctes: celle au regard franc, aux muscles forts, à la démarche assurée et celle des maladifs, à la mine résignée et humble, à l’air vaincu.» (1)

Il n’est pas étonnant de ce fait que les Jeux olympiques de 1936 eurent lieu dans une Allemagne hitlérienne et que personne ne trouva à redire quand Hitler ne voulut pas serrer la main de Jesse Owen qui rafla les médailles de la course à pied. On dit aussi que le baron Pierre de Coubertin, y assista fasciné par le Furher qui lui aurait octroyé une pension.

Le dopage dans les jeux: une histoire toujours d’actualité

S’agissant du dopage, durant les Jeux olympiques anciens, les athlètes suivent un régime et une hygiène stricts. Initialement, le régime est commun (pain d’orge, de bouillie de froment, de noix, de figues sèches et de fromage frais). Pausanias mentionne qu’au milieu du Ve siècle, l’entraîneur Dromeus de Stymphale, ancien vainqueur olympique, introduit un régime carné plus adapté. L’hygiène de l’athlète consiste à prendre un bain puis s’enduire le corps d’huile d’olive et le saupoudrer de sable afin de régulariser sa température et le protéger du soleil.(1)

 « C’était les premières tentatives d’augmenter les performances musculaires autrement que par l’exercice physique. La disqualification de Ben Johnson provoque donc une sorte de séisme olympique à forte visibilité médiatique, et le monde entier prend soudain conscience du problème du dopage. Pourtant, le dopage dans le sport, et plus particulièrement aux Jeux olympiques, est loin d’être un phénomène nouveau. De tout temps, l’homme a en effet cherché à augmenter ses capacités physiques par l’absorption de diverses substances: ainsi, durant les Jeux de l’Antiquité grecque, les concurrents consommaient de grandes quantités de viande pour augmenter leurs chances de victoire, ce qui était interdit et sanctionné. Les sauteurs mangeaient de la viande de chèvre en raison des aptitudes de cet animal alors que les lanceurs et les lutteurs préféraient la viande de boeuf.» (1)

Pour ce qui est des Jeux modernes, Thomas Hicks, vainqueur du marathon en 1904 à Saint-Louis, ne put rallier l’arrivée que grâce à l’«aide» de son entraîneur qui lui fit deux injections de sulfate de strychnine et lui fit avaler une bonne rasade de cognac français. À cette époque, on ne parle pas de dopage et Hicks est félicité pour sa victoire. On commence à parler de dopage en 1928: la Fédération internationale d’athlétisme interdit le recours à des substances stimulantes; mais il n’existe ni moyens de contrôle ni règlements spécifiques en la matière; cette interdiction demeure très symbolique, le respect de celle-ci relevant donc de la seule rigueur morale des concurrents. Une pratique «dopante» se répand dans les années 1930: comme le déficit en oxygène limite les performances dans les sports d’endurance, les Japonais inaugurent l’inhalation d’oxygène avant les compétitions. Puis les hormones synthétiques s’invitent aux Jeux dans les années 1950. »(2)

 «  En 1960, le cycliste danois Knud Enemark Jensen décède, prétendument victime d’une insolation, dans la course contre la montre par équipes de 100 kilomètres: l’autopsie révèle des traces d’amphétamines, dont l’absorption est plus sûrement la […] En 1967, le CIO a interdit l’utilisation de drogues améliorant la performance dans la compétition olympique. Lors des Jeux olympiques d’été de 1968; le CIO officialise les contrôles antidopage et oblige les femmes à se soumettre à des tests de féminité. En 1989, le CIO met en place les contrôles inopinés. Le premier athlète olympique contrôlé positif pour utilisation de drogues améliorant la performance est Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall, un athlète suédois pratiquant le Pentathlon moderne. Lors des Jeux olympiques d’été de 1968, il perd sa médaille de bronze pour consommation d’alcool. Il est le seul athlète à être contrôlé positif pour une substance interdite aux Olympiques de 1968.»(2)

« Le cas le plus connu d’usage de drogues est le vaste programme de dopage des athlètes en Allemagne de l’Est de 1970 à 1980. Durant tous les jeux qui se sont déroulés, aucun pays n’est épargné et il est malvenu de donner des leçons. Le CIO prend les devants dans la lutte contre les stéroïdes lorsqu’il crée une Agence mondiale antidopage (AMA) indépendante en novembre 1999. Cette lutte antidopage se ressent dès les Jeux olympiques d’été de 2000 et Jeux olympiques d’hiver de 2002 où alors que les Jeux ne sont pas encore terminés, plusieurs médaillés en haltérophilie et au ski de fond furent disqualifiés en raison d’avoir échoué à un test antidopage. Pendant les Jeux olympiques d’été de 2012, plus de 6 000 contrôles ont été effectués. Les contrôles d’urines tests sanguins ont été utilisés dans un effort coordonné pour détecter les substances interdites et les récentes transfusions sanguines. Avant même le début des Jeux de Londres, 107 athlètes furent écartés.» (2)

Participation de la Russie aux JO de Rio

On dit que le CIO soumis à de multiples pressions, surtout de l’Agence mondiale antidopage (AMA) et l’agence américaine antidopage (Usada) a décidé de laisser les fédérations décider à sa place Le CIO a pris une sage décision concernant la suspension ou la participation de la Russie aux JO: cette décision est très flottante sur le plan juridique. Mais comme l’intérêt est ailleurs… le dimanche 24 juillet, le CIO a rendu une décision qui ne plaît pas aux nouveaux combattants de l’intégrité sportive. En voici les éléments les plus intéressants. Dès le début, le CIO reconnaît que l’enquête n’a pas respecté les droits de la défense et n’a que survolé le dossier, en la justifiant par les contraintes liées à l’urgence – ce qui met déjà en doute «l’indépendance» et la pertinence de la commission McLaren. Toutefois, rejetant formellement le principe de la responsabilité collective, le CIO demande aux Fédérations internationales de se prononcer sur la composition des délégations russes par sport. Mais les Fédérations internationales, elles, sont libres d’appliquer la responsabilité collective, comme le fait la Fédération internationale d’athlétisme.»(3)

Le deux poids, deux mesures du CIO

Il n’empêche que la décision n’est pas juste:

«En rendant cette décision, le CIO, qui s’appuie tout d’un coup sur le droit, viole au passage plusieurs principes juridiques universellement reconnus. Le CIO exige que seuls les athlètes russes n’ayant jamais été touchés par une affaire de dopage puissent participer aux JO de Rio. Même s’ils ont été sanctionnés auparavant et que la durée de la sanction est passée. Autrement dit, un athlète suspendu pour deux ans, par exemple, pour dopage il y a cinq ans, ne pourra pas participer aux JO alors que sa peine a expiré. C’est totalement illégal. Imaginez qu’un homme soit condamné pour vol… et privé de ses droits à vie. Par l’exigence précédente, le CIO viole également le principe d’égalité. Car des sportifs non-russes ayant été condamnés pour dopage et ayant passé le temps de leur disqualification pourront participer aux JO de Rio. Tous les sportifs ne sont donc pas sur un pied d’égalité. La «présomption d’innocence» ne peut donc leur être appliquée dans ce cas. L’affaire sort de la volonté de l’agence américaine antidopage Usada de s’attaquer au sport russe. C’est elle qui lance l’AMA, qui demande par la presse la suspension de la Russie, qui soutient «les transfuges» qu’elle s’est payée en les personnes de Rodchekov et Stepanova. Cette même hargne se voit au sein de la Fédération internationale d’athlétisme dont le président, le Britannique Sebastian Coe, a été changé au bon moment, en 2015, pour lancer toute l’affaire. (…) Même lorsque le verdict est tombé, ils n’ont pas baissé les bras, et l’AMA et l’Iaaf ont proposé immédiatement aux autres fédérations de les aider à bien «choisir» les sportifs russes qu’ils laissent passer». (3)

Il y a à n’en point douter deux poids, deux mesures car les athlètes russes sont soumis au triple contrôle. Ne jamais avoir été contrôler positif même si on a purgé sa peine. Avoir subi des contrôles crédibles hors Russie et ne pas être porté sur une liste secrète élaboré par l’expert Mc Laren réputé ête indépendant. En clair ne sont concernés nommément que les athlètes russes et pas ceux des autres nations qui ont été contrôlés positifs par le passé.

Les Jeux olympiques comme un outil de la nouvelle Guerre froide

Il n’est pas étonnant que l’on parle des Jeux olympiques comme outil de la nouvelle Guerre froide.:

«Le sixième principe fondamental de l’olympisme (non-discrimination de toute nature, y compris sur la nationalité et l’opinion politique) semble être oublié depuis longtemps. Dans la Grèce antique, la compétition des meilleurs athlètes a été en mesure de mettre fin à une guerre et servir comme un pont de compréhension entre deux ennemis récents. Mais au cours du XXe siècle, les Jeux olympiques sont devenus une arme politique. En 1980, les États-Unis et leurs alliés ont boycotté les Jeux à Moscou comme une protestation contre les troupes soviétiques qui étaient entrées en Afghanistan à la demande du gouvernement légitime de ce pays (en revanche, les Jeux olympiques de l’Allemagne nazie de 1936 ont eu lieu comme d’habitude, sous les applaudissements du monde civilisé). » (4)

«  Le 8 mai 2016, le programme CBS 60 Minutes a diffusé une émission au sujet du dopage en Russie. Les interviews tournaient autour de l’enregistrement des conversations entre un ancien membre du personnel de l’Agence antidopage de Russie (Rusada), Vitaly Stepanov, et l’ex-directeur du laboratoire antidopage de la Russie à Moscou, Grigory Rodchenkov. Ce programme était le quatrième épisode d’une longue série à propos de la prétendue existence d’un système pour soutenir le dopage dans le sport russe. Quelques jours plus tard, le New York Times a publié une interview avec Rodchenkov. C’est l’ancien fonctionnaire qui affirme qu’un programme de dopage soutenu par l’État était actif aux Jeux olympiques de Sotchi et que la commande de ce programme était venue presque directement du président russe.» (4)

Pourquoi la guerre encore et toujours?

L’hégémonie planétaire des Etats-Unis ne doit jamais être remise en cause. Et ce fait tout sera fait par les vassaux de l’Empire et par les médias mainstream pour maintenir cet état de tension. Dans une contribution remarquable, Paul Craig Roberts parle à la fois de la malhonnêteté des journalistes, mais aussi de la colère de Poutine concernant les boutefeux.

Il écrit:

«(..) Toute personne informée sait qu’il n’y a pas besoin d’une force de défense contre la Russie dans les pays baltes et en Pologne. Cela mis à part, seul un imbécile total peut penser que 3000 ou 4000 soldats (…) Récemment, le président Poutine a carrément passé un savon aux médias occidentaux prostitués qui attisent les flammes de la Troisième Guerre mondiale en répétant sans les remettre en question les mensonges propagandistes de Washington. Ces mensonges sont irresponsables. Ils mettent en danger toute vie sur la planète Terre. Pendant ma vie, des présidents américains ont travaillé à réduire les tensions entre les deux grandes puissances nucléaires. JFK a travaillé avec Khrouchtchev pour désamorcer la situation dangereuse provoquée par l’installation de missiles américains en Turquie et, en réponse, le placement de missiles russes à Cuba. Le président Nixon a donné naissance à SALT I, le traité de limitation des armes stratégiques et le traité ABM [sur la limitation des systèmes antimissiles balistiques, NdT]. Le président Carter a travaillé à SALT II ».(5)

« Le président Reagan a négocié avec Gorbatchev la fin de la Guerre froide, la réalisation la plus prometteuse du XXe siècle. Les régimes de Clinton, George W. Bush et Obama ont fait tout ce qui était possible pour exacerber les tensions entre les puissances nucléaires à des hauteurs dépassant celles des jours les plus dangereux de la Guerre froide. Le régime malfaisant de Clinton a trahi la promesse du gouvernement des États-Unis,ruinant ainsi l’honneur de ce même gouvernement, en amenant l’Otan aux frontières de la Russie. Le régime funeste de George W. Bush a retiré les États-Unis du traité ABM et a réécrit leur doctrine militaire afin de faire passer les armes nucléaires d’un instrument de rétorsion à une arme de première frappe. Cet acte insensé a mis les Russes en garde. Le régime diabolique d’Obama vise à placer des missiles nucléaires aux frontières de la Russie, en Pologne et en Roumanie, et a manigancé un coup d’État en Ukraine dans l’intention de priver la Russie de sa base navale dans la mer Noire en Crimée. »(5)

« Le 18 juillet, le président russe Vladimir Poutine avait exhorté l’Agence mondiale antidopage à présenter des preuves des accusations de dopage à grande échelle. «Nous l’avons dit depuis toujours: le dopage n’a pas sa place dans le sport qualifiant néanmoins de ‘dangereuse » l’intrusion de la politique dans le sport. « La question [du sort] des sportifs russes est sortie du champ juridique et dépasse l’entendement », a-t-il déclaré au cours d’une cérémonie organisée au Kremlin avec la sélection olympique russe, avant son départ au Brésil. Sans eux, « la compétition sera moins spectaculaire » et les victoires des autres sportifs « auront une saveur totalement différente, voire n’en auront pas », a encore jugé le président russe.  La délégation russe est déjà amputée d’une centaine de sportifs exclus pour leur implication ou leur implication présumée dans des affaires de dopage, conformément à la demande du Comité international olympique (CIO). Je pense, et vos collègues des autres grandes puissances sportives mondiales le comprennent, que la qualité de leurs médailles sera différente. C’est une chose de gagner face à des rivaux à sa hauteur, c’en est une autre de gagner face à ceux d’une classe inférieure », a-t-il affirmé. Pour le président russe, qui a dénoncé une « tentative de transfert dans le sport des règles de la politique », cette exclusion « injuste »  a en fait porté « un coup de poignard à l’ensemble du  monde  monde du  sport ».(6)

Tous les pays ont à un moment ou un autre triché, notamment les donneurs de leçons. En l’occurrence, il n’y a pas de manu polite (mains propres). Les jeux actuels sont un outil de pression, une arme de l’Empire contre tous ceux qui ne plient pas  Le plus important pour la Russie, c’est que son drapeau défile avec ses athlètes défilent drapeaux au vent  à la cérémonie d’ouverture, ce que les pays occidentaux  Etats Unis et Europe  ont  a tout prix voulu empêcher dans cette grande messe mondiale, son absence aurait eu des conséquences très négative pour sa place en tant que grande puissance mondiale. Elle pourrait immédiatement après se retirer avec dignité  boycotte cette grand mascarade  d’un CIO politisé cra tentative d’exclure la Russie des jeux fait partie de ce combat d’arrière-garde de l’administration Obama sur le départ. Nous sommes loin de la symbolique des Jeux olympiques tels que la Cité grecque les mettait en oeuvre pour assurer la trêve qui souvent débouchait sur la paix définitive. Dans ce XXIe siècle de tous les dangers, les Jeux olympiques, pour paraphraser Carl Von Clausewitz, sont «la continuation de la guerre par d’autres moyens».

Professeur Chems eddine Chitour

Ecole Polytechnique enp-edu.dz

1.Les jeux olympiques https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_de_Coubertin

2.P. Lagrue,: http://www.universalis.fr/encyclopedie/jeux-olympiques-le-dopage-et-les-jeux/

3.http://russiepolitics.blogspot.fr/2016/07/participation-de-la-russie-aux-jo-de.html

4. http://lesakerfrancophone.fr/les-jeux-olympiques-comme-un-outil-de-la-nouvelle-guerre-froide

5. http://lesakerfrancophone.fr/vladimir-poutine-est-le-seul-dirigeant-qua-loccident

6.http://www.lemonde.fr/jeux-olympiques-rio-2016/article/2016/07/27/jo-pour-vladimir-poutine-l-exclusion-des-sportifs-russes-depasse-l-entendement_4975469_4910444.html#4csilQz4RY5FL4dT.99

 

 

Article de référence

http://www.lexpressiondz.com/chroniques/analyses_du_professeur _chitour/246566-la-guerre-par-d-autres-moyens.html

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« … La ville d’Alep est désormais assiégée. La route de Castello, sa dernière voie d’approvisionnement en eau, en vivres et en médicaments, a été coupée par les forces alliées au régime… À bien des égards, Alep est à la Syrie ce que Sarajevo était à la Bosnie : une ville symbole, une ville carrefour, une ville martyre. Alep, cette ville symbole plusieurs fois millénaire classée au patrimoine mondial de l’humanité, cette ville carrefour où se sont entrechoquées et entremêlées tant de cultures qui ont laissé sur la ville une empreinte profonde et diverse, est aujourd’hui une ville martyre. Ce symbole de la civilisation est l’objet d’un siège de type médiéval. Quelle régression, et franchement, quelle honte !… La mécanique du GISS, les taskforces à Genève, l’action de Staffan de Mistura que nous appuyons, les appels à réunir l’opposition, tout ceci est réduit à néant par le siège d’Alep… ».

 C’est là un extrait du discours du 25 juillet de M. François Delattre, représentant permanent de la France auprès des Nations Unies [*], que les Aleppins apprécieront à sa juste valeur. Monsieur Delattre pleure sur Alep, parce que les espoirs de partition de la Syrie sont réduits à néant devant l’avancée de l’Armée nationale syrienne et que la route du Castello qui alimentait les terroristes venus de Turquie, en hommes, en armes et en argent, pour martyriser ses habitants et les obliger à remettre les clés de leur ville aux prétendus opposants révolutionnaires, couvés par le gouvernement français, « a été coupée par les forces alliées du régime ». Comprenez, par l’Axe de la Résistance et la Russie car, pas question de saluer l’exploit de l’Armée syrienne. Comprenez que les terroristes et leurs maîtres sont le type même de la modernité, tandis que les Syriens qui leur résistent sont de type médiéval.

Voici le texte intégral de l’intervention du Dr Bachar al-Jaafari, représentant permanent de la Syrie, suite à son discours calqué sur celui des représentants des États-Unis et de la Grande Bretagne.

Nous nous autoriserons une simple question : « M. Delattre, si Alep est ce bijou que vous décrivez, pourquoi collaborez-vous avec ceux qui s’acharnent à la transformer en un Sunnistan ? ». [NdT].

 

Aujourd’hui, le Conseil de sécurité discute du 28ème rapport du Secrétaire général de l’ONU sur la situation humanitaire en Syrie. Dans ce but, il s’est appuyé sur quatre résolutions successives adoptées depuis ce qu’il est convenu de désigner par « la crise syrienne » : les résolutions 2139, 2165, 2191 et 2258.

Cependant, malgré ces résolutions, la situation humanitaire en Syrie n’a pas progressé dans le sens espéré et les Syriens sont donc en droit de s’interroger sur les raisons qui empêchent de mettre fin aux souffrances qu’ils endurent, après presque cinq ans et demi d’une guerre terroriste internationale menée contre mon pays par les gouvernements de plusieurs pays, dont certains sont des États membres de ce Conseil.

Le représentant de l’Angola a vu juste lorsqu’il a posé la question de savoir : « Pourquoi ne pas interroger les parties prenantes régionales et internationales sur leur responsabilité dans la pérennisation de cette crise humanitaire ? » ; la question clé en l’occurrence !

Monsieur le Président,

Mettre fin à la souffrance des Syriens d’une manière durable ne peut se concrétiser en la laissant s’éterniser et soumise au chantage politique exploité par certaines capitales pour imposer au peuple syrien le choix entre deux maux : soit continuer à subir le terrorisme, soit se résoudre à confier le pays au chaos.

Mettre fin à cette souffrance ne peut se concrétiser ni par la rédaction de dizaines de rapports ; ni par la tenue de réunions régulières ; ni par l’organisation de congrès spectaculaires ; ni même par la fourniture d’aides humanitaires à telle ou telle région, bien que nous reconnaissions leur utilité et que le gouvernement syrien participe à leur acheminement vers toutes les régions du pays ; ni par les actions de ladite « Coalition » menée par les États-Unis, aboutissant à la destruction des silos de grains, des infrastructures et des installations électriques qui ont coûté au peuple syrien des dépenses et des efforts difficilement indemnisables ; ni en jouant sur la géographie du sang syrien ; ni encore, par la formation de coalitions douteuses pour prétendument éradiquer le terrorisme ; mais passe par un combat sérieux contre le terrorisme comme le font le gouvernement syrien en coopération avec la Fédération de Russie, et d’autres amis, suite à une demande officielle des autorités syriennes, ce qui a contribué à améliorer la situation dans nombre de régions en Syrie.

La solution est parfaitement connue de tous, aussi bien par ce Conseil que par Monsieur O’Brien, et consiste à traiter les raisons fondamentales de cette crise imposée au peuple syrien, car c’est bien une « crise imposée » et non l’œuvre du peuple syrien.

Certains membres de ce Conseil persistent sciemment et avec arrogance à ignorer la vraie raison ayant mené à l’émergence de cette crise humanitaire et à son aggravation, comme ils persistent à prétendre ignorer les raisons de la fuite d’un nombre effarant de Syriens vers les régions contrôlées par l’État syrien ou vers l’étranger. La raison est le terrorisme, Mesdames et Messieurs. Le terrorisme !

S’agissant d’Alep, dès les débuts de cette crise nous avions informé ce Conseil que cette ville n’avait subi aucun acte terroriste durant la première année et demie. Au nom du gouvernement syrien, nous avions sollicité votre aide pour exercer vos pressions sur le gouvernement turc afin qu’il interdise aux terroristes de se rendre dans cette ville. Mais nul n’a répondu. Ce qui a conduit à l’irruption de dizaines de milliers de terroristes « génétiquement modérés » venus de tous les pays du monde et baptisés « opposition modérée » ou encore, « groupes armés non étatiques ». Quant à la route du Castello, j’aimerais préciser que le gouvernement syrien ne l’a pas « coupée », mais tente de l’ouvrir et de la libérer des terroristes qui empêchent l’acheminement de l’aide humanitaire par cette voie et continuent de l’emprunter à partir de la Turquie.

Le terrorisme est la principale raison de cette crise humanitaire, l’autre raison étant la paralysie de la vie économique du pays du fait desdites « mesures coercitives unilatérales ». C’est pourquoi, la solution durable réside dans la lutte contre le terrorisme passant par l’exécution des résolutions prises par ce même Conseil et la coordination ainsi que la pleine coopération avec le gouvernement syrien, loin des politiques à double standard et de l’hypocrisie pratiquées par certains dans leur prétendu combat contre le terrorisme, loin des tentatives de transformation de la Syrie en un aimant attirant le terrorisme international takfiriste.

La déléguée des États-Unis a parlé de l’enfant de douze ans, réfugié palestinien du camp de Handarat à Alep, égorgé par des éléments de « Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki », un mouvement dont le nom indique, à ceux qui connaissent l’histoire de la région, son origine turque. Elle a qualifié les égorgeurs de « Rebels fighters ». Elle ne les a pas qualifiés de terroristes, mais de combattants rebelles ! Idem pour les autres organisations terroristes telles que Jaïch al-Islam, Ahrar al-Cham, Jaïch al Fath, etc.

Il faut arrêter le soutien accordé par les gouvernements turc, saoudien, qatari et d’autres pays aux organisations terroristes armées, lesquelles ont étendu leur terrorisme sur des villes et des villages syriens, commettant les plus horribles crimes contre leurs habitants, les utilisant comme boucliers humains.

Tout comme il faut cesser d’essayer de légitimer les exactions de ces organisations terroristes en usant d’appellations telles que « organisations pacifiques », « organisations armées modérées » ou « groupes armés non étatiques » ; lesquelles, comme vous le savez, sont d’une extrême neutralité et ne correspondent absolument pas aux prescriptions de vos propres résolutions en matière de lutte contre le terrorisme.

Ne pas nommer le terrorisme par son vrai nom envoie à des milliers de terroristes un message d’erreur, leur disant que leur terrorisme est légitime tant qu’il consiste à défier l’autorité de l’État syrien, à détruire ses infrastructures et ses institutions ; ce qui ne peut qu’ouvrir la porte à encore plus de drames humains et matériels.

Dernièrement [le 19 juillet], l’aviation militaire française a bombardé le village d’Al-Tokhar dans le gouvernorat d’Alep, tuant 164 civils pris en otage par Daech. En fait, les terroristes avaient reçu l’ordre de déguerpir du village dès qu’ils ont entendu que le Président français voulait se venger de ce qui s’était passé à Nice. Et le Président français a voulu se venger de ce qui est arrivé à Nice, tuant 164 civils du village d’Al-Tokhar en Syrie. Deux fois plus de victimes que le terroriste de Nice ! Mais qui détenaient ces civils en tant que boucliers humains ? N’est-ce pas Daech ? Et qui a tué des civils sous prétexte de lutter contre Daech ? N’est-ce pas l’aviation militaire française ?

Les forces de l’air étatsuniennes agissent de même et il y a des dizaines d’autres exemples que nous avons confiés à votre attention par des lettres officielles distribuées et redistribuées à maintes reprises. Je ne suis pas aussi doué que la déléguée des États-Unis pour vous citer des noms. Nous avons des millions de noms et, si je devais vous en donner lecture, cela nous prendrait des semaines avant que je ne puisse vous donner la liste de toutes les victimes syriennes du fait des exactions des organisations terroristes.

Pourquoi ne qualifie-t-on pas d’opposition armée modérée ceux qui ont attaqué le Bataclan, Nice ou Charlie Hebdo, à Paris ? Pourquoi le terroriste qui sévit en Syrie est-il qualifié d’opposant modéré, alors qu’il est nommé terroriste lorsqu’il commet des actes terroristes, que nous condamnons, en France, aux États-Unis ou ailleurs ?

Le terrorisme est du terrorisme ! Nous l’avons dit il y a cinq ans et nous le répétons. Il n’y a pas un terrorisme hallal et un terrorisme haram.

Le terrorisme est du terrorisme ! C’est nous qui endurons ce terrorisme. C’est notre peuple qui endure ce terrorisme.

Monsieur le Président,

La meilleure preuve de ce que je dis est justement le fait que ce mouvement de Nour al-Din al-Zinki -lequel a donc horriblement et publiquement décapité cet enfant palestinien de 12 ans il y a quelques jours- soit qualifié d’opposition armée modérée par des gouvernements dont certains sont membres de ce Conseil, en plus d’être soutenu par ces mêmes gouvernements en armes, en argent et en couverture médiatique depuis fin 2011.

Les pratiques de ce mouvement terroriste ne diffèrent en rien de celles d’autres organisations terroristes qu’il a plu à certains membres de l’ONU, à l’extérieur et à l’intérieur de ce Conseil, de qualifier d’opposition armée modérée, telles Jaïch al-Islam, Ahrar al-Cham, Jaïch Mouhammad, Liwa’ al-Tawhid, Liwa’ Chouhada’ Badr, liwa’ al-Mouhajirine, Al-jabhat al-Islamiya, Jaïch al-Fath, Liwa’ du Sultan Mourad, le Parti de l’Union du Turkestan islamique, et bien d’autres organisations qui ont commis et commettent encore des crimes indescriptibles. Imaginez-vous que certains membres de ce Conseil en sont arrivés à prétendre que la dernière organisation citée, qui est celle d’un mouvement au Turkestan, est une opposition syrienne modérée !

Certains ont créé ces monstres cannibales et amateurs de selfies décapitant leurs victimes, ces monstres qui balancent leurs victimes vivantes du haut des immeubles, les grillent dans les fours à pain comme à Adra ou les massacrent par projection de bonbonnes de gaz comme à Alep, ces monstres qui enlèvent et emprisonnent des milliers de femmes et enfants des villages de Lattaquié, Hama et Homs… Autant d’horreurs que les Syriens ne pardonneront pas. Autant de crimes contre l’humanité. Désormais, vous n’avez nul besoin d’enquêteurs, de preuves ou de chiens policiers pour en découvrir les auteurs. Le criminel est notoirement connu ainsi que son souteneur.

Ce qui reste inexplicable et inadmissible est comment est-il possible que certains États membres de ce respecté Conseil puissent toujours refuser de porter certains de ces groupes sur la liste des organisations terroristes de l’ONU, alors qu’ils prétendent porter la bannière des droits humains et de l’autorité du droit ? Comment est-ce encore possible, alors que ces États réalisent parfaitement que ce refus autorise les terroristes à poursuivre leurs crimes et décapitations, prouve le manque de sérieux de leurs gouvernements dans la lutte contre le terrorisme, en plus de prouver leur utilisation du terrorisme comme instrument politique pour faire pression sur le gouvernement syrien ?

Monsieur le Président,

Le gouvernement syrien assume son obligation constitutionnelle de protéger ses citoyens et de combattre le terrorisme, mais nous ne pouvons le combattre tout seuls afin de minimiser son danger pour nous, pour la région et pour le monde. C’est un danger qui a commencé à menacer vos États et je suis convaincu, Monsieur le Président, que tous les citoyens des pays qui se sont vus dernièrement submergés par la vague des actions terroristes ont le droit de s’interroger sur les raisons ayant poussé leurs dirigeants à fermer les yeux sur les départs de leurs concitoyens vers la Syrie pour s’exercer au terrorisme, avant de revenir et de le pratiquer dans leur pays d’origine.

Combattre le terrorisme et lever les mesures coercitives unilatérales m’amènent à parler de la démarche suivante nécessaire à la résolution de la crise humanitaire, qui n’est autre que le soutien de la solution politique, car le combat contre le terrorisme augmentera les chances de réussite d’une telle solution, laquelle doit garantir la souveraineté de la Syrie, son indépendance, son unité territoriale et sa sécurité, conformément à toutes vos résolutions relatives à la Syrie.

Le peuple syrien ne permettra absolument pas de se laisser transformer en une autre copie de ce qui est arrivé en Libye, en Irak, en Somalie, au Soudan, en Afghanistan et d’autres pays, d’autant plus que cette volonté est conforme aux principes du Droit international, et afin que ces principes ne soient plus dépassés par certains pour recommencer ce qu’ils ont infligé à l’Irak, à la Libye et ailleurs.

C’est dans ce but que mon gouvernement a suivi avec attention les déclarations consécutives à la visite du Secrétaire d’État des États-Unis à Moscou, ce 10 juillet, lesquelles ont assuré l’accord des deux parties, américaine et russe, sur la lutte contre le terrorisme, Daech et le Front al-Nosra.

La République arabe syrienne qui se trouve en première ligne face à ce mal global accueille favorablement ces déclarations et en même temps déclare, encore une fois, qu’elle tient à une solution politique qui devra répondre aux aspirations du peuple syrien et obtenir son assentiment, tout comme elle est prête à poursuivre le dialogue entre Syriens, sans conditions préalables, dans l’espoir que cette solution relève des seuls Syriens, sans ingérences étrangères, mais avec le soutien des Nations Unies et de la Communauté internationale.

Monsieur le Président,

J’affirme, une fois de plus, que le gouvernement syrien est déterminé à respecter ses obligations et à assumer ses responsabilités dans le but d’alléger le fardeau pesant sur son peuple. Dans cet objectif, nous sommes toujours prêts à prendre toutes les dispositions nationales nécessaires. Ainsi, nous poursuivrons notre coordination avec l’Organisation des Nations Unies et faciliterons ses missions, en sachant que cette coopération n’est pas à sens unique. En retour, l’ONU devra coordonner, coopérer et dialoguer avec nous sur toutes les questions humanitaires, au lieu de recourir à la suspicion et aux critiques injustifiées.

L’ONU et d’autres organisations travaillant en Syrie n’auraient jamais réussi à aider des millions de Syriens, ces dernières cinq années, sans le concours, le soutien et la protection du gouvernement syrien. Nous continuerons à ce faire, tant que le bénéfice concernera l’ensemble des Syriens dans le besoin, tant que la distribution des aides respectera la souveraineté de l’État et s’accordera avec les clauses de la Résolution 46/182 qui ont institué l’OCHA [Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs].

Monsieur le Président,

Avant de conclure, j’aimerais vous rappeler ce qu’a déclaré l’ex-ministre français des Affaire étrangères, Fabius, à Marrakech le 12 décembre 2012 lorsqu’avec ses amis ils cherchaient à créer une opposition syrienne : les jihadistes « font du bon boulot » en Syrie, tandis que l’ex-premier ministre français de l’époque, devenu aujourd’hui ministre des Affaires étrangères, disait : «  je ne peux rien faire pour empêcher les jihadistes français d’aller en Syrie ». Et maintenant que le « terrorisme jihadiste français » a frappé le Bataclan, Charlie Hebdo et Nice, le Président français bombarde un village près de Manbej et tue 164 civils !

Je pourrais vous citer beaucoup d’autres exemples, mais je respecte le temps qui m’est imparti et vous remercie.

Reprise de parole en fin de séance, suite aux conclusions de M. O’Brien [Secrétaire général adjoint aux affaires humanitaires et Coordonateur des secours d’urgence]

Monsieur le Président,

Je ne serai pas long, mais je voudrais partager avec les membres du Conseil des informations non abordées dans cette session.

Premièrement : il est regrettable que nul n’ait mentionné l’exploit des terroristes installés à Wadi araba, une localité menant vers Madaya que beaucoup ont prétendu encerclée par « le régime ». Ils ont fait exploser la source principale d’eau potable nourrissant Damas. Résultat : sept millions de civils syriens privés d’eau potable à Damas !

Deuxièmement : à Raqqa, les terroristes de Daech ont brûlé sur la place publique, trois membres vivants d’une même famille parce qu’ils avaient tenté de fuir la ville : le père, la mère et une enfant de deux ans. Je n’ai pas entendu M. O’brien en parler, non plus.

Troisièmement : Concernant les bombardements d’Alep, certains ont parlé d’Alep est et d’Alep ouest en disant que les frappes fusent de l’est et de l’Ouest, mais M. O’Brien ne nous a pas qui bombarde les civils. Il ne nous a pas dit qui sont les terroristes que la Coalition internationale prétend combattre. Il ne nous a pas dit qu’ils sont nourris par la Turquie et les régimes de la corruption des Pays du Golfe : l’Arabie saoudite et le Qatar. Nous souhaiterions que lorsque Monsieur le Secrétaire adjoint nous reparlera de ce qui se passe en Syrie, il précise qui sont ceux qui bombardent délibérément nos civils.

Quatrièmement : Hier, plus de 100 victimes, entre tués et blessés, à Damas. Je vous notifierai leurs noms par courriers officiels. Des femmes et des enfants tombés à Damas et à Alep dans des restaurants et des jardins publics. Qui les a bombardés ? Pourquoi M. O’Brien n’en a pas parlé ?

Merci, Monsieur le Président.

Dr Bachar al-Jaafari

Envoyé permanent de la Syrie auprès des nations Unies

25/07/2016

 

Source : Vidéo / Syria – Security Council, 7744th meeting

http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/security-council/watch/syria-security-council-7744th-meeting/5049333063001

[*] La France appelle à une trêve humanitaire à Alep. Situation humanitaire en Syrie – Intervention de M. François Delattre, représentant permanent de la France auprès des Nations unies – Conseil de sécurité – 26 juillet 2016

http://www.franceonu.org/La-France-appelle-a-une-treve-humanitaire-a-Alep

 

Transcription et traduction de l’arabe par Mouna Alno-Nakhal pour Mondialisation.ca

 

***

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Deux partisans de l’État islamique (EI) ont assassiné un vieux prêtre de 86 ans, le Père Jacques Hamel, mardi, coupant sa gorge en criant « Allah Akbar » dans l’église de Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, près de Rouen dans le nord de la France. Une autre victime a été grièvement blessée. Les forces de polices spéciales (BRI) ont exécuté sommairement les deux au moment où ils ont quitté l’église.

Les assaillants sont entrés dans l’église alors que la messe se terminait, vers 9h30. Ils ont pris plusieurs fidèles et au moins une religieuse en otage, tandis qu’une autre bonne sœur s’est échappée. Une nonne, Sœur Danielle, a déclaré : « Dans l’église, tout le monde criait « mais arrêtez-vous ne savez pas ce que vous faites ». Ils ne se sont pas arrêtés. Ils l’ont forcé à se mettre à genoux, il a essayé de se défendre et c’est là que le drame a commencé ». Elle a dit qu’elle avait fui l’église alors que les terroristes assassinaient Hamel.

La Sœur Danielle a déclaré que les deux hommes ont filmé leur attaque. « ils ne m’ont pas vue sortir », a-t-elle dit à BFMTV. « Ils se sont enregistrés. Ils ont fait un peu comme un sermon autour de l’autel en arabe. C’est une horreur […] c’était un prêtre extraordinaire ».

L’EI aurait revendiqué l’assassinat par l’intermédiaire de son agence de presse Amaq. C’est la quatrième attaque revendiquée par l’EI en moins de deux semaines, après qu’un homme a lancé un camion dans une foule de gens fêtant le 14 juillet à Nice, tuant 84 personnes et en blessant plus de 300 ; une attaque au couteau sur un train à Würzburg, Allemagne, blessant 5 personnes ; et un attentat suicide dans un bar à vin dans la ville de Ansbach au Sud de l’Allemagne dimanche dernier, blessant 15 personnes.

Le procureur de la République François Mollins a déclaré que l’un des assaillants était Adel Kermiche de 19 ans, qui habitait à Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray. Selon Mollins, « Adel Kermiche avait tenté à deux reprises de se rendre en Syrie en 2015, il était, depuis le 18 mars, sous contrôle judiciaire, avec assignation à résidence sous surveillance électronique. » Dans les conditions de son assignation à résidence il n’avait le droit de sortir qu’entre 8h30 et 12h30.

Les services de renseignement français avaient établi un « fichier S » sur Kermiche, ce qui l’a classé comme une menace pour la sécurité nationale française, après avoir été mis en examen pour association de malfaiteurs en lien avec une entreprise terroriste et tenté de se rendre en Syrie. Pour l’instant, l’identification du deuxième assaillant est toujours en cours.

L’incident est survenu au milieu d’un déploiement massif de la police et des forces armées à travers la France à la suite des attaques récentes. Depuis l’attaque terroriste déjouée sur deux églises près de Paris en avril 2015, qui a été préparée par un étudiant en informatique de 24 ans, franco-algérien, Sid Ahmed Ghlam, les églises et autres lieux de culte, y compris les mosquées et les synagogues, ont été placées en état d’alerte.

Cette attaque dans une église est horrible et réactionnaire. Son principal bénéficiaire sera l’élite politique française, qui a exploité de telles attaques pour intensifier ses interventions militaires au Moyen-Orient et renforcer les mesures draconiennes, antidémocratiques de l’état d’urgence toujours en cours en France.

Imposée après les attentats du 13 novembre à Paris l’an dernier, l’état d’urgence a été prolongé de six mois, à la suite de l’attaque à Nice le 14 juillet. Il donne à la police des pouvoirs supplémentaires à effectuer des perquisitions administratives dans les domiciles privés de jour et de nuit, lancer des arrestations massives et prononcer des assignations à résidence surveillée. Après l’attaque de l’église d’hier, le gouvernement du Parti socialiste (PS) a promis de renforcer davantage les mesures sécuritaires et de donner encore plus de pouvoirs exceptionnels à la police et l’armée.

Le PS a également intensifié la guerre au Moyen-Orient, prétendument pour lutter contre l’EI. Juste avant l’attaque de Nice, il avait déjà annoncé que le porte-avions Charles De Gaulle se rendrait au Moyen-Orient. Après les événements de Nice, le président François Hollande a annoncé que la France enverrait de l’artillerie lourde en Irak dès le mois prochain, pour soutenir la lutte contre l’EI.

Après l’assassinat à Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, Hollande l’a décrit comme « un ignoble attentat terroriste. […] Nous sommes face à un groupe, Daesh, qui a déclaré la guerre et nous devons mener cette guerre. Nous devons prendre conscience que les terroristes ne renonceront à rien tant que nous ne les arrêterons pas. Les Français doivent savoir qu’ils sont menacés. Ce ne sont pas les seuls, il y a l’Allemagne aussi. Mais leur force tient à leur cohésion ».

D’autres chefs d’État ont également utilisé l’attaque pour terroriser le public et demander des mesures sécuritaires encore plus fortes.

Parlant depuis Downing Street, le Premier ministre britannique Theresa May a déclaré : « Nous sommes tous confrontés à une menace terroriste. Si vous regardez le niveau de menace nationale ici au Royaume-Uni, il est à sévère. Cela signifie qu’une attaque terroriste est très probable. Ce qu’il faut, c’est que nous travaillions tous ensemble, et que nous soyons aux côtés de la France. Nous leur offrons tout le soutien que nous avons dans ce domaine et de faire front à cette menace à laquelle ils sont confrontés comme nous tous ».

En France, le Premier ministre Manuel Valls a insisté sur l’idée que, « Nous avons aujourd’hui tous les outils pour lutter contre le terrorisme. À chaque attentat, nous n’allons pas inventer une nouvelle loi », avertissant que « les Français doivent intégrer que nous sommes dans une guerre » et qu’ « il faut changer son rapport à la sécurité ».

« Il y aura peut-être de nouveaux attentats. Nous ferons tout pour l’éviter mais avec les armes du droit, pas en mettant en cause notre démocratie », a déclaré Valls.

En fait, le PS a abrogé les droits démocratiques en imposant l’état d’urgence, et il y a des appels croissants au sein de l’establishment politique pour des mesures encore plus drastiques de maintien de l’ordre. En juin, des législateurs de droite ont appelé à des « centres de rétention » pour les islamistes radicaux après l’assassinat brutal d’un policier et de son partenaire à leur domicile.

Après l’assassinat d’hier, Marine Le Pen du Front national d’extrême droite a demandé des mesures dignes d’un état policier. Son communiqué réclame : « fermeture des mosquées salafistes, expulsion des imams prêcheurs de haine, contrôles à nos frontières nationales, arrêt de l’immigration, veto à la politique allemande d’accueil des migrants, rétablissement d’une pleine et entière double peine, mise hors d’état de nuire des fichés S, renforcement des moyens de nos forces de l’ordre, de notre renseignement, de notre armée, réforme du code de la nationalité, renforcement des sanctions judiciaires et application effective des peines, construction de prisons. »

Il y a eu des appels répétés des politiciens de droite pour permettre à l’État de détenir indéfiniment des individus ciblés pour les « fichiers S. » Entre 10 000 et 11 000 personnes en France ont fait l’objet d’un fichier S, mais elles n’ont pas toutes des sympathies djihadistes. Dans la mesure où les services de renseignement peuvent ouvrir à volonté des fichiers S sur les individus, cette proposition reviendrait à donner à l’État un chèque en blanc pour emprisonner indéfiniment toute personne dont les opinions politiques lui déplaisent.

Kumaran Ira

Article paru en anglais, WSWS, le 27 juillet 2016

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La position économique globale de l’ASEAN est d’une importance cruciale dans les relations internationales contemporaines, mais tout aussi significative est la stratégie de la région vis-à-vis de la Chine et du monde unipolaire. Il y a une multitude de variables complexes qui influent sur l’état actuel des choses, et afin de bien comprendre la situation actuelle, il est nécessaire de se familiariser brièvement avec le passé de la région.

Revisitons les pages du temps

L’histoire de l’Asie du Sud-Est se caractérise par un riche mélange d’éléments indigènes et étrangers qui se sont combinés pour produire une identité régionale unique. Certaines de ces interactions sont millénaires tandis que d’autres sont beaucoup plus récentes, mais seules les plus durables et les plus pertinentes seront énumérées ci-dessous. Ce qui suit est loin d’être exhaustif et a été limité pour des raisons d’espace et rester concis, mais je recommande au lecteur de poursuivre indépendamment chacun de ces fils s’il est enclin à en apprendre davantage. Les sélections en surbrillance sont spécifiquement disposée afin d’attirer l’attention sur les origines de la façon dont chacun des cinq acteurs actuellement les plus puissants et géopolitiquement pertinents (Chine, Inde, Japon, les États-Unis et la Russie) a affecté l’Asie du Sud-Est à sa manière spécifique.

Recouvrement civilisationnel

Ce n’est pas pour rien que les Européens ont utilisé le nom Indochine pour décrire globalement l’Asie du Sud-Est, puisque c’est en fait la région précise où les influences civilisationnelles indiennes et chinoises se mêlent dans une large mesure. L’individu non-asiatique standard n’a aujourd’hui probablement aucune idée du pourquoi de ce néologisme initialement choisi, mais l’histoire qui en est à l’origine est en fait très importante et de plus en plus de retour en tant que facteur actuel.

Inde

Ce que la plupart des étrangers ignorent complètement, c’est que l’Inde a exercé une influence civilisationnelle énorme sur l’Asie du Sud-Est pendant quasiment les deux derniers millénaires. L’effet étant si fort que certains chercheurs controversés ont fait référence aux royaumes indianisés de l’époque comme faisant partie de la Grande Inde. Bien que ce soit un terme très sensible à utiliser, il porte en lui beaucoup de vérité dans un sens tangible. L’empreinte civilisationnelle de l’Inde est encore visible dans l’architecture de nombreux temples qui parsèment le Myanmar, la Thaïlande, le Cambodge et les paysages indonésiens, et c’est un fait bien établi que l’hindouisme et le bouddhisme (tous deux originaire de l’Inde) sont devenus des parties inséparables de l’identité historique de la région.

map1h
Carte : L’Inde sous la domination britannique

En fait, si on avance un peu plus loin dans le temps, on pense que l’islamisation de l’Indonésie moderne, le pays le plus grand et le plus peuplé d’Asie du Sud, et d’ailleurs aussi le plus grand pays musulman du monde, a été largement facilitée par les commerçants musulmans du Gujarat de l’Inde contemporaine. En conclusion, alors que cela ne fait pas partie des connaissances habituelles de nombreux observateurs extérieurs, il n’y a absolument aucun doute que la civilisation indienne a joué un rôle de guide pour influencer le développement progressif de l’identité de l’Asie du Sud-Est. Ainsi, les réserves historiques de soft power que l’Inde a mises en branle pourraient potentiellement être réactivées en partie pour faire avancer son agenda géopolitique actuel, en fonction bien sûr d’une habile utilisation et du rappel de ces divers facteurs sur leurs publics cibles respectifs.

Chine

La Chine impériale a joué un rôle beaucoup plus direct et dur sur l’Asie du Sud-Est que les royaumes de l’Inde ne l’ont jamais fait. L’empereur a officiellement incorporé le Vietnam dans son domaine pendant plus d’un millénaire et a forcé une grande partie de la région à lui rendre hommage à un moment ou un autre au cours de son histoire. Cela ne signifie pas nécessairement que l’ensemble de l’Asie du Sud-Est a toujours été dans un état de servitude comme proxy de la Chine, mais ce genre de relation avec l’Empire était sensiblement et qualitativement différent de celui qui a précédemment été apprécié avec l’Inde et qui n’a pas donné lieu à un pouvoir formel hiérarchique entre elles. Néanmoins, ce type d’interaction n’a pas été le seul que l’Asie du Sud-Est a eu avec la Chine. Les liens commerciaux entre les deux étaient très profonds et mutuellement bénéfiques en raison de l’emplacement de la région le long de la Route de la Soie maritime vers l’Inde et le Moyen-Orient, et cela a conduit à un niveau modéré de migration chinoise, stimulée par les nombreux commerçants qui traitaient avec la région.

Les conséquences modernes de ces liens sont évidents. L’incorporation historique chinoise du Vietnam dans l’Empire est considérée par beaucoup dans ce pays comme une période sombre du colonialisme pur et simple. Cela a fait croître un niveau de ressentiment et de méfiance qui est devenu une partie intégrante de l’identité nationale vietnamienne et continue d’avoir un impact sur le présent malgré les presque 1000 ans qui se sont écoulés depuis cette époque. Ailleurs en Asie du Sud-Est, l’effet des relations historiques de la Chine est beaucoup plus positif à bien des égards et a donné naissance à une importante diaspora chinoise. Selon le Wall Street Journal, il y a environ 7 millions de Chinois ethniques à la fois en Thaïlande et en Indonésie, avec environ 6 millions de résidents en Malaisie (où ils constituent une proportion relativement plus importante de la population). Les rapports indiquent que les Chinois ethniques sont beaucoup plus intégrés et assimilés en Thaïlande qu’ils ne le sont en Malaisie et, politiquement parlant, cela crée des avantages (comme en Thaïlande) et des obstacles (comme en Malaisie) pour l’application de la politique étrangère chinoise.

1844 Spruneri Map of Asia in the 15th and 16th Centuries
Carte de l’Asie de Spruneri dans les XVeet XVIe siècles – 1844

L’attitude de la majorité nationale titulaire envers la minorité chinoise affecte inévitablement la façon dont elle perçoit la Chine proprement dite. Dans le cas des interactions communautaires négatives comme en Malaisie, il est difficile pour le gouvernement chinois de rassurer les habitants sur leurs politiques régionales et de gagner durablement leur confiance. Ce problème, cependant, est un facteur moins important en Thaïlande en raison des relations beaucoup plus harmonieuses entre les groupes ethniques. Il est important de mentionner également que les trois-quarts de la population de Singapour est d’origine chinoise, mais que cela ne semble pas être un élément influent d’une manière ou d’une autre, en raison de l’identité spécifique de l’île que Lee Kuan Yew a favorisée au fil des décennies. Alors que la Chine est le premier partenaire commercial de la ville-État développée, les liens politiques et sécuritaires entre eux sont beaucoup moins importants. C’est seulement en 1990 que les deux parties ont conclu formellement des relations bilatérales et il a été annoncé au début de décembre 2015 que Singapour accueillira des avions espions américains qui opèrent de manière provocante au dessus de la mer de Chine du Sud. Dans l’ensemble, tandis que la diaspora ethnique de la Chine est un atout de soft power positif en Thaïlande, elle est également un facteur de complication en Malaisie et étonnamment un non-facteur à Singapour, ce qui montre que l’utilisation potentielle de cet instrument par Pékin dépend entièrement des conditions nationales du pays hôte et ne peut être modélisé en aucune façon.

L’héritage durable de l’Empire du Japon

Si on passe l’histoire en avance rapide pour arriver à une époque plus proche de nous, l’occupation japonaise de l’Asie du Sud-Est pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale peut sans doute être considérée comme étant beaucoup plus influente que le colonialisme européen qui l’a précédé pendant des décennies. De plus d’une manière, l’héritage japonais et sa brève et sanglante implication directe dans la région a été cataclysmique dans le déclenchement de la réaction en chaîne d’indépendance qui allait suivre après la guerre, et elle est également responsable de la montée des inoubliables héros nationaux au Vietnam, au Myanmar et en Indonésie.

Les années de guerre

L’occupation japonaise de l’Asie du Sud-Est a été promue par Tokyo comme une campagne de libération contre les impérialistes occidentaux. Mais en réalité, c’était la réimposition du même système oppressif sous une forme de contrôle légèrement modifié et racialement différent. Alors que dans un premier temps, ils ont été accueillis par beaucoup dans la région comme un répit bienvenu après la domination européenne, la regrettable réalité s’est bientôt révélée que rien n’avait changé sur le plan structurel et politique. L’exploitation des ressources et la mauvaise gestion économique que les Japonais ont mises en place a contribué aux famines dévastatrices au Vietnam et sur l’île indonésienne la plus peuplée de Java, aboutissant à la mort, respectivement, de un à deux millions et de 2,4 millions de personnes. Les Japonais étaient également très brutaux avec leurs sujets et les tuaient sans pitié pour la moindre désobéissance, sans parler de la torture endémique qu’ils ont pratiquée contre les prisonniers de guerre et les présumés rebelles. Le seul pays qui ait été légèrement mieux traité que le reste est la Thaïlande, mais c’était tout simplement dû à son alliance formelle, lors de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, avec le Japon impérial qui n’exigeait donc que des efforts d’occupation minimaux pour garder ce pays en ligne.

japanese_offensive_1941
Carte : Offensive japonaise en mer 1941

 Si on peut retirer quelque chose de positif de cette période destructrice, c’est que les Japonais ont prouvé que les colonisateurs européens n’étaient pas invincibles et que les Asiatiques sont en fait tout aussi capables que toute autre race de se lever contre leurs oppresseurs. Dans la même veine, le retrait temporaire des administrations coloniales américaine et européennes, et leur remplacement progressif par celles des occupants Japonais qui sont devenues progressivement plus autonomes (en particulier dans les derniers jours de la guerre) ont provoqué un précédent irréversible qui devait conduire inévitablement aux indépendances. Le rythme auquel elles ont été obtenues a varié considérablement dans toute la région, avec le Myanmar la recevant en 1948 par exemple, alors que le Brunei ne l’a connue qu’en 1984 (et encore cette dernière pouvant être expliquée par le propre refus égoïste du sultanat de quitter plus tôt le protectorat britannique). En général, cependant, l’occupation japonaise peut être considérée comme un événement décisif qui a complètement bouleversé l’ancien système colonial européen et grandement accéléré les luttes pour l’indépendance.

Les héros des indépendances

L’une des façons par laquelle l’occupation japonaise a le plus directement façonné l’identité nationale contemporaine de certains États d’Asie du Sud concerne les héros indépendantistes qui ont émergé de ses conséquences. Ces hommes ont laissé une marque impressionnante sur leur pays d’origine qui continue à résonner jusqu’à nos jour, mais ils n’auraient jamais eu la chance de façonner l’identité nationale de leurs compatriotes s’ils n’avaient pas d’abord joué leur rôle dans le cheminement de leurs États vers l’indépendance. Chacun des trois héros qui seront mentionnés ont accédé à la notoriété en raison des rôles qu’ils ont joué lors de la Seconde Guerre mondiale avec, comme différence la plus notable, le niveau de collaboration qu’ils ont eu avec les occupants japonais.

Le plus indépendant de tous était Ho Chi Minh, du Vietnam, qui a refusé sans réserve d’accepter l’occupation par le Japon de son pays natal. Il a bravement combattu contre eux et, finalement, a pris la direction du Nord-Vietnam après avoir expulsé les Français qui étaient revenus dans la zone. Aung San du Myanmar (alors appelé Birmanie) a été taillé dans un bois complètement différent car il est arrivé au pouvoir pendant la guerre, précisément à cause de sa collaboration avec les Japonais. Il a été formé au Japon et renvoyé au Myanmar juste avant l’invasion de l’Axe comme un moyen de légitimer les motifs de libération nationale. Il a ensuite été nommé ministre de la Guerre du Myanmar occupé, mais il a été déçu par les Japonais et s’est finalement rebellé contre eux vers la fin de la guerre. Il a ensuite aidé à mener son pays vers l’indépendance envers le Royaume-Uni après la guerre, mais a été tragiquement assassiné avant de voir ce jour arriver. Le troisième et dernier héros de l’indépendance à venir au pouvoir immédiatement après la guerre était Sukarno en Indonésie. Les Japonais l’ont libéré de prison après avoir envahi l’île-nation et avaient prévu d’utiliser ce militant de l’indépendance reconnu comme leur mandataire pour contrôler le pays. Sukarno a fait de grands progrès dans la promotion de l’indépendance indonésienne dans les derniers mois de la guerre, mais il ne s’est jamais rebellé contre ses maîtres et n’a déclaré l’indépendance qu’après que les Japonais se furent rendus.

Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh

Ces trois héros indépendantistes ont de riches antécédents personnels et ont rempli leur rôle dans des conditions extraordinairement complexe. C’est ce qui explique pourquoi Sukarno était partenaire des Japonais tandis que Ho Chi Minh les a combattus avec véhémence. Il est donc fortement suggéré au lecteur d’explorer leurs biographies personnelles plus en profondeur s’il est intéressé à découvrir les contextes spécifiques dans lesquels ils sont arrivés au pouvoir. L’incorporation de ces personnes dans la recherche a été faite afin de démontrer l’effet par lequel le Japon impérial à aider à forger, par inadvertance, les identités nationales de certains des États émergents clés dans la région, étant donné que ces trois hommes sont incontestablement reconnus comme les pères de leurs nations modernes respectives. Pour le meilleur et pour le pire, l’indépendance actuelle de l’Asie du Sud-est est fermement liée aux événements qui ont transpiré au cours de la période d’occupation japonaise, et cela vaut la peine de connaître cette relation afin de faire comprendre pourquoi certains acteurs accueillent avec enthousiasme le retour du Japon dans la région (aussi étrange que cela puisse paraître, après en avoir tout récemment été victime).

Réparations et ré-engagement

Une partie de la raison pour laquelle certaines élites régionales sont activement ou passivement en faveur de l’engagement renouvelé du Japon avec l’Asie du Sud-est est qu’elles estiment que le Japon s’est lui-même absous de sa culpabilité dans la Seconde Guerre mondiale en payant des réparations financières et une aide sous forme de subvention. Celles-ci ont été mises en place après le traité de San Francisco en 1951 et le soutien des USA à l’adhésion du Japon au Plan de Colombo de 1954 pour la coopération économique et le développement social en Asie et dans le Pacifique, un groupement commercial et de développement multilatéral. Washington a soutenu la réintégration de Tokyo dans la région afin de l’utiliser comme un véhicule proxy pour complémentairement y étendre son influence. Les États-Unis savaient aussi que l’économie japonaise, alors en reconstruction, aurait besoin de débouchés à l’exportation à proximité et de possibilités d’investissement extérieurs afin de poursuivre sa croissance. Et comme la grande stratégie américaine stipulait qu’un Japon fort (mais occupé) serait bénéfique pour ses intérêts asiatiques, les Américains ont fait institutionnellement tout leur possible pour que cela se produise.

De manière perceptible, on peut discerner les débuts naissants du prototype de gestion depuis les coulisses qui serait déployé en force pour contenir la Chine des décennies plus tard et qui sera discuté à un autre moment de la recherche. Autrement dit, le Japon n’aurait jamais été autorisé à entrer de nouveau en Asie du Sud-Est s’il n’y avait pas bénéficié de la complicité et de l’appui des États-Unis, qui ont soutenu cette initiative afin de faire avancer leurs considérations géostratégiques. La rédemption financière pour la Seconde Guerre mondiale était la passerelle normative où les États-Unis ont conduit le Japon pour légitimer son retour dans sa zone d’influence future pré-planifiée comme proxy.

La guerre froide

La première période de confrontation globale des superpuissances a été importante pour l’Asie du Sud-Est, car elle a annoncé l’arrivée des États-Unis et de l’URSS (aujourd’hui la Russie) comme des acteurs importants dans la région. Pour une large part, l’influence américaine était beaucoup plus profondément enracinée et plus largement appliquée que celle de son homologue soviétique, mais cela ne signifie pas qu’elle était nécessairement plus efficace. Il suffit de repenser à la guerre du Vietnam pour se rappeler avec force les limites (dont certaines ont été auto-imposées) de la puissance américaine en Asie du Sud-Est à cette époque, et les lourdes pertes que des combattants de la guérilla chichement financée ont pu infliger à la superpuissance capitaliste. En outre, la crainte d’un soulèvement communiste en Malaisie occupée par les Britanniques a été suffisante pour obliger la Couronne à déployer des dizaines de milliers de soldats au cours d’une période de 12 ans avant l’indépendance pour réprimer les perturbations. Ce qui a poussé l’empire en désintégration lente à dépasser ses limites et a été un fardeau financier inutile qui n’a permis de récolter aucun dividende géopolitiques direct (tout au plus d’avoir finalement réussi à extirper les communistes).

Les États-Unis

In over five months from late 1965 to early 1966, anti-communist regime killed about half a million of Indonesians.
En plus de cinq mois à compter de la fin de 1965 jusqu’à début 1966, le régime anti-communiste a tué environ un demi-million d’Indonésiens.

Si on remet le focus sur les deux superpuissances, la sphère d’influence des États-Unis s’étalait sur toute la largeur de l’ASEAN, mais à l’époque, l’organisation n’incluait évidemment pas tous ses membres actuels. Lancée en 1967, elle a commencé avec l’Indonésie, la Malaisie, les Philippines, Singapour et la Thaïlande, puis s’est étendue à Brunei en 1984. Ses autres élargissements n’ont eu lieu qu’après la fin de la guerre froide. Donc au plus fort des conflits par procuration, on peut honnêtement dire que toute l’organisation était entièrement sous contrôle américain. La seule fois que cet état de fait a jamais été en danger, c’était pendant la période du crépuscule de la présidence de Sukarno, lorsque le leader indonésien était soupçonné de trop se rapprocher des influences communistes locales et a a donc été renversé par un coup d’État organisé par la CIA (les conséquences politiquement pilotées ont tué entre 200 000 et 1 000 000 de personnes).

Avant la réunification du Vietnam, les États-Unis avaient évidemment une grande influence sur le Sud-Vietnam, mais cela a pris fin en 1975 avec la libération communiste de Saigon. L’effet domino induit qui a balayé les deux autres pays indochinois du Laos et du Cambodge a mis fin à la guerre anti-communiste clandestine des États-Unis dans chaque pays et a donné lieu à des conditions dans lesquelles le fidèle allié thaïlandais des USA a demandé au Pentagone, de façon surprenante, de retirer la quasi-totalité de ses forces un an plus tard. Cela n’a pas été étendu aux forces spéciales, cependant, alors que les États-Unis et la Thaïlande ont travaillé en étroite collaboration pour soutenir la guérilla des Khmers rouges qui avait été renversée à la suite de l’intervention du Vietnam au Cambodge en 1979.

De l’autre côté de la Thaïlande, les liens des États-Unis avec le Myanmar (alors la Birmanie) avaient été pragmatiques depuis l’indépendance, mais ils ont été compliqués par le gouvernement militaire arrivé au pouvoir en 1962. Les nouvelles autorités ont épousé une forme de socialisme non aligné qui n’a pas tout à fait mis le pays sous la domination des Soviétiques, mais était assez sérieux dans sa mise en œuvre pour effrayer les États-Unis. Dans les dernières années de la guerre froide, les États-Unis ont essayé d’arracher sans succès une révolution de couleur au Myanmar, finalement écrasée par l’armée. En réponse à cela et à l’emprisonnement de la provocatrice par procuration, Aung San Suu Kyi, Washington a imposé un sévère régime de sanctions qui a poussé le pays dans les bras de la Chine. Le dernier événement significatif de l’importance de l’Asie du Sud-Est qui a impliqué les États-Unis pendant la guerre froide était la Révolution populaire pour le pouvoir de 1986 qui a renversé le fantoche et corrompu Ferdinand Marcos, mais a finalement engendré assez de sentiments anti-américains pour que le nouveau gouvernement expulse les États-Unis hors de la base Clark de l’US Air Force et et de la base navale de Subic Bay en 1991.

URSS (Russie)

L’Union soviétique n’a jamais eu une présence aussi large en Asie du Sud-Est que les États-Unis, mais ses incursions se sont avérées être assez régulières et de longue durée. Le noyau de l’influence de Moscou dans la région se trouve a Hanoï, et après la réunification du Vietnam, l’Union soviétique a repris allègrement l’ancienne base navale des États-Unis de Cam Ranh Bay. Cela a permis à la marine soviétique d’exercer un rôle très important en Asie du Sud-Est et de continuellement garder les États-Unis sous pression dans une région qui avait jusque-là été considérée comme une extension de sa propre arrière-cour (une Asie Caraïbes, si l’on veut). L’Union soviétique avait historiquement patronné le Pathet Lao, et quand les communistes ont finalement renversé la monarchie pro-US, Vientiane est également devenu un appui stratégique de Moscou.

A Soviet placard in supprt of the Vietnam war for independence.
Une affiche soviétique en soutien de la guerre du Vietnam pour l’indépendance.

Cependant, le Vietnam a toujours joué un rôle beaucoup plus important dans les affaires laotiennes que les Soviétiques ne l’ont jamais fait. Bien que l’URSS ait eu des relations bilatérales indépendantes avec le Laos, les deux parties ont finalement été dépendantes de la bonne volonté et du soutien de Hanoï pour faciliter géographiquement leurs relations. Les relations avec le Cambodge étaient physiquement moins contraintes, mais sous une influence vietnamienne plus forte et plus directe, parce que l’État était globalement sous le contrôle total de l’Armée populaire du Vietnam jusqu’à son retrait complet en 1989. Pour le dire d’une autre manière, le Vietnam était la cheville ouvrière de la politique sud-est asiatique de l’Union soviétique, et ce partenariat stratégique a continué jusqu’à aujourd’hui avec la Fédération de Russie, quoique à un degré considérablement moindre.

Chine

Le rôle de Pékin en Asie du Sud-Est pendant la guerre froide n’a pas été en rapport avec sa taille et son empreinte historique, et pour une grande part, la Chine a été maintenue à distance par la plupart des États de la région. Il est vrai que la Chine a soutenu le Nord-Vietnam au cours de la guerre, mais cela ne s’est pas traduit par le type de relations de proxy contrôlé que certains à Pékin avaient peut-être prévu pour la suite. La raison pour cela est claire et elle a à voir avec le long contrôle millénaire de la Chine sur le Vietnam. Bien que s’étant produit il y a presque mille ans, la mémoire historique de cette période continue à jouer un rôle décisif sur l’identité vietnamienne même à ce jour et a donné lieu à un profond soupçon envers la Chine, implanté dans la psyché nationale. En raison de la peur que beaucoup au Vietnam avaient de tomber involontairement de facto sous le contrôle de la Chine, les autorités ont aligné leur pays plus étroitement sur l’Union soviétique comme un contrepoids stratégique à cette menace perçue et, par conséquent, elles ont fait de même pour leurs alliés laotiens après 1975.

La seule avancée géopolitique importante de la Chine à cette époque a eu lieu au Cambodge sous les Khmers rouges, mais à la fin de l’année 1978, le changement de régime après l’intervention du Vietnam a porté un coup dur aux ambitions régionales de Pékin. C’était en partie pour cette raison que la Chine a attaqué le Vietnam quelques mois plus tard au début de 1979 lors d’un conflit d’engagement limité. Le résultat final a été une défaite embarrassante que peu en Chine auraient pu anticiper à ce moment-là. Face à un groupe de trois États anti-chinois au sud de sa frontière (le Vietnam et ses alliés laotiens et cambodgiens) et le renversement complet de tout le soft power gagné pour avoir soutenu chacun de leurs mouvements de libération communiste, la Chine a réalisé qu’elle devait révolutionner sa politique au Myanmar (connu sous le nom de Birmanie à l’époque) afin de compenser. Ainsi, Pékin a diminué le soutien qu’il avait déjà accordé au Parti communiste de Birmanie afin de réparer ses relations avec Yangon (alors la capitale). Cela a conduit à un rapprochement progressif entre les deux voisins qui a abouti à un partenariat stratégique après la Révolution de couleur qui a échoué en 1988 et les efforts déterminés et surtout efficaces des États-Unis pour faire du Myanmar un État paria.

L’après Guerre froide

Retraite russe

Les années après la guerre froide ont été marquées par des processus importants qui ont transformé rapidement l’Asie du Sud-Est. La première chose qui, de toute évidence, a marqué cette nouvelle ère était l’absence de la Russie dans la région. Suite à l’effondrement de l’URSS, Moscou était manifestement beaucoup trop faible pour maintenir une telle présence lointaine (quoique hautement stratégique) en Asie du Sud-Est et, pressé par les préoccupations budgétaires internes, le gouvernement a mis fin à toutes les formes d’aide étrangère. Des relations minimales ont encore été maintenues avec le Vietnam, mais les dirigeants russes ont passé la majeure partie de la décennie 1990/2000 à essayer de construire des relations avec l’Occident, et non avec l’Orient. Bien que cette erreur de priorité ait été partiellement corrigée par le pragmatisme de Yevgeny Primakov, cela n’a pas eu beaucoup d’effet immédiat sur l’Asie du Sud-Est. La Russie s’est finalement retirée de Cam Ranh Bay en 2002 et a à peu près abandonné la région jusqu’à ce qu’elle redevienne assez forte pour revenir au début de la nouvelle guerre froide.

Renaissance chinoise

South China Sea dispute
Différend en mer de Chine méridionale

Au même moment, pendant le désengagement brutal de la Russie d’Asie du Sud, la Chine a renouvelé son engagement avec la zone, comme les deux parties décidaient de mettre de côté leurs différences idéologiques historiques pour entrer dans une renaissance économique qui a été mutuellement bénéfique pour les deux. Une grande part du crédit va à la direction chinoise qui a modéré de manière pragmatique son adhésion idéologique précédemment stricte aux préceptes communistes internes et externes, permettant ainsi qu’un renouveau économique national ait lieu et rende possible un engagement commercial à long terme plus attrayant pour les pays capitalistes d’Asie du Sud-Est. L’atténuation des tensions issues de la guerre froide entre la Chine et le Vietnam a été assez importante pour permettre aux deux parties de réaliser les avantages d’une coopération économique mutuelle. Quant au retrait militaire vietnamien du Cambodge, il a ré-ouvert le pays à l’influence chinoise. Dans l’ensemble, jusqu’à ce que les États-Unis aient décidé de réchauffer volontairement le différend en mer de Chine méridionale depuis longtemps inactif après l’annonce de leur Pivot vers l’Asie en 2011 (le début asiatique de la nouvelle guerre froide), on peut objectivement établir que les relations entre la Chine et l’Asie du Sud avaient atteint des niveaux historiques sans précédent, ce qui bien sûr est l’une des principales raisons pour lesquelles les États-Unis ont malicieusement décidé de les perturber .

Intégration intra-Bloc et inter-Bloc

Les années de l’après-guerre froide pour l’ASEAN ont été surtout marquées par son élargissement à l’ensemble de l’Asie du Sud-Est. Le Vietnam l’a rejointe en 1995 et le Myanmar et le Laos ont suivi en 1997. Le Cambodge, le dernier membre à entrer dans le bloc, est devenu un membre officiel de l’organisation en 1999, complétant ainsi formellement les efforts d’intégration pan-régionaux de l’ASEAN et la mise au point de la fondation pour l’AEC qui allait suivre en novembre 2015. Dans l’intervalle de 16 ans qui a suivi, l’ASEAN a fait des pas mesurés autour de partenariats avec d’autres grands pôles économiques à travers le monde, si on se réfère à la pléthore d’ALE qu’elle a signée à la fin des années 2000. L’effet combiné des intégrations intra-bloc et inter-bloc pour lesquels l’ASEAN s’est engagée en a fait une force économique reconnaissable dans le monde qui a toujours pu se prévaloir de l’un des taux de croissance les plus élevés. En outre, en incorporant le reste de la région et en tendant la main à d’autres à travers le monde, l’ASEAN a été en mesure de se positionner comme l’organisation clé pour tous les acteurs intéressés par le commerce avec l’Asie du Sud-Est, augmentant ainsi son profil global. Avec le recul, il semblait presque inévitable qu’elle deviendrait l’une des régions les plus économiquement attrayantes dans le monde pour se transformer elle-même en l’AEC, mais le bloc a du faire face à une crise quasi existentielle en 1997 qui a menacé l’ensemble des acquis accumulés jusque là.

La crise financière asiatique 1997

L’ÉVÉNEMENT

PBS a ré-assemblé une chronologie très détaillée et précise de tout ce qui s’est passé au cours de cette crise économique prolongée en l’analysant dans un spectre géographique plus large. Le lecteur est invité à s’y référer avec enthousiasme pour de plus amples détails, mais voici un résumé concis qui suffira pour la portée de la recherche actuelle. À l’été 1997 et juste avant l’incorporation progressive dans l’ASEAN du Myanmar et du Laos, une crise financière spéculative fit décrocher la monnaie thaïlandaise. En quelques mois, elle se répandit rapidement dans toute la région, à la Malaisie, l’Indonésie et aux Philippines, Singapour étant également légèrement affecté. Conceptuellement, on peut comprendre que l’attaque post-moderne qui a été lancée contre la Thaïlande était destinée à se répandre comme elle l’a fait tout au long du noyau central de l’ASEAN (les pays membres avant les expansions des années 1990 sur le continent). George Soros est largement soupçonné d’avoir comploté et organisé l’attaque, ayant directement été accusé du fiasco financier régional par le Premier ministre malaisien Mathir Mohamed, et son implication dans cette attaque a contribué à consolider sa notoriété actuelle pour un interventionnisme perturbateur. [Soros n’est que la partie visible d’un bras armé financier transnational, NdT]

LEÇON 
A protestor in South Korea during the 1997 crisis
Un manifestant en Corée du Sud au cours de la crise de 1997

Au moment où la crise s’était largement dissipée en 1999 (au moins dans cette partie du monde, mais elle devait s’étendre plus tard à la Corée du Sud, la Russie et le Brésil), la Thaïlande, les Philippines et l’Indonésie avaient toutes acceptés l’assistance du FMI, la dernière connaissant au même moment un changement de régime contre Suharto, l’allié américain de longue date. Il était inévitable que le leader impopulaire et vieillissant soit finalement renversé à un moment donné, et il est très possible que les États-Unis aient cherché à guider la transition du leadership qui devait reprendre sa place, tout comme ils le feront plus tard avec Moubarak lors du théâtre des Révolutions de couleur des Printemps arabes. En outre, ce fut l’époque où les États-Unis étaient encore en train de perfectionner les techniques de Révolution de couleur pour synchroniser l’interaction complexe entre une multitude d’acteurs non étatiques, aussi bien ceux impliqués sciemment (comme Soros) que ceux manipulés sans le vouloir (tels que les étudiants qui ont protesté). La leçon ultime qui peut être tirée de cette expérience est que les acteurs non étatiques tels que Soros et le FMI ont travaillé plus que probablement à la demande des États-Unis, collaborant pour tenter de saboter la trajectoire économique de plus en plus indépendante de l’ASEAN pour la forcer à revenir dans le consensus de Washington.

BONNES INTENTIONS

On peut déduire de ce qui avait transpiré que l’ASEAN se sentait plus motivé pour développer ses relations commerciales avec d’autres acteurs majeurs afin de rendre sa stabilité inestimable au système économique mondial, de manière à préempter de manière proactive une future répétition des perturbations USA/SOROS/FMI qui avaient eu lieu. Cette motivation explique un peu l’engagement déterminé dont le bloc a fait preuve pour mettre en place le plus grand nombre possible d’ALE lors de la décennie suivante, afin de permettre à l’Asie du Sud de devenir le carrefour de l’économie mondiale qui a été longuement décrit dans la Partie I. On peut interpréter que la plupart des directions des États membres de l’ASEAN ont compris lors de cette crise à quel point le Consensus de Washington était gênant pour leurs économies, compte tenu de sa hiérarchie structurelle inégale et de sa nature intrinsèquement déséquilibrée, et ils ont cherché à trouver un moyen de se sortir de ce système.

LE PIÈGE DU TPP

Cela rend d’autant plus pitoyable le renoncement de certains d’entre eux, plus tard, à leurs principes multipolaires et leur enthousiasme pour le TPP américain. Il y a sans aucun doute des éléments économiques et politiques internes (les soi-disant élites) qui tiennent à profiter grassement de cet arrangement au détriment de la souveraineté de leur pays. Mais il se peut aussi que certains responsables ne se rendent tout simplement pas compte que les États-Unis utilisent de façon évidente le pacte commercial (si on peut appeler ainsi un tel arrangement inégal) pour institutionnaliser leur contrôle sur les économies et inaugurer le Consensus de Washington 2.0. Beaucoup d’entre eux, tels que ceux du Vietnam, sont trop aveuglés par la pression des États-Unis à contrarier la Chine pour réaliser qu’ils se précipitent tout droit dans le piège unipolaire. Les États-Unis ont bien joué leurs cartes, il faut le dire. On peut aussi anticiper assez précisément que le dégel minutieux du différend en mer de Chine méridionale conduira à une vague de nationalisme provoquée par les USA et la peur fabriquée en Asie du Sud-Est pourra être facilement manipulée pour diviser la région au grand avantage stratégique des États-Unis.

tpp-map

 

Andrew Korybko

 

 

Le livre est disponible en PDF gratuitement et à télécharger ici 

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Article original en anglais :

the-grand-chess-board1

Hybrid Wars: The History of Asia. The Legacy of Japan. The Post Cold War Era. The Role of China. The TPP Trap

Traduit par Hervé, vérifié par Wayan, relu par Diane pour le Saker francophone

Andrew Korybko est un commentateur politique américain qui travaille actuellement pour l’agence Sputnik. Il est en troisième cycle de l’Université MGIMO et auteur de la monographie Guerres hybrides: l’approche adaptative indirecte pour un changement de régime (2015). Ce texte sera inclus dans son prochain livre sur la théorie de la guerre hybride.

  • Posted in Francais @fr
  • Commentaires fermés sur Guerres hybrides: L’histoire de l’Asie. L’héritage du Japon. L’après-guerre froide. Le rôle de la Chine. Le piège TPP.

On pouvait en douter au début mais plus maintenant. Vu la réputation qu’avait acquise M. Herdogan en Turquie même, avec son retour irrépressible aux vieilles méthodes de la dictature turque : autoritarisme autocratique, reprise du génocide kurde, incarcérations de journalistes et fermeture de médias critiques du régime et de ses méthodes, poursuites et arrestations tous azimuts pour trahison, on pouvait effectivement se demander si la tentative de putsch en Turquie s’inscrivait dans la veine de la Révolution des œillets au Portugal ou du putsch bolivarien au Venezuela, bien qu’on imagine plutôt mal ce type de coup d’Etat en Turquie.

Mais c’est vrai, la réputation du Sultan Herdogan en Turquie battait de l’aile et la grogne montait malgré la répression. Outre les sanctions drastiques de la Russie frappant très durement l’économie turque, suite à la destruction d’un Sukoï russe en Syrie, en 2015, par des F-16 turcs (et au refus d’Erdogan de s’excuser) – embargo sur l’importation de fruits et légumes turcs, interdiction pour les employeurs russes d’embaucher des travailleurs turcs, interdiction des vols charter vers la Turquie, interdiction de vente de voyages vers ce pays par les tour-opérateurs russes, non-délivrement de visas etc. – de lourdes accusations très étayées côté Russe de complicités de crimes de guerre éclaboussaient salement le régime : achat et revente « à échelle industrielle » du pétrole syrien spolié par Daech et Al-Qaïda (et de nombreuses autres richesses nationales syriennes spoliées) ; introduction d’armes, de munitions, d’explosifs et de mercenaires à destination de Daech et Al-Qaïda à travers la frontière turco-syrienne ; hospitalisation de terroristes de Daech et Al-Qaïda dans les hôpitaux turcs ; camps d’entraînement et recrutement de mercenaires en Turquie (parmi les réfugiés) à destination de la Syrie, ouvertement encadrés par la police et l’armée turques, etc. Au-delà des accusations de trafic et recel de biens nationaux spoliés et d’ingérence et incursions militaires en Syrie, les dénonciations allaient même jusqu’à l’utilisation des convois humanitaires par les services secrets turcs pour des livraisons illicites d’armes et de munitions en Syrie, mais visaient plus particulièrement la reprise des opérations militaires contre les villes et villages Kurdes (pourtant ennemis de Daech), et le refus des autorités de boucler totalement les frontières turques aux trafics en tous genres alimentant Daech et Al-Qaïda en Syrie.

Or ce qui ne collait pas, concernant l’idée d’un putsch à la vénézuélienne, c’était le timing. Le coup d’Etat mal préparé était tenté intempestivement après la volte-face spectaculaire, inattendue et presque incroyable d’Erdogan vis-à-vis de ses alliés et ennemis sur le dossier syrien, au cours des semaines précédentes. Déjà brouillé avec les USA depuis des mois au sujet de leur soutien aux Kurdes, Erdogan avait en effet trouvé moyen dans le courant du mois de Juin, de se brouiller avec l’EU sur l’abrogation des visas, de renouer avec la Russie en présentant ses excuses officielles au sujet du Sukoï, de proposer même une indemnisation à la famille du pilote, et de demander la normalisation des relations russo-turques. Il avait aussi décidé de se rapprocher des autorités syriennes par l’entremise de l’Algérie, au point de finalement demander quasi-officiellement la normalisation des relations syro-turques, après cinq ans de « proxy war » anti-Assad (guerre d’agression par mercenaires interposés). Autant dire qu’en un mois à peine (soit depuis l’éjection de son premier ministre, Ahmet Davutoglu, en poste depuis 2014, remplacé par Binali Yldirim fin mai 2016), il venait de tourner le dos à toute la stratégie américano-européenne d’agression et de mise à sac de la Syrie ! Alors, pourquoi diable des opposants à la ligne gouvernementale de ces dernières années auraient-ils attendu précisément la levée des sanctions russes et la normalisation des relations syro-turques pour se mutiner ?

Mais si la vague massive de répression n’était pas une fois de plus en train de s’abattre sur la gauche turque, était-il vraiment possible qu’elle s’abatte sur la droite turque, anticommuniste, pro-américaine, pro-européenne, anti-Assad et antirusse ? Non, sans blague ! Et qui d’autre ?

Outre que les leaders du Putsch semblent être des officiers supérieurs de l’Aviation, dont le général Bekir Ercan Van, commandant de la base aérienne turque d’Incirlik (au sud de la Turquie), que les Etats-Unis et l’Otan utilisent pour leurs missions au Proche-Orient, même Lawrence Wilkerson (ex-chef du cabinet de l’ancien ministre américain des Affaires étrangères US, Colin Powell), est convaincu que le service de renseignement américain est directement impliqué dans la récente tentative de coup d’Etat en Turquie et pâtit de sa réponse. Interviewé par Sputnik, Lawrence Wilkerson – qui travaillait de 2002 à 2005 en tant que chef du cabinet du secrétaire d’Etat Colin Powell – le directeur de la CIA, John Brennan, aurait « certainement » joué son rôle dans la tentative de coup d’Etat militaire en Turquie. Les militaires américains présents à Incirlik ou liés à cette base (et qui avaient communiqué l’an dernier aux pilotes turcs les plans de vol des Sukoïs russes à abattre) pouvaient en effet difficilement ne pas être au courant de ce qui s’y préparait. L’Economiste F. Wiliam Engdhal, spécialisé dans les relations internationales le démontre d’ailleurs très explicitement cette forte probabilité dans l’un de ses derniers articles : cf. http://www.mondialisation.ca/derriere-la-tentative-desesperee-de-coup-detat-de-la-cia-en-turquie/5537112

Le ras-le-bol d’Erdogan

Pour comprendre les causes du revirement drastique d’Erdogan (même si ça revient presque à croire aux miracles), il faut se remémorer quelques points importants de son règne et de ce qui précède.

Erdogan est un homme de pouvoir, un homme politique, et dans le système occidental, industriels et milieux d’affaires sont au-dessus du politique. Ils ont des attentes et des priorités, et soutiennent les candidats les plus aptes à les faire valoir et primer. Ils peuvent attendre que la conjoncture évolue en leur faveur, mais pas indéfiniment.

Erdogan est intronisé en 2003, comme premier ministre, et présenté au monde comme « le nouveau visage de la Turquie », qui tourne le dos à des décennies de dictature militaire contrôlée par les USA, et la CIA en particulier, et stigmatisées par le génocide du peuple Kurde, dont les réfugiés demandent alors l’asile politique partout en Europe. C’est un « réformateur », c’est-à-dire quelqu’un qui doit réformer ce qui reste du système Kémaliste d’Atatürk afin de rendre son pays compatible avec le modèle de gouvernance occidental, et de l’intégrer rapidement à l’Union Européenne. Ce projet est particulièrement cher aux USA et aux responsables de l’OTAN car il élargit l’Europe à l’autre rive de la méditerranée, un précédent qui facilite théoriquement, à terme, le vieux rêve d’une éventuelle intégration Israël à l’Union Européenne et à l’OTAN. Compte tenu des projets militaires US de l’époque (lancement de la campagne d’invasion/occupation américano-britannique en Irak), l’inclusion d’un pays musulman membre de l’OTAN (depuis 1951) dans l’Union européenne est aussi en enjeu en soi, qui ouvre des options en termes de marchés et de moyens de pression, notamment. Outre l’intention annoncée de remplacer à terme le régime parlementaire – apanage exclusif de Bruxelles – par un régime présidentiel (avec Erdogan comme président), Erdogan doit dès lors réformer l’économie nationale et satisfaire aux critères d’entrée dans l’Union. En fait, le processus est déjà amorcé de longue date : accord d’association en 1963, Union douanière en 1996, admission officielle d’Ankara comme candidat à l’UE au sommet d’Helsinki, en 1999.

En décembre 2004, un an après l’intronisation d’Erdogan, Bruxelles décide que les négociations pour l’adhésion de la Turquie commenceront l’année suivante. Elles démarrent effectivement en 2005, mais le processus traîne en longueur et l’Europe ne parvient jamais à un consensus unanime sur l’intégration de la Turquie. Les réticences restent fortes, tant à cause du récent génocide des Kurdes que sur l’idée d’une identité culturelle européenne qui inclurait les Turcs comme européens mais tiendrait les Russes pour des asiatiques. « La Turquie ne répond toujours pas aux Critères de Copenhague ».

Erdogan a cependant des engagements envers ceux qui l’ont soutenus et il fait de son mieux pour répondre à la fois aux exigences de l’Union et à celles des USA. Il réforme le système économique, liquide l’héritage Kémaliste (et les Kémalistes au passage), redonne une place centrale à l’Islam, ce qui n’est pas vraiment du goût des Européens, participe pleinement aux guerres des USA et de l’UE en ouvrant son espace aérien et ses bases aux forces d’occupation occidentales. Bruxelles hésite, spécule, se perd en polémiques.

Au début des années 2000, les USA font le pari de pouvoir mener 5 guerres en même temps dans le monde arabe, Erdogan se mouille sans hésitation pour gagner la faveur des Occidentaux, se brouille avec ses voisins Arabes qui réprouvent les objectifs et les méthodes des USA. Après l’Afghanistan et l’Irak, l’OTAN veut liquider la Libye, Erdogan soutient le projet et collabore de son mieux à la « répétition générale » de la campagne de Syrie. Lorsque celle-ci démarre, Erdogan s’implique totalement et même très ouvertement en faveur des « rebelles » islamistes, d’Al-Qaïda et plus tard de Daesh, mais la campagne patauge et s’embourbe, la Russie et la Chine verrouillent obstinément la réplique du scénario libyen, l’Europe devient frileuse, Erdogan s’impatiente.

Initialement, la stratégie américaine repose sur plusieurs axes :

1) Répartir les forces rebelles en une multitude de factions hétérogènes à la fois alliées et ennemies mais indéfiniment miscibles, afin qu’il soit littéralement impossible de savoir qui est extrémiste ou pas, qui reçoit de l’aide ou pas, qui est allié ou ennemi, qui change de bord, etc. Aujourd’hui sommées de le faire, les autorités US en demeurent totalement incapables.

2) Discréditer Assad sur le plan national et international en le contraignant à laisser son armée s’enliser dans des combats de rues contre des groupes de mercenaires très mobiles, à faire évacuer des quartiers entiers pour les bombarder ensuite, à détruire en vain ses propres villes, secteur par secteur.

3) Ecarteler l’armée Syrienne en la contraignant à abandonner le centre du pays (désertique, peu peuplé mais où se trouvent les principales ressources), pour tenter de libérer prioritairement les villes et la bande côtière de l’emprise des mêmes groupes armés que ceux qui viennent de détruire la Libye (avec les mêmes sponsors). C’est ce qui permet à Daesh d’annexer le centre et l’Est de la Syrie.

4) Briser l’économie de la Syrie entre les pénuries généralisées d’un embargo unilatéral (illégal mais drastique) et le pillage systématique des ressources, y compris agricoles mais principalement pétrolières par l’EI (Daech) – une force principalement mercenaire et en grande partie étrangère (en particulier au niveau du commandement). Suréquipée bien que rarement confrontée à l’armée syrienne, Daech est surtout spécialisée dans des activités illégales et maffieuses, dont les revenus permettront (jusqu’à l’intervention russe) d’alimenter en armes munition et matériel de guerre la myriade de factions anti-Assad disséminées à travers tout le pays, et de justifier par ses exactions épouvantables et ultra médiatisées (par ses propres soins notamment), une intervention occidentale ou de l’OTAN au titre de la R2P (responsabilité de protéger).

Pendant plus de 2 ans les USA et une vaste coalition progressivement élargie à une trentaine de pays bombardent le désert irakien et syrien en prétendant combattre Daech sans aucun résultats positif, les médias dépeignent l’EI comme militairement supérieur (en plein désert) à une coalition qui regroupe les pays les plus puissants de la planète, les services de renseignements les plus efficaces au monde, et qui garde totalement l’apanage du ciel. Les Occidentaux font valoir la gravité de la situation pour obtenir l’aval de l’ONU pour une « opération humanitaire » de type Afghanistan, avec troupes au sol et changement de régime en Syrie. Erdogan est à 100% favorable à cette intervention. Mais au moment où l’opération militaro-humanitaire occidentale est sur le point de se passer du feu vert de l’ONU, la Russie intervient la première, aux côtés de l’armée Syrienne et à la demande du gouvernement syrien, avec une puissance de feu, une précision et une efficacité qui laisse tout le monde pantois. L’intervention russe provoque l’indignation générale mais c’est la seule qui soit légale du point de vue du droit international. Intervention occidentale annulée.

La violence des combats qui ravagent la Syrie depuis 5 ans (une authentique guerre mondiale mais « dissymétrique », avec plus de trente pays d’un côté et seulement cinq ou six de l’autre), leur expansion à travers tout le pays, l’immensité colossale des destructions et les pénuries liées à l’embargo viennent s’additionner aux effets directs et indirects des autres guerres en cours (Irak, Afghanistan, Libye, Soudan, etc.) et provoquent une crise migratoire sans précédent, que les Occidentaux s’efforcent d’instrumentaliser auprès de l’ONU pour obtenir à nouveau un consensus clairement favorable à une « opération humanitaire » en Syrie. Erdogan fait son possible pour répondre aux attentes des dirigeants occidentaux afin d’accélérer l’inclusion de la Turquie dans l’Union, mais au contraire le consensus se délite de plus en plus et un nombre croissant d’élus locaux demande l’arrêt de la collaboration avec les islamistes, le ralliement aux forces russes et syriennes, qui sont les seules à obtenir des résultats probants sur le terrain et à respecter le droit international. La « crise des réfugiés » est un fiasco politique.

Dans le même temps, Erdogan de son mieux pour engager l’OTAN à intervenir en volant au secour d’un pays membre. L’OTAN tergiverse, hésite, vacille et finalement refuse, faute de consensus. Les forces qu’il soutient sur le terrain se font massacrer et reculent inexorablement. Erdogan vitupère pour obtenir au moins l’abrogation des visas obligatoires pour les Turcs souhaitant se rendre en Europe pour affaire, en attendant une intégration qui ne viendra manifestement jamais, mais la crise migratoire se combine à une vague d’attentats en Europe et même ça, il ne parvient pas l’obtenir.

Vient ensuite le Brexit, la goutte qui fait déborder le vase. Au bout du compte, après plus de vingt ans de guerres perpétuelles au Proche-Orient, les opérations militaires occidentales tournent au fiasco les unes après les autres, le discrédit est total, l’hégémonie US promise sur le Proche-Orient est un échec lamentable et une dévastation intégrale, l’intégration de la Turquie à l’Union européenne n’est toujours pas à l’ordre du jour, l’OTAN hésite face à la Russie, la légitimité de son maintien sous autorité américaine est de plus discutée, y compris en interne, et souffre de dissensions croissantes. Au bout du compte, même l’Union européenne, qui n’a finalement jamais été fichue de tenir une seule de ses promesses à l’égard de la Turquie, se délite de l’intérieur et se désagrège sur fond d’illégitimité. Comme l’expliquait le premier ministre hongrois, Viktor Orban, jeudi 14/07 à Varsovie, après la décision du Royaume-Uni de quitter l’Union européenne, aujourd’hui l’Union « n’est plus un acteur global mais régional ». Et pendant ce temps, la Russie, la Chine, l’Inde et d’autres pays, prennent des initiatives, réussissent de véritables tours de force sur le plan international, et s’efforcent de construire un monde multipolaire et d’autres alternatives à une hégémonie occidentale à bout de souffle et totalement discréditée.

Pour le Sultan Erdogan ça suffit ! Et en juillet 2016, il jette l’éponge et tourne sa veste, et se met à purger massivement tous les relais et réseaux « stay behind » que la CIA avait tissés des années durant et laissés derrière elle pour pouvoir reprendre la main en cas de problème.

Conséquences

D’après un rapport de la BBC : quelque 7 500 soldats et plus d’une centaine de généraux et amiraux incarcérés ; 8 000 policiers suspendus, dont un millier incarcérés ; 3 000 membres de la magistrature suspendus, dont 1 481 juges au civil et 262 juges et procureurs militaires ; 15 200 fonctionnaires du ministère de l’Education limogés ; 21 000 enseignants virés ; 1 577 doyens d’université contraints de démissionner ; 1 500 fonctionnaires du ministère des finances limogés ; 492 prédicateurs et enseignants religieux limogés ; 393 fonctionnaires du ministère de la Politique sociale limogés ; 157 fonctionnaires du bureau du premier ministre limogés ; une centaine de responsables du renseignement suspendus ; la Garde présidentielle dissoute et 300 de ses membres sous les verrous (liés au groupe qui a annoncé de coup d’Etat sur la télévision publique TRT) ; etc. Et ce n’est manifestement pas fini !

Erdogan accuse Fethullah Gülen, émigré aux USA et notoirement très directement lié à la CIA, d’avoir infiltré toutes les infrastructures militaires et civiles de la Turquie, d’y avoir constitué « un Etat parallèle » et d’être (avec la CIA) à l’origine du coup d’Etat. Le concept d’Etat parallèle, contrôlé par une puissance étrangère, est (avec celui d’ennemi intérieur) le cœur même de l’idéologie contre-insurrectionnelle. Il est généralement totalement injustifié et chimérique mais manifestement pas dans le cas de la Turquie actuelle. Les médias occidentaux dénoncent le putsch raté comme un faux destiné à légitimer une répression préméditée, au prétexte que « les listes étaient prêtes avant le coup d’Etat ». C’est probablement faux, mais il est clair que dans un Etat policier comme la Turquie, tout ce beau monde était probablement déjà fiché de longue date.

Pour autant, selon l’analyste politique turc Soner Cagaptay, Erdogan profiterait au passage du large appui populaire que lui offre la tentative de coup d’Etat, pour promouvoir une série d’amendements à la constitution. Ces amendements auraient notamment pour objectif le  remplacement du régime parlementaire de gouvernance par un régime présidentiel, avec évidemment Erdogan comme chef d’Etat. Plus le président sera proche du pouvoir absolu, explique Soner Cagaptay, plus il sera difficile pour ses opposants de le combattre démocratiquement, toute démarche de ces derniers pouvant désormais être qualifiée de complot et jugée illégale.

Mais on ne tourne pas le dos à l’Europe et aux USA si facilement et un tel affront est aussi téméraire que risqué. Avec les ennemis qu’il vient de se faire, Erdogan doit sécuriser sa position en Turquie même, d’autant que ses ambitions ne s’arrêtent manifestement pas à sortir la Turquie du giron de Washington. Le vice-premier ministre turc, Numan Kurtulmus, a déclaré pouvoir espérer la levée de l’état d’urgence « d’ici un mois ou un mois et demi […] si les conditions reviennent à la normale ». Auparavant, la Turquie envisage de « déroger temporairement aux principes de la CEDH » (la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme). « La Turquie va suspendre la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme dans la mesure où cela ne contrevient pas à ses obligations internationales, tout comme la France l’a fait sous l’article 15 de la Convention » après les attentats de novembre 2015, a déclaré Numan Kurtulmus. (Le Royaume-Uni avait d’ailleurs également fait usage de cette procédure en Irlande du Nord, entre fin 1988 et début 2001)

Devant de telles déclarations et l’arrestation en masse de tous les relais potentiels de la CIA liés de près ou de loin à Fethüllah Gullen – et manifestement, Erdogan ratisse très large – et les menaces de peine de mort et de tortures qui pèsent sur ces derniers, plusieurs responsables de l’UE ont déjà clairement évoqué la révocation définitive de la candidature de la Turquie – « en cas de non-respect des normes démocratiques et de la primauté du droit » insistent fermement les principaux violateurs du droit international dans le conflit syrien. Le secrétaire d’État américain John Kerry, a pour sa part annoncé très officiellement, au nom de l’OTAN, l’exclusion probable de la Turquie si la peine de mort devait être rétablie en Turquie et appliquée contre les militaires putschistes. « L’OTAN a des exigences en matière de démocratie », déclarait en effet John Kerry lundi 18/07 lors d’une conférence de presse conjointe avec la chef de la diplomatie européenne Federica Mogherini. La peine de mort n’a pourtant été abolie en Turquie qu’en 2004, soit bien après l’admission officielle d’Ankara comme candidat à l’UE.

Mais il faut bien reconnaître que la peine de mort et l’usage de la torture sont notoirement diamétralement en contradiction avec les principes fondamentaux des pays membres de l’OTAN. Les USA, qui dirigent l’Etat-major de l’OTAN de manière obligatoire depuis sa création, n’ont d’ailleurs jamais aboli la peine de mort dans leur propre pays (1) et l’ont même élargie à l’ensemble de la planète sous les termes de « négligences de guerre » (casualties of war) et de « liste noire présidentielle » (« president’s killing list »), qui donnent au prix Nobel de la paix Obama droit de vie ou de mort sur tout opposant, groupe d’opposants (supposés ou présumés tels) ou « ennemi déclaré des intérêts américains », littéralement où qu’ils puissent se trouver sur la planète et sans contravention spécifique au droit international – comme le confirme depuis des années le silence complice de Ban Ki-moon sur la question. Quant à la torture, G. W. Bush et Obama ont régulièrement fait pression sur l’ONU depuis le début des années 2000, pour qu’elle puisse officiellement être légalisée internationalement dans le cadre de la « guerre contre le terrorisme » – sans réaction particulière de l’UE d’ailleurs. Mais en Turquie, bien sûr, ce serait tout à fait inadmissible !

Réponse d’Erdogan à l’OTAN : « Les pays qui refuseront de livrer Fethullah Gulen sont des ennemis de la Turquie ! »  Ce que confirme le ministre turc des Affaires étrangères, Mevlut Cavusoglu, qui déclare que les relations turco-américaines souffriraient inévitablement si les Etats-Unis refusaient d’extrader Fethullah Gulen en Turquie.

Réponse d’Erdogan à l’UE : « L’UE, ce n’est pas le monde entier, ce n’est que 28 pays ! […] Nous avons frappé à la porte pendant 53 ans, ils nous ont fait attendre, en laissant entrer les autres ».

Dans le camp opposé, on n’est pas dupe pour autant, et la réputation d’Erdogan est si infecte que ses « nouveaux alliés » se méfient de lui comme de la peste – d’autant qu’il est parfaitement capable d’une nouvelle volte-face pour peu que l’UE lui propose finalement d’accéder plus rapidement à ses exigences. Aussi prompt à l’obséquiosité qu’aux insultes, Erdogan n’en est manifestement pour l’instant qu’à provoquer ses ex-partenaires pour les acculer à réagir en sa faveur (ce qui n’est pas forcément le meilleur des moyens). Les autorités russes se disent « très préoccupées par la tournure des événements en Turquie » malgré le soudain débordement d’éloges d’Erdogan envers la Russie – honnie hier encore. Pour le dirigeant syrien Bachar el-Assad, Erdogan profite manifestement de la tentative de coup d’Etat pour « mettre en place en Turquie le projet radical de l’organisation islamiste des Frères musulmans », dont il est issu à l’origine. Dans un entretien à l’agence d’informations cubaine Prensa Latina, Bachar al-Assad explique que les autorités turques « ont de mauvaises intentions, ce qui est plus dangereux que le coup d’Etat lui-même ». Erdogan « profite du putsch pour exécuter l’ordre du jour des islamistes, qui est l’isolement de la société civile. […] La victoire définitive des islamistes radicaux représentera une menace pour tous les pays de la région, y compris la Syrie ». Mais « c’est une affaire turque et c’est au peuple turc d’en décider ».

Il n’en demeure pas moins que la Russie, pour sa part, risque fort de conditionner le dégel effectif des relations russo-turques a un positionnement sans ambiguité dans le conflit syrien, c’est à dire au bouclage réel des frontières, à la fin du soutien turc aux factions terroristes anti-Assad, et à une suspension des attaques contre les ennemis déclarés de Daech (les Kurdes en particulier), ce qui marquerait un tournant crucial dans le conflit syrien, penchant fortement vers une victoire totale et définitive des forces syriennes. Il n’est pas du tout certain qu’Erdogan accepte de jouer le jeu, mais il aurait sans doute aussi beaucoup à perdre à ne pas le faire. Affaire à suivre !

Une saga aux enjeux extrêmement lourds, dont les rebondissements et les principaux acteurs ne lassent pas de nous surprendre, et dont tout le monde souhaite néanmoins voir très bientôt le dernier épisode. Enfin… presque tout le monde.

Dominique Arias

 

(1) En 2015, seulement 20 États américains (sur 50) ne pratiquent plus la peine de mort.

Habituellement traducteur d’ouvrages et d’articles pour les sites Mondialisation.ca et Investigaction, Dominique Arias est aussi occasionnellement l’auteur d’articles résumant différents éclairages sur le traitement des événements et conflits internationaux dans les médias occidentaux.

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Contemporary art is often criticised as pointless or overvalued by art market elites. Even the word ‘artist’ has lost much of its meaning. The many ongoing global socio-political crises seem to make even the idea of art fade into insignificance. Most art either reflects local reality (landscapes, cityscapes, portraits) or internal ‘reality’ (surrealism, conceptual art). But there are artists (in this case, I will focus on painters) who do not shy away from depicting the difficulties facing ordinary people or the elites who create those difficulties in the first place. Here we will look at particular ways in which painters deal with contemporary reality using old and new forms of art to draw attention to injustices or general social issues.

When we see art that is trying to depict contemporary reality we can easily be drawn into the content of the picture without realising that the very forms used are themselves a result of conflicts of differing styles for formal and ideological reasons arising from within the artistic ‘community’ itself. While the forms can range from the purely abstract to the hyper-real, most socio-political art tends towards differing degrees of realism.

Nationalism

Historically, nationalist artists concerned with political change resisted modern forms and looked back into their own nation’s history for inspiration. For example, the intertwining of nationalism and art in Ireland has led, in many cases, to a very inward-looking identity, a striving for Irishness in Irish art (e.g. Celtic art), a misplaced resistance to centuries of colonisation. However, in Ireland, as James Christen Steward writes:

“As it has been throughout the century, internationalism in Irish painting can still be seen as emotionally fraught, the adoption of foreign influence as a form of emigration signifying Ireland’s colonization (specifically as a colonized woman). Those artists who have resisted internationalism have often sought consciously to invoke links between the individual, the community, and the Irish landscape to assert a sense of distinct identity, and this remains the case for Irish painters working in the landscape idiom.” [1]

However, there are examples of nineteenth century Irish artists who used their art and the new style of realism to highlight local social ills, such as James Brennan (1837-1907) as Claudia Kinmonth has noted:

“It was rare for artists to be able to afford the indulgence of painting precisely what they wanted to paint, so the blatantly unfashionable images by James Brennan, for example, were facilitated by his salary as head of Cork School of Art. He was further driven to depict the plight of families of farmers or fishermen at home by his altruistic involvement in the setting up of Irish lace schools and his work for the Great Exhibition in London. His careful attention to the minutiae of what was once commonplace, showing cabin interiors furnished with nothing but the barest necessities, provides some of the most useful windows onto social history.” [2]

News from America (1875) (James Brennan)

Realism

However, the realist form needed real subjects and they were not always enthused by the new attention and focus on their lives and occupations. Some artists converged on the Claddagh in Galway (in the west of Ireland) in the move towards realism and away from romanticism. These included socially engaged British artists. The international focus of realism on the peasant and working class allowed these artists to leapfrog nationalist concerns and paint outside their own community. The initial suspicions of the local people towards artists suddenly taking an interest in their lives soon changed, as is shown by the experiences of the English painters Goodall and Topham in the Claddagh. While at first perceived to be ‘tax-collectors, spies or Protestants’, they were eventually accepted by the people and even stayed with them.[3] Despite typical hostility to outsiders, Julian Campbell writes,

“It was here in the Claddagh and the fish market that a colony of Irish and British artists began to gather in the 1830s and 1840s, the period just before the Great Famine and the arrival of the steam train to Galway. Significantly, this was exactly the same time as the Barbizon School of landscape painters was beginning to form in the forest of Fontainebleau in France.  Unlike the earlier groups of painters in county Kerry whose interest had been primarily in landscape, the artists in Galway focused their attention on the everyday lives and activities of the Galway people in a series of genre pictures. […] The Claddagh provided an authentic fishing village of thatched dwellings to study, and the fish market much colourful activity to observe.” [4]

Cottage Interior, Claddagh, Galway (1845) (Francis William Topham) 

Barbizon School

The French Barbizon artists were initially influenced by the English artist, John Constable, to draw their inspiration directly from nature and to leave the formalism of the Classical style in the studio. Soon, however, this idea was developed by Jean-François Millet from painting the landscape to depicting the local people themselves:

“Millet extended the idea from landscape to figures — peasant figures, scenes of peasant life, and work in the fields. In The Gleaners (1857), for example, Millet portrays three peasant women working at the harvest. Gleaners are poor people who are permitted to gather the remains after the owners of the field complete the main harvest. The owners (portrayed as wealthy) and their laborers are seen in the back of the painting. Millet shifted the focus and the subject matter from the rich and prominent to those at the bottom of the social ladders. To emphasize their anonymity and marginalized position, he hid their faces. The women’s bowed bodies represent their everyday hard work.”

The Gleaners (1857) (Jean-François Millet)

Ashcan School

As we move into the twentieth century even realism itself became institutionalized, producing reactions such as the Ashcan School in New York. They used a darker, rougher style of realist painting to express the poverty of the working class in the ghettoes. Artists working in this style such as Robert Henri (1865–1929), George Luks (1867–1933), William Glackens (1870–1938), John Sloan (1871–1951), and Everett Shinn (1876–1953) were not a formal group, but:

“Their unity consisted of a desire to tell certain truths about the city and modern life they felt had been ignored by the suffocating influence of the Genteel Tradition in the visual arts. Robert Henri, in some ways the spiritual father of this school, « wanted art to be akin to journalism… he wanted paint to be as real as mud, as the clods of horse-shit and snow, that froze on Broadway in the winter. »”

Hairdresser’s Window (John Sloan)

German Expressionism

Back in Europe, during the 1920s and 1930s German Expressionism was at its height and artists like George Grosz and Max Beckman focused less on the working class and more on decadent society and the rise of the Nazis. German expressionism contrasts with the Ashcan School on a formal level as expressionism presents ‘the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas’ unlike realism where the emphasis on objectivity is more important. The use of distortion, caricature and the general aesthetics of ugliness became the formal basis of the art of George Grosz who used this form as an implicit criticism of what he saw around him:

“In his drawings, usually in pen and ink which he sometimes developed further with watercolor, Grosz did much to create the image most have of Berlin and the Weimar Republic in the 1920s. Corpulent businessmen, wounded soldiers, prostitutes, sex crimes and orgies were his great subjects.”

Max Beckman looked back even further into the history of art and mixed expressionism with medieval aesthetics and forms to represent contemporary reality as he saw it:

“Beckmann reinvented the religious triptych and expanded this archetype of medieval painting into an allegory of contemporary humanity. […] Many of Beckmann‘s paintings express the agonies of Europe in the first half of the 20th century. Some of his imagery refers to the decadent glamor of the Weimar Republic’s cabaret culture, but from the 1930s on, his works often contain mythologized references to the brutalities of the Nazis. Beyond these immediate concerns, his subjects and symbols assume a larger meaning, voicing universal themes of terror, redemption, and the mysteries of eternity and fate.”

Departure (1932-5) (Max Beckman)

Contemporary Visions

Contemporary versions of these approaches can be seen in the realist work of the American painterMax Ginsberg and the more expressionist approach of the English painter John Keane. Ginsburg’s painting Foreclosure has a baroque feel to it. While today baroque is associated with over-the-top exaggeration and opulence, it was rooted much more in realism than romanticism (a reaction to the Age of Enlightenment and the scientific rationalization of nature). The features of baroque consisted of dramatic tension, heightened realism, illusions of motion, and classical elements used without classical restraint. Ginsburg, like Beckman, is looking back at earlier forms to express contemporary dilemmas.

Foreclosure (Max Ginsberg)

His work is usually straight-up realism but the baroque style of Foreclosure allows him to use more dramatic expressions of the crisis in hand. His interest and concern is reflected in his comment on the painting:

“It is unconscionable that people are being evicted from their homes, especially when banks and corporations are being bailed out. This injustice is not supposed to happen in America.  In this painting I wanted to express the anguish and frustration of people in this situation.”

Ginsburg’s painting War-Pieta shows a similar interest in art history put to contemporary use. He writes:

“I wanted to bring attention to the horror of war, and in this case the war in Iraq. I thought of a mother losing her son and the Pieta paintings of the Old Masters and of Michelangelo’s sculpture, Pieta, showing the Madonna mourning the death of her son. In my painting I sought to symbolically connect, and contrast, the image of a real mother screaming in anguish over the death of her soldier son with the Old Master images of the Madonna mourning the death of her son in a rather unreal, quiet and serene way. The torn fatigues, the mangled soldier’s body and the flag symbolize one of the many young Americans who have been killed in this war.”

War-Pieta (Max Ginsberg)

The English artist John Keane uses expressionism as a form for dealing with Tony Blair’s ‘mercurial’ appearance at the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war. While Ginsburg’s work depicts ordinary people in sometimes extraordinary situations, Keane has focused on those who caused them. Here we can see realism used as a form to depict the victims of a state agenda and expressionist distortion used to depict one of the executors of that same agenda.

Figure at an Inquiry no 5 (John Keane)

However, the challenge for contemporary artists is not to fall into the trap of constantly portraying people as victims. Art must be inspired and inspiring. As an artist one can draw attention to the difficulties faced by people the world over but it is also important to recognize that everywhere there are people active in solving problems and trying to change society for the better, both socially and politically. The massive demonstrations against war in Iraq are a case in point:

“On February 15, 2003, there was a coordinated day of protests across the world in which people in more than 600 cities expressed opposition to the imminent Iraq War. It was part of a series of protests and political events that had begun in 2002 and continued as the war took place. Social movement researchers have described the 15 February protest as « the largest protest event in human history »”

Peace-March (Max Ginsburg)

Ginsburg describes the process of painting an image of many people of all ages and types on the streets demonstrating noting also influential artists and styles:

“The differences and individuality of people marching for peace is quite different than the mechanical sameness of soldiers marching. I took many photographs at a Peace March protesting the war in Iraq and selected ten of them that were good for expression and composition to use as reference. Attention was paid to the variation of individuals and the expression of determination. Based on these photographs, I made a compositional sketch for the grouping of figures, perspective and darks and lights. Then, with the aid of a grid, I transferred the drawings to the large canvas to scale. And then I proceeded to paint, in my usual direct alla prima style. I was greatly influenced by Ilya Repin’s Religious Processionpainting and Kathe Kollwitz’ The Weavers.”

Subject / Object

The change in realism over time from Millet’s peasants to narrative painting has also seen the move from the depiction of people as oppressed objects to passive subjects to engaged subjects. It seems that the opposite happens with expressionist depictions – a shift from the subject to the object. By objectifying our problems, bad leaders etc a certain distancing is achieved. Images of unity in mass demonstrations counter media strategies of divide and rule while the subjective, up-close, prettified televised images of silver-tongued politicians need some objectification to put conservative policies and agendas into perspective. Socially and politically conscious artists counteract the controlled images of the state and find new ways of seeing by looking back to images and forms of the past while at the same time searching for new methods of depicting the problems of the present.

Notes:

[1] James Christen Steward et alWhen Time Began to Rant and Rage: Figurative Painting from Twentieth-Century Ireland (London: Merrell Holberton Publishers, 1999) p.22
[2] Crawford Art Gallery, Whipping the Herring: Survival and Celebration in Ninteenth-Century Irish Art (Cork: Gandon Editions, 2006) p.37
[3] Crawford Art Gallery, Whipping the Herring: Survival and Celebration in Nineteenth-Century Irish Art (Cork: Gandon Editions, 2006) p.28
[4] Crawford Art Gallery, Whipping the Herring: Survival and Celebration in Nineteenth-Century Irish Art (Cork: Gandon Editions, 2006) p.27

Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is an Irish artist who has exhibited widely around Ireland. His work consists of paintings based on cityscapes of Dublin, Irish history and geopolitical themes (http://gaelart.net/). His blog of critical writing based on cinema, art 

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How Close Are We to Nuclear War?

juillet 28th, 2016 by William Boardman

“I believe that the risk of a nuclear catastrophe today is greater than it was during the Cold War – and yet our public is blissfully unaware of the new nuclear dangers they face.” – William J. Perry, U.S. Defense Secretary (1994-1997), January 2016

Former Bill Clinton cabinet member Perry perceives a danger that none of this year’s presidential wannabes have paid much if any attention to. The most recent candidate to make nuclear arms a central issue was Congressman Dennis Kucinich in 2008. President Obama has played both sides of the nuclear dilemma: rounding up and securing nuclear materials around the world, but also modernizing and miniaturizing American nuclear weapons to make them more “usable.” These days, no one in leadership – or aspiring to leadership – seems committed to actually making the world any safer from nuclear catastrophe. With rare exceptions like Kucinich, this unquestioned reliance on nuclear weapons is mainstream American military group-think, endlessly echoed in mainstream media, and that’s the way it’s been for decades.

In November 2015, William J. Perry published “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink” with Stanford University Press, a short book (234 pages) with a global warning that goes unheeded and almost unmentioned in out denial-drenched culture. A quick Google search turns up no reviews of the book – none – in mainstream media. Pro forma book trade reviews by outfits like Kirkus or Publishers Weekly or Amazon make Perry’s book sound pretty bland and boring, but then so does the publisher’s own blurb. It’s as if these people are saying: yes, we know there’s a pack of wolves in the woods, and that’s not necessarily such a good thing, but we don’t want to be accused of crying wolf, and besides we’ve got our own wolves at home, and they’re trim and well fed, and they haven’t attacked anybody since 1945, so why is anyone worried?

That’s Perry’s point, of course, that nobody’s worried – worse: “our people are blissfully unaware.” He doesn’t go on to argue that our people are deliberately kept unaware by a government and media pyramid that manages public consciousness for its own ends. Listen, Perry was free to publish his book, people are free not to read it, what more can one ask? That’s the nature of repressive tolerance.

“A Stark Nuclear Warning”

California governor Jerry Brown reviewed Perry’s book in the New York Review of Books for July 14, 2016, under the headline: “A Stark Nuclear Warning.” William J. Perry spent an adult lifetime working in the world of nuclear weapons. Perry has long expressed his concern that the detonation of just one nuclear weapon could produce a “nuclear catastrophe … that could destroy our way of life.” Perry has been a manager of nuclear weapons “deterrence,” which he now considers “old thinking.” The fact that deterrence hasn’t failed for more than 70 years is not evidence that the policy is successful. In Perry’s view, nuclear weapons do not provide security for anyone, and the more nuclear weapons there are in more and more and more hands, the more they endanger us all.

In his review, Brown tried to break through the complacent collective quiet in response to the bipartisan American nuclear risk-taking that Perry objects to:

… as a defense insider and keeper of nuclear secrets, he is clearly calling American leaders to account for what he believes are very bad decisions, such as the precipitous expansion of NATO, right up to the Russian border, and President George W. Bush’s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, originally signed by President Nixon.

Twenty years of American stealth aggression against Russia, particularly in Ukraine and Georgia, is only the most obvious flashpoint, though perhaps not the most dangerous one. Another obvious and over-hyped threat comes from North Korea. Most countries in the world don’t have nuclear weapons, and don’t want them. Even Iran is in that group, thanks to the multi-national deal that Perry wholeheartedly approves. But in the Middle East, what threat might seem serious enough to persuade Israel – or France – to launch a nuclear strike against the Islamic State? How long will India and Pakistan, already at proxy war in Afghanistan, maintain their uneasy standoff? And how secure is the Pakistani arsenal from an Islamist government in Islamabad? Will Turkey somehow get its hands on the NATO nuclear weapons at the air base at Incirlik (still under virtual siege more than a week after the failed coup)?

And then there’s China, which is not in the habit of nuclear saber-rattling. As if the U.S. weren’t risking enough in its perennial confrontation with Russia, in recent years the American “pivot to Asia” has begun to look like the early stages of another game of nuclear chicken.

How many nuclear detonations would create a global wasteland?

Nobody really knows how many nuclear explosions it would take to bring on nuclear winter or create the radioactive conditions to kill millions of not billions of people. Probably it would take more than ten, although ten would have a devastating impact. Maybe fewer than a hundred nuclear attacks could destroy the world as we know it. Not to worry, there are thousands at the ready around the world. The U.S. and Russia, and maybe others, have massive numbers of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert – believed to be a necessary element of nuclear deterrence.

Rhetorically, President Obama has called for the elimination of nuclear weapons, but as a practical matter the Obama administration has reduced the American nuclear arsenal by the smallest amount in 36 years – less than any amount under Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush, or Reagan. Under President Obama, the U.S. has maintained its aggressive policy against Russia, with one consequence being a new nuclear arms race on which the Obama administration wants to spend $1 trillion to make mass killing easier to achieve in smaller increments. No candidate for President has challenged this nuclear orthodoxy, not even Jill Stein of the Green Party.

The world has more than 15,000 nuclear weapons ready-to-use by common estimate, with enough Uranium and Plutonium available to make more than 100,000 more. The U.S. has more than 4,500 nuclear weapons, Russia about 7,000, and the other nuclear weapons states have “only” a few hundred each at most (except North Korea, with a few to none). Israel, India, Pakistan, and South Sudan are the only three countries in the world that have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of 1970.

And what might we expect from the next American President?

Republican Donald Trump seems to have published no formal policy on nuclear weapons or foreign policy. In interviews, Trump has indicated a dislike of nuclear proliferation, but has also said it’s probably “going to happen anyway,” and maybe the U.S. “may very well be better off” if countries like Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea had their own nuclear weapons. He implied a willingness to use nuclear weapons against the Islamic State, or even in Europe under undefined circumstances: “I’m not going to take it off the table.” He also told the New York Times on July 20 that if Russia, for no particular reason, attacked one of the Baltic states, he’d want to make sure that they “have fulfilled their obligations to us” before coming to their defense. He did not address the U.S. treaty obligations under NATO. He has called for re-negotiating treaties that he says are too expensive for the U.S. But, in an odd and perhaps inadvertent way, his answer on the Baltic states speaks indirectly to the 20-year madness of putting Russia’s neighboring countries into the hostile NATO alliance. Trump has also spoken of pulling back forward deployments of American forces around the world, including elements of nuclear deterrence.

Democrat Hillary Clinton has called Trump’s positions “truly scary.” Clinton has indicated her willingness to use nuclear weapons – “massive retaliation” – against Iran in defense of Israel. She has expressed but limited support and limited opposition to the Obama administration plan to spend $1 trillion upgrading the U.S. nuclear arsenal. In an ad falsely claiming she was responsible for “securing a massive reduction in nuclear weapons,” Clinton has over-stated the impact of the new START treaty, which has been minimal in reducing nuclear weapons. As Secretary of State, Clinton appointed an utterly unqualified political donor to the International Security Advisory Board dealing with nuclear weapons. Clinton, like Trump, seems to have published no formal foreign policy on nuclear weapons of foreign policy. She has opposed the idea of Japan having its own nuclear arsenal, while at the same time falsely saying Trump “encouraged” the idea.

Where is the candidate who speaks truthfully of reality?

In an address at the University of Sydney in March 2016, titled “A World War Has Begun,” Australian journalist John Pilger argued that Hillary Clinton is more dangerous than Donald Trump. At the heart of Pilger’s argument is his perception of President Obama:

In 2009, President Obama stood before an adoring crowd in the centre of Prague, in the heart of Europe. He pledged himself to make “the world free from nuclear weapons”. People cheered and some cried. A torrent of platitudes flowed from the media. Obama was subsequently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

It was all fake. He was lying.

The Obama administration has built more nuclear weapons, more nuclear warheads, more nuclear delivery systems, more nuclear factories. Nuclear warhead spending alone rose higher under Obama than under any American President.

Clinton has pledged, forcefully but selectively, to “defend President Obama’s accomplishments and build upon them.” In this written statement, Clinton makes no mention of nuclear weapons, defense spending, or U.S. military deployments on Russia’s borders (among other omissions). Pilger has that covered:

In the last eighteen months, the greatest build-up of military forces since World War Two – led by the United States – is taking place along Russia’s western frontier. Not since Hitler invaded the Soviet Union have foreign troops presented such a demonstrable threat to Russia….

In Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – next door to Russia – the US military is deploying combat troops, tanks, heavy weapons. This extreme provocation of the world’s second nuclear power is met with silence in the West.

Those who don’t speak up are complicit in silence

In 1996, Secretary of Defense William J. Perry was the only member of President Clinton’s cabinet who got it right, including the President himself. Perry was the only cabinet member who opposed enlarging NATO with former Soviet bloc countries. Perry was the only cabinet member then, and perhaps since, to object to the American policy of steady, stealthy, soft aggression against Russia (including the Ukraine coup) that would lead inevitably to direct confrontation between the world’s largest nuclear weapons states. Perry has called for radical change in the U.S. nuclear force structure consistent with actual deterrence, actual defense, not aggressive war. He would reduce the nuclear triad (about which Trump apparently knew nothing last October), keeping only the sea-based missiles in nuclear submarines and eliminating nuclear bombers and nuclear missiles. This would save millions of dollars and reduce the risk of accidental nuclear war. But it is heresy among the believers in faith-based nuclear policy.

And yet, in an election year, “no one is discussing the major issues that trouble Perry,” as Jerry Brown wrote: “And why does most all of official Washington disagree with him and live in nuclear denial?” In January 2016, while promoting his book, Perry wrote:

What I am really advocating is not so much a particular force structure, but a serious national discussion on this issue, the outcome of which has hugely important security and financial consequences — for the U.S. and for the world. Considering the huge costs entailed, and, even more importantly, the transcendental security issues at stake, we must not simply drift into a decision….

And yet the country drifts on, blissfully unaware, and it’s a mystery why a man as accomplished and respected as Perry has not done more to wake the country out of its sleepwalking incomprehension. But it may be a tragedy that we have neither a President nor a would-be President who would or could confront our potentially fatal collective denial.

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

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