The International Monetary Fund has revised down its estimates for the US and other advanced economies for this year while maintaining its forecast for global growth as a whole at the low level of 3.1 percent in its latest World Economic Outlook report released yesterday.

It said the major economies would grow by just 1.6 percent this year compared to 2.1 percent in 2015, down from the forecast of 1.8 percent growth made last July. The most significant decline in the US where the IMF cut its July forecast of 2.2 percent growth to just 1.6 percent following what it said was a “disappointing first half caused by weak business investment” and a rundown of inventories.

It said the euro area would expand 1.7 percent this year and 1.5 percent next year compared to 2 percent growth in 2015. Growth in Japan, the world’s third largest economy, would be only 0.5 percent this year and 0.6 percent in 2017. Growth in the UK economy is forecast to be 1.8 percent this year, falling to 1.1 percent in 2017, compared to growth to 2.2 percent in 2015.

Growth in the Chinese economy, the world’s second largest, is forecast to be 6.6 percent this year, falling to 6.2 percent in 2017, compared to growth of 6.9 percent in 2015.

Falling growth in the major economies is offset to some extent by growth in so-called emerging market and developing economies, which is forecast to rise for the first time in six years to 4.2 percent this year, up from the forecast of 4.1 percent in July, and then increase to 4.6 percent in 2017.

Summarising the outlook, the IMF’s economic counsellor Maurice Obstfeld said: “Taken as a whole, the world economy has moved sideways. Without determined policy action to support economic activity over the short and longer terms, sub-par growth at recent levels risks perpetuating itself through the negative economic and political forces it is unleashing.”

On the economic front those forces include the emergence of the “deflationary cycle” in which “weak demand and deflation reinforce each other” giving rise to a “deflationary trap” in which interest rates, already close to zero, cannot stimulate the economy,” according to the WEO.

An IMF discussion note, co-authored by Obstfeld and released on the eve of the report, warned that downside risks were high, confidence in a sustainable recovery low and, with interest rates at the lower bound, “a deflationary cloud threatens as weak growth looms.”

In his remarks on the WEO, Obstfeld pointed to the political impact of slow growth and rising inequality in the eight years since the global financial crisis of 2008. “The slow and incomplete recovery from crisis has been especially damaging in those countries where the distribution of income has been skewed sharply towards the highest earners leaving little room for those with lower incomes to advance,” he said.

The main factor in the growth of income and wealth inequality, above all in the advanced economies, has been the policies of “quantitative easing” by the world’s major central banks. With the full support of the IMF, they have pumped trillions of dollars into the financial system, enabling rampant speculation, parasitism and the accumulation of unprecedented wealth on the heights of society, while living standards and social conditions have been slashed through a combination of lower wages and cuts in social services.

According to Obstfeld, the consequence of this economic development was a “political movement that blames globalisation for all woes and seeks to wall off the economy from global trends rather than engage cooperatively with foreign nations. Brexit is only one example of this.” Protectionist trade measures have been on the rise across the world, he said.

However, to blame the rise of protectionist measures on a movement of resentment and hostility from below over rising social inequality is completely false. The drive toward protectionism is being organised from above as the governments and ruling classes of the major capitalist powers, confronted by a contracting world economy, take action against their rivals.

As the World Trade Organisation and other international trade bodies have noted, protectionist measures have significantly increased over the past two years, mainly as a result of actions initiated by the governments of the major countries. This has taken place despite repeated declarations at the G-20 summit meetings that the lessons of the 1930s, when such beggar-thy neighbour policies helped fuel the drive to war, have been learned.

The conflict over the $14 billion fine imposed by the US Department of Justice against Deutsche Bank was a political initiative aimed at weakening, if not completely crippling, Germany’s only significant international bank. This prompted claims from leading German politicians that the US was waging “economic warfare” against Germany and that the US had a “long tradition” of waging what amounted to trade war “if it benefits their own economy.”

The move on Deutsche Bank followed in the wake of the European Union decision to impose a €13 billion back tax claim on Apple, prompting strident denunciations from US business leaders, and the virtual scuttling of the US-backed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership by Germany and France.

The release of the WEO was preceded by a series of warnings from leading economic commentators about the direction of the global economy and its implications for world politics.

According to the Brookings Institution-Financial Times tracking index, growth rates for the world economy were “sliding back into the morass [they have] been stuck in for some time.”

Brookings Institution economist Eswar Prasad said most of the world could be described as having “weak investment, stagnant productivity and tepid private sector confidence.” With little prospect of a spontaneous recovery or any new stimulus “ a strong adverse feedback loop has been set in with low growth, fragile business and consumer confidence, low interest rates, trade tensions and political instability feeding into and reinforcing each other.”

Writing in the Financial Times, Mohamed El-Erian, the chief economic adviser to the financial firm Allianz, warned that the “new normal” of the past seven years was unsustainable. The consequences of low growth went far beyond today’s forgone economic opportunities because the longer they persist “the more they eat away at the potential for future growth” as investment plans are shelved.

“The ‘new normal’,” he concluded, “is coming to an end. The reason is simple: it has lasted for so long that it is now breeding the causes of its own destruction.”

Former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia Stephen Roach, now a lecturer at Yale, took aim at the policies of the central banks. Their approach led to an “insidious connection” between monetary policies, financial markets and asset-dependent economies which had led to the meltdown of 2008-2009 and “could well sow the seeds of another crisis”

“Central bankers desperately want the public to believe they know what they are doing. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

The lack of response to zero interest rates was “strikingly reminiscent of the so-called ‘liquidity trap’ of the 1930s, when central banks were also ‘pushing on a string’.” But having depleted their traditional arsenal long ago, central bankers remained “myopically focused on devising new tools, rather than owning up to the destructive role their old tools played in sparking the crisis.”

The drawing of a parallel between present conditions and those of the 1930s is not misplaced. The stagnation in the world economy and the failure of the ruling elites to devise any measures to turn it around is fuelling the rise of geo-political tensions and conflicts, which, in turn, impact on the world economy. Coupled with the rise of militarism, these processes point inexorably in the direction of war.

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La capitulation idéologique en rase campagne de Khaled Mecha’al.

Khaled Mecha’al, dirigeant du Hamas, s’est livré à une confession publique, samedi 24 septembre 2016 à Doha, dans un exercice d’autocritique qui s’est apparenté à une capitulation idéologique en rase campagne du chef politique de la branche palestinienne des Frères Musulmans, artisan de la déconfiture du mouvement islamiste palestinien.

Celui qui se rêvait en destin de Libertador qui s’est révélé un fossoyeur de la cause palestinienne, a pris prétexte d’un colloque organisé par le «Centre des Etudes d’Al Jazira», pour se livrer à une confession publique sur «les erreurs» du Hamas durant la séquence dite du «printemps arabe».

Premier exercice du genre depuis sa bévue stratégique de son exil à Doha, l’autocritique de Khaled Mécha’al est apparue à bon nombre d’observateurs comme le prélude à son dégagement du leadership du mouvement islamiste palestinien.

Voici la liste des erreurs admises par Khaled Mécha’al :

1 ère erreur : «Hamas a commis une erreur en monopolisant le pouvoir à Gaza après sa rupture avec le Fatah, dans la foulée de sa victoire électorale en 2006…

2 ème erreur : «L’erreur de penser que l’ère du Fatah, (la matrice des formations de la guérilla palestinienne) était révolue et que l’ère du Hamas débutait. Sur la base de cette fausse estimation, nous avons commis l’erreur de chercher à les évincer.

3 ème erreur : «Le mouvement islamique a commis l’erreur de surestimer son importance dans la séquence dite du «printemps arabe», faisant preuve d’un manque d’expérience en ce domaine, d’un manque d’informations précises, ce qui a provoqué une perturbation dans nos rapports avec nos partenaires».

4 ème erreur : Réaffirmation du principe de la non ingérence dans les conflits qui agitent la région. «Nous nous rangeons du côté des peuples, en faveur de la stabilité de la nation, en prenant en considération nos intérêts et les impératifs de notre combat en tant que Mouvement de Libération Nationale et de Mouvement de Résistance. En cas de conflits d’intérêt, nous devons nous ranger du côté de nos principes».

En 2012, à l’expiration de son 2eme mandat, le chef politique de la branche palestinienne de la confrérie des Frères Musulmans a avoué à Abdel Bari Atwane, directeur du journal en ligne «Ar Rai Al Yom», lors d’un entretien en Turquie, qu’il ne «souhaitait pas briguer un 3eme mandat, mais qu’il a dû postuler à la demande pressante du Mohammad Morsi, à l’époque président néo-islamiste d’Égypte, du président turc Reccep Tayeb Erdogan et de Youssef Qaradawi, le milliardaire mufti de l’Otan basé à Qatar.

L’influent journaliste arabe d’origine palestinienne a révélé cet épisode dans son compte rendu de la confession sur ce lien:

Commentant la confession télévisée de l’exilé de Doha, Abdel Bari Atwane a jugé qu’elle pêchait par certaines omissions, énumérant ses principaux griefs à l’encontre du mouvement palestinien:

1er grief : «Hamas a non seulement cherché à monopoliser le pouvoir à Gaza et ne s’est pas contenté d’évincer le Fatah mais à évincer également la plupart des autres formations palestiniennes, qui constituent la majorité du peuple palestinien».

2eme grief : Hamas a cherché à traiter uniquement avec les formations islamistes, un comportement d’un grand sectarisme: «Au plus fort de l’euphorie dans leur phase ascendante du «printemps arabe», les islamistes avaient veillé à éliminer toute discordance au sein de l’opinion, ne tolérant la moindre critique. Il est judicieux que «Mecha’al ait demandé à ses partisans islamistes de respecter les critiques formulées à l’égard du Hamas».

3eme grief : La plus grande erreur réside dans le comportement du Hamas de ne pas admettre le principe du «partenariat» dans la gestion des affaires publiques. Ce comportement est aberrant et «non les erreurs d’appréciation, le manque d’expérience et d’informations précises».

4eme grief : «Le fait d’émettre des fatwas frappant d’apostasie des dirigeants arabes, dans le but de servir les menées militaires étrangères contre les pays arabes, ou de décréter le +Jihad+ en Syrie».

5eme grief : «Fermer l’ambassade de Syrie au Caire, tout en maintenant ouverte l’ambassade israélienne», sous la mandature Morsi.

«Khaled Mécha’al aurait fait preuve de courage en mentionnant ces graves erreurs, en mentionnant en outre la provenance de son arsenal militaire, certainement pas des pays auxquels il s’est rallié (Qatar, Arabie Saoudite, Turquie), en gardant surtout présent à l’esprit le fait que la CAUSE PALESTINIENNE DOIT SE PLACER AU DESSUS DES DIVISIONS INTERNES ET DES DISSENSIONS CONFESSIONNELLES CAR LA CAUSE PALESTINIENNE EST, EN PREMIER LIEU, LA CAUSE DES ARABES, DES MUSULMANS, ENFIN UNE CAUSE INTERNATIONALE.

L’auto-critique explicite d’un dirigeant du hamas, la branche palestinienne des frères musulmans.

Anticipant ce dégagement, Ahmad Youssef, ancien conseiller politique d’Ismail Haniyeh, a pointé sans ambages les erreurs du Hamas, spécifiant les erreurs que l’exilé de Doha a omis de mentionner:

«Le Hamas a considéré que l’heure des Frères Musulmans avait sonné avec la conquête du pouvoir dans plusieurs pays arabes au début du printemps arabe et qu’il importait en conséquence de s’adapter au nouveau contexte de manière à se conformer à la nouvelle carte géopolitique de la zone», a-t-il déclaré.

«Les islamistes en Égypte et en Palestine n’ont pas fait preuve de lucidité politique» lors de leur accession au pouvoir, a-t-il ajouté lors de son interview au quotidien libanais «Al Akhbar», en date du 9 juin 2016, soit quinze jours après la proposition du tunisien Rached Ghannouchi de séparer le politique du religieux.

Voici les passages importants de cette interview dont le texte intégral pour le lecteur arabophone est sur ce lien :

«Le dossier syrien a été le plus difficile à gérer car cette affaire s’est répercutée sur nos relations avec l’Iran et le Hezbollah, avec lesquels nous sommes liés par des liens historiques de solidarité. Hamas a pâti dans cette affaire; Ce fut une véritable perte pour Hamas».

«Avec l’éviction de Mohammad Morsi, nous avons perdu l’Égypte. Mais nous devons néanmoins préserver nos relations avec ce pays, dont nous n’oublions pas sa contribution au combat pour la Palestine, notamment le lourd tribut payé par Nasser en ce domaine.

«La Palestine est la question centrale du combat de la Oumma et nous nous devons de maintenir une égale distance dans nos rapports avec les capitales arabes et islamiques.

«L’incapacité du Hamas à se concilier les autres forces, de même que le blocus dont il a fait l’objet tant de la part des Israéliens que des autres états, ont quasiment paralysé sa capacité à gouverner.

Selon des informations de la presse fiable arabe, Khaled Mécha’al devrait dégager son poste en 2017. Parmi les candidats les plus sérieux à sa succession le nom d’Ismail Hanniyeh a été avancé.

Le premier ministre de Gaza, sous contrôle du Hamas, est en effet le seul dirigeant sunnite à ne pas avoir déserté le champ de bataille, contrairement à son collègue Khaled Mécha’al, à Saad Hariri, chef du clan saoudo américain au Liban ou encore d’Ahmad Al Assir, la dague salafiste libanaise du Qatar sur le flanc du Hezbollah libanais.

Contrairement aussi et surtout à Hassan Nasrallah, le chef de la formation paramilitaire chiite, seul dirigeant de mouvement de libération arabe à n’avoir jamais déserté le combat, victorieux en Syrie face aux djihadistes takfiristes et au sud-Liban face à Israël.

Le dégagement de Khaled Mécha’al devrait permettre de tourner la désastreuse page des dérives stratégiques du Hamas, sans précédent dans les annales des Guerres de Libération Nationale. Il pourrait ouvrir la voie dune manière subséquente à un recentrage de sa politique en direction de ses anciens alliés naturels, notamment l’Iran et le Hezbollah.

Une normalisation complète des relations du Hamas avec «l’axe de la résistance» demeurera tributaire, en dernier ressort, de l’accord du président syrien Bachar Al Assad, son ancien hôte, lequel vient de bénéficier d’un soutien de taille de la part du Maréchal Abdel Fattah Al Sissi, président de l’Égypte, son ancien partenaire des guerres israélo-arabes, de surcroît le plus implacable adversaire de la Confrérie des Frères musulmans dans le Monde arabe.

Une normalisation complète des relations entre le Hamas et les contestataires à l’ordre hégémonique israélo-américano-saoudien présuppose, en tout état de cause, un retour aux fondamentaux du combat arabe et la répudiation de la stratégie pétromonarchique-atlantiste.

René Naba

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Illustration : Khaled Mechaal à Amman, Jordanie, le 4 septembre 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

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L’Arab project in Iraq, un groupe de lobbyistes irakiens dirigé par Najeh al-Meezan, va demander au Parlement de Bagdad de voter une loi permettant aux Irakiens de réclamer des compensations aux Etats-Unis pour les «exactions » commises dans leur pays par les troupes américaines, les contractors et les escadrons de la mort créés par la CIA.

L’initiative prise par l’Arab project in Iraq fait suite au vote de la loi JASTA(Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act), le 28 septembre dernier, par les deux chambres du Congrès US. Cette loi permet notamment aux familles victimes des attentats du 11 septembre 2001 d’engager des poursuites contre l’Arabie saoudite « soupçonnée » d’avoir aidé les pirates de l’air ayant écrasé leur avion sur les tours du World Trade Center (15 des 19 terroristes étaient de nationalité saoudienne). Le nom du prince Bandar, alors ambassadeur d’Arabie à Washington, proche de George W. Bush et de Dick Cheney, est cité dans les 28 pages, déclassifiées en juillet 2016, du rapport de la Commission d’enquête sur les attentats.

En 2007, l’Opinion Research Business (ORB) a estimé à 1 220 580 le nombre des victimes civiles en Irak, actualisant l’étude de chercheurs de l’Université Johns Hopkins – publiée un an plus tôt par le journal médical britannique The Lancet – qui en avait décompté plus de 600 000. Au-delà dela bataille sur le nombre d’Irakiens tués, on imagine le nombre de procès qui pourraient être intentés contre les Etats-Unis.

Le président Obama avait opposé son véto à la promulgation de la loi JASTA, arguant qu’elle «aurait un impact néfaste sur la sécurité nationale des Etats-Unis». Elle pourrait en effet conduire des fonctionnaires américains devant les tribunaux alors qu’ils jouissent d’une immunité judiciaire partout où les Etats-Unis interviennent militairement. Elle ne le met pas non plus à l’abri de poursuites judiciaires pour les assassinats qu’il ordonne via ses drones tueurs.

Pression de l’opinion publique et campagne électorale obligent, le Congrès a confirmé son vote, mais a laissé entendre qu’il pourrait y apporter quelques modifications plus tard. On devine lesquelles…

En attendant, l’Arab project in Iraq s’est engouffré intelligemment dans la brèche ouverte par la loi JASTA. Les députés irakiens suivront-ils ? Les agents américains qui peuplent le Parlement de Bagdad sont sans doute déjà à l’œuvre pour enterrer le projet que Najeh al-Meezan entend déposer.

Gilles Munier

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The United States blocked at the United Nations Security Council Russia’s statement on the shelling of its embassy in Damascus, Syria that took place on Monday, the representative of Russia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations told RIA Novosti.

“[The statement] was actually blocked by the US delegation, which tried to add extraneous elements in a standard in such cases text,” the permanent mission statement said.

“The British and Ukrainians clumsily played up to the Americans. It demonstrates their blatant disrespect for the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations,” the statement added.

On October 4, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported the shelling of the Russian embassy in Damascus on Monday. One of the mines exploded near a residential complex on the territory of the embassy but none of its staff was hurt.

According to the ministry statement, the embassy was shelled from the Jobar municipality controlled by Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) and Faylaq al-Rahman militant groups.

On October 3, US State Department announced in a press release that Washington was cutting off participation in bilateral channels with Russia on sustaining a ceasefire agreement in Syria, which was reached by the two countries in September.

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In the wake of breaking off bilateral talks with Moscow on efforts to achieve a truce and political settlement in Syria, the Obama administration is reportedly convening a meeting today to consider escalating US military intervention in the war-ravaged country.

The so-called Principals Committee, to be attended by the secretaries of state and defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA director, as well as top White House officials, is being convened amid an increasingly dangerous escalation of tensions between the US and Russia, the world’s two largest nuclear powers.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the meeting would consider classified proposals that include “bombing Syrian air force runways using cruise missiles and other long-range weapons fired from coalition planes and ships, as well as other acts of military aggression.”

An unnamed administration official is quoted by the Post as reporting that, in order to placate White House concerns over launching such direct military attacks against another country without authorization from the United Nations Security Council, it has been proposed that the strikes be carried out “covertly and without public acknowledgment.”

According to the official cited by the Post, both the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff have already “expressed support for such ‘kinetic’ options.” Another unnamed senior administration official told the Post that both the Pentagon and the CIA were backing such a military option because “the fall of Aleppo would undermine America’s counterterrorism goals in Syria.”

This is of course a propaganda pretext for the launching of another direct US military intervention in the Middle East. What the US military and intelligence apparatus really fears is that the Russian-backed Syrian government offensive to overrun eastern Aleppo will deprive the so-called “rebels,” who have been armed, funded and directly paid by the CIA and US regional allies—Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar—of their last stronghold in western Syria’s major population centers. This would spell a crushing reversal for the five-year-old war for regime change orchestrated by Washington.

The claim that this would “undermine America’s counterterrorism goals” only underscores the fraud of the US war on terror. The principal fighting force inside Aleppo is made up of the long-time Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda and allied Islamist militias.

While the Post article suggests that President Barack Obama will likely reject the proposal for military action, the combined pressure of the CIA and the military command may well force a shift in policy. A full meeting of the National Security Council, including the probable participation of Obama, is expected as early as next weekend, when a decision would likely be made.

At the same time, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced Tuesday that it is beefing up Russian air defense systems inside Syria, deploying an advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile battery to protect the Russian naval base in the Syrian port city of Tartus. Given that the Islamist “rebels” have no air force, such weapons systems are intended to raise the cost of any US strikes on Russian and Syrian government positions.

The breakdown of the Syrian ceasefire talks and the menacing military escalations by both sides are the product not merely of individual truce violations. On the US side, these were egregious, with the US-backed militias carrying out hundreds of attacks. Even more decisive was the September 17 US bombing of a Syrian government outpost near the town of Deir ez-Zor, which killed and wounded nearly 200 troops. While the Pentagon claimed this airstrike was an accident, Syria has charged that it was intentional. It served to blow up the ceasefire deal and prevent the implementation of a joint targeting and intelligence-sharing agreement with Russia that the US military command openly opposed.

Underlying the clashes over the ceasefire are the diametrically opposed aims pursued in Syria by US imperialism on the one hand and the Russian government of Vladimir Putin on the other. Washington is intervening in Syria not to fight terrorism or champion human rights, but to further its longstanding drive to assert unchallengeable US hegemony over the Middle East and its vast energy resources, and to deny access to both Russia and China. It is prepared to prolong the bloodshed as long as necessary to bring about regime change and prevent Russia from consolidating a government under current President Bashar al-Assad, or a successor that is amendable to Russian interests.

For its part, the Putin government sees Syria as part of a broader struggle against the US drive to militarily encircle Russia. It fears that a successful US regime-change operation in Syria would serve as a stepping stone toward direct intervention in Russia, including through the unleashing of CIA-funded Islamist fighters drawn from Russia’s Caucasus region. A US-backed client regime in Damascus could help funnel such separatist forces, already trained on the Syrian battlefield, back into Russia to serve as Western proxies in a campaign to destabilize and ultimately dismember the Russian Federation.

While there was a defensive element to Moscow’s intervention, in the final analysis it is directed at defending not the interests of the masses in either Russia or Syria, but rather those of the ruling oligarchy that seized its wealth and power in the criminal operations that accompanied the Stalinist bureaucracy’s restoration of capitalism and dissolution of the Soviet Union a quarter century ago. The methods being utilized in Syria, including in the bloody siege of Aleppo, reflect those class interests.

At the same time, the denunciation on the part of the US government of the loss of civilian life in the Russian-Syrian bombing of Aleppo is utterly hypocritical. After 15 years of waging aggressive war in the Middle East at the cost of over a million deaths and the destruction of entire societies, Washington is the last one to deliver lectures on “war crimes.”

Moreover, there is ample indication that the US military is itself preparing operations that will prove as bloody and punishing as the current siege of Aleppo. UN officials estimate that as many as a million people may be driven from their homes in a US-backed Iraqi offensive, expected as early as next month, against the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which is under the control of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS).

Washington’s NATO ally in the region, Turkey, has issued public warnings about the upcoming Mosul offensive. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim described US plans as “dangerous,” adding, “Our partners’ plans for the Mosul operation are not transparent.” Yildirim warned that the use of Shia and Kurdish militias to take the city would “lead to a new fire being stoked in the region.”

Friction between Ankara and Washington has mounted in relation to the US use of Syrian Kurdish separatist militias as their main proxy force in northern Syria. Turkey is determined to drive back the Kurdish forces and prevent them from consolidating an autonomous territory on Turkey’s border.

Prime Minister Yildirim vowed that Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield, which sent troops into Syria beginning at the end of August, would continue in order to drive back the US-backed Kurdish forces and carve out a 5,000-square-kilometer “safe zone” around El-Bab in the north of Syria.

Separately, another Turkish official, Defense Minister Fikri Isik, commented Wednesday that in the event of a major US-Russian confrontation in Syria, “Turkey always protects its own interests.”

Russian President Putin is scheduled to meet with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Turkey on October 10, the first such visit since Turkish warplanes shot down a Russian jet on the Turkish-Syrian border in November 2015.

Turkey’s tensions with Washington and pursuit of its own regional ambitions in Syria only serve to heighten the geopolitical tensions that could turn the Syrian war for regime change into a new world war.

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Set aside 2 minutes to read this and watch a 20 minute video. It will truly astonish you, no matter how cynical you may be when it comes to the so-called ‘war on terror’, Iraq, Syria and many other conflicts around the world.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was a British Ambassador. While Ambassador to Uzbekistan he accused the Karimov administration of human rights abuses, which he argued was a step against the wishes of the British government. Murray complained to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in November 2002, again in early 2003 and in June 2004 that intelligence linking the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to al-Qaeda was unreliable, immoral and illegal, as it was thought to have been obtained through torture. He described this as “selling our souls for dross”. He was subsequently removed from his ambassadorial post on 14 October 2004 by Tony Blair’s government.

The UK sent ground troops into Sierra Leone during a bitter civil war, yet has neglected to intervene in either Sudan or Zimbabwe, two countries of greater repression and suffering; and now Syria is left unaided despite the military support in Libya – British and American citizens are not privy to the truth.

Murray exposes the plan to build a gas pipeline over Afghanistan when George W Bush signed the construction deal whilst his father George H Bush was a member of the board of the pipeline construction company.In this video, Murray talks about how the same people turn out to be behind the same wars in very different parts of the world. In part, he talks about how the USA was in collusion with some of the most dreadful dictatorships in the world whilst the CIA were using them for ‘extraordinary rendition’ or torture programmes. The reasons for these alliances were that U.S. companies were monopolising the natural resources of entire countries. But there’s more to it than that.

Murray continues with his experience negotiating the peace talks in war-torn Sierra Leone which Britain subsequently invaded. He explains why ‘humanitarian’ military intervention is a lie and why diplomacy doesn’t work because of powerful individuals in the background with a different agenda.

What is startling about Murray’s revelations is that Tony Blair’s war in Sierra Leone was nothing to do with humanitarian intervention and everything to do with money, no matter what the consequences. This may not surprise you given what we now know about Blair. What might surprise you though is that Murray goes on to accuse individuals in senior government positions with the power to make decisions who were also board members of private companies set to benefit from those decisions. One individual in the U.S. State Dept who was supposedly negotiating a peace deal was also the chair of a resource company that had serious financial interests, where war benefited his company, whilst at the same time being the founding partner of another company that devised the extraordinary rendition or torture programme being conducted in that same country. Murray names the guilty.

There is another revelation in this short video that should utterly astound everyone about Tony Blair’s war in Sierra Leone. Murray makes the case that a senior member of Blair’s government, the Secretary of State for International Development at the time was also a member of the board of Sierra Leone’s only titanium mine.  Murray names and accuses this individual of refusing the resources (along with the American’s) to help make the Sierra Leone peace deal work, which culminated in Britain’s (what turned out to be a pre-planned) invasion and the subsequent deaths of countless thousands. Ironically, this person is today the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, is now a Life Peer, Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council.

Murray finishes off with a few words about why peaceful resolution of conflicts around the world will not stop whilst western countries retain their current political and economic power structures. He suggests that a tiny number of evil people truly aspire to gain total domination of the world’s resources and are at the centre of much of the needless death and destruction across the planet.

Watch the video, it is truly breathtaking.

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Droning Julian Assange and Wikileaks: The Clinton Formula

octobre 5th, 2016 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

“We believe in what we are doing… If you are pushed you push back.”

Julian Assange

The mutterings have become furious, and it is clear that the Democratic contender for the White House has again shown how traditional her ploys towards power are going to be.  Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have again managed to pull the blinds off an episode of some consequence, not least because it casts insight into the inner workings of the already maligned Clintoncomplex.

For one, it shows that Hillary Clinton will not be averse to muddying the waters of international law she is so happy to proclaim against Russia, China and other contesting bug bears.  For another, it does not suggest that a Clinton administration is going to go soft on whistleblowers, or the secrecy complex.  The latter is richly ironic given the Secretary’s own slap dash attitude to secrecy protocols when heading the State Department.

The latest WikiLeaks related fuss began a few days ago with the publication on True Pundit that claimed, referring to “State Department Sources” that Clinton had queried the use of a drone to silence the growing nuisance of Assange before the document release that came to be known as Cablegate.[1]

The “early morning November meeting [in 2010] of State’s [the State Department] top brass” has Clinton posing the question: “Can’t we just drone this guy?” This was suggested by True Pundit as being a product of pure frustration, one increased in vain attempts to “cut off Assange’s delivery of the cables” and failing that, forging “a strategy to minimize the administration’s public embarrassment over the contents of the cables.”

Was such a blood thirsty query made in jest, the normalised, crude product of a culture already used to remotely directed extra-judicial assassinations?  The report claims otherwise. Initial, dismissive laughter from officials in the room “quickly died off” before the terse manner of the Secretary.  “Clinton said that Assange, after all, was a relatively soft target, ‘walking around’ freely and thumbing his nose without any fear of reprisals from the United States.”

Such casual talk about eliminating a designated enemy of theUnited States should be of little surprise.  Classified emails (yes, those emails) were of particular interest to the FBI in its own criminal investigation into Secretary Clinton’s butter fingered handling of classified information.

A number touched on the approval process for drone strikes, executed by the Central Intelligence Agency in Pakistan,Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.  Only a few of these were ever rejected by Clinton.  Even more dire, many, notably those touching on attacks in Pakistan, found their way onto her personal email account.[2]

The retorts to these allegations have been far from convincing, having much the effect of flogging by damp lettuce.  (In a campaign featuring such characters as Clinton and Trump, these could never be any other way.)  Clinton’s campaign manager, Robbie Mook, began to see allies of Trump coming out of every cyber nook and cranny.

Donald Trump and his allies are trying to do everything they can to change the debate here right now. Donald Trump failed at the debate, he became increasingly unwound, was tweeting at 3 a.m., making wild accusations of his own against the former Miss Universe and against Hillary Clinton. [3]

For Mook, Trump’s arsenal, supplemented by assistance from his allies (these are not necessarily elaborated with any distinction), had to “find some way to change this up, and they’re trying to do that by doubling down on conspiracy theories.”

Having drawn a web around his own conspiracy theory of compliance, slotting WikiLeaks, by innuendo and suggestion, into a Trump universe, he had to contend with the direct allegations about the drone strike.  The lettuce started looking damper than ever. “I’m reticent to comment on anything that the WikiLeaks people have said. They’ve made a lot of accusations in the past.”

Many of these accusations have had the rather brutal semblance of truth to them, not to mention the previous spectacular of the DNC disclosures.  These did not reveal so much a conspiracy of theory, but of solid fact in efforts, ruthlessly contrived, to eliminate Bernie Sanders as a threat to the Clinton campaign.

WikiLeaks has been thrilling, horrifying and agitating its audiences with the top hits of disclosure over the ten years it has been in existence. On Tuesday, the organisation celebrated 10 years of an often heady existence, which comprised the release of over ten million classified documents.

It was fitting that this pearler, featuring such a recurring figure of notoriety as Hillary Clinton, should surface at this moment of commemoration.  Clinton’s campaign coven have been less than convincing in denying this point. This stands to reason, given that previous denials have tended to vanish before the onslaught of reality.

Like many previous WikiLeaks revelations, it will be up to voters, opinion makers, and the chattering classes to decide what this means.  In the case of Tunisia, these assisted the first disruptions that came to be known as the Arab Spring.  In the case of the United States, it may harden pre-existing sentiment, the sort fairly immune to any revelations, however grotesque.

A Trump in the White House sends shivers down the spine and turns the stomach of many a voter; but to have a Clinton there, redux of corruption, calamity and mistake, would also shock the sensible and enrage the conscionable.

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

 Notes

[1] http://truepundit.com/under-intense-pressure-to-silence-wikileaks-secretary-of-state-hillary-clinton-proposed-drone-strike-on-julian-assange/

[2] http://www.wsj.com/articles/clinton-emails-in-probe-dealt-with-planned-drone-strikes-1465509863

[3] http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/clinton-manager-reticent-to-comment-on-report-about-droning-assange/article/2603505

 

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As the Syrian Arab Army dug in for a fight against the self-declared Islamic State on September 17, they were struck by an air raid that killed 62 soldiers and injured 100 more. The culprit was a foreign military that has never been attacked by, and has not declared war on, Syria. Two weeks later, that same nation’s military killed 22 soldiers in a strike inside Somalia, another country which it had never been attacked by nor declared war on. The very next day the New York Times published a stinging editorial decrying flagrant violations of international law by an “outlaw nation.”

The Times, of course, was not referring to the perpetrator of both attacks: the United States government. Each act was a clear violation of Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter prohibiting the use of force against another nation and demanding respect for its sovereignty. But the “supreme international crime” of aggression did not merit mention in the Times, who saw something far more sinister than carrying out illegal massacres across countries and continents in the actions of “Vladimir Putin’s Outlaw State.”

Russia, according to the Times’ righteous defenders of international law, is guilty of violating “not only the rules intended to promote peace instead of conflict, but also common human decency.” The editorial board finds not only disregard for the law, but the absence of standard ethics accepted by civilized people and societies. It is a pretentious way of saying that Russia’s leaders are sociopathic, lacking the humanism and benevolence of Americans and their allies.

The cause for the Times’ outrage was the international report released last week that claims Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) was shot down and its 298 passengers and crew members killed by Ukranian rebels fighting the illegitimate government formed in the wake of the U.S.-backed coup in Kiev. The rebels in the Eastern part of Ukraine were resisting bombing and shelling in their towns and cities by fascist and neo-Nazi led militias representing a coup government which had, among other things, rescinded a language law extremely important to the mostly Russian speaking – and ethnically Russian – residents near Donbass.

The investigation claims the Buk surface-to-air missile responsible for blowing up the Malyasian passenger plane was supplied by Russia and subsequently returned to Russia. The headline in the Times was that the report “links” Russia to the deaths. It does not, however, find they participated in the attack or had any advanced knowledge of plans to kill civilians. The Times claims the report “uses strict standards of evidence and meticulously documents not only the deployment of the Russian missile system that caused the disaster but also Moscow’s continuing cover-up.” In reality, this claim could hardly be taken seriously.

RT, a news organization funded by the Russian government, notes that the report depends on unnamed witnesses, anonymous phone calls, and computer simulations. Radar data, perhaps the most reliable source of evidence, was absent from the report’s findings. The report claims U.S.-provided radar data supported its conclusion, but such data was not included as evidence. Russia provided its own data, which purportedly shows that no missile was detected in rebel-held areas.

The Times calls on the United States to pursue the “quest for accountability.” This is noticeably different than the editorial board’s tone in 1988 when the U.S. warship U.S.S. Vincennes stationed in Iranian waters shot down Iran Air Flight 655 inside Iranian airspace and killed 290 passengers and crew. In that case, there was no question the weapon belonged to the United States. Furthermore, there was no question the United States military itself blew the plane out of the sky and killed everyone on board. They admitted it. The Times called the incident a “terrible mistake” and a “blunder” committed amidst the “fog of war.” However, not everyone was so quick to accept the government’s rationalizations at face value and dismiss the incident with a shrug of the shoulders.

Colonel David R. Carlson of the U.S. Navy, who was aboard a different ship near the Vincennes at the time, revealed that he and his colleagues had nicknamed the Vincennes “Robo Cruiser” for its belligerent actions prior to incinerating a plane full of civilians. Carlson suggested that the Vincennes’ crew may have been seeking to battle test the new Aegis Combat System aboard the vessel.

Disputing that an attack on the Vincennes was inevitable, Carlson writes: “I don’t buy it… My guess was that the crew of the Vincennes felt a need to prove the viability of Aegis in the Persian Gulf, and that they hankered for an opportunity to show their stuff. This, I believe, was the climate that aided in generating the ‘fog.’ “

But the Times editorial board assures readers that the American military simply made a tragic, regrettable, mistake. Just like the editorial board nearly 30 years later would explain that the sustained, hour-long destruction of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan was caused by a “torrent of mistakes” due to “gross negligence.” Again, tragic and regrettable mistakes. Presumably no different than the U.S. government’s “mistakes” of kidnapping and torturing people never charged with crimes, hunting and killing political cadres in South Vietnam, organizing and training fascist death squads across Latin America, or killing hundreds of thousands of civilians while carpet bombing Cambodia, Laos, North Korea, Japan and Germany.

For the Times, international law is not an issue if a country has benevolent intentions, which the United States always does, naturally. No matter that the U.S. never obtained U.N. Security Council approval to wage war on Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq or Afghanistan. Or that U.S. warships had no business in participating in a war between Iraq and Iran in 1988. The U.S., due to its status as an exceptional nation, is able to be judged by its own moral criteria in place of the existing legal framework that international treaties (and its own Constitution) obligate the government to follow.

Russia, on the other hand, is a rogue state led by deranged and irrational savages. As a permanent member of the Security Council – obviously a regrettable historical accident – Russia holds a “special responsibility to uphold international law.” One would think from reading this that it was actually Russia, rather than the United States, that has used its veto on the Council far more than any other member during the last 45 years, including 42 vetoes shielding Israel from accountability for its oppression of Palestinians and aggression against neighboring countries.

The other cause for the Times’ wrath against Russia is its behavior in Syria, where “(t)here seems to be no holding Putin to account.”

The United States has no legal right to violate of the sovereignty of Syria, making any and all American military actions inside Syrian territory necessarily illegal.

Russia, on the other hand, is engaging militarily at the behest of the legitimate Syrian government, which is permissible under international law. Russia meets jus ad bellum criteria regarding whether a war is justifiable. Of course, they also have to comply with jus in bello rules regarding conduct during war.

While there is substantial evidence Russia may be in violation of international humanitarian law, absent adjudication in a court of law the evidence is merely one side of the story. The Times accuses Russia (specifically Putin) of “air attacks that have included bunker-busting bombs that can destroy underground hospitals and safety zones where civilians seek shelter” and bombing an aid convoy. Unsurprisingly, there is no substantiation of these claims, or even links provided with such accusations. The Guardian earlier this week quoted a think tank employee stating that “(c)onclusive proof that Russia is using bunker-busters may be hard to find.” The U.S. Air Force does possess such weapons, namely the 37,000 pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator, and it has been pronounced “ready” for use.

The Times also implies that Russia violated a ceasefire negotiated with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. As Gareth Porter has reported, the U.S. itself is actually responsible for sabotaging multiple ceasefires negotiated with Russia. Porter wrote in FAIR that in early April the Al Qaeda franchise in Syria, Al Nusra, along with its embedded U.S.-backed “moderate” rebels, launched an offensive intended to undermine the ceasefire, which it succeeded in accomplishing. When the Syrian government responded by counter-attacking the rebels, major media outlets, including the New York Times, erased the original jihadist attack and implicitly stated that regime bombings were responsible for the end of the ceasefire.

Last week, Porter wrote in Middle East Eye that the Pentagon had destroyed another ceasefire by attacking Syrian troops on September 17, in what the Times would undoubtedly declare another “mistake.” Porter notes that “the final blow apparently came from the Russian-Syrian side,” but this was “provoked” by the U.S. bombing. The Times, though, contends that Russia and Syria have undermined the U.S. in negotiations over an end to hostilities, rejecting reasonable American overtures in order to “continue the slaughter.”

As I have written previously, and Howard Friel and Richard Falk have extensively documented in their book The Record of the Paper, the New York Times consistently ignores international law as a matter of editorial policy in regards to the actions of the United States government. But official enemies like Russia and its president Vladimir Putin are subject to a transparently hypocritical double standard, in which accusations become facts, and international law is suddenly the gold standard by which governments and their officials should be judged.

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Note: The following paper was delivered in part at the Workers World conference on the Chinese Revolution held on August 29, 2009 in Detroit. We are republishing this document in 2016 in recognition of the 67th anniversary of the Chinese Revolution of October 1949.

Since the Chinese Revolution and the ascendancy of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in October of 1949, the role of this nation in the struggle of colonized, semi-colonized and neo-colonized countries has been tremendous. One of the significant contributions of the revolution of 1949 is that it took place in a nation that had been subjected to the domination of both British and Japanese imperialism during the 19th and 20th centuries.

China under the British was reduced to near-slave status with the vast wealth of tea and other agricultural products along with the control of its waterways falling for many decades under the control of these foreign powers. A decades-long political, military and ideological struggle provides tremendous lessons as well as inspiration to other historically colonized territories throughout the world. Colonialism and imperialism rendered China to an underdeveloped country despite its vast achievements dating back at least two thousand years in history.

With specific reference to the African continent, there had been contact with China dating at least to the first century B.C. Although opinions differ, Chinese historical accounts written by Si Machien indicate that the Emperor Wuti of the Han Dynasty dispatched envoys westward in an effort to form alliances with friendly peoples in order to develop resources in their struggles against the Huns in the north.

A number of envoys landed in countries formerly known in China as Pathia, Babylonia, Seleuid Media and Likan. It is the contention of some historian that Likan was the name given to the city of Alexandria in Egypt, which became a trading center under Greek rule and was later annexed by the Roman Empire. Later a French sinologist named Pelliot also believed that Likan was actually Alexandria. Another Chinese historian Feng Chenjun agreed with Pelliot’s conclusions regarding ancient contact with Egypt. Later Joseph Needham in his book entitled Science and Civilization in China claims that Likan was ancient Egypt.

Former President of the West African nation of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, in a speech before the First Conference of Africanist held in Accra beginning on December 12, 1962, discussed the role of Arab and Chinese explorers and scholars in chronicling African history prior to the advent of the Atlantic slave trade and colonialism. He states in this address that: « The Arabs and the Chinese discovered and chronicled a succession of powerful African kingdoms. One of these kingdoms was that of Ghana, the pomp of whose court was the admiration of that age–and also of ours. » (Speech at the Congress of Africanists, published in Revolutionary Path, 1973, p. 207)

Nkrumah continues by pointing out also that « The Chinese, too, during the T’ang dynasty (AD. 618-907), published their earliest major records of Africa. In the 18th century, scholarship connected Egypt with China; but Chinese acquaintance with Africa was not confined to knowledge of Egypt only. They had detailed knowledge of Somaliland, Madagascar and Zanzibar and made extensive visits to other parts of Africa. » (Revolutionary Path, p. 208)

In recent times during 2003, a Chinese map of Africa dating back to 1389 was uncovered in the South African Parliament. The Da Ming Hun Yi Tu, an amalgamated map of the Great Ming Empire, illustrates the shape of the African continent, including the Nile River in north and east Africa as well as the Drankensberg Mountains located in South Africa. This artifact proves that long before the western Europeans entered this far south on the continent, the Chinese had made contact and conducted geographic surveys of the territories.

Historian Fred Burke writing in 1970 pointed out that the Chinese scholar Tuan Ch’eng-shih noted during the ninth century that a region in Africa known as Po Pa Li had not been dominated by any foreign power. For whatever reason, Burke doubted direct contact between Chinese explorers and the African continent prior to the early 1400s. He believed that Chinese knowledge of Africa was gathered through intermediaries from the Arab, Indian, Malay and Indonesian peoples.

Nonetheless Burke does state that « Mogadishu, the capital of modern-day Somalia, became a major port of call for early Chinese merchants. A number of references are made to this African port in the histories of the Ming dynasty. In 1427 Mogadishu sent an ambassador to China, and three years later it is reported that a large fleet of Chinese junks dropped anchor in the harbor. Early Chinese coins and crockery have been found along the East Africa coast. » (Africa, Fred Burke, 1970)

Leading into the period of slavery and colonialism, China had limited contact with western states. However, between 1839 and 1860 the British imperial forces attacked Chinese ports and massacred untold numbers of people. This was designed to guarantee the proliferation of the opium trade which was a major source of profits for the British colonial occupation.

Within this process the British imperialists stole millions of pounds from the Chinese while taking control of Hong Kong and other territories on the mainland. They eventually took control of Chinese ports by force and made them major centers of British trade.

The Treaty of Nanking was imposed in 1842 which tied the development of China to the colonial interests of Britain. In 1857 the British through force of arms installed an Inspector General of Customs. These developments lead to the massive theft of Chinese wealth utilized for the purchase of opium. As a result the internal industries within China such as handicraft production were ruined. This created the conditions for the collapse of the Manchu government that was under bombardment from the British navy. The Chinese officials who did survive were corrupted through the opium trade that eventually eroded the civilization that had been in existence for centuries. The British ruled the region by force for almost eight decades when in 1925 the Chinese nationalists won some concessions related to the collection of tariffs.

In Africa, the colonialists had penetrated the continent beginning in the early 15th century seeking trade routes and slave labor. The establishment of colonies in the western hemisphere by Portugal, Spain, France, Holland and Britain necessitated the importation of millions of Africans as chattel labor. In 1884-85 the imperialist states met in Berlin to carve up the continent based upon their own economic and political interests. Even though slavery had been outlawed by the conclusion of the 19th century, the specter of colonialism and imperialism continued, creating the conditions for the Spanish-American war during the turn of the 19th and 20th century, the Russian-Japanese war of the same period and moreover, the World War of 1914-1918.

All during this period, anti-colonial struggles would erupt throughout imperialist-dominated territories. Greater industrialization in Russia and China would lead to upheavals. In Russia the first socialist revolution would occur in 1917. In China, the rise of the nationalist movement, trade unions and the communist party would provide opportunities for struggles against both the British imperialists and the Chinese bourgeoisie.

Unfortunately, the failure of the communist party to seize power in 1927 led to the massacres of revolutionaries. It would take an invasion of China by Japan and the displacement of British imperialism during the 1930s as well as another world war between 1939-1945 to further weaken European and Japanese imperialism creating the conditions for the eventual triumph of the Chinese revolution in 1949.

The Cold War and the Invasion of Korea

In the aftermath of World War II the struggle of colonized peoples for self-determination and independence accelerated. In Asia and Africa the war was viewed by many people as having weakened imperial centers of power in Italy, France, Britain, Japan and Germany. During the period leading up to the war in the 1930s there was an upsurge in political consciousness and activities among labor and within the African-American communities across the country.

The formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) that grew out of the major strikes in San Francisco, Minneapolis and throughout the south in 1934, began to challenge the ruling class approach to the problems of mass unemployment and displacement during the Great Depression. The Italian invasion of Ethiopia and the seizure of Spain by the fascists ignited internationalism among the African-American people.

During World War II there were challenges to the racism in the labor market through the March on Washington Movement of 1941 as well as the race riots that erupted in Detroit, Los Angeles and other cities during 1942-43. Hundreds of thousands of African Americans were drafted into the United States military and served in Europe, Africa, Asia and the South Pacific. This was true as well of peoples throughout Africa and Asia who were colonized by the French and the British but were required to serve within their militaries during an international war.

It was this process of serving within the imperialist armies in racially segregated units during the war that contributed to the radicalization that swept the colonial territories and the oppressed communities within the United States. During 1946 there was increased militancy among the African American people and other sections of the working class. The same process was taking place in Asia and Africa with the independence struggles in India that became formally free of British imperialism in 1947 and the year before with the Rand Miner’s strike in South Africa that won massive solidarity within the African American community in the United States.

In both Vietnam and Korea, the territories had won their independence from Japanese, and in the case of Vietnam, French colonialism as well, still had to face the-then dominant role of U.S. imperialism at the conclusion of the war. The French, backed by Washington, did not want to relinquish control of Vietnam and the United States sought to totally dominate the Korean peninsula. In 1949, the Chinese revolution took power under the leadership of the Communist Party. Despite the independent character of the Chinese revolution, there were two major states committed to socialism and the support of other struggles, movements and parties around the world that aspire to the ideals shared by proletarian internationalists globally.

The Chinese Communist Party through Mao Tse-tung had articluated its view of the character of the struggles of colonized and oppressed peoples as far back as 1940. Under the title of « There is no third way », a document taken from a larger worked called « On new democracy’, states that « A change occurred in the Chinese bourgeois-democratic revolution after the outbreak of the first imperialist world war in 1914, and after the founding of a socialist state on one sixth of the globe through the Russian October Revolution in 1917.

« Before these events, » the document continues, « the Chinese bourgeois-democratic revolution belonged to the category of the old bourgeois-democratic world revolution and was part of that revolution. After these events, the Chinese bourgeois-democratic revolution changed its character and now belongs to the category of the new bourgeois-democratic revolution, and, so far as the revolutionary front is concerned, forms part of the proletarian-socialist world revolution…. » (Published in Chieh-fang, 98-9, February 20, 1940)

In 1939 Mao stated in a speech that the war would inevitably weaken the imperialist states and in the long run strengthen the struggles of peoples for independence. According to this lecture « Wars between imperialism and mutual weakening of imperialisms…constitute a favorable condition for movements of popular liberation in all countries, for movements of national liberation in all countries, for China’s war of resistance, for the building of communism in the Soviet Union. From this standpoint, the darkness that reigns in the world is only provisional and the future of the world is bright. Imperialism will surely perish, and the liberation of the oppressed people and of the oppressed nations will surely be achieved…. » (Lecture delivered to cadres at Yenan, September 1939)

In 1948 with the installment of a puppet pro-U.S. government in South Korea, the struggle escalated to unite the peninsula. Kim Il-Sung led the fight against Japanese occupation through the Korean Worker’s Party that was allied with the Soviet Union. The talks between the U.S., Britain and the USSR at the conclusion of the war did not resolve the question of Korean independence and unity. When Koreans staged uprisings against the U.S.-backed regime in Seoul, their efforts were supported by the Korean People’s Army under the direction of the Worker’s Party led by Kim Il-Sung.

The United States declared these developments an invasion and dispatched additional warships to the region. The KPA in the beginning months of the war which started in June 1950 overran the puppet forces and their U.S. sponsors. After a United Nations declaration authorizing force against the DPRK, the United States led the intervention into the Korean peninsula. A counter-offensive by the UN forces threatened the existence of the DPRK as well as the sovereignty of the People’s Republic of China.

The PRC decided to directly intervene in the struggle to repel the imperialist invasion of Korea. Mao was reported to have written to Stalin saying that « If we allow the United States to occupy all of Korea, Korean revolutionary power will suffer a fundamental defeat, and the American invaders will run more rampant, and have negative effects for the entire Far East.”

As a result the People’s Volunteer Army (PVA) was formed and deployed in Korea. The subsequent events over the next two years resulted in an armistice agreement that ended the fighting but did not bring about peace. The armistice collapsed during 2008 as a result of continuing U.S. imperialist provocation and aggression against the DPRK.

The failure of U.S. imperialism to realize its goal of destroying the socialist state in the DPRK had a profound impact on the way in which the world peoples viewed the dominant power to emerge after the Second World War. In 1954, at the battle of Dien Bein Phu in Vietnam, the French colonial forces were defeated and forced to negotiate a withdrawal from this country. The U.S. under Eisenhower would continue to prop-up the reactionary forces in the south that eventually lead to what is known as the « Vietnam War » after 1961.

China and the Bandung Conference (1955)

The Afro-Asian conference in Bandung, Indonesia illustrated China’s enhanced role within the emerging forces of both continents. Chou En-lai attended the conference and diplomatically sought to counter the propaganda against communism that was being fostered by the United States and other imperialist countries in the West. Some of the leading figures in the independent movement of the governments of Africa and Asia were Nehru of India, Sukharno of Indonesia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and the still colonized, but soon to be independent, Ghana under Kwame Nkrumah.

China endorsed the resolution passed by the Bandung Conference and pledged its support to the anti-colonial struggles still being waged throughout both continents. A follow-up conference in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1961 resulted in the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). The Non-Aligned Movement still exist today and was recently chaired by revolutionary Cuba.

African-Americans, the Cold War and McCarthyism

Inside the United States, the fight against the right-wing and racist onslaughts after World War II was challenged by the left and the African-American progressive forces. The independence of the former colonial and semi-colonial territories in Asia and Africa was welcomed by anti-imperialist activists within the African-American community in the United States.

The Council on African Affairs, founded during the Great Depression to oppose colonialism and to provide political and material support to the national liberation movements in Africa, escalated its activities towards the conclusion of World War II and in its aftermath. The Council, which was led by people such as William Alphaeus Hunton, Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois, saw the national liberation movements as part and parcel of the world’s effort to end racism and economic exploitation.

Other groups such as the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) sought to highlight the fight to end institutional racism and national discrimination in the postwar period. The CRC submitted a document to the United Nations in 1951 entitled « We Charge Genocide » which chronicled the ongoing violence and repression against the African-American people.

In 1948-1949, attacks were made against leftists, many whom were members of the Communist Party and other organizations that they supported. Paul Robeson was targeted when he spoke out before Congress opposing a bill that would require Communists to register as foreign agents. Later in 1949, Robeson’s participation in the Paris Peace Conference resulted in greater repression against this accomplished artists, writer and activists. The repressive actions against Robeson coincided with the indictments of other African-American leftists in the United States during 1949-50.

 Abayomi Azikiwe with DuBois poster in background 2009

Abayomi Azikiwe with DuBois poster in background 2009

W.E.B. DuBois, who through his then companion and colleague, Shirley Graham, became more involved in the anti-imperialist and international peace movements. Graham, who was a renowned playwright, biographer and activists who worked with both the NAACP and the Communist Party, was the daughter of a Methodist minister who had known DuBois from the time she was a child. DuBois was indicted in 1950 for advocating a foreign ideology and failing to register as an agent of another state. His defense campaign was led by Shirley Graham who later became his wife.

Although DuBois was not convicted of these charges, he and Shirley Graham DuBois’ passports were seized and they came under intense scrutiny by the federal government. Both the Council on African Affairs and the Civil Rights Congress were declared subversive and forced out of existence. Leading activists within the Left and the anti-imperialist movements were forced out of their professions, sent to prison or driven into exile. It would be eight years before the DuBois’ and others like Paul Robeson would be allowed to travel outside the United States.

When the DuBois’ passports were restored, they traveled to both the Soviet Union and China. The DuBois’ were greeted by Mao Tse-tung in early 1959 during their visit to the People’s Republic of China. At a 91st birthday commemoration in China DuBois made a speech at a state-sponsored banquet which was broadcast through the national media.

On March 5, 1959, DuBois was quoted as saying that « Come to China, Africa, and look around. You know America and France and Britain to your sorrow. Now know the Soviet Union and its allied nations, but particularly know China. China is flesh of your flesh and blood of your blood. China is colored, and knows to what the colored skin in this modern world subjects its owner. In my own country for nearly a century I have been nothing but a nigger. » (« Du Bois, 91, Lauds China, » New York Times, March 5, 1959)

The Chinese Revolution and the African-American National Question, 1959-1976

After the visit of W.E.B. DuBois and Shirley Graham DuBois in 1959, other indications of the significance attributed by the Chinese revolution to the struggles waged among African-Americans, Africans and the peoples of the developing world remained evident. Inside the United States, despite the suppression of the CRC and the CAA and other groups, the civil rights movement gained greater momentum after 1955.

In 1955, the Montgomery Bus Boycott would last for a year where African-Americans led a movement of thousands that would gain national and international recognition. In 1957 the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his colleagues. This same year the first civil rights bill was passed since Reconstruction during the late 1860s and 1870s.

The state-sanctioned terror of the immediate postwar period was being broken through the civil rights movement that was led by the African-American people. Yet the U.S. government still refused to take measures that would guarantee the civil and human rights of the African-American people.

In 1960, the students took the lead in the civil rights movement with the emergence of the sit-ins that involved thousands of college and high school students largely in the segregated South. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was formed in April 1960 and continued to work in the South over the next seven years to win concessions related to access to public accommodations, jobs and voter registration.

This intensification of the civil rights struggles in the South was paralleled on the African continent and in other geo-political regions of the world. In Cuba, the July 26th Movement would seize power in early 1959 and claim the genuine political and economic independence of Cuba leading to the development of a socialist state in the Caribbean just 90 miles off the coast of the United States.

In a document entitled « The peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America should unite and drive American imperialism back to where it came from » states that on May 7 (1960), in Chengchow, Comrade Mao Tse-tung received public personages, workers for peace, trade union, youth and student delegations, and delegates from twelve African countries and regions who were then visiting China…. »

The document continues by saying that « Comrade Mao Tse-tung, on behalf of the 650 million Chinese people, expressed full sympathy and support for the heroic struggle of the African people against imperialism and colonialism. He also expressed sympathy and support for the patriotic and just struggles of the South Korean people and the Turkish people against U.S. imperialism and its running dogs. »

Then in the same publication, it notes that on the following day, May 8, Mao Tse-tung « received friends from eight Latin American countries then visiting China…. Comrade Mao Tse-tung thanked them for their friendship for the Chinese people. The Chinese people, he said, just like the Latin American people, had long suffered from imperialist oppression and exploitation. Relying on their own unity and support from the peoples of various countries, the Chinese people had carried on hard and prolonged struggles and ultimately had overthrown the rule of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism in China. The Cuban people, the people of Latin America, and the people of the whole world, he said, are all friends of the Chinese people; and imperialism and its running dogs ia our common enemy, but they are a tiny minority. » (Mao Tse-tung, 1960)

Between 1960 and 1963, the African-American struggle for civil rights and self-determination gained momentum and strength. In 1963, thousands of African-Americans engaged in mass actions throughout the north and southern regions of the United States. During the spring and summer of that year, the violent repression of the local and state governments against these demonstrations was not effectively opposed by the federal government. In Detroit in June 1963 and later in August in Washington, hundreds of thousands would march in support of the passage of a comprehensive civil rights bill and the destruction of all vestiges of racial discrimination.

Other forces within the African-American nation would emerge alongside the SCLC and SNCC. The Nation of Islam, and its militant spokesperson Malcolm X would call for a greater emphasis on self-defense and self-determination of the African people in the U.S. Robert F. Williams of the NAACP in Monroe, North Carolina emphasized the formation of rifle clubs to defend the African-American people from racist terror. Williams was driven into exile in 1961 by the racists in North Carolina and the FBI. He would first land in Cuba and later visit and eventually take up residence in the People’s Republic of China along with his wife Mabel and their children.

At a gathering of visitors from Africa on August 8, 1963, Chairman Mao Tse-tung stated that « An American Negro leader now taking refuge in Cuba, Mr. Robert Williams, the former President of the Monroe, North Carolina Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, has twice asked me for a statement in support of the American Negroes’ struggle against racial discrimination. On behalf of the Chinese people, I wish to take this opportunity to express our resolute support for the American Negroes in their struggle against racial discrimination and for freedom and equal rights. » (Statement Calling on the People of the World to Unite to Oppose Racial Discrimination by U.S. Imperialism and Support for American Negroes in Their Struggle Against Racial Discrimination)

On the character of the burgeoning civil rights struggle in the U.S. during 1963, this same statement continues by pointing out that « The speedy development of the struggle of the American Negroes is a manifestation of the sharpening class struggle and national struggle within the United States; it has been causing increasing anxiety to U.S. ruling circles. » (Mao’s statement, August 8, 1963, p.4)

In an appeal to the international community, the statement goes on to stress that « I call on the workers, peasants, revolutionary intellectuals, enlightened elements of the bourgeoisie and other enlightened persons of all colors in the world, whether white, black, yellow or brown, to unite to oppose the racial discrimination practiced by U.S. imperialism and support the American Negroes in their struggle against racial discrimination. (Mao Statement, p.5)

According to Mao, « In the final analysis, a national struggle is a question of class struggle. In the United States, it is only the reactionary ruling circles among the whites who oppress the Negro people. They can in no way represent the workers, farmers, revolutionary intellectuals and other enlightened persons who comprise the overwhelming majority of the white people. At present, it is the handful of imperialists headed by the United States, and their supporters, the reactionaries in different countries, who are inflicting oppression, aggression and intimidation on the overwhelming majority of the nations and peoples of the world. »

This statement goes on to say that « We are in the majority and they are in the minority. At most, they make up less than 10 percent of the 3,000 million population of the world. I am firmly convinced that, with the support of more than 90 percent of the people of the world, the American Negroes will be victorious in their just struggle. The evil system of colonialism and imperialism and the trade in Negroes, and it will surely come to its end with the thorough emancipation of the black people. »

In an address delivered Liu Ning-I, Representative of the People’s Organization of China and President of All-China Federation of Trade Union said that « The struggle of the American Negroes against racial oppression and for freedom and equal rights are a component part of the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed peoples and nations the world over. This revolutionary struggle springing up in the heartland of U.S. imperialism is of very great significance to the common struggle of the people of the world against imperialism headed by U.S. imperialism, and gives a powerful support to the fighting peoples of different countries. » (Liu Ning-I statement, 1963)

Robert F. Williams, the former NAACP leader in Monroe, North Carolina and editor of the Crusader newsletter, stated in a speech on October 10, 1963, that « The same savages who rain death and destruction on the innocent women and children of Cuba, the same savages who rain death and destruction on the helpless women and children of south Viet Nam, the same savages who supply the implements of death and destruction to South Africa and Portugal, are the same who blow off the heads of little black girls in the homes and churches of Birmingham, Free World U.S.A. U.S. racism is a cancerous sore that threatens the well-being of humanity. It can only be removed and a cure effected by a surgical operation performed by the great masses of world. »

In a statement from John D. Marks, who in 1963 was a national executive committee member of the African National Congress, stated at a rally in China on August 12, 1963 that ‘The struggle of the American Negroes is directly linked up with the general struggle against imperialism headed by the United States of America and therefore the realization of their victory is only possible with the final defeat of American imperialism. Because the struggle of the Negro peoples for political, economic and social equality is a just struggle, and has the support of all the peoples of the socialist camp, the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and those progressive forces inside the capitalist countries including the United States, their victory is inevitable. »

In another statement delivered at the same August 12, 1963 rally, a delegation from the Basutoland Congress Party stressed that « The position of the people of African origin in the United States deserves the attention of all democratic freedom-and peace-loving people all over the world. The discrimination practiced against the people of African origin in America is an instrument of oppression and exploitation such as is practiced by the imperialists in Africa, Asia and Latin America against the indigenous people. »

The statement continues by saying that « The people of Basutoland support whole-heartedly the rightful struggle of the Negroes in America. We could list a thousand actions of barbarism which have been conducted against the people of African origin in America, which actions are cursed by all the peace-loving peoples of the world. »

In 1963, the U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by forces to the right of him within the government, military and the ruling class. The continuing escalation of the U.S. imperialist war against the people of Vietnam took a decisive leap during 1964-65.

Democratic successor to JFK, Lyndon B. Johnson, could not reconcile the escalation of the war against the Vietnamese people with the stated aims of alleviating poverty and racial discrimination in the United States. After 1963, the African-American struggle began to place more emphasis on self-defense, urban rebellion and the armed actions of the masses. Between 1963 and 1967, hundreds of rebellions would erupt throughout the country.

In 1965, the militant African-American leader Malcolm X was assassinated in New York City. Malcolm had broken with the Nation of Islam over his desire to become more directly involved in the national liberation struggles of the African-American people. Malcolm X made numerous statements during 1964 in support of the Chinese revolution and its support of the various efforts to win independence and justice throughout the world. When China launched its first atomic weapons test, Malcolm X hailed this achievement and said the strengthening of China would assist the liberation of oppressed peoples internationally.

During 1966 and 1967, the Black Power movement would make significant gains among the African-American people, especially the workers and youth. In 1967, over 160 rebellions swept the United States prompting the state and federal government to dispatch thousands of National Guard and Army units in urban settings like Detroit and Newark, New Jersey.

In 1966-67, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was formed in the Bay Area of California. The founders of the party, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale would sell the famous Red Book quotations from Chairman Mao as a fundraiser for the organization where they purchased their first guns utilized to patrol the streets of Oakland. The Black Panther Party would adopt the Chinese emphasis on armed struggle as the most secure method of guaranteeing liberation and socialism.

On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee while assisting a sanitation workers strike in that city. King was framing a new conception for the African-American struggle by linking the movement against racism and poverty with the anti-war efforts that were gaining momentum throughout the U.S.

In the aftermath of the assassination of King and subsequent rebellions in over 100 cities throughout the U.S., Chairman Mao Tse-tung issued a message on April 16, 1968 entitled « Statement by Comrade Mao Tse-tung, Chairman of the Central Committee of the The Communist Party of China, in Support of the Afro-American Struggle Against Violent Repression. The statement read in part that « The storm of Afro-American struggle taking place within the United States is a striking manifestation of the comprehensive political and economic crisis now gripping U.S. imperialism. It is dealing a tellling blow to U.S. imperialism, which is beset with difficulties at home and abroad. » (Chairman Mao, 1968)

China-Africa Cooperation poster from 1972

China-Africa Cooperation poster from 1972

In 1971, leaders of the Black Panther Party would be invited to China for high-levels meetings with the Communist Party and government officials. This took place during the same period that representatives of the U.S. government made arrangements to visit the PRC. Between 1972 and the death of Mao Tse-tung, the Chinese foreign policy continued to strengthen its contact with the leadership of U.S. imperialism. After the death of Mao in 1976, the shift in Chinese foreign policy became evident. By early 1979, the PRC and the U.S. established diplomatic relations.

Over the last three decades China underwent major changes in its economic and foreign policy imperatives. In the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square incidents of 1989, the Chinese leadership under Deng Tsao-ping, revealed its strategy of large scale infusion of western capital for several decades aimed at achieving substantial economic growth.

Although it has appeared from time to time over the last thirty years that relations between U.S. imperialism and the PRC have undergone substantial changes, the American ruling class still harbors no love for China. During the Tiananmen Square incidents of 1989, the U.S. sought to support the opposition forces that threatened destabilization and civil war. China as a result of the economic changes that have taken place since the 1980s, has outstripped growth rates within the United States and other imperialist states.

In 1999, the U.S. military bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia during the onslaught against the Molosevic government and the attempts to break-up the last remaining European socialist state. In China, youth trashed the American embassy and relations were strained for months to come. Eventually a U.S. spy plane was forced down over China, where the aircraft was dismantled and returned to the Pentagon.

With the U.S. imperialists facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the role of China is still very significant. The PRC controls over a trillion dollars in U.S. debt through ownership of treasury bonds. China relations with various African states targeted for regime-change by U.S. imperialism has drawn the displeasure of both the Bush and Obama administrations.

China and the African Revolution

After the conclusion of World War II, the national liberation struggles in Africa gained tremendous momentum. The seizure of power by progressive forces within the military in Egypt led to the ascendancy of Gamel Abdel Nassar as the leader of government. In 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal leading to war with Britain and Israel. The independent path pursued by Egypt during this period provided great inspiration to both the peoples of the Middle-East and the African continent.

China-African American Liberation poster

China-African American Liberation poster

In Sudan and later Ghana in 1956-57, the yoke of British colonialism was broken. In Ghana, the people under the leadership of the Convention People’s Party sought to place pan-africanism and socialism as the cornerstones of both domestic and foreign policy. Other states would gain independence during this period including the former French colony of Guinea which sought a path similar to the one set down by the PRC.

In 1960, 18 African states gained national independence from France, Britain and Belgium. During 1954-1961, the Algerian National Liberation Front waged a protracted armed and political struggle against French imperialism. Algeria gained its independence in 1962. Franz Fanon, an African born in Martinique played a significant role in the course of the revolution in Algeria. In 1963, the Organization of African Unity was established with 33 member-states.

In late 1963 and early 1964, Chou En-lai visited several African countries in an effort to enhance China-African relations. On December 14, 1963, Chou En-lai stated in Cairo that « This is my first visit to the African continent and I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to pay my tribute to all the new emerging independent African states and their peoples, and to all the struggling peoples in Africa. The Asian and African peoples have always supported each other in their struggles, and I am convinced that the Asian and African peoples united together will certainly continue to win new victories in their common cause of striving for and safeguarding national independence and defending world peace. » (Afro-Asian Solidarity Against Imperialism, 1964, pp. 3-4)

In Algeria on December 25, 1963, Chou En-lai paid tribute to the heroic armed struggle of the Algerian people that won the national liberation of this North African state that fought French imperialism for over 130 years. Chou En-lai said that « The great victory of the revolutionary struggle of the Algerian people shows that the new-born revolutionary forces, though seemingly weak at first, can ultimately defeat the outwardly strong but decadent counter-revolutionary forces. The Algerian revolutionaries have been able to overcome obstacle after obstacle and carry the national liberation struggle from victory to victory because they have correct leadership, have confidence in the strength of the people while scorning the strength of the enemy, and uphold the anti-imperialist revolutionary line while combating the capitulationist line which does not oppose imperialism but is opposed to revolution. » (Afro-Asian Solidarity Against Imperialism, pp. 66-67)

During a visit to Ghana on this same tour, Chou En-lai stated that « The national liberation movement in Africa has become an important force in the contemporary struggle of the people of the world against imperialism, and has made outstanding contributions to the cause of safeguarding world peace. »

Chou En-lai then links the struggles of the African people taken away from the continent during slavery and those that were currently fighting for national liberation in their homeland. The Chinese leader said that « The castle where we are now joyously assembled was a centre where a few centuries ago, the Western colonialists plundered and traded in Negroes. Chairman Mao Tse-tung says, ‘The evil system of colonialism and imperialism grew up with the enslavement of Negroes and the trade in Negroes, it will surely come to its end with the thorough emancipation of the black people.' » (Afro-Asian Solidarity, p. 137)

Later during Chou En-lai’s visit to the West African state of Guinea, he stressed the need for self-reliance in the independence movement. The Chinese leader stated during a speech in Guinea that « The people of the Asian and African countries deeply realize that in order to achieve independence, the people should mainly rely on their own struggle and that in order to develop the national economy and build up their own countries after independence, the people should also primarily rely on their own efforts. Self-reliance and energetic endeavors to bring about prosperity this is a line which consists in placing confidence in and depending on the masses of the people to develop the national economy and realize complete independence. » (Afro-Asian Solidarity, p. 196)

The East African state of Tanzania was heavily influenced by the People’s Republic of China. Under the leadership of the African National Union and President Julius Nyerere, the country issued the Arusha Declaration, a socialist document, in 1967. The theme of the Arusha Declaration was to place emphasis on national self-reliance, the uplifting and empowerment of the peasantry as well as the realization of socialism based on the concrete conditions existing in Tanzania.

During the mid-1970s, the Chinese built the TanZam railway lines that assisted the developments within the trade and transport industries in three two east and central African states of Tanzania and Zambia. Later the Chinese assisted the people of Mozambique in their struggle aimed at winning national independence through armed struggle.

As a result of the ideological and political struggle between the USSR and the PRC after the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956 and the intensification of this struggle during 1956-1963, greater competition developed in regard to overtures and relations sought within the African continent by the two socialist states.

This ideological struggle worked against the people of Angola during the 1970s, when initially the PRC supported the reactionary forces that were opposed politically by the MPLA, the legitimate liberation movement in that southern African country that broke free of Portuguese colonialism in 1975. After recognizing this error, the PRC suspended all aid to the UNITA organization at the conclusion of 1975.

By 1983, the PRC was once again playing a significant role in assisting the national liberation struggle in South Africa, still under settler-colonialism and apartheid. In an interview with the-then African National Congress leader Oliver Tambo in regard to China’s support for the armed struggle to end apartheid in the sub-continent, Tambo spoke on a recent visit to the PRC saying that « It was the third time that the ANC has sent a delegation to the People’s Republic of China. The first time was in 1963. I was leading both. (Journal of African Marxists, No. 5, March 1984)

Tambo continued in the interview by stating that « Between 1975 and 1983 is quite a bit of time, and over that time relations have not grown. So part of the purpose of this invitation was simply to strengthen relations between the ANC and the People’s Republic of China. That’s how we saw our visit.

« We think we emerged from our discussions feeling that our relations had been deepened and we got assurances of China’s all-round support: political and material. In fact, as I have said elsewhere, we asked for support related to our armed struggle and got a promise of weaponry and generally a willingness to assist and support. »

In regard to how the Sino-Soviet dispute effected relations between the PRC and the ANC, Tambo said in the interview that « I think that in the sixties this was a factor, but in 1975 we resolved that question. The Chinese accepted the fact that we have nothing against the Soviet Union.  That the Soviets were close friends of ours, and that friendship with anyone else was not conditional upon our weakening relations with the Soviet Union. They accepted that in 1975. »

China, Africa and the World Today

There has been considerable comment and reaction to the role of Chinese foreign policy in the current period. With rapid growth of the Chinese economy over the last two decades, the socialist state has become a rival of the United States, Britain, Japan and other imperialist countries. The opening of Chinese markets to western products and the mass production of consumer goods for export to the industrialized countries has created substantial growth within their national economy.

As the economic growth rates of the United States have shrunk over the last decade and the increasing problems of structural unemployment and poverty along with the widening gap between rich and poor has become more evident, there has been increasing tensions between Beijing and Washington. The U.S. industries have downsized and outsourced tens of millions of manufacturing and service industry jobs to production facilities off shore.

Workers and the oppressed in the U.S. have seen their real wages decline over the last several decades while the military-industrial complex has grown since the beginning of the 21st century carrying out wars of occupation and aggression against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Haiti and Somalia. Surrogate wars are also being carried out against the people of Palestine, Colombia, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Since the beginning of the Bush administration the purported threat of « international terrorism » has been utilized to justify large-scale military and security expenditures. The Pentagon budget is in excess of $700 billion annually. Current debates within the U.S. ruling circles never question the cost, size and social impact of these ever-growing military expenditures. The wars that are being waged in the current period are all directed against the former colonial, semi-colonial and modern-day neo-colonial states. All of these states are viewed as strategic to the aims and objectives of U.S. imperialism.

Iraq, which contains one of the largest known oil reserves in the world, has been the focus of attention for the U.S. ruling class for many years. Afghanistan, where the resistance to imperialism is growing every week, more and more lives and resources are being lost through the war of occupation. Both the Iraq and Afghan occupation are economic in nature although the corporate media attempts to frame the public discussions surrounding these wars as matters of national security for the people of the United States.

In Africa, China has increased its economic and political relations with numerous states. With specific reference to Sudan and Zimbabwe, two states that have been targeted by the U.S. for destabilization and regime-change, China has developed close bonds of friendship and mutual cooperation.

In Sudan, where the civil conflict in the Darfur region has been utilized as a mechanism for the interference in the internal affairs of Africa’s largest geographic nation-state, the United States and Israel has sought to utilize the fighting there to justify aggressive policies. Sudan is one of the emerging oil-producing states that have maintained for the last two decades policies both domestic and foreign that are independent of the U.S. Although the Obama administration has appointed a special envoy to Sudan, they are still working through the State Department, the Pentagon and the State of Israel to undermine the national sovereignty of this central African country.

Zimbabwe’s history over the last 120 years is one of European settler-colonialism and the struggle for national liberation. The liberation movements in Zimbabwe, which grew in strength during the 1970s and realized independence for this southern African state in 1980, were never supported by the U.S. and the former colonial power of Britain. Efforts by the ZANU-PF government under President Robert Mugabe to reclaim the historical land base of the people have been met with extreme hostility by imperialism which has imposed sanctions on this emerging nation.

The role of Chinese foreign policy has been crucial in the defense of both Sudan and Zimbabwe. Economic relations between Sudan and China have been essential in creating growth inside the country. In Zimbabwe, the economic and political assistance from China has helped to stave off a total collapse that has been engineered by British and U.S. imperialism operating in concert with domestic enemies of genuine national independence.

China has also increased its level of cooperation with the Latin American states of Venezuela and Cuba, both of which are maintaining and anti-imperialist and socialist domestic and foreign policy. Recent economic agreements between Venezuela and China in areas of oil and technology are key to the development aims of both states. At the same time economic and political relations between Cuba and China have improved since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the eastern European socialist countries two decades earlier.

The world today is facing the worst economic crisis in decades. The U.S. capitalists have over the last year attempted to prevent a total financial meltdown. The Bush and Obama administrations instituted so-called economic stimulus programs that have had virtually no impact on the economic well-being of working people and the oppressed inside the U.S. Yet, according to recent reports, the stimulus program initiated by China, which reinvested approximately 13% of its gross domestic product back into its economy has had noticeable impact.

As the economic crisis worsens in the United States and throughout the world, there will be greater tensions in both the international arena and within the capitalist states as well. There is no future for workers and the oppressed under capitalism and imperialism. Only socialism and socialist economic planning can provide a way out of the economic crisis for the majority of people throughout the world. Consequently, the struggle for socialism is the only viable solution to the world economic crisis in the modern period.

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If recent mainstream economic reports are to be taken seriously, some of the big brains managing global capitalism these days are starting to lose faith in their neoliberal ideology. Some come close to sounding like virtual heretics — like Jonathan Ostry, the IMF’s deputy director of research and lead author of an article (“Neoliberalism: Oversold?”) in the IMF’s official publication. He stated, with a childlike innocence: “[s]ome aspects of the neoliberal agenda probably need a rethink. The [2008] crisis said: ‘The way we’ve been thinking can’t be right.’” No point, I suppose, in dwelling on the past — that is, the millions of lives made miserable by decades of IMF structural adjustment programs.

The lack of mea culpas notwithstanding, the IMF bravely identifies two aspects of neoliberal policy for scrutiny: the elimination of capital controls (allowing for capital flight to be used as a political weapon against poor countries) and fiscal austerity. While “cheering” aspects of the “neoliberal agenda,” according to the Financial Times, he also acknowledged some “‘disquieting conclusions” including that they resulted in “increased inequality that undermined economic growth.”

That report came out in May but just last week the annual report of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has leapt ahead of any cautious “rethinking” and calls for a virtual reversal of the whole neoliberal “edifice.” The report contains some of the most alarming warnings UNCTAD has ever issued. And that warning relates, in part, to the near-zero interest rates developed countries are using to try to restart their economies.

There are unintended consequence of low interest rates, says the report: “Alarm bells have been ringing over the explosion of corporate debt levels in emerging economies, which now exceed $25 trillion. Damaging deflationary spirals cannot be ruled out.” And later:

The benefits of a rushed integration into international financial markets post-2008 are fast evaporating. If policymakers fail to mitigate the negative impacts of unchecked global market forces …a significant share of developing-country debt incurred since 2008 could become unpayable and exert considerable pressure on the financial system.

UNCTAD’s analysis also attacks Western governments’ obsession with austerity which has starved global demand but it more broadly blames “[t]he entire edifice of liberal market finance…” As far as the UN is concerned, this development is the “third leg” of the global financial crisis — the first two being the U.S. housing bubble and the second the EU meltdown. Its solution sounds almost revolutionary, according to the London Telegraph:

“The world must jettison neoliberal ideology, and launch a ‘global new deal’ with a blitz of investment on strategic sectors. …a return of the ‘developmental state,’ commanding a potent industrial policy, and backed by severe controls on capital flows.”

The report also highlights the fact that global corporations — which designed the neoliberal Washington Consensus explicitly to reverse the old social contract and the “development state” — have failed utterly to deliver on the quid pro quo: their promise of growth and prosperity. The global corporate sector is characterized by management captured by “activist funds” which focus almost exclusively on shareholder value, the maximum extraction of profit and mergers and acquisitions rather than the reinvestment of their profits “[i]nto production capacity, jobs, or self-sustaining growth.”

This latter criticism describes the Canadian corporate sector in spades. Instead of investing its record profits — and its tax break windfall in the billions — it is sitting on over $600 billion idle cash. But the situation with Canadian corporations is actually much worse than in most OECD countries, particularly compared to their main competitors in the U.S. In previous columns I have quoted past studies done by Harvard Business School’s Michael E. Porter. He concluded: “The U.S. is just much more entrepreneurial (than Canada)… Research uncovered key weaknesses in the sophistication of (Canadian) company operations and strategy.” He went on to describe Canadian business as cautious and risk-averse, unwilling to spend money on research and development, and addicted to exporting almost exclusively to the U.S.

Just this past week Deloitte Canada published a report which took Porter’s academic studies a step further by interviewing 1,200 Canadian CEOs regarding their willingness to takes risks and invest in the future of their companies. The results of the study — entitled The Future Belongs to the Bold — paint a pathetic picture. The poll concluded: “At a time when Canada needs its businesses to be bolder and more courageous than ever before, almost 90 per cent aren’t up to the task.” The companies fell into one of several categories: 15 per cent of CEOs were “fearful,” 43 per cent were “hesitant,” 30 per cent were “evolving,” and 11 per cent were “courageous.”

The result? “Investments aren’t made. New ideas aren’t explored. And Canadian companies slowly fall further and further behind.” Companies have actually reduced spending on training by 40 per cent since the mid-1990s. As Porter earlier observed, where Canadian companies are successful it is mostly due to access to cheap labour and natural resources.

And this week the Conference Board of Canada published an op-ed in The Globe and Mail decrying the lack of investment in manufacturing innovation, observing:

[r]esearch and development spending in the sector is generally very low. Indeed, investment has been so weak for a number of years that many manufacturing segments have actually become less capital intensive. The result is an erosion in the global competitiveness of Canadian manufacturing.

Once again we see the folly of placing our economic future in the hands of “fearful” and risk-averse CEOs while giving them every possible advantage from suppressed wages, huge tax cuts and privatization, to deregulation and endless idiotic “trade” deals. Corporate Canada signed a contract and broke it. It should be forced be back to the negotiating table. And this time it should focus on the domestic economy.

The Liberal preoccupation with trade deals looks increasingly ill considered. In yet another warning about the state of global trade, Roberto Azevêdo, the World Trade Organization’s director-general, declared: “The dramatic slowing of trade growth is serious and should serve as a wake-up call.” The question for the Trudeau Liberals is what to do if they do wake up. Instead of more oil and gas infrastructure in a world already awash in both, it should itself be “courageous” and use bold fiscal policy to launch a serious transition away from fossil fuels and at the same time actually take the Paris climate accord seriously. But that would require “rethinking” another neoliberal policy: the reckless tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations which rob federal government coffers of $50 billion every year.

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Israeli Gunboats on Way to Hijack Gaza-Bound Women’s Boat

octobre 5th, 2016 by The Palestinian Information Center

A few hours before the Zaytouna boat reaches Gaza shores, a cry for help has been launched by onboard activists to guarantee their safe arrival to the coastal territory.

With Israeli threats materializing on the ground, the International Committee to Break the Siege on Gaza appealed for guaranteeing women onboard al-Zaytouna a safe arrival to Gaza shores without being hijacked by Israel.

A fleet of Israeli gunboats has, meanwhile, set sail from the Ashdod Harbor in an attempt to intercept the Zaytouna solidarity boat.

The American activists onboard the ship appealed to the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to deter Israel from attacking the boat. However, they were told by the embassy that the occupation navy has received instructions to commandeer the boat right as it approaches Gaza shores and to tow it to the Ashdod Seaport. In case of any defiance, activists will be arrested.

Israeli gunboats docked in Ashdod navigated to international waters so as to force Zaytouna to backtrack.

The international anti-siege committee dubbed Israel’s projected takeover of the boat an infringement of international laws and parliamentary immunity and also a crime against peaceful activists that do not pose any threat to Israel.

The committee’s chairman Zaher Birawi called on activists around the world to launch a solidarity campaign via social media in the event of an Israeli assault.

A similar Gaza-bound aid flotilla ended in tragedy in 2010 when the Turkish « Mavi Marmara » aid ship was raided by Israeli commandos, who killed 10 Turkish activists.

Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has groaned under a crippling Israeli/Egyptian blockade that has deprived its almost two million inhabitants of most basic commodities, including food, fuel, medicine and desperately-needed building materials.

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“The Parties hereby establish a free trade area…”

— CETA Article 1.4

“Trade, like Religion, is what every Body talks of, but few understand: the very Term is dubious, and in its ordinary Acceptation, not sufficiently explain’d.”

— Daniel Defoe, A Plan of the English Commerce (1728)

The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement(CETA), like other looming mega-treaties, is a comprehensive vehicle for expanding the scope of transnational investment by rolling back the capacity of governments to regulate in the public interest. The attack on democratic governance is not restricted to the notorious Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which privileges transnational capital by creating a parallel legal system exclusive to transnational investors. The invasive claims of transnational investors permeate the entire treaty.

Save democracy - Stop CETA.

Canada and the EU are already among the world’s most open economies. Tariffs are at a historic all-time low. CETA’s primary mission is to eliminate “non-tariff barriers” – namely the laws and regulations constructed over decades of struggle to limit corporate power and support the services and policies needed to defend workers, citizens and the environment. CETA is an investment treaty embedded in a comprehensive deregulatory project.

‘Free Trade’ and the Expanding Investor Universe

The treaty leaves existing regulations and policies in Canada and the EU vulnerable to investor challenges – directly through ISDS, or indirectly through corporate-driven state-to-state dispute mechanisms. It also forecloses the use of essential policy tools which progressive governments will need to reverse the social destruction which is feeding an authoritarian, nationalist and xenophobic right.

The treaty builds on an expansive definition of investment which broadens its scope beyond existing treaties between Canada and the EU. It is virtually identical to the leaked draft investment chapter in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The “legally scrubbed” official CETA text states, tautologically: “Investment means every kind of asset that an investor owns or controls, directly or indirectly, that has the characteristics of an investment” (CETA, 2014: 39). Characteristics of an investment include “the expectation of gain or profit.” In addition to direct investment in an enterprise, ‘investment’ includes stocks, shares, bonds and other debt instruments; concessions, “including to search for, cultivate, extract or exploit natural resources”; intellectual property rights and “other moveable property, tangible or intangible, or immovable property and related rights,” and “claims to money or claims to performance under a contract” (CETA 2014: 39ff). A corporation need only demonstrate a “legitimate expectation” of profit to challenge regulatory obstacles to realising that expectation.

The market access and national treatment provisions set out in the investment chapter apply to governments at every level, erasing all restrictions in the name of ‘non-discrimination’. The treaty prohibits governments from managing foreign investment for distinct objectives, and prohibits any restrictions on profit repatriation.

‘Indirect Expropriation’

The investment chapter ‘reaffirms’ governments’ rights to regulate in the public interest, but investors are guaranteed expanded “fair and equitable treatment” and protection against “indirect expropriation” of anticipated profits through the adoption of new laws and regulations. The dispute settlement body will determine whether indirect expropriation has occurred through a ‘fact-based inquiry that takes into consideration, among other factors: the extent to which the measure or series of measures interferes with distinct, reasonable investment-backed expectations’ (CETA, 2014: 331; my emphasis). Indirect or ‘regulatory expropriation’ has enabled a growing number of successful investor challenges to public interest laws, regulations and court decisions through investor-to-state lawsuits.

Public services are exempted from market access, national treatment and performance requirements and the most-favoured-nation provisions of the investment chapter only to the extent that they are ‘carried out neither on a commercial basis nor in competition with one or more economic operators’. This is the phantom public sector carve-out established in the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) agreement. As there are pockets of private business in most public services, few meet these criteria. Parties must explicitly reserve the services they wish to exclude – the negative list approach – based on the United Nations’ 1991 Central Product Classification, whose thousands of entries blur the distinction between public and private and manufacturing and services. Standstill and ratchet clauses freeze current levels of privatisation, making it difficult, and costly, for governments to take privatised services back into public hands.

CETA’s Domestic Regulation chapter is not restricted to services. Governments must ensure that any regulatory restrictions they maintain or adopt ‘do not unduly complicate or delay the supply of a service, or the pursuit of any other economic activity’ (CETA, 2014: 91; my emphasis). Article 2 of the chapter on Technical Barriers to Trade reinforces limits on regulation by stipulating that technical regulations must “not be more trade-restrictive than necessary to fulfill a legitimate objective.”

The chapter on Government Procurement widens corporate penetration into governments at every level by generalising ‘national treatment’ and prohibiting ‘offsets’, defined as ‘any condition or undertaking that encourages local development’.

The Financial Services chapter allows for loosely-defined ‘prudential measures’ but weakens the potential to restrict the size or market share of financial institutions even where such measures are ‘non-discriminatory’ with respect to foreign and national investors. Governments seeking to restrict the introduction of new financial ‘products’, or limit the size of financial corporations, will find that financial corporations have, through CETA, insured themselves against regulatory risk.

The chapter on Regulatory Cooperation commits signatories to ‘remove unnecessary barriers to trade and investment’ and ‘enhance competitiveness’ through an unaccountable Regulatory Cooperation Forum, which institutionalises corporate lobbying. The Forum is tasked with reducing compliance costs, exploring ‘alternatives’ to regulation, and promoting the ‘recognition of equivalence and convergence’ – a blunt instrument for levelling protection. Governments will share ‘non-public information’ with their Forum counterparts before the information is shared with lawmakers or the public – all ‘without limiting the ability of each Party to carry out its regulatory, legislative and policy activities’!

Regulatory approaches are to be ‘technology-neutral’ – a requirement at odds with the vague promise in the chapter on Trade and the Environment in which the parties ‘commit to cooperate in means to promote energy efficiency and the development and deployment of low-carbon and other climate-friendly technologies’.

How important is investment (and its proxy ‘trade in services’) compared with trade in goods in CETA? The treaty provisions cease to apply 180 days after notice of intention to terminate. However Chapter 8 (Investment) remains in force for a full twenty years (CETA 2014: Article 30.9).

Labour’s Agenda?

After the Brexit vote, the European Commission announced that CETA – scheduled to be signed at the EU-Canada summit in late October – would be treated as a ‘mixed agreement’, requiring approval by the national parliaments of EU member states as well as by the main EU institutions. But the Commission proposes that the treaty enter immediately into ‘provisional’ force following approval by the European Council and European Parliament, meaning that its investment provisions would apply for some years before full ratification, and even if one or more member state voted to sink the deal.

Unions and our civil society allies are unanimous in calling for the removal of ISDS from the treaty. The European Commission’s rebranding of ISDS as an investment court fails to eliminate its fundamental toxicity (See for example Eberhart, 2016) and should be rejected on similar grounds.

But ISDS is only one element, albeit a major one, in CETA’s comprehensive corporate power grab. Transnational investors can press their claims through state-to-state dispute mechanisms, as the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body demonstrates. The expansive claims of transnational investors are systematically built into the treaty; corporate confiscation of democratic governance links the chapters. ISDS cannot be surgically excised, leaving a text which then somehow serves as a vehicle for a progressive trade agenda. Nor can a sweeping charter of investor claims be ‘balanced’ by inserting stronger provisions to defend labour rights or protect the environment. CETA is fundamentally hostile to democracy and the labour movement; it has to be scrapped, not ‘improved’.

Behind CETA, or course, lurks the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Should TTIP fail, many of its ambitions can be realised through CETA. The majority of U.S. transnationals have Canadian subsidiaries with activities and ‘expectations of profit or gain’ in the EU. They can use ISDS and other provisions to feed their growing appetites. EU corporations can sue the government of Canada, but also use Canadian subsidiaries to attack European regulations they find inconvenient, reinforcing the EU’s current retreat from regulation.

For long decades, labour has been fighting purely defensive battles against the neo-liberal trade and investment agenda; we lack an agenda of our own. Lost ground will not be reclaimed on what is fundamentally hostile territory. Crisis, stagnation and the longest investor strike in recent history will not be reversed through stronger doses of neo-liberalism. Substantial programs of public investment are needed to address mass unemployment, inequality, disintegrating public services and climate change. CETA and its flanking treaties effectively preclude them. •

Peter Rossman is the Director of Campaigns and Communication for the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF). This article first published by Global Labour Column.

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La population colombienne est de 47.12 millions de personnes, dont 34.9 millions d’électeurs et d’électrices. Pour parler au nom du peuple ne faut-il pas pouvoir compter sur au moins 50% de ceux et celles qui ont ce pouvoir de se présenter aux urnes ? Dans le cas du présent référendum, ceux et celles qui se sont présentés pour voter représentent à peine 12,9 millions d’électeurs, de beaucoup inférieurs au 50% de l’Électorat colombien qui est de 17,4 millions.

C’est dire que la grande majorité du peuple, soit 63 %, ne s’est pas présenté aux urnes pour des motifs qui restent à clarifier. Les résultats officiels parlent d’une victoire du « NON » avec 6.4 millions d’électeurs et la défaite du « OUI » avec 6.3 millions d’électeurs, sur une population votante de 34.9 millions. Si nous prenons en compte ceux et celles qui se sont abstenus, ces derniers deviennent alors les véritables gagnants avec 63% d’abstention.

Dans pareil cas, nous pouvons nous demander QUI est le peuple ? Est-il avec les 22 millions d’électeurs qui n’ont pas voté ou avec les 12,7 millions qui ont voté ? Peut-on dire que le peuple s’est prononcé pour le NON alors que 22 millions de Colombiens et Colombiennes n’ont pas voté ou n’ont pu voter.

Lorsqu’une démocratie n’arrive plus à mobiliser au moins 50% de son électorat, il faut alors se poser la question de savoir si le système électoral, mis en place, est celui qui convient le mieux pour cette participation du peuple à son destin. On attribue à l’ouragan Matthew le fait que 4 millions d’électeurs et électrices n’ont pu se rendre aux urnes. On ne dit toutefois pas le pourquoi de l’absence des 18 autres millions de Colombiens et de Colombiennes. Les bureaux de scrutin ont fermé à 16h00 et l’on ne nous dit pas s’il y avait encore des files d’attente pour voter.

On dit que le plus haut taux de participation qu’a connu la Colombie à une élection, ce fut en 1974, lors de l’élection présidentielle d’alors. Ce taux avait atteint 58%. Un cas exceptionnel qui n’a jamais été atteint depuis lors.

Dans le cas présent, il est évident que la presse officielle couvre cette abstention de la grande majorité du peuple à ce référendum, en ne parlant que du 49,3 du OUI et du 50.7% du  NON avec de gros titres qui disent que les Colombiens ont voté NON aux accords de paix. La réalité devient bien différente lorsque l’on dit que le OUI a  perdu avec 17,7 % de l’électorat colombien alors que le NON l’a remporté avec 18,8% de ce même électorat. Nous sommes loin des 49,3% et des 50,7% dont on parle.

Oscar Fortin

Le 3 octobre 2016

 

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Republic of Korea (ROK) on Friday announced a new site for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile-defense system despite of strong opposition from locals and reasonable concerns of China and other regional countries. The announcement came just days after the US military set the deployment deadline as the end of next year.

The ROK government cited the concerns of the public in Seongju county, the originally-designated site, as the reason for the alteration, but a site change is not a prescription at all.

Despite the altered site, local public are expected to continue their opposition to the THAAD deployment. In Gimcheon (see map below), a southeastern city that is closer to the newly-chosen site, enraged residents have begun a new round of backlash.

As a matter of fact, the ROK government can neither appease the concerns of people from the designated sites, nor persuade its citizens to believe in the so-called effectiveness of the missile shield in protecting its national security.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s fifth nuclear test offered Seoul’s plan a new selling point. ROK government, by using the test as a more “convincing” excuse, advertised the so-called necessity to install the THAAD system, cement its military alliance with the US and resist threats through extended deterrence.

However, to avoid further deterioration of tensions on Korean Peninsula, a comprehensive and systematic solution must be found out to address both symptoms and root causes.

Past and present facts have proved that in order to sustain the peace and stability of the peninsula, efforts must be devoted to denuclearizing the peninsula, normalizing the ties between concerned countries, and building a peace and security mechanism for Northeast Asia.

The evolution course of the peninsula also showed that the so-called extended deterrence will only escalate confrontation, aggravate the tension on the peninsula and ultimately place Seoul’s security in a more risking edge.

What’s more, the technical clues also point to a conclusion: it is absurd for Seoul to pursue a sense of security through the THAAD system.

As early as Seoul and Washington announced the decision, experts have pointed out that with a radar range of 1,000 to 2,000 kilometers, the missile shield is designed to shoot down missiles at a relatively high altitude of 40 to 150 km. Given the geographical conditions of the Korean Peninsula, it is ridiculous to use the THAAD missile defense system to “deter nuclear threats from DPRK”.

 Protest against THAAD in Gimcheon

Therefore, ROK has to realize that its true guardian is by no means one or two hollow weapons like the THAAD system, but a clear awareness of the reality and broader world situation.

Given the sensitive and frail security on the peninsula, the unscrupulous actions by any party may lead to an escalated tension. Against such background, the deployment of the THAAD system by Seoul and Washington will undoubtedly add fuels to the deteriorated tensions on the peninsula.

In fact, even ROK public are not convinced by the reasons given by their government. More and more locals called on the authority to reconsider the reckless decision, blaming the latter’s approval to deploy THAAD system as the culprit for today’s dilemma.

Local media Kyunghyang Shinmun commented recently that the ROK government was stubborn in ensuring national security by deterring DPRK with armament race, but as a result made its public more upset and pulled the country further away from security goals.

The public’s security worries and doubts over the guarantee provided by the US are out of historic backgrounds and reality considerations. Trapping in the whirlpool of the peninsula tension, ROK would be the direct victim with a total turn in its destiny once the situation lost control.

What’s worse, the remote US is by no means reliable helper. In recent years, in order to expand its hegemony, the superpower has fallen into a breaker of international law. Employing a “puppet” strategy, it repeatedly threw other countries or regions into disarray and then escaped unscathed.

China will never change its stance of opposing the deployment of the THAAD system since the missile shield, instead of easing regional tension, will pose serious threat to the strategic security balance of regional nations including China.

Like any other countries, China can neither be vague nor indifferent on security matters that affect its core interests. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China also shoulders a responsibility in maintaining world and regional peace and stability.

The US and ROK have to wake up to the facts that the Korean Peninsula is no place to take risks, and that they cannot afford the cost of such dangerous action. If the US and ROK undermine the strategic security interests of China and other regional countries, then they are destined to pay the price and receive a proper counter attack.

« We will pay close attention to relevant developments, and consider taking necessary actions to protect national strategic security and the regional strategic balance, » Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman told a press conference.

« What needs to be stressed is that Chinese people mean what they say,” the spokesman added, underlining China’s determination and stance against the installment of THAAD system.

Originally published in Chinese by Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily)

Translation, courtesy of  People’s Daily for Global Research

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“The International Day of Non-Violence is marked on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.” — un.org

Thus starts the UN Resolution that on 15 June 2007 formalized the legacy of one the most prominent figures of the 20th Century, born 1869 dead 1948 and still ahead of his time in 2016. Yet, in the short span of 9 years this celebration has already become merely symbolic, ceremonial, practically meaningless. Gandhi Jayanthi as it is called in India. Myths can be useless and also misleading. So let me stick to the man and his meaning to humans.

gandhiLet’s remind ourselves of the worldwide wars, proxy-wars, invasions, occupations, terrorisms (State and private); slaveries/tortures of various kinds, human trafficking, forced human mass displacements, persecutions of minorities, economic exploitation, and cruelty to animals. Governments, TNCs, the arms industry, and the top 1%—the elites– profit from all of the above across religious, political, cultural, national, ideological, geographical divides (the globalization).

Such elites will provide narratives for why they have to kill, mutilate, exploit, and cause pain & suffering. And the masses will swallow their vile interpretations and rewritings of reality with a religious apathy and disconnection from reality. And that despite Internet, cell phones, social media, instant communications, and all the gimmicks that supposedly bring info, knowledge, culture, literacy to them. Pessimism? Realpolitik? Realism? Take your pick. History at its best.

But it doesn’t matter the amount or prevalence of violence employed or practiced anywhere anytime. It was from within a violent environment, which oppressed him both in South Africa and in India, that the Mahatma, born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, gave birth to his philosophy of nonviolence. Yin-Yang. The world is readier than ever for it. Nevertheless, besides a philosophy NV can be many things for many people depending on contexts.

Gandhi reminded us that conflicts are natural occurrences. “Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.” They may arise from incompatible goals (Galtung). Or from pathologies. Nonviolence is one way of responding to conflicts whether at a personal, familiar, social, or political level (Micro- Meso-Macro-Mega levels: Galtung). Another response is the use of violence. Nonviolence is therefore a means to conflict resolution or transformation. Peace by peaceful means.

Because conflicts are symptoms of damaged relations, it is in the relationships that they are to be addressed, not in the parties–as a starting point. For if you steal my bicycle, and we fight over it, before ‘making peace’ you must return the stolen bike: common justice as a prerequisite.

Nonviolence can also be a political strategy to achieve a public goal or set of goals. The difference between strategy and tactics is that strategy is done above the shoulders whereas tactics are done below the shoulders, someone said. NV can be used as both, in tandem, defensively or offensively, a tool, a skill, an art: Civil Disobedience. Besides being a way of life, ahimsa.

“Non-Violence,” a sculpture by Karl Fredrik Reutersward, sits permanently outside UN Headquarters in New York.

In his only book, The Story of My Experiments with Truth: An Autobiography, a collection of articles he wrote for Young India around 1927, Gandhi repeats many times the maxim that guided his actions throughout his life: Truth is God. Not God is truth, which would be a mere attribute, like God is love, God is light, God is the father. In his consciousness, Truth comes before God. Not mere semantics or a slogan but a principle to live–and die–for. Aptly, he named his movement Satyagraha (satya “truth”; agraha “insistence” or “holding to”).A most popular quote of Gandhiji is: “Be the change you want in the world.” The change starts in the person; nonviolence starts here—a design for living.

It was this depth of commitment to truth and principle that Gandhi brought to the table and to his nonviolent interventions, which resulted in the retreat of the biggest empire of the time from India. Independence was not granted; it was conquered, but without bloodshed of the oppressors.

Sir Winston Churchill gave this unflattering description of Gandhi:

“It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious middle temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half-naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organising and conducting a defiant campaign of civil disobedience, to parley on equal terms with the representative of the kingemperor.” (India Today)

As the resistance and instances of civil disobedience swelled, Churchill announced: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion, breeding like rabbits.” Such was his hatred for the successful nonviolent uprising and Gandhi.

gandhi-an-autobiography-the-story-of-my-experiments-with-truthGod was never separated from Gandhi’s actions. His understanding of nonviolence implied the need for virtue in the satyagrahi, the practitioner of NV. A few quotes of his:

“Nonviolence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice—nonviolence springs from love, cowardice from hate.”

“The weak will never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at His feet.”

“Fearlessness is the first requisite of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral.”

“Faith is not something to grasp, is a state to grow into.”

It was here that Gene Sharp and others diverted from Gandhi’s approach to NV. Sharp tried to transform nonviolent actions into mere instruments that could be carried out by any party seeking any objective however lowly either could be. This is not the place to elaborate on this, but I encourage readers and students to research further.

Gandhi gave a new meaning to the concept of civilization. In the 19th Century, the British spuriously classified peoples and races as Civilized, Barbarians or Savages insofar as their ‘evolution’ vis-a-vis Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest. They placed themselves, the white Anglo-Saxons, at the top of this food chain as the civilized ones. Barbarians were all non-Europeans such as Arabs, Indians, Asians; and Savages were the sub-Saharan Africans, natives from the Americas and Islanders. All non-white.

Gandhi redefined, imparted a new meaning to the term ‘Civilization’ with his concept of ‘Nonviolence’ as the way of truly civilized persons and cultures, of relations, mediation of conflicts; a necessary first step for the abolition of war as institution. For by eliminating the violence (smoke) mediators can look into the source of conflicts (fire)—and work on them. The soft side of all religions mandate nonkilling of humans, but Gandhiji expanded it to all forms of life: ahimsa.

Gandhi’s legacy was felt also inside of India with the abolition of the caste system by law. He renamed the Untouchables as Harijans or children of God. But, like racism in the USA, also outlawed, it had little impact in society. Laws cannot and do not erase traditions and customs ingrained in people’s minds and in deep culture. His own wife, Kasturba, would not agree in sharing their table with harijans, as he wished.

He did everything in public, with the masses he loved. He ate, prayed, fasted, slept, worked in their presence. His stomach was the weakest part of his body as he suffered from a chronic diarrhea that forced him to use diapers at times.

The Mahatma did not win a Nobel Peace Prize despite being nominated. The excuse was that he was not a man of peace, he fought against the British Empire [and dared to win—I’d say]. He was rather of the naïve persuasion, as many of us are; not a hawk, a personality trait essential for success in business and politics today. Case in point, the rat race we witness to the White House.

Last act: Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead on Jan 30, 1948 by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu fanatic nationalist who asked forgiveness before pulling the trigger. He wouldn’t accept what in his view was Gandhi’s partiality toward Muslims in the partition of India into India/Pakistan. Upon falling, Gandhiji uttered his last word: “Rama.” One of God’s name in India.

Antonio Carlos Silva Rosa, is the editor of the pioneering Peace Journalism website, TRANSCEND Media Service-TMS, an assistant to Prof. Johan Galtung, and Secretary of the International Board of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment. 

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In order to overcome the partisanship on both sides of this U.S. Presidential contest, the corruption of both of the candidates needs to be acknowledged, and a quick way to do that is to consider the cases of their respective charities (we’ll go beyond that to a broader view afterward):

On September 10th, David A. Farenthold headlined in the Washington Post, «How Donald Trump retooled his charity to spend other people’s money», and he documented that Trump has lied in his many statements asserting that he donates lots to charities, and that he has even used his (actually meager) Foundation as a device to collect donations from others and then simply donate that money from others, to other charities as being «charitable donations by the Trump Foundation». He even has sometimes used donations others had made to his ‘Charity’ in order to purchase things for some of his own businesses. So: not only is his ‘charity’ meager, but it consists largely of the charity of others — and of benefit to himself and to the value of his brand.

Regarding Clinton’s case, a post was made to Huffington Post’s «blog» on 29 May 2016, that optimistically (and unrealistically trusting that the U.S. government would actually follow through on this) predicted «Hillary Clinton to be Indicted on Federal Racketeering Charges» for her having used the U.S. State Department to fundraise for her Clinton Foundation (money that she and her family control), but the article lasted less than a day online before being taken down by HuffPo management.

I personally checked out all of this article’s linked sources and found that they are sound and collectively documented an extensive racketeering operation. Other articles have documented some of its harmful consequences, such as (here and here and here and here) against the Haitian people for the benefit of both Haiti’s and America’s aristocracies; and, so, even if what the immediate withdrawn-by-management article predicted would happen has turned out to have been false (as now seems inevitable), the things that it was alleging to have already occurred (the historical account) were, indeed, entirely true, and damning. The article does show Hillary Clinton to have been operating the U.S. State Department as a personal racket. And other articles document many harmful consequences from it.

The Presidential nominees of both of our major political Parties are profoundly corrupt, and they lie to the public about their kindness and their generosity, which are absent (more like the opposite) in reality. Hillary Clinton’s attempt to destroy evidence in the criminal case against her, by destroying all records she could of her emails, and the FBI’s refusal even to investigate to find the motive for that crime and thereby to say it wasn’t prosecutable, are additional crimes (that won’t be prosecuted) regarding the Clinton Foundation side of this matter, but both of the major-Party nominees are poseurs, liars, and psychopaths.

The deeper question is why, at the present stage of U.S. history, our supposedly (but no longer actually) democratic system of government, has offered to the American people, what the theocratic Iranian system offers to its people: a choice between only uglies — excluding any and all decent, progressive, nominees. There was one decent and progressive candidate in the Presidential contest, Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries, and he had the highest net approval-ratings, and also in all the polls showed as being able to beat, by the biggest margins, each and every one of the opposite Party’s candidates.

And so that candidate, Sanders, was clearly preferred the most, by the largest percentage of Americans — but today’s corrupt American political system excluded that person from being even a choice at all, in the final round (November 8th) contest. Sanders also has by far topped the annual surveys of approval of each of the 100 Senators among the people within the given Senator’s own state, the very people who have considered that person’s policy-record and Senate votes the closest and the longest; and, in the latest published survey, which was reported on 13 September 2016, Sanders’s approval-rating there was 87%, and the second-most-approved Senator had an approval-rating of 69% — an enormous fall-off of 18% from the number-one Senator).

It’s like Iran’s mullahs excluding the best candidates from the final choice by the Iranian people. (Incidentally, on the Republican side of the 2016 Presidential contest, the strongest candidate in the head-to-head matchups against both Clinton and Sanders was John Kasich; but, just like in the Democratic Party, the strongest-polling candidate failed to win his own Party’s nomination. In the polled match-ups between Kasich and Sanders, Sanders was almost always the winner, but in the polled matchups between Kasich and Clinton, Clinton was.)

It is not a democracy when both of the two candidates that are the most preferred by the most people are excluded from the final two-person choice — such as in Iran, and, now, also in the United States. If America were a democracy, the final Presidential contest now would be between Sanders and Kasich — but it’s not.

This is the situation that one would expect in an «oligarchy» — a nation that’s controlled by its aristocrats (the very few wealthiest persons). In all of politics, in every country, there is always an intrinsic conflict between money and voters, for control over the nation’s government.During the U.S. Constitutional Convention in 1787, in which America’s Constitution was written, the debates focused upon how to avoid the U.S. to become an oligarchy — rule by the wealthiest, against the public.

However, the only scientific study that has ever been done of whether the U.S. is controlled by the public (a democracy), or contrarywise by only the wealthiest — an aristocracy or «oligarchy» — finds (based upon study of 1,779 policy-issues during the period 1981-2002) that the U.S. is, in fact, an «oligarchy.» (The situation has actually become even worse since that period ended, but no study has been done of the subsequent years.)

In other words: former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is correct to state that the U.S. now is «just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery». The evidence since he left the White House in 1981 (and up till at least 2002) showed clearly that that is the case; and it has been getting worse (not better) after 2002 (because of the activist-conservative, Republican, rabidly pro-aristocracy, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, such as Citizens United — which the ‘Democrat’ Hillary Clinton exploits more than any other politician).

For example, there was considerable rhetorical difference between the candidates in the last U.S. Presidential election, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but afterwards in actual policies, one can well imagine that Romney would have done much as Obama has done as President, and not only in domestic policies but even also in foreign policies. It was Romney — not Obama — who said (and it was Obama — not Romney — who mocked), «Russia, this is without question our number one geopolitical foe.»

At the Bilderberg conferences and at all other forums in which the U.S. — and its other allied — aristocracy gather, or in their public statements such as in the U.S. aristocracy’s Foreign Affairs journal or Foreign Policy magazine, this viewpoint (that after both the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact military alliance ended in 1991, still «Russia, this is without question our number one geopolitical foe») is ceaselessly put forth (and in a March 2006 article in Foreign Affairs, was even put forth the view that America should go all the way to nuclearly blitzing Russia; and Obama in 2015 started the Prompt Global Strike plan in order to enable this goal to be able to be achieved mainly by non-nuclear weaponry — he apparently wants to be able to make use of at least some of Russia, after it’s conquered).

Similarly, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are pushing for the TPP, TTIP, and TISA proposed treaties, which would give international corporations a higher sovereignty than any nation’s sovereignty, and would, if passed into law, enable international corporations to sue the taxpayers of any participating nation, for multi-billion-dollar sums, in a supra-national system not of courts, and not of any nation’s constitution and laws, but of three-person panels of corporate «arbitrators» whose decisions (not dependent upon any country’s laws) will be non-appealable.

Only deeply corrupt nations’ governments can approve such treaties, because if their publics knew what those treaties’ «ISDS» provisions mean, the public would revolt against passage of it: therefore, the press need to be rigidly controlled in order for a ‘democratic’ country to sign it. If any of these three horrific treaties (introducing actually an international fascist dictatorship) goes into effect, then not only the U.S. will be thoroughly corrupt at the top, but the entire world will soon become so (the parts that haven’t yet).

In other words: the U.S. aristocracy control U.S. politics; and that’s the reason why both of America’s major-Party contenders are profoundly corrupt. This would not happen in an authentic democracy. It is not the result of democracy; it is the result of democracy’s having ended in the U.S.

The question of whether a ‘benign dictatorship’ has ever existed, can reasonably be debated upon the basis of the evidence. However, the answer to the question of whether the U.S. still is a «democracy,» is clear and beyond debate, on the basis of the evidence — and it is not a democracy. After 1981, it has been, and is, an aristocracy, ruling here. And any aristocracy is profoundly corrupt — that is the very nature of aristocracy: unaccountable power, what can almost be defined to constitute «an aristocrat».

And that is why both Trump and Clinton are corrupt. This is the culmination of that deeper reality. On the surface is partisanship loaded heavily with lies; underneath is the reality of America’s aristocracy controlling, now, both of the two political Parties.

(Incidentally, and so this is added here parenthetically: Americans who say such things as «Don’t vote for either of them» or «Vote third-party,» are pretenders to participating in their nation’s politics, not actual participants in it — whatever it is, which, in the current U.S. case, is a choice of the lesser of two evils. Even Ralph Nader and Ross Perot failed to come even close to winning even merely a single one of the 50 States in the Electoral College; such ‘candidates’ are fakes, whose only real function is to attract enough more away from the number of potential voters for one of the two Parties’ nominees than away from the other of the two Parties’ nominees, so as to throw the ‘election’ — and that strategy has succeeded only once in modern history, when Nader drew enough away from Gore, both in New Hampshire and in Florida, so as to enable the five Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court to be able to appoint George W. Bush as President, by the Electoral College vote of 266 Gore to 271 Bush, though Gore won 543,895 more of the nationwide counted votes than did Bush.

Bush won the Presidency by, among other things, his 5-4-vote win in the U.S. Supreme Court, an opinion that was so corrupt — making unprecedented and blatantly antithetical use of the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause, to apply to ballots instead of to voters — so that even the 5-vote majority decision said, using tortured logic, that this ruling would not be able to be cited in future Supreme Court rulings as a precedent: «Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.» However, there is no applicability of the Equal Protection Clause to ballots, but only to people.

That’s not ‘complex’ at all. The Republicans simply don’t want the Democrats to be able to cite this decision as a precedent in the future if, at that future time, the shoe might happen to be on the other foot. Nader’s voters were suckers who helped him to throw the ‘election’ to Bush, which was what Nader was trying to do. In an aristocracy, everything related to government is corrupt, and the only way to ‘justify’ that sort of government is constant lying.)

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The US Fox News TV channel has reported, citing military sources, that Russia had deployed the S-300V4 “Antey-2500” anti-ballistic missile system in Syria. S-300V4 is an upgraded version of S-300.

It’s designed to defeat short- and medium-range ballistic missile, aeroballistic and cruise missiles, fixed-wing aircraft, as well as loitering ECM platforms and precision-guided munitions.

According to Fox News, it was delivered to the Russian naval facility in Tartus via the sea.

In 2015, Moscow deployed the S-300 long range surface-to-air missile system after the incident with the downing of Russia’s Su-24M bomber aircraft by Turkey. The new phase of strengthening of the air-defense capabilities of Moscow’s military grouping comes amid the increased US-Russian tensions over the ongoing conflict.

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On October 3, Washington suspended bilateral contacts with Moscow over the crisis and, de-facto, withdrew from the peace process in Syria. There is “nothing more for the US and Russia to talk about”, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. Nonetheless, contacts between US and Russian military to “deconflict” encounters between their aircraft in Syrian skies will continue.

The very same day Moscow accused Washington of sabotaging the ceasefire deal, saying that the US will be responsible for any new terror attacks in Syria. The US “has never exerted any real pressure on Jabhat Al-Nusra, done nothing for delineation to succeed and taken no action against its militants,“ the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that “We are becoming more convinced that in a pursuit of a much desired regime change in Damascus, Washington is ready to ‘make a deal with the devil’.”

The Syrian army, the National Defense Forces (NDF), Liwa al-Quds and Hezbollah have been advancing in Aleppo city. The loyalists are clashing with militants in the Awijah neighborhood. The Syrian army and Liwa al-Quds have set a fire control of the Jandoul roundabout after a series of firefights. This chains significantly the movement of militant units in the area. Now, Jaish al-Fatah militants need to use the Asfar and Sawmills heights to maneuver in the neighborhood.

The Syrian army and Hezbhollah advanced against Jaish al-Fatah militants inside the Suleiman al-Halabi Neighborhood of Aleppo city. Recently, the pro-government forces have entered the water foundation area. Clashes are ongoing. The pro-government forces also launched attacks on the Sheikh Sa’eed neighborhood and the missile base of Khan Tuman in southern Aleppo.

The pro-government forces keep initiative in Aleppo and the recent developments show that without active help from foreign powers, the militants will not be able to hold the city.

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Everyone claims to want to end the war in Syria and restore peace to the Middle East.

Well, almost everyone.

“This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,” said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York told the New York Times in June 2013. “Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here.”

Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, stressed the same points in August 2016:

“The West should seek the further weakening of Islamic State, but not its destruction… Allowing bad guys to kill bad guys sounds very cynical, but it is useful and even moral to do so if it keeps the bad guys busy and less able to harm the good guys… Moreover, instability and crises sometimes contain portents of positive change… The American administration does not appear capable of recognizing the fact that IS can be a useful tool in undermining Tehran’s ambitious plan for domination of the Middle East.”

Okay, not exactly everyone.

But surely the humanitarian website Avaaz wants to end the war and restore peace.

Or does it?

Avaaz is currently circulating a petition which has gathered over a million signatures and is aiming at a million and a half. It is likely to get them, with words like this:

“100 children have been killed in Aleppo since last Friday.

“Enough is enough!”

Avaaz goes on to declare: “There is no easy way to end this war, but there’s only one way to prevent this terror from the skies — people everywhere demanding a no-fly zone to protect civilians.”

No-fly zone? Doesn’t that sound familiar? That was the ploy that served to destroy Libya’s air defenses and opened the country to regime change in 2011. It was promoted zealously by Hillary Clinton, who is also on record as favoring the same gambit in Syria.

And when the West says “no-fly”, it means that some can fly and others cannot. With the no-fly zone in Libya, France, Britain and the United States flew all they wanted, killing countless civilians, destroying infrastructure and allowing Islamic rebels to help themselves to part of the country.

The Avaaz petition makes the same distinction. Some should fly and others should not.

“Let’s build a resounding global call to Obama and other leaders to stand up to Putin and Assad’s terror. This might be our last, best chance to help end this mass murder of defenseless children. Add your name.”

So it’s all about mass murder of defenseless children, and to stop it, we should call on the drone king, Obama, to end “terror from the skies”.

Not only Obama, but other “good” leaders, members of NATO:

“To President Obama, President Erdogan, President Hollande, PM May, and other world leaders: As citizens around the globe horrified by the slaughter of innocents in Syria, we call on you to enforce an air-exclusion zone in Northern Syria, including Aleppo, to stop the bombardment of Syria’s civilians and ensure that humanitarian aid reaches those most in need.”

The timing of this petition is eloquent. It comes exactly when the Syrian government is pushing to end the war by reconquering the eastern part of Aleppo. It is part of the massive current propaganda campaign to reduce public consciousness of the Syrian war to two factors: child victims and humanitarian aid.

In this view, the rebels disappear. So do all their foreign backers, the Saudi Johnstone-Queen-Cover-ak800--291x450money, the Wahhabi fanatics, the ISIS recruits from all over the world, the U.S. arms and French support. The war is only about the strange whim of a “dictator”, who amuses himself by bombing helpless children and blocking humanitarian aid. This view reduces the five-year war in Syria to the situation as it was portrayed in Libya, to justify the no-fly zone: nothing but a wicked dictator bombing his own people.

For the public that likes to consume world events in fairy tale form, this all fits together. Sign a petition on your computer and save the children.

The Avaaz petition does not aim to end the war and restore peace. It clearly aims to obstruct the Syrian government offensive to retake Aleppo. The Syrian army has undergone heavy losses in five years of war, its potential recruits have in effect been invited to avoid dangerous military service by going to Germany. Syria needs air power to reduce its own casualties. The Avaaz petition calls for crippling the Syrian offensive and thus taking the side of the rebels.

Wait – but does that mean they want the rebels to win? Not exactly. The only rebels conceivably strong enough to win are ISIS. Nobody really wants that.

The plain fact is that to end this war, as to end most wars, one side has to come out on top. When it is clear who is the winning side, then there can be fruitful negotiations for things like amnesty. But this war cannot be “ended by negotiations”. That is an outcome that the United States might support only if Washington could use negotiations to impose its own puppets – pardon, pro-democracy exiles living in the West. But as things stand, they would be rejected as traitors by the majority of Syrians who support the government and as apostates by the rebels. So one side has to win to end this war. The least worst outcome would be that the Assad government defeats the rebels, in order to preserve the state. For that, the Syrian armed forces need to retake the eastern part of Aleppo occupied by rebels.

The job of Avaaz is to get public opinion to oppose this military operation, by portraying it as nothing but a joint Russian-Syrian effort to murder civilians, especially children. For that, they call for a NATO military operation to shoot down (that’s what “no-fly” means) Syrian and Russian planes offering air support to the Syrian army offensive.

Even such drastic measures do not aim to end the war. They mean weakening the winning side to prevent it from winning. To prolong a stalemate. It means – to use the absurd expression popular during the Bosnian war – creating an “even playing field”, as if war were a sports event. It means keeping the war going on and on until nothing is left of Syria, and what is left of the Syrian population fills up refugee camps in Europe.

As the New York Times reported from Jerusalem in September 2013  , “The synergy between the Israeli and American positions, while not explicitly articulated by the leaders of either country, could be a critical source of support as Mr. Obama seeks Congressional approval for surgical strikes in Syria.” It added that “Israel’s national security concerns have broad, bipartisan support in Washington, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential pro-Israel lobby in Washington, weighed in Tuesday in support of Mr. Obama’s approach.” (This was when Obama was planning to “punish President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons without seeking to force him from power” – before Obama decided to join Russia in disarming the Syrian chemical arsenal instead, a decision for which he continues to be condemned by the pro-Israel lobby and the War Party.) AIPAC’s statement “said nothing, however, about the preferred outcome of the civil war…”

Indeed. As the 2013 report from Jerusalem continued, “as hopes have dimmed for the emergence of a moderate, secular rebel force that might forge democratic change and even constructive dialogue, with Israel, a third approach has gained traction: Let the bad guys burn themselves out. ‘The perpetuation of the conflict is absolutely serving Israel’s interest,’ said Nathan Thrall, a Jerusalem-based analyst for the International Crisis Group.”

The plain truth is that Syria is the victim of a long-planned Joint Criminal Enterprise to destroy the last independent secular Arab nationalist state in the Middle East, following the destruction of Iraq in 2003. While attributed to government repression of “peaceful protests” in 2011, the armed uprising had been planned for years and was supported by outside powers: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States and France, among others. The French motives remain mysterious, unless linked to those of Israel, which sees the destruction of Syria as a means to weaken its archrival in the region, Iran. Saudi Arabia has similar intentions to weaken Iran, but with religious motives. Turkey, the former imperial power in the region, has territorial and political ambitions of its own. Carving up Syria can satisfy all of them.

This blatant and perfectly open conspiracy to destroy Syria is a major international crime, and the above-mentioned States are co-conspirators. They are joined in this Joint Criminal Enterprise by ostensibly “humanitarian” organizations like Avaaz that spread war propaganda in the guise of protecting children. This works because most Americans just can’t believe that their government would do such things. Because normal ordinary people have good intentions and hate to see children killed, they imagine that their government must be the same. It is hard to overcome this comforting faith. It is more natural to believe that the criminals are wicked people in a country about which they really understand nothing.

There is no chance that this criminal enterprise will ever arouse the attention of the prosecutors at the International Criminal Court, which like most major international organizations is totally under U.S. control. For example, the United Nations Undersecretary General for Political Affairs, who analyses and frames political issue for the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, is an American diplomat, Jeffrey Feltman, who was a key member of Hillary Clinton’s team when she was carrying out regime change in Libya. And accomplices in this criminal enterprise include all the pro-governmental “non-governmental” organizations such as Avaaz who push hypocrisy to new lengths by exploiting compassion for children in order to justify and perpetuate this major crime against humanity and against peace in the world.

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USA Empire

By Prof. James Petras, October 03 2016

Over the past decade and a half, the US and its allies have invaded, occupied, killed, wounded and dispossessed over ten million people, from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. Military and civilian officials have systematically destroyed entire economies, fostered ethno-religious wars, and placed corrupt political puppets in power.

American Way of Life

By John Kozy, October 03 2016

Do you really believe that people are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? If so, you are totally irrational. No! You are deranged. Since human beings evolved, they have been taking each other’s lives and enslaving others. And as for pursuing happiness? Whether you chase it until the end of your life, no one will ever care. Having a right to pursue it is irrelevant. Attaining it is what matters, and no one has even ever suggested that people have that right. When Jefferson put those sentiments into the Declaration of Independence, he knew they were pure propaganda.

cold-war

By William Blum, October 03 2016

“Russia suspected of election scheme. U.S. probes plan to sow voter distrust.” That’s the Washington Post page-one lead headline of September 6. Think about it. The election that Americans are suffering through, cringing in embarrassment, making them think of moving abroad, renouncing their citizenship; an election causing the Founding Fathers to throw up as they turn in their graves … this is because the Russian Devils are sowing voter distrust! Who knew?

white helmets

By Tony Cartalucci, October 03 2016

Recent protests held across North America and Europe staged by supporters of armed militants in Syria have staged scenes in Western streets eerily similar to those featured in the photos and videos of the US-European funded “Syrian Civil Defence” also known as the “White Helmets.”

syrian-war-propaganda

By Prof. James Petras, October 03 2016

Washington’s quest for perpetual world power is underwritten by systematic and perpetual propaganda wars. Every major and minor war has been preceded, accompanied and followed by unremitting government propaganda designed to secure public approval, exploit victims, slander critics, dehumanize targeted adversaries and justify its allies’ collaboration. In this paper we will discuss the most common recent techniques used to support ongoing imperial wars.

internet-yellow

By John Stanton, October 03 2016

There is an inverse relationship between public access to the Internet and the inability of governments and institutions to control information flow and hence state allegiance, ideology, public opinion, and policy formulation. Increase in public access to the Internet results in an equivalent decrease in government and institutional power. Indeed, after September 11, 2001, Internet traffic statistics show that many millions of Americans have connected to alternative news sources outside the continental United States. The information they consume can be and often is contrary to US government statements and US mainstream media reporting.

SYRIA-CONFLICT

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, October 02 2016

The total shipment is of the order of 994 tons of “humanitarian” R2P light weapons for the “Moderates” in Syria. (in a single shipment out of Romania) among numerous comparable shipments by sea as well as by air.

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L’appareil à changer les régimes de Washington a pour le moment réussi à briser un maillon important dans l’alliance des grands pays émergents par un passage en force d’une destitution par le Sénat de la présidente dûment élue, Dilma Rousseff. Le 31 août, son vice-président Michel Temer a prêté serment comme président. Dans son premier discours en tant que président, Temer a cyniquement appelé à un gouvernement de « salut national », en demandant la confiance du peuple brésilien. Il a présenté des plans de réforme et a également signalé son intention de réviser les lois du système de retraite et du travail, et de réduire les dépenses publiques, autant de thèmes chers aux banques de Wall Street, du Fonds Monétaire International et leur Consensus de Washington. Maintenant, après moins de trois semaines en poste, Temer a dévoilé ses plans pour la privatisation en masse des joyaux de la couronne du Brésil, à commencer par le pétrole. Le pillage prévu du Brésil par Wall Street est sur le point de démarrer.

Il est important de garder à l’esprit que la Présidente Rousseff n’a pas été condamnée ni même formellement accusée d’un acte concret de corruption, même si le courant pro-oligarchie des médias du Brésil, dirigé par O’Globo Group du milliardaire Roberto Irineu Marinho, a mené une campagne de diffamation, créant les conditions du renversement de Rousseff par une mise en accusation formelle devant le Sénat. Le virage a eu lieu lorsque le parti d’opposition de Tremer, le PMDB, a brisé le 29 mars sa coalition avec le Parti des Travailleurs de Rousseff, tandis que des accusations de corruption liées à Petrobras liées étaient lancées contre Rousseff et l’ancien président Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Le 31 Août, 61 sénateurs ont voté pour la destitution, tandis que 20 ont voté contre. La charge formelle était « manipulation du budget de l’Etat » avant les élections de 2014 pour cacher le montant du déficit. Elle nie avec véhémence l’accusation. En effet, le Sénat a publié son propre rapport d’experts qui a conclu qu’il n’y avait « aucune indication d’implication directe ou indirecte de Dilma » dans des manœuvres budgétaires illégales. Selon Associated Press, « des auditeurs indépendants embauchés par le Sénat du Brésil ont déclaré dans un rapport publié lundi que la présidente suspendue Dilma Rousseff n’a pas participé à la comptabilité « créative » dont elle avait été accusée lors de son procès de mise en accusation. » Dans le cadre d’un système honnête l’histoire se serait arrêtée là. Mais pas au Brésil.

En effet, elle a été mise en accusation pour le déclin dramatique de l’économie brésilienne, un déclin délibérément aggravé par des agences de notation de crédit américains tandis que les médias brésiliens et internationaux traditionnels faisaient leurs titres sur les allégations de corruption chez Petrobras. Fait important, le Sénat n’a pas interdit l’ex-présidente de toute fonction publique pour 8 ans malgré les souhaits de Washington, et elle a promis un retour sur électoral. Temer, commandé par Washington, a jusqu’à la fin de 2018 pour livrer le Brésil à ses maîtres avant la fin légal de son mandat.

Il faut rappeler que Temer lui-même a été accusé de corruption par les enquêtes sur la compagnie pétrolière d’état Petrobras. Il aurait demandé au chef de l’unité de transport de Petróleo Brasileiro SA de l’époque, en 2012, d’organiser des contributions de campagne illégales au parti de Temer qui menait une campagne soutenu par Washington pour évincer le Parti des Travailleurs de Rousseff. Puis, au mois de juin dernier, quelques jours seulement après sa prise de fonctions en tant que président par intérim, deux des propres ministres nommés par Temer, dont le ministre de la transparence, ont été contraints de démissionner suite aux allégations selon lesquelles ils cherchaient à détourner l’enquête sur la corruption massive chez Petrobras.

L’un des deux, Romero Juca, un très proche allié de Temer, a été enregistré en train de comploter la destitution de Dilma comme un moyen d’arrêter l’enquête sur la corruption Petrobras en cours, tout en indiquant que les militaires du Brésil, les médias, et les tribunaux étaient tous impliqués dans le complot visant la destitution.

En bref, la destitution de Dilma Rousseff et son Parti des Travailleurs après 13 ans de pouvoir au Brésil était une nouvelle forme de Révolution Colorée de Washington, que nous pourrions appeler un coup d’Etat judiciaire par des juges et des membres corrompus du Congrès. Sur les 594 membres du Congrès, selon le quotidien Globe and Mail of Toronto, « 318 font l’objet d’une enquête ou ont été accusés » alors que leur victime, la présidente Rousseff, « n’est elle-même accusée d’aucun délit financier. »

Le lendemain du premier vote de mise de mise en accusation à la Chambre basse au mois d’avril, un membre dirigeant du parti PSDP de Temer, le sénateur Aloysio Nunes, s’est rendu à Washington pour une mission organisée par le cabinet de lobbying Albright Stonebridge Group de l’ancien secrétaire d’Etat de Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright. Nunes, en tant que président du Comité des relations étrangères du Sénat brésilien, a maintes fois préconisé que le Brésil se réoriente une fois de plus vers une alliance avec les Etats-Unis et le Royaume-Uni.

Madeline Albright, directrice d’un des principaux think-tanks étasuniens, le Council on Foreign Relations, est également présidente du principal ONG derrière les « révolutions de couleur » du gouvernement des États-Unis, le National Democratic Institute (NDI). Vous ne trouvez rien de louche, là-dedans ? Nunes serait allé à Washington pour rallier un soutien à Temer et au coup d’Etat judiciaire contre Rousseff.

Du côté de Washington, un acteur clé, le bourreau politique de facto de Rousseff, était, une fois de plus, le vice-président Joe Biden, le ’Dick Cheney’ des sales coups de l’administration Obama.

Le voyage fatidique de Biden au Brésil

En mai 2013, le vice-président Joe Biden a effectué une visite fatidique au Brésil pour rencontrer la présidente Rousseff. En Janvier 2011, Rousseff avait succédé à son mentor du Parti des Travailleurs, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, ou Lula, qui était limité à deux mandats consécutifs par la Constitution. Biden était allé au Brésil pour parler de pétrole avec le nouveau président. Les relations entre Lula et Washington s’étaient refroidies lorsque Lula a soutenu l’Iran contre les sanctions américaines et s’est rapproché économiquement de la Chine.

Fin 2007, Petrobras avait découvert ce qui a été estimé comme une gigantesque réserve de pétrole de haute qualité sur le plateau continental maritime brésilien dans le bassin de Santos. Au total, le plateau continental brésilien pourrait contenir plus de 100 milliards de barils de pétrole, ce qui transformerait le pays en une puissance pétrolière et gazière, chose que les géants pétroliers US Exxon et Chevron, aimeraient contrôler.

En 2009, selon une fuite de câbles diplomatiques US publiés par Wikileaks, le consulat américain à Rio a écrit que Exxon et Chevron ont essayé en vain de modifier une loi soutenue par le mentor et prédécesseur de Rousseff au sein du Parti des Travailleurs, le président Luis Inacio Lula da Silva. Cette loi de 2009 fait de Petrobras le chef-opérateur les blocs pétroliers offshore. Washington et les géants pétroliers US ne sont pas du tout heureux de perdre le contrôle sur la plus grande découverte potentielle de pétrole depuis des décennies.

Lula avait non seulement écarté ExxonMobil et Chevron de la position majoritaire en faveur de la Petrobras, mais il a aussi ouvert l’exploration pétrolière brésilienne pour la Chine, qui est depuis 2009 un membre central des pays en voie de développement du BRICS avec le Brésil, la Russie, l’Inde et l’Afrique du Sud.

En Décembre 2010, dans un de ses derniers actes en tant que président, Lula a supervisé la signature d’un accord entre l’entreprise énergétique brésilien-espagnol Repsol et la société Sinopec qui appartient à l’état chinois. Sinopec a formé une coentreprise, Repsol Brasil Sinopec, en investissant plus de $7,1 milliards dans Repsol Brésil. Déjà en 2005, Lula avait approuvé la formation de Sinopec International Petroleum Service of Brazil Ltd dans le cadre d’une nouvelle alliance stratégique entre la Chine et le Brésil.

En 2012, lors d’un forage d’exploration en commun, Repsol Sinopec Brasil, le norvégien Statoil et Petrobras ont fait une nouvelle découverte majeure dans Pão de Açúcar, le troisième dans le bloc BM-C-33, qui comprend Seat et Gávea, ce dernier étant l’un des 10 plus importantes découvertes au monde en 2011. Les grandes compagnies pétrolières étasuniennes et britanniques n’étaient pas visibles dans les parages.

La tâche de Biden était de sonder le successeur de Lula, Rousseff, pour revenir sur l’exclusion des grandes compagnies pétrolières US en faveur des Chinois. Biden a également rencontré quelques unes des principales sociétés d’énergie au Brésil, y compris Petrobras.

Bien que peu a été dit publiquement, Rousseff a refusé de modifier la loi sur le pétrole de 2009 d’une manière qui aurait satisfait Biden, Washington et les compagnies pétrolières US. Quelques jours après la visite de Biden, les révélations de Snowden qui montraient que la NSA et les Etats-Unis avaient également espionné Rousseff et de hauts responsables de Petrobras. Elle était livide et a dénoncé l’administration Obama au mois de septembre devant l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU pour avoir violé le droit international. Elle a annulé une visite prévue à Washington en signe de protestation. Après cela, les relations entre les Etats-Unis et le Brésil se sont sérieusement dégradées.

Après ses pourparlers de mai 2013 avec Rousseff, Biden lui a clairement donné le baiser de la mort.

Avant la visite de mai 2013 de Biden, Dilma Rousseff avait une cote de popularité de 70%. Moins de deux semaines après le départ de Biden, des manifestations nationales par un groupe très bien organisé appelé Movimento Passe Livre, sur une augmentation des tarifs de bus de 10 centimes, ont pratiquement paralysé le pays et devinrent très violentes. Les protestations portaient la marque d’une « révolution de couleur » avec des déstabilisations via les médias sociaux qui semblent suivre Biden partout où il passe. En quelques semaines, la popularité de Rousseff est tombée à 30%.

Washington avait clairement envoyé un signal que Rousseff devait changer de cap ou faire face à de graves problèmes. La machine à changer de régime de Washington, y compris la totalité de sa gamme d’opérations de guerre financières allant d’un audit fuité de PwC sur Petrobras à la dégradation du Brésil par l’agence de notation de crédit Standard & Poors de Wall Street en Septembre 2015, est entrée en action pour éliminer Rousseff, un bailleur de fonds clé de la Nouvelle Banque de Développement du BRICS et d’une stratégie de développement national indépendant pour le Brésil.

La vente des joyaux de la Couronne

L’homme qui a personnellement manoeuvré pour s’emparer de la présidence, le corrompu Michel Temer, a travaillé pendant tout ce temps comme informateur pour Washington. Dans les documents publiés par Wikileaks, il a été révélé que Temer était un informateur de renseignement américain depuis au moins 2006, par l’intermédiaire de télégrammes à l’ambassade des États-Unis au Brésil classifiés par l’ambassade comme « sensibles » et « pour usage officiel seulement. »

L’homme de Washington au Brésil, Temer, n’a pas perdu de temps pour apaiser ses parrains de Wall Street. Même en tant que président par intérim en mai, Temer a nommé Henrique Meirelles Ministre des Finances et de la Sécurité sociale. Meirelles, ancien président de la Banque centrale brésilienne et instruit à Harvard, a été président de BankBoston aux Etats-Unis jusqu’en 1999, et travaillait pour cette banque en 1985 lorsqu’il a été reconnu coupable d’avoir omis de déclarer $1,2 milliards de transferts de fonds illégaux vers des banques suisses. Meirelles supervise actuellement la vente massive prévue des « joyaux de la couronne » du Brésil aux investisseurs internationaux, un mouvement destiné à diminuer gravement le pouvoir de l’État dans l’économie. Un autre des conseillers économiques clés de Temer est Paulo Leme, ancien économiste du FMI et maintenant Directeur Général des Recherches sur les Marchés Émergements de Goldman Sachs. Wall Street est centre du pillage économique du Brésil mené par Tremer.

Le 13 Septembre, le gouvernement Temer a dévoilé un programme de privatisation massive avec un commentaire cyniquement trompeur, « Il est clair que le secteur public ne peut pas avancer seul sur ces projets. Nous comptons sur le secteur privé. » Il a omis de préciser que le secteur privé dont il parlait était celui de ses parrains.

Temer a dévoilé des plans qui aboutiraient à la plus grande privatisation du pays depuis des décennies. Idéalement, le processus doit être achevé d’ici la fin de 2018, juste avant la fin du mandat de Temer. L’influent Conseil des Affaires Etats-Unis-Brésil a détaillé la liste des privatisations sur son site Internet. Le Conseil des Affaires Etats-Unis-Brésil a été fondé il y a quarante ans par Citigroup, Monsanto, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemicals et d’autres multinationales US.

Des appel d’offres pour le premier tour des concessions seront émis avant la fin de cette année. Ils comprendront la privatisation de quatre aéroports et deux terminaux portuaires, tous vendus aux enchères au cours du premier trimestre de 2017. D’autres concessions comprennent cinq autoroutes, une ligne de chemin de fer, des enchères sur de petits blocs de pétrole et ensuite sur les grands blocs d’exploitation pétrolière, principalement au large des côtes. En outre, le gouvernement va vendre des certains actifs actuellement contrôlés par son Département de Recherches Minières plus six distributeurs d’électricité et trois installations de traitement de l’eau.

Le cœur de son projet de privatisation sont, sans surprise, les compagnies pétrolières et gazières de l’Etat très convoitées par Joe Biden ainsi que des pans de la compagnie d’électricité de l’État Eletrobrás. Temer prévoit d’obtenir jusqu’à $24 milliards de cette vente massive. $11 milliards du total proviendront de la vente de titres clés dans le pétrole et de gaz. Bien sûr, lorsque les actifs de l’Etat tels que les énormes ressources pétrolières et gazières sont vendues à des intérêts étrangers dans ce qui sera à l’évidence une vente au rabais, ils ne peuvent être vendus qu’une seule fois. Le pétrole, le gaz ou des projets d’énergie électrique génèrent un flux de revenus constant qui s’élève à plusieurs fois les gains obtenus par une privatisation. C’est l’économie du Brésil qui sera l’ultime perdant dans cette privatisation. Les banques et les multinationales de Wall Street seront bien sûr, comme prévu, les gagnants.

Du 19 au 21 Septembre, selon le site du Conseil des Affaires Etats-Unis-Brésil, les principaux ministres du gouvernement brésilien pour les infrastructures dont le ministre Moreira Franco ; le Ministre Fernando Bezerra Coelho Filho, ministre des Mines et de l’énergie ; et le ministre Mauricio Quintella Lessa, ministre des Transports, Ports et de l’Aviation civile, seront à New York pour rencontrer des « investisseurs en infrastructure. » de Wall Street.

C’est la méthode de Washington, la méthode des Dieux de l’Argent de Wall Street [Wall Street Gods of Money], pour reprendre le titre d’un de mes livres. Tout d’abord, détruire toute volonté de dirigeants nationaux déterminés à oeuvrer pour un véritable développement national, tels que Dilma Rousseff. Les remplacer par un régime vassal prêt à faire n’importe quoi pour l’argent, y compris vendre les joyaux de la couronne de leur propre pays comme l’ont fait des gens comme Anatoli Tchoubaïs en Russie dans les années 1990 sous la « thérapie de choc » de Boris Eltsine. Comme récompense pour son comportement, Tchoubaïs siège au conseil consultatif de JP MorganChase. Ce que Temer et ses associés obtiendront pour leurs efforts reste encore à découvrir. Washington pour l’instant a brisé un des BRICS qui menaçait son hégémonie mondiale. Si l’histoire récente peut servir de leçon, il est peu probable que cela soit un succès durable.

F. William Engdahl 

Article original en anglais :

brics-1301745_960_720

Washington Tries to Break BRICS. Rape of Brazil Begins, on Behalf of Wall Street…

Traduction par VD pour le Grand Soir 

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Back in 2010, CBS news reported that the Australian government had a potential RFID microchipping plan in the works related to the health care system.

Now, it seems that this plan is beginning to unfold but the push is not a result of mandated health care reforms, but rather a clever propaganda campaign that equates RFID microchipping with becoming superhuman, and people are begging for it.

Under the headline ‘Australians embracing super-human microchip technology’, Australia’s premier media outlet news.com.au (News Corp Australia) reports:

It may sound like sci-fi, but hundreds of Australians are turning themselves into super-humans who can unlock doors, turn on lights and log into computers with a wave of the hand.

Shanti Korporaal, from Sydney, is at the centre of the phenomenon after having two implants inserted under her skin.

Now she can get into work and her car without carrying a card or keys, and says her ultimate goal is to completely do away with her wallet and cards.

She told news.com.au:

 You could set up your life so you never have to worry about any password or PINs it’s the same technology as Paypass, so I’m hoping you’ll be able to pay for things with it.

With Opal you get a unique identification number that could be programmed into the chip. Any door with a swipe card … it could open your computer, photocopier. Loyalty cards for shops are just another thing for your wallet.

The microchips, which are the size of a grain of rice, can act like a business card and transfer contact details to smartphones, and hold complex medical data.

In her interview with the Australian news outlet, Shanti claims that her friends and family are envious of her microchip lifestyle;

 My nana wants one. I’ve had more opposition to my tattoos than I’ve ever had to the chip. My friends are jealous.

In fact, the 27-year-old has noticed a business opportunity and set up a distribution service called Chip My Life with her husband, Skeeve Stevens where for just $80 to $140, people can become so called « super humans. »

On the same day this news story broke, Shanti appeared at Australia’s launch of the much anticipated cyborg themed video game Deus Ex Mankind Divided, alongside American implantable technology pioneer Amal Graafstra.

As you can see, the push for RFID microchipping and assimilating the human population with robots and technology, is something that will most likely be sold to the public as helping them to become « super human, » but clearly if you become part machine/computer, that means there will be someone who can control that technology. If you think the elites wouldn’t capitalize on such an exceptional opportunity to control the population you obviously don’t know  history very well.

Amal Graafstra, who became one of the world first RFID implantees back in 2005, just made headlines recently in the US with a prototype of the world’s first implant-activated smart gun and is a huge proponent for this new technology.

He’s written a book, spoken at TEDx and also appeared in a number of documentaries.

In an interview with the Australian media outlet, Amal explained that the technology he has implanted into his body has “given me the ability to communicate with machines. It’s literally integrated into who I am.”

Shanti has bought into the culture that dominates society today, which is one dominated by the fantasy of super heroes that mesmerizes the population at theaters all across the globe.

“Ever since watching movies like the Terminator, Matrix and Minority Report I wondered if we could actually live like that. I always wondered why we all weren’t living as ‘super-humans’

You can watch how Shanti uses the microchip in her daily life in the video below;

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« La Russie soupçonnée d’ingérence électorale. Les Etat-Unis enquêtent sur un plan visant à semer le doute chez les électeurs »

Voilà le titre en première page du Washington Post, le 6 Septembre. Pensez-y. L’élection que les Américains doivent endurer, rouges de honte, et qui les fait envisager de déménager à l’étranger, de renoncer à leur citoyenneté ; une élection qui provoque des nausées chez les Pères Fondateurs qui se retournent dans leurs tombes… parce que les Diables russes sèment le doute chez les électeurs ! Qui l’eût cru ?

Bien-sûr, c’est ainsi que les Communistes agissent – Oh, attendez, j’avais oublié, ils ne sont plus communistes. Mais alors, que sont-ils ? Ah oui, ils sont toujours cet horrible et vieil épouvantail digne d’une condamnation de tous les gens honnêtes – Ils empêchent les Etats-Unis de dominer le monde. Quel culot !

La première guerre froide a effectué une lobotomie sur les Américains, en remplaçant leur matière cérébrale par de la matière anti-communiste, produisant plus de 70 ans de stupidité nationale.

Pour tous ceux qui ont raté cette époque amusante, j’ai une bonne nouvelle : La Deuxième Guerre Froide est là, aussi grande et aussi stupide que jamais. La Russie et Vladimir Poutine sont systématiquement, et automatiquement, blâmés pour toutes sortes de malheurs. L’article qui suit le titre du Washington Postmentionné ci-dessus ne prend même pas la peine de faire semblant de présenter quelque chose qui pourrait passer pour une preuve. Le quotidien se contente de l’affirmer, tout en soulignant que « la communauté du renseignement ne dit pas qu’elle a « des preuve concluantes » d’une telle ingérence, ni qu’il existe des plans russes dans ce sens. » Mais le titre en première page a déjà rempli son objectif.

Hillary Clinton, lors du débat avec Donald Trump, a également accusé la Russie de tous types de piratages informatiques. Même Trump, qui n’est généralement pas un maniaque de la précision, l’a mise au défi de présenter le moindre élément de preuve. Elle n’avait rien.

En tout état de cause, tout cela n’est qu’une diversion. Ce n’est pas le piratage en soi qui gêne l’élite ; ce sont les révélations de leurs mensonges qui les hérisse au plus haut point. Le piratage du Comité National Démocrate à la veille du congrès du parti a révélé un certain nombre de courriels internes embarrassants, forçant la démission de la présidente du Comité, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Le 12 Septembre, nous pouvions lire dans le Post qu’un célèbre médecin avait appelé à un examen médical de Clinton pour vérifier un éventuel empoisonnement après une malaise à New York. Selon le bon médecin : « Je ne fais pas confiance à M. Poutine et M. Trump. Avec ces deux-là, tout est possible. »

De nombreux autres exemples pourraient être donnés ici de parti pris anti-russe infantile de la part du Post. L’un des sujets les plus courants a été la Crimée. « L’invasion » de Moscou de la péninsule de Crimée en Ukraine en Février 2014 est à plusieurs reprises avancée comme preuve de la politique étrangère belliqueuse et expansionniste de Moscou et la nécessité pour Washington d’alimenter une fois de plus son monstrueux budget de défense. Mais ils ne rappellent jamais que la Russie réagissait à un coup d’Etat soutenu par les Etats-Unis contre le gouvernement démocratiquement élu de l’Ukraine sur la frontière de la Russie et qui a été remplacé par un régime dans lequel les néo-nazis, au grand complet avec des croix gammées et tout, se sentent très à l’aise. La Russie a « envahi » pour aider les Ukrainiens de l’Est dans leur résistance à ce gouvernement, et n’a même jamais franchi la frontière alors que la Russie avait déjà une base militaire en Ukraine.

L’OTAN (càd les Etats-Unis) encerclent la Russie depuis des décennies. Le ministre russe des Affaires étrangères, Sergueï Lavrov, a capturé toute l’impudeur exquise de la situation avec sa remarque du 27 Septembre, 2014 : « Excusez-nous d’exister au milieu de toutes vos bases. »

En revanche, voici le secrétaire d’Etat américain, John Kerry : « L’OTAN n’est pas une menace pour personne. C’est une alliance défensive. Elle est simplement destinée à assurer la sécurité. Elle ne vise ni la Russie, ni qui que ce soit d’autre ». (1)

Les exercices militaires de l’OTAN dans cette région sont fréquentes et à peu près permanentes. L’encerclement de la Russie est pratiquement achevé, sauf pour la Géorgie et l’Ukraine. En Juin, le ministre des Affaires étrangères de l’Allemagne, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a scandaleusement accusé l’OTAN de « battre les tambours de la guerre » contre la Russie. Comment les États-Unis réagiraient-ils à un coup d’Etat russe au Mexique ou au Canada, suivi par des exercices militaires russes dans la même région ?

Depuis la fin de la Première Guerre froide, l’OTAN cherche avec fébrilité une justification de son existence. Le problème se résume à cette question : Si l’OTAN n’avait jamais existé, quel argument pourrait être donné aujourd’hui pour la créer ?

L’arrogance absolue de la politique US en Ukraine est incarnée à la perfection par la désormais célèbre remarque de Victoria Nuland, secrétaire adjoint au Département d’Etat, en réaction à une éventuelle objection de l’Union européenne du rôle de Washington en Ukraine : « Fuck l’UE », a-t-elle déclaré avec charme.

Contrairement aux États-Unis, la Russie ne cherche pas a dominer du monde, ni même à dominer l’Ukraine, chose que Moscou pourrait facilement faire si l’envie lui en prenait. Pas plus que l’Union Soviétique n’avait entrepris de dominer l’Europe de l’Est après la Seconde guerre mondiale. Il faut se rappeler que l’Europe de l’Est est devenue communiste parce que Hitler, avec l’approbation de l’Ouest, s’en était servie comme route pour atteindre l’Union Soviétique et tenter d’éradiquer le bolchevisme pour toujours ; et que les Russes dans les deux guerres mondiales ont perdu environ 40 millions de personnes parce que l’Occident avait deux fois utilisé cette route pour envahir la Russie. Il n’y a rien de surprenant donc, qu’après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, les Soviétiques étaient déterminés à fermer cette route.

La campagne du Washington Post pour présenter la Russie comme l’ennemi est implacable. Encore une fois, le 19, on pouvait y lire ce qui suit : « selon des officiels du renseignement et du Congrès, les agences de renseignement et des forces de sécurité des Etats-Unis enquêtent sur ce qu’ils considèrent comme une vaste opération secrète russe aux Etats-Unis pour semer le doute parmi le public envers la prochaine élection présidentielle et les institutions politiques des Etats-Unis »

Et ce n’est encore rien par rapport au discours du président Obama à l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU (24 Septembre, 2014) où il a classé la Russie parmi les trois menaces qui pèsent sur le monde, avec l’État islamique et ebola.

Une guerre entre les États-Unis et la Russie, tous deux dotés d’armes nucléaires, est « impensable ». Sauf que les militaires américains, eux, y pensent, comme le général américain de la guerre froide, Thomas Power, en parlant de la guerre nucléaire ou d’une première frappe par les États-Unis : « Toute l’idée est de tuer ces salauds ! ! A la fin de la guerre, s’il ne reste que deux Américains et un Russe, nous aurons gagné !  »

A quoi l’une des personnes présentes a rétorqué : « Eh bien, faites en sorte que ce soit un homme et une femme ». (2)

William Blum

2 octobre 2016

Article original en anglais :

cold-war

Cold War, Today, Tomorrow, Every Day Till the End of the World, 3 octobre 2016

Traduction  par VD pour le Grand Soir

Notes

  1. Washington Post, December 3, 2015
  2. Diverses sources en ligne, voir p.ex. Thomas S. Power
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It’s official.

The United States government closed out the 2016 fiscal year that ended a few days ago on Friday September 30th with a debt level of $19,573,444,713,936.79.

That’s an increase of $1,422,827,047,452.46 over last year’s fiscal year close.

Incredible. By the way, that debt growth amounts to roughly 7.5% of the entire US economy.

By comparison, the Marshall Plan, which completely rebuilt Western Europe after World World II, cost $12 billion back in 1948, or roughly 4.3% of US GDP at the time.

The initial appropriation for the WPA, perhaps the largest of Roosevelt’s New Deal “make work” programs that employed millions of people, cost 6.7% of US GDP.

And, more recently, the US $700 billion bank bailout at the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis was the equivalent of 4.8% of GDP.

So basically these people managed to increase the national debt by a bigger percentage than the cost of the New Deal, Marshall Plan, and 2008 bank bailout.

What exactly did you get for that money?

Did they spend $1.4 trillion on achieving world peace, eradicating poverty, saving the planet, or some other pipedream?

Did they finally fix America’s crumbling infrastructure that has been in desperate need of repair?

Did they send a gigantic tax refund check to every man, woman, and child in the country?

Actually the answer is (D), none of the above. They squandered it all.

In fact, the 2016 fiscal year had the THIRD largest increase in government debt in US history.

The only two previous times in which the debt increased more than the 2016 fiscal year were during the financial crisis.

But there was no financial crisis in 2016.

The government didn’t have to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out the banks.

All things considered, 2016 was a pretty normal fiscal year for the federal government. There were no major emergencies to drain taxpayer funds.

Yet they still managed to blow $1.4 trillion because this level of waste and spending is now baked into the system.

Even if they dramatically slashed spending and got rid of entire departments of the federal government, they would still be hemmhoraging cash at a rate far greater than the economy can now possibly grow.

Social Security and Medicare are now the largest parts of that financial sinkhole, and according to their own projections, their drain on the budget is growing each year.

All other government spending COMBINED pales in comparison to Social Security and Medicare.

So if you add up military spending, homeland security, national parks, and President Obama’s jet, it’s just a fraction of what they spend on Social Security and Medicare.

These programs consume the vast majority of US tax revenue, forcing the government to borrow mind-boggling amounts of money to fund its operations, even in good times.

(Just imagine how much the debt will grow when times get tough again.)

What’s even more crazy is that Social Security and Medicare aren’t even properly funded. Both are rapidly running out of money.

The programs’ annual trustee reports show that their primary trust funds will become completely depleted starting in the next few years.

In fact one of Social Security’s major trust funds for Disability Insurance was actually fully depleted last year.

So even though these programs are already draining taxpayer resources and forcing the government to take on more and more debt, they are in need of a HUGE bailout.

This leaves precisely ONE option: default… but on whom?

It’s possible the government could try to borrow the $42 trillion that they calculate is necessary to make these programs solvent again.

That seems extraordinarily unlikely.

But even if it were possible to print and/or borrow that much money, it would either create a terminal currency crisis, or force the US government to default on unaffordable interest payments, throwing the financial system into chaos.

The other option is to simply default on the future beneficiaries of these programs, telling people, “Hey sorry, we wasted all of your money and there’s nothing left.”

So their choice comes down to either screwing the banks or screwing the taxpayer.

Gee I wonder which option they’ll pick…

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After the US Congress passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which overrides the principle of sovereign immunity to allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia, an Iraqi group has requested parliament to prepare a lawsuit seeking compensation from the US for the invasion of Iraq.

The “Arab Project in Iraq” lobby group “sees their opportunity to ask for compensation from the United States over violations by the US forces following the US invasion that saw the toppling of late President Saddam Hussein in 2003,” the Al-Arabiya news channel reported on Saturday.

“It urged for a full-fledged investigation over the killing of civilians targets, loss of properties and individuals who suffered torture and other mistreatment on the hand of US forces.”

The Iraqi group is the first to take advantage of the precedent set by JASTA in overturning the principle of sovereign immunity.

President Obama had attempted to veto the legislation, but his veto was overturned by the Senate on Wednesday. By passing JASTA and allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia, the Senate has also made the US vulnerable to legal action seeking compensation for its foreign policy activities across the world.

The day after the Senate vote, former Republican Senator Larry Pressler expressed fear that as a veteran of the Vietnam War, he could now face legal action.

“As a Vietnam combat veteran, I could almost certainly be sued by the Vietnamese government or by a Vietnamese citizen,” Pressler wrote in The Hill.

“The Gulf War, Iraq War and Afghanistan War veterans are more protected by constitutional congressional actions, but we Vietnam veterans will be raw targets if Americans can sue Saudi Arabia.”

On Saturday the first US lawsuit was filed under JASTA, alleging that Saudi Arabia provided material support to al-Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden. The complaint was filed by Stephanie Ross DeSimone, who was widowed when her husband, a Navy Commander, was killed at the Pentagon on 9/11. The lawsuit is also filed on behalf of the couple’s daughter, who was born after his death.

Saudi Arabia denies any culpability for the 9/11 attacks, and has warned that it might be forced to sell off billions of US assets to avoid sanctions if JASTA became law, a move which would destabilize the US dollar.

“Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in Treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told the US Congress in March, the New York Times reported.

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Michel Chossudovsky will be speaking at the Beit Zatoun Cultural Centre in Toronto, 

Wednesday, October 5 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm

The world community is being held hostage by the American military agenda and the implications of its new “tactical” nuclear weapons.

Any one of the many flashpoints around the Middle East, China, North Korea, and Russia’s borders could precipitate a situation that threatens the future of humanity.


Michel Chossudovsky
 is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Ottawa and the director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, a cutting-edge, independent research and media organization at: www.globalresearch.ca.

Chossudovsky has written: The Globalization of Poverty and The New World OrderAmerica’s “War on Terrorism”Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War and his latest: The Globalization of War: America’s Long War against Humanity.

 

Beit Zatoun Cultural Centre in Toronto, 

Wednesday, October 5 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm 

 612 Markham St.

Toronto, ON  M6G 2L8

1 minute from Bathurst subway stop on Bloor line (Markham St. exit)

Phone: 647-726-9500

Email: Email us!

Michel Chossudovsky can be contacted at [email protected]

Archive of Michel Chossudovsky’s online articles at Global Research

facebook event


Need to know:
– Doors open at 6:50
– $10 donation (suggested minimum)
– Accessible on demand via portable ramp; washrooms not accessible
– Please avoid using strong-scented products due to sensitivities

Tasty refreshments (non-alcoholic) with Zatoun oliveoil+za’atar dipping.

*      *      *

« The world is at a dangerous crossroads.  The United States and its allies have launched a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity.

Under a global military agenda, the actions undertaken by the Western military alliance (U.S.-NATO-Israel) in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Palestine, Ukraine, Syria and Iraq are coordinated at the highest levels of the military hierarchy. We are not dealing with piecemeal military and intelligence operations. Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Asia Pacific region.

The current situation is all the more critical inasmuch as a US-NATO war on Russia, China and Iran is part of the US presidential election debate. It is presented as a political and military option to Western public opinion. » 

America’s “Humanitarian War” against the World By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, September 28, 2016

« The United States of America is not fighting the terrorists in Syria. 

The Obama administration, with the support of its allies including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, is supporting the Islamic State (ISIS Daesh)

Obama’s counterterrorism campaign in Syria and Iraq is bogus. » 

Obama is Protecting the Terrorists, America to the Rescue of ISIS-ISIL-Daesh. Testimonies of Syrian Soldiers Who Witnessed the US Airstrikes By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, September 19, 2016

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Syrie: Attention, ne tombez pas dans le piège…

octobre 4th, 2016 by Nabil Antaki

Une amie Française vient de me consulter au sujet d’une pétition [1 ] qui circule sur le web à propos de « destructions commises par l’armée syrienne et les avions russes sur les hôpitaux d’Alep ». Pétition qu’il est demandé aux honnêtes gens de signer et qui sera ensuite envoyée comme lettre ouverte à Barak Obama et à Angela Merkel.

Voici ce que je lui ai répondu :

Attention. Ne signez pas cette pétition en pensant que vous nous rendez service en exprimant ainsi votre solidarité avec nous.

On veut profiter de la sympathie des gens pour les bonnes causes et de leur solidarité avec les personnes qui souffrent pour leur soutirer des appuis politiques.

Cette lettre est une fabulation et un outil de propagande très habile, exactement comme dans le cas de l’OSDH (Observatoire syrien des droits de l’homme); une officine basée à Londres proche des groupes armés qui, sous un nom qui inspire confiance, a été créé par la CIA pour faire de la désinformation sur la guerre en Syrie. Les communiqués de l’OSDH sont malheureusement repris par tous les médias occidentaux et présentés comme parole d’évangile. Souvenez-vous de la fausse nouvelle donnée il y a quelques mois disant que le « dernier pédiatre d’Alep avait été tué ».

Cette lettre à Obama est signée par 15 noms inventés (des personnages fictifs, sauf un ou deux). On y fait, comme d’habitude, l’amalgame entre les quelques quartiers d’Alep-Est tenus par les terroristes et le reste d’Alep. On y raconte dans cette lettre des mensonges en affirmant, par exemple, que « 15 hôpitaux d’Alep-Est ont été bombardés en un mois ». Si on devait compter tous les hôpitaux et structures sanitaires qui, selon les communiqués des terroristes ou de Médecins sans frontières ont été bombardés par l’armée arabe syrienne, il y aurait eu en Syrie plus d’hôpitaux qu’en France.

Nabil Antaki

Alep, le 1er octobre 2016  (Facebook)

[1] Avaaz ou change.org

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In a new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released Monday, two former CIA detainees described previously unreported torture techniques used in secret U.S. prisons overseas, shedding new light on the program the government fought for years to keep hidden.

Ridha al-Najjar, 51, and Lotfi al-Arabi El Gherissi, 52, both Tunisian men recently repatriated after being in CIA custody for 13 years without charge, independently described being threatened with a makeshift electric chair, deprived of sleep, subject to multiple forms of water torture, chained by their wrists to the ceilings of their cells for extended periods of time, and severely beaten.

The executive summary of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee’s still-classified torture report makes no mention of electric chairs.

HRW writes of El Gherissi’s experience:

He said the chair was made of metal, or perhaps iron. It had clips with wires attached to it intended to be fit on fingers, and a helmet with wires. His description suggested something makeshift, attached to a pipe that came out of a wall. His interrogators put him in the chair and threatened to use it on him unless he gave them more information, though they did not. He said this terrified him and he was trembling. The room also had a board that they threatened to put him on, but never did. He said he understood that water would be used on him while he was on the board.

Al-Najjar separately recounted similar treatment:

It was made out of metal or iron, had plugs attached to wires for fitting on fingers, and a headset with wires. The description suggested make-shift apparatus, attached to a wall pipe. His U.S. interrogators threatened during interrogations to use the chair on him, but never actually did. The room also contained other instruments used for torture, including a board that he believes his interrogators used on him on various occasions for different types of water torture, and a coffin in which they threatened to place him.

« These terrifying accounts of previously unreported CIA torture methods show how little the public still knows about the U.S. torture program, » said HRW senior U.S. national security counsel Laura Pitter.

The most abuse took place at a facility known as Cobalt, a site in Afghanistan, which al-Najjar and El Gherissi called the « Dark Prison. » Other detainees have referred to it alternately as the Dark Prison or the « Salt Pit » as well. Al-Najjar recounted his interrogators at Cobalt « threatening the ‘well-being of his family,’ using ‘sound disorientation techniques,’ denying him sleep using round-the-clock interrogations, depriving him of any ‘sense of time,’ keeping him in ‘isolation in total darkness; lowering the quality of his food,’ using cold temperatures, playing music ’24 hours a day, and keeping him shackled and hooded.' »

A CIA cable issued September 21, 2002 described him as a « clearly broken man » who was « on the verge of a complete breakdown. » He remained in CIA custody for another 13 years.

Both men were set free in 2015 with no compensation or support from the U.S. or Tunisian governments, which violated international human rights law, HRW said—particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture, both of which the U.S. has ratified. Under those laws, « governments have obligations to ensure the right to an effective remedy for victims of serious human rights violations, including torture and other ill-treatment, » the human rights group wrote. « Although these violations did not take place in the United States, they occurred while the individuals were under the effective control of U.S. security forces. »

Today, al-Najjar and El Gherissi live with their families in Tunisia in destitute conditions, struggling with severe trauma. Al-Najjar, who said his hips, ankle, and back were broken in detention, told HRW that he is still suffering from damage to several internal organs, as well as his ear. « My sister has five kids, » he told Pitter. « I am the sixth. »

El Gherissi lives with his family in a house that has no doors or full roof. He shares a bed with his elderly mother and cannot afford to see a doctor.

Pitter continued, « The release of these two men without the U.S. providing any assistance or redress for their torture and suffering also shows how much the U.S. still needs to do to put the CIA torture program behind it. »

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Do We Really Want Nuclear War with Russia?

octobre 4th, 2016 by Robert Parry

Through an endless barrage of ugly propaganda, the U.S. government and the mainstream American press have put the world on course for a potential nuclear showdown with Russia, an existential risk that has been undertaken cavalierly amid bizarre expressions of self-righteousness from Western institutions.

This extraordinarily dangerous moment reflects the insistence of the Establishment in Washington that it should continue to rule the world and that it will not broach the possibility of other nations asserting their own national interests even in their own neighborhoods.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting room at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, at the outset of a bilateral meeting on July 14, 2016. [State Department Photo]

Rather than adjust to a new multi-polar world, the powers-that-be in Washington have deployed a vast array of propaganda assets that are financed or otherwise encouraged to escalate an information war so aggressively that Russia is reading this onslaught of insults as the conditioning of the Western populations for a world war.

While that may not be the intention of President Obama, who in his recent United Nations address acknowledged the risks from imposing uni-polar order on the world, a powerful bureaucratic machinery is in place to advance U.S. propaganda goals. It is operating on a crazed auto-pilot hurtling toward destruction but beyond anyone’s ability to turn it off.

This machinery consists not just of outlets and activists funded by U.S. tax dollars via the National Endowment for Democracy or the U.S. Agency for International Development or NATO’s Strategic Communications Command, but like-minded “human rights” entities paid for by billionaire currency speculator George Soros or controlled by neoconservative ideologues who now run major U.S. newspapers, such as The Washington Post and The New York Times.

This propaganda apparatus now has so many specialized features that you get supposedly “progressive” and “anti-war” organizations promoting a major U.S. invasion of Syria under the guise of sweet-sounding policies like “no-fly zones” and “safe zones,” the same euphemisms that were used as the gateway to bloody “regime change” wars in Iraq and Libya.

There exists what intelligence veterans call a Mighty Wurlitzer, an organ with so many keys and pedals that it’s hard to know where all the sounds come from that make up the powerful harmony, all building to the same crescendo. But that crescendo may now be war with nuclear-armed Russia, which finds in all this demonizing the prelude to either a destabilization campaign aimed at “regime change” in Moscow or outright war.

Yet, the West can’t seem to muster the sanity or the honesty to begin toning down or even showing skepticism toward the escalating charges aimed at Russia. We saw similar patterns in the run-up to war in Iraq in 2002-2003 and in justifying the ouster, torture and murder of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Western propaganda also has enveloped the conflict in Syria to such an extent that the American people don’t understand that the U.S. government and its regional “allies” have been supporting and arming jihadist groups fighting under the command of Al Qaeda and even the Islamic State. The propaganda has focused on demonizing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while downplaying or ignoring the real nature of the “moderate” opposition.

Taking Aim at Putin

In many ways, the Western insistence on “regime change” in Syria ties in directly to the extraordinary escalation of that strategy to seek “regime change” in Russia. In August-September 2013, America’s neocons and liberal war hawks were salivating over the prospect of a U.S. military bombing campaign to devastate Assad’s army as punishment for his alleged role in a sarin gas attack outside Damascus.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, flanked by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria “Toria” Nuland, addresses Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting room at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, at the outset of a bilateral meeting on July 14, 2016. [State Department Photo]

Although the intelligence was weak regarding Assad’s “guilt” – and subsequent evidence has pointed to a likely provocation by radical jihadists using home-made sarin and a jerry-rigged rocket – Official Washington was rubbing its hands at the prospect of a retaliatory bombing operation that would punish Assad and advance the cause of “regime change.”

At the last minute, however, President Obama listened to the doubts from his intelligence advisers and rejected what he later called the Washington “playbook” of a military response to a complex problem. To the annoyance of Washington insiders, Obama then collaborated with President Putin in a diplomatic settlement in which Syria surrendered all its chemical weapons while still denying any role in the sarin attack. Obama was accused of weakness for not “enforcing his red line” against chemical weapons use.

The despair over Obama’s failure to bomb the Syrian government and open the path for a long-desired “regime change” in Damascus led to a search for other villains, the most obvious one being Putin, who then became the focus of neocon determination to make him share their pain and disappointment.

National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman took to the op-ed page of The Washington Post in late September 2013 to declare that Ukraine was now “the biggest prize” and represented an important interim step toward eventually toppling Putin in Russia.

Gershman, who is essentially a neocon paymaster dispensing $100 million a year in U.S. taxpayers’ money to activists, journalists and various other operatives, wrote: “Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

Within weeks, U.S. neocons – including Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and Sen. John McCain – were encouraging right-wing Ukrainian nationalists to overthrow Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych, a coup accomplished on Feb. 22, 2014, touching off a civil war between Ukraine’s west and east.

As part of that Western propaganda barrage, the Ukraine coup ousting the elected president was hailed as a victory for “democracy” and Yanukovych’s supporters in the south and east who resisted this imposition of illegitimate authority in Kiev became the target of a U.S.-backed “Anti-Terrorism Operation” or ATO.

Led by The New York Times and The Washington Post, the Western media fell in line behind the preferred narrative that there was “no coup,” that there were “no neo-Nazis” spearheading the non-coup (or maybe just a few), that the “Heavenly Hundred” who died in the putsch against Yanukovych had given their lives for Ukraine’s “freedom” even though some of the “heavenly” inconveniently were neo-Nazi street fighters, part of a paramilitary force that had killed some 16 police officers.

Killing ‘Terrorists’

Given the West’s pro-coup propaganda themes, it became necessary to justify the thousands of eastern Ukrainians slaughtered in the ATO as the killing of “terrorists” or Russian “stooges,” getting what they deserved. The 96 percent vote in Crimea’s referendum to reunify with Russia had to be a “sham” since the West’s narrative held that the Ukrainian people were thrilled with the putsch, so the Crimeans must have voted that way at Russian gunpoint.

Screen shot of the fatal fire in Odessa, Ukraine, on May 2, 2014, killing scores of ethnic Russians trapped inside. (From RT video)

The explanation of Crimea’s secession from Ukraine was that Russia “invaded” and “annexed” Crimea although there were no images of an invasion (no tanks crossing Crimea’s borders, no amphibious landings, no paratroopers descending from the sky – because Russian troops were already in Crimea as part of a basing agreement and helped protect Crimea’s inhabitants so they could hold their vote which did represent their desires).

Because the Western propaganda insisted that the new authorities in Kiev were wearing white hats, the Russians had to be fitted with black hats. Every bad thing that happened was automatically Putin’s fault. So, when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, the West’s propaganda machinery whirred into action, blaming Russia for supposedly giving the ethnic Russian rebels powerful Buk anti-aircraft missiles.

The propaganda momentum was so strong by then that there was no Western support for Russia’s request for a United Nations investigation. Instead the inquiry was largely turned over to the torture-implicated Ukrainian intelligence service, the SBU, upon which the Dutch and Australians, the other two principal members, became increasingly dependent (by their own admissions). Belgium and Malaysia played lesser roles.

The Joint Investigation Committee (JIT) considered no serious alternatives to the Russians and the rebels being responsible. For instance, when the JIT released its “report” on Sept. 28, 2016, there was no explanation offered for why Dutch intelligence (i.e. NATO intelligence) had concluded that the only missile systems in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, capable of shooting down MH-17 were controlled by the Ukrainian military. The JIT “report” was silent about where those Ukrainian Buk missile systems were at the time of the shoot-down.

It’s also a bit of a misnomer to describe the JIT’s findings as a “report” since they were really expressed in a series of videos featuring computer-generated graphics supposedly showing a Russian Buk crew driving around Ukraine, mixed in with a few photos from social media of a Buk convoy.

Key to the JIT’s findings were phone intercepts provided by the SBU and assembled to reinforce the impression of Russian guilt. The problem, however, was that except for one intercept in which someone said he’d like to have Buks, the word “Buk” is not mentioned; nor the word “missiles”; nor the word “aircraft”; nor any discussion about shooting down a plane. That was all supposition with an authoritative narrator filling in the gaps.

Ignoring Contrary Evidence

The JIT also ignored evidence that contradicted its conclusions, such as other intercepts reporting that a Ukrainian convoy had penetrated close to the eastern city of Luhansk. The significance of that revelation is that it confirms a point that has been largely ignored, that the Ukrainian military could move almost at will across “rebel-controlled territory.” The notion that the Ukrainian civil war was like World War I with fixed trench lines was simply a fallacy.

Screen shot from the Joint Investigation Team’s video report citing where a Russian Buk missile battery allegedly crossed into eastern Ukraine.

The JIT also had to impose a bizarre route for the Russian Buk battery to follow on its way to the supposed firing location south of the remote eastern town of Snizhne. Because the “social media” photos show the Buk convoy heading east toward Russia, not west from Russia, the JIT had to map out a journey that ignored a simple, direct and discreet route from the Russian border to Snizhhe in favor of a trip more than twice as long roaming around eastern Ukraine all the way to Donetsk before turning eastward past a number of heavily populated areas where the Buk convoy, supposedly on a highly secret mission, could be photographed.

The alleged firing location also conflicts with the alleged reason for the Russians taking the extraordinary risk of introducing a Buk system – that it was needed to defend rebel soldiers then fighting mostly in the north against Ukrainian troops and aircraft. For that purpose, the positioning of a Buk battery far to the southeast makes little sense, nor does the decision for a Russian Buk crew to shoot down a commercial airliner flying at 33,000 feet.

JIT’s account of the post-crash exfiltration of the Buk convoy back to Russia also is curious, since again the shortest, easiest and least populated route was ignored in favor of one that went far to the north past Luhansk, the alleged site of the supposed “getaway” video (although the supposed location of the “getaway” video was misplaced by Western media groups trying to pin the blame on Russia).

The confirmed parts of the Buk convoy’s route, i.e., along highways east of Donetsk, would fit better with a scenario that, I’m told, received serious consideration from U.S. intelligence analysts, that a Ukrainian Buk system under the control of a rogue military unit loyal to a fiercely anti-Putin oligarch traveled east into what was considered “rebel-controlled territory” to fire on what was hoped to be Putin’s official plane returning from a state visit to South America, i.e. to kill Putin.

A source briefed by these analysts said the missile was fired despite the unit’s doubt that the plane was Putin’s. Although it’s unclear to me exactly what the U.S. intelligence consensus ultimately turned out to be on MH-17 (since I have been refused official updates), there would be logic in a Ukrainian hardliner staging such an audacious missile attack deep inside “rebel territory,” since any assassination of Putin would have to be explained as an accidental attack by his own allies, i.e., the ultimate case of Putin being hoisted on his own petard.

To evaluate which scenario makes more sense – that the Russians dispatched a Buk missile battery on a wild ride across eastern Ukraine or that a Ukrainian Buk battery penetrated into supposedly rebel-controlled territory with the intent of attacking a civilian plane (although not MH-17) – it would be crucial to have an explanation of where the Ukrainian Buk batteries were located on July 17, 2014.

Silence on Dutch Intelligence

Some of the Russia-did-it crowd have dismissed claims that Ukrainian Buk systems were in the area as Russian disinformation, but their presence was confirmed by a report from the Dutch intelligence service, MIVD, relying on NATO information to explain why commercial airliners were still being allowed over the war zone.

A photograph of a Russian BUK missile system that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt published on Twitter in support of a claim about Russia placing BUK missiles in eastern Ukraine, except that the image appears to be an AP photo taken at an air show near Moscow two years earlier.

The MIVD’s explanation was that the only anti-aircraft missiles that could hit a plane at 33,000 feet were controlled by Ukraine, which was presumed to have no interest in attacking commercial aircraft, and that the rebels lacked any missile system that could reach that high. Clearly, there was an intelligence failure because either some Ukrainian Buk operators did have an intent to strike a civilian plane or the rebels did have a Buk system in the area.

If the JIT were operating objectively, it would have included something about this intelligence failure, either by showing that it had investigated the possibility that Ukrainian Buk missiles were used by a rogue unit or explaining how Western intelligence could have missed Russia’s introduction of a Buk system into eastern Ukraine.

Instead, there was just this video that includes cryptic phone intercepts, assertions about unnamed witnesses and computer-generated graphics “showing” the movement of a Russian Buk convoy along darkened roads in Ukraine.

Despite the unusual nature of this “indictment,” it was widely accepted in Western media as the final proof of Russian perfidy. The evidence was called “overwhelming” and “conclusive.”

Rather than treating the video report as a prosecutor’s brief – a set of allegations yet to be proved – Western journalists accepted it as flat fact, much as they did Secretary of State Colin Powell’s similar presentation on Feb. 5, 2003, “proving” that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction. (Powell also used computer-generated images — of Iraq’s “mobile chemical weapons labs” that, in reality, didn’t exist.)

The day after the JIT video report was issued, The New York Times’ lead editorial was headlined, “Mr. Putin’s Outlaw State.” It read:

“President Vladimir Putin is fast turning Russia into an outlaw nation. As one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, his country shares a special responsibility to uphold international law. Yet, his behavior in Ukraine and Syria violates not only the rules intended to promote peace instead of conflict, but also common human decency.

“This bitter truth was driven home twice on Wednesday [Sept. 28]. An investigative team led by the Netherlands concluded that the surface-to-air missile system that shot down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine in July 2014, killing 298 on board, was sent from Russia to Russian-backed separatists and returned to Russia the same night. …

“Russia has tried hard to pin the blame for the airline crash on Ukraine. But the new report, produced by prosecutors from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, confirms earlier findings. It uses strict standards of evidence and meticulously documents not only the deployment of the Russian missile system that caused the disaster but also Moscow’s continuing cover-up. …

“President Obama has long refused to approve direct military intervention in Syria. And Mr. Putin may be assuming that Mr. Obama is unlikely to confront Russia in his final months and with an American election season in full swing. But with the rebel stronghold in Aleppo under threat of falling to the government, administration officials said that such a response is again under consideration.

“Mr. Putin fancies himself a man on a mission to restore Russia to greatness. Russia could indeed be a great force for good. Yet his unconscionable behavior — butchering civilians in Syria and Ukraine, annexing Crimea, computer-hacking American government agencies, crushing dissent at home — suggests that the furthest thing from his mind is becoming a constructive partner in the search for peace.”

Rich Irony

Granted, there is some rich irony in a major U.S. newspaper, which helped justify illegal aggression against Iraq with false reporting about Iraq buying aluminum tubes for nuclear centrifuges, pontificating about international law.

Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who co-authored the Times’ bogus story about Iraq buying aluminum tubes for nuclear centrifuges.

Indeed, the very idea that any serious person in the United States would lecture other countries about international law would be laughable if the hypocrisy were not delivered in such a serious set of circumstances. For decades now, the United States has been a law onto itself, deciding which countries should be bombed and who should be assassinated.

President Obama himself has acknowledged authorizing military strikes in seven countries during his presidency and many of those attacks were done outside international law. Indeed, the Times editorial appears to urge Obama to launch illegal military strikes against the Syrian government and, not surprisingly, doesn’t mention the U.S. airstrike that killed some 62 Syrian government soldiers just last month, delivering a death blow to the partial ceasefire.

Instead, you get a medley of the Times’ greatest anti-Russian propaganda hits while ignoring the U.S. role in destabilizing and overthrowing Ukraine’s elected government in favor of a harshly anti-Russian nationalist regime that then began slaughtering thousands of ethnic Russians who resisted the coup.

Nor does the Times mention that Russia is operating inside Syria by invitation of the sovereign government, while the U.S. has no such authority. And the Times leaves out how the U.S. government and its allies have covertly armed and funded jihadist rebels who have inflicted many of the hundreds of thousands of dead in Syria. Not everyone, including Syrian soldiers, was killed by Assad and the Russians, although that’s the impression the Times leaves.

A more nuanced account would reflect this murky reality in which sophisticated U.S. weapons, such as TOW missiles, have ended up in the possession of Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and its jihadist allies. It would acknowledge that many sides are at fault for these tragedies in Syria and Ukraine – not to mention all the bloodshed that has followed the U.S.-led and U.S.-enabled wars that have torn apart the Middle East over the past decade and a half.

The Times might also admit that Putin was helpful in resolving the 2013 sarin crisis in Syria and achieving a breakthrough on the Iran nuclear talks in 2014. But that would not fit the propaganda need to demonize Putin and ready the American people for another, even more terrifying “regime change,” this time in Moscow.

What we can now expect are a series of legal actions brought against Russia in connection with the MH-17 case and other controversies. The goal will be to further demonize Putin and to destabilize Russia, a process already underway with economic sanctions that have helped throw Russia’s economy into recession.

The neocon plan is to ratchet up tensions and pain so Putin’s elected government will somehow collapse with the neocons hoping that some U.S. lackey will take over and allow another round of “shock therapy,” i.e. the plunder of Russia’s resources to the benefit of a few favored oligarchs and their American consultants.

However, given the dreadful experience that the average Russian faced from the earlier round of “shock therapy” in the 1990s – including a stunning decline in life expectancy – the more likely outcome from even a successful neocon scheme of “regime change” would be the emergence of a much more hard-line Russian nationalist than Putin.

Whereas Putin is a calculating and rational leader, the guy who follows him might well be an ideologue ready to use nuclear weapons to protect Mother Russia’s honor. After all, it’s not as if one of these neocon “regime change” calculations has ever gone wrong before.

Yet, whichever way things go, Official Washington – and its complicit mainstream media – now appear determined to push Russia into a corner with military encroachments from NATO on Russia’s borders and with criminal accusations before biased international “investigations.” Any misstep in this dangerous game could quickly end life as we know it.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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Russia has now managed twice to shame the U.S. into action against Jihadis by publicly demonstrating that the U.S. is not really committed to its promises.

During 2014 and 2015 the U.S. did very little to attack the Islamic State. U.S. strikes hit irrelevant targets like an « ISIS excavator » or some lone truck. Meanwhile ISIS was making millions per day from pumping oil out of the Syrian desert and selling it to Turkish contacts. Hundreds of Turkish tanker trucks assembled near the oil wells in south-east Syria waiting to load. No airstrike would hit them.

The Russians saw this and were appalled. The loudmouth U.S. spoke about its big coalition and attacking ISIS but did essentially nothing. The Russian President Putin then decided to shame the U.S. and Obama personally. On November 15 2015 at the G20 meeting in Turkey he walked around the table and showed satellite pictures to his international colleagues. Hundreds of trucks waiting in the Syrian desert for loading without fear that anyone would harm them:

« I’ve demonstrated the pictures from space to our colleagues, which clearly show the true size of the illegal trade of oil and petroleum products market. Car convoys stretching for dozens of kilometers, going beyond the horizon when seen from a height of four-five thousand meters, » Putin told reporters after the G20 summit.

The very next day on November 16 U.S. airplanes, for the first time, hit truck assemblies near ISIS oil wells in south-east Syria:

In the first wave of U.S. airstrikes since the Paris attacks, A-10 Thunderbolt ground attack aircraft and AC-130 gunships raked a convoy of more than 100 ISIS oil tanker trucks in Syria in a stepped-up effort to cut off a main source of terror funding, the Pentagon said Monday.

Putin had successfully shamed Obama into attacking ISIS’s oil revenue.

Something similar happened Friday and today. First the Russian Foreign Minister accused the U.S. of complicity with al-Qaeda:

The Russian foreign minister said Russia has « more and more reasons to believe that from the very beginning the plan was to spare Al-Nusra and to keep it just in case for Plan B or stage two, when it would be time to change the regime. »

At the daily State Department press briefing on Friday, State spokesman Toner was grilled by multiple reporters over Lavrov’s accusations and the lack of U.S. attacks on al-Qaeda in Syria (aka Jabhat al-Nusra aka Jabhat Fateh al-Sham):

QUESTION: In that interview with the BBC, Foreign Secretary – Foreign Minister Lavrov said what the Russians have been saying for a number of days now, which is that accusing the United States of having failed to disentangle the Nusrah from the opposition that you support.MR TONER: Yeah. […]

Once we felt that we were at that point, to the best of an agreed-upon ability to reach that point, then we would say, okay, we’re ready to move on to the next phase. At that point, as I said, then it’s – the moderate opposition who are integrated with al-Nusrah would have had a choice to make.

QUESTION: So in other words, are they making a fair point here —

MR TONER: So —

QUESTION: — the Russians? That they say you failed to do the disentangling?

MR TONER: No, because there wasn’t enough time. …

QUESTION: What – just a final question: And again, with the regards to the Russian suspicions, you haven’t really gone after Nusrah that much. Have you been holding back on going after Nusrah because they were mixed with the opposition? I mean, all we hear about is the strikes on ISIS.

MR TONER: Yeah, so —

QUESTION: We don’t hear about strikes on Nusrah.

MR TONER: So —

(For your amusement read the longer transcript excerpt below this post or read the full one at the State Department website.)

 

State spoks Mark Toner admits that no U.S. strike had hit Nusra since March this year. His excuses are paltry and in the end he punts to the Pentagon. He really got his balls squeezed.

But that pressure, initiated by the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, created results. The U.S. was shamed into action and today killed some Nusra number 2: Pentagon: US targets ‘core al-Qaida’ member in Syria strike.

Al-Qaeda confirmed the strike:

LBCI News English Verified account @LBCI_News_ENJabhat Fateh al-Sham, former Nusra Front, says Egyptian alQaeda cleric Abu al-Faraj al-Masri killed in #US led coalition strike in #Idlib

10:17 AM – 3 Oct 2016

This is the very first strike on al-Qaeda in Syria, a UN designated terrorist organization which the U.S. vowed to fight, since March 2016. It comes a weekend after Lavrov accused the U.S. of not striking Nusra and a grilling at the State Department briefing.

The Russian shaming has again worked.

But it is not yet clear if this U.S. reaction to the shaming is serious, if more strikes will follow.

Abu al-Faraj al-Masri was a high commander who has been on varous target list for a long time. But he was not near any U.S. proxy force fighting together with Nusra. One expert is somewhat skeptical:

Elijah J. Magnier @EjmAlraiEx-Nusra (JFS) account announce the death of Egyptian Ahmad Salama Mabrouk, aka Abu Faraj al Masri, 2d in command of JFS & #AQ core leader pic

9:50 AM – 3 Oct 2016

Mabrouk was killed by a drone in Darkouch, #Idlib, #Syria, the HQ and gathering of #AQ/#Nusra/#JFS & Jihadists.

#JFS officially announce the death of Abu al-Faraj al-Masri, #AQ leader. Group still calming « we have nothing to do with Qaidat al-Jihad ».

This is the same group that the #USA is not willing to ask its proxies in #Syria to keep a distance from (#AQ).

While the shaming worked in that it provoked the U.S. into action it had long promised but always delayed other issues between the U.S. and Russia on Syria are not going well.

Russia announced the end of military-military discussions with the U.S. about delineating zones for a longer ceasefire in Syria:

Exchange of information between Russian and US military has stopped of late despite Moscow’s commitment, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Monday.

The U.S. responded in kind:

The United States is suspending its participation in bilateral channels with Russia that were established to sustain the Cessation of Hostilities.

The U.S. will also withdraw personnel that had been dispatched in anticipation of the possible establishment of the Joint Implementation Center. To ensure the safety of our respective military personnel and enable the fight against Daesh, the United States will continue to utilize the channel of communications established with Russia to de-conflict counterterrorism operations in Syria.

The U.S. blames Russia for destroying the ceasefire by « hitting civilians ». Meanwhile:

Syria Today @todayinsyriaAirstrikes by the US-led coalition reportedly killed 40 civilians in Marea, N.#Aleppo

10:30 AM – 3 Oct 2016

This ending of cooperation MAY be some crossing the Rubicon moment. The gloves are now off.

Russia has managed twice to shame the U.S. into action it had promised but not fulfilled. This will work only rarely and only when it comes at high levels (Putin, Lavrov) and with obvious evidence.

But its fun when it works and it proves that Russia, in both cases, has been right. The U.S. does not attack Jihadis but uses them for its own purpose. We will now likely see even more of this. It will continue until the U.S. is again shamed and embarrassed into following its public commitments to attack the terrorist instead of cooperating with them.

 

–End

Relevant excerpts of the Sep 29 State Department press briefing regarding U.S. attacks on Nusra:

QUESTION: In that interview with the BBC, Foreign Secretary – Foreign Minister Lavrov said what the Russians have been saying for a number of days now, which is that accusing the United States of having failed to disentangle the Nusrah from the opposition that you support.MR TONER: Yeah. …

Once we felt that we were at that point, to the best of an agreed-upon ability to reach that point, then we would say, okay, we’re ready to move on to the next phase. At that point, as I said, then it’s – the moderate opposition who are integrated with al-Nusrah would have had a choice to make.

QUESTION: So in other words, are they making a fair point here —

MR TONER: So —

QUESTION: — the Russians? That they say you failed to do the disentangling?

MR TONER: No, because there wasn’t enough time. …

QUESTION: What – just a final question: And again, with the regards to the Russian suspicions, you haven’t really gone after Nusrah that much. Have you been holding back on going after Nusrah because they were mixed with the opposition? I mean, all we hear about is the strikes on ISIS.

MR TONER: Yeah, so —

QUESTION: We don’t hear about strikes on Nusrah.

MR TONER: So —

[Second, different question-answer exchange]

MR TONER: […] In answer to your first question, which was, again, about?

QUESTION: We keep hearing about —

MR TONER: Yeah.

QUESTION: — striking ISIS, but never —

MR TONER: Oh.

QUESTION: — about striking Nusrah.

MR TONER: We did carry out strikes initially, back in 2014-2015, against Nusrah. But absolutely, you’re correct in that, as they became intermingled and as they became intermingled in civilian areas, we’ve always sought to limit the possibility of civilian casualties in any of our airstrikes. …

QUESTION: Could I just ask a follow-up?

MR TONER: Of course. I’ll get to you.

QUESTION: You hit Nusrah – I believe you described it as al-Qaida – maybe in March —

MR TONER: Affiliate, yeah.

QUESTION: — or something or – it was earlier this year.

MR TONER: Yep.

QUESTION: Since then, there hasn’t been any specific action against Nusrah, is that right? Military action.

MR TONER: No, but I’d have to double check.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Why aren’t you attacking Nusrah anyhow if it’s in U.S. interest?

MR TONER: That’s what I was saying, is – but I – and I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear —

QUESTION: No, no. I understand what you’re saying, but how would that change by cooperating with Russia? You still wouldn’t attack civilian populations, buildings —

MR TONER: No, but I – but what we, again – and I’m – I would really encourage you to talk to someone at the Pentagon who can give you a much more detailed tactical view of this. …

QUESTION: If you had actionable intelligence against Nusrah senior leaders, as you describe them, would you —

MR TONER: Would we —

QUESTION: — be able to target them today or not? Because Aleppo and Idlib and a lot of these areas —

MR TONER: Yeah.

QUESTION: — are out of your – are they in the confliction zone?

MR TONER: I would – I don’t want to – so I would encourage you to talk to somebody —

QUESTION: Okay.

MR TONER: — from the Department of Defense, whether we would be able to – through our de-confliction mechanism be able to target them.

QUESTION: Okay.

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US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced last Thursday a further dramatic expansion of the Pentagon’s “rebalance” or “pivot” to the Asia Pacific that will only heighten the already tense military confrontation with China in the region. He insisted that the Asia Pacific was “the single most consequential region for America’s future.”

Speaking on board the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in San Diego, Carter outlined what he called the “third phase” of the US military build-up and the strengthening of a “principled and inclusive security network” in Asia. While claiming that Beijing was not excluded from the “network,” every aspect of the “third phase” is aimed at preparing for a war with China.

The importance that Carter attached to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to “bind the United States more closely together with 11 other countries” underlines the real purpose of the “pivot:” to maintain American dominance and subordinate China to the interests of the United States. The very terms of the TPP ensure that Beijing will be excluded unless it accepts the rules set by Washington.

The defence secretary made clear US economic hegemony had to be underpinned by military might. In outlining the “third phase,” he declared that “the United States will continue to sharpen our military edge so we remain the most powerful military in the region and the security partner of choice.”

Carter indicated that the “first phase” of the “pivot” announced in 2011 involved a quantitative boost of the US military and the restructuring of its basing arrangements. Tens of thousands of American military personnel were redirected to Asia, with a commitment to station 60 percent of overseas naval and air assets in the region. The restructuring of US bases in Japan, South Korea, Guam and Hawaii was begun and new basing arrangements reached with Australia.

The “second phase” involved sending the “most advanced capabilities” to the Asia Pacific, including F-22 and F-35 stealth fighter jets, P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and the navy’s newest surface warfare vessels, as well as continuous deployments of strategic bombers. It also included a concerted effort to expand military ties throughout the region in an effort to encircle China with allies and strategic partners. Carter highlighted strengthened security relations with Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, India, Singapore, Vietnam and New Zealand in particular.

In order to maintain the “military edge,” Carter outlined extensive plans to “qualitatively upgrade and invest in our regional force posture.” He provided a list of hi-tech projects that will be funded, starting this year, including:

* Making Virginia-class nuclear submarines “more lethal and more capable” by trebling their cruise missile payload.

* Increased funding for multiple types of undersea drones, as part of more than $40 billion in allocations over the next five years to maintain “the most lethal undersea and anti-submarine force in the world.”

* Providing $12 billion over five years for the new B-21 Raider Long-Range Strike Bomber.

* Spending $56 billion over five years to buy more than 400 stealthy F-35 joint strike fighters.

* Investing nearly $16 billion over five years to upgrade the aerial tanker fleet.

* Re-purposing the SM-6 missile “so that it can also strike enemy ships at sea at very long ranges.”

* Investing in improving the “range and accuracy for land attack and anti-ship missiles,” as well as new torpedoes.

* Making large new investments, to the tune of $34 billion next year alone, in cyber, electronic and space warfare.

Every one of these new weapons and upgrades is geared to fighting a war with China, premised on the Pentagon’s AirSea Battle strategy—a massive missile and air assault on the Chinese mainland supplemented by a crippling naval blockade.

Moreover, as Carter indicated, there were also “more surprises”—some “leap-ahead” investments—that will “keep our decades-old commitment to undergirding security in the Asia-Pacific, strong and unchallengeable.”

The “third phase” features the intensification of the “Asia-Pacific’s growing principled and inclusive security network,” which Carter declared was “not a formal alliance, nor is it an effort to contain or isolate anyone.” The use of the term “principled”—denoting “shared interests and values”—is designed to exclude China, by cynically and hypocritically contrasting a network of supposed “democracies” with the autocratic regime in Beijing.

Carter’s speech was delivered just before attending a meeting of the defence ministers of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), in order to draw these countries into the US-led “security network.” It is worth noting that the 10 ASEAN members are: the Thai military junta, Stalinist police-state regimes in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, virtual one-party states in Malaysia and Singapore, the absolute monarchy of Brunei, the Philippines currently headed by the fascistic President Rodrigo Duterte, along with Indonesia and Myanmar, whose militaries continue to play a significant political role.

Carter nevertheless declared that the second informal dialogue with ASEAN defence ministers would “reflect on our shared interests and principles and identify new ways to partner together to realise them.” The real purpose of the gathering is to draw the ASEAN countries into an anti-China alliance and ramp up pressure on China over the South China Sea.

The meeting, which focussed on “maritime security,” came in the wake of the July 12 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in favour of a US-backed challenge by the Philippines to Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Washington is increasingly concerned that Philippine President Duterte is backing away from a confrontation with China over the issue and announced a loosening of military ties with the United States. In this context, Carter’s declaration that “our alliance with the Philippines is iron clad” is a thinly-veiled threat to Duterte not to move into Beijing’s camp.

Carter sought to impress the assembled defence ministers with a display of American military might with flyovers by F-22 Raptor fighters and a B-1B strategic bomber. Friday’s events concluded with a dinner on board the battleship USS Missouri, followed on Saturday by a tour of the destroyer USS Chung-Hoon.

The defence secretary outlined new maritime security initiatives, including an ASEAN maritime dialogue and a maritime domain awareness exercise. The Pentagon is already providing $425 million over five years in a Maritime Security Initiative to provide hardware and boost collaboration with some ASEAN members—the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

There is nothing innocent or peaceful about the Pentagon’s determination to rapidly roll out the “third phase” of its rebalance to Asia. In the name of maintaining regional security, US imperialism is rapidly and recklessly preparing for a showdown with China, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

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Le gouvernement Obama a signalé son soutien aux « frappes chirurgicales » transfrontalières de l’armée indienne menées mercredi soir sur la partie du Cachemire tenue par le Pakistan.

L’attaque indienne était manifestement sans fondement juridique et très provocatrice. Des groupes de réflexion stratégique américains qualifient souvent le Cachemire contesté de plus dangereuse poudrière nucléaire du monde. Pourtant, les responsables américains s’ingénient à éviter de faire la moindre critique de l’Inde, un « partenaire stratégique global » de l’impérialisme américain et pilier de son offensive militaire et stratégique contre la Chine.

Un chœur d’anciens responsables des gouvernements Obama et Bush actuellement employés par divers groupes de réflexion militaires stratégiques louent l’action indienne et font même l’éloge de New Delhi pour sa « retenue », alors même que le gouvernement du Premier ministre BJP suprématiste hindou Narendra Modi continue de pousser l’Asie du Sud au bord d’une véritable guerre.

L’Inde affirme qu’elle a envoyé des forces terrestres, des parachutistes et des hélicoptères de combat à plus d’une demi-douzaine d’endroits jusqu’à trois kilomètres à l’intérieur de l’Azad, la partie du Cachemire occupé par le Pakistan. Elle se vante d’avoir infligé un « lourd » taux de « dizaines » de pertes aux « terroristes et à ceux qui tentent de les protéger ».

Le Pakistan, tout en contestant la version indienne des événements, concède que deux de ses soldats ont été tués et neuf blessés mercredi soir.

Ces frappes représentent un nouveau virage dangereux dans la stratégie de l’Inde vers le Pakistan. Cela est souligné par le fait qu’elles sont célébrées non seulement par le gouvernement d’extrême droite virulente de l’Inde, mais aussi par l’ensemble de l’establishment politique et des médias capitalistes. Ces attaques sont saluées comme la preuve d’une Inde plus forte, plus audacieuse, qui s’est libérée des chaînes de la « retenue stratégique ».

Depuis plus de quatre décennies, l’Inde n’a pas mené d’opérations militaires à l’intérieur du Pakistan. Ou, pour être plus précis, les mesures qu’elle a effectivement réalisées ont été tenues secrètes, dans le but d’éviter l’escalade d’attaques et de contre-attaques qui auraient pu rapidement mener à la guerre, voir au conflit nucléaire.

La volonté de Washington d’approuver une nouvelle posture agressive de l’Inde est tout à fait irresponsable. Elle ne fera qu’encourager New Delhi à prendre encore plus de risques militaires et stratégiques. Cela illustre le rôle très déstabilisateur joué en Asie du Sud par l’impérialisme américain et son « pivot vers l’Asie ». La poussée de Washington pour faire de l’Inde un état « de première ligne » dans son offensive pour encercler la Chine et se préparer à la guerre contre elle est particulièrement incendiaire.

Interrogés jeudi sur l’attitude de Washington envers les frappes indiennes, les responsables du gouvernement Obama ont éludé une réponse directe à plusieurs reprises. Au lieu de cela, ils ont publié des appels pour la forme aux deux parties à faire preuve de retenue et à engager un dialogue, tout en insistant sur le fait que le Pakistan devait en faire plus pour empêcher le « terrorisme » transfrontalier.

Le porte-parole du ministère américain des affaires étrangères John Kirby avait tellement envie de détourner l’attention des frappes militaires indiennes que, à un certain moment pendant sa conférence de presse, il semble avoir perdu ses moyens. Il a mal interprété une question pour savoir si les frappes indiennes constituaient le type d’ « escalade » contre lequel « le ministre Kerry avait mis en garde », croyant que c’était une référence à l’attentat terroriste du 18 septembre sur la base militaire d’Uri au Cachemire indien.

Interrogé avec insistance pour savoir si les frappes indiennes constituaient une « escalade », Kirby a de nouveau esquivé la question, en suggérant, comme le fait New Delhi, que le « terrorisme » est la cause centrale des tensions indo-pakistanaises. « Notre message aux deux côtés a été le même », a déclaré Kirby, « en termes de les encourager à améliorer la communication pour faire face à la menace [terroriste] et éviter des mesures qui augmentent les tensions. Et je […] ne vais pas entrer dans la caractérisation de chaque étape le long du chemin ».

Il est probable que Washington a été prévenu du fait que l’Inde allait attaquer le Pakistan et a donné le feu vert à New Delhi. Dans la perspective de l’attaque de mercredi soir, il y a eu un déluge d’appels téléphoniques entre les hauts responsables américains et indiens, y compris des conversations entre le ministre américain des affaires étrangères John Kerry et son homologue indien, Sushma Swaraj, et entre la conseillère à la sécurité nationale des États-Unis Susan Rice et son homologue indien, Ajit Doval.

Ce qui est incontestable, c’est que, dans la foulée de l’abandon par l’Inde de sa « retenue stratégique » pour attaquer le Pakistan, le gouvernement Obama a signalé son soutien, même s’il juge judicieux – dans des conditions où le Pentagone reste dépendant de l’appui logistique du Pakistan pour maintenir l’occupation de l’OTAN et des États-Unis en Afghanistan – de ne pas déclarer publiquement son soutien aux frappes indiennes au Pakistan.

Les anciens responsables gouvernementaux américain ne sont pas soumis à ces contraintes et ils se pressent pour exprimer leur soutien pour une nouvelle posture militaire stratégique de l’Inde plus agressive.

Bruce Riedel, un analyste de la CIA de longue expérience et ancien conseiller militaire sur la guerre « AfPak » (en Afghanistan et au Pakistan) du gouvernement Obama, a déclaré au Hindustan Times que l’Inde était dans son droit d’attaquer le Pakistan, citant comme précédent les frappes illégales de drones Predator de Washington et d’autres violations de la souveraineté du Pakistan. « L’Inde peut noter que les États-Unis mènent des attaques au Pakistan depuis plus d’une décennie pour tuer des terroristes, y compris Oussama ben Laden et le mollah Mansour (le chef des talibans afghans exécuté sommairement en mai dernier) » a déclaré Riedel.

Ashley Tellis, qui, dans le gouvernement de George W. Bush, a joué un rôle clé dans la négociation de l’accord indo-américain sur le nucléaire civile en 2008, ne fut pas moins catégorique à l’appui de l’attaque indienne. Le Premier ministre indien Modi, a-t-il dit à la Press Trust of India, « ne pouvait pas laisser sans réponse l’outrage à Uri ».

Tellis a salué l’action indienne comme « soigneusement mesurée ». Invoquant le prétexte clairement fabriqué de toutes pièces de New Delhi pour l’attaque, selon lequel le Pakistan était sur le point de lancer des cellules terroristes à travers la frontière, Tellis a ajouté : « Frapper les rampes de lancement terroristes était destiné à signaler que l’Inde n’a pas perdu sa liberté d’exercer des représailles, mais impute la responsabilité de la poursuite de l’escalade au Pakistan ».

John Blank, un ancien conseiller à la politique sud-asiatique à la Commission des relations étrangères du Sénat américain et actuellement analyste de la Rand Corporation, a déclaré que « toute critique américaine de l’Inde pour une action transfrontalière aurait semblé hypocrite, « compte tenu de sa propre » frappe chirurgicale contre Obama ben Laden à Abbottabad (Pakistan) ».

Blank a signalé l’importance de l’appel téléphonique de mercredi soir entre les conseillers indien et américain de la sécurité nationale. « L’appel téléphonique entre Ajit Doval et Susan Rice […] a enrôle les États-Unis pour aider à prévenir une contre-attaque pakistanaise ».

Pendant la Guerre froide, le Pakistan était un allié clé des États-Unis. Washington a équipé son armée et l’a encouragée dans sa rivalité militaire et stratégique réactionnaire avec l’Inde, qui, après 1971, était officiellement alliée à l’Union soviétique par un « Traité de paix, d’amitié et de coopération ».

Les États-Unis ont sous-traité aux renseignements pakistanais la formation des moudjahidin afghans et des forces fondamentalistes arabes alliées qu’ils ont utilisées dans les années 1980 pour saigner l’Union soviétique dans une guerre par procuration en Afghanistan, tout en soutenant au maximum le dictateur islamiste Zia ul-Haq du Pakistan.

Mais depuis le début de ce siècle, Washington a cherché à renforcer l’Inde en tant que contrepoids à la Chine, et depuis qu’ Obama a lancé le « pivot vers l’Asie » en 2011, les États-Unis cherchent à faire de l’Inde le quatrième pilier d’un alliance anti-Chine aux côtés de leurs principaux alliés d’Asie-Pacifique, le Japon et l’Australie.

S’appuyant sur le « partenariat stratégique global » indo-américain forgé par le gouvernement précédent dirigé par le Parti du Congrès, le régime BJP au pouvoir depuis 28 mois a, pour le grand plaisir de Washington, considérablement élargi l’intégration de l’Inde dans le « pivot ». Cela comprends l’adoption de l’attitude provocatrice du gouvernement Obama par rapport à la mer de Chine du Sud, l’élargissement des liens bilatéraux et trilatéraux avec le Japon et l’Australie, et la permission donnée à l’aviation et au navires de guerre américains de faire un usage systématique des bases indiennes pour le ravitaillement, la réparation et le déploiement avancé de matériel de guerre.

En conjonction avec ce changement, le gouvernement Modi a poursuivi une politique plus agressive contre le Pakistan et la Chine. Il a mis au point de vastes liens économiques en Asie du Sud, afin de s’affirmer comme la puissance hégémonique régionale. Cela a impliqué des initiatives diplomatiques et politiques, ainsi que d’importants nouveaux achats d’armes et des déploiements militaires agressifs aux frontières.

Face à la menace grandissante de l’alliance indo-américaine, Pékin et Islamabad ont renforcé leurs propres liens stratégiques établis de longue date.

Déjà, au premier anniversaire de l’arrivée au pouvoir du gouvernement Modi, le précité Riedel a fait remarquer que « le système d’alliances bipolaire en Asie du Sud s’est durci […] les États-Unis et l’Inde sont plus proches, et la Chine et le Pakistan se sont beaucoup plus rapprochés ».

Un élément clé de cette évolution est le Corridor économique sino-pakistanais (CPEC), un réseau de projets ferroviaires, routiers, pipelines et énergétiques à 46 milliards de dollars reliant l’ouest de la Chine au port pakistanais de Gwadar en mer d’Arabie.

L’Inde monte une campagne très médiatisée contre le CPEC car il fournira un énorme coup de pouce économique au Pakistan, ce dont il a désespérément besoin, et parce qu’elle craint que Gwadar finisse par servir de base dans l’océan Indien pour la marine chinoise.

Les États-Unis ont laissé à l’Inde la tâche de faire campagne publiquement contre le CPEC, au motif que le CPEC va passer à travers des parties de l’ancien État princier de l’Empire britannique du Jammu-et-Cachemire, que l’Inde revendique comme faisant partie de droit de son territoire. Mais il ne fait aucun doute que Washington considère également le CPEC comme une menace stratégique, car il permettrait à Pékin de contourner les plans américains d’imposer un blocus économique sur la Chine en utilisant des goulots d’étranglement de l’océan Indien et de la mer de Chine méridionale dans l’éventualité d’une guerre ou d’une crise risquant d’évoluer en guerre.

Le soutien de Washington pour les frappes indiennes de mercredi sur le Pakistan implique plus que le désir de consolider son alliance avec l’Inde. Ses relations avec le Pakistan sont très dégradées et de plus en plus caractérisées par l’amertume et la suspicion, en partie à cause de la tentative d’Islamabad de s’assurer leur mot à dire dans tout règlement politique de la guerre en Afghanistan en conservant des liens avec des sections des talibans, en particulier le réseau Haqqani. Mais il y en a d’encore plus fondamentaux : ce sont les liens étroits du Pakistan avec la Chine, la puissance que Washington a identifié comme étant le principal obstacle à la domination américaine de l’Eurasie.

Keith Jones

Article paru en anglais, WSWS, le 1 octobre 2016

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Avec l’Inde qui promet de « punir » le Pakistan pour l’attaque que des militants islamistes ont monté sur une base de l’armée indienne à Uri dans la région contestée du Cachemire, une campagne concertée a commencé dans les médias américains indiquant du soutien pour l’action agressive indienne contre le Pakistan. Étant donné que l’Inde et le Pakistan sont des États dotés d’armes nucléaires qui se sont livrés quatre guerres sanglantes l’un contre l’autre, cette campagne est extrêmement téméraire.

Mercredi, le Wall Street Journal a présenté un article sur la politique du Premier ministre indien Narendra Modi intitulé « La retenue de Modi envers le Pakistan ». Le Journal a écrit : « Modi pratique la retenue pour le moment, mais Islamabad ne peut pas compter sur la poursuite d’une telle politique. L’offre de coopération de Modi, si elle est rejetée, sera un motif de plus pour faire du Pakistan encore plus une nation paria qu’il ne l’est déjà ».

Le Journal a prévenu : « Si l’armée [pakistanaise] continue d’envoyer des armes et des combattants à travers la frontière, le Premier ministre indien aura une très bonne raison pour prendre des mesures. »

De même, le Los Angeles Times a publié un article intitulé : « L’Inde possède l’une des plus grandes armées du monde, pourquoi ne l’utilise-t-il pas ? » L’article a noté qu’il y a : « des appels croissants à l’intérieur de l’Inde – maintenant une grande économie avec la plus forte croissance du monde, avec des aspirations à devenir une puissance mondiale – à éprouver son pouvoir ». ajoutant : « la réputation internationale du Pakistan s’effiloche, comme son alliance de longue date avec les États-Unis ».

Le Times a également cité les critiques de l’ancien responsable du renseignement indien, Vikram Sood, contre la politique actuelle de « retenue » envers le Pakistan : « Qu’avons-nous tiré de cette politique, à part plus de morts et plus de tueries ? […| Nous les Indiens, nous disons continuellement que la guerre n’est pas une option. Nous devons dire que la guerre est une option, mais qu’elle est laide. »

Ces articles représentent une approbation de l’atmosphère de plus en plus belliqueuse, voire hystérique, que les politiciens, l’establishment de la sécurité nationale et les médias de l’Inde ont attisée à la suite de l’attaque sur Uri le 18 septembre, qui a tué 18 soldats indiens.

Le mardi, l’Inde a annoncé que Modi ne participera pas au sommet de l’Association sud-asiatique de coopération régionale (SAARC), une réunion régionale des huit pays d’Asie du Sud, qui se tiendra au Pakistan en novembre. L’Inde a également annoncé qu’elle se permettra de maximiser ses prélèvements d’eau dans le cadre du Traité de 1960 sur l’eau de l’Indus jusqu’à la limite légale, serrant ainsi le Pakistan, qui a été en proie à la sécheresse et des pénuries d’électricité. Le pays a également signalé qu’il pourrait abroger le traité entièrement. Par la suite, le Pakistan a averti qu’il jugerait l’abrogation du traité sur l’eau comme un « acte de guerre ».

Dimanche, Modi a comparé l’attaque d’Uri à la guerre indo-pakistanaise de 1965 et a salué la fièvre guerrière nationaliste qui se développait selon lui en Inde. « Il y a beaucoup de valeur à la colère que les gens du pays ont. C’est un symbole de l’éveil du pays, » a-t-il dit. « Cette colère est du genre à “faire quelque chose” [… Lorsque la guerre de 1965 [avec le Pakistan] a éclaté et Lal Bahadur Shastri dirigeait le pays, le sentiment était semblable : la colère dans le pays. Il y avait une fièvre du nationalisme. Tout le monde a tenu à faire quelque chose ».

De même, le major général indien à la retraite G. D. Bakshi, a publié un déchaînement hystérique qui exigeait que l’Inde détruise le Pendjab pakistanais, apparemment avec des armes nucléaires. « Le Pakistan fait un cinquième de la taille de l’Inde, » a déclaré Bakshi dans une émission de télévision indienne. « Si on tire même une partie de notre arsenal, la plus grande partie sera sur le Pendjab pakistanais, d’où l’armée pakistanaise vient : aucune culture ne va y croître pendant 800 ans ! […] Arrêtons de nous auto-dissuader ! »

La couverture médiatique américaine de la dernière crise de la guerre indo-pakistanaise indique qu’il y a une faction croissante à Washington, y compris dans l’establishment militaire et sécuritaire, qui est prête à laisser les mains libres à l’Inde pour traiter avec le Pakistan.

Cela a des implications inquiétantes pour le conflit indo-pakistanais et représente une escalade très dangereuse des tendances guerrières impérialistes en Asie.

Pour plus d’une décennie, Washington a travaillé pour faire de l’Inde un contrepoids à la Chine, et depuis le lancement de son « pivot vers l’Asie » contre la Chine en 2011, afin de l’établir comme un état de la « ligne de front » dans ses efforts pour isoler stratégiquement la Chine, l’encercler et se préparer à la guerre contre elle.

Cela attise non seulement des tensions entre Pékin et New Delhi, mais aussi la rivalité stratégique entre l’Inde et le principal allié sud-asiatique de la Chine, le Pakistan. Cette rivalité est historiquement enracinée dans la partition réactionnaire de l’Inde britannique à l’indépendance formelle, en 1947-48, entre un Pakistan explicitement musulman et l’Inde à majorité hindoue. Sept décennies plus tard, cette rivalité menace de provoquer une guerre ouverte, potentiellement un conflit nucléaire entre l’Inde et le Pakistan qui pourrait rapidement entraîner les États-Unis et la Chine.

Depuis le tournant du siècle, Washington a cherché à renforcer ses liens militaires et stratégiques avec l’Inde contre la Chine. En 2005, New Delhi et Washington ont signé un Accord-cadre de défense et, grâce à l’accord nucléaire indo-américain de 2008, l’Inde a eu accès à de la technologie et du combustible nucléaires civiles de pointe, ce qui lui permet de concentrer son programme nucléaire maison sur le développement des armes. L’Inde achète des systèmes d’armes avancés américains, et le mois dernier Washington et New Delhi ont signé un Protocole d’entente pour l’échange des logistiques (Lemoa) donnant à l’armée américaine un accès systématique à des bases indiennes, et le pouvoir d’y stocker du matériel « en position avancée ».

L’une des principales cibles de l’alliance américano-indienne qui se développe rapidement est l’expansion des liens stratégiques sino-pakistanais.

La Chine considère le Pakistan comme un partenaire clé, car il accélère son projet ambitieux « Une route, une région » (OBOR) qui vise à relier la Chine à l’Asie centrale, au Moyen-Orient, et, à long terme, l’Europe, contestant ainsi l’hégémonie des États-Unis sur le continent eurasiatique. Pékin a annoncé le projet OBOR en 2013, peu de temps après que Washington a annoncé qu’il réduisait sa force d’occupation en Afghanistan.

Un élément clé de OBOR est le couloir économique Chine-Pakistan (CPEC). Le CPEC se compose de divers projets pétroliers, infrastructures routières et ferroviaires reliant la ville de Gwadar dans la région du Baloutchistan sud-ouest du Pakistan à la région du nord-ouest de la Chine du Xinjiang. En février 2013, le Pakistan a attribué le contrat opérationnel pour le port de Gwadar à la Chine. Le CPEC a une grande importance stratégique pour la Chine, car elle permettrait à Beijing de contourner partiellement les plans du Pentagone pour imposer un blocus économique sur la Chine en saisissant l’océan Indien et de la mer de Chine méridionale en tant que « goulots d’étranglement. »

Comme Washington, New Delhi considère l’OBOR et le CPEC comme des menaces importantes, portant atteinte à son influence stratégique en Asie. The Diplomat a écrit, « L’Inde s’oppose fortement au couloir proposé dans le CPEC et au développement du port de Gwadar principalement pour deux raisons. En premier lieu, le couloir prévu passe à travers les territoires controversés de Gilgit-Baltistan et du Cachemire entre l’Inde et la Chine et entre l’Inde et le Pakistan respectivement. Deuxièmement, l’Inde craint que Gwadar devienne effectivement une base navale chinoise. »

Avec le soutien plus ou moins explicite des États-Unis, l’Inde adopte une politique irresponsable en fomentant le séparatisme ethnique en Chine et au Pakistan. En avril, les responsables américains ont assisté à une conférence des organisations séparatistes chinoises financées par des États-Unis à Dharamsala en Inde signalant ainsi le soutien indien et américain pour le séparatisme à la fois au Tibet et au Xinjiang.

Alors que l’Inde a accusé Islamabad de soutenir le groupe militant pakistanais Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) au Cachemire, le Pakistan a publiquement accusé l’Inde de soutenir l’insurrection et le terrorisme au Baloutchistan à travers ses consulats en Afghanistan.

Depuis la mi-août, dans ce que la presse indienne a salué comme un coup stratégique, le gouvernement de Modi a monté une campagne internationale dénonçant le Pakistan pour des violations des droits de l’Homme au Baloutchistan, et, dans un mouvement destiné à signaler qu’il est prêt à travailler pour le démembrement du Pakistan, il a dit qu’il fournira aux séparatistes Balochi plus « d’espace politique » pour fonctionner en Inde.

Les structures d’alliances traditionnelles en Asie s’effondrent rapidement. Les relations entre Washington et Islamabad se sont considérablement affaiblies depuis que les États-Unis ont décidé de retirer la majeure partie des troupes américaines d’Afghanistan, laissant quelque 10 000 soldats pour l’occupation américaine jusqu’en janvier 2017.

Washington continue à exercer des pressions diplomatiques sur le Pakistan pour rompre les relations militaires d’Islamabad avec les sections des talibans et du réseau Haqqani qui luttent contre les forces d’occupation de l’OTAN menées par les Américains et le gouvernement fantoche de l’Afghanistan. La semaine dernière, deux législateurs républicains ont introduit un projet de loi au Congrès américain visant à désigner le Pakistan comme un État qui sponsorise le terrorisme, toutefois il n’est pas prévu actuellement qu’il soit adopté.

Comme les relations entre Washington et Islamabad se détériorent, le Pakistan envisage également de prendre l’initiative sans précédent de développer des liens stratégiques avec la Russie. Pendant la guerre froide, le Pakistan était traditionnellement soutenu par Washington tandis que son rival, l’Inde, était allié avec l’Union soviétique.

Samedi, cependant, la Russie a lancé un exercice militaire de deux semaines avec le Pakistan dans une région montagneuse dans la province du Pendjab dans l’est du Pakistan. Il a impliqué 200 soldats, 70 de Russie et 130 en provenance du Pakistan. Ce fut la première fois que les deux pays participaient à un exercice militaire conjoint et cela faisait suite à la vente récente par Moscou d’hélicoptères militaires à Islamabad.

Kumara Ira

Article paru d’abord en anglais, WSWS, le 29 septembre 2016

  • Posted in Francais @fr
  • Commentaires fermés sur Après l’attaque au Cachemire, les médias américains menacent de soutenir l’Inde dans une guerre avec le Pakistan

In a highly provocative move, the United States announced yesterday it was breaking off bilateral talks with Russia on halting fighting in Syria’s civil war. The decision is only the latest indication that the US is preparing the ground for a major escalation of military operations in its war for regime-change in Syria.

With boundless hypocrisy, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that Russia had failed to maintain its end of the bargain. “This is not a decision that was taken lightly,” Kirby said. “Unfortunately, Russia failed to live up to its own commitments, and was also either unwilling or unable to ensure Syrian regime adherence to the arrangements to which Moscow agreed.”

US officials added that contact between the two countries would continue to reduce the risk of clashes between US and Russian aircraft operating in Syrian air space. But this pledge cannot conceal the fact that both powers have mutually incompatible agendas in Syria and are perilously close to a direct military clash that could spiral out of control and trigger a wider war. As White House spokesman Josh Earnest bluntly put it, on Syria, there was “nothing more for the US and Russia to talk about.”

Washington’s attempt to pin the blame on Russia for the breakdown of diplomacy in Syria is thoroughly dishonest. The United States never had any intention of abiding by the ceasefire agreement struck between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last month. It exploited the week-long pause in fighting to enable its proxy Islamist “rebels” to regroup in the face of a Russian- and Iranian-backed offensive by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops in Aleppo, while continuing to provide its Al Qaeda-linked allies with arms. The US-backed anti-Assad forces never accepted the ceasefire.

Open differences emerged within the US political and military establishment over the ceasefire terms, with the Pentagon publicly rejecting military and intelligence cooperation with Moscow in the name of fighting terrorism. It is likely that a September 17 US air strike on a Syrian army outpost near the town of Deir ez-Zor, which helped ISIS fighters capture positions in the area, was deliberately launched by a faction of the US military opposed to intelligence-sharing with Russia, for the purpose of blowing up the ceasefire agreement.

The incident had the desired effect. The ceasefire collapsed several days later when a UN aid convoy came under attack. Washington and its European allies blamed the attack on Moscow and used it to demand that Russia and Syria ground their aircraft. Russia denied any involvement in the bombing of the aid convoy.

The US government and media have seized on the bombardment of “rebel”-held eastern Aleppo, controlled by the al-Nusra front, which Washington lists as a terrorist organization, to accuse Russia of war crimes and prepare the ground for an escalation of the war. Since intervening on the side of the Syrian government last September, Moscow has sought to advance its own interests by propping up its ally Assad. Syria is the site of Russia’s sole naval base outside of the former Soviet Union.

According to UN figures, at least 320 civilians have been killed in Aleppo since the end of the ceasefire. Civilians have been targeted by both sides, although the Western media has generally buried reports of the shelling of government-controlled areas by Islamist “rebels.” Up to 270,000 civilians, including 100,000 children, are trapped in the city.

The crocodile tears shed by US and Western politicians over the fate of Aleppo’s inhabitants are a transparent fraud, aimed at concealing the fact that primary responsibility for the catastrophe in Syria, where more than half a million people have lost their lives and over 50 percent of the population have fled their homes, lies with the US and its allies. Washington deliberately fomented the civil war with the aim of removing Assad, installing a puppet government, and asserting its hegemony in the energy-rich Middle East against its main rivals, Russia and China.

The Western powers’ humanitarian pretenses were further exposed by a leaked UN report which placed chief responsibility for the disastrous conditions in Syria on the US and European Union’s sanctions regime. The report, which was published in May but only released Sunday by the Intercept after it obtained a leaked copy, accuses Washington and Brussels of imposing since 2011 “some of the most complicated and far-reaching sanctions regimes ever imposed.”

US prohibition on money transfers has made it almost impossible for aid groups to pay salaries and buy supplies, leaving the way open for ISIS and the al-Nusra Front to open unofficial avenues for the transfer of financial assistance. A separate letter from “a key UN official” in August described the sanctions as a “principal factor” in the collapse of the healthcare system.

The Obama administration never had any intention of reaching a deal with Russia to curb the violence in Syria unless it fully capitulated to US demands for the installation of a pro-Western puppet regime.

Moscow has instead made increasingly clear that it is unwilling to back down in the face of US threats to encourage Islamist terrorists to direct their attacks against Russia. After Kirby menacingly declared last week that extremists could attack “Russian interests” and even Russian cities, an ominous pronouncement given Washington’s long-standing collaboration with Jihadi terrorists, Russia shot back that any US escalation in Syria would lead to “total war” and cause “tectonic shifts” throughout the Middle East.

Earlier on Monday, President Vladimir Putin announced the suspension of the United States from an agreement regulating the disposal of plutonium from decommissioned nuclear weapons. Putin cited as reasons “the radical change in the environment, a threat to strategic stability posed by the hostile actions of the US against Russia, and the inability of the US to deliver on the obligation to dispose of excessive weapons plutonium under international treaties.”

On Syria, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Washington had failed to separate US-backed “moderate rebels” from the al-Nusra Front, which was to have been a first step under the ceasefire deal to the establishment of a joint implementation center from which Moscow and Washington would coordinate attacks on terrorists.

“We are becoming more convinced that in a pursuit of a much desired regime-change in Damascus, Washington is ready to ‘make a deal with the devil,’” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday. For the sake of ousting Syrian President Assad, the US appears to be ready to “forge an alliance with hardened terrorists.”

In truth, such an alliance has long been cemented. In 2011, the Obama administration exploited similar “humanitarian” concerns as those now being whipped up over Syria to justify the bombardment and destruction of Libya so as to overthrow the Gaddafi regime. This was combined with support to Islamist extremist forces, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands and plunging the North African country into a brutal civil war. Many of these same Islamists were then relocated to Syria, supplied with arms funneled through the CIA, the Gulf states and Turkey, and encouraged to wage war on the Assad regime. It was out of this environment that ISIS emerged and began to gain ground.

The US political and military establishment is fully prepared to risk an all-out conflict with nuclear-armed Russia to secure its geo-strategic ambitions in the Middle East and beyond. Less than two weeks ago, General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress that extending US control over Syrian air space would mean war with Syria and Russia. He emphasized that the US military had no intention in establishing any kind of intelligence-sharing arrangement with Russia.

Last week, in another calculated provocation, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter delivered remarks at a nuclear base in North Dakota threatening nuclear conflict with Russia.

The escalation of tensions with Russia has the support of Washington’s Western allies, including Britain and France. The suspension of talks coincided Monday with reports that Paris is circulating a draft UN Security Council resolution demanding that the Assad regime halt its bombardment of Aleppo and warning that those responsible for war crimes will be held accountable.

The text also refers to the need to immediately halt all military flights over Aleppo, which in effect restricts only Syrian and Russian planes and could serve as the initial step to a “no-fly” zone enforced by US and allied aircraft. Diplomats expect Russia will veto the resolution if it comes to a vote, a move that French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has vowed would result in Moscow being labeled as complicit in war crimes.

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  • Commentaires fermés sur US Suspends Talks with Russia as Danger Mounts of Escalation in Syrian War

La porte-parole du ministère russe des Affaires étrangères Maria Zakharova a émis un avertissement sévère à Washington samedi, en déclarant que toute tentative des États-Unis d’attaquer directement les forces gouvernementales syriennes pourraient entraîner la « guerre totale » et produire des « changements tectoniques » dans le pays et à travers tout le Moyen-Orient.

L’avertissement de la Russie est intervenu presque un an jour pour jour après que le Kremlin a lancé des frappes aériennes contre des cibles islamistes en Syrie. Moscou est intervenu pour soutenir le régime d’Assad, qui accueille l’unique base navale de la Russie en dehors de l’ex-Union soviétique. L’intervention a attiré la condamnation immédiate de Washington, le gouvernement qui porte la responsabilité d’avoir lancé la guerre civile syrienne en 2011 pour provoquer un changement de régime à Damas.

Un an plus tard, Zakharova a soulevé la perspective de l’éruption d’une guerre beaucoup plus large avec des conséquences incalculables. Notant la préférence de Washington à poursuivre ses objectifs politiques avec l’utilisation de la force, elle a déclaré : « Elle se termine généralement par une seule chose : une véritable guerre à grande échelle ». Elle a ensuite averti de l’impact plus large sur la région, ajoutant : « Si les États-Unis commencent une agression directe contre Damas et l’armée syrienne, cela conduira à des mouvements tectoniques effrayants non seulement sur le territoire de la Syrie, mais dans toute la région aussi ».

Ces commentaires reflètent l’inquiétude croissante concernant la posture de plus en plus provocante et agressive de Washington envers la Russie sur la Syrie, exprimée récemment par des menaces voilées de lâcher des terroristes parrainés par la CIA contre Moscou et une volonté dans les milieux politiques et militaires d’envisager une guerre sans limites. En même temps, ils montrent que la tentative du Kremlin de défendre les intérêts de l’oligarchie russe en soutenant son seul allié au Moyen-Orient ne représente aucun contrepoids à cette poussée à la guerre, elle ne fait qu’aggraver le risque d’un affrontement militaire entre les deux plus grandes puissances nucléaires du monde.

La responsabilité principale de ce danger, cependant, se trouve aux États-Unis. Les commentaires de Zakharova étaient sans aucun doute une réponse à la posture de plus en plus agressive envers Moscou du gouvernement Obama ces derniers jours.

Vendredi, le New York Times, qui seulement un jour plus tôt avait qualifié la Russie d’« État hors la loi » a publié le compte rendu d’une discussion à huis clos, qu’il avait obtenue, entre le ministre des affaires étrangères John Kerry et une collection de militants syriens pro-américains en marge de l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU le mois dernier. Dans ce document, Kerry dit qu’il avait poussé avec beaucoup d’autres dans le gouvernement Obama à l’action militaire et ont été frustrés par le respect des voies diplomatiques concernant la Russie et la Syrie. « Je pense que vous avez trois personnes, quatre personnes, dans le gouvernement qui ont toutes plaidées pour l’utilisation de la force, et j’ai perdu ce débat », a déclaré Kerry à son auditoire, avant d’ajouter : « Il n’y a personne de plus frustré que nous ».

Les remarques de Kerry n’ont été divulguées qu’il y a deux jours, après qu’il a menacé de mettre fin à toute coopération bilatérale avec la Russie sur la Syrie et au milieu d’une campagne présidentielle dans laquelle la Russie est régulièrement diabolisée. Elles confirment encore plus le fait que l’accord de cessez-le-feu qu’il avait convenu avec le ministre russe des Affaires étrangères Sergueï Lavrov le mois dernier, qui s’est effondré après que les États-Unis ont bombardé une position de l’armée syrienne, n’étaient rien de plus qu’une manœuvre tactique. L’objectif était de gagner du temps pour que les forces par procuration de Washington, islamistes, se regroupent et se réarment, tout en permettant aux États-Unis de se préparer à une escalade majeure de la guerre syrienne.

Les commentaires de Zakharova étaient également une réaction à ceux du porte-parole du ministère des affaires étrangères John Kirby, qui a menacé Moscou mercredi dernier de lâcher potentiellement des extrémistes islamistes contre les intérêts russes, non seulement en Syrie, mais à l’intérieur de la Russie.

« Des groupes extrémistes continueront à exploiter les vides qui sont là en Syrie pour étendre leurs activités, qui pourraient inclure des attaques contre les intérêts russes, peut-être même les villes russes. La Russie continuera à renvoyer des gens à la maison dans des sacs mortuaires, et continuera de perdre des ressources, peut-être même des avions », a déclaré Kirby. Étant donné le long bilan de Washington en collaboration avec des groupes terroristes djihadistes qui remonte aux années 1980, la signification de ces observations était sans ambiguïté.

Les avions russes ont continué d’appuyer une offensive brutale des forces gouvernementales syriennes au cours du week-end avec des frappes aériennes répétées sur Alep. L’un des principaux hôpitaux de la ville, connu sous le nom de M10, a été touché samedi pour la troisième fois en une semaine, tuant deux patients, en blessant beaucoup d’autres et mettant l’installation hors service. Selon les chiffres de l’ONU, au moins 320 civils ont été tués dans l’est d’Alep et des centaines d’autres blessés depuis la rupture du cessez-le-feu. Des allégations de l’utilisation de bombes anti-bunker, de sous-munitions et de phosphore ont été faites.

Les forces pro-gouvernementales ont pris le contrôle des districts du nord d’Alep dimanche et le commandement militaire syrien a annoncé qu’il était prêt à donner des garanties de sauf-conduit aux rebelles qui quitteraient la ville. Jusqu’à 10 000 soldats du gouvernement et les milices alliées du Hezbollah libanais ainsi que les combattants chiites irakiens seraient en voie de lancer une offensive sur les quartiers de l’est d’Alep.

Les tentatives des États-Unis et de leurs alliés occidentaux d’exploiter le nombre de victimes et la destruction entraînée par les bombardements syriens et russes sont tout à fait hypocrites. L’ambassadrice américaine aux Nations Unies, Samantha Power, le ministre français des Affaires étrangères Jean-Marc Ayrault et son homologue britannique Boris Johnson ont tous accusé la Russie de « crimes de guerre » ou de « barbarie », tout en ignorant allègrement les atrocités perpétrées par l’opposition dite modérée. Les milices extrémistes ont bombardé les zones d’Alep tenues par le gouvernement au cours des derniers jours, tuant 18 personnes et en blessant plus de 60 vendredi et 13 autres samedi. Aucun tollé ne s’est exprimé dans les grands groupes des médias au nom de ces civils tués, probablement par des munitions fournies par les États-Unis.

Plus fondamentalement, l’impérialisme américain porte la responsabilité d’avoir fomenté le conflit syrien par la promotion systématique et le financement des forces alignées sur Al-Qaïda, qui constituent l’essentiel des forces rebelles depuis 2011. Le gouvernement Obama, ses alliés du Golfe et de la Turquie ont dangereusement attisé la guerre civile dans le but de provoquer un changement de régime à Damas, alors même que le nombre de victimes s’est élevé et a dépassé un demi-million selon certaines estimations. Le mois dernier, le commandant de l’état-major interarmées, le général Joseph Dunford, a déclaré explicitement devant le Congrès que la réalisation de l’objectif des États-Unis de contrôler l’espace aérien au-dessus la Syrie et la mise en œuvre d’une zone d’« exclusion aérienne » entraînerait la guerre avec Damas et Moscou.

Cela montre clairement que Washington ne reculera devant rien pour assurer la consolidation de son hégémonie sur le Moyen-Orient et ses riches ressources d’énergie, un élément essentiel de sa stratégie plus large d’établir la domination sans partage sur la masse terrestre eurasiatique.

En Syrie, Washington a attisé les divisions ethniques et religieuses en soutenant des groupes concurrents, et même directement hostiles dans sa tentative désespérée d’assurer ses intérêts prédateurs. Dans le nord de la Syrie, les États-Unis continuent de fournir des armes aux combattants kurdes alignés sur les Unités de protection du peuple (YPG) et le Parti de l’Union démocratique (PYD), les forces qui ont été en butte aux attaques d’une incursion turque depuis la fin août à laquelle Washington a donné son appui.

Mais il y a des indications que les tensions entre Ankara et Washington s’accroissent. Le président turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan a critiqué Washington la semaine dernière pour sa dernière expédition de cargaison d’armes aux YPG et a suggéré que le soutien d’Ankara dans la lutte contre l’État islamique (EI) dépendait de l’abandon des Kurdes par les États-Unis. Se référant à l’offensive prochaine pour la reprise du contrôle de Raqqa, la capitale de l’ÉI, Erdogan a dit : « Bien sûr, si les États-Unis veulent faire l’opération sur Raqqa avec les YPG et le PYD, nous en Turquie ne prendrons pas part à cette opération ; mais s’ils excluent les YPG et PYD de cette affaire, alors bien sûr nous nous joindrons aux États-Unis pour cette lutte ».

Les responsables militaires turcs de premier rang envisageraient une traversée du fleuve Euphrate, que les États-Unis considèrent comme la délimitation du contrôle kurde. Des sources ont également évoqué la possibilité de négociations d’un accord turco-russe pour la Syrie, le président russe Vladimir Poutine devrait se rendre en Turquie le 11 octobre.

Erdogan a fait remarquer la semaine dernière que les troupes turques avaient déjà mis en place une « zone de sécurité » de 900 kilomètres carrés en Syrie, une zone qui pourrait être massivement étendue à 5000 kilomètres carrés.

L’une des prochaines cibles identifiées par la Turquie est la ville d’Al-Bab, contrôlée par l’ÉI, mais le secrétaire américain à la Défense Ashton Carter a exhorté la Turquie à éviter cette opération parce que Washington veut que le contrôle y soit aux kurdes. Al-Bab est considérée comme essentielle pour l’offensive sur Raqqa, ce qui signifie que celui qui la contrôle pourrait influencer de manière significative le déroulement de la conquête de la capitale de l’ÉI.

Jordan Shilton

Article paru en anglais, WSWS,  le 3 octobre 2016

  • Posted in Francais @fr
  • Commentaires fermés sur La Russie répond aux menaces américaines par une mise en garde claire sur l’utilisation de la force en Syrie

The Clintons will break all rules and laws to seize White House power. This is amply proven by the manner in which they rigged and stole the first presidential debate.

The operation appears to have been planned in advance of the September 26, 2016 event, involving the Clintons and their operatives, the debate organizers, the broadcast media (NBC and “moderator” Lester Holt), the managers of the venue, and the security detail at the facility.

The rig was carried out with near-military precision.

It began with the building of a special podium for Hillary Clinton: one that was smaller than the podium designated for Donald Trump. The smaller podium gave Hillary the illusion of being bigger in physical stature. More importantly, the podium seems to have been built or adapted with some sort of electronic console or teleprompter.

Who oversaw the building and modification of this podium? Why did the Trump people not notice this immediately?

Prior to the debate, tape footage shows how a device meant to be installed into Hillary’s podium was smuggled in by the Clintons and their operatives. Also brought in was a stack of documents; perhaps the debate questions obtained in advance from someone inside. The behavior appears highly suspicious; they are clearly up to something.

Photos also lay waste to the lie that Lester Holt was not wired during the debate. He clearly was, and a technician even removed his jacket to install it. Hillary herself might also have been wired. To what, we do not know, but they were both wired.

During the debate, footage shows Hillary Clinton’s podium lighting up with a computer screen, while Trump’s podium stays dark. Hillary’s hand appears to be pressing or toggling controls on the podium to scroll through her teleprompter screen. Her motions have been interpreted by some as involuntary tremors from Parkinson’s disease, but they appear to be far more deliberate than involuntary.

Analysis shows Hillary apparently giving signals to Lester Holt several times at key moments during the debate. Each time she scratched her nose or touched her face, Holt promptly interrupted, attacked and derailed Trump.

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The timing was too systematic to be coincidental. Holt also clearly let Clinton have a free pass to speak ad nauseum without “fact checking” and without interruptions throughout the debate. This in addition to the inane topics—which did not include any questions about Clinton’s track record—were already a setup that did not favor Trump.

The most damning evidence of the rigging involves what happened after the debate ended. Footage shows the Clintons and their operatives “doing a sneaky dance” on the stage after the debate to retrieve the device from Hillary’s podium while the crowds mill about.

Watch these breakdowns:

Hillary Clinton’s teleprompter at the debate caught on camera

Podiumgate 

Hillary’s teleprompter inside debate podium and Cleaner Man

Only Hillary’s podium light on and Cleaner Man Identified

The main Clinton operative—the white-haired mustached man wearing glasses— has been identified as Brady Williamson, a Democratic Party strategist and lawyer, and a man who has worked for the Clintons for decades. Williamson, the “Cleaner Man” darts around, with two others lurking nearby acting as lookouts. Their movements suggest that they are clearly up to no good. Finally the entire Clinton team, including Bill and Hillary, surround the secret podium to hide the retrieval of the object(s) out of the podium. These items are passed from Williamson to another operative, and then secreted out.

(Were it not for sharp-eyed observers who analyzed this footage and posted it on YouTube, we would not have caught the Clintons pulling this off. This is why the powers that be want to control and shut down the Internet to prevent citizen investigative work such as this.)

A clear difference in criminal experience

Criminal behavior on the part of the Clintons is no surprise. It is how they have always done things, and gotten away with all of it. Criminality, secrecy, and deception are the foundations of their political dynasty. Any seasoned observer expects the dirtiest dirty tricks from them.

What is baffling is that this blatant fraud occurred without the Trump camp noticing, or doing anything about it. Trump agreed to the terms and mechanics of the debate well in advance. What happened to Trump’s security detail? How did no one notice how Hillary’s podium lit up? Why was the stage controlled only by Clinton operatives? Didn’t anyone not aligned to Clinton check the podiums and the stage before the debate began? Why didn’t someone confront Williamson or the other suspicious characters? Why didn’t Trump cry foul during the fraud, or afterwards?

If the Trump forces are unable to counter or match the dirty tricks and psy-ops of the highly experienced Clinton machine, they will not survive.

Foolishness while the world burns

The world is facing unprecedented crisis.  Yet substantive issues are not addressed in these campaign events. If and when any real issues are approached, deception, lies and falsehoods dominate the rhetoric.

As expected, the Clinton faction is trying to reduce matters to the lowest common denominator, focusing attention on gossipy tabloid material, such as “rude things that Trump said or tweeted”, Trump’s “fat shaming” of women and Miss Universe contestants, and Trump’s tax returns. The Clintons have calculated, probably correctly, that the dumbed down American masses care much more about trivial matters than such real issues as world war, nuclear holocaust, collapsing economies and other realities.  The low road, familiar to the dirty Clintons, is their key to victory. They view the populace with utter contempt. Their goal is to seize power, and to hell with the rest.

Tragically, instead of turning matters to his advantage, Trump has so far taken the bait, falling into the Clinton trap, by reacting to the Clinton gossip. He has even added more hot air to the mix, blabbering about his own business affairs and matters of irrelevance. He himself is the embodiment of tabloid gossip and a reality show circus, and he has done a poor job changing this impression. Both Clinton and Trump are head cases.

Even when he has been given opportunities to drive the discourse, Trump has failed to articulate how he would be less of a New World Order neocon/war monger/corporatist than Clinton. He and Clinton argue about who is the better “anti-terrorist” and the tougher adversary against Russia and China, the more aggressive “law and order cop”.

Yes, Trump has criticized Clinton and Obama for some of their war policies, for “disasters” such as creating ISIS, etc.  But would Trump have ended the wars if he had been at the controls?

Does he intend to end them now? Would he stop the regime change agenda in Syria? Would he make peace with Russia and stop military operations aimed at Russian forces? Would Trump end the criminal reign of the CIA?  Would Trump do anything about the decades of crimes of the Clintons and Bushes, for which they deserve severe punishment? Would he prosecute the highest figures of the New World Order?  Would Trump dare expose the fact that Bush-Clinton/neoliberal-neocon is a charade that masks the united criminal reality  that is the New World Order? Unless the answer to all of these questions is yes, then Trump is no hero, either.

Trump will not pull the plug on the machine that put him on the map; the system that made him rich. It would be delusional to think he would.

“Not being Clinton” is not, by itself, a qualification. If Trump is backed by the Bush faction, and by neocons such as his vice presidential partner Mike Pence, and if Trump pushes ideas that appeal to right-wing extremists and the Religious Right, then he is simply a different path to the same holocaust, with slightly differences in style and timing.

Given her well documented penchant for war crimes and murder, Hillary Clinton is the larger threat to the planet. But a Trump/neocon/Republican administration would likely also result in continued chaos and suffering, and dangers of great magnitude.

The next circus moment

The second debate scheduled for October 9, 2016 promises nothing better for Trump. The last debate saw Hillary Clinton and Lester Holt ganging up on Trump. This next time, it will be three against one.

One of the “moderators” is CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who was a CIA intern, who likely still functions as an intelligence asset.

CNN is so heavily skewed to the Clintons, and dominated by former Clintonites, that it is referred to derisively as the “Clinton News Network”. Cooper has pushed the lie that Lester Holt was deferential to Trump, when in fact Holt constantly interrupted Trump and bashed him every time Hillary asked him to. Cooper’s statements  suggest that he will attack Trump even more aggressively than Holt.

The other “moderator” will be ABC’s Martha Raddatz, who was White House correspondent in the George W. Bush administration. Raddatz is further proof that the corporate media is a revolving door through which Washington insiders slither and slime back and forth.

As long as the Clinton operatives continue to be allowed to get away with fraud and criminal shenanigans—-be it rigged podiums, rigged stage props, hidden teleprompters, hidden transceivers, cheat notes, and collusion with “moderators”—and as long as the corporate media continues to conspire with the Clintons without consequences, then Donald Trump will be toast again.

That is what the Clintons are counting on.

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Jacques Berthelot, économiste, spécialiste des politiques agricoles européenne et africaine, revient sur les implications de la politique commerciale de l’Union européenne, qui impose aux forceps des accords de libre­-échange.

Rappel préalable

Depuis 1975 et jusqu’à présent, en ver­ tu des accords de Lomé puis de Cotonou, les pays des zones Afrique Caraïbes Paci­fique (ACP) peuvent exporter sans droits de douane vers l’Union européenne (UE), tout en maintenant des taxes à l’importa­tion pour les marchandises européennes. C’est pour mettre fin à ce traitement jugé préférentiel selon les règles de l’Organisa­tion mondiale du commerce (OMC) que l’UE a lancé les négociations de plusieurs Accords de Partenariat Economique (APE) avec différentes régions africaines. Après 13 ans de négociations, l’APE entre l’UE et l’Afrique de l’Ouest (15 pays de la Commu­nauté Economique des États d’Afrique de l’Ouest, la CEDEAO, + la Mauritanie, voir la carte) a été conclu en février 2014. En fait de partenariat, il s’agit bien d’un accord de libre-­échange, qui oblige l’Afrique de l’Ouest à supprimer ses droits de douane sur près de 80% de ses importations euro­péennes, à l’horizon 2035.

Pour entrer en vigueur, l’APE Afrique de l’Ouest doit être signé par chaque pays de la région, or certains s’y opposent, tan­ dis que d’autres voudraient accélérer le processus. L’UE cherche à forcer la signa­ture, en menaçant de mettre fin à l’accès privilégié des produits africains sur le mar­ché européen à la date du 1er octobre 2016, si les APE ne sont pas signés. Or les enjeux de cette échéance ne sont pas les mêmes pour toute l’Afrique de l’Ouest. Pour faire simple : Si l’APE régional n’est pas signé, les pays qui sont dans la catégo­rie des PMA (pays moins avancés) pour­ raient toujours exporter à droits nuls vers l’Europe, grâce à l’initiative Tout sauf les Armes (TSA) : accès sans droits de douane pour toutes les marchandises, sauf les armes et les munitions. Mais les pays considérés comme « en développement » (PED), c’est­-à­-dire pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest la Côte d’Ivoire, le Ghana et le Ni­geria, seraient rattachés à un régime diffé­rent et devraient payer des droits de douane à partir du 1er octobre. Pour éviter cela, la Côte d’Ivoire et le Ghana ont cha­cun négocié avec la Commission européenne un APE intérimaire, pour maintenir certaines préférences et surtout prévoir un calendrier et des dispositions en vue de la finalisation de l’APE régional (plusieurs pays africains ont déjà signé de tels APE intérimaires, notamment le Came­roun en Afrique centrale).

L’APE Afrique de l’Ouest, emblématique du passage en force de l’Union européenne, n’est toujours pas signé. Quelles sont les prochaines échéances ?

Ce qui est nouveau, c’est que le Parle ment du Ghana a ratifié son APE intérimaire début août, et dans la foulée la Côte d’Ivoire a fait pareil. Cela leur permettra, dans le cas où l’APE régional n’est pas signé, de garder un accès au marché européen sans droits de douane. En revanche cela leur coûtera très cher pour leurs exportations vers les autres pays de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, car en mettant en œuvre, seuls, un accord de ce type avec l’Europe, ils sortiront de fait de l’intégration régionale ouest-­africaine.

L’UE a fixé arbitrairement la date butoir du 1er octobre 2016, mais cette date n’a rien de contraignant par rapport à l’Organisation Mondiale du Commerce (OMC). Actuelle­ment, il y a toujours le Nigeria et la Gambie qui refusent de signer l’APE, et la Mauritanie doit d’abord signer un accord de coopéra tion avec la CEDEAO. A mon avis, l’UE peut attendre longtemps..

Il y a donc actuellement au moins deux États qui refusent de signer l’accord et beaucoup d’oppositions de la société civile. Pourquoi ces oppositions ? Quels seraient les principaux impacts de cet APE sur les économies de la région ?

Les impacts seront multiples. D’abord des impacts budgétaires. Comme les États seront obligés d’ouvrir leurs marchés à 76% en valeur de ce qu’ils importent de l’UE, sur Billets d’Afrique 260 – septembre 2016 la base de ce qu’ils ont importé en 2015 de l’UE sans le Royaume­-Uni, ils vont perdre énormément de recettes fiscales, de taxes à l’importation. J’ai refait tous les calculs, car les statistiques douanières des pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest ne sont pas suffisam­ment fiables. Il est plus judicieux de prendre la valeur des exportations sorties de l’UE, puis d’y ajouter les frais de transport et d’as­surance jusqu’à l’arrivée en Afrique. Il y a en­ suite 3 ajustements à faire : prendre en compte la diversion des échanges (les im­portations venant de l’UE seront plus nom­breuses, au détriment des importations venant d’autres pays ouest-­africains, ou d’autres pays qui seront encore taxées), éva­luer la hausse des importations liée à la hausse de la population d’ici 2035 (fin de la période de libéralisation), ajuster en fonc­tion du Brexit (les exportations du Royaume­-Uni vers l’Afrique de l’Ouest repré­sentent 10% du total des exportations euro­péennes). Il faut aussi calculer la perte sur la TVA à l’importation. J’estime ainsi les pertes annuelles à 696 millions d’euros en 2020 et à 4,5 milliards d’euros en 2035. Les pertes cu­mulées s’élèveraient à 46,5 milliards d’euros en 2035. C’est donc le premier impact : une forte baisse des recettes fiscales à l’importa­tion. Mais il y aura aussi le plafonnement des taxes à l’exportation : les pays africains n’au­ront pas le droit d’augmenter les taxes sur leurs produits exportés, sauf accord de l’UE.

Cela entraîne d’autres effets écono­miques : ces baisses de recettes douanières sont autant d’argent amputé du budget de l’État, donc on peut s’attendre à une baisse des dépenses publiques considérées comme non-­prioritaires, par exemple les dépenses sociales et environnementales, les infra­ structures, les dépenses d’investissement. Certes il est prévu un programme d’aide pour la transition vers les APE (le PAPED), théoriquement de 6,5 milliards d’euros sur 5 ans, mais ce n’est qu’un nouvel habillage d’aides préexistantes, dont celles du Fonds européen de développement (FED). Et la sortie du Royaume-­Uni de l’UE entraînera une baisse de ces aides. Il n’est pas non plus évident que l’aide des autres pays euro­péens se maintienne au même niveau, vu le contexte économique et les gouvernements de droite.

A long terme, la mise en œuvre de l’APE entraînera un appauvrissement global des pays ouest-­africains, un manque de débouchés pour leurs productions puisque les produits européens abonde­ront, et donc probablement une augmentation du chô­mage, de l’émigration clandes­tine vers l’UE et du renforcement des mouve­ments du type Boko Haram.

Y­-a­-t­-il des enjeux particu­liers concernant l’agricul­ture ?

Un tiers des produits agri­coles serait libéralisé, notam­ment deux produits essentiels : les céréales autres que le riz et la poudre de lait. Pour les céréales, cela signifie qu’il y aura des importations supplémentaires de blé mais aussi de maïs (pourtant un produit alimentaire de base dans tout le Golfe de Guinée), et que les cé­réales et tubercules produits localement se trouveront en concurrence avec ceux im­portés.

Si la majorité des produits agricoles est exclue de la libéralisation, l’impact sera-­t-­il si important pour l’agriculture ouest-­africaine ?

Oui, car il y a quand même ces produits essentiels qui seront libéralisés. Si les deux tiers ne le seront pas, cela ne signifie pas qu’ils seront interdits d’importation mais qu’ils continueront à payer des droits de douane de 10%, 20% ou 35%. Or tous les produits agricoles exportés par l’UE font l’objet d’un dumping car ils bénéficient de subventions. L’UE prétend que ces subven­tions sont internes, et non à l’exportation, mais les produits qu’elle exporte reçoivent aussi des subventions internes. Les produc­tions africaines locales ne peuvent donc pas faire le poids face à cette concurrence, qui va s’accroître avec l’APE.

Il y a aussi un effet indirect de l’APE, mais très important : les préférences tari­faires que l’Afrique de l’Ouest conserve en exportant sans droits de douane vers l’UE vont faire l’objet d’une érosion de plus en plus forte. Les produits exportés de l’Afrique vers l’UE ne seront plus forcément compéti­tifs étant donné que l’UE a signé des accords de libre-­échange avec bien d’autres pays (dont 3 pays andins : Pérou, Colombie, Equateur, et 6 pays d’Amérique Centrale). Ces pays bénéficient désormais eux aussi de l’accès à droits nuls au marché européen pour leurs exportations de cacao, d’ananas, de conserves de thon. Il y aura toujours des droits de douane sur leurs exportations de bananes, mais de plus en plus faibles. Or ce sont les quatre produits agricoles les plus exportés d’Afrique de l’Ouest, notamment par la Côte d’Ivoire et le Ghana.

Donc quand l’UE explique que l’APE permettra aux pays africains de garder un accès privilégié au marché euro­péen, cela n’est pas le cas ?

Non, pas du tout. L’avantage des pays africains risque de disparaître. Outre cette érosion des préférences due aux pays d’Amérique latine, si le traité de libre­ échange avec les États­-Unis (TAFTA) est si­gné, d’autres produits agricoles pourraient être importés des États­-Unis vers l’UE sans droits de douane. Le chocolat par exemple, idem pour le thon. Il y a d’autres accords en cours de négociation, avec les Philippines notamment, qui sont le 2e exportateur mondial de bananes. Si l’accord avec le Mer­cosur (Argentine, Brésil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela) est finalisé, le Brésil compte bien exporter aussi des bananes. Les bananes ouest­-africaines risquent donc d’être de moins en moins compétitives pour l’exportation vers l’Europe.

Intéressons­-nous mainte­nant au processus de né­gociation de cet APE, qui a été très long et compliqué étant donné qu’il y a eu des résistances venant de plusieurs pays africains, à différents moments. On sait que l’UE a cherché à faire pression sur ces pays pour que les négociations avancent. Est­-ce que la France a joué un rôle dans ces moments-­là ?

La France a joué un rôle majeur, puisque dans le secteur agro­ali­mentaire on retrouve beaucoup de firmes françaises. C’est la Compagnie Fruitière, de Robert Fabre, basée à Marseille, qui exporte l’essentiel des bananes et des ananas de Côte d’Ivoire, du Ghana et du Cameroun, avec sa propre flotte de cargos. Il exporte aussi des tomates cerises du Sénégal. Pour les céréales, le groupe Mimran, basé en Suisse mais dirigé par la famille française du même nom, a fait pression pour ramener à zéro le droit de douane sur le blé puisqu’il possède les Grands Moulins de Dakar et d’Abidjan et la Compagnie Sucrière du Séné­ gal. Le groupe Bolloré est aussi concerné puisqu’il contrôle la plupart des ports du golfe de Guinée et est impliqué dans l’ex­portation du cacao. Toutes ces firmes ont intérêt à ce que l’APE entre en vigueur, pour pouvoir conti­nuer leurs exportations de l’Afrique vers l’UE sans droits de douane, comme c’est le cas actuellement.

Est-­ce que l’on sait si la diplomatie française a soutenu ces intérêts privés lors des négociations ?

En juillet, nous sommes trois représen­tants d’associations de solidarité internationale à avoir rencontré les trois hautes fonctionnaires des ministères des Affaires étrangères et de l’Économie chargées du dossier de l’APE Afrique de l’Ouest. Nous avons été étonnés par leur consensus fort sur l’intérêt de l’APE alors même qu’elles n’accordent aucune crédibilité aux études d’impact, en particulier celles que la Direc­tion Générale Commerce de la Commission européenne a refusé de diffuser alors qu’elle les avait financées, car leurs conclusions étaient défavorables à l’APE. Les trois hautes fonctionnaires ont également repoussé l’in­térêt des alternatives à l’APE : demander une dérogation à l’OMC comme les États-­Unis l’ont obtenu pour l’AGOA, réduire le taux d’ouverture de l’APE compte tenu de la part représentée par les importations des pays moins avancés (PMA), ou à l’inverse accor­der un statut particulier pour les trois pays en développement de la zone (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigéria). On a eu l’impression que leur consensus était uniquement fondé sur des options politiques venues d’en haut, sans tenir aucun compte des chiffres, ce qui nous a laissé une piètre idée de leur rôle constructif dans le processus de décision.

Si cet APE n’est pas signé (ce qui semble probable si le Nigéria ne signe pas), quelles seront les conséquences ? Est­-ce que les APE intérimaires déjà si­gnés entreront en vigueur ?

La première chose, c’est que ce sera une énorme gifle pour l’UE. Si les APE intéri­maires sont mis en œuvre, l’UE se décrédibilise complètement sur le plan politique, puisque le premier objectif de l’APE était de promouvoir l’intégration régionale. Cela dé­truit 43 ans d’efforts depuis la création de la CEDEAO à Lomé en 1973. Depuis, pénible­ment il y a eu quelques progrès vers l’inté­gration régionale, même si on est encore loin du compte. Cela pose beaucoup de questions. Si la Côte d’Ivoire et le Ghana sortent de la CEDEAO, cela signifie que toutes les politiques communes tombent. On peut imaginer que ces politiques pour­ raient être maintenues entre les 13 autres États de la CEDEAO, mais cela serait très dif­ficile. Le Tarif Extérieur Commun va nécessairement tomber puisque les autres pays ouest­-africains devront taxer toutes les mar­chandises en provenance de Côte d’Ivoire et du Ghana pour ne pas importer les produits qu’ils importeront de l’UE sans droits de douane. La Côte d’Ivoire est le premier ex­portateur de produits agricoles vers le reste de l’Afrique de l’Ouest et devra donc payer des droits de douane importants pour pour­ suivre ces exportations. Lorsque j’ai soulevé ces problèmes aux hautes fonctionnaires français rencontrées en juillet, elles ont ré­ pondu que l’UE n’a pas à intervenir, à partir du moment où la Côte d’Ivoire et le Ghana souhaitent signer ces accords intérimaires.

Les autres pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest resteront dans le programme « Tout sauf les armes » et pourront donc continuer à exporter vers l’Europe ?

Oui c’est bien cela, sauf le Nigéria qui n’est pas un pays moins avancé (PMA). Mais il n’exporte quasiment pas de produits agri­coles (un peu de pâte de cacao, mais pas de thon, ni de bananes), il exporte surtout du pétrole, à droits nuls.

C’est surtout sur le plan politique que les conséquences seront très graves. Cela risque de créer un chaos important.

Des accords du même type sont en né­ gociation dans d’autres régions d’Afrique. Est­on face aux mêmes en­ jeux et aux mêmes risques ?

En Afrique de l’Est, la Tanzanie et l’Ou­ganda ont annoncé qu’ils ne voulaient plus signer l’APE entre l’UE et la Communauté d’Afrique de l’Est (CAE), car il empêcherait leur industrialisation et leur développement, et en raison du Brexit. C’est un revers im­portant pour l’UE car la Tanzanie est à la fois le pays le plus peuplé d’Afrique de l’Est et le pays le plus démocratique (tous les autres sont des dictatures). Une réunion était pré­ vue en août pour essayer de faire pression sur la Tanzanie. Au sud­-est du continent, un APE a été signé avec la Communauté de dé­veloppement de l’Afrique australe (SADC).

Par ailleurs, un accord de libre­-échange tripartite est préparé entre le Comesa (le marché commun des États d’Afrique australe et de l’Est), la CAE et la SADC. Cela créerait une zone de libre-­échange de l’Égypte à l’Afrique du Sud, regroupant 26 pays. C’est complètement absurde, car aucune de ces trois régions économiques n’a encore ache­ vé son intégration régionale. S’il entrait en vigueur, ce serait la mort de l’agriculture est­ africaine car l’Afrique de l’Est a des droits de douane généralement bien supérieurs à ceux des deux autres régions. Plus grave, dans le contexte de l’APE, cela signifie que les produits européens entrés sans droits de douane dans la SADC (en vertu de l’APE déjà signé), pourront ensuite circuler sans droits de douane dans le reste de la zone de l’ac­cord tripartite, même si les autres régions ont rejeté l’APE, du moins dans la mesure où leurs législations sur les règles d’origine sont assez souples.

Tous ces accords de libre­-échange font finalement le jeu des multinationales, qui cherchent à pouvoir vendre leurs produits sans aucune taxe sur tout le continent.

 

Propos recueillis par Marie Bazin, 9 septembre 2016

Note de la rédaction : un APE est également en cours de négociation avec la région d’Afrique centrale, dont fait partie le Cameroun, qui a d’ores et déjà signé un APE intérimaire.

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Nicknamed the “Big Four” Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young (EY), KPMG and Price Water House Coopers (PwC) are the big four audit firms that operate in concert as an inescapable cartel in the world of multinationals and global finance.

At first they were the “Big 8”, all dominated by the United States, which became the “Big 6” in 1989, with two giant mergers creating Deloitte and Ernst & Young.

A decade later, the creation of PwC concentrated them into five entities, the “Big 5”. In 2002, with the bankruptcy of the firm Arthur Andersen because of accounting fraud after the Enron and Worldcom scandals, we came into the era of the “Big Four” which share virtually all of the world market. These four multinationals are auditing most large companies listed on the stock exchange including all those in the CAC 40 in France for example. Ubiquitous in business, they are also present in the universities where they train and recruit, as Rik de Vanpeteghem of Deloitte Belgium explains: “We don’t only introduce ourselves in the universities: we will give courses, fund thematic Chairs…” |1|

Despite this vanguard position of capitalism, nose in the accounts of the largest banks and businesses, the “big four” did not predict the 2007-2008 crisis, or the problems of the Lehman Brothers, nor those of other large banks that they had countersigned the accounts. It must be said that these auditing firms are not free from error: In 2010, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), the US regulator of auditing professions, denounced an increase in errors of the Big Four firms (KPMG, E&Y, PwC and Deloitte) operating in the United States. Deloitte blithely achieved the inconceivable with 45% of copies for review, against 22% in 2009, followed closely by PwC with 39% of audits being unsatisfactory in 2010 (against 12% in 2009). |2| Despite this, undaunted, the four multinationals in consulting and auditing, continued on their way, disdaining the scandals that marked their paths, their eyes riveted on austere accounting statistics and other profitability indicators at the antithesis of sustainable well-being…

Deloitte encourages tax evasion

A victim of acute schizophrenia, Deloitte, which employs more than 225,000 people worldwide |3|, have said they want to fight against tax evasion, and yet they give advice on how to divert money.

In 2013, the NGO ActionAid made public a Deloitte confidential document whose title leaves no room for ambiguity: Investing in Africa through Mauritius. The Deloitte firm has been trying to convince investors to use its services, with the lure of the multiple tax advantages of a direct debit to Mauritius to escape the tax department for their projects on the African continent, each year depriving the poorest States of the world of hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue. |4| No offense to Mozambique, where over 50% of the population lives below the poverty line and where life expectancy is 49 years, Deloitte explains how a foreign company would only have to pay 8% instead of 20% tax on repatriation of profits, while the tax on capital gains would be reduced to zero. |5| In Europe, a world away, some tax heavens are good for business as attested by Brendan Jennings, of Deloitte Ireland : “Ireland has an economy that is flexible, competitive and highly qualified, as well as being a very attractive location for business”. |6|

Thanks to the scandals, Deloitte, a key piece in the LuxLeaks affair, faced judicial proceedings when they were unable to carry out “amicable” settlements in return for financial consideration. Although the new EU legislation provides for rotation of audit and consulting firms in companies to avoid conflicts of interest, it does not seem to go so far as to prevent the development of organized theft in the coffers of states via tax fraud.

Deloitte is inundated with condemnations

The Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation, Alexander De Croo, said that Deloitte has received no condemnation, which is why the firm was able to obtain the market to evaluate and select the actors of cooperation development able to receive state subsidies: “The conclusion was that the firm Deloitte, who have received no legal condemnation, have market access.” |7| However, Deloitte is inundated with condemnations. The list of scandals that the multinational is involved in is far too long to be listed here, but all the same let us mention two employees of the Deloitte Italian branch Adolfo Mamoli and Giuseppe Rovelli, prosecuted for disclosure of false information and market manipulation while Deloitte was accused of complicity when it audited the Italian food group Parmalat in 2003, which entangled in the biggest financial scandal in post-war Europe.

The Deloitte audit firm is controversial even in countries where the multinational headquarters since July 2013, the court Financial Reporting Council (FRC) confirmed on appeal their grievances against Deloitte. The company and an ex-partner were found guilty of failing to comply with laws on conflicts of interest during the attempt to restructure the car manufacturer MG Rover. Deloitte was fined 14 million £ (16.6 million €) for failing to manage conflicts of interest in its consulting business to companies involved in the collapse of the car manufacturer that went bankrupt in 2005, resulting in almost 6 000 workers losing their jobs.

More recently, in January 2016, the former president of Deloitte’s Quebec branch, Luc Villeneuve, has been targeted by a series of criminal proceedings for illegal funding that would have profited illegally 11 times the Quebec Liberal Party (QLP). A month later, February 4, 2016, the 18th Chamber of the Criminal Court of Luxembourg announced a three months suspended prison sentence and a 10,000 euro fine against each of the four former partners of the firm Deloitte Luxembourg for having signed and backdated documents in 2002 on behalf of Italian customers.

As part of one of the biggest financial scandals of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi stock market regulator, the Committee for the Resolution of Securities Disputes (CRSD) dependant of the CMA (Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority), asked listed companies to no longer use the services of Deloitte for a period of two years from the 1st of June 2016 and imposed a fine of 80,000 dollars (300,000 Saudi riyals, SAR) on Deloitte & Touche Bakr Abulkhair & Co, the Saudi branch of Deloitte. The investigation of the CMA continues its course with former leaders of Deloitte implicated for breach of the rules on the losses accumulated during the certification of the accounts of the Mohammad Al-Mojil Group (MMG), a real estate services company whose shares have been suspended since July 2012 for unsustainable debt. |8| The cumulative loss of MMG at the end of October 2014 amounted to 2.79 billion riyals (743.4 million dollars), equivalent to 223% of its capital, according to the current stock exchange of November 13, 2014 ($1 = 3.7528 Saudi riyal). |9|

Deloitte do not pay their fines!

In Spain, a fine of € 12.3 million was imposed on Deloitte in September 2014 by the Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC) dependant of the Ministry of Economy for irregularities in the certification of Bankia allowing it to go public. Now, in its accounting records of 2015, Deloitte said nothing on this subject and did not accrue the necessary amount. Deloitte simply ignored this fine to satisfy the appetite of the shareholders! The amount, which is something close to the profits registered in Spain in 2015 (€ 13.3 million for the annual report 2014) were largely distributed in dividends… Lillo, Auditores Asociados which is the auditor who oversees Deloitte’s accounts did not do anything to correct this error either. |10|

Will we finally question the legitimacy of Deloitte, an expert in tax optimisation at the expense of society? Should we not choose to do without their advice after so many cases involving a veritable siphoning of state funds by the shortfall in corporate taxes, which encourage States to borrow more while applying antisocial austerity policies to tackle their structural deficit? Or are we going to wait for yet another scandal to end its action, as was the case of the audit firm Arthur Andersen which disappeared in 2002 after being convicted of having manipulated and withheld critical data for its client Enron?

 

Article in French :

Translated by Jenny Bright for Tlaxcala

Notes

|1| Benoît July, “Deloitte will recruit 400 university students this year,” February 10, 2016.https://references.lesoir.be/articl…. (In French)

|2| “The staggering error rate of the four major auditing firms”, Ecofin Agency, 31 December 2011.http://www.agenceecofin.com/consult… (In French)

|3| Including 3,200 employees in Belgium who charged a fee of about 420 million euros. Benoît July, “Deloitte will recruit 400 university students this year,” February 10, 2016.

|4| Deloitte in Africa – Advising big businesses on how to avoid tax in some of the world’s poorest countries, 2013. http://www.actionaid.org.uk/sites/d…

|5| Jamie Doward, « Deloitte promotes Mauritius as tax haven to avoid big payouts to poor African nations », The Guardian, 3 November 2013. https://www.theguardian.com/busines…

|6| Nathalie Raulin and Christopher Alix, “The Brexit shock wave sweeping the City”, Libération, 26 June 2016.http://www.liberation.fr/planete/20… (In French)

|7| Jérôme Duval, “A champion of tax evasion to evaluate players in the non-governmental cooperation”16 June 2016.

|8| June 16, 2016, the same markets authority (the Committee for the Resolution of Securities Disputes, CRSD) condemned Mohammad Al-Mojil Group to pay $ 427 million (SAR 1.6 billion) for “illegal profits”. Mohammad Al-Mojil, founder of MMG and his son, Adel Al-Mojil, Director of MMG, were also sentenced to five years in prison. Deloitte was the auditor for MMG.

|9| Reem Shamseddine and Marwa Rashad, « Saudi regulator suspends Deloitte from auditing listed firms – circular », Reuters, 1 December 2014. http://www.reuters.com/article/delo…

|10| « Deloitte aparta de las cuentas la multa que se come todo su beneficio », Economia digital, 1 July 2016. 

 Jérôme Duval is staff member of CADTM Belgium and member of the Spanish Citizen’s Debt Audit Platform (PACD)
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Introducción

A pesar del establecimiento de un diálogo histórico con La Habana el 17 de diciembre de 2014 y pese a la visita oficial del presidente Barack Obama a la isla en marzo de 2016, Washington sigue aplicando sanciones económicas contra la población cubana, suscitando la incomprensión de la comunidad internacional. Establecidas en 1960, en plena Guerra Fría, las sanciones perduran más de medio siglo después, ocasionan importantes dificultades a la economía cubana e infligen sufrimientos inútiles a las categorías más vulnerables de la población. Su costo elevado y su alcance extraterritorial motivan el rechazo unánime de la comunidad internacional. No obstante la resolución de este conflicto asimétrico depende del poder ejecutivo estadounidense, que dispone de las prerrogativas necesarias para desmantelar gran parte de la red de sanciones impuestas a la isla.

Costo de las sanciones económicas

El 13 de septiembre de 2016 Barack Obama volvió a renovar por un año la Ley de Comercio con el Enemigo, una legislación de 1917 utilizada por primera vez por el presidente John F. Kennedy en 1962 para imponer sanciones económicas totales a Cuba, que prorroga el estado de sitio contra la isla. Esta ley, prorrogada cada año por los nueve presidentes de Estados Unidos desde esa fecha, sólo se aplica contra La Habana.

Una vez más el impacto de las sanciones ha sido dramático para la economía y la sociedad cubanas. En un año, de abril de 2015 a marzo de 2016, costaron 4.680 millones de dólares a la isla según Bruno Rodríguez, ministro cubano de Relaciones Exteriores. En su informe anual sobre las sanciones económicas, las autoridades cubanas estimaron los daños causados a nivel nacional. Resultaron afectados particularmente tres sectores. Primero las exportaciones, ya que Cuba no puede vender bienes ni servicios a Estados Unidos. Luego el costo producido por la búsqueda de mercados alternativos geográficamente alejados de la isla. Y finalmente el impacto financiero, pues Cuba todavía no puede usar el dólar en sus transacciones internacionales, a pesar de las declaraciones del presidente Obama sobre la supresión de esta restricción. “No existe elemento en nuestras vidas en el que no esté presente su impacto”, concluyó Bruno Rodríguez. En total las sanciones económicas han costado 125.000 millones de dólares a Cuba desde su implementación en los años 1960.

Otros sectores vitales, como el de la salud, resultan afectados por las sanciones económicas. Sólo para citar un ejemplo, Cuba no puede adquirir los estimuladores cerebrales profundos, que permiten tratar las enfermedades neurológicas, que produce de modo exclusivo la empresa estadounidense Medtronic. Varios centenares de pacientes cubanos con la enfermedad de Parkinson, que podrían beneficiar de una mejor calidad de vida gracias a este equipo, se ven privados de él a causa de un diferendo político que opone Washington a La Habana desde hace más de medio siglo.

Aspecto extraterritorial de las sanciones

A pesar del acercamiento histórico de diciembre de 2014, varias entidades internacionales fueron fuertemente sancionadas después de esa fecha por realizar, en perfecta legalidad con el derecho internacional, transacciones financieras con Cuba. Así, en mayo de 2015, el banco francés BNP Paribas fue condenado a una multa record de 8.900 millones de dólares por mantener, entre otros, relaciones financieras con Cuba. En octubre de 2015 otro banco francés, Crédit Agricole, tuvo que pagar una multa de 1.116 millones de dólares por el mismo motivo. Conviene recordar que BNP Paribas y Crédit Agricole no violaron ninguna ley francesa y respetaron escrupulosamente el derecho europeo y el derecho internacional. Washington aplicó de modo extraterritorial, es decir ilegal, sus sanciones contra Cuba. Otras entidades financieras también fueron fuertemente sancionadas. Así el banco alemán Commerzbank tuvo que pagar una multa de 1.710 millones de dólares y puso término a todas sus relaciones con Cuba. El poder ejecutivo estadounidense tomó todas estas decisiones.

Margen de maniobra del presidente Obama

No obstante, el presidente Obama lanzó varios llamados al Congreso convidándolo a poner fin al estado de sitio anacrónico, cruel e ineficiente. Expresó varias veces su oposición al mantenimiento de medidas de retorsión económica que además de afectar gravemente el bienestar de los cubanos han aislado a Estados Unidos en la escena internacional. Durante su histórico viaje a Cuba admitió lo siguiente: “La política de Estados Unidos ha fracasado. Debemos tener la valentía de reconocer esta verdad. Una política de aislamiento elaborada para la Guerra Fría no tiene ningún sentido en el siglo XXI. El embargo sólo hace daño al pueblo cubano en vez de ayudarlo. Es una carga de otro tiempo que pesa sobre el pueblo cubano”. La comunidad mundial, favorable a la resolución pacífica de este conflicto, aplaudió este discurso marcado por la lucidez.

Sin embargo la retórica constructiva de Barack Obama no ha sido corroborada por hechos tangibles, a pesar de sus prerrogativas como jefe del poder ejecutivo. Es verdad que el presidente de Estados Unidos restableció el diálogo político con Cuba en diciembre de 2014, amplió el número de categorías de ciudadanos estadounidenses autorizados a viajar a la isla en enero de 2015, retiró a Cuba de la lista de los países patrocinadores del terrorismo en mayo de 2015, restableció los lazos diplomáticos con la reapertura de embajadas en Washington y La Habana en julio de 2015, autorizó la exportación de bienes y servicios en el campo de las telecomunicaciones en marzo de 2016 (sólo hacia el sector no estatal) y facilitó la reanudación del transporte marítimo de pasajeros entre ambas naciones en mayo de 2016 y de los vuelos comerciales en agosto de 2016.

No obstante, más allá de estas medidas positivas pero muy limitadas, el presidente de Estados Unidos dispone de todo el margen de maniobra necesario para desmantelar la casi totalidad de la red de sanciones impuestas desde 1960, sin necesitar la autorización del Congreso. Barack Obama podría autorizar a las empresas cubanas a abrir cuentas bancarias en Estados Unidos para facilitar las transacciones comerciales y financieras. Podría también poner fin a la persecución financiera contra Cuba, de la cual han sufrido muchos bancos internacionales. En total la administración de Obama infligió multas por un importe total de 14.000 millones de dólares a diversas entidades bancarias del mundo por sus relaciones con la isla del Caribe. Del mismo modo, la Casa Blanca podría permitir el comercio bilateral entre las empresas cubanas y estadounidenses (importaciones/exportaciones). También podría consentir a los capitales estadounidenses la posibilidad de hacer inversiones en Cuba. Por fin, podría, por ejemplo, eliminar la restricción que impide que todo barco, cual fuere su origen, que transporte mercancía a Cuba, entre en un puerto estadounidense durante los siguientes seis meses.

Sólo hay cuatro sectores que el poder ejecutivo no puede tocar sin el acuerdo del Congreso. El Presidente Obama no puede autorizar el comercio entre las subsidiarias de las empresas estadounidenses ubicadas en el exterior y Cuba (Ley Torricelli de 1992). En cambio, puede permitir el comercio entre la empresa matriz instalada en Estados Unidos y las empresas cubanas, lo que hace que resulte de facto inútil toda transacción con una subsidiaria establecida en un tercer país.

Del mismo modo, Barack Obama no puede permitir el turismo ordinario en Cuba (Ley de Reforma de las Sanciones Comerciales de 2000). En cambio puede perfectamente multiplicar el número de categorías de ciudadanos autorizados a viajar a la isla y ampliar su definición. Así, la Casa Blanca podría redefinir la noción de “viaje cultural” e integrar por ejemplo la visita de un simple museo. De este modo todo ciudadano que se comprometa a visitar un museo durante su estancia en Cuba podría beneficiarse de la categoría “viaje cultural”.

Sin el acuerdo del Congreso, el presidente Obama tampoco puede autorizar la venta a crédito de materias primas alimenticias (Ley de Reforma de las Sanciones Comerciales de 2000). En cambio puede perfectamente consentir la venta a crédito de todo producto no alimenticio, lo que limitaría considerablemente el impacto de la sanción.

Finalmente la Casa Blanca no puede permitir las transacciones con las propiedades estadounidenses nacionalizadas en los años 1960 (Ley Helms-Burton de 1996). No obstante, puede abrir la vía a todo negocio que implique las demás propiedades de la isla.

Rechazo unánime de las sanciones

Todos los sectores de la sociedad estadounidense están a favor del levantamiento de las sanciones económicas. El mundo de los negocios, mediante la Cámara de Comercio de Estados Unidos, desea fuertemente su fin pues ve un mercado de 11 millones de habitantes a 150 kilómetros de las costas estadounidenses que acoge a otros inversionistas internacionales. La opinión pública favorece a más del 70 % la normalización completa de las relaciones bilaterales entre ambas naciones, pues no entiende por qué su gobierno le prohíbe viajar a Cuba para hacer turismo ordinario. Las autoridades religiosas, mediante el Consejo Nacional de Iglesias, han condenado las sanciones por el sufrimiento que infligen a la población de la isla. Los cubanoamericanos, con un 63 % según un sondeo de septiembre de 2016, también son partidarios del levantamiento de las sanciones, pues saben que las medidas económicas hostiles afectan a sus familiares en la isla. Por fin conviene recordar que en 2015, por vigesimocuarta vez consecutiva, 191 países sobre 193 pidieron el fin del estado de sitio contra la isla durante la reunión anual de la Asamblea General de Naciones Unidas.

Un conflicto asimétrico

Algunos observadores consideran que Cuba debe responder a los gestos que realizó el presidente Obama con cambios de orden interno. Olvidan de hecho el carácter asimétrico del conflicto. En efecto, en el diferendo que opone Washington a La Habana, la hostilidad es unilateral. Cuba no impone sanciones económicas a Estados Unidos, no ocupa de modo ilegal una parte de su territorio soberano (Guantánamo), no financia abiertamente a una oposición interna con el objetivo de conseguir un “cambio de régimen”, no roba el capital humano como lo hace la Ley de Ajuste Cubano, no realiza transmisiones ilegales destinadas a fomentar la subversión interna –como es el caso con Radio y TV Martí- Por otra parte, Cuba es una nación independiente y según el derecho internacional y desde el Congreso de Westfalia de 1648, que reconoce la igualdad soberana entre los Estados, los cambios en la isla son competencia exclusiva del pueblo cubano, el único que puede decidir su sistema político y su modelo de sociedad.

Conclusión

Las sanciones contra Cuba son anacrónicas, crueles e ineficientes. Tienen un impacto desastroso sobre la economía cubana y afectan durablemente el bienestar de la población de la isla. A pesar de las declaraciones constructivas de la Casa Blanca a favor de un levantamiento de este estado de sitio, no se ha adoptado ninguna medida de envergadura para aliviar a los cubanos de este estrangulamiento económico que dura desde hace más de medio siglo y que la comunidad internacional condena de modo masivo. Desde luego, ninguna normalización completa de las relaciones será posible mientras esté en vigor esta política hostil.

 Salim Lamrani

Universidad de La Réunion

 

Doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani es profesor titular de la Universidad de La Reunión y periodista, especialista de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. Su último libro se titula Cuba, ¡palabra a la defensa!, Hondarribia, Editorial Hiru, 2016.

http://www.tiendaeditorialhiru.com/informe/336-cuba-palabra-a-la-defensa.html 

Contacto: [email protected] ; [email protected] 

Página Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel 

 

 

  • Posted in Español
  • Commentaires fermés sur Las sanciones económicas, principal obstáculo para el desarrollo de Cuba

L’Italia base Usa per l’Africa

octobre 4th, 2016 by Manlio Dinucci

Mentre i riflettori politico-mediatici sono puntati sulla  Siria, al centro di una colossale psyop per far apparire gli aggrediti come aggressori, resta in ombra ciò che avviene in altre parti del Medioriente e in Africa.

Stati uniti, Arabia Saudita, Qatar, Kuwait ed Emirati – che da cinque anni conducono la guerra in Siria con forze terroriste infiltrate e ora accusano il governo siriano di crimini di guerra sponsorizzando la mostra fotografica Caesar presentata domani a Roma – continuano a fare strage di civili nello Yemen. Alla guerra partecipa il Comando centrale Usa con attacchi «antiterrorismo», ufficialmente documentati, effettuati nello Yemen con droni e cacciabombardieri.

Ancora più in ombra, sui media, restano le operazioni militari Usa in Africa. Esse sono condotte dal Comando Africa  (Africom), che ha in Italia due importanti comandi subordinati.

Lo U.S. Army Africa (Esercito Usa per l’Africa), il cui quartier generale è alla caserma Ederle di Vicenza, «fornisce il comando di missione e impiega forze per il teatro operativo», fornendo allo stesso tempo assistenza militare ai partner africani per stabilire «sicurezza e stabilità» nel continente.

Le U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (Forze navali Usa per l’Europa e l’Africa), il cui quartier generale è nella base di Capodichino a Napoli, sono costituite da sei task force formate dalle navi da guerra della Sesta Flotta basata a Gaeta. La loro «area di responsabilità» copre Russia, Europa e Africa (salvo l’Egitto che rientra in quella del Comando centrale), compresa metà dell’Atlantico dal Polo Nord all’Antartico. Sono agli ordini dell’ammiraglia Michelle Howard, che allo stesso tempo è a capo del Comando della forza congiunta alleata (Jfc-Naples) con quartier generale a Lago Patria (Napoli).

Con queste forze, compresi i caccia delle portaerei e i droni armati con base a Sigonella, gli Usa stanno intensificando le operazioni militari in Africa. I raid aerei, effettuati da agosto in Libia con la motivazione di fermare l’avanzata dell’Isis (la cui minaccia è stata ingigantita), servono in realtà al piano di riconquista e ricolonizzazione della Libia, dove operano da tempo forze speciali statunitensi ed europee.

Ma questa è solo la punta emergente del «grande gioco» africano. Tra le sue molte «missioni», l’Africom sta costruendo in Niger una base di droni armati, ufficialmente in funzione «antiterrorismo». Essa serve alle operazioni militari che gli Usa conducono da anni, insieme alla Francia, nell’Africa del Sahel, soprattutto in Mali, Niger e Ciad. Paesi tra i più poveri del mondo (con un tasso di analfabetismo che in Niger è del 70% tra gli uomini e del 90% tra le donne), ma ricchissimi di materie prime – coltan e oro in Mali, uranio in Niger, petrolio in Ciad – sfruttati da multinazionali statunitensi e francesi che temono la concorrenza delle società cinesi, le quali offrono ai paesi africani condizioni molto più favorevoli.

Un’altra operazione militare Usa, con droni e forze speciali,  è in corso in Somalia, paese di primaria importanza geostrategica.

Allo stesso tempo, lo U.S. Army Africa penetra nel continente con programmi di «cooperazione alla sicurezza» il cui vero scopo è formare élite militari al servizio degli Usa. Allo stesso scopo le navi da guerra delle U.S. Naval Forces Africa percorrono le coste africane per fornire «assistenza alla sicurezza marittima».

Non viene trascurata l’assistenza spirituale: il cappellano della nave da assalto anfibio Wasp ha celebrato in videoconferenza dal Mediterraneo la Santa Messa per i marinai della nave da guerra San Antonio impegnata in una missione in Africa.

Manlio Dinucci

  • Posted in Italiano
  • Commentaires fermés sur L’Italia base Usa per l’Africa

The Israeli navy has been preparing to attack the Women’s Boats heading to break the ten-year-old siege on the Gaza Strip, Quds Press reported yesterday. The boats, which are part of the Freedom Flotilla Alliance, are expected to arrive in Gaza within three days if they are not impeded in any way.

According to a report on Israel’s Channel 2 TV, naval gunships have been waiting in the port of Ashdod ready to move and intercept the Zaytouna and Amal, the two boats making the bid. The TV report claimed that the activists on board the boats have been trained in order to know what to do if they are confronted by the Israeli navy.

Meanwhile, Channel 7 TV said that a group of right-wing Jewish settlers are planning their own flotilla off the coast of Gaza to intercept the Zaytouna and Amal, and oblige them to go to Syria. Refugees there, they argue, are in more need of their support than the Palestinians in Gaza.

Thirty international activists are on the humanitarian mission to Gaza, including the Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland, Swedish European Parliament Member Malin Bjork, Marama Davidson, a Green Party MP from New Zealand, and American screenwriter and playwright Naomi Wallace. Turkish athlete Cigdem Topcuoglu, who sailed on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 and whose husband was among the ten activists killed by Israeli commandos, is also on board the Women’s Boats to Gaza.

According to the UN, Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020, said Canadian social worker, Wendy Goldsmith, adding that the WBG “declares that the illegal blockade of Gaza must end, so that every person can live with freedom and dignity.”

Pro-Palestinian Turks gather on the fourth anniversary of a deadly Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara ship, in Istanbul, Turkey

On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara, the flagship of a flotilla crewed by an alliance of pro-Palestinian activists who had combined to deliver 10,000 tonnes of aid to Gaza.

The Israeli raid killed nine Turkish citizens and injured about 50 other people. A tenth Turkish national later succumbed to his injuries.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

The Tel Aviv regime has waged three wars on the coastal enclave since 2008, including the 2014 offensive, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead and over 11,100 others wounded.

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En 1823, el gobierno de los Estados Unidos adopta la doctrina Monroe, denominada así por el nombre de un Presidente republicano de los Estados Unidos, James Monroe. Esta doctrina condena toda intervención europea en los asuntos «de las Américas». En realidad, la doctrina Monroe va a servir para justificar una política de conquista cada vez más agresiva por parte de los Estados Unidos en detrimento de los nuevos Estados latinoamericanos independientes, comenzando por la anexión de una gran parte de México en los años 1840 (Texas, Nuevo México, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah). Recordemos que las tropas norteamericanas ocuparon la capital México en septiembre de 1847. Hay que subrayar también que el gobierno de los Estados Unidos intentó exterminar a todos los pueblos nativos, los «pieles rojas», que se negaban a someterse. Quienes se sometían fueron igualmente víctimas de atrocidades y acabaron en las reservas.

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Territorios de México y Estados Unidos a principios del siglo XIX. Aunque ya entonces Estados Unidos se había apropiado de amplios territorios de Nueva España (incluyendo Florida y Luisiana), todavía la superficie de México equivalía a casi las tres cuartas partes de la de Estados Unidos (que entonces aún no poseía Alaska).
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La guerra de agresión expansionista de Estados Unidos contra México suposo la pérdida más de 2 millones de Km2 de territorio mexicano.

En 1898, como hemos visto, los Estados Unidos declararon la guerra a España y tomaron el control de Cuba y Puerto Rico.

En 1902, en contradicción con la doctrina Monroe, Washington no tomó la defensa de Venezuela que sufría una agresión armada de Alemania, de Gran Bretaña, de Italia y de Holanda que tenía por objetivo obligar a ese país a reembolsar la deuda. Luego, los Estados Unidos intervinieron diplomáticamente a fin de que Caracas reanudara el pago de la deuda. Esta actitud de Washington dio lugar a una gran controversia con diferentes gobiernos latinoamericanos y en particular con el ministro de Asuntos Exteriores argentino, Luis M. Drago, que declaró: «El principio que querría ver reconocido es el de que la deuda pública no puede dar lugar a una intervención armada, y aún menos a la ocupación física del suelo de las naciones americanas por una potencia europea». Es lo que se conocerá posteriormente como la doctrina Drago. Los debates entre gobiernos dieron lugar a una conferencia internacional en La Haya que llevó en particular a la adopción de la Convención Drago-Porter (del nombre de H. Porter, militar y diplomático de los Estados Unidos) en 1907. Preveía que el arbitraje debía ser el primer medio para resolver conflictos: todo Estado que formara parte de la Convención debía a partir de entonces aceptar someterse a un procedimiento de arbitraje y participar en él de buena fe, si no el Estado que reclamaba el reembolso de su crédito recuperaba el derecho a utilizar la fuerza armada para conseguir sus fines.

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La noticia de la falsa “paz” en el diario Tiempo de México (1844) que anuncia la pérdida de la mitad del territorio mexicano. En realidad fue más de la mitad.

En 1903, el presidente Theodore Roosevelt organiza la creación de Panamá que es separado de Colombia contra la voluntad de ésta. Se trataba de poder luego crear el canal de Panamá bajo control de Washington.

En 1904, el mismo presidente anuncia que los Estados Unidos se consideran como el gendarme de las Américas. Enuncia lo que se llama el corolario Roosevelt de la doctrina Monroe: «La injusticia crónica o la impotencia que resulta de una distensión general de las reglas de la sociedad civilizada puede exigir, a fin de cuentas, en América o en otros lugares, la intervención de una nación civilizada y, en el hemisferio occidental, la adhesión de los Estados Unidos a la doctrina de Monroe puede forzar a los Estados Unidos, sin embargo a su pesar, en casos flagrantes de injusticia y de impotencia, a ejercer un poder de policía internacional» |1|.

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Theodore Roosevelt (centro, izquierda) y los «Rough Riders» en Cuba, 1898 

En 1915, los Estados Unidos invadieron Haiti con el pretexto de recuperar deudas y ocuparon el país hasta 1934 |2|. Otras intervenciones militares de los Estados Unidos tuvieron lugar en la misma época pero la lista exhaustiva sería demasiado larga.

Este breve resumen de la intervención y de la política de los Estados Unidos en las Américas en los siglos XIX y comienzos del XX permite comprender las motivaciones reales de Washington en el repudio de las deudas en Cuba en 1898 y en Costa Rica en los años 1920.

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Intervenciones militares de Estados Unidos en América Latina

En 1935, el Mayor General Smedley D. Butler, que participó en muchas expediciones estadounidenses en las Américas, resumía a su manera, cuando estaba jubilado, la política de Washington: «He pasado treinta y tres años y cuatro meses como militar en la fuerza más eficaz de este país: la infantería de marina. He subido todos los escalones de la jerarquía, desde el grado de subteniente al de general de división. Y durante todo este período, he pasado la mayor parte del tiempo como sicario de primera clase para los altos negocios, para Wall Street y los banqueros. En una palabra, he sido un criminal a sueldo al servicio del capitalismo… Por ejemplo, en 1914, ayudé a que México, y más en especial Tampico, fuera una presa fácil para los intereses petroleros americanos. Ayudé a que Haití y Cuba se convirtieran en lugares convenientes para el cobro de las rentas de la National City Bank… En 1909-1912, ayudé a depurar Nicaragua para el banco internacional Brown Brothers. En 1916, llevé la luz a la República Dominicana en nombre de los intereses azucareros norteamericanos. En 1903, ayudé a pacificar Honduras, en beneficio de las compañías fruteras norteamericanas» |3|.

Eric Toussaint

 Articulo en francés :

Amériques

Histoire : La politique des Etats-Unis par rapport à ses voisins des Amériques du 19e s. au début du 20e siècle

Traducido por Alberto Nadal

 

Notas

|1https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corol…

|2| Eduardo Galeano escribe: “Los Estados Unidos ocuparon Haití durante veinte años, y en ese país negro que había sido el teatro de la primera revuelta victoriosa de los esclavos, introdujeron la segregación racial y el régimen de los trabajos forzosos, mataron a mil quinientos obreros durante una de sus operaciones de represión (según una investigación del Senado americano en 1922) y cuando el gobierno local se negó a convertir el Banco Nacional en sucursal de la National City Bank de New York, suspendieron el pago de las indemnizaciones habitualmente pagadas al Presidente y a sus ministros para obligarles a reflexionar”. Eduardo Galeano, op.cit. p. 151.

|3| Publicado en Common Sense, noviembre 1935. Ver Leo Huberman, Man’s Wordly Goods. The Story of the Wealth of Nations, New York, 1936. Esta traducción de la cita proviene de Eduardo Galeano, op.cit. p.150. A señalar que una base militar americana situada en Ikinawa lleva el nombre del jefe militar Smedley D. Butler. Su testimonio hace indudablemente pensar en el de John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hitman, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2004. Para la traducción en inglés, el texto original https://www.goodreads.com/author/qu… Nota para las ilustraciones: se encuentran fotos con el texto de Butler en internet.

Eric Toussaint es maître de conférence en la Universidad de Lieja, es el portavoz de CADTM Internacional y es miembro del Consejo Científico de ATTAC Francia. Es autor de diversos libros, entre ellos: Bancocracia Icaria Editorial, Barcelona 2015,, Procès d’un homme exemplaire, Ediciones Al Dante, Marsella, 2013; Una mirada al retrovisor: el neoliberalismo desde sus orígenes hasta la actualidad, Icaria, 2010; La Deuda o la Vida (escrito junto con Damien Millet) Icaria, Barcelona, 2011; La crisis global, El Viejo Topo, Barcelona, 2010; La bolsa o la vida: las finanzas contra los pueblos, Gakoa, 2002. Es coautor junto con Damien Millet del libro AAA, Audit, Annulation, Autre politique, Le Seuil, París, 2012. Coordinó los trabajos de la Comisión de la Verdad Sobre la Deuda, creada por la presidente del Parlamento griego. Esta comisión funcionó, con el auspicio del Parlamento, entre abril y octubre de 2015. El nuevo presidente del Parlamento griego anunció su disolución el 12 de noviembre de 2015. A pesar de ello, la comisión prosiguió sus trabajos y se constituyó legalmente como una asociación sin afán de lucro.

 

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L’Italie base USA pour l’Afrique

octobre 4th, 2016 by Manlio Dinucci

Pendant que les projecteurs politico-médiatiques sont braqués sur la Syrie, au centre d’une colossale psyop pour faire apparaître les agressés comme des agresseurs, reste cependant dans l’ombre ce qui arrive dans d’autres parties du Moyen-Orient et en Afrique.

Etats-Unis, Arabie Saoudite, Qatar, Koweit et Emirats -qui depuis cinq ans mènent la guerre en Syrie avec des forces terroristes infiltrées et maintenant accusent le gouvernement syrien de crimes de guerre en sponsorisant l’exposition photographique Caesar présentée demain à Rome- continuent à massacrer des civils au Yémen. Participe à la guerre le Commandement central USA avec des attaques « antiterrorisme », officiellement documentés, effectués au Yémen avec des drones et des chasseurs-bombardiers.

Restent plus encore dans l’ombre, dans les médias, les opérations militaires USA en Afrique. Elles sont menées par le Commandement Africa (Africom), qui a en Italie deux importants commandements subordonnés.

Le U..S. Army Africa (Armée USA pour l’Afrique), dont le quartier général est à la caserne Ederle de Vicence (Vénétie), «fournit le commandement de mission et emploie des forces pour le théâtre opératif », en fournissant en même temps de l’assistance militaire aux partenaires africains pour établir « sécurité et stabilité » dans le continent.

Les U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (Forces navales USA pour l’Europe et l’Afrique), dont le quartier général est dans la base de Capodichino à Naples, sont constituées par six task force formées par les navires de guerre de la Sixième Flotte basée à Gaeta (Latium). Leur « aire de responsabilité » couvre la Russie, l’Europe et l’Afrique (sauf l’Egypte qui entre dans celle du Commandement central), y compris la moitié de l’Atlantique du Pôle Nord à l’Antarctique. Elles sont sous les ordres de l’amirale Michelle Howard, qui est en même temps à la tête du Commandement de la force conjointe alliée (Jfc-Naples), quartier général à Lago Patria (Naples).

Avec ces forces, y compris les chasseurs des porte-avions et les drones armés basés à Sigonella (Sicile), les USA sont en train d’intensifier les opérations militaires en Afrique. Les raids aériens, effectués depuis le mois d’août en Libye sous le prétexte d’arrêter l’avancée de l’Isis (dont la menace a été largement agrandie), servent en réalité le plan de reconquête et de recolonisation de la Libye, où opèrent depuis longtemps des forces spéciales étasuniennes et européennes.

Mais ce n’est là que la pointe émergée du « grand jeu » africain. Parmi ses nombreuses « missions », l’Africom est en train de construire au Niger une base de drones armés, officiellement en fonction « antiterrorisme ».  Elle sert aux opérations militaires que les USA conduisent depuis des années, avec la France, dans l’Afrique du Sahel, surtout au Mali, Niger et Tchad. Pays parmi les plus pauvres du monde (avec un taux d’analphabétisme qui au Niger est de 70% chez les hommes et 90% chez les femmes), mais très riches en matières premières -coltan et or au Mali, uranium au Niger, pétrole au Tchad- exploités par des multinationales étasuniennes et françaises qui redoutent la concurrence des sociétés chinoises, lesquelles offrent aux pays africains des conditions beaucoup plus favorables.

Photo Google Earth. Image satellite  de la Airbase 201 au Niger. Source : RT.com

Une autre opération militaire étasunienne, avec drones et forces spéciales, est en cours en Somalie, pays de première importance géostratégique.

En même temps, la U.S. Army Africa pénètre dans le continent avec des programmes de « coopération à la sécurité » dont le véritable objectif est de former des élites militaires au service des USA. Dans le même objectif les navires de guerre des U.S. Naval Forces Africa parcourent les côtes africaines pour fournir de « l’assistance à la sécurité maritime ».

On ne néglige pas non plus l’assistance spirituelle : l’aumônier du navire d’assaut amphibie Wasp a célébré en vidéoconférence depuis la Méditerranée la Sainte Messe pour les marins du navire de guerre San Antonio engagé dans une mission en Afrique.

 Manlio Dinucci

Edition de mardi 4 octobre 2016 de il manifesto

http://ilmanifesto.info/italia-base-usa-per-lafrica-2/ 

drone Niger

L’Italia base Usa per l’Africa

 

Traduit de l’italien par Marie-Ange Patrizio

Manlio Dinucci est géographe et journaliste. Il a une chronique hebdomadaire “L’art de la guerre” au quotidien italien il manifesto. Parmi ses derniers livres:  Geocommunity (en trois tomes) Ed. Zanichelli 2013; Geolaboratorio, Ed. Zanichelli 2014;Se dici guerra…, Ed. Kappa Vu 2014.
 » Etes-vous certains que nous sommes toujours en Italie ? »
Sputnik News, 9 septembre 2016.
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State assets, including water and electricity utilities, are to be transferred to a new asset fund created by international creditors. The plans have sparked demonstrations and public sector strikes across the country.

Greece’s parliament passed new reforms on Tuesday night to cut pension expenditure and transfer control of public utilities to a new asset fund.

Alexis Tsipras bei der heutigen Parlamentwahl in Griechenland (picture alliance/AP Photo/P. Giannakouris)

The reforms seek to unlock 2.8 billion euros ($3.14 billion) in financial loans as part of the country’s latest bailout program.

The reforms were passed by a narrow 152-141 majority vote in Greece’s 300-seat parliament, after 152 parliamentary members of the ruling Syriza-Independent Greeks coalition approved the reform bill. Only one member of the coalition voted against the bill, along with all opposition members.

The reforms will see public assets transferred to a new asset fund created by Greece’s creditors. Assets include airports and motorways, as well as water and electricity utilities. The holding company groups together these state entities with the country’s privatization agency, the bank stability fund and state real estate. It will be led by an official chosen by Greece’s creditors, although Greece’s Finance Ministry will retain overall control.

Public backlash

The reforms sparked significant backlash among demonstrators and public sector workers.

Ahead of the vote, protestors outside of the parliament in Athens chanted, « Next you’ll sell the Acropolis! »

Read Complete Article on Deutsche Welle

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The honorary degree system at universities tends to be a rotten business, though Stephen Edward Epler, in his Honorary Degrees: A Survey of Their Use and Abuse (1943), regarded them as “perhaps the most important honorific in the nation.”

Left to lauding the achievements of the exceptional, notably those who might not have spent much time in the direct line of research or squirrel scholarship, such awards have their place.  But the modern honorary awards system reflects the modern university funding environment.  Awards follow the money – and the donor.

Corruption often gets a helping hand; officials long past their use as researchers or teachers find themselves in the trough of gratitude. Then comes the largesse given former political figures, be it in terms of professorial appointments or degrees that say more about the institution awarding it than them.

Universities have also shown themselves susceptible to bestowing honorary doctorates to the celebrity figure, a fairly nonsensical and utterly needless exercise that has done wonders to diminish institutional value.

Comedian Bill Cosby, to take a notable, flawed example, has received a whole stash over the years, though that number has declined of late.  Accusations of drugging and molestation led such universities as Marquette, Fordham and Brown to withdraw their ill-considered awards.

Brown’s president, Christina Paxson, said in a campus-wide email that the withdrawal was necessary, given that the award had been based on good university values: “honesty, fair play, love of family, and respect for humanity.”

Such statements seem spectacularly disingenuous when you consider that universities have even gone so far as to regard entities not deemed Homo sapiens eligible.  A moronic Kanye West might well qualify for the wooden spoon, but even that would be stretching it.

Ever wanting to surprise, the officialdoms of universities have engaged in a form of one upmanship, finding ever stranger recipients.  That Kermit the Frog somehow qualifies shows how the celebrity figure, notably fictionalised, trumps academic sobriety.  On May 19, 1996, the long-time figure of children’s program Sesame Street received an Honorary Doctorate of Amphibious Letters from Southampton College, New York.

This was hardly even daringly amusing but when the Oxford Union permits the puppet figure to give voice to the idea before 1,000 students that,  “The responsibility of representing an entire species rests on my shoulders, ”the world has truly been turned on its injudicious head.

Former Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, was never as popular as Kermit, and the decision of Sydney University to award him an honorary doctorate was initially going to be one of those dull affairs. Other Australian prime ministers who had graduated from the institution had been similarly rewarded.

Last Wednesday, the institution stated that Howard’s doctorate acknowledged his achievements in instigating “world-leading gun law reform” while also providing leadership in East Timor and contributing to “economic reform”. How any of these categories would have merited a honorific is hard to say, but such institutions have form.

Protestors thought otherwise of the decision.  On Friday morning, some 150 gathered outside the Great Hall lead by academic of English and linguistics Nick Riemer.  There were also 50 agitated students who, according to The Guardian, “splintered off to lead chants of ‘Racist, sexist, and anti-queer – Howard is not welcome here’ and ‘John Howard, blood on our hands’.”[1]

Riemer’s points were cogent enough in describing a view alien to genuine academic practice.  Howard famously avoided the painstaking world of evidence and verifying the case for many of his policies. His Australia became a surlier, more mean spirited place, one suspicious of phantom threats of terror or refugees. The economy boomed, but reasoning fell sharply.

As a letter with more than 100 signatures of Sydney University staff and PhD students opined, “To confer a doctorate on him is an insult to Indigenous people, refugees, and anyone committed to multiculturalism, peace and social progress in this country and the world.”

Importantly, it was also an Australia that went to war in the Middle East in the absence of any credible evidence that a sovereign country posed a threat to its security interests, or for that matter the interests of any of its allies.  As his predecessor, Paul Keating, explained, “there was never any evidence that such weapons [in Iraq] existed and that fact was established following the exhaustive UN investigation led by Hans Blix”.[2]  Not one for evidence, old Howard.

In truth, there is something to be said about awarding the corrupt, the questionable, and the non-human with degrees that speak volumes about modern research and teaching institutions.  Howard’s abuses in office were exceptional by Australian standards, but university management has proven to be an indifferent beast to such achievement.

Notes

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jul/08/paul-keating-says-john-howard-should-hang-his-head-in-shame-over-iraq-war

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

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Posing as a non-political solidarity organization, the Syria Campaign leverages local partners and media contacts to push the U.S. into toppling another Middle Eastern government.

On September 30, demonstrators gathered in city squares across the West for a « weekend of action” to “stop the bombs” raining down from Syrian government and Russian warplanes on rebel-held eastern Aleppo. Thousands joined the protests, holding signs that read « Topple Assad » and declaring, « Enough With Assad. » Few participants likely knew that the actions were organized under the auspices of an opposition-funded public relations company called the Syria Campaign.

By partnering with local groups like the Syrian civil defense workers popularly known as the White Helmets, and through a vast network of connections in media and centers of political influence, The Syria Campaign has played a crucial role in disseminating images and stories of the horrors visited this month on eastern Aleppo. The group is able to operate within the halls of power in Washington and has the power to mobilize thousands of demonstrators into the streets. Despite its outsized role in shaping how the West sees Syria’s civil war, which is now in its sixth year and entering one of its grisliest phases, this outfit remains virtually unknown to the general public.

The Syria Campaign presents itself as an impartial, non-political voice for ordinary Syrian citizens that is dedicated to civilian protection. “We see ourselves as a solidarity organization,” The Syria Campaign strategy director James Sadri told me. “We’re not being paid by anybody to pursue a particular line. We feel like we’ve done a really good job about finding out who the frontline activists, doctors, humanitarians are and trying to get their word out to the international community.”

Yet behind the lofty rhetoric about solidarity and the images of heroic rescuers rushing in to save lives is an agenda that aligns closely with the forces from Riyadh to Washington clamoring for regime change. Indeed, The Syria Campaign has been pushing for a no-fly zone in Syria that would require at least “70,000 American servicemen” to enforce, according to a Pentagon assessment, along with the destruction of government infrastructure and military installations. There is no record of a no-fly zone being imposed without regime change following —which seems to be exactly what The Syria Campaign and its partners want.

“For us to control all the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia. That’s a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I’m not going to make,” said Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee this month.

While the military brass in Washington seems reluctant to apply the full force of its airpower to enforce a NFZ, The Syria Campaign is capitalizing on the outrage inspired by the bombardment of rebel-held eastern Aleppo this year to intensify the drumbeat for greater U.S. military involvement.

The Syria Campaign has been careful to cloak interventionism in the liberal-friendly language of human rights, casting Western military action as “the best way to support Syrian refugees,” and packaging a no-fly zone — along with so-called safe zones and no bombing zones, which would also require Western military enforcement — as a “way to protect civilians and defeat ISIS.”

Among The Syria Campaign’s most prominent vehicles for promoting military intervention is a self-proclaimed « unarmed and impartial » civil defense group known as the White Helmets. Footage of the White Helmets saving civilians trapped in the rubble of buildings bombed by the Syrian government and its Russian ally has become ubiquitous in coverage of the crisis. Having claimed to have saved tens of thousands of lives, the group has become a leading resource for journalists and human rights groups seeking information inside the war theater, from casualty figures to details on the kind of bombs that are falling.

But like The Syria Campaign, the White Helmets are anything but impartial. Indeed, the group was founded in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Office of Transitional Initiatives, an explicitly political wing of the agency that has funded efforts at political subversion in Cuba and Venezuela. USAID is the White Helmets’ principal funder, committing at least $23 million to the group since 2013. This money was part of $339.6 million budgeted by USAID for “supporting activities that pursue a peaceful transition to a democratic and stable Syria » — or establishing a parallel governing structure that could fill the power vacuum once Bashar Al-Assad was removed.

Thanks to an aggressive public relations push by The Syria Campaign, the White Helmets have been nominated for the Nobel Prize, and have already been awarded the “alternative Nobel” known as the Right Livelihood Award. (Previous winners include Amy Goodman, Edward Snowden and Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu.) At the same time, the White Helmets are pushing for a NFZ in public appearances and on a website created by The Syria Campaign.

The Syria Campaign has garnered endorsements for the White Helmets from a host of Hollywood celebrities including Ben Affleck, Alicia Keyes and Justin Timberlake. And with fundraising and “outreach” performed by The Syria Campaign, the White Helmets have become the stars of a slickly produced Netflix documentary vehicle that has received hype from media outlets across the West.

But making the White Helmets into an international sensation is just one of a series of successes The Syria Campaign has achieved in its drive to oust Syria’s government.

Targeting the UN in Damascus 

When an aid convoy organized by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs came under attack on its way to the rebel-held countryside of West Aleppo in Syria this September 18, the White Helmets pinned blame squarely on the Syrian and Russian governments. In fact, a White Helmets member was among the first civilians to appear on camera at the scene of the attack, declaring in English that “the regime helicopters targeted this place with four barrel [bombs].” The White Helmets also produced one of the major pieces of evidence Western journalists have relied on to implicate Russia and the Syrian government in the attack: a photograph supposedly depicting the tail fragment of a Russian-made OFAB 250-270 fragmentation bomb. (This account remains unconfirmed by both the UN and SARC, and no evidence of barrel bombs has been produced).

Ironically, the White Helmets figured prominently in The Syria Campaign’s push to undermine the UN’s humanitarian work inside Syria. For months, The Syria Campaign has painted the UN as a stooge of Bashar Al-Assad for coordinating its aid deliveries with the Syrian government, as it has done with governments in conflict zones around the world. The Guardian’s Kareem Shaheen praised a 50-page report by The Syria Campaign attacking the UN’s work in Syria as « damning. » A subsequent Guaridian article cited the report as part of the inspiration for its own “exclusive” investigation slamming the UN’s coordination with the Syrian government.

At a website created by The Syria Campaign to host the report, visitors are greeted by a UN logo drenched in blood.

The Syria Campaign has even taken credit for forcing former UN Resident Coordinator Yacoub El-Hillo out of his job in Damascus, a false claim it was later forced to retract. Among the opposition groups that promoted The Syria Campaign’s anti-UN report was Ahrar Al-Sham, a jihadist rebel faction that has allied with Al Qaeda in a mission to establish an exclusively Islamic state across Syria.

A Westerner who operates a politically neutral humanitarian NGO in Damascus offered me a withering assessment of The Syria Campaign’s attacks on the UN. Speaking on condition of anonymity because NGO workers like them are generally forbidden from speaking to the media, and often face repercussions if they do, the source accused The Syria Campaign of “dividing and polarizing the humanitarian community” along political lines while forcing humanitarian entities to “make decisions based on potential media repercussions instead of focusing on actual needs on the ground.”

The NGO executive went on to accuse The Syria Campaign and its partners in the opposition of “progressively identifying the humanitarian workers operating from Damascus with one party to the conflict,” limiting their ability to negotiate access to rebel-held territory. “As a humanitarian worker myself,” they explained, “I know that this puts me and my teams in great danger since it legitimizes warring factions treating you as an extension of one party in the conflict.

“The thousands of Syrians that signed up with the UN or humanitarian organizations are civilians,” they continued. “They not only joined to get a salary but in hopes of doing something good for other Syrians. This campaign [by The Syria Campaign] is humiliating all of them, labelling them as supporters of one side and making them lose hope in becoming agents of positive change in their own society.”

This September, days before the aid convoy attack prompted the UN to suspend much of its work inside Syria, The Syria Campaign spurred 73 aid organizations operating in rebel-held territory, including the White Helmets, to suspend their cooperation with the UN aid program. As the Guardian noted in its coverage, “The decision to withdraw from the Whole of Syria programme, in which organisations share information to help the delivery of aid, means in practice the UN will lose sight of what is happening throughout the north of Syria and in opposition-held areas of the country, where the NGOs do most of their work.”

Despite The Syria Campaign’s influence on the international media stage, details on the outfit’s inner workings are difficult to come by. The Syria Campaign is registered in England as a private company called the Voices Project at an address shared by 91 other companies. Aside from Asfari, most of The Syria Campaign’s donors are anonymous.

Looming over this opaque operation are questions about its connections to Avaaz, a global public relations outfit that played an instrumental role in generating support for a no-fly zone in Libya, and The Syria Campaign’s founding by Purpose, another PR firm spun out of Avaaz. James Sadri bristled when I asked about the issue, dismissing it as a “crank conspiracy” ginned up by Russian state media and hardcore Assadist elements.

However, a careful look at the origins and operation of The Syria Campaign raises doubts about the outfit’s image as an authentic voice for Syrian civilians, and should invite serious questions about the agenda of its partner organizations as well.

A creation of international PR firms

Best known for its work on liberal social issues with well-funded progressive clients like the ACLU and the police reform group, Campaign Zero, the New York- and London-based public relations firm Purpose promises to deliver creatively executed campaigns that produce either a “behavior change,” “perception change,” “policy change” or “infrastructure change.” As the Syrian conflict entered its third year, this company was ready to effect a regime change.

On Feb. 3, 2014, Anna Nolan, the senior strategist at Purpose, posted a job listing. According to Nolan’s listing, her firm was seeking “two interns to join the team at Purpose to help launch a new movement for Syria.”

At around the same time, another Purpose staffer named Ali Weiner posted a job listing seeking a paid intern for the PR firm’s new Syrian Voices project. “Together with Syrians in the diaspora and NGO partners,” Weiner wrote, “Purpose is building a movement that will amplify the voices of moderate, non-violent Syrians and mobilize people in the Middle East and around the world to call for specific changes in the political and humanitarian situation in the region.” She explained that the staffer would report “to a Strategist based primarily in London, but will work closely with the Purpose teams in both London and New York.”

On June 16, 2014, Purpose founder Jeremy Heimans drafted articles of association for The Syria Campaign’s parent company. Called the Voices Project, Heimans registered the company at 3 Bull Lane, St. Ives Cambridgeshire, England. It was one of 91 private limited companies listed at the address. Sadri would not explain why The Syria Campaign had chosen this location or why it was registered as a private company.

Along with Heimans, Purpose Europe director Tim Dixon was appointed to The Syria Campaign’s board of directors. So was John Jackson, a Purpose strategist who previously co-directed the Burma Campaign U.K. that lobbied the EU for sanctions against that country’s ruling regime. (Jackson claimed credit for The Syria Campaign’s successful push to remove Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad’s re-election campaign ads from Facebook.) Anna Nolan became The Syria Campaign’s project director, even as she remained listed as the strategy director at Purpose.

“Purpose is not involved in what we do,” The Syria Campaign’s Sadri told me. When pressed about the presence of several Purpose strategists on The Syria Campaign’s board of directors and staff, Sadri insisted, “We’re not part of Purpose. There’s no financial relationship and we’re independent.”

Sadri dismissed allegations about The Syria Campaign’s origins in Avaaz. “We have no connection to Avaaz,” he stated, blaming conspiratorial “Russia Today stuff” for linking the two public relations groups.

However, Purpose’s original job listing for its Syrian Voices project boasted that “Purpose grew out of some of the most impactful new models for social change” including “the now 30 million strong action network avaaz.org.” In fact, The Syria Campaign’s founder, Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans, was also one of the original founders of Avaaz. As he told Forbes, “I co-founded Avaaz and [the Australian activist group] Get Up, which inspired the creation of Purpose.”

New and improved no-fly zone

The Syria Campaign’s defensiveness about ties to Avaaz is understandable.

Back in 2011, Avaaz introduced a public campaign for a no-fly zone in Libya and delivered a petition with 1,202,940 signatures to the UN supporting Western intervention. John Hilary, the executive director of War On Want, the U.K.’s leading anti-poverty and anti-war charity, warned at the time, « Little do most of these generally well-meaning activists know, they are strengthening the hands of those western governments desperate to reassert their interests in north Africa… Clearly a no-fly zone makes foreign intervention sound rather humanitarian—putting the emphasis on stopping bombing, even though it could well lead to an escalation of violence.”

John Hilary’s dire warning was fulfilled after the NATO-enforced no-fly zone prompted the ouster of former President Moamar Qaddafi. Months later, Qaddafi was sexually assaulted and beaten to death in the road by a mob of fanatics. The Islamic State and an assortment of militias filled the void left in the Jamahiriya government’s wake. The political catastrophe should have been serious enough to call future interventions of this nature into question. Yet Libya’s legacy failed to deter Avaaz from introducing a new campaign for another no-fly zone; this time in Syria.

“To some a no-fly zone could conjure up images of George W. Bush’s foreign policy and illegal Western interventions. This is a different thing,” Avaaz insisted in a communique defending its support for a new no-fly zone in Syria. Sadri portrayed The Syria Campaign’s support for a no-fly zone as the product of a “deep listening process” involving the polling of Syrian civilians in rebel-held territories and refugees outside the country. He claimed his outfit was a “solidarity organization,” not a public relations firm, and was adamant that if and when a no-fly zone is imposed over Syrian skies, it would be different than those seen in past conflicts.

“There also seems to be a critique of a no-fly zone which is slapping on templates from other conflicts and saying this is what will happen in Syria,” Sadri commented. He added, “I’m just trying to encourage us away from a simplistic debate. There’s a kneejerk reaction to Syria to say, ’It’s Iraq or it’s Libya,’ but it’s not. It’s an entirely different conflict.”

Funding a « credible transition »

For the petroleum mogul who provided the funding that launched the Syria Project, the means of military intervention justified an end in which he could return to the country of his birth and participate in its economic life on his own terms.

Though The Syria Campaign claims to “refuse funding from any party to the conflict in Syria,” it was founded and is sustained with generous financial assistance from one of the most influential exile figures of the opposition, Ayman Asfari, the U.K.-based CEO of the British oil and gas supply company Petrofac Limited. Asfari is worth $1.2 billion and owns about one-fifth of the shares of his company, which boasts 18,000 employees and close to $7 billion in annual revenues.

Through his Asfari Foundation, he has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to The Syria Campaign and has secured a seat for his wife, Sawsan, on its board of directors. He has also been a top financial and political supporter of the Syrian National Coalition, the largest government-in-exile group set up after the Syrian revolt began. The group is dead-set on removing Assad and replacing him with one of its own. Asfari’s support for opposition forces was so pronounced the Syrian government filed a warrant for his arrest, accusing him of supporting “terrorism.”

In London, Asfari has been a major donor to former British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative Party. This May, Cameron keynoted a fundraiser for the Hands Up for Syria Appeal, a charity heavily supported by Asfari that sponsors education for Syrian children living in refugee camps. The Prime Minister might have seemed like an unusual choice for the event given his staunch resistance to accepting unaccompanied Syrian children who have fled to Europe. However, Asfari has generally supported Cameron’s exclusionary policy.

Grilled about his position during an episode of BBC’s Hardtalk, Asfari explained, “I do not want the country to be emptied. I still have a dream that those guys [refugees] will be able to go back to their homes and they will be able to play a constructive role in putting Syria back together.”

In Washington, Asfari is regarded as an important liaison to the Syrian opposition. He has visited the White House eight times since 2014, meeting with officials like Philip Gordon, the former Middle East coordinator who was an early advocate for arming the insurgency in Syria. Since leaving the administration, however, Gordon has expressed regret over having embraced a policy of regime change. In a lengthy September 2015 editorial for Politico, Gordon slammed the Obama administration’s pursuit of regime change, writing, “There is now virtually no chance that an opposition military ‘victory’ will lead to stable or peaceful governance in Syria in the foreseeable future and near certainty that pursuing one will only lead to many more years of vicious civil war.”

Asfari publicly chastised Gordon days later on Hardtalk. “I have written to [Gordon] an email after I saw that article in Politico and I told him I respectfully disagree,” Asfari remarked. “I think the idea that we are going to have a transition in Syria with Assad in it for an indefinite period is fanciful. Because at the end of the day, what the people want is a credible transition.”

For Asfari, a “credible” post-war transition would require much more than refugee repatriation and the integration of opposition forces into the army: “Will you get the Syrian diaspora, including people like myself, to go back and invest in the country?” he asked on Hardtalk. “…If we do not achieve any of these objectives, what’s the point of having a free Syria?”

The Independent has described Asfari as one among of a pantheon of « super rich » exiles poised to rebuild a post-Assad Syria — and to reap handsome contracts in the process. To reach his goal of returning to Syria in triumph after the downfall of Assad’s government, Asfari not only provided the seed money for The Syria Campaign, he has helped sustain the group with hefty donations.

Just this year, the Asfari Foundation donated $180,000 to the outfit, according to The Syria Campaign’s media lead Laila Kiki. Asfari is not The Syria Campaign’s only donor, however. According to Kiki, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund also contributed $120,000 to the outfit’s $800,000 budget this year. “The rest of the funds come from donors who wish to remain anonymous,” she explained.

Shaping the message

Among The Syria Campaign’s main priorities, for which it has apparently budgeted a substantial amount of resources, is moving Western media in a more interventionist direction.

When The Syria Campaign placed an ad on its website seeking a senior press officer upon its launch in 2014, it emphasized its need for “someone who can land pieces in the U.S., U.K. and European [media] markets in the same week.” The company’s ideal candidate would be able to “maintain strong relationships with print, broadcast, online journalists, editors in order to encourage them to see TSC as a leading voice on Syria.” Prioritizing PR experience over political familiarity, The Syria Campaign reassured applicants, “You don’t need to be an expert on Syria or speak Arabic.” After all, the person would be working in close coordination with an unnamed “Syrian communications officer who will support on story gathering and relationships inside Syria.”

Sadri acknowledged that The Syria Campaign has been involved in shopping editorials to major publications. “There have been op-eds in the past that we’ve helped get published, written by people on the ground. There’s a lot of op-eds going out from people inside Syria,” he told me. But he would not say which ones, who the authors were, or if his company played any role in their authorship.

One recent incident highlighted The Syria Campaign’s skillful handling of press relationships from Aleppo to media markets across the West. It was August 17, and a Syrian or Russian warplane had just hit an apartment building in rebel-held eastern Aleppo. Sophie McNeill, a Middle East correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, received a photo from the Syrian American Medical Society, which maintains a WhatsApp group networking doctors inside rebel territory with international media.

The photo showed a five-year-old boy, Omran Daqneesh, who had been extracted from the building by members of the White Helmets and hoisted into an ambulance, where he was filmed by members of the Aleppo Media Center. The chilling image depicts a dazed little boy, seated upright and staring at nothing, his pudgy cheeks caked in ash and blood. “Video then emerged of Omran as he sat blinking in the back of that ambulance,” McNeill wrote without explaining who provided her with the video. She immediately posted the footage on Twitter.

“Watch this video from Aleppo tonight. And watch it again. And remind yourself that with #Syria #wecantsaywedidntknow,” McNeill declared. Her post was retweeted over 17,000 times and the hashtag she originated, which implied international inaction against the Syrian government made such horrors possible, became a viral sensation as well. (McNeill did not respond to questions sent to her publicly listed email.)

Hours later, the image of Omran appeared on the front page of dozens of international newspapers, from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal to the Times of London. CNN’s Kate Bolduan, who had suggested during Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip in 2014 that civilian casualties were, in fact, human shields, broke down in tears during an extended segment detailing the rescue of Omran.

Abu Sulaiman Al-Muhajir, the Australian citizen serving as a top leader and spokesman for Al Qaeda’s Syrian offshoot, Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham, took a special interest in the boy. « I cannot get conditioned to seeing injured/murdered children, » Al-Muhajir wrote on Facebook. « Their innocent faces should serve as a reminder of our responsibility. »

Seizing on the opportunity, The Syria Campaign gathered quotes from the photographer who captured the iconic image, Mahmoud Raslan, and furnished them to an array of media organizations. While many outlets published Raslan’s statements, Public Radio International was among the few that noted The Syria Campaign’s role in serving them up, referring to the outfit as “a pro-opposition advocacy group with a network of contacts in Syria.”

On August 20, McNeill took to Facebook with a call to action: “Were you horrified by the footage of little Omran?” she asked her readers. “Can’t stop thinking about him? Well don’t just retweet, be outraged for 24 hours and move on. Hear what two great humanitarians for Syria, Zaher Sahloul & James Sadri, want you to do now.”

Sadri happened to be the director of The Syria Campaign and Sahloul was the Syrian American Medical Society director who partnered with The Syria Campaign. In the article McNeill wrote about Omran’s photo, which was linked in her Facebook post, both Sahloul and Sadri urged Westerners to join their call for a no-fly zone— a policy McNeill tacitly endorsed. (Sahloul was recently promoted by the neoconservative columnist Eli Lake for accusing Obama of having « allowed a genocide in Syria. » This September, Sahloul joined up with the Jewish United Federation of Chicago, a leading opponent of Palestine solidarity organizing, to promote his efforts.)

As the outrage inspired by the image of Omran spread, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof (a friend and publisher of Syria Campaign board member Lina Sergie Attar) called for “fir[ing] missiles from outside Syria to crater [Syrian] military runways to make them unusable.” Meanhwile, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough waved around the photo of Omran and indignantly declared, « The world will look back. Save your hand-wringing…you can still do something right now. But nothing’s been done.”

As breathless editorials and cable news tirades denounced the Obama administration’s supposed “inaction,” public pressure for a larger-scale Western military campaign was approaching an unprecedented level.

Damage control for opposition extremists

The day after Omran made headlines, the left-wing British news site the Canary publicized another photograph that exposed a grim reality behind the iconic image.

Culled from the Facebook page of Mahmoud Raslan, the activist from the American-operated Aleppo Media Center who took the initial video of Omran, it showed Raslan posing for a triumphant selfie with a group of rebel fighters. The armed men hailed from the Nour Al-Din Al-Zenki faction. At least two of the commanders who appeared in the photo with Raslan had recently beheaded a boy they captured, referring to him in video footage as “child” while they taunted and abused him. The boy has been reported to be a 12-year-old named Abdullah Issa and may have been a member of the Liwa Al-Quds pro-government Palestinian militia.

This was not the only time Raslan had appeared with Al-Zenki fighters or expressed his sympathy. On August 2, he posted a selfie to Facebook depicting himself surrounded by mostly adolescent Al-Zenki fighters dressed in battle fatigues. “With the suicide fighters, from the land of battles and butchery, from Aleppo of the martyrs, we bring you tidings of impending joy, with God’s permission,” Raslan wrote. He sported a headband matching those worn by the “suicide fighters.”

Despite its unsavory tendencies and extremist ideological leanings, Al-Zenki was until 2015 a recipient of extensive American funding, with at least 1000 of its fighters on the CIA payroll. Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute who has said his research on the Syrian opposition was “100% funded by Western govts,” has branded Al-Zenki as “moderate opposition fighters.”

This August, after the video of Al-Zenki members beheading the adolescent boy appeared online, Sam Heller, a fellow for the Washington-based Century Foundation, argued for restoring the rebel group’s CIA funding. Describing Al-Zenki as “a natural, if unpalatable, partner,” Heller contended that “if Washington insists on keeping its hands perfectly clean, there’s probably no Syrian faction—in the opposition, or on any side of the war—that merits support.”

This September 24, Al-Zenki formally joined forces with the jihadist Army of Conquest led by Al Qaeda-established jihadist group, Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham. For its part, The Syria Campaign coordinated the release of a statement with Raslan explaining away his obvious affinity with Al-Zenki. Sophie McNeill, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reporter who was among the first to publish the famous Omran photo, dutifully published Raslan’s statement on Twitter, acknowledging The Syria Campaign as its source.

Curiously describing the beheading victim as a 19-year-old and not the “child” his beheaders claimed he was, Raslan pleaded ignorance about the Al-Zenki fighters’ backgrounds: “It was a busy day with lots of different people and groups on the streets. As a war photographer I take lots of photos with civilians and fighters.”

Mahmoud Raslan may not have been the most effective local partner, but The Syria Campaign could still count on the White Helmets.

Max Blumenthal is a senior editor of the Grayzone Project at AlterNet, and the award-winning author of Goliath and Republican Gomorrah. His most recent book is The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza. Follow him on Twitter at @MaxBlumenthal.

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Death Toll Mounts In US Police Killings

octobre 4th, 2016 by Patrick Martin

At least 19 people lost their lives in encounters with police in the United States last week. The victims, all men, ranged in age from 18 to 53. Seventeen were shot to death, one tased, and one both tased and beaten and strangled. In only two of the cases were the victims shot while engaged in violent attacks on others. All the others were shot while fleeing or allegedly resisting police, or while experiencing mental health or emotional crises.

In several instances the police killings sparked protests. In El Cajon, California, a suburb of San Diego, there were protests over the death September 27 of Alfred Olango, an immigrant from Uganda who was tased and shot to death while unarmed. Olango was having an emotional breakdown after learning of the death of a friend.

In Pasadena, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, more than 100 people gathered to protest the killing of Reginald Thomas, father of eight children, after police were called to address a domestic dispute early Friday. The 36-year-old black man, who was reportedly bipolar, was said to be waving a knife and a fire extinguisher when police arrived.

Despite the claims by Democratic Party politicians and middle-class groups like Black Lives Matter that police violence is exclusively a matter of race, with white cops killing African-Americans, the 19 victims last week included at least eight white men, a Hispanic man and an Asian man.

The race of the police killers was usually not reported, but the killings took place in many cities with racially diverse police forces, including Newark, New Jersey; Houston, Texas; and Los Angeles and San Diego, California.

The geographic distribution of the killings included inner cities, suburbs and rural areas, and all regions of the country, from the Northeast to the Pacific Coast. By states, the killings fell as follows: Arizona, Arkansas, California (3), Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan (2), Minnesota, New Jersey (2), Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas (2), and West Virginia.

The death toll on a single day, Friday, September 30, gives a glimpse of the savage character of social relations in the US and the unrestrained brutality of the police, who serve as the first line of defense for capitalist property and the authority of the capitalist state. There were no less than seven victims.

These included, in addition to Reginald Thomas in Pasadena:

* Clayton Eugene Baker, a 24-year-old white man, shot to death by a Trinity County sheriff’s deputy in Groveton, Texas, a small town north of Houston, after the policeman arrived in response to a reported domestic dispute.

* Douglas Marrickus Rainey, a 32-year-old black man, shot to death by a SWAT team in rural Gowensville, South Carolina, hours after a reported armed robbery at a Dollar General which led to a general lockdown of the region.

* Richard Parent, a 37-year-old white man, shot by Michigan state police in Van Buren Township, in the western suburbs of Detroit, after a lengthy chase. Parent refused to pull over on a traffic stop, allegedly claiming to be a “sovereign citizen.”

* Najier Salaam and George Richards-Meyers, both 18 years old, shot to death by six Newark, New Jersey police, who claimed to be confronting a three-man gang responsible for a series of carjackings. None of the officers was injured despite claims of a wild shootout.

* Jacquarius M. Robinson, a 20-year-old black man, killed by a police SWAT team in Columbus, Ohio, 10 hours after police responded to the scene of a shooting death on the city’s east side. Robinson attempted to flee and police shot him dead. It was not known whether there was any evidence connecting him to the earlier killing.

Public attention has focused on the killings in southern California because these provoked angry protests, albeit on a limited scale and without further clashes with the police. Tensions rose again over the weekend after an 18-year-old black youth, Carnell Snell Jr., was shot to death by police about 1 p.m. Saturday in south Los Angeles, after police stopped a car on suspicion that it was stolen.

Two people fled from the car and police shot and killed one of them, later identified as Snell. Police claimed to have found a handgun at the scene, but there was no indication that the youth had the gun in his possession or had fired it. Police frequently place “throw-down” guns at the site of such shootings to provide retroactive justification.

There were protests from family members and other local residents, including one young woman who told the Los Angeles Times, “A police officer should not be the judge, the jury and the executioner.” Snell’s mother, Monique Morgan, said she had been told her son was shot five times in the back. Witnesses told the local CBS television station KCAL that Snell had his hands up and was telling police not to shoot him when they opened fire.

According to the grim tally kept by the web site killedbypolice.net, the week’s death toll, including the police shooting Sunday morning of an as yet unidentified man in Markham, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, brought the year’s total to 868 people. A separate tally, maintained by the Washington Post, found that whites comprised 46 percent of the victims of police killings this year, blacks 24 percent, and Hispanics 16 percent, with other races and undetermined accounting for the remaining 14 percent.

Blacks are killed by police at a much higher rate than their proportion in the population, an indication that racism plays a significant role, but the number of white victims demonstrates that class, not race, is the more fundamental issue. Nearly all the victims of police killings are from the working class, and usually its poorest sections. Police killings do not take place in Beverly Hills, Grosse Pointe or the Upper East Side of Manhattan, but in lower income areas, whether urban, suburban or rural.

That does not stop Democratic Party politicians from seeking to cover up the class character of police violence with rhetoric about “systemic racism.” Hillary Clinton did so during her debate with Republican Donald Trump last Monday and again during a visit Sunday morning to an African Methodist Episcopal church in Charlotte, North Carolina, where 36-year-old Keith Scott was gunned down by police September 20.

Scott; the policeman who killed him, Brentley Vinson; and the Charlotte police chief in charge of whitewashing his death, Kerr Putney; are all African-American. That fact alone demonstrates that the struggle against police violence requires uniting workers of all races in the building of a political movement directed against the capitalist class and the police and politicians who serve it.

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The Empire Strikes Back

octobre 4th, 2016 by Chris Hedges

A decade ago left-wing governments, defying Washington and global corporations, took power in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Venezuela, Uruguay, Bolivia and Ecuador. It seemed as if the tide in Latin America was turning.

The interference by Washington and exploitation by international corporations might finally be defeated. Latin American governments, headed by charismatic leaders such as Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador, won huge electoral victories. They instituted socialist reforms that benefited the poor and the working class. They refused to be puppets of the United States. They took control of their nations’ own resources and destinies. They mounted the first successful revolt against neoliberalism and corporate domination. It was a revolt many in the United States hoped to emulate here.

But the movements and governments in Latin America have fallen prey to the dark forces of U.S. imperialism and the wrath of corporate power. The tricks long practiced by Washington and its corporate allies have returned—the black propaganda; the manipulation of the media; the bribery and corruption of politicians, generals, police, labor leaders and journalists; the legislative coups d’état; the economic strangulation; the discrediting of democratically elected leaders; the criminalization of the left; and the use of death squads to silence and disappear those fighting on behalf of the poor. It is an old, dirty game.

President Correa, who earned enmity from Washington for granting political asylum to Julian Assange four years ago and for closing the United States’ Manta military air base in 2009, warned recently that a new version of Operation Condor is underway in Latin America. Operation Condor, which operated in the 1970s and ’80s, saw thousands of labor union organizers, community leaders, students, activists, politicians, diplomats, religious leaders, journalists and artists tortured, assassinated and disappeared. The intelligence chiefs from right-wing regimes in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and, later, Brazil had overseen the campaigns of terror. They received funds from the United States and logistical support and training from the Central Intelligence Agency. Press freedom, union organizing, all forms of artistic dissent and political opposition were abolished. In a coordinated effort these regimes brutally dismembered radical and leftist movements across Latin America. In Argentina alone 30,000 people disappeared.

Latin America looks set to be plunged once again into a period of dictatorial control and naked corporate exploitation. The governments of Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela, which is on the brink of collapse, have had to fight off right-wing coup attempts and are enduring economic sabotage. The Brazilian Senate impeached the democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff. Argentina’s new right-wing president, Mauricio Macri, bankrolled by U.S. hedge funds, promptly repaid his benefactors by handing $4.65 billion to four hedge funds, including Elliott Management, run by billionaire Paul Singer. The payout to hedge funds that had bought Argentine debt for pennies on the dollar meant that Singer’s firm made $2.4 billion, an amount that was 10 to 15 times the original investment. The previous Argentine government, under Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, had refused to pay the debt acquired by the hedge funds and acidly referred to them as “vulture funds.”

I interviewed Guillaume Long, Ecuador’s minister of foreign affairs and human mobility, for my show “On Contact” last week. Long, who earned a doctorate from the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of London, called at the United Nations for the creation of a global tax regulatory agency. He said such an agency should force tax-dodging corporations, which the International Monetary Fund estimates costs developing countries more than $200 billion a year in lost revenue, to pay the countries for the natural resources they extract and for national losses stemming from often secret corporate deals. He has also demanded an abolition of overseas tax havens.

Long said the neoliberal economic policies of the 1980s and ’90s were profoundly destructive in Latin America. Already weak economic controls were abandoned in the name of free trade and deregulation. International corporations and banks were given a license to exploit. “This deregulation in an already deregulated environment” resulted in anarchy, Long said. “The powerful people had even less checks and balances on their powers,” he said.

“Neoliberalism is bad in most contexts,” Long said when we spoke in New York. “It’s been bad in Europe. It’s been bad in other parts of the world. It has dismantled the welfare state. In the context where we already have a weak state, where institutions are not consolidated, where there are strong feudal remnants, such as in Latin America, where you don’t really have a strong social contract with institutions, with modernity, neoliberalism just shatters any kind of social pact. It meant more poverty, more inequality, huge waves of instability.”

Countries saw basic services, many already inadequate, curtailed or eliminated in the name of austerity. The elites amassed fortunes while almost everyone else fell into economic misery. The political and economic landscape became unstable. Ecuador had seven presidents between 1996 and 2006, the year in which Correa was elected. It suffered a massive banking crisis in 1999. It switched the country’s currency to the U.S. dollar in desperation. The chaos in Ecuador was mirrored in countries such as Bolivia and Argentina. Argentina fell into a depression in 1998 that saw the economy shrink by 28 percent. Over 50 percent of Argentines were thrust into poverty.

“Latin America,” Long said, “hit rock bottom.”

It was out of this neoliberal morass that the left regrouped and took power.

“People came to terms with that moment of their history,” Long said. “They decided to rebuild their societies and fight foreign interventionism and I’d even say imperialism. To this day in Latin America, the main issue is inequality. Latin America is not necessarily the poorest continent in the world. But it’s certainly the most unequal continent in the world.”

“Ecuador is an oil producer,” Long said. “We produce about 530,000 barrels of oil a day. We were getting 20 percent royalties on multinationals extracting oil. Now it’s the other way around. We pay multinationals a fee for extractions. We had to renegotiate all of our oil contracts in 2008 and 2009. Some multinationals refused to abide by the new rules of the game and left the country. So our state oil company moved in and occupied the wells. But most multinationals said OK, we’ll do it, it’s still profitable. So now it’s the other way around. We pay private companies to extract the oil, but the oil is ours.”

Long admitted that there have been serious setbacks, but he insisted that the left is not broken.

“It depends on how you measure success,” he said. “If you’re going to measure it in terms of longevity, and how long these governments were in power—in our case we’re still in power, of course, and we’re going to win in February next year—then you’re looking at, more or less in Venezuela 17 years [that leftist governments have been in power], in Ecuador now 10, and in Argentina and Brazil it’s 13.”

“One of the critiques aimed at the left is they’re well-meaning, great people with good ideas but don’t let them govern because the country will go bust,” he said. “But in Ecuador we had really healthy growth rates, 5 to 10 percent a year. We had lots of good economics. We diversified our economy. We moved away from importing 80 percent of energy to [being] net exporters of electricity. We’ve had big reforms in education, in higher education. Lots of things that are economically successful. Whereas neoliberal, orthodox economics was not successful in the previous decade.”

Long conceded that his government had made powerful enemies, not only by granting political asylum to Assange in its embassy in London but by taking Chevron Texaco to court to try to make it pay for the ecological damage its massive oil spills caused in the Amazon, where the company drilled from the early 1960s until it pulled out in 1992. It left behind some 1,000 toxic waste pits. The oil spills collectively were 85 times the size of the British Petroleum spill in the Gulf of Mexico and 18 times the size of the spill from the Exxon Valdez. An Ecuadorean court ordered Chevron Texaco to pay $18.2 billion in damages, an amount later reduced to $9.5 billion. The oil giant, however, has refused to pay. Ecuador has turned to international courts in an attempt to extract the money from the company.

Long said that the different between the massive oil spills elsewhere and the Ecuadorean spills was that the latter were not accidental. “[They were done] on purpose in order to cut costs. They were in the middle of the Amazon. Normally what you’d do is extract the oil and you’d have these membranes so that it doesn’t filter through into the ground. They didn’t put in these membranes. The oil filtered into the water systems. It polluted all of the Amazon River system. It created a huge sanitary and public health issue. There were lots of cancers detected.”

Long said his government was acutely aware that Chevron Texaco has “a lot of lobbying power in the United States, in Wall Street, in Washington.”

“There are a lot of things we don’t see,” he said of the campaign to destabilize his government and other left-wing governments. “Benefits we could reap, investments we don’t get because we’ve been sovereign. In the case of [Ecuador’s closing of the U.S.] Manta air base, we’d like to think the American government understood and it was fine. But it was a bold move. We said ‘no more.’ We declared it in our constitution. We had a new constitution in 2008. It was a very vibrant moment of our history. We created new rules of the game. It’s one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. It actually declares the rights of nature. It’s the only constitution that declares the rights of nature, not just the rights of man. We made Ecuadorean territory free of foreign military bases. There was no other way. But there are consequences to your actions.”

One of those consequences was an abortive coup in September 2010 by members of the Ecuadorean National Police. It was put down by force. Long charged that many of the Western NGO’s in Ecuador and throughout the region are conduits for money to right-wing parties. Military and police officials, along with some politicians, have long been on the CIA’s payroll in Latin America. President Correa in 2008 dismissed his defense minister, army chief of intelligence, commanders of the army and air force, and the military joint chiefs, saying that Ecuador’s intelligence systems were “totally infiltrated and subjugated to the CIA.”

“There is an international conspiracy right now, certainly against progressive governments,” he said. “There’s been a few electoral setbacks in Argentina, and Venezuela is in a difficult situation. The media frames it in a certain way, but, yes, sure, Venezuela is facing serious trouble. There’s an attempt to make the most of the fall of prices of certain commodities and overthrow [governments]. We just saw a parliamentary coup in Brazil. [President Rousseff had been] elected with 54 million votes. The Labor Party in Brazil [had] been in power for 13 years. The only way they [the rightists] managed to get rid of it was through a coup. They couldn’t do it through universal suffrage.”

Long said that even with the political reverses suffered by the left it will be difficult for the rightists to reinstate strict neoliberal policies.

“You have a strong, disputed political ground between a traditional right and a radical left,” he said. “A radical left, which has proved it can reduce poverty, it can reduce inequality, it can run the economy, well, it’s got young cadres that have been [government] ministers and so on. I reckon that sooner or later it will be back in power.”

Corporate leviathans and the imperialist agencies that work on their behalf are once again reshaping Latin America into havens for corporate exploitation. It is the eternal story of the struggle by the weak against the strong, the poor against the rich, the powerless against the powerful, and those who would be free against the forces of imperialism.

“There are no boundaries in this struggle to the death,” Ernesto “Che” Guevara said. “We cannot be indifferent to what happens anywhere in the world, for a victory by any country over imperialism is our victory; just as any country’s defeat is a defeat for all of us.”

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The « No » vote won in the Colombian plebiscite on the peace deal recently signed between the government and the FARC-EP, when surveys anticipated that at least two-thirds of voters would approve it.

Looking closely at the geographical distribution of the vote, it seems that the “No” vote received more support in Colombian departments that are not as affected by the armed conflict.

Meanwhile, the poorest, rural, Afro-descendent, Indigenous departments—located on the outskirts of the country, including border and Caribbean departments—have overwhelmingly favored a political solution to the conflict because they continue to pay the highest price for the conflict.

Of the major cities, Bogota, the country’s capital, and Cali voted « Yes, » while Medellin, with ties to nacro -trafficking, voted « No. »

“Thanks to the armed conflict, Colombia has been able for years to avoid addressing strong protests or social demands,” said sociologist Daniel Pecaut, in an interview with El Tiempo in June. “The armed conflict has contributed to maintaining the social and political structures of the country, and even to increasing the concentration of land property, as well as the unequal distribution of revenues.”

“Many sectors, not only the governing elites, found out, quite subconsciously, that the armed conflict was not disturbing the cities too much, but only the country’s peripheries,” he said two years earlier to Semana, commenting on the electoral campaign that mostly revolved around the possibility of peace negotiations with the FARC-EP.

 The armed conflict has also resulted in the elimination “of a whole generation of social leaders,” especially at the hands of paramilitary groups, seriously hampering the development of peaceful social movements in the urban, as well as rural areas, with trade unionists, students, human rights activists and campesinos unable to mount large-scale protests against government policies.

As a result, he observed, Colombia has paradoxically had a consistent economic growth in the past 30 years, yet maintaining the same level of social inequality as in the 1930s.

With the recent agrarian strikes that paralyzed Colombia, the ruling sectors of the country started fearing even more—the possibility of social reforms—and the peace deal could create the conditions for such reforms.

Such sectors are represented by former president Alvaro Uribe, known for his close ties with paramilitary groups, who has led a smear and fear-mongering campaign against the peace deal.

 Uribe and the big landowners would rather risk international isolation, as the peace deal was largely supported by the European Union, the United Nations and the United States, than to bow to the possibility of even a slight redistribution of land and wealth. To them, and the paramilitaries who back them, no political dissent can be tolerated.

“A modern country needs to accept social conflict; this is the price of democracy,” warned Pecaut, who found “extremely worrying” the country’s divisions around the peace deal.

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A Russian actor claims the recent Sky News documentary about undercover Russian mercenaries in Syria was staged. RT spoke a man who claims to have impersonated one of the fighters the British outlet spoke to.

In a recently-aired Sky News  the channel claimed it uncovered facts about Russian mercenaries in Syria operating undercover.

One of the key pieces of evidence provided was an interview conducted by Sky News’ Moscow correspondent, John Sparks, who spoke to two males who allegedly comprised part of a secret Russian force, called “Wagner” operating in Syria.

One of them, named Dmitry said that some 500 to 600 people of the unit died while serving in the country. The faces of the men were hidden and voices changed “to protect their identities.”

Following the report, Russian television channel, NTV, aired its own investigation, claiming to have found Dmitry, who apparently turned out to be a Russian actor living in Moscow.

RT also contacted a man, whose real name is Aleksandr Agapov, and he said that he played the role of a “Wagner” fighter at the request of the Sky News.

“They said we have this information. You simply need to prepare yourself based on that information and make out you were in the military in Syria in a service of a private company,” Agapov told RT.

In the interview, Agapov said he had been told by the clip would be part of a movie. However after getting suspicious Agapov decided to record a conversation with Sparks that supposedly took place in a Moscow hotel. The recording was initially passed to NTV.

RT went on to check this claim as well. Our channel forwarded the recording to an acoustic analysis laboratory in Moscow for detailed information. Audio analyst Ivan Ursov said that the outcome clearly pointed to one of the voices belonging to Aleksandr Agapov.

« The results of the analysis demonstrate a 75.5 percent match between the recordings. That’s good enough to conclude they are indeed the same person, » Ursov said.

While analyzing the second voice the specialist found that with “85 percent certainty” it was that of Sky News correspondent John Sparks.

To clarify Agapov’s allegations we reached out to the Sky News representatives. Sky News maintained its journalistic integrity.

“Sky News stands fully behind the story which is the product of a detailed investigation over many months,” the media outlet said in an email.

Another request on social media addressed to Sky News as well as personally to John Sparks did not yield any results.

It’s not the first time that the media outlet has found itself in hot water over such a case.

Recently, the outlet triggered outrage in Romania after suggesting in one of its reports that there was a thriving illegal arms trade in the country. In that case a Sky News reporter Stuart Ramsay spoke to two masked men, who was selling a number of weapons, including semi-assault rifles.

According to Romanian officials, the outlet paid the men some £5,000 ($6,600) in what they called a “faked report”. Ramsay denied the allegations.

Romania’s Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos reacted to the case saying that it is “unacceptable to denigrate a country without proof.” Romania’s Secretary of State at National Audiovisual Council, Valentin Jucan, even vowed to bring Ramsay to court, posting a message on his Twitter feed.

 

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Les États-Unis sont séparés de l’Asie par un océan, et malgré cela, leurs décideurs, politiciens et même leur Secrétaire à la Défense, Ashton Carter, ont pris la liberté de déclarer la suprématie des États-Unis sur la région, positionnant leurs intérêts au-dessus de ceux de toutes les nations qui se trouvent en Asie.

Dans une dépêche de l’agence Reuters de juin 2016 intitulée Les États-Unis bombent le torse pendant que le reste de l’Asie s’inquiète de la dispute en mer de Chine méridionale, le Secrétaire Carter déclare : «Dans les décennies à venir, les États-Unis resteront l’armée la plus puissante et le principal garant de la sécurité dans la région, n’ayez aucun doute à ce sujet.»

Les États-Unis, pensant pouvoir dicter leur conduite à toutes les nations asiatiques, n’ont fait rien de moins que s’auto-proclamer l’hégémon de la région.

Ânonner sur la primauté américaine et le destin exceptionnel des États-Unis est une occupation à temps plein, pour les employés du ministère des Affaires étrangères américain. Cela inclut l’ambassadrice des États-Unis auprès de l’Association des nations du sud-est asiatique (ASEAN, dans son acronyme en anglais), Nina Hachigian, qui a expliqué à ses abonnés sur Twitter que, suite à la récente visite d’Obama au Laos, elle «avait discuté avec des boutiquiers laotiens, qui lui ont dit que cette visite était l’événement le plus important et le plus captivant des dernières décennies».

Il va sans dire que pour le Laos, l’événement réellement le plus important en rapport avec les États-Unis, ce sont les deux millions de tonnes de bombes que ces derniers ont déversées sur le pays entre 1964 et 1973. Ces deux millions de tonnes de bombes comprennent des bombes à fragmentation, qui rassemblent plus de 266 millions de sous-munitions, dont on estime que 30% d’entre elles n’ont pas encore explosé, restant à ce jour un danger latent et mortel pour les 6,8 millions d’habitants du Laos.

Ces quelques 80 millions de sous-munitions qui jonchent le territoire laotien, représentent environ 11 sous-munitions potentiellement létales pour chaque homme, femme et enfant du pays. Vingt-mille personnes sont mortes après la fin des bombardements, à cause de ces sous-munitions américaines, et de nombreuses autres ont été handicapées par ces sous-munitions qui estropient leurs victimes.

Selon le Programme national lao sur les équipements militaires non-activés (UXO LAO), 444 711 de ces sous-munitions encore actives (soit 0,55% du total) ont été détruites entre 1996 et 2010. Malgré le travail titanesque et dangereux que cela représente de les neutraliser, il faut reconnaître que cela ne représente rien, au regard du travail qu’il reste à faire.

Lorsqu’elle est publiquement confrontée à ces faits, l’ambassadrice américaine Hachigian soutient à ses abonnés sur Twitter que : «Nous avons dépensé des centaines de millions de dollars pour nettoyer le pays, et le Président Obama vient  de doubler le budget annuel alloué à cette mission.»

Bien sûr, un élève du niveau de l’école primaire aurait pu dire à l’ambassadrice que deux fois zéro est toujours égal à zéro.

Un journal de la classe dominante, The Diplomat, a prétendu dans un article intitulé Obama au Laos : Opération nettoyage après la guerre secrète que :
«Ces dernières années, le soutien des États-Unis au programme de nettoyage UXO et l’assistance à ses victimes laotiennes ont été considérablement augmentés.»

En réponse à une pression constante des ONG comme Legacies of War et leurs alliés au Congrès américain, le financement des États-Unis pour ce travail de déminage est passé de 5 millions de dollars en 2010, à un budget record de 19,5 millions cette année. Ces fonds déboursés par le Bureau pour la réduction des arsenaux et le désarmement du ministère des Affaires étrangères sont utilisés pour soutenir les efforts de déminage qui neutralisent quelques cent mille engins explosifs au Laos chaque année, et crée trois mille emplois dans les secteurs commercial et humanitaire.

Au rythme de cent mille munitions et explosifs par an, le Laos devrait être totalement débarrassé de ces bombes à fragmentation dans un peu moins de mille ans. Et les États-Unis appellent cela du «nettoyage».

Le véritable héritage légué par l’Amérique à l’Asie

Le journal The Diplomat, le président américain Obama et son ambassadrice Hachigian ont au moins l’avantage d’aider l’Asie à saisir la pleine mesure de l’héritage légué par les États-Unis à la région, fait de guerres catastrophiques et de leurs séquelles meurtrières, qui continueront de hanter des générations pour, littéralement, encore un millénaire.

Non seulement les États-Unis ont-ils infligé ces catastrophes à l’Asie, mais ils le font sans exprimer aucun remords. Dans cet article de la BBC intitulé Laos : Barack Obama déplore le plus grand bombardement de l’histoire de l’humanité, il est précisé que «M. Obama n’a cependant pas présenté d’excuses officielles pour ces bombardements».

Toutefois, certains pourraient se laisser aller à interpréter les «regrets» du président Obama et les tentatives de son ambassadrice Hachigian de simuler une prise de responsabilité des États-Unis pour leurs actions, comme un acte de contrition de leur part. Ces gens-là devraient se rappeler qu’une demande de pardon est en principe accompagnée d’un désir sincère de ne pas répéter l’offense en question, ce que les États-Unis n’ont aucunement l’intention de faire.

Alors que le président Obama et son ambassadrice annoncent au monde entier leur désir de passer de l’inaction à une action symbolique au sujet des quatre-vingt millions de sous-munitions déversées sur le Laos, les États-Unis, au même moment, prêtent main-forte à leurs alliés saoudiens pour annihiler la nation yéménite au moyen de bombardements similaires.

Selon un article de la chaîne américaine ABC News, intitulé Le Congrès américain donne son feu vert à la vente de bombes à fragmentation à l’Arabie saoudite, prétextant qu’un embargo stigmatiserait ce type de munitions, on apprend : «Le Congrès a statué en faveur d’un prolongement des ventes de bombes à fragmentation à l’Arabie saoudite, motivant son vote par son souci de ne pas stigmatiser ce genre d’armes. Les défenseurs des droits de l’homme mettent en avant les résultats serrés du vote, 216 en faveur contre 204 en défaveur, pour souligner le progrès fait dans la lutte contre ce commerce américano-saoudien, qui, selon ces mêmes défenseurs, causerait de multiples carnages contre tous types de populations.»

Les États-Unis ont également recouvert de munitions à uranium appauvri différents théâtres d’opération en Irak, Afghanistan et Bosnie. Selon un article du quotidien britannique The Guardian intitulé Les scientifiques demandent un nettoyage des munitions pour protéger les civils, on apprend que «Quelques deux mille tonnes d’uranium appauvri ont été déversées sur les pays du Golfe, notamment sur Bagdad, dans des proportions bien supérieures à ce qui a été utilisé dans les Balkans. Le Programme des Nations unies pour l’environnement (United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, en anglais) s’est proposé d’aller en Irak pour vérifier la quantité de munitions à l’uranium appauvri encore présente et pour évaluer les risques encourus par la population.»

Si le Laos, au rythme actuel du «nettoyage», devra patienter simplement un petit millénaire pour être débarrassé des bombes à fragmentation, des pays tels que l’Irak et l’Afghanistan, bombardés à l’uranium appauvri américain, devront, eux, patienter quelques millions d’années (suivant la demi-vie de l’uranium) avant que les risques ne disparaissent pour leurs populations exposées.

Il est évident que si les États-Unis appliquaient encore leur puissance militaire sur l’Asie, ils le feraient avec une puissance qui aurait des conséquences au moins identiques, voire plus dramatiques que celles qu’ils ont déjà fait subir au Laos, à l’Irak, à l’Afghanistan, à la Bosnie, ou que leurs alliés font actuellement subir à des États souverains comme le Yémen.

Considérer les faits plutôt que de prêter attention à la rhétorique du président américain et de ses ambassadeurs, au sujet du bilan véritable des États-Unis en Asie, révèle les agissements d’une nation d’une arrogance infinie, n’exprimant aucun remords pour l’incroyable souffrance durable qu’elle a infligée à l’autre extrémité de la planète, et prouve par ses actions présentes qu’elle est prête à, et même désireuse, de répandre encore plus le chaos.

À la lumière de ces faits, on pardonnera aisément à celui qui ne comprend pas exactement à quelle «sécurité dans la région» le Secrétaire à la Défense américain Ashton Carter fait référence : ce n’est certainement pas une sécurité qui bénéficie aux nations asiatiques, et définitivement pas au Laos, en tout cas pour le millénaire à venir.

Tony Cartalucci

 

Article original en anglais :

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

America in Asia: Arrogant, Unapologetic, and Ready for More Conflict

Paru initialement sur New Eastern Outlook

Traduit par Laurent Schiaparelli, édité par Wayan, relu par Cat pour Le Saker Francophone

Tony Cartalucci est chercheur et essayiste en géopolitique, basé à Bangkok, travaillant en particulier pour le magazine New Eastern Outlook.

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Le moment Hillary

octobre 3rd, 2016 by Bruno Guigue

L’avantage, avec Hillary Clinton, c’est qu’elle annonce clairement la couleur. A grand renfort de rhétorique chauvine, la candidate démocrate galvanise les énergies du complexe militaro-industriel, du lobby sioniste et de la finance mondialisée. Elle est fière comme un Artaban de ses exploits guerriers en Libye. Elle promet de liquider sans délai Bachar Al-Assad. Elle couvre d’injures le président de la Russie et l’accuse de comploter contre son élection. D’une arrogance à toute épreuve, Hillary version 2016 incarne cette fraction de l’oligarchie yankee qui est prête à tout pour étendre sa domination. Mais pour bien comprendre cette séquence politique que j’appellerai le « moment Hillary », il faut la resituer dans un continuum historique.

Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama : depuis 1992, les trois présidents qui se sont succédé à la Maison Blanche n’ont pas ménagé leur peine pour servir une oligarchie qui se gave des prodigieux dividendes de la merveilleuse mondialisation libérale. Le plus décrié des trois, George W. Bush, n’a pas eu besoin, pourtant, d’inféoder la politique de son pays aux majors pétrolières et aux magnats de l’armement : elle était déjà sous leur coupe depuis longtemps ! Prototype du guerrier pacifiste, redoutable expert en communication, son prédécesseur Bill Clinton a largement contribué à cette inféodation, et il a légué un héritage politique dont on a parfois tendance à oublier l’importance.

Cet héritage, il faut le rappeler, est inséparable des circonstances exceptionnelles qui l’ont vu naître. L’élection de Bill Clinton eut lieu au lendemain d’un événement majeur, l’effondrement de l’URSS. Cette disparition de la superpuissance rivale ouvrit la voie à l’instauration d’un monde unipolaire. Poussant les feux de la globalisation économique, servant docilement les intérêts du capital financier, cet apôtre décontracté du mondialisme conforta la domination sans partage de Washington. Bill Clinton n’a pas inventé l’impérialisme, mais il l’a étendu à la planète. De quelle manière ? En réalisant trois avancées hégémoniques auxquelles Hillary compte bien s’arc-bouter pour repousser encore plus loin les limites du leadership US.

Lourde de conséquences, la première avancée hégémonique fut la transformation de l’OTAN en machine de guerre agressive. Bras séculier d’une alliance défensive destinée à parer à la « menace soviétique », cet appareil guerrier survécut à son ennemi potentiel. Au lieu de le dissoudre, les dirigeants US en firent une machine à émasculer les vieilles nations occidentales et l’instrument d’une offensive permanente contre Moscou. Provocation sans précédent, cette alliance belliqueuse élargie aux pays de l’Est européen a atteint les frontières occidentales de la Russie.

La deuxième avancée hégémonique de l’ère Clinton est de nature idéologique. Pour justifier l’intervention militaire contre un Etat souverain, on invoquerait désormais le prétexte des droits de l’homme. Cette doctrine fut expérimentée dans les Balkans, où la propagande humanitaire servit de paravent à l’ingérence dans les affaires intérieures de la Serbie, ce petit Etat au nationalisme ombrageux et jaloux de son intégrité territoriale. On inventa alors au Kosovo un génocide qui n’eut jamais lieu, on bombarda les infrastructures serbes, puis on confia le service après-vente de ce désastre à Bernard Kouchner, dont le don pour le maniement de la serpillière est de notoriété mondiale.

Cette opération militaire eut pour résultat de créer un Etat voyou, livré clé en main à une mafia particulièrement glauque dont le ralliement à l’Occident lui permit d’accroître les marges bénéficiaires de ses trafics en tout genre. Pour la première fois, un Etat-croupion fut porté sur les fonts baptismaux par une intervention militaire de l’OTAN en l’absence de mandat de l’ONU et en violation flagrante de la loi internationale. On croyait naïvement que l’intangibilité des frontières était un principe de droit international. C’est fini. La politique des droits de l’homme lui a tordu le cou.

Troisième avancée hégémonique, enfin : le génie inventif de la présidence Clinton porta sur la façon de faire la guerre. Avec les bombardements frénétiques infligés à la Somalie, à l’Irak et à la Serbie, le Pentagone expérimenta sa « révolution dans les affaires militaires ». Au lieu d’expédier sur place des troupes risquant de se faire hacher menu, Washington frappa ses ennemis, du haut du ciel, en déchaînant attaques aériennes et missiles de croisière. D’une parfaite asymétrie, ces frappes chirurgicales cumulaient les avantages de l’ubiquité, de la précision et de l’absence de pertes dans le camp du bien.

Embrigadement des alliés dans une OTAN sans frontières, droit-de-l’hommisme en casque lourd et déchaînement du feu céleste contre les récalcitrants : ces trois sauts qualitatifs ont fourni un modèle inoxydable de politique étrangère. Même les détracteurs républicains de Bill Clinton ont retenu la leçon. Ses successeurs George W. Bush et Barack Obama n’y ont pas dérogé. Le premier a profité du 11 septembre pour lâcher les faucons du Pentagone sur le Moyen-Orient, mais cet interventionnisme a fait l’effet d’un éléphant dans un magasin de porcelaine. Devant ce fiasco, le peuple américain élut en 2008 un démocrate plutôt avenant qui avait pour carte de visite son opposition à cette aventure guerrière. Hélas l’illusion fut de courte durée, et la politique néo-conservatrice continua de plus belle.

Afin de limiter l’envoi de troupes sur le champ de bataille, Barack Obama a préféré le « leading from behind » à l’intervention directe. Mais il a aussi intensifié la guerre des drones et maintenu le bagne de Guantanamo. Jouant avec le feu, il a pactisé avec Al-Qaida, fait détruire la Libye par ses larbins européens et vainement tenté d’anéantir la Syrie, où il est tombé sur un os nommé Poutine. C’est pourquoi il a installé en Europe un bouclier anti-missile qui menace Moscou, favorisé un coup d’Etat à Kiev et imposé à la Russie des sanctions que rien ne justifie.

La campagne au lance-flammes d’Hillary Clinton montre que la fraction belliciste de l’oligarchie est décidée à poursuivre cette politique agressive. Le secrétaire à la Défense, Ashton Carter, a récemment déclaré que les Etats-Unis se réservaient le droit d’utiliser l’arme nucléaire en première frappe. Sans état d’âme, les Docteur Folamour du néoconservatisme évoquent une future guerre avec la Russie ou la Chine. Une chose est sûre. Cette stratégie de la tension l’emportera si la candidate démocrate gagne l’élection du 8 novembre. Et le « moment Hillary » mettra la planète au bord du gouffre.

Bruno Guigue

 

Bruno Guigue, ex-haut fonctionnaire, analyste politique et chargé de cours à l’Université de La Réunion. Il est l’auteur de cinq ouvrages, dont Aux origines du conflit israélo-arabe, L’invisible remords de l’Occident, L’Harmattan, 2002, et de centaines d’articles.

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La propagande hollywoodienne et la CIA

octobre 3rd, 2016 by Julie Lévesque

« L’une des tendances les plus répandues dans la culture occidentale au 21e siècle est presque devenue une obsession aux États-Unis : « l’histoire hollywoodienne ». Les studios privés de Los Angeles dépensent des centaines de millions de dollars pour confectionner sur mesure des événements historiques afin qu’ils conviennent au paradigme politique prédominant. » (Patrick Henningsen, Hollywood History: CIA Sponsored “Zero Dark Thirty”, Oscar for “Best Propaganda Picture”)

Black Hawk Dawn, Zero Dark Thirty et Argo, ne sont que quelques unes des productions récentes démontrant comment l’industrie cinématographique actuelle promeut la politique étrangère étasunienne. Le 7e art a toutefois été utilisé depuis le début de 20e siècle et la coopération d’Hollywood avec le département de la Défense, la CIA et d’autres agences gouvernementales n’est pas une nouvelle tendance.

En laissant Michelle Obama présenter l’Oscar du meilleur film, Argo de Ben Affleck, l’industrie a montré sa proximité avec Washington. Selon Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, Argo est un film de propagande occultant l’horrible vérité à propos de la crise des otages en Iran et conçu pour préparer l’opinion publique à une confrontation prochaine avec l’Iran.

« Ceux qui s’intéressent à la politique étrangère savent depuis longtemps qu’Hollywood reflète et promeut les politiques étasuniennes (déterminées par Israël et ses sympathisants). Ce fait a été rendu public lorsque Michelle Obama a annoncé le gagnant de l’Oscar du meilleur film, Argo, un film anti-iranien extrêmement propagandiste. Dans le faste et l’enthousiasme, Hollywood et la Maison-Blanche ont révélé leur pacte et envoyé leur message à temps pour les pourparlers relatifs au programme nucléaire iranien […]

Hollywood promeut depuis longtemps les politiques étasuniennes. En 1917, lors de l’entrée des États-Unis dans la Première Guerre mondiale, le Committee on Public Information (Comité sur l’information publique, CPI) a enrôlé l’industrie cinématographique étasunienne pour faire des films de formation et des longs métrages appuyant la « cause ». George Creel, président du CPI, croyait que les films avaient un rôle à jouer dans « la diffusion de l’évangile américaniste aux quatre coins du globe ».

Le pacte s’est fortifié durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale […] Hollywood contribuait en fournissant de la propagande. En retour, Washington a utilisé des subventions, des dispositions particulières du plan Marshall et son influence générale après la guerre pour forcer l’ouverture des marchés cinématographiques européens réfractaires […]

Alors qu’Hollywood et la Maison-Blanche s’empressent d’honorer Argo et son message propagandiste, ils occultent impudemment et délibérément un aspect crucial de cet événement « historique ». Le clinquant camoufle un fait important, soit que les étudiants iraniens ayant pris le contrôle de l’ambassade des États-Unis à Téhéran ont révélé au monde entier l’horrible secret d’Israël. Des documents classés « secrets » ont révélé les activités de LAKAM. Créé en 1960, LAKAM était un réseau israélien assigné à l’espionnage économique aux États-Unis et affecté à la « collecte de renseignement scientifique aux États-Unis pour le compte de l’industrie de la défense israélienne ». » (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich Oscar to Hollywood’s “Argo”: And the Winners are … the Pentagon and the Israel Lobby)

Pour un véritable compte rendu de la crise des otages en Iran, une opération clandestine de la CIA, Mondialisation.ca vous recommande la lecture d’un article de Harry V. Martin publié en 1995, The Real Iranian Hostage Story from the Files of Fara Mansoor et dont voici un extrait:

« Farah Mansour est un fugitif. Non, il n’a enfreint aucune loi aux États-Unis. Son crime est de connaître la vérité. Ce qu’il a à dire et les documents qu’il possède sont l’équivalent d’un arrêt de mort pour lui. Mansour est un Iranien ayant fait partie de l’establishment en Iran bien avant la crise des otages en 1979. Ses archives contredisent la soi-disant théorie de la « surprise d’octobre » voulant que l’équipe Ronald Reagan-George Bush ait payé les Iraniens pour qu’ils libèrent les 52 otages étasuniens seulement après les élections présidentielles de novembre 1980 […]

Détenant des milliers de documents pour appuyer sa version des faits, Mansour affirme que la « crise des otages » était un « outil de gestion » politique créé par la faction pro-Bush de la CIA et implanté à l’aide d’une alliance a priori avec les fondamentalistes islamiques de Khomeini. Il dit que l’opération avait deux objectifs :

  • Garder l’Iran intact et sans communistes en donnant le contrôle absolu à Khomeini
  • Déstabiliser l’administration Carter et mettre George Bush à la Maison-Blanche » (Harry V. Martin, The Real Iran Hostage Crisis: A CIA Covert Op)

Zero Dark Thirty est une autre œuvre de propagande du grand écran ayant soulevé un tollé plus tôt cette année. Le film exploite les événements affreux du 11-Septembre afin de présenter la torture comme un mal efficace et nécessaire :

« Zero Dark Thirty est troublant pour deux raisons. D’abord et avant tout le film laisse le spectateur avec la fausse impression que la torture a aidé la CIA à trouver la cachette de Ben Laden au Pakistan. Ensuite, il ignore à la fois l’illégalité et l’immoralité de l’utilisation de la torture comme technique d’interrogation.

Le thriller s’ouvre sur ces mots : « basé sur des témoignages d’événements réels ». Après nous avoir montré des séquences des horribles événements du 11-Septembre, le film passe à une longue représentation explicite de la torture. Le détenu, Ammar, est soumis à la simulation de noyade, mis dans des positions douloureuses, privé de sommeil et enfermé dans une petite boîte. En réaction à la torture, il divulgue le nom du messager qui mène finalement la CIA à l’endroit où se trouve Ben Laden et à son assassinat. C’est peut-être du bon cinéma, mais c’est inexact et trompeur. (Marjorie Cohn, “Zero Dark Thirty”: Torturing the Facts)

Plus tôt cette année les prix Golden Globe ont suscité les critiques de certains analystes dénonçant la macabre « célébration hollywoodienne de l’État policier » et avançant que le véritable gagnant des Golden Globe était le complexe militaro-industriel :

« Homeland a gagné les prix de meilleure série télévisée, du meilleur acteur et de la meilleure actrice. L’émission EST très divertissante et illustre certains défauts du système MIIC (complexe militaire, industriel et du renseignement).

Argo a reçu le prix du meilleur film et du meilleur réalisateur. Ben Affleck a fait l’éloge de la CIA, que son film glorifie.

Le prix de la meilleur actrice est allé à Jessica Chastain pour son rôle dans Zero Dark Thirty, un film vilipendé pour sa propagande sur l’utilisation de la torture […]

Le complexe militaire, industriel et du renseignement joue un rôle de plus en plus envahissant dans nos vies. Dans les prochaines années nous allons voir des films axés sur l’utilisation de la technologie des drones dans le milieu policier et de l’espionnage aux États-Unis. Nous voyons déjà des films montrant comment les espions peuvent violer tous les aspects de notre vie privée, des parties de nos vies les plus intimes. En faisant des films et des séries télévisées célébrant ces propagations cancéreuses de l’État policier, Hollywood et les grands studios normalisent les idées qu’ils nous présentent, en mentant au public en créant régulièrement des histoires frauduleuses pour camoufler la réalité. (Rob Kall cité dans Washington’s Blog, The CIA and Other Government Agencies Dominate Movies and Television)

Tous ces liens troublants qu’entretient Hollywood ont été examinés dans un article détaillé publié par Global Research en janvier 2009. Lights, Camera… Covert Action: The Deep Politics of Hollywood (Lumières, caméra… action clandestine : La politique profonde d’Hollywood). L’article énumère un grand nombre de films en partie scénarisés à des fins de propagande par le département de la Défense, la CIA et d’autres agences gouvernementales. Il est intéressant de noter que le réalisateur Ben Affleck, gagnant de l’Oscar du meilleur film cette année, a coopéré avec la CIA en 2002 alors qu’il était en vedette dans La Somme de toutes les peurs.

Les auteurs Matthew Alford et Robbie Graham expliquent que comparativement à la CIA, le département de la Défense « a une relation “ouverte“, mais peu publicisée avec Tinseltown, [laquelle], quoique moralement douteuse et peu affichée, est au moins du domaine publique ». Alford et Graham citent un rapport de la CIA révélant l’influence tentaculaire de l’agence, non seulement dans l’industrie du cinéma mais également dans les médias, « entretenant des liens avec des reporters de toutes les grandes agences de presse, tous les grands journaux, hebdomadaires et réseaux de télévision du pays ». Ce n’est qu’en 1996 que la CIA a annoncé qu’elle « collaborerait désormais ouvertement aux productions d’Hollywood, supposément à titre strictement “consultatif“ » :

« La décision de l’agence de travailler publiquement avec Hollywood a été précédée par le rapport de 1991, « Task Force Report on Greater CIA Openness » (Rapport du groupe de travail sur une plus grande ouverture de la CIA), compilé par le nouveau « Groupe de travail sur l’ouverture » créé par le directeur de la CIA Robert Gates. Ironiquement, ce rapport discutait secrètement de la possibilité que l’Agence devienne moins secrète. Le rapport reconnaît que la CIA “entretient actuellement des liens avec des reporters de toutes les grandes agences de presse, tous les grands journaux, hebdomadaires et réseaux de télévision du pays“. Les auteurs du rapport notent que cela les a aidé “à transformer des ‘échecs du renseignement’ en ‘succès’ et a contribué à l’exactitude de nombreuses histoires“. Le document révèle par ailleurs que la CIA a par le passé “persuadé des journalistes de retarder, changer, retenir ou même laisser tomber des histoires qui auraient pu avoir des conséquences néfastes sur des intérêts en matière de sécurité nationale […] »

L’auteur de romans d’espionnage Tom Clancy a joui d’une relation particulièrement étroite avec la CIA. En 1984, Clancy a été invité à Langley après avoir écrit Octobre rouge, adapté au cinéma dans les années 1990. L’agence l’a invité à nouveau lorsqu’il travaillait sur Jeux de guerre (1992) et les responsables de l’adaptation cinématographique ont eu à leur tour accès aux installations de Langley. Parmi les films récents, on compte La Somme de toutes les peurs (2002), illustrant la CIA repérant des terroristes faisant exploser une bombe nucléaire en sol étasunien. Pour cette production, le directeur de la CIA George Tenet a lui-même fait faire une visite guidée du quartier général de Langley. La vedette du film, Ben Affleck, a lui aussi consulté des analystes de l’Agence et Chase Brandon a agi à titre de conseiller sur le plateau de tournage.

Les véritable raisons pour lesquelles la CIA joue le rôle de “conseiller“ dans toutes ces productions sont mises en relief par un commentaire isolé du codirecteur du contentieux de la CIA Paul Kelbaugh. En 2007, lors d’un passage dans un collège en Virginie, il a donné une conférence sur les liens de la CIA avec Hollywood, à laquelle a assisté un journaliste local. Ce dernier (qui souhaite conserver l’anonymat) a écrit un compte-rendu de la conférence relatant les propos de Kelbaugh sur le thriller de 2003, La Recrue, avec Al Pacino. Le journaliste citait Kelbaugh qui disait qu’un agent de la CIA était sur le plateau pour toute la durée du tournage prétextant agir comme conseiller, mais que son vrai travail consistait à désorienter les réalisateurs […] Kelbaugh a nié catégoriquement avoir fait cette déclaration. (Matthew Alford and Robbie Graham, Lights, Camera… Covert Action: The Deep Politics of Hollywood)

Durant la Guerre froide, l’agent Luigi G. Luraschi du Psychological Strategy Board (Bureau de stratégie psychologique, PSB) de la CIA était un cadre de Paramount. Il « avait obtenu l’accord de plusieurs directeurs de la distribution pour que l’on infiltre subtilement des « nègres bien habillés » dans les films, dont un « digne majordome nègre » avec des répliques « indiquant qu’il est un homme libre » ». Le but de ces changements était « de freiner la capacité des Soviétiques à exploiter le bilan médiocre de leurs ennemis relativement aux relations raciales et servait à créer une impression particulièrement neutre des États-Unis, toujours embourbés à l’époque dans la ségrégation raciale ». (Ibid.)

Les plus récentes productions cinématographiques primées confirment que la vision manichéenne du monde mise de l’avant par le programme de la politique étrangère étasunienne n’a pas changé depuis la Guerre froide. L’alliance Hollywood-CIA se porte bien et présente encore les États-Unis comme le « leader du monde libre » combattant « le mal » dans le monde entier :

L’ancien agent de la CIA Bob Baer nous a confirmé que l’imbrication entre Hollywood et l’appareil de sécurité nationale est toujours aussi étroite : « Il y a une symbiose entre la CIA et Hollywood ». Les réunions de Sun Valley donnent du poids à ses déclarations. Lors de ces rencontres annuelles en Idaho, plusieurs centaines de grands noms des médias étasuniens, incluant tous les directeurs des grands studios d’Hollywood, se réunissent afin de discuter d’une stratégie médiatique commune pour l’année suivante. (Ibid.)

Mondialisation.ca offre à ses lecteurs une liste d’articles sur ce sujet.

Contrairement à l’industrie cinématographique hollywoodienne, Mondialisation.ca ne subit aucune influence de l’appareil étasunien du renseignement et travaille d’arrache pied pour vous offrir la vérité plutôt que de la fiction et de la propagande.

Nous comptons uniquement sur l’appui de nos lecteurs afin de continuer à nous battre pour la vérité et la justice. Si vous désirez contribuer à la recherche indépendante, devenez membre ou faites un don! Votre appui est très apprécié. 

Article original: Screen Propaganda, Hollywood and the CIA


SELECTION D’ARTICLES

En français :

Lalo Vespera, Zero Dark Thirty : Oscar de l’islamophobie radicale

Lalo Vespera, Zero Dark Thirty et masque de beauté

David Walsh, Démineurs, la cérémonie des oscars et la réhabilitation de la guerre en Irak

Samuel Blumenfeld, Le Pentagone et la CIA enrôlent Hollywood

Timothy Sexton, L’histoire d’Hollywood : la propagande pendant la deuxième guerre mondiale

Matthew Alford et Robbie Graham, La politique profonde de Hollywood

En anglais:

Patrick HenningsenHollywood History: CIA Sponsored “Zero Dark Thirty”, Oscar for “Best Propaganda Picture”)

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich Oscar to Hollywood’s “Argo”: And the Winners are … the Pentagon and the Israel Lobby

Harry V. Martin, The Real Iranian Hostage Story from the Files of Fara Mansoor

Rob Kall cited inWashington’s Blog, The CIA and Other Government Agencies Dominate Movies and Television

Marjorie Cohn, “Zero Dark Thirty”: Torturing the Facts

Matthew Alford and Robbie Graham, Lights, Camera… Covert Action: The Deep Politics of Hollywood

 

  • Posted in Francais @fr
  • Commentaires fermés sur La propagande hollywoodienne et la CIA

L’administration Obama, et surtout la CIA et le Département d’Etat, semblent en difficulté. Ils hurlent de toutes leurs forces sur la Russie et prétendent que nettoyer Alep-est d’al-Qaïda est un génocide. Pendant ce temps, personne ne parle jamais de la famine des Houthis au Yémen causée par les bombardements saoudiens et étasuniens et leur blocus.

Mais de plus en plus de rapports soutiennent l’affirmation russe que les « rebelles modérés », dorlotés par les États-Unis en Syrie, sont de mèche avec Al-Qaïda, pour ne pas dire avec al-Qaïda même.

Reuters écrit ceci (bien que seulement à la fin d’une longue histoire):

A Alep, les rebelles de l’Armée syrienne libre (ASL) coopèrent à la planification opérationnelle avec Jaish al-Fatah, une alliance de groupes islamistes qui comprend l’ancienne aile syrienne d’Al-Qaïda. 

Pendant ce temps, dans la province voisine de Hama, des groupes de l’Armée syrienne libre, équipés de missiles anti-char étasuniens, participent à une offensive majeure avec le groupe Jund al-Aqsa, proche d’Al Qaïda.

Le Wall Street Journal est plus direct et titre: Les rebelles syriens se rapprochent d’un groupe lié à al-Qaïda

Certaines des plus grandes factions rebelles de Syrie s’allient de plus en plus étroitement avec un groupe proche d’Al-Qaïda, bien que les Etats-Unis les aient avertis que s’ils ne se séparaient des extrémistes ils risquaient d’être ciblés par des frappes aériennes.

Certains groupes rebelles qui suivent déjà le Front syrien de la conquête ont réagi en renouvelant leur alliance. Mais d’autres, comme Nour al-Din al-Zinki, un ancien groupe soutenu par la CIA et l’une des plus grandes factions d’Alep, ont fait, ces jours derniers, pour la première fois allégeance au Front syrien de la conquête.

De fait, al Qaeda a annoncé publiquement que Nour el-Din Zinki de la CIA et Suqour al-Sham ont rejoint son Djihad.

Déjà en août le Département d’Etat a défendu Zinki après que certains de ses membres ont enlevés un garçon palestinien d’un hôpital près d’Alep et l’ont décapité devant une caméra vidéo:

Pendant le briefing du Département d’Etat, [..] Le porte-parole, Mark Toner, a minimisé l’incident et a dit que les États-Unis ne cesseraient pas d’armer Nour al-Din al-Zinki simplement parce qu’ils avaient décapité un enfant .

Selon Toner [..] « un incident ici ou là ne fait pas nécessairement de vous un groupe terroriste. »

Ces nouvelles informations font suite à l’entretien de l’ancien politicien et journaliste allemand, Jürgen Todenhöfer, avec un commandant d’Al-Qaïda publié en anglais sur ce site. Le commandant a dit que Nusra (aka al-Qaïda) a été approvisionné, par l’intermédiaire d’un sous-groupe, en missiles TOW américains. Il a ajouté à propos de ces groupes:

Ils sont tous avec nous. Nous sommes tous le Front al-Nusra. Un groupe se crée et se donne le nom « d’Armée islamique », ou  de « Fateh al-Sham ». Chaque groupe a son propre nom mais leurs croyances sont identiques. A eux tous ils constituent le front al-Nusra. Un chef a, par exemple, 2000 combattants. Alors il crée un nouveau groupe et l’appelle les Frères « Ahrar al-Sham » mais sa foi, ses idées et ses objectifs sont les mêmes que ceux du Front al-Nusra.

L’ancien militaire Jack Murphy a récemment publié un autre interview avec un Béret vert qui a servi en Turquie et en Syrie. Les Bérets verts sont des forces spéciales de l’armée américaine. Ce sont des spécialistes de la formation et du combat des groupes de guérilla autochtones contre les gouvernements que les Américains n’aiment pas. Le soldat de l’interview  a reçu l’ordre de former des « rebelles syriens modérés » en Turquie. Voilà des extraits de cette interview(payante):

« Personne sur le terrain ne croit à cette mission », écrit un ancien Béret vert à propos des programmes secrets de l’Amérique pour former et armer les insurgés syriens, « ils savent que nous sommes en train de former la prochaine génération de djihadistes, alors ils sabotent l’opération clandestine en disant : «Et puis merde, on s’en fout !». Et a ajouté le Béret vert : « Je ne veux pas me sentir responsable quand les gars de Nusra disent qu’ils ont été formés par les Américains ».

Murphy dit tout net : « Il est impossible de faire la distinction entre l’ASL [fantomatique. ndlr] et al-Nusra car c’est pratiquement la même organisation. Dès 2013, des commandants de l’ASL ont fait défection avec leurs unités entières pour se joindre à al-Nusra. Là, ils conservent encore leur nom d’ASL mais c’est juste pour la galerie, pour se donner un air de laïcité et bénéficier des  armes fournies par la CIA et les services de renseignement saoudiens. La réalité est que l’ASL n’est rien d’autre qu’une couverture pour al-Nusra, l’affilié d’al-Qaïda. 

C’est une chose quand la Russie dit quelque chose, et une autre lorsque c’est Reuters, WSJ, et des experts indépendants allemands et américains qui rapportent quelque chose comme un fait. Autant on peut rejeter ce que dit la Russie  sous prétexte que ce sont les « mensonges de Poutine », autant il est  extrêmement difficile de réfuter la seconde catégorie de nouvelles.

Les Russes ont raison. Les Etats-Unis n’ont pas séparé les « rebelles modérés » d’al-Qaïda, comme c’était convenu dans l’accord de cessez-le-feu, parce que les « modérés » et al-Qaïda c’est du pareil au même. Les « modérés » c’est al-Qaïda. Ce n’est pas une découverte. Une analyse de 2012 de la Defense Intelligence Agency le disait déjà. La CIA l’a toujours su. Mais John Brennan, le directeur de la CIA à la solde des Saoudiens, ne peut pas le reconnaître, parce que ses maîtres du Golfe financent al-Qaïda.

Ils achètent les armes que les hommes de Brennan fournissent à al-Qaïda. Le « destinataire final », selon ce certificatd’un achat d’armes en Ukraine, est l’Arabie Saoudite. Mais qui va croire que les dictateurs saoudiens ont besoin de  100 vieux tanks T-55 par exemple? Les armes répertoriées sur le certificat, d’un montant estimé de 300 à 500 millions de dollars, sont évidemment destinées à al-Qaïda au Yémen et en Syrie. (Joe Biden ou son fils, tous deux fortement engagés en Ukraine, ont-ils touché un pourcentage sur la vente?)

Les faits s’accumulent et on se demande combien de temps le New York Times et le Washington Post vont pouvoir continuer cette sorte de propagande. Il faut admettre, qu’ils font vraiment de leur mieux. Malheureusement pour eux, leurs efforts ne paient pas. Le NYT a annoncé aujourd’hui que Vladimir Poutine renonce à son rôle de perturbateur. Comment le NYT sait-il ce à quoi Poutine « renonce »? Le journaliste n’a pas demandé à Poutine lui-même. Mais il a posé la question à quelques experts bien informés qui ont leurs entrées dans la tête de Poutine et qui ont assuré à l’auteur qu’il ne se trompait pas. Ils savent exactement ce que Poutine ressent. Ils se nomment Richard Haass, le président du Conseil des relations étrangères, James R. Clapper Jr., le directeur du renseignement national, James B. Comey, le directeur du F.B.I. et Robert Kagan, la principale voix des néocons et un soutien de Clinton. De vrais « experts ».

Ajoutez cela à des dizaines d’histoires sur la façon dont « la Russie bombarde indistinctement civils / hôpitaux / boulangeries dans Alep-est » mais ne touche jamais de « rebelles », car aucune de ces  histoires n’est vraie. Un récentarticle de ce genre de NYT s’appuyait sur 14 « voix ». Huit appartenaient à divers propagandistes associés aux « Casques blancs », quatre étaient des diplomates « occidentaux », et un représentant du gouvernement syrien et un porte-parole russe étaient cités à la fin. Aucun militaire russe, ni aucun habitant d’Alep-ouest où la plupart des gens de la ville vivent sous la protection du gouvernement et sous les roquettes lancées quotidiennement par les « rebelles », n’a été interviewé.

Mais toutes ces histoires que nous entendons sur les Russes diaboliques DOIVENT être vraies ! Il y a même une enfant de 7 ans, Bana Alabeb, qui tweete depuis Alep-est sur la tragédie qu’elle vit sous les aveugles assauts russes. Et cela dans un anglais parfait, avec une excellente connexion WiFi et Internet comme l’attestent les nombreuses photos et vidéos des « Casques blancs » qu’elle envoie en pièces jointes. Pourtant toute la ville est dévastée et en ruines, à l’en croire, et des bombes aux phosphore explosent juste en face de chez elle.

Mais Bana est une petite personne très responsable:

Bana Alabed @AlabedBana

Cher monde, il est préférable de commencer une 3ème  guerre mondiale plutôt que de laisser la Russie et Assad commettre #un holocauste à Alep.

13:53 – 29 septembre 2016

Sa « mère » a téléphoné au Daily Mail pour avoir une « interview exclusive» et elle nous assure que tout cela est vrai. Le Telegraph a publié un diaporama sur elle avec de la musique triste en fond sonore et le Guardian fait aussi sa promotion. Encore un flop médiatique comme celui de l’arnaque de La fille gaie de Damas. En 2011, le Guardian avait également participé à l’escroquerie. Si cette gamine de 7 ans, est à Alep-est et pas au Danemark ou au Royaume-Uni, alors moi je suis sur Mars. Aucun lecteur sain d’esprit ne prendra un tel canular au sérieux. Quelle entreprise de relations publiques a bien pu concocter une  arnaque aussi nulle ?

Comme le fantasme des « rebelles modérés », ces contes et la propagande stupide de l’organisation des « Casques blancs » commencent à faire long feu. Le National des Etats du Golfe, un journal international bien connu, s’est récemment intéressé au créateur des Casques blancs, un « ancien » agent militaire britannique qui travaille pour les intérêts de la défense du Golfe. C’est bizarre pour une œuvre de charité. Même s’il manque des détails, ce rapport est déjà remarquable  en ceci qu’il est le premier document important à exprimer des soupçons sur cette organisation.

Les mensonges de l’administration Obama sur les « rebelles modérés » sont désormais ouvertement discutés dans les grands médias. La propagande sur #l’holocauste d’Alep (cette comparaison avec l’holocauste n’est-elle pas antisémite d’ailleurs?) tourne au ridicule.

La Russie accroit sa participation dans le conflit en Syrie. Des jets SU-24, SU-25 et SU-34 russes supplémentaires. Il y a près de 6000 soldats russes sur le terrain. Les « rebelles » d’Al-Qaïda et de la CIA sont en train de perdre à Alep-est et sont dans l’impasse ou sous pression dans d’autres endroits. Ils vont être réduits en miettes par les bombes. Quelques nouveaux lanceurs de missiles multiples BM-21 et de l’artillerie lourde anti-aérienne leur ont été livrés. Mais ce ne sont que des pansements sur une jambe de bois. Même les MANPAD ne changeront pas la situation le moins du monde.

Les États-Unis, les Saoudiens et en particulier la CIA de Brennan ont perdu ce combat. Obama et Kerry vont-ils l’admettre? Ou vont-ils faire une prière et se lancer dans quelque chose de complètement fou ?

Moon of Alabama

30 septembre 2016

Article original en anglais :

U.S.-Russia-Syria 2

The U.S. Propaganda Shams Now Openly Fail. CIA and State Department in Trouble

Traduction : Dominique Muselet

  • Posted in Francais @fr
  • Commentaires fermés sur Syrie: La propagande de l’administration Obama, de la CIA et du Département d’Etat a du plomb dans l’aile

Dramatic Decline in U.S. Oil Production

octobre 3rd, 2016 by WhoWhatWhy

by Jeff Clyburn

originally published by WhoWhatWhy

Those “drill baby drill” fanatics who still insist America is on the smooth road to energy independence might want to pump the brakes just a bit.

A look at the latest report by the US Energy Information Administration shows US oil production is down over one million barrels per day since its June 2015 peak of 9.6 million. As of September 9, 2016, US oil production is at 8.5 million barrels per day. That’s an 11.5% drop in production in a relatively short period of time, and it’s a downward slope with no end in sight.

OPEC did agree to a modest production cut of under 1 million barrels per day on Wednesday, Sept. 28, and prices quickly shot up 5%.

Two of the three biggest formations in the US — Eagle Ford, predominantly in Colorado, and Bakken, predominantly in North Dakota — are now producing 40% and 25% less, respectively, compared to this time last year. It is an alarming drop off that can’t be dismissed by merely blaming the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for “flooding markets” and awaiting a price rebound.

Skeptics suggest the long-predicted production decline is terminal. In their view, investment tricks can’t overcome the fact that this is a matter of resource depletion, where the deeper you have to dig, the more expensive the resource gets to extract, refine and deliver.

Those sounding the alarm insist the rate of borrowing within the industry has grown desperate, and was always unsustainable. They scoff at faith-based appeals to the wonders of technology, as US shale formations are not a new discovery, nor is the technology used to harvest the resource particularly new. What changed was years of sky-high oil prices between 2002 and 2014, making these unconventional reserves suddenly worth drilling. After overproducing for 3-4 years, we now remain very far from that kind of global oil price today.

That 5% increase Wednesday left Brent at $48.96 per barrel at the close of trading. During the fracking boom years of 2011-2013, Brent averaged $110.

Apologists for the oil industry, however — or just those who see US growth as inevitable — cite the depressed global price for oil as a temporary roadblock that will work itself out as soon as demand catches up to supply again and markets tighten.

Hydraulic fracturing site. Photo credit: Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Hydraulic fracturing site.
Photo credit: Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

They insist Saudi Arabia is pumping too much, and the resulting global oversupply is hurting US drillers who must endure much higher production costs. But that’s OK, they say, because when (not if) the price rises again, US production will boom once more and happy days will seamlessly return in short order for the US oil patch.

Of course, none of that rationalization accounts for three important questions: 1) Even if (not when) prices return to the level needed for US producers to maintain free cash flow, what happens when the oversupply inevitably returns and global prices dip all over again? 2) How can they be certain Wall St. investment dollars will return after the bloodbath the industry is currently enduring? 3) Why is Saudi Arabia, and OPEC in general, obliged to suddenly pump less just to make room for the new kids on the block?

The answer to the final question is easy: The Saudis, long a swing producer, are not obliged to cut production. Oil is a globally traded, fungible commodity. It is not compulsory for any nation to slice production volume just to make it easier for competitors who have higher costs.

This is especially true for a country like Saudi Arabia, which gets roughly 80% of its budgetary revenues from the petroleum sector, and has a number of expensive religious wars to fund to its immediate north and south. The Kingdom literally survives on oil exports, and isn’t about to make concessions for any new producer, ally or otherwise.

The reality is that the recent US oil “revolution” is made up of hydraulic fracturing companies who always needed the global oil price considerably higher than it has been since plummeting in late 2014. Drillers have borrowed billions of dollars in order to keep pumping, and the long-expected payoff never materialized. As a result, the wave of bankruptcies in the US oil patch the past two years has been relentless.

Diminished US production obviously means reduced US revenue and increased reliance on foreign imports in order to maintain our 19 million barrel per day appetite of consumption. It’s nice to point to expansion of renewable energy infrastructure as bridging that gap, but that’s a long process hindered by economic and political gridlock.

Further, believe it or not, there are roles that fossil fuels provide that green energy simply can not match. Moving an 18-wheeler full of goods, uphill and across vast distances, immediately comes to mind.

It is clear that US energy production is at a critical crossroads. While once-booming fracking cities like Williston, N.D., continue to go bust, the industry can continue to cut costs, hold its breath and hope and pray that global oil prices rise. Unfortunately, that says nothing about the average consumer’s capacity to afford those elevated prices — and the myriad costs associated with energy inflation — all over again. We all remember $3-4 gas and the strains it put on municipal and family budgets for five years.

If the sluggish economy has taught us anything the past nine years, it’s that when searching for a sweet spot on the acceptable price of oil, there is now a huge imbalance between what the public can afford and what the industry absolutely needs to make money. That gap is widening.

There’s really no wonder the oil and gas industry wants all talk of expanding renewables quashed. Turning to green energy solutions only hampers demand for their product, further denying oil prices ever return to the stratospheric levels they desperately require to keep their business model solvent.

In any event, the slow drawdown of the fossil fuel industry as a result of depletion is both a good thing and a bad thing for our extremely complex, modern society.

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A controversial foreign PR firm known for representing unsavory characters was paid millions by the Pentagon to create fake terrorist videos.

The Pentagon gave a controversial UK PR firm over half a billion dollars to run a top secret propaganda program in Iraq, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal.

Bell Pottinger’s output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee.

The agency’s staff worked alongside high-ranking U.S. military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters as the insurgency raged outside.

Bell Pottinger’s former chairman Lord Tim Bell confirmed to the Sunday Times, which has worked with the Bureau on this story, that his firm had worked on a « covert » military operation « covered by various secrecy documents. »

Bell Pottinger reported to the Pentagon, the CIA and the National Security Council on its work in Iraq, he said.

Bell, one of Britain’s most successful public relations executives, is credited with honing Margaret Thatcher’s steely image and helping the Conservative party win three elections. The agency he co-founded has had a roster of clients including repressive regimes and Asma al-Assad, the wife of the Syrian president.

In the first media interview any Bell Pottinger employee has given about the work for the U.S. military in Iraq, video editor Martin Wells told the Bureau his time in Camp Victory was « shocking, eye-opening, life-changing. »

The firm’s output was signed off by former General David Petraeus – then commander of the coalition forces in Iraq – and on occasion by the White House, he said.

Bell Pottinger produced reams of material for the Pentagon, some of it going far beyond standard communications work.

The Bureau traced the firm’s Iraq work through US army contracting censuses, reports by the Defense Department’s Inspector General and federal procurement transaction records, as well as Bell Pottinger’s corporate filings and specialist publications on military propaganda. We interviewed half a dozen former officials and contractors involved in information operations in Iraq.

There were three types of media operations commonly used in Iraq at the time, said a military contractor familiar with Bell Pottinger’s work there.

« White is attributed, it says who produced it on the label, » the contractor said. « Grey is unattributed and black is falsely attributed. These types of black ops, used for tracking who is watching a certain thing, were a pretty standard part of the industry toolkit. »

Bell Pottinger’s work in Iraq was a huge media operation which cost over a hundred million dollars a year on average. A document unearthed by the Bureau shows the company was employing almost 300 British and Iraqi staff at one point.

The London-based PR agency was brought into Iraq soon after the U.S. invasion. In March 2004 it was tasked by the country’s temporary administration with the « promotion of democratic elections » -a « high-profile activity » which it trumpeted in its annual report.

The firm soon switched to less high-profile activities, however. The Bureau has identified transactions worth $540 million between the Pentagon and Bell Pottinger for information operations and psychological operations on a series of contracts issued from May 2007 to December 2011. A similar contract at around the same annual rate-$120 million-was in force in 2006, we have been told.

The bulk of the money was for costs such as production and distribution, Lord Bell told the Sunday Times, but the firm would have made around £15m a year in fees.

Martin Wells, the ex-employee, told the Bureau he had no idea what he was getting into when he was interviewed for the Bell Pottinger job in May 2006.

He had been working as a freelance video editor and got a call from his agency suggesting he go to London for an interview for a potential new gig. « You’ll be doing new stuff that’ll be coming out of the Middle East, » he was told.

« I thought ‘That sounds interesting’, » Wells recalled. « So I go along and go into this building, get escorted up to the sixth floor in a lift, come out and there’s guards up there. I thought what on earth is going on here? And it turns out it was a Navy post, basically. So from what I could work out it was a media intelligence gathering unit. »

After a brief chat Wells asked when he would find out about the job, and was surprised by the response.

« You’ve already got it, » he was told. « We’ve already done our background checks into you. »

He would be flying out on Monday, Wells was told. It was Friday afternoon. He asked where he would be going and got a surprising answer: Baghdad.

« So I literally had 48 hours to gather everything I needed to live in a desert, » Wells said.

Days later, Wells’s plane executed a corkscrew landing to avoid insurgent fire at Baghdad airport. He assumed he would be taken to somewhere in the Green Zone, from which coalition officials were administering Iraq. Instead he found himself in Camp Victory, a military base.

It turned out that the British PR firm which had hired him was working at the heart of a U.S. military intelligence operation.

A tide of violence was engulfing the Iraqi capital as Wells began his contract. The same month he arrived there were five suicide bomb attacks in the city, including one a suicide car bomb attack near Camp Victory which killed 14 people and wounded six others.

Describing his first impressions, Wells said he was struck by a working environment very unlike what he was used to. « It was a very secure building, » he recalled, with « signs outside saying ‘Do not come in, it’s a classified area, if you’re not cleared, you can’t come in.' »

Inside were two or three rooms with lots of desks in, said Wells, with one section for Bell Pottinger staff and the other for the US military.

« I made the mistake of walking into one of the [U.S. military] areas, and having a very stern American military guy basically drag me out saying you are not allowed in here under any circumstances, this is highly classified, get out-whilst his hand was on his gun, which was a nice introduction, » said Wells.

It soon became apparent he would be doing much more than just editing news footage.

The work consisted of three types of products. The first was television commercials portraying al Qaeda in a negative light. The second was news items which were made to look as if they had been « created by Arabic TV », Wells said. Bell Pottinger would send teams out to film low-definition video of al Qaeda bombings and then edit it like a piece of news footage. It would be voiced in Arabic and distributed to TV stations across the region, according to Wells.

The American origins of the news items were sometimes kept hidden. Revelations in 2005 that PR contractor the Lincoln Group had helped the Pentagon place articles in Iraqi newspapers, sometimes presented as unbiased news, led to a Department of Defense investigation.

The third and most sensitive program described by Wells was the production of fake al Qaeda propaganda films. He told the Bureau how the videos were made. He was given precise instructions: « We need to make this style of video and we’ve got to use al Qaeda’s footage, » he was told. « We need it to be 10 minutes long, and it needs to be in this file format, and we need to encode it in this manner. »

US marines would take the CDs on patrol and drop them in the chaos when they raided targets. Wells said: « If they’re raiding a house and they’re going to make a mess of it looking for stuff anyway, they’d just drop an odd CD there. »

The CDs were set up to use Real Player, a popular media streaming application which connects to the internet to run. Wells explained how the team embedded a code into the CDs which linked to a Google Analytics account, giving a list of IP addresses where the CDs had been played.

The tracking account had a very restricted circulation list, according to Wells: the data went to him, a senior member of the Bell Pottinger management team, and one of the U.S. military commanders.

Wells explained their intelligence value. « If one is looked at in the middle of Baghdad…you know there’s a hit there, » he said. « If one, 48 hours or a week later shows up in another part of the world, then that’s the more interesting one, and that’s what they’re looking for more, because that gives you a trail. »

The CDs turned up in some interesting places, Wells recalled, including Iran, Syria, and even America.

« I would do a print-out for the day and, if anything interesting popped up, hand it over to the bosses and then it would be dealt with from there, » he said.

The Pentagon confirmed that Bell Pottinger did work for them as a contractor in Iraq under the Information Operations Task Force (IOTF), producing some material that was openly sourced to coalition forces, and some which was not. They insisted that all material put out by IOTF was « truthful ».

IOTF was not the only mission Bell Pottinger worked on however. Wells said some Bell Pottinger work was carried out under the Joint Psychological Operations Task Force (JPOTF), which a US defense official confirmed.

The official said he could not comment in detail on JPOTF activities, adding « We do not discuss intelligence gathering methods for operations past and present. »

Lord Bell, who stood down as chairman of Bell Pottinger earlier this year, told the Sunday Times that the deployment of tracking devices described by Wells was « perfectly possible », but he was personally unaware of it.

Bell Pottinger’s output was signed off by the commander of coalition forces in Iraq. Wells recalled: « We’d get the two colonels in to look at the things we’d done that day, they’d be fine with it, it would then go to General Petraeus ».

Some of the projects went even higher up the chain of command. « If [Petraeus] couldn’t sign off on it, it would go on up the line to the White House, and it was signed off up there, and the answer would come back down the line’.

Petraeus went on to become director of the CIA in 2011 before resigning in the wake of an affair with a journalist.

The awarding of such a large contract to a British company created resentment among the American communications firms jostling for Iraq work, according to a former employee of one of Bell Pottinger’s rivals.

« Nobody could work out how a British company could get hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. funding when there were equally capable U.S. companies who could have done it, » said Andrew Garfield, an ex-employee of the Lincoln Group who is now a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. « The American companies were pissed. »

Ian Tunnicliffe, a former British soldier, was the head of a three person panel from the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)-the transitional government in Iraq following the 2003 invasion-which awarded Bell Pottinger their 2004 contract to promote democratic elections.

According to Tunnicliffe, the contract, which totaled $5.8m, was awarded after the CPA realized its own in-house efforts to make people aware of the transitional legal framework ahead of elections were not working.

« We held a relatively hasty but still competitive bid for communications companies to come in, » recalls Tunnicliffe.

Tunnicliffe said that Bell Pottinger’s consortium was one of three bidders for the contract, and simply put in a more convincing proposal than their rivals.

Iraq was a lucrative opportunity for many communications firms. The Bureau has discovered that between 2006 and 2008 more than 40 companies were being paid for services such as TV and radio placement, video production, billboards, advertising and opinion polls. These included US companies like Lincoln Group, Leonie Industries and SOS International as well as Iraq-based firms such as Cradle of New Civilization Media, Babylon Media and Iraqi Dream.

But the largest sums the Bureau was able to trace went to Bell Pottinger.

According to Glen Segell, who worked in an information operations task force in Iraq in 2006, contractors were used partly because the military didn’t have the in-house expertise, and partly because they were operating in a legal « grey area ».

In his 2011 article Covert Intelligence Provision in Iraq, Segell notes that U.S. law prevented the government from using propaganda on the domestic population of the U.S. In a globalized media environment, the Iraq operations could theoretically have been seen back home, therefore « it was prudent legally for the military not to undertake all the…activities, » Segell wrote.

Segell maintains that information operations programs did make a difference on the ground in Iraq. Some experts question this however.

A 2015 study by the Rand Corporation, a military think tank, concluded that « generating assessments of efforts to inform, influence, and persuade has proven to be challenging across the government and DoD. »

Bell Pottinger’s operations on behalf of the U.S. government stopped in 2011 as American troops withdrew from Iraq.

Bell Pottinger changed ownership after a management buyout in 2012 and its current structure has no connections with the unit Wells worked for, which closed in 2011. It is understood the key principals who were involved in this unit deny any involvement with tracking software as described by Wells.

Wells left Iraq after less than two years, having had enough of the stress of working in a war zone and having to watch graphic videos of atrocities day after day.

Looking back at his time creating propaganda for the US military, Wells is ambivalent. The aim of Bell Pottinger’s work in Iraq was to highlight al Qaeda’s senseless violence, he said-publicity which at the time he thought must be doing some good. « But then, somewhere in my conscience I wondered whether this was the right thing to do, » he added.

Lord Bell told the Sunday Times he was « proud » of Bell Pottinger’s work in Iraq. « We did a lot to help resolve the situation, » he said. « Not enough. We did not stop the mess which emerged, but it was part of the American propaganda machinery. »

Whether the material achieved its goals, no one would ever really know, said Wells. « I mean if you look at the situation now, it wouldn’t appear to have worked. But at the time, who knows, if it saved one life it [was] a good thing to do. »

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Four days after India conducted “surgical” military strikes inside Pakistan-held Kashmir, South Asia’s rival nuclear-armed states continue to teeter on the brink of war.

There have been hours-long artillery and gun-fire exchanges across the Line of Control (LoC) that separates Indian- and Pakistani-held Kashmir each night since India sent troops and helicopters into Pakistan and inflicted “double-digit” casualties.

Late Sunday evening, India claimed that an army camp in Barmulla in the Kashmir Valley had come under terrorist attack and that at least one Indian solider had been killed and one injured.

India has repeatedly held Pakistan responsible for terrorist acts on its soil, most recently for the September 18 attack that anti-Indian Islamist militants mounted on the Uri military base in Jammu and Kashmir.

In anticipation of a possible Pakistani army counter-strike, or so as to facilitate their own war preparations, Indian authorities have ordered the evacuation of tens of thousands of people living near the border with Pakistan in the Indian states of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. According to Indian press reports, soldiers at garrisons near the border have also been instructed to send their families home.

On Saturday, as Indian Army Chief General Dalbir Singh visited its Northern Command headquarters in Jammu and Kashmir to review the military’s “operational preparedness,” the army ordered its troops to be “prepared for any eventuality.”

Wednesday night’s punitive raids were the first military action that India has publicly admitted to carrying out inside Pakistan in more than four decades.

In their wake, India’s political elite and media are boasting that New Delhi has thrown off the supposed shackles of “strategic restraint,” successfully neutered Pakistani “nuclear blackmail,” and demonstrated India’s prowess as an emerging great power.

Comparing India’s military to the Hindu monkey-god Hanuman who bounded across an ocean in a single stride after being reminded of his powers, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “The surgical strikes gave our forces an idea of what they were capable of doing.” Pakistan, he claimed, had been left “bewildered,” “not quite knowing how to react.”

India has claimed it has no immediate plans for further military action. But, referring to the Uri attack, Parrikar said, “If Pakistan continues with such conspiracies, we will give them a befitting reply again.”

India’s bellicose stance is being encouraged by Washington, which has forged an ever-closer military-security alliance with New Delhi as part of its drive to strategically encircle and prepare for war against China.

The strikes that India carried out on the evening of September 28-29 were illegal, highly provocative, and justified on a patently trumped-up claim that they were aimed at “terrorist launch pads” from which squads of Islamist gunmen were about to be sent into India.

Yet Washington has signaled its support for the Indian attacks. Obama administration spokesmen have studiously avoided criticizing the strikes and have invariably linked their calls for New Delhi and Islamabad to dampen down tensions to demands Pakistan take urgent action to prevent its territory being used as a “safe haven” by terrorists.

No mention is ever made of India’s concerted push under the 28-month old Hindu supremacist BJP government to “change the rules of the game” with Pakistan. This has included: instructing the military to take a more aggressive posture at the border, which led in 2015 to months of cross-border shelling; vehemently opposing the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, on the grounds it will pass through parts of the former British Empire princely state of Kashmir that New Delhi claims are hers; and backing the Balochi ethno-nationalist insurgency, effectively threatening Pakistan with dismemberment.

Speaking Friday, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter emphasized that the Indian-US military relationship is the “closest it has been ever.”

Pakistan continues to publicly deny that Indian Special Forces penetrated beyond the LoC, claiming instead that two of its soldiers were killed and nine injured by Indian cross-border shelling. This stance is belied by the hurried series of high-level military and government meetings and the shrill statements being made by Pakistani military and political leaders.

Pakistan Chief of Armed Services General Sharif has vowed, “Any misadventure by our adversary will meet the most befitting response from Pakistan.”

Bellicose statements have also been made by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif. In recent weeks as tensions with India have mounted, Asif repeatedly warned that Pakistan will use its recently deployed “battlefield” or tactical nuclear weapons should India launch a large-scale attack. Just hours before last Wednesday’s Indian strikes, he declared in a television interview, “We will destroy India if it dares to impose war on us … We have not made [an] atomic device to display in a showcase. If such a situation arises we will use it [a nuclear weapon] and eliminate India.”

Pakistan has appealed to the United Nations to intervene. Pakistani envoy Malleha Lodhi met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon late last week to appeal for action. While maintaining that India’s claim of strikes inside Pakistan was “false,” Lodhi said that India by its own admission has “committed aggression.”

Ban Ki-Moon issued a statement Saturday offering UN mediation, calling on both countries to take “immediate steps to de-escalate the situation,” and urging them to address their differences, including over Kashmir, through dialogue.

It is highly unlikely the UN’s mediation offer will be taken up, both because New Delhi believes it has succeeded in isolating Pakistan diplomatically and because it wants to keep the door bolted to any third-party involvement in Kashmir.

On Friday, Pakistan was forced to cancel the summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) which was due to be held in November in Islamabad, after Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka joined India in announcing they were going to boycott it.

Bangladesh and Afghanistan have also supported India’s military raid on Pakistan, with Kabul, which has been involved in its own border skirmishes with Pakistan in recent months, terming it an act of self-defence.

The Indian strikes have also been applauded by the Balochi separatists inside Pakistan. Some have even provocatively called for the Indian attacks to be continued, action that could easily plunge South Asia headlong into the abyss of the first-ever war between nuclear-armed states.

The growing Indo-US alliance has led China and Pakistan to tighten their longstanding close ties. But Beijing has been very cautious in the face of the escalating crisis, repeatedly urging both India and Pakistan to draw back from confrontation.

In an editorial, the Pakistan Express Tribune expressed alarm about Islamabad’s isolation. “Of immediate concern,” it wrote, “is that there has been a ringing silence in terms of the rest of the world, which has failed to condemn what India is admitting it has done which if true is a violation of sovereignty at least.”

In both countries, a foul chauvinist atmosphere is being whipped up which will be used not only to pursue the reactionary geo-political interests of the rival bourgeois cliques, but to suppress dissent and attack the working class.

In India, the Stalinist parliamentary parties have joined with the rest of the political establishment in supporting the Indian military attack on Pakistan. T. Sitaram Yechury, the general-secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM, participated with the other main party leaders in an “all-party meeting” convened by the government last Thursday to show that India was united against Pakistan.

Speaking to reporters Saturday, Yechury again extended the Stalinists’ support to the military strikes, declaring, “It is our and the central government’s responsibility to ensure that our people are protected.” He added, “We urge upon the Government of India, from its position of strength, to continue with the diplomatic and political moves to defuse tension and eliminate the scorch of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan.”

For its part, the Communist Party of India (CPI) issued a statement applauding the military strikes and saying the government had had no choice but to bring South Asia to the brink of all-out war. “The [September 18] Uri incident,” said the CPI, had “made inevitable … action on cross border terrorism by the Indian Army. We appreciate the well-planned action of the Indian Army.”

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There is an inverse relationship between public access to the Internet and the inability of governments and institutions to control information flow and hence state allegiance, ideology, public opinion, and policy formulation.

Increase in public access to the Internet results in an equivalent decrease in government and institutional power. Indeed, after September 11, 2001, Internet traffic statistics show that many millions of Americans have connected to alternative news sources outside the continental United States. The information they consume can be and often is contrary to US government statements and US mainstream media reporting. 

Information is a strategic resource vital to national security. US Government efforts to understand and engage key audiences to create, strengthen, or preserve conditions favorable for the advancement of USG interests, policies, and objectives through coordinated programs, plans, themes, messages, and products synchronized with the actions of all elements of national power: Diplomacy, Intelligence, Military, Economic, Finance, Law Enforcement, Information… The DOD must also support and participate in USG Strategic C communications activities to understand, inform, and influence relevant foreign audiences, including the DOD’s transition to and from hostilities, security, military forward presence, and stability operations. US Army Unconventional Warfare Manual, 2008

In the early 1990s scores of studies were conducted by the US government, think tanks, consulting firms, defense contractors, futurists and military thinkers on the likely threats to the US military’s electronic communications systems. Those analyses often encompassed commercial networked systems.

For example, in May 1993 Security Measures for Wireless Communications was released under the auspices of the US National Communications System. Not long after, the same office published The Electronic Intrusion Threat to National Security and Emergency Preparedness in December 1994. During June 1995 a conference, co-sponsored by the Technical Marketing Society of America, was held. That event was titled Information Warfare: Addressing the Revolutionary New Paradigm for Modern Warfare.

Then as now the most pernicious and non-life threatening cyber-attacks normally resulted in the theft of identities and, perhaps, intellectual property to which ‘experts’ would assign dollar values. Other network, computer assaults were visited upon databases containing personal information producing headaches for the individuals who had to get new credit cards or revise identities. Embarrassment was the penalty for commercial organizations too cheap to invest in robust electronic security systems.

I Love New York

Information Operations have not taken place (yet) resulting in large scale, life-threatening fallout, but the 1977 New York City blackout provides some clues as to what might result from a successful cyber assault on a power grid. Those initially responsible for the Black Out were bolts of lightning from a thunderstorm that repeatedly struck a Consolidated Edison facility. Redundancies built into the grid that did not function and aging equipment and operator error led to the loss of power.  Observers were already thinking about rudimentary network centric themes even then as The Trigger Effect from the 1978 series Connections by James Burke demonstrates.

It is difficult to say with any certainty if, over the last 23 years, competently secured US military networks have been successfully compromised by electronic intrusions by noted Information Warfare nations Russia, China and Israel seeking to steal classified, compartmented data or Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance technologies. That information is not likely to ever see the light of day, classified as it should be.

Certainly, US military websites and other government organizations have been hacked successfully over the years resulting in detrimental data spills and website defacement. But these do not rise to the level of national security threat; instead, they are clear cut cases of robbery and vandalism and should be viewed from a civilian law enforcement perspective.

Insiders Have Done More Damage to US National Security

It is worth noting that, to date, the most serious breaches of US national and military security have come at the hands of disillusioned US citizens like Jonathan Pollard (US Navy) and Richard Hansen (FBI) who lifted paper documents from secure facilities, and Edward Snowden (NSA & Booz Allen) who downloaded electronic files to his storage devices.

As far as anyone knows, the electromagnetic waves emanating from a computer display have not been remotely manipulated by a state or non-state actor to kill or maim a person looking at the display. But transmitting retroviral software at some distance, or using an intelligence operative to insert destructive code via a flash drive, is known to have been successful in the US-led operation against Iran as the Stuxent case demonstrated.

Recent electronic intrusions and theft of data/images from the non-secured private accounts of former NATO commander General Phillip Breedlove, USAF (Ret.); Andrew Weiner (sexting former politician from New York) or General Colin Powell, USA (Ret.) are generally served up by hackers and then picked up as news by US Big Media and Social Media. Humiliating as it is for the individuals involved, this nefarious CYBER-vandalism is not a national security matter, but it is used, gleefully, by any number of political interest groups and businesses for their own ends.

In like manner, the Sony, Democratic National Committee and Yahoo electronic break-ins, for example, are not national security incidents by any stretch of the imagination. Were they criminal actions and embarrassing for the victims? Yes. Did the information peddled by the hackers influence the public in some fashion? Sure. If sponsors of the hackers are from Russia, China, Iran, DPRK, Daesh, Israel or any other cyber-suspect, should they be exposed and brought to justice? Yes.

Should we nuke them or carpet bomb them? No.

It is problematic that politico-military strategists and tacticians, spurred on by any number of think tanks and CYBER hustlers in Washington, DC and New York (Atlantic Council, New York Times), have pushed the robbery of data/information and vandalism, or defacement of main-page websites into a crisis that threatens the nation’s stability. More’s the pity,  they have pasted CYBER over Information Warfare and have meshed it with Asymmetric Warfare and Unconventional Warfare not recognizing the differences and nuances.

CYBER Influence Peddlers: Pest Control Needed

CYBER enthusiasts at the Atlantic Council and the New York Times see foreign news agencies like Xinhua/People’s Daily, Press TV, RT, Sputnik News and Hezbollah, which all broadcast news and information with their brand of spin, as demonic CYBER influence peddlers who are corrupting the American national consciousness by engaging in perception management techniques in an attempt to electronically captivate American audiences and turn them, well, to the “dark side.”

Iran’s Press TV Internet traffic statistics show it is ranked 26,598 with 28 percent of its visits coming from the United States.  RT is ranked 446 in the world with 18 percent of its visitors from the US. Sputnik News is 1410 with 8 percent of its visitors from the US.  Xinhua is ranked 25,000 with about 3 percent visiting from the US and the People’s Daily does not even rank.

In this dark CYBER world, the unemployed and disaffected youth bulges (but why are they jobless and disenchanted), social miscreants and American citizens will populate evil foreign websites and after viewing assorted marketing/propaganda they will by Pepsi instead of Coke; whoops, I meant to say join the Islamic State or the Chinese Communist Party; move to Russia; or take in the Hezbollah website (no ranking on the Internet).

What this says, in part, is that those pushing CYBER fear have unwittingly indicted the United States and its people of idiocy. They seem to be saying that the American people have been ill served by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, educational institutions and the government and the citizenry is but a collective of dolts incapable of sorting through information pushed out of non-Western media outlets. In the United States, the First Amendment makes sure that all-points of view can be aired on the premise that the American people have the ability to harvest information and distinguish between info-crap and ‘actionable’ info that can be turned into positive knowledge for civil good.

What is there to fear from comparatively small state backed-foreign news outlets? So they spin news or publish opinions contrary to the US narrative. So what? How is that any different from left and right wing publications in the United States that take down US civilian and military institutions? The American public can handle all of this. The CYBER Fear pushers further display their ignorance by assuming that the US national security machinery has not done enough to protect the enfeebled American public from opinions emanating from non-Western sources. The CYBER chicken-littles believe too, that the US military and those in charge of America’s critical infrastructure sets do not understand the gravity of the CYBER Danger.

Nonsense.

Sleep Well

As the US Army’s Unconventional Warfare Manual and scores of US military CYBER commands,  and doctrinal publications make clear, the US national security community has been pushing the CYBER matter hard. It has engaged in the less public relations friendly issues like mathematics and encryption, physically securing communications nodes and networks, creating honeypots to attract hackers, digital forensics (breaking into secure hard drives, software) and working with civilian counterparts, sometimes controversially, to secure communications networks.

For those worried about the US government’s ability to listen to adversaries, allies, the public, whomever,  the Snowden document dumps show just how deep the National Security Agency’s wormhole goes. Either you’re of the mind that this grossly oversteps the US government’s authority, or maybe the nation is better off with the NSA playing God, or, like most, you just don’t care.

The US capabilities to tap transoceanic communications cables or satellite communications are well known.

The seriousness with which the US national security community views CYBER can be noted in this comment from a Defense Science Board study on CYBER Existentialism

While the manifestation of a nuclear and cyber attack are very different, in the end, the existential impact to the United States is the same. Existential Cyber Attack is defined as an attack that is capable of causing sufficient wide scale damage for the government potentially to lose control of the country, including loss or damage to significant portions of military and critical infrastructure: power generation, communications, fuel and transportation, emergency services, financial services, etc.

And just a quasi authoritative US government body claims there is a real danger of an existential CYBER attack, the First Amendment allows a rapier like response from a former government official musing on the fallout from the collapse of electronically connected networks whether by CYBER Attack, lightening bolts or human error.

Cyber Warfare, Cyber Security and massive Cyber Attacks are alarmist and vastly overrated. Look at what went on in Cyprus in 2013. What could trigger a run on the banks in the United States? Something as simple as shutting down all the ATM’s for three days. The resulting panic and long bank lines could irrevocably shake confidence in banks and financial institutions, as Americans find out the significance of all the paperwork they signed when they established their banks accounts, fed by direct deposits. Since many in the country know what the country was like before personal computers and the Internet, they’ll do fine. Those people who have exchanged their hearts and brains for computer chips manufactured in Vietnam, and are tethered to Smart Phones and the Cloud, are due for a very rude awakening. You’ve heard of sleeper agents and moles haven’t you? I wonder how many sleeper programs are in the millions of computer chips that are now in every single facet of our lives.

John Stanton can be reached at [email protected]

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thoughtful analysis by Amanda Taub of the New York Times describes why some wars get more « western » public attention than others:

Conflicts gain sustained American attention only when they provide a compelling story line that appeals to both the public and political actors, and for reasons beyond the human toll. That often requires some combination of immediate relevance to American interests, resonance with American political debates or cultural issues, and, perhaps most of all, an emotionally engaging frame of clearly identifiable good guys and bad guys.

Yemen’s death toll is lower than Syria’s, and although Al Qaeda does operate there, Yemen’s conflict has not had the kind of impact on American and European interests that Syria’s has. There is no obvious good-versus-evil story to tell there: The country is being torn apart by a variety of warring factions on the ground and pummeled from the air by Saudi Arabia, an American ally. There is no camera-ready villain for Americans to root against.

Those are good observations. But they themselves are part of the process they describe. They artificially create « good » and « bad » and are driven by « interests ». (Side note: I doubt the sweeping claim « Yemen’s death toll is lower than Syria’s ». The famine in northwest Yemen is very severe. The number of dead is simply not known yet but like in the hundred-thousands.)

Reporting does not depend on the existence of good and bad or the existence of a compelling story. Such thinking is just idealized nonsense. It is the media that creates the (often artificial) sides of a war on behalf of the interests. Good and bad are not inherent, they are constructs. A real compelling story is not needed. One can be created any time though it will likely not be a true one.

It is the « interests » that designate the « good » and « bad » labels and inject the « compelling » story – specific economic interests but also pursuit of personal power or tribal advantages. The public relation firms and politicians working for the « interests » feed the reporters with the stuff they need to skillfully write the stories down. The well domesticated reporters of main-stream media will intuitively understand when the « interests » are on a roll. They will do their best to support them – or lose their lucrative jobs.

In the mid of of 2000s al-Qaeda in Iraq was the « bad » and the U.S. occupation force was the « good » that « saved the poor Iraqis ». But this was only a fake differentiation and « compelling » story the U.S. military wanted the media to tell. It provide this story to hide the rather obvious: Genuine Iraqis of all stripes were rising up against the occupation.

The U.S. military payed over $540 millions to the British public relation firm Bell Pottinger to create gruesome al-Qaeda videos:

Bell Pottinger’s output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee.The agency’s staff worked alongside high-ranking U.S. military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters as the insurgency raged outside.

For $540 million one could create two Oscar winning movies in the most expensive films list. It is an enormous amount of money, enough for thousands of short, low budget « al-Qaeda terror » clips. In the Iraq war those clips created the new « bad » actor in the war and the « compelling » story that needed to be told to keep the military occupation « good », justified and going.

« Western » governments pay more than 70 million dollars to the « White Helmets », the fake « Syrian Civil Defense » created by the New Yorker PR company Purpose Inc., to make and distribute pictures and movies that show the Islamic insurgency in Syria as « good » and the Syrian government and its allies as « bad ». (Additional billions(!) per year go to weapon supplies and mercenary pay for the Jihadi side.)

The « western » media understand what the « interests » want. They eat the PR product up, digest it for form and spit it out towards the consumer. The « outrage » created by the daily « compelling » stories is then used by the « interests » to further their aims.

Below are recent examples of such manipulations picked from the daily diet the « western » public is fed.

Lousie Loveluck, a « reporter » for the Washington Post, is stenographing « moderate Jihadi » propaganda from east-Aleppo: Bombing in Aleppo puts another major hospital out of service

The largest hospital in eastern Aleppo was bombed Saturday for the second time in a week, killing and wounding more than a dozen patients as they recovered from earlier attacks.Doctors at the facility, known as M10, said the assault involved cluster munitions, barrel bombs and incendiary weapons, prompting mass panic and appeals for help.

She tweets:

Louisa Loveluck @leloveluckAttack on Aleppo’s main trauma hospital killed 2 patients, injured 13. 7 strikes, incl cluster munitions, barrel, incendiary & vacuum bombs.

8:38 AM – 1 Oct 2016

It seems that the « doctors » (likely all pediatricians, some « the last » and dead) are the only sources in Aleppo Loveluck has.

Seven attacks with cluster munitions, barrel bombs, incendiary weapons and vacuum bombs together (note: no nukes yet) « ON » an allegedly filled hospital and only two people dead??? There is still a recognizable building standing??? That is a bit curious. Putin and Assad are really bad at hitting their targets. Or maybe the hospital was not targeted at all. Maybe some Jihadi military headquarter or artillery position nearby was the real target. Mrs Loveluck shows no interest in finding that out. The « doctors », paid by U.S. PR organization SAMS Foudation, are all she needs. « Good », « bad », a « compelling » story – all is already there, provide to her to « report ».

The National from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is generally a good newspaper. Its recent report on the background of the propaganda scam the « White Helmets » are is way better than the usual mainstream media piece. Its reporting by Phil Sands on south Syria is excellent. But sometimes it has to do its duty as a state subsidized outlet and ends up publishing « funny » stuff: Passengers rescued from Emirati aid ship targeted by Yemen rebel fighters:

Civilian passengers were rescued from an Emirati aid ship carrying medical and relief supplies to Yemen after it was targeted by Houthi militias.A rescue operation was launched in the early hours of Saturday after a civilian vessel owned by the UAE’s National Marine Dredging Company was intercepted in the Bab Al Mandab Strait during a journey to deliver emergency supplies to Aden.

The « aid-ship » was the fast military supply catamaran HSV-2 Swift. It is doing runs between Eritrea’s Assab port and Aden in south-Yemen transporting UAE military and mercenaries as well as their heavy weapons. Last year Janes analyzed satellite pictures of Assab harbor:

The 7 November image also shows that the high-speed roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) catamaran Swift 1 (IMO: 9283928) was also present.

(Janes errs with the name. The ship and IMO number is of HSV-2 Swift which is the one the UAE leased.)

Last month War on the Rocks took a deeper look into the UAE war on Yemen for which Assab port, rented from Eritrea, is the main base:

Over the last year, this port was built up from empty desert into a modern airbase, deep-water port, and military training facility.

By late July 2015, the buildup at Assab airfield was complete, with the base serving as a logistics support area and staging hub for the brigade-sized Emirati armored battlegroup that would spearhead the Aden breakout. This was composed of two squadrons of Leclerc main battle tanks, a battalion of BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, and two batteries of G6 howitzers. The Emirates also shipped a 1,500-man strike force of U.A.E.-trained Yemeni troops mounted in U.A.E.-provided armored vehicles after they were trained and equipped at Assab.

The obviously military ship was hit on September 28 at night. Yemeni army forces allied with the Houthis used a land launched, Chinese made C-802 anti-ship missile. The Houthi media published an excellent video showing the launch and the hit. The ship, a high powered large aluminum can, went completely up in flames. The « aid » and many « civilian passengers » have likely not survived.

Today the UAE military, led by the Australian general Mike Hindmarsh and his men, bombed Yemeni fishing boats along its western coast. The fishing boats, one of the few sources left for food supplies in Yemen, had nothing to do with the successful attack. The C-802 was launched and radar-guided from land. But no « western » main stream media will tell you those facts. « Good » and « bad » are not well assigned for them in this war. They probably would like to speak of the « good » underdog Yemenis and « bad » Saudis but are not allowed to do so. The « compelling » point of the story is not provided. The National tries to support its guiding « interests » but fails.

Another example of very biased « good » « bad » reporting, if not outright lying, comes from today’s IndependentSyrian swimmer and her 12-year-old brother killed by shelling in Aleppo

Student and sportswoman Mireille Hindoyan was seriously injured and later died after bombs fell on the Villi district of the city

« Bombs fell », the Independent writes. Nowhere in piece does it says who’s « bombs fell » and killed the swimmer But the readers already know that only the Syrian and Russian forces have aerial bombing capabilities over Aleppo.

Villi is the Armenian quarter of Aleppo. Here is what Armenian media write:

ALEPPO. – Three Armenians are killed as a result of the shelling of the densely Armenian-populated Villi district of Aleppo, Syria.
..
Terrorists are shelling the densely Armenian-populated [..] Villi districts of Aleppo, since early Friday morning.

Villi district lies in the government held western parts of Aleppo. The swimmer were killed by shelling by U.S. supported Jihadis in east-Aleppo. But the Independent won’t tell you that. It insinuates that the « bad » Assad and Putin killed the swimmer. That the « good » Jihadis kill civilians on the government side is not a « compelling » story. It is not allowed to be told. Unless they are swimmers with a trophy such daily casualties do not exist.

Similar reporting, then with regards to Libya, was all over « western » media in early 2011. Gaddafi speech threatens to trigger « genocide » in Libya was one of the decisive headlines. Ghaddafi of course never threatened such. He only wowed to defeat the bloody, armed insurgency led by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, al-Qaeda aligned Jihadis financed by Qatar. They occupied Benghazi, suppressed its inhabitants and threatened the Libyan state. But the false reporting and « western » outrage created by it was the basis for a large scale NATO attack which then destroyed the Libyan nation. A British parliament inquiry now confirms that there never was any threat against civilians by Ghaddafi and all such assertions by the media and by « western » politicians were false and made without any evidence. Back then it was a « compelling » story told by the ruling « interests » – and a complete lie.

The « compelling » Ghaddafi genocide story only sold well with the « western » public because the media played the game on the side of the warmongers. It projected the Libyan government as « bad » and the Jihadis as « good ». Real reporting would have unveiled the facts, which prove the opposite, with very little efforts. But the « reporters » never tried. That hasn’t changed as we can see with regards to Syria. All claims by the « good » opposition are repeated as truth without any challenge. Attacks by « good » Jihadis on the government side, perceived as the « bad », are not « compelling » and get no or only obfuscated reporting.

In the war on Yemen the media is on the side of the U.S. supported attackers from the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Only few stories can be found about the raging famine in north Yemen caused by the Saudi/U.S. blockade of all vital imports to the country. While that is really a compelling story driven awaking human interests and which could induce a public discussion it is not made « compelling ». Likewise the daily Saudi and UAE terror bombing of the Yemeni capital Sanaa finds no echo in « western » papers. The successful Houthi attack on the military ship will be sold as « terrorism » and justify a further escalation of the war.

It is only « interests » driving this. Not general « American interests » or the idealized « human interests » but way more specific ones. Amanda Taub and other « reporters » are working for those. But often they delude themselves and believe otherwise. The evidence though does not support such faith.

 

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Global Research Editor’s Note: This story has not yet been fully corroborated. UPDATE: We have been informed that this story is fake. (See snope.com)

ORIGIN:On 30 September 2016, the Christian Times Newspaper (CTN) web site published an article reporting that « tens of thousands » of pre-marked ballots cast for Hillary Clinton and other Democratic candidates had been discovered stored in an Ohio warehouse:

There is no truth to the above-quoted story.

Christian Times Newspaper‘s report described the photograph as showing « Randall Prince » with his discovery of pre-marked Clinton ballots, but this picture was actually taken in 2015 in Birmingham, England, and simply captures a man unloading a truck of ballot boxes at a polling station. It appears that CTN altered the photograph (removing « Ballot Box » from some of the boxes and reversing the image) in an apparent attempt to make it difficult to find the original picture:

ballot boxes

 

ballot boxes 2

Although CTN presents itself as a legitimate publication (by imitating the name of the genuine Christian Times newspaper), the web site has invented and promoted numerous conspiracy theories, including false stories reporting that Donald Trump was removed from primary ballots, that Clinton said « Harambe » was a victim of racism,  that an African-American Trump supporter was killed in Chicago, and that the 4th of July had been cancelled due to fears of terrorism.

While the web site does not explicitly label their content as fiction, they do carry a disclaimer exempting themselves from responsibility for their efforts:

« Christian Times Newspaper is your premier online source for news, commentary, opinion, and theories. Christian Times Newspaper does not take responsibility for any of our readers’ actions that may result from reading our stories. We do our best to provide accurate, updated news and information. »

Snopes.com


The fake story is below:

Election officials in Franklin County, Ohio are reportedly stumped over what one maintenance worker found in a dilapidated downtown Columbus warehouse earlier this week.

According to sources, Randall Prince, a Columbus-area electrical worker, was doing a routine check of his companies wiring and electrical systems when he stumbled across approximately one dozen black, sealed ballot boxes filled with thousands of Franklin County votes for Hillary Clinton and other Democrat candidates.

“No one really goes in this building.  It’s mainly used for short-term storage by a commercial plumber,” Prince said.

So when Prince, who is a Trump supporter, saw several black boxes in an otherwise empty room, he went to investigate.  What he found could allegedly be evidence of a massive operation designed to deliver Clinton the crucial swing state.

ballot

Prince, shown here, poses with his find, as election officials investigate.

Early voting does not begin in Ohio until October 12, so no votes have officially been cast in the Buckeye state.  However, inside these boxes were, what one source described as, “potentially tens of thousands of votes” for Hillary Clinton.

Christian Times Newspaper has not yet been able to obtain a photocopy of one of the ballots found inside the box, but an affiliate in Ohio passed along a replica of what was found.

ballotx

It is important to note that the above replica coincides with a ballot that a Franklin County voter would cast at the polling place on Election Day, meaning the Clinton campaign’s likely goal was to slip the fake ballot boxes in with the real ballot boxes when they went to official election judges on November 8th.

Ohio, a perennial swing state in the presidential election, has been a challenge for Clinton and her Democrat counterparts in 2016.  Many national Democrat groups have pulled funding from the state entirely, in order to redirect it to places in which they are doing better.

Clinton herself has spent less time in Ohio, and spent less money, in recent weeks as it has appeared that Trump will carry the crucial state.

With this find, however, it now appears that Clinton and the Democrat Party planned on stealing the state on Election Day, making any campaigning there now a waste of time.

This story is still developing, and CTN will bring you more when we have it.

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“What Russia is sponsoring and doing [in Syria] is not counter-terrorism it is barbarism” Samantha Power, US Representative to the United Nations 

The US representative to the United Nations, Ambassador ‘Ranting Sam’ Samantha Power, accused the Russian and Syrian governments of ‘barbarism’, claiming Moscow or Damascus had attacked an unarmed United Nations humanitarian convoy delivering aid to civilians in Aleppo.  No evidence was presented.  Rants and threats do not require facts or proof; they only require vehement emotional ejaculations and compliant mass propaganda organs.

‘Barbarians’, to be clear, evoke images of leaders and groups, which abjure all civilized norms and laws.  They only respond to armed force.

In the present context Power’s charges of barbarism against Russia and Syria was used to justify the US aerial bombardment of a Syrian army outpost, which killed and maimed almost 200 government troops engaged in combating ISIS terrorists and jihadi invaders.

In other words, accusing Syrian soldiers of ‘barbarism’ was Ambassador Power’s cynical way of dehumanizing the young victims of an earlier and deliberate US war crime.

Let’s analyze the appropriate context for the use and abuse of the language of ‘barbarism’ – and its rightful application.

Barbarism:  the Deed

Over the past decade and a half, the US and its allies have invadedoccupiedkilledwounded and dispossessed over ten million people, in countries from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.  Military and civilian officials have systematically destroyed entire economies, fostered ethno-religious wars, undermined ancient community and family ties and placed corrupt political puppets in power.

Promoted by the US, torture, arbitrary arrest and incarceration have become the norm creating lawless and chaotic societies, which had once been productive and stable.  The shredding of  social structures has provokes massive population flight, with millions of desperate refugees fleeing invasions, wars and total society breakdown.  The result of these deliberate imperial policy decisions has been emptied cities and neighborhoods, broken families, destroyed lives and futures for many millions of young Arabs and Muslims.

As the human toll mounts and Western Europe is flooded with the results of US aggressive wars, the imperialists have sharpened their shrill rhetoric, labeling all of their adversaries and critics as ‘accomplices in war crimes’, and ‘barbarians’.

The greater and more sustained the policy of wanton imperial pillage, the more intense the frustration of its leaders over its ultimate failures, and the greater the recourse of its ‘diplomats’ to vituperative language.

Barbarism in Search of Barbarians:

The

The principal adversaries to US aggression, Russia, China and Iran, have not invaded any sovereign countries, nor have they provoked the desperate flight of millions of refugees.  Russia was invited to aid its Syrian government ally confronting an invasion of terrorist mercenaries who are intent on dividing the country.  Crimea peacefully re-joined Russia via elections.  Moscow rejected playing any military role in support of Western wars against Iraq, Yemen and Libya.  None of this rose to the level of US-EU barbarism.

In Asia, the West has invaded and devastated Viet Nam, the Philippines and Afghanistan.  Japan, now a US ally, had invaded China, Korea and Southeast Asia.  China for its part has not engaged in any imperial war of conquest for centuries.

Iran has not invaded any country in modern times.  On the contrary, Iraq invaded Tehran in the 1980’s with US support and waged a decade-long war which caused millions of casualties.

In truth, if waging wars, staging invasions, destroying whole societies and causing millions of deaths are the measure of barbarism, then the US, Europe and Japan have been clearly barbaric.

To claim otherwise and follow the ranting script of Ambassador Samantha Power is to enter into a tunnel of hallucinations where the language of liberal values embellishes truly barbarian acts.

The entire language of politics has been perverted and converted into an artifice of self-delusion.  Terrorist militias are re-packaged as ‘rebels’ and ‘moderates’, spreading barbarism from the imperial Western center to the periphery.  The deliberate spread of terrorism is itself a barbaric deed, which degrades the status of Western powers.

Conclusion

In ancient Greece, the barbarians were those outside of the empire who did not speak the language of civilization.  They were savage invaders seeking to pillage the wealth and culture of the empire.  Today the barbarians emerge from inside the empire and spread outward.  The imperial leaders have engaged in serial wars of destruction and pillage, even as their own societies and economies wallow in ignorance, misery, debt, addiction and criminality.  Imperial barbarians devastate whole cultures, erasing the great historical legacy of ancient civilizations like Iraq and Syria, while imposing their culture of morons, drugs and electronic gadgets, which has already infantilized its own population.

The empire of barbarians is infested with moneychangers and corrupt speculators.  They have debased the entire legal system and legislative bodies.  The public space has become a private latrine for the elite, closed to any real public discourse and debate.

Electoral spectacles, rather than reasoned debates, undermine republican principles.  Imperial conquerors, enmeshed in a military metaphysic, cannot reconstruct a devastated society into a productive colony, nor can they learn or benefit from the best and brightest among its captives, as Rome did with Greece, because it has sown such destruction and salted the very soil under the feet of its conquered peoples.

The barbarian-imperial world order is constantly at war with ‘others’ and can never assimilate and learn from the precious human treasures it has so wantonly destroyed.  It rules by terror abroad and deceit at home.  As so crudely displayed by the imperial rants of Ambassador Samantha Power, its oratory at international forums reflect the hysteria of mediocre functionaries:  mindless barbarians raving among themselves in marbled echo chambers.

In the end, the imperial barbarians will be besieged by their own fleeing vassals and puppets.  When they finally confront their own decay and internal dissolution they have to decide whether to engage in a last global conflagration or dismantle the imperial barbaric order and choose justice, law and civilization.

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