Across the country from Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, miles of decrepit pot-holed streets give way to a smooth roadway leading up to the gates of the Caracol Industrial Park, but no further.

The fishing hamlet of Caracol, from which the park gets its name, lies around the bend down a bumpy dirt road. Four years after the earthquake that destroyed the country on January 12, 2010, the Caracol Industrial Park is the flagship reconstruction project of the international community in Haiti. Signs adorn nearby roads, mostly in English, declaring the region “Open for Business.” In a dusty field, hundreds of empty, brightly colored houses are under construction in neat rows. If all goes as hoped for by the enthusiastic backers of the industrial park, this area could be home to as many as 300,000 additional residents over the next decade.

Petrocaribe-financed housing development in Morne Cabrit, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. Photograph: Jake Johnston

The plan for the Caracol Industrial Park project actually predates the 2010 earthquake. In 2009, Oxford University economist Paul Collier released a U.N.–sponsored reportoutlining a vision for Haiti’s economic future; it encouraged garment manufacturing as the way forward, noting U.S. legislation that gave Haitian textiles duty-free access to the U.S. market as well as “labour costs that are fully competitive with China . . . [due to] its poverty and relatively unregulated labour market.”

The report, embraced by the U.N. and the U.S., left a mark on many of the post-earthquake planning documents. Among the biggest champions of the plan were the Clintons, who played a crucial role in attracting a global player to Haiti. While on an official trip to South Korea as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton brought company officials from one of the largest South Korean manufacturers to the U.S. embassy to sell them on the idea. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, having just appointed Bill Clinton U.N. special envoy to Haiti, tapped connections in his home country, South Korea.

Then suddenly, the earthquake presented an opportunity for the Clintons and the U.N. to fast track their plans. The U.S. government and its premiere aid agency, USAID, formed an ambitious plan to build thousands of new homes, create new industries, and provide new beginnings for those who lost everything in the earthquake. Originally the plan was to build the industrial park near Port-au-Prince. But land was readily available in the North, and the hundreds of small farmers who had to be moved from the park’s site were far less resistant than the wealthy land-owners in the capital. So the whole project moved to the Northern Department, to Caracol. Under the banner of decentralization and economic growth, the Caracol Industrial Park, with the Korean textile manufacturer Sae-A as its anchor tenant, became the face of Haiti’s reconstruction.

Now, only 750 homes have been built near Caracol, and the only major tenant remains Sae-A. New ports and infrastructure have been delayed and plagued by cost overruns. Concerns over labor rights and low wages have muted the celebration of the 2,500 new jobs created. For those who watched pledges from international donors roll in after the earthquake, reaching a total of $10 billion, rebuilding Haiti seemed realistic. But nearly four years later, there is very little to show for all of the aid money that has been spent. Representative Edward Royce (R-CA), the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, bluntly commented in October that “while much has been promised, little has been effectively delivered.”

The story of how this came to pass involves more than the problems of reconstruction in a poor country. While bad governance, corruption, incompetent bureaucracy, power struggles, and waste contributed to the ineffective use of aid, what happened in Haiti has more to do with the damage caused by putting political priorities before the needs of those on the ground.

The Housing Crisis and the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission

The earthquake decimated Haiti’s housing stock: 100,000 were destroyed and more were damaged. There were $2.3 billion in damages in the housing sector alone, and 1.5 million people left living in makeshift tent camps. Unplanned and unregulated housing construction made Port-au-Prince, with population at least 3 million, extremely vulnerable to natural disasters. In less than a minute, entire shantytown neighborhoods came crashing down.

The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission was created by the international community to coordinate post-quake aid and align it with Haitian government priorities. Bill Clinton, as the U.N. special envoy and the head of the Commission, was optimistic. “If we do this housing properly,” he affirmed, “it will lead to whole new industries being started in Haiti, creating thousands and thousands of new jobs and permanent housing.”

Like the Caracol Industrial park, the Commission was presented as a response to the devastation of the earthquake. But its basic tenets—and its slogan, “Build Back Better”—were actually agreed upon by the U.S. and U.N. in the year prior. The commission’s formation was handled not by the Haitian government, but by the staff of the Clintons, mainly Cheryl Mills and Laura Graham, as well as a team of U.S.-based private consultants. The commission’s bylaws were drafted by a team from Hogan Lovells, a global law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. A team from McKinsey and Company, a New York based consultancy firm, handled the “mission, mandate, structure and operations” of the commission. Eric Braverman, part of the McKinsey team, later went on to become the CEO of the Clinton Foundation.

According to Jean-Marie Bourjolly, a Haitian member of the commission, the body’s “original sin” lay in concentrating the decision-making power in the Executive Committee of the Board, made up of Bill Clinton and then–Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive. In October 2010, just six months after its creation, Bourjolly wrote a memorandum to the co-chairs and the rest of the commission’s board. The note cautioned that by “vesting all powers and authority of the Board in the Executive Committee, it is clear that what is expected of us [the rest of the Board] is to act as a rubber-stamping body.” According to Bourjolly, the memorandum was not included in the official minutes of the October meeting at Clinton’s behest, and the document has remained out of the public sphere. But one former commission employee confirmed the commission’s role: he told me that many projects were approved because “they were submitted by USAID and State” and “that as long as USAID is submitting it and USAID is paying for it,” it should be approved.

Bourjolly also contended that the commission was failing to live up to its mission “to conduct strategic planning, establish investment priorities and sequence implementation of plans and projects.” Rather, Bourjolly wrote, “our action has so far been limited to accepting projects that. . . come our way on a first come, first served basis” and that it would result in “a disparate bunch of approved projects. . . that nonetheless do not address as a whole neither the emergency situation nor the recovery, let alone the development, of Haiti.”

Even the Clintons’ supporters conceded that their staff and the foreign consultants did more harm than good. A Haitian government official, who requested her name be withheld because of the power the Clintons continue to wield in Haiti, commented that “they were lucky to get someone as high-profile and experienced as Clinton” but that the staff “had no idea what Haiti was like and had no sensitivity to the Haitians.” “Out of ignorance, there was much arrogance,” the official said. “And who pays the price? The Haitian people, as always.”

Article 22 of the Haitian constitution enshrines “the right of every citizen to decent housing,” and civil society groups have long advocated for the government to protect this right through large-scale, affordable public housing. But in October 2011, the commission quietly closed its doors. Its eighteen-month mandate was not renewed, and little remained of the grand plans to build thousands of new homes. Instead, those left homeless would be given a small, one-time rental subsidy of about $500. These subsidies, funded by a number of different aid agencies, were meant to give private companies the incentive to invest in building houses. As efforts to rebuild whole neighborhoods faltered, the rental subsidies turned Haitians into consumers, and the housing problem was handed over to the private sector.

The number of displaced persons is down to 200,000 from its 1.5 million peak, according to the U.N. But only 25 percent of that decrease has anything to do with official programs to provide housing. Many were given a paltry subsidy and evicted from their camps. The highest profile and most visible camps were closed down, but those tucked in alleys, out of the view of the convoys of aid workers’ vehicles, remain forgotten. Fifty-five thousand Haitians who moved to areas known as Canaan, Jerusalem, and Onaville were recently removed from the “official” list of Internally Displaced Persons camps. Though those who were pushed out of the camps simply returned to their old homes, the international community claims progress. A USAID–sponsored study from the summer of 2011 estimated that over a million Haitians were occupying damaged homes and that nearly half of them were living in “buildings that might collapse at any moment.” In fact, if another quake happened today, they’d be more likely to die than they were living under tents in clearings.

By September 2013, nearly four years after the earthquake, only 7,500 new homes had been built and 27,000 repaired—an incredibly small achievement when set against the billions of dollars and grand plans put together by the international community in the wake of the catastrophe. “Now, we have a return to the status quo, the same situation that was there before the earthquake, with no coordination and each project done haphazardly,” Gabriel Verret, the former executive director of the commission, said.

USAID’s $33,000 House

While the $500 rental subsidies recommended by the Clinton Commission at the end of its tenure became the preferred form of support by the Haitian government and international community, smaller projects to provide permanent housing that had already been approved by the commission were carried through. In December 2010, the commission’s board had signed off on the U.S. government’s “New Settlements Program,” which called for the construction of 15,000 homes in Port-au-Prince and the North Department, where the new industrial park was to be located.

This June, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report revealing that only 900 of those 15,000 homes had been built. The overall goal has been reduced to 2,600. At the same time, costs increased from $53 million to over $90 million. The GAO found that the program suffered from a fatal flaw: original estimates had drastically low-balled how much the houses would cost. The calculation of 15,000 planned houses was based on an estimate of each costing around $8,000. With the cost of preparing the land, the total cost per house was over $33,000.

USAID assembled a team of shelter experts in August of 2010. The goal, according to Duane Kissick, the head of the shelter planning team, was to put the majority of available resources into the damaged communities. The plan they came back with was simple and meant to be implemented quickly. Jerry Erbach, another member of the Shelter Team, recalled that “there was a good deal of pressure to develop a series of projects very quickly and at low cost in order to meet the needs of those households who became homeless after the earthquake.” The plan was to build homes that were simple, modest and small, but that could expand over time.

The narrative put forth by the Shelter Team experts is confirmed by USAID’s Shelter Sector Activity Approval Document (AAD), which I obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The plan called for construction to be completed by December 2012 and specifically noted that “USAID programs will seek wherever possible to work with local partners.” A USAID-funded study by the International Housing Coalition recommended the same thing, noting that “wherever possible, USAID should utilize Haitian construction contractors.” Letting local companies or individuals handle the work means more money for Haiti, its economy, and its people. It’s also cheaper, and has worked in the past.

Food for the Poor, an NGO that has worked in Haiti for decades, utilizes small local construction teams to build 1,000 homes each year at a cost of just $6,400 each. Brad Johnson, the president of Mission of Hope, another NGO working in Haiti, told the New York Times, “We’re not one of the big groups that sit in Washington, D.C., and get the financing. . . But we’re managing to get it done for $6,000 a house. I don’t understand, for all the money that came into Haiti, why there aren’t houses everywhere.”

But the recommendations for using local contractors and the plan to build $8,000 homes were ignored. More international companies were brought in, additional studies were undertaken, and the first contract to actually build a house was not awarded until April of 2012, nearly two and half years after the quake and eight months after the project was approved. The contracts ended up going not to small local companies but to large international ones. Thor Construction, based in Minnesota, received $18 million, and CEMEX, a Mexican company, got over $7 million. Another $35 million went to two Haitian-American firms based in Maryland for environmental assessments, construction management, site preparation, and other associated projects.

Outsourcing the construction drove the price up, since international companies had to fly in, rent hotels and cars, and spend USAID allowances for food and cost-of-living expenses. To incentivize working in Haiti, the U.S. government also gave contractors and employees “danger pay” and “hardship pay,” increasing their salaries by over 50 percent. With all these costs included in contracts, it’s not hard to see how prices ballooned. Bill Vastine, a long-time contractor and member of the Shelter Team, said, “if the American people saw the true cost of this, they’d say ‘you’ve got to be out of your mind.’” The changing priorities undermined any cohesion in the program.

With 200,000 still homeless and hundreds of thousands more living in grossly inadequate and often structurally unsound buildings, the 900 homes that USAID has built won’t go very far. No current USAID employees agreed to speak about the project on the record, despite repeated requests for comment. In remarks before Congress, USAID administrator Beth Hogan stated that “we were significantly off in terms of what our original estimates were. . . when we got back bids from offerers who were going to actually build these homes. . . the estimates increased even further.”

The Shelter Team also initially planned to build two-thirds of the homes in the Port-au-Prince area. But this has changed: the current plan is to build 75 percent of the homes in the Northern Department of Haiti, all within 13 miles of the new industrial park. Many USAID staffers on the ground wanted to focus on Port-au-Prince, where the damage was greatest. But the State Department had made a commitment to building houses in the North, in support of the Caracol Industrial Park.

The State Department’s political intervention in the project also delayed the process of getting people into the houses that did manage to get built. According to Erbach, who also worked with an international NGO assisting the Haitian Government in selecting households to benefit from the new housing, pressure from the Department of State led to a “significant amount of time and effort being wasted on identifying and vetting workers from the industrial park who were not IDPs.” The internal shelter AAD warned that “if the process is perceived as inequitable, opaque, or led by the United States, the [government] will appear to be ‘choosing winners,’ resulting in political problems.” As Vastine describes it: “Every agency has its own little fiefdom, their own little budgets to protect and their own cadre of people they protect and they don’t work well together; there is no cohesiveness with our own internal bureaucracy in the United States, much less with everything else that’s here, from all the other countries.”

Speaking before Congress, USAID Administrator Hogan conceded that, “what we realized as we were going into this. . . is that new homes isn’t [sic] the solution for Haiti.” USAID is now officially out of the home-building business in Haiti.

As for the 750 houses under construction in Caracol, as the four-year mark comes and goes, the first families are just now starting to move in. Meanwhile, back in Haiti’s capital, at least 200,000 quake victims face another year living under tattered tarps.

Too Big to Fail

Over the last twenty years, the American foreign aid system, much like the military, has become increasingly reliant on private contractors. From 1990 to 2008, USAID experienced a 40 percent decline in staff while funds under their responsibility skyrocketed. A 2008 report from the American Academy of Diplomacy found that “implementation of programs has shifted from Agency employees to contractors and grantees and USAID lacks . . . [the] capacity to provide effective oversight and management.” In her Senate confirmation hearing for Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said “I think it’s fair to say that USAID, our premier aid agency, has been decimated. . . It’s turned into more of a contracting agency than an operational agency with the ability to deliver.” Billions have been shifted to private corporations and NGOs. Many of those who actually implement foreign aid projects are explicitly for-profit companies, but even top employees at some USAID-funded non-profits earn over $300,000 a year.

Before he became head of the recovery commission, Bill Clinton urged those working in Haiti to ask, “Are we helping [the Haitian people] to become more self-sufficient? Are we building infrastructure in local development plans? Are we creating local jobs? Are we paying salaries for teachers, doctors, nurses, police, civil servants? Are we giving money to support government agencies that provide those services?”

The answers to these questions would seem to be mainly in the negative. In Haiti, a report(which I co-authored) at the Center for Economic and Policy Research revealed that less than 1 percent of the more than $1.3 billion in assistance provided by USAID was awarded directly to Haitian companies or organizations. USAID awarded more money to one Washington D.C.-based for-profit contractor, Chemonics, than to the entire Haitian government since the earthquake.

Haiti is not unique; these problems erode U.S. aid across the globe. A revolving door between NGOs, development companies, and the U.S. government has entrenched the system so deeply that any movement for change will be long and difficult. Fortunately, development agencies are slowly realizing that aid goes much further when more of it stays in the local economy. For its part, USAID has launched an ambitious reform program called “USAID Forward,” which aims to totally overhaul the procurement system, working directly with local institutions.

USAID Administrator Beth Hogan told Congress that in Haiti, the United States is “trying to reach 17 percent of our overall budget to be channeled through local institutions.” But already, for-profit development companies have formed a lobbying group and hired the influential, Democratic party-linked, Podesta Group to get their message out. Their selling point: foreign companies are harder to hold accountable. It’s an argument that rings hollow when you realize that not a single USAID awardee, NGO, or for-profit has been suspended or reprimanded publically for their work in Haiti, despite all the high-profile failures.

The failure of Haiti’s reconstruction is, sadly, another chapter in a long history of poverty perpetuated by outside powers. Bureaucracy, internecine quarrels, moneyed lobbying, waste and inefficiency—these are not monopolies of poor, “developing” countries such as Haiti. They are the problems of the United States and its foreign aid complex.

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Fifteen Years of Occupation: Afghanistan Since the Invasion

octobre 10th, 2016 by Michael Skinner

7 October 2016 marks the fifteenth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan. Many Western leaders claimed the invasion, dubbed Operation Enduring Freedom, was a humanitarian intervention to liberate Afghans and especially Afghan women and girls from the brutal Taliban regime. However, the evidence demonstrates the results have been anything but humane or liberating.

The people truly liberated by the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan are the wealthy investors in the military-industrial complex and those betting on successfully extracting Afghan resources and developing the infrastructure of the New Silk Road.

The Failure of Humanitarian Intervention

Civilian casualties: Perhaps the crudest measure of the failure of the humanitarian intervention in Afghanistan is to count the growing number of civilian casualties. Mysteriously, no official agency actually counted Afghan civilian casualties prior to 2009; consequently, civilian casualty figures from 2001 to 2009 really are anybody’s guess. Literally, countless numbers of Afghans were killed or maimed during the invasion and ensuing occupation.

The UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) only began counting civilian casualties in 2009 recording a trend of increasing numbers ever since. In the first half of 2016, 5166 civilians were killed or maimed – almost a third of these were children.

The total civilian casualties recorded by UNAMA from 1 January 2009 to 30 June 2016 is 63,934, including 22,941 killed and 40,993 injured. UNAMA states: “The figures are conservative – almost certainly underestimates – given the strict methodology employed in their documentation and in determining the civilian status of those affected.”

Anti-government forces account for 60 per cent of civilian casualties; nonetheless, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, argues:

“Parties to the conflict must cease the deliberate targeting of civilians and the use of heavy weaponry in civilian-populated areas. There must be an end to the prevailing impunity enjoyed by those responsible for civilian casualties – no matter who they are.”

The consequences for Afghans have been devastating. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights observes:

“The family that lost a breadwinner, forcing the children to leave school and struggle to make ends meet; the driver who lost his limbs, depriving him of his livelihood; the man who went to the bazaar to shop for his children only to return home to find them dead; the broken back and leg that has never been treated because the family cannot afford the cost of treatment; the parents who collected their son’s remains in a plastic bag… In just the past six months, there have been at least 5,166 such stories – of which one-third involve the killing or maiming of children, which is particularly alarming and shameful” (UNAMA 25 July 2016).

Refugees: Another crude measure of the failure of the humanitarian intervention is to count refugees in what is a growing refugee crisis 15 years after the invasion. But, like civilian casualties, no official agency counted refugee numbers throughout most of the occupation.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) conditions deteriorated in 2015 with renewed fighting causing the internal displacement of 245,000 Afghans in the first half of 2016 swelling the number of internally displaced persons to more than 1.2 million.

The UNHCR observes that an estimated 1.5-2 million undocumented Afghans refugees live in the Islamic Republic of Iran and another million in Pakistan. Western media has recently focussed almost exclusively on Syrian refugees, but the UNHCR documents that, since 2015, Afghans have constituted the second largest group of refugees arriving in Europe (UNHCR 23 Sept. 2016).

The Failure to Liberate Afghan Women and Girls

Western media and even many Western women’s organizations continue to portray Afghan women as passive victims who needed intervention by a military force to liberate them from a misogynistic regime. However, many women I met in Afghanistan argue the ongoing war impedes their own struggles for liberation.

Prior to the invasion, Afghan women were focussed on resisting the misogynistic policies of the Taliban regime in the South as much as on those of the United Islamic Federation aka Northern Alliance in the North. Since the invasion, however, women’s energies are often redirected to merely surviving or attempting to escape warfare. Moreover, installing the misogynistic regime of the United Islamic Federation aka Northern Alliance in power to replace the misogynistic Talib regime changed little for Afghan women. Some argue this regime change actually legitimated misogyny.

One women’s activist I met in Afghanistan used the example of women in Iran to make her point. Indeed the regime that seized power in Iran in 1979 was one of the most brutally misogynistic imaginable. But Iranian women resisted the regime to the extent that today they enjoy some of the best conditions in the Islamic world – certainly conditions significantly better than those suffered by Saudi women, despite the irony of unwavering Western support of the Saudi regime.

Some Western feminists continue to focus on what clothing Afghan women choose to wear, but arguments about the burqa and hijab are red-herrings. These are not the real issues facing Afghan women confronted with far greater problems.

Violence against women: A recent UNAMA study finds that while the new legal framework of Afghanistan criminalizes violence against women, in reality numerous factors block women’s access to justice. (UNAMA April 2015)

I have found no documentary evidence to show violence against women is less of a problem today in Afghanistan than it was prior to the invasion.

Health and welfare: Afghanistan has by far the worst infant mortality rate in the world at 112.8 deaths per 1000 live births, one of the worst maternal mortality rates, at 460 deaths per 100,000 live births, and the third worst life expectancy at 51.3 years. These horrific health statistics are not surprising considering that even the basics of clean drinking water and sanitation facilities still remain inaccessible to large numbers of Afghans 15 years after the invasion. Moreover access to healthcare is extremely limited with only 0.27 doctors per 1000 Afghans (CIA World Factbook 2016).

Forty-three per cent of Afghans still do not have electricity, which disproportionately affects women and girls in a traditional culture in which they are burdened with water collection, food preparation, and cleaning (CIA World Factbook 2016).

Afghan women focussed entirely on caring for their families in these conditions have little time and energy left for organizing resistance against a misogynistic regime.

Education for girls: Throughout the occupation, numerous reports have cited encouraging statics claiming millions of Afghan girls are attending school. Unfortunately, inflated enrolment statistics do not reflect the reality that vast numbers of Afghan girls as well as boys do not have access to education. There have been modest improvements in some areas, but overall access to education remains a dream for vast numbers of Afghan children, especially girls. The female literacy rate remains at 25.3 per cent (CIA World Factbook 2016).

The failure of the humanitarian mission to liberate Afghan women and girls might be chalked up to bad planning and overall incompetence. But the more plausible explanation is that the humanitarian-liberation mission has never been a priority – this mission is a politically acceptable façade for the geostrategic mission to liberate capital.

The Success of Liberating Capital

Since George Bush declared the beginning of the Global War of Terror on 20 September 2001, the cost to the United States to date is $4.79-trillion (U.S.) (Crawford Sept. 2016). The costs to the other NATO and coalition states would undoubtedly add many more hundreds of billions of dollars to this figure.

This unfathomable sum is a cost to taxpayers, but it is a profitable return on investment for investors in the military-industrial complex. Rather than money lost, it is in fact money liberated from public coffers to be transferred to the private pockets of a few wealthy investors.

Extracting Afghan Resources: In 1808, Captain Alexander Burns of the British East India Company led a team of surveyors into Afghanistan in an attempt to exploit its resources ahead of Russian competitors. However, Burn’s paramilitary expedition had greater success in propelling the British East India Company into the First Anglo-Afghan War of 1839-42.

Another captain of the British East India Company, Henry Drummond conducted surveys during the First Anglo-Afghan War. Drummond wrote that the company’s paramilitary invasion of Afghanistan would not be perceived as an “act of aggression” because the reorganization of the existing system of Afghan mine management and improvements in the working conditions of Afghan miners would lead to an “era of peace, prosperity, and of permanent tranquility in Afghanistan.”

Also during that war, the British envoy to Kabul, Sir W.H. Macnaughten, wrote that developing Afghanistan’s resources would employ the “wild inhabitants… reclaim them from a life of lawless violence” and increase the wealth of Afghans as it increased the wealth of the British East Asia Company.

Despite fighting three wars in Afghanistan, (1839-42, 1878-80, 1919) the British could not establish control over Afghan territory to develop resource extraction operations.

A Soviet surveyor, Vladimir Obruchev, published a detailed geological report in 1927. The Obruchev depression in the natural-gas rich Amu Darya Basin still bears his name. Then in the early 1930s, the Afghan government granted the American Inland Oil Company a 25 year concession to oil and mineral exploration rights, but the company soon backed out of its agreement.

Following the Second World War, the Afghan government sought technical and financial assistance from American, European, Czech, and Soviet sources often pitting First-World and Second-World surveyors against one another. By the 1970s more than 700 geological reports indicated that a vast wealth of resources awaited exploitation.

From the 1970s to the 1990s Afghans derived much of their foreign exchange from natural gas sales to the USSR.

Thus, following the 2001 invasion, a first order of business was for the U.S. and British Geological Surveys to conduct extensive exploration with the assistance of the Canadian Forces Mapping and Charting Establishment.

In 2010, New York Times journalist James Risen broke the news that Afghanistan contains a vast wealth of natural resources. Risen’s claim that U.S. geologists merely “stumbled across” some old surveys to make their discovery seems somewhat disingenuous considering the long history of foreign interest in Afghan resources.

If the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom invasion of 2001 accomplished nothing else, it secured the freedom for foreign investors to profit from extracting Afghanistan’s resource wealth. The occupation forces destroyed the last vestiges of Afghanistan’s poorly developed and badly broken state enterprise system.

The U.S. Department of State reported in 2010 that Afghanistan “has taken significant steps toward fostering a business-friendly environment for both foreign and domestic investment.” Afghanistan’s new investment law allows 100 per cent foreign ownership and provides generous tax allowances to foreign investors without protections for Afghan workers or the environment.

The strategic value of Afghanistan’s rich resources rests, nevertheless, more in their catalytic potential to attract investors to the region than these resources actual use or market values. Whether these investors are American, Chinese, Russian, Indian, British, Canadian or anyone else matters little, provided they invest within the rubric of the American led global capitalist regime. More importantly, investments in resource development are an essential catalyst to develop the infrastructure of the New Silk Road.

The New Silk Road and the Regime of Global Free Trade

Influential geostrategists have argued since the collapse of the USSR that the nation that dominates trade in Eurasia will dominate the globe. The shortest routes between China and Europe, as well as between India and Russia, pass through Afghanistan. Railways, highways, oil and gas pipelines, electrical transmission lines, and fibre-optic cables will inevitably criss-cross Afghanistan to connect Eurasia. As in previous imperial ages, the empire that achieves primacy is the one that, among other aspects of power, establishes itself as builder, protector, and arbiter of trade routes.

During the past half millennia of the emergence of capitalism, empires expanded in the pursuit of various commodities – spices, fish, furs, indigo, cotton, rubber, and gold among many others. The strategic importance of various resources wax and wane with changes in technology or even the whim of consumers. Nonetheless, what remains as a constant is the growth of the physical transportation, energy transmission, and communications networks as well as the less tangible but no less real political-legal-economic infrastructure of empire. Geostrategists recognize that building this infrastructure of dominance is ultimately more important to securing power than merely acquiring specific resources.

Consequently, on 20 July 2011, U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton announced the New Silk Road strategy. She stated the U.S. and its partners will build a New Silk Road across Central Asia including Afghanistan as an “international web and network of economic and transit connections.” “That means,” Clinton said, “building more rail lines, highways, energy infrastructure … upgrading the facilities at border crossings … and removing the bureaucratic barriers to the free flow of goods and people.” She also stated: “It means casting aside the outdated trade policies that we are living with and adopting new rules for the 21st century.”

The new rules Clinton refers to are the political-legal-economic infrastructure of an empire of capital. A primary objective of the geostrategists plotting the emergence of an American led empire of capital is to globalize this political-legal-economic infrastructure – the regime of capitalist social relations.

The value of Afghanistan’s resource wealth lies then not only in its actual use or market values, but also in its value to catalyze expanding the physical and the less tangible but no less real political-legal-economic infrastructure of an American led empire of capital.

Despite the fact George Bush declared a Global War on Terror on 20 September 2001, many perceive the battles in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, the lesser-known military operations in Haiti, the Philippines, the Horn of Africa and Latin America, the never-ending battles in Palestine, as well as the many worldwide covert operations of U.S. and allied Special Forces as separate individual wars. However, all these struggles are interrelated battles of one global war.

The primary objective of this global war is regime change. However, this is not regime change in the sense of 20th century history when a ‘bad’ ruler would be replaced by a ‘good’ or perhaps ‘less bad’ ruler, or even a ruler we really cannot abide but who might at least stave off chaos. This is, instead, a deliberate pogrom of fundamental regime change with the objective to destroy whatever socioeconomic order existed before, whether socialist, or Talib, or Ba’athist, or any variety of traditional tribal communitarian society.

The claim that this global war is about eliminating terrorism, promoting democracy, or in the case of Afghanistan liberating women provides politically acceptable façades to legitimate the primary objective of creative destruction – the destruction of any preceding socioeconomic system to be replaced by the capitalist social order.

This is a multi-generational pogrom. The NATO states are currently committed to maintaining military forces in Afghanistan until 2024 to secure an “Enduring Partnership” (NATO 2014).

Considering that pacification of the many Peoples of the western territories of the U.S. took more than a century, this is likely just a beginning.

The enduring legacy of the Operation Enduring Freedom invasion that began 7 October 2001 is that Afghans – for both better and worse – are left to endure the freedom of investors to dictate the future of Afghanistan. •

Michael Skinner is a researcher, human rights and peace activist, musician and composer. He has conducted research projects in Afghanistan in 2007 and in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2011. This article was published online 7 October 2016 at Michael Skinner Research and is reprinted here with his permission.

Sources:

This essay also includes updated segments from:

  • Skinner, Michael. “Liberating Afghanistan? Global War and the Battle for Afghanistan” In Immanuel Ness, Zak Cope (eds.) The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
  • Skinner, Michael. “Afghanistan from Barrier to Bridgehead: Rare Earth Elements and the New Silk Road.” In Ryan Kiggins (ed.) The Political Economy of Rare Earth Elements: Rising Powers and Technological Change. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
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Matthew barreled through the Caribbean Sea between Haiti and Cuba and slammed into Haiti as a Category 4 Hurricane during the night of Monday to Tuesday, October 3-4, 2016. The hurricane made its first landfall on the westernmost tip of Haiti, near the town of Tiburon, in the southern peninsula, battering the area with the storm’s fiercest winds, waves, and rains.

All of Haiti, however, suffered hurricane-force winds and floods that destroyed crops and swept away much of the livestock.

Furthermore, violent surges of seawater crashed into most of Haiti’s cities, which line the coasts. Even the Dominican Republic, on the eastern side of Hispaniola, well away from the hurricane’s center was so strongly affected by floods and winds that it lost four people.

On Tuesday morning, Haiti’s Pwoteksyon Sivil reported five deaths from the Hurricane, together with the circumstances of each death; later the same day, the number rose to 23.

To those who had been getting their news directly from Haiti, these low, albeit tragic, casualty rates were not surprising, even for the vulnerable cities of Port-au-Prince and Leogane, which had not been rebuilt after the earthquake and hosted about 55,000 homeless people.

For more than 48 hours before the hurricane, Haiti’s presidential candidates for the now-postponed elections of Sunday, October 9, had tried to outdo each other at informing the public of the dangers of the hurricane and directing people to places of safety. The country’s interim President, Jocelerme Privert, made a televised address in which he admonished the population to move away from the coasts. “My fellow citizens, do not be stubborn, do not say ‘God is good and will take care of you.’ You must evacuate the endangered areas.” He further called on Haitians to help each other. Even prisoners were moved to safety this time. Haitians should take a bow for the lives that were saved by their conduct.

None of this news appeared in the Western press, because it does not deal in facts but in poetic truth, which in this case requires the supposed poorest-of-the-poor to perish by the hundreds, if not by the thousands, if they are not helped by foreign humanitarians.

Once the United States military and journalists began to assess the hurricane’s damage by some counting system of their own invention, the number of Haitian casualties skyrocketed, and there were no longer any reports of how the dead met their fates. Indeed, the number of the Haitian dead from Hurricane Matthew has doubled approximately every 12 hours since Tuesday morning and is now estimated to be 800. At this rate, all of Haiti’s population should be dead in about a week.

All joking aside, these casualty counts should be examined carefully and with great skepticism. For one, there no longer appears to be a distinction between the missing and the dead.

For example, the children from a collapsed orphanage are presumed to have died, but no evidence of their deaths has been offered. Such disappearances of children during disasters are often due to human trafficking, and the irresponsible reporters who eagerly repeat these numbers should consider that they might be serving as the unwitting accomplices of criminals. The new numbers of the dead are blamed on the recently discovered damage to Haiti’s southwestern peninsula (Grand Anse, South and Nippes departments), which had been cut off from the rest of the country due to the collapse of a bridge on Route National No. 2 in the city of Petit Goave.

After surveying all the country, the Pwoteksyon Sivil revised its counts for Haiti’s various departments (states) on Thursday, October 6, to a disastrous 108 deaths: 38 deaths in Grand Anse; 26 in the South; 34 in the West; 1 in the Northwest; 3 in the Artibonite; 3 in Nippes; and 3 in the Southwest. These new counts by Haitians, where the number of deaths in the Grand Anse and South departments are similar to those of the West department, imply casualty rates per capita more than 10 times higher for Grand Anse and more than 5 times higher for the South than for the West.

This rings truer than the inflated numbers from the English-language media. One would not expect the Grand Anse and the South alone to have hundreds of casualties simply because they were hit hardest by the storm. First, these areas have not suffered any earthquake damage. Secondly, they lacked a significant population of internally displaced people. Finally, the Grand Anse and South departments, in Haiti’s southwest, have only 5 and 8 percent, respectively, of Haiti’s population, compared to the West department, which includes the capital city of Port-au-Prince with more than 40 percent of the population.

The numbers of deaths were revised on October 8 to look more horrific, but they are no longer credible with regard to the casualty rates per capita for Grand Anse and the South, compared to the West. It is in the interest of the occupying powers to pressure Haiti to exaggerate the human and material costs of the hurricane. Already, the interim government has been forced to delay sin die the non-fraudulent presidential and legislative elections, which Haitians had themselves financed and for which they had fought so long and hard. There is also the expectedgold rush. After the earthquake of 2010, for example, more than 90 percent of the aid funds were laundered through Haiti and into the pockets of politically connected businessmen from the so-called donor countries.

From what one can gather of the reports from the Miami Herald, Reuters, New York Times, The Guardian, and especially the BBC News, they appear to be on a campaign to rehabilitate the non-governmental organizations (NGO) that have been discredited by their conduct after Haiti’s earthquake of 2010. The fear that these NGOs might return has been described by journalistKim Ives.

The United Nations occupying force, which has twice introduced cholera in Haiti, is predicting yet more cholera. The UN is scheduled to leave the country in six months. Nevertheless it is casting itself as an expert on the eradication of cholera epidemics, promoting useless cholera vaccines through articles sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in newspapers like The Guardian, and plotting to stay. At this juncture, it is absolutely critical for the Haitian government to take charge of all emergency water distribution and make sure the water is safe to drink.

After all, if you control the water that people drink, you control cholera, and there is far too much money to be made in a massive cholera epidemic.

The Red Cross, which has never showed much for the nearly $500 million in donations it collected within a year of the earthquake, is again promising relief to Haitians. This charity claimed that it spent about 5 percent of its earthquake funds on 700 homes, which turned out to be only a scandalous 6 houses on closer inspection. To account for the rest of the money, it has made vague claims of building more than 100,000 shelters, signing agreements to spend about one half of its funds, giving away tens of millions of dollars worth of food, and helping more than 4.5 million Haitians, nearly one half of the entire population, get back on their feet. How? By giving them golden slippers?

Evidently it does not trouble some news agencies that none of the Red Cross’ claims is demonstrable. A BBC report on Friday, October 7, which trumpeted that 800 Haitians had died from Hurricane Matthew, turned out to be a carrier for a thinly wrapped call for donations to the Red Cross. “The Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal for $6.9m (£5.6m) ‘to provide medical, shelter, water and sanitation assistance to 50,000 people,’” the article announced. The Miami Herald, for its part, reported 300 deaths and informed its readers: “Obama, in his remarks on Haiti Friday, also asked Americans to help by contributing to the Red Cross and other philanthropic organizations.” Even after keeping its manager and CEO in six-figure salaries for years, the Red Cross should still have more than enough in its interest-bearing accounts to assist the victims of Hurricane Matthew. Give it nothing.

On October 4, Haiti’s Interim Prime Minister, Enex Jean Charles called for all aid to the country from any donor or partner, national or international, to be channeled through the Permanent National Office for Risk and Disaster Relief (Secrétariat Permanent National de Gestion des Risques et des Désastres, SNGRD). It is almost certain that the next elected government will make a similar call. Hang on to your wallets. Give nothing to any organization until it makes clear that it will abide by the wishes of Haitians.

The Western press, which so relishes the sight of dead and disconsolate Haitians, has so far thankfully offered us nothing of this, except for aerial images of the physical devastation of southwest Haiti and one highly republished photograph of two men carrying a coffin. Where are all the dead Haitians? Were they mostly hit by falling trees and flying roof tiles, overwhelmed by mudslides, drowned in their homes, or swept to sea on giant waves or along streets that had turned into rapids? To my knowledge, Cuba is the only country that reports the circumstances of the deaths of all its hurricane casualties, together with their names, gender, and age. It is no doubt this systematic collection of correct information about hurricane deaths that has made Cuba the safest place to be during such storms. Accurate hurricane statistics also help to identify irregularities and protect the vulnerable from criminal elements. But more than anything, the naming of the dead, the refusal to let people die as nameless as livestock, is a necessary show of respect.

Dady Chery is the author of We Have Dared to Be Free: Haiti’s Struggle Against Occupation.

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“So we have two Hillary Clintons, which says we have a person who is a liar.” — Rudy Giuliani, The Guardian, Oct 9, 2016

Again, WikiLeaks made its sniping foray into the US election with ample juicy material prior to the second presidential debate, this time revealing excerpts of paid speeches shedding light on Hillary Clinton’s view on banking, finance and trade.

These are particularly pertinent because they show, consistently, how the Democratic nominee for the White House remains at odds on her current trade stance to what has essentially been a Weltanschauung of corporate freedom at the expense of state control.

Behind the scenes, before an audience that has remunerated her to be friendly and benevolent to the corporate sector, Secretary Clinton has shown herself to be very partial to sympathy and praise. In public, she has attempted to mine the populist storm against corporate elites and the sapping dangers of free trade.  In private, she has fawned and placated.

What matters in these excerpts is a vision entirely consistent with the Clinton duo, which have functioned over the years as annexes of corporate representation in US politics.  As she explained to Brazilian bankers in May 2013, dreams of “a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, sometime in the future with energy that is green and sustainable,” preoccupied her.[1]

Even such figures as Vice President Joe Biden have accepted the premise that the destruction of middle-class financial security in this now very broken Republic began during “the later years of the Clinton administration” rather than during the reckless dark reign of George W. Bush.  By that point, the rot had essentially hobbled middle America.

Managed appearances have proven to be the acme of the candidate’s approach, a point that has troubled Clinton aide and campaign strategist Robby Mook.  The persistent, seemingly irresistible link with Goldman Sachs, which has hosted events for the Clinton Foundation with the enthusiasm of Beelzebub’s minions, has niggled him.  In a message to Clinton’s campaign manager Chairman John Podesta on May 10, 2014, Mook “flagged” the point that “it’s a little troubling that Goldman Sachs was selected for the [Clinton] foundation event.”[2]

The Podesta stash available on WikiLeaks is riddled with confessionals and loves notes with big banks and the board room.  This stands to reason: the Clintons see power oozing out of officials otherwise unaccountable to the great unwashed in democracy.

To that end, there are an ample number of paid speeches to the corporate sector, much of this connected with addresses given to various branches of that less than wonderful doyen of muscular finance.  Occasionally, they become autobiographically frank.

Clinton’s remarks in February 2014 reflect on her distancing from “the struggles of the middle class”.  Having lived what she regarded as a fairly prosaic middle class life, one with its “accessible health care” and a father sceptical of “big business and big government”, Clinton now felt an astral detachment, even though she had not “forgotten” her previous faux humbleness.

The extent of that void is evident in her pointed observations to Deutsche Bank (October 7, 2014) which suggest a formula of self-correction for financial naughtiness within the industry itself.  One had, like President Teddy Roosevelt, to avoid unleashing the forces of nationalism and populism.  The solution here?  Let representatives of the banking industry find their own. “And I really believe that our country and all of you are up to that job.”[3]

There is room to issue sallies against the disgruntled.  Her speech (Oct 29, 2013) to the Goldman Sachs Buildings and Innovators Summit speaks about those wretches who have evident biases “against people who have led successful and/or complicated lives.” Such matters as divesting assets, “stripping all kinds of positions, the sale of stocks” were all “very onerous and unnecessary”.  Truly, criminality can be a complex business.

That same month, Clinton appeared at the Goldman Sachs AIMS Alternative Investments Symposium (Oct 24, 2013) to suggest that the bankster phenomenon in the United States had been misunderstood and simplified.  There had been terrible “misunderstanding” and “politicizing” in place of “greater openness on all sides”.[4]

Throughout her political life, the face of Clinton’s strategizing is evident.  She stresses the need for having different positions, sometimes a different one in public from that in private, a point made in an April 24, 2013 speech to the National Multi-Housing Council.  “You have to sort of figure out how to – getting back to that word, balance – how to balance the public and the private efforts that are necessary to be successful, politically, and that’s not just a comment about today.”[5]

The rich pickings of the Podesta files again took the Clinton campaign off guard.  A particularly clumsy retaliation was suggested by Vice Presidential running mate Tim Kaine.  To CNN he claimed ignorance, having not approached the presidential hopeful before making observations about claimed authenticity.  “I have no way of knowing the accuracy of documents dumped by this hacking organization.”  Having asserted this as true, he then suggested you could not “accept as gospel truth anything they put in a document.”

Mook, who should be getting rather used to these things, seemed even less adept than his previous efforts.  Again, the campaign, in vain attempts to navigate Clinton’s traumatised approach to fact, finds itself stumbling.  The one certainty that has good chance of becoming fact is that the banks will know that a Clinton administration will do little for reform and much to untether the Prometheus of Wall Street.

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

Notes

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In a sign that the Syrian conflict risks escalating into war between the world’s major nuclear-armed powers, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned yesterday against NATO air and missile strikes on its forces and allies in Syria, stating that Russia would respond militarily.

Lavrov referred to media reports that the United States plans to bomb Syrian or Russian forces inside Syria. “This is a very dangerous game,” he said, “given that Russia, being in Syria at the invitation of the legitimate government of this country and having two bases there, has air defense systems there to protect its assets.”

Moscow also sent nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles to the Russian Baltic city of Kaliningrad late Friday. From Kaliningrad, the missiles can strike targets, including NATO bases, across Poland and the Baltic republics. Russian Defense Ministry officials said the missiles were loaded onto a freighter in the Baltic Sea “right under a US reconnaissance satellite” to monitor its response and make clear to the US military that the missiles were en route to Kaliningrad.

Leaks to US papers including the Washington Post last week revealed that US officials are discussing launching an attack on Syrian government forces behind the backs of the American people. While a handful of press reports have emerged on the leaks themselves, a deafening silence prevails in American and European media on the danger and the consequences of such an escalation.

On Wednesday, the Post ’s Josh Rogin wrote,

“[O]fficials from the State Department, the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed limited military strikes against the [Syrian] regime … Options under consideration, which remain classified, include bombing Syrian air force runways using cruise missiles and other long-range weapons fired from coalition planes and ships, an administration official who is part of the discussions told me. One proposed way to get around the White House’s long-standing objection to striking the Assad regime without a UN Security Council resolution would be to carry out the strikes covertly and without public acknowledgment, the official said.”

In a 2013 speech to Wall Street bankers leaked by WikiLeaks, Hillary Clinton said imposing such a “no-fly zone” would entail mass civilian casualties: “To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defenses, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk—you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians.”

After last month’s US bombing in Deir ez-Zor killed at least 62 Syrian soldiers and wounded 100, it must be assumed that US raids would aim to cause massive Syrian military casualties as well.

Even before Lavrov made his remarks, Russian military officials responded to leaks like the Post report by warning US officials that they risked provoking a major war. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said his forces would presume US strikes were hostile, and locate and destroy US fighters, including stealth aircraft, over Syria.

“Any missile or air strikes on the territory controlled by the Syrian government will create a clear threat to Russian servicemen,” Konashenkov said. “Russian air defense system crews are unlikely to have time to determine in a ‘straight line’ the exact flight paths of missiles and then who the warheads belong to. And all the illusions of amateurs about the existence of ‘invisible’ jets will face a disappointing reality.”

Addressing “leaks” such as the Post report, he added, “Of particular concern is information that the initiators of such provocations are representatives of the CIA and the Pentagon, who … today are lobbying for ‘kinetic’ scenarios in Syria.”

Konashenkov warned Washington that it should make a “thorough calculation of the possible consequences of such plans.”

This remark is chilling. While Konashenkov did not say it, the significance of Moscow’s remarks is clear: implementing US plans signifies a military clash with Russia, and the possible consequences of such a clash include escalation into a full-blown nuclear war that would kill billions of people. The diplomatic arrangements that for a time stabilized relations between NATO and Russia in the period after the Stalinist bureaucracy dissolved the USSR in 1991 have collapsed.

As Moscow apparently concludes that it has no other option but to prepare for war if Washington and its NATO allies decide to launch it, working people around the world are emerging as the sole social constituency for opposition to a catastrophic war.

The driving force in the war crisis is the aggressive policy of the NATO imperialist powers, led by the US. Russia’s emergence as an obstacle to unrestrained US-NATO wars in the Middle East, opposing a planned NATO war in Syria in 2013, is totally unacceptable to Washington.

Now, as NATO’s Al Qaeda-linked Islamist proxies in Syria face defeat around Aleppo, factions of the American state are openly calling for launching a war to save them. Last month, US General Joseph Dunford indicated his support for imposing a “no-fly zone” over Syria to the US Senate, adding that this “would require us to go to war with Syria and Russia.”

Last week, US Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley mentioned Russia and China as enemies, and directly addressed them, declaring, “I want to be clear to those who wish to do us harm … the United States military—despite all of our challenges, despite our [operational] tempo, despite everything we have been doing—we will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before. Make no mistake about that.”

While the NATO powers bear central responsibility for the crisis in Syria, the response of Russia’s post-Soviet capitalist oligarchy is also reckless and reactionary. Incapable of and hostile to appealing to international opposition to war in the working class, it aimed to use its military strength to deter US-NATO escalation in Syria and to negotiate a deal with the imperialist powers.

This policy has utterly failed. Instead, the Kremlin’s oscillations between begging Washington for a deal and escalating military action inside Syria have drawn it into a deepening confrontation with NATO that now threatens to unleash a major military conflict.

Russia’s missile deployment to Kaliningrad is a signal to Washington and its European allies that Moscow not only believes that war is a very real possibility, but anticipates that such a war would rapidly spread from Syria to Europe. NATO has deployed tens of thousands of troops near Russia’s borders in Eastern Europe since backing a fascist-led putsch that toppled a pro-Russian regime in Ukraine in 2014.

Lavrov said this posed an intolerable threat to Russian national security. “We have witnessed a fundamental change of circumstances [in] the aggressive Russophobia that now lies at the heart of US policy toward Russia,” he said. “It’s not rhetorical Russophobia, but aggressive steps which really concern our national interests and endanger our security. NATO enlargement, [deployments of] NATO military infrastructure next to our borders … and the deployment of a missile defense system—these are all a display of unfriendly, hostile actions.”

Moscow was outraged in particular by US State Department spokesman John Kirby’s threat that if Russia did not obey US orders to retreat from Syria, Islamist groups could “expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft.” In this context, Kirby’s subsequent observation that Washington can influence “some” opposition militias in Syria had the character of a threat.

As CIA weapons reach armories of the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra front in Aleppo, it is clear that if Moscow simply let the Syrian regime fall to the Islamist opposition, Russia could soon find itself targeted for the type of Islamist operations NATO is currently aiming at Syria. This has apparently persuaded Moscow, at least for now, to risk an all-out confrontation with the US in a desperate attempt to deter NATO military action against Syria and Russia.

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Who is Going After ISIS-Daesh in Syria?

octobre 10th, 2016 by Land Destroyer

The Associated Press (AP) through a procedure it calls « AP FACT CHECK, » claimed after a recent US presidential debate that presidential candidate Donald Trump was untruthful about Syrian President Bashar Al Assad fighting the self-proclaimed « Islamic State » (ISIS).

Below is the screenshot of an October 9 report

Followed by an earlier April 2016 report:

 

AP’s article, « AP FACT CHECK: Trump wrong that Assad fights IS, » claims:

Not true. Syria’s President Bashar Assad considers the Islamic State group to be among numerous « terrorist » groups that threaten his government, but his military is not fighting them. It is focused on combatting Syrian opposition groups, some of which are supported by the United States. The fight against the Islamic State militants is being waged by a U.S.-led coalition, with help from Turkey, by training, advising and equipping Syrian Arab and Kurdish fighters.

However, despite AP’s claims, AP’s own reporting directly contradicts its « AP FACT CHECK, » as pointed out by Syrian activist and geopolitical commentator Mimi Al Laham in a recent Tweet.

In their April 2016 article, « After Palmyra, Syrian troops take another IS-controlled town, » AP would report that:

A week after taking back the historic town of Palmyra, Syrian troops and their allies on Sunday captured another town controlled by the Islamic State group in central Syria, state media reported.

The push into the town of Qaryatain took place under the cover of Russian airstrikes and dealt another setback to the IS extremists in Syria. An activist group that monitors the Syrian civil war said that government forces are in control of most of the town after IS fighters withdrew to its eastern outskirts.

The advance came a week after Syrian forces recaptured Palmyra from IS and is strategically significant for the government side. The capture of Qaryatain deprives IS of a main base in central Syria and could be used by government forces in the future to launch attacks on IS-held areas near the Iraqi border.

Not only does AP directly contradict its own reporting on Syrian forces over the past year with its recent and clearly disingenuous « AP FACT CHECK, » it also contradicts claims that Russia is also uninterested in fighting ISIS – admitting clearly that Syrian government gains against the terrorist organization took place under the cover of Russian airpower.

Also, AP would even report that Russian ground forces were present at Palmyra, directly on the front with ISIS.

AP’s May 2016 article, « Russia builds military camp near ancient site in Palmyra, » would admit:

Russia has built a military encampment inside a zone that holds the UNESCO world heritage site in the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra, where Islamic State militants were driven out recently by pro-government forces.

The Russian military described the camp Tuesday as « temporary, » saying its few housing units were being used by explosives experts who are removing mines left behind by the militants, and that the Syrian government had given approval to build the camp.

It is uncertain why AP has resorted to such blatant, clumsy lies, especially under a series of articles it is boldly calling « AP FACT CHECK. » However, it is clear – based on AP’s own reporting – that they are in fact lying intentionally and in direct contradiction to their own reporting.

It is also interesting how AP boldly titles its recent series as « AP FACT CHECK » yet provides no citations or evidence for its « fact checking. »

AP has perpetuated intentional lies dressed up as news reporting for years, if not from its inception, deceiving global audiences regarding everything from « weapons of mass destruction » in Iraq, to the characterization of political conflicts ranging from the so-called « Arab Spring » to political instability in Southeast Asia.

Caught in a blatant lie contradicting its own reporting should put the world on notice that AP is not a legitimate news service, nor should it be trusted as a journalistic source until those responsible for « AP FACT CHECK » are exposed, condemned, and expelled from AP, and AP provides a proper explanation as to how such blatant lies could cross its pages in the first place.

For the Syrian and Russian soldiers and airmen who bravely died fighting ISIS in combat AP itself reported on, no greater disservice could be done than to deny such combat even took place. AP’s recent « AP FACT CHECK » was meant to portray recent political debates in a certain light, but instead, it has only managed to cast AP itself as illegitimate, deceitful, and untrustworthy.

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We have put together a short compendium of relevant quotes and links to selected Global Research articles (August-October 2016).

What is likely to happen at the Second Presidential debate tonight Sunday October 9 at 9pm is also examined. 

Who do you vote for? 

The bipartisan system is in crisis. Corruption permeates the US political landscape. The presidential election campaign is rigged.  

Media propaganda prevails. 

There is no choice?  There is no democracy in America.

What will Happen Tonight at the Second Trump-Clinton Debate:

According to Larry Chin:

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 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.

“Podiumgate”: How the Clintons Rigged the First Presidential Debate By Larry Chin, October 04, 2016

The Leak of Trump’s Controversial 2005 Video. What will be its impact. 

According to Prof. Michel Chossudovsky:

The release of this 2005 video by the Washington Post containing lewd and sexist statements by the Republican Party’s presidential candidate Donald Trump is likely to play a decisive role. 

It is a victory for the Hillary Clinton campaign. 

We must however beg the question. 

What motivated this carefully timed release, prior to the second presidential candidates’ debate? 

Donald Trump’s lewd and sexist behavior or his foreign policy stance regarding US-Russia relations? Or both?

See: Video: The Release of Lewd and Sexist Comments vs. US Foreign Policy: Donald Trump As a Presidential Candidate is Dead? By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, October 08, 2016

In the words of Prof. Binoy Kampmark:

The loathsome two are moving into full view, mustering weapons and taking aim at each other in a US election campaign that continues to be filled with colourful missives.  

According to Stephen Lendman:

A race to be Democrat nominee never existed, things rigged from the start last year to select Clinton party standard bearer.

The process was like holding a world series or super bowl with only one team represented.

Sanders never had a chance and knew it, enjoying his extended 15 minutes of fame while it lasted – caving in the end as expected, endorsing what he campaigned against, betraying supporters, proving he’s just another dirty self-serving politician.

Assorted dirty tricks were used, including DNC/media collusion (notoriously from the NYT, operating as a virtual Clinton press agent), as well as fundraising on her behalf.

The FBI’s ‘investigation’ into Hillary Clinton’s State Department email operation was fake in three major ways:

1: The FBI chose to ‘investigate’ the most difficult-to-prove charges, not the easiest-to-prove ones (which are the six laws that she clearly violated, simply by her privatization and destruction of State Department records, 

2: The FBI chose to believe her allegations, instead of to investigate or challenge them. For example: On page 4 of the FBI’s record of their interview with Hillary dated 2 July 2016, they noted: “Clinton did not recall receiving any emails she thought should not be on an unclassified system.”

3: The FBI avoided using the standard means to investigate a suspect higher-up: obtaining plea-deals with subordinates, requiring them to cooperate, answer questions and not to plead the Fifth Amendment (not to refuse to answer)

The FBI’s Fake “Investigation” of Hillary Clinton’s Emails By Eric Zuesse, September 18, 2016

According to Dr. Paul Craig Roberts:

We know from their words and deeds and material success that the Clintons are agents for Wall Street, the Big Banks, the military/security complex, Israel, agribusiness, and the extractive industries. 

Trump vs. Hillary: “If Hillary gets into the Oval Office, I Predict Nuclear War before her First term is Over”By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, September 26, 2016

According to Patrick Martin

The most important issue in the US presidential election is the one neither of the two main capitalist candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, is talking about: the increasing likelihood that the next US president will order direct military action against Russia, China or North Korea, all countries that possess nuclear weapons. 

The Threat of World War III: The Great Unmentionable in the 2016 Campaign By Patrick Martin, September 19, 2016

Stephen Lendman writes in a September 8 article:

One unnamed US source admitted America’s intelligence community has no “definitive proof” or anything suggesting a Russian plot to manipulate or otherwise disrupt the nation’s electoral process.

So why is the Washington Post reporting Russia-bashing propaganda, while ignoring how America interferes in numerous elections abroad to assure officials in charge serve its interests?   

Fabricated Claims About Russian “Covert Plot” to Disrupt US Elections By Stephen Lendman, September 08, 2016

Judicial Watch on the Email scandal (August 20, 2016):

We are pleased that this federal court ordered Hillary Clinton to provide written answers under oath to some key questions about her email scandal,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.  “We will move quickly to get these answers. The decision is a reminder that Hillary Clinton is not above the law.  

Federal Court Orders Hillary Clinton to Answer Questions under Oath in Email Scandal By Judicial Watch, August 20, 2016

According to Glen Ford:

 Donald Trump has backtracked — sort of — on his assertion that President Obama and Hillary Clinton are “the founders” of ISIS, or the “most valuable players” on the Islamic State team. “Obviously, I’m being sarcastic,” said the self-styled “America-Firster” – quickly adding, “but not that sarcastic, to be honest with you.” 

Trump cannot articulate or fully grasp the horrific truth of his original statement because that would require a much more fundamental indictment of U.S. imperial policy in the Muslim world since the last days of 1979, when Zbigniew Brzezinski convinced President Jimmy Carter to set the jihadist dogs loose in Afghanistan. 

Yes, Obama and Clinton Created ISIS – Too Bad Trump Can’t Explain How It Happened By Glen Ford, August 19, 2016

Jack A. Smith begs the following question in an August 2016 Global Research article:

Is it possible that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will self-destruct well before the election?  It certainly looked that way, given one major blunder after another in the days after his nomination at the July 18–21 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. 

Here’s another question: Or is it possible he can win? Both options are still on the table because despite voting polls both candidates continue to remain unpopular with the majority of Americans.

Donald vs. Hillary: A Still Uncertain Election. Both Candidates Remain Unpopular with the Majority of AmericansBy Jack A. Smith, August 16, 2016

Compiled by Michel Chossudovsky
For the complete dossier of more than 300 articles on the US Elections (2016) click here
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Les ONG et les mécaniques de la guerre hybride

octobre 9th, 2016 by Andrew Korybko

Les ONG liées à des intérêts étrangers jouent partout dans le monde un rôle irremplaçable dans la fomentation de guerres hybrides. La loi de la guerre hybride dit que ces types de conflits sont des affrontements identitaires montés de toutes pièces qui reposeraient sur la perturbation, le contrôle, ou l’influence de projets d’infrastructure multipolaires transnationaux conjoints, dans des États de transit clés, au moyen de stratégies de manipulation de régime, de changement de régime, ou de reboot de régime (R-TCR). Ces trois tactiques pourraient également être décrites comme des concessions politiques, une transition de leadership, «pacifique» ou violente, ou une modification fondamentale de l’État par des moyens tels que son détournement sous pression vers une Fédération d’identité facilement manipulable.

En ce qui concerne les types de conflits d’identité que devraient englober les guerres hybrides, ils peuvent être classés comme étant historiques, ethniques, religieux, socio-économiques et géographiques (tant en termes de politique administrative que d’appartenance régionale). Le catalyseur de la guerre hybride pourrait être prémédité ou dû au hasard, mais dans les deux cas, les scénarios de conflit sont poussés en avant par la participation publique ou discrète mais cruciale d’ONG liées à des intérêts étrangers (par leur financement, leur gestion, ou leurs amitiés, etc.), ce qui justifie la raison de leur l’étude dans cette analyse ainsi que des dernières tendances de la guerre hybride.

Préconditionnement

Au sujet de toutes ces ONG liées à des intérêts étrangers (ci-dessous nommées simplement comme ONG) en dehors de celles qui sont engagées exclusivement dans le travail humanitaire avec l’autorisation explicite et la supervision de l’État hôte, elles se livrent au préconditionnement de la population cible pour lui faire accepter des récits politiques construits. Ces derniers portent principalement sur l’histoire, le social, et / ou des thèmes politiques qui visent à façonner la mentalité du public et contribuent à la formation d’identités absolument nouvelles (par exemple les Kosovars) ou à reformater celles qui existent déjà (par exemple du patriotisme au nationalisme, ou d’une citoyenneté inclusive à des nostalgies séparatistes exclusives).

Les ONG œuvrent aux côtés des médias traditionnels et des réseaux sociaux pour diffuser ces idées et en multiplier l’effet pour modifier la conscience de leur public afin de promouvoir l’organisation et les objectifs de ses modèles prédéterminés de promotion de la destruction de l’identité attaquée. Des «faits» douteux, faux et déshonorants circulent habituellement parmi le triangle des communautés information–médias–milieu universitaire et des agents sympathisants afin de répandre de nouvelles mythologies résultantes de la socio-ingénierie des mentalités des cibles démographiques à travers l’illusion fabriquée par des voix représentant une autorité.

Les graines des idéologies nouvelles et / ou historiquement démystifiées tels que le libéralisme et le nazisme sont plantées dans l’esprit du public et arrosées avec un flux régulier d’informations en soutien visant à accroître leur attrait et à jeter les bases de la prochaine manœuvre anti-gouvernementale. Après avoir été endoctriné avec le libéralisme, par exemple, les gens pourront devenir plus sensibles et jouer le rôle d’«idiots utiles» et manifester agressivement contre leur gouvernement, tout comme les croyants dans le nazisme et les «nationalismes» avant et pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale ont pu être stimulés pour mener à bien des provocations haineuses contre leurs «ennemis» historiques.

Ces deux types d’idéologies pré-imprimées sont également utiles pour la promotion d’objectifs politiques déterminés au sein de l’État ciblé, l’ONG choisie dépendra de comment la fin exacte du conflit est envisagée. Le libéralisme est plus favorable à la formation de nouvelles identités à des fins séparatistes, alors que le nazisme (ou «nationalisme extrême» pour généraliser) a un rôle à jouer dans la haine furieuse anti-gouvernementale et pour provoquer des conflits interétatiques (par exemple les Oustachiscroates tentant obsessionnellement de déstabiliser la Bosnie et la province serbe de Voïvodine).

Financement

Les ONG doivent recevoir leur argent de quelque part, et en dehors de la mendicité (ou de la «sollicitation de dons», comme ils l’appellent) dans les rues pour un peu d’argent de poche supplémentaire, la plupart d’entre elles reçoivent la majeure partie de leur financement de l’une des trois sources principales :

Gouvernements

ned-cia

Le gouvernement des USA finance des organismes gouvernementaux tels que le National Endowment for Democracy (auto-décrit en 1991 pour faire ouvertement ce que la CIA a fait secrètement pendant 25 ans avant) afin de se comporter comme un front d’agences de renseignement public-privé à l’étranger, dissimulant une expérience opérationnelle professionnelle derrière un déni plausible civil.

Sociétés

Certaines sociétés peuvent avoir un intérêt à déployer indépendamment leurs propres ONG, que ce soit pour faire pression au nom de leurs intérêts commerciaux ou pour les agiter contre leurs adversaires, avec potentiellement une escalade jusqu’à mettre une pression de type R-TCR (Régime − Tweaking, Change, Reboot) sur l’un ou l’autre gouvernement pour atteindre leurs objectifs.

Philanthropes

Les donateurs «privés» tels que George Soros et les princes saoudiens opèrent respectivement via la Fondation Soros et les «organisations caritatives islamiques» (ces dernières étant les premières à avoir été utilisées à grande échelle dans le monde entier via un réseau d’ONG dans les années 1980, période de la guerre en Afghanistan), leurs organisations étant réparties partout dans le monde et travaillant parfois pour défendre leurs intérêts cachés, main dans la main avec les clients gouvernementaux sélectionnés.

Chacune de ces trois sources différentes fournit des fonds de démarrage et de formation à leurs mandataires sur le terrain, avec pour désir de les voir réussir à cultiver une communauté de cinquième et même de sixième colonne pour les aider à atteindre leurs objectifs. La formation de l’organisation et les techniques d’organisation sont essentielles en raison de l’ampleur de leur influence sur l’efficacité d’un groupe, car à la fin de la journée, c’est généralement juste un petit noyau de membres qui comptent vraiment puisque leurs cohortes affiliées et les civils sont des bénévoles ou des dépenses temporaires à faible coût.

Les ONG sont également très utiles à leurs clients parce qu’elles fonctionnent comme des intermédiaires facilitateurs en donnant des pots de vin ou en faisant passer des menaces de chantage à différents particuliers (par exemple les journalistes) et des personnalités politiques, et si elles fonctionnent dans un environnement de «laissez faire», alors elles peuvent également participer utilement à différentes échelles d’activités de blanchiment d’argent à ces fins ou à l’appui des intérêts pécuniaires de leurs bailleurs. Même s’ils se font prendre, le seul degré de séparation plausible dont jouissent leurs sponsors en raison de leur statut prétendument «indépendant» est suffisant pour isoler leurs partisans de tout blâme officiel.

Figures de proue

Les ONG ont appris à utiliser des visages et du personnel local pour doter leurs bureaux à l’étranger, étant entendu que cela contribue à détourner toute critique immédiate de leurs liens avec l’étranger ainsi que de confondre les «journalistes d’investigation» un peu naïfs qui ne regardent que superficiellement les passeports des personnes qui y travaillent pour se faire une opinion. En réalité cependant, cette politique sert à peine à obscurcir les liens de ces ONG vers l’étranger quand il s’agit de duper la population sur laquelle elles projettent d’interagir, puisque des détectives spécialisés arrivent généralement avec succès à découvrir les liens financiers, les communications et les relations personnelles qui lient l’organisation étudiée avec une entité étrangère.

Les gens de la rue, cependant, pourraient ne pas avoir la moindre idée que leurs concitoyens, distribuant des tracts anti-gouvernementaux et les encourageant à se joindre à une manifestation, pourraient être employés par des entités étrangères, et même qu’une partie du personnel de l’ONG elle-même n’est pas plus au courant que cela. La volonté de secret qui accompagne les ONG envers les gens qui se joignent à une activité ou à une organisation rend nécessaire de cacher les liens étrangers derrière elle en les occultant délibérément, preuve que les auteurs de ces initiatives comprennent bien que les habitants hésiteraient probablement à participer s’ils savaient qu’ils étaient parrainés depuis l’étranger. Parce que beaucoup d’entre eux n’ont par ailleurs aucune idée à ce sujet, ils sont plus susceptibles d’être induits en erreur et d’y participer.

 

Buddhist monks march on a street in protest against the military government in Yangon, Myanmar, Nov 2011
Les moines bouddhistes marchent dans une rue en signe de protestation contre le gouvernement militaire à Yangon, au Myanmar, novembre 2011

Parmi les figures de proue des ONG, il est important de mentionner que les dirigeants des ONG anti-gouvernementales sont parfois des pasteurs (Zimbabwe), des moines (Myanmar, la Région autonome du Tibet), ou des étudiants ( «traditionnels» dans les révolutions de couleur), tous ayant la réputation internationale d’être apparemment inoffensifs et sans danger. Peu importe si c’était effectivement vrai avant l’événement (je vais détailler plus bas) ou non, le fait est qu’au moment ou ces acteurs prétendûment pacifiques commencent à manifester énergiquement contre le gouvernement, pour provoquer des conflits avec la police et l’armée, et parfois même attaquer les agents d’application de la loi et des biens publics et privés, ils ont perdu leur droit à être traités d’une manière non violente, justifiant ainsi des techniques décisives de contrôle des foules par les autorités (et parfois la main est lourde).

Ces figures de proue jouent également un autre rôle complémentaire qui est de promouvoir leur réputation vraisemblablement pacifique par la voie des médias en collusion qui ont un intérêt à représenter ces personnes comme des «manifestants calmes pro-démocratie» de manière à modifier sélectivement et suivant de fausses déclarations que les affrontements provoqués délibérément avec les autorités sont le résultat d’une «dictature impopulaire et avide de pouvoir tuant son propre peuple». Peu importe que rien de tout cela ne soit factuellement vrai, mais c’est la perception erronée délibérée qui compte en raison de la facilité avec laquelle ces récits fabriqués peuvent rapidement exploser en un événement local, régional ou national complètement hors de proportion afin de le transformer rapidement en une «crise internationale» qui invite les gouvernements étrangers à faire une pression très médiatisée sur l’état ciblé.

Exigence de «démocratie»

La tactique que toutes les ONG affiliées politiquement (soit ouvertement déclarée ou secrètement pour cet aspect de leur action) finissent par poursuivre est, à terme, de faire pression sur leur gouvernement hôte dans le but de le rendre plus «démocratique». La raison pour laquelle la «démocratie» est une telle obsession pour ces organisations et leurs bailleurs de fonds n’a pas nécessairement quelque chose à voir avec ses qualités intrinsèques «normatives» (le plus souvent dû à une volonté occidentale pour cette idéologie), mais par sa structure pratique qui régulièrement recycle le leadership de ces pays. Les «démocraties» occidentales sous influence ont des cycles électoraux prévisibles qui sont compris dans la théorie de la guerre hybride comme ne représentant rien de plus que des possibilités «pacifiques» pour un changement de régime, démontré par l’activité frénétique que les ONG engagent avant, pendant et immédiatement après ce moment. Les «démocraties» occidentales sont également marquées par une culture politique inséparable des lobbyistes (des corrupteurs juridiques) et les médias grand public à vocation commerciale, ce qui rend le tout plus facile pour les intervenants étrangers et leurs pions que sont les ONG locales pour interférer avec le processus «démocratique», pour le court-circuiter dans le sens de leurs objectifs.

Si les élections ne débouchent pas sur le résultat souhaité par les ONG et leurs bailleurs de fonds internationaux, ou si le cycle électoral suivant n’est pas assez proche dans le temps et que ces acteurs s’impatientent et / ou croient que la fenêtre pour parvenir à leurs fins politiques pourrait se refermer à un moment donné, alors ils conspirent pour concevoir un événement qui met la pression sur le gouvernement et se lancent dans un R-TCR avec la menace omniprésente de la guerre hybride. Parmi les exemples du type de pression qui pourrait être exercé contre les autorités, il y a les drames liés aux élections, les scandales de corruption (éventuellement provoquées par des «fuites» de la NSA grâce aux écoutes électroniques et / ou des documents comme au Brésil lors du «coup d’État constitutionnel» ou la tentative de guerre hybride macédonienne qui a échoué), les mouvements perturbateurs au niveau de la société civile ( l’Electric Yerevan en Arménie par exemple). Il y a aussi la politisation de transactions controversées (par exemple l’accord d’association UE-Ukraine) qui tentent de forcer un nouveau cycle d’élections.

Si le gouvernement n’est pas retourné, ou changé, ou redémarré après l’expérience de la contrainte de la «pacifique» révolution de couleur que les intérêts étrangers et leurs fantassins des ONG tentent de forcer «démocratiquement», alors le(s) gouvernement(s) étranger(s) derrière la mascarade pourrait prendre la décision de commencer une guerre hybride par une transition de la révolution de couleur vers une guerre non conventionnelle. Il n’est pas toujours garanti que ce sera le cas, car parfois certains troubles de type révolution de couleur ne sont pas pleinement soutenus par leurs sponsors étrangers et leur réseau d’ONG et ne sont que des coups de sondes pour l’évaluation des vulnérabilités structurelles, des réponses et d’autres sortes de renseignements précieux qui pourraient être utile dans un scénario de futur R-TCR qui sera mené avec plus de détermination et pris en charge à ces fins. Après tout, si l’état est assez fort pour se défendre contre cette attaque asymétrique en utilisant des mesures de sécurité démocratique et / ou que l’insurrection future n’a pas la viabilité à long terme pour soutenir une campagne réussie de guerre hybride de type R-TCR (peut-être si un efficace arrangement régional Lead From Behind ne peut pas être construit à temps), les bailleurs de fonds étrangers pourraient retirer leur soutien à cette agitation et attendre une autre occasion future qui pourra être conçue à un moment plus décisif.

Faire le saut

Quand une Révolution de couleur avance vers une transition progressive de guerre hybride évoluant vers une guerre non conventionnelle, une grande partie de l’ancien agencement structurel qui tire les ficelles reste tout simplement en place, mais sous un autre nom. La plupart des réseaux d’ONG et leur personnel se transforment en insurgés armés ou fournissent aux combattants un soutien informationnel, organisationnel, logistique et / ou matériel.

Bien que les tactiques de R-TCR aient changé, le principe reste toujours le même, mais avec un afflux notable et moins secret d’aide étrangère (insurgés, armes) pour la poursuite de ces objectifs.

Toutes les ONG et leurs travailleurs ne sont pas liées à des intérêts étrangers et ne participent pas à des activités ouvertement séditieuses, mais il est fort à parier que bon nombre d’entre elles le sont d’une façon ou d’une autre, puisque, après tout, la seule différence entre les révolutionnaires de couleur et leurs homologues des guerres non conventionnelles sont les moyens qu’ils sont prêts à employer pour atteindre leur objectif commun, avec chaque main lavant l’autre dans l’exécution des tâches complémentaires à cette fin.

Pour finir

La guerre hybride est la dernière forme d’agression menée par les forces unipolaires contre l’ordre mondial multipolaire émergeant, et la façon indirecte avec laquelle elle est pratiqué, protège l’auteur de répercussions immédiates et augmente donc l’attrait de ce stratagème. Vu que le recours à la guerre hybride comme instrument de politique étrangère ne montre aucun signe réel d’apaisement dans un avenir prévisible en raison de sa nouveauté et de sa nature rentable dans son application, il y a une urgence pressante à comprendre toutes ses facettes pour mieux la combattre, et donc la pertinence d’exposer le rôle central que jouent les ONG dans ce processus.

Il faut se souvenir que les guerres hybrides reposent sur une instigation depuis l’extérieur et la manipulation par la suite d’un conflit d’identité dans un état de transit ciblé le long de la voie d’un projet multipolaire transnational de premier plan concernant des infrastructures conjointes. Il est beaucoup plus facile de conceptualiser la fonction que les ONG liées à des forces étrangères hostiles qui ont intérêt à mettre cette séquence de «chaos contrôlé» en mouvement. Ces groupes sont chargés de provoquer un sentiment de séparation d’identité parmi la population, un sentiment manipulé par de l’ingénierie sociale dont les organisateurs pensent qu’il finira par transformer des citoyens patriotiques en sympathisants anti-gouvernementaux.

Les réseaux d’ONG et le personnel local participent à ce programme aidé de l’étranger et aspirent à perturber, contrôler ou influencer ces projets d’infrastructure mentionnés ci-dessus grâce à divers degrés de pression R-TCR contre les autorités. Ils peuvent se transformer en insurgés ou d’autres formes de menaces asymétriques lorsque leurs tactiques de révolution de couleur échouent pour commencer progressivement à prendre une forme de guerre non conventionnelle améliorée. Comme les ONG liées à des intérêts étrangers sont les forces d’avant-garde en tête de la dernière itération de la guerre hybride partout dans le monde, il est dans l’intérêt de chaque gouvernement responsable de placer des contrôles de surveillance et des restrictions opérationnelles sur ces groupes afin de neutraliser leurs capacités offensives et d’assurer la sécurité nationale.

 Andrew Korybko

Article original en anglais :  NGOs And The Mechanics Of Hybrid War, Oriental Review, 23 septembre 2016

Traduit par Hervé, vérifié par Wayan, relu par Catherine pour le Saker Francophone

Andrew Korybko est un commentateur politique américain qui travaille actuellement pour l’agence Sputnik. Il est l’auteur de Guerres hybrides : l’approche adaptative indirecte pour un changement de régime.

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Ce papier constitue la réactualisation d’un texte de l’auteur paru le 1er juin 2006 et intègre le scandale des «Panama Papers», de même qu’une mise à jour du classement du hit parade des paradis fiscaux.

LE SCANDALE DES «PANAMA PAPERS»

Le scandale des “Panama Papers” , déclenché par un lanceur d’alerte anonyme et non rémunéré -connu seulement sous le pseudonyme de John Doe-, désigne la fuite de plus de 11,5 millions de documents confidentiels issus du cabinet d’avocat panaméens Mossack Fonseca, détaillant des informations sur plus de 214.000 sociétés off shore, ainsi que les noms des actionnaires de ces sociétés.

Les chefs d’État ou de gouvernement de six pays -Arabie saoudite, Argentine, Emirats Arabes Unis, Islande, Royaume Uni et Ukraine- sont directement incriminés par ces révélations, tout comme des membres de leurs gouvernements, et des proches et des associés de chefs de gouvernements de plus de 40 autres pays, tels que l’Afrique du Sud, Chine, Corée du Sud, Brésil, France, Inde, Malaisie, Mexique, Pakistan Russie Syrie. Parmi eux se trouvent des hommes politiques, des milliardaires, des sportifs de haut niveau ou des célébrités.

Initialement envoyées au quotidien allemand Süddeutsche Zeitung en 2015, les données ont rapidement été partagées avec les rédactions de media dans plus de 80 pays par l’intermédiaire de l’international Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) basé à Washington. Les premiers articles ont été publiés le 3 avril 2016, accompagnés de 149 documents. D’autres révélations suivront les publications initiales, l’intégralité des sociétés mentionnées par les documents devant être dévoilée d’ici mai 2017.

Ces documents concernent de sociétés extra territoriales — dites offshore — que la firme Mossack Fonseca a aidé à créer, ou avec qui ses clients ont été en contact. Si dans la législation de la plupart des pays, les sociétés offshore ne sont pas illégales en elles-mêmes, c’est leur usage comme société-écran dans l’évasion fiscale ou le blanchiment d’argent qui l’est.

«PANAMA PAPERS», HUIT ANS APRÈS LA GRANDE CRISE DU SYSTÈME BANCAIRE

Précédé du scandale Luxleaks (Luxembourg) «Panama Papers» intervient huit ans après la grande crise systémique bancaire d’octobre 2008. Au terme d’un psychodrame d’un mois Septembre-Octobre 2008), le Congrès américain avait autorisé, le 3 octobre 2008, l’injection de 700 milliards de dollars dans l’économie américaine en vue de contenir la bourrasque financière et boursière qui a entraîné la faillite de treize banques et compagnies d’assurances et de sept cent mille foyers américains du fait d’un gestion spéculative des prêts immobiliers, sinistrant l’industrie automobile avec une chute de la production de l’ordre de 26 pour cent, plongeant dans la récession bon nombre de pays européens, dont la France.

Sur fond d’un paysage sinistré de l’économie occidentale, marqué par de faillites retentissantes de grands établissements de renom tant aux Etats-Unis qu’en Europe, un basculement stratégique s’est ainsi opéré en 2008 au niveau de la géo-économie» mondiale avec la recomposition de la carte bancaire américaine, l’entrée spectaculaire des fonds souverains arabes ou asiatiques dans le capital de grandes sociétés américaines ou européennes et l’affirmation de plus en plus marquée des grands pays du Sud, les pétromonarchies du Golfe et le groupe Bric (Brésil, Inde, Chine et Afrique du Sud) comme acteurs majeurs de la scène mondiale.

Au point que se pose la question de la pérennité de l’hégémonie planétaire des Etats-Unis et de la viabilité des structures internationales tant financières que politiques mises en place dans la foulée de la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale (1939-1945), notamment le Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU, le Fonds Monétaire International et la Banque Mondiale, ainsi que le G7, le regroupement des sept pays les plus industrialisés de la planète crée après la première crise du pétrole (1973). Apparemment la leçon n’a pas été retenue.

Pis, selon The Daily Beast, les sommes détournées par l’ensemble des kleptocrates de la planète avoisineraient les 12 billions de dollars. Si l’on ajoute l’évasion fiscale et les activités criminelles comme le trafic de drogue, le nombre avoisinerait les 36 billions de dollars.
En 2014, la valeur nette de la planète Terre était estimée à environ 240 000 milliards de dollars, ce qui signifie que 15% de la richesse mondiale serait passée dans la poche des kleptocrates.

La publication américaine se fonde sur les calculs d’un économiste d’investigation qui a épluché 45 ans de statistiques officielles. En croisant les statistiques de 200 pays, l’économiste en vient à la conclusion que 15 pour cent de la richesse mondiale est volée des pays les plus pauvres et placée dissimulé dans les paradis fiscaux, en Suisse, aux États-Unis et dans des protectorats britanniques comme les Bermudes et les îles Caïmans. Le terme kleptocrate désigne les dirigeants de régimes qui s’enrichissent par le vol des ressources publiques, et pratiquent à grande échelle la corruption et le blanchiment d’argent pour dissimuler l’origine de leur richesse.

Pour aller plus loin sur ce sujet

LES FUITES DES «PANAMA PAPERS» HASARD OU PRÉMÉDITATION ?

L’économiste Paul Jorion soutient, quant à lui, que «les fuites des Panama-papers ne surviennent pas par hasard». «Le réseau des paradis fiscaux est en fait extrêmement bien surveillé, parce qu’il correspond à l’ancien Empire britannique. La City de Londres continue d’opérer une surveillance de bon niveau sur l’ensemble du réseau. En fait, les États ont besoin de cette surveillance parce qu’ils veulent contrôler de façon semi-permissive le blanchiment d’argent sale qui provient du trafic de la drogue, de la prostitution, du trafic d’armes. Le 17 septembre 2008, jour où le système s’est effondré, beaucoup d’argent sale a été injecté par le biais des paradis fiscaux si l’on en croit Antonio Mario Costa, qui était alors directeur de l’Office des Nations-Unies contre la drogue et le crime. Il est évident que la raison d’état a besoin de ces paradis», assure-t-il.

http://www.telerama.fr/idees/paul-jorion-economiste-les-fuites-des-panama-papers-ne-surviennent-pas-par-hasard,140605.php

CAPITAUX ERRANTS ET BUDGETS ABERRANTS

Paradis fiscaux, zones offshore, flux monétaires, capitaux errants et budgets aberrants. Ces termes innocents évoquent au premier abord une douceur de vivre dans une société marquée par l’abondance financière, la flexibilité économique et l’évasion fiscale.

C’est en fait la face hideuse de la mondialisation, nouveau dogme de la libre entreprise, avec son cortège de chômage, d’exclusion, de corruption, en un mot tous les ingrédients qui gangrènent la vie politique, sapent les fondements des puissances grandes et petites et font planer le risque de perversion des grandes et vieilles démocraties.

Le nouvel ordre international tant célébré depuis l’effondrement du bloc communiste, c’est à dire depuis l’effondrement du monde bipolaire au début de la décennie 1990, a sécrété en contrepoint, un système planétaire articulé autour de la criminalité transnationale.

Les commentateurs occidentaux se sont longtemps montrés discrets sur ce sujet, plus prompts à dénoncer le péril islamiste ou le péril jaune, après avoir tant dénoncé le péril rouge.

Mais s’il est sain de dénoncer les périls extérieurs, il serait tout aussi salubre de dénoncer aussi ses propres périls intérieurs: Trafic de drogue, trafic d’armes, prostitution, jeux clandestins, racket constituent les principales sources de capitaux illicites et ces divers trafics, parfois tolérés sinon encouragés par les états, génèrent annuellement mille cinq cent milliards de dollars (1.500 milliards), soit le budget des 20 pays de la Ligue arabe, dont le tiers -500 milliards de dollars- proviendrait uniquement de la drogue.

Un universitaire britannique, Ronan Palan, chef du département international de l’Université du Sussex et auteur d’un ouvrage «The Off-Shore World» (Cornell Press University -2003) soutient que les paradis fiscaux ont été impliqués dans tous les scandales car ils disposent de la faculté de «légaliser» l’argent provenant d’activités illicites dans la mesure où la surveillance des capitaux transitant par les places off-shore sont très difficiles.
L’explosion du nombre des paradis fiscaux a avivé la concurrence au point que même la City de Londres, pourtant réputée pour sa rigueur, n’a pas été épargnée par des manipulations douteuses.

Première place financière européenne, Londres compte près de 800 banques. Les autorités financières notamment Financial Service Authority (FSA) ont ainsi gelé les comptes bancaires d’un total d’un milliard de dollars volés dans la caisse de la banque centrale du Kenya sous la présidence de Daniel Arap Moi (1978-2002), ainsi que des avoir dissimulés de l’ancien dictateur chilien Augusto Pinochet.

Pour se démarquer, les paradis fiscaux cherchent à se spécialiser proposant une gamme de services. C’est ainsi que Guernesey (Îles britanniques) s’est lancée dans l’assurance, Costa Rica dans les casinos sur Web, les Bermudes dans le commerce en ligne.

Les tenants de l’économie libérale justifient leur existence par le fait que leur présence contraint les places financières traditionnelles à ne pas sombrer dans la léthargie et qu’il convient de distinguer entre l’évasion fiscale, un délit, et une optimisation fiscale, qui constitue à leurs yeux une démarche légale visant à minimiser les impôts.

A L’ORIGINE ÉTAIT LA MAFIA

Curieusement à l’origine la prolifération des paradis fiscaux se trouve la Mafia.

La Mafia fonctionne à une seule échelle, celle de la planète. La mafia de la drogue s’étend partout: Chine, Japon, États-Unis, Amérique du Sud, dans la zone caraïbes-Pacifique, en Russie et l’Europe de l’Est, sans parler de l’Asie du Sud-est, du Moyen-Orient et de l’Afrique. S’adaptant à la mondialisation des économies, les organisations mafieuses ont crée des réseaux internationaux qui s’appuient sur des technologies les plus modernes (Internet, téléphone cellulaire), échappant à toute interception.

Selon une étude du FBI américain, le cartel colombien de la drogue aurait réalisé en 1995 un chiffre d’affaires estimé à 67 milliards de dollars, soit plus du double du budget d’Interpol (30 milliards de dollars) qui emploie, lui, plusieurs centaines d’agents. Les meilleurs experts en informatique sont embauchés pour faire prospérer ce pactole par son blanchiment et les grandes confédérations mafieuses (américaine, sicilienne, turque, russe, yakuza japonais et triades chinoises) se seraient constituées en une multinationale se partageant pays et produits, rôles et marchés.

A l’instar de la drogue, l’argent sale provenant du trafic illicite devient pour les banques et institutions financières qui se prêtent à des opérations de blanchiment une addiction ayant les mêmes effets que les stupéfiants sur les individus.

Empruntant un circuit complexe et risqué, l’argent noir transite par une multitude de sociétés écrans éparpillées à travers les paradis fiscaux de la planète, avant de se réhabiliter dans de respectables banques des grandes places financières internationales. Sa détection est difficile. Le seul véritable détecteur, au niveau mondial, est la balance mondiale des paiements.

Normalement, au niveau des échanges mondiaux, lorsqu’un pays est déficitaire, un autre devient excédentaire, mais l’injection massive de capitaux illicites a fortement déséquilibré les échanges mondiaux. Depuis 1982, le trou dans les échanges mondiaux est estimé à cent milliards de dollars annuellement. En 17 ans, il s’est élevé à mille sept cent milliards de dollars.

Les détenteurs de ces capitaux de l’ombre sont, pêle-mêle, des services spéciaux, guérillas du tiers-monde, mafias, trafiquant d’armes et de stupéfiants, états sous embargo, banques corrompues, y compris de respectables compagnies et États occidentaux toujours prêts à dire le Droit et à prêcher la Morale.

Cette importante masse financière clandestine tire profit des crises conjoncturelles de l’économie mondiale -Krach boursier américain de 1986, Krach immobilier européen du début des années 1990, tourmente boursière des marchés asiatiques de 1997- pour s’insinuer dans les rouages de la finance internationale. Ceci risque de gangrener à terme l’économie mondiale, comme en témoigne l’augmentation du nombre des pays à budgets aberrants, ou les pays à forte NEO.

LES PAYS NEO (NET ERRORS AND OMISSIONS)

Généralement situés à proximité des zones du narco-trafic mondial, les pays NEO sont ainsi appelés car ils disposent dans leur balance de paiement d’une rubrique NEO (Net Errors and omissions) qui permet par un artifice comptable, en prétextant les erreurs statistiques résultant des désordres administratifs, de dissimuler le grave dysfonctionnement de leur commerce extérieur découlant du transit du capital blanchi.

La procédure du blanchiment tire son nom d’une technique empruntée par un mafieux de Chicago des années 20 désireux à l’époque de se débarrasser de l’argent retiré de la vente clandestine d’alcool du temps de la prohibition. Par un jour de grande inspiration, il mit en application une idée inspirée par la mafia locale en achetant une chaîne de laveries automatiques où l’on paye en espèces.

Il ne lui restait plus à la fin de chaque journée de travail que d’ajouter de l’argent sale aux gains du jour et de déposer le tout à la banque, en prenant soin au préalable de déclarer au fisc la totalité de la recette, incluant l’argent ainsi blanchi. Plus tard, dans les années 50-60, les mafias, anticipant les modifications du marché de la consommation, ont eu recours aux chaînes de restauration rapide à l’exemple des pizzeria, pour blanchir l’argent sale, donnant ainsi naissance à la «Pizza connection». Ces techniques apparaissent désormais dérisoires.

Le temps du blanchiment de l’argent par les laveries et les pizzerias est aujourd’hui relégué à l’époque préhistorique du blanchiment.

De nos jours, les sommes en cause sont énormes et nécessitent pour leur blanchiment des techniques sophistiquées, donnant ainsi naissance à un métier nouveau «le financier-criminel», c’est à dire un ingénieur financier déployant ses talents dans les activités de nature criminelle.
Le blanchisseur perçoit, à titre de commissions, près de huit pour cent de la somme ayant transité par les transferts électroniques, alors que le contrebandier, passeur d’argent avec des mallettes, ne prélève que cinq pour cent. A titre d’illustration, les SWIFF (sociétés pour les télécommunications financières mondiales interbancaires) et les CHIPS (Chambre de compensation des systèmes de paiement interbancaires) brassent quotidiennement près de mille milliards de dollars.

L’identification tant du donneur initial que du bénéficiaire final devient donc d’autant plus difficile que le recycleur, moyennant une commission substantielle à chaque phase de l’opération, peut promener l’argent de compte offshore en sociétés-écrans, jusqu’à trouver un abri décent au capital. Ainsi un capital illicite entreposé aux Îles Caïmans peut, après un détour par Hongkong et Singapour se retrouver au Luxembourg pour être investi ensuite dans l’immobilier de luxe parisien.

S’il gagne gros, le recycleur a néanmoins une obligation de résultat. Il répond de sa vie de la réussite de l’opération de blanchiment. Il est en fait responsable sur sa vie…pour le restant de sa vie.

Pour d’évidents et impérieux motifs de sécurité, la Mafia ne peut tolérer l’amateurisme ou le bavardage et préfère limiter ses risques au maximum. Quiconque participe à une opération de blanchiment demeure un otage pour la vie. S’il lui est loisible, après accord de ses employeurs, de se reconvertir dans d’autres activités, son port d’attache demeure son activité de départ: la validation d’un argent d’origine crapuleuse. Captif doré, mais captif.

En marge du transfert électronique des capitaux, qui est le MUST du blanchiment, il existe diverses autres techniques liées au jeu, aux transactions sur les métaux précieux, ainsi qu’au transfert par «stroumpfage»:

  • Le jeu: l’argent noir est investi dans des casinos par l’achat de plaques de jeu, puis reconvertis en chèques, c’est la technique du «faux-jeton».
  • L’achat de bijoux et d’or dans les zones offshore. Le produit de revente du métal précieux est déposé en toute légalité dans un compte en banque.
  • Le transfert par «stroumpfage». Une multitude de petits passeurs (smurfs en Américain) achètent dans les banques des traveller’s chèques ou des devises. Aux États-Unis, tout individu peut retirer jusqu’à dix mille dollars en liquide. Une fois à l’étranger, ces passeurs entreposent ces chèques de voyage dans un compte bancaire légal.

PANAMA

En 1993 à New York, le FBI, intrigué par un flux anormal de mandats de la poste locale, ordonne une enquête. La découverte est stupéfiante: les cartels colombiens ayant recours à des «fourmis» ont procédé, pendant près d’un an à des virements sur des comptes au Panama pour un montant global quotidien de l’ordre de cent mille 100.000 dollars réalisé par le biais de modestes mandats dont la valeur pour chaque opération n’excédait pas mille dollars.

Depuis Panama, les fonds collectés étaient virés une nouvelle fois vers une succursale bancaire à Hong kong. L’opération a permis le blanchiment de 198 millions de dollars en moins d’un an. La répartition des fonds entre les différents bénéficiaires mafieux se faisant en fonction des signes distinctifs enregistrés au dos du mandat-poste et qui permettait le repérage de chaque mandat et son appartenance.

Autre stratagème de légalisation de l’argent illicite: la création d’une société écran dont l’objet est de collecter des fonds et des «dons charitables» pour de fausses congrégations religieuses.

Face à un tel pactole, l’imagination tourne à plein rendement et les procédés sont parfois rocambolesques, tel celui utilisé par un trafiquant de cannabis pakistanais qui n’a pas hésité à cacher 35 millions de dollars en espèces dans des machines de dessalement d’eau de mer spécialement aménagées à cet effet, commandées en Australie pour être exportées vers Singapour.

Toutefois, face à l’énormité des sommes en jeu, la Mafia n’a pas hésité parfois à prendre le contrôle de la totalité d’une banque pour en faire une usine de blanchiment d’argent.

LA BANQUE PIRATE

L’inventeur de la «banque pirate» est M. Jose-Antonio Fernandez, gros importateur de Marijuana colombien aux États-Unis dans la décennie 1970.
A travers toute une série de sociétés-écrans, M. Fernandez a réussi à prendre le contrôle de la «Sunshine State Bank» de Floride, la transformant en blanchisseuse géante pendant une dizaine d’années, jusqu’à son arrestation en 1984.

Parmi les autres exemples célèbres de banque-pirate citons celui de la BCCI (Banque du crédit et du Commerce International), propriété des émirats arabes, mise en banqueroute financière à la fin des années 80 pour sa connection réelle ou supposée avec l’argent de la drogue.

Un autre exemple est celui de la «Great American Bank» aux États-Unis, sous contrôle colombien en 1984 au moment de son démantèlement ainsi que la «Banque pour le développement du bâtiment de Poznam» (Pologne), qui a écoulé en Allemagne en 1992, près de 150 millions de dollars issus des fonds errants de Hong Kong.

LE PROCESSUS DU BLANCHIMENT

Le processus de blanchiment se déroule en trois étapes: le placement, l’empilage et l’intégration

-Le placement (ou prélavage): l’opération consiste à placer les importantes sommes d’argent recueillies de manière illicite dans le maillon faible du dispositif: l’économie de détail (achat de devises auprès d’agent de change, casinos de jeu, maison de retraite), le transfert par petits porteurs et petites coupures (schtroumpfage).

-L’empilage (ou lavage): l’opération consiste à gommer toute trace des origines criminelles de l’argent, en multipliant les transferts de compte à compte ou les transactions financières, notamment par le biais du «prêt apparent». Ce procédé consiste à obtenir un prêt pour un investissement garanti par le montant du compte numéroté détenu dans la même banque par l’emprunteur.
Le montant du prêt correspond à celui du dépôt et les intérêts à payer identiques à ceux perçus sur le compte numéroté.

-L’intégration (ou recyclage), terme ultime, confère une apparence de légalité à des revenus d’origine criminelle, qui sont investis dans des circuits économiques officiels: immobilier, tourisme, finance.

Ainsi le capital illicite part de New York par petits porteurs, fait d’abord une halte dans un des paradis fiscaux des micro-états de la région Pacifique-Caraibes, se transfère sur des grandes places financières asiatiques pour reprendre un début de respectabilité (Hongkong, Singapour) et termine dans les grandes places financières occidentales (Suisse, Luxembourg). A ce stade, le détenteur du capital réclame à Paris ou Londres un «prêt adossé» (Loan back), un prêt gagé sur un dépôt bancaire au Luxembourg, investissant ainsi tout à fait légalement dans l’immobilier, l’hôtellerie, la restauration, la bourse etc. avec en prime un surcroît d’honorabilité et de notoriété mondaine.

Devant l’ampleur du phénomène, les sept pays les plus industrialisés -les G7- ont fondé en juillet 1989 à la date anniversaire de la Révolution française, le groupe d’action financière internationale (GAFI) contre le blanchiment des capitaux. Instrument d’étude et d’expertise, le GAFI est chargé de suivre l’évolution des techniques de recyclage de l’argent sale et de vérifier l’application des mesures de lutte contre le blanchiment. En 2005, le Tracfin, l’organisme chargé de faire la chasse aux comptes douteux, a traité plus de dix mille «déclarations de soupçons», signalement de cas douteux, mais seulement 347 dossiers ont été transmis à la justice.

Parmi les autres organismes internationaux, on relève le programme des Nations-Unies pour le contrôle international de la drogue (PNUCID), l’organe international de contrôle des stupéfiants (OICS) et enfin Interpol qui a crée en son sein un service spécialisé de lutte contre le blanchiment de l’argent de la drogue. Si la communauté internationale a pris conscience de l’ampleur de l’enjeu, la lutte contre la prolifération des capitaux illicites demeure rudimentaire.

Selon le Gafi, à peine 0,5 pour cent des 4.400 milliards de dollars de bénéfices réalisés entre 1982 et 1992 du fait du trafic de drogue ont été confisqués. Le mal est profond et la contamination étendue. Elle se prolonge désormais sur la scène internationale par un nouveau venu le djihadisme d’un type nouveau et son industrie du captagon.

René Naba

  • Posted in Francais @fr
  • Commentaires fermés sur Panama Papers : La criminalité transnationale, la face hideuse de la mondialisation

Il y a quelques semaines, j’ai écrit : «J’ai été avocat de la défense la plus grande partie de ma vie professionnelle et je n’ai pas l’habitude de recueillir des preuves pour engager des poursuites, mais les circonstances m’ont incité à ouvrir un dossier pour le procureur de la Cour pénale internationale, ou peut-être un futur tribunal citoyen. Ce dossier contient la preuve que les dirigeants de l’OTAN sont coupables du plus grave crime contre l’humanité, le crime d’agression. Je voudrais partager avec vous quelques brèves notes intéressantes provenant de ce fichier, que je soumets à votre réflexion.»

L’Article 8bis du Statut de Rome, le statut régissant la Cour pénale internationale, stipule :

Aux fins du présent Statut, on entend par «crime d’agression» la planification, la préparation, le lancement ou l’exécution par une personne effectivement en mesure de contrôler ou de diriger l’action politique ou militaire d’un État, d’un acte d’agression qui, par sa nature, sa gravité et son ampleur, constitue une violation manifeste de la Charte des Nations Unies.

Depuis lors j’ai peu écrit, en partie à cause d’autres événements de la vie qui ont interféré avec ma capacité à prendre du recul, à assimiler et à penser sur ce qui se passait dans le monde, mais principalement parce que choisir d’écrire sur un crime particulier commis par l’Occident, c’est-à-dire les États-Unis d’Amérique −  confronté à la multitude de leurs crimes célébrés dans les médias occidentaux sous la bannière sanglante du patriotisme, du nationalisme, du chauvinisme et du fascisme − a conduit à une sorte de paralysie ; un état de choc est peut-être une meilleure manière de le dire.

D’autres doivent ressentir la même chose. Peut-être que la plupart d’entre nous sentent les choses de cette façon de temps en temps. Quel est le sujet ? Pourquoi dire ou écrire quoi que ce soit ? Ils sont en train de nous détruire tous de toute façon. Peu importe ce que nous disons, et d’ailleurs, tout a été dit avant. Cela a été dit durant la Première Guerre mondiale. Cela a été dit pendant la Seconde. Aujourd’hui, nous entrons, ou nous sommes peut-être déjà au milieu de la troisième – tous ces mots de paix, et d’indignation, et le résultat ? Les guerres ont eu lieu malgré eux.

John Lennon a posé notre exigence fondamentale : «Donnez une chance à la paix», et la CIA lui a tiré dans le dos pour cela – l’un des plus grands crimes contre le peuple – le meurtre d’un de nos héros – parce quand ils lui ont tiré dans le dos, c’est dans notre dos à tous qu’ils ont tiré.

Mais ce sentiment s’estompe, l’engourdissement passe, le sang recommence à circuler, le cri de Peter Finch dans Network [Main basse sur la télévision] de Paddy Chayefsky Network, «Je ne vais pas le tolérer plus longtemps !» revient en hurlant et vous vous levez et vous dites «Il a tout à fait raison ! Je ne vais plus tolérer ça !»

Donc j’ai rouvert le dossier que je prépare pour le procureur d’un futur tribunal populaire ou, miracle, pour un procureur vraiment indépendant à la Cour pénale internationale, afin de déposer des accusations de crimes de guerre contre les États-Unis et l’OTAN et leurs autres alliés, leurs dirigeants et officiers militaires, pour le crime d’agression et tous les autres crimes qu’ils commettent quotidiennement dans de nombreux pays.

Les nouvelles accusations portent sur leur implication dans le coup d’État politique pratiqué au Brésil contre son gouvernement socialiste élu par le peuple, privant fondamentalement la population brésilienne de sa démocratie et de son indépendance en tant que nation, leurs provocations permanentes et dangereuses en Asie contre la Chine et la Corée du Nord, qu’ils menacent directement d’anéantissement nucléaire par des bombardiers B1 et B2 survolant la péninsule, les provocations en cours des forces de l’OTAN dans la mer Baltique et les Balkans, toutes menaçant la Russie, et en commettant des crimes contre les peuples des républiques du Donbass et maintenant de la Crimée, c’est-à-dire la Russie elle-même. Mais le plus dangereux de tout est leur invasion de la Syrie pour protéger et assister leurs forces par procuration d’ISIL ou de Daesh, la présence de forces armées étasuniennes, britanniques, françaises, canadiennes, israéliennes et autres en Syrie est bien sûr illégale et constitue le crime d’agression. Il n’y a pas d’excuses ou de justifications pour le crime d’agression. Leur agression constitue aussi une répudiation totale de la Charte des Nations unies, qui exige de régler pacifiquement tous les différends et interdit l’usage de la force pour une raison quelconque hors du cadre d’un mandat de l’ONU.

L’invasion de la Syrie par leurs propres forces et les forces par procuration d’ISIS sous des noms divers – et maintenant des forces turques, semble-t-il – a tué des centaines de milliers de gens. Alors que la Syrie, la Russie, l’Iran et d’autres essaient de trouver une conclusion pacifique à la guerre, les Américains et leur gang, perpétuellement malhonnêtes, parlent de cessez-le-feu d’un côté tout en donnant, de l’autre, l’ordre d’attaquer.

Le récent bombardement des positions syriennes près de Deir ez-Zor le 17 septembre était, tout le monde le sait, une attaque délibérée. D’autant plus que depuis nous avons appris que la Grande-Bretagne et le Danemark déclarent que leurs avions étaient impliqués, tout comme les avions américains. Pour tous les pilotes des quatre pays, faire la même erreur alors qu’une telle opération conjointe aurait été finement réglée est au-delà de l’absurde. Les Syriens affirment maintenant qu’ils ont intercepté des communications radio de Daesh et des Américains en train de coordonner l’attaque. Ce fut un crime de guerre particulièrement cruel puisque les soldats syriens qui ont été tués avaient l’impression d’être à l’abri d’une telle attaque, qu’ils ne l’ont pas vue venir, une attaque sournoise, une embuscade, par les plus grands lâches au monde.

Ensuite, pour couvrir ce crime sous l’indignation morale, ils accusent la Russie et la Syrie d’avoir attaqué un convoi d’aide humanitaire auquel ces deux pays ont consacré beaucoup de temps et de travail d’organisation, puis ont poursuivi leur attaque en insultant la Russie au Conseil de sécurité en recourant au genre d’ignoble langage qui montre leur mépris total du peuple russe.

Beaucoup pensent que c’est parce que Samantha Power est une harpie cinglée, ce qu’elle est bien sûr. Est-ce la personnalité requise pour ce boulot ? Non, mais cela aide parce que ces insultes gratuites ne sont pas seulement une question de personnalité et de psychopathie de l’individu. Ce comportement infâme sert à des buts de propagande et doit être délivré avec haine et venin pour atteindre un effet maximum. Samantha Power est un produit naturel. Sa personnalité correspond parfaitement aux besoins du régime qu’elle représente. Ses manifestations sont délibérées, avec l’unique but de montrer au monde que la Russie n’est pas digne de crédit ou de respect, que le peuple et le gouvernement russes sont méprisables et par conséquent qu’ils ne sont pas vraiment des êtres humains. Ce sont des choses qui peuvent être détruites sans ressentir quoi que ce soit, puisqu’ils ne sont rien. C’est le message, et quiconque ne parvient pas à comprendre cela échoue à comprendre ce qu’est l’objectif ultime – la soumission totale de la Russie ou la guerre.

La réponse rapide des forces armées syriennes à la rupture du cessez-le-feu par les Américains et – si l’on en croit les articles de Sputnik et de Fars – le fait que les trois missiles russes tirés sur Alep depuis un navire ont frappé un poste de commandement central habité par des forces américaines, israéliennes et autres, tuant 30 de ses occupants, alors le monde est déjà en guerre. Le rapport sur 11 soldats canadiens tués dans le Donbass après l’attaque de positions républicaines là-bas le 23 juillet, bien que non confirmé, n’a pas été démenti par les autorités canadiennes en réponse à ma question sur ce rapport.

Les Américains semblent décidés à la guerre et les élections à venir aux États-Unis ne portent aucun espoir pour l’avenir, seulement plus de désespoir. Les Russes et le reste du monde sont confrontés à Godzilla, le monstre qui menaçait le Japon dans plusieurs films de science-fiction réalisés dans les années 1950. Ces films étaient habilement déguisés en attaques politiques contre les États-Unis et leur destruction et occupation du Japon. L’Amérique était le monstre né dans le champignon atomique de Hiroshima. C’était le monstre menaçant de détruire tout sur son passage. Rien ne semblait pouvoir arrêter Godzilla, à l’exception bien sûr des armes atomiques. Et c’est là où nous en sommes ; le gouvernement russe tente tout ce qu’il peut imaginer pour éviter cette catastrophe tandis que les Américains continuent à les pousser et nous tous avec, dans un coin dont il n’y a qu’une échappatoire.

Donc je sélectionne le fichier, j’ajoute de nouvelles accusations, je construis le dossier pénal ; parce qu’un jour, il y aura une prise en compte de ces gens. Un jour, la justice l’emportera dans ce monde. Car, comme je l’ai écrit dans un poème,

Un jour, il y a eu de la Lumière,
Et la voix de la Raison a chanté doucement,
Les droits de l’homme et les vérités que nous pleurons aujourd’hui,
Les assassinés en toute impunité, les gens abattus dans toutes les rues,
Donc maintenant, nous devons renouveler notre chanson,
Notre lutte prend une autre forme
Pour les sombres jours qui viennent, les nuits sont longues,
Les vents hurlent avant la tempête

Christopher Black

 Article original en anglais :

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US-NATO’s War On Russia: The Winds Howl Before The Storm

Traduit par Diane, vérifié par jj, relu par Catherine pour le Saker francophone

Christopher Black est un juriste pénaliste international basé à Toronto, il est membre du Barreau du Haut-Canada et il est connu pour un grand nombre de cas très médiatisés portant sur les droits humains et les crimes de guerre, en particulier pour le magazine en ligne New Eastern Outlook.

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  • Commentaires fermés sur Guerre OTAN-USA à la Russie : les vents hurlent avant la tempête

Colombie – Nathalie, « la Francesa » des FARC

octobre 9th, 2016 by Maurice Lemoine

Le 26 septembre 2016, après quatre années de négociations menées à La Havane, le président Juan Manuel Santos et le chef des Forces armées révolutionnaires de Colombie (FARC), Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, alias « Timochenko », signaient à Cartagena, en présence de nombreux chefs d’Etat latino-américains et du secrétaire général de l’ONU Ban Ki-Moon, un « accord final d’achèvement du conflit et de construction d’une paix stable et durable » destiné à mettre fin à la tragédie qui, depuis plus d’un demi-siècle, pour des raisons sociales, ensanglante le pays. Provoquant un immense espoir, cet accord, pour être mis en œuvre, devait être ratifié par référendum le dimanche 2 octobre. Contre toute attente, dans ce pays profondément divisé, le « non » l’a emporté avec 50,21 % des suffrages devant le « oui » (49,78 %) – une différence de 59 000 voix –, la participation n’atteignant que 37,28 % du corps électoral. Un séisme pour les partisans du silence des armes et d’une vie démocratique enfin normalisée.

« Je ne me rendrai pas et continuerai à rechercher la paix », a déclaré le président Santos, affirmant que le cessez-le-feu bilatéral et définitif, observé depuis le 29 août, « reste valide et demeurera en vigueur ». Depuis La Havane, le chef rebelle Timochenko, tout en déplorant « que le pouvoir destructeur de ceux qui sèment la haine et la rancœur ait influé sur l’opinion de la population colombienne », a réitéré la disposition des guérilleros « à ne faire usage que de la parole comme arme de construction de l’avenir ». Férocement opposé à l’accord, principal artisan de ce séisme, l’ex-président et sénateur de droite extrême Álvaro Uribe affirme quant à lui qu’il est prêt à contribuer « à un grand pacte national », mais insiste pour que soit « corrigé » ce qui a été négocié avec les insurgés. Ceux-ci n’étant nullement disposés à remettre en cause le document de 297 pages issu de près de quarante-huit mois de pourparlers, l’incertitude la plus totale plane sur le futur, le pouvoir n’ayant envisagé aucun plan B.

Parmi les guérilleros qui s’apprêtaient à déposer les armes et à les remettre à l’ONU dans un délai de six mois, figure l’une des deux Européennes présentes dans les rangs des FARC, la Française « Nathalie Mistral ». Quelques semaines avant ce qui apparaissait comme une très proche démobilisation, les journalistes Maurice Lemoine et Pierre Carles l’avaient rencontrée.

Apart son rire communicatif, elle ne possède rien. « On peut parfois transporter des équipements à dos de mule, mais on ne peut pas se surcharger trop, donc on apprend à se détacher de beaucoup de choses. C’est bien de posséder des objets, mais le jour où tu dois les charger sur tes épaules, s’ils ne sont pas absolument indispensables, tu les laisses derrière toi. » Donc, à part son rire communicatif, elle ne dispose que d’un gros sac à dos dans lequel rentre toute sa vie. Elle : Audrey, alias « Nathalie Mistral », française de naissance, colombienne de cœur, internationaliste de conviction, guérillera depuis douze ans au sein des Forces armées révolutionnaires de Colombie – Armée du peuple (FARC-EP).

Lorsque nous la rencontrons, début juillet dernier, dans les terres marécageuses et infestées d’insectes de la jungle du Choco, la signature définitive d’un accord de paix avec le gouvernement du président Juan Manuel Santos paraît hautement possible et, les yeux fixés vers l’avenir, Nathalie, comme ses « camaradas », réfléchit déjà à l’après conflit : « On ne parle pas de démobilisation au sens classique du terme. On pense à générer une dynamique collective. L’idée est de travailler de façon intégrée dans les communautés où nous sommes déjà présents, de générer des projets productifs, l’ouverture de voies de communication, une réforme rurale, la redistribution, le développement de centres d’alimentation. En vertu des accords négociés pendant quatre années à la Havane avec le pouvoir, les paysans devraient recevoir des crédits, un appui technique pour la culture et la distribution. On va être dans tout ça [1]. » Du social dans les yeux plutôt qu’un couteau entre les dents !
Somme toute, à un peu plus de 40 ans, Nathalie n’a rien renié des idéaux et de la radicalité de sa première jeunesse. Originaire de Montpellier, présente « dans tous les mouvements » lorsqu’elle était étudiante, elle fut éducatrice spécialisée travaillant à l’insertion sociale des gens en situation de rue, tout en militant à la CGT. « A un moment, raconte-t-elle, je me suis demandé : qu’est-ce que je fais ? Je perpétue le système en y injectant de l’eau tiède pour que les défavorisés ne protestent pas ? J’en avais marre de dire aux gens, sans résultat : “Si vous êtes mécontents de votre situation, je peux résoudre votre problème jusque-là ; mais, au-delà, allez occuper les bureaux de l’administration !” » Estimant la situation momentanément bloquée, elle décide de « faire autre chose ».

Objet de sa réflexion : la richesse européenne se construisant sur l’exploitation du Sud, comment aider les plus pauvres, les pays victimes de la spoliation à récupérer leur autonomie et à modifier le rapport de forces ? Et, surtout, où agir ? En examinant les possibilités existantes, « et pas spécialement la lutte armée, mais la résistance au modèle dominant », Nathalie se retrouve en 2001 au Chiapas – « comme tout le monde »  ! précise-t-elle en pouffant. Durant un mois, entre moulins à maïs, plantations de café et aubes bleutés des montagnes du sud-est mexicain, elle observe cette « expérience d’autogestion indigéniste intéressante », tout en restant sur sa faim : « Primo, parce que, sur le plan militaire, ils sont totalement encerclés. Dès qu’ils bougent, ils sont écrasés. Secundo parce que “changer le monde sans prendre le pouvoir”, c’est très joli, mais comment ça se mange ? C’est quelque chose que je ne comprends pas bien. » Vaste débat, toujours en cours en Amérique latine et même au-delà.

Homme ou femme, la vie d’un individu ne progresse pas de façon linéaire. Le hasard des rencontres y joue un rôle déterminant. Mais peut-on parler de hasard, dans le cas présent ? Au Chiapas, Nathalie fait la connaissance d’un « muchacho » chilien qui s’intéresse à la Colombie. C’est l‘époque où, dans la région du Caguán, les FARC négocient avec le président Andrés Pastrana. De cette terrible organisation d’opposition armée qu’on dit communiste, Nathalie a l’image qu’on en a en France. Pas franchement positive, pour dire les choses comme elles sont. Elle discute avec le « compañero ». IIs décident d’aller voir ce qui se passe dans le Caguán, afin d’en savoir plus sur cette mystérieuse guérilla. Evidemment, faute de moyens, l’organisation de l’expédition prend du temps. Alors que, par la route, ils voyagent depuis une quinzaine de jours, Pastrana, qui a profité de la trêve pour négocier avec Washington le Plan Colombie, rompt les pourparlers et, le 20 février 2002, déclenche l’opération « Thanatos ». Trois heures après la rupture des négociations, et au mépris des engagements pris, les forces armées lancent sur les FARC et leur état-major au grand complet quelque deux cents missions aériennes depuis la base de Tres Esquinas (département du Caquetá) en utilisant des avions OV-10, AT-37, DC-34 et Kafir, ainsi que des hélicoptères Black Hawk, qui bombardent quatre-vingt-sept sites de la zone démilitarisée [2].

Plus question pour les deux voyageurs de s’aventurer au milieu de cet inextricable guêpier. Ils poursuivent leur chemin jusqu’en Argentine qui, à ce moment, laboratoire de l’ultralibéralisme tombé au fond du gouffre, se désagrège, prise au piège de sa dette, de sa classe dirigeante, du Consensus de Washington et donc du Fonds monétaire international (FMI). Entre explosions de colère, manifs ponctuées de leurs rageurs « Que se vayan todos ! » (« qu’ils s’en aillent tous »), renversements et démission de présidents – Fernando de la Rúa (20 décembre 2001), Rodríguez Saá (30 décembre 2001), Eduardo Duhalde (30 mars 2003) –, la Française et le Chilien s’investissent et côtoient les « piqueteros » [3], tout en organisant des événements de solidarité avec la Colombie. De temps en temps, ils voyagent en Equateur ou au Venezuela, à la recherche de contacts, pas si faciles que ça à trouver. « On analysait avec pragmatisme que les FARC étaient l’organisation la plus importante et que, si nous voulions apporter notre grain de sable, il convenait d’aider le mouvement qui avait de réelles des possibilités. »

Après un passage en Bolivie où, en 2003, deux ans avant l’arrivée au pouvoir d’Evo Morales, ils gravitent dans la mouvance du Mouvement vers le socialisme (MAS), le grand moment arrive enfin à l’occasion du premier Forum social des Amériques (FSA), qui se tient en Equateur du 25 au 30 juillet 2004, dans la continuité du Forum social mondial (FSM) inauguré à Porto Alegre en janvier 2001. A Quito, quelque huit cent cinquante organisations de toutes origines et plus de dix mille personnes, parmi lesquelles énormément de jeunes, équatoriens bien sûr, mais aussi colombiens, péruviens, vénézuéliens, brésiliens, se retrouvent pour promouvoir « Un autre monde possible ». C’est lors de ce forum, au cours duquel des organisations syndicales, agricoles et indigènes colombiennes dénoncent les dramatiques violations des droits humains menées sous les auspices du président Álvaro Uribe et de sa politique dite de « sécurité démocratique », que les deux compagnons rencontrent des représentants du Mouvement bolivarien – une organisation qu’on prétend « proche des FARC » et dont le dirigeant est de fait… l’un des « commandantes » de la guérilla, alors chargé du travail idéologique et politique, Alfonso Cano [4].

Le Mouvement bolivarien souhaite inviter des « piqueteros » pour la commémoration de la mort de Simón Bolivar, qui se tiendra à Santa Marta (Colombie) en fin d’année 2004. De retour à Buenos Aires, Nathalie et le Chilien transmettent le message aux Argentins, qui le reçoivent avec un certain embarras. Deux problèmes les perturbent. Le premier, financier : personne, au sein de ces « piqueteros » dépourvus de tout, n’a de quoi financer ce projet. Le second ? Le niveau de risque. Une invitation des « sulfureuses » FARC, placées par Washington et l’Union européenne sur la liste des organisations terroristes, alors que gouverne Álvaro Uribe !

Bien peu à l’époque (et aujourd’hui encore) oseraient appliquer à la Colombie la réflexion du Mexicain Carlos Montemayor, excellent connaisseur des groupes « subversifs » d’Amérique latine, s’exprimant à propos du Chiapas. Après avoir précisé « la guérilla n’est pas à l’origine de la violence ; la guérilla est la phase armée et ultime d’une violence déchaînée, de manière cruelle et mortelle, par la politique des groupes de pouvoir  », l’écrivain s’interroge : « Quelles dimensions sociales et politiques embrassent le mot « terrorisme » ? Un peuple qui se soulève pour résister à une invasion, ou pour se défendre des massacres, de la faim, du racisme, de la répression ou de la misère est-il terroriste [5] ? » De fait, aucune histoire n’existe sans son passé.

Nathalie et son camarade avaient-ils lu Montemayor ? Nous l’ignorons. Toutefois, malgré les taraudantes incertitudes, ils n’hésitent pas longtemps : « Le contact politique clandestin doit toujours balancer entre prise de risque et confiance, car si tu ne fais jamais rien, tu n’obtiens jamais rien. Alors, tu soupèses… » Et tu décides que tu y vas !

Voici nos deux internationalistes sous le soleil de la côte caraïbe, dans un campement des FARC dont ils découvrent les « cambuches » (dits également « caletas », « carpas » ou « carpitas ») – lits surélevés de planches, entourés de quatre piquets que surmonte une toile plastique noire ou kaki. Rien à voir avec les luxueux bungalows plantés, pas très loin de là, sur le sable des plages d’un blanc aveuglant. Du spartiate ! Ils vont participer à un échange qui, malgré la situation tendue, n’a rien d’exceptionnel et au début duquel les guérilleros demandent généralement aux visiteurs combien de temps ils souhaitent rester. Dans un grand éclat de rire, Nathalie se souvient : « En général, ceux-ci répondent deux jours, une semaine, deux semaines. Nous, on a dit : un an et demi ! » Apprendre, connaître, comprendre, voir ce qu’il était possible d’apporter. « OK, restez, répondent tranquillement les guérilleros qu’on décrit souvent comme des paranoïaques vivant au sein d’une secte isolée de tout. Voici votre caleta. »

Prendre les armes, quand on est très… antimilitariste ! Le père de Nathalie avait vingt ans en 1968. Il a été hippie, on l’a vu sur les barricades au Quartier latin. « J’ai grandi dans ce milieu de critique, de rébellion, assez anarchiste. Je n’avais jamais vu un fusil de ma vie. Ça a été une découverte. Et un questionnement. Tuer quelqu’un pour sauver sa vie ? Je n’y ai jamais été confrontée, mais on doit s’habituer à l’idée. Sans savoir comment on va réagir… »

Guerres légitimes, guerres illégitimes… « On lit, on étudie, on étend ses connaissances. » Il n’empêche, on n’est plus à Quito. Les FARC sont une armée, pas une réunion d’altermondialistes sympas. Une structure militaire, une verticalité dans les tâches, une rigide organisation de la vie quotidienne, de la discipline, un règlement. « Parfois, ça pèse. Moi, je suis un peu libertaire ! Je demande toujours des explications. Et pourquoi on fait ça ? Et pourquoi on prend cette décision ? Et pourquoi… ? »Toutefois, conte la Française, la compréhension vient avec le temps. « Il s’agit d’une armée différente de l’armée bourgeoise, avec une discipline consciente. Si j’obéis aux ordres, ce n’est pas parce que je suis obligée, mais parce que c’est une garantie d’efficacité et de sécurité. On fait partie d’une chaîne. Les ordres se donnent et se reçoivent avec respect. Il y a une camaraderie un peu plus que militaire dans la relation avec les gens, et un projet politique partagé. On n’est pas seulement guérilleros, on est tous membres du Parti communiste clandestin [PC3], on a des réunions de cellule, des espaces de participation, des discussions, c’est la grande différence avec une armée classique. »

Pour en revenir au tout début de l’engagement, les temps furent difficiles. De grandes opérations se déroulaient dans la proche Sierra Nevada. Des blessés arrivaient dans ce campement d’arrière-garde chargé de la propagande et de la radio. En guérillera de base, Nathalie suit alors les cours de l’Ecole politique, sans participer à aucun combat, jusqu’au jour où un « comandante » lui pose, comme au Chilien (et à tout combattant récemment intégré), la question à un million de pesos : « Alors ? Que voulez-vous faire, maintenant ? Voulez-vous rester ? Intégrer les réseaux de solidarité, la structure internationale, le Mouvement bolivarien, le PC3 ? » En bonne logique, en tant que non Colombiens, ils devraient travailler avec Raúl Reyes, numéro deux et « ministre des affaires étrangères » des FARC [6]. Mais sa politique est généralement d’utiliser ce type de militants pour construire la solidarité internationale depuis leur pays d’origine. D’une voix forte et ferme, ces deux-là s’insurgent : « Non ! On veut rester ici ! »

Les « comandantes » couperont la poire en deux : «  On m’a quasiment jetée du campement, s’amuse Nathalie, en me disant : “Tu as des capacités politiques, tu dois travailler à l’extérieur.” » C’est ainsi qu’elle devient la « camarada mochilera » – la « camarade au sac à dos ». Jouant les routardes pour donner le change, elle parcourt le continent américain en bus, en car, en stop, en camion, de Caracas à Buenos Aires, de La Paz à Quito, pour établir des contacts, construire la solidarité à travers les mouvements sociaux en cooptant les militants de base les plus politisés. Rentrant et sortant des campements, maintenant le lien entre les parties rurale et urbaine de l’insurrection, elle vit cette situation quasiment comme un privilège, pouvant à l’occasion s’offrir « une bière ou un ciné ». Mais déjà en véritable « fariana » (combattante, généralement paysanne, des FARC)  : « Je me souviens que parfois j’étais en ville et qu’ils me récupéraient parce que je n’en pouvais plus. La vie dans les campagnes ou la jungle apporte plus d’énergie physique, une sorte de tranquillité. »

En 2008, un épisode très « franchouillard », ridicule, mais majeur, va troubler cette relative normalité. Jusque-là, vivant dans un campement, ou quelques mois dehors (parfois très longtemps, parfois très peu), Nathalie possède des papiers en règle, comme n’importe quelle touriste lambda. Les services de renseignements colombiens ne l’ont pas détectée. Mais son passeport français arrive à expiration. La voici devant le comptoir d’embarquement de l’aéroport Simón Bolivar de Caracas, sac de voyage à l’épaule, destination Paris. De la ville dite « lumière », elle gagne la Bourgogne où vivent ses parents et où elle a fait porter sa résidence avant son départ, dans la maison où elle a grandi. Là, la situation tourne à la farce bien que, vérification faite, il n’est nullement fait mention de la Préfecture de l’Yonne dans les œuvres de Georges Courteline ou Franz Kafka. Une fonctionnaire est en fonction, ce qui, a priori, n’a rien de surprenant. Mais ses doigts tambourinent nerveusement sur son bureau. D’après elle, Nathalie a passé trop d’années à l’extérieur de l’hexagone pour pouvoir demander un renouvellement de son passeport. Bien entendu, en bonne Française, c’est-à-dire râleuse, et en guérillera colombienne, c’est-à-dire insoumise, celle-ci s’insurge vigoureusement : « Je voyage en permanence, mais mon domicile légal est là. » Elle ne discerne pas la moindre hésitation dans la réponse : « Donnez-m’en la preuve. Vous ne payez ni loyer, ni électricité, ni ligne fixe de téléphone, ni abonnement pour un portable, ni impôts, ni cotisations à la sécu… Vous n’êtes pas de cette région. Puisque vous y avez travaillé, allez voir du côté de Montpellier. » Où elle subit le même refus. Bref, pratiquant la déchéance de nationalité avant l’heure, on lui conseille d’aller voir au… « Venezuela  », d’où elle a pris l’avion.

Finalement, après moult démarches et comme si elle était étrangère dans son propre pays, Nathalie obtient un passeport temporaire (« Délivré en urgence pour des motifs d’ordre médicaux ou humanitaires. Les services préfectoraux décident de la délivrance en fonction de la situation. Ce passeport est valide seulement pendant un an »). Rentrée en Colombie, elle s’y retrouve donc sans papiers en règle à partir de 2009. Elle y vit aujourd’hui en « illégale » intégrale, sans possibilité de se déplacer ni même de rentrer en France le cas échéant. Ce qui ne pose guère de problème quand on vit avec « la insurgencia » (les insurgés), mais risque de se révéler problématique en cas de démobilisation. Evidemment, faute de document d’identité, Nathalie doit désormais limiter les déplacements et cesser quasiment de voyager pour la Commission internationale. Dans la vie normale, on dirait : il lui faut changer de service et de spécialité.

Quand elle a intégré l’opposition armée, Nathalie l’a fait en ayant dans la tête les campements du Che, les guérilla des années 50 ou 70, des images de hamacs, de barbus aux vêtements en loques, de vieux fusils. Quelle surprise. Elle débarque sous les gigantesques frondaisons qui dissimulent le cantonnement. La première chose qu’elle voit c’est la « carpita » et, immédiatement après, provoquant chez elle un incrédule « c’est pas possible ! », un petit chien blanc, un chienchien à sa mémère, avec un nœud rose sur les oreilles et les griffes peintes. Cette sorte de caniche de bourgeoise appartient à une guérillera. « C’est lié au fait de ne pas pouvoir avoir d’enfant, beaucoup ont “una mascota”[un animal de compagnie] et s’amusent avec comme avec un jouet. »

Deuxième source d’étonnement : le niveau des technologies utilisées. Quelques commandants utilisent un ordinateur, beaucoup plus lourd que ceux d’aujourd’hui, les clés USB n’existent pas encore, mais, au fil du temps, les guérilleros suivent l’évolution du matériel à vitesse grand V. Lorsque Nathalie rejoint définitivement le Bloc Caraïbe, après ses démêlés avec la bureaucratie française, le commandant Jesús Santrich est « complètement planté avec son ordi ». Pourrie par les virus, la machine fonctionne au ralenti. En France, Nathalie s’intéressait beaucoup à la technique et s’occupait elle-même de son informatique. Elle prend les choses en main : « “Je peux essayer de te le régler. Je ne suis pas spécialiste, mais j’essaie.” Et je l’ai nettoyé. Il a fonctionné un peu mieux. La deuxième fois aussi, quand un autre camarade est venu me trouver. Peu à peu, cherchant sur Internet quand je ne savais pas, je me suis retrouvée spécialisée en tout ce qui était technique. » Jusqu’au jour où Iván Márquez (futur numéro un de la délégation des FARC à La Havane), en proie à une perplexité manifeste, l’appelle parce que le site Internet national est tombé sous les coups des hackers de l’armée. « Tu sais faire une page Web ? » On est au pays du « réalisme magique » de Gabriel García Márquez, ne l’oublions pas : « J’en ai fait une pour une amie chanteuse ! Si tu veux, je tente le coup. » Ainsi naît le site Martín Caballero « Bolivar somos todos » (Nous sommes tous Bolivar) [7]. A compter de ce moment, « la Francesa » bascule définitivement dans la « communication ».

Les parents de Nathalie connaissent plus ou moins l’activité de leur fille. Ils auront l’occasion de lui rendre visite à La Havane où, en février 2013, elle rejoint la délégation des FARC qui négocie avec les représentants du président Juan Manuel Santos. Autant la néerlandaise Tanja Nijmeier (alias Alexandra Nariño), dont l’existence est connue depuis 2007, est devenue l’attraction des médias du monde entier, autant cette seconde européenne passe inaperçue. Comme ses « camaradas », elle se retrouve à mille lieux des cris des singes, des appels des oiseaux, du bourdonnement des insectes des jungles colombiennes, dans cette zone exclusive d’El Laguito (le petit lac), un condominium situé à l’ouest de la capitale cubaine, exproprié par Fidel Castro au début des années 1960. Devant le portail, vêtues d’un uniforme vert olive, ce sont presque toujours des jeunes femmes qui montent la garde [8]. Mais ce n’est pas ce qui fait s’étrangler Nathalie.

Le pseudo « sexe faible » représente environ 35 % des effectifs de l’organisation armée. Au quotidien, l’égalité totale entre hommes et femmes préside au partage de toutes les tâches, cuisine et combat compris. « En arrivant à La Havane, j’ai été choquée de voir comment toutes ces guérilleras, fortes de quinze, vingt ou trente ans de maquis, s’appropriaient la Maison de réception et commençaient à vouloir cuisiner, faire du ménage, etc. Après des décennies de travail égalitaire, revenir à ça ! » Quand elle aborde ce sujet, « la Francesa » devient intarissable. Et positive, en pensant à l’avenir. « L’avantage qu’on a sur les expériences passées, en parlant des femmes, c’est qu’on a prévu ce qui peut se passer. »

Dans le cadre des pourparlers, les négociateurs ont reçu de très nombreuses délégations de personnalités politiques, d’émissaires colombiens et étrangers, de victimes du conflit et… de femmes. Parmi ces dernières, beaucoup de « démobilisées » des mouvements qui ont déposé les armes dans les années 1990 – M-19, Quintín Lame, Armée populaire de libération (EPL), quelques fractions minoritaires de l’Armée de libération nationale (ELN). « Elles nous ont mis en garde : “Nous, nous sommes restées sans protection.” »

Très concrètement : lorsque la guérilla indigène du Quintín Lame abandonne la lutte armée, le pouvoir octroie de la terre aux hommes. Leur femme ou amie, éventuellement ex-combattante, est « compañera de… » (compagne de…). « Après un certain temps, si le couple éclate, les femmes restent sans rien. » Côté M-19, d’après les « anciennes », personne ne s’affrontait pour arracher le privilège d’aller au combat. Le plus capable prenait la direction des opérations et tout le monde participait. En revanche, dès qu’il s’est agi d’entrer en politique, la compétition est devenue plus compliquée et les femmes ont été peu à peu marginalisées. « Elles nous ont toutes averti. »

Paradoxalement, c’est au sein de cette guérilla des FARC à la réputation épouvantable qu’une Commission de genre dirigée par la « comandante » Victoria Sandino pense le problème, y réfléchit, l’impose dans l’agenda de la négociation et fait en sorte que le même type de réflexion soit mené dans les différents blocs et fronts [9].

Pour être guérillera, donc, on n’en est pas moins femme. A La Havane, Nathalie tombe amoureuse d’un membre de la délégation rebelle, un grand gaillard afro-colombien, le commandant Pablo Atrato, membre de l’état-major du front 57. Quand celui-ci rentre dans son étouffant Choco, elle demeure dans la capitale cubaine mais, lorsque vient son tour de repartir pour sa base de la Caraïbe, en avril 2016, elle demande son transfert et rejoint son « compa ». « Je suis ici par amour » ! rit-elle aux éclats en tentant de chasser les moustiques qui, pendant qu’elle parle, s’offrent un festin (sur nous aussi, soit dit en passant !).

Les FARC étant un mouvement d’extraction paysanne, il n’est pas rare, en entrant dans un campement, comme celui où nous l’avons rencontré, de voir des cochons ou des poules. Dont l’une finira ce soir à la casserole. En pensant à l’ « exécution » de la volaille plutôt qu’à sa dégustation, Nathalie esquisse une moue un peu ennuyée. « On suppose que le fariano doit tout savoir faire ! C’est dans le règlement. Par exemple, tuer une poule. Je suis de la campagne, je sais comment m’y prendre. Mais, quand il s’agit d’égorger un porc ou une vache, je préfère céder ma place. Par chance, j’en ai le droit. » 

Répugner à tuer une bestiole et vivre au sein d’une organisation armée accusée de tous les maux, y compris de crimes de guerre et de crimes contre l’Humanité ! Quelle contradiction, voire quelle inconséquence ! Sursauteront certains, trouvant que ce portrait rend la militante un peu trop normale, commune, sympathique, terriblement humaine en un mot.

Qu’on nous permette une digression. Le conflit colombien a été atroce, par sa durée et son intensité. Le mécanisme de « justice transitionnelle » élaboré par les négociateurs à La Havane se donne pour objectif principal l’établissement de la vérité due aux victimes, des peines de restriction de liberté pouvant atteindre huit années (mais sans prison) pour ceux qui avoueront des fautes particulièrement graves et des sanctions impitoyables (vingt ans d’incarcération) pour qui tenterait d’occulter des exactions n’ayant rien à voir avec le contexte occasionné par un affrontement armé. Il n’y a donc pas « impunité », contrairement aux allégations des détracteurs du processus de paix.

Lorsque, à Cartagena, le 26 septembre, quelques semaines après notre rencontre avec la Française, seront signés ce qu’on considérera alors comme d’« historiques accords de paix », le commandant en chef de la guérilla Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri – nom de guerre « Timoleón Jiménez » ou « Timochenko » – ne laissera planer aucune ambiguïté en assumant publiquement, solennellement, dans son discours, les responsabilités de la guérilla : « Au nom des FARC-EP, je demande sincèrement pardon à toutes les victimes du conflit, pour toutes les douleurs que nous avons pu causer durant cette guerre. » Auparavant, dans une atmosphère « tendue mais respectueuse », les insurgés avaient déjà reconnu, devant les familles, leur culpabilité dans le meurtre « absurde » et « honteux » des onze députés enlevés en avril 2002 dans le département du Valle del Cauca et exécutés cinq ans plus tard alors que l’armée menait une opération pour les libérer. De même qu’ils ont rencontré à deux reprises et fait leur mea culpa devant les habitants de Bojayá (Choco), où une « bavure » particulièrement atroce fit 119 morts et 98 blessés en mai 2002 [10]. Outre la pratique des enlèvements de civils destinés à financer le mouvement par la perception d’une rançon (dite « impôt révolutionnaire »), deux des tragédies emblématiques régulièrement montées en épingle pour mettre en cause, mais surtout diaboliser les FARC [11].

Néanmoins, les plus de 400 000 morts enregistrés depuis 1948, la disparition d’au minimum 50 000 personnes ainsi que le déplacement de 6,9 millions d’habitants ne peuvent être imputés à la seule (ou aux seules) guérilla(s). Telle que prévue dans les accords, la juridiction spéciale devra (ou aurait dû) également mettre à jour la responsabilité majeure (de l’ordre de 70 % des crimes) des forces armées et des paramilitaires, la complicité de nombreux membres civils des classes politique et économique. Cinquante-sept entreprises sont d’ores et déjà mises en cause pour leurs liens avec le paramilitarisme, dont les emblématiques Postobón, Ecopetrol, Envigado Fútbol Club, mais aussi les multinationales Chiquita Brands, Coca Cola et Drummond Company.

Qu’on ne s’y trompe pas : un risque dévastateur pour une partie de l’ « establecimiento ». Lequel enrage à l’idée que les anciens rebelles pourraient être admis à participer à la vie politique du pays plutôt que de croupir dans des culs-de-basse-fosse. D’où la campagne menée par les Cavaliers de l’Apocalypse – les ex-présidents Álvaro Uribe et Andrés Pastrana ; l’ex-procureur général de la République Alejandro Ordoñez ; l’ex-vice-président Francisco Santos, cousin de l’actuel chef de l’Etat, accusé d’avoir demandé aux paramilitaires de créer un Bloc dans la capitale Bogotá – contre le « oui » au plébiscite du 2 octobre dernier.

La nouvelle donne ne change rien : ce qui était vrai hier le sera également, et peut-être encore plus, demain. « Le pouvoir cherche quels crimes contre l’Humanité il peut nous mettre sur le dos, estime Nathalie. Depuis le recrutement de mineurs à la violence sexuelle. Mais, pour que ce soient des crimes contre l’Humanité, il faut que leur pratique soit systématique. Ce qu’elle n’est pas. Alors, ils montent des cas. » Huit cents enquêteurs travailleraient en permanence sur les exactions des FARC. « Le nombre de violences sexuelles, ridiculement bas, qu’ils ont trouvé, n’est pas en adéquation avec le nombre de fonctionnaires qui y consacrent leur temps ! » Quand on évoque devant elle les accusations récurrentes de viol, c’est, outre la « fariana », la féministe qui répond : « Ça peut arriver, on m’a raconté quelques cas. Mais, pour nous, la violence contre une compañera ou contre une femme de la société civile est passible du Conseil de guerre. Dans ce genre de cas, ce dernier condamne généralement le coupable à la peine capitale. En cas de viol prouvé, le coupable, aujourd’hui, n’existe probablement plus. Ça peut paraître dur, mais, dans le contexte de la guerre, on n’a pas de prison où jeter les gens pendant quinze ans et on ne peut pas non plus les remettre à la justice ordinaire, que nous rejetons. On a un règlement beaucoup plus sévère que celui de la société colombienne, et moins de tolérance culturelle. Alors, un guérillero y réfléchit à deux fois. Ils pourront recueillir peu de cas qui n’aient pas été jugés par la juridiction interne. »

La pratique des enlèvements dits « économiques » a été massive durant de longues années. Là encore, le commandant Timochenko s’est livré publiquement à une ferme autocritique, le 11 septembre dernier, reconnaissant les souffrances causées. « Mais on nous attribue encore je ne sais combien de disparus ! Nous avons commencé par faire un sondage au niveau des Fronts. Nous en avons trouvé six au niveau national – des rétentions économiques. On n’a plus personne. Lors de l’ouverture du dialogue, tout le monde a été libéré. » Sans vouloir faire des FARC une association d’enfants de Marie, et au-delà de cet entretien, nombre des accusations lancées aujourd’hui contre la guérilla sont effectivement soit excessives, soit infondées. Mais fonctionnent très bien dans le cadre des manipulations médiatiques, qui requièrent des « bons » et des « méchants absolus ».

C’est donc dans le ténébreux Choco, sur les rives du puissant río Atrato et de ses affluents, que Nathalie vit ce qu’elle croit, en juillet, ses derniers jours de guérillera active. Au contact direct des populations. Des communautés paysannes, noires, indigènes, démunies de tout. Que les FARC, historiquement, assistent, y remplaçant l’Etat, en matière de règlements des conflits, mais aussi de santé. « Dans la mesure du possible, nous répondons aux urgences. Mais on ne peut pas toujours, on n’a pas forcément ce qu’il faut. On achète quelques traitements au marché noir. Très peu. » Du coup, Nathalie se replie sur les médecines alternatives, à base de plantes, auxquelles elle s’intéresse depuis longtemps. « J’essaie, mais jusqu’aux Indigènes ont perdu leurs traditions curatives, ils n’ont plus confiance que dans la “pastillita” (comprimé).  »Début juin, dans ce climat débilitant, elle a connu elle-même sa première crise de paludisme. « Je l’ai soignée avec la racine d’une fleur ; j’étais faible, mais sans fièvre, cela été plus efficace que les “pastillitas”.  » 

Dans ces moments d’incertitude où les événements, chaque jour, s’accéléraient, il a fallu aussi aux guérilleros, déjà habillés en civil, expliquer aux communautés les avancées des négociations de La Havane et, pour certaines d’entre elles, les rassurer. « Qui nous protégera, quand vous ne serez plus là ? » Avant même la signature du 26 septembre et le désastre du 2 octobre, tout le monde estime à ce moment qu’il s’agira avant tout d’une paix « par défaut ». Celle du silence des armes. Mais quid des paramilitaires ? « Les gens sont inquiets. Quand on quitte une région, les paras l’occupent immédiatement. » Par ailleurs, il n’existe pas une grande confiance, quant au respect futur des accords, dans la parole de l’Etat.

« On va vivre et on verra », dit alors Nathalie, relevant le défi de s’intégrer à une société capitaliste pour tenter de la transformer, démocratiquement cette fois, de « mettre en place des Communes, une autonomie, pouvoir continuer à fonctionner sur le mode de vie sinon communiste, au moins communautaire. »

Le 2 octobre, lors du plébiscite, et comme la majorité des régions et localités directement affectées par le conflit, celles qui ont connu le plus grand nombre de victimes, le Choco a majoritairement voté pour la paix (96 % de « oui » à Bojayá). Il n’en demeure pas moins que tous les projets élaborés ces derniers mois par les guérilleros sont devenus caducs. A très court terme, Nathalie et ses « camaradas » ne reviendront pas à la vie civile, comme ils l’envisageaient très sérieusement. Il faudra donc, à « la Francesa », rajouter un temps indéterminé à ses plus de quinze années hors de la « normalité »… A la question « s’agit-il d’un mode de vie ? », elle nous répondait en juillet : « Je ne sais pas. Je ne pense pas que la majorité le considère comme un mode de vie. En ce qui me concerne, ça peut parfois paraître un film ou un roman. Mais ça a été assez naturel, comme la vie quotidienne, un pas après l’autre. On apprend, on se détache de beaucoup de choses, on s’éloigne de la réalité française. Je ne me suis jamais posé la question de sortir de cet engagement. Il était clair que c’était une décision sans retour possible. On n’est plus totalement maître de son futur. On se met à disposition du projet. »

Photographies : Maurice Lemoine

Voir également la vidéo publié en août 2016 : Maurice Lemoine : En attendant la paix en Colombie, au coeur des FARC, 19 août 2016.

NOTES

[1] Lire « Veillée de paix pour les guérilleros des FARC », Mémoire des luttes, 27 juillet 2016.

[2] Trois jours plus tardla candidate verte à l’élection présidentielle, la franco-colombienne Ingrid Betancourt, sera enlevée.

[3] Chômeurs pratiquant le blocage des routes (« piquete »).

[4] Après la mort du leader historique Manuel Marulanda en mai 2008, Cano (de son vrai nom Guillermo León Saenz) deviendra le numéro un de la guérilla. Il sera tué à Suárez (Cauca), le 4 novembre 2011, alors qu’il venait d’engager les FARC sur les voies de la négociation.

[5] Carlos Montemayor, La Rébellion indigène du Mexique, Presses de l’université Laval/Syllepse, Québec/Paris, 2001, 189 pages, 15,24 euros.

[6] Raúl Reyes sera tué par un bombardement, le 1er mars 2008, en territoire équatorien où il se trouvait pour négocier la libération de prisonniers (militaires) et otages (civils) des FARC – parmi lesquels Ingrid Betancourt.

[7] Chef du Front 37 sur la Côte caraïbe pendant onze années, Martín Caballero est mort au combat en octobre 2007.

[8] Lire Hernando Calvo Ospina, « Vu et entendu à La Havane », Le Monde diplomatique, Paris, février 2013.

[9] Le frente (front) se compose d’une ou plusieurs colonnes de cent vingt-huit combattants ; le bloc de cinq ou six fronts.

[10] Lire Maurice Lemoine, Sur les eaux noires du fleuve, Don Quichotte, Paris, 2014.

[11] On notera que la guérilla est le seul des acteurs du conflit qui assume ses responsabilités et demande pardon pour les souffrances causées. Aucun des autres acteurs, militaires, paramilitaires ou civils, ne l’a fait – à l’exception notable du président Santos qui a reconnu la responsabilité de l’Etat dans le massacre des militants de l’Union patriotique (4 000 morts) dans les années 1980.

 

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The United States: A « Destroyer Of Nations »

octobre 9th, 2016 by Daniel Kovalik

In the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 – an invasion which many Iraqis believe left their country in the worst condition it has been since the Mongol invasion of 1258 — there was much discussion in the media about the Bush Administration’s goal for “nation-building” in that country.   Of course, if there ever were such a goal, it was quickly abandoned, and one hardly ever hears the term “nation-building” discussed as a U.S. foreign policy objective anymore.

The stark truth is that the U.S. really has no intentions of helping to build strong states in the Middle East or elsewhere. Rather, as we see time and again – e.g., in Yugoslavia, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Ukraine – the goal of U.S. foreign policy, whether stated or not, is increasingly and more aggressively the destruction and balkanization of independent states. However, it is important to recognize that this goal is not new.

Indeed, South Korean human rights scholar Dong Choon Kim, writing of the U.S. war in Korea (1950 – 1953) – a war which he opines was at least arguably genocidal – explains that even back then, the nation-building of Third World peoples was viewed as an act of subversion which had to be snuffed out.   As he explained, “[t]he American government interpreted the aspiration for building an independent nation as an exclusive ‘communist conspiracy,’ and thus took responsibility for killing innocent people, as in the case of [the] My Lai incident in Vietnam.” [1]

Thanks to the U.S. war on Korea, Korea to this day remains a country divided in half, with no prospects for unification anytime soon. Kim explains that the Korean War

“was a bridge to connect the old type of massacres under colonialism and the new types of state terrorism and political massacre during the Cold War. . . .   And the mass killings committed by US soldiers in the Korean War marked the inception of military interventions by the US in the Third World at the cost of enormous civilian deaths.”

Pyongyang totally destroyed

Similarly, the U.S. objective in Vietnam was the destruction of any prospect of an intact, independent state from being created. As Jean-Paul Sartre wrote as part of the International War Crimes Tribunal that he and Bertrand Russell chaired after the war, the U.S. gave the Vietnamese a stark choice: either accept capitulation in which the country would be severed in half, with one half run by a U.S. client, or be subjected to near total annihilation. [2] Sartre wrote that, even in the former case, in which there would be a “cutting in two of a sovereign state . . . [t]he national unit of ‘Vietnam’ would not be physically eliminated, but it would no longer exist economically, politically or culturally.”

Of course, in the latter case, Vietnam would suffer physical elimination; bombed “’back to the Stone Age’” as the U.S. threatened. As we know, the Vietnamese did not capitulate, and therefore suffered near-total destruction of their country at the hands of the United States. Meanwhile, for good measure, the U.S. simultaneously bombed both Cambodia and Laos back to the Stone Age as well.

To understand the purpose behind such violent and destructive actions, we need look no farther than the U.S.’s own post-WWII policy statements, as well articulated by George Kennan image right) serving as the State Department’s Director of Policy Planning in 1948:

We must be very careful when we speak of exercising “leadership” in Asia. We are deceiving ourselves and others when we pretend to have answers to the problems, which agitate many of these Asiatic peoples. Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3 of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives.

We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction…In the face of this situation we would be better off to dispense now with a number of the concepts which have underlined our thinking with regard to the Far East. We should dispense with the aspiration to ‘be liked’ or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism. We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers’ keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague — and for the Far East — unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

While it would have been impossible for the U.S. to continue to monopolize a full half of the world’s wealth after Europe, Japan, China and the USSR inevitably got up upon their feet after WWII, the U.S. has nonetheless done an amazing job of controlling an unjustifiable and disproportionate amount of the world’s resources.

Thus, currently, the U.S. has about 5% of the world’s population, and consumes about 25% of its resources. An article in Scientific American, citing the Sierra Club’s Dave Tilford, explains that,

“‘[w]ith less than 5 percent of world population, the U.S. uses one-third of the world’s paper, a quarter of the world’s oil, 23 percent of the coal, 27 percent of the aluminum, and 19 percent of the copper . . . .   Our per capita use of energy, metals, minerals, forest products, fish, grains, meat, and even fresh water dwarfs that of people living in the developing world.’” [3]

The only way the U.S. has been able to achieve this impressive, though morally reprehensible, feat has been to undermine, many times fatally, the ability of independent states to exist, defend themselves and to protect their own resources from foreign plunder. This is why the U.S. has teamed up with the world’s most deplorable forces in destroying independent states around the globe.

Just to name a few examples, since 1996, the U.S. has supported Rwandan and Ugandan forces in invading the Democratic Republic of Congo, making that country ungovernable and plundering its incredible natural resources.   The fact that around 6 million innocents have been murdered in the process is of no matter, and certainly not to the main stream press which rarely mentions the DRC. In Colombia, the U.S. has backed a repressive military and right-wing paramilitaries for decades in destabilizing whole swaths of the Colombian countryside, and in assisting multinational corporations, and especially extractive industries, in displacing around 7 million people from their homes and land, all in order to exploit Colombia’s vast oil, coal and gold reserves. Again, this receives barely a word in the mainstream press.

Of course, in the Middle East, Northern Africa and Afghanistan, the U.S. has been teaming up with Saudi Arabia and radical Islamist forces – forces the U.S. itself has dubbed “terrorist” – in undermining and destroying secular states.

As far back as the 1970’s, the U.S. began supporting the mujahidin in attacking the secular, Marxist state of Afghanistan in order to destroy that state and also to fatally weaken the Soviet state by, in the words of Zbigniew Brzezinski, “drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap . . . [and] giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.” Afghanistan may never recover from the devastation wrought by that fateful decision of the U.S. and its subsequent intervention which is now into its 15th year and counting. As we know full well, the USSR never recovered either, and the U.S. is trying mightily to prevent post-Soviet Russia from becoming a strong rival state again.

Meanwhile, in Libya, the U.S. again partnered with jihadists in 2011 in overthrowing and indeed smashing a state which used its oil wealth to guarantee the best living standards of any country in Africa while assisting independence struggles around the world. In this way, Libya, which under Qaddafi also happened to be one of the staunchest enemies of Al-Qaeda in the world, presented a double threat to U.S. foreign policy aims. Post-intervention Libya is now a failed state with little prospects of being able to secure its oil wealth for its own people again, much less for any other peoples in the Third World. And so, mission accomplished!

In addition, as we learned from Seymour Hersh back in 2007, the U.S. began at that time to try to weaken Iran and Syria by supporting Sunni extremist groups to subvert those countries. [4] As Hersh explained:

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.One contradictory aspect of the new strategy is that, in Iraq, most of the insurgent violence directed at the American military has come from Sunni forces, and not from Shiites.

The U.S. continues to intervene in Syria in a way which prevents the Syrian state from achieving a decisive victory against the various militant groups it is fighting – some of which the U.S. itself admits are terrorists – while at the same time targeting some of these same militant groups themselves, thereby preventing either side of the conflict from coming out on top. Indeed, as we have learned, the CIA and the Pentagon have even been backing opposing militant groups that are fighting each other! [5] The result is a drawn-out war which threatens to leave Syria in chaos and ruins for the foreseeable future.

This would seem to be an insane course of action for the U.S. to take, and indeed it is, but there is method to the madness. The U.S. appears to be intentionally spreading chaos throughout strategic portions of the world; leaving virtually no independent state standing to protect their resources, especially oil, from Western exploitation. And, this goal is being achieved with resounding success, while also achieving the subsidiary goal of enriching the behemoth industrial-military complex.

Jose Marti once said, “there are two kinds of people in the world: those who love and create, and those who hate and destroy.” There is no doubt that the U.S. has proven itself to be of the latter kind; indeed, the very nature of U.S. foreign policy is destruction. Given this, it is at best foolish and naïve for people of any political stripe, but particularly self-defined leftists, to put any stock in the notion that the U.S. is acting in the defense of human rights, democracy or any such lofty goals in intervening militarily abroad.

There is only one proper goal, then, of people of good will – to oppose U.S. military intervention with every fiber of our being.

Notes.

[1] https://www.academia.edu/6417696/Forgotten_war_forgotten_massacres–the_Korean_War_1950-1953_as_licensed_mass_killings

[2] http://raetowest.org/vietnam-war-crimes/russell-vietnam-war-crimes-tribunal-1967.html#v1217-Sartre-on-genocide

[3] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/american-consumption-habits/

[4] http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

[5] http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-cia-pentagon-isis-20160327-story.html

Daniel Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

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Diffusé en direct le 7 octobre 2016

Les pays-membres du Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies se réunissent pour voter sur le projet français de résolution concernant l’introduction d’une trêve en Syrie et prendre connaissance du projet alternatif présenté par la Russie.

Photo : Le représentant russe auprès de l’ONU Vitali Tchourkine

Voir :  La Russie oppose son veto au projet de résolution français sur la Syrie, Rt.com, 8 octobre 2016.

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Once again, Haiti is devastated by a natural disaster, this time by Hurricane Matthew.

Before the hurricane plowed into the southeast U.S. coast, where it caused major flooding and widespread power outages, “Matthew” had struck Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, killing 877 people and displacing tens of thousands.

No doubt, there’ll be a drumbeat asking you to donate to Haiti’s hurricane relief, if it hasn’t already begun.

Don’t!

Below are the reasons why.

« In 2010, a massive 7.0 earthquake devastated Haiti, killing more than 200,000 people, leveling 100,000 homes, and leaving 1.5 million people destitute. »

As Dinesh D’Souza recounts for National Review, July 18, 2016, »countries around the world, as well as private and philanthropic groups such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, provided some $10.5 billion in aid, with $3.9 billion of it coming from the United States. But very little of this aid money actually got to poor people in Haiti. »

Bill Clinton & George W. Bush inspected the devastation of the Haiti earthquake, March 22, 2010.

Bill Clinton & George W. Bush inspected the devastation of the Haiti earthquake, March 22, 2010.

According to the National Review:

« Bill Clinton was the designated UN representative for aid to Haiti. Following the earthquake, Bill Clinton had with media fanfare established the Haiti Reconstruction Fund. Meanwhile, his wife Hillary was the U. S. secretary of state, in charge of U.S. aid allocated to Haiti. Together the Clintons were the two most powerful people who controlled the flow of funds to Haiti from around the world. »

Read more about what the Clintons did with the billions of dollars meant for Haiti’s earthquake relief, here.

In 2015, Vice.com sent an investigative reporter to Haiti, who was shocked to find Haiti still devastated 5 years after the earthquake, with many people homeless or living in self-made shacks, without running water or plumbing, despite the $10 billion in relief aid pledged around the world.

Transcript of the video (selected excerpts):

7:21 mark: “What’s odd is that the Haitians who received little to no foreign aid actually seem to be doing than those in the designated relief areas.

8:06 mark: “But there was one permanent structure that was built here for the earthquake survivors. For some reason the International Olympics Committee [IOC} thought that these people could use an $18 million state-of-the-art soccer field and recreation center [instead of plumbing and running water], adding insult to injury in a community lacking in even the most basic amenities.”

8:32 mark: “But this [the IOC soccer field] wasn’t the only strange reconstruction project we saw foreign aid invested in. Seven hours north of the earthquake, over $300 million of foreign aid was spent in the district of Caracol, [a town that wasn’t affected by the earthquake]…. But even though the town wasn’t affected, it didn’t stop our government aid from being invested in another soccer field [that actually cost $2.9 million to built, not the $300 million spent by the contractor. The State Department’s records say the cost of constructing the Caracol soccer field was even lower — $2.3 million.] And when we looked at the cost of many other projects, we noticed the same contractor kept coming up [– Chemonics, the largest USAID recipient across the world, including in Afghanistan….] There’s been a number of audits that have shown lack of progress, the lack of oversight. Here, this is a contract of Chemonics with USAID. All the cost information throughout the contract, that’s all redacted, and we just have [blank] pink sheet after pink sheet…25 pink sheets [in total].”

11:21 mark: “USAID’s real investment here [in Caracol] is the more than $260 million spent for the Caracol industrial park — the largest U.S. development project in the aftermath of the earthquake…. [T]here’s paved streets, there’s sidewalks, there’s electricity and there’s drinkable running water which is actually unheard of in Haiti. Unfortunately, it only provides roughly only 10% of the jobs it promised. Its main tenant is a South Korean garment manufacturing company which enjoys cheap labor, tax exemptions and duty-free access to the U.S. market. Worst of all, none of the employees we met were earthquake survivors, and the plan for the park was drawn up before the [earthquake] disaster even happened.

13:17 mark: “While many attempts to reform the system have been made, to date, nothing has changed, and the result is the faileddisaster capitalism we see in Haiti, where aid has become an industry of pro-profit companies. In fact, only a month after the earthquake, our own U.S. ambassador was quoted in a leaked document claiming ‘The gold rush is on.’ And now these same companies are using lobbying groups to ensure reforms never come. It’s often said that waste, inefficiency, corruption, these are problems that are unique to the developing world, that are unique to Haiti. The reality is that these are actually fundamental aspects of the U.S. foreign aid complex. Instead of relying on potentially corrupt money, we simply give it to U.S. companies and allow them to take 25% off the top. It’s a different form of corruption, and without realizing that, we’ll continue to make the same mistakes going forward.”

The standard advice for donating to charities is “Keep it local,” i.e., donate only to local charities where you can keep a better eye on how your donations are spent.

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Ignoring Angela Davis

octobre 9th, 2016 by Margaret Kimberley

How low the icon has fallen. Angela Davis diminished herself and denounced her own history when she endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and in 2012, claiming the corporate imperial Democrat was part of the “black radical tradition.” Davis now signals she’s in Clinton’s corner, and smears independent voters as “narcissists.” Who will “Free Angela” from her shameful servitude to the Democratic Party?

“She is no better than Democratic party scoundrels who point at Trump’s low hanging racist fruit while simultaneously cutting deals with ruling elites.

There is nothing more revealing than passive voice and tortured syntax. One-time left wing icon Angela Davis demonstrated as much when she said she may vote for Hillary Clinton.

Her actual words, “I’m not so narcissistic to say that I wouldn’t vote for her,” indicate some embarrassment with a bit of defensiveness thrown in for good measure. If Ms. Davis finds it difficult to be straightforward and say she is voting for Hillary then perhaps she ought to rethink her decision.

Everyone who rejects Hillary Clinton risks being smeared as a narcissist, a nihilist or a Trump loving Putinite. The Democratic party, their friends in the corporate media, and the black misleaders have banded together so well that only those with the strongest convictions will defy the Clinton campaign slogan and announce they are decidedly not “with her.”

It would have been easy for Davis to say that she hadn’t decided yet or that she is ambivalent or to give a reason why she finds Clinton lacking or take the easy way out and use Trump as an excuse.

Instead she used a tired argument that ought to be rejected out of hand by a person of her stature. She joined in castigating those who don’t follow the Democrats into an endless loop of betrayal and disappointment. She didn’t use the discredited words lesser evil, but she may as well have.

“Her 2010 statement that ‘Obama won despite the power of money’ was equally bizarre.”

It is difficult to convey to younger generations what Angela Davis meant to black people and to everyone who fought for liberation.

When she was wanted by the FBI and tried for murder in 1972 she was the ultimate hero, one of the last of that era and one of the few to emerge unscathed. The cry, “Free Angela” and her image were ubiquitous as was the demand for her freedom. After her acquittal she did not give an inch. She denounced the United States prison system, then a shell of what it is now, never shrank from calling herself a Marxist and spoke against injustice practiced here and around the world. She twice ran for vice president on the Communist Party USA ticket and could be counted on to fiercely criticize of this nation’s policies.

But Barack Obama seems to have cast the same spell on Davis that he has on the rest of black America. She denounced her own history when she endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and in 2012 she not only supported him again but claimed that he was part of the “black radical tradition.” The lie is so grotesque that it is difficult to know if she was really thinking when she said those words. Nor was that her first foolish remark uttered on behalf of Obama.  Her 2010 statement that “Obama won despite the power of money” was equally bizarre. Barack Obama set fund raising records in his presidential campaign. Ms. Davis aided and abetted his marketing ploy which gave the appearance of a people-based movement when in fact he perfected the art of creating a record breaking campaign war chest.

It is sad that Davis continues to devolve politically before our eyes, it is even worse that she attacks those who are still ready to fight back against neo-liberalism and imperialism. If she is willing to vote for Hillary Clinton she should just say so. But she felt compelled to get in her own dig at independent thinkers with the “narcissist” label. She is no better than Democratic party scoundrels who point at Trump’s low hanging racist fruit while simultaneously cutting deals with ruling elites.

“She joined in castigating those who don’t follow the Democrats into an endless loop of betrayal and disappointment.”

Angela Davis has gone down this slippery slope in part because of the weaknesses of the black left. Many who once proudly proclaimed that identity succumbed to the siren song of the black face in the high place or took the path of least resistance out of expediency and rank cynicism.

Fortunately Davis’s words were roundly criticized. Only those who feel a now undeserved loyalty defended the foolishness. Davis was not given a pass by most commentators and that is a good thing. The millions of people who thought seriously and decided not to vote for Hillary Clinton deserve more than to be dismissed with name calling. Their day has arrived. The illogical words coming from a once venerable figure are proof of desperation.

The so-called narcissists have thrown down the gauntlet to the democratic party. Famous former leftists can’t put the genie back in the bottle. The democratic party can no longer depend on silence and fear to keep their former voters in line. They have seen too much and won’t even be intimidated by the thought of a Trump presidency. Angela Davis’s day has passed. The narcissists aren’t listening any more.

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

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One purpose of the show staged by Washington’s political establishment every four years, called « election campaign », is to demonstrate to the world that the American people democratically decide on the future course of their country.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The decision being made on Tuesday November 8, will only supply the answers to the following three questions:

  • Who will be Wall Street’s CEP (chief executive politician) occupying the Oval Office until 2020 in the service of major banks, hedge funds and other financial organizations?
  • Who will be in charge of diverting the American people’s attention away from their real problems by engaging in all sorts of sham battles? And last but not least:
  • Who will be responsible for ideologically preparing Americans for further wars through targeted manipulation?

The political differences between the candidates only reflect the different points of view presently prevalent in the financial industry. In dealing with Russia and China, for example, Hillary Clinton plans to continue a policy of confrontation and preparation for war, while Donald Trump has obviously decided to follow the course laid out by Zbigniew Brzezinski (right) in his April 2016 paper ‘A New Realignment’.

In it, Brzezinski insists that the US should definitely hold on to its status as the world’s leading power, but acknowledges the fact that it has lost part of its economic strength and can only maintain its role as the world’s hegemon by avoiding a major military conflict with Russia or China.

This strategy by no means signals a turn towards a more peaceful policy. Quite the opposite, a realignment with Russia and China would allow the US to concentrate all their military power on another conflict, which currently has a high priority for Wall Street: The war in Syria.

Contrary to what is being reported in the mainstream media, the US government is not undertaking any measures to end this war. Actually, Washington is doing everything in its power to deepen and widen the conflict, not only because of Syria’s strategically important position (which ignited the conflict), but also for another reason that has become of vital interest to the US financial industry during the past two years.

A Huge Problem for Wall Street: The Oil Price

For several years now the US has attempted to become a global market leader in the oil business and gain independence from oil and gas imports by furthering its shale industry. In the beginning stages, the method of fracking was hardly competitive with classical techniques of oil extraction. However, as technical progress made this mode of production more and more profitable, several hundred large investors developed interest in the business and provided loans of hundreds of billions of dollars to the shale industry.

By now it is clear that most of this investment was based on a massive miscalculation. The oil price has fallen by more than 50 % over the past two years. Although production costs in fracking have been significantly reduced, the price, which has been floating around $ 45.00 for months now, is not nearly enough to generate the profits needed for the shale industry’s survival.

Between January 2015 and July 2016, 90 oil and gas producers have already gone bankrupt and left behind more than $ 66 billion in debt. Since these loans were most certainly reinsured through credit default swaps, they must have left considerable holes in the balance sheets of major US banks.

When the rest of the loans come due at the end of this fall, creditors will be facing enormous problems, as the world economy remains stagnant with no improvement in sight. Above that, the present price of oil is itself the product of massive manipulation: Producers have hired fleets of tankers that are filled to breaking point and storages are almost bursting at the seams. Contrary to media reports there is no chance that production will be significantly cut in the near future, due to the fierce competition between the producing states, some of whom are themselves on the verge of bankruptcy.

The Financial Industry is already preparing for War

By the end of the year the US financial system could thus be threatened by a crisis approximately the size of the Dotcom bubble. However, sixteen years later and eight years after being artificially propped up after the fall of Lehman Brothers, the financial system is more instable than ever. The Fed has pumped trillions of dollars into the system and its interest rate is close to zero. Risk exposure in the derivative markets is at record levels, and excessive speculation has led to huge bubbles in the bond, stock and real estate markets. In an environment like this the problems of the shale industry could very well become the spark threatening to blow up the financial system.

Thus Wall Street finds itself in a position in which an increase of the price of oil is more urgent than ever. However, being unable to jack it up by furthering demand, reducing production or stepping up manipulation, there is only one option left and that is the escalation of the war in Syria and the destruction of a large number of oil wells in the Middle East.

There are indications that a decision has already been made behind the scenes. For one thing, the oil price is above all determined by future contracts. That price being higher than the market would actually suggest, points to big investors expecting a rise in demand. If one takes a look at US shale junk bonds, one will see that there has not only been a rise in demand, but almost a run on these bonds over the summer. For example, PDC Energy whose creditworthiness is four levels beneath ‘creditworthy’, were offered $ 1,5 billion for bonds worth $ 400 million. Also, premiums on credit default swaps for junk bonds have fallen by 30 % since February. Strategists at the Bank of America Meryll Lynch called the summer of 2016 “one of the best as far as high-yield foreign-funded loans were concerned.”

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump know what the financial industry expects from the next President of the United States. That’s why there are three issues in the ongoing election campaign that the two of them entirely agree upon: The ‘war on terror’, the ‘struggle against radical Islamists’ and the ’destruction of Isis’. All three slogans are nothing but a pretext for putting a fuse to the oil keg, which is the Middle East.

Neither Trump nor Clinton will ever mention the fact that America’s allegedly biggest enemy recruits big parts of its membership from organizations like Al Qaida, Al Nusra and the Free Syrian Army that, for some time, have been supported and supplied with money and weapons by the US.

None of the two will ever mention that no radicalization of Muslims would have occurred had the US and their allies not destroyed whole countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria and brutally terrorized their population. And neither Trump nor Clinton will ever mention that the coming escalation of the war and the human catastrophe it brings with it will be caused for one single purpose only: To once more satisfy the insatiable greed of Wall Street.

Instead, both candidates will use the last three weeks of their campaign to unanimously spread the lie that the United States’ security depends on the ‘War against Terror’ and thus demonstrate to the world that both of them are exactly what their predecessors in the Oval Office were: humble and willing servants of Wall Street.

Ernst Wolff is a freelance journalist and the author of the book ‘Pillaging the World. The History and Politics of the IMF’, published by Tectum-Verlag, Germany.

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For the Southeast Asian state of Thailand, overcoming corruption could be one of several essential steps required to fully tap the human and natural resources this already influential ASEAN state has benefited from for centuries. However, to tackle corruption, the nation must first define what it is, and what it hopes to achieve by confronting and overcoming it.

Currently, the focus unfortunately appears to be on addressing Thailand’s score upon the so-called Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) put out by alleged nongovernmental organisation (NGO), Transparency International.

2342313132Transparency International Leverages CPI as a Geopolitical Weapon 

Despite describing itself as an NGO, Transparency International’s funding is dominated by the governments of the United States and the European Union.

More specifically, as listed on Transparency International’s own website, its funding comes specifically from the US State Department, the European Commission, the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and controversial Open Society, chaired by convicted financial criminal George Soros.

Such funding presents an alarming conflict of interest, considering that these are the same interests who, in Thailand and across the rest of ASEAN, have worked actively to overthrow governments and undermine local institutions, seeking to overwrite them with organisations and institutions promoted by and serving foreign interests via NED and Open Society specifically.

Thus, Thailand’s score on the CPI is more a result of politically-motivated interference in Thailand’s internal affairs than it is an honest appraisal of the nation’s corruption. Thailand’s low score and pressure placed upon it by the West to improve this score results not from genuine concern regarding corruption, but instead from the fact that the current government successfully ousted a regime sponsored by and working for Western special interests.

Attempting to “improve” Thailand’s score on a politically-motivated and thus illegitimate index is, to say the least, an exercise in futility.

Despite this glaring reality, there are some in the government who believe improving the nation’s standings on this index should still be a priority. They do so not because a better score will actually address corruption in Thailand in any meaningful manner, thus giving Thais greater confidence and trust in government institutions, but to instead impress foreign investors who a nation like Thailand should not be depending on to begin with.

It is an approach doomed to fail because it is an approach that fundamentally misdiagnoses the problem and thus prescribes the wrong solution.

Alternative Paths

In reality, corruption in Thailand cannot be defined or addressed by Transparency International’s politically-motivated, thus meaningless metrics. Instead, corruption in Thailand, if understood as unprofessionalism and impropriety among government institutions, hindering both the efficient administration of the nation as well as the government’s interaction with the people and local businesses, must be confronted by local interests for local interests.

The Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand (ACT) (website in Thai only), comprised of business leaders, local media and activists, seeks to confront corruption in Thailand not to improve the nation’s standings on a meaningless foreign-devised scale, but to improve the efficiency of government institutions to better facilitate their administration of the country, to make doing business easier and fairer as well as to improve faith and confidence across Thai society in the government institutions they depend on for the smooth functioning of society.

As ACT incrementally achieves these goals, it helps improve and strengthen Thailand, even if such efforts are not reflected on meaningless indexes like the CPI.

Their activities include exposing corruption using their ties to the media, holding events to raise public awareness regarding both their rights and how they are being violated by corruption and by working with the government to pass legislation to rein in corruption on various levels of society.

In the end, ACT is attempting to solve corruption for Thailand, with their “index score” determined by the improved efficiency of government institutions and the public’s trust in them.

ACT has so far proven itself impartial, calling out the previous government of Yingluck Shinawatra for its blatant and systemic corruption, as well as condemning impropriety and nepotism amid the current government. Unlike Transparency International and its CPI which only seeks to leverage “corruption perceptions” as a political weapon, ACT is fighting corruption for the sake of fighting corruption, because its membership is comprised of those directly affected by it, regardless of who heads the national government.

The current government should work (and is working) closely with groups like ACT to expose and rein in corruption toward very specific goals such as improving the efficiency of government institutions in the administration of their responsibilities and improving public trust in these institutions. Rather than citing the meaningless CPI devised by the politically-motivated Transparency International, Thailand should develop its own metrics for measuring both the level of corruption and gauge success in confronting it.

Thailand, and other developing nations, must also devise a means of communicating their progress in confronting corruption to the world in order to sidestep the “weaponisation” of indexes like Transparency International’s CPI.

By confronting corruption, nations strengthen themselves not only within by improving the efficiency with which resources are utilised toward the progress of their respective nations, they also strengthen themselves against foreign interests that would seek to exploit “corruption perceptions” and use it to seek leverage over them. In this sense, fighting corruption is not only good for business, it is essential for national security.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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The End Of The Republic And The Delusion Of Empire

octobre 9th, 2016 by Edward Curtin

Very few public intellectuals pull no punches in their analyses of world affairs.  James Petras is one of them.  Possessed of a brilliant and capacious mind that grasps global events in a comprehensive and interconnected way, he also writes with a moral urgency befitting our dangerous historical moment.  He reminds me of C. Wright Mills, another brilliant sociologist whose warnings went unheeded more than fifty years ago.

The End of the Republic and the Delusion of Empire is his 68th book, and one of his most important.  It should be read by anyone concerned with the looming disaster that will eventuate from the upcoming U.S. presidential election, no matter who wins.  While not explicitly stating it, it is clear that Petras expects Hillary Clinton to win, and he finds her far more dangerous than Donald Trump.

To order James Petras’ book from Clarity Press, click image right

If Trump were to be elected by some fluke, he thinks he would “face a massive investment and lending revolt from capitalists and bankers who would be very willing to drive the fragile economy into a major recession, threatening a kind of domestic economic sabotage.”  If Clinton wins, as she surely will, he foresees a much worse outcome: “there is a strong chance the election of Hillary Clinton will drive the world into catastrophic nuclear war.”

Petras, therefore, declares a pox on both their houses.

The book is divided into four parts.  The first deals with the U.S. presidential primaries and election.  It was written before Trump and Clinton secured their parties’ nominations, but Petras assumes they will be the nominees.  Part two, the longest is devoted to what he calls “The Delusions of Empire,” and is a multi-faceted dissection of the American empire and its push toward war with Russia.  Part three is an analysis of the rise and fall of popular insurgencies throughout the world, as they confront bankers, warlords, and their political proxies in the U.S.  The final section concerns the issue of “who rules America and who sets the military agenda in the most contentious regions of the Middle East.”

While all are well done, I think one, two, and four are the strongest and most immediately pertinent.  None are written in a pedantically academic style, though all are informed by an impressive breadth of knowledge.  The book in its entirety is written in a passionate and committed style, while being rooted in facts.

As for the 2016 presidential elections, Petras rightly says that more than half the U.S. electorate views Clinton and Trump “with horror and disdain.”  He argues that Trump, while painted as a fascist by the main stream media (MSM), “lacks the program, organization, and practice that define a fascist politician.”  Nevertheless, he is the “lobotomized” candidate serving as “backdoor backing of political psychopath Hillary Clinton.”

He chronicles Clinton’s record of savage war-making – she “has launched or promoted more simultaneous wars than any Secretary of State in US history.”  He shows how the Democratic Party, while posing as the party of regular people, is actually pro-Wall Street and pro-imperialist.  He skewers the Democratic Party’s “house radicals” – Jesse Jackson, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, and Bernie Sanders – as phony actors, who have betrayed the American people through deceit and hypocrisy in the name of progressivism.

Prof. James Petras (left)

 “The key to understanding why millions of Americans, fed up by 30 years of declining living standards, deepening inequalities and perpetual wars, do not form an alternative party is that they have been repeatedly conned and corralled in the Democratic Party by the house radicals,” all of whom he considers to be charlatans.

While I think it is true that Americans have been conned, I think he is ignoring the American people’s desire to be deceived – their bad-faith.  It takes two to tango.

Hillary Clinton is the great object of Petras’s scorn.  He labels her “pro-Israel, pro-war, pro-Wall Street, the candidate of Plutocratic Zionism …. the marriage of plutocracy and right-wing Zionism,” who is supported by “a vast army of Israel-First ideologues.”  For this, and for naming these ideologues, Petras has been falsely accused of being anti-Semitic.  But his critics do not engage him on the factual and logical accusations of his argument; rather, he is dismissed with a broad brush that equates his ant-Zionist critique with anti-Jewish bias.

When writing about the delusions of empire, Petras examines the issue from multiple angles, deftly flipping from one to another like a prestidigitatorial teenager swiveling a Rubik’s Cubes’ various colors to solve the puzzle.

Look here: this is the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) rogues’ gallery from Michael Camdussus to Christine Lagarde.  See how the IMF fits – “they were selected because they reflect the values, interests, and behavior of the global financial elite.”

Flip to the Anglo-American long-term, large-scale, structural regression.  “For the past three decades, the US and Great Britain have led the global drive to undermine labor’s advances.  First, the economic structure sustaining labor organizations were dismantled and fragmented.  Then organized labor was decimated, co-opted and corporatized.”

Look at this blue cube: It is Barack Obama’s shameful race to establish his imperial legacy, pursuing “wars of unremitting destruction …. partnerships with terrorists and death squads as it seeks short-term imperial victories, which end in dismal failure.  The imperial legacy of this ‘historic’ president is a mirage of pillage, squalor and destruction.”

Ah the red cubes!  Look closely, Petras says, at the bloody “war cycle started in late 2001 with the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.”  Let us count the victims: Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Ukraine.  See how they fit together with the push for war with Russia.

Here are the white cubes, posing as the good guys.  The Harvard boys, “mandarins for the Warlords,” led by Harvard professor Joseph Nye, advising the empire builders.  There the Council on Foreign Relations, with their ignorant advice on how to defeat China, as if the Chinese are stupid Orientals incapable of strategic intelligence.

And see what happens when you align the yellow cubes: Voila, you clearly see the yellow press lined up: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Financial Times (he mistakenly omits The Washington Post), lying and having “systematically engaged in political warfare, acting as virtual propaganda arms of the US and EU imperialist governments in their attempts to maintain and/or impose vassal state status on countries and economies, which are to be regulated according to the needs of Western financial institutions.”

In these nine brief chapters, Petras solves the puzzle, aligns the perpetrators, and deftly reveals a depressing picture of the mad logic of empire. Squared-off, color-coded, and symmetrical, it reveals the handiwork of lunatics, as Chesterton once described: “A madman is not someone who has lost his reason but someone who has lost everything but his reason.”

His third part, wherein he analyzes Latin American revolts and betrayals, and the Islamist State (IS), while complementary and accurate, is far too brief and superficial.

But his concluding section, “Zionism in America,” while also brief, is a hard-hitting final round.  Petras ends by arguing that the “US Zionist Power Configuration which leads President Obama and 430 US members of Congress (to quote Ariel Sharon) …’by the nose!’” is unduly instrumental in controlling U.S. foreign and domestic policies.  He maintains that while this is so, “few progressive websites or even the micro-Marxist journals confront these issues, more out of moral cowardice (self-censorship) than ignorance.  Instead they bleat general clichés and radical rhetoric about US imperialism and the rise of the right without identifying the precise social and political identity of the forces that move national policy.  In a word, the Zionist Power Configuration gets more than a free ride.”

What Petras terms a Zionist elite, many others call “neoconservatives.”  These neoconservatives are widely accepted by leftist – and even liberal – analysts to be a powerful force driving U.S. policies.  Petras claims that the neoconservatives are composed of a large number of Israel-first Zionists.  He names names – e.g. Wolfowitz, Abrams, Pritzker, Nuland-Kagan, Chertoff et al. – and shows their linkages.  It is time his claims were openly discussed in left-wing publications.  Name calling will resolve nothing; nor will avoidance of his argument.  That is intellectual and moral dishonesty.

Petras is a very brilliant and prolific thinker who deserves intellectual debate.  With The End of the Republic and the Delusion of Empire he again throws down the gauntlet and challenges conventional thinking.  He ends by asking, “Don’t the deaths and maiming of millions of Iraqis, Palestinians, Syrians and Libyans, and the tens of millions of desperate refugees, resulting from their foreign policies, warrant a pause in their continued hold on power and prestige, if not outright condemnation for crimes against humanity?”

As we slide cataleptically toward global war, a book like this can help snap us out of this hypnotic trance that dooms us to disaster.  It should be widely read and engaged

To order James Petras’ Book click here 

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Foreign corporations have filed over 11,000 patents for a staggering 4,400 Peruvian plant products.

The production and consumption of natural Andean and Amazonian ancestral products in Peru is threatened by the « biopiracy » of foreign companies who have filed over 11,690 patents for the domestic produce of the region, effectively poaching the natural heritage of the country. The resources are said to be rich in nutrients and vitamins and range from those with anti-aging properties to those that act as natural aphrodisiacs.

Small farmers could be among those worst affected if foreign companies obtain the patents. “Campesinos have been guardians of seeds and diversity generation after generation, from our ancestors to our fathers we have inherited the seeds,” said Director of the National Association of Ecological Products of Peru Moises Quispe.

« We campesinos are very conscious about it. These seeds are part of our lives, and if there’s a new owner who patents them for their own economic interests, it’s a very worrying situation.”

Peru has 4,400 species of native plants with various uses, including 1,200 which have medicinal properties. The products that have the highest number of patents filed are Tara with 3,989, Yacon with 3,211, Maca with 1,406, Cat’s Claw with 843, Cascarilla with 648 and Purple Corn with 294, among 23 others. The data was collected by the state-run National Commission Against Biopiracy, but they only monitor 35 of the 4,400 species facing this threat.

There are other signs that Peruvian government efforts to prevent biopiracy are lacking. The commission is staffed by only two technicians and remains the only state agency working on the issue.

While the phone number listed on their official website connects to the commission, the e-mail address is not in service. At the time this article was published, the agency was unable to offer a response as to which companies are trying to patent the resources, although a number of reports claim a significant portion of the companies are from China.

In contrast, Ecuador’s Secretary of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation has recently published and updated a study which ranks the nationalities of companies attempting to patent their natural resources. The table is led by the United States and closely followed by Germany. Other countries on the list include Australia, Belgium, Israel, Netherlands and South Korea. One of the most notorious companies attempting to patent Ecuador’s natural resources is the Swiss-based transnational Syngenta, which invests heavily in political campaigns and lobbies politicians in the United States.

WATCH: Peru’s Ancestral Products in Danger of Biopiracy

Patents of existing products in Peru are only supposed to be allowed if there’s significant investment in research that results in innovation. However, a document produced by the Peruvian National Commission Against Biopiracy states that they have “observed that a considerable number of requests for patents filed and authorized do not satisfy the prerequisites for novelty and innovation.”

“They incorporate genetic resources and traditional knowledge that has been obtained in an illegal, irregular or questionable manner, to say the least,” it adds.

According to Alan Fairlie, a Peruvian Representative in the Andean Parliament that also features representatives from Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador, a lack of protection for ancestral seeds could affect farmers and local consumers and this is partly the fault of free trade agreements that have been created to exclusively serve the interests of big business.

“In free trade agreements, the aspect of intellectual patents for medicines, software, brands and authorship has been prioritized, but there isn’t a counterpart for respecting the biodiversity of the Cartagena Protocols that the Andean community put forth to defend traditional knowledge.”

« If what we do is facilitate patents of plants that comply to free trade agreements that we have accepted and signed, with nothing that develops, we have made ourselves vulnerable, » he adds.

Regarding how this may affect Peruvians, Moises Quispe argues that “having to buy seeds would impoverish campesinos more” as it would likely result in them becoming dependent on the companies for the seeds. “It could turn campesinos into buyers of seeds. That’s what is coming, and it would be the large companies that become rich with our resources.”

Indeed, the case of Maca seems to confirm Quispe’s argument. Last year there was a series of new reports about Chinese merchants traveling to Junín in the Southern Andes region of Peru to illegally purchase and extract live seeds from the area. Quispe claims the campesinos sold the seeds out of necessity and under the promise of yearly sales. However, the merchants have not returned, and Maca has started being produced in China. The price of a kilo of the product dropped from US$50 to US$3.50, making it a far less profitable crop for small Peruvian farmers.

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The Oxford Martin School is based at Oxford University in the UK. In what seems to be a laudable aim, the school has set up the ‘Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations’ (OMC), which has brought together 19 international leaders from government, business and civil society to address the growing short-term preoccupations of modern politics and business and identify ways of overcoming today’s gridlock in key international negotiations.

These prominent figures include Lord Chris Patten, Arianna Huffington and Lionel Barber from the British media. The OMC’s website says that a diverse group of highly respected global leaders has called for a radical shake-up in politics and business to deliver progress on climate change, reduce economic inequality, improve corporate practices and address the chronic burden of disease. There is also talk of working for a sustainable future and promoting inclusiveness.

Toxic agrochemicals, disease and the environment

Rosemary Mason is a prominent figure who campaigns against the use of toxic agrochemicals and has just written an 18-page, 9,200-word open letter to Achim Steiner, Director Oxford Martin School. Steiner is the former United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Director General. Much of what follows is a summary of some the letter’s key points. Readers can consult the original document for all of Mason’s supporting evidence, including links to papers, documents and reports: open-letter-to-the-director-of-the-oxford-martin-school.

Click above Screen shot access full document in pdf

If there is one area of business and politics that requires a “radical shake up,” it is food, agriculture and the agrochemicals sector. Mason opines that humans and the environment are silently being poisoned by thousands of untested and unmonitored chemicals, which are highly profitable for big corporations that have a vested interest in keeping their toxic products on the commercial market.

With the OMC’s desire to ensure a healthy and sustainable future in mind, Mason expresses concern about the agrochemicals industry’s impacts on pollinators (bees), biodiversity and human health and reminds Steiner about the introduction to the UNEP report on ‘Global Bee Colony Disorders and Other Threats to Insect Pollinators’, which he launched in March 2011.

It says: “Current evidence demonstrates that a sixth major extinction of biodiversity event is underway. The earth is losing between 1 and 10% of its biodiversity per decade, mostly due to habitat loss, pest invasion, pollution, over-harvesting and disease. Certain natural ecosystem services are vital for human society.”

The report mentions both chemical spray drift from agricultural spraying and systemic neonicotinoid insecticides, and Mason is particularly concerned about neonicotinoids, which several papers show act on mammalian nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Given the quantity neonicotinoids that are being applied to seeds or sprayed on crops, Mason is left in no doubt that humans are being adversely affected.

In 2011, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a conference on pollinators. Three crucial admissions were made that had not been made before, either by industry or by the EPA: neonicotinoid pesticides are harmful to bees; tests and protocols that had allowed registration of these pesticides were not adapted to assess potential hazard and risk from this type of pesticide; and despite knowing all this, the protection agencies have allowed the pesticides industry to keep the neonicotinoids on the market.

Systemic neonicotinoid insecticides are still on the market, apart from those on flowering crops attractive to bees that were banned by EFSA in 2013. And new ones are being authorised by the European Commission. Mason notes that the quantities used after the ban stayed at the same level and the quantities exported by German companies even increased significantly.

While some parties say a ban would harm agriculture, Mason notes that Italy’s partial ban on systemic neonicotinoid insecticides in 2008 has been successful. After seven years, crop yield is within the expected range. It is also worth noting the results of the two-year Pan-European epidemiological study on honeybee colony losses. This was a landmark study that revealed the UK was suffering one of the worst rates of honeybee colony deaths in Europe. In the winter of 2012-13, 29% of honeybee colonies in the UK died, with only Belgium suffering a higher rate of losses (34%) of the 17 countries surveyed. By contrast, only 5% of colonies in Italy were lost.

Mason indicates that Bayer and Syngenta have concealed unpublished field trials with the US EPA. She also notes that field trials on neonicotinoid insecticides showed Syngenta’s thiamethoxam and Bayer’s clothianidin caused serious harm to honeybees at high levels. Yet in August 2016, Syngenta had told Greenpeace that: “none of the studies Syngenta has undertaken or commissioned for use by regulatory agencies have shown damages to the health of bee colonies.”

In response, Prof Dave Goulson, a UK bumblebee researcher at the University of Sussex, said: “That clearly contradicts their own study”. Goulson & Nicholls have just published a paper: ‘The canary in the coalmine; bee declines as an indicator of environmental health’. Goulson states, “We argue that bee declines are indicators of pervasive and ongoing environmental damage that is likely to impact broadly on biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides.”

According to Mason, Industry pays about 60% of UK Chemicals Regulation Directorate budget. She argues that the loyalty of the staff must lie with the industry that pays them and asks is the directorate a safety agency or a corporate service agency? She implies it is the latter.

What is also of great concern is that the UK Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) survey of pesticides 1988 to 2014 confirms that pesticide residues on British food are increasing annually. Moreover, there is strong evidence of increased bee population extinction rates in response to neonicotinoid seed treatment use on oilseed rape and that, overall, biodiversity has crashed.

In what is a long and well-researched letter, Mason goes on to make many more points. For those who have read any of Mason’s previous papers and correspondence with officials, they will be familiar her overall theme of powerful corporations using their financial clout and political leverage to co-opt officials, undermine regulatory integrity and distort science to serve their interests at the expense of public health and the environment.

Why is Mason writing to the OMC and Steiner?

The OMC says it wants to facilitate a radical shake-up in politics and business to deliver progress on various pressing issues affecting humanity. To ensure maximum impact, it could start by focusing on the links between politics and business and the capture of international bodies, national governments and regulatory agencies by big business, which Mason has outlined (see previous link) as have various others (for example see this, which contains relevant links to illustrate the point). These corporations are driven by one thing alone: the compulsion to make profits and the obligation to deliver on shareholder dividends. The public interest is not their concern – that is left to public institutions – which big business has compromised. And Mason implies that the OMC may be no different in terms of certain commissioners’ conflicts of interest and their ideological commitment to corporate power.

Any institution committed to radically shaking up politics and business should be both willing and able to call to account powerful private interests and not be compromised by ideology or conflicts of interest. However, Rosemary Mason argues that both ideology and conflicts of interest severely undermine the OMC and its stated aims. For example, in the 2013 report of the OMC ‘Now for the Long Term’, compiled by Pascal Lamy, former Director General of the World Trade Organisation, 63% chronic diseases were mostly attributed to lifestyle choices and there was no mention of pesticides.

Mason argues it is highly convenient to associate chronic disease with ‘lifestyle choices’. This neatly draws attention away from structural determinants of poor health that are embedded in society as a result of the political power and everyday products and practices of powerful industries, not least the agrochemicals sector.

In a previous document, Mason has indicated how ‘lifestyle choice’ and alcohol consumption have become convenient scapegoats; she provides evidence to indicate that agrochemicals, not alcohol, are largely responsible for various cancers. In effect, the pesticides industry is being let off the hook by the lifestyle choice/alcohol narrative which emphasises individual responsibility not corporate culpability.

In her open letter to Achim Steiner, Mason pulls no punches when going through a list of OMC commissioners to illustrate individual commissioner’s conflicts of interest and allegiances.

Commissioners with allegiances to global corporations and corporate power

The Chairman of the Oxford Martin Commission is Pascal Lamy, Former Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). In a case brought by the US, Canada, and Argentina in 2006, the WTO ruled that the European moratorium on genetically modified (GM) crops was illegal. The relevance of GM crops to this discussion should be made clear: the GM issue is closely aligned with Mason’s concerns about the indiscriminate use of toxic agrochemicals (not least glyphosate – Monsanto’s Roundup and its Roundup Ready GM seeds). Moreover, the GM model of agriculture is fraudulent (having been corrupted by corporate interests) and is being driven by governments that collude with powerful corporations, which in turn have a stake in denigrating and displacing more sustainable, appropriate and effective models of farming.

Sir John Beddington is Professor of Natural Resources Management for the OMC. He was made Chief Scientific Adviser to the British Government in 2007. In 2012, he declared his faith in GM technology. “And among those scientific wonders, the use of genetically modified crops has a particularly rich potential”. Beddington added. « Just look at the problems that the world faces: water shortages and salination of existing water supplies, for example. GM crops should be able to deal with that. »

Beddington would do well to look elsewhere for solutions to water shortages and salinization. More sustainable solutions already exist. Indeed, GM belongs to a corporate-driven ‘Green Revolution’ model of agriculture that has seriously adversely impacted food security as well as the environment, farmers’ livelihoods,  and traditional farming practices that were highly productive and ecologically friendly.

Lionel Barber is editor of The Financial Times, a very business-orientated UK paper. According to Colin Macilwain, “the British press – led by the BBC, which treats the Confederation of British Industry with the deference the Vatican gets in Rome – is overwhelmingly conservative and pro-business in its outlook. It is quite unperturbed by the fact that the UK Science Media Centre’s sponsors include AstraZeneca, BP, Coca-Cola, L’Oreal, Monsanto, Syngenta (as well as Nature Publishing Group) but not a single environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) or trade union.”

Another member of the OMC is Julia Marton-Lefèvre. She has just left her post as Director-General of IUCN. She serves as environmental advisor for Dow Chemical Company and The Coca-Cola Company, two companies with dubious track records.

Then there is Lord Chris Patten, Chancellor, University of Oxford and former Chairman of the BBC Trust. Mason notes that the BBC is a strong supporter of the agrochemical industry and GM crops. Many people have complained that BBC coverage is completely unbalanced but each time the BBC Complaints Unit dismisses their claims.

A BBC Panorama programme on GM Crops was also widely condemned. Mason notes that ‘GM Food – Cultivating Fear’ was selective and prejudicial and resembled little more than the most clichéd corporate press release.

While the OMC states that GM is not a magic bullet (p. 27) and should be discussed along with other options, Mason is correct to flag up what seem to be some clear allegiances in favour of this technology.

OMC: the solution or the problem?

In its document ‘Now for the Long Term‘, the OMC talks a lot about ‘growth’ and sustainable development. However, the question is: how can figures with deep connections to corporations, which have a vested interest in maintaining a financially lucrative status quo, bring about the much-needed radical changes that are required to deal with, for instance, climate change, rising inequality or an unsustainable and damaging model of chemical-intensive agriculture?

They cannot. In fact, Mason argues that the OMC resembles ‘an all the year round’ Bilderberg Group from the higher echelons of big business. Ultimately, corporate imperialism is the problem and not the solution. The institutions of international capitalism – from the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO to the compliant bureaucracies of national states or supranational unions – facilitate private capital’s ability to appropriate wealth and institute everyday forms of structural violence (unemployment, bad housing, poverty, disease, toxic chemicals, environmental destruction, etc) that have become ‘accepted’ as necessary and taken for granted within mainstream media and political narratives.

Therefore, if we are to have genuinely effective solutions for the world’s most pressing problems, there must be a deep commitment to reigning in corporate power; not extending it by handing over policy-making to ‘free’ market ideologues or corporate missionaries. Solutions involve challenging a dominant narrative that is not prepared to question or is incapable of questioning a corrupt neoliberal capitalism and which privileges private interests and the private ownership of key industries and resources ahead of public need.

As for addressing the agrochemicals issue that Mason discusses, if we are to have a radical shake-up, this should be based on the recommendations of numerous high-profile reports. It should entail making a fundamental shift towards a more democratic, less chemical-intensive model of food production. This would be rooted in investing in ecologically sustainable practices, supporting the bedrock of global food production – small farms (and thus rural communities and jobs) – and encouraging climate-resilient and climate-friendly practices: in other words an agriculture rooted in human need and not corporate greed.

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Turkey is Supporting ISIS-Daesh In Mosul And Raqqa

octobre 9th, 2016 by nsnbc international

The leader and co-head of the Syrian – Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Salih Muslim, said Turkey is blocking the anti ISIS operation in Mosul, Iraq. The PYD leader’s statement on Friday coincided with the northern Iraqi Kurdish Democratic Party’s call to arrange a post-ISIS settlement between the federal government of Iraq and the semi-autonomous Kurdish northern Iraq.

PYD co-head Salih Muslim stressed that Turkey first blocked the liberation of Raqqa by invading Jarablus in Syria and that Turkey now is blocking the liberation of Mosul in Iraq by deploying Turkish troops into the Bashiqa district near the city of Mosul.

PYD leader and co-chair Salih Muslim.

PYD leader and co-chair Salih Muslim.

Earlier this month the Turkish parliament, unilaterally and without authorization from the Iraqi or Syrian government, prolonged the authorization of the deployment of Turkish forces to Syria and Iraq for another year.

Salih Muslim accused Turkey of cooperating with ISIS, saying that “The main goal of the Turkish move in Syria and Iraq is to support Daesh” (a.k.a. ISIS, ISIL, or Islamic State).

Forces of the armed wings of the PYD, the YPG and the all female YPJ, reportedly won’t head for Raqqa until the road to the besieged enclave of Efrin in northwestern Syria is open. The PYD maintains that neither Turkey, Islamist militants nor the Syrian government is currently interested in YPG / YPJ forces fighting ISIS in Efrin.

The PYD co-leaders statement comes against a complex backdrop involving various Kurdish parties and militants in the greater region as well as their respective allies. The PYD is being supported by the United States. The PYD is, however, also an ally of the Russian and Iranian – backed Turkish Kurdistan Worker’s Party – PKK, which is outlawed in Turkey, the USA and the EU.

Neither the PYD nor the PKK are closely allied to the northern Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) which is backed by the USA, nor of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Iran (KDP-I) which is a close ally of the Iraqi KDP. PYD leader Salih Muslim’s statement about Turkey’s obstructions of the liberation of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa coincided with demands by the KDP to reach a post-ISIS agreement between the federal government of Iraq and the Kurdish northern Iraq before the launch of the liberation of Mosul.

KDP leader and northern Iraqi Kurdish “president” Masoud Barzani, in August, said that Kurdish independence was the only remaining option. Clashes between the KDP-I and the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Iran have also increased significantly over the past months. The situation in Mosul, for its part, potentially pits not only Turkish troops and ISIS against each other, it also pits the KPP’s Peshmerga fighters against federal Iraqi troops and, maybe more importantly, Iranian-backed Iraqi militia.

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Pentagon Begins Low-Intensity, Stealth War In Syria

octobre 9th, 2016 by Mike Whitney

“Last Wednesday, at a Deputies Committee meeting at the White House, officials from the State Department, the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed limited military strikes against the (Assad) regime … One proposed way to get around the White House’s long-standing objection to striking the Assad regime without a U.N. Security Council resolution would be to carry out the strikes covertly and without public acknowledgment.” – Washington Post

Call it stealth warfare, call it poking the bear, call it whatever you’d like. The fact is, the Syrian war has entered a new and more dangerous phase increasing the chances of a catastrophic confrontation between the US and Russia. This new chapter of the conflict is the brainchild of Pentagon warlord, Ash Carter, whose attack on a Syrian outpost at Deir Ezzor killed 62 Syrian regulars putting a swift end to the fragile ceasefire agreement. Carter and his generals opposed the Kerry-Lavrov ceasefire deal because it would have required “military and intelligence cooperation with the Russians”. In other words, the US would have had to get the greenlight from Moscow for its bombing targets which would have undermined its ability to assist its jihadist fighters on the ground. That was a real deal-breaker for the Pentagon. But bombing Deir Ezzor fixed all that. It got the Pentagon out of the jam it was in, it torpedoed the ceasefire, and it allowed Carter to launch his own private shooting match without presidential authorization.

Mission accomplished. So what sort of escalation does Carter have in mind, after all, most analysts assume that a direct confrontation between the United States and Russia will lead to a nuclear war. Is he really willing to take that risk? Heck no, but not everyone agrees that more violence will lead to a nuclear exchange. Carter, for example, seems to think that he can raise the stakes considerably without any real danger, which is why he intends to conduct a low-intensity, stealth war on mainly Syrian assets that will force Putin to increase Russia’s military commitment. The larger Russia’s military commitment, the greater probability of a quagmire, which is the primary objective of Plan C, aka–Plan Carter. Take a look at this clip from an article in Tuesday’s Washington Post which helps to explain what’s going on:

“U.S. military strikes against the Assad regime will be back on the table Wednesday at the White House, when top national security officials in the Obama administration are set to discuss options for the way forward in Syria… Inside the national security agencies, meetings have been going on for weeks to consider new options to recommend to the president to address the ongoing crisis in Aleppo,…A meeting of the National Security Council, which could include the president, could come as early as this weekend. Last Wednesday, at a Deputies Committee meeting at the White House, officials from the State Department, the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed limited military strikes against the regime… The options under consideration… include bombing Syrian air force runways using cruise missiles and other long-range weapons fired from coalition planes and ships… One proposed way to get around the White House’s long-standing objection to striking the Assad regime without a U.N. Security Council resolution would be to carry out the strikes covertly and without public acknowledgment, the official said.” (Obama administration considering strikes on Assad, again, Washington Post)

Don’t you think the Washington Post should have mentioned that Carter’s sordid-little enterprise is already underway? Consider the bombing of Deir Ezzor, for example. Doesn’t that meet the Post’s standard of “U.S. military strikes against the Assad regime”? Sure, it does. And what about the two Syrian bridges US warplanes took out over the Euphrates last week? (making it more difficult to attack ISIS strongholds in the eastern quadrant of the country) Don’t they count?Of course, they do. And let’s not forget the fact that Carter’s jihadist buddies on the ground launched a mortar attack on the Russian embassy in Damascus on Tuesday. That’s another part of this low-intensity war that’s already underway. So all this rubbish about Obama mulling over these “new options” for “military strikes” is complete hogwash. Plan Carter is already in full swing, the train already left the station. The only thing missing is presidential authorization which probably isn’t necessary since Il Duce Carter decided that it was his turn to run the country. Now check out this clip from a Memo to the President from a group of ex-U.S. intelligence agents who compelled to warn Obama about (among other things) “asserting White House civilian control over the Pentagon.” Here’s an excerpt:

“In public remarks bordering on the insubordinate, senior Pentagon officials showed unusually open skepticism regarding key aspects of the Kerry-Lavrov deal. We can assume that what Lavrov told his boss in private is close to his uncharacteristically blunt words on Russian NTV on Sept. 26: “My good friend John Kerry … is under fierce criticism from the US military machine. Despite the fact that, as always, [they] made assurances that the US Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama, supported him in his contacts with Russia… apparently the military does not really listen to the Commander in Chief.” Lavrov’s words are not mere rhetoric … Policy differences between the White House and the Pentagon are rarely as openly expressed as they are now over policy on Syria.” (Obama Warned to Defuse Tensions with Russia, Consortium News)

How shocking is that? When was the last time you read a memo from retired Intel agents warning the president that the Pentagon was usurping his Constitutional authority? That sounds pretty serious, don’t you think? Bottom line: The Pentagon is basically prosecuting their own little war in Syria and then chatting up the policy with Obama when they damn-well feel like it. Here’s more from the Washington Post:

“The CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff … expressed support for such “kinetic” options, the official said … That marked an increase of support for striking Assad compared with the last time such options were considered.” (Washington Post)

Of course they want to bomb Assad. They’re losing! Everyone wants to bomb someone when they’re losing. It’s human nature. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. It’s a very bad idea. Just like supporting Sunni extremists is a bad idea. Just like giving shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS) to fanatical crackpots is a bad idea. How crazy is that? And how long before one of these religious nutcases use their new toys to take down an Israeli or American jetliner? Not very long, I’d wager. The idea of doubling-down on homicidal maniacs (By providing them with more lethal weapons) is really one of the dumbest ideas of all time, and yet, the Pentagon and CIA seem to think that it’s tip-top military strategy. Here’s one last blurb from the WA Post article:

“Kerry’s deputy, Antony Blinken, testified last week that the U.S. leverage in Russia comes from the notion that Russia will eventually become weary of the cost of its military intervention in Syria. “The leverage is the consequences for Russia of being stuck in a quagmire that is going to have a number of profoundly negative effects,” Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” (Washington Post)

See? There it is in black and white. “Quagmire”. The new “Plan C” strategy is designed to create a quagmire for Putin by gradually ratcheting up the violence forcing him to prolong his stay and deepen his commitment. It’s a clever trap and it could work, too. The only hitch is that Putin and his allies appear to be making steady headway on the battlefield. That’s going to make a lot harder for Syria’s enemies to continue the provocations and incitements without triggering massive retaliation. But maybe Carter hasn’t thought about that yet. NOTE: Russia issues warning to Pentagon; Hostile aircraft that threatens Syrian troops will be shot down This is from a Thursday report on Sputnik International:

“The Russian Minister of Defense said “that “Russian S-300, S-400 air defense systems deployed in Syria’s Hmeymim and Tartus have combat ranges that may surprise any unidentified airborne targets. Operators of Russian air defense systems won’t have time to identify the origin of airstrikes, and the response will be immediate. Any illusions about “invisible” jets will inevitably be crushed by disappointing reality.” No More Deir ez-Zors “I point out to all the ‘hotheads’ that following the September 17 coalition airstrike on the Syrian Army in Deir ez-Zor we took all necessary measures to exclude any similar ‘accidents’ happening to Russian forces in Syria,” Konashenkov said. (Sputnik)

Mike Whitney  lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

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The tensions between Russia and the USA have reached an unprecedented level. I fully agree with the participants of this CrossTalk show – the situation is even worse and more dangerous than during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Both sides are now going to the so-called “Plan B” which, simply put, stand for, at best, no negotiations and, at worst, a war between Russia and the USA.

The key thing to understand in the Russian stance in this, an other, recent conflicts with the USA is that Russia is still much weaker than the USA and that she therefore does not want war. That does not, however, mean that she is not actively preparing for war. In fact, she very much and actively does. All this means is that should a conflict occur, Russia you try, as best can be, to keep it as limited as possible.

In theory, these are, very roughly, the possible levels of confrontation:

  1. A military standoff à la Berlin in 1961. One could argue that this is what is already taking place right now, albeit in a more long-distance and less visible way.
  2. A single military incident, such as what happened recently when Turkey shot down a Russian SU-24 and Russia chose not to retaliate.
  3. A series of localized clashes similar to what is currently happening between India and Pakistan.
  4. A conflict limited to the Syrian theater of war (say like the war between the UK and Argentina over the Malvinas Islands).
  5. A regional or global military confrontation between the USA and Russia.
  6. A full scale thermonuclear war between the USA and Russia

During my years as a student of military strategy I have participated in many exercises on escalation and de-escalation and I can attest that while it is very easy to come up with escalatory scenarios, I have yet to see a credible scenario for de-escalation. What is possible, however, is the so-called “horizontal escalation” or “asymmetrical escalation” in which one side choses not to up the ante or directly escalate, but instead choses a different target for retaliation, not necessarily a more valuable one, just a different one on the same level of conceptual importance (in the USA Joshua M. Epstein and Spencer D. Bakich did most of the groundbreaking work on this topic).

The main reason why we can expect the Kremlin to try to find asymmetrical options to respond to a US attack is that in the Syrian context Russia is hopelessly outgunned by the US/NATO, at least in quantitative terms. The logical solutions for the Russians is to use their qualitative advantage or to seek “horizontal targets” as possible retaliatory options. This week, something very interesting and highly uncharacteristic happened: Major General Igor Konashenkov, the Chief of the Directorate of Media service and Information of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, openly mentioned one such option. Here is what he said:

“As for Kirby’s threats about possible Russian aircraft losses and the sending of Russian servicemen back to Russia in body bags, I would say that we know exactly where and how many “unofficial specialists” operate in Syria and in the Aleppo province and we know that they are involved in the operational planning and that they supervise the operations of the militants. Of course, one can continue to insist that they are unsuccessfully involved in trying to separate the al-Nusra terrorists from the “opposition” forces. But if somebody tries to implement these threats, it is by no means certain that these militants will have to time to get the hell out of there.”

Nice, no? Konashenkov appears to be threatening the “militants” but he is sure to mention that there are plenty of “unofficial specialists” amongst these militants and that Russia knows exactly where they are and how many of them there are. Of course, officially, Obama has declared that there are a few hundred such US special advisors in Syria. A well-informed Russian source suggests that there are up to 5’000 foreign ‘advisors’ to the Takfiris including about 4’000 Americans. I suppose that the truth is somewhere between these two figures.

So the Russian threat is simple: you attack us and we will attack US forces in Syria. Of course, Russia will vehemently deny targeting US servicemen and insist that the strike was only against terrorists, but both sides understand what is happening here. Interestingly, just last week the Iranian Fars news agency reported that such a Russian attack had already happened:

30 Israeli, Foreign Intelligence Officers Killed in Russia’s Caliber Missile Attack in Aleppo: The Russian warships fired three Caliber missiles at the foreign officers’ coordination operations room in Dar Ezza region in the Western part of Aleppo near Sam’an mountain, killing 30 Israeli and western officers,” the Arabic-language service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency quoted battlefield source in Aleppo as saying on Wednesday. The operations room was located in the Western part of Aleppo province in the middle of sky-high Sam’an mountain and old caves. The region is deep into a chain of mountains. Several US, Turkish, Saudi, Qatari and British officers were also killed along with the Israeli officers. The foreign officers who were killed in the Aleppo operations room were directing the terrorists’ attacks in Aleppo and Idlib.

Whether this really happened or whether the Russians are leaking such stories to indicate that this could happen, the fact remains that US forces in Syria could become an obvious target for Russian retaliation, whether by cruise missile, gravity bombs or direct action operation by Russian special forces. The US also has several covert military installations in Syria, including at least one airfield with V-22 Osprey multi-mission tiltrotor aircraft.

Another interesting recent development has been the Fox News report that Russians are deploying S-300V (aka “SA-23 Gladiator anti-missile and anti-aircraft system”) in Syria. Check out this excellent article for a detailed discussion of the capabilities of this missile system. I will summarize it by saying that the S-300V can engage ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, very low RCS (“stealth”) aircraft and AWACS aircraft. This is an Army/Army Corps -level air defense system, well capable of defending most of the Syrian airspace, but also reach well into Turkey, Cyprus, the eastern Mediterranean and Lebanon.

The powerful radars of this system could not only detect and engage US aircraft (including “stealth”) at a long distance, but they could also provide a tremendous help for the few Russian air superiority fighters by giving them a clear pictures of the skies and enemy aircraft by using encrypted datalinks. Finally, US air doctrine is extremely dependent on the use of AWACS aircraft to guide and support US fighters. The S-300V will forces US/NATO AWACS to operate at a most uncomfortable distance. Between the longer-range radars of the Russian Sukhois, the radars on the Russian cruisers off the Syrian coast, and the S-300 and S-300V radars on the ground, the Russians will have a much better situational awareness than their US counterparts.

It appears that the Russians are trying hard to compensate for their numerical inferiority by deploying high-end systems for which the US has no real equivalent or good counter-measures.

There are basically two options of deterrence: denial, when you prevent your enemy from hitting his targets and retaliation, when you make the costs of an enemy attack unacceptably high for him. The Russians appear to be pursuing both tracks at the same time. We can thus summarize the Russian approach as such

  1. Delay a confrontation as much as possible (buy time).
  2. Try to keep any confrontation at the lowest possible escalatory level.
  3. If possible, reply with asymmetrical/horizontal escalations.
  4. Rather then “prevail” against the US/NATO – make the costs of attack too high.
  5. Try to put pressure on US “allies” in order to create tensions inside the Empire.
  6. Try to paralyze the USA on a political level by making the political costs of an attack too high-end.
  7. Try to gradually create the conditions on the ground (Aleppo) to make a US attack futile

To those raised on Hollywood movies and who still watch TV, this kind of strategy will elicit only frustration and condemnation. There are millions of armchair strategists who are sure that they could do a much better job than Putin to counter the US Empire. These folks have now been telling us for *years* that Putin “sold out” the Syrians (and the Novorussians) and that the Russians ought to do X, Y and Z to defeat the AngloZionist Empire. The good news is that none of these armchair strategists sit in the Kremlin and that the Russians have stuck to their strategy over the past years, one day at a time, even when criticized by those who want quick and “easy” solutions. But the main good news is that the Russian strategy is working. Not only is the Nazi-occupied Ukraine quite literally falling apart, but the US has basically run out of options in Syria (see this excellent analysis by my friend Alexander Mercouris in the Duran).

The only remaining logical steps left for the USA in Syria is to accept Russia’s terms or leave. The problem is that I am not at all convinced that the Neocons, who run the White House, Congress and the US corporate media, are “rational” at all. This is why the Russians employed so many delaying tactics and why they have acted with such utmost caution: they are dealing with professional incompetent ideologues who simply do not play by the unwritten but clear rules of civilized international relations. This is what makes the current crisis so much worse than even the Cuban Missile Crisis: one superpower has clearly gone insane.

Are the Americans crazy enough to risk WWIII over Aleppo?

Maybe, maybe not. But what if we rephrase that question and ask

Are the Americans crazy enough to risk WWIII to maintain their status as the “world’s indispensable nation”, the “leader of the free world”, the “city on the hill” and all the rest of this imperialistic nonsense?

Here I would submit that yes, they potentially are.

After all, the Neocons are correct when they sense that if Russia gets away with openly defying and defeating the USA in Syria, nobody will take the AngloZionists very seriously any more.

How do you think the Neocons think when they see the President of the Philippines publicly calling Obama a “son of a whore” and then tells the EU to go and “f*ck itself”?

Of course, the Neocons can still find some solace in the abject subservience of the European political elites, but still – they know that he writing is on the wall and that their Empire is rapidly crumbling, not only in Syria, the Ukraine or Asia, but even inside the USA. The biggest danger here is that the Neocons might try to rally the nation around the flag, either by staging yet another false flag or by triggering a real international crisis.

At this point in time all we can do is wait and hope that there is enough resistance inside the US government to prevent a US attack on Syria before the next Administration comes in. And while I am no supporter of Trump, I would agree that Hillary and her evil cabal of russophobic Neocons is so bad that Trump does give me some hope, at least in comparison to Hillary.

So if Trump wins, then Russia’s strategy will be basically justified. Once Trump is on the White House, there is at least the possibility of a comprehensive redefinition of US-Russian relations which would, of course, begin with a de-escalation in Syria: while Obama/Hillary categorically refuse to get rid of Daesh (by that I mean al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, and all their various denominations), Trump appears to be determined to seriously fight them, even if that means that Assad stays in power. There is most definitely a basis for dialog here. If Hillary comes in, then the Russians will have to make an absolutely crucial call: how important is Syria in the context of their goal to re-sovereignize Russia and to bring down the AngloZionist Empire? Another way of formulating the same question is “would Russia prefer a confrontation with the Empire in Syria or in the Ukraine?”.

One way to gauge the mood in Russia is to look at the language of a recent law proposed by President Putin and adopted by the Duma which dealt with the issue of the Russia-US Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA) which, yet again, saw the US yet again fail to deliver on their obligations and which Russia has now suspended. What is interesting, is the language chosen by the Russians to list the conditions under which they would resume their participation in this agreement and, basically, agree to resume any kind of arms negotiations:

  1. A reduction of military infrastructure and the number of the US troops stationed on the territory of NATO member states that joined the alliance after September 1, 2000, to the levels at which they were when the original agreement first entered into force.
  2. The abandonment of the hostile policy of the US towards Russia, which should be carried out with the abolition of the Magnitsky Act of 2012 and the conditions of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, which were directed against Russia.
  3. The abolition of all sanctions imposed by the US on certain subjects of the Russian Federation, Russian individuals and legal entities.
  4. The compensation for all the damages suffered by Russia as a result of the imposition of sanctions.
  5. The US is also required to submit a clear plan for irreversible plutonium disposition covered by the PMDA.

Now the Russians are not delusional. They know full well that the USA will never accept such terms. So what is this really all about? It is a diplomatic but unambiguous way to tell the USA the exact same thing which Philippine President Duterte (and Victoria Nuland) told the EU.

The Americans better start paying attention.

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Colombia: The Peace Farce, If There Ever Was One

octobre 9th, 2016 by Peter Koenig

Just as this article was ready to go to print, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia. This is what the Official website of the Nobel Prize reports:

“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end, a war that has cost the lives of at least 220 000 Colombians and displaced close to six million people.”

The announcement was made on Friday 7 October, 11:00 a.m., well after the rejection of the gratuitous plebiscite by less than 0.5% of less than 40% of eligible voters, and after President Santos had already decided and declared to extend the ceasefire to 31 October 2016 until which date a renegotiated arrangement had to be found with the FARC ‘rebels’ – a virtually impossible task. –

This is so reminiscent of another Peace prize award, namely the one to President Obama in 2009, in the hope that he would  bring Peace to the world. At that time the US of A was involved in two wars, Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, almost 8 years later Obama boasts of being involved in seven wars around the globe. Bravo! For the Nobel Committee.

Does this award mean that indeed Mr. Santos may disregard the highly questionable referendum result in the name of Peace, as was suggested by the Nobel Committee, or will he go back to war on a new page and under new premises, =i.e. with a largely disarmed FARC in the name of continuous fear, conflict and killing in his country?

We will soon see where his alliances are, with the People of Colombia – or with his North American Masters of Chaos and Destruction.

Colombia apparently voted against Peace with a margin of less than 0.5%, to be exact 0.43%, with a voter participation of only 40%. Can you imagine! This looks, first, like a boycott, as many people didn’t believe in the process and didn’t believe that the results would be adhered to; and, second, it smells of fraud. For example, with most of the ballots counted, the Choco region which suffered heavily from the war, voted with 80% yes. An overwhelming ‘yes’ also came from the Caribbean areas.

Who was counting? All pre-plebiscite opinion polls indicated an overwhelming ‘yes’ for Peace.

Exit polls indicated a comfortable win for Peace.

Why is nobody asking for a recount? Or maybe they do, but we don’t hear about it.

Why could that be? – Maybe because Peace was never on the Colombian cum US Governments agenda. It was just a manipulation of the public mind; planting an illusion, as any hope for Peace these days, any Peace, anywhere in the world, is an illusion. But an illusion deviates people’s attention from reality. That was certainly achieved.

The 4-year Peace process, initiated by President Santos (image left) started on 19 November 2012 and ended on 24 August, 2016. It was facilitated and formally sponsored by Norway and Cuba. Talks were held in Havana and co-sponsored by Venezuela and Chile. The deal was signed in Havana with big fanfare on 26 September 2016.

For many, Santos’ initiative to have the Peace Treaty ratified by a referendum, came as a surprise. In any case, the outcome of the plebiscite is not legally binding. Under the circumstances and with such a small margin, even if it was not manipulated, any healthy and peace loving government would dismiss the narrow outcome and adhere to and promote the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

During 52 years the 7,000 to 10,000 strong leftist FARC militia fought in defense of the rural poor against an elite of the rich, mostly urban dweller and latifundios, against government forces with support of the US military stationed in Colombia. The official death toll of 200,000 to 300,000 may in reality be at least double that number, not mentioning the millions of uprooted people who had to flee and lost their homes and land. Reaching a Peace deal would be a welcome and well-deserved achievement. Indeed, the signature event was celebrated throughout Latin America and the world (FARC-EP stands for Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo / Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – The People’s Army).

Instead of following the overwhelming people’s desire for Peace – I repeat, after 52 years! of bloody war – President Santos announced last Tuesday to extend the ceasefire until 31 October 2016, saying he hoped that renegotiations with FARC would lead to ‘arrangements’ to find a solution to this conflict. Wasn’t the solution already found when the Peace Agreement was signed on 26 September?

Immediately after the plebiscite’s ‘rejection’ light (very light), Santos met with his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, who campaigned against the Agreement. That in itself is strange.

Two Presidents from the same party, friends, and on the payroll of the same masters, the CIA, were leading two different campaigns. While Juan Manuel Santos, the current President, was waving the Peace flag, Uribe drove a fear-mongering campaign especially focusing on the general amnesty concession that FARC got out of the deal.

Before Uribe became President in 2002, he formed the ‘Colombia First’ movement. His growing so-called independent party grew even stronger with political elitists and plutocrats to bring him to a second term in 2006. This new coalition of right-wing parties, called the ‘Urbistas’, eventually was the platform on which Juan Manuel Santos was elected in 2010. The current government has amassed a right-wing alliance of conservatives and liberals that at one point controlled 94% of Congress. In the meantime, Alvaro Uribe formed another right-wing Centro-Democratic party. Under two different flags but the same ideology – and less obvious – they control now Congress as a political “Cartel”, as Harvard academic James Robinson, puts it, to prevent any other political force to rise and challenge the exclusive power of the Right – which, needless to say, works in close collaboration with Washington’s interests.

It is therefore all the stranger that the two presidential buddies work for different outcomes of the plebiscite. It looks more like a maneuver to deviate and confuse public opinion. Can you imagine, that the US of A, with seven military bases – and more to come – will want Peace?

Colombia is THE strategic corner of Latin America, hub of multibillion dollar drug trade, adjacent to two non-compliant nation states Venezuela and Ecuador, from where they plan to reconquer the sub-continent, their ‘Backyard’, as Obama put it so undiplomatically insulting, yet adroitly, as it reflects the mindset of Washington and its citizenry.

In the fall of 2009, US and Colombian officials signed an agreement, granting the US armed forces access to seven Colombian military bases for ten years. These are two quotes from a US Air Force document about the bases:

“Opportunity for Full Spectrum Operations throughout South America, against threats not only from drug trade, but also from ‘anti-US governments’ in the region.”

“The agreement operates from the same (failed) mindset that has given rise to the School of the Americas (SOA / WHINSEC). The purpose of the bases is to ensure US control of the region through military means.”

Why would they want Peace now, when chaos and war helps to divide and conquer? But then why carry the Peace process all the way to signature, just to be undone by a phony referendum? – It’s part of propaganda, brainwashing and numbing peoples’ minds. The four years of ‘negotiations’ which made the world believe that Peace was a seriously option, offered the government also a state of semi-ceasefire, a time during which they could regroup, strategize and especially disarm the FARC rebels, defenders of the poor rural workers and of democracy. The FARC in good fate participated in this gambit. The masters of deception once more succeeded with the help of Washington, the Pentagon and the CIA.

What is amazing though, is that Latin America, the world, including the four sponsors and co-sponsors, are rather silent about the outcome of the referendum that came out of the blue. It must be the sense of ‘democracy’ that lays behind the referendum. It deserves support, no matter how narrow the margin and how obvious the manipulation of results. How naïve! – The referendum was not needed, since during the four years of ‘negotiations’ the crucial points of discussion and eventually of agreement, were vetted sufficiently with Congress to not pose a problem for ratification; and this especially since the result of the plebiscite has by Colombia’s Constitution no legal binding. The FARC now largely disarmed, will give the government a clear advantage, hoping to eradicate a weakened movement of rebellion for justice.

Remember, this is a lesson practiced many times by the empire (and passed on to its vassals), not last in Iraq, when first the country was weakened with the so called Gulf War, 1990-1991, and the ensuing ten years of murderous sanctions imposed by the US and its ‘coalition of the willing’ (and spineless), including the most horrendous bombing campaigns under Clinton – of which the mainstream media reported next to nothing – disabling much of the Iraqi armed forces. Hence, the 2003 totally illegal Bush-Blair Shock and Awe campaign could inflict maximum damage and chaos on one of the most progressive Middle Eastern countries. The NO PEACE dictum in Colombia follows a similar pattern.

Peter Koenig is an economist, and water resources and environmental specialist. He has worked for over 30 years with the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the Swiss Development Cooperation, in Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, East and South East Asia and Latin America. Peter is also a geopolitical analyst for Global Research, Information Clearing House, RT, PressTV, Sputnik, TeleSUR and The 4th Media, China. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

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In political terms, most people might tend to associate the word ’occupation’ with a (foreign) military presence that controls a region or country. Any such occupation may not necessarily imply troops visibly patrolling the streets. It can be much subtler. Take Britain, for instance. The Guardian journalist Seumas Milne says that the US’s six military bases, dozens of secretive facilities and 10,000 military personnel in Britain effectively tie the country’s foreign policy into the agenda of the US empire and its endless wars.

The vast majority of Brits do not regard this as an ‘occupation’. They might feel they are being ‘protected’ by the US with which Britain has a ‘special relationship’. Such is the Stockholm syndrome.

The population is spun a yarn that the US, Britain and the wider NATO project are in any case forces for good in an unpredictable and dangerous world (despite the actual reality which suggests the complete opposite). With the US having a strong military presence in so many other countries across the world, that’s certainly a lot of very ‘special relationships’.

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

The arguments being put forward to justify the entry of GM food crops is that they would enhance productivity, make a positive contribution to farmers’ livelihoods and be better for the environment. All such claims have been shown to be bogus (with the opposite being true in each case) or at the very least are highly questionable.

GM mustard in India is ultimately a Bayer construct, and, given the proposed takeover/merger with St Louis-based Monsanto, US interests would benefit from its commercialisation. The Monsanto-Bayer marriage would not only be convenient for the US in Europe (providing it with a much improved strategic foothold there, given that Bayer is Swiss based), but it would also (through Bayer’s GM mustard) provide it with the opportunity to further penetrate Indian agriculture.

Monsanto already has a firm strategic presence in India. It has to an extent become the modern-day East India company. The Bayer merger can only serve to further the purposes of those in the US who have always regarded GM biotechnology in more geopolitical terms as a means for securing greater control of global agriculture (via patented GM seeds and proprietary inputs) in much the same way the ‘Green Revolution’ did.

In broad terms, US geopolitical strategy has seen the exporting of a strident neoliberalism across the globe underpinned by a devastating militarism. For example, aside from Monsanto’s well-documented links to the US military, its seeds conveniently followed hot on the heels into Ukraine on the back of a US-instigated coup and into Iraq after Washington’s invasion. The reality behind the globalisation agenda (that transnational agribusiness drives and exploits) is an imposed form of capitalism that results in destruction and war for those who attempt to remain independent or structural violence (poverty, inequality, ‘austerity’, etc) via privatisation and deregulation for millions in countries that acquiesce.

Part of this structural violence involves the toxic inputs of transnational agribusiness and the imposition of an unsustainable model of Green Revolution farming. The result is huge profits for the agritech/agribusiness cartel and a public burdened with massive environmental, social and health costs. As if that isn’t bad enough, it must be remembered that the Green Revolution (of which GM represents phase two) is ultimately based on the pilfering of peasants’ seeds that were developed over generations.

Once a country loses control of its seeds and thus its food and agriculture to outside forces, it becomes more deeply integrated into a globalised system of dependency (in some instances, ensuring they become complete basket cases dependent on the US), a process that could be accelerated by trade deals like the TTIP (Europe), TPA (Asia) and KIA (India), which would allow Washington to extend and further cement its political and economic influence over entire regions.

India’s apparent willingness to hand over its seeds and thus its food sovereignty to foreign interests is steeped in its acceptance of the West’s neoliberalism. Whether this entails complying with ‘enabling the business of agriculture’, an unremitting faith in ‘foreign direct investment’ (displacing its existing model of production with a destructive model that would benefit foreign corporations) or complying with the criteria for ‘ease of doing business‘, it is ironically being carried out under the auspices of a ruling BJP whose nationalistic rhetoric helped it gain power.

Report after report has indicated that small farmers using low-input, ecologically-friendly methods are key to feeding populations in countries like India. And a series of high-level reports (listed here) in India have advised against adopting the GM route.

Given the hold that the World Bank has on India, the revolving door between the WB/IMF and India’s institutions and the influence of foreign interests and corporations within the agriculture sector, it all begs the question: are sections of the Indian political elite suffering a severe bout of Stockholm syndrome?

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Fifteen years after NATO’s invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, the 9/11 and Al Qaeda lies that were used to justify the war have disappeared.

Now the truth about oil and gas, mineral wealth, opium and naked imperial ambition are all that remain.

The ambitions of Empire.

One Step Closer to military confrontation.

This is the GRTV Backgrounder on Global Research TV.

October 7th marks the 15 anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan

Fifteen years of massacres, fifteen years of drone strikes and civilian massacres…

We were told that the invasion of Afghanistan was in response to the 9/11 attacks. A carefully constructed lie.

GRTV Video Produced by James Corbett



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Originally posted by Global Research in August 2015

Was the US deterrence military doctrine aimed against the Soviet Union during the Cold War era really « defensive » and who actually started the nuclear arms race paranoia?

Just weeks after the Second World War was over and Nazi Germany defeated Soviet Russia’s allies, the United States and Great Britain hastened to develop military plans aimed at dismantling the USSR and wiping out its cities with a massive nuclear strike.

Interestingly enough, then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had ordered the British Armed Forces’ Joint Planning Staff to develop a strategy targeting the USSR months before the end of the Second World War. The first edition of the plan was prepared on May 22, 1945. In accordance with the plan the invasion of Russia-held Europe by the Allied forces was scheduled on July 1, 1945.

Winston Churchill’s Operation Unthinkable

The plan, dubbed Operation Unthinkable, stated that its primary goal was « to impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire. Even though ‘the will’ of these two countries may be defined as no more than a square deal for Poland, that does not necessarily limit the military commitment. »

The British Armed Forces’ Joint Planning Staff underscored that the Allied Forces would win in the event of 1) the occupation of such metropolitan areas of Russia so that the war making capacity of the country would be reduced to a point to which further resistance would become impossible »; 2) « such a decisive defeat of the Russian forces in the field as to render it impossible for the USSR to continue the war. »

British generals warned Churchill that the « total war » would be hazardous to the Allied armed forces.

However, after the United States « tested » its nuclear arsenal in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, Churchill and right-wing American policy makers started to persuade the White House to bomb the USSR. A nuclear strike against Soviet Russia, exhausted by the war with Germany, would have led to the defeat of the Kremlin at the same time allowing the Allied Forces to avoid US and British military casualties, Churchill insisted. Needless to say, the former British Prime Minister did not care about the death of tens of thousands of Russian peaceful civilians which were already hit severely by the four-year war nightmare.

« He [Churchill] pointed out that if an atomic bomb could be dropped on the Kremlin, wiping it out, it would be a very easy problem to handle the balance of Russia, which would be without direction, » an unclassified note from the FBI archive read.

An atomic cloud billows above Hiroshima city following the explosion of the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare in Hiroshima, in this handout photo taken by the U.S. Army on August 6, 1945, and distributed by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The words written on the photo are from the source

An atomic cloud billows above Hiroshima city following the explosion of the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare in Hiroshima, in this handout photo taken by the U.S. Army on August 6, 1945, and distributed by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The words written on the photo are from the source

Following in Churchill’s Footsteps: Operation Dropshot

Unthinkable as it may seem, Churchill’s plan literally won the hearts and minds of US policy makers and military officials. Between 1945 and the USSR’s first detonation of a nuclear device in 1949, the Pentagon developed at least nine nuclear war plans targeting Soviet Russia, according to US researchers Dr. Michio Kaku and Daniel Axelrod. In their book « To Win a Nuclear War: the Pentagon’s Secret War Plans, » based on declassified top secret documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the researchers exposed the US military’s strategies to initiate a nuclear war with Russia.

The names given to these plans graphically portray their offensive purpose: Bushwhacker, Broiler, Sizzle, Shakedown, Offtackle, Dropshot, Trojan, Pincher, and Frolic. The US military knew the offensive nature of the job President Truman had ordered them to prepare for and had named their war plans accordingly, » remarked American scholar J.W. Smith (« The World’s Wasted Wealth 2 »).

These « first-strike » plans developed by the Pentagon were aimed at destroying the USSR without any damage to the United States.

The 1949 Dropshot plan envisaged that the US would attack Soviet Russia and drop at least 300 nuclear bombs and 20,000 tons of conventional bombs on 200 targets in 100 urban areas, including Moscow and Leningrad (St. Petersburg). In addition, the planners offered to kick off a major land campaign against the USSR to win a « complete victory » over the Soviet Union together with the European allies. According to the plan Washington would start the war on January 1, 1957.

For a long period of time the only obstacle in the way of the US’ massive nuclear offensive was that the Pentagon did not possess enough atomic bombs (by 1948 Washington boasted an arsenal of 50 atomic bombs) as well as planes to carry them in. For instance, in 1948 the US Air Force had only thirty-two B-29 bombers modified to deliver nuclear bombs.

In September 1948 US president Truman approved a National Security Council paper (NSC 30) on « Policy on Atomic Warfare, » which stated that the United States must be ready to « utilize promptly and effectively all appropriate means available, including atomic weapons, in the interest of national security and must therefore plan accordingly.

At this time, the US generals desperately needed information about the location of Soviet military and industrial sites. So far, the US launched thousands of photographing overflights to the Soviet territory triggering concerns about a potential Western invasion of the USSR among the Kremlin officials. While the Soviets hastened to beef up their defensive capabilities, the military and political decision makers of the West used their rival’s military buildup as justification for building more weapons.

Meanwhile, in order to back its offensive plans Washington dispatched its B-29 bombers to Europe during the first Berlin crisis in 1948. In 1949 the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed, six years before the USSR and its Eastern European allies responded defensively by establishing the Warsaw Pact — the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation, and Mutual Assistance.

 

The mushroom cloud of the first atomic explosion at Trinity Test Site, New Mexico. July 16, 1945

© AP PHOTO/ FILE

The mushroom cloud of the first atomic explosion at Trinity Test Site, New Mexico. July 16, 1945

Soviet Nuclear Bomb Test Undermined US Plan

Just before the USSR tested its first atomic bomb, the US’ nuclear arsenal had reached 250 bombs and the Pentagon came to the conclusion that a victory over the Soviet Union was now « possible. » Alas, the detonation of the first nuclear bomb by the Soviet Union dealt a heavy blow to US militarists’ plans.

« The Soviet atomic bomb test on August 29, 1949 shook Americans who had believed that their atomic monopoly would last much longer, but did not immediately alter the pattern of war planning. The key issue remained just what level of damage would force a Soviet surrender, » Professor Donald Angus MacKenzie of the University of Edinburgh remarked in his essay « Nuclear War Planning and Strategies of Nuclear Coercion. »

Although Washington’s war planners knew that it would take years before the Soviet Union would obtain a significant atomic arsenal, the point was that the Soviet bomb could not be ignored.

The Scottish researcher highlighted that the US was mainly focused not on « deterrence » but on « offensive » preemptive strike. « There was unanimity in ‘insider circles’ that the United States ought to plan to win a nuclear war. The logic that to do so implied to strike first was inescapable, » he emphasized, adding that « first strike plans » were even represented in the official nuclear policy of the US.

Remarkably, the official doctrine, first announced by then US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in 1954, assumed America’s possible nuclear retaliation to « any » aggression from the USSR.

US’ Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP)

Eventually, in 1960 the US’ nuclear war plans were formalized in the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP).

At first, the SIOP envisaged a massive simultaneous nuclear strike against the USSR’s nuclear forces, military targets, cities, as well as against China and Eastern Europe. It was planned that the US’ strategic forces would use almost 3,500 atomic warheads to bomb their targets. According to US generals’ estimates, the attack could have resulted in the death of about 285 to 425 million people. Some of the USSR’s European allies were meant to be completely « wiped out. »

« We’re just going to have to wipe it [Albania] out, » US General Thomas Power remarked at the 1960 SIOP planning conference, as quoted by MacKenzie.

However, the Kennedy administration introduced significant changes to the plan, insisting that the US military should avoid targeting Soviet cities and had to focus on the rival’s nuclear forces alone. In 1962 the SIOP was modified but still it was acknowledged that the nuclear strike could lead to the death of millions of peaceful civilians.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 - November 22, 1963), 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963

© EAST NEWS/ UNIVERSAL HISTORY ARCHIVE/UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), 35th President of the United States,serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963

The dangerous competition instigated by the US prompted the Soviet Russia to beef up its nuclear capabilities and dragged both countries into the vicious circle of the nuclear arms race. Unfortunately, it seems that the lessons of the past have not been learnt by the West and the question of the « nuclearization » of Europe is being raised again.

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Flemish daily newspaper De Standaard last week reported on the remarkable fact that the Clean Europe Network – a coalition of litter prevention organisations – is run by Eamonn Bates, a veteran Brussels lobby firm that also chairs Pack2Go, the lobby group of companies producing plastic bottles, disposable cups and other packaging.

The Clean Europe Network promotes the idea that consumer awareness-raising is the best way to tackle litter. Bond Better Leefmilieu, a Flemish NGO, accuses the Clean Europe Network of promoting the interests of the packaging industry, including through delay tactics against effective measures to tackle litter. Such measures include deposits on bottles and cans or schemes to make producers pay for collection and management of litter. “The Clean Europe Network exists not so much in order to exchange good practices against litter, but to delay effective measures against it”, Rob Buurman of BBL told De Standaard. “It is as if the CEO of ExxonMobil would at the same time be chairman of the International Panel on Climate Change”, Buurman said.

Asked by De Standaard if the Clean Europe Network is a vehicle of the packaging industry, Eamonn Bates replied that “the criticism is unfair. Our members are NGOs and charities who pay a membership. We have no secrets.” Responding to whether his double roles as secretary general of Clean Europe Network and Pack2Go (the lobby of the packaging industry) is not a conflict of interest, Bates claims “on the contrary. Pack2Go is looking at how to reduce the impact of packaging”, Bates argues, “therefore Pack2Go was also financially involved in the creation of Clean Europe Network. There is a great belief that the litter problem can be better addressed by regularly sitting down with experts.”

Bond Better Leefmilieu, however, points out that the Clean Europe Network’s lobbying against effective litter prevention measures contradicts the litter policy of the Flemish government. BBL therefore calls upon Flemish environment minister Joke Schauvliege to withdraw Indevuilbak (a Flemish quasi-governmental organisation) from the membership of the Clean Europe Network.

A look at the EU lobby transparency register entry of the consultancy Eamonn Bates Europe Public Affairs (EBEPA) shows that Bates is lobbying not only for Clean Europe Network and Pack2Go Europe, but also for Serving Europe, which “represents the branded food and beverage service chains at European level”. Bates, in other words, chairs the Clean Europe Network, while at the same time being paid to lobby by the producers of disposable packaging and by McDonalds, Starbucks, Burger King and other fast-food multinationals using this packaging! The client list also includes International Paper (a huge American pulp and paper company).

Clean Europe Network, Pack2Go Europe and Serving Europe are all registered at the same Brussels address as Eamonn Bates Public Affairs and the websites of the three groups have virtually the same layout, with mainly the colour choices being different.

Website Clean Europe Network

 

Website Pack2Go Europe

 

Website Serving Europe

 

Clean Europe Network is another reminder that Brussels-watchers need to be vigilant about lobbying by coalitions which are in fact backed by business interests. While all the organisations mentioned are in the lobby transparency register, the lobby expenses reported by EBEPA are fairly small and probably a only minor part of the amounts received from industry. More clarity is needed on who funds who and to what extent.

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« Donald Trump exposed after the disclosure of a 2005 recording of Mr. Trump speaking in vulgar language about pushing himself on women, sex and groping. 

In a three-minute recording, which was obtained by The Washington Post, Mr. Trump recounts to the television personality Billy Bush of the program “Access Hollywood,” how he once pursued a married woman and moved on her… »

The release of this 2005 video by the Washington Post containing lewd and sexist statements by the Republican Party’s presidential candidate Donald Trump is likely to play a decisive role.

It is a victory for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

We must however beg the question.

What motivated this carefully timed release, prior to the second presidential candidates’ debate?

Donald Trump’s lewd and sexist behavior or his foreign policy stance regarding US-Russia relations? Or both?

2005 Leaked Video

Trump had already been rejected by the Republican establishment prior to the release of the video for his stance against war with Russia.  In fact many leaders of the Republican party have endorsed Hillary Clinton, including George H.W. (« Poppy ») Bush.

Was the Trump campaign attempting to derail the Neoconservative Republican platform? According to the Washington Post:

The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week [July] to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.

Throughout the campaign, Trump has been dismissive of calls for supporting the Ukraine government as it fights an ongoing Russian-led intervention. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked as a lobbyist for the Russian-backed former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych for more than a decade.

Still, Republican delegates at last week’s national security committee platform meeting in Cleveland were surprised when the Trump campaign orchestrated a set of events to make sure that the GOP would not pledge to give Ukraine the weapons it has been asking for from the United States.  (WP, June 18, 2016)

The Washington Post has been a key instrument of the propaganda campaign against Donald Trump, a presidential candidate who has failed to endorse the bipartisan tenets of US foreign policy.

It is worth noting that the release of the video was followed by statements by a number of Republican personalities including former Utah Governor  Jon Huntsman Jr., who happens to be chairman of the Washington-based foreign policy think-tank The Atlantic Council.

The Atlantic Council chaired by Jon Huntsman –integrated by a stable of key Neocon advisers including Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, (Chairman Emeritus),  Madeleine Albright, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Larry Summers, Marillyn A. Hewson (Chairman, President and CEO, Lockheed Martin), et al–  plays a key role in the formulation of both US foreign policy and the Pentagon’s military agenda.

In fact, Jon Huntsman Jr. –a firm supporter of Hillary Clinton– tacitly expressed reservations regarding Donald Trump’s candidacy prior to the Video release. He also called upon Trump’s running mate Indiana Governor Mike Pence, « to take his place at the top of the ticket ». (Politico, October 7, 2016)

 

source: screenshot from Atlantic Council’s website

 screenshot of Trump sexist-lewd video 

 Video: Donald Trump Apologizes. « See You at the Debate on Sunday »

 

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Sélections d’articles du 1er au 7 octobre 2016

US-Nuclear-War

Le carrefour de tous les dangers : La Russie et les USA se préparent-ils à une guerre nucléaire? Par Prof Michel Chossudovsky, 01 octobre 2016

Les médias occidentaux en parlent à peine, mais la Russie et les USA sont en train de « réarmer » leurs systèmes d’armes nucléaires. Pendant que les USA se lancent dans un projet de modernisation coûtant des milliards de dollars, la Russie est pleinement engagée dans un processus de restructuration « à moindre coût », qui consiste à démanteler certaines parties de son arsenal de missiles balistiques intercontinentaux (ICBM) terrestres, pour les remplacer par un système plus perfectionné, le RS24 Yars, mis au point en 2007. 

senator-richard-black

Lettre d’un Sénateur américain au Dr Bachar al-Jaafari, délégué permanent de la Syrie auprès des Nations Unis Par Richard H. Black, 01 octobre 2016

Je vous écris pour exprimer mes plus profonds regrets pour la terrible tragédie de Deir ez-Zor. Les soldats tués et blessés faisaient partie des plus grands héros de la nation syrienne. Pendant des années, ils ont défendu la ville cernée par les terroristes de l’EIIL, alliés de la Turquie, de l’Arabie Saoudite et du Qatar. Je me joins au peuple syrien dans son deuil devant la perte de ces soldats, et présente mes sincères condoléances à leurs familles.

Harkis

Les harkis, ces Français entièrement à part : Réservoir de voix des échéances électorales Par Chems Eddine Chitour, 02 octobre 2016

Le 25 septembre 2016,  Le président socialiste François Hollande, pour des visées électoralistes,  «reconnaît les responsabilités des gouvernements français dans l’abandon des harkis, des massacres de ceux restés en Algérie, et des conditions d’accueil inhumaines des familles transférées dans les camps en France», en précisant que «telle est la position de la France».

cia-agents

Syrie: La propagande de l’administration Obama, de la CIA et du Département d’Etat a du plomb dans l’aile Par Moon of Alabama, 03 octobre 2016

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.

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

Les États-Unis en Asie : arrogants, sans remords, et prêts à en découdre à nouveau Par Tony Cartalucci, 03 octobre 2016

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.

drone Niger

L’Italie base USA pour l’Afrique Par Manlio Dinucci, 04 octobre 2016

USA, Arabie Saoudite, Qatar, Koweit et Emirats continuent à massacrer des civils au Yémen. Participe à la guerre le Commandement central USA avec des attaques «antiterrorisme» effectués au Yémen avec des drones et des chasseurs-bombardiers… Les opérations militaires USA en Afrique sont menées par le Commandement Africa (Africom), qui a en Italie deux importants commandements subordonnés.

india_usa

Les États-Unis soutiennent les frappes militaires de l’Inde au Pakistan Par Keith Jones, 04 octobre 2016

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.

Antaki

Syrie: Attention, ne tombez pas dans le piège… Par Nabil Antaki, 04 octobre 2016

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…

RÉFÉRENDUM COLOMBIEN

Le peuple colombien n’a pas voté majoritairement au référendum Par Oscar Fortin, 04 octobre 2016

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.

iraq_war_crimes

Les Etats-Unis devront-ils aussi payer pour leurs crimes en Irak? Par Gilles Munier, 05 octobre 2016

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.

Syrian-Rebels-Patrol-Near-Turkey-400x271

« Aide militaire » des USA à Al-Qaïda et Daech : le Pentagone s’adonne au trafic illicite d’armes pour expédier d’énormes livraisons d’armes légères en Syrie Par Prof Michel Chossudovsky, 05 octobre 2016

Les USA et leurs alliés (dont la Turquie et l’Arabie saoudite) ont recours au commerce illégal d’armes légères fabriquées entre autres en Europe de l’Est, dans les Balkans et en Chine pour les livrer à des groupes rebelles à l’intérieur de la Syrie, dont Daech et le Front alNosra.

Syrie guerre

La destruction de la Syrie: une entreprise criminelle concertée Par Diana Johnstone, 06 octobre 2016

Tout le monde claironne qu’il veut la fin de la guerre en Syrie, et restaurer la paix au Moyen-Orient. Enfin, presque tout le monde… Mais le site humanitaire Avaaz, lui, veut assurément mettre fin à la guerre et restaurer la paix. Ou pas? Avaaz fait actuellement circuler une pétition qui a recueilli plus d’un million de signatures et en vise maintenant un million et demi..

santos-y-timochenko

Colombie – Accord de Paix historique : Un long processus inachevé… Par Prof. Jules Dufour, 07 octobre 2016

L’optimisme et l’espoir d’une paix durable enfin établie régnaient en Colombie le 24 août dernier. La signature d’un Accord de Paix entre le gouvernement colombien et les FARC était obtenue après quatre années de négociation. Un très long processus, une expérience sans précédent, sous l’égide du gouvernement norvégien et, bien sûr aussi du gouvernement de Cuba…

champignon nucleaire

Lorsque la Russie se prépare au pire c’est que l’ouragan de la guerre est à nos portes Par Oscar Fortin, 07 octobre 2016

La Russie n’a pas rencontré en ses partenaires occidentaux la bonne foi qui eut permis de résoudre par des voies politiques le conflit armé en Syrie.  L’évidence de cette absence de « bonne foi » s’est particulièrement révélée lors de l’attaque, ourdie par les États-Unis et ses alliés, contre l’armée syrienne au moment même où un accord de cessez-le-feu venait d’être signé, un accord qui avait reçu l’aval du gouvernement syrien.

gwot

15 ans après, l’Afghanistan. Quel bilan de la «guerre au terrorisme»? Par Francis Dupuis-Déri, 07 octobre 2016

Il y a 15 ans, le 7 octobre 2001, débutait l’invasion de l’Afghanistan, à laquelle participa le Canada, en riposte à l’attaque du 11 septembre, qui avait provoqué 3000 morts. L’objectif ? Détruire al-Qaïda et, prétendait-on, libérer les Afghanes et construire des écoles. Al-Qaïda était composée d’anciens alliés du « monde libre » ayant lutté contre l’URSS en Afghanistan. Après la guerre froide, ces miliciens réagissaient contre l’ingérence en terres musulmanes des États-Unis et de leurs amis : invasion de l’Irak en 1991, troupes en Arabie saoudite, appui à Israël et à des despotes, etc.

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Huit ans après l’éclatement de la crise financière mondiale, les conditions sont en train d’être créées pour un autre effondrement dans des proportions encore plus grandes, au milieu la montée des tensions géopolitiques et économiques entre les grandes puissances capitalistes.

C’est implicite dans trois rapports publiés par le Fonds monétaire international en vue de sa réunion annuelle qui a commencé hier à Washington. « Les Perspectives de l’économie mondiale » a rapporté une croissance plus faible dans tous les pays avancés, ce qui souligne l’absence d’une véritable reprise de l’économie mondiale, tandis que les deux rapports financiers ont signalé une instabilité croissante résultant de l’injection par les banques centrales de milliards de dollars dans le système financier mondial.

Pris ensemble, les rapports soulignent les contradictions économiques qui sous-tendent et alimentent une série de crises. Ceux-ci comprennent : le ralentissement du commerce mondial, l’augmentation des mesures protectionnistes, la dispute entre les États-Unis et l’Union européenne sur les paiements d’impôts d’Apple, l’initiative par le ministère américain de la justice d’imposer une pénalité de 14 milliards de dollars à la Deutsche Bank, la rupture des négociations sur le Partenariat transatlantique de commerce et d’investissement (TTIP) parrainé par les États-Unis, et les accusations de politiciens à Berlin que les États-Unis mènent une « guerre économique ».

L’instabilité croissante du système financier a été mise en évidence dans le rapport semestriel « La Revue financière » [Fiscal Monitor] du FMI publié mercredi qui a constaté que la dette du secteur non-financier de l’économie mondiale a doublé (à prix courants) depuis le tournant du siècle pour atteindre 152 000 milliards de dollars l’année dernière et qu’elle continue d’augmenter.

Les niveaux d’endettement actuels représentent 225 pour cent du produit intérieur brut (PIB) mondial, ils étaient de 200 pour cent en 2002. Le FMI a déclaré que, même s’il n’y a pas de consensus sur le niveau exact de dette qui serait excessif, les niveaux actuels, dont les deux tiers sont tenus par le privé, sont à un niveau record.

Il y a un besoin de désendettement, mais l’environnement de faible croissance actuelle rends « l’ajustement très difficile, ce qui ouvre la voie à la création d’un cercle vicieux dans lequel une croissance plus faible entrave le désendettement, et le surendettement exacerbe le ralentissement ».

Le rapport indique que le problème de surendettement, caractérisé comme une situation dans laquelle les besoins du service de la dette de l’emprunteur dépassent sa future capacité de remboursement, « est pleinement dû au secteur privé des économies avancées ».

Si le FMI n’a pas soulevé ce point, son analyse dément l’affirmation selon laquelle des dépenses gouvernementales excessives seraient la cause de la montée des problèmes financiers. Selon le rapport de « La Revue financière », l’assouplissement des restrictions sur le crédit a fait que la dette du secteur privé non financier dans les grandes économies a augmenté de 35 pour cent du PIB dans les années précédant la crise financière mondiale.

De manière significative, il y avait une augmentation rapide de la dette des ménages sur cette période. Le rapport n’en a pas indiqué les raisons, mais deux facteurs principaux ont été, sans aucun doute, le faible niveau des augmentations de salaire qui entraîne une augmentation des emprunts, et la flambée des prix de l’immobilier dans un certain nombre de pays – elle-même, un produit de l’expansion du crédit. Le FMI a noté que dans certains pays – l’Australie, le Canada et Singapour – la dette du secteur privé a continué à s’accumuler à un rythme rapide.

Le rapport a constaté que la dette publique, qui représente un tiers du total, a augmenté de 70 pour cent du PIB mondial à 85 pour cent. Mais près de la moitié de cette augmentation est le résultat d’une faible croissance nominale. En d’autres termes, très loin d’avoir une hausse de la dette publique résultant de dépenses « débauchées » sur la santé, les pensions et les services sociaux – le mantra de ceux qui exigent l’austérité – son expansion est enracinée dans la stagnation qui continue depuis la crise financière de 2008.

Un deuxième rapport financier, « La Stabilité financière mondiale » [Global Financial Stability], a analysé les risques croissants pour le système financier. Il a déclaré que si les risques à court terme ont diminué depuis le rapport précédent en avril, « les risques à moyen terme sont en train de se construire ». Le ralentissement continu de la croissance mondiale avait incité les marchés financiers de s’attendre à la continuation de la période actuelle caractérisée par une inflation faible, des taux d’intérêts bas, entraînant « un délai plus long dans la normalisation de la politique monétaire ».

Il a mis en garde, cependant, que certaines politiques monétaires comme les taux d’intérêt négatifs ont « atteint les limites de leur efficacité, et, pour les banques et d’autres institutions financières, les effets secondaires à moyen terme de ces faibles taux commencent à monter ».

Les fonds de pension et les compagnies d’assurance, qui dépendent pour leur financement des investissements dans des obligations gouvernementales à long terme, ont été particulièrement affectées, leur solvabilité est « menacée par une période prolongée de faibles taux d’intérêt ».

Dans leur ensemble, les institutions financières dans les économies avancées font face à un « certain nombre de défis conjoncturels et structurels et doivent s’adapter à la nouvelle ère de croissance faible et de taux d’intérêt bas ». Si ces défis sont laissés sans réponse, cela « pourrait porter atteinte à la solidité financière ».

Ces problèmes plongent au cœur même du système financier capitaliste – les banques. Le rapport indique que la rentabilité faible pourrait « éroder la marge de manœuvre des banques et saper leur capacité à soutenir la croissance ». Même s’il y avait une reprise cyclique de l’économie, cela ne résoudrait pas les problèmes de faible rentabilité. « Plus de 25 pour cent des banques dans les économies avancées (avec environ 11 700 milliards de dollars d’actifs) resteraient faibles, et feraient face à des défis structurels importants », ces problèmes sont concentrés dans les secteurs bancaires européen et japonais.

« Dans la zone euro », indique le rapport, « les prêts improductifs excessifs et les freins structurels sur la rentabilité exigent une action urgente et globale ». La Réduction des prêts improductifs et le comblement des lacunes en capital sont des priorités selon le rapport.

Les problèmes financiers croissants, tout en étant concentrés dans les économies avancées, ne se limitent pas à celles-ci. Le rapport a constaté que, dans les économies émergentes, environ 11 pour cent de la dette des entreprises, plus de 400 milliards de dollars, a été détenue par des entreprises à « faible capacité de remboursement ».

Il est difficile pour ces entreprises de « dépasser le problème » à cause de niveaux d’endettement élevés et d’une capacité excédentaire, ce qui les rends : « sensibles à des événements inconvénients externes ou internes », et si les taux d’intérêt ont commencé à augmenter et que les revenus sont à la baisse, « un tel scénario épuiserait la marge de manœuvre sur les fonds propres des banques dans certains marchés émergents ».

Un autre domaine de préoccupation était la Chine, où « la croissance rapide et continue du crédit […] et l’expansion des produits bancaires non régulés créent des risques croissants pour la stabilité financière. » En croissance rapide, le système financier « devient de plus en plus endetté et interconnecté, et une variété de véhicules et de produits innovants s’ajoutent à cette complexité ». Le volume de dettes des entreprises à risque demeure élevé, et « les risques sous-jacents provenant des risques liés aux crédits de trésorerie qui s’ajoutent à ces défis ».

Les trois rapports soulignent les contradictions du système capitaliste mondial qui s’approfondissent. Le FMI a insisté sur le fait que, en l’absence de toute hausse conjoncturelle de l’économie, la politique monétaire seule ne peut pas entraîner une reprise, et des dépenses des institutions publiques et d’autres sources sont nécessaires pour fournir un coup de pouce.

Mais de telles dépenses augmenteraient la dette et dépendront du maintient de taux d’intérêts bas. Ces taux d’intérêts ultra-bas, cependant, minent de plus en plus la stabilité des banques et autres institutions financières, créant les conditions d’une nouvelle crise financière, ce qui va encore enflammer le niveau déjà élevé de conflits géopolitiques et économiques.

Nick Beams

Article paru d’abord en anglais, WSWS, le 7 octobre 2016

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Aouel Moharrem : Un temps ignoré des Musulmans

octobre 8th, 2016 by Chems Eddine Chitour

«Les hommes t’interrogent au sujet de l’Heure. Dis: Dieu seul la connaît.» «Qui donc pourrait te renseigner? Il se peut que l’Heure soit proche!»

Coran: Sourate 23 verset 63

 

Lundi  3 octobre 2016 est aussi le 1er Moharrem 1438. Cet événement comme les précédents se passera d’une façon clandestine, rien à voir avec le temps grégorien qui pour la cause a créé deux événements: l’invention d’un Père Noël et la naissance du Christ un 25 décembre, alors que l’on s’accorde à penser qu’il serait né en été. Mais ce n’est pas important, on fêtera de même la Saint-Sylvestre, de l’an 1 il y a 2016, alors que là aussi les calculs d’un certain moine obscur, Denys le Petit, montrent que le Christ serait né 5 ou 6 ans avant la date qu’on lui a assignée depuis la décision du pape Grégoire… Ces «nouvelles années» qui commencent à des abscisses de «temps différents» sont une pure création de l’homme, car le temps se joue des petits accommodements de l’homme qu’il soit religieux ou laïc, scientifique ou capitaliste. Nous allons décrire les différentes appréciations du temps.

Qu’est-ce que le temps?

En ce début de millénaire, le temps est mesuré avec un précision diabolique. Il n’a jamais, cependant, été aussi insaisissable Ce début du XXIe siècle, dans les sociétés occidentales et par contagion dans les sociétés orientales, a vu la disparition des rites de passage qui se font de plus en plus rares. Rien ne vient plus marquer le passage entre l’enfance, l’adolescence et l’âge adulte. Vieillir est dévalorisé. Dans les sociétés traditionnelles, l’âge de la sagesse était valorisé en ce qu’il était le gardien et la mémoire des traditions. La tradition, par le biais de la transmission, devenait presque éternelle. Aujourd’hui, tout est différent.

Le temps nous est donc compté, nous n’avons qu’une part plus ou moins épaisse en termes de durée, mais une part finie. C’est pourquoi toute évocation du temps est chargée d’angoisses, de spleen, de fantasmes, d’espérances, voire aussi de résignation. Cette nostalgie est une constante de la nature humaine. Nous voulons nous révolter contre la mort, en pensant au paradis, à la réincarnation, à procréer pour laisser une trace de nous-mêmes sur terre.

Le temps nous affecte sans cesse, nous voudrions nous arrêter, et le regarder couler; peine perdue, nous sommes inexorablement dans le temps. Nul ne peut l’arrêter à l’aide d’un feu rouge, ni le suspendre au grand désespoir de Lamartine  dans le poème Le lac qui suppliait : «  Ô temps suspend ton vol et vous heures propices suspendez votre cours, laissez-nous savourer les rapides délices des plus beaux de nos jours ! » On ne peut même  pas en faire  une nuit  dont la durée est de  alef lila oua lila –mille et une nuits- pour plaire à la tendre injonction de la grande diva arabe Oum Kaltoum .

Y a-t-il un début et une fin du temps? Le temps est-il rigide ou élastique?

Le temps est toujours là, autour de nous, inexorable, silencieux, imperturbable dans cette feuille qui tombe, dans ce mur qui s’écaille, dans cette bougie d’anniversaire qui s’éteint, dans ces rides sur le visage de notre mère. Les traitements et crèmes de toutes sortes n’arrêtent pas le cours inexorable, mais donnent l’illusion factice de la jeunesse, c’est-à-dire l’impossible arrêt du temps. Chacun de nous mourra. Loin de pouvoir tuer le temps, c’est lui qui nous dévore. Chacun sait constamment qu’un moment doit survenir où il n’y aura plus d’avenir; le présent s’efface devant le passé…

Un système ordonné à une entropie minimale. Avec le temps, l’entropie ne fait que croître, la vieillesse et la mort sont donc une augmentation du désordre de l’organisme. Ceux qui vivent vieux, arrivent à contrôler la cinétique de détérioration des cellules, c’est-à-dire en définitive, à freiner l’augmentation rapide et désordonnée de l’entropie. Bien sûr, on peut tenter de définir le temps: dire qu’il est ce qui passe…quand rien ne se passe; qu’il est ce qui fait que tout se fait ou se défait; qu’il est l’ordre des choses qui se succèdent; qu’il est le devenir en train de devenir; ou, plus plaisamment, qu’il est le moyen le plus commode qu’a trouvé la nature ou Dieu pour que tout ne se passe pas d’un seul coup.

Le temps est subjectif, il ne s’écoule pas uniformément, le temps psychologique est un caoutchouc, il a ses rythmes et variations. Le temps de l’ennui est interminable, celui de la joie est intense et très bref. Le temps passé à un feu rouge nous parait infini contrairement à celui passé en bonne compagnie, on ne le sent pas passer tellement il est furtif. Comment concilier les deux temps? Ne peut-on pas dire, alors, que le bonheur, c’est une contraction du temps de l’ennui, et une dilatation de celui de la joie?

«Dans la vie quotidienne, écrit Le physicien Etienne Klein, le temps qui passe évoque le vieillissement, la mort. Nous avons l’impression que c’est le temps qui est responsable du vieillissement. Si l’on en croit la physique, le temps et le changement ou, si vous préférez, le temps et le devenir, sont deux choses différentes. Le temps est représenté dans les équations comme une entité dont la nature ne change pas au cours du temps… Ainsi, ce n’est pas le temps lui-même qui nous fait vieillir, mais ce qu’il advient en nous à mesure qu’il passe: les phénomènes biologiques, l’usure cellulaire, D’abord, ce que les physiciens appellent le «cours du temps», qui est le fait que le temps passe. Il est tel qu’on ne peut pas retrouver dans le futur un instant qu’on a déjà traversé dans le passé. La seconde est la «flèche du temps» qui est le fait que les choses changent de façon irréversible. Elle empêche qu’un système retrouve dans le futur un état qu’il a déjà connu dans le passé. La flèche du temps ne doit pas être confondue avec le cours du temps.»(1)

Il y a donc, au moins deux sortes de temps: le temps physique, objectif, celui des horloges, et le temps subjectif, celui de la conscience. Le premier est censé ne pas dépendre de nous, il est réputé uniforme et nous savons le chronométrer. Le second, le temps que l’on mesure de l’intérieur de soi, dépend évidemment de nous et ne s’écoule pas uniformément: sa fluidité est même si variable que la notion de durée éprouvée n’a qu’une consistance très relative. A l’instar du fleuve, le temps a un cours: il s’écoule inexorablement du passé vers l’avenir. Le principe de «causalité» indique qu’une cause ne peut qu’être antérieure à ses effets, de ce fait, on impose au temps d’avoir une direction à moins de remonter le temps…Admettre le modèle du big-bang, pour un physicien, c’est reconnaître l’impossibilité d’extrapoler indéfiniment vers le passé à l’aide des lois de la physique.

Le temps de la science

Depuis les années 20 du siècle dernier, les scientifiques sont convaincus que l’univers a vu le jour à partir du néant à la suite d’une explosion reconnue sous le nom de « big-bang ». En deçà du big-bang qu’y avait-il? Ici, honnêtement, la science ne sait plus que balbutier, et parle en termes pittoresques de «soupe primitive». En d’autres termes, la science tente de nous expliquer comment l’Univers a vu le jour après le «mur de Planck», soit 10-43 seconde, avant c’est pour la science, le mystère, d’autant qu’elle est incapable de nous expliquer-est-ce bien son rôle?- pourquoi cette chaîne causale des événements. Nous pouvons comprendre que l’Univers a eu une histoire. Est-ce à dire qu’il a eu un début? Est-il apparu dans un temps, lui, préexistant, ou bien son émergence a-t-elle été contemporaine de celle du temps? Le temps de la physique est réputé uniforme et ne dépend pas de nous.

Depuis 1967 l’étalon est la seconde définie comme la durée de 9 192.631.770 périodes de l’onde électromagnétique émise ou absorbée par un atome de césium 133 lorsqu’il passe d’un niveau d’énergie à un autre.

«C’est cette seconde, écrit Jonathan Martineau, qui soutient maintenant l’ensemble de l’armature du temps social mondialisé contemporain. Internet, le système GPS global, le trafic aérien et les transports commerciaux, les marchés mondiaux, la finance globalisée, le monde des médias et des communications, les structures politiques officielles; nos institutions contemporaines fonctionnent à partir de ce régime de temps atomique globalisé qui quadrille non seulement la vie civile et économique et nos rapports sociaux, mais qui vient aussi s’immiscer jusque dans les plus profondes occurrences de nos vies quotidiennes, de nos actions et comportements, des rapports au temps de notre vie psychologique (…)» (2)

Le temps social et le temps de l’asservissement à la productivité

Comment est né le temps ou plutôt comment l’homme a-t-il perçu le temps pour s’en servir ? Il semble  que le temps soit lié au rythme des saisons.

« Que ce soit par le chemin de l’impasse philosophique ou celui du constat empirique des changements sociohistoriques des régimes de temps, on arrive à une thèse qui structure mes travaux: le temps est fondamentalement une pratique sociale. (…) Les premiers calendriers apparaissent déjà dans les civilisations anciennes de Mésopotamie, on les retrouve aussi chez les Égyptiens, et en Chine bien sûr où l’association calendaire luni-solaire date au moins du temps de la dynastie Shang. Il semble que leur émergence historique soit reliée à trois choses en particulier: les pratiques d’ensemencement des terres, la gestion des surplus agricoles, et l’appropriation d’une prérogative de dire le temps par les élites politiques et/ou religieuses. On commença par conséquent à calculer les cycles lunaires. (…) »

Avec la mesure du temps les hommes se sont ingéniés à vaincre le temps  en clair produire plus en moins de temps ouvrant ainsi un boulevard au malheur de la civilisation humaine qui consiste à asservir les hommes pour qu’ils soient rentables. Les fameuses  35 heures sont liées au fait que cet acquis social qui laisse du temps de libre au citoyen sont combattus au nom du fait travailler plus pour gagner plus  mais avec un taux horaire moindre

 « Dans notre régime de temps contemporain, c’est le pouvoir du marché qui se trouve systématiquement renforcé et reproduit. (…) Les premières horloges font leur apparition en Europe de l’Ouest autour de l’année 1300, et leur utilité sociale, est d’abord de sonner le début et la fin des journées de travail salarié dans certains secteurs économiques (…) Le temps horloge est une variable indépendante. Le véritable «envol» du temps horloge se produit en effet avec l’avènement des marchés capitalistes en Occident. (…) Sommairement, dans un marché capitaliste, pour savoir combien vaut une marchandise, le marché doit pouvoir calculer le temps de travail requis pour la fabriquer et valider ce temps, dans l’échange, selon les normes de temps de travail socialement nécessaire (…) L’hégémonie du temps abstrait, c’est le récit de notre dépossession du temps et de la soumission de nos temps concrets aux diktats du temps abstrait de la valeur capitaliste. (…)» (2)

Le temps dans les religions

Le temps a fait aussi concomitamment l’objet d’une segmentation spirituelle. Les religions monothéistes ont utilisé l’observation du soleil et de la lune pour déterminés leur repères L’idée que la création de l’Univers est le fruit du hasard et non le résultat d’une conception volontaire pose problème. Cependant, certains scientifiques parlent de «principe anthropique» qui stipule que tout ce qui existe dans l’Univers, jusqu’au plus petit détail, est soigneusement arrangé pour rendre la vie humaine possible. D’autres, s’en tiennent au hasard. Pour les croyants, il est erroné de penser que l’Univers ait été créé en vain. Il est dit dans le Coran: «Je n’ai pas créé le ciel et la terre et tout ce qu’il y avait entre ces deux éléments sans aucun but. C’est l’opinion que tiennent les mécréants.»

Se pose alors la question du début du temps – qui est naturellement différente du temps de Planck cité plus haut qui remonte au big bang- Pour les juifs, qui utilisent le calendrier lunaire  la date fondamentale est celle de la création d’Adam et Eve, fixée en l’an 5776 avant l’année 2016. Selon le judaïsme, le temps est créé par Dieu. Dans le livre de la Genèse (chapitre 1), Dieu a créé, non seulement le monde entier, mais également le temps et toute sa structure: une semaine de sept jours, un mois de dix-huit jours et une année de douze ou treize mois. Dieu a créé le temps, et c’est dans le temps et par le temps dont Il dispose souverainement qu’Il crée tout son ouvrage, c’est-à-dire l’Univers et, en particulier, l’homme. D’où l’importance accordée dans le récit de la Genèse au temps de la création, émergeant d’un monde chaotique, le tohu bohu. Le temps y est considéré comme cyclique. Ainsi, la célébration de la Pâque actualise cette fête chaque année. De même, l’étude de l’Écriture accentue l’actualité de l’histoire biblique. Il y a même un convertisseur mathématique entre la date religieuse et la date civile (3)

Les Romains utilisaient le calendrier julien, instauré par Jules César en 46 avant Jésus-Christ pour réformer le calendrier romain, datant des origines de Rome. Le calendrier julien, véritable calendrier solaire, comportait donc 365 jours (366 tous les 4 ans.), et fixait le début de l’année au 1er janvier. Pendant les premiers siècles de notre ère, les Grecs célébraient la naissance de Jésus le 6 janvier, à l’occasion de l’Epiphanie. Cependant, le pape Libère décida en 354 de reporter cette célébration au 25 décembre. En effet, son objectif était de mettre un terme à la fête païenne de Sol Invictus célébrée le 25 décembre. Cette solution du calendrier julien ne s’avéra pas être la meilleure, puisque trop courte, l’année moyenne était devenue trop longue. Plusieurs réformes du calendrier furent ainsi tentées au cours du Moyen Age.

Denys le Petit, (environ 470 – environ 540) est un moine connu pour avoir calculé l’Anno Domini ou ère vulgaire, utilisée comme ère par le calendrier  institué par le pape Grégoire grégorien. De cette manière, il fonda l’usage de compter les années à partir de l’incarnation (25 mars) et la naissance (25 décembre) de Jésus-Christ, qu’il plaça à l’année 753 de Rome (c’est-à -dire l’année -1 du calendrier actuel). Des études historiques – dont celle du règne d’Hérode le Grand – montrent qu’il a commis une erreur d’au moins quatre ans. Le calendrier grégorien commença à remplacer le calendrier julien en 1582. ( 4)

Le Christ, en somme, devait avoir déjà quatre ou cinq ans au moment où le moine Denis le Petit situe sa naissance, et nous sommes actuellement dans l’année 2015 ou 2016 après la naissance réelle du Christ. Le calendrier grégorien ne commença par ailleurs, à s’imposer vraiment que vers les années 1700. En enlevant 10 jours au mois d’octobre de l’année 1582 (on passa soudainement du 4 au 15 octobre), le pape Grégoire fit coïncider l’année du calendrier avec l’année tropique ou astronomique. L’Allemagne n’adoptera ce calendrier qu’en 1700, la Grande-Bretagne en 1752, la Bulgarie en 1917, la Russie en 1918.

Pour saint Augustin, les événements sont les filins tissés de l’étoffe du temps. «Qu’est-ce donc que le temps? Si personne ne me le demande, je le sais; mais si on me le demande et que je veuille l’expliquer, je ne le sais plus.» Voilà ce qu’en pensait saint Augustin. À l’heure où st Augustin a rédigé ses Confessions, il y a tout lieu de penser, que pour se repérer dans le temps, il avait à sa disposition un cadran solaire, un sablier.

Pour les musulmans l’Hégire est un évènement qui marque le point de départ du calendrier musulman ou hégirien. Ce calendrier est fondé sur 12 mois lunaires, de 29 à 30 jours chacun. La tradition – fixée plus tard par le calife Omar – veut que les premiers départs aient eu lieu le 16 juillet 622. Cet épisode marque le début officiel de l’islam comme religion et comme communauté. La célébration du Nouvel An musulman, ou Raas Assana, ne rencontre qu’un écho limité, Dans l’islam, il faut souligner que les cinq fondements (arkane) de l’Islam segmentent pour le croyant le temps au temps. En effet, la ´´chahada´´ (déclaration de foi) est censée être répétée tout le temps, la prière est accomplie cinq fois par jour, le jeûne (Ramadhan) est exigé une fois par an, la ´´zakat´´ (don proportionnel aux biens) distribuée une fois par an, enfin le pèlerinage (Hajj) à La Mecque une fois par an à une période bien déterminée

Le professeur Mohamed Arkoun dans une de ses conférences s’interrogeait sur le rapport de la vérité au temps dans le Coran, il écrit:

«….Mais au temps coranique constitué par le temps fini de la vie terrestre totalement articulé au temps infini de la vie éternelle, le temps céleste servant ainsi de cadre et de référent obligé au temps terrestre en tant que durée vécue. Le temps coranique est un temps plein: chaque instant de la durée vécue est remplie par la présence de Dieu actualisé dans le culte, la méditation, la remémoration de l’Histoire du Salut, la récitation de la Parole révélée, la conduite éthique et légale conforme aux «ahkam».»(5)

Conclusion

Pour Carl-Albert Keller religieux protestant, l’expérience naturelle du temps est déterminée par l’observation du mouvement des astres.

Cette expérience est universelle, elle est la même pour tous les humains, sans distinction de culture ou d’habitat. Dans le bouddhisme comme dans l’islam, l’expérience religieuse du temps contraste radicalement avec la perception spontanée du temps cyclo-linéaire. Dans l’expérience bouddhique, le temps n’existe pas au niveau de la vérité véritable, mais en vertu de la doctrine de la vacuité de toutes choses, le temps est, tout en étant inexistant, intégré au temps cyclo-linéaire de la vérité d’usage courant. Dans l’expérience islamique en revanche, le temps ordinaire, cyclo-linéaire, est ramené à son origine divine où, dans l’intimité de l’être divin, il est ponctuel et atemporel. (…) Y a-t-il des passerelles qui conduisent du temps ordinaire au non-temps de l’expérience religieuse? Il y en a: ce sont les actes religieux réguliers, les rites, les cultes qui égaient à des moments précis le déroulement monotone du temps cyclo-linéaire. Toutes les traditions religieuses connaissent l’acte religieux qui est passage de la vérité de surface à la vérité véritable, passage du temps cyclo-linéaire au non-temps de la vérité ultime.»(6)

En définitive, la doxa occidentale du Néolibéralisme impose son rythme au temps du monde. Il est vrai comme l’écrivent Louis Hourmant et Fréderic Louveau que :

« le phénomène de mondialisation touche progressivement le domaine du calendrier faisant d’un calendrier local – celui de l’empire romain dit calendrier julien légèrement amélioré dans sa version « grégorienne » du nom du pape Grégoire II – le calendrier de référence pour une part toujours plus importante de l’humanité, même si le continent asiatique résiste mieux à la pénétration de cette mesure occidentale du temps que d’autres continents (l’Afrique, l’Amérique latine) où les civilisations anté-coloniales se sont plus profondément disloquées devant la colonisation ». (7)

Cette hégémonie est vue de façon religieuse par ceux qui se lamentent sans rien produire et qui imputent aux autres leurs travers et leur ignorance. Par ceux qui font dans le délire de persécution une façon de mobiliser pour un nouveau djihad dont on sait qu’il est perdu d’avance du fait que le terrain choisi n’est pas le bon, la cause pour laquelle il faut se battre n’étant pas celle-là , mais celle du vrai Ijtihad  (effort dans le sens du dépassement de soi) celui de la science de l’effort de la sueur des nuits blanches du travail bien fait,  seule utopie  qui peut faire retrouver à cette Oumma en panne de moteur, un rôle de phare qu’elle a eu dans les lustres passés. Les musulmans ont abdiqué le savoir s’en remettent aux autres pour segmenter leur temps Pourtant l’Histoire retiendra que Haroun Er Rachid offrit  vers l’an 800 à Charlemagne une clepsydre qui mesurait le temps. La première horloge pour mesurer d’une façon quasi-précise le temps. C’est dire, si ce fut une révolution technologique majeure pour l’époque. Charlemagne envoya comme cadeau au calife de Baghdad  ce qu’il avait de mieux : des lévriers…Mesurons le temps perdu au lieu de nous lamenter. (8)

Peut on penser à un temps œcuménique fêté par tout les humains ?

«  Quel sera le temps de l’humanité à venir écrit Pierre Boglioni ? Il semble que les calendriers d’origine religieuse ne sont pas près de mourir. Et il est bien qu’il en soit ainsi, car ces calendriers ont su créer et enraciner des fêtes, des coutumes et des valeurs d’une intensité et qualité extraordinaires. Mais en même temps, un immense changement est en cours. Nous assistons à l’émergence d’un nouveau calendrier : un calendrier universel, un temps humain pour tous les humains ». Peut-être, un jour, la fête la plus importante, la plus intense et la plus sacrée, chez tous les peuples et dans tous les calendriers, sera la fête de la paix universelle et irrévocable entre tous les peuples. Cette fête sera la synthèse ultime des valeurs que tous les calendriers ont voulu transmettre, depuis le début du temps humain. L’humanité aura alors la même mesure du temps, celui de l’avènement de la sagesse » (9)

Amin, Amen, Ainsi soit-il !

Professeur Chems Eddine Chitour

Ecole Polytechnique enp-edu.dz

1.http://www.quebecscience.qc.ca/magazines/articles/9258dcee50a547dff6c487dc9cf00a14aa6.pdf

2.J. Martineau http://raisons-sociales. com/articles/temps-social-modernite-et-capitalisme/

3.http://fr.chabad.org/calendar/1000year_cdo/aid/485239/jewish/Convertisseur-de-dates.htm

4.Denys le Petit : Un article de Wikipédia, l’encyclopédie libre.

5.M.Arkoun: Islam dans l’histoire: Maghreb-Machrek.p.5-24, n°102. (1983).

6.Carl-Albert Keller : http://www.carl-a-keller.ch/temps_dans_les_religions.php

7. Louis Hourmant, Frédéric Louveau Quaderni. Vol 42.  http//www.perse.fr

8.Chems Eddine Chitour : Les civilisations, les religions et la science en face du temps, Mondialisation.ca, 3 janvier 2011.

9. Pierre Boglioni. Le temps et sa mesure Université de Montréal 2000

 

Article de référence :

http://www.lexpressiondz.com/chroniques/analyses_du_professeur _chitour /251120-un-temps-ignore.html

 

 

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As the U.S. hurtles toward nuclear war with Russia over Syria and Crimea, Jon Huntsmanthe head of NATO’s lobbying organization the Atlantic Council, urged on October 7th that Donald Trump — who has many times stated clearly that improving relations with Russia so as to avoid nuclear war would be his top priority as President — should withdraw from the U.S. Presidential contest and leave it to his Vice Presidential pick, Mike Pence, who (like Hillary Clinton) favors war against Russia.

The U.S. had slapped sanctions against Russia when Russia on 16 March 2014 protected the residents of Crimea so that they could safely hold a referendum on whether to become again a part of Russia, of which Crimea had been a part until the Soviet dictator Khrushchev arbitrarily transferred them to Ukraine in 1954. The issue of Crimea had arisen because U.S. President Barack Obama had just overthrown in a violent February 2014 State-Department-&-CIA coup in Ukraine, the democratically elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, for whom 75% of Crimeans had voted; and, during that coup, a contingent of Crimeans who had come to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, to hold up signs there opposing the “Maidan” demonstrations that had been organized by the U.S. Embassy in Kiev as cover for the U.S.-hired snipers carrying out the U.S. coup, became attacked, and they fled back toward Crimea, but many of them were killed en-route by the U.S.-hired mercenaries; and this “Korsun Pogrom” terrorized the entire population of Crimea, which had been strongly opposed to the coup even before this massacre of Crimeans. The coup terrorized Crimeans; the massacre of Crimeans increased their terror.

The coup itself started by no later than 1 March 2013 being organized inside the U.S. Embassy, and the allegation that the coup started only after Yanukovych turned down the EU’s offer, in November 2013, has no basis in reality; instead, the U.S. planners had already arranged it months earlier, and planned for the offer to be turned down. The offer was designed so as to be unacceptable.

Governor Pence stated clearly his view of U.S.-Russian relations back on 27 April 2014 — barely a month after the Crimean referendum, in which 96% had voted to be restored to Russia. (U.S.-sponsored Gallup polling in Crimea both before and after the referendum showed comparably high percentages, thus confirming the authenticity of the referendum-result.) Pence told Fox News Sunday then:

“When I was there [in Germany to speak about Indiana’s trade w. Germany], I thought it was important to speak about what I believe would be the right response to Russian aggression in Ukraine. I’m pleased to hear there is more sanctions maybe coming tomorrow. But the truth of the matter is I think we need less talk and more deeds. And by passing and moving rapidly to pass the Transatlantic Trade partnership and frankly by deploying a robust missile shield throughout Europe including in Poland and the Czech Republic that was off lined in 2009 by this administration, I think would send a very strong message to Putin and to Russia that NATO countries and the United States are going to respond by growing stronger economically and strategically. And I believe that — I believe that’s going to have a lot more influence in the long haul than more sanctions and more talk. However meritorious those are, at the end of the day, I think I’ve always believed in Ronald Reagan’s adage, ‘Peace through Strength.’ Let’s grow stronger on a transatlantic basis in our economies. Let’s allow Poland and the Czech Republic to have that missile shield that they were entitled to by joining NATO. I think that’s the right strategic response to Russian aggression.”

His reference there to “the missile shield” was to the Aegis Ashore Ballistic Missile Defense System or Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) system, which is designed so as to be able to annihilate Russian retaliatory missiles on take-off, in the event that NATO blitz-attacks Russia, so that a NATO-initiated nuclear war would be (so it is hoped by NATO) only one-sided: only Russia would be nuked. The theory behind it is that the previous nuclear balance of “Mutually Assured Destruction” or M.A.D., will become replaced by a new reality of “nuclear primacy” — winnable nuclear war: conquest of Russia. Mike Pence and Hillary Clinton accept the theory; Donald Trump does not. Barack Obama also accepts the theory, but the Aegis Ashore system hasn’t yet been installed sufficiently to attain ‘nuclear primacy’ even if such a thing is attainable; and so the expectations of experts are that the next U.S. President will be the one to make any final decision on it.

Regarding Pence’s support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, and for the trans-Pacific equivalent the TPP, that’s part of the same operation, to isolate both Russia and China in international commerce, because Obama excludes both of those nations from both treaties.

When Pence accepted Trump’s invitation to become his Vice Presidential running-mate, any deals that were made between them — and/or between their respective financial backers — are confidential, and thus are topics only of speculation publicly. However, Jon Huntsman, who was himself a Republican Presidential candidate in 2012, and who had been Obama’s Ambassador to China, would not be publicly endorsing either Pence or Clinton for President now if the top level at NATO — which is the U.S. White House — did not want the voters’ choice to come down to Clinton-v.-Pence, instead of to Clinton-v.-Trump.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Nous avions évoqué en 2015 les risques encourus, alors perçus, pouvant causer une guerre nucléaire d’une grande ampleur. Des inquiétudes ont été alors exprimées par un grand nombre d’observateurs avertis de la conjoncture mondiale. Ces risques de l’émergence d’un tel conflit fort bien cernés à quelques reprises par plusieurs analystes et collaborateurs de Mondialisation.ca et, notamment, par Bill Van Auken, Manlio Dinucci ainsi que le Michel Chossudovsky, directeur du Centre de recherche sur la Mondialisation.ca.

Les guerres dites totales affectent l’humanité toute entière et elles sont fomentées et livrées par les grandes puissances dont l’OTAN, le bras armé de l’Occident, intervient sans cesse afin de maintenir et d’augmenter, dans l’ensemble planétaire, la forte domination qu’il exerce sur les ressources stratégiques ou vitales par le biais des entreprises multinationales, ses bras stratégiques sur le plan économique.

Plusieurs analyses ont été proposées concernant cet enjeu entourant l’avenir de l’humanité. Celle développée  par le professeur Michel Chossudovsy expose les faits et la vérité concernant la guerre livrée par les États-Unis contre l’humanité dans deux de ses ouvrages publiés récemment : « Towards a World War III Scenario » (Global Research, 2015) et «The Globalization of War. America’s « Long War » against Humanity » (Global Research, 2015) et dont nous avons fait état dans un article paru en avril 2015et intitulé : «Mondialisation de la guerre: Une «guerre interminable» contre l’humanité.  Dans ce dernier ouvrage le professeur Chossudovky écrit :

« Les États-Unis et ses alliés ont lancé une aventure militaire qui menace l’avenir de l’humanité. Au moment de mettre sous presse cet ouvrage, les forces américaines et celles de l’OTAN ont été déployées en Europe orientale y compris en Ukraine. L’intervention militaire des États-Unis, en vertu d’un mandat humanitaire, se déroule en Afrique sub-saharienne. Les États-Unis et ses alliés menacent la Chine sous l’Administration du Président Obama ».

La puissance accrue des forces armées occidentales en Europe de l’Est constitue une provocation dangereuse. Le panorama géopolitique mondial qui se dessine donc peu à peu laisse entrevoir la formation d’une forteresse occidentale comprenant l’ensemble océanique du Pacifique et l’Amérique du Nord à l’ouest et l’Atlantique à l’Est jusqu’aux confins des frontières de la Fédération de Russie. C’est l’espace de l’US-OTAN. La montée des tensions entre la Chine et les États-Unis dans le Pacifique Nord s’est développée au cours de la dernière année. Ainsi, sur les deux fronts le syndrome des « ennemis » russe et chinois revient habiter l’esprit des Occidentaux avec les nombreuses déclarations en ce sens par les chefs d’État et les stratèges militaires.

L’entrée illégale de la Turquie dans le territoire syrien, de même que la présence sur le terrain toute aussi illégale de l’armée US dans ce pays portent une atteinte grave aux règles du droit international et ce en considérant aussi les bombardements effectués en Syrie par la Coalition comme étant une intervention odieuse devant être condamnée par l’ONU et toute la communauté internationale.

Nous passons brièvement en revue, dans cet essai, les différentes menaces qui pèsent sur  l’humanité :

– Les déclarations belliqueuses et provocatrices des stratèges et chefs d’État américains;

– Des tensions interétatiques exacerbées; un renforcement et un déploiement militaire sans précédents dans plusieurs régions;

– Un renforcement et un déploiement militaire sans précédents;

– Le réarmement tant classique que nucléaire qui se poursuit en 2016;

– La militarisation accélérée de l’Europe de l’Est;

– Le projet de la formation d’une armée de l’UE;

– Des guerres très meurtrières qui se prolongent;

– Le théâtre de guerre de la Syrie ou la mort est un rendez-vous quotidien;

–  L’entreprise du désarmement abandonnée et un virage prononcé vers la droite.

I. Les déclarations belliqueuses et provocatrices des stratèges et chefs d’État américains

Nous avons la Déclaration incendiaire de Joe Biden émise dans les pays baltes fort bien analysée par Andre Damon. Le vice-président américain Joe Biden, dans le cadre de sa tournée européenne, s’est encore évertué à réaffirmer l’engagement des États-Unis envers la sécurité des pays baltes, et de discuter d’une coopération plus étroite avec ces pays. Le programme de la visite de M. Biden dans la capitale lettonne comprenait, notamment, une rencontre avec les présidents des trois États baltes, des discussions bilatérales avec le président de la Lettonie et ainsi qu’un discours d’adresse aux nations baltes.

La rencontre de M. Biden avec le président Vejonis, le président estonien Toomas Hendrik et la présidente lithuanienne Dalia Grybauskaite a débouché sur un accord en vue de renforcer leur coopération en matière de défense.

Cet engagement à renforcer leurs relations en matière de défense a été formulé dans une déclaration conjointe, publiée à l’issue de la rencontre.

« Les États-Unis, l’Estonie, la Lettonie et la Lithuanie affirment qu’il est crucial de maintenir une alliance forte… Les Etats-Unis, l’Estonie, la Lettonie et la Lithuanie ont l’intention de renforcer leur coopération en matière de défense, afin de mieux promouvoir la sécurité régionale » (communiqué de la déclaration).

M. Biden a également rassuré les présidents baltes sur la détermination des Etats-Unis à respecter l’Article 5 du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord, article qui stipule qu’en cas d’attaque contre un membre de l’Alliance, tous les autres membres ont l’obligation de lui venir en aide. L’engagement des Etats-Unis dans ce domaine est indéfectible, et les Etats-Unis considèrent la défense de leurs alliés comme un « devoir sacré ».

La rencontre du vice-président étasunien avec le Premier ministre letton Maris Kucinskis a permis d’aborder non seulement des questions de sécurité, mais également certains points liés au système judiciaire letton, aux lois sur l’insolvabilité et au secteur bancaire. M. Biden s’est également renseigné sur la sécurité du secteur énergétique letton, et a proposé une coopération plus étroite et le partage de l’expertise américaine dans ce domaine. Les responsables se sont entendus sur le fait que les perspectives de la coopération énergétique paraissaient plutôt bonnes, notamment au vu de la libéralisation prévue du marché du gaz naturel letton.

Dans son discours d’adresse aux nations baltes, prononcé dans la soirée par M. Biden depuis la Bibliothèque nationale de Lettonie, le vice-président a réitéré la promesse américaine de toujours assister ses alliés. Il a également demandé à son auditoire d’ignorer les propos récemment tenus par Donald Trump, le candidat du Parti républicain à la présidence américaine, qui a déclaré que les États-Unis pourraient ne pas honorer leurs engagements envers l’OTAN s’il était élu président.

Les propos du ministre de la Défense étasunienne Ashton Carter prononcés le 26 septembre dernier devant des “missileers” (lanceurs de missiles) sur la base du Global Strike Command (commandement des frappes mondiales) à Minot, dans le Dakota du Sud,

Des tensions interétatiques exacerbées

La première phase de conflits : Des tensions interétatiques telles que celles du refroidissement prononcé des relations entre la Chine et les États-Unis dans l’Asie-Pacifique, des tensions exacerbées voire une rupture entre l’Arabie Saoudite et les États-Unis, affrontement entre le Pakistan et l’Inde et augmentation des tensions entre l’Éthiopie et l’Érythrée.

III. Un renforcement et un déploiement militaire sans précédents

Nous relevons les faits suivants :

–      Le déploiement sans précédent des forces armées des membres de l’OTAN en Europe de l’EstEn effet, un arsenal complet de défense antimissile, des tanks et le déploiement de 40 000 combattants;

– Le renforcement des dispositifs de sécurité dans l’ensemble de l’UE avec la mise sur pied d’une armée et d’un quartier général de défense unique. Le retour du service militaire obligatoire en Suède;

– Des accords militaires entre la Russie et l’Iran. Une aide militaire accordée par les États-Unis à Israël s’avérant la plus importante de son histoire en ce qui a trait à l’aide bilatérale dans ce secteur.

IV. Le réarmement tant classique que nucléaire se poursuit en 2016

Le réarmement planétaire (vente mondiale de l’armement en 2015 : Total de 65 milliards de dollars) se poursuit allègrement en 2016 avec les guerres qui l’accompagnent. La croisade des forces armées de l’Occident et celles de leurs alliés traque sans cesse les populations qui leur sont hostiles ou nuisent à leurs intérêts. Le châtiment est cruel au Moyen-Orient : Plus de 300 000 morts en Syrie depuis le début du conflit. Des dizaines de millions de déplacés et de réfugiés.

La nouvelle bombe nucléaire US est autorisée.

 V. La militarisation accélérée de l’Europe de l’Est

En Europe de l’Est la militarisation de l’espace frontalier avec la Russie s’est intensifiée au cours de la dernière année. L’US-OTAN a poursuivi le processus du renforcement des armées nationales. Quatre bataillons sont déployés dans les pays baltes et en Pologne. Cette décision de l’OTAN d’un déploiement de bataillons dans les pays baltes est accueillie avec joie dans l’arène politique et économique des membres de l’Alliance. Son secrétaire général est en liesse. Les tenants d’une intensification du processus de militarisation de l’Europe de l’Est accueillent cette action avec allégresse. Plus d’opérations militaires signifie plus d’armements pour le bénéfice des industries de la mort.

Les pays membres de l’OTAN qui participent à ce déploiement militaire sont les États-Unis, le Royaume-Uni, l’Allemagne et le Canada. Le bataillon canadien sera déployé en Lettonie, à compter de 2017. Au total, l’Otan compte déployer 4.000 hommes environ dans les pays baltes et la Pologne. Cette mesure vient s’ajouter à celle visant à créer une force de réaction très rapide, mobilisable à très court préavis (1).

Les États-Unis s’installent sur le terrain en Europe de l’Est

Washington a annoncé en février sa volonté de quadrupler en 2017 à hauteur de 3,4 milliards de dollars les dépenses destinées à muscler la présence militaire américaine en Europe.

Les États-Unis auront à partir de février 2017 une brigade blindée déployée en permanence en Europe de l’Est, un signal fort pour dissuader toute velléité d’agression de Moscou après la saisie d’une partie du territoire ukrainien par des rebelles pro-russes.

Des chars étasuniens seront à nouveau présents en permanence sur le continent européen, alors qu’ils avaient été progressivement retirés dans les deux décennies qui ont suivi l’effondrement du bloc soviétique (L. Barthélémy, AFP).

 Le projet de formation d’une armée de l’UE

 « Les forces armées de l’Union européenne comprennent les forces armées des 28 États membres de l’Union européenne car la politique de défense est restée, à l’origine, de la compétence des États. Cependant l’intégration européenne a été approfondie dans ce domaine ces dernières années dans le cadre de la politique commune de sécurité et de défense (PCSD), qui est une branche essentielle de la politique étrangère et de sécurité commune, et par la création de forces internationales distinctes concernant la défense de l’Union. Un certain nombre d’opérations militaires de la PCSD ont été déployées ces dernières années ».

« Plusieurs chefs d’État ou ministres, dont l’ancien président Nicolas Sarkozy, la chancelière allemande Angela Merkel, le ministre des Affaires étrangères italien Franco Frattini et l’ancien Premier ministre belge Guy Verhofstadt, ont apporté leur soutien à l’idée d’une défense commune de l’Union. Cette possibilité, requérant l’unanimité des États membres, a été inscrite dans l’article 42 du traité sur l’Union européenne dès l’entrée en vigueur du traité de Lisbonne le 1er décembre 2009 ».

« Enfin, le traité de Lisbonne a étendu le champ d’application de la disposition concernant la coopération renforcée afin de la rendre applicable au domaine de la défense. Ce mécanisme permet à un petit nombre d’États membres d’approfondir l’intégration au sein des institutions de l’Union, sans pour autant que les États membres réticents soient dans l’obligation de participer ». (2)

VII. Des guerres très meurtrières qui se prolongent

Nous observons que les guerres qui sont, notamment, perpétrées en Irak, au Yémen, en Syrie, en Afghanistan et en Libye sont constamment activées par les grandes puissances  Ces guerres dites régionales affectent, dans les faits, l’humanité toute entière. Leurs effets collatéraux exercent un impact majeur sur l’UE. Leurs dividendes nourrissent les industries de la mort et les perspectives de la reconstruction se montrent prometteuses. Les rencontres au Sommet se multiplient avec comme principal thème de discussion : La sécurité et la défense contre le « terrorisme ». Les discours et les tournées de nombreux chefs d’État et autres membres liés à la Défense empruntent une allure belliqueuse reprise par les medias mainstream ad nauseam.

Les théâtres de guerre se définissent peu à peu dans un processus de vérification du degré de solidité des alliances militaires et, notamment, sur le nouveau front majeur que constitue l’Europe de l’Est  qui s’avère de plus en plus comme celui qui conviendrait le mieux aux membres de l’OTAN pour le déclenchement d’une guerre de plus forte intensité. Sa préparation, sur les plans diplomatique et sur le terrain, a suivi un agenda commandité par l’Occident de manière à rendre nécessaire un affrontement avec la Russie : Dénigrements, condamnations, sanctions, menaces et provocations ont tour à tour été utilisées dans cette agression de l’Occident contre ce pays au cours des deux dernières années. Nous pouvons constater qu’une alliance solide est en train de se nouer entre ce pays, l’Iran et la Chine.

Les guerres meurtrières qui se déroulent au Moyen-Orient et qui s’éternisent avec l’entrée en scène de plus en plus proactive et directe des grandes puissances nucléarisées. Des villes assiégées qu’on affame sans borne. Des hôpitaux bombardés poussant la cruauté à son paroxysme.

VIII.   Le théâtre de guerre de la Syrie ou la mort est un rendez-vous quotidien

La province septentrionale d’Alep, du nom de la grande ville éponyme, est le théâtre de violents combats entre différents acteurs de la guerre en Syrie, régime appuyé par les Russes, rebelles, alliance kurdo-arabe des Forces démocratiques syriennes, djihadistes, coalition internationale antidjihadistes emmenée par les États-Unis et plus récemment forces turques.

Un autre massacre délibéré

La coalition internationale aurait bombardé, « par erreur » le 17 septembre dernier, ce qu’elle pensait être une position du groupe État islamique (EI) en Syrie, tuant au moins 60 soldats syriens. Une guerre oubliée, celle du Soudan.

IX.  L’entreprise du désarmement abandonnée et un virage prononcé vers la droite

Le silence concernant l’entreprise du désarmement est notable. Le virage prononcé vers la droite observé dans la gouvernance des États à travers le monde avec des coups d’État « parlementaires », accompagnés par une forte érosion des libertés fondamentales et par la surveillance accrue des citoyens. Ce conflit mondial, il est donc déjà en préparation et mis en place dans les faits. Sera-t-il classique ou nucléaire? C’est ce que nous pouvons observer en Amérique latine avec le coup d’État au Brésil bien orchestré par les pouvoirs financiers et l’ingérence des États-Unis dans la gouvernance du Venezuela. 

Conclusion

Selon les propos du professeur Michel Chossudosvky, « depuis que la première bombe atomique a été larguée sur Hiroshima le 6 août 1945, jamais l’humanité n’a été aussi proche de l’impensable.

L’impérialisme des États-Unis ne cesse de semer la terreur sous toutes les latitudes. Aucun répit pour les résistants. Cet empire en décrépitude physique et morale. Nous le savons bien. Nous cherchons à l’ignorer. Les solutions ne viendront pas de l’Occident, car il est la cause de l’état lamentable de ce monde sur lequel il exerce une emprise sur le politique et l’économique.

Dans un tel contexte global les propos de Bill Van Auken nous semblent tout à fait justes:

«L’insistance sur ces objectifs associés à la faiblesse croissante des forces soutenues par les États-Unis sur le terrain en Syrie et la nouvelle intervention agressive de membre de l’OTAN en Turquie créent une situation extrêmement volatile dans laquelle la menace croit, d’heure en heure, vers une confrontation directe entre les deux puissances nucléaires majeures du monde, les États-Unis et la Russie ».

Un conflit majeur devient inévitable

 « Crise économique ». Mesures d’austérité et son corollaire, le chômage. Appauvrissement de la majorité. Faim endémique. Gouvernance militarisée. Le système économique dominant apparenté à un capitalisme totalitaire débridé conduit inéluctablement à un conflit mondial d’une ampleur encore difficile à cerner. En effet, plusieurs éléments indiquent que ce conflit devient inévitable. La donne géopolitique mondiale tend à se noircir avec des tensions attisées par une série de déclarations ou de prises de position des gouvernants et des stratèges militaires. Des actions qui ne peuvent que causer une grande inquiétude sans oublier les menaces proférées par l’OTAN à l’endroit de la Russie et celles de la Corée du Nord à l’endroit des États-Unis.

En somme, les pièces se mettent en place peu à peu dans quelques espaces stratégiques : L’Europe de l’Est, le Nord-Ouest de l’océan Pacifique et le Moyen-Orient.

 Jules Dufour

 

Notes 

(1) https://civilwarineurope.com/2016/07/02/le-canada-deploiera-un-bataillon-en-lettonie/) http://www.mondialisation.ca/la-militarisation-de-leurope-de-lest-se-poursuit-allegrement-en-2016-avec-le-leadership-renouvele-du-canada/5534763). 

 (2) https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forces_arm%C3%A9es_de_l%27Union_europ%C3%A9enne

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VAN AUKEN, Bill. 2016. La Turquie prépare une action conjointe avec les États-Unis en Syrie. wsws.org. Le 8 septembre 2016. Mondialisation.ca. Le 12 septembre 2016. En ligne : http://www.mondialisation.ca/la-turquie-prepare-une-action-conjointe-avec-des-etats-unis-en-syrie/5545221

VAN AUKEN, Bill. 2016. Le Pentagone défie ouvertement le cessez-le-feu américano-russe en Syrie, wsws.org. Le 16 septembre 2016. En ligne : http://www.mondialisation.ca/le-pentagone-defie-ouvertement-le-cessez-le-feu-americano-russe-en-syrie/5546043

VAN AUKEN, Bill. 2016. Le chef du Pentagone annonce les plans américains pour une guerre nucléaire avec la Russie. Mondialisation.ca. Le 29 septembre 2016. wsws.org, le 28 septembre 2016. En ligne : http://www.mondialisation.ca/le-chef-du-pentagone-annonce-les-plans-americains-pour-une-guerre-nucleaire-avec-la-russie/5548507

VAN AUKEN, Bill. 2016. Washington a mis fin aux pourparlers sur la Syrie, Le risque d’un affrontement avec la Russie se développe. Mondialisation.ca et wsws. Le 6 octobre 2016. En ligne : http://www.mondialisation.ca/washington-a-mis-fin-aux-pourparlers-sur-la-syrie-le-risque-dun-affrontement-avec-la-russie-se-developpe/5549696

VASILLESCU, Valentin. 2016. La Russie se déploie militairement en Iran. Mondialisation.ca. Le 23 août 2016. En ligne : http://www.mondialisation.ca/la-russie-se-deploie-militairement-en-iran/5542235

XINHUA. 2016. Joe Biden réaffirme l’engagement des États-Unis envers la sécurité de la Baltique. Le 24 août 2016. En ligne : http://french.peopledaily.com.cn/International/n3/2016/0824/c31356-9104441.html

ZUESSE, Eric. 2016. Les États-Unis envahissent la Syrie, et mettent en garde la Russie. Mondialisation.ca. Le 30 août 2016. En ligne : http://www.mondialisation.ca/les-etats-unis-envahissent-la-syrie-et-mettent-en-garde-la-russie/5543288

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Last week the U.S. corporation Monsanto, which holds a leading position in the global market of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), reached a licensing agreement with the Broad Institute, Cambridge, USA, on the commercial use of the innovative genome-editing technology CRISPR/Cas9 for agriculture applications. This news has led some experts to believe that Monsanto will now completely switch from producing ‘traditional’ GMOs to ‘genetically edited’ organisms, which are supposedly ‘safer and practically identical’ to their natural alternatives.

Let’s have a closer look at this technology which makes GMO supporters feel so enthusiastic and has been positioned by them as the universal panacea solving all of mankind’s problems. We will also delve deeper into some of the darker aspects of CRISPR/Cas9; the points that biotechnology lobbyists prefer not to discuss.

crispr

Do You Trust Monsanto to ‘Play God’ with CRISPR?

In a press release dated 22 September 2016 Monsanto stated that technology CRISPR/Cas9 would be used as complementary to the methods of genetic modification that are already being used.  Firstly, there is of course no mention of stopping the use of traditional GMOs, as this is not the plan. Secondly, the licensing agreement that Monsanto signed with the Broad Institute is certainly not the first one they have made for CRISPR technology. Earlier this year the company  entered into similar licensing agreements to use gene-editing technologies developed by other research organizations, namely, the Nomad Bioscience GmbH, Germany, and TargetGene Biotechnologies Ltd. , Israel.

It is obvious that Monsanto is not suddenly changing its strategy to concentrate on CRISPR. Instead, we are now being shown that Monsanto is consistently following a huge new target.

Regarding Monsanto’s latest CRISPR deal, the Broad Institute does clarify that there are several important restrictions in the agreement with Monsanto including;

RESTRICTION 1: prohibits Monsanto to use CRISPR/Cas9 for creating sterile seeds (also known as suicide seeds or terminator seeds). By preventing plants from producing fertile seeds, Monsanto forces farmers to purchase seed from the company each year.

RESTRICTION 2: forbids using CRISPR/Cas9 for launching so called ‘gene drive’ mechanisms.  It is known that natural genetic changes need quite some time to spread within a species range. The reason is that mutation, located only in one chromosome in a pair, is inherited only by a half of the offspring. However, ‘gene drive’, created with CRISPR/Cas9 technology, allows to vastly speed up the spread of changes, making this process practically uncontrollable.

Despite these restrictions do we really want to give Monsanto such new power to ‘Play God’ with a technology that has not been correctly safety tested over the long-term? Based on their record so far it does not seem like they are the correct company to do so!

CRISPR: Making Bacteria Immune to Viruses

So what is CRISPR? It is a rudimentary immune system of bacteria that gives them resistance to viruses. The acronym CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. Lest we get lost in scientific terminology I will try to explain how it works in laymen’s terms:

The CRISPR mechanism consists of two key components – gene scalpel (Cas9 protein), which can cut certain fragments of DNA, and gene guide (guiding RNAs), which leads the scalpel exactly to those fragments of DNA, which must be cut.

When a known virus penetrates a bacteria cell, the guiding RNA identifies it by its DNA fragment and sends the Cas9 protein to delete it. If a virus is unknown, bacterium starts to cut different fragments of DNA from the unknown genome adding them to its own «database». This is how bacteria build up their adaptive immune system. Such a system allows them to recognize more and more viruses and to resist various infections.  The most in-demand viral DNA fragments stay in bacterium’s DNA and are inherited by their ‘descendants’.

Now it is easy to imagine how the gene-editing technology works. If we ‘load’ a synthetic version of RNA with pre-set parameters into the gene guide, the gene scalpel (Cas 9) can be aimed to any desired fragment of DNA. Thus, the scientists face a revolutionary perspective of editing (changing, deleting, replacing) genes of any living organism, including human genes.

How Close Are we to Gattaca?

Do you remember the film ‘Gattaca’, with Uma Thurman playing one of the lead roles? The futuristic storyline concentrates on people learning to manually ‘edit’ the genetic parameters of their yet-to-be-born children. They ended up in a society built on genetic segregation and in inequality and suppression, the likes of which the world had never seen before.

After the invention of CRISPR/Cas9 we can say that, generally speaking, the age of ‘Gattaca’ has already begun.  Today, many laboratories all over the world are actively experimenting with the new opportunities provided by gene-editing.

In an article dedicated to CRISPR/Cas9 technology (The New Yorker, November 2015) Feng Zhang, a U.S. scientist from the Broad Institute, was given an apt name – ‘the gene hacker’.

In February 2016 the UK government allowed the editing of the DNA of human embryos for scientific purposes using CRISPR/Cas 9. As a base of the UK decision ‘experimental samples’ will be destroyed after 14 days, so there is supposedly no direct threat of the appearance of ‘gene-edited humans’ yet. Sadly however we all know too well where this process may end…

GENE DRIVE: A Weapon of Mass Destruction?

The ‘gene-drive’ mechanism accompanied with the relevant progress in CRISPR/Cas9 technology can be used as a genetic weapon of mass destruction, both by governments and by terrorist organizations.

The science fiction story in which the uncontrollable spread of genetic mutations leads to catastrophe on a planet (The Legacy, dilogy written by Sergey Tarmashev) looks more and more like a scary reality, if we take into consideration all of the negative consequences of a global ‘gene drive’. To add one more example: the plot of a new season of ‘X-Files’ is based on a human genocide scenario with the use of CRISPR/Cas9.

You might be thinking: ‘You are exaggerating and using too much fiction’? Unfortunately not.

The Director of U.S. National Intelligence James R. Clapper in his speech for Senate Armed Services Committee on 9 February 2016 stated that a scientific breakthrough in genome editing has led him to consider this technology as a weapon of mass destruction. In his words; “given the broad distribution, low cost, and accelerated pace of development of this dual – use technology, its deliberate or unintentional misuse might lead to far-reaching economic and national security implications”. This is why the gene drive technology and editing of the human germline have become of particular concern for American and European biologists.

Despite the concerns of Clapper, where the U.S. government sees a threat, it is there that they usually look for new opportunities. So, it is not surprising that the scientific research in the field of gene editing is funded, inter alia from the budget of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  In other words, genes, along with the five ‘domains of warfare’ – Land, Sea, Air, Space, Information, become another domain in which the wars of the future will be carried out. Or maybe, wars in this domain have already been unleashed?

CRISPR for Russia?

By all means, Russian science should pursue research into genetic engineering and bioinformatics. We need this to assess processes correctly in the world around us and to create mechanisms protecting the genetic safety of Russia’s population. At the same time there is no need to hurry with the commercialization of CRISPR/Cas9. Until we reach a point when all possible collateral risks have been comprehensively studied, the circulation of genetically edited organisms and especially gene-drive modified organisms in Russia should be prohibited, in the same way GMOs have been.

alena_color_02

Elena Sharoykina is a Russian journalist and environmental activist. She is director of the National Association for Genetic Safety (Moscow), coordinator for the international “FACTOR GMO” study, director of the Russian TV-Channel “Tzargrad“.

Her articles and comments on GM-technologies, global biotech companies and their connections with the military-industrial complex, as well as on other ecology-related issues, regularly appear in Russian and international press.

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Using the Russian and Syrian air power, the Syrian Arab Army and its allies took the opportunity to make further advances in Aleppo city. The loyalist seized over a half of the Bustan al-Pasha neighborhood, including the Sport Complex, the Science school, the Housing institution and other buildings in the areas located on the way to Hellok.

The army and Hezbollah also took full control of the Suleiman al-Halabi Neighborhood and set fire control of al-Sakhoor roundabout. The government forces also expanded in northern Aleppo and secured fire control over the quarries southwest of al-Bureij.

Most of the damage done by terrorist factions in Aleppo appears to be against the civilian populace, with 8 civilians killed and 55 wounded after rebels recently shelled the al-Jamiliyah neighborhood.

Jund al-Aqsa promised to cease their participation in the Hama campaign against the government forces if Ahrar al-Sham continued ‘aggressions’ against them. Amongst the reported claims leveled by Jund al-Aqsa is that Ahrar al-Sham is in collusion with the Islamic State.

The Syrian army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) successfully advanced in the Western Ghouta region, cutting off the road between the militant-controlled villages of Der Khabiyah and Moqaylabiya. The Der Khabiyah-Moqaylabiya road is one of few roads remaining under the control of militant groups in the region. Now, when the pro-government forces control it, Der Khabiyah and Moqaylabiya has become vulnerable for attacks by the army and the NDF.

On October 6, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad repeated a guarantee of safe passage to the rebels holed up in Aleppo. However, this offer from the legitimate government of Syria was overshadowed by a highly publicized statement from United Nations Syrian Envoy Staffan de Mistura in which he volunteered to personally accompany some Jabhat al Nusra fighters from the city as a human shield. The unprecedented offer was bluntly rejected by Jabhat al Nusra, which reaffirmed its collective desire to continue attempts to break the siege instead of making peace.

Chief of the Directorate of Media service and Information of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, Major General Igor Konashenkov promised that no U.S. aircraft would be immune from the threat the S-300 and S-400 air defense batteries pose in case of military strikes on the government-controlled areas. Konashenkov pointed to the airstrikes against Syrian government forces in Der ez-Zor as one of the primary motivating factors in importing the potent weapon systems.

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Last month, German journalist Jurgen Todenhofer, the first Western journalist to be given access to Daesh (ISIS) controlled territory, conducted an explosive interview with a Nusra Front commander in Syria. Soon afterward, he was accused of ‘fabricating’ the interview. Speaking to Sputnik Deutschland, Todenhofer responded to his critics. 

Late last month, an unnamed militant believed to be a senior Nusra Front commander told Todenhoffer in an interview that his group had received advanced weapons, including BGM TOW anti-tank missiles, from the United States.

The sensational (and damning) interview soon spread around the world, and soon German media engaged in damage control began claiming that the interview was a fake. The detractors’ main allegation focused on the territory where the interview was conducted; skeptics even suggested that the terrorist militant was actually a Syrian government plant.

Speaking to Sputnik Deutschland about the now famous interview, Todenhofer explained that he never had any illusions that his journalistic effort, and its shocking revelations about the extent of Western support for Islamist terrorists, would cause a strong reaction, « both from terrorists and from those who support mainstream Western policy in the Middle East. »

« I think that most of those who criticized me wanted to divert attention from two things, [first of all] from the issue of the supply of weapons to the Middle East, which is really indisputable. The US, France, Britain and Germany supply weapons to the Middle East. I believe that this is a very serious problem that needs to be discussed. And these weapons aren’t there to shoot fireworks – they are there to conduct wars with. »

Secondly, Todenhofer noted,

« they want to distract from the fact that my interview – and not just this one but my earlier statements as well, destroy the mainstream worldview. This worldview suggests that in Syria, there is supposedly only one side fighting – namely the Syrian government and the Russians. If that were true, the war would have ended a long time ago. The truth is that there are two sides fighting a brutal war against one another. »

Commenting on the details of his interview with the Nusra Front commander, the journalist recalled that at first, it wasn’t even clear whether the jihadist would agree to filming.

« At first, there was a great deal of stress, because we were surrounded by gunmen in masks, and our driver feared that we had been trapped. But the conversation went smoothly. This commander is not a politician – not a Salafist, not a fanatic; he’s just a mercenary, who managed to serve in the ranks of at least two rebel groups – a field commander with perhaps about 200 people under his command. And since he is not a politician, he spoke openly about the things he knows. »

Incidentally, for the sceptics out there, the journalist emphasized the commander did not actually say that his group received weapons ‘directly from the Americans.’

« He said ‘we directly received American weapons’. He did not say whether this was from a country or organization serving as an intermediary, but there is no doubt [that this is going on]. Everyone knows that the US and other countries supply weapons to the rebels; they say that they supply them to the ‘moderate opposition’, but we all know that some of these weapons are then passed to radical rebels and terrorists. »

As for the intense scrutiny the interview eventually received, regarding everything from the commander’s slippers to his apparent lack of a beard to his golden ring (all ostensibly meant to prove that the man wasn’t who he said he was), Todenhofer suggested that in reality, « there was no critical analysis. People simply pushed absurd allegations. »

« For example, they say that Jebhat al-Nusra militants always go unshaven, while some of the ones I show have shaven faces. » The reality is not so cartoonishly simple: « Some shave, some have a beard. »

« Then, [critics] say that Nusra fighters do not wear gold rings, even if they come from another organization. This is simply nonsense. In Syria, thousands of people wear gold jewelry – it’s perfectly normal. This is a very weak argument that comes from those who take absolutely no account of life in Syria, and is a view that could be held only by those who have never been to wartorn Syria. »

« To all these people I can suggest only one thing: of course someone can do the interview better than I did, but let those who want to do it meet with al-Qaeda in East Aleppo in neutral territory and do it better. These are the same people who so fiercely criticized me when I spent ten days among the Daesh militants. Again – take the trip yourself, do it better, and then you can have a say. »

Having been accused of being biased in favor of Russia and the Syrian government, Todenhofer emphasized that he remains convinced that there is « no such thing as a decent war, » since civilians always end up being the main victims.

Still, the journalist added, one can only go so far in one’s lack of objectivity. « In the western part of Aleppo, where government forces are based, several hundred people have been killed since the end of the truce – in 14 days. No one speaks about this. This means that the rebels have also been shooting, and this is a very simple proof that the two sides fight with equal ferocity. »

But the mainstream media, according to Todenhofer, absolutely lacks any objectivity on the issue. « …The one-sided and simply dead-wrong coverage of the conflict itself is part of the scandal. If in this situation someone like myself goes to Syria, asks questions and get answers such as ‘Yes, of course we get weapons from the Americans, in whatever way,’ a lot of noise is generated around this; because the West does not want its image of the world – of ‘good bombs’ and ‘bad bombs’, to be disturbed. »

Syrian Army servicemen in Aleppo.

Ultimately, the journalist said that he will continue to travel to Syria. Part of the proceeds from his latest book have gone to creating 80 prosthetics, which he plans to deliver to Syrian children.

« I am against this war, because I do not believe in a decent war. But I must say — and this is very important for me, that the support that the rebels receive from the West is a violation of international law. It is akin to leading a war of aggression – it’s a war crime. No one has a right to supply weapons to some insurgents operating on the territory of a sovereign state. It is prohibited – it is a crime. And when the people I blame for supplying weapons not only to rebels, but also to terrorists – even indirectly – when these people shout – that too is perfectly normal. It’s what I intended. »

« I want to touch on a sore point; I want to start a debate on this issue. I want people to think, » Todenhofer emphasized.

« What if there were rebels in Germany, and some foreign state supported them with arms? We would say that such a thing is out of the question! In Syria the situation is more complicated, because the government has also committed crimes. Both sides commit crimes; decent wars do not happen, and so we need to put an end to this war, instead of saying ‘the supply of arms from our side is good, while what the other side does is bad.’ This whole war is shit! »

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On Friday 9 September, dozens of Palestinians demonstrated next to the Gaza Strip’s border fence near the Al-Bureij refugee camp, protesting Israel’s ongoing occupation and its various crimes.

Here is how Reuters reported what happened next: “An 18-year-old Palestinian was killed during a rock-throwing protest near the Gaza-Israel border on Friday and a Palestinian health official said Israeli soldiers shot him, but the Israeli army said troops were not responsible.”

At the time, a Gaza health ministry spokesperson said that Abdel-Rahman Al-Dabbagh (who was actually just 15-years-old) was killed “by an Israeli bullet to the head.” The Israeli military, however, claimed that forces only used “tear gas” to disperse “dozens of rioters.”

The army statement added: “Following a preliminary review, the Israel Defence Forces did not conduct the reported shooting.”

Abdel-Rahman Al-Dabbagh

So who killed Abdel-Rahman Al-Dabbagh? And how was he killed? Almost four weeks have now passed since the teenager’s death. Thanks to the work of Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights workers, a clearer – and highly disturbing – picture has now emerged of how he was killed.

The following account is based on information published by Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCIP), B’Tselem, Al-Haq and Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR).

The demonstration that particular Friday began in the early afternoon, and continued for some hours. None of those participating (some 60-100 protesters) were armed. The protest took place east of Al-Bureij camp, where Abdel-Rahman was a resident.

During the afternoon, Palestinian youth threw stones and a few unexploded tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces on previous occasions. Protesters, Abdel-Rahman included, also cut the barbed wire that lies ten metres from the border fence and ran back and forth as Israeli soldiers repelled them.

Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers positioned by military jeeps or on dirt mounds attacked the protesters with tear gas canisters, stun grenades, flare bombs and live ammunition.

Shortly before he was hit, just after 7pm, Abdel-Rahman asked one of his friends to take a picture of him. He was around 15-20 metres from the fence. The boy was making a “V” sign when one of the soldiers came forward, knelt down and fired a flare cartridge directly at him.

The flare bomb ignited on impact and Abdel-Rahman fell down, his head on fire. Israeli soldiers initially prevented his friends from approaching, including by firing warning shots.

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A screenshot from video footage shows Abdel-Rahman, 15, lying on the ground with flames and smoke rising from his head. (Photo: DCIP)

Abdel-Rahman was struck in the forehead above his left eye with an illumination flare cartridge. “There was blood on his hands and chest, and coming out from above his left eye. There was a big, black hole above his eye”, described an eyewitness.

After the flare had burned out, Abdel-Rahman was carried to an ambulance, but paramedics could not resuscitate him. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital.

The impact of the flare grenade, fired directly at his head from a short distance, fractured his skull leading to haemorrhaging in the brain in addition to external burns. An x-ray image showed the flare punctured and lodged in Abdel-Rahman’s skull above his left eyebrow.

The flare in question was a 40mm M583A1 White Star Parachute Illumination Cartridge, which is fired from an under-barrel grenade launcher rifle attachment. It is produced by US-based munitions company Chemring Ordnance, a subsidiary of the UK-based Chemring Group.

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The flare bomb that the soldier fired at al-Dabbagh (Photo: Khaled al-‘Azayzeh, B’Tselem)

The flare, which weighs 0.22kg, is intended to illuminate an area of 200 meters in diameter or to mark a military target on the ground and burns for around 40 seconds. It is categorically not designed to be used in “crowd control” situations.

Israeli forces have repeatedly used brutal violence against unarmed protesters in the Gaza Strip in the last year; a week after the killing of Abdel-Rahman, soldiers shot a 17-year-old Palestinian in the leg with live ammunition during protests in the same area – he may never walk again.

More than 20 Palestinians have been killed in such Gaza border protests since 1 October 2015, and there are no Israeli military investigations into any of these deaths. According to DCIP official Ayed Eqtaish, Israeli forces “routinely misuse ‘less-lethal’ weapons and projectiles to directly target Palestinian children, killing and injuring them with impunity.”

The shocking killing of Abdel-Rahman highlights both the lack of Western media coverage when it comes to the Palestinian victims of Israeli forces’ violence, and the parallel absence of accountability for grave violations of international law and human rights by the Israeli army and its political leaders.

No coverage and no accountability means that the killing and maiming of Palestinians – including children – will only continue.

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Syria: Is the U.S. Preparing a False Flag Bombing?

octobre 8th, 2016 by Moon of Alabama

There is a curious coincidence of a remark Secretary of State Kerry made to Syrian opposition activists and a new paint scheme applied to some U.S. military jets.

October 1 2016: Kerry in leaked audio: ‘I lost the argument’ for use of force in Syria

Washington (CNN) Secretary of State John Kerry’s frustration with the failure of American diplomacy was on display as he defended US efforts to help end the five-year civil war in Syria during a meeting last week with a group of Syrian civilians, according to an audio recording obtained by CNN.

Kerry’s comments came at a meeting that took place at the Dutch Mission to the United Nations on the sidelines the UN General Assembly, where Kerry was going from session to session in a frenzied effort to resuscitate a ceasefire that seemed poised to collapse.

A complete audio recording of the meeting between Kerry, some of his staff, and some Syrians is available on youtube.

Of interest is a short segment about alleged Russian bombing beginning at 11:18. The female Arab-English interpreter translates remarks by a Syrian, believed to be the Syrian front-man of the White Helmets scam Raed Saleh, about the difficulties of supervising ceasefires.

Interpreter (translating from a male Arabic speaker): We don’t believe that Russia can be the guarantor of the actions of the regime. We see Russia is a partner of the regime in bombing Syrians, Syrian civilians, market places, even our own team, the Syrian Civil Defense team. We documented since the start of the Russian intervention in Syria from day one until February of this year more than 17 of our Syrian Civil Defense personal have been killed by Russian airstrikes.

Kerry: Do you have any videos of the airplanes of these strikes?

(crosstalk interpreter and male Arab voice)

Kerry: Can we get that (unintelligible) videos the agents have been asking for?

(crosstalk interpreter and male Arab voice)

Kerry staff member: So can I just say – we get a lot of videos of the victims of these attacks, they are terrible, but they don’t help us. We need videos of the actual aircrafts and ammunition. And there is a lot of them on the internet but we don’t know whether they are real or not. Verified videos of the actual aircraft is the most useful thing. …

These men can be helped, though someone in the U.S. military – or not.

A Canadian journalist based in Eastern/Central Europe, Christian Borys tweeted yesterday:

Christian Borys @ItsBorysThe U.S is painting their F/A-18’s to match the paint schemes of Russian jets in #Syria. Standard training, but interesting nonetheless. pic.twitter.com/FVN6tMj2Ji

1:45 PM – 6 Oct 2016

This is the attached pic:

The first three pics are of an U.S. F/A-18 fighter and attack aircraft in Russian coloring. (The wingtips are raised for storage as this is a carrier enabled plane. The windows of the raised cockpit hood are covered with white sun protection sheets.) On the bottom right is a picture of a Russia SU-34 in the usual Russian color scheme as it is also used by the Russian contingent in Syria.

It would be extremely difficult to distinguish these like-colored planes from each other in a shaky fly-by and « bombing » video.

The U.S. regularly uses planes in « enemy » color schemes as « aggressor force » during training and maneuvers. It helps U.S. pilots to get used to « enemy » targets during air-to-air combat training. So this can all be, like Christian Borys assumes, « standard training ».

But there is also Kerry’s talk with the Syrian opposition and his explicit request for videos of « Russian » jets bombing in Syria.

This may be an innocent coincidence: Secretary Kerry is asking the scam artists of the White Helmets for video of Russian jets « bombing civilians » in Syria and, just by chance, the U.S. military is painting one of its jets to look like a « Russian » Su-34 strike fighter like those deployed in Syria.

But many incidents in Syria, the Ghouta gas attack, the recent aid convoy attack, get attributed to Russia or the Syrian government without any proof (or even despite contrary evidence). The media always eat these falsehoods up based simply on some official’s say-so, some unverified pictures or video and without asking any further questions. A « Russian attack » on some large civilian target like a refugee camp, documented on video!, would be a very easy sell. The propagandized « uproar » over such an attack could be easily used to launch a wider war. The attack on the Gleiwitz Radio tower, the Gulf of Tonkin incident and « Saddam’s WMDs » come to mind. Kerry is not shy of such lying. Today he invented a new hospital attack, said it was a war crime and that Russia and Syria should be investigated. No such attack happened.

The Russian parliament ratified an agreement with Syria about the indefinite stationing of Russian forces in Syria. Yesterday the Russian Ministry of Defense warned that Russian soldiers are embedded with Syrian units on the ground and that they would be defended against any attempt of air attacks by the Russian air-defense in Syria. U.S. media called such matter of course statement bellicose talk.

There is plenty of lose talk in U.S. media about attacking Syrian and Russian forces in Syria. The U.S. recently bombed a Syrian unit in a well known position it had held for many month. 82 Syrian soldier died and many more were wounded. The strike furthered the advance of ISIS on the besieged Deir Ezzor. That was no ‘mistake’ as the U.S. claimed.

Russia will defend its forces in Syria and it will defend Syria’s sovereignty. It is not alone. A Chinese navy frigate just arrived in the Syrian port Tartus. Should that trip-wire get touched 1.3 billion Chinese would join the Russians, Iranians and Syrians in waging war against the U.S. « regime change » attempt in Syria. Washington is warned. No cheap paint scheme trickery will be accepted as reason to hold back. Russia WILL hit back should the need arise.

Any attack on Russian or Syrian forces would be illegal. Kerry himself, in the above linked talk, says that the U.S. has absolutely no legal grounds for any such attack. It would be illegitimate and a crime. But the U.S. is not known for staying strictly within the framework of international law. Russia is well advised to warn of the eventual consequences of any breach. There is nothing « bellicose » about that.

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Created by Western governments and popularized by a top PR firm, the White Helmets are saving civilians while lobbying for airstrikes.

It is rare for a short Netflix documentary to garner as much publicity or acclaim as The White Helmets has. Promoted as “the story of real-life heroes and impossible hope,” the film is named for the civil defense organization whose members have gained international acclaim for saving lives in rebel-held territory in the hellish war zones of eastern Aleppo and Idlib. The film’s tagline, « To save one life is to save all of humanity, » that is remarkably similar to that of Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust epic, Schindler’s List: « Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire. »

The Netflix feature comes on the heels of a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for the White Helmets, an “alternative Nobel” award known as the Right Livelihood Award and endorsements from an assortment of celebrities. “The move [by the celebrities] draws attention to both the horror of the conflict and the growing willingness of well-known Americans to adopt it as a cause célèbre,” wrote Liam Stack of the New York Times.

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. An international symbol of courage under fire, 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.

The bravado displayed by the White Helmets under Syrian government and Russian bombardment has captivated some of the most influential observers of the Syrian conflict. Among the group’s biggest boosters is Sophie McNeill, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation correspondent who was among the first reporters to publish the now-famous photo of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh being extracted from the rubble of an Eastern Aleppo apartment building.

On her Twitter account, McNeill urged readers to donate money to the White Helmets and expressed her hope that the group wins the Nobel Prize. (McNeill did not respond to questions sent to her publicly listed email.) Laura Rosenberger, a foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton, also took to Twitter to promote the group, posting a Wall Street Journal article hailing the civil defense group as “white knights for desperate Syrians.” Hillary Clinton quickly retweeted Rosenberger, registering her own tacit endorsement of the White Helmets. On September 22, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that he was “honored to meet [the White Helmets] leader and Aleppo activists,” hailing the organization as “brave 1st responders on the scene.”

The White Helmets are touted for saving tens of thousands of lives, though estimates on exactly how many varies dramatically depending on the source. The recently released White Helmets’ Netflix documentary claims they’ve saved “over 55,000” people, while Georgetown Security Studies Review had the number at 15,500 in May 2015. The State Department claimed this April that 40,000 had been rescued by White Helmets, but AJ+, a subsidiary of Al Jazeera, asserted around the same time that “more than 24,000” have been saved.” In a separate report published four months later, AJ+ quoted the figure at 60,000—which is the figure the White Helmets themselves claim. Whatever the number, there is little dispute that the White Helmets’ rank-and-file are saving lives in what seems to be an increasingly desperate situation in eastern Aleppo.

Yet the group is anything but impartial. The White Helmets’ leadership is driven by a pro-interventionist agenda conceived by the Western governments and public relations groups that back them. Anyone who visits the group’s website—which is operated by an opposition-funded PR company known as the Syria Campaign—will be immediately directed to a request to sign a petition for a no-fly zone to “stop the bombs” in Syria. These sorts of communiques highlight the dual role the White Helmets play as a civil defense organization saving lives while lobbying for a U.S. military campaign that will almost inevitably result in the collapse of Syria’s government.

According to a 2012 Pentagon estimate, a no-fly zone would require at least “70,000 American servicemen” to enforce, along with the widespread destruction of Syrian government infrastructure and military installations. Also sometimes called « safe zones » or « buffer zones, » from Yugoslavia to Iraq to Libya, no-fly zones have served almost without exception as the preamble to regime change. With no clear plan in place for the day after the government falls, or any conclusive evidence that its ouster is what most Syrians want, the Western governments, professional activists and public relations specialists who created the White Helmets are intensifying their push for regime change.

The White Helmets were founded in collaboration with USAID’s Office of Transitional Initiatives—the wing that has promoted regime change around the world—and have been provided with $23 million in funding from the department. USAID supplies the White Helmets through Chemonics, a for-profit contractor based in Washington DC that has become notorious for wasteful aid imbroglios from Haiti to Afghanistan. While members of the White Helmets have been implicated in atrocities carried out by jihadist rebel groups, the names of many of the firms that supposedly monitor and evaluate their work have been kept secret by USAID on unspecified security grounds.

Away from the battlefield, the White Helmets have proven one of the most effective tools in the Syria Campaign’s public relations arsenal. Apart from the group’s own calls for a no-fly zone, the White Helmets have been at the center of the Syria Campaign’s ongoing attack on the United Nations, which it accuses of illicit collusion with Assad. This month, the White Helmets joined 74 other groups operating in rebel-held territory announced their refusal this month to cooperate with the U.N. as long as it recognizes the Syrian government. In a separate move, the Syria Campaign launched a petition to demand that the United States National Security Council share confidential radar information with White Helmets teams operating on the ground, apparently including in areas controlled by extremist rebel factions.

In May 2015, White Helmets spokesperson Raed Saleh met privately with U.N. and EU officials to push for a no-fly zone. A month later, Saleh’s colleague Farouq Habib testified before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs in support of a no-fly zone, claiming to possess first-hand knowledge of chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government. With the Obama administration having drawn its “red line” at the deployment of chemical weapons, allegations like these are potential trigger points for full-scale U.S. military intervention.

The White Helmets’ Netflix documentary studiously avoids any discussion of the group’s interventionist, hyper-partisan agenda and omits any mention of its actual origins among Western governments, leaving the impression that the White Helmets are an organically developed band of politically impartial volunteers reflecting the Syrian consensus.

Critical questions about the White Helmets’ role in an interventionist public relations apparatus have been raised by only a few marginal websites that generally support the Syrian government — and those who raise them have been subjected to scorn and castigation. Thus the issue has been kept off the table, along with the public debate over the consequences of a regime change policy that the Obama administration still supports.

The White Helmets in Washington

This September 27, while White Helmets members dug survivors and bodies from the ruins of buildings in the rebel-held warzone of eastern Aleppo, two of the group’s public representatives appeared in Washington for a series of events and high-level meetings. The first event open to the public was held at the Atlantic Council, an influential think tank with close ties to the Obama administration, and took place under the banner of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, which is named for and funded by the family of the assassinated former Lebanese Prime Minister who amassed his fortune through business ties to the Saudi royal family. (Rafik’s son, Saad, blames the Syrian government for killing his father and creating ISIS and has effectively called for its removal.)

Presiding over The White Helmets reception was Frederick Hof, the director of the Hariri center, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton on Syrian “transition” and a longtime State Department envoy in the Middle East. Hof has said his focus on Syria at the State Department was motivated by the prospect of “beating Hezbollah and its Iranian master,” a goal he found “inspiring.” As he introduced The White Helmets, Hof accused Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad of committing war crimes with impunity and demanded that his government pay a “heavy price.”

While conceding that a no-fly zone was not a feasible option because it would subject the U.S. Air Force to Syria’s anti-aircraft systems, Hof told me he preferred cruise missile strikes against Syrian military installations and arming the rebels with Manpad shoulder-mounted anti-aircraft missiles. When I asked if he feared such sophisticated weapons falling into the hands of Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham or Ahrar Al-Sham, the jihadist groups that boast the most manpower and battlefield prowess, Hof accused me of ignorance about the Defense Department’s foolproof vetting mechanisms.

After a screening of the trailer for The White Helmets, Hof introduced the civil defense group as a heroic and absolutely “impartial” party to the conflict. He then welcomed Saleh, the White Helmets spokesman, to the stage. “Our demand is not for support to continue the work of the White Helmets, rather our demand is to stop the killing itself so that we don’t have to continue this awful job,” Saleh said.

Seated beside Saleh and providing live translation was Kenan Rahmani, a legal and strategy adviser to the Syria Campaign. As I reported in Part 1 of this series, the Syria Campaign is a private company founded by a New York- and London-based public relations firm called Purpose in order to generate public pressure for the removal of Syria’s government. It led the push for the White Helmets’ Nobel Prize nomination, orchestrated the group’s endorsements from Hollywood celebrities and has fundraised for its Netflix documentary vehicle.

Rahmani, for his part, was a policy adviser to the Coalition for a Democratic Syria, a umbrella organization of exile groups with close ties to the Syrian rebels and neoconservative organizations in Washington, before he took his current job at the Syria Campaign. When I asked Saleh how the White Helmets’ demand for a no-fly zone fit with its claim to uphold impartiality, Rahmani interjected to defend his company’s work.

“Of course we are an impartial, non-political organization,” he said. “The Syria Campaign doesn’t take political sides but our position is a no-fly zone would stop the suffering, would stop the destruction.” Saleh of the White Helmets followed up with his own call for a no fly zone, telling me that if I understood the scale of destruction in Syria, I would agree with his demand.

Moments after the panel discussion ended, Rahmani approached me to complain about my line of questioning. “These people [the White Helmets] are saving lives,” he began. But before he could complete his sentence, Rahmani was whisked away by Anna Nolan, the Purpose firm’s director of strategy who oversaw the Syria Campaign’s foundation. From that point on, Rahmani refused to speak to me.

Seated in the front row throughout the event was Ayman Asfari, one of the main funders of the Syria Campaign and a top exile supporter of the Syrian opposition. The billionaire CEO of the petroleum services company Petrofac, Asfari contributed $180,000 of the Syria Campaign’s $800,000 budget this year. (Most of the company’s donors are anonymous.)

I approached Asfari on his way out to ask how long he planned to continue directing his fortune toward promoting regime change. “There is a political process, which is a transition. We just want to bring back the transition,” he said before disappearing into an elevator. In a few hours, Asfari would host a screening of The White Helmets at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The White Helmets’ founding fathers

Supporters of heightened U.S. military intervention in Syria routinely accuse President Barack Obama of not doing enough to support the forces fighting the Syrian government. James Traub, a leading liberal voice of interventionism, has repeatedly claimed over the past five years that the U.S. is “doing nothing” in Syria and paying a terrible price for it. But together with the $1 billion the CIA has spent on arming and training the rebels, a close look at the hundreds of millions of dollars the U.S. Agency for International Development has spent in Syria on projects including the White Helmets tells a different story.

Back in July 2012, a year after the Syrian conflict began, USAID began to lay the groundwork for its Syrian Regional Option. With American analysts excitedly proclaiming the imminent downfall of Bashar Al-Assad and his government, USAID rushed to “provide support to emerging civil authorities to build the foundation for a peaceful and democratic Syria,” according to a USAlD executive report from that year.

The grants were authorized by USAID’s Office of Transitional Initiatives (OTI), spearheading efforts to encourage what proponents like to call “democracy promotion” in countries like Cuba and Venezuela, but which amount to failed attempts at regime change. In Cuba, USAID’s OTI caused an embarrassing diplomatic incident in 2014 when it was exposed for funding a program aimed at spawning instability and undermining the government through a Twitter-like social network called Zunzuneo.

Following a series of pilot programs carried out by a for-profit, Washington DC-based contractor called Development Alternatives International (DAI) at a cost of $290,756 to U.S. taxpayers, the OTI began setting up local councils in rebel-held territory in Syria. The idea was to establish a parallel governing structure in insurgent-held areas that could one day supplant the current government in Damascus. According to its 2012 USAID executive summary on the Syria Regional Option (PDF), “foreign extremist entities” already held sway across the country.

In March 2013, a former British infantry officer named James Le Mesurier turned up on the Turkish border of Syria. Le Mesurier was a veteran of NATO interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo who moved into the lucrative private mercenary industry after his army days ended. But running security for the UAE’s oil and gas fields left him feeling unfulfilled with his career as a hired gun. He wanted to be a part of something more meaningful. So he became a lead participant in USAID’s Syria Regional Option.

Le Mesurier’s job was to organize a unique band of people who rush into freshly bombed buildings to extract survivors—while filming themselves—in rebel-held areas facing routine bombing by Syrian army aircraft. In 2014, he established Mayday Rescue, a non-profit based in Turkey that grew out of the Dubai-based « research, conflict transformation, and consultancy » firm known as Analysis, Research, and Knowledge, or ARK. That group, which employed Le Mesurier while overseeing the White Helmets’ training, has been sustained through grants from Western governments and the British Ministry of Defense. Mayday Rescue, for its part, received around $300,000 in initial funding from the U.S. Department of State to assist in training the first responders. Though they were known as Syrian Civil Defense, graduates of Le Mesurier’s course became popularly identified by the signature headgear they wore in the field: White Helmets.

Since being founded under the watch of Mayday Rescue, the White Helmets have received grants worth millions of dollars from the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Japan and USAID. To date, USAID has donated $23 million to the White Helmets, a substantial sum for a civil defense project in a war zone.

Mark Ward, director of the Syria Transition Assistance and Response Team at the State Department, highlighted the political dimension of the White Helmets’ funding in an interview with Men’s Journal: “[Funding the White Helmets is] one of the most important things we can do to increase the effectiveness and legitimacy of civil authorities in liberated areas of Syria.”

In the Netflix documentary The White Helmets, Mayday Rescue is never identified as the administrator of the group, nor does Le Mesurier ever appear on screen. USAID and Chemonics, the for-profit contractor that supplies the group, are also curiously omitted from the film.

An unmonitored money dump?

USAID relies on Chemonics to deliver resources to the White Helmets. The company’s contract with the group is part of the $339.6 million committed by USAID for “supporting activities that pursue a peaceful transition to a democratic and stable Syria.” This whopping sum of money supplements the reported $1 billion the CIA spent in the past year supplying and training the rebel forces attempting to overthrow the Syrian government, fueling a grinding civil war that necessitates the presence of thousands of first responders.

Based in downtown Washington DC, Chemonics has developed a checkered history across the world. In Haiti, the company squandered millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars and delivered next to nothing for average Haitians while racking up a $2.5 million bonus for its CEO. Jake Johnston, a research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, produced a series of reports exposing Chemonics’ disastrous performance in Haiti.

“After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Chemonics was the recipient of the largest single contract from the U.S. government. But despite the immediate and grave humanitarian needs, funding for Chemonics came from the Office of Transition Initiatives, the ‘political arm’ of USAID,” Johnston told me. “Rather than basing funding decisions on the needs on the ground, OTI provides funding based primarily on U.S. national interests and to help steer political transitions across the globe.”

Johnston pointed to a lack of independent monitoring procedures as one of USAID’s most substantial failures. “Unfortunately, it becomes extremely difficult to track where money spent by OTI and Chemonics actually ends up,” he said. “Programs are designed to be broad, flexible and fast, distributing millions of dollars to subcontractors with very little public oversight or accountability.”

In reports by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and USAID Inspector General, Chemonics was slammed for its incompetent performance and poor evaluation procedures, and was accused of wasting tens of millions of dollars in Afghanistan.

For many languishing in rebel-held territory in Syria, however, USAID and its contractors are among the only sources of sustenance. As Brett Eng and Jose Ciro Martinez wrote in Foreign Policy, USAID’s involvement in Syria “has created another unhealthy form of dependence in opposition-controlled areas like Daraa. Instead of the Assad regime, it is the United States, Jordan, and the for-profit development organization Chemonics that civilians in Daraa are beholden to.”

Eng and Martinez also warned that USAID might be inadvertently propping up some of the more unsavory rebel factions, writing, “without a well-defined, inclusive opposition group, it is unclear to whom civilian loyalties are being redirected.”

Frankie Sturm, a public information officer at the State Department, told me that Chemonics “has put in place third-party monitors to verify that assistance reaches intended beneficiaries and for intended purposes.”

When I asked Chemonics for the names of these monitors, it directed my questions back to USAID, which refused to provide an answer on security grounds. USAID spokesperson Sam Ostrander told me his agency “works with another firm, completely separate from Chemonics” to monitor the assistance to the White Helmets, but didn’t name the company or disclose how much public funding it received.

In 2014, USAID produced the only evaluation report to date on its Syria-related “transition initiatives.” It was not exactly a portrait of success. “The extent to which OTI’s efforts were successfully building inclusive and accountable governance structures was still unclear,” the report concluded, also noting that “the ongoing conflict resulted in challenges that have led to delays in development and implementation of these activities.”

With such thin monitoring mechanisms in place to track how USAID money is spent in Syria, the risk of misappropriation is considerable.

‘Emergency burial’

Far from the gaze of most Western media consumers, videos and photographs have surfaced on news sites and social media accounts sympathetic to the Syrian government showing White Helmet members boasting about discarding the body parts of Syrian troops in dumpsters, posing triumphantly on the corpses of Syrian soldiers, joining fighters accosting an alleged political opponent, waving the flag of Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra alongside jihadist fighters, and carrying weapons.

While it would seem unfair to tar an entire group with the actions of a few scofflaws, more than a few of the images depict events that are disturbingly real. One particularly jarring video (18+) filmed in Northern Aleppo shows two members of the White Helmets participating in an execution, waiting just off camera while a member of Al-Nusra shoots a man dressed in street clothes in the head after reading out a death sentence. The video of the two White Helmets members immediately packing up the man’s body prompted a statement by the organization condemning the killing and claiming its members were simply fulfilling their task to perform “the emergency burial of the dead.”

In May 2015, a White Helmet member named Muawiya Hassan Agha provided an extensive eyewitness account to the Violations Documentation Center in Syria on the alleged deployment of chemical weapons by Syrian government warplanes in Idlib. (The report described him as a “media activist.”) A year later, Agha was exposed by pro-government social media activists for filming a grotesque video depicting extremist Syrian rebels torturing two captured soldiers they later executed. EA Worldview editor-in-chief Scott Lucas reported that Agha was expelled from the White Helmets days later.

Asked about the allegations of involvement by White Helmet members in human rights violations, the State Department’s Sturm replied, “Syria Civil Defense are emergency response workers who risk their lives to save others—men, women and children trapped by the ravages of war. USAID has no credible information to believe the organization is engaged in anything other than this core mission.”

Chemonics refused to offer a comment on its monitoring and evaluation of the White Helmets or other clients in Syria.

Syria Campaign hones the message

In 2014, the year after USAID disbursed its seed money for the White Helmets, an outfit called the Syria Campaign suddenly materialized to mobilize even greater support for Western intervention through online “clicktivism.” Among the group’s primary functions has been marketing the White Helmets to Western media consumers as non-political heroes saving lives in a sea of sectarian villains.

“We went to meet [the White Helmets] at a training in southern Turkey, they were focused on the training and we were like, we’d like to elevate you guys and get the inspiring work you do out to the world,” James Sadri, campaign director at the Syria Campaign, told me.

Back in November 2014, Tim Dixon, the managing director of Purpose Europe, a former adviser to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and an original Syria Campaign board member, issued a report detailing how his firm’s “White Helmets campaign uses compelling storytelling to mobilize public support.” Dixon wrote: “Purpose believed their story had the power to inspire empathy and action in the wider public, and launched the White Helmets campaign in August as part of an ongoing effort to build support for the protection of civilians.”

Crediting the Syria Campaign’s promotion of the White Helmets with “significant breakthroughs on public engagement, media narratives, and funding,” Dixon boasted of “elite meetings in New York and DC” as well as coverage in outlets from the BBC to the New York Times. Among the most effective storytelling vehicles, according to Dixon, was the “Miracle Baby” video portraying the dramatic rescue of baby Mahmoud from beneath the rubble of a bombed-out home by a White Helmets team.

The episode featured prominently in the documentary The White Helmets and even included a cameo appearance by Mahmoud himself, now a toddler. The Netflix film appears to be at least partly the handiwork of the Syria Campaign.

This July, staffers of the PR company appeared in the studios of Channel 4 in London at a gathering of wealthy donors known as the Funding Network. “The Syria Campaign made a fantastic pitch for funding for their outreach work surrounding The White Helmets,” the Funding Network reported. The group noted, however, that “for reasons of confidentiality, we are unable to post the Syria Campaign’s pitch for the time being.”

Laila Kiki, the Syria Campaign’s media lead, told me, “We didn’t raise any funds specifically for outreach around the Netflix documentary, but our team is supportive of the release.”

On September 30, as the attacks on the rebel-held areas of Aleppo reached a level of unprecedented ferocity, the Syria Campaign sent out an email and social media blast in the name of “Heroes of Syria” like the White Helmets. The message urged supporters into the streets for a « weekend of action » to clamor for a no-fly zone—or what the PR company euphemistically described as, “all aircraft dropping bombs on civilians grounded.”

“In solidarity please cover your face in dust and share it with your friends on social,” the Syria Campaign advised. “If you can do this with a friend or family member, even better.”

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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As the Syrian army move to liberate more areas of Aleppo from foreign-backed terrorists, the Western countries and their allies are considering other options including moving the war to the southern parts of the country.

The Israeli regime is engaged in provocative acts in the Golan Heights, which is increasingly becoming a flashpoint in the ongoing Syria crisis.

Southern Syria is divided into two major areas:  the liberated area of al-Quneitra, and the occupied area of the Golan Heights where Al-Nusra Front and al-Qaeda terrorist groups base their fighters.

Tel Aviv has been attempting to drive the Syrian army out of al-Quneitra.  Israel’s objective is to join this part of the Golan Heights to the territory it controls, thereby creating a buffer zone like the one it once had in southern Lebanon.

Southern Syria, New Battle Front?

Syria’s Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari has said Israel’s occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights is a direct threat to regional stability and security.

Jaafari made the remarks while addressing the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. He noted that Israel’s support for terrorist groups in Golan also escalates the conflict in Syria.

Meanwhile, last week Syrian forces targeted terrorists in the southern al-Quneitra province, targeting Takfiri terrorists along the provincial border with the Dara’a province.

A few days later, a senior US military official noted that, “ISIS is set to carry out operations in Dara’a and al-Quneitra provinces.” US officials have been talking about escalation of the situation in south Syria and they have pointed that this is considered a threat. This escalation of clashes in south Syria will create a pretext for the US to intervene militarily.

A glance at the geography of the southern part of Syria and its relative calm compared to other parts of the war-torn country implies that reports of escalations in the area are a political bluff.

Reports predicting more clashes in southern Syria are coming amid the country’s army and resistance movement’s success in the decisive battle against terrorists in Aleppo. Syria army and its allies have managed to liberate all the southern and eastern parts of Syria while the western parts are expected to be freed from terrorist in the coming days. Any talk of a truce is meant to create escape routes for al-Nusra Front terrorists and other Takfiri terrorists in the region.

Challenges for Terrorists in Southern Syria

There are reasons to dispute claims by a US military commander that ISIS is moving to southern Syria. First, the major center of operations for ISIS in Iraq is Mosul and its de facto capital in Syria’s Raqqa. Therefore, if ISIS relocates from Raqqa this will have a negative impact on its strategies.  Secondly, al-Quneitra region has a small population and thus cannot replace Halab which has a population of about 5.3 million people in an area of around 50,000 square kilometers.

The third point is that, al-Quneitra region borders the Israeli regime and thus allowing that area to be a major theatre of operations implies that the Israeli regime will be directly involved in the Syria crisis. The US is well aware that if terrorists relocate major operations to southern Syria, the consequence of that will be the entry of Hezbollah resistance forces and Islamic Revolution Guards Corps military advisers. Clashes in southern Syria can spill over into the Hezbollah stronghold of southern Lebanon and therefore Palestinian territories occupied by the Israeli regime will also be affected by the conflict.

Resistance forces are fully familiar with the terrain in southern Syria and thus it will be an easy area of operations. Unlike Aleppo, al-Quneitra has a lower population density and thus it is easy for the Syrian government to evacuate civilians and engaged enemies directly.

One of the major reasons the US has failed to achieve its objectives in northern Syria is lack of ground operations and the inability of its allies. The US cannot solve this problem by swapping warfronts. The ability of the US to engage in operations in southern Syria are less compared to northern parts of the country. This is due to the fact that northern Syria is close to the Incirlik Turkish airbase currently at the disposal of the US and its allies. This is while US-backed terrorists in southern Syria have very limited maneuverability options.

Refugees Influx to Jordan

If a new battle front is opened in southern Syria, Jordan is also set to suffer the consequences resulting from a sudden influx of refugees.

Indeed, Jordan has already closed its border area with Syria to all but the military as it seeks to limit the influx of Syrian refugees.

The country “cannot tolerate the burden of any additional Syrian refugees anymore, and will not allow the entry of refugees except in humanitarian cases,” Jordan’s state-run Petra news agency cited Prime Minister Hani Mulki as saying on Wednesday. About 75,000 refugees are stranded in a no man’s land between Jordan and Syria, Amnesty International said last month.

After recent political and military failures experienced by the US in Syria, any move to the southern part of the country will lead to major challenges and eventual failure. The situation in Syria remains complex and the victors in the country will be those able to persevere and resist in the face of adversities.

Several times over the last five years there were reports that the Syrian government is on the verge of collapse and the separation of the country with the resistance front. It is now apparent that, no amount of foreign pressure or terrorist operations can change the resolve of the Syrian people to continue in the path of resistance.

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Sources that will be provided here, document the historical narrative now occurring toward all-out war between the US and Russia, up till the present, as that history will be introduced in the following two paragraphs (the first paragraph for background, and the second for a summary of the documentation that will then constitute the main body of the present report):

FOR BACKGROUND:

The US government (Barack Obama) was being led by the Saudi royal family, who own Saudi Arabia, in selecting members for the so-called ‘peace negotiations’ with Russia on the Syrian conflict, and those ‘negotiations’ broke up because the US refused to stop backing Al Qaeda in Syria. As I reported and documented on 6 May 2016:

«These talks broke down on April 18th because Al Nusra was facing imminent defeat in the key city of Aleppo, and because such a defeat was unacceptable to Mohammed Alloush, the Saudi agent, and head of the Saudi-Wahhabist group, the Army of Islam. He was selected by King Saud to lead the rebel side at Syria’s peace negotiations».

FOR SUMMARY OF THE FOLLOWING REPORT:

Al Qaeda in Syria (which used to call itself «Al Nusrah») has been leading the US proxy army of jihadists trying to replace Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria, but now that Russia and the US have broken off negotiations after the US bombed the Syrian army in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor on September 18th, Russia and the United States are gearing up for war against each other in Syria.

Both Russia and Syria have now quit trying to work any longer with the United States to defeat Al Qaeda in Syria — they’ve had enough of America’s protecting Al Qaeda in Syria; they are laying down the gauntlet to the US regime, and are saying that the US regime can henceforth choose either to leave Syria (which it has invaded by its illegal entry into Syria), or else to go to war against both Syria and Russia there, because Syria and Russia will no longer continue to be deterred by US pretenses about its support of alleged ‘moderate rebels’, no longer deterred from Syria’s and Russia’s joint goal of destroying all jihadists in Syria, including Al Qaeda there — America’s actually key proxy-force on the ground trying to replace Assad.

* * *

Now will be presented the documented recent developments producing this historic break towards World War III. We start with America’s bombing of the Syrian Army, and continue up through to October 7th:

On 18 September 2016, Reuters headlined, «US-led forces strike Syrian troops, prompting emergency U.N. meeting», and reported that, «The United States military said the coalition stopped the attacks against what it had believed to be Islamic State positions in northeast Syria after Russia informed it that Syrian military personnel and vehicles may have been hit. The United States relayed its ‘regret’».

Russia’s Sputnik News then bannered on the 18th, «Russian FM: Lethal US Strike on Syrian Army ‘Borders on Connivance With Daesh’», and reported that, «The Russian Foreign Ministry released a sternly worded statement following a tense 24-hours of diplomacy after an allegedly ‘unintentional’ US airstrike killed 80 Syrian Army forces ‘paving the way’ for a Daesh offensive». («Daesh» is a synonym for ISIS.)

Russia’s RIA News agency headlined on the 18th, «Assad Advisor Explains How the USAF [US Air Force] Might Coordinate with IG [another synonym for ISIS]», and reported that, «As soon as Washington struck [Assad’s forces], terrorists launched a ground attack [on Assad’s forces]. [It] hit exactly on the territory that was occupied by the Syrian army».

Later on the 18th, Russian Television headlined «‘Unbelievable’ that US strike on Syrian army was mistake – fmr MI5 agent», and reported that a former intelligence officer for Britain’s MI5, Annie Machon, said: «I find it slightly unbelievable that the Americans could hit this target thinking this was ISIS… So it seems just strange that the Americans are just saying it was a bit of a mistake». She asserted that, in the unlikely event the US really believed that it was supporting «so-called moderate groups» (as she put it) in Syria, «Americans are dealing with fire,» because the so-called ‘moderate rebels’ often defect to jihadist groups and bring along with them the weapons that the US had provided.

This US assistance to Al Qaeda in Syria — Al Nusrah — has been reported for years, by many independent sources, such as in Seymour Hersh’s two separate reports about Obama’s lies regarding Al Nusrah’s being the actual source of the 21 August 2013 sarin gas attack that Obama was blaming on Assad’s government. In fact, on 16 August 2016, the US government even admitted that in Syria «We’re not focused on the former al-Nusra Front. We’re focused on Daesh [ISIS], and that’s what we’re fighting». Evenwhile the US was working with Russia and Syria to kill ISIS in Syria, the US refused to cooperate in attacking Al Qaeda there.

Here was the report, also on September 18th, from Ziad Fadel, a Syrian-born US lawyer (in Michigan) who has many sources in Syria, and who writes for his own popular news-site about this war, the «Syrian Perspective» site, based upon his constant contacts with those Syrians:

«DAYR EL-ZOR:

To be specific, at the Al-Tharda Mountain which is still occupied by the Syrian Army – no thanks to the exceptional talent of the Americans for bungling or outright treachery, yesterday, the United States Air Force, flying out of Habbaaniyya AB in Iraq, with 2 F-16s and 2 A-10 Thunderbolts, crossed the Syrian border without permission and entered Syrian airspace without so much as a hint to the government in Damascus, which might have asked the Americans: WHAT IS YOUR TARGET GOING TO BE? And if the Americans responded with something like: ‘Those ISIS terrorists on Al-Tharda Mountain’, the Syrian government might have said: ‘Oh, no. Don’t do that. Our army is on that mountain.’ And the whole mess could have been averted. 62 Syrian soldiers would still be alive……. We will not forget».

He further reported that,

«an enraged Syrian Army with the help of the PDC and Shu’aytaat Tribal militias, acting under the tenacious and ferocious aerial support of both the SAAF [Syrian Arab Air Force] and RuAf [Russian Air Force], quickly restored army control over all Al-Tharda Mountain inflicting at least 100 casualties on the terrorist filth, destroying 10 vehicles, 6 of which were pickups with 23mm cannons. The air forces are continuing assaults today all around the area of Al-Tharda, Panorama and Al-’urfi».

On September 20th, the Wall Street Journal headlined, «US Believes Russia Bombed Syrian Aid Convoy». But the next day, Britain’s Guardian reported that, «US is not revealing what evidence it has to support claim Moscow was responsible». (Russia denied that it had anything to do with that bombing. Whether the US did it is still not known.)

On September 26th, SANA, the Syrian government’s news agency, bannered, «Al-Moallem: The US wanted to lie and change facts regarding what the Syrian government is doing, but it failed», and reported that: «Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem stressed that the United States, France, and Britain called for a UN Security Council session on Syria this Sunday [September 23rd] in an attempt to support terrorist organizations in Syria… He stressed that the aggression of the US-led coalition on a Syrian Arab Army position in Tharda Mountain in Deir Ezzor was deliberated and in coordination with ISIS, as ISIS rushed to take control of the area only one hour after the aggression».

Also on the 26th, Reuters bannered «Gulf may arm rebels now Syria truce is dead: US officials» and reported the likely sharp escalation of support by the oil kingdoms, for the anti-Assad forces, and asserted «the possibility that Gulf states might arm Syrian rebels with shoulder-fired missiles to defend themselves against Syrian and Russian warplanes, US officials said». This report indicated that the US and its allies were now planning to (either by their own forces or by their proxies who are actually led by Al Qaeda there) shoot down Russian and Syrian planes in Syrian air space. Reuters was reporting efforts by the Sauds and their friends, to pressure a reluctant Obama into joining with them in an all-out war against both Russia and Syria, in Syria.

On September 28th, The New York Times bannered, «Russia’s Brutal Bombing of Aleppo May Be Calculated, and It May Be Working» and reported that:

The effects of Russia’s bombing campaign in the Syrian city of Aleppo — destroying hospitals and schools, choking off basic supplies, and killing aid workers and hundreds of civilians over just days — raise a question: What could possibly motivate such brutality?

Observers attribute Russia’s bombing to recklessness, cruelty or Moscow’s desperate thrashing in what the White House has called a «quagmire».

But many analysts take a different view: Russia and its Syrian government allies, they say, could be massacring Aleppo’s civilians as part of a calculated strategy, aimed beyond this one city.

The strategy, more about politics than advancing the battle lines, appears to be designed to pressure rebels to ally themselves with extremists, eroding the rebels’ legitimacy; give Russia veto power over any high-level diplomacy; and exhaust Syrian civilians who might otherwise support the opposition.

This report didn’t mention another possible explanation for what Russia was doing there: the goal might simply be to exterminate the jihadists who had been imported into Syria by the US and its allied Arabic royal families, during five years of such ‘civil war’, in the few areas of Syria where even the vast majority of the local Syrian residents prefer Shariah law and thus favor the overthrow of the highly secular, ideologically non-religious, Assad government. (Those areas of Syria are identifiable by this Western-sponsored poll that had been taken of the Syrian population during July 2015, where, for example, on page 4, Assad’s support is the lowest in Raqua, Idlip, Daraa, Der’-Zor, Sewedaa, and Hasakeh; and, on page 7, Nusra’s support is by far the highest in Aleppo, but also relatively high in Rural Damascus, Hasakeh, Der’-Zor, Homs, and Daraa.)

This technique of defeating jihadists — exterminating them and their supporters — was the way that Putin had solved the Saudi-led insurgency by jihadists in Russia’s own Chechnya region (who had been backed by both the CIA and the Sauds): exterminating everyone in the fanatical neighborhoods. It also served as a model in Tatarstan, preventing jihadism there.

Just as the United States participated in the firebombing of Dresden, and carried out the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and slaughtered many non-combatants in the process, Russia destroys entire jihadist-supporting neighborhoods, not only the jihadist mercenaries who have taken over control there (and who have either killed or driven out any residents who oppose them). The reason that The New York Times doesn’t mention such an explanation is that it doesn’t fit what the White House is saying about the matter; it fits instead with what ‘the enemies’ (Assad and Putin) are saying they’re doing. In fact, the NYT report went so far as to actually sub-headline «Blurring Rebels and Jihadists» and assert that, «Aleppo is a metaphor for the larger war.

The northern Syrian city is one of the few remaining strongholds for non-jihadist rebel groups». Even the Western-sponsored poll in July 2015 showed that to be the exact opposite of the reality. Although the NYT said this, the United States government iteslf had already asserted the opposite: on 20 April 2016, the Pentagon’s official spokesperson on the Syrian war, Steve Warren, said «It’s primarily al-Nusra who holds Aleppo». So, the regime sometimes has problems keeping its narrative together (sometimes its press-mouthpieces such as the NYT go even beyond the government’s own lies), but they needn’t really worry much when they slip up like that and state the truth, because, after all, The New York Times reaches far more Americans than does a flunky at an official press conference, and everybody who is involved in the cons knows what the intended story-line is supposed to be (i.e.: Russian government bad; US government good), so such elementary slip-ups are rare, and inconsequential. (But the Pentagon spokesperson, Steven Warren, might miss his next promotion for that error, honesty.)

In other words: the US is allied with Al Qaeda in Syria.

On September 28th, US State Department spokesperson John Kirby was asked in a press conference, «What makes you think that the Secretary’s [John Kerry’s] threat to begin to take steps to suspend cooperation if the Russians don’t act to stop the violence immediately is likely to get the Russians to actually stop the violence?» Like any professional ‘news’ ‘reporter’ for the regime, this questioner posed his question with the underlying assumption «Russian government bad» «American government good». Mr. Kirby, likewise very professional as a propagandist, replied, «you’d have to ask Foreign Minister Lavrov» (in the ‘enemy’ camp). Then, the ‘journalist’ prodded Kirby further, and Kirby said, «we thought that that could help us advance the fight against a group like al-Nusrah in particular».

He was presenting the US as if it had been against, instead of for, Al Qaeda in Syria. (Actually, Obama is committed to, and highly dependent upon, Al Qaeda in Syria in order to overthrow Assad.) A ‘journalist’ asked: «Can you foresee any options that the US Government could take, short of full-scale warfare and invasion, that would actually stop the Russian/Syrian onslaught on Aleppo?» Then that was refined to «What are the consequences for Russia?» And, finally, after much to-and-fro, and with obvious great reluctance, Kirby handed to the assembled dogmeat-hungry ‘journalists’:

The consequences are that the civil war will continue in Syria, that extremists and extremists groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which will include, no question, attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities, and Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and they will continue to lose resources – even, perhaps, more aircraft.

The US State Department is now officially threatening Russia with war — not only on the proxy-battlefields of Syria, but «perhaps even Russian cities». Was that historic announcement headlined as such in the American ‘news’ media? In such a country, one can’t blame the public for sleepwalking into global annihilation, if that’s where we go.

On October 1st, German Economic News headlined «Großmächte treiben in Syrien auf einen globalen Krieg zu» or «Great Powers Driving in Syria on to a Global war,» and reported that:

The battle for Aleppo can evolve into a direct war between the US and Russia. The situation is extremely dangerous.

The international and Islamist mercenaries are, according to the Syrian army leadership, preparing a counteroffensive against the Syrian army in Aleppo. As al-Masdar news reports, thousands of mercenaries are assembling in the south and west of the city to expel from Aleppo the Syrian army. 

On October 3rd, Zero Hedge headlined, «US Suspends Diplomatic Relations With Russia On Syria», and quoted Kirby saying «This is not a decision that was taken lightly» but «Unfortunately, Russia failed to live up to its own commitments, including its obligations under international humanitarian law».

On October 5th, the «Moon of Alabama» blogger bannered, «Is Fighting Al-Qaeda In Aleppo Good Or Bad? — US Unable To Decide», and he expressed (and documented) the view that the only reason why Kerry and the rest of the Obama Administration had pretended to negotiate with Russia regarding Syria was in order to buy time to enable enough US weapons to be delivered to Al Nusra and its allies in Syria so as to be able to conquer the nation.

Also on October 5th, Morning Consult headlined «Congress Must Vote on Bombing Assad Regime, Lee Tells Obama», and reported that, «If the Obama administration wants to bomb the Assad regime, it must first get a declaration of war from Congress, Sen. Mike Lee said… ‘Should President Obama move ahead without authorization, then Congress must be called back into session to fulfill its obligation to debate and determine whether our nation should once again go to war’». Of course, if America does «once again go to war,» it will be war this time against Russia, and it will be unprecedented, in many ways, perhaps even final (which would be extremely «unprecedented»).

Also on October 5th, Britain’s Daily Mail bannered «Russia claims nuclear war could be imminent as it evacuates 40 MILLION people in drill and warns that ‘schizophrenics from America’ could attack», and reported that:

Russia is evacuating more than 40 million people in drills to prepare for nuclear war after Putin’s Ministry of Defence warned of ‘schizophrenics from America sharpening atomic weapons for Moscow’. 

Citizens have been told a war with the West could be imminent and Kremlin officials have said underground shelters have been built to house 12million people. 

The massive evacuation drill started yesterday and will last three days.

On October 6th, Russian Television bannered «‘S-300, S-400 air defenses in place’: Russian MoD warns US-led coalition not to strike Syrian army», and reported that Russia’s Defense Ministry said that «any missile or air strikes on the territory controlled by the Syrian government will create a clear threat to Russian servicemen», as a consequence of which the American invading forces would be shot down.

Also on October 6th, Al Masdar News headlined «Point of No Return as Islamist Rebels Lose More Ground in Aleppo City», and reported that «Islamist rebels of the [Nusra-allied and trained] Fatah Halab coalition have little prospect of breaking the [Syrian Arab Army — Syrian government] SAA imposed siege of eastern Aleppo».

Also on October 6th, Ireland’s RTE bannered «UN Security Council to Meet on Syria — Diplomats», and reported:

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow on Syria after a UN envoy warned that eastern Aleppo may be totally destroyed in the next few months by the Russian and Syrian air campaign.

Russia requested the meeting to hear from UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, who will brief the council via video conference from Geneva at 1400 GMT, diplomats said.

Mr De Mistura earlier took aim at Russia, suggesting that Moscow was indiscriminately bombing a city with hundreds of thousands of civilians to flush out just a few hundred jihadists.

«We are talking about 900 people, basically, who are becoming the main reason for which there is 275,000 people actually being attacked», he said.

Would this, he asked, be the excuse for «the destruction of the city?»

«In maximum two months, two-and-a-half months, the city of eastern Aleppo may be totally destroyed,» he told reporters.

The envoy urged fighters from the former Al-Nusra Front – which renamed itself Fateh al-Sham Front after breaking with Al-Qaeda – to leave Aleppo under a deal to halt the regime’s attacks on the city.

«If you decide to leave with dignity … I am personally ready to physically accompany you», Mr de Mistura said.

Security Council members were discussing a French-drafted UN resolution calling for a ceasefire in Aleppo.

On Friday, October 7th, Reuters headlined «Assad offers rebels amnesty if they surrender Aleppo», and reported that, «Rebels holed up in Aleppo can leave with their families if they lay down their arms, President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday, vowing to press on with the assault on Syria’s largest city and recapture full control of the country». He was willing to allow the estimated 900 Nusra-allied fighters, «inside Aleppo’s rebel-held eastern sector» to escape, in order for Aleppo’s jihadist-controlled area to avoid being totally destroyed by bombing. «However, rebels said they had no plan to evacuate Aleppo, the last major urban area they control, and denounced the amnesty offer as a deception».

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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CNBC reports: « The British pound took a dive on Friday, tanking as much as 6 percent, as traders scrambled to assess the cause of the heavy selling. The currency fell to $1.1819 in early Asian hours, hitting its lowest level since 1985—a year when it hit $1.0520 amid an acrimonious mining industry strike. The currency later recovered [5%] to hover at the $1.24 handle by the afternoon session of Asian trade.

Friday’s fall was the most aggressive since results of the Brexit vote emerged on June 24, according to spread-betting firm IG. – Market speculation was rife that the decline was the result of a wrongly entered trade. Because there was no news so far to justify the pound’s wild swing, it could be the result of a ‘fat finger’ [mistake], said Elias Haddad, senior currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. »

Video: Press TV Interview of Economist Peter Koenig

John Gorman, head of non-yen rates trading at Nomura Securities, said via email that there were two theories floating around. « First, it was a fat finger or a trade entered mistakenly. The second possibility, which sounds more reasonable, is that there is a large barrier option that traded and that caused the selloff in light liquidity. »

Kathy Lien, managing director of foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, echoed that view. « It’s a low liquidity sell-off. Typically, when we see this, the reversal is violent but with fundamental support, the pound could find a new range between 1.22 and 1.25 per dollar, » she said in e-mailed comments.

But because other currencies did not see corresponding moves, it may not be a liquidity issue, flagged ‎UBS’ chief Asia-Pacific investment officer Kelvin Tay. Indeed, other currencies were stable on Friday, with the euro down 0.30 percent to $1.1117 while the was 0.15 percent stronger at $103.90.

Not everyone believed the fat-finger theory either. « Usually, fat finger errors don’t have the continuity that we’re seeing right now. There’s a chance that it might been an error but I don’t think we haven’t seen the last of the lows, » Ashraf Laidi, CEO of Intermarket Strategy, told CNBC’s « Squawk Box”.

Friday’s moves cap a volatile week for the currency, bringing its week-to-date losses to over 4 percent, according to Reuters data. On Thursday, it traded around $1.2720 after hitting what was also a 31-year low of $1.2686 on Wednesday. The selling began to accelerate following British

Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement on Sunday that Article 50, a piece of legislation that launches the exit process, could start by the first quarter of 2017.

TRANSCRIPT OF PRESS TV INTERVIEW

PressTV Question: How do you see this sudden fall of the British Pound? Is it a ‘mistake’ as some say, or does it have to do with BREXIT and with Prime Minister Teresa May’s announcement that the exit process could start by the first quarter of 2017?

Peter Koenig:  First, we have to realize that the western economy is one where the currency, i.e. the monetary system makes the economy, not the other way around as it should be – where the economy makes the monetary system.

We are living in an economy where money has since the banking deregulation in the 1990s absolutely no backing, not gold, not the economic output of a country – nothing but thin air, as money is made by a mouse click on a computer by a private bank. In the US 97% of all money is made by private banks as debt. In Europe it’s not much different.

This system is perfect for speculation. You invent an event – and use that event in the media to justify a fall in the stock market, or in this case a currency.

In the case of the British Pound, it was not even necessary to invent an event – there is BREXIT, and BREXIT will last for a long time, perhaps even more than the statutory limit of 2 years, as everything is negotiable, especially between the UK and the EU.

So, in the case of the drop of the Pound by 6% – of which it recovered at least 5% in less than an hour – has in my opinion nothing to do with the wild guesses of media pundits, of so-called ‘fat fingers’ (mistakes) or ‘liquidity sales’, as someone else puts it.

It is pure and simple speculation. Speculation by banks that use the pretext of BREXIT – and it’s not the last time – to make a quick profit, probably in the hundreds of millions, if not billions – in 15 minutes – why not? The system allows it, so it’s all legal.

I could even imagine – don’t really know, but could imagine – that the Bank of England is behind this massive quick-drop, to make a quick profit – or in other words to recover some of the billions the Bank of England has already and will be putting into the ‘system’ to stabilize the English Pound. – Why not, after all, in the Western monetary system, money is made of thin air, but to maintain a certain balance you recover some of what others have already taken out as speculative profit.

PressTV: How will BREXIT and these currency fluctuations affect Britain’s and the world’s economy?

PK: Yes, another aspect that must be pointed out in this connection, is the fact that BREXIT is made to believe it is bad for the British economy – therefore the speculations in this direction, i.e. letting the currency drop from time to time by all those who control the monetary system, the same people who by default are against BREXIT and who want to put pressure on the UK Government to either reverse BREXIT or make the process as slow and as light as possible.

The western dollar based system needs the EU to survive. If BREXIT is presented with problems, it may discourage others from exiting the monetary union and the EU – I hear that Italy is perhaps the next candidate for EUREXIT.

Depending on who wins the French elections, for example Marine Le Pen, extreme right, or Jean-Luc Mélenchon, extreme left – both want to exit the EU, the EURO and NATO.  – Imagine what may happen to the western monetary system and its economy that is based on this fake system, if France and Italy -and who knows, perhaps even Germany, decide for EUREXIT? – It will not be good.

Therefore, there are plenty of reasons for these wide monetary speculations, mostly carried out by banks, probably even central banks, and maybe even the BIS itself – the Bank for International Settlement, the Central Bank of all central banks.

And let me add – the British economy in the long run will be better off without the EU; this is a clear prediction by serious economists, even within Britain, therefore – much of the negative hype that comes from the mainstream media is nothing but fear-mongering.

Again, be prepared to see more of these sudden drops and recoveries – all for quick profit taking. And mind you this, as time goes on, could happen with any other strong country’s currency, the EURO for example as long as it exists; and I am not excluding that such attempts on speculation may even be made against the Chinese Yuan, as has happened already, although China is much better prepared for western speculations. Also their currency is not made of thin air, but is not only backed by gold, but by their economy.

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

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Who is Driving Tensions on the Korean Peninsula?

octobre 8th, 2016 by Joseph Thomas

With North Korea’s recent nuclear weapon test, it appears the East Asian state is transitioning from possessing a demonstration capability toward hosting a functional nuclear arsenal. While analysts believe North Korea has yet to miniaturise its nuclear weapons to fit in rocket-launched warheads, the frequency and size of the nation’s nuclear tests indicate expanding capabilities in both research and development as well as in fabrication and deployment.

BBC’s article, “North Korea’s nuclear programme: How advanced is it?,” would claim:

North Korea has conducted several tests with nuclear bombs.

However, in order to launch a nuclear attack on its neighbours, it needs to be able to make a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on to a missile.

North Korea claims it has successfully “miniaturised” nuclear warheads – but this has never been independently verified, and some experts have cast doubt on the claims.

And despite Western commentators and their counterparts in South Korea and Japan’s claims that North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme is a proactive, provocative policy, closer scrutiny reveals that Pyongyang’s defence policy may be instead predicated on legitimate fears reflecting and reacting to American and South Korean foreign policy.

An Axe Poised Above Pyongyang 

The International Business Times in an article titled, “As nuclear threat escalates, South Korea has concrete plans to eliminate Kim Jong-un,” would report:

South Korean troops are reportedly on standby to “eliminate” North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, should they feel threatened by their nuclear weapons.

According to CNN International, South Korean Defence Minister Han Min-koo revealed the information in parliament on 21 September. When asked whether a special forces unit had already been put together to eliminate the North Korean dictator, Han confirmed that such a plan was already in place.

Such an announcement, while at first may appear to be South Korea reacting to what it believes is a legitimate threat, is instead a clearly provocative move meant specifically to escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula, not assuage them.

Such an operation, to maximise chances for success, would be kept secret, not announced to the world. Additionally, “eradicating” a leader believed by many to serve mainly as a figurehead, with a large network of military and industry leaders surrounding him handing various aspects of North Korean foreign and domestic policy, would accomplish little in negating any actual military threat the nation posed to its southern neighbour.

Instead, a much larger and more involved plan would need to be put in place and prepared vigorously for, one that would entail hundreds of thousands of South Korean and American troops and possibly even other forces brought in under the guise of a UN peacekeeping force to overwhelm and subdue North Korea.

And such a plan does indeed exist.

A 2009 paper published by influential US-based think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations, titled, “Preparing for Sudden Change in North Korea,” would enumerate a deeply involved plan for US and South Korean forces to fill any void that may develop in the event that North Korea’s government collapses.

While the report itself does not mention US activities underway to induce such a collapse, such activities are indeed ongoing, as they are elsewhere around the world, as are their effects are on display where they have already unfolded, namely Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan.

The plan itself involves subduing any and all resistance from North Korea’s military and population with an occupying force nearly a half-million strong, as well as the complete seizure of North Korea’s economy and its subsequent integration into South Korea’s “market economy.”

With such plans in place, with US and South Korean forces clearly practising for them annually and with the US intentionally and persistently attempting to undermine political stability within North Korea itself, what other sort of geopolitical posture should the world expect to see pursued by Pyongyang’s leadership besides paranoia and a perpetual war footing?

It is clear that covert and overt threats made by the West and its political proxies in Seoul either directly or through policy either put on paper or into practice indirectly, drives North Korea’s reciprocal belligerence.

The United States and its East Asian proxies have a clear material and military advantage over North Korea and could afford more than Pyongyang to make concessions and to redirect energy and resources away from threatening the North Koreans, toward genuine rapprochement.

However, while genuine rapprochement would be in the entire Korean Peninsula’s best interests, as well as in China and Japan’s, it would negate any further need for the United States’ presence on the Peninsula. Thus, as long as Seoul depends on or allows the US to provide regional security, it will entail such security that will ensure America’s perpetual presence and influence over the region. With America’s dual purpose being to both control the Koreas as well as encircle neighbouring China, there is virtually no reason ever for the United States to foster genuine peace and coexistence on the Peninsula.

The removal, therefore, of American forces from both Korea and Japan would be the first and most crucial step toward real reconciliation and progress in the region, reconciliation and progress that Asia requires but would acquire at the cost of America’s regional hegemonic ambitions.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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Interview conducted with Denmark’s TV-2

Highlights, Complete Transcript of Interview Below

President al-Assad

“Do you know the unicorn, the animal that’s like a horse, has a long horn? It’s a myth. And the moderate opposition is a myth. That’s why you cannot separate something that doesn’t exist from something that exists. All of them have the same grassroots, the same grassroots that used to be called “free Syrian army” four years ago, five years ago, then it became al-Nusra, then it became ISIS. So, the same grassroots move from group to another group. That’s why they cannot separate it. And they don’t want.. if this is reality, not a myth, they don’t want, but they cannot, because it doesn’t exist…

…they [the U.S. administration] insisted that there is a moderate opposition, and the Russian told them “ok, if there is a moderate opposition, please separate those moderates from the extremists,” and it didn’t work, because they don’t exist…

…If there is opposition, what is the definition of opposition? Could you accept an opposition in your country that belongs to other countries? Or should it be a Danish opposition that belongs to Danish people. They cannot tell which opposition to support in any other country. This is an intervention in internal matters. This is against the sovereignty, against the international law. They don’t have the right to support anyone in Syria against anyone. It’s not their business. We are a sovereign country; we are independent. We have the right to tackle our problems….

…They have to. There’s no other option. We won’t accept that terrorists will take control of any part of Syria, not only Aleppo. This is our mission, and this is our goal, and this is our next step…

…it’s my mission according to the constitution. It’s the mission of the army according to the constitution; it’s the mission of the state’s institutions according to the constitution. It’s not an option, it’s not a personal opinion, and it’s not my plan. My mission is to defend the civilians. My mission is to fight terrorists. My mission is to take control of every part of my country… »

FULL VIDEO-INTERVIEW

TRANSCRIPT 

(Damascus, 6 October 2016) ~ In an interview given to Denmark’s TV 2 channel, President al-Assad said that “moderate opposition” is a myth, and that reaching a political solution requires fighting terrorism, asserting that it’s not acceptable that terrorists will take control of any part of Syria.

bashar-al-assad_tv2-syrianfreepress-1x1200

President Bashar al-Assad affirmed that the United States doesn’t have the will to reach any agreement about Syria, and that Syria knew in advance that the US agreement with Russia will not succeed because the main part of that agreement is to attack al-Nusra which is an American card in Syria.

Following is the full text of the interview

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Question 1: So, Mr. President, let us begin with the current situation in Aleppo. The last few weeks, terrifying pictures have come out from Aleppo. I mean, we see the residents of the rebel-held eastern part of Aleppo in a very dire situation. They seem exhausted, they seem terrified, the situation is very violent. What is the strategy behind launching such fierce attack from the Syrian and Russian armies at the moment?

President Assad: Actually, we didn’t launch an attack, because the Syrian Army has continued its drive toward liberating every part of Syria including Aleppo or eastern Aleppo from the terrorists, but there was a ceasefire for one week in order to give the treaty, or the agreement, let’s say, between the Russians and the Americans a way to be implemented, and it didn’t work. When that week ended, we continued our drive as army to liberate eastern Aleppo from the terrorists. But actually, when you want to talk about the dire situation in eastern Aleppo, it’s not because of the government; it’s because of the terrorists. They’ve been in that area for years now, but we only heard about that “dire situation” in the media recently, in the Western media, because the situation of the terrorists is very bad. This is the only reason. While if you want to talk about the situation there, we never prevented any medical supply or food supply or any other thing from entering east Aleppo. There’s no embargo, if that’s what you mean, there’s no embargo, and our role as a government is to encircle the terrorists in order to liberate every part of the city.

Question 2: But what I also mean, we see pictures of children being killed, children at hospitals, we see pictures of demolished hospitals. Who’s targeting those hospitals?

President Assad: Let me tell you something about those pictures of children; of course, in every war, there are victims, there are innocent victims, and that’s why every war is a bad war, but if you look at those pictures that they’ve been promoted as pictures in the Western media, they only singled out a few pictures of children that suit their political agenda, just to accuse the Syrian government, while – you’ve been here now for two days – and they’ve been daily shelling from the eastern part of Aleppo toward the rest of the city, and there was wholesale killing and destruction of the other part of the city and tens of victims and tens of wounded people from Aleppo that the Western corporations didn’t talk about them. The Western officials didn’t issue a single statement regarding those children and women and elderly and innocents in general. So, this is part of the propaganda and demonization of the government in Syria. That doesn’t mean when you have war, again, that you don’t have victims, but the Syrian government has opened the door for the militants in the eastern part of Aleppo to leave safely with guarantees, and for the people of that area to go back to their houses.

Question 3: But residents in the area, eyewitnesses, international aid organizations, all saying that the hospitals have been targeted, and when I look at the pictures, I see hospitals, I see the beds inside the hospitals, and to me it really looks like it is demolished, it has been targeted, so who’s targeting the hospitals?

President Assad: I don’t have the answer to which hospital are you talking about, because we don’t have any facts about it, we only have allegations, so answering allegations shouldn’t be only through-

Question 4: But pictures are facts.

President Assad: Pictures cannot tell you the story, even videos, everything could be manipulated these days. I wouldn’t say that there are no such attacks on any building, but as a government, we don’t have a policy to destroy hospitals or schools or any such facility for a simple reason: first of all, morally, the second reason is that if we do so, we are offering the militants the incubator, the social incubator that they’ve been looking for, it’s going to be a gift, something we wouldn’t do because it’s against our interests. It’s like shooting ourselves in the foot. If there’s such an attack from the army, it could be by mistake, but we don’t have any information that thing has happened. All what we have is allegations and only in the Western media, not from Syria.

Question 5: So, if the Syrian Army didn’t attack hospitals, or maybe they did by mistake, you say, are you sure it’s not the Russian air force who are targeting hospitals?

President Assad: The question that you should ask when you have a crime: who is the beneficiary of that crime? What would they get, I mean for the Russians or the Syrians, if they attack a school or if they attack hospital? What would they get if they attack a hospital? Nothing, they wouldn’t get anything. I mean, even if you want to talk about the terrorists, most of their hospitals for the militants would be in the basement in ordinary buildings. So, attacking a hospital intentionally by the army is based on shaky logic, let’s say.

Question 6: Do you then agree that whoever attacks hospitals, they are guilty of war crimes?

President Assad: Of course, by international law, it is. I mean, hospitals have immunity. Any other facility for any inhabited area – inhabited by civilians, not by militants – has immunity, and any government shouldn’t do it, of course, I agree with you.

Question 7: Mr. President, you have kids yourself, and I’m sure you’re also watching television, you also watch these pictures of children at the hospitals, children being buried in the rubble. How does it affect you when you look at these pictures of Syrian children?

President Assad: Of course, I have children, I have the same feelings of any father and mother who would care a lot about their children, and how would they feel if they lose a member of their family. And by the way, we lost members of our families during the conflict because of the terrorist attacks. But when you look at those killed children, you think why? Why the terrorists did so? Why did Qatar and Saudi Arabia and Turkey commit those crimes? And I wonder why would the Western countries, mainly the USA and its allies in Europe, have supported those terrorists who’ve been committing crimes in Syria? That’s the first thing I thought about. Of course, as President, the second thing that I would think about is how can I protect the Syrian people and the Syrian children, and how can I protect the innocent from having the same fate in any coming day.

Question 8: So, you are blaming the rebels in the eastern part of Aleppo of being behind the attacks on the children of Aleppo?

President Assad: You can take your camera to Aleppo, to the other part of Aleppo which is under the control of the government, which is – I mean, when you see the fact, it’s more credible than what I’m going to say – but you can see how many civilians have been killed during the last two months in Aleppo. Hundreds of civilians have been killed by the rebels. The question is why didn’t we hear about them in the Western media? That’s my question. Again, I wouldn’t say that you don’t having civilians going as victims, but when it’s shelled by mortars by the rebels intentionally, we have to talk about this crime as well.

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Question 9: At the moment, there’s a seven-year-old girl, her name is Bana al-Abed, from Aleppo. She’s Tweeting about her life in the eastern part of Aleppo. She’s talking about the massive bombardment. She’s very scared, every time she wakes up and realizes, fortunately, she’s still alive. Do you trust her as an eyewitness?

President Assad: You cannot build your political position or stand, let’s say, according to a video promoted by the terrorists or their supporters. It’s a game now, a game of propaganda, it’s a game of media. You can see anything, and you can be sympathetic with every picture and every video you see. But our mission as a government is to deal with the reality. You have terrorists in Syria, they are supported by foreign powers and foreign countries, and we have to defend our country. In some areas, the terrorists use the civilians as a human shield, but we have to do our job to liberate them, we cannot say “we won’t do anything because the terrorists are holding those hostages.” It’s our mission. Again, we are going to the same point; you always have mistakes that are committed by anyone, but this is not policy, and you always have innocent victims of that war.

Question 10: What kind of mistakes did the Syrian Army do?

President Assad: Any individual mistakes.

Question 11: Have you any examples of mistakes?

President Assad: I mean, you have institutions, I mean anyone could be punished if he commits a mistake, that would happen in any war, in every army, this is common sense.

Question 12: You have encouraged the civilians in the eastern part of Aleppo, and also actually the rebels, to leave the place. You wanted to create a humanitarian corridor. Can you guarantee the safety of those civilians and the rebels if they leave the rebel-held part of the city?

President Assad: Exactly, that’s what we announced a few days ago, and we announced it two months ago, because we wanted the civilians to leave away from the terrorists. Yeah.

Question 13: And how are you going to protect them?

President Assad: They are allowed to leave. It happened many times, in many different areas in Syria. We allowed the terrorists to leave that area in order to protect the civilians. We don’t need any more blood-letting and blood-shedding. This is one of the ways or the methods we’ve been using in order to protect the civilians. Of course, if they don’t obey, we tell the civilians that we’re going to attack that area, so they can move away from it. But the best way is to allow the terrorists to leave, and the civilians will be safe, then you can if you want to follow or chase the terrorists, you can chase them somewhere else where there’s no civilians.

Question 14: Do you understand if people around the world who are watching these terrifying pictures coming out of the eastern part of Aleppo, if they maybe think that you are denying facts? That you also have some kind of responsibility for the victims, for the bombing of the hospitals, for the bombing of the civilian infrastructure? Do you understand that some people, they may think you are denying facts?

President Assad: Look, if we’ve been faced by lies since the beginning of the war on Syria, accepting those lies as reality doesn’t make me credible. I wouldn’t be credible if I say “oh, yeah, you’re right.” That’s why I said there’s a difference between accepting that this is a policy, or accepting that they always have mistakes. I didn’t deny any mistake to be committed by any individual. I said there’s always mistakes. There are always mistakes committed in any war. So, I’m very realistic. But to say that this is our aim as a government, we give the order to destroy hospitals or schools or to kill civilians, this is against our interests. I mean, if you want to put the morals aside, we wouldn’t do it because this is against us, so how can those people, that would say that we are only denying facts, convince anyone that we are working against our interests?

This is first. Second, if we are killing people, Syrian people, and destroying hospitals and committing all these atrocities, and we’ve been faced by all the great powers and the petrodollars in the world, how can I be President after nearly six years of the beginning of the war? I’m not Superman, if I don’t have support, I wouldn’t be here, and because I have the support, and because we defend the Syrian people, we have the support as President or as a government. This is how to refute all these claims. I mean, at the end, the reality is telling.

Question 15: So, there’s a fierce battle going on in Aleppo right now. What will be the Syrian army and the Russian army’s next move to retake the eastern rebel-held part of Aleppo?

President Assad: To continue the fight with the rebels till they leave Aleppo. They have to. There’s no other option. We won’t accept that terrorists will take control of any part of Syria, not only Aleppo. This is our mission, and this is our goal, and this is our next step.

Question 16: So, this intense way of warfare that we see right will continue, that’s what you’re saying?

President Assad: No, if you have any other option like the reconciliations in other areas, that’s the best option, not the war, and that’s why we announced – we gave many amnesties to hundreds, and maybe thousands, not hundreds, thousands of militants, in order to save blood, and it worked. That’s why we said we give them guarantee, whether they want to have reconciliation and to have the amnesty, or to leave with their armaments outside the city of Aleppo completely, to leave the city safe, and for the people to go back to their normal life.

Question 17: The United States, they stopped all bilateral talks with Russia about any kind of peace agreement, and the Russians they said that they actually regret this. Do you regret it as well?

President Assad: We regret it, but we knew in advance that it wouldn’t work, because the agreement, it’s not only about the talks between the two great powers, it’s not about what they’re going to sign or agree upon; it’s about the will, and we already knew, we had already known that the Americans didn’t have the will to reach any agreement, because the main part of that agreement is to attack al-Nusra which is, according to the American list and to the United Nations list, is a terrorist group, but in the Syrian conflict, it’s an American card. Without al-Nusra, the Americans cannot have any real, let’s say, concrete and effective card in the Syrian arena. That’s why we regret it, but we already knew that it wouldn’t happen.

Question 18: But isn’t it very difficult for the United States to separate the so-called “moderate rebels” and some of the more radical ones? This is very difficult, when you are attacking the moderate rebels all the time.

President Assad: You are right, do you know why you are right? Do you know the unicorn, the animal that’s like a horse, has a long horn? It’s a myth. And the moderate opposition is a myth. That’s why you cannot separate something that doesn’t exist from something that exists. All of them have the same grassroots, the same grassroots that used to be called “free Syrian army” four years ago, five years ago, then it became al-Nusra, then it became ISIS. So, the same grassroots move from group to another group. That’s why they cannot separate it. And they don’t want.. if this is reality, not a myth, they don’t want, but they cannot, because it doesn’t exist.

Question 19: But why did you ask them to do it if it’s not possible?

President Assad: Because they insisted that there is a moderate opposition, and the Russian told them “ok, if there is a moderate opposition, please separate those moderates from the extremists,” and it didn’t work, because they don’t exist, that’s why.

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Question 20: What do you think will be the consequences of the US suspension of the bilateral talks? I mean, until now, the Syrian and Russian armies, they have avoided direct clashes with the US army. Do you think that there’s an increased risk of direct attacks between you and your allies and the US army?

President Assad: Many people are talking about the escalation, if the agreement didn’t work or if it’s not implemented. But actually that escalation has been happening for a while now. I mean, before that agreement, let’s say, failed, the Americans attacked our forces in Deir Ezzor, and everybody knows that only one group existed in Deir Ezzor, which is ISIS, and ISIS came and took the place of the Syrian Army and they threaten the city, which is called Deir Ezzor, because of the American attacks. So, talking about escalation, it’s already happening. Talking about direct confrontation, since World War II, that never happened, I mean, it was very close to happening during the Cuban missile crisis, in 1962 I think. Now the situation is different, because in the United States you don’t have superior statecraft. When you don’t have superior statecraft, you should expect anything, and you should always expect the worse. I’m sure that Russia is doing its best not to reach that point, but do the Americans – or, let’s say, the “hawks” part or the group within the administration – do their best to avoid that confrontation, or the opposite, do their best to have this confrontation with Russia? That’s what worries us.

Question 21: And talking about the incident in Deir Ezzor on September 17. It was British, Australian, US, and Danish fighter jets who allegedly attacked the Syrian Army. Denmark, like the other countries, they said it was a mistake. Do you accept that explanation?

President Assad: We accept the explanation, but that doesn’t mean we accept that error, doesn’t mean we justify it. To say a mistake, maybe you have the wrong information, especially as you are fulfilling an American mission; I’m sure not the Danish, not the British, decided which target they should attack. I’m sure the Americans said “this is our target, and this is where ISIS is.” Of course, they deceive the others, and tell them “we’re going to attack ISIS.” Maybe that’s the truth. But is it acceptable for the Danish people that your army is fulfilling military missions of other countries without verifying the target and knowing where is it heading? Do you take a bus without knowing where the bus is going to? You don’t. So, it’s not acceptable. Maybe it’s a mistake, that’s true, but the mistake is not acceptable.

Question 22: So do you think that, indirectly, Denmark, they were helping ISIS?

President Assad: In reality, they helped ISIS because of this attack, because they killed tens of Syrian soldiers who are defending the city of Deir Ezzor from being under the control of ISIS, and now ISIS took the place, took the hills that overlook the city, so they could be able someday to take control of Deir Ezzor because of that attack.

Question 23: And you think that the US, they did that on purpose, and Denmark, they helped them without knowing?

President Assad: I don’t know about Denmark; I don’t know if it’s without knowing. Maybe. The only reason that makes me believe so is because the Europeans implement and fulfill what the Americans want in every field without asking and without discussing, to be frank, so it could be one of the reasons. But for the Americans, a hundred percent, they did it intentionally, because ISIS gathered their militants in the same place before the attack, and when the attack started, it took about one hour, and in the next hour ISIS attacked and took control of those hills. How could ISIS knew about this raid before it happened? Of course, this is not the only indication for us that the United States is supporting ISIS, the attack on Palmyra, when they occupied and took control of Palmyra under the supervision of the Americans, the smuggling of oil, the extraction of oil from oil fields in Syria in the desert in the middle of the day. This is a strong indication that the United States has been supporting ISIS in order to use ISIS.

Question 24: Until now, the Danish government they have followed US policy towards Syria. They even said that they were willing to engage in a military operation against the Syrian Army. What do you think about the Danish policy towards Syria?

President Assad: First of all, the intervention in Syria, as part of the international coalition which is actually an American coalition, this is against the international law, this is against the sovereignty of Syria because this is not in coordination with the Syrian government, while the Russian came to Syria after taking the permission of the Syrians; actually after having an invitation from the Syrian government to support us in our fight against the terror. So this is against the sovereignty, this is against the international law and this is against any moralized policy anywhere in the world. It’s illegal.

The other aspect of that policy is the embargo. As part of the European Union, they made embargo on the Syrian population; tens of millions of Syrians, they are not allowed to reach the basic needs of their life. For example, you cannot buy now pumps for the water, they cannot buy medical equipment to diagnose somebody who has a cancer who would die because he cannot afford these materials. The embargo prevents the Syrian companies, airlines companies, from having spare parts for their airplanes in order to prevent those airplanes from crashing in the air and killing the passengers. This is the policy of the European Union, and Denmark is part of that policy.

Question 25: But what else should they do? I mean, they are very much against what’s going on in Syria right now. They have been supporting the opposition. Maybe they don’t want to be involved in a direct war with the Syrian Army. So what else to do?

President Assad: For the government?

Journalist: Yes.

President Assad: The question is would you as a Danish citizen accept me as a foreigner to support opposition in your country with money and to tell them “go and kill, and that’s how you achieve your political goals?” If there is opposition, what is the definition of opposition? Could you accept an opposition in your country that belongs to other countries? Or should it be a Danish opposition that belongs to Danish people. They cannot tell which opposition to support in any other country. This is an intervention in internal matters. This is against the sovereignty, against the international law. They don’t have the right to support anyone in Syria against anyone. It’s not their business. We are a sovereign country; we are independent. We have the right to tackle our problems. So, they’re not in a position to support anyone, whether right or wrong.

Question 26: Do you see Denmark as an enemy of Syria?

President Assad: No, they are not. They are not an enemy. There is a big difference between the Danish people, like most of the European people, they were friends to Syria, but it’s about the policy of the government. It’s about whole Europe now being absent from the political map at least since 2003 after the invasion of Iraq, just because they had to follow the Americans, and they don’t dare to take their independent, let’s say, path in politics. We differentiate precisely between the government and the people of Denmark, and the same for other countries.

Question 27: If it could speed up the negotiations for a peaceful future in Syria, if you left office and may be another one from the Syrian administration took over, why wouldn’t you do that?

President Assad: To leave, you mean?

Journalist: Yes.

President Assad: That depends on the Syrian people. It’s not my decision. And if you don’t have the support of the Syrian people, you have to leave right away, because without their support, you cannot achieve anything, you cannot produce anything, you are going to fail. So that’s simply the reason, especially during the war you have to lead the ship to the shore; you don’t run away because there is a war, unless the Syrian people want you to leave. If I’m the problem, again, or the other point, let’s say, or the other side of the story, if I’m the reason of the war, I would leave. But it’s not about me; I am just used as a nominal reason. It’s much bigger than that; it’s about Syria, it’s about the government, it’s about the independence, it is about the war on the regional level, it is about the war between the great powers. Syria is just the headline and the President is the main headline.

Question 28: So you don’t think that you are one of the reasons for the war?

President Assad: No, I am not a reason for the war, because if I am a reason, the war should have started in 2000, since I became President, not 2011 when the money started pouring from Qatar and when the United States took the decision that they want topple governments and presidents because they do not suit them.

Question 29: But don’t you think you are the reason that the war escalated?

President Assad: Because of me?

Journalist: Yes.

President Assad: So, the terrorists according to what you are saying, terrorists are not responsible, they are very peaceful people. The money of Qatar and Saudi Arabia and Turkey are something legal and natural, let’s say, and the agenda of the United States fulfilled the needs of the Syrian people, which is not realistic.

Question 30: Mr. President, you have said many times that you will continue the fight until you have recaptured the whole country, is that still your approach to this process?

President Assad: No, it’s not my approach; it’s my mission according to the constitution. It’s the mission of the army according to the constitution; it’s the mission of the state’s institutions according to the constitution. It’s not an option, it’s not a personal opinion, and it’s not my plan. My mission is to defend the civilians. My mission is to fight terrorists. My mission is to take control of every part of my country. You don’t take part of your country as a state. You don’t say “it is enough for me have half of the country” or so.

Question 31: So you think that you are defending the civilians?

President Assad: Definitely.

Question 32: I mean more than hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed; some people say 250 thousands; some people say 300 thousands. Do you think that you are defending the civilians in Syria?

President Assad: The majority of those that you are talking about, the victims, are supporters of the government, not the opposite. Another part which is unbiased, in the middle, it doesn’t belong to the government or to the other. So the majority are supporters. So, of course, I am defending the civilians. Again, otherwise if I’m not, If I’m killing the civilians, as the propaganda would promote for four years, I wouldn’t be here as President. I cannot withstand for nearly six years.

Question 33: Last question, Mr. President: Do you believe in a diplomatic political solution, or do you, deep inside your heart, know that this is going to be a military solution, and that is really what you want?

President Assad: Neither, neither, because when you have a problem you have a solution, you don’t have a kind of solution, but the problem itself will tell you how many aspects of that problems you have. For example, if I believe in political solution but you have terrorism, you cannot have a political solution because you have chaos. If you have chaos, this is the antithesis to anything natural, including the political process. So, you need first to fight terrorists in order to reach political solution. So, in reality, you have to follow both paths; the military and the diplomatic or the political, because they are related to each other. So, it’s not about my belief; it’s not what I believe; it’s what the requirement of this conflict to be solved. So you don’t define it. The whole circumstances define it. For example, regarding the terrorists, it’s not only about military solution; it’s about the adjacent countries and the Western countries stop supporting the terrorists. If they stop supporting them, the military aspect of that solution will be marginalized; it won’t be important because they will be weak. You will give a chance to more political initiatives in that regard. If they support them more, actually what is going to happen is the opposite; the political solution or path will be marginalized. So, it’s not about what I believe in. I wish we can solve everything politically, I wish, that’s what I think is suitable, but it’s not about what I wish, it’s about the facts on the ground.

Journalist: Thank you very much, Mr. President.

President Assad: Thank you for coming.

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“Millions of people need its sanctuary and protection.  History will frown on those who do not build. » — Editorial, The Guardian, Aug 15, 2011

There was very little in the manner of elaborateness on this occasion.  There were no hysterics, though there was some surprise from pundits behind the selection of Portugal’s António Guterres as Ban Ki-moon’s successor for Secretary-General of the United Nations.  Where, went this line of alarm, was the woman? After all, seven out of 13 candidates were vying for the position.

The position itself has become more of a bauble of over the years, while the organisation has slid into the background, seemingly broken.  The United Nations remains a beast held captive, for the most part, by the Permanent Five, powers vested with the killing strength of a veto.  Wars continue to rage with merciless execution, exercised through proxy theatres and actors, while the organisation takes the next battering on its chin.

As for contenders, it seemed that the punters got it wrong again, this, in a season when they have been mistaken about so much in terms of elections.  The talking heads chewed off each other’s ears suggesting that the next Secretary-General would be a competent female, or from Eastern Europe, or both.

Even Ban decided to weigh in, claiming it was “high time now” for a female Secretary-General.  The straw polls yielded rather different results, the first placing the head of Unesco, Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, third, before subsequently dropping to fifth.

When the announcement came, The Campaign to Elect a Woman UN Secretary-General expressed “outrage” at the decision.  “There were seven outstanding female candidates and in the end it appears they were never seriously considered.”[1]  That’s diplomacy for you.

Guterres seemed beat his fellow contenders with some imaginary stick of competence, convincing the Security Council to unanimously back him.  “What we are looking for,” claimed British ambassador Matthew Rycroft, “is a strong secretary general… who will take the United Nations to the next level in terms of leadership, and who will provide a convening power and a moral authority at a time when the world is divided on issues, above all like Syria.”[2]

Much wishful thinking there, and thoughts more dissimulating than not.  An active, strong Secretary-General is exactly the sort of chap these powers do not want.  Damning praise is code for not rocking the boat.  By all means, venture a criticism here and there, but generally keep matters afloat and civil as a servant to the countries at the UN.

During Ban’s tenure, powers, often of the brutish variety, have been given a decent white wash, in some cases gruesomely so.  Burma, Sri Lanka and China, at various stages, have benefited from Ban’s efforts to, as Human Rights Watch claims, “portray oppressive governments in a positive light.”  He may well have put it down to the daily seediness of diplomacy.

The point is always to be wary of anything stemming from a permanent Security Council member.  US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power insists on someone who can “mobilize coalitions” and avail himself of “creaky” yet necessary “tools” to cure the international dysfunction that that risen, even if her role in aggravating that state of affairs is undeniable.  Within the ramshackle organisation, aggressive, spoiling powers cause mischief and sow ills without discrimination.

The backers of the Secretary-General sometimes misjudge their man, finding that the office is occupied by overly active, if not ambitious figures.  For one, a decision was made in 1945 to limit the office-holder’s powers to bring to the attention of the Security Council violations of international law.  In other words, the SG was meant to avoid doing something seemingly essential to the office: guarding the Charter with its lofty aspirations.

The Security Council seemed to buck that trend in August 2001, adopting Resolution 1366 which recognised “the essential role of the Secretary-General in the prevention of armed conflict and the importance of efforts to enhance his role in accordance with Article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations.”[3]

Kofi Annan also went well outside his remit, devising the millennium goals while embracing that fraught philosophy known as the Responsibility to Protect.  Previously, such figures as Dag Hammarskjöld proved steely in his resolve, so much so there remains more than a hint he was done away by way of a plane crash on his way to cease-fire negotiations in the Congo.

It was Hammarskjöld, deemed by some a virtual prime minister of the organisation, who came up with the notion that the UN Secretariat should be working on the edge of progress, ever engaged in preventive diplomacy.  The current office holder has often, by way of contrast, seemed on the edge of an abyss, indifferent to conflagration and calamity.

For all the bad press over the years, the UN can, at stages, do better than the imperial powers that claim to have mastered the art of governance.  UN peacekeeping missions cost a fraction than those of standard forces of brutal, even clumsy occupation.  Preventive diplomacy can yield less destructive results.  Whether such scope afforded the new SG, who intends to bring “swift decisions which the troubled world we live in demands” is hard to envisage in a post-Ban world.

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

Notes

[1] https://twitter.com/She4SG
[2] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37568433
[3] https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N01/524/48/PDF/N0152448.pdf?OpenElement

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No one has a crystal ball that allows them to foresee precisely what’s going to happen as the new Tory government of Manitoba really gets down to business in the months ahead. But there are some things we can be pretty sure about.

The Tories will claim that it’s vital to curb provincial government spending to reduce Manitoba’s deficit and move toward balancing the budget. In reality, there’s no deficit crisis. Not only was the share of provincial revenue spent on servicing the debt in the 2015-16 fiscal year low, it was lower than it had been three years prior. The Tory « cure » – austerity – for the non-existent crisis might not even lower the deficit.

But a balanced budget isn’t the real objective (if the Tories had inherited one, they’d simply be talking about ‘reinventing government’ or some other justification for their program). Although some Tory MLAs may be so naive as to believe that lowering the deficit is the government’s true goal, and that doing this will somehow lead companies in Manitoba to hire more people and pay them more, they’re wrong on both counts.

Pushing Markets Further

One of the things that this government’s strategic thinkers really want to do is weaken public services. Deficit reduction is a means to that end. The Tories embrace this goal because they are ardently committed to neoliberal ideology. This vision aims to make people more dependent on markets (in other words, private firms) to meet their needs. It favours the delivery of healthcare, social services and education by for-profit firms. So we should expect not just spending cuts but also moves to create new opportunities for companies to make money, through privatization, contracting-out, deregulation (coming soon: Uber?), public-private partnerships (P3s), social impact bonds, and schemes that claim to offer people more ‘choice’.

It’s worth emphasizing that the Tory goal isn’t getting rid of government, as some critics will say. One of the key goals of neoliberalism “is to redefine the shape and functions of the state, not to destroy it,” as the astute analyst Philip Mirowski has pointed out. The Tories want to use government powers to push markets deeper into society. This includes reorganizing what’s left of the public sector so it operates more like the private sector. They’re also keen on pumping up one part of the state: the already-inflated violent system of policing and prisons.

One of the other things the Tories are eager to do is weaken unions and workers’ rights, since these are barriers to higher corporate profits (just like environmental and other regulations on what companies can do, which they also want to take down). The fact that the public sector is highly unionized is another reason why the Tories so like the idea of restructuring it in neoliberal ways. Changing the Labour Relations Act to make it harder for workers to unionize may be just the start of an assault on unions. Watch out for changes to the Employment Standards Act too. The Tories can’t even pretend that these moves have anything to do with lowering the deficit – higher profits is what they’re all about.

Potential for Protest, and More

The weakness of grassroots union activism and community organizing to demand change in Manitoba mean that few people have experience acting collectively to defend their interests (unlike in Quebec, for example). The discrediting of the NDP after its decisive election loss means that many people think there’s no alternative to what the Tories propose.

For these reasons it may well be difficult to mobilize much protest until the Tories introduce big cuts or really aggressive legislation. But as the response to the Newfoundland Liberal government’s attacks this year makes clear, such attacks can quickly spark opposition on a scale that most foes of austerity would have thought impossible.

Yet even if the Tories proceed cautiously their attacks will harm many people. This will create possibilities for protest and, going beyond that, real resistance that tries to stop attacks. Even small-scale short-lived mobilizations can contain seeds that may flower into ongoing organizing efforts in workplaces, on campuses, in neighbourhoods or among specific communities of people. The Tories are less popular among indigenous people than in the non-indigenous population, so indigenous mobilization may develop more quickly.

With this in mind, people who recognize what the Tories have in mind for Manitoba should set ourselves the goal of building active opposition to their attacks. Just waiting for the next election will mean not even trying to repel Tory attacks. Just waiting will also demoralize people hurt by the Tories, making them less likely to bother to vote in the next election.

Starting from where we’re at, we should aim to build protests that escalate to higher levels of resistance, including strike action. What’s needed is a mass social movement that can force the government from office, much as happened in Quebec in 2012. That’s a long shot, but it is what we should aspire to.

Right now, planning public protests against Tory attacks is a first step. Another is equipping more people with a clear understanding of neoliberalism and with organizing skills. •

David Camfield teaches Labour Studies and Sociology at the University of Manitoba. He is the author of the chapter on Manitoba in a forthcoming book on fiscal policy and public services in Canada’s provinces. This article first published on the Solidarity Winnipeg website.

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Eight years after the eruption of the global financial crisis, the conditions are being created for another meltdown of even bigger proportions, amid rising geo-political and economic tensions between the major capitalist powers.

This is the implication of three reports issued by the International Monetary Fund in preparation for its annual meeting, which begins in Washington today. The World Economic Outlook reported lower growth in all the advanced economies, underscoring the lack of a genuine recovery in the global economy, while two financial reports pointed to mounting instability resulting from the injection by central banks of trillions of dollars into the world financial system.

Taken together, the reports point to the underlying economic contradictions that are fuelling a series of crises. These include slowing world trade and rising protectionist measures, the row between the US and the European Union over tax payments by Apple, the move by the US Justice Department to impose a $14 billion penalty on Deutsche Bank, the breakdown in talks on the US-sponsored Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and accusations from politicians in Berlin that the US is waging “economic warfare.”

The increasing instability of the financial system was highlighted in the IMF’s twice-yearly Fiscal Monitor report issued on Wednesday. It found that debt in the nonfinancial sector of the world economy had doubled in nominal terms since the turn of the century, reaching $152 trillion last year and continuing to rise.

Current debt levels are 225 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), rising from 200 percent in 2002. The IMF said that while there was no consensus on how much debt was too much, current debt levels, of which two-thirds is privately held, were at a record high.

There was a need for deleveraging, but the current low-growth environment was making “the adjustment very difficult, setting the stage for a vicious feedback loop in which lower growth hampers deleveraging and the debt overhang exacerbates the slowdown.”

The report said the debt overhang problem, characterised as a situation in which the borrower’s debt service liability exceeds its future repayment capacity, “resides squarely within advanced economies’ private sector.”

While the IMF did not make the point, its analysis exposes the claim that too much government spending is the cause of mounting financial problems. According to the Fiscal Monitor report, the easing of restrictions on credit meant that nonfinancial private-sector debt in the major economies increased by 35 percent of GDP in the years leading up to the global financial crisis.

Significantly, there was a rapid rise in household debt in this period. The report did not point to the reasons, but two major factors undoubtedly were the low level of wage increases, forcing increased borrowing, and the surge in house prices in a number of countries, itself a product of credit expansion. The IMF noted that in some countries—Australia, Canada and Singapore—private-sector debt had continued to accumulate at a fast pace.

The report found that public debt, which makes up one-third of the total, had risen from 70 percent of global GDP to 85 percent. But almost half of this increase was a result of low nominal growth. In other words, far from the rise in government debt being the result of “profligate” spending on health, pensions and social services—the mantra of those demanding austerity—its expansion is rooted in the ongoing stagnation following the 2008 financial crisis.

A second financial report, Global Financial Stability, drew out the growing risks to the financial system. It said that while short-term risks had abated since the previous report in April, “the medium-term risks are building.” The continued slowdown in global growth had prompted financial markets to expect a continued period of low inflation, low interest rates and “an even longer delay in normalizing monetary policy.”

It warned, however, that some monetary policies, such as negative interest rates, were “reaching the limits of their effectiveness, and the medium-term side effects of low rates are rising for banks and other financial institutions.”

Pension funds and insurance companies, which are dependent for their financing on investment in long-term government bonds, were particularly adversely affected, with their solvency “threatened by a prolonged period of low interest rates.”

Financial institutions as a whole in the advanced economies faced a “number of cyclical and structural challenges and need to adapt to the new era of low growth and low interest rates.” If these challenges were left unaddressed, it “could undermine financial soundness.”

These problems go to the very heart of the capitalist financial system—the banks. The report stated that weak profitability could “erode banks’ buffers and undermine their ability to support growth.” Even if there were a cyclical recovery in the economy, this would not resolve the problems of low profitability. “Over 25 percent of banks in advanced economies (about $11.7 trillion in assets) would remain weak and face significant structural challenges,” with the problems concentrated in the European and Japanese banking sector.

“In the euro area,” the report stated, “excessive nonperforming loans and structural drags on profitability require urgent and comprehensive action.” Reducing nonperforming loans and addressing deficiencies in capital were a priority.

The mounting financial problems, while concentrated in the advanced economies, are not confined to them. The report found that in emerging market economies, around 11 percent of corporate debt, over $400 billion, was held by firms with “weak repayment capacity.”

High debt levels and excess capacity made it difficult for these companies to “grow out of the problem” which left them “sensitive to downside external or domestic developments,” and if interest rates started to rise and earnings fell, “such a scenario would exhaust bank capital buffers in some emerging markets.”

Another area of concern was China, where “continued rapid credit growth… and expanding shadow banking products pose mounting risks to financial stability.” The rapidly growing financial system “is becoming increasingly leveraged and interconnected, and a variety of innovative vehicles and products are adding to the complexity.” Corporate debt at risk remained high and “underlying risks from non-loan credit exposures add to these challenges.”

The three reports point to the deepening contradictions of the global capitalist system. The IMF has insisted that in the absence of any cyclical rise of the economy, monetary policy alone cannot bring about a recovery, and government infrastructure and other spending is necessary to provide a boost.

But such spending would increase debt and would depend on interest rates remaining low. Ultra-low interest rates, however, are increasingly undermining the stability of banks and other financial institutions, creating the conditions for another financial crisis, which will further inflame the already high level of geo-political and economic conflict.

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The psychopaths in Washington and in the pentagon is preparing for a nuclear confrontation with Russia with recent tests of two fake 700-pound nuclear bombs in the Nevada desert. Defense One, a U.S. Military website for the defense industry published an article by Marcus Weisgerber titled The US Air Force Just Dropped Two Fake Nukes’ on October 6th and stated “A pair of U.S. Air Force B-2 bombers dropped two 700-pound faux nuclear bombs in the middle of the Nevada desert within the past few days. Now the Pentagon wants to tell you about it.”

The Pentagon not only wants the public to know about these tests but also to warn Russia that it is testing its old version of the B61 nuclear bombs to pinpoint the accuracy and reliability in case of a real world war III scenario were to take place.

A press release by the National Nuclear Security Administration(NNSA) on the same day stated the following:

« In collaboration with the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command, NNSA conducted successful surveillance flight tests using joint test assemblies (JTA) of the B61-7 and B61-11 earlier this month. Analysis and flight recorder data from the tests indicate that both were successful.

JTAs are mock weapons containing sensors and instrumentation that allow scientists and engineers from national laboratories to assess their performance. The assemblies contain no nuclear materials and are not capable of nuclear yield. These assemblies also include a flight recorder that stores bomb performance data for each test.

The primary objective of flight testing is to obtain reliability, accuracy, and performance data under operationally representative conditions. Such testing is part of the qualification process of current alterations and life extension programs for weapon systems. NNSA scientists and engineers use data from these tests in computer simulations developed by Sandia National Laboratories to evaluate the weapon systems’ reliability and to verify that they are functioning as designed ».

Weisgerber asked “But why now? Perhaps it has to do with tensions with Russia, which are higher than they have been in decades, and which have sparked fears of a new nuclear arms race.”

Russia is also preparing for a worst case scenario as it announced a drill for its citizens in case Washington decides to launch a nuclear weapon into Russian territory. Washington has been threatening Russia over the civil war in Syria. Washington, Turkey.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have been the main supporters of al-Nusra and other terrorist groups since the start of the civil war in 2011 which has failed since Russia got involved in the conflict. The plan to remove Assad has failed and now Washington is escalating it war rhetoric against Russia. Another possible explanation for the nuclear weapons tests and they may have to do with more funding for the Military-Industrial Complex. Weisber said “But it may also have to do with the Pentagon’s quest to replace its decades-old nuclear arsenal with new bombs and delivery vehicles, an endeavor whose price tag tops several hundred billion dollars.” War is big business. War is profitable on many levels especially for arms manufacturers.

However, a war against Iran,China and Russia is on the table because they are the last remaining obstacles to Washington’s global dominance. Washington is contemplating a possible nuclear war against their adversaries because their cadres of psychopaths are willing to unleash a nuclear disaster for the entire planet to achieve their stated goals. Can Russia bring peace and avoid World War III when the next regime to assume the White House comes to power this January?

If Hillary Clinton wins (or steals) the election, that question is not hard to answer especially with the neoconservative war hawks and special interest groups who support her. Clinton is a Democratic warmonger in her own right as the recent U.S. intervention in Libya proves what she is capable of. With a Trump presidency it is still vague on what type of foreign policy he would follow.  However, U.S. Vice-Presidential candidate Mike Pence made it clear what he believes should be done in a recent U.S. televised debate regarding U.S-Russia tensions in Syria:

« The United States of America needs to begin to exercise strong leadership to protect the vulnerable citizens and over 100,000 children in Aleppo. Hillary Clinton’s top priority when she became secretary of state was the Russian reset, the Russians reset. After the Russian reset, the Russians invaded Ukraine and took over Crimea.

And the small and bullying leader of Russia is now dictating terms to the United States to the point where all the United States of America — the greatest nation on Earth — just withdraws from talks about a cease-fire while Vladimir Putin puts a missile defense system in Syria while he marshals the forces and begins — look, we have got to begin to lean into this with strong, broad-shouldered American leadership.

It begins by rebuilding our military. And the Russians and the Chinese have been making enormous investments in the military. We have the smallest Navy since 1916. We have the lowest number of troops since the end of the Second World War. We’ve got to work with Congress, and Donald Trump will, to rebuild our military and project American strength in the world.

But about Aleppo and about Syria, I truly do believe that what America ought to do right now is immediately establish safe zones, so that families and vulnerable families with children can move out of those areas, work with our Arab partners, real time, right now, to make that happen.

And secondly, I just have to tell you that the provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength. And if Russia chooses to be involved and continue, I should say, to be involved in this barbaric attack on civilians in Aleppo, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Aleppo.

There’s a broad range of other things that we ought to do, as well. We ought to deploy a missile defense shield to the Czech Republic and Poland which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama pulled back on out of not wanting to offend the Russians back in 2009 ».

Pence’s statement is hawkish which proves that whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump (who is also surrounding himself with neoconservatives such as former CIA director James Woolsey as his senior adviser and Joseph Schmitz who was a Defense Department inspector general under President George W. Bush), 2017 is sure to be a politically intense year for the World. Will it be peace or war? Washington’s reckless drive to World War III needs to be stopped in its tracks; let’s hope Russia and its allies can deter such a scenario.

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The situation in Syria is dangerously veering out of control, with the US threatening strikes against the Syrian Arab Army while Russia has suggested that it would shoot down any incoming threat to its servicemen. The alternative media is ablaze with speculative talk about the onset of World War III, and a distinct feeling of unease has suddenly spread across the world. All objective observers realize that Russia and the US have drastically raised the stakes in Syria, with each side escalating their diplomatic rhetoric and military posturing to the point where it indeed appears as though the world is on the brink of total war between the two strongest nuclear powers. The problem with this convincing analysis, however, is that it doesn’t take into account whether either of the two sides is bluffing, and it doesn’t draw a distinction between illusion and intent.

Instead, it takes every move and word at face value and discounts the obviousness of both parties waging a psychological war against the nerves and resolve of their decision-making counterparts. Everything that is playing out right now is part of one big show in which both sides are signaling to the other that there are certain red lines that they won’t accept the other crossing, though it’s unclear at this moment whether either Great Power will follow through on their implied threats if the other oversteps their bounds. This is why it’s very likely that one of the sides is bluffing, though as games of ‘chicken’ such as this one sometimes end up, it’s very possible that one or the other actor will test the limits in seeing how far they can go, thus either calling their rival’s bluff or triggering a new series of conflict escalations. There’s no comfortable way to get around this fact, so it’s best to be as blunt as possible in the following analysis.

Who’s Calling Whose Bluff In Syria?

Red Lines

Russia and the US have both articulated what in practice amounts to their own red lines for Syria. Moscow declared that “any missile or air strikes on the territory controlled by the Syrian government will create a clear threat to Russian servicemen”, reminding the US that “Russian air defense system crews are unlikely to have time to determine in a ‘straight line’ the exact flight paths of missiles and then who the warheads belong to. And all the illusions of amateurs about the existence of ‘invisible’ jets will face a disappointing reality.” This was popularly interpreted as Russia essentially saying that it will use its S300 and S400 systems to shoot down any jets or cruise missiles that the Pentagon uses to bomb the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), acting on the justification that this sort of immediate response is necessary in order to safeguard the lives of Russian servicemen who might be embedded with the SAA in whatever the targeted location might be.

The US was less direct and relied on CIA and Pentagon “leaks” to reveal its position, which pretty much came down to a desire to bomb the SAA in order to save face for the Russian military and SAA’s astounding anti-terrorist successes around Aleppo since the collapse of the cessation of hostilities agreement in mid-September. To remind the reader, the whole reason why this deal fell through was because Pentagon chief Ashton Carter sabotaged Obama and Kerry’s commitment to it and essentially carried out a “deep state” coup in usurping control of the world’s largest military apparatus from the elected Command-in-Chief. To review, Russia’s red line is any US attack against the SAA, while the US’ is the successful liberation of Aleppo. Syria’s second-largest city could be freed from the terrorists without the US having to launch missiles against the liberators in response, while Russia should rightly defend its servicemen from American attacks if their lives are in danger, so it’s obvious that the escalation prerogative rests solely in the hands of the US, specifically Secretary of War Carter and his “deep state” (permanent military-intelligence-diplomatic bureaucracy) backers.

Assumptions, Assumptions, Assumptions

Everything that was written above is factual and not at all any form of hyperbole, but facts have a curious way of morphing into an indistinguishable form of fiction the longer that the media talks about them and rouses their respective audiences’ emotions. That’s plainly happening right now when it comes to the skyrocketing Russian-US tensions over Syria, though not without good reason, of course. This is a veritably the most important and urgently pressing issue in the world right now due to the enormity of what’s at stake, so it makes sense for all sides to discuss this at depth. Whether intentionally or not, however, the media frenzy from both mainstream and alternative commentators has led to a situation where a plethora of assumptions are seamlessly being inserted into the discussion and discoloring the factual purity of what’s really going on.

Take for instance the unquestioned assumption on behalf of the American media and “deep state” decision makers that the US must “do something” to prevent or forestall what they term as the “fall of Aleppo”, otherwise they’ll be forced to “do something more” to “punish” Russia and Syria for making this happen. The circular groupthink at play here is very dangerous and could foreseeably amount to unprecedentedly deadly consequences if it gets out of control, and there’s no certainty that it won’t because nobody honestly knows who the power behind the Pentagon is at this point. Obama is “officially” the Command-in-Chief but he was neutralized after Secretary of War Carter overrode his ‘ceasefire’ deal and unilaterally sabotaged it by bombing the SAA in Deir ez Zor, and while it might appear that this means that Carter is the one in charge, he’s just a representative of the hardline neoconservative “deep state” faction which used him to seize control of America’s military.

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From the reverse angle, the Russian side is also full of assumptions too, though of a qualitatively different nature. Moscow’s official statements on the matter make it clear that it would act on the condition that it believes that the lives of Russian servicemen are in danger. The particularity of this language is important because legally speaking in terms of the legislation approved by the Russian Duma and President Putin’s public statements on the matter, the Russian anti-terrorist operation in Syria is aimed solely at eliminating terrorists, not necessarily protecting the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic nor the safety of the SAA. The latter two objectives are understandably assumed to form part and parcel of Russia’s mission there seeing as how they’re operationally inseparable from the stated goal of fighting terrorism and sustaining the gains that have thus far been achieved, but when dealing with high-stakes rhetoric at the Great Power level and in the context of a speculated nuclear escalation ladder, technicalities such as these are very important and mustn’t be ignored. Media commentators might pay them no attention, but it’s a sure bet that the Pentagon’s strategists are obsessing over these fine details and gaming out how far they can go in getting away with their vaunted ‘face-saving’ strike on Syria.

Strategic Calculations

Russia and the US know that a conventional engagement between their militaries would instantly throw the world into its worst-ever crisis, immediately spiking the prospects that an apocalyptic nuclear exchange could soon follow if the security dilemma between them is perceived as being insurmountable by that point in time. This is very dangerous and shouldn’t be taken lightly at all, which makes it all the more crazier that the US might seriously be entertaining whether or not it feels “lucky” enough to try and call what it believes to be Russia’s bluff. The way that the Pentagon is analyzing the situation right now is that Russia could halt the threatened escalation that the US is blackmailing it with so long as it stops assisting the SAA with anti-terrorist bombing assistance around Aleppo. The liberation of Aleppo would irreversibly move the War on Syria to its final stage, putting the Syrian people and their democratically elected and legitimate government on the path to victory in dealing the US its worst-ever and most publicly embarrassing defeat in history. This is the reason why the US is so frenziedly invoking the unmistakable specter of nuclear war, since Syria and Russia have never been closer to liberating Aleppo than they are now, and ironically only because the Pentagon sabotaged the ‘ceasefire’ and inadvertently unshackled Damascus and Moscow from its restrictive military conditions.

The US could bow out of the war and let history rightly run its course, but the zealous neoconservative ideologues that have captured control of the American Armed Forces seem intent on staging one last grand stand before the US’ epic retreat from the conflict. This is why they carried out the “deep state” coup in going against Figurehead Obama and bombing the SAA in Deir ez Zor, all with the now-debunked expectation that this would somehow intimidate Russia and Syria and thus compel them into game-changing concessions. To the rational observer, such a scheme was doomed to fail from the get-go, but one must understand that the personalities behind this plot see the world in a completely different light than most people do, largely because of the self-deluding groupthink that pervades their faction. The point isn’t to argue about just how absurd this gambit is, but to demonstrate to the reader how the plotters conceive of the world and provide insight into predicting their next possible course of action in the War on Syria.

Calling The Bluff

There’s no way that Russia will ever give in to the US’ blackmail and halt or curtail its anti-terrorist operation around Aleppo just because the Pentagon is threatening a missile strike against the SAA. Moscow and Damascus would of course prefer the peaceful route to solving the conflict that the US thrust upon the Arab Republic, and there’s still the very vague chance that a French-backed UN ‘ceasefire’ might end up being something attractive for Russia and Syria to pursue, but for now both sides are passionately intent on liberating Aleppo as soon as possible and are holding back at nothing to achieve this monumental objective. Therefore, the neoconservative “deep state” coup faction represented by Secretary of War Carter might actually take the previously unthinkable step of launching attacks against the SAA in order to offset this eventuality or “punish” the Syrians for routing the terrorists. Carter and his ideological clan are trying to figure out whether Russia’s carefully worded announcement that it will shoot down any incoming warplanes or cruise missiles that pose a plausible threat to its servicemen is a bluff, or whether they could exploit the technical nature of the statement and the Russian military presence in Syria in order to “bend the rules” and see what they can get away with.

From the Pentagon’s perspective, it’s unclear to the zealous ideologues if President Putin has the political will to order his military to shoot down any US warplane or cruise missile aiming for the SAA or if it’s possible to notify Moscow in advance of Washington’s intent to symbolically send a couple of ‘face-saving’ salvos to destroy a few SAA runways far away from the locations where Russian servicemen are stationed. Carter and his cronies might be calculating that President Putin won’t raise the stakes in attempting to shoot down whatever assets the US depends on in carrying out this possible strike, wagering that he’ll “let them get away with it” especially if it’s “only” cruise missiles that are used in this operation. The US doesn’t know whether the technical nature of the Ministry of Defense’s statement is an indication that there’s leeway that the Russians are considering, or if it was just purposefully ambiguous in order to preserve Moscow’s strategic flexibility in the event that Washington does indeed take military action. Should the Pentagon take this unprecedented step, it probably wouldn’t risk the lives of its own pilots in doing so, especially since it’s a lot easier for the S300/S400 to shoot down a plane than a cruise missile, and also because the destruction of a cruise missile doesn’t necessitate the same ‘face-saving’ ‘counter-escalation’ that Washington would be pressured to commence as the shooting down of a warplane pilot, especially right before the heated Presidential Election.

Balancing The Unthinkable With The “Doable”

The US has the largest cruise missile stockpile in the world, so if it theoretically wanted to take “decisive action”, it could easily overwhelm the S300/S400 systems through an incessant barrage of attacks against the SAA, but that would definitely push Russia towards pushing the crisis up to and possibly even beyond the nuclear level, which even the most insane neoconservative doesn’t want (at least not until the US’ “missile defense” infrastructure is fully up and running, which will still take decades). Barring this unthinkable scenario, the Pentagon – if it ops to undertake such a course of action – would likely “moderate” its aggression and rely “only” on a few symbolic cruise missiles instead, taking care to notify Russia right beforehand of what its intended targets will be. The situation is very tricky because Russia and the US had probably exchanged intelligence about their on-the-ground forces in the run-up to the ‘ceasefire’s’ planned implementation, so in theory, the US could have previous information about the on-the-ground location of Russian servicemen that Moscow might have earlier volunteered (which explains why the Deir ez Zor location was bombed and not somewhere near Aleppo, for example).

syria-mapThe key distinction, however, is that this information would be outdated, and there’s no guarantee that Russia didn’t move some of its servicemen to SAA-administered military facilities that the US previously thought were only manned by the Syrians. Washington simply doesn’t know if the place that it would be targeting has Russians on the ground there or not, so it would be a ‘leap of faith’ that would represent one of the most irresponsible decisions that the US – or any other country, for that matter – had ever taken in history. Going along with the scenario, if the US lobs cruise missiles at a secluded but symbolic SAA facility and notifies Russia right after the projectiles are already airborne and en route to their destination, then the Russian military – if it doesn’t already have a mandate to shoot down all incoming hostile objects – would be pressured to make a split-second determination over whether or not this attack threatens its servicemen. If Russians are on the ground at the location, then the military will shoot down the incoming assault vehicle, but if they aren’t, then the S300/S400 commanding officer will either have instructions from Putin for how to deal with this or would be tasked with making his own decision given the circumstances.

Concluding Thoughts

Russia knows that the defensive act of shooting down an incoming American cruise missile aggressively targeting the SAA or perhaps even its own servicemen would be exploited by the US as a “provocation” in triggering a predetermined escalation ladder, so the weight of the world will be on its shoulders in deciding how to respond to such an egregious act. The Pentagon might even want to purposely “call Russia’s bluff”, as they see it, in response to Russia doing this to the US as regards the liberation of Aleppo. The author personally believes that Russia should secure all of Syria’s airspace and the safety of every SAA serviceman and servicewoman from each and every incoming attack that the US might launch against them, whether by warplanes, cruise missiles, or whatever other vehicles they may use, but it must be countenanced by all observers that there is a faction of the Russian elite which might be arguing that it’s better to “take the loss” than to “unnecessarily trigger” (as they see it) World War III, especially if they think that the apocalypse might be started if they shoot down a few cruise missiles that Carter and his ilk symbolically launch against an SAA airfield in the middle of the desert, for example.

Again, the author firmly believes that it is Russia’s moral responsibility to safeguard the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic from all outside conventional threats and that this is an absolute necessity in order to sustain the impressive anti-terrorist successes that have thus far been achieved one year after the beginning of the Russian mission in the country, but it can’t be ruled out that actual decision makers inside the Kremlin and within (or in close vicinity to) President Putin’s inner circle think differently about this. Therefore, given the technicality expressly mentioned in Russia’s official statement about how it would respond to any threat against its servicemen in Syria, it’s horrifyingly possible that the “deep state” coup elements that have taken control of the Pentagon and the US’ operations in Syria might want to “test the waters” and see how far they can go in “embarrassing” Russia and “punishing” it and Syria, which could see them deciding to send a few cruise missiles according to the scenario hitherto described in this article in order to see if it can “call Moscow’s bluff”. It would be one of the worst instances of bad judgement in the history of the world if Carter takes this step and is proven wrong by the Russians, since Moscow might not stop at shooting down the cruise missiles over Syria but could even send a couple of its own in equal measure against the air and/or naval assets that launched them in the first place.

Andrew Korybko is the American political commentator currently working for Sputnik agency.

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Il y a 15 ans, le 7 octobre 2001, débutait l’invasion de l’Afghanistan, à laquelle participa le Canada, en riposte à l’attaque du 11 septembre, qui avait provoqué 3000 morts. L’objectif ? Détruire al-Qaïda et, prétendait-on, libérer les Afghanes et construire des écoles. Al-Qaïda était composée d’anciens alliés du « monde libre » ayant lutté contre l’URSS en Afghanistan. Après la guerre froide, ces miliciens réagissaient contre l’ingérence en terres musulmanes des États-Unis et de leurs amis : invasion de l’Irak en 1991, troupes en Arabie saoudite, appui à Israël et à des despotes, etc.

Quel bilan tirer de cette « intervention », alors que des troupes occidentales restent dans ce pays en guerre civile ? En 2015, selon l’ONU, 3545 civils ont été tués, sans compter les dizaines de milliers de morts depuis 2001 et les 2 millions d’exilés. Quant aux femmes emprisonnées, 58 % l’étaient pour « crime moral » (relations sexuelles hors mariage, viols y compris).

Or, les militaristes ne tirent pas de leçon de cette « intervention ». Après un attentat en Occident, le scénario médiatique est toujours le même. On nous présente les portraits Facebook souriants des victimes, des témoignages de proches, des images de gens en larmes devant des fleurs. Ces centaines de morts, quelle horreur. Les militaristes répètent alors qu’il ne faut pas laisser les « fous de Dieu » détruire notre civilisation et qu’il faut — encore — riposter. Après l’attaque à Nice, en juillet, le président français a déclaré : « Nous allons encore renforcer nos actions en Syrie comme en Irak et nous continuerons à frapper ceux qui justement nous attaquent sur notre propre sol, dans leurs repères. » L’Occident ne doute jamais de « son droit » d’attaquer les terres musulmanes. Il l’exerce depuis des décennies (voire des siècles).

Spirale de la violence

Que les militaristes se réjouissent : pendant qu’on prétend l’Occident menacé par le burkini, la « coalition » largue en Syrie et en Irak une bombe toutes les sept minutes, soit 200 par jour (bien plus puissantes que les fameux « barils » lancés des airs par les troupes d’Assad). « Nos » explosions ne méritent pas d’émissions spéciales (au mieux, une dépêche au titre sobre : « 60 civils tués dans une frappe »). Ces morts n’ont pas de visage qui marqueront notre mémoire. Les médias ne se réjouissent pas quand les gens retournent sur les terrasses après un bombardement, pour montrer que la vie continue. Là-bas, bien souvent, il n’y a plus de terrasse, que des ruines.

Pour les intellectuels militaristes, chaque attentat en Occident est aussi une occasion de se présenter comme des résistants osant « nommer l’ennemi », soit l’islamisme, face aux « islamogauchistes », ces « idiots utiles » de l’« islamofascisme ». La « guerre au terrorisme » s’accompagne donc d’une « guerre au progressisme », comme le révèle le nombre effarant de chroniques publiées après chaque attentat, qui cassent à la fois de l’islamiste et du progressiste.

Or, ce ne sont pas les progressistes qui soufflent le chaud et le froid sur les relations avec les pays musulmans, mais bien les militaristes. Il s’agit des présidents Bush père et fils, ce dernier ayant ravagé l’Irak pour trouver des « armes de destruction massive » qui n’existaient pas ! Il s’agit du démocrate Barack Obama, qui maintient des troupes en Afghanistan et en Irak, attaque en Syrie et en Libye avec l’aide du Canada, autorise des centaines de bombardements par drones (Pakistan, Somalie, Yémen, etc.) et oublie de fermer Guantánamo. En France, Nicolas Sarkozy a suivi en Libye, et les « socialistes » bombardent en Irak, en Syrie, ainsi qu’au Burkina Faso, au Mali et au Tchad. Ce ne sont pas les « islamogauchistes » qui financent l’Arabie saoudite et sa guerre au Yemen. Sans oublier les états d’urgence, les lois antiterroristes et la montée de l’extrême droite en Europe, bien plus puissante que la « go-gauche ».

Responsabilité des militaristes

Les militaristes devraient expliquer en quoi l’éternelle « guerre au terrorisme », qu’ils appuient, a des effets positifs pour l’Occident, outre des gains électoraux pour certains, le contrôle sur le pétrole et les ventes d’armes (France 3e exportateur mondial ; Canada 2e au Moyen-Orient). En juin, le Congrès apprenait que les « opérations extérieures antiterroristes » avaient englouti 1600 milliards de dollars, pour les États-Unis seulement, depuis 2001. La guerre ne connaît pas l’austérité.

Or, le militarisme est un échec. Au-delà de succès ponctuels (une école ouverte ici, des femmes en burqa qui votent là-bas), il participe à l’aggravation des conflits et il exacerbe la haine de l’Occident, perçu à juste titre comme impérialiste. Attaquer les pays musulmans n’aide en rien à faire triompher les valeurs dont se pique l’Occident (même si « le Canada est fondé sur des principes qui reconnaissent la suprématie de Dieu », selon le préambule de notre Charte), ni à éviter la destruction et la mort de civils. Pessimistes, les services du renseignement aux États-Unis craignent d’ailleurs que la destruction de l’État islamique entraîne un redéploiement des forces islamistes.

Les intellectuels militaristes sont les « idiots utiles » du terrorisme. Il est temps qu’ils déclarent faillite.

Francis Dupuis-Déri

 

Francis Dupuis-Déri – Auteur de «L’éthique du vampire : la guerre en Afghanistan et quelques horreurs du temps présent» (Lux, 2007) et de «L’armée canadienne n’est pas l’armée du salut» (Lux, 2010)

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Le 18 septembre, les élections ont eu lieu en Russie. Les 450 sièges de la Douma russe ont été redistribués dans une période globalement tendue. Il faut se rappeler que les élections dans le plus grand pays du monde représentent un énorme défi logistique, vu les douze fuseaux horaires, les 110 millions d’électeurs et les 90 000 bureaux de vote.
Dans un climat international de propagande occidentale contre la Russie, que ce soit en raison de la Crimée, du Donbass, de la Syrie, d’Edward Snowden ou même du Brexit, il est d’autant plus surprenant que les pires tirades n’aient cette fois pas eu lieu. Que s’est-il passé?

Ouverture et transparence offensives au préalable des élections

Suite aux vives protestations lors des élections à la Douma russe de 2011, on s’est concentré sur la préparation irréprochable des élections de cette année. Il fallait que la légitimité et la transparence soient incontestables pour ne laisser aucun doute sur la conformité de ces élections avec les normes prévalant dans d’autres Etats démocratiques développés et le droit international. Pour l’observation des élections, le président de la Douma russe Sergei Narischkin invita donc à temps les représentants parlementaires des Etats de la Communauté des Etats indépendants (CEI), les représentants parlementaires des Etats membres de l’Organisation du traité de sécurité collective (OTSC), l’Organisation pour la sécurité et la coopération en Europe (OSCE), le président des Parlements des Etats du Mercosur (=communauté économique regroupant plusieurs pays d’Amérique latine), l’Assemblée interparlementaire de l’Orthodoxie et ainsi de suite. En fin de compte, plus de 1000 observateurs électoraux ont suivi l’invitation à venir en Russie.

Cependant, le facteur de légitimité le plus important était l’atmosphère au sein de la population: celle-ci a perçu ces élections comme étant ouvertes et équitables. Alors qu’en 2011, selon le Centre analytique Levada, une ONG russe indépendante de recherches sociologiques et de sondages, 31% des personnes sondées soupçonnaient des fraudes électorales, elles n’étaient cette année que 13%.

Lors des élections de cette année, 14 partis parvinrent à s’enregistrer en tant que candidats au niveau national – plus du double du nombre enregistré en 2011. La barrière pour l’entrée dans la Douma fut réduite de manière significative de 7% à 5%. Cette année, toutes faveurs ou facilitations pour les candidats du parti gouvernemental furent clairement éliminées. Le cas du puissant conseiller d’Etat de la République de Yakoutie Andrey Borisov (Russie unie) n’ayant pas réussi à s’enregistrer, suite au nombre insuffisant de signatures de soutien valables, a été très remarqué dans tout le pays. N’ayant obtenu aucune aide ou indulgence, Borisov a dû jeter l’éponge.

Honneur et soutien pour la voie patriotique de Poutine et non pas pour le «wishful thinking» des «think tanks» occidentaux

Avec 54,28%, la «Russie unie» a obtenu 140 mandats et 203 mandats directs. Avec 343 mandats sur 450 mandats au total, le parti présidentiel obtint pour la première fois la majorité constitutionnelle avec ¾ des sièges. Seuls les communistes, le parti «Russie juste» et «Parti libéral-démocrate de Russie» de M. Jirinovski ont également réussi l’entrée dans la Douma d’Etat. Compte tenu du résultat de ces élections, le silence des médias occidentaux habituellement antirusses est assez surprenant.

Mais, puisque les représentants des partis d’opposition reconnaissaient aussi clairement le bon déroulement de ces élections, il n’y avait plus guère d’autres interlocuteurs pour des commentaires venimeux que la compagne de Boris Nemtsov ou le très restreint club des supporters des Pussy Riot.

L’acceptation, auparavant déjà très marginale, des organisations et partis politiques soutenus par l’Occident semble, suite à la fin parlementaire de Jablonko, définitivement terminée. Les strictes lois sur la transparence et le manque d’«opportunités d’investissement» – pour créer des troubles et des révolutions oranges et toutes sortes d’autres «bonnes œuvres» hautement rémunérées par un certain M. Soros – ont empêché toute intervention de l’extérieur dans ces élections.

De véritables normes face aux «normes occidentales»

C’est ainsi que les efforts visant à établir une véritable société civile ont pu se développer en toute tranquillité. L’initiative de Poutine concernant la réforme du système juridique, accélérée depuis 2011, visait à faciliter la candidature des partis aux élections ainsi que la procédure d’inscription et encourageait également les forces de l’opposition à participer avec les mêmes conditions. En outre, la campagne électorale profita des excellentes qualités organisationnelles du chef adjoint de l’administration présidentielle Vyacheslav Volodin, ayant déjà mené à bien les élections présidentielles de 2012 et maintenant les élections pour la Douma d’Etat de 2016.

La campagne électorale a été marquée par une grande retenue des supports publicitaires. Même à Moscou, il n’y avait guère d’affiches des divers partis. «Russie unie» a expliqué cela par la situation économique tendue et que le gaspillage d’argent pour des publicités électorales ne correspondait pas à la volonté de l’électorat.

Voilà un point de vue limpide et inspirant, notamment si l’on observe la campagne électorale américaine, où le budget officiel de la campagne de Hillary Clinton s’élève à 250 millions de dollars – alimenté par des sources illustres tels que les entreprises de l’armement et les gardiens saoudiens des villes saintes de la Mecque et de Médine – pour transmettre les «valeurs démocratiques» ou pour simplement communiquer l’état de santé de Mme Clinton.

Le grand succès de «Russie unie», cette fois aussi dans les grands centres urbains, est dû également au fait que cette année tout citoyen avec droit de vote était autorisé à se présenter dans le cadre de son parti comme candidat pour une procédure de sélection totalement transparente. Cela a conduit à un grand nombre de nouveaux candidats et députés élus. Jamais auparavant la composition de la Douma n’a donné un reflet aussi représentatif de la population, des divers groupes professionnels et des couches sociales. Cela a également contribué de manière significative à la légitimation des élections. La militante des droits civiques Ella Pamfilova, internationalement reconnue et très respectée en Russie, a dirigé la Commission électorale centrale. Le 22 septembre, la Commission électorale a décidé que les résultats de 9 bureaux de vote (sur environ 90 000) devaient être annulés suite à des irrégularités – un résultat dont nous autres Autrichiens ne pouvons que rêver, compte tenu de nos élections présidentielles échouées à plusieurs reprises.

 Robert Stelzl

Traduction Horizons et débats

Robert Stelzl, spécialiste de la Russie au «Centre européen d’analyses géopolitiques de Vienne»

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iraq_war_crimes

Air Strikes against Syria: Who are the War Criminals? Who is Supporting Al Qaeda? Russia or America?

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, October 07 2016

America is coming to the rescue of Al Qaeda under a humanitarian mandate. The unspoken agenda is to undermine the Liberation of Aleppo.  The pretext and justification for these actions are based on America’s “responsibility to protect” (R2P) the “moderates” in Aleppo from Syrian and Russian attacks and bombing raids.

Médias

War Propaganda: Syria’s Destruction by the Lies of the Western Media. “Washington will Never let Go, Their Target is World Hegemony”

By Peter Koenig, October 05 2016

Europe, alias the West, has become infested with falsehoods, with thirst for profit and more gains and personal comfort, a hearth of egocentricity and disrespect for her brothers and sisters, let alone for the rest of the world – there is no equal on earth, other than the US of A, the Master of all Masters of crime and horror. Europe with its hundreds of years of colonization always was the chieftain of these ignoble attributes, but now, all scruples are gone; the veils are lifted. There is not even an iota of shame left.

War-USA

Washington Leads The World To War

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, October 06 2016

What must the world think watching the US presidential campaign? Over time US political campaigns have become more unreal and less related to voters’ concerns, but the current one is so unreal as to be absurd. The offshoring of American jobs by global corporations and the deregulation of the US financial system have resulted in American economic failure. One might think that this would be an issue in a presidential campaign.

Members of al Qaeda's Nusra Front gesture as they drive in a convoy touring villages in the southern countryside of Idlib

The Real Reason the US Can’t Separate Moderates from Al Qaeda in Syria

By Tony Cartalucci, October 06 2016

The US has attempted to direct attention away from the fact supposed “moderate rebels” it has been supporting are now openly aligned to designated foreign terrorist organizations including Al Qaeda, Jubhat Al Nusra, and the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) by focusing instead on the alleged “humanitarian crisis” unfolding amid final operations to restore security to the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

Flag_of_NATO.svg

US-NATO’s War On Russia: The Winds Howl Before The Storm

By Christopher Black, October 05 2016

A few weeks ago I wrote, “I have been a defence lawyer most of my working life and am not used to gathering evidence for a prosecution, but circumstances impelled me to open a file for the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, or perhaps some future citizen’s tribunal, in which is contained the evidence that the NATO leaders are guilty of the gravest crime against mankind, the crime of aggression. I would like to share with you some brief notes of interest from that file, for your consideration.

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L’UE, un atelier du futur?

octobre 7th, 2016 by Karl Müller

Le 13 septembre 2016, Donald Tusk – président du Conseil européen – a reconnu à juste titre, dans une lettre adressée aux membres de ce même Conseil: «Ce serait une erreur fatale de penser que le résultat négatif du référendum en Grande-Bretagne est un phénomène spécifiquement britannique.» Bien au contraire, le vote britannique serait plutôt une tentative «de répondre aux questions que se posent tous les jours des millions de personnes en Europe, des questions touchant par exemple à la protection de leur patrimoine culturel et de leur mode de vie». Et «nombreux sont ceux qui – et pas uniquement au Royaume-Uni – pensent que l’appartenance à l’Union européenne est un obstacle à la stabilité et à la sécurité.»

Donald Tusk: déléguer de nouveaux pouvoirs à l’UE n’est pas une solution souhaitable

Et Donald Tusk d’ajouter: «La crise due à l’afflux des réfugiés a sans doute été décisive. Le chaos à nos frontières l’an dernier, les images montrant quotidiennement des centaines de milliers de personnes se déplaçant sur notre continent sans aucun contrôle, tout cela a provoqué un sentiment de menace chez beaucoup d’Européens. On a trop longtemps attendu avant de prendre des mesures pour maîtriser cette situation. […] Au lieu de quoi on a trop souvent entendu le langage du «politiquement correct.»

Tusk est un Européen convaincu, mais il ne voit pas la solution dans une UE ayant davantage de pouvoirs: «Il ressort clairement de mes entretiens [avec les Etats membres] que déléguer de nouveaux pouvoirs aux institutions européennes n’est pas la solution souhaitable. L’électorat des Etats membres désire avoir plus d’influence sur les décisions de l’UE. Pour ce faire, il faudrait toutefois opérer un changement radical de mentalité dans l’attitude des gouvernements nationaux face à l’Union européenne.

Mais à Bratislava, les vieilles utopies …

La lettre du président du Conseil devait préparer le Sommet du Conseil européen de Bratislava, qui a eu lieu le 16 septembre dans la capitale slovaque. La «Déclaration de Bratislava» adoptée par tous les membres, ne reflète cependant guère les préoccupations exprimées dans cette lettre. Le son des vieilles utopies – qui sonne très allemand – y est toujours dominant.

Comme, par exemple, que l’UE «a garanti en Europe la paix et la démocratie et y a favorisé la prospérité», ou que l’UE, même après le Brexit, «reste, pour les autres pays membres, fondamentale». Ou bien que nous aurons toujours besoin de l’UE «pas seulement pour garantir la paix et la démocratie, mais aussi la sécurité de nos concitoyens».

Le manque d’engagement de ce texte est également surprenant. Dans sa déclaration, le Conseil européen s’est surtout préoccupé de trois points:

  1. «Nous devons améliorer la communication …»,
  2. «Nous devrions […] nous opposer avec la plus grande détermination aux solutions simplistes des forces extrémistes et populistes.»,
  3. «Nous avons convenu […] de présenter à nos concitoyens dans les prochains mois une vision plus attirante de l’UE.»

L’UE, un atelier du futur

La chancelière allemande Angela Merkel a exprimé, lors de la conférence de presse tenue avec le président français (tous deux fervents adeptes de l’UE) son désir «que l’Europe soit à nouveau un atelier du futur».

Pour mémoire: les «ateliers du futur» sont des instruments utilisés pour la conduite du changement politique («change management»), conçus pour imposer d’en haut des changements radicaux au moyen de toutes sortes de méthodes de manipulation des masses. Les participants sont par la suite persuadés de leur implication et de leur initiative dans la prise de décisions (alors qu’elles ont été planifiées longtemps à l’avance par des instances supérieures).

La «Déclaration de Bratislava» donne une explication «psychologique» concernant les réactions face à la migration, depuis l’été 2015, de centaines de milliers de personnes et parle d’un «sentiment de manque de contrôle» et de «peur(s) en liaison avec la migration» – mais ne mentionne absolument pas les carences de la politique. Le Conseil européen réagit donc à ces supposés «problèmes psychologiques» non pas avec des arguments différenciés et objectifs, mais avec une fin de non-recevoir:

«Il est totalement exclu que de tels flux migratoires incontrôlés se reproduisent; il faut une réduction massive du nombre de migrants irréguliers; il faut garantir un contrôle total des frontières extérieures et le retour aux frontières Schengen.» (Citations de l’auteur en italique).

Par contre, à la question de «comment y parvenir», il n’y a aucune réponse satisfaisante …

La Russie dans le collimateur

Il faut y ajouter un deuxième point. Dans la déclaration, il est stipulé de façon tout à fait imprécise, au sujet de la question «Sécurité extérieure et défense» que l’UE vise à un «renforcement de la coopération à l’intérieur de l’UE dans le domaine de la sécurité extérieure et de la défense, au vu des défis engendrés par le contexte géopolitique.» Au nombre des mesures concrètes, l’encouragement à la «mise en œuvre immédiate de la déclaration commune entre l’OTAN et l’UE», ce qui est dirigé contre la Russie.

L’«esprit» de Bratislava … ou son «fantôme»?

Après le sommet, la chancelière allemande en a appelé à l’«esprit de Bratislava». Son optimisme, ostensiblement affiché, concernant l’unité et l’avenir radieux de l’UE, n’est pas partagé par tous les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement. Dans une interview accordée au «Corriere della Sera» au lendemain du sommet, le Premier ministre italien Mario Renzi a déclaré: «Je ne sais pas de quoi Mme Merkel parle lorsqu’elle évoque l’‹esprit de Bratislava›». Le Sommet de Bratislava n’était rien de plus qu’une balade en bateau sur le Danube. Concernant l’avenir de l’UE, on n’a pas avancé d’un pas et il n’y a eu aucun accord substantiel concernant les politiques économique et migratoire. Si cela continue ainsi, il vaut mieux parler du «fantôme de l’Europe». Pourtant, le Premier ministre italien est lui aussi un chaud partisan de l’UE. Les chefs de gouvernement des quatre Etats de Višegrad, la Pologne, la République tchèque, la Slovaquie et la Hongrie ont également pris position. Au cours des derniers mois déjà, ils ont affiché une autre politique migratoire que celle de la chancelière allemande et des institutions européennes. Bien qu’ayant donné un accord de principe à celle de Bratislava, ils ont présenté leur propre déclaration sur l’avenir de l’UE.

La position du groupe de Višegrad

Ils y affirment que l’UE ne pourra être forte que dans la mesure où tous les Etats membres et leurs populations auront «un réel droit de parole dans les processus décisionnels». Pour ce faire «le rôle des Parlements nationaux doit être renforcé et les principes de subsidiarité et de proportionnalité doivent être respectés». Le groupe de Višegrad s’oppose à toute nouvelle tentative d’intégration dans laquelle la totalité ne serait pas impliquée (comme c’est le cas avec l’euro). Toutes les négociations menées par l’UE doivent être accessibles à tous les Etats membres (ce qui n’a pas été le cas par le passé pour les nombreuses réunions réservées à une «sélection» de chefs de gouvernement).

L’UE doit en outre accepter la diversité des Etats membres. En revanche, les règles de l’UE doivent être appliquées de la même manière dans tous les pays – une allusion claire aux mesures à deux vitesses adoptées dans la politique des institutions de l‘UE dans leurs relations avec les Etats membres. La diversité des Etats membres doit également être respectée à l’égard des questions migratoires. Les quatre chefs de gouvernement estiment qu’il faut traiter la migration «selon le principe de la ‹solidarité flexible›». C’est-à-dire que les Etats membres doivent pouvoir décider eux-mêmes de leur contribution à la résolution des problèmes migratoires et que «tout mécanisme de répartition [concernant les migrants] doit être volontaire».

Parallèlement, ils exigent cependant à l’intérieur de l’UE le strict respect des règles du marché intérieur et donc la libre circulation illimitée des personnes.

Foreign Affairs: sans l’UE, les Etats-Unis vont mieux

Venant des Etats-Unis, des voix s’élèvent cependant pour proposer une toute autre Europe que celle de l’UE. Foreign Affairs, le magazine de l’influent Council on Foreign Relations, a publié dans son édition de septembre/octobre 2016 un long article intitulé: «Le retour des Etats-nations européens. Les avantages de la crise de l’UE.» Son auteur, Jakub Grygiel, est professeur à la Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies de l’Université John Hopkins. Il publie régulièrement dans des magazines néoconservateurs et il a été conseiller auprès de l’OCDE et de la Banque mondiale.

Cet article dans Foreign Affairs anticipe de nets avantages si l’UE prenait fin et qu’on revienne aux Etats nations – et pour les Etats-Unis, aussi. Il est vrai que les Etats-Unis avaient misé, pendant la guerre froide, sur une Europe unie en tant que meilleur rempart contre le communisme. Mais les Etats-Unis ont aujourd’hui besoin d’«une nouvelle stratégie». Pour eux, accentuer la pression pour une plus grande intégration européenne, donc pour une UE renforcée, pourrait consolider la résistance contre les Etats-Unis en Europe. Dès à présent, la plupart des partis populistes montants au sein de l’UE ont tendance à faire les yeux doux à la Russie.

Washington ne doit pas «avoir peur de l’effondrement de l’UE». Bien plus qu’en étant intégrés à l’Europe, les Etats-nations prendraient alors conscience de la menace russe à leurs frontières. L’UE n’a finalement rien apporté de plus contre la Russie que des sanctions et un vague appel à poursuivre le dialogue. Les Etats européens se trouvant à la frontière russe n’ont guère été soutenus par l’UE. De ce fait, ces Etats ont fait appel à l’OTAN et aux troupes américaines. Soit: «là où l’UE a échoué, les Etats indépendants pourraient mieux réagir.» Car «seul le patriotisme attire et mobilise avec force les peuples européens pour réveiller en eux la volonté d’un réarmement face à leur menaçant voisin.» Et: «Les peuples sont beaucoup plus enclins à se battre pour leur pays – pour leur propre histoire, pour leur terre et leurs biens, pour leur identité religieuse commune – que pour une entité régionale artificielle et abstraite.»

Les Etats-Unis auraient besoin «d’un meilleur partenaire que l’UE en Europe». Si l’UE s’effondrait, «alors les forces de l’OTAN reprendraient leur mission – générer la stabilité et résister aux menaces extérieures – et renforceraient le rôle de Washington sur le continent. Sans l’UE, un plus grand nombre d’Etats européens – menacés par la Russie et dépassés par l’immigration de masse – investiraient dans l’OTAN, la seule alliance soutenue par un pouvoir réel et capable de protéger ses membres.»

Conclusion

Dans son état actuel, l’union européenne ne doit pas être préservée. Il faut toutefois réfléchir sérieusement aux alternatives possibles. Tous les opposants à l’UE n’ont pas forcément mieux à proposer. Il ne suffit pas de se déclarer en faveur d’un Etat-nation pour être partisan de la liberté, de la démocratie, de l’Etat de droit et de la paix. Le fossé qui s’est creusé depuis quelques années dans l’Union européenne a détruit la bonne entente entre les Etats et les peuples européens et a mis l’accent sur les différences et les intérêts divergents. Les «élites» de l’UE et leurs médias majeurs ont joué un rôle non négligeable dans cette affaire – de même que les «think tanks» qui s’y mêlent subrepticement des deux côtés de l’Atlantique. Cui bono?

Il est vrai que l’Europe a besoin d’une nouvelle «Constitution», mais d’une Constitution garantissant davantage de liberté et de souveraineté aux populations et à leurs Etats, favorisant la paix et l’amitié en Europe en se fondant sur les meilleures traditions européennes comme base de progrès: le droit naturel, le christianisme et l’humanisme, les lumières et les conceptions étatiques d’un Etat constitutionnel démocratique, fondé sur le droit et la séparation des pouvoirs, la subsidiarité et le fédéralisme et la protection sociale. Un Etat membre, sur pied d’égalité, d’une communauté européenne d’Etats et de peuples.

Il ne sera pas non plus possible de se soustraire à la mise à l’ordre du jour des questions d’ordre économique et financier humain. Le modèle de ces dernières décennies a échoué et créé d’énormes forces destructrices qui ont entrainé de très lourdes conséquences pour la vie politique et sociale. Plus que jamais, nous devons nous préoccuper de trouver un ordre économique et financier, laissant loin derrière lui la fausse conception de l’homme en tant que «homo œconomicus», pour remettre au centre la dignité de l’être humain et sa nature sociale.

Il n’est ni trop tard, ni trop tôt pour en être convaincu, même si l’Europe en est actuellement encore bien éloignée.

Karl Müller

 

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La Russie n’a pas rencontré en ses partenaires occidentaux la bonne foi qui eut permis de résoudre par des voies politiques le conflit armé en Syrie.  L’évidence de cette absence de « bonne foi » s’est particulièrement révélée lors de l’attaque, ourdie par les États-Unis et ses alliés, contre l’armée syrienne au moment même où un accord de cessez-le-feu venait d’être signé, un accord qui avait reçu l’aval du gouvernement syrien. Cette attaque que les partenaires étasuniens ont qualifiée de « bavure » s’est plutôt révélée être une action bien calculée et orchestrée à l’avance avec les opposants terroristes armés pour leur ouvrir la voie à une attaque contre l’armée du  gouvernement légitime de Bachar al Assad en vue de reconquérir du terrain perdu aux mains de l’armée syrienne.  Il y eut  plus de 60 morts et au-delà  de cent blessés. Il faut rappeler que l’armée syrienne observait, comme prévu dans l’accord, le cessez-le-feu.

Tout ce qui a suivi, que ce soit les rencontres au Conseil de sécuritédes Nations Unies, que ce soit ce montage de l’attaque d’un convoid’aide humanitaire attribué faussement à la Russie et au gouvernement syrien, que ce soit cette campagne de dénigrement sans précédent contre la Russie, mais plus que tout ces menaces de Washington visant directement l’armée russe, n’ont fait que renforcer la conviction de cette absence de bonne foi chez ceux dont le seul objectif est de renverser le gouvernement syrien et de demeurer les seuls maîtres à bord.

Il faut croire que Vladimir Poutine a tiré ses conclusions. Du 4 au 7 octobre, la population de Moscou et celles des régions les plus vulnérables à des attaques ennemies se préparent à des évacuations rapides dans des abris souterrains où ils pourront se réfugier dans l’éventualité d’attaques nucléaires. En Syrie, terre de tous les combats, les missiles antiaériens S-300 et S-400 ont été déployés pour contrer toute menace non identifiée venant des airs. Les consignes ont été transmises à ceux qui voudraient s’y aventurer.

« Le ministère russe de la Défense a annoncé planifier d’abattre tous les objets volants non identifiés en Syrie à des fins défensives, ce, suite aux informations selon lesquelles Washington réfléchissait à effectuer des frappes contre l’armée syrienne. »

Par cette mesure, le gouvernement syrien, avec l’aide de la Russie, prend le contrôle de son espace aérien. Fini le temps où chacun s’octroyait le droit de violer cet espace. Le message est lancé à ceux qui se sont donné comme objectif d’en finir avec la Syrie de Bachar Al Assad et la Russie de Vladimir Poutine. Il est clair que pour la Russie et la Syrie ces mesures ne sont pas de nature offensive, mais défensive. Ceux qui oseront franchir ces espaces sans s’être préalablement identifiés devront prendre pour acquis que leurs fusées, avions de combat et toute autre arme offensive, ne toucheront le sol qu’une fois mises en miettes.

Les titres les plus récents  sur cette guerre qui frappe à nos portes

Le 7 octobre 2016
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Pour qui s’intéresse aux relations internationales en Amérique latine, et, plus particulièrement, à la politique extérieure des États-Unis dans la région, les câbles diplomatiques états-uniens diffusés par WikiLeaks sont une mine inespérée d’information qui permet d’aller au-delà des discours et des déclarations d’intention, au plus près des pratiques. Alexander Main et Dan Beeton, qui travaillent au Center for Economic and Policy Research (Washington, DC), ont participé à l’ouvrage collectif The WikiLeaks Files : The World According to US Empire (2015). Dans ce texte, publié le 29 septembre 2015 sur le site de la revue Jacobinles deux auteurs présentent une synthèse des ingérences états-uniennes contemporaines dans différents pays d’Amérique du Sud, telles qu’elles ressortent des câbles diplomatiques. Ils concluaient en septembre 2015 que « malgré les attaques incessantes des États-Unis, la gauche domine largement en Amérique latine. À l’exception du Honduras et du Paraguay, où des coups d’État de droite ont renversé des gouvernements élus, les mouvements de gauche arrivés au pouvoir au cours des quinze dernières années s’y trouvent presque tous encore aujourd’hui. » Un an après, avec l’élection de Mauricio Macri en Argentine (10 décembre 2015), la destitution de Dilma Rousseff au Brésil (31 août 2016) et les problèmes économiques et politiques auxquels doit faire face le gouvernement de Nicolás Maduro au Venezuela, le panorama s’est nettement assombri.


Au début de l’été [2015], le monde a vu la Grèce essayer de résister face à un diktatnéolibéral désastreux et recevoir en conséquence une sévère correction.

Lorsque le gouvernement grec, de gauche, a décidé de tenir un référendum national sur le programme d’austérité imposé par la troïka, la Banque centrale européenne a riposté par une limitation des liquidités accordées aux banques grecques. En conséquence, les banques du pays ont dû fermer pendant une longue période et la Grèce s’est enfoncée un peu plus dans la récession.

Malgré le rejet massif du programme d’austérité par les électeurs, l’Allemagne et le cartel de créanciers européens ont réussi à passer outre la démocratie et à obtenir exactement ce qu’ils voulaient : la soumission complète de la Grèce à leur agenda néolibéral.

Depuis une quinzaine d’années, un combat semblable se livre contre le néolibéralisme à l’échelle de tout un continent, le plus souvent à l’insu du public. Bien que, dans un premier temps, Washington ait cherché à réprimer toute opposition, la résistance de l’Amérique latine à l’agenda néolibéral a été globalement couronnée de succès. C’est une aventure épique que l’on découvre progressivement grâce à l’exploration continue de l’énorme trésor que représentent les câbles diplomatiques publiés par WikiLeaks.

Le néolibéralisme était solidement implanté en Amérique latine bien avant que l’Allemagne et les autorités de la zone euro ne cherchent à imposer des ajustements structurels à la Grèce et à d’autres pays périphériques endettés. Usant de coercition (en conditionnant les prêts du FMI, par exemple) et d’endoctrinement (notamment à travers la formation, soutenue par les États-Unis, des « Chicago Boys » de la région), les États-Unis sont parvenus au milieu des années 1980 à imposer à travers toute l’Amérique latine l’évangile de l’austérité budgétaire, de la déréglementation, du « libre-échange », de la privatisation et d’une réduction draconienne du secteur public.

Le résultat ressemble d’une manière saisissante à ce que l’on a observé en Grèce : stagnation de la croissance (augmentation quasi inexistante du revenu par habitant pendant vingt ans entre 1980 et 2000), aggravation de la pauvreté, recul du niveau de vie pour des millions de personnes et multiplication, pour les sociétés et investisseurs étrangers, des possibilités de gagner rapidement de l’argent.

Dès la fin des années 1980, la région est entrée dans une phase de crispation et de révolte contre les politiques néolibérales. Au départ, la rébellion est apparue essentiellement spontanée et désorganisée, comme ce fut le cas du soulèvement du Caracazo au Venezuela dans les premières semaines de 1989 [1].

Mais, par la suite, des opposants au néolibéralisme ont commencé à remporter des élections et, à la grande surprise de l’establishment de la politique étrangère états-unienne, un nombre croissant d’entre eux ont tenu leurs promesses de campagne en mettant en pratique des mesures anti-pauvreté et des politiques hétérodoxes qui réaffirmaient le rôle de l’État dans l’économie.

De 1999 à 2008, les élections présidentielles ont été remportées par des candidats de gauche au Venezuela, au Brésil, en Argentine, en Uruguay, en Bolivie, au Honduras, en Équateur, au Nicaragua et au Paraguay.

On retrouve une grande partie de l’histoire des efforts menés par le gouvernement des États-Unis pour contenir et renverser la vague anti-néolibérale dans les dizaines de milliers de câbles divulgués par WikiLeaks et provenant des missions diplomatiques états-uniennes dans la région, des premières années de George W. Bush jusqu’au début de l’administration Obama.

Les câbles – que nous analysons dans un livre récent intitulé The WikiLeaks Files : The World According to US Empire – jettent la lumière sur les mécanismes quotidiens d’intervention politique de Washington en Amérique latine (et ridiculisent l’antienne répétée par le Département d’État selon laquelle « les États-Unis ne s’ingèrent pas dans la politique intérieure des autres pays »).

Un soutien matériel et stratégique est fourni à des groupes d’opposition de droite, dont certains sont violents et antidémocratiques. Les câbles traduisent en outre d’une manière très vivante l’idéologie des hauts représentants des États-Unis, qui raisonnent comme du temps de la guerre froide et qui se laissent tenter par des mesures coercitives semblables à celles qui ont asphyxié dernièrement la démocratie grecque.

Bien entendu, les principaux médias ont largement escamoté ou passé sous silence cette chronique embarrassante de l’agression impérialiste, et ont préféré se concentrer sur les récits de diplomates états-uniens concernant les actes potentiellement gênants ou illicites de fonctionnaires étrangers. Les rares experts qui ont effectué une analyse plus exhaustive des câbles affirment globalement qu’il n’existe pas de différence significative entre le discours officiel des États-Unis et la réalité dépeinte dans les câbles.

Si l’on en croit un analyste des relations internationales des États-Unis, « on n’y retrouve pas l’image des États-Unis comme marionnettiste tout puissant essayant de tirer les ficelles de divers gouvernements à travers le monde pour servir les intérêts de ses entreprises. »

Un examen détaillé des câbles dément toutefois cette assertion.

« Ce n’est pas du chantage »

Fin 2005, Evo Morales remporte en Bolivie une victoire écrasante aux élections présidentielles en proposant un programme axé sur une réforme de la constitution, les droits des Indiens, et l’engagement de combattre la pauvreté ainsi que le néolibéralisme. Le 3 janvier, seulement deux jours après son élection, Morales reçoit la visite de l’ambassadeur des États-Unis, David L. Greenlee. Celui-ci n’y va pas par quatre cheminshttps://search.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/06LAPAZ6_a.html] : l’aide consentie par les États-Unis à la Bolivie sera conditionnée par le bon comportement du gouvernement Morales. La scène aurait pu être tirée du film Le Parrain :

[L’ambassadeur] a souligné l’importance de la contribution des États-Unis à des [institutions] internationales de premier plan dont dépendait l’aide accordée à la Bolivie, comme la Banque internationale de développement (BID), la Banque mondiale et le Fonds monétaire international. « Quand vous pensez à la BID, pensez aux États-Unis », a déclaré l’ambassadeur. « Ce n’est pas du chantage mais la simple réalité. »

Mais Morales a respecté son programme. Dans les quelques jours qui ont suivi, il a pris de l’avance sur ses plans en annonçant son intention de reréglementer les marchés du travail, de renationaliser le secteur des hydrocarbures et d’approfondir la coopération avec l’ennemi juré de Washington Hugo Chávez.

En réponse, Greenlee propose un « choix d’options » pour forcer Morales à se plier à la volonté du gouvernement états-unien : imposer un veto à l’octroi de prêts multilatéraux se chiffrant à plusieurs millions de dollars, reporter l’allègement programmé de la dette multilatérale, décourager la Millennium Challenge Corporation de verser son aide financière (que la Bolivie n’a pas encore reçue bien qu’elle soit l’un des pays les plus pauvres de l’hémisphère) et stopper le « soutien matériel » fourni aux forces de sécurité boliviennes.

Malheureusement pour le Département d’État, il est vite apparu que, comme prévu, les menaces de ce genre resteraient lettre morte. Morales avait déjà décidé de réduire fortement la dépendance de la Bolivie à l’égard de lignes de crédit multilatérales qui exigeaient l’aval du Trésor états-unien. Dans les semaines qui ont suivi son arrivée au pouvoir, Morales a annoncé que la Bolivie ne se sentait plus redevable du FMI et qu’elle laisserait s’éteindre l’accord de prêt conclu avec ce dernier. Des années plus tard, Morales conseillera à la Grèce et à d’autres pays européens endettés de suivre l’exemple de la Bolivie et de « se libérer du diktat économique du Fonds monétaire international ».

Incapable de contraindre Morales à s’exécuter, le Département d’État a reporté ses efforts sur le renforcement de l’opposition en Bolivie. L’aide octroyée par les États-Unis à la région de la Media Luna [2] contrôlée par l’opposition a commencé à s’accroître. Un câble daté d’avril 2007 traite de « l’augmentation des efforts consentis par l’USAID pour consolider les administrations régionales de manière à contrebalancer le gouvernement central ».

Un rapport de l’USAID daté de 2007 déclarait que son Bureau des initiatives de transition (Office of Transition Initiatives, ou OTI) « a[vait] approuvé l’octroi de 101 subventions d’un montant de 4 066 131 $ pour aider les administrations départementales à améliorer leur stratégie ». Des crédits ont également été accordés à des groupes indiens locaux « opposés à la vision qu’a Evo Morales des communautés indiennes ».

Un an plus tard, les départements de la Media Luna sont entrés en rébellion ouverte contre le gouvernement Morales, d’abord en tenant des référendums sur l’autonomie pourtant déclarés illégaux par le pouvoir judiciaire national, puis en soutenant des manifestations violentes en faveur de l’autonomie au cours desquelles au moins vingt partisans du gouvernement ont perdu la vie.

Beaucoup ont cru qu’un coup d’État se préparait. La situation ne s’est calmée que sous la pression de tous les autres présidents d’Amérique du Sud, qui ont publié une déclaration conjointe de soutien au gouvernement constitutionnel du pays.

Mais, tandis que l’Amérique du Sud faisait bloc derrière Morales, les États-Unis étaient régulièrement en communication avec les chefs du mouvement d’opposition séparatiste, quand bien même ils évoquaient ouvertement l’éventualité de « destruction de gazoducs » et de « violences comme une possibilité pour forcer le gouvernement à… engager sérieusement le dialogue ».

Contrairement à sa position officielle durant les événements d’août et septembre 2008, le Département d’État a envisagé sérieusement la possibilité d’un coup d’État contre le Président bolivien Evo Morales, ou celle de son assassinat.

Un câble révèle l’intention de l’ambassade des États-Unis à la Paz de se préparer à ce type d’éventualité : « [L’Emergency Action Committee] mettra au point, avec [l’US Southern Command Situational Assessment Team], un plan d’intervention rapide en cas d’urgence soudaine, c’est-à-dire une tentative de coup ou la mort du Président Morales », peut on lire dans le câble.

Les événements de 2008 furent jusqu’à aujourd’hui le plus grand défi à la présidence de Morales et le moment où l’éventualité de perdre le pouvoir fut la plus proche. Les préparatifs de l’ambassade en vue d’un départ éventuel de Morales indiquent que, pour le moins, les États-Unis jugeaient très réelle la menace qui pesait sur lui. Le fait qu’ils ne l’aient pas dit publiquement montre clairement de quel côté Washington penchait pendant le conflit, et quelle issue il préférait probablement.

La mécanique en œuvre

Certaines méthodes d’intervention employées en Bolivie ont trouvé un écho dans d’autres pays dirigés par un gouvernement de gauche ou de gauche radicale. Ainsi, après le retour des Sandinistes au pouvoir au Nicaragua en 2007, l’ambassade des États-Unis à Managua a accéléré le mouvement pour renforcer le soutien au parti de droite, l’Alliance libérale du Nicaragua (ALN).

En février 2007, le personnel de l’ambassade a rencontré la responsable de la planification de l’ALN et expliqué que les États-Unis « ne fournissaient pas une aide directe aux partis politiques », tout en suggérant, pour contourner cette restriction, que l’ALN resserre ses liens avec des ONG amicales qui pouvaient recevoir des fonds des États-Unis.

La représentante de l’ALN a déclaré qu’elle enverrait « une liste complète des ONG qui soutenaient effectivement l’action de l’ALN » et l’ambassade prit des dispositions pour qu’elle « rencontre prochainement les directeurs locaux de l’IRI [International Republican Institute] et du NDI [National Democratic Institute for International Affairs] ». Il était également écrit dans le câble que l’ambassade « veillerait de près au renforcement des capacités des collecteurs de fonds [de l’ALN] ».

Il faudrait faire lire des câbles comme celui-ci à celles et ceux qui étudient la diplomatie états-unienne et à celles et ceux qui cherchent à savoir comment fonctionne exactement le système de « promotion de la démocratie » des États-Unis. Par le biais de l’USAID, du National Endowment for Democracy (NED), du NDI, de l’IRI et d’autres organismes paragouvernementaux, le gouvernement des États-Unis apporte une aide importante à des mouvements politiques qui approuvent les objectifs économiques et politiques des États-Unis.

En mars 2007, l’ambassadeur des États-Unis au Nicaragua a demandé au Département d’État de verser « au cours des quatre prochaines années environ 65 millions de dollars de plus que d’habitude à l’occasion des prochaines élections présidentielles » pour financer « la consolidation des partis politiques, les ONG “démocratiques” et les petites subventions occasionnelles consenties au dernier moment à des groupes qui redoublent d’efforts pour défendre la démocratie au Nicaragua, faire avancer nos intérêts et contrer ceux qui s’en prennent à nous ».

En Équateur, l’ambassade des États-Unis a fait barrage à l’économiste de gauche Rafael Correa bien avant les élections de 2006 qui l’ont porté au pouvoir. Deux mois avant ces élections, le conseiller politique de l’ambassade a alerté Washingtonquant au risque que Correa « se joigne au groupe des dirigeants nationalo-populistes sud-américains Chávez, Morales et Kirchner », ajoutant que l’ambassade « a prévenu nos contacts politiques, économiques et dans les médias de la menace que Correa représente pour l’avenir de l’Équateur et encourage vivement la conclusion d’alliances qui pourraient faire contrepoids au radicalisme manifeste de Correa ». Immédiatement après l’élection de Correa, l’ambassade câblait son plan d’action au Département d’État :

Nous ne nous faisons aucune illusion : les seules actions de l’USG [3] ne suffiront pas à changer l’orientation prise par le gouvernement ou le Congrès, mais nous espérons accroître notre influence en travaillant de concert avec d’autres Équatoriens et d’autres groupes qui partagent nos idées. Faute d’intervention, les réformes proposées par Correa et son attitude à l’égard du Congrès et des partis politiques traditionnels pourraient avoir pour effet de prolonger la période actuelle de tension et d’instabilité politiques.

Les pires craintes de l’ambassade se sont vérifiées. Correa a annoncé qu’il fermerait la base aérienne états-unienne de Manta, augmentait la dépense sociale et ferait pression pour la réunion d’une assemblée constituante. En avril 2007, les Équatoriens ont été 80% à voter pour la proposition d’assemblée constituante, et 62% des électeurs ont approuvé en 2008 une nouvelle constitution qui incluait tout un ensemble de principes de progrès, dont la souveraineté alimentaire, le droit au logement, aux soins de santé et à l’emploi, et le contrôle de l’exécutif sur la banque centrale (énorme pavé dans la mare néolibérale).

Au début de 2009, Correa a annoncé que l’Équateur ne rembourserait pas une partie de sa dette extérieure. Cette annonce a mis l’ambassade dans tous ses états, tout comme d’autres mesures récentes telles que la décision de Correa de resserrer les liens entre l’Équateur et les pays membres de l’Alliance bolivarienne des peuples de notre Amérique (ALBA) [4]. Mais l’ambassadeur se rendait également compte que les États-Unis avaient peu de pouvoir sur Correa :

Nous expliquons en privé que les actes de Correa auront des conséquences sur ses relations avec la nouvelle administration Obama, tout en évitant de faire en public des déclarations qui seraient contreproductives. Nous conseillons de n’arrêter aucun programme de l’USG qui sert nos intérêts car ce ne serait pas encourager Correa à se montrer plus pragmatique.

La cessation partielle de paiements de l’Équateur a porté ses fruits et a permis au gouvernement d’économiser près de deux millions de dollars. En 2011, Correa a recommandé d’appliquer le même remède aux pays européens endettés, notamment la Grèce, en leur conseillant de ne pas honorer leur dette et de passer outre à l’avis du FMI.

La rue est en effervescence

Durant la Guerre froide, la supposée menace d’une expansion du communisme soviéto-cubain a servi à justifier les innombrables interventions menées pour faire tomber des gouvernements de gauche et soutenir des régimes militaires de droite.

De la même façon, les câbles de WikiLeaks montrent que, dans les années 2000, le spectre du « bolivarianisme » vénézuélien a été utilisé pour excuser les interventions réalisées contre de nouveaux gouvernements de gauche hostiles au néolibéralisme, comme celui de la Bolivie, accusé d’être « tombé ouvertement dans le giron du Venezuela », ou l’Équateur, considéré comme un « cheval de Troie pour Chávez ».

Les relations des États-Unis avec le gouvernement d’Hugo Chávez se sont envenimées très tôt. Chávez, d’abord élu président en 1998, s’est opposé à toutes les politiques économiques néolibérales, a tissé des liens étroits avec le Cuba de Fidel Castro et a fortement critiqué l’attaque lancée par l’administration Bush en Afghanistan à la suite des attentats du 11 septembre – les États-Unis ont rappelé leur ambassadeur à Caracas après que Chávez a déclaré : « Vous ne pouvez combattre le terrorisme par le terrorisme. »

Plus tard, celui-ci a renforcé le contrôle de l’État sur le secteur pétrolier, en augmentant les redevances versées par les sociétés étrangères et en se servant des recettes pétrolières pour financer l’accès du plus grand nombre à la santé et l’éducation et des programmes alimentaires pour les plus pauvres.

En avril 2002, l’administration Bush a publiquement soutenu un coup d’État militaire de courte durée qui a chassé Chávez du pouvoir pendant quarante-huit heures. Les documents du National Endowment for Democracy obtenus au titre de la Loi sur la liberté d’information font apparaître que les États-Unis ont fourni de l’argent et une formation pour « la promotion de démocratie » à des groupes favorables au coup d’État et qui ont participé ultérieurement aux actions menées pour renverser Chávez sous la forme d’une « grève » des cadres de la société pétrolière qui a paralysé le secteur à la fin de 2002 et fait entrer le pays en récession.

Les câbles de WikiLeaks révèlent que, après ces tentatives manquées de renversement du gouvernement élu, les États-Unis ont continué d’apporter leur soutien à l’opposition vénézuélienne par l’entremise du NED et de l’USAID. Dans un câble de novembre 2006, l’ambassadeur d’alors, William Brownfield, a expliqué la stratégie suivie par l’USAID et l’OTI pour ébranler l’administration Chávez :

En août 2004, l’ambassadeur a présenté la stratégie en cinq points élaborée par le pays pour guider les activités de l’ambassade au Venezuela pendant la période [2004–2006]… Cette stratégie se résume comme suit : 1) consolider les institutions démocratiques ; 2) infiltrer la base politique de Chávez ; 3) diviser ses partisans ; 4) protéger les entreprises états-uniennes vitales ; 5) isoler Chávez sur la scène internationale.

Les liens étroits existant entre l’ambassade des États-Unis et divers groupes d’opposition ressortent clairement dans de nombreux câbles. Un câble de Brownfield établit un rapport entre Súmate – ONG de l’opposition qui a joué un rôle central dans les campagnes de l’opposition – et « nos intérêts au Venezuela ». D’autres câbles révèlent que le Département d’État a exercé des pressions en faveur d’un soutien international à Súmate et encouragé les États-Unis à apporter un appui financier, politique et juridique à l’organisation, principalement par le biais du NED.

En août 2009, le Venezuela a été secoué par de violentes manifestations de l’opposition (comme il s’en est produit fréquemment sous le gouvernement Chávez et celui de son successeur, Nicolas Maduro). Un câble secret du 27 août reprend les propos de Development Alternatives, Incorporated (DAI), une organisation sous contrat avec l’USAID/OTI, indiquant que « tous » les gens qui manifestent contre Chávez à l’époque « bénéficient de notre aide » :

[L’employé de DAI] Eduardo Fernandez a déclaré que « la rue est en effervescence », faisant référence à la montée de la contestation contre les efforts déployés par Chávez pour consolider son pouvoir, et que « tous ces gens (les organisateurs des manifestations) bénéficient de notre aide ».

Les câbles révèlent également que le Département d’État a formé et aidé un leader étudiant dont il savait qu’il avait incité la foule à « lyncher » un gouverneur chaviste : « Pendant le coup d’État d’avril 2002, [Nixon] Moreno a participé aux manifestations organisées dans l’État de Mérida, à la tête d’une foule qui a marché sur la capitale de l’État dans l’intention de lyncher le gouverneur MVR [5] Florencio Porras. »

Cependant, quelques années après cet épisode, selon un autre câble, « Moreno a pris part en 2004 à l’International Visitor Program [du Département d’État] en 2004. »

Plus tard, Moreno sera recherché pour tentative d’assassinat et menaces à l’encontre d’une femme policière, entre autres motifs.

Toujours selon la stratégie en cinq points décrite par Brownfield, le Département d’État s’est employé à isoler le gouvernement vénézuélien sur la scène internationale et à contrer l’influence qu’il exerçait apparemment à travers la région. On peut lire dans plusieurs câbles que les missions diplomatiques des États-Unis dans la région ont coordonné leurs actions pour faire front à la « menace » vénézuélienne au niveau régional.

Comme WikiLeaks l’a d’abord révélé en décembre 2010, les chefs de mission états-uniens dans six pays d’Amérique latine se sont rencontrés au Brésil en mai 2007 pour mettre au point une réponse conjointe aux supposés « plans agressifs » du Président Chávez… « pour créer un mouvement bolivarien unifié dans toute l’Amérique latine ». Entre autres choses, les chefs de mission se sont entendus pour « continuer à resserrer les liens avec les dirigeants militaires de la région qui partagent nos inquiétudes à l’égard de Chávez ». Une réunion semblable des chefs de mission des États-Unis en Amérique centrale – qui s’est concentrée sur la « menace d’activités politiques populistes dans la région » – s’est tenue à l’ambassade états-unienne en El Salvador en mars 2006.

Les diplomates états-uniens se sont beaucoup dépensés pour empêcher les gouvernements des Caraïbes et de l’Amérique centrale de s’associer à PetroCaribe, initiative régionale du Venezuela qui permet aux membres de l’accord d’obtenir du pétrole à des conditions très avantageuses. Les câbles rendus publics nous apprennent que les hauts responsables états-uniens, tout en reconnaissant dans le privé les avantages économiques de l’accord pour les pays membres, craignaient que PetroCaribe n’accroisse l’influence politique du Venezuela dans la région.

En Haïti, l’ambassade a travaillé étroitement avec les grandes compagnies pétrolières pour empêcher le gouvernement d’adhérer à Petrocaribe, en admettant toutefois que cela « ferait économiser 100 millions de dollars par an », ainsi que Dan Coughlin et Kim Ives avaient été les premiers à le révéler dans The Nation. En avril 2006, l’ambassade a envoyé de Port-au-Prince le câble suivant : « Le poste continuera de faire pression sur [le Président d’Haïti René] Préval pour qu’il rejoigne pas PetroCaribe. L’ambassadeur va rencontrer le conseiller principal de Préval, Bob Manuel, aujourd’hui. Lors de réunions précédentes, il a dit comprendre nos préoccupations et il sait qu’un accord avec Chávez lui occasionnerait des problèmes avec nous. »

Le bilan de la gauche

Il faut garder à l’esprit que les câbles de WikiLeaks ne nous éclairent pas sur les activités plus secrètes des services de renseignement des États-Unis, et ne représentent probablement que la pointe émergée de l’iceberg en ce qui concerne l’ingérence politique de Washington dans la région. Néanmoins, les câbles apportent amplement la preuve des efforts persistants et déterminés déployés par les diplomates états-uniens pour faire barrage aux gouvernements indépendants de gauche en Amérique latine, à l’aide de leviers financiers, des multiples instruments contenus dans la boîte à outils de « promotion de la démocratie », voire, parfois, de moyens violents et illégaux.

Bien que l’administration Obama ait rétabli les relations diplomatiques avec Cuba, rien n’indique que la politique à l’égard du Venezuela et d’autres gouvernements de gauche du continent ait fondamentalement changé.

Il est clair que l’hostilité de l’administration à l’encontre du gouvernement élu du Venezuela ne fléchit pas. En juin 2014, le vice-président Joe Biden a lancé l’Initiative pour la sécurité énergétique des Caraïbes, considérée comme un « antidote » à Petrocaribe. En mars 2015, Obama a déclaré que le Venezuela constituait « une menace considérable pour la sécurité » et annoncé des sanctions contre les dirigeants vénézuéliens, décision critiquée à l’unanimité par les autres pays de la région.

Cependant, malgré les attaques incessantes des États-Unis, la gauche domine largement en Amérique latine. À l’exception du Honduras et du Paraguay, où des coups d’État de droite ont renversé des gouvernements élus, les mouvements de gauche arrivés au pouvoir au cours des quinze dernières années s’y trouvent presque tous encore aujourd’hui.

En grande partie grâce à ces gouvernements, entre 2002 et 2013 le taux de pauvreté dans la région a reculé de 44 à 28% après avoir progressé durant les deux décennies précédentes. Ces succès, ajoutés à la volonté des dirigeants de gauche de prendre des risques pour se libérer du diktat néolibéral, devraient servir d’inspiration aujourd’hui à la nouvelle gauche anti-austérité en Europe.

Nul doute que certains gouvernements rencontrent actuellement d’importantes difficultés, dues en partie au ralentissement de l’économie régionale qui touche les dirigeants de droite comme de gauche. Mais, si on lit entre les lignes des câbles, il y a de bonnes raisons de se demander si toutes ces difficultés sont d’origine locale.

En Équateur, par exemple – où le Président Correa essuie les foudres de la droite, et de certains secteurs de la gauche –, la contestation contre le nouvel impôt progressif proposé par le gouvernement est le fait des mêmes chefs d’entreprise de l’opposition que ceux avec qui, si l’on en croit les câbles, les diplomates états-uniens élaborent des stratégies.

Au Venezuela, où les failles du système de contrôle des changes provoquent une forte inflation, de violentes manifestations d’étudiants de droite ont gravement ébranlé le pays. Il y a fort à parier que certains de ces manifestants ont reçu de l’argent ou une formation de l’USAID ou du NED, dont le budget pour le Venezuela a grimpé de 80% entre 2012 et 2014.

Les câbles de WikiLeaks ont encore beaucoup de choses à nous apprendre. Pour rédiger les chapitres de The WikiLeaks Files sur l’Amérique latine et les Caraïbes, nous avons épluché des centaines de câbles WikiLeaks et avons pu identifier différents axes d’intervention états-unienne, que nous décrivons plus en détails dans le livre (et dont certains avaient déjà été relevés par d’autres observateurs). D’autres auteurs ont procédé de la même façon pour d’autres régions du monde. Mais le nombre de câbles dépasse 250 000 (dont presque 35 000 pour la seule Amérique latine) et il ne fait aucun doute que beaucoup d’autres aspects notables de la diplomatie états-unienne en action attendent d’être mis au jour.

Malheureusement, une fois passée l’effervescence créée lors de la diffusion des premiers câbles, peu de journalistes et de chercheurs se sont montrés vraiment intéressés. Tant que cela ne changera pas, il nous manquera un compte-rendu complet de la vision que l’État des États-Unis a de lui-même sur la scène mondiale, et de la réponse apportée par sa diplomatie aux défis posés à son hégémonie.

Alexander Main et Dan Beeton 

Source original en anglais : The Latin America WikiLeaks Files, US diplomatic cables reveal a coordinated assault against Latin America’s left-wing governments. revue Jacobin, 29 septembre 2015.

Traduction de Gilles Renaud pour Dial.
http://www.alterinfos.org/spip.php?article6603
Dial – Diffusion de l’information sur l’Amérique latine – D 3384.

 

[1] Voir DIAL 3303 – « VENEZUELA – 27 février – 3 mars 1989 : le Caracazo. Sémantique de la violence politique, première partie » et DIAL 3307 – « VENEZUELA – 27 février – 3 mars 1989 : le Caracazo. Sémantique de la violence politique, seconde partie » – note DIAL.

[2] Zone située à l’est du pays – note DIAL.

[3] Gouvernement des États-Unis : United States Government (USG) en anglais – note DIAL.

[4] Alliance de gauche créée à l’initiative du Venezuela et Cuba en 2004 pour contrer l’Accord de libre-échange des Amériques promue à l’époque par l’administration Bush.

[5] Le Mouvement Ve République est un parti de gauche fondé par Hugo Chávez – note DIAL.

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Au moment de publier cet article sur le processus de Paix en Colombie et le référendum sur l’accord conclu entre le gouvernement et le représentant des FARC le prix Nobel avait été annoncé il y a quelques heures. Il a été décerné au président colombien Juan Manuel Santos. Cependant le prix n’a pas été attribué également au commandant en chef des Forces armées révolutionnaires de Colombie (FARC), Rodrigo Londoño (« Timochenko »)…


L’optimisme et l’espoir d’une paix durable enfin établie régnaient en Colombie le 24 août dernier. La signature d’un Accord de Paix entre le gouvernement colombien et les FARC était obtenue après quatre années de négociation. Un très long processus, une expérience sans précédent, sous l’égide du gouvernement norvégien et, bien sûr aussi du gouvernement de Cuba, lieu des pourparlers sans oublier le coup de main donné par le Venezuela et le Chili en tant que pays accompagnateurs. La déception a été grande le soir du 2 octobre 2016 quant l’Accord de paix a été rejeté par une très faible majorité de 55 000 voix lors d’un référendum, dernière étape prévue dans le cadre des rendez-vous pour la paix qui ont été, à maintes reprises, qualifiés d’historiques. Cependant « 63 %, ne s’est pas présenté aux urnes pour des motifs qui restent à clarifier. »

Même si cet Accord se trouve inopérant pour le moment, nous exposons, ici, ce qui nous semble important de connaître concernant ce processus de rétablissement de la paix à l’intérieur d’un cadre national. Nous présentons un aperçu du contenu des éléments suivants: Le plan de négociation accepté par les parties en septembre 2012, quelques extraits du Préambule de l’Accord de paix, la signature de l’Accord de paix, la ratification de l’Accord par les FARC, la signature de l’Accord à Cartagena, Colombie et la tenue du référendum de consultation et d’acceptation de l’Accord par la population de la Colombie le 2 octobre 2016.

 En bref, il a fallu déployer beaucoup d’efforts et consentir à se plier à un très long processus pour parvenir à signer un Accord de paix. Plusieurs étapes ont été nécessaires : La signature d’un Agenda des négociations en septembre 2012; le début des négocations en novembre 2012; Quatre années de négociations; la signature de l’Accord de paix à La Habana, Cuba, le 24 août 2016; la ratification de l’Accord par les FARC au cours de la Xième Conférence nationale tenue entre les 17 et 23 septembre 2016, la signature de l’Accord à Cartagena en Colombie le 26 septembre 2016 et la tenue d’un référendum de consultation et d’approbation de l’Accord par le peuple colombien le 2 octobre 2016 (tableau 1).

Nous avons retenu annexés les trois éléments suivants :

1) La référence au contenu complet du Plan des négociations de 2012;

2) La référence à la version définitive de l’Accord final du 24 août 2016;

3) Le texte de la déclaration de Humberto de La Calle, négociateur en chef du gouvernement colombien, texte que nous avons traduit de l’espagnol.

Tableau 1. La paix sans armes en Colombie entre le gouvernement colombien et les FARC. Les principaux rendez-vous

Les rendez-vous                                                                        

L’acceptation du plan de négociation :  2 septembre 2012

Les négociations elles-mêmes : Novembre 2012 /  24 août 2016

La signature de l’Accord à la Habana, Cuba : 24 août 2016

La ratification de l’Accord par les FARC :  Xe Conférence nationale / 17-23 septembre 2016

La signature de l’Accord à Cartagena, Colombie : 25 septembre 2016

La tenue d’un référendum pour son acceptation :  2 octobre 2016 ou rejet par le peuple colombien

Source : Voir la liste des références de cet article

I.L’acceptation de l’Agenda de négociations le 2 septembre 2012

Nous présentons le texte du Préambule de l’Agenda de négociation signé en septembre 2012 (traduction de l’espagnol par l’auteur). On peut souligner l’environnement favorable qui régnait alors en Colombie pour en arriver à une « paix stable et durable » et la volonté exprimée par les parties de collaborer étroitement à l’intérieur de ce processus:

« Avec la décision mutuelle de mettre fin au conflit en tant que condition essentielle pour la construction d’une paix stable et durable;

Entendant la clameur de la population en faveur de la paix, et en reconnaissant que: Construire la paix est une question pour la société dans son ensemble, une question qui nécessite la participation de tous, sans distinction, y compris celle d’autres organisations de guérilla que nous invitons à se joindre à ce projet;

Le respect des droits de l’homme dans tout le territoire national est un objectif à promouvoir;

Le développement économique avec justice sociale en harmonie avec l’environnement est une garantie de paix et de progrès.

Le développement social avec équité et bien-être pour la majorité permet de progresser comme pays;

Une Colombie en paix jouera un rôle actif et souverain dans la paix et dans le développement régional et mondial;

Il s’avère important de développer la démocratie en tant que condition visant à bâtir des fondements solides pour la paix;

Avec l’engagement total du gouvernement national et des FARC-EP en vue de parvenir à un accord et l’invitation adressée à toute la société colombienne, aux organismes d’intégration régionale et à la communauté internationale à se joindre à ce processus »

Source : Acuerdo General para la terminación del conflicto y la construcción de una paz estable y duradera. La Habana, le 4 septembre 2012. 6 pages. En ligne :Source :

II. L’Accord de paix 

Nous reproduisons des extraits du texte du Préambule de l’entente qui donnent un aperçu de l’esprit et les fondements qui président à  l’Accord, extraits que nous avons traduits de l’espagnol

« Rappelant que les négociations à La Havane entre les délégués du gouvernement national  présidé par le président Juan Manuel Santos et les délégués des Forces armées révolutionnaires de la Colombie-EP, avec la décision mutuelle de mettre fin au conflit armé national, prirent naissance à la suite de la réunion exploratoire tenue dans la capitale de la République de Cuba entre le 23 février et le 26 août 2012 »;

« Ayant à l’esprit qu’à la suite des discussions exploratoires susmentionnées il y eut un accord général pour la résolution des conflits et la construction d’une paix stable et durable, accord signé à cette date en présence de témoins nationaux et devant les délégués de la République de Cuba et du Royaume de Norvège qui ont, à partir de ce moment-là, servi de témoins, et de pays garants du processus »;

« … En soulignant que l’Accord final accorde une attention particulière aux droits fondamentaux des femmes, des groupes sociaux vulnérables tels que les peuples autochtones, les enfants et les adolescents, les communautés noires et d’autres groupes ethniques distincts; les droits fondamentaux des agriculteurs paysans, les droits fondamentaux des personnes en situation de handicap et déplacées pour des raisons dues au conflit; les droits fondamentaux des personnes âgées et la population ».

« Considérant que, selon l’avis du gouvernement national, les transformations qu’implique le présent accord devraient contribuer à inverser les effets du conflit et de changer les conditions qui ont facilité la persistance de la violence sur le territoire; et que, selon l’avis des FARC-EP, ces changements devraient aider à résoudre les causes historiques du conflit, tels que la question non résolue de la propriété foncière et, en particulier, sa concentration, l’exclusion de la paysannerie et le retard des communautés rurales, affectant surtout les femmes et les enfants ».

« Valorisant et réalisant que le fondement central de la paix consiste à promouvoir la présence de l’action efficace de l’État sur tout le territoire national, en particulier dans de nombreuses régions abandonnées en raison de l’absence d’une fonction publique et en raison des effets du conflit armé interne. La paix est l’objectif essentiel de la réconciliation nationale en vue de construire un nouveau paradigme du développement et du bien-être territorial au profit de larges secteurs de la population à ce jour victime de l’exclusion et empreinte au désespoir »

Source Mesa de Conversaciones

III. Signature de l’Accord de paix à La Habana, Cuba, le 24 août 2016

Après quatre ans de négociation entre le gouvernement de la Colombie et les forces armées révolutionnaires de Colombie (FARC) l’Accord de paix a été signé entre les parties le 24 août 2016 à la Habana, Cuba. Cet accord a été obtenu sur la base d’un plan de négociation accepté par les parties le 2 septembre 2012.

Voici, à l’occasion de la signature de l’Accord, quelques extraits du reportage effectué par Euronews :

« Les Colombiens se sont réveillés jeudi matin avec l’espoir de voir enfin se concrétiser la finalisation d’un Accord de paix avec la guérilla des FARC. Quatre années ont été nécessaires pour finaliser la reddition des forces révolutionnaires de Colombie mais la reddition des guérilleros marxistes se fera sous étroite conditions et les Colombiens devront se prononcer par référendum ».

Selon le chef de la délégation gouvernementale, Humberto de la Calle, « il y a deux chemins possibles, soit nous continuons un conflit qui agonise et qui a déjà fait près de sept millions de victimes, soit nous optons pour une paix solide et c’est ce que les Colombiens doivent faire ».

Cet Accord fournira « des opportunités pour la croissance future et pour l’amélioration du fonctionnement de la politique ».

« Les FARC remettront leurs armes aux Nations Unies…pour que cet Accord de paix soit ratifié il devra recueillir au moins 13% des suffrages ».

IV. La ratification de l’Accord par les FARC dans le cadre de la Xième Conférence nationale entre les 17 et 24 septembre 2016

Nous reproduisons des extraits du reportage fourni par Florence Panoussian de l’AFP en provenance de Bogota :

« L’accord de paix conclu avec les Farc le 24 août, après d’âpres négociations délocalisées à La Havane depuis novembre 2012, doit être signé par le chef de l’État et par le leader suprême de la guérilla, Rodrigo Londoño, plus connu sous ses noms de guerre Timoleon Jiménez ou Timochenko ».

« Le 29 août à minuit est entrée en vigueur le premier cessez-le-feu bilatéral et définitif jamais ordonné avec les Farc, la plus ancienne rébellion de Colombie née en 1964 d’une insurrection paysanne et qui compte encore quelque 7500 combattants armés ».

« Avant sa signature, l’accord de paix doit être ratifié par la Xe conférence nationale des Farc, qui débutera le 17 septembre. Initialement prévue à partir du 13, elle a été reportée vendredi «pour des raisons logistiques», selon un communiqué de la guérilla. «Du 17 au 23 septembre, nous réaliserons la Xe Conférence, terminant ainsi le cycle des discussions avec la base guérillera», a ensuite tweeté Timochenko ».

« Cette «dernière conférence de notre organisation en armes (…) ratifiera les accords de paix et entérinera la transformation des Farc en mouvement politique légal», a indiqué la guérilla. Fait exceptionnel, elle doit être ouverte à 50 invités nationaux et internationaux, ainsi qu’à la presse car, selon les Farc, «l’importance historique de cet évènement justifie que les peuples de Colombie et du monde s’informent directement ».

« Une fois ratifié par les Farc puis signé, l’accord de paix de 297 pages, qui contient six points principaux (fin des combats, réparations aux victimes, trafic de drogue, réforme agraire et ratification de l’accord), sera soumis le 2 octobre à l’avis des Colombiens par référendum.»

Source : La Colombie signera la paix avec la guérilla des Farc le 26 septembre, La Presse, 2 septembre 2016

Ce conflit, le plus ancien d’Amérique latine, a fait au moins 260 000 morts, 45 000 disparus et 6,8 millions de déplacés depuis plus d’un demi-siècle (La paix en Colombie sera signée entre le 20 et le 26 septembre, La Presse, 27 août 2016).

V. La signature de l’Accord de paix à Cartagena, en Colombie, le 26 septembre 2016 (figure 1)

La paix a été signée le 26 septembre à Carthagène en Colombie, sur la base d’un Accord conclu entre le gouvernement et les Forces armées révolutionnaires de Colombie (Farc, marxistes), un Accord qualifié d’historique.

Figure 1. Signature de l’Accord à Cartagena en Colombie

GETTY  Source : bbc.com

 « Quinze chefs d’État latino-américains ont assisté à cette cérémonie inédite, à commencer par le Cubain Raul Castro (au centre), dont le pays a accueilli les négociations. Le secrétaire général de l’ONU, Ban Ki-moon (2e à partir de la gauche), a félicité «tous ceux qui ont rendu possible ce jour mémorable » . (La Presse.ca)

Selon le ministre de la Défense Luis Carlos Villegas:

« Lundi à minuit entrera en vigueur le cessez-le-feu définitif des forces de l’ordre envers les Farc, ordonné par M. Santos. Cette guérilla, issue en 1964 d’une insurrection paysanne, observe pour sa part, depuis le 20 juillet 2015, une cessation unilatérale de ses offensives contre l’armée, comme preuve de son engagement dans le processus de paix ».

« M. Villegas a déclaré qu’à partir de lundi seront identifiés les «corridors» que devront emprunter les guérilleros pour rejoindre les 22 zones et les huit campements, répartis dans tout le pays, où ils se rassembleront pour déposer les armes, puis suivre le processus de réinsertion dans la société civile ».

«Toutes les garanties sont là pour que les Nations unies commencent à partir de lundi à remplir leur rôle de vérificateur», a-t-il dit ».

VI. La tenue d’un référendum pour l’acceptation de l’Accord par le peuple de la Colombie le 2 octobre 2016

 « Les électeurs vont devoir répondre par «oui» ou par «non» à la question: « Appuyez-vous l’accord final d’achèvement du conflit et de construction d’une paix stable et durable? ». Pour l’emporter, le «oui» devra recueillir au moins 4,4 millions de voix (13% de l’électorat) et le «non» un score plus faible. En cas de rejet, ce qui a été conclu à La Havane serait annulé » (1)

Conclusion

Avant la tenue du référendum, on pouvait affirmer que :

« La Colombie s’acheminait ainsi vers la fin d’une guerre fratricide, le plus ancien conflit armé des Amériques. Au fil des décennies, il a impliqué plusieurs guérillas d’extrême-gauche, dont l’Armée de libération nationale (ELN, encore active), des milices paramilitaires d’extrême-droite et l’armée, faisant au moins 260 000 morts, 45 000 disparus et 6,9 millions de déplacés (lapresse.ca).

Dans l’Accord de paix on peut apprécier la ferme détermination des parties d’obtenir une reconnaissance internationale et de vouloir inscrire dans le corpus législatif national les diverses dispositions permettant l’application de l’Accord et ainsi de mettre un terme à la guerre et de construire une paix stable et durable.

Rejet de l’Accord par une très faible majorité. Une grande déception pour les équipes de négociation et pour tous les artisans de la paix

La tenue du référendum s’est déroulée sans incident. Le Non l’a emporté par une très faible majorité de 50,21% devant le Oui à 49,78%, scrutin pour lequel la participation a été de 37,28%. Ce résultat a grandement surpris, car les divers sondages sur les intentions de vote donnaient le Oui gagnant à 55% et au-delà (figure 2).

Figure 2. Les résultats officiels du référendum en Colombie

 Source : http://www.la-croix.com/Monde/Colombie-emporte-referendum-accord-paix-avec-Farc-2016-10-03-1300793220

Devant ce résultat le gouvernement et les FARC ont exprimé leur déception : « Le gouvernement a plusieurs fois déclaré ne pas avoir de plan B en cas d’échec du Oui et il a, comme les Farc, écarté toute éventualité de renégociation de l’accord » ( HYPERLINK « http://www.lapresse.ca/international/amerique-latine/201610/02/01-5026632-les-colombiens-rejettent-par-referendum-laccord-de-paix-avec-les-farc.php » http://www.lapresse.ca/international/amerique-latine/201610/02/01-5026632-les-colombiens-rejettent-par-referendum-laccord-de-paix-avec-les-farc.php).

Les résultats du référendum peuvent être interprétés principalement de la manière suivante : Les partisans du Non animés par l’ancien président Uribe ne peuvent accepter un Accord jugé trop laxiste avec, notamment, la participation politique légale pour les Ex-FARC, avec plusieurs sièges au Parlement et des aides financières pour les ex-guerilleros de base.

Le Président colombien, depuis l’annonce des résultats, voyant sans doute son avenir politique en jeu, a annoncé la reprise des pourparlers avec les FARC afin de trouver un compromis avec eux. Cette décision serait basée sur une proposition formelle des FARC de reprendre les négociations.

Les FARC ont affirmé qu’ils respecteraient l’arrêt des hostilités et qu’ils continueraient de travailler pour la paix. Enfin, ils ont exprimé l’avis que le gouvernement se devra d’être conséquent avec l’esprit de l’Accord même s’il n’a pas été accepté par une majorité de Colombiens.

La rencontre entre le Président et ses prédécesseurs Uribe et Pastrana qui a eu lieu le 5 octobre ( 2) nous fait craindre que, sous la pression de la droite radicale, avec la reprise des négociations, les termes de l’Accord, risquent d’être édulcorés et que le conflit reprenne dans un futur rapproché. Il ne faut pas oublier que cet État de la Colombie, l’un des plus militarisés de la planète, a permis, pendant toute cette période de guerre, aux différents pouvoirs qui se sont succédés de justifier, avec ce conflit, des dépenses militaires considérables  et de commettre, en toute impunité, des actes de violence qualifiés de crimes de guerre et de crimes contre l’humanité. Dans un tel contexte, même si les termes de l’Accord donnent préséance aux règles du droit, il est bien difficile de voir bientôt une Colombie en paix. Une très longue période de réconciliation entre l’État et le peuple sera nécessaire. Empruntant les termes de l’Accord, il importe de relever les bonnes intentions exprimées par les négociateurs qui écrivent, dans le préambule de l’Accord,  que « le but essentiel de la réconciliation nationale est la construction d’un nouveau paradigme de développement et de bien-être territorial pour le bénéfice de larges secteurs de la population victimes jusqu’à maintenant d’exclusion et plongés dans le désespoir » (mesadeconversaciones.com).

Jules Dufour

 

 (1) Souces des citations : 

http://www.lapresse.ca/international/amerique-latine/201609/02/01-5016710-la-colombie-signera-la-paix-avec-la-guerilla-des-farc-le-26-septembre.php

http://www.lapresse.ca/international/amerique-latine/201609/02/01-5016710-la-colombie-signera-la-paix-avec-la-guerilla-des-farc-le-26-septembre.php

 (2) Sources :

http://www.elmundo.es/internacional/2016/10/05/57f54f5322601dda668b4573.html http://www.elmundo.es/internacional/2016/10/05/57f54f5322601dda668b4573.html

Références

Acuerdo final para la terminacion del conflicto y la construccion de una paz stable y duradera. Le 24 août 2016. 297 pages. En ligne :  HYPERLINK « https://www.mesadeconversaciones.com.co/sites/default/files/24_08_2016acuerdofinalfinalfinal-1472094587.pdf » https://www.mesadeconversaciones.com.co/sites/default/files/24_08_2016acuerdofinalfinalfinal-1472094587.pdf

AP et AFP. Jour historique pour la Colombie, qui signe la paix avec les FARC. Journal Le Devoir, le 27 septembre 2016, p. B5.

AFP et EL DIAMANTE. 2016. Colombie: les FARC disent «unanimement» oui à la paix. LAPRESSE.CA. LE 23 septembre 2016. En ligne : http://www.lapresse.ca/international/amerique-latine/201609/23/01-5023678-colombie-les-farc-disent-unanimement-oui-a-la-paix.php

AFP. 2016. La «signature solennelle» des accords de paix entre le gouvernement colombien et les Farc, pour mettre fin à plus d’un demi-siècle de conflit armé, aura lieu entre le 20 et le 26 septembre, a annoncé samedi le ministre de la Défense. LAPRESSE.CA. Le 27 août 2016. En ligne : http://www.lapresse.ca/international/amerique-latine/201608/27/01-5014689-la-paix-en-colombie-sera-signee-entre-le-20-et-le-26-septembre.php

BBC NEWS. 2016. Colombia referendum: Voters reject Farc peace deal. Le 2 octobre 2016. En ligne : http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-37537252

FAJARDO, José. COLOMBIA. Uribe tras su encuentro con Santos: « Es mejor la paz para todos que un acuerdo débil para la mitad ». Le 6 octobre 2016. En ligne : http://www.elmundo.es/internacional/2016/10/05/57f54f5322601dda668b4573.html

EURONEWS.COM. 2016. Colombie – FARC : la paix est à construire. Le 26 août 2016. En ligne : http://fr.euronews.com/2016/08/26/colombie-farc-la-paix-est-a-construire

INFORMACION. 2016. Declaración de Humberto de la Calle al cierre del acuerdo final entre el gobierno colombiano y las Farc-EP. Oficina del Alto Comisionado para la Paz, Bogotá D.C. Le 24 août 2016. En ligne : http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/colombia/doc/paz685.html

LA CROIX. 2016. Colombie: incertitude après le rejet de l’accord avec les Farc. Le 3 octobre 2016. En ligne : http://www.la-croix.com/Monde/Colombie-emporte-referendum-accord-paix-avec-Farc-2016-10-03-1300793220

LA JORNADA IN LINEA. 2016. Volver a negociar, decisión de FARC, dice el gobierno. Le 4 octobre 2016.

En ligne : http://www.jornada.unam.mx/ultimas/2016/10/04/en-manos-de-farc-seguir-o-no-con-negociacion-gobierno

MSN NOTICIAS. 2016. Conozca los puntos del Acuerdo entre el Gobierno de Colombia y las FARC-EP.

En ligne : http://www.msn.com/es-xl/noticias/otras/conozca-los-puntos-del-acuerdo-entre-el-gobierno-de-colombia-y-las-farc-ep/ar-AAhyCZg

PANOUSSIAN, Florence. 2016. La Colombie signera la paix avec la guérilla des Farc. AFP. LAPRESSE.CA. Le 2 septembre 2016. En ligne : http://www.lapresse.ca/international/amerique-latine/201609/02/01-5016710-la-colombie-signera-la-paix-avec-la-guerilla-des-farc-le-26-septembre.php

PANOUSSIAN, Florence. 2016. Les Colombiens rejettent par référendum l’accord de paix avec les Farc. AFP. LAPRESSE.CA. Le 2 octobre 2016. En ligne : http://www.lapresse.ca/international/amerique-latine/201610/02/01-5026632-les-colombiens-rejettent-par-referendum-laccord-de-paix-avec-les-farc.php

PFLIMLIN, Edouard. 2016. Colombie : nouveaux pourparlers avec les FARC. Le Monde.fr. Le 4 octobre 2016. En ligne :

http://www.lemonde.fr/ameriques/article/2016/10/04/colombie-nouveaux-pourparlers-avec-les-farc_5007725_3222.html

RIAÑO, Felix. 2016. Lectura del Acuerdo de Paz. COMISION INTERECLESIAL DE JUSTICIA Y PAZ. Le 26 août 2016. En ligne : http://justiciaypazcolombia.com/Lectura-del-Acuerdo-de-Paz

 

ANNEXES

Annexe I. Table des négociations le 4 septembre 2012

Acuerdo General para la terminación del conflicto y la construcción de una paz estable y duradera (Accord Général pour la fin du conflit et la construction d’une paix stable et durable)

Source : Acuerdo General para la terminación del conflicto y la construcción de una paz estable y duradera. La Habana, le 4 septembre 2012. 6 pages. En ligne : https://www.mesadeconversaciones.com.co/sites/default/files/AcuerdoGeneralTerminacionConflicto.pdf

 

Annexe II. Référence à la version finale de l’Accord de paix – 11 mai 2016

Acuerdo final para la terminacion del conflicto y la construccion de una paz stable y duradera. Le 24 août 2016. 297 pages. En ligne : https://www.mesadeconversaciones.com.co/sites/default/files/24_08_2016acuerdofinalfinalfinal-1472094587.pdf

 

Annexe III. Déclaration de Humberto Calle, négociateur en chef du gouvernement colombien le 24 août 2016

« Aujourd’hui, nous avons atteint l’objectif. La signature d’un accord définitif avec les FARC est la fin du conflit armé. La meilleure façon de gagner la guerre est de nous assoir et de parler de paix. La guerre est finie. Mais il y a aussi un nouveau départ. Cet accord ouvre des possibilités pour entreprendre une étape de transformation de la société colombienne. Avec comme toile de fond de la réconciliation, nous ouvrons la porte à une société plus inclusive dans laquelle nous nous reconnaissons comme Colombiens, « dans laquelle personne ne craint pour son intégrité en raison de ses idées politiques ».

« Toutefois, nous ne nous évaluons pas nous-mêmes. Je pense que nous avons fait le meilleur travail possible, mais la note dépend des Colombiens. En temps que délégués du Président de la République, le Dr Juan Manuel Santos, nous devons attendre avec humilité le verdict de la citoyenneté. Nous ne tomberons pas dans l’arrogance. Mais nous sommes confiants.  Nous croyons que nous avons réussi à  construire un pacte fondamental pour le bien du pays. Nous n’avons pas fait de véritables négociations. Nous avons changé les fusils par ceux de nos convictions. Nous sommes confiants d’avoir obtenu une feuille de route pour la Colombie. Nous croyons qu’après une évaluation sérieuse de ce que nous avons obtenu, ce sera un chemin positif pour l’avenir. Il est temps de donner une chance à la paix. Mais nous ne tomberons pas dans le piège de l’exaltation de notre propre travail. Ce sera aux Colombiens de décider si nous avons réussi ».

« Je termine avec une voix personnelle : … Mes convictions et les valeurs restent intactes. Je suppose que ce fut la même chose pour les membres de la guérilla. La Table n’était pas un exercice de condescendance, ou d’échanges d’impunités. Cela signifie pour moi que j’ai grandi spirituellement. Aujourd’hui, je connais mieux la Colombie. Aujourd’hui, la souffrance de nombreux compatriotes me fait plus mal. Mais j’ai aussi appris beaucoup de choses sur la résilience des Colombiens, leur générosité et leur joie » (http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/colombia/doc/paz685.html).

Chief of the Directorate of Media service and Information of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said Thursday that the Russian Defense Ministry believes the leaks to the media about possible US strikes on the Syrian army could be a preface to real action.

A number of Western media outlets have published “leaks” about the talks held in the White House administration about the possibility to hold missile and airstrikes on the positions of the Syrian army,” the general told journalists. “As history has shown, such “leaks” often prove to be a preface to real action.

Konashenkov also reminded to “all the ‘hotheads’ that following the September 17 coalition airstrike on the Syrian Army in Deir Ezzor we took all necessary measures to exclude any similar ‘accidents’ happening to Russian forces in Syria.” The statement referred to the recent deployment of an additional battery of S-300 air-defense system and the overal air-defense capabilities of the Russian military grouping in Syria.

Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov

“Russian S-300, S-400 air defense systems deployed in Syria’s Hmeymim and Tartus have combat ranges that may surprise any unidentified airborne targets. Operators of Russian air defense systems won’t have time to identify the origin of airstrikes, and the response will be immediate. Any illusions about “invisible” jets will inevitably be crushed by disappointing reality.”Konashenkov added that military strike on the government-controlled territories, would pose clear threat to Russian military personnel because Russian officers are working on the ground, providing humanitarian help and holding talks with representatives of local communities and militia units across the country.

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Two journalists from Al Jazeera who were on board Zaytouna-Oliva have been released and have safely reached London and Moscow. The other 11 women of the Women’s Boat to Gaza are still in detention, but we anticipate that they will be ‘deported’ soon, as they were moved yesterday from Givon Prison to a detention facility at Ben-Gurion airport.

Wendy Goldsmith, a member of the land team working to secure the release of the women stated that, “the deportation is happening much quicker than in previous flotillas. While we had a great legal team assisting the women, we suspect that the reason for the quick release was because of all the negative media attention Israel has been receiving for its illegal interception, including the demand of rock band Pink Floyd.” According to early reports from the women released, the Zaytouna-Oliva was surrounded by two warships along with four to five smaller naval boats. The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) demanded that the Zaytouna-Oliva stop its course towards Gaza. When the warning was refused, at least seven IOF members, both male and female, boarded our yacht and commandeered it in international waters.

In the course of their capture, the women insisted that Israel’s attack was illegal and that they were being taken against their will to Israel. The Women’s Boat to Gaza campaign asserts that while the captivity of the women on board Zaytouna-Oliva may soon be over, the captivity of 1.9 million Palestinian people in Gaza remains. Whilst the term “peaceful” has been used in some media to describe the attack and capture of our boat, this is inaccurate. Peace is more than merely the absence of physical violence. Oppression, occupation, denial of human rights and taking a boat of unarmed, non-violent women against their will are not peaceful activities. Indeed, as Zaytouna-Oliva approached Palestine, the IOF launched multiple air raids across the Gaza Strip.

The Women’s Boat to Gaza and the Freedom Flotilla Coalition will continue to sail until Palestine is free.

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