Secessionist movements are nothing new to history and have been endorsed in the past, by some great statesmen such as US president Woodrow Wilson. Yet the upcoming Crimean referendum is given by the west much attention, almost as if it was setting some dangerous precedent and had to be interdicted. Or as if it were a unique case, which it isn’t. Why now?  Or why is the west so eager to nip in the bud the potential for the formation of a “break away state” in the Crimean peninsula?  Possibly because Western powers who with vehemence and vituperation (unmatched in shrillness even during the worst days of the cold war) are denouncing the upcoming referendum on the possible formation of an independent or quasi-sovereign region in Ukraine, are themselves, dealing with secessionist movements at home.

For instance, the United Kingdom has to grapple with the unpalatable possibility of Scotland splitting away from the rest of the unitary state later this year.  For its part, Canada (with almost one millions people of Ukrainian decent) is one of the most vocal opponents to the Crimean referendum. Yet it is presently dealing with a revival of a home-grown, separatist threat in Quebec.  The majority French-speaking province is presently immersed in an unexpected election campaign, which might return a nationalist party back to power with a potential majority. If this occurs, then some ardent nationalists might interpret the re-election of the Parti Québécois as a prelude to a third referendum on independence. Ottawa naturally is on high alert to this potential outcome.
 
The US also one of the loudest voices in the anti- referendum chorus has seen secessionist threats of its own in the past and also in the present. During the 19th century there was the civil war. And we all know how Washington dealt with that situation: it was crushed in a bloody prolonged conflict, which traumatised the nation and scarred its memory forever.  Furthermore, the US today is not totally immune to separatist-nationalist scenarios in the making. Witness the revival of the Puerto Rican nationalist-independence movement
Michael Werbowski is a Vienna based reporter who specialises in geopolitical and international news analysis

You can read an English translation of Vladimir Putin’s March 4 press conference here:

President Vladimir Putin on Crisis in Ukraine By Global Research News, March 10, 2014

Americans have not experienced political leadership or an independent media for such a long time that they will be amazed at the straightforward answers from the Russian President and by media asking real questions, some of which show the influence of Washington’s propaganda.

Americans will also be struck by how greatly the facts of the Ukraine situation diverge from the constant stream of lies that flow from Washington, its European puppets, and presstitute media.

Putin’s calm leadership, the absence of provocative statements and threats, and his insistence on legality and will of the people stand in stark contrast to the West’s threats and support for violent overthrow of a democratically elected government. It is astonishing that the only leadership the world has comes from Russia, China, and three or four countries in South America. The Western world no longer has diplomatic capability. Instead, the Western world relies on propaganda, threats, force, and schemes to overthrow governments that it first demonizes.

Notice that Putin repeatedly asks why the West created the crisis in Ukraine. He makes the important point that in post-Soviet countries, legality and democracy are fragile. Democracy and legality are not furthered by overthrowing democracy before it has taken roots and placing in office an unelected government by force and illegality. It is impossible to argue with this point. Why, indeed, did the West murder democracy and constitutional order in Ukraine?

The fact that Putin asks the question does not mean he does not know the answer. He does not give the answer, because he is a diplomat and still has some hope for common sense and good will to prevail. He knows that the West supported the overthrow of the Ukrainian government as part of its strategic thrust against the sovereignty and independence of Russia. Aligning Ukraine with NATO means US missile bases in Ukraine. Remember how terrified Americans were of Soviet missile bases in Cuba.

Putin knows that Washington in pursuit of world hegemony is driving the world to a dangerous war in which neither side can accept defeat. Thus, nuclear weapons would be unleashed. Putin knows that the reason Washington withdrew from the anti-ballistic missile treaty and installed anti-ballistic missiles in Poland is to degrade Russia’s nuclear deterrent. Putin knows that the reason Washington changed its war doctrine to permit preemptive nuclear attack is to carry out a first strike against Russia.

Putin also knows that only Europe can prevent this final devastation. Therefore, Putin does not make provocative statements or take strong actions. He hopes that Europe will notice his reasonable behavior in contrast with the reckless behavior of Washington and realize that Europe and NATO must cease enabling Washington’s pursuit of hegemony, a pursuit that is driving the world to its destruction. Putin hopes that Europeans’ sense of self-preservation will prevail over their lust for Washington’s money and invitations to dinner at the White House.

By taking this humane and rational approach, Putin has established himself as the true leader of the world. Washington counters Putin’s leadership with demonization. Putin’s leadership frustrates Washington and makes Putin a candidate for assassination.

The State, the Deep State, and the Wall Street Overworld

March 10th, 2014 by Prof Peter Dale Scott

In the last decade it has become more and more obvious that we have in America today what the journalists Dana Priest and William Arkin have called

two governments: the one its citizens were familiar with, operated more or less in the open: the other a parallel top secret government whose parts had mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe of its own, visible to only a carefully vetted cadre – and its entirety…visible only to God.1

And in 2013, particularly after the military return to power in Egypt, more and more authors referred to this second level as America’s “deep state.”2 Here for example is the Republican analyst Mike Lofgren:

There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power.3

At the end of 2013 a New York Times Op-Ed noted this trend, and even offered a definition of the term that will work for the purposes of this essay:

DEEP STATE n. A hard-to-perceive level of government or super-control that exists regardless of elections and that may thwart popular movements or radical change. Some have said that Egypt is being manipulated by its deep state.4

The political activities of the deep state are the chief source and milieu of what I have elsewhere called “deep politics:” “all those political practices and arrangements, deliberate or not, which are usually repressed rather than acknowledged.”5

Others, like Tom Hayden, call the deep state a “state within the state,” and suggest it may be responsible for the failure of the Obama administration to follow the policy guidelines of the president’s speeches:

We have seen evidence of a “state within the state” before, going back as far as the CIA’s operations against Cuba. In Obama’s time, the president correctly named the 2009 coup in Honduras a “coup”, and then seemed powerless to prevent it.6

This development of a two-level or dual state has been paralleled by two other dualities: the increasing resolution of American society into two classes – the “one percent” and the “ninety-nine percent” – and the bifurcation of the U.S. economy into two aspects: the domestic, still subject to some governmental regulation and taxation, and the international, relatively free from governmental controls.7 All three developments have affected and intensified each other – particularly since the

Reagan Revolution of 1980, which saw American inequality of wealth cease to diminish and begin to increase.8 Thus for example we shall see how Wall Street – the incarnation of the “one percent” – played a significant role in increasing the deep state after World War Two, and how three decades later the deep state played a significant role in realigning America for the Reagan Revolution.

In earlier books I have given versions of this America-centered account of America’s shift into empire and a deep state. But another factor to be mentioned is the shift of global history towards an increasingly global society dominated by a few emergent superpowers. This trend was accelerated after the Industrial Revolution by new technologies of transport, from the railroad in the 19th century to the jet plane and space travel in the 20th.9

In the fallout from this rearrangement we must include two world wars, as a result of which Britain ceased to act as the dominant superpower it had been since Napoleon. Not surprisingly, the Soviet Union and the United States subsequently competed in a Cold War to fill the gap. It was not however predetermined that the Cold War would be as thuggish and covertly violent as for decades it continued to be. For that we should look to more contingent causes on both sides of the Iron Curtain – starting with the character of Stalin and his party but also including the partly responsive development of the American deep state.

The Deep State, The Shadow Government and the Wall Street Overworld

The “deep state” was defined by the UK newsletter On Religion as “the embedded anti-democratic power structures within a government, something very few democracies can claim to be free from.”10 The term originated in Turkey in 1996, to refer to U.S.-backed elements, primarily in the intelligence services and military, who had repeatedly used violence to interfere with and realign Turkey’s democratic political process. Sometimes the definition is restricted to elements within the government (or “a state-within-the state”), but more often in Turkey the term is expanded, for historical reasons, to include “members of the Turkish underworld.”11 In this essay I shall use “deep state” in the larger sense, to include both the second level of secret government inside Washington and those outsiders powerful enough, in either the underworld or overworld, to give it direction. In short I shall equate the term “deep state” with what in 1993 I termed a “deep political system:” “ one which habitually resorts to decision-making and enforcement procedures outside as well as inside those publicly sanctioned by law and society.”12

Like myself, Lofgren suggests an ambiguous symbiosis between two aspects of the American deep state:

1) the Beltway agencies of the shadow government, like the CIA and NSA, which have been instituted by the public state and now overshadow it, and

2) the much older power of Wall Street, referring to the powerful banks and law firms located there.

In their words,

It is not too much to say that Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State and its strategies, if for no other reason than that it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career that is lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice – certainly beyond the dreams of a salaried government employee.13

I shall argue that in the 1950s Wall Street was a dominating complex. It included not just banks and oil firms but also the oil majors whose cartel arrangements were successfully defended against the U.S. Government by the Wall Street law firm Sullivan and Cromwell, home to the Dulles brothers. This larger complex is what I mean by the Wall Street overworld.

The Long History of the Wall Street Overworld

Lofgren’s inclusion of Wall Street is in keeping with Franklin Roosevelt’s observation in 1933 to his friend Col. E.M. House that “The real truth … is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson.”14

FDR’s insight is well illustrated by the efficiency with which a group of Wall Street bankers (including Nelson Rockefeller’s grandfather Nelson Aldrich and Paul Warburg) were able in a highly secret meeting in 1910 to establish the Federal Reserve System – a system which in effect reserved oversight of the nation’s currency supply and of all America’s banks in the not impartial hands of its largest.15 The political clout of the quasi-governmental Federal Reserve Board (where the federal Treasury is represented but does not dominate) was clearly demonstrated in 2008, when Fed leadership secured instant support from the successive administrations of a Texan Republican president, followed by a Midwest Democratic one, for public money to rescue the reckless management of Wall Street banks: banks Too Big To Fail, and of course far Too Big To Jail, but not Too Big To Bail.16

Wall Street and the Launching of the CIA

Top-level Treasury officials, CIA officers, and Wall Street bankers and lawyers think alike because of the “revolving door” by which they pass easily from private to public service and back. In 1946 General Vandenberg, as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), recruited Allen Dulles, then a Republican lawyer at Sullivan and Cromwell in New York, “to draft proposals for the shape and organization of what was to become the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947.” Dulles promptly formed an advisory group of six men, all but one of whom were Wall Street investment bankers or lawyers.17 Dulles and two of the six (William H. Jackson and Frank Wisner) later joined the agency, where Dulles proceeded to orchestrate policies, such as the overthrow of the Arbenz regime in Guatemala, that he had previously discussed in New York at the Council on Foreign Relations.18

There seems to be little difference in Allen Dulles’s influence whether he was a Wall Street lawyer or a CIA director. Although he did not formally join the CIA until November 1950, he was in Berlin before the start of the 1948 Berlin Blockade, “supervising the unleashing of anti-Soviet propaganda across Europe.”19 In the early summer of 1948 he set up the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), in support of what became by the early 1950s “the largest CIA operation in Western Europe.”20

The Deep State and Funds for CIA Covert Operations

Wall Street was also the inspiration for what eventually became the CIA’s first covert operation: the use of “over $10 million in captured Axis funds to influence the [Italian] election [of 1948].”21 (The fundraising had begun at the wealthy Brook Club in New York; but Allen Dulles, still a Wall Street lawyer, persuaded Washington, which at first had preferred a private funding campaign, to authorize the operation through the National Security Council and the CIA.)22

Dulles’s friend Frank Wisner then left Wall Street to oversee an enlarged covert operations program through the newly created Office of Policy Co-ordination (OPC). Dulles, still a lawyer, campaigned successfully to reconstruct Western Europe through what became known as the Marshall Plan.23 Together with George Kennan and James Forrestal, Dulles also “helped devise a secret codicil [to the Marshall Plan] that gave the CIA the capability to conduct political warfare. It let the agency skim millions of dollars from the plan.”24

This created one of the earlier occasions when the CIA, directly or indirectly, recruited local assets involved in drug trafficking. AFL member Irving Brown, the assistant of AFL official Jay Lovestone (a CIA asset), was implicated in drug smuggling activities in Europe, at the same time that he used funds diverted from the Marshall Plan to establish

a “compatible left” labor union in Marseilles with Pierre Ferri-Pisani. On behalf of Brown and the CIA, Ferri-Pisani (a drug smuggler connected with Marseilles crime lord Antoine Guerini), hired goons to shellack striking Communist dock workers.25

An analogous funding source for the CIA developed in the Far East: the so-called

“M-Fund,” a secret fund of money of enormous size that has existed in Japan [in 1991] for more than forty years. The Fund was established by the United States in the immediate postwar era for essentially the same reasons that later gave rise to the Marshall Plan of assistance by the U.S. to Western Europe, including the Federal Republic of Germany….. The M-Fund was used not only for the building of a democratic political system in Japan but, in addition, for all of the purposes for which Marshall Plan funds were used in Europe.26

For at least two decades the CIA lavishly subsidized right-wing parties in countries including Japan and Indonesia, possibly still using captured Axis funds.27 (One frequently encounters the claim that the source of the M-fund was gold looted by Japan during World War Two (“Yamashita’s gold”).28

As a general rule the CIA, rather than assimilating these funds into its own budget, appears to have left them off the books in the hands of cooperative allied powers – ranging from other U.S. agencies like the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA. set up in 1948 to administer the Marshall Plan) to oil companies to powerful drug kingpins.29

The CIA never abandoned its dependency on funds from outside its official budget to conduct its clandestine operations. In Southeast Asia, in particular, its proprietary firm Sea Supply Inc., supplied an infrastructure for a drug traffic supporting a CIA-led paramilitary force, PARU.30 The CIA appears also to have acted in coordination with slush funds from various U.S. government contracts, ranging from the Howard Hughes organization to (as we shall see) the foreign arms sales of U.S. defense corporations like Lockheed and Northrop.31

Lockheed Payoffs and CIA Clients: the Netherlands, Japan, Italy, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia


Kodama Yoshio, war criminal, drug trafficker, and purveyor of deep state US funds to Japanese politicians. Source.

Through the 1950s payouts from the M-fund were administered by Kodama Yoshio, “probably the CIA’s chief asset in Japan;” while ”All accounts say that after the end of the occupation, the fund’s American managers came from the CIA.”32 Kodama also received and distributed millions of funds from Lockheed to secure military contracts – an operation the CIA knew about but has never admitted involvement in.33 Lockheed’s system of payoffs was world-wide; and one sees CIA involvement with it in at least four other countries: the Netherlands, Italy, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. (Lockheed, the builder of the U-2, was a major CIA-cleared contractor.)34

The beneficiary in the Netherlands was Prince Bernhard, a close friend of CIA directors Walter Bedell Smith and Allen Dulles, and the organizer of the Bilderberg Group.35 In the case of Italy, payments were handled through a contact (“Antelope Cobbler”) who turned out to be whoever was the Italian Prime Minister of the moment (always from one of the parties subsidized earlier by the CIA).36

In the revealing instance of Indonesia, Lockheed payments were shifted in May 1965, over the legal objections of Lockheed’s counsel, to a new contract with a company set up by the firm’s long-time local agent or middleman, August Munir Dasaad.86 This was just six months after a secret U.S. decision to have the CIA covertly assist

“individuals and organizations prepared to take obstructive action against the PKI [Indonesian Communist Party].” Over the longer term this meant identifying and keeping tabs on “anti-regime elements” and other potential leaders of a post-Sukarno regime.37

Although Dasaad had been a long-time supporter of Sukarno, by May 1965 he was already building connections with Sukarno’s eventual successor, Gen. Suharto, via a family relative, General Alamsjah, who knew Suharto and was the beneficiary of the new Lockheed account.38 After Suharto replaced Sukarno, Alamsjah, who controlled certain considerable funds, at once made funds available to Suharto, earning him the gratitude of the new President.39

While this was happening, Stanvac (a joint venture of the Standard companies known later as Exxon and Mobil) increased payments to the army’s oil company, Permina, headed by an eventual political ally of Suharto, General Ibnu Sutowo.Alamsjah is said to have been allied with Ibnu Sutowo in plotting against Sukarno, along with a well-connected Japanese oilman, Nishijima Shigetada.40 After Suharto’s overthrow of Sukarno, Fortune wrote that “Sutowo’s still small company played a key part in bankrolling those crucial operations, and the army has never forgotten it.”41

We shall deal later with the special case of Lockheed kickbacks to Saudi Arabia, which were far greater than those to Japan. It is important to note, however, the linkage between Middle East oil and arms sales: as U.S. imports of Middle East oil increased, the pressure on the U.S. balance of payments was offset by increased U.S. arms sales to the region. “In the period 1963-1974, arms sales to the Middle East went from 10 per cent of global arms imports to 36 per cent, half of which was supplied by the United States.”42

Iran in 1953: How an Oil Cartel Operation Became a Job for the CIA or]

Wall Street, the Dulles Brothers, and the International Oil Cartel

The international lawyers of Wall Street did not hide from each other their shared belief that they understood better than Washington the requirements for running the world. As John Foster Dulles wrote in the 1930s to a British colleague,

The word “cartel” has here assumed the stigma of a bogeyman which the politicians are constantly attacking. The fact of the matter is that most of these politicians are highly insular and nationalistic and because the political organization of the world has under such influence been so backward, business people who have had to cope realistically with international problems have had to find ways for getting through and around stupid political barriers.43

This same mentality also explains why Allen Dulles as an OSS officer in 1945 simply evaded orders from Washington forbidding him to negotiate with SS General Karl Wolff about a conditional surrender of German forces in Italy – an important breach of Roosevelt’s agreement with Stalin at Yalta for unconditional surrender, a breach that is regarded by many as helping lead to the Cold War.44 And it explains why Allen, as CIA Director in 1957, dealt summarily with Eisenhower’s reluctance to authorize more than occasional U-2 overflights of the USSR, by secretly approving a plan with Britain’s MI-6 whereby U-2 flights could be authorized instead by the UK Prime Minister Macmillan.45

This mentality exhibited itself in 1952, when Truman’s Justice Department sought to break up the cartel agreements whereby Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon) and four other oil majors controlled global oil distribution. (The other four were Standard Oil Company of New York, Standard Oil of California or Socony, Gulf Oil, and Texaco; together with Royal Dutch Shell and Anglo-Iranian, they comprised the so-called Seven Sisters of the cartel.) Faced with a government order to hand over relevant documents, Exxon’s lawyer Arthur Dean at Sullivan and Cromwell, where Foster was senior partner, refused: “If it were not for the question of national security, we would be perfectly willing to face either a criminal or a civil suit. But this is the kind of information the Kremlin would love to get its hands on.”46

48 Wall Street, the former headquarters of both Sullivan and Cromwell and the J. Henry Schroder Banking Corporation. Source.

At this time the oil cartel was working closely with the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC, later BP) to prevent AIOC’s nationalization by Iran’s Premier Mossadeq, by instituting, in May 1951, a successful boycott of Iranian oil exports.

In May 1951 the AIOC secured the backing of the other oil majors, who had every interest in discouraging nationalisation…. None of the large companies would touch Iranian oil; despite one or two picturesque episodes the boycott held.47

As a result Iranian oil production fell from 241 million barrels in 1950 to 10.6 million barrels in 1952.

This was accomplished by denying Iran the ability to export its crude oil. At that time, the Seven Sisters controlled almost 99% of the crude oil tankers in the world for such export, and even more importantly, the markets to which it was going.48

But Truman declined, despite a direct personal appeal from Churchill, to have the CIA participate in efforts to overthrow Mossadeq, and instead dispatched Averell Harriman to Tehran in a failed effort to negotiate a peaceful resolution of Mossadeq’s differences with London.49


Allen and John Foster Dulles, pillars of both the state and the deep state. Source.

All this changed with the election of Eisenhower in November 1952, followed by the appointment of the Dulles brothers to be Secretary of State and head of CIA. The Justice Department’s criminal complaint against the oil cartel was swiftly replaced by a civil suit, from which the oil cartel eventually emerged unscathed.50

Eisenhower, an open friend of the oil industry…changed the charges from criminal to civil and transferred responsibility of the case from the Department of Justice to the Department of State – the first time in history that an antitrust case was handed to State for prosecution. Seeing as how the Secretary of State was John Foster Dulles and the defense counsel for the oil cartel was Dulles’ former law firm (Sullivan and Cromwell), the case was soon as good as dead.51

Thereafter

Cooperative control of the world market by the major oil companies remained in effect, with varying degrees of success, until the oil embargo of 1973-74. That the cooperation was more than tacit can be seen by the fact that antitrust regulations were specifically set aside a number of times during the 1950-1973 period, allowing the major companies to negotiate as a group with various Mideastern countries, and after its inception [in 1960], with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries or OPEC.52

Also in November 1952 CIA officials began planning to involve CIA in the efforts of MI6 and the oil companies in Iran53 — although its notorious Operation TP/AJAX to overthrow Mossadeq was not finally approved by Eisenhower until July 22, 1953.54

The events of 1953 strengthened the role of the oil cartel as a structural component of the American deep state, drawing on its powerful connections to both Wall Street and the CIA.55 (Another such component was the Arabian-American Oil Company or ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia, which increased oil production in 1951-53 to offset the loss of oil from Iran. Until it was fully nationalized in 1980, ARAMCO maintained undercover CIA personnel like William Eddy among its top advisors.)56 The five American oil majors in particular were also strengthened by the success of AJAX, as Anglo-Iranian (renamed BP) was henceforth forced to share 40 percent of the oil from its Iran refinery with them.

Nearly all recent accounts of Mossadeq’s overthrow treat it as a covert intelligence operation, with the oil cartel (when mentioned at all) playing a subservient role. However the chronology, and above all the belated approval from Eisenhower, suggest that it was CIA that came belatedly in 1953 to assist an earlier oil cartel operation, rather than vice versa. In terms of the deep state, the oil cartel or deep state initiated in 1951 a process that the American public state only authorized two years later. Yet the inevitable bias in academic or archival historiography, working only with those primary sources that are publicly available, is to think of the Mossadeq tragedy as simply a “CIA coup.”

The CIA, Booz Allen Hamilton, and the Wall Street Overworld

The “revolving door” also circulates top-level intelligence officials and the chiefs of the cleared contractors referred to by Mike Lofgren as part of the deep state. Tim Shorrock revealed in 2007 that “about 70 percent of the estimated $60 billion the government spends every year on…intelligence” is outsourced to private intelligence contractors like Booz, Allen & Hamilton (now Booz Allen Hamilton) and SAIC.57 For example Mike McConnell “went from being head of the National Security Agency under Bush 41 and Clinton directly to Booz Allen, one of the nation’s largest private intelligence contractors, then became Bush’s Director of National Intelligence (DNI), then went back to Booz Allen, where he is now Executive Vice President.” Intelligence officers in government write the non-competitive contracts for the private corporations that they may have worked for and may work for again.58 And over the years the “revolving door” has also exchanged personnel between Booz Allen and the international oil companies served by the firm.

The original firm of Booz, Allen, & Hamilton split in 2008 into Booz Allen Hamilton, focused on USG business, and Booz & Company in New York, assuming the old company’s commercial and international portfolio. Booz Allen Hamilton is majority owned by the private equity firm the Carlyle Group, noted for its association with political figures like both presidents Bush.59


Booz Allen Hamilton Headquarters. Source.

Lofgren points to the deep state importance of Booz Allen Hamilton, 99 percent of whose business dependent on the U.S. government.60 Booz Allen has been linked in the media to NSA ever since its employee Edward Snowden decamped with NSA records. But Booz Allen, one of the oldest and largest of the “cleared contractors,” has been intertwined with the CIA’s covert operations since Allen Dulles became CIA Director in 1953.61 In the same year, Booz Allen began “to take on several overseas assignments…: a land-registration system in the Philippines, a restructuring of Egypt’s customs operations and textile industries, and work for Iran’s national oil company.”62 All three assignments overlapped with CIA covert ops in 1953, including the Philippine land distribution program which Edward Lansdale promoted in order to fight a Huk insurrection, and the CIA’s operation TP/AJAX (with Britain’s MI6) to rescue the Anglo-Iranian oil company (later BP).63


Miles Copeland, Jr., ex-CIA, ex-Booz Allen @ Hamilton, ex-Khashoggi’s private CIA. Source.

But the most important CIA-Booz Allen cooperation may have been in Egypt. In March 1953 Miles Copeland, having resigned from the CIA to join Booz-Allen, “returned to Cairo under what was, for all practical purposes, a joint CIA-BA&H mission.”64 In addition to offering management advice to the Egyptian government in general, and to a private textile mill, Miles also gave Nasser advice on establishing his intelligence service (the Mukhabarat), and “soon became his closest Western advisor” (as well as his top channel to the USG, more important than either the local US ambassador or CIA chief)65

Copeland’s role with Nasser did not make him a shaper of U.S. policy; his pro-Nasser views were largely subordinated to the pro-British anti-Nasserism of the Dulles brothers. But they did establish a bond between Copeland and the Eisenhower White House. By 1967, when Nixon was preparing to run for president, Copeland had taken a leave of absence from Booz Allen to become a prestigious and well-paid consultant for oil companies.

The CIA, Miles Copeland, and Adnan Khashoggi

In 1966 Copeland, while technically on leave from Booz Allen, made close contact with Adnan Khashoggi, a young Arab who was in the course of becoming both a “principal foreign agent” of the U.S. and also extremely wealthy on the commissions he earned from Lockheed and other military firms on arms sales to Saudi Arabia.66 (“To give some sense of the size of the business, the company acknowledged in the mid-1970s that it had provided $106 million in commissions to Khashoggi between 1970 and 1975, more than ten times the level of payments made to the next most important connection, Yoshi [sic] Kodama of Japan.”67


Adnan Khashoggi, shadowy backer of politicians (Time, Jan. 19, 1987). Source.

By Copeland’s own account in 1989, this encounter with Khashoggi “put the two of us on a ‘Miles-and-Adnan’ basis that has lasted for more than twenty years of business, parties, and a very special kind of political action.”68 Copeland adds that

Adnan and I, separately had been called on by our respective friends in Langley [i.e., CIA] to… have an official [sic], off-the-record exchange of ideas on the emerging crisis in the Middle East, and come up with suggestions that the tame bureaucrats would like to have made but couldn’t.69

Copeland almost immediately flew to Cairo and immersed himself in a series of high-level but ultimately unsuccessful efforts to forestall what soon became the 1967 Six Day Egyptian-Israeli Six Day War. By his account, his mission, though unsuccessful, gave a “tremendous boost” to his reputation, enabling him “to accelerate the attempt I had already started to establish a ‘private CIA’ by use of confidential arrangements with politically astute members of the client companies.”70

Copeland’s self-promoting claims are controversial, and a number of establishment writers have described his books as “unreliable.”71 But eyewitness Larry Kolb corroborates that Copeland was close to Khashoggi, and that the two of them

had written a white paper… proposing that… rich countries, including not only the United States but also the Arab oil states, should establish a “Marshall Plan” for all the needy countries of the Middle East, including Israel.

Rewritten with Kolb’s assistance after consultation with the Reagan White House, the plan would be backed by a “Mideast Peace Fund” to which “Adnan was pledging a hundred million dollars of his own money.”72

The proposal failed, partly because of the Middle East’s resistance to negotiated solutions, but also partly because by the 1980s Khashoggi was no longer as rich and influential as he had once been. His function as an agent of influence in the Middle East and elsewhere had been sharply limited after the United States, by the Corrupt Federal Practices Act of 1978, outlawed direct payments by US corporations to foreign individuals. Henceforward the function of bestowing money and sexual favors on client politicians passed primarily from Khashoggi to another CIA connection, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).73 A major shareholder in BCCI was Saudi intelligence chief Kamal Adham, Khashoggi’s friend and business partner and (according to the Senate BCCI Report) “the CIA’s former principal contact in the Arab Middle East.”74

What the story of the failed “Mideast Peace Fund” reveals is first, that Khashoggi (like BCCI after him) was of interest to Washington because of his ability to negotiate with both Israel and Arab countries; and second, that Copeland and what Copeland called his “private CIA,”75 was in a commanding position as lead adviser to

Khashoggi, while still on unpaid leave from Booz Allen Hamilton.

Khashoggi, the CIA’s Asset Edward K. Moss, and Political Corruption

A powerful connection was formed by combining Copeland’s political contacts with Khashoggi’s millions. Copeland may have been responsible for Khashoggi’s inspired choice of the under-recognized Edward K. Moss, another man with CIA connections, as his p.r. agent in Washington.76

Back in November 1962, the CIA, as part of its planning to get rid of Castro, decided to use Moss for the Political Action Group of the CIA’s Covert Action (CA) staff.77 This was more than a year after the FBI had advised the CIA that Moss’s mistress Julia Cellini and her brother Dino Cellini were alleged to be procurers, while “the Cellini brothers have long been associated with the narcotics and white slavery rackets in Cuba.”78

This FBI report suggests an important shared interest between Moss and Khashoggi: sexual corruption. Just as his uncle Yussuf Yassin had been a procurer of women for King Abdul-Aziz, so Khashoggi himself was said to have “used sex to win over U.S. executives.” The bill for the madam who supplied girls en masse to his yacht in the Mediterranean ran to hundreds of thousands of dollars.79 Khashoggi made a practice of supplying those he wished to influence with dollars as well as sex.

Khashoggi’s Superyacht Kingdom 5KR, now owned by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. Source.

The CIA of course was forbidden to use sex and money in this way in the United States, or to make in the United States the payments to right-wing politicians that characterized its behavior in the rest of the world. But no such prohibition applied to Khashoggi. According to Anthony Summers,

Khashoggi had courted Nixon in 1967 by putting a plane at his disposal to tour the Middle East after the Six-Day War. Soon afterward, using a proxy, he opened an account at Rebozo’s [Bebe Rebozo, Nixon’s close confidante] in Florida. He did so, he explained to Watergate prosecutors, hoping to “curry favor with Rebozo,” to get an entrée to the man who might become president, and to pursue business deals.80

Khashoggi in effect served as a “cutout,” or representative, in a number of operations forbidden to the CIA and the companies he worked with. Lockheed, for one, was conspicuously absent from the list of military contractors who contributed illicitly to Nixon’s 1972 election campaign. But there was no law prohibiting their official representative, Khashoggi, from cycling $200 million through the bank of Nixon’s friend Bebe Rebozo.81

(Pierre Salinger heard from Khashoggi that in 1972 he had donated $1 million to Nixon, corroborating the often-heard claim that Khashoggi had brought it in a briefcase to Nixon’s western White House in San Clemente, and then “forgotten” to take it away.)82

Khashoggi of course did not introduce such corruption to American politics; he merely joined a milieu where defense companies had used money and girls for years to win defense contracts in Washington and Las Vegas.83 Prominent in this practice was Howard Hughes, whom Khashoggi soon joined in international investments. (After a Senate investigator on Khashoggi’s trail registered at the Hughes-owned Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, a blonde came unexpectedly to his hotel room, and said, “I’m here for your pleasure.”)84

But Khashoggi’s corruption channels and targets overlapped with those of others with CIA connections. In 1972 it was alleged that funds from the Paradise Island casino in the Bahamas were being secretly carried to Nixon and his friend Bebe Rebozo, by a casino employee. This was Seymour (Sy) Alter, who was both “a friend of Nixon and Rebozo since 1962” and also an associate of Edward Moss’s brother-in-law Eddie Cellini, the casino manager at Paradise Island. 85 The funds came from the Paradise Island Bridge Company, a company partly owned by an officer of Benguet International, a firm represented in America by Paul Helliwell. 86 It is likely that Nixon himself had a hidden interest in the Bridge Company, which might explain the revelation through Operation Tradewinds that a “Richard M. Nixon” (not otherwise identified) had an account at Helliwell’s Castle Bank.87

Three facts point to a deep state interest in what might otherwise seem a matter of personal corruption. The first is that Paul Helliwell had set up two companies for the CIA — CAT Inc. (Later Air America) and SEA Supply Inc. in Bangkok — that became the infrastructure of the CIA’s covert operations with drug-trafficking armies in Southeast Asia.88 The second is that Paul Helliwell’s banking partner, E.P. Barry, had been the postwar head of OSS Counterintelligence (X-2) in Vienna, which oversaw the recovery of SS gold in Operation Safehaven.89 The third is that for over four decades persons from Booz Allen Hamilton have been among the very small group owning the profitable Paradise Island Bridge Company. (A recent partner in the Paradise Island Bridge Company is Booz Allen Senior Vice-President Robert Riegle.)90

The Safari Club, now the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. Source.

Moss, Khashoggi, the Safari Club, and the International Overworld

The power exerted by Khashoggi and Moss was not limited to Khashoggi’s access to funds and women. By the 1970s, Moss was chairman of the elite Safari Club in Kenya, where he invited Khashoggi in as majority owner.91 The exclusive property became the venue for an alliance between intelligence agencies that wished to compensate for the CIA’s retrenchment in the wake of President Carter’s election and Senator Church’s post-Watergate reforms.92

As former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal once told Georgetown University alumni,

In 1976, after the Watergate matters took place here, your intelligence community was literally tied up by Congress. It could not do anything. It could not send spies, it could not write reports, and it could not pay money. In order to compensate for that, a group of countries got together in the hope of fighting Communism and established what was called the Safari Club. The Safari Club included France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran.93

Prince Turki’s candid remarks– “your intelligence community was literally tied up by Congress. …. In order to compensate for that, a group of countries got together … and established what was called the Safari Club.” – made it clear that the Safari Club, operating at the level of the deep state, was expressly created to overcome restraints established by political decisions of the public state in Washington.

Obviously the property owned by Khashoggi and Moss in Kenya should not be confused with the intelligence operation of the same name. But it would be wrong also to make a radical separation between the two: the two men Khashoggi and Moss would appear to be part of this supranational intelligence milieu.

Specifically Khashoggi’s activities of corruption by sex and money, after they too were somewhat curtailed by Senator Church’s post-Watergate reforms, appear to have been taken up by the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), a bank where Khashoggi’s friend and business partner Kamal Adham, the Saudi intelligence chief and Safari Club member, was a part-owner.94


BCCI on the cover of Time, July 6, 1991. Source.

The Safari Club Milieu: George H.W. Bush, Theodore Shackley, and BCCI

The usual account of this super-agency’s origin is that it was

the brainchild of Count Alexandre de Marenches, the debonair and mustachioed chief of France’s CIA. The SDECE (Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage)…. Worried by Soviet and Cuban advances in postcolonial Africa, and by America’s post-Watergate paralysis in the field of undercover activity, the swashbuckling Marenches had come to Turki’s father, King Faisal, with a proposition…. [By 1979] Somali president Siad Barre had been bribed out of Soviet embrace by $75 million worth of Egyptian arms (paid for… by Saudi Arabia)….95

Joseph Trento adds that “The Safari Club needed a network of banks to finance its intelligence operations,… With the official blessing of George Bush as the head of the CIA, Adham transformed… the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), into a worldwide money-laundering machine.”.96

Trento claims also that the Safari Club then was able to work with some of the controversial CIA operators who were then forced out of the CIA by Turner, and that this was coordinated by perhaps the most controversial of them all: Theodore Shackley.

Shackley, who still had ambitions to become DCI, believed that without his many sources and operatives like [Edwin] Wilson, the Safari Club—operating with [former DCI Richard] Helms in charge in Tehran—would be ineffective. … Unless Shackley took direct action to complete the privatization of intelligence operations soon, the Safari Club would not have a conduit to [CIA] resources. The solution: create a totally private intelligence network using CIA assets until President Carter could be replaced.97

Kevin Phillips has suggested that Bush on leaving the CIA had dealings with the bank most closely allied with Safari Club operations: the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). In Phillips’ words,

After leaving the CIA in January 1977, Bush became chairman of the executive committee of First International Bancshares and its British subsidiary, where, according to journalists Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin in their 1992 book ‘False Profits’ [p. 345], Bush ‘traveled on the bank’s behalf and sometimes marketed to international banks in London, including several Middle Eastern institutions.’98

Joseph Trento adds that through the London branch of this bank, which Bush chaired, “Adham’s petrodollars and BCCI money flowed for a variety of intelligence operations”99

It is clear moreover that BCCI operations, like Khashoggi’s before them, were marked by the ability to deal behind the scenes with both the Arab countries and also Israel.100

It is clear that for years the American deep state in Washington was both involved with and protected BCCI. Acting CIA director Richard Kerr acknowledged to a Senate Committee “that the CIA had also used BCCI for certain intelligence-gathering operations.”101

Later, a congressional inquiry showed that for more than ten years preceding the BCCI collapse in the summer of 1991, the FBI, the DEA, the CIA, the Customs Service, and the Department of Justice all failed to act on hundreds of tips about the illegalities of BCCI’s international activities.102

Far less clear is the attitude taken by Wall Street banks towards the miscreant BCCI. The Senate report on BCCI charged however that the Bank of England “had withheld information about BCCI’s frauds from public knowledge for 15 months before closing the bank.”103

Of course the scope and influence of BCCI reflected changes in the global superstructure of finance since the oil price hikes of the 1970s. A recent study of the dangerously unstable concentration of ownership in the world showed only four recognizable Wall Street institutions among the top twenty: JPMorgan Chase & Co, the Goldman Sachs Group, Bank of New York Mellon Corp, and Merrill Lynch.104 Of these, Bank of New York, the bank heavily involved in the 1990s looting of Russia, interlocked with BCCI through the Swiss banking activities of the international banker Bruce Rappaport, “thought to have ties to US and Israeli intelligence.” (Alfred Hartmann, a board member of BCCI, was both vice-chairman of Rappaport’s Swiss bank, Bank of New York-Intermaritime, and also head of BCCI’s Swiss subsidiary, the Banque de Commerce et de Placements).105

The collapse of BCCI in 1991 did not see an end to systematic Saudi-financed political corruption in the U.S. and elsewhere. After a proposed major arms sale in the 1980s met enhanced opposition in Congress from the Israeli lobby, Saudi Arabia negotiated a multi-billion pound long-term contract with the United Kingdom – the so-called al-Yamamah deal. It developed much later that overpayments for the purchased weapons were siphoned off into a huge slush fund for political payoffs, including “hundreds of millions of pounds to the ex-Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.”106 According to Robert Lacey, the payments to Prince Bandar were said to total one billion pounds over more than a decade, including “a suitcase containing more than $10 million” that went to a Vatican priest for the CIA’s long-time clients, the Christian Democratic Party.107

As we saw earlier. the CIA had “laundered over $10 million in captured Axis funds to influence the [Italian] election [of 1948].”108 These practices, in other words, survived the legal efforts to end them.

Conclusion: A Supranational Deep State

The complex milieu of Khashoggi, the BCCI, and the Safari Club can be characterized as a supranational deep state, whose organic links to the CIA may have helped consolidate it. It is clear however that decisions taken at this level by the Safari Club and BCCI were in no way guided by the political determinations of those elected to power in Washington. On the contrary, Prince Turki’s candid remarks revealed that the Safari Club (with the alleged participation of two former CIA Directors, Bush and Helms) was expressly created to overcome restraints established by political decisions in Washington.

A former Turkish president and prime minister once commented that the Turkish deep state was the real state, and the public state was only a “spare state,” not the real one.109 A better understanding of the American deep state is necessary, if we are to prevent it from assuming permanently the same role.

Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of Drugs Oil and WarThe Road to 9/11, and The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War. His most recent book is American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection and the Road to Afghanistan. His website, which contains a wealth of his writings, is here

Notes

1 Dana Priest and William Arkin, Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State (New York: Little Brown, 2011), 52.

2 E.g. Marc Ambinder and D.G. Grady, Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry (New York: Wiley, 2013); cf. John Tirman, “The Quiet Coup: No, Not Egypt. Here,” HuffingtonPost, July 9, 2013: “Now we know: the United States of America is partially governed by a deep state, undemocratic, secret, aligned with intelligence agencies, spying on friend and foe, lawless in almost every respect.”

3 Mike Lofgren, “ A Shadow Government Controls America,” Reader Supported News, February 22, 2014.

4 Grant Barrett, “A Wordnado of Words in 2013,” New York Times, December 21, 2013.

5 Peter Dale Scott, Deep politics and the death of JFK (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 7.

6Tom Hayden discussing the crisis in Venezuela,” Tikkun, February 25, 2014.

7 To take a single telling example, six of Sam Walton’s heirs are now reportedly wealthier than the bottom 30% of Americans, or 94.5 million people (Tim Worstall, “Six Waltons Have More Wealth Than the Bottom 30% of Americans,” Forbes, December 14, 2011). Cf. the devastating picture of a disintegrating America in George Packer, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013).

8 See Kevin Phillips, The politics of rich and poor: wealth and the American electorate in the Reagan aftermath (New York: HarperCollins, 1991). Cf. John T. Stinson, The Reagan Legacy (Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2009), 146; Timothy Noah, The great divergence: America’s growing inequality crisis and what we can do about it (New York: Bloomsbury, 2012).

9 For the impact of railroads on expanded social awareness, see Benedict Anderson, Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism (London: Verso, 1991).

10What is the Deep State?” On Religion [2013].

11 Gareth Jenkins, “Susurluk and the Legacy of Turkey’s Dirty War,” Terrorism Monitor, May 1, 2008; quoted in Peter Dale Scott, “9/11, Deep State Violence and the Hope of Internet Politics,” Global Research, June 11, 2008. For the Susurluk incident, see also Scott, American War Machine, 19-20, etc.

12 Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, xi-xii.

13 Lofgren, “ A Shadow Government Controls America.”

14 Quoted in Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America, 1.

15 Forbes magazine founder Bertie Charles Forbes wrote six years later: “Picture a party of the nation’s greatest bankers stealing out of New York on a private railroad car under cover of darkness, stealthily riding hundred[s] of miles South, embarking on a mysterious launch, sneaking onto an island [the appropriately named Jekyll Island] deserted by all but a few servants, living there a full week under such rigid secrecy that the names of not one of them was once mentioned, lest the servants learn the identity and disclose to the world this strangest, most secret expedition in the history of American finance. I am not romancing; I am giving to the world, for the first time, the real story of how the famous Aldrich currency report, the foundation of our new currency system, was written (B.C. Forbes, Leslie’s Weekly, October 19, 1916; in T. Cushing Daniel, Real money versus false money-bank credits; the most important factor in civilization and least understood by the people. Washington, D.C., The Monetary educational bureau, 1924], 169; cf. B.C. Forbes, Men who are making America [New York: Forbes Publishing Co., 1922], 398; cf. G. Edward Griffin, The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve [Westlake Village, CA: American Media, 1994]). Paul Warburg later wrote that “Though eighteen years have since gone by, I do not feel free to give a description of this most interesting conference, concerning which Senator Aldrich pledged all participants to secrecy” (Paul Warburg, The Federal Reserve System: Its Origin and Growth [New York, Macmillan, 1930], ZZ). 

16 Congress was persuaded to provide perfunctory support of the bailout, under an alleged mysterious threat of martial law. See Peter Dale Scott, “Martial Law, the Financial Bailout, and War,” Global Research, January 8, 2009; reprinted in Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall, eds., The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century (Montreal, Global Research Publishers. Centre for Research on Globalization, 2010), 219-40; Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., “Sen. Inhofe: [Henry] Paulsen [Secretary of the Treasury and former Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs] Threatened Martial Law To Pass Bailout,” LewRockwell.com, November 20, 2008.

17 Richard Helms with William Hood A look over my shoulder: a life in the Central Intelligence Agency (New York: Random House, 2003), 82-83. Cf. Scott, American War Machine, 26-28.

18 Laurence H Shoup and William Minter, Imperial brain trust: the Council on Foreign Relations and United States foreign policy (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1977).

19 Gordon Thomas, Secret Wars: One Hundred Years of British Intelligence Inside MI5 and MI6 (New York: Thomas Dunne Books/ St. Martin’s Press, 2009), 98. This may have occurred during Dulles’s visit to Europe in the spring of 1947 (James Srodes, Dulles: Master of Spies [Washington: Henry Regnery, 1999], 392).

20 Richard Aldrich, The Hidden Hand: Britain, America, and Cold War secret intelligence (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2001), 343. Dulles also chaired the executive committee of the companion National Committee for a Free Europe (behind the Iron Curtain), whose legal affairs were handled by Sullivan and Cromwell (Wilson D. Miscamble, George F. Kennan and the Making of American Foreign Policy, 1947-1950 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992), 204.

21 Amy B. Zegart, Flawed by Design: The Evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1999), 189; citing Christopher Andrew, For the President’s Eyes Only (New York: HarperCollins, 1995), 172; see also Church Committee, Final Report, Book 4, 28-29.

22 David Wise and Thomas B. Ross, The Espionage Establishment (New York: Random House, 1967), 166; Scott, Road to 9/11, 13.

23 “In January 1946 Dulles outlined in some detail a reconstruction plan that is one of the earliest notions of what would, a year later, be known as the Marshall Plan” (Srodes, Allen Dulles: Master of Spies, 374).

24 Tim Weiner, Legacy of ashes: the history of the CIA (New York: Doubleday, 2007), 28.

25 Douglas Valentine, “The French Connection Revisited: The CIA, Irving Brown, and Drug Smuggling as Political Warfare,” Covert Action.

26 Norbert Schlei, “Japan’s ‘M-Fund’ Memorandum, January 7, 1991,“ JPRI [Japan Policy Research Institute] Working Paper No. 11: July 1995: “Incident to the revision of the Security Treaty [in 1960], Vice President Nixon agreed to turn over exclusive control of the M-Fund to Japan. It has been alleged that this action by Nixon was part of a corrupt political bargain, whereby it was agreed that if Japan would assist him to become President of the United States, Nixon would agree to release control of the Fund to Japan and, if he became President, would return Okinawa to Japan.”

27 “C.I.A. Spent Millions to Support Japanese Right in 50′s and 60′s,” New York Times, October 9, 1994. Cf. Scott, American War Machine, 93-94, 298-99; citing Chalmers Johnson, “The 1955 System and the American Connection: A Bibliographic Introduction,” JPRI [Japan Policy Research Institute] Working Paper No. 11: July 1995.

28 Sterling Seagrave and Peggy Seagrave, Gold warriors: America’s secret recovery of Yamashita’s gold (London: Verso, 2003). Cf. Richard Hoyt, Old Soldiers Sometimes Lie (New York: Forge, 2002), 80.

29 Scott, American War Machine, 94, etc.

30 Scott, American War Machine,

31 Norman Mailer, “A Harlot High and Low: Reconnoitering Through the Secret Government,” New York, August 16, 1976 (Hughes); Michael Schaller, Altered states: the United States and Japan since the occupation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 294 (Lockheed).

32 Johnson, “The 1955 System and the American Connection.”

33 David E. Kaplan and Alec Dubro, Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 89-90. Cf. Jonathan Marshall, in William O. Walker, III, ed., Drug control policy: essays in historical and comparative perspective (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992), 108:

“Yoshio Kodama’s fortune, built of profits from tungsten and opium, established the party that today rules Japan…. Kodama contributed to the pervasive corruption of Japanese politics by steering huge corporate contributions into the coffers of favored LDP members. This pattern culminated in the Lockheed scandal, which revealed that multi-million-dollar payoff by American aerospace firms had swayed key procurement decisions by Japan’s national airline and defense establishment and raised the possibility that the CIA had used Kodama and corporate funds to influence Japanese politics. The money-laundering channel used for Lockheed’s bribes was favored both by the CIA and international drug traffickers.”

34 Thomas Fensch, ed. The C.I.A. and the U-2 Program: 1954-1974 (The Woodlands, TX: New Century Books, 2001).

35 William D. Hartung, Prophets of war: Lockheed Martin and the making of the military-industrial complex (New York: Nation Books, 2011), 121; David Boulton, The Grease Machine (New York: Harper & Row, 1978), 97 (friends).

36 Andrew Feinstein, The shadow world: inside the global arms trade (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011), 265; Anthony Sampson, The Arms Bazaar (New York: Viking, 1977), 135-36.

37 Bradley R. Simpson, Economists with guns: authoritarian development and U.S.-Indonesian relations, 1960-1968 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008), 142;

quoting from CIA, “Political Action Project,”, November 19, 1964; FRUS, 1964-1968, 26:181-84.

38 In addition there was “a US deal to deliver 200 light aircraft to the Indonesian Army in July 1965.” The aircraft went to the army’s Diponegoro division, which “ as well as supplying the bulk of the [September 30] “coup” personnel in Java, … also provided the bulk of the personnel for its suppression” (Nathaniel Mehr, Constructive bloodbath’ in Indonesia: the United States, Britain and the mass killings of 1965-66 [Nottingham: Spokesman Books, 2009], 36).

39 Peter Dale Scott, “The United States and the Overthrow of Sukarno, 1965-1967,” Pacific Affairs, 58, Summer 1985,; citing United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations, Multinational corporations and United States foreign policy, hearings before the Subcommittee on Multinational Corporations (Washington: U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1973-1976).

40 Masashi Nishihara, The Japanese and Sukarno’s Indonesia: Tokyo-Jakarta relations, 1951-1966 (Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1976), 171, 194, 202; Scott, “The United States and the Overthrow of Sukarno.”

41 Fortune, July 1973, 154, cf. Wall Street Journal, April 18, 1967.

42 John Dumbrell and Axel R Schäfer (eds.), America’s ‘special relationships’: foreign and domestic aspects of the politics of alliance (London: Routledge, 2009), 187.

43 John Foster Dulles to Lord McGowan, Chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries; in Nancy Lisagor and Frank Lipsius, A law unto itself: the untold story of the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell (New York: Morrow, 1988), 127.

44 Charles T. O’Reilly, Forgotten Battles: Italy’s War of Liberation, 1943-1945 (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2001), 288; Peter Dale Scott, “How Allen Dulles and the SS Preserved Each Other,” Covert Action Information Bulletin, 25 (Winter 1986), 4-14. Dulles’s plans to use SS resources in post-war Germany cab be seen as part of a successful plan to frustrate the implementation of Roosevelt’s so-called Morgenthau Plan to deindustrialize Germany.

45 Stephen Dorril, MI6, 659-660.

46Ovid Demaris, Dirty Business: The Corporate-Political Money-Power Game (New York: Avon, 1974), 213-14.

47 J.P.D. Dunbabin, International relations since 1945 : a history in two volumes

(London: Longman, 1994), Vol 2, 344. The boycott is denied without argumentation in Exxon’s corporate history (Bennett H. Wall et al., Growth in a changing environment: a history of Standard Oil Company (New Jersey), Exxon Corporation, 1950-1975 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1988), Vol. 4, 476: “Despite oft-printed statements to the contrary, the oil majors did not conspire to boycott NIOC oil.”

48 Robert Palmer Smith, Darkest truths of black gold: an oil industry executive breaks the industry’s code of silence (New York: iUniverse, 2007), 256. In July 1952 Mossadeq attempted to break the embargo by contracting to sell oil to a small private Italian oil firm. The manoeuver was frustrated by the British Royal Navy, which in July 1952 intercepted the Italian tanker Rose Mary and redirected it to Aden. The news dissuaded other tankers from trying to reach Abadan (Mary Ann Heiss, Empire and Nationhood: The United States, Great Britain, and Iranian Oil, 1950-1954 [New York: Columbia University Press, 1997], 130; Stephen Kinzer, All the Shah’s men: an American coup and the roots of Middle East terror Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2003], 136).

49 Mostafa Elm, Oil, Power, and Principle: Iran’s Oil Nationalization and Its Aftermath (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1992), 198-99 (Churchill); Robert Moskin, American Statecraft: The Story of the U.S. Foreign Service (New York: Thomas Dunne Books/ St. Martin’s Press, 2013), 627-28 (Harriman).

50 Demaris, Dirty Business, 214-25: “The incoming Eisenhower Administration… quickly dropped the criminal case. The civil suit that was instituted alleged that the five American oil companies violated the Sherman Antitrust and the Wilson Tariff Acts by conspiring to divide and control foreign production and distribution…. An inadequate staff was assigned to the case and the action finally petered out a decade later with a couple of meaningless consent decrees.”

51 Robert Sherrill, The oil follies of 1970-1980: how the petroleum industry stole the show (and much more besides) (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1983), 221).

52 William R. Freudenburg and Robert Gramling, Oil in troubled waters: perceptions, politics, and the battle over offshore drilling (Albany : State University of New York Press, 1994); 17; citing Shukri Mohammed Ghanem, OPEC, the Rise and Fall of an Exclusive Club (London : KPI, 1986); Mira Wilkins, “The Oil Companies in Perspective,” in Raymond Vernon (ed.), The Oil Crisis (New York: Norton, 1976).

53 William Roger Louis, “Britain and the Overthrow of Mossadeq,” in Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne (eds.), Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 coup in Iran (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2004), 168. Cf. William R. Clark, Petrodollar warfare: oil, Iraq and the future of the dollar (Gabriola Island, B.C.: New Society Publishers, 2005), 125: “[T]he Dulles brothers had already conceived a plot when Eisenhower became president in January 1953.”

54 Scot Macdonald, Rolling the iron dice : historical analogies and decisions to use military force in regional contingencies (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000), 98. Cf. Richard H. Immerman, John Foster Dulles: Piety, Pragmatism, and Power in U.S. Foreign Policy (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1999), 67. Allen Dulles played a personal role in TP/AJAX, by flying to Italy and persuading the frightened Shah to return to Tehran.

55 In the past, wishing to dissociate the term “deep state” from organizational connotations, I have written of the American “deep state” as “a milieu both inside and outside government with the power to steer the history of the public state and sometimes redirect it” (“William Pawley, the Kennedy Assassination, and Watergate,” Global Research, November 29, 2012. But because there are extra-governmental structural components to the deep state, it might be better to think of it as not just a milieu, but more analogous to an oligopolistic market.

56 See Chalmers A Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2004), 218-19; Timothy Mitchell, Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil (New York: Verso Books, 2011), 212.

57 Tim Shorrock, Spies for Hire (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008), 6.

58 Glenn Greenwald, “Mike McConnell, the WashPost & the dangers of sleazy corporatism,” Salon, March 29, 2010.

59 George H. W. Bush was an adviser to Carlyle, which in its early days “backed a management-led buyout of Caterair and appointed George W Bush to the board” (Jamie Doward, “Bush Sr’s Carlyle Group Gets Fat On War And Conflict,”

The Observer, March 25, 2003.)

60 Lofgren, “ A Shadow Government Controls America.”

61 Booz Allen Hamilton’s headquarters is now in McLean, Virginia, close to the HQ of the CIA.

62 Art Kleiner, Booz Allen Hamilton: Helping Clients Envision the Future

(Old Saybrook, CT: Greenwich Publishing, 2004), 43.

63 John Prados, Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006.), 139. Cf. Christine N. Halili, Philippine History (Manila: Rex Book Store, 2004), 258 (Philippines land distribution).

64 Miles Copeland, The Game Player: the confessions of the CIA’s original political operative (London: Aurum Press, 1989), 158.

65 Ephraim Kahana and Muhammad Suwaed, Historical dictionary of Middle Eastern intelligence (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2009), 65 {“advisor”); Jack O’Connell, King’s Counsel: A Memoir of War, Espionage, and Diplomacy in the Middle East

(New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 2011), 20 (channel).

66 The BCCI Affair: BCCI, the CIA and Foreign Intelligence, Report to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations by John Kerry and Hank Brown, December 1992; 102nd Congress, 2nd Session, Senate Print 102-140 (“agent”).

67 William D. Hartung, Prophets of war: Lockheed Martin and the making of the military-industrial complex (New York: Nation Books, 2011), 126.

68 Copeland, The Game Player, 231.

69 Copeland, The Game Player, 233.

70 Copeland, The Game Player, 239.

71 E.g. Evan Thomas, The Very Best Men: Four Who Dared: The Early Years of the CIA

(New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), 380.

72 Larry J. Kolb, Overworld: The Life and Times of a Reluctant Spy [New York: Riverhead/Penguin, 2004], 237-38. Cf. Copeland, The Game Player, 230, 262-63; Ronald Kessler, The Richest Man in the World: The Story of Adnan Khashoggi (New York: Warner Books), 300-01: “[O]n May 17, 1983, [Khashoggi] submitted to President Reagan a confidential ‘yellow paper’ [which] proposed an economic aid program similar to the 1949 Marshall Plan developed by the U.S. for Europe. Called a Peace Fund, it would provide up to $300 billion in regional economic aid from the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to Israel and any Arab country that signed a peace treaty with it.”

73 Peter Dale Scott, “Deep Events and the CIA’s Global Drug Connection,” 911truth.org, October 12, 2008; American War Machine, 160-65.

74The BCCI Affair.” Khashoggi’s status had declined, but by no means vanished. As late as 2003, Khashoggi was negotiating with Richard Perle, a member of the Cheney-Rumsfeld clique who at the time was still Chairman of the U.S. Defense Policy Board, to invest considerable Saudi money in Perle’s company Trireme (Seymour Hersh, New Yorker, 3/17/03).

75 Copeland, Game Player, 239; cf. 2128.

76 Kessler, The Richest Man in the World, 84, 188, etc.; Scott, American War Machine, 158-62.

77 “Moss, Edward K. #172 646,” CIA Memo of 19 April 1967, NARA #104-10122-10006; CIA Inspector General’s Report on CIA-Mafia Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro, NARA # 104-10213-10101, p. 38. Cf. memo of 7 November 1962 in CIA’s Edward K. Moss folder, p. 26, NARA #1994.05.03.10:54:53:780005.

78 “Manuel Antonio Varona,” FBI Memorandum of January 16, 1961 to A. H. Belmont, p. 2, 105-76826-20; NARA #124-90055-10139. Cf. “Moss, Edward K. #172 646,” CIA Memo of 14 May 1973, in Meyer Lansky Security File, p. 9, NARA #1993.08.13.17:42:12:560059; CIA letter of 16 December 1960 to FBI, FBI file 105-76826-18; NARA #124-90055-10133. The CIA itself had notified the FBI on December 16, 1960, that Julia “Cellino” had advised that her brothers “have long been associated in the narcotics and white slavery rackets in Cuba (CIA letter of 16 December 1960 to Director, FBI, FBI File 105-76826-18; NARA #124-90055-10133; apparently no copy of this letter has been released from CIA files).

79 Kessler, Richest Man in the World, 29 (Yassin), 275–78 (Khashoggi). A friend of Khashoggi’s, Larry Kolb, reports that Khashoggi himself essentially corroborated the story that Khashoggi and John Kennedy had a friendship in the 1950s that “evolved primarily out of whoring together” (Larry J. Kolb, Overworld: The Life and Times of a Reluctant Spy [New York: Riverhead/Penguin, 2004], 236). The woman who destroyed the presidential aspirations of Senator Gary Hart in 1987 was one of Khashoggi’s many girls.

80 Anthony Summers with Robbyn Swan, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon (New York: Viking, 2000), 283. Cf. Kessler, The Richest Man in the World, 171: Khashoggi told the prosecutors “that he churned millions through the tiny [Rebozo] bank to win favor with the president.”

81 Investigative reporter Jim Hougan reports the incredulity of congressional investigators that Lockheed was the only large corporation not to have made a contribution to Nixon’s 1972 election campaign (Hougan, Spooks, 457–58.

82 Scott, Road to 9/11, 35; citing Summers, Arrogance of Power, 283; Robert Baer, Sleeping with the Devil (New York: Crown, 2003), 43. (Baer reports the year of the briefcase as 1968, not 1972.) Kolb (“unequivocally, and from personal experience”) denies the briefcase story (Overworld, 299).

83 Scott, Deep politics and the death of JFK, 234-39.

84 Kessler, Richest Man in the World, 129, 160-61. When Hughes flew from Las Vegas to the Paradise Island casino in the Bahamas (where Edward Moss’s brother-in-law Eddie Cellini was casino manager, he did so on a Khashoggi plane. (Kessler, Richest Man, 149-50).

85 Summers with Swan, The Arrogance of Power, 242, 252; Jim Hougan, Spooks, 398. Cf. Denny Walsh, New York Times, January 21, 1974; Gerth, in Government by Gunplay, 137-39.

86 Block, Masters of Paradise, 94-96; Summers with Swan, The Arrogance of Power, 244-45. Benguet Mines have also been associated with Yamashita’s gold (Seagrave, Gold Warriors, 147; Scott, American War Machine, 322n15).

87 Summers with Swan, The Arrogance of Power, 244-45, 253-54.

88 Scott, American War Machine, 71-72. Cf. Wall Street Journal, April 18, 1980: “In 1951, Mr. Helliwell helped set up and run Sea Supply Corp., a concern controlled by the CIA as a front. For almost 10 years, Sea Supply was used to supply huge amounts of weapons and equipment to 10,000 Nationalist Chinese [KMT] troops in Burma as well as to Thailand’s police.”

89 In the course of Operation Safehaven, the U.S. Third Army took an SS major “on several trips to Italy and Austria, and, as a result of these preliminary trips, over $500,000 in gold, as well as jewels, were recovered” (Anthony Cave Brown, The Secret War Report of the OSS New York: Berkeley, 1976], 565-66).

90 Who’s who in Finance and Industry, Marquis Who’s Who, 1979, 568.

91 Kessler, Richest Man in the World, 238-41; Scott, American War Machine, 161-62.

92 The operation kept the name “Safari Club” even after moving from Khashoggi’s Club to a permanent headquarters in Cairo.

93 Ibrahim Warde, The price of fear: the truth behind the financial war on terror (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 133. Cf. Lacey, Inside the Kingdom, 66, 72, 76.

94 Christopher Byron, “The Senate look at BCCI,” New York Magazine, October 28, 1991, 20–21.

95 Lacey, Inside the Kingdom, 66. Cf. John Cooley, Unholy Wars (London: Pluto Press, 1999), 24-27.

96 Joseph J. Trento, Prelude to terror: the rogue CIA and the legacy of America’s private intelligence network (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2005), 104-05. Kevin Phillips also notes that “Bush cemented strong relations with the intelligence services of both Saudi Arabia and the shah of Iran. He worked closely with Kamal Adham, the head of Saudi intelligence” (Kevin Phillips, “The Barrelling Bushes,” Los Angeles Times, January 11, 2004).

97 Trento, Prelude to terror, 113-14.

98 Phillips, “The Barrelling Bushes,” Los Angeles Times, January 11, 2004.

99 Trento, Prelude to Terror, 139.

100 There is no published evidence that Copeland was involved in the Safari Club covert operations. But it may be significant that Copeland’s activity of advising the Egyptian Army became after the creation of the Safari Club a franchise of a “private” U.S. firm, J.J. Cappucci and Associates, owned by Theodore Shackley (Trento, Prelude to Terror, 150, 247).

101 Kerry-Brown Report, Part 11, “BCCI, the CIA and Foreign Intelligence.”

102 Dan Bawley, Corporate Governance and Accountability: What Role for the Regulator, Director, and Auditor? (Westport, CT: Quorum, 1999). 37.

103 Bawley, Corporate Governance and Accountability, 37.

104Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world.” New Scientist, October 24, 2011.

105 Scott, American War Conspiracy, 163; quoting from Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin, False Profits: The Inside Story of BCCI, the World’s Most Corrupt Financial Empire (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992), 384 (“ties”).

106Saudi prince ‘received arms cash’,” BBC, June 7, 2007. It is unclear whether payments continued after 2001, when the UK signed the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention, making such overpayments illegal.

107 Robert Lacey, Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia (New York: Penguin Books, 2009), 108.

108 Amy B. Zegart, Flawed by Design: The Evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1999), 189; citing Christopher Andrew, For the President’s Eyes Only (New York: HarperCollins, 1995), 172; see also Church Committee, Final Report, Book 4, 28-29.

109 Former Turkish President and Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel commented that “In our country… there is one deep state and one other state…. The state that should be real is the spare one, the one that should be spare is the real one” (Jon Gorvett, “Turkey’s ‘Deep State’ Surfaces in Former President’s Words, Deeds in Kurdish Town,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January/February 2006);, quoted in Scott, American War Machine, 24.

CIA caught spying on US Senate

March 10th, 2014 by Tom Carter

Over the past several days, it has emerged that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been illegally spying on the US Senate Intelligence Committee—the very legislative body that is charged with overseeing and regulating the agency—in flagrant violation of legality and the constitutional separation of powers.

Among the basic conceptions of the revolutionaries who created the American system of government was the conviction that the natural trajectory of government, left unchecked, was toward executive tyranny. To combat this tendency, the Founders designed a system in which state power was divided among separate branches of government. The separate branches, under a system of “checks and balances,” were meant to limit the powers of the other branches. Legislative oversight of federal agencies, including intelligence agencies, is one historical outgrowth of this conception.

The revelations of CIA spying on Congress underscore the fact that America is run by an unelected, unaccountable military/intelligence apparatus. It is this apparatus, in conjunction with the corporate-financial elite, that dictates official policy in Washington, irrespective of which political party is in power.

The outlook of those who run this apparatus is one of utter impunity and contempt for basic democratic principles. In the day-to-day activities of the intelligence agencies—spying, conspiracy, infiltration, subversion, torture, assassination—the limitations imposed by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and existing law are seen merely as impediments to be evaded or overridden. This contempt for democratic rights is consistent with a political system that as a whole carries out its reactionary foreign and domestic policies over the heads of the population, which overwhelmingly opposes them.

The CIA spying scandal has its origins in a Senate investigation into the CIA system of abductions (“renditions”), secret prisons (“black sites”) and torture dating from the period following September 11, 2001. It goes without saying that these CIA practices were and remain completely illegal, violating both US and international law.

To date, under the Obama administration’s slogan of “looking forwards not backwards,” not one individual involved has been criminally prosecuted or otherwise held accountable. Instead, the Obama administration has threatened to prosecute (and has actually prosecuted) anyone from within the agency who publicly revealed the agency’s activities. The Senate Intelligence Committee has produced, but not publicly released, a 6,300-page report documenting these crimes.

The CIA lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee in an effort to cover up its activities. In September of last year, CIA Director John Brennan, appointed by President Obama, filed a 122-page answer to the committee’s report that purported to rebut the committee’s findings. This answer was later exposed as a fraud when the Senate committee obtained a document reviewing CIA practices prepared for Brennan’s predecessor, Leon Panetta.

While the CIA granted the Senate Intelligence Committee restricted access to certain documents, requiring Senate staff to physically attend a facility set up by the CIA for that purpose, the CIA had attempted to conceal the Panetta document from the investigation. Senator Mark Udall, a member of the committee, said the Panetta document was “consistent with the [Senate] Intelligence Committee’s report” and “conflicts with the official CIA response to the committee’s report.”

Finally, having committed these crimes and then lied about them, the CIA retaliated against the Senate Intelligence Committee staffers who viewed the Panetta document by spying on them and monitoring their computers.

The revelations of executive spying on Congress bring to mind the Watergate scandal of 1972-74, which involved the Nixon administration’s illegal attempts to spy on and discredit political opponents. In the wake of that scandal, no less than 43 people were prosecuted, convicted and jailed, while Nixon himself was forced to resign in the face of near-certain impeachment and removal from office by Congress.

A far different response greets the exposure of executive criminality 40 years later. The media has expressed indifference to the story and the episode has thus far generated no significant response from anywhere in the political establishment.

The Senate Intelligence Committee did refer the CIA’s actions to the Department of Justice for possible criminal prosecution. The CIA’s provocative response was to demand that instead of prosecuting the CIA, the Department of Justice prosecute the Senate staffers for allegedly gaining “unauthorized access” to “classified” material.

In recent weeks, the American political establishment supported an armed coup in Ukraine by a coalition of far-right and fascist forces, recklessly bringing the world to the brink of a nuclear conflict between the United States and Russia. One of the US-backed parties, Svoboda, has called for the summary execution of all “Russian-speaking intellectuals” and all “members of the anti-Ukrainian political parties,” while publicly denouncing Jews as enemies of the Ukrainian people. A government that forges such alliances abroad is perfectly capable of developing similar forces at home.

The “military-industrial complex” against which Eisenhower warned in 1961 has massively increased its size and power. In numbers, resources, wealth, connections and influence, the 21st century American military/intelligence/corporate-financial complex dwarfs anything Eisenhower could have imagined. Congress is subservient and impotent before it, and the president functions largely as its public relations representative and functionary.

A major factor in the ever more reckless and aggressive foreign policy of the United States is the unprecedented scale of social inequality within the country and the explosive social conditions that it produces. One motivation behind repeated military interventions is the desire to divert social and political opposition outward. At the same time, the rise of an unimaginably rich oligarchy at one pole of society and ever-greater misery and poverty at the other pole is incompatible with democratic forms of rule.

The American ruling class is terrified above all that a movement will develop in the working class against capitalism. The growing list of police state measures—NSA spying, drone assassinations, internment without trial, renditions—are directed against popular opposition.

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently told an audience in Hawaii that “you are kidding yourself if you think” there will not be mass internment in the United States along the lines of the internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. Doubtless, “classified” lists of “enemies of the state” have already been drawn up. While American political functionaries mouth empty phrases about “freedom and democracy,” their open support for out-and-out fascists in the Ukraine indicates where they really stand. The defense of basic democratic rights necessitates that the military/intelligence complex be permanently broken up and abolished. All of the intelligence agencies must be disbanded, all of their “classified” files must be published, and all of the poison fruit of their illegal spying operations must be destroyed. In order to accomplish these necessary tasks, a confrontation with the capitalist system that has produced this complex cannot be avoided.

The world capitalist crisis has generated untenable levels of social inequality worldwide and in the United States in particular. Social inequality drives the collapse of democracy and the turn towards a police state, together with the bloody and provocative expansion of American militarism abroad. The only means of halting and reversing these processes—which lead inevitably to totalitarianism, mass poverty and world war—is the independent mobilization of the working class on the basis of a socialist program.

 

Tom Carter

Washington spent the weekend ramping up pressure on its allies to intensify the provocations and threats against Russia over Ukraine.

On Friday, President Barack Obama spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. On Saturday he held talks with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, French President François Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. He also held a conference call with the presidents of the ex-Soviet Republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia—Andris Berzins, Dalia Grybauskaite and Toomas Ilves, respectively.

A White House communication spoke of universal agreement “on the need for Russia to pull its military forces back to their base” and for “the deployment of international observers and human rights monitors to the Crimean peninsula.”

An even more threatening pose was struck by Secretary of State John Kerry. According to a State Department spokesman, Kerry warned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that “continued military escalation and provocation in Crimea or elsewhere in Ukraine, along with steps to annex Crimea to Russia, would close any available space for diplomacy…”

Last Thursday, Crimea’s regional government announced a referendum for March 16 on whether to become part of Russia. Obama’s spokesman described the referendum as “a violation of Ukraine’s constitution” and a “violation of international law.”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague told the BBC that Europe would face the “great danger of a real shooting conflict” if Russian forces moved beyond the Crimean peninsula to enter eastern Ukraine. Diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions would not remove Russian forces from the Crimea, he told the Andrew Marr Show. Asked whether Britain and the European Union would advise the Ukrainians not to take up arms against the Russians, he replied in the negative saying, “It is not really possible to go through different scenarios with the Ukrainians and say: in these circumstances you shoot and in these you don’t.”

In Kiev, Ukraine’s US-imposed prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, pledged that his government would not give a “single centimetre” of Ukrainian land to Russia. Yatsenyuk flies to Washington on Wednesday for discussions at the White House on the military and financial situation, White House officials told CNN.

Official threats of retaliatory action usually involve economic and political sanctions, but the US has above all been busy isolating Russia through a sustained military build-up in conjunction with states on Russia’s periphery.

Last Friday, the USS Truxtun crossed into the Black Sea from Turkey’s Bosphorus in what was said to be a “previously planned” training exercise together with the Bulgarian and Romanian navies. The USS Truxton is a destroyer with a crew of 300, equipped with anti-ship missiles. It was stationed in Greece as part of a strike group headed by the aircraft carrier USS George W. Bush, the world’s largest warship, and replaced the USS Taylor, which ran aground in the Turkish port of Samsun last month—an indication of the permanent US presence in the region that is now being beefed up.

The US will send 12 F-16 fighter jets, a Boeing KC-135 refuelling Stratotanker and 300 service personnel to Poland next week for an expanded training exercise. Four F-15s currently fly air patrols over the Baltic States as part of a ten-year-old NATO mission, and the US already has a training squadron of F-16 fighters and Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport planes in Poland. NATO scrambled jets over 40 times last year in response to Russian jets approaching Baltic borders.

The Eastern European and Baltic States are playing a leading role in whipping up a pro-war atmosphere against Russia, including convening a meeting of NATO last week to discuss their “fears” of Russian expansionism.

Reuters noted that Poland is discussing modernising its military, including plans to spend $45 billion in the next decade to build a new missile defence system and upgrade its weapons systems, including transport helicopters and tanks.

Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas told Reuters: “After the events in Ukraine, the Russian aggression, the need to increase spending will be better understood by Lithuanian people, and there will be more support for it.”

Sweden’s deputy prime minister, Jan Bjorklund, last week called for a “doctrinal shift” in Swedish defence policy in the context of discussions on whether it should fully join NATO.

Pre-arranged military manoeuvres are only one of a series of “happy coincidences” indicating that the US planned the crisis that supposedly began with “spontaneous” pro-European Union protests after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych backed away from an EU Association Agreement last November.

For example, the United States assumed control of NATO’s air policing duties over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in January, taking over from Belgium. According to Fox News, a statement issued at the time said the mission “not only protects the integrity of NATO airspace, it illustrates the alliance’s core function of collective defence.”

The US has spent the past two decades seeking to eliminate Ukraine as a strategic buffer between Russia and the West, sponsoring the “Orange Revolution” in 2004 in an ultimately abortive attempt to install a wholly pro-Western government. Washington and its allies have tried to do the same in other former Soviet states by integrating them into the structures of NATO and the European Union, encouraging Georgia, in particular, and former Soviet republics in Central Asia to take the path of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Washington has been funnelling money into the region for years and has now opened the taps all the way. According to an admission in December by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, the US had invested “over $5 billion” to “ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine.”

Others states involved in US machinations are no less financially beholden to Washington. Last Monday, the European Commission (EC) was involved in procedures demanding that Bulgaria abandon an agreement with the US on the provision of economic, technical and other types of assistance on the grounds that the deal was in breach of EU directives because of violations of competition principles. A report noted that between 1990 and 2007, Bulgaria received $600 million from the US under the agreement. Of this, fully 99.14 percent went to defence.

There is little wonder that Lavrov responded to Kerry’s phone call by declaring that the crisis in Ukraine was “created artificially for purely geopolitical reasons.”

In Ukraine, the newly-installed regime is relying on various oligarchs to rule the country in alliance with far-right and fascist groups. In recent days, several oligarchs have been appointed to top government jobs, including leadership of regional administrations in the east that have been the scene of pro- and anti-government demonstrations and conflicts.

Ihor Kolomoyskyi was named head of Dnepropetrovsk Regional Administration, while Sergey Taruta, the country’s 16th richest man, was appointed as the new regional governor of Donetsk. Kolomoisky, a metals, banking and media tycoon worth $2.4 billion, told the Associated Press that his task would be to quell any unrest in his region, which was, he claimed, being fomented by agents from Russia.

Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man, worth an estimated $15.4 billion and until recently a major backer of Yanukvoych’s Party of Regions, has also been lined up to demand national unity.

The former US ambassador to Ukraine, John Edward Herbst, was unapologetic, telling the AP: “The oligarchs taking on this responsibility is a demonstration of their commitment to an independent, sovereign and territorially integrated Ukraine.”

Yesterday saw rallies by pro-government forces to honour the birth 200 years ago of poet Taras Shevchenko, known as the father of the Ukrainian language. The rallies led to clashes with pro-Russian groups in Sevastopol in Crimea.

President Vladimir Putin on Crisis in Ukraine

March 10th, 2014 by Global Research News

The President of Russia met with media representatives to answer a number of their questions, in particular with regard to the situation in Ukraine.

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, colleagues,

How shall we do this?

This is what I’d like to suggest: let’s have a conversation, rather than an interview. Therefore, I would ask you to begin by stating all your questions, I will jot them down and try to answer them, and then we will have a more detailed discussion of the specifics that interest you most.

Let’s begin.

QUESTION: Mr President, I would like to ask (you took a lengthy pause, so we have quite a few questions by now) how you assess the events in Kiev? Do you think that the Government and the Acting President, who are currently in power in Kiev, are legitimate? Are you ready to communicate with them, and on what terms? Do you yourself think it possible now to return to the agreements of February 21, which we all talk about so often?

QUESTION: Mr President, Russia has promised financial aid to Crimea and instructions were issued to the Finance Ministry yesterday. Is there a clear understanding of how much we are giving, where the money is coming from, on what terms and when? The situation there is very difficult.

QUESTION: When, on what terms and in what scope can military force be used in Ukraine? To what extent does this comply with Russia’s international agreements? Did the military exercises that have just finished have anything to do with the possible use of force?

QUESTION: We would like to know more about Crimea. Do you think that the provocations are over or that there remains a threat to the Russian citizens who are now in Crimea and to the Russian-speaking population? What are the general dynamics there – is the situation changing for the better or for the worse? We are hearing different reports from there.

QUESTION: If you do decide to use force, have you thought through all the possible risks for yourself, for the country and for the world: economic sanctions, weakened global security, a possible visa ban or greater isolation for Russia, as western politicians are demanding?

QUESTION: Yesterday the Russian stock market fell sharply in response to the Federation Council’s vote, and the ruble exchange rates hit record lows. Did you expect such a reaction? What do you think are the possible consequences for the economy? Is there a need for any special measures now, and of what kind? For instance, do you think the Central Bank’s decision to shift to a floating ruble exchange rate may have been premature? Do you think it should be revoked?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Fine, let us stop here for now. I will begin, and then we will continue. Don’t worry; I will try to answer as many questions as possible.

First of all, my assessment of what happened in Kiev and in Ukraine in general. There can only be one assessment: this was an anti-constitutional takeover, an armed seizure of power. Does anyone question this? Nobody does. There is a question here that neither I, nor my colleagues, with whom I have been discussing the situation in Ukraine a great deal over these past days, as you know – none of us can answer. The question is why was this done?

I would like to draw your attention to the fact that President Yanukovych, through the mediation of the Foreign Ministers of three European countries – Poland, Germany and France – and in the presence of my representative (this was the Russian Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin) signed an agreement with the opposition on February 21. I would like to stress that under that agreement (I am not saying this was good or bad, just stating the fact) Mr Yanukovych actually handed over power. He agreed to all the opposition’s demands: he agreed to early parliamentary elections, to early presidential elections, and to return to the 2004 Constitution, as demanded by the opposition. He gave a positive response to our request, the request of western countries and, first of all, of the opposition not to use force. He did not issue a single illegal order to shoot at the poor demonstrators. Moreover, he issued orders to withdraw all police forces from the capital, and they complied. He went to Kharkov to attend an event, and as soon as he left, instead of releasing the occupied administrative buildings, they immediately occupied the President’s residence and the Government building – all that instead of acting on the agreement.

I ask myself, what was the purpose of all this? I want to understand why this was done. He had in fact given up his power already, and as I believe, as I told him, he had no chance of being re-elected. Everybody agrees on this, everyone I have been speaking to on the telephone these past few days. What was the purpose of all those illegal, unconstitutional actions, why did they have to create this chaos in the country? Armed and masked militants are still roaming the streets of Kiev. This is a question to which there is no answer. Did they wish to humiliate someone and show their power? I think these actions are absolutely foolish. The result is the absolute opposite of what they expected, because their actions have significantly destabilised the east and southeast of Ukraine.

Now over to how this situation came about.

In my opinion, this revolutionary situation has been brewing for a long time, since the first days of Ukraine’s independence.  The ordinary Ukrainian citizen, the ordinary guy suffered during the rule of Nicholas II, during the reign of Kuchma, and Yushchenko, and Yanukovych. Nothing or almost nothing has changed for the better. Corruption has reached dimensions that are unheard of here in Russia. Accumulation of wealth and social stratification – problems that are also acute in this country – are much worse in Ukraine, radically worse. Out there, they are beyond anything we can imagine. Generally, people wanted change, but one should not support illegal change.

Only constitutional means should be used on the post-Soviet space, where political structures are still very fragile, and economies are still weak. Going beyond the constitutional field would always be a cardinal mistake in such a situation.  Incidentally, I understand those people on Maidan, though I do not support this kind of turnover. I understand the people on Maidan who are calling for radical change rather than some cosmetic remodelling of power. Why are they demanding this? Because they have grown used to seeing one set of thieves being replaced by another. Moreover, the people in the regions do not even participate in forming their own regional governments. There was a period in this country when the President appointed regional leaders, but then the local legislative authorities had to approve them, while in Ukraine they are appointed directly. We have now moved on to elections, while they are nowhere near this. And they began appointing all sorts of oligarchs and billionaires to govern the eastern regions of the country. No wonder the people do not accept this, no wonder they think that as a result of dishonest privatisation (just as many people think here as well) people have become rich and now they also have been brought to power.

For example, Mr Kolomoisky was appointed Governor of Dnepropetrovsk. This is a unique crook. He even managed to cheat our oligarch Roman Abramovich two or three years ago.  Scammed him, as our intellectuals like to say. They signed some deal, Abramovich transferred several billion dollars, while this guy never delivered and pocketed the money. When I asked him [Abramovich]: “Why did you do it?” he said: “I never thought this was possible.” I do not know, by the way, if he ever got his money back and if the deal was closed.  But this really did happen a couple of years ago. And now this crook is appointed Governor of Dnepropetrovsk. No wonder the people are dissatisfied. They were dissatisfied and will remain so if those who refer to themselves as the legitimate authorities continue in the same fashion.

Most importantly, people should have the right to determine their own future, that of their families and of their region, and to have equal participation in it. I would like to stress this: wherever a person lives, whatever part of the country, he or she should have the right to equal participation in determining the future of the country.

Are the current authorities legitimate? The Parliament is partially, but all the others are not. The current Acting President is definitely not legitimate. There is only one legitimate President, from a legal standpoint. Clearly, he has no power. However, as I have already said, and will repeat: Yanukovych is the only undoubtedly legitimate President.

There are three ways of removing a President under Ukrainian law: one is his death, the other is when he personally steps down, and the third is impeachment. The latter is a well-deliberated constitutional norm. It has to involve the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the Rada. This is a complicated and lengthy procedure. It was not carried out.  Therefore, from a legal perspective this is an undisputed fact.

Moreover, I think this may be why they disbanded the Constitutional Court, which runs counter to all legal norms of both Ukraine and Europe. They not only disbanded the Constitutional Court in an illegitimate fashion, but they also – just think about it – instructed the Prosecutor General’s Office to launch criminal proceedings against members of the Constitutional Court. What is that all about? Is this what they call free justice? How can you instruct anyone to start criminal proceedings? If a crime, a criminal offence, has been committed, the law enforcement agencies see this and react. But instructing them to file criminal charges is nonsense, it’s monkey business.

Now about financial aid to Crimea. As you may know, we have decided to organise work in the Russian regions to aid Crimea, which has turned to us for humanitarian support. We will provide it, of course. I cannot say how much, when or how – the Government is working on this, by bringing together the regions bordering on Crimea, by providing additional support to our regions so they could help the people in Crimea. We will do it, of course.

Regarding the deployment of troops, the use of armed forces.  So far, there is no need for it, but the possibility remains. I would like to say here that the military exercises we recently held had nothing to do with the events in Ukraine.  This was pre-planned, but we did not disclose these plans, naturally, because this was a snap inspection of the forces’ combat readiness. We planned this a long time ago, the Defence Minister reported to me and I had the order ready to begin the exercise. As you may know, the exercises are over; I gave the order for the troops to return to their regular dislocations yesterday.

What can serve as a reason to use the Armed Forces? Such a measure would certainly be the very last resort.

First, the issue of legitimacy. As you may know, we have a direct appeal from the incumbent and, as I said, legitimate President of Ukraine, Mr Yanukovych, asking us to use the Armed Forces to protect the lives, freedom and health of the citizens of Ukraine.

What is our biggest concern? We see the rampage of reactionary forces, nationalist and anti-Semitic forces going on in certain parts of Ukraine, including Kiev. I am sure you, members of the media, saw how one of the governors was chained and handcuffed to something and they poured water over him, in the cold of winter. After that, by the way, he was locked up in a cellar and tortured. What is all this about? Is this democracy? Is this some manifestation of democracy? He was actually only recently appointed to this position, in December, I believe. Even if we accept that they are all corrupt there, he had barely had time to steal anything.

And do you know what happened when they seized the Party of Regions building? There were no party members there at all at the time. Some two-three employees came out, one was an engineer, and he said to the attackers: “Could you let us go, and let the women out, please. I’m an engineer, I have nothing to do with politics.” He was shot right there in front of the crowd. Another employee was led to a cellar and then they threw Molotov cocktails at him and burned him alive.  Is this also a manifestation of democracy?

When we see this we understand what worries the citizens of Ukraine, both Russian and Ukrainian, and the Russian-speaking population in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine. It is this uncontrolled crime that worries them. Therefore, if we see such uncontrolled crime spreading to the eastern regions of the country, and if the people ask us for help, while we already have the official request from the legitimate President, we retain the right to use all available means to protect those people. We believe this would be absolutely legitimate. This is our last resort.

Moreover, here is what I would like to say: we have always considered Ukraine not only a neighbour, but also a brotherly neighbouring republic, and will continue to do so. Our Armed Forces are comrades in arms, friends, many of whom know each other personally. I am certain, and I stress, I am certain that the Ukrainian military and the Russian military will not be facing each other, they will be on the same side in a fight.

Incidentally, the things I am talking about – this unity – is what is happening in Crimea. You should note that, thank God, not a single gunshot has been fired there; there are no casualties, except for that crush on the square about a week ago. What was going on there? People came, surrounded units of the armed forces and talked to them, convincing them to follow the demands and the will of the people living in that area. There was not a single armed conflict, not a single gunshot.

Thus the tension in Crimea that was linked to the possibility of using our Armed Forces simply died down and there was no need to use them. The only thing we had to do, and we did it, was to enhance the defence of our military facilities because they were constantly receiving threats and we were aware of the armed nationalists moving in. We did this, it was the right thing to do and very timely. Therefore, I proceed from the idea that we will not have to do anything of the kind in eastern Ukraine.

There is something I would like to stress, however. Obviously, what I am going to say now is not within my authority and we do not intend to interfere. However, we firmly believe that all citizens of Ukraine, I repeat, wherever they live, should be given the same equal right to participate in the life of their country and in determining its future.

If I were in the shoes of those who consider themselves the legitimate authorities, I would not waste time and go through all the necessary procedures, because they do not have a national mandate to conduct the domestic, foreign and economic policy of Ukraine, and especially to determine its future.

Now, the stock market. As you may know, the stock market was jumpy even before the situation in Ukraine deteriorated. This is primarily linked to the policy of the US Federal Reserve, whose recent decisions enhanced the attractiveness of investing in the US economy and investors began moving their funds from the developing markets to the American market. This is a general trend and it has nothing to do with Ukraine. I believe it was India that suffered most, as well as the other BRICS states. Russia was hit as well, not as hard as India, but it was. This is the fundamental reason.

As for the events in Ukraine, politics always influence the stock market in one way or another. Money likes quiet, stability and calm. However, I think this is a tactical, temporary development and a temporary influence.

Your questions, please.

QUESTION: Mr President, can you tell us if you expected such a harsh reaction to Russia’s actions from your western partners? Could you give us any details of your conversations with your western partners? All we’ve heard was a report from the press service. And what do you think about the G8 summit in Sochi – will it take place?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Regarding the expected reaction, whether the G8 will meet and about the conversations. Our conversations are confidential, some are even held over secure lines. Therefore, I am not authorised to disclose what I discussed with my partners. I will, however, refer to some public statements made by my colleagues from the west; without giving any names, I will comment on them in a general sense.

What do we pay attention to? We are often told our actions are illegitimate, but when I ask, “Do you think everything you do is legitimate?” they say “yes”. Then, I have to recall the actions of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, where they either acted without any UN sanctions or completely distorted the content of such resolutions, as was the case with Libya. There, as you may know, the resolution only spoke of closing the airspace for government aircraft, while it all ended with bomb attacks and special forces land operations.

Our partners, especially in the United Sates, always clearly formulate their own geopolitical and state interests and follow them with persistence. Then, using the principle “You’re either with us or against us” they draw the whole world in. And those who do not join in get ‘beaten’ until they do.

Our approach is different. We proceed from the conviction that we always act legitimately. I have personally always been an advocate of acting in compliance with international law. I would like to stress yet again that if we do make the decision, if I do decide to use the Armed Forces, this will be a legitimate decision in full compliance with both general norms of international law, since we have the appeal of the legitimate President, and with our commitments, which in this case coincide with our interests to protect the people with whom we have close historical, cultural and economic ties. Protecting these people is in our national interests. This is a humanitarian mission. We do not intend to subjugate anyone or to dictate to anyone. However, we cannot remain indifferent if we see that they are being persecuted, destroyed and humiliated. However, I sincerely hope it never gets to that.

QUESTION: How do you asses the reaction of the west to the events in Ukraine and their threats regarding Russia: are we facing the possibility of sanctions or withdrawal from the G8?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Regarding sanctions. It is primarily those who intend to apply them that need to consider their consequences. I believe that in the modern world, where everything is interconnected and interdependent, it is possible to cause damage to another country, but this will be mutual damage and one should bear this in mind.  This is one thing.

The second and the most important thing. I have already told you what motivates us.  And what motivates our partners? They supported an unconstitutional armed take-over, declared these people legitimate and are trying to support them. By the way, despite all of this we have been patient and even ready to cooperate; we do not want to disrupt our cooperation. As you may know, a few days ago I instructed the Government to consider how we can maintain contacts even with those powers in Kiev that we do not consider legitimate in order to retain our ties in the economy and industry. We think our actions have been absolutely reasonable, while any threat against Russia is counterproductive and harmful.

As for the G8, I do not know. We will be ready to host the summit with our colleagues. If they do not want to come – so be it.

QUESTION: Can I add about contacts? The way I see it, you consider the Prime Minister of Crimea Mr Aksyonov to be a legitimate representative of government authorities. Are you ready to have any contacts with those who consider themselves the legitimate authorities in Kiev?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I have just spoken about it. You must have missed it.

QUESTION: I mean, at the top level for a political solution.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I do not have a partner at the top level there. There is no president there, and there cannot be one until the general elections.

As for Crimea, the Parliament there was formed in 2010, in December 2010 if I remember correctly. There are 100 MPs representing six political parties. After the previous Prime Minister resigned, the Crimean Parliament, in compliance with the existing legislation and procedures elected a new Prime Minister at a session of the Crimean Supreme Council. He is definitely legitimate.  They have complied with all the procedures envisaged by the law; there is not a single violation. However, when a few days ago a group of armed men tried to occupy the building of the Crimean Supreme Soviet, this caused the concern of the local residents. It seemed as though someone wanted to apply the Kiev scenario in Crimea and to launch a series of terrorist attacks and cause chaos. Naturally, this causes grave concern among the local residents. That is why they set up self-defence committees and took control over all the armed forces.

Incidentally, I was studying the brief yesterday to see what they took over – it is like a fortified zone. There are several dozen C-300 units, several dozen air-defence missile systems, 22,000 service members and a lot more.  However, as I said, this is all in the hands of the people of Crimea and without a single gunshot.

QUESTION: Mr President, a clarification if I may. The people who were blocking the Ukrainian Army units in Crimea were wearing uniforms that strongly resembled the Russian Army uniform. Were those Russian soldiers, Russian military?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Why don’t you take a look at the post-Soviet states. There are many uniforms there that are similar. You can go to a store and buy any kind of uniform.

QUESTION: But were they Russian soldiers or not?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Those were local self-defence units.

QUESTION: How well trained are they? If we compare them to the self-defence units in Kiev…

VLADIMIR PUTIN: My dear colleague, look how well trained the people who operated in Kiev were. As we all know they were trained at special bases in neighbouring states: in Lithuania, Poland and in Ukraine itself too. They were trained by instructors for extended periods. They were divided into dozens and hundreds, their actions were coordinated, they had good communication systems. It was all like clockwork.  Did you see them in action? They looked very professional, like special forces. Why do you think those in Crimea should be any worse?

QUESTION: In that case, can I specify: did we take part in training Crimean self-defence forces?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: No, we did not.

QUESTION: How do you see the future of Crimea? Do you consider the possibility of it joining Russia?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: No, we do not. Generally, I believe that only residents of a given country who have the freedom of will and are in complete safety can and should determine their future. If this right was granted to the Albanians in Kosovo, if this was made possible in many different parts of the world, then nobody has ruled out the right of nations to self-determination, which, as far as I know, is fixed by several UN documents.  However, we will in no way provoke any such decision and will not breed such sentiments.

I would like to stress that I believe only the people living in a given territory have the right to determine their own future.

QUESTION: Two questions. You said that sending troops into Ukraine is an extreme measure, but you are nevertheless not ruling it out. Still, if Russian troops enter Ukraine, it could start a war. Doesn’t that bother you?

And a second question. You say that Yanukovych did not give the order to shoot people. But somebody shot at the protestors. And clearly, these were snipers, trained snipers.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: You know, some people, including those who were recently among the protestors, have expressed the opinion that these were provocateurs from one of the opposition parties. Have you heard this?

REPLY: No, I have not heard this.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Look at these materials – they are freely available. That is why it is very difficult to get to the bottom of the situation. But you and I saw for ourselves when the Berkut fighters stood there with their shields and were shot at – and those were not air weapons that were used against them but assault weapons that pierced their shields. That is something we saw for certain. As for who gave the orders – that I do not know. I only know what Mr Yanukovych told me. And he told me that he did not give any orders, and moreover, he gave instructions – after signing a corresponding agreement – to even withdraw all militia units from the capital.

If you want, I can tell you even more. He called me on the phone and I told him not to do it. I said, “You will have anarchy, you will have chaos in the capital. Think about the people.” But he did it anyway. And as soon as he did it, his office was seized, and that of the government, and the chaos I had warned him about and which continues to this day, erupted.

QUESTION: What about the first question? Are you concerned that a war could break out?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I am not concerned, because we do not plan and we will not fight with the Ukrainian people.

QUESTION: But there are Ukrainian troops, there is the Ukrainian army.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Listen carefully. I want you to understand me clearly: if we make that decision, it will only be to protect Ukrainian citizens. And let’s see those troops try to shoot their own people, with us behind them – not in the front, but behind. Let them just try to shoot at women and children! I would like to see those who would give that order in Ukraine.

QUESTION: Can I ask a question, Mr President? Our colleagues, my colleagues, who are currently working in Ukraine, are saying practically every day that the situation for the Berkut fighters is only getting worse (perhaps with the exception of Crimea). In particular, in Kiev, there are injured Berkut officers who are in hospitals now, where nobody is treating them and they are not even getting fed. And their families, including elderly family members, they simply cannot leave the house, because they are not being allowed; there are barricades all around, they are being humiliated. Can you comment on this? And can Russia help these families and colleagues?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Yes, this issue is of great concern to us. After all, these are not Russia’s Interior Ministry officers, and we were not managing the situation there. But out of humanitarian considerations, it would be good if our human rights organisations got involved in this as well; we might ask Vladimir Lukin, either alone or together with his colleagues, representatives from France, Germany and Poland, with whom he participated in developing the well-known document of February 21, 2014, to go on location and see what is happening there with these Berkut officers, who have not broken any laws and acted in accordance with their orders. They are military service members, they stood there facing bullets, they were doused with fire and had Molotov cocktails thrown at them. They have been wounded and injured and are now in a hospital. It is even hard to imagine – even prisoners of war are being fed and treated. But they not only stopped treating them, they even stopped feeding them. And they have surrounded the building where these fighters’ families live and are bullying them. I think that human rights organisations must pay attention to this. And we, for our part, are ready to provide them with medical care here in Russia.

QUESTION: Mr President, getting back to the West’s reaction. Following the US Secretary of State’s harsh statement, the Federation Council suggested that we recall our ambassador to the United States. Do you support this idea?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: The US Secretary of State is certainly an important person, but he is not the ultimate authority that determines the United States’ foreign policy. We hear statements from various politicians and representatives of various political forces. This would be an extreme measure. If necessary, it will be used. But I really don’t want to use it, because I think Russia is not the only one interested in cooperation with its partners on an international level and in such areas as economy, politics and foreign security; our partners are just as interested in this cooperation. It is very easy to destroy these instruments of cooperation and it would be very difficult to rebuild them.

QUESTION: Russia got involved in Yanukovych’s fate. How do you see his future role and his future destiny?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: You know, it is very hard for me to say; I have not analysed it carefully. I think he has no political future, and I have told him so. As for “getting involved in his fate” – we did this on purely humanitarian grounds. Death is the easiest way for getting rid of a legitimate president, and I think that is what would have happened. I think they would have simply killed him. Incidentally, the question arises: what for?

After all, look at how it all began, what triggered these events. The formal reason was that he did not sign the European Union Association Agreement. Today, this seems like nonsense; it is ridiculous to even talk about. But I want to point out that he did not refuse to sign the association agreement. He said: “We have carefully analysed it, and its content does not correspond with our national interests. We cannot sharply increase energy prices for our people, because our people are already in a rather difficult position. We cannot do this, and that, and that. We cannot immediately break our economic ties with Russia, because our cooperation is very extensive.”

I have already presented these figures: out of approximately 14 billion [dollars] in export, approximately 5 billion represents second and third technological processing level products exported to Russia. In other words, just about all engineering products are exported to Russia; the West is not buying any Ukrainian products. And to take all this and break it apart, to introduce European technical standards in the Ukrainian economy, which, thankfully or unfortunately, we are not using at the moment. We will adopt those standards at some point, but currently, we do not have those standards in Russia. This means the next day, our relations and cooperation ties will be broken, enterprises will come to a standstill and unemployment will increase. And what did Yanukovych say? He said, “I cannot do this so suddenly, let’s discuss this further.” He did not refuse to sign it, he asked for a chance to discuss this document some more, and then all this craziness began.

And why? Did he do something outside the scope of his authority? He acted absolutely within the scope of his authority; he did not infringe on anything. It was simply an excuse to support the forces opposing him in a fight for power. Overall, this is nothing special. But did it really need to be taken to this level of anarchy, to an unconstitutional overthrow and armed seizure of power, subsequently plunging the nation into the chaos where it finds itself today? I think this is unacceptable. And it is not the first time our Western partners are doing this in Ukraine. I sometimes get the feeling that somewhere across that huge puddle, in America, people sit in a lab and conduct experiments, as if with rats, without actually understanding the consequences of what they are doing. Why did they need to do this? Who can explain this? There is no explanation at all for it.

The same thing happened during the first Maidan uprising, when Yanukovych was blocked from power. Why did we need that third round of elections? In other words, it was turned into a farce – Ukraine’s political life was turned into a farce. There was no compliance with the Constitution at all. You see, we are now teaching people that if one person can violate any law, anyone else can do the same, and that’s what causes chaos. That is the danger. Instead, we need to teach our society to follow other traditions: traditions of respecting the main law of the nation, the Constitution, and all other laws. Of course, we will not always succeed, but I think acting like this – like a bull in a china shop is counterproductive and very dangerous.

Please.

QUESTION: Mr President, Turchynov is illegitimate, from your point of view.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: As President, yes.

QUESTION: But the Rada is partially legitimate.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Yes.

QUESTION: Are Yatsenyuk and the Cabinet legitimate? And if Russia is concerned about the growing strength of radical elements, they grow stronger every time they find themselves facing a hypothetical enemy, which in their view, they currently consider Russia and Russia’s position of being ready to send in troops. Question: does it make sense and is it possible to hold talks with moderate forces in the Ukrainian government, with Yatsenyuk, and is he legitimate?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Listen, it seems like you didn’t hear what I have said. I already said that three days ago, I gave instructions to the Government to renew contacts at the government level with their colleagues in the corresponding ministries and departments in Ukraine, in order not to disrupt economic ties, to support them in their attempts to reconstruct the economy. Those were my direct instructions to the Russian Government. Moreover, Mr Medvedev is in contact with [Arseniy] Yatsenyuk. And I know that Sergei Naryshkin, as speaker of the Russian parliament, is in contact with [Oleksandr] Turchynov. But, I repeat, all our trade and economic and other ties, our humanitarian ties, can be developed in full only after the situation is normalised and presidential elections are held.

QUESTION: Gazprom has already said that it is reverting to its old gas prices beginning in April.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Gazprom could not have said that; you were not listening carefully or it did not express itself clearly. Gazprom is not reverting to the old prices. It simply does not want to extend the current discounts, which it had agreed to apply or not apply on a quarterly basis. Even before all these events, even before they hit the crisis point. I know about the negotiations between Gazprom and its partners. Gazprom and the Government of the Russian Federation agreed that Gazprom would introduce a discount by reducing gas prices to $268.50 per 1,000 cubic metres. The Government of Russia provides the first tranche of the loan, which is formally not a loan but a bond purchase – a quasi-loan, $3 billion dollars in the first stage. And the Ukrainian side undertakes to fully repay its debt that arose in the second half of last year and to make regular payments for what they are consuming – for the gas. The debt has not been repaid, regular payments are not being made in full.

Moreover, if the Ukrainian partners fail to make the February payment, the debt will grow even bigger. Today it is around $1.5-1.6 billion. And if they do not fully pay for February, it will be nearly $2 billion. Naturally, in these circumstances, Gazprom says, “Listen guys, since you don’t pay us anyway, and we are only seeing an increase in your debt, let’s lock into the regular price, which is still reduced.” This is a purely commercial component of Gazprom’s activities, which plans for revenues and expenditures in its investment plans like any other major company. If they do not receive the money from their Ukrainian partners on time, then they are undercutting their own investment programmes; this is a real problem for them. And incidentally, this does not have to do with the events in Ukraine or any politics. There was an agreement: “We give you money and reduced gas rates, and you give us regular payments.” They gave them money and reduced gas rates, but the payments are not being made. So naturally, Gazprom says, “Guys, that won’t work.”

QUESTION: Mr President, [German Federal Chancellor] Merkel’s Press Service said after your telephone conversation that you had agreed to send an international fact-finding mission to Ukraine and set up a contact group.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I said that we have people who have the training and skills needed to be able to examine this issue and discuss it with our German colleagues. This is all possible. I gave the instruction accordingly to our Foreign Minister, who was to or will meet with the German Foreign Minister, Mr Steinmeier, yesterday or today to discuss this matter.

QUESTION: All eyes are on Crimea at the moment of course, but we see what is happening in other parts of Ukraine too, in the east and south. We see what is happening in Kharkov, Donetsk, Lugansk and Odessa. People are raising the Russian flag over government buildings and appealing to Russia for aid and support. Will Russia respond to these events?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Do you think we have not made any response? I think we’ve just spent the last hour discussing this response. In some cases though, the developments taking place are unexpected in my view. I will not go into the specific details of what I am referring to here, but the reaction that we are seeing from people is understandable, in principle. Did our partners in the West and those who call themselves the government in Kiev now not foresee that events would take this turn? I said to them over and over: Why are you whipping the country into a frenzy like this? What are you doing? But they keep on pushing forward. Of course people in the eastern part of the country realise that they have been left out of the decision-making process.

Essentially, what is needed now is to adopt a new constitution and put it to a referendum so that all of Ukraine’s citizens can take part in the process and influence the choice of basic principles that will form the foundations of their country’s government. But this is not our affair of course. This is something for the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian authorities to decided one way or another. I think that once a legitimate government is in place and a new president and parliament are elected, which is what is planned, this will probably go ahead. If I were them, I would return to the matter of adopting a constitution and, as I said, putting it to a referendum so that everyone can have their say on it, cast their vote, and then everyone will have to respect it. If people feel they are left out of this process, they will never agree with it and will keep on fighting it. Who needs this kind of thing? But as I said, this is all not our affair.

QUESTION: Will Russia recognise the planned presidential election that will take place in Ukraine?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Let’s see how it goes. If it is accompanied by the same kind of terror that we are seeing now in Kiev, we will not recognise it.

QUESTION: I want to come back to the West’s reaction. As all this tough talk continues, we have the Paralympics opening in a few days’ time in Sochi. Are these Games at risk of ending up on the brink of disruption, at least as far as international media coverage goes?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I don’t know, I think it would be the height of cynicism to put the Paralympics at risk. We all know that this is an international sports event at which people with disabilities can show their capabilities, prove to themselves and the entire world that they are not people with limitations, but on the contrary, people with unlimited possibilities, and demonstrate their achievements in sport. If there are people ready to try to disrupt this event, it would show that these are people for whom there really is nothing sacred.

QUESTION: I want to ask about the hypothetical possibility of using the military. People in the West have said that if Russia makes such a decision, it would violate the Budapest Memorandum, under which the United States and some NATO partners consecrated territorial integrity of Ukraine in exchange for its promise to give up nuclear weapons. If developments take this turn, could global players intervene in this local conflict and turn it into a global conflict? Have you taken these risks into account?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Before making public statements, and all the more so before taking practical steps, we give issues due thought and attention and try to foresee the consequences and reactions that the various potential players could have.

As for the Memorandum that you mentioned, you said you are from Reuters, is that right?

RESPONSE: Yes.

VLADIMIR PUTIN:  How do the public and political circles in your country view these events that have taken place? It is clear after all that this was an armed seizure of power. That is a clear and evident fact. And it is clear too that this goes against the Constitution. That is also a clear fact, is it not?

RESPONSE: I live in Russia.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good on you! You should join the diplomatic service; you’d make a good diplomat. Diplomats’ tongues, as we know, are there to hide their thoughts. So, we say that what we are seeing is an anti-constitutional coup, and we get told, no, it isn’t. You have probably heard plenty of times now that this was not an anti-constitutional coup and not an armed seizure of power, but a revolution. Have you heard this?

RESPONSE: Yes.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Yes, but if this is revolution, what does this mean? In such a case it is hard not to agree with some of our experts who say that a new state is now emerging in this territory. This is just like what happened when the Russian Empire collapsed after the 1917 revolution and a new state emerged. And this would be a new state with which we have signed no binding agreements.

QUESTION: I want to clarify a point. You said that if the USA imposes sanctions, this would deal a blow to both economies. Does this imply that Russia might impose counter-sanctions of its own, and if so, would they be a symmetrical response?

You spoke about gas discounts too. But there was also the agreement to buy $15 billion worth of Ukrainian bonds. Ukraine received the first tranche at the end of last year. Has payment of the remaining money been suspended? If Russia provides aid, on what specific economic and political terms will this be done? And what political and economic risks are you taking into consideration in this case?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: To answer your question, we are in principle ready to look at taking the steps needed to make the other tranches available with regard to the purchase of bonds. But our Western partners have asked us not to do this. They have asked us to work together through the IMF to encourage the Ukrainian authorities to carry out the reforms needed to bring about recovery in the Ukrainian economy. We will continue working in this direction. But given that Naftogaz of Ukraine is not paying Gazprom now, the Government is considering various options.

QUESTION: Mr President, is the dynamic of events in Ukraine changing for the better or for the worse?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Overall, I think it is gradually starting to level out. We absolutely must send the signal to people in Ukraine’s southeast that they can feel safe, and know that they will be able to take part in the general political process of stabilising the country.

QUESTION: You have made several mentions now of future legitimate elections in Ukraine. Who do you see as compromise candidate? Of course you will say that this for the Ukrainian people to decide, but I ask you all the same.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: To be honest, I really don’t know.

RESPONSE: It seems that the people also don’t know, because no matter who you talk to, everyone seems to be at a loss.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I really can’t say. You know, it’s hard to make predictions after events of this kind. I have already said that I do not agree with this method of taking power and removing the incumbent authorities and president, and I strongly oppose this kind of method in Ukraine and in the post-Soviet area in general. I oppose this because this kind of method does not inculcate legal culture, respect for the law. If one person can get away with doing this, it means that everyone is allowed to try, and this only means chaos. You have to understand that this kind of chaos is the worst possible thing for countries with a shaky economy and unstable political system. In this kind of situation you never know what kind of people events will bring to the fore. Just recall, for example, the role that [Ernst] Roehm’s storm troopers played during Hitler’s rise to power. Later, these storm troopers were liquidated, but they played their part in bringing Hitler to power. Events can take all kinds of unexpected turns.

Let me say again that in situations when people call for fundamental political reform and new faces at the top, and with full justification too – and in this I agree with the Maidan – there is a risk too that you’ll suddenly get some upstart nationalist or semi-fascist lot sprout up, like the genie suddenly let out of the bottle – and we see them today, people wearing armbands with something resembling swastikas, still roaming around Kiev at this moment – or some anti-Semite or other. This danger is there too.

QUESTION: Just today, incidentally, the Ukrainian envoy to the UN said that the crimes committed by Bandera’s followers were falsified by the Soviet Union. With May 9 coming closer, we can see now who is in power there today. Should we even have any contacts with them at all?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We need to have contact with everyone except for obvious criminals, but as I said, in this kind of situation, there is always the risk that events of this kind will bring people with extreme views to the fore, and this of course has serious consequences for the country.

QUESTION: You said that we should make contact with everyone. Yulia Tymoshenko was planning it seems, to come to Moscow.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: As you know, we always worked quite productively with all of the different Ukrainian governments, no matter what their political colour. We worked with Leonid Kuchma, and with [Viktor] Yushchenko. When I was Prime Minister, I worked with Tymoshenko. I visited her in Ukraine and she came here to Russia. We had to deal with all kinds of different situations in our work to manage our countries’ economies. We had our differences, but we also reached agreements. Overall it was constructive work. If she wants to come to Russia, let her come. It’s another matter that she is no longer prime minister now. In what capacity will she come? But I personally have no intention of stopping her from coming to Russia.

QUESTION: Just a brief question: who do you think is behind this coup, as you called it, in Ukraine?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: As I said before, I think this was a well-prepared action. Of course there were combat detachments. They are still there, and we all saw how efficiently they worked. Their Western instructors tried hard of course. But this is not the real problem. If the Ukrainian government had been strong, confident, and had built a stable system, no nationalists would have been able to carry out those programs and achieve the results that we see now.

The real problem is that none of the previous Ukrainian governments gave proper attention to people’s needs. Here in Russia we have many problems, and many of them are similar to those in Ukraine, but they are not as serious as in Ukraine. Average per capita [monthly] income in Russia, for example, is 29,700 rubles, but in Ukraine, if we convert it into rubles, it is 11,900 rubles, I think – almost three times lower than in Russia. The average pension in Russia is 10,700 rubles, but in Ukraine it is 5,500 rubles – twice lower than in Russia. Great Patriotic War veterans in Russia receive almost as much as the average worker each month. In other words, there is a substantial difference in living standards. This was what the various governments should have been focusing on right from the start. Of course they needed to fight crime, nepotism, clans and so on, especially in the economy. People see what is going on, and this creates lack of confidence in the authorities.

This has continued as several generations of modern Ukrainian politicians have come and gone, and the ultimate result is that people are disappointed and want to see a new system and new people in power. This was the main source of fuel for the events that took place. But let me say again: a change of power, judging by the whole situation, was probably necessary in Ukraine, but it should have taken place only through legitimate means, in respect for and not in violation of the current Constitution.

QUESTION: Mr President, if Crimea holds a referendum and the people there vote to secede from Ukraine, that is, if the majority of the region’s residents vote for secession, would you support it?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: You can never use the conditional mood in politics. I will stick to that rule.

QUESTION: Is Yanukovych even still alive? There have been rumours that he died.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I have seen him once since he arrived in Russia. That was just two days ago. He was alive and well and wishes you the same. He’ll still have a chance of catching a cold at the funeral of those who are spreading these rumours of his demise.

QUESTION: Mr President, what mistakes do you think Yanukovych made over these last months as the situation intensified in Ukraine?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I would rather not answer this question, not because I do not have an opinion to express, but because I do not think it would be proper on my part. You have to understand, after all…

QUESTION: Do you sympathise with him?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: No, I have completely different feelings. Anyone in this office bears an enormous responsibility on their shoulders as head of state, and they have rights and also obligations. But the biggest obligation of all is to carry out the will of the people who have entrusted you with the country, acting within the law. And so we need to analyse, did he do everything that the law and the voters’ mandate empowered him to do? You can analyse this yourselves and draw your own conclusions.

QUESTION: But what feelings do you have for him? You said “not sympathy, but other feelings”. What feelings exactly?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Let’s talk later.

QUESTION: You said just two questions back that we must above all send a clear signal to people in the south and southeast of Ukraine. The southeast, that’s understandable, but…

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We need to make our position clear to everyone, really.

We need to be heard by all of Ukraine’s people. We have no enemies in Ukraine. Let me say again that Ukraine is a friendly country. Do you know how many people came from Ukraine to Russia last year? 3.3 million came, and of that number almost 3 million people came to Russia for work. These people are working here – around 3 million people. Do you know how much money they send back home to Ukraine to support their families? Count up the average wage of 3 million people. This comes to billions of dollars and makes a big contribution to Ukraine’s GDP. This is no joking matter. We welcome all of them, and among the people coming here to work are also many from western Ukraine. They are all equal in our eyes, all brothers to us.

QUESTION: This is just what I wanted to ask about. We are hearing above all about the southeast of Ukraine at the moment, which is understandable, but there are ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking people living in western Ukraine too, and their situation is probably even worse. They probably cannot raise their heads at all and are a downtrodden minority there. What can Russia do to help them?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Our position is that if the people who call themselves the government now hope to be considered a civilised government, they must ensure the safety of all of their citizens, no matter in which part of the country, and we of course will follow this situation closely.

Thank you.

March 4, 2014, 15:40Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

  Over the past decade the use of armed drones has dramatically increased and spread with drone strikes reported to have taken place in up to ten countries. Although the US use of drones in Pakistan and  Yemen has been most controversial and received  the majority of media coverage, Afghanistan has been the real centre of armed drone use.  The first combat drone strike took place in Afghanistan just weeks after 9/11 and the vast majority of drone strikes have taken place there although exact figures remain shrouded in secrecy.  It is not surprising therefore that the forthcoming end of NATO combat operations in Afghanistan later this year brings the drone wars to something of a crossroads.

Afghanistan

under MQ-9Many USAF and RAF armed drones are currently based within Afghanistan where they are launched and landed by a joint US-UK team (when the drones reach 2,000 feet control is handed over to pilots in the US or the UK).  British Reaper drones are based at Kandahar airfield while US drones are also located at several other US bases within Afghanistan including Jalalabad Air Base, Bagram, Camp Leatherneck and some Forward Operating Bases (see Nick Turse’s excellent report on the global locations of US drone bases).

Until recently it seemed highly likely that some drones at least would remain in Afghanistan even after the end of combat operations in December 2014 as a part of a NATO security assistance programme although no concrete information had emerged about this.  Afghan President Hamid Karzai however has so far refused to sign a bilateral security agreement with the US, insisting it should be signed after the Afghanistan elections in April 2014 when the next Afghan government will be formed.  The US has insisted this is far too late and that plans for a complete US withdrawal (a so-called ‘zero option’) are now being drawn up.  Whether this is simply political brinkmanship and a deal will eventually be done is unclear.  If US military forces do completely withdraw it is very hard to imagine that other NATO forces including the UK and its drones would remain.

Separate from USAF drone operations are special forces (JSOC) and CIA drone operations. While there are distinct CIA facilities within Afghanistan, mainly near the Pakistan border, it appears that CIA drone flights in Pakistan rely on US military bases in Afghanistan particularly Jalalabad Air Base.

Pakistan  

Drone strikes in Pakistan are undertaken both by the CIA and by Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) utilising both US military bases and CIA facilities in Afghanistan.  Although the CIA did have use of at least one airbase in Pakistan – Shamsi airbase in Baluchistan Province – they were ordered to leave following growing public opposition to the strikes and the deaths of Pakistani troops in a November 2011 US air strike on the border. While there has been some suggestion that other Pakistani bases may have been involved in drone operations  it seems (as far as is known) that US drones are no longer based within Pakistan. The prospect of a full US military withdrawal from Afghanistan will therefore, as the New York Time put it recently, imperil drone operations in Pakistan.  News reports have suggested that US armed drones could be moved to airbases to the north of Afghanistan with Tajikistan being specifically mentioned.

While the US has other bases in the region, the further away the drones are based, the longer flights take to get back and forth to Pakistan consequently leaving less time to be looking for targets. However the Gray Eagle drone, a more advanced version of the Predator/Reaper with a much longer range is known to be in operation with US special forces.  While drones with much longer flight times and ranges such as the Avenger and even the X-47B, are being developed and tested, they are still some way off from going into production let alone deployment.

Meanwhile drone strikes continue to be ‘paused’ in Pakistan with the last known strike taking place more than two months ago on December 25 2013.  Although we can’t be completely certain why the strikes have stopped, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that the Pakistan government specifically asked for a halt to the strikes in order to begin peace talks with the Pakistan Taliban (TTP).  While the talks apparently collapsed after the killing of 23 Pakistani soldiers, at the beginning of March the Taliban announced a one-month ceasefire in order to get them restarted. While the US apparently maintains the options to carry out strikes, the longer the pause continues, the harder it will perhaps be to justify re-starting them.

What Next?

Over the next few months drone operations will continue in Afghanistan and may even increase as the deadline to withdrawal approaches.  Indeed the UK has announced that it has received into service a further five Reaper drones and is about to deploy them to Afghanistan.  While drone strikes have declined and now paused in Pakistan, they could well start again, particularly if peace talks fail and the trailed Pakistan military offensive into Waziristan begins.

But it is clear that the withdrawal of NATO forces will have an impact on drones operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, even if an agreement is finally reached which will see some forces remain after 2014.

Elsewhere US drones based in Djibouti continue to launch strikes in Yemen despite growing condemnation of the December 2013 ‘wedding’ drone strike that killed at least 12 civilians.  In addition unarmed US and French drone flights continue over Mali as drone bases are being expanded while the incoming Head of Africom (US Africa Command), General David Rodriguez, lobbied the Senate Armed Services Committee this week for more drones and resources.  In addition some experts are suggesting the UK drones could be deployed to Africa once the Afghanistan deployment is ended. It seems that as drone operations may be winding down in Afghanistan, they are increasing over Africa.

In the longer term more countries are acquiring or developing predator-type drones as the next generation of stealthy, combat drones - which are much more autonomous and capable of defending themselves in armed confrontation with other aircraft - are making their way off the drawing-boards and into the skies.

The increasingly long drone strike ‘pause’ in Pakistan together with the uncertainty over future drone operations in Afghanistan  highlights the fact that we may look back and see 2014 as a real turning point. Over the next 12-18 months we may see some really changes but it seems increasingly clear that once we pass this crossroads, the drone wars will continue into the distant future.

How the Bombing of Hiroshima Got a Hollywood Makeover

March 10th, 2014 by Greg Mitchell

This article was first published by Who What Why

The author has written extensively on propaganda related to the bomb.

What follows is a story stemming from his previous research.

With Vladimir Putin’s Russia putting boots on the ground in Crimea and the Obama administration responding with rhetoric reminiscent of Cold War posturing, the past few days provided chilling reminders of the dangerous and costly nuclear arms race that gripped the two superpowers for nearly half a century.

111

How far the U.S. and Russia will go in rattling their still enormous nuclear arsenals this time remains to be seen.

You might wonder why most Americans, after Hiroshima, accepted the new nuclear dangers so readily, even as atomic bombs led to hydrogen bombs and the world’s stockpile of warheads mounted on intercontinental ballistic missiles expanded from mere dozens to thousands.

An important factor was the active suppression of vital information about radiation effects and other nuclear dangers by the Pentagon and other U.S. agencies. I have documented this in two books, “Hiroshima in America” (with Robert Jay Lifton) and “Atomic Cover-up.” This cover-up extended even to Hollywood.

This is a cautionary tale, one that has been buried for decades, on the official censorship—by the Truman White House—of a major Hollywood film on the bombing of Hiroshima. And the tale goes beyond censorship: it involves the outright falsification of major historical facts.

111

A Propaganda Film is Born

The MGM drama, The Beginning or the End emerged in 1947, after many revisions, as a Hollywood version of America’s official nuclear narrative: The bomb was clearly necessary to end the war with Japan and save American lives—and we needed to build new and bigger weapons to protect us from the Soviets.

Just weeks after the Hiroshima attack in August 1945, Sam Marx, a producer at MGM, received a call from agent Tony Owen, who said his wife, actress Donna Reed, had received some fascinating letters from her high school chemistry teacher. That teacher, Dr. Edward Tomkins, who was then at the Oak Ridge nuclear site, wrote to ask if Hollywood had a feature on the atomic bomb in the works, one that would warn the world about the dangers of a nuclear arms race. He was surprised to learn they did not. But this would soon change.

Tompkins’ letter set in motion what MGM boss Louis B. Mayer, a conservative Republican, called “the most important story” he would ever film. MGM hired Norman Taurog to direct the film, and Hume Cronyn to star as physicist Robert Oppenheimer, who headed the scientific effort to create the bomb.

President Truman himself provided the title, The Beginning or the End. Within weeks, as I learned through archival research, MGM writers were meeting with the atomic scientists at Oak Ridge and elsewhere.

My fascination with the making, and unmaking, of this seminal film about the dawn of the Atomic Age took me to the Truman Library, where I was the first to consult key documents, White House letters and scripts. The story of the derailing of the movie, and why it was important, is told in my book, “Hollywood Bomb.”

111

The Bombing Gets a Hollywood Makeover

The early scripts, which I discovered at the library, raised doubts about President Truman’s decision to drop the bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima—and portrayed the effects of the bombing with a stark realism that would have shocked many viewers.

The script called for shots of a bombed-out Hiroshima as ghostlike ruins, with close-ups of a baby with a burned face. The underlying message reflected the regrets of many of the scientists who had worked to create the bomb: It would have been better to continue the war—even if it meant a full-scale invasion of Japan—“than release atomic energy in the world.”

But then something happened, and the “message” of The Beginning or the End shifted radically.

The reason for the shift was clear: General Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project who was back at the Pentagon, had secured the all-important right of script approval—along with a then-hefty $10,000 fee—and was playing an active role in reshaping the film.

Unlike Groves and Truman, nearly all of the scientists impersonated in the film—even Albert Einstein—were not given script approval (although they signed releases). The Hollywoodization of the bomb had begun.

Facts were suppressed, and events were completely fabricated:

Suppression of fact:

In revised scripts, the decision to use the bomb was presented as justifiable, even admirable. The doubts raised earlier just disappeared. And now, after scenes depicting the bombing of Hiroshima, no victims were shown, just a charred landscape filmed from the air.

Suppression of fact:

Under General Groves’ guidance, the revised script made light of nuclear fallout.

Fabrication:

The B-29s flying over Hiroshima were pelted with heavy flak, a detail that made the attack seem more courageous. In fact, there was no antiaircraft fire over Hiroshima.

Fabrication:

One scene depicted fictional German scientists visiting a fabricated Japanese nuclear facility in—Hiroshima!

Fabrication:

In another entirely false episode, Matt Cochran, a young scientist arming the bomb, prevents a chain reaction from blowing up 40,000 people on a Pacific island—and thereby exposes himself to a fatal dose of radiation. But before he dies, Matt concludes,

“God has not shown us a new way to destroy ourselves. Atomic energy is the hand he has extended to lift us from the ruins of war and lighten the burdens of peace.”

Harry Truman’s Behavior Gets a Hollywood Makeover

After screening the film, Walter Lippmann, the famed columnist, said he still found one scene “shocking.” It pictured Truman deciding, rather cavalierly, after only a brief reflection, that the United States would use the weapon against Japan. President Truman felt uncomfortable with the scene, as well.

Following protests from the White House, the rightwing MGM screenwriter James K. McGuinness deleted the offending scene and wrote a new one:

Fabrication:

In the revised scene, Truman “reveals” that the United States would drop leaflets over Hiroshima warning of the coming attack with a new weapon as a means to “save lives.” There were no such leaflets.

Fabrication:

The fictional Truman also says there was a “consensus” that dropping the bomb would shorten the war by a year. No such consensus existed.

Fabrication:

And in the film the President predicts this “will mean life for…from 300,000 to half a million of America’s finest youth.” This was a highly inflated figure.

Fabrication:

President Truman says that both Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been picked as targets for their military value. In fact, they were selected because they had not been bombed previously and so would demonstrate the power of this new weapon. In any case, the aiming points for release of the bombs was the center of the cities, not military bases.

Fabrication:

The new scene also had Truman claiming he had spent “sleepless nights” making the decision. But in real life he proudly insisted he had never lost any sleep over it.

Suppression of fact:

The Truman White House demanded further changes. Among them, deleting a reference to morally concerned scientists who favored setting off a demonstration bomb for Japanese leaders in a remote area, to give them a chance to surrender before we dropped an atomic bomb on a city.

Fabrication:

The claim that the bombing would shorten the war by “approximately” a year was ordered changed to “at least” a year.

Truman even wrote a letter to the actor who had portrayed him in the original scene, complaining that he made it seem as if the president had come to a “snap judgment” in deciding to use the bomb. As indicated above, the offending scene was rewritten. This prompted the actor, Roman Bohnen, to write a sarcastic letter to the President, informing him that people would be debating the decision to drop the bomb for 100 years “and posterity is quite apt to be a little rough.” He went on to suggest that Truman should play himself in the movie. Truman, who normally ignored critical letters, took the trouble to reply and defend the atomic bomb decision, revealing, “I have no qualms about it whatever.”

Soon—likely on orders from the White House—Bohnen was replaced by another actor.

A Manufactured “aura of authenticity”

The drama that emerged in 1947, after many revisions, was a Hollywood version of what became America’s official nuclear narrative: The bomb was clearly necessary to end the war with Japan and save American lives—and we needed to build new and bigger weapons to protect us from the Soviets. The movie was seen by hundreds of thousands of Americans. Because of its quasi-documentary form, most viewers probably accepted its depiction of events as accurate.

The Beginning or the End, which billed itself as “basically a true story,” opened across the country in March 1947 to mixed reviews. Time laughed at the film’s “cheery imbecility,” but Variety praised its “aura of authenticity and special historical significance.” Bosley Crowther, the New York Times critic, applauded its handling of the moral issues in portraying the “necessary evil” of the atomic attacks.

On the other hand, Harrison Brown, who had worked on the bomb, exposed some of the film’s factual errors in The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. He called the claim that warning leaflets had been showered on Hiroshima the “most horrible falsification of history.”

Physicist Leo Szilard knew what violence had been done to the truth. He summed it up this way: “If our sin as scientists was to make and use the bomb, then our punishment was to watch The Beginning or the End.”

Life Magazine photo.

Life Magazine photo.

Mutual Assured Destruction

Mankind’s punishment would be the era of MAD, or Mutual Assured Destruction—the Cold War doctrine that pitted the locked-and-loaded nuclear arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union against each other in a 50-year standoff. Those nuclear weapons, still on hair-trigger fuses—as well as those possessed by China, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel and other nations—continue to threaten the existence of life on earth whenever political leaders play “chicken” with one another for “strategic” advantage. And the nuclear arms race fed the vast nuclear power industry, marked by its own unprecedented dangers and accidents from Three Mile Island to Chernobyl and Fukushima.

IMAGE: Movie Poster,IMAGE: Harry Truman,IMAGE: NY Times Headline,IMAGE: Life Magazine Photo

Greg Mitchell is the author of more than a dozen books, including “Hiroshima in America” (with Robert Jay Lifton) and “Atomic Cover-up” and “Hollywood Bomb.” He is the former editor of Nuclear Times and Editor & Publisher and writes a daily column at The Nation.

See more at: http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/03/09/bombing-hiroshima-got-hollywood-makeover/#sthash.bdM8wEUL.dpuf

One of the many ways by which rich corporations exert their influence over and hijack government bodies is via the ‘revolving door’ process (1,2). Big business is highly adept at positioning its (former) employers within policy and regulatory bodies in order to slant legislation in its own interests. And employees from the government sector have often left highly paid, politically well-connected jobs to take up even higher paid jobs lobbying or working on behalf on behalf corporations, with former British PM Tony Blair being a prime example, working on behalf of big oil and big finance (3).   

On its website, Corporate European Observatory (CEO) provides a list of top European bureaucrats who have taken a spin through the revolving door and how the European Commission (EC) has failed to regulate the potential conflicts of interest (4).

As a result, European commissioners have now been reminded of the need to avoid conflicts of interest which undermine public trust in EU policy-making, as they near the end of their term in office. The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) has sent individual letters (see 5) to every serving European commissioner to remind them of their responsibilities under the revolving door rules.

ALTER-EU is a coalition of about 200 civil society groups, trade unions, academics and public affairs firms campaigning against the increasing influence exerted by corporate lobbyists on the political agenda in Europe.

When the last Barroso Commission (6) left office in 2010, a number of former commissioners went through the revolving door by taking private sector jobs, which raised concerns about the risk of conflicts of interest (7).

For example, Günter Verheugen who had been the European commissioner for enterprise and industry founded the European Experience Company, a consultancy firm together with his former head of cabinet Petra Erler. Meanwhile, Charlie McCreevy who had been the European commissioner for the internal market joined the boards of Ryanair, Sentenial and the bank BNY Mellon.

The letters were sent out because ALTER-EU is keen to ensure there is no repeat of these scandals when the current commissioners leave office later this year.

Olivier Hoedeman of CEO, a member of the ALTER-EU steering committee said:

“Our letter reminds the current crop of commissioners about the revolving door rules, but also recommends some higher standards, which we encourage all commissioners to follow. After all, if former commissioners are entitled to a generous three-year transitional allowance, it is not unreasonable to ask that they also refrain from lobbying for three years.”

Jorgo Riss, director of the Greenpeace European Unit and a member of the ALTER-EU steering committee said:

“We don’t want to see a repeat of the Verheugen and McCreevy scandals in 2014. In January ALTER-EU asked President Barroso to remind his team about the revolving door rules before they left office. The Commission has seemingly ignored our request, so we thought we had better take action into our own hands.”

Ricardo Gutiérrez, General Secretary of the European Federation of Journalists and another member of the ALTER-EU steering committee said:

“Commissioners should be leaders in complying with the highest ethical standards, even after the end of their term in office. It is clearly against what they have worked for if they jump straight into the arms of big business as lobbyists once they have left the Commission.”

The individual letter to each commissioner reminds them that there is an 18-month notification period after they leave office during which time they must notify the Commission if they plans to take up new professional activities. Former commissioners also face an 18-month lobbying ban. These rules are included within the code of conduct for commissioners (6). However, ALTER-EU considers that both of these rules should be extended to three years to match the transitional allowance to which former commissioners are entitled and to better rule out the risk of conflicts of interest from arising.

In 2010, 17 former members of the European Commission received at least €96,000 per year in transitional allowances, money intended to help them ease back into the labour market. Many received this money despite the fact that some of them were already working as politicians or lobbyists.

The ongoing failure of the EC to address the issues surrounding the revolving door between big business and EC bodies smacks of institutionalized corruption. On top of the current secretive, business-led free trade deals with the US and India, it is one more reason why the European public has little reason to place little trust in the EC and its policy making.

Notes

1) http://order-order.com/2014/02/page/23/

2) http://rense.com/general33/fd.htm

3) http://www.globalresearch.ca/new-world-order-political-puppets-how-thatcherism-paved-the-way-for-tony-blair-and-new-labour/5331613

4) http://corporateeurope.org/revolvingdoorwatch

5) http://www.alter-eu.org/documents/2014/03/sample-letter-to-commissioners-on-revolving-door

6) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barroso_Commission

7) http://www.alter-eu.org/sites/default/files/documents/revolving_door_provides_privileged_access.pdf

8) http://euobserver.com/political/30875

Speculative investors are claiming more than 1,7 billion Euros in compensation from Greece, Spain and Cyprus in private international tribunals – for measures implemented to deal with economic crises, a new report released today by the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) reveals.

 The report Profiting from Crisis – How corporations and lawyers are scavenging profits from Europe’s crisis countries exposes a growing wave of corporate lawsuits against Europe’s struggling economies which could lead to European taxpayers paying out millions of euros in a second major public bailout – this time to speculative investors. The report argues that these lawsuits provide a salutary warning of the potential high costs of the proposed trade deal between the US and the EU, which start its fourth round of negotiations today in Brussels.

Pia Eberhardt, trade campaigner with Corporate European Observatory and co-author of the report said: “Speculative investors are already using investment agreements to raid the cash-strapped public treasuries in Europe’s crisis countries. It would be political madness to grant corporations the same excessive rights in the even more far-reaching EU-US trade deal.”

Profiting from Crisis examines a number of investor disputes launched against Spain, Greece and Cyprus in the wake of the European economic crisis. In most cases, the investors were not long-term investors, but rather invested as the crisis emerged and were therefore fully aware of the risks. They have used the investment agreements as a legal escape route to extract further wealth from crisis countries when their risky investment didn’t pay off, explains the report.

For example, in Greece, Poštová Bank from Slovakia bought Greek debt after the bond value had already been downgraded, and was then offered a very generous debt restructuring package, yet sought to extract an even better deal by suing Greece, using the bilateral investment treaty between Slovakia and Greece.

Cecilia Olivet, co-author of the report for the Transnational Institute said: “At a time when ordinary people across Europe have been stripped of many basic social rights, it is perverse that the EU supports an international investment regime which provides VIP protection to largely speculative foreign investors. It is time to reject a privatised justice system that supports predatory corporate vultures and undermines crucial regulation in the public interest.”

Profiting from Crisis also unveils how speculative investors have been backed by international law firms that actively encourage investor-state lawsuits. Law firms benefit – whether attacking or defending states – and are reaping substantial financial rewards in the process. UK-based Herbert Smith Freehills, hired to represent Spain in at least two cases, for example, could earn up to 1.6 million euros for the cases.

Growing controversy around the EU-US trade talks has forced the European Commission to temporarily halt negotiations on the investor rights chapter in the proposed transatlantic deal and announce a public consultation on the issue expected to start this month. But the Commission has already indicated that it does not want to abandon these controversial corporate rights, but rather reform them.

Pia Eberhardt commented: “The investor-state arbitration system cannot be tamed. Profit-greedy law firms and their corporate clients will always find a way to attack countries for actions that threaten their profits – even when it is much needed legislation to get out of a financial crisis. Corporate super-rights should be abolished.”

copyright corporateeurope.org 2014 at http://corporateeurope.org/pressreleases/2014/03/speculative-investors-claim-least-17-billion-euros-crisis-hit-countries

The White House Fool has repeatedly declared erroneously that it is “against international law” for Crimea to exercise self-determination.

Self-determination, as used by Washington, is a propaganda term that serves Washington’s empire but is not permissible for real people to exercise.

On March 6 Obama telephoned Putin to tell the Russian President again that only Washington has the right to interfere in Ukraine and to insist against all logic that only the “government” in Kiev installed by the Washington-organized coup is “legitimate” and “democratic.”

In other words, the elected government in Crimea pushed by the people in Crimea to give them a vote on their future is “undemocratic” and “illegitimate,” but a non-elected government in Kiev imposed by Washington is the voice of self-determination and legitimacy.

Washington is so arrogant that it never occurs to the hubris-infected fools what the world thinks of Washington’s blatant hypocrisy.

Since the Clinton regime, Washington has done nothing but violate international law–Serbia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Honduras, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia.

Does Russia have an Africa Command? No, but Washington does.

Is Russia surrounding the US with military bases? No, but Washington has used the NATO organization, whose purpose disappeared 23 years ago, to organize western, eastern, and southern Europe into an empire army with forward bases on Russia’s borders. Washington is determined to extend the boundaries of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization to Georgia in central Asia and to Ukraine on the Black Sea. Both Georgia and Ukraine are former constituent parts of both Russia and the Soviet Union.

Washington is doing the same thing to China and Iran. Washington is working to establish new air and naval bases in Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, with which to block the flow of oil and other resources into China. Iran
is surrounded by some 40 US military bases and has US fleets standing off its coastline.

In Washington’s propaganda, this rank militarism is presented as “defending democracy.”

The Russian government continues to act as though Washington’s thrusts at Russia’s independence and strategic interests can be defused with good sense and good will.
But Washington has neither.

Since the Clinton regime, Washington has been in the hands of a collection of ideologues who are convinced that the US is “the exceptional indispensable country” with the right to world hegemony. Everything that Washington has done in the 21st century is in pursuit of this goal.

Washington intends to break up the Russian Federation itself. Washington funnels huge sums of money into NGOs inside Russia that serve as Washington Fifth Columns and work hand-in-hand with Washington to discredit Russian free elections, to demonize Putin and the Russian government, to spread anti-Russian propaganda and agitation. It is amazing how many Russians actually believe the Western propaganda.

Washington is also working to isolate China with the Trans-Pacific-Partnership, but at this time is primarily focused on destabilizing and isolating Russia. Washington is desperate to break up the BRICS, the emerging organization of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. With the largest countries and half of the world’s population, the BRICS organization is emerging as a political and economic power, especially with the organization’s plan to cease using the US dollar as reserve currency. Ringing Russia with US missile bases on Russia’s borders impairs Russian sovereignty and independence and, thus, weakens the BRICS as a countervailing power to Washington.

Many have been deceived by Washington’s propaganda. The world is slowly waking up, but is it in time?

The US media and much of Europe’s speak with one voice parroting Washington’s propaganda, demonizing Washington’s targets, and preparing insouciant Western populations for more war. The Western media, like Western governments, is devoid of integrity.

Liars rule.

Ukraine: The New Cold War Heats Up

March 9th, 2014 by Gilbert Mercier

Some Western Europeans say, jokingly, that at least winter is almost over, and if “Putin shuts off the gas,” they will not have to be cold for long.

But as the Ukrainian crisis amplifies, European laughter will be short lived. If the European Union had not been a doormat for Washington’s neocons to wipe their feet on, the crisis in Ukraine would not have been engineered. What were the mock-up EU leadership thinking, if anything at all?

What can the EU gain from forcing the back of Russian President Vladimir Putin against the wall? Further, what can the EU offer to Ukraine at this juncture besides a belt-tightening austerity program similar to the Greek model? It might still be cold in Europe, but the new cold war is heating up.

7157008845_11bf504ee8_c

Economic war on Russia

Europeans should be concerned about the implications of the economic sanctions being pushed by Washington on Putin’s Russia. Russia’s not so secret weapon in Ukraine’s crisis is gas, and it is an economic weapon that could be aimed both at an unruly West Ukraine and at the EU. In effect, 30 percent of the natural gas used by the EU is Russian, and 60 percent of it transits in a pipeline through Ukraine. Ukraine itself imports 60 percent of its gas from Russia. With the powerful gas supply issue, Russia can easily put the squeeze on the 28 EU members. While only 15 percent of gas used in France is Russian, in Baltic countries it is 100 percent. Something to think about before getting “tough” on Russia.

385244727_6d48e07588_b

Meanwhile, Russia is under attack by the finance sector. On March 3, 2014, the ruble fell by 2 percent against the dollar, and $55 billion were lost in one day from the Russian stock exchange. The banksters are pulling their money out of Russia. The value of Gazprom, Russia’s energy giant, whose exports to Europe transit via Ukraine, fell by $12 billion. Some in Washington’s neocon think tanks are recommending drastic measure to punish Russia, such as: reject visas across the board for Russian citizens to visit Western countries; immediately put Ukraine under the umbrella of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); artificially drive down the price of oil, a prime source of revenue for Russia, by dumping on the global market some of the 700 million barrels from the United States Strategic Petroleum Reserve. For some suits of the global corporate empire, regime change in Ukraine is a stepping stone to the real goal of removing Putin from power in Russia.

12922754384_54b85880f3_b

Why regime change in Ukraine is casus belli for Russia

Ukraine’s independence from Russia is recent: about 20 years. Before this, Ukraine was part of the Tzars’ empire for almost 300 years and then part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in the communist era post World War II as a Soviet Republic. In the context of the Soviet Union, Crimea, in majority (60 percent) an ethnic Russian area, was given to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev in 1954.

7635870924_35467acd5d_c

Further, in East Ukraine there is also a substantial ethnic Russian population (about 45 percent). Thus the affairs and policies in Kiev will always involve Moscow. By comparison, US citizens should reflect on what would be their reactions if Russia or China were sponsoring a communist regime change, in let’s say Mexico or Canada.

12696319725_b2828ac8fe_b

F@#k the EU: an economic giant but political dwarf

Germany is often described as “an economic giant but political dwarf.” This complete lack of political backbone or even basic dignity appears to have spread to the rest of Europe. The national spokespeople of global corporate imperialism let the US National Security Agency (NSA) spy on them without retaliation, and now the likes of Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, etc. (not that their names matter) are showing their subordination to Uncle Sam by letting Victoria Nulan, a United States official, insult them without demanding her resignation. Ms. Nulan is the wife of top neocon Robert Kagan, the co-founder of Project for the New American Century, and she remains the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the US Department of State. She summarized the EU’s lack of political will crudely but honestly when she said: “F@#k the EU.” F@#k the EU indeed, but mainly Ukraine’s population. If the crisis expands — and people like Mr. Kagan and his powerful friends are pouring gasoline on the open flame — it could become a world war.

12753571754_c38f758f8b_c

Is Ukraine’s partition the only way to prevent World War III?

In 2013, the world came very close to a major conflict over Syria. Many have credited Russia and China with defusing the situation. A few months later, we are on the verge of another international crisis that is potentially more dangerous. In both cases, Syria and Ukraine, the destabilization was triggered and financed by the West. Russia reacted in each instance more strongly than expected. For example, Russia and Russian nationals are flexing their military and militia muscles in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Even if the west’s foreign policy acumen is low, it should have expected a forceful reaction from Vladimir Putin. Nobody can be so dumb or so oblivious of recent history like the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 or Czechoslovakia circa 1968.

12795659705_665b619e6d_o

During the Cuban missile crisis, which lasted for 13 tense days, the USSR and Cuba on one side, and the US on the other, almost came to a direct confrontation involving nuclear weapons over the installation of nuclear missiles by the Soviets in Cuba. The Russian move was meant to prevent the US from toppling its ally Fidel Castro; it was also a retaliation for the threats posed by US nuclear missiles in Turkey and Italy, aimed at the USSR. The Cuban missile crisis is rightly considered to be the moment when the Cold War could have erupted into a full-blown nuclear war. The crisis was defused when Khrushchev accepted to withdraw the missiles, and at the time, the US presidency (President Kennedy) still held enough real power to resist the growing influence of warmongers.

12876823914_7cee0fe2ee_c

In the case of Ukraine, an involvement of BRICS, and especially its member with the biggest military might, China, to consider retaliations against the West including the threat of a fire sale of US Treasury Bonds, would avoid the crescendo of tensions and sanctions that might escalate to World War III. For Ukraine, it unfortunately appears that the only peaceful outcome is a partition (map above) of West from East plus Crimea. West Ukraine would become EU’s newest poor member, crippled with debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and perhaps with a far-right dominated government. The richer East Ukraine would be a Russian satellite state with all of the benefits and inconveniences.

Generation of crises as attempts to prevent real revolutions

The coup in Ukraine is as much about freedom and democracy as were the invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan and the sponsored attempt to topple Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. In this Orwellian climate, news outlets become propaganda machines that present neo-Nazis in Ukraine and Jihadists in Syria as being revolutionaries. The crisis is not about Ukraine at all, but rather about putting the squeeze on Russia. It also serves as yet another distraction to switch people’s focus from one fabricated crisis to another, to prevent any sustained examination of the looming systemic failure of global capitalism. Nothing beats a fake revolution to preempt a real one.

12651547693_0a10041203_b

Author’s  Note: Photographs one and three by Trey Ratcliff. Photograph two from World Bank Photo. Photographs four and eight from Pan-African News Wire. Photographs six, nine and eleven from Street Work. Photograph seven from Future Atlas, and photograph ten by Norma Desmond.

America’s Advancing Empire: Putsch, Pillage and Duplicity

March 9th, 2014 by Prof. James Petras

The Obama regime, in coordination with its allies and proxies, has re-launched a virulent world-wide campaign to destroy independent governments, encircle and ultimately, undermine global competitors, and establish a new US – EU centered world order.

We will proceed by identifying the recent ‘cycles’ of US empire-building; the advances and retreats; the methods and strategies; the results and perspectives.  Our main focus is on the imperial dynamics driving the US toward greater military confrontations, up to and including conditions which can lead to a world war.

Recent Imperial Cycles

US empire-building has not been a linear process.  The recent decades provide ample evidence of contradictory experiences.  Summarily we can identify several phases in which empire-building has experienced broad advances and sharp setbacks – with certain caveats.  We are looking at global processes, in which there are also limited counter-tendencies:  In the midst of large-scale imperial advances, particular regions, countries or movements successfully resisted or even reversed the imperial thrust.  Secondly, the cyclical nature of empire-building in no way puts in doubt the imperial character of the state and economy and its relentless drive to dominate, exploit and accumulate.  Thirdly, the methods and strategy directing each imperial advance differ according to changes among targeted countries.

Over the past thirty years we can identify three phases in empire-building.

Imperial Advance 1980’s to 2000

 In the period roughly from the mid-1980’s to the year 2000, empire-building expanded on a global scale.

            (A). Imperial Expansion in the former Communist regions

The US and EU penetrated and hegemonized Eastern Europe; disintegrated and pillaged Russia and the USSR; privatized and denationalized hundreds of billions of dollars worth of public enterprises, mass media outlets and banks;  incorporated military bases throughout Eastern Europe into NATO and established satellite regimes as willing accomplices in imperial conquests in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

            (B). Imperial Expansion in Latin America

Beginning from the early 1980’s to the end of the century, empire-building advanced throughout Latin America under the formula of “free markets and free elections”.

From Mexico to Argentina, empire-centered, neo-liberal regimes privatized and denationalized over 5,000 public enterprises and banks, benefiting US and European multi-nationals.  Political leaders lined up with the US in international forums.  Latin American generals responded favorably to US-centered military operations.  Bankers extracted billions in debt payments and laundered many billions more in illicit money.  The US-centered, continent-wide “North American Free Trade Agreement” appeared to advance according to schedule.

            (C).Imperial Advances in Asia and Africa

Communist and nationalist regimes shed their leftist and anti-imperialist policies and opened their societies and economies to capitalist penetration. In Africa, two key “leftist” countries, Angola and post-apartheid South Africa adopted “free market policies”.

In Asia, China and Indo-China moved decisively toward capitalist development strategies; foreign investment, privatizations and intense exploitation of labor replaced collectivist egalitarianism and anti-imperialism.  India, and other state-directed capitalist countries, like South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, liberalized their economies.  Imperial advances were accompanied by greater economic volatility, a sharpening of the class struggle and an opening of the electoral process to accommodate competing capitalist factions.

Empire-building expanded under the slogan of “free markets and fair elections” – markets dominated by giant multi-nationals and elections, which assured elite successes.

Imperial Retreat and Reverses: 2000-2008

The brutal costs of the advance of empire led to a global counter-tendency, a wave of anti-neoliberal uprisings and military resistance to US invasions.  Between 2000 – 2008 empire-building was under siege and in retreat.

 Russia and China Challenge the Empire

US empire-building ceased to expand and conquer in two strategic regions:  Russia and Asia.  Under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, the Russian state was reconstructed; pillage and disintegration was reversed.  The economy was harnessed to domestic development.  The military was integrated into a system of national defense and security.  Russia once again became a major player in regional and international politics.

China’s turn toward capitalism was accompanied by a dynamic state presence and a direct role in promoting double digit growth for two decades:  China becoming the second largest economy in the world, displacing the US as the major trading partner in Asia and Latin America.  The US economic empire was in retreat.

Latin America:  The End of the Neo-Liberal Empire

Neo-liberalism and US-centered ‘integration’ led to pillage, economic crises and major popular upheavals, leading to the ascendancy of new center-left and left regimes. ‘Post neo-liberal’ administrations emerged in Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Central America and Uruguay.  US empire-builders suffered several strategic defeats.

The US effort to secure a continent-wide free trade agreement fell apart and was replaced by regional integration organizations that excluded the US and Canada.  In its place, Washington signed bi-lateral agreements with Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Panama and Peru.

Latin America diversified its markets in Asia and Europe:  China replaced the US as its main trading partner.  Extractive development strategies and high commodity prices financed greater social spending and political independence.

Selective nationalizations, increased state regulation and debt renegotiations weakened US leverage over the Latin American economies. Venezuela, under President Hugo Chavez successfully challenged US hegemony in the Caribbean via regional organizations. Caribbean economies achieved greater independence and economic viability through membership in PETROCARIBE, a program through which they received petrol from Venezuela at subsidized prices. Central American and Andean countries increased security and trade via the regional organization, ALBA.  Venezuela provided an alternative development model to the US-centered neo-liberal approach, in which earnings from the extractive economy financed large-scale social programs.

From the end of the Clinton Administration to the end of the Bush Administration, the economic empire was in retreat.  The empire lost Asian and Latin American markets to China.  Latin America gained greater political independence.  The Middle East became ‘contested terrain’.  A revised and stronger Russian state opposed further encroachments on its borders.  Military resistance and defeats in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq and Lebanon challenged US dominance.

Imperial Offensive:  Obama’s Advances the Empire

The entire period of the Obama regime has been taken up with reversing the retreat of empire-building.  To that end Obama  has developed a primarily military strategy (1) confrontation and encircling China and Russia, (2) undermining and overthrowing independent governments in Latin America and re-imposing neo-liberal client regimes, and (3) launching covert and overt military assaults on  independent regimes everywhere.

The empire-building offensive of the 21st century differs from that of the previous decade in several crucial ways:  Neo-liberal economic doctrines are discredited and electorates are not so easily convinced of the beneficence of falling under US hegemony.  In other words, empire-builders cannot rely on diplomacy, elections and free market propaganda to expand their imperial reach as they did in the 1990’s.

To reverse the retreat and advance 21st century empire-building, Washington realized it had to rely on force and violence.  The Obama regime allocated billions of dollars to finance arms for mercenaries, salaries for street fighters and campaign expenses for electoral clients engaged in destabilization campaigns. Diplomatic duplicity and broken agreements replaced negotiated settlements – on a grand scale.

Throughout the Obama period not a single imperial advance was secured via elections, diplomatic agreements or political negotiations.  The Obama Presidency sought and secured the massification of global spy network (NSA) and the almost daily murder of political adversaries via drones and other means.  Covert killer operations under the US Special Forces expanded throughout the world.  Obama assumed dictatorial prerogatives, including the power to order the arbitrary assassination of U.S. citizens.

The unfolding of the Obama regime’s global effort to stem the imperial retreat and re-launch empire-building “pivoted” almost exclusively on military instruments: armed proxies, aerial assaults, coups and violent putschist power grabs. Thugs, mobs, Islamist terrorists, Zionist militarists and a medley of retrograde separatist assassins were the tools of imperial advance.  The choice of imperial proxies varied according to time and political circumstances.

Confronting and Degrading China:  Military Encirclement and Economic Exclusion

 Faced with the loss of markets and the challenges of China as a global competitor, Washington developed two major lines of attack: 1. An economic strategy designed to deepen the integration of Asian and Latin America countries in a free trade pact that excludes China (the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement); and 2.  Pentagon-designed military plan Air-Sea Battle , which targets China’s mainland with a full-scale air and missile assault if Washington’s current strategy of controlling China’s  commercial maritime lifeline fails (FT, 2/10/14).  While an offensive military strategy is still on the Pentagon’s drawing board, the Obama regime is building up its maritime armada a few short miles off China’s coast , expanding its military bases in the Philippines, Australia and Japan and tightening the noose around China’s strategic maritime routes for vital imports like oil, gas and raw materials.

The US is actively promoting an Indo-Japanese military alliance as part of its strategy of military encirclement of China.  Joint military maneuvers, high-level military coordination and meetings between Japanese and Indian military officials are seen by the Pentagon as strategic advances in isolating China and reinforcing the US stranglehold on China’s maritime routes to the Middle East, Southeast Asia and beyond.  India, according to one of India’s leading weeklies, is viewed “as a junior partner of the US.  The Indian Navy is fast becoming the chief policeman of the Indian Ocean and the Indian military’s dependence on the U.S. military-industrial complex is increasing…” (Economic and Political Weekly (Mumbai), 2/15/14, p. 9.  The US is also escalating its support for violent separatist movements in China, namely the Tibetans, Uighurs and other Islamists.  Obama’s meeting with the Dali Lama was emblematic of Washington’s efforts to foment internal unrest.

 The gross political intervention of outgoing U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke in domestic Chinese politics is an indication that diplomacy is not the Obama regime’s prime policy instrument when it comes to dealing with China.  Ambassador Locke openly met with Uighur and Tibetan separatists and publicly disparaged China’s economic success and political system while openly encouraging opposition politics (FT, 2/28/14, p. 2).

 The Obama regime’s attempt to advance empire in Asia via military confrontation and trade pacts, which exclude China, has led China to build-up its military capacity to avoid maritime strangulation.  China answers the US trade threat by advancing its productive capacity, diversifying its trade relations, increasing its ties with Russia and deepening its domestic market.

To date, the Obama regime’s reckless militarization of the Pacific has not led to an open break in relations with China, but the military road to advancing empire at China’s expense threatens a global economic catastrophe or worse, a world war.

Imperial Advance:  Isolating, Encircling and Degrading Russia

With the advent of President Vladimir Putin and the reconstitution of the Russian state and economy, the U.S. lost a vassal client and source of plundered wealth.  Washington’s empire-builders continued to seek Russian ‘cooperation and collaboration’ in undermining independent states, isolating China and pursuing its colonial wars.  The Russian state, under Putin and Medvedev, had sought to accommodate U.S. empire builders via negotiated agreements, which would enhance Russia’s position in Europe, recognize Russian strategic borders and acknowledge Russian security concerns. However, Russian diplomacy secured few and transitory gains while the US and EU made major gains with Russian complicity and passivity.

  The un-stated agenda of Washington, especially with Obama’s drive to re-launch a new wave of imperial conquests, was to undermine Russia’s re-emergence as a major player in world politics.  The strategic idea was to isolate Russia, weaken its growing international presence and return it to the vassal status of the Yeltsin period,  if possible.

 From the US -  EU takeover of Eastern Europe , the Balkans and Baltic states, and their transformation into NATO military bases and capitalist vassal states in the early 1990’s, to the penetration and pillage  of Russia during the Yeltsin years, the prime purpose of Western policy has been to establish a unipolar empire under US domination. 

  The EU and the US proceeded to dismember Yugoslavia into subservient mini-states.  They then bombed Serbia in order to carve off Kosovo, destroying one of the few independent countries still allied with Russia.  The U.S. then moved on to foment uprisings in Georgia, Ukraine and Chechnya.  They bombed, invaded and later occupied Iraq – a former Russian ally in the Gulf region.

The driving strategy of US policy was to encircle and reduce Russia to the status of a weak, marginal power, and to undermine Vladimir Putin’s efforts to restore Russia’s position as a regional power.  In 2008 Washington’s puppet regime in Georgia, tested the mettle of the Russian state by launching an assault on South Ossetia, killing at least 10 Russian peacekeepers and wounding hundreds (not to mention thousands of civilians).  Then-Russian President Medvedev responded by sending the Russian armed forces to repel Georgian troops and support the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

U.S. diplomatic agreements with Russia had been asymmetrical – Russia was to acquiesce in Western expansion in exchange for ‘political acceptance’.  Duplicity trumped open-diplomacy.  Despite agreements to the contrary, U.S. bases and missile installations were established throughout Eastern Europe, pointing at Russia, under the pretext that they were “really targeting Iran”.  Even as Russia protested that post-Cold War agreements were breached, the Empire ignored Moscow’s complaints and encirclement advanced.

 In a further diplomatic disaster, Russia and China signed off on a U.S.-authored United Nations Security Council agreement to allow NATO to engage in “humanitarian overflights” in Libya. NATO immediately took this as the ‘green light’ for attack and converted ‘humanitarian intervention’ into a devastating aerial bombing campaign that led to the overthrow of Libya’s legitimate government and the destruction of Libya as viable, independent North African state.  By signing the ‘humanitarian’ UN agreement, Russia and China lost a friendly government and trading partner in Africa!  Even earlier, the Russians had agreed to allow the US to transport weapons and troops through Russian Federation territory to support the US invasion of Afghanistan … with no reciprocal gain (except perhaps an even greater flood of Afghan heroin).

 Russian diplomats agreed to US (Zionist)-authored UN economic sanctions against Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons program … undermining a political ally and lucrative market.  Moscow believed that by backing US sanctions on Iran and granting transport routes to Afghanistan in late 2001 they would receive some ‘security guarantees’ from the Americans regarding the separatist movements in the Caucuses.  The U.S. ‘reciprocated’ by further backing Chechen separatist leaders exiled in the US despite the on-going terror campaigns against Russian civilians – up to and even after the Chechen slaughter of hundreds of school children and teachers in Beslan in 2004….

 With the US under Obama advancing its encirclement of Russia in Eurasia and its isolation in North Africa and the Middle East, Putin finally decided to draw a line by backing Russia’s only remaining ally in the Middle East, Syria.  Putin sought to secure a negotiated end to the Western-Gulf Monarchist-backed mercenary invasion of Damascus. To little avail: The US and EU increased arms shipments, military trainers and financing to the 30,000 Islamist mercenaries based in Jordan as they engaged in cross-border attacks to overthrow the Syrian government.

 Washington and Brussels continued their imperial push toward the Russian heartland by organizing and financing a violent seizure of power (putsch) in western Ukraine.  The Obama regime financed a coalition of armed neo-Nazi street fighters and neo-liberal politicos, to the tune of $5 billion dollars, to overthrow the elected regime.  The putschists then moved to end Crimean autonomy and break long-standing military treaty agreements with Russia.  Under enormous pressure from the autonomous Crimean government and the vast majority of the population and facing the critical loss of its naval and military facilities on the Black Sea, Putin, finally, forcefully moved Russian troops into a defensive mode in Crimea.

The Obama regime launched a series of aggressive moves against Russia to isolate it and to buttress it faltering puppet regime in Kiev:  economic sanctions and expulsions were the order of the day … Obama’s seizure of the Ukraine signaled the start of a ‘new Cold War’.  The seizure of the Ukraine was part of Obama’s grand ongoing strategy of advancing empire.

The Ukraine power grab signaled the biggest geo-political challenge to the continued existence of the Russian state.  Obama seeks to extend and deepen the imperial sweep across Europe to the Caucuses: the violent regime coup and subsequent defense of the puppet regime in Kiev are key elements in undermining a key adversary– Russia.

After pretending to ‘partner’ with Russia, while slicing off Russian allies in the Balkans and Mid-East over the previous decades, Obama made his most audacious and reckless move.  Casting off all pretexts of peaceful co-existence and mutual accommodation, the Obama regime broke a power-sharing agreement with Russia over Ukrainian governance and backed the neo-Nazi putsch.

The Obama regime assumed that having secured Russia’s earlier acquiescence in the face of advancing US imperial power in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and the Gulf region, Washington’s empire-builders made the fateful decision to test Russia in its most strategic geopolitical region, one directly affecting the Russian people and its most strategic military assets.  Russia reacted in the only language understood in Washington and Brussels:  with a major military mobilization.  Obama’s advance of ‘empire-building via salami tactics’ and duplicitous diplomacy was nearing an end.

Advancing Empire in the Middle East and Latin America

The imperial advance of the 1990’s came to an end by the middle of the first decade of the new millennium.  Defeats in Afghanistan, withdrawal from Iraq, the demise of puppet regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, election losses in the Ukraine and the defeat and demise of pro-U.S. neo-liberal regimes in Latin America were exacerbated by a deepening economic crisis in the imperial centers of Europe and Wall Street.

Obama had few economic and political options to advance the empire. Yet his regime was determined to end the retreat and advance the empire; he resorted to tactics and strategies more akin to 19th century colonial and 20th century totalitarian regimes.

The methods were violent- militarism was the policy pivot.  But at a time of domestic imperial exhaustion, new military tactics replaced large-scale ground force invasions.  Proxy-armed mercenaries took center stage in overthrowing regimes targeted by the US.  Political and ideological affinities were subsumed under the generic euphemism of “rebels”.  The mass media alternated between pressuring for greater military escalation and endorsing the existing level of imperial warfare.  The entire political spectrum in Europe and the US shifted rightward – even as the majority of the electorate rejected new military engagements, especially ground wars.

Obama escalated troops in Afghanistan, launched an air war that overthrew President Gadhafi and turned the Libya into a broken, failed state.  Proxy wars became the new strategy to advance imperial empire-building.  Syria was targeted – tens of thousands of Islamist extremists were recruited and funded by imperial regimes and despotic Gulf monarchies.  Millions of refugees fled, tens of thousands were killed

In Latin America, Obama backed the military coup in Honduras overthrowing the elected Liberal government of President Manuel Zelaya, he recognized a congressional coup ousting the elected center-left government in Paraguay while refusing to recognize the election victory of President Maduro in Venezuela.  In the face of Maduro’s win in Venezuela, Washington backed several months of mob street violence in an attempt to destabilize the country.

In the Ukraine, Egypt, Venezuela and Thailand, ‘the street’ replaced elections.  Obama’s strategic imperial goals have focused on the re-conquest and pillage of Russia and its return to the vassal status of the Boris Yeltsin years, Latin America’s return to the neo-liberal regimes of 1990’s and China to the submissiveness of the 1980’s.  The imperial strategy has been ‘to conquer from within’ setting the stage for domination from the outside.

Advancing Empire:  Israel and the Middle East Detour

One of the great historical paradoxes of the U.S. imperial retreat of the 21st century has been the role played by influence of Israel and its Zionist Fifth Column embedded within the U.S. political power structure.  Washington’s wars and sanctions in the Middle East have been largely at the behest of influential ‘Israel Firsters’ in the White House, Pentagon, Treasury and National Security Council and Congress.

It was largely because the US was engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that Washington “neglected” China’s growing economic prowess.  By concentrating on ‘wars for Israel’ in the Middle East, the U.S. has not been in a position to challenge the rise of nationalism and populism in Latin America.  Protracted ‘wars for Israel’ have exhausted the US economy and the American public’s enthusiasm for new ground wars elsewhere.

Zionist ideologues, dubbed “neo-conservatives”, were instrumental in shaping the global militarist approach to empire-building and marginalizing the market-driven empire building, favored by the multi-nationals and giant extractive industry.

Obama’s attempt to halt the retreat of empire caused by Zionist militarism has not borne fruit:  His effort to co-opt Zionists and pressure Israel to stop fomenting new wars in the Middle East is a failure.  His ‘pivot to Asia’ has turned into a strategy of brute military encirclement of China. His overtures to Iran have been stymied by the Zionist power bloc in Congress and the imposition of Israeli-dictated terms of negotiations.  The entire “advance of the empire-building project”, which was to define the Obama legacy, has been weakened by the enormous cost of heeding the advice and directives of the Israel-loyalists within his Administration.  Israel, one of the most brutal colonial powers, has paradoxically and unintentionally played a major role in undermining Obama’s efforts to reverse the decline of empire and advance the U.S. diplomatic and economic dimensions of empire-building

Results and Perspectives:  Advancing Empire in the Post Neo-Liberal Period

Obama’s reckless effort to advance empire in the second decade of the 21st century is far more dangerous than his predecessors in the late 20th century.  Russia has recovered.  It is not the disintegrating state that Bush and Clinton dismembered and pillaged.  China is no longer a rising market economy so eager to trade with the US while overlooking American incursions into Chinese territorial waters.  Today China is a major economic power, wielding economic leverage in the form of $3 Trillion in U.S. Treasury notes.  China no longer tolerates U.S. interference in its domestic politics- it is willing to crack down on U.S.-backed ethnic separatists and terrorists.

Latin America, including Venezuela, have developed autonomous regional organizations, diversified their markets to Asia and established a powerful post-neoliberal consensus.  Venezuela has turned its military, once the favorite instrument of US-engineered coups, into a bulwark of the existing democratic order.

The electoral road to US empire-building has been closed or requires tight imperial “supervision” to secure “favorable outcomes”. Washington’s new policy of choice is violence: enlisting mob action, mercenary extremists, Islamists and Uighur terrorists, neo-Nazis and the riff raff of the world in its service.

The balance sheet of six years of “advancing empire” under Obama is in doubt.  The violent overthrow of President Gadhafi did not lead to a stable client regime:  the utter destruction and chaos in Libya has undercut the imperial presence.  Syria is under attack but by anti-Western Islamist fanatics.  The defeat of Assad will not ‘advance empire’ as much as it will expand radical Islamist (including Al Qaeda) power.

The Ukraine puppet regime of neo-liberals and neo-Nazis is literally bankrupt, riven with internal conflicts and facing profound regional divisions.  Russia is threatened, but their leaders have taken decisive military action to defend their Crimean allies and strategic military bases.

Obama has provoked and threatened adversaries but has not secured much in terms of valuable allies or clients.  His effort to replicate the imperial advances of the 1990’s has failed because the relationships of power between Europe and Russia, Japan and China, and Venezuela and Colombia have changed.  Proxies, predator drones and the US Special Forces are not able to reverse the retreat.  The economic crisis has cut too deep; the domestic exhaustion with empire is too pervasive.  The cost of sustaining Israel is too high.  Advancing empire in these circumstances is a dangerous game:  it risks a larger nuclear war to overcome adversity and retreat.

We pointed out Wednesday that the Estonian foreign minister claims that the new Ukrainian coalition deployed snipers to discredit the former government of Ukraine.

We documented Thursday that snipers are a common form of false flag terrorism.

Interestingly, while the new Ukranian coalition denies that it deployed snipers, it is now accusing someone else – Russia – of deploying the snipers as a false flag event to create chaos.

[This assertion appears to be part of new Western media consensus]  AP reports today:

One of the biggest mysteries hanging over the protest mayhem that drove Ukraine’s president from power: Who was behind the snipers who sowed death and terror in Kiev?

That riddle has become the latest flashpoint of feuding over Ukraine — with the nation’s fledgling government and the Kremlin giving starkly different interpretations of events that could either undermine or bolster the legitimacy of the new rulers.

Ukrainian authorities are investigating the Feb. 18-20 bloodbath, and they have shifted their focus from ousted President Viktor Yanukovych’s government to Vladimir Putin’s Russia — pursuing the theory that the Kremlin was intent on sowing mayhem as a pretext for military incursion. Russia suggests that the snipers were organized by opposition leaders trying to whip up local and international outrage against the government.

The government’s new health minister — a doctor who helped oversee medical treatment for casualties during the protests — told The Associated Press that the similarity of bullet wounds suffered by opposition victims and police indicates the shooters were trying to stoke tensions on both sides and spark even greater violence, with the goal of toppling Yanukovych.

“I think it wasn’t just a part of the old regime that (plotted the provocation), but it was also the work of Russian special forces who served and maintained the ideology of the (old) regime,” Health Minister Oleh Musiy said.

***

On Tuesday, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov signaled that investigators may be turning their attention away from Ukrainian responsibility.

“I can say only one thing: the key factor in this uprising, that spilled blood in Kiev and that turned the country upside down and shocked it, was a third force,” Avakov was quoted as saying by Interfax. “And this force was not Ukrainian.”

***

Musiy, who spent more than two months organizing medical units on Maidan, said that on Feb. 20 roughly 40 civilians and protesters were brought with fatal bullet wounds to the makeshift hospital set up near the square. But he said medics also treated three police officers whose wounds were identical.

Forensic evidence, in particular the similarity of the bullet wounds, led him and others to conclude that snipers were targeting both sides of the standoff at Maidan — and that the shootings were intended to generate a wave of revulsion so strong that it would topple Yanukovych and also justify a Russian invasion.

Since Russia supported Yanukovych, it makes no sense that the people who ordered the sniper attacks would want to topple Yanukovych and launch a Russian invasion.  Specifically, they would either want to overthrow the Russia-friendly Yanukovych or launch a Russian invasion to support a Russia-friendly Ukrainian government.

In any event, AP continues:

Russia has used the uncertainty surrounding the bloodshed to discredit Ukraine’s current government. During a news conference Tuesday, Putin addressed the issue in response to a reporter’s question, suggesting that the snipers in fact “may have been provocateurs from opposition parties.”

***

A former top security official with Ukraine’s main security agency, the SBU, waded into the confusion, in an interview published Thursday with the respected newspaper Dzerkalo Tizhnya. Hennady Moskal, who was deputy head of the agency, told the newspaper that snipers from the Interior Ministry and SBU were responsible for the shootings, not foreign agents.

“In addition to this, snipers received orders to shoot not only protesters, but also police forces. This was all done in order to escalate the conflict, in order to justify the police operation to clear Maidan,” he was quoted as saying.

In other words, everyone agrees that the snipers were false flag terrorists sewing chaos and confusion … they only disagree about who the responsible party is.

The main actors of the PNAC

All warfare is based on deception.” Sun Tzu (c. 544 BC – 496 BC), “The Art of War”

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

World War III will be a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.” Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), Canadian thinker

Even though all that follows is public knowledge, it is important to connect the dots if one is to understand fully what has happened in Ukraine recently. Events seem to have unfolded according to a U.S. foreign policy agenda that has been decades in the making within many administrations.

As of now, the key figure of that policy of intervention in the affairs of other nations in the Obama administration is Victoria Nuland (1961- ), an Assistant Secretary of State for European and Euroasian Affairs at the State Department. She has been at that post since May 2013, although she has previously worked with both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Nuland is the wife of historian Robert Cagan, a Council on Foreign Relations member, and one of the co-founders with William Kristol of the infamous “Project for the New American Century” (PNAC) founded in 1997. The PNAC called for, among many things, regime change in Iraq and a strategy for securing global control for the United States.

The PNAC group of neoconservative thinkers has been credited for providing the rationale behind the push for the U.S. to invade Iraq in 2003.

One of its prominent members, Richard Perle wrote, in 1996, a famous report entitled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm that called for the removal of President Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, as well as other ideas to bring change to the region. The report was delivered to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In 1998, Richard Perle and other core members of the PNAC—Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey, Elliot Abrams, and John Bolton—were among the signatories of an open letter to President Clinton calling for the removal of Saddam Hussein.

In September 2000, the PNAC published an even more controversial 90-page report entitled Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces, and Resources For a New Century. The report listed as Project Chairmen Donald Kagan and Gary Schmitt. They expressed “the belief that America should seek to preserve and extend its position of global leadership by maintaining the preeminence of U.S. military forces.”

The “New Pearl Harbor” Controversy

Section V of the 2000 Rebuilding America’s Defenses, entitled “Creating Tomorrow’s Dominant Force”, included a key sentence that reads as follows:

“Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event––like a new Pearl Harbor”.

By coincidence or not, exactly one year later, the authors got their “new Pearl Harbor” with the attacks of September 11, 2001, when 3,000 Americans and foreigners were killed.

Their main proposal was for the U.S. to bypass the United Nations, stating that “American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council”, where the U.S. must share a veto with Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom.

Instead, they proposed to enlarge the military alliance that is NATO and turn it from a defensive European alliance into a worldwide offensive military alliance controlled by the United States

In March 2003, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney implemented that foreign affairs policy, in violation of the UN Charter and in using a fake rationale of “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq and other subterfuges for public consumption.

The Ukrainian Crisis of 2014

Many reports indicate that Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has been very much involved in the coup d’état in Ukraine. Here is what she said on December 13, 2013:

“Since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the United States has supported Ukrainians as they build democratic skills and institutions, as they promote civic participation and good governance, all of which are preconditions for Ukraine to achieve its European aspirations. We’ve [the U.S. government] invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine.”

She is famous for having issued the infamous statement “F…k the E.U.”, in a telephone interview, on February 6, 2014, with American ambassador in Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt.

U.S. political “investments” seem to have paid off big because anti-government protests intensified greatly in Ukraine, in early 2014, climaxing with the violent overthrow of the elected government of Viktor Yanukovich on February 28, 2014. This followed after snipers had shot protesters and policemen from rooftops in Maïdan square, an event that has resulted with over 70 deaths.

Western officials and western media, and many unaware observers, were naturally quick to condemn the ousted Yanukovich government for the snipers who fired on protesters in Kiev.

However, a taped phone call between EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign affairs minister Urmas Paet on February 25 would seem to suggest otherwise. Indeed, it has been alleged, from ballistic proofs on the victims, that the U.S.-backed opposition was instead responsible for hiring snipers who gunned down protesters and policemen in Kiev and not the deposed government of Viktor Yanukovich, as the U.S. officials and U.S. media have widely claimed.

The entire coup d’état could have been based on a classic “false flag” operation.

If confirmed, that would be another war started with false pretenses, along the Iraq war, that started in 2003 with similar fabrications.

Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is an economist and author, whose last two books are:

The Code for Global Ethics,  Prometheus Books, 2010; and  The New American Empire, Infinity Publishing, 2003.

To read Dr. Tremblay’s blog, please visit:
http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.htm

The author can be reach at: [email protected].

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday called for an OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) investigation into who was behind the deaths of dozens of people in Kiev last month in attacks by snipers, saying the truth could no longer be covered up.

Lavrov’s comments came after Estonia’s top diplomat told EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in a phone call leaked this week that the then-Ukrainian opposition to president Viktor Yanukovych may have been involved in the attacks.Lavrov

“The latest information about the so-called snipers case can no longer be covered up,” Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow with his Tajik counterpart.

“We have proposed that the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) takes up an objective investigation of this and we will ensure there is justice.

“There have been too many lies, and this lie has been used too long to push European public opinion in the wrong direction, contrary to the objective facts.”

Western states have blamed Yanukovych’s now disbanded elite riot police force for much of the killing that rocked in Kiev in February.

However Russia has strongly emphasized the leaked phone call between Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Ashton as evidence for its argument that the new post-Yanukovych government in Kiev is made up of dangerous extremists.

Lavrov’s call for a full probe indicates that this is an issue Russia will not allow to drop, risking new tensions with the West.

In the audio of the February 26 call, whose authenticity was confirmed by Estonia, Paet told Ashton he was informed in Kiev that “they were the same snipers killing people from both sides.”

Dozens of protesters and around 15 police officers were killed in the attacks.

Cuba, la Unión Europea y los derechos humanos

March 9th, 2014 by Salim Lamrani

Cuba acaba de aceptar la propuesta de diálogo por parte de la Unión Europea. Pero para normalizar las relaciones, Bruselas tendrá que levantar la Posición Común – obsoleta y contraproducente – vigente desde 1996.

El 10 de febrero de 2014, la Unión Europea aprobó por unanimidad de sus 28 miembros abrir un diálogo con el gobierno cubano para superar el diferendo que los separa desde hace casi veinte años. El 6 de marzo de 2014, Cuba aceptó la propuesta de diálogo.

En 1996, bajo la égida del antiguo Primer Ministro español, José María Aznar, la Unión Europea decidió alinearse con la política exterior de Washington hacia La Habana y renunciar a su postura soberana e independiente. El acuerdo era sencillo. Por un lado Estados Unidos, que acababa de adoptar la ley Helms-Burton que reforzaba el estado de sitio económico impuesto a Cuba desde 1960 y sancionaba las multinacionales extranjeras que invertirían en la isla, aceptó preservar los intereses europeos. Pero a cambio, Bruselas debía alinearse con su política exterior e imponer sanciones a Cuba.[1]

Desde esa fecha, la Unión Europea impone una “Posición Común” que se ha convertido en el pilar de la política exterior de Bruselas hacia La Habana. Limita los intercambios políticos, diplomáticos y culturales y constituye el principal obstáculo a la normalización de las relaciones entre las dos partes. La razón es la misma que usa Washington para justificar su hostilidad hacia Cuba: la situación de los derechos humanos.[2]

Cinco aspectos fundamentales definen la política europea hacia La Habana: su carácter unilateral, su alcance discriminatorio, su lógica contradictoria, su fundamento ilegítimo y su ineficacia demostrada.

Las sanciones políticas y diplomáticas que impone la Unión Europea son unilaterales y arbitrarias. Cuba jamás ha atentado contra los intereses fundamentales de Bruselas y nunca se ha mostrado hostil. Al contrario, el Gobierno de La Habana siempre ha deseado establecer relaciones normales con las naciones europeas, basadas en el respeto mutuo, la reciprocidad y la no injerencia en los asuntos internos.

La Posición Común también es discriminatoria y contradictoria. El único país del continente americano que sufre semejante sanción es la isla de Cuba. Bruselas no estigmatiza a ninguna otra nación, desde Canadá hasta Argentina, por la cuestión de los derechos humanos. Ahora bien, según el último informe de Amnistía Internacional de 2013, Cuba está lejos de ser el peor alumno en cuanto a la problemática de los derechos humanos. Al revés, un estudio minucioso del tema revela que, según la organización, la situación de los derechos humanos en Cuba es una de las menos desfavorables del continente americano. Incluso resulta difícil hallar una nación americana, desde Canadá hasta Argentina, con un balance mejor que el de la isla del Caribe.[3]

Las sanciones europeas también son ilegítimas. En efecto, si Bruselas tiene la ambición erigirse en juez moralizador, debe ser irreprochable en cuanto a los derechos humanos. Ahora bien, el informe 2013 de Amnistía Internacional es abrumador para la Unión Europea y afecta singularmente su credibilidad y autoridad en dar lecciones a La Habana. La mayoría de las naciones de la Europa de los 27 presenta una situación de los derechos humanos mucho más desastrosa que la de Cuba[4].

A guisa de ejemplo, en cuanto a España, Amnistía Internacional denuncia actos de “tortura y malos tratos” cometidos por las fuerzas del orden, así como la impunidad de la cual gozan los policías responsables de homicidios. La organización denuncia el racismo institucionalizado contra las minorías por parte de las autoridades, así como la violencia contra las mujeres españolas que costó la vida a 46 en 2012. Para Francia, Amnistía denuncia también la impunidad de las fuerzas del orden responsables de asesinatos, así como actos de tortura por parte de la policía. Nunca se han reportado hechos similares en Cuba[5].

Finalmente, al alinearse con la política exterior de Estados Unidos contra Cuba, la Unión Europea se encuentra aislada en la escena internacional, y particularmente en América Latina que rechaza toda sanción arbitraria contra La Habana. Cuba está plenamente integrada en el ámbito continental y los 33 países de la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (CELAC), que incluso eligieron presidente a Raúl Castro, expresaron su apoyo político y diplomático a Cuba. En enero de 2014, 31 jefes de Estado de 33 del continente latinoamericano y caribeño viajaron a Cuba para participar en la Cumbre de la CELAC y reafirmaron su rechazo no sólo al estado de sitio anacrónico y cruel que impone Estados Unidos a los cubanos, sino también a la política de la Unión Europea.

La Unión Europea es una potencia económica innegable, aunque se encuentra enfrentada a una grave crisis sistémica. No obstante, mientras no adopte una política racional e independiente –lejos de la sombra tutelar de Estados Unidos– que responda a sus propios intereses, seguirá siendo una enana diplomática sin influencia en la escena internacional.

 Salim Lamrani

 

Doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani es profesor titular de la Universidad de La Reunión y periodista, especialista de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. Su último libro se titula Cuba. Les médias face au défi de l’impartialité, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2013, con un prólogo de Eduardo Galeano.

http://www.amazon.fr/Cuba-m%C3%A9dias-face-d%C3%A9fi-limpartialit%C3%A9/dp/2953128433/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376731937&sr=1-1

Contacto: [email protected] ; [email protected]

Página Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel

 


[1] Salim Lamrani, Double Morale : Cuba, l’Union européenne et les droits de l’homme, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2008.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Amnesty International, La situation des droits humains dans le monde, Rapport annuel 2013.http://www.amnesty.org/fr/annual-report/2013 (site consulté le 8 février 2014).

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

 

 

Cuba, a União Europeia e os direitos humanos

March 9th, 2014 by Salim Lamrani

Cuba acaba de aceitar a proposta de diálogo da União Europeia. Mas, para normalizar as relações, Bruxelas terá de acabar com a Posição Comum – obsoleta e contraproducente – vigente desde 1996

No dia 10 de fevereiro de 2014, a União Europeia aprovou por unanimidade de seus 28 membros a abertura de um diálogo com o governo cubano para superar a disputa que os separa há quase 20 anos. No dia 6 de março de 2014, Cuba aceitou a proposta de diálogo.

Em 1996, sob a égide do antigo primeiro-ministro espanhol, José María Aznar, a União Europeia decidiu se alinhar com a política exterior de Washington em relação a Havana e renunciar à sua postura soberana e independente. O acordo era simples: os Estados Unidos, que tinham acabado de adotar a lei Helms-Burton, reforçavam o estado de sítio econômico imposto a Cuba desde 1960 e sancionavam as multinacionais estrangeiras que investissem na ilha, aceitando preservar os interesses europeus. Mas, em troca, Bruxelas deveria se alinhar à sua política exterior e impor sanções a Cuba.

Efe

Chanceler cubano anuncia, durante coletiva de imprensa, que o país aceitou a proposta da UE de diálogo político

Desde essa data, a União Europeia impõe uma “posição comum”, que se transformou no pilar da política exterior de Bruxelas em relação a Havana. Limita os intercâmbios políticos, diplomáticos e culturais, e constitui o principal obstáculo à normalização das relações entre as duas partes. A razão é a mesma que Washington usa para justificar sua hostilidade em relação a Cuba: a situação dos direitos humanos.

Cinco aspectos fundamentais definem a política europeia em relação a Havana: seu caráter unilateral, seu alcance discriminatório, sua lógica contraditória, seu fundamento ilegítimo e sua ineficácia comprovada.

As sanções políticas que a União Europeia impõe são unilaterais e arbitrárias. Cuba jamais atentou contra os interesses fundamentais de Bruxelas e nunca se mostrou hostil. Pelo contrário, o governo de Havana sempre desejou estabelecer relações normais com as nações europeias, baseadas no respeito mútuo, na reciprocidade e na não ingerência nos assuntos internos.

Wikicommons

Cidade de Havana, Cuba. Desde 1996 é o único país do continente a receber sanções políticas da União Europeia

A posição comum também é discriminatória e contraditória. O único país do continente americano que sofre semelhante sanção é a ilha de Cuba. Bruxelas não estigmatiza nenhuma outra nação, do Canadá à Argentina, por questões de direitos humanos. Agora veja, segundo o último relatório da Anistia Internacional, de 2013, Cuba está longe de ser o pior aluno na problemática dos direitos humanos. Em vez disso, um estudo minucioso do tema revela que, segundo a organização, a situação dos direitos humanos em Cuba é uma das menos desfavoráveis do continente americano. Inclusive, é difícil encontrar uma nação americana, do Canadá à Argentina, com um saldo melhor que a ilha de Cuba.

As sanções europeias também são ilegítimas. Se Bruxelas tem a ambição de se proclamar um juiz moralizador, deve ser irrepreensível na questão dos direitos humanos. Agora veja, o relatório de 2013 da Anistia Internacional é avassalador para a União Europeia e afeta particularmente sua credibilidade e autoridade em dar lições a Havana. A maioria das nações da Europa dos 27 apresenta uma situação de direitos humanos muito mais desastrosa que a de Cuba.

A título de exemplo, no que tange a Espanha, a Anistia Internacional denuncia atos de “tortura e maus tratos”, cometidos pelas forças da ordem, assim como a impunidade gozada pelos policiais responsáveis por homicídios. A organização denuncia o racismo institucionalizado contra minorias por parte das autoridades, assim como a violência contra as mulheres espanholas que custou a vida de 46 delas em 2012. Sobre a França, a Anistia denuncia também a impunidade das forças da ordem responsáveis por assassinatos, assim como atos de tortura por parte da polícia. Nunca foram reportados acontecimentos semelhantes em Cuba.

Efe

No dia 27 de fevereiro, o secretário norte-americano John Kerry denunciou a repressão de disidentes em Cuba

Finalmente, ao se alinhar com a política externa dos Estados Unidos contra Cuba, a União Europeia encontra-se isolada no cenário internacional e, particularmente, na América Latina, que rejeita toda sanção arbitrária contra Havana. Cuba está plenamente integrada no âmbito continental e os 33 países da Comunidade de Estados Latino-americanos e Caribenhos (CELAC), que inclusive elegeu como seu presidente Raúl Castro, expressaram seu apoio político e diplomático a Cuba. Em janeiro de 2014, 31 dos 33 chefes de Estado do continente latino-americano e caribenho viajaram a Cuba para participar da cúpula da CELAC e reafirmaram sua rejeição não apenas ao estado de sítio anacrônico e cruel que os Estados Unidos impõe aos cubanos, mas também à política da União Europeia.

A União Europeia é uma potência econômica inegável, ainda que se encontre passando por uma grave crise sistêmica. Não obstante, enquanto não adote uma política racional e independente — longe da sombra tutelar dos Estados Unidos — que responda a seus próprios interesses, seguirá sendo uma anã diplomática sem influência no cenário internacional.

Salim Lamrani

Salim Lamrani é doutor em Estudos Ibéricos e Latino-americanos, professor-titular da Universidade de la Reunión e jornalista, especialista nas relações entre Cuba e Estados Unidos. Seu último livro se chama Cuba. Les médias face au défi de l’impartialité, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2013, com prólogo de Eduardo Galeano.

The head of China’s sovereign wealth fund noted in 2009: “both China and America are addressing bubbles by creating more bubbles”.

He’s right …

Global credit excess is worse than before the 2008 crash.

The U.S. and Japan have been easing like crazy, but – as Zero Hedge notes  – China has been much worse:

 

 Here is just the change in the past five years:

 

 

You read that right: in the past five years the total assets on US bank books have risen by a paltry $2.1 trillion while over the same period, Chinese bank assets have exploded by an unprecedented $15.4 trillion hitting a gargantuan CNY147 trillion or an epic $24 trillion – some two and a half times the GDP of China!

Putting the rate of change in perspective, while the Fed was actively pumping $85 billion per month into US banks for a total of $1 trillion each year, in just the trailing 12 months ended September 30, Chinese bank assets grew by a mind-blowing $3.6 trillion!

Here is how Diapason’s Sean Corrigan observed this epic imbalance in liquidity creation:

Total Chinese banking assets currently stand at some CNY147 trillion, around 2 ½ times GDP. As such, they have doubled in the past four years of increasingly misplaced investment and frantic real estate speculation, adding the equivalent of 140% of average GDP – or, in dollars, $12.5 trillion – to the books. For comparison, over the same period, US banks have added just less than $700 billion, 4.4% of average GDP, 18 times less than their Chinese counterparts – and this in a period when the predominant trend has been for the latter to do whatever it takes to keep commitments off their balance sheets and lurking in the ‘shadows’!

Indeed, the increase in Chinese bank assets during that breakneck quadrennium is equal to no less than seven-eighths of the total outstanding assets of all FDIC-insured institutions! It also compares to 30% of Eurozone bank assets.

Truly epic flow numbers, and just as unsustainable in the longer-run.

 

And here:

 

 

So what’s the problem?

 

Well, the world’s most prestigious financial agency – the central banks’ central bank, called the Bank of International Settlements or “BIS”  –  has long criticized the Fed and other central banks for blowing bubbles.  The World Bank and top economists agree.  So do many others.

As such, it was easy for us to predict a crash in China when the bubble collapses.

We argued in 2009 that China’s period of easy credit was analogous to America’s monetary easing starting in 2001 … and Rome’s in 11 B.C.

We noted in 2009 and against in 2011 that China is suffering from a lot of the same malaises as the American economy, including corruption, crony capitalism, and failure to disclose bad debt.

In 2010, we asked “When Will China’s Bubble Burst?

China’s $23 Trillion Dollar Credit Bubble Is Bursting

International Business Times noted last year that China’s debt-laden steel industry was on the verge of bankruptcy.

Quartz reported in December that a huge coal company called Liansheng Resources Group declared bankruptcy with 30 billion yuan ($5 billion) in debt.

Chinese Business Wisdom argues (via China Gaze) that waves of bankruptcies are striking in 10 Chinese industries: (1) shipbuilding; (2) iron and steel: (3) LED lighting; (4) furniture; (5) real estate development; (6) cargo shipping; (7) trust and financial institutions; (8) financial management; (9) private equity; and (10) group buying.

AP notes today:

Chinese authorities have allowed the country’s first corporate bond default, inflicting losses on small investors in a painful step toward making its financial system more market-oriented.

A Shanghai manufacturer of solar panels paid only part of 90 million yuan ($15 million) in interest [it owed] …

Until now, Beijing has bailed out troubled companies to preserve confidence in its credit markets. But the ruling Communist Party has pledged to make the economy more productive by allowing market forces a bigger role.

Time asks whether China has reached its “Bear Stearns moment”:

A dangerous build-up of debt and an explosion of risky and poorly regulated shadow banking have raised serious concerns about the health of China’s economy. That’s why the Chaori default — the first ever in China’s domestic corporate bond market — has sparked fears that the country could be headed for a full-blown economic crisis like the one that slammed Wall Street in 2008. “We believe that the market will have reached the Bear Stearns stage,” warned strategist David Cui and his team at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch in a report to investors.

The concern of Cui and others is that the Chaori default will be the tip-off point for an unravelling of China’s financial system. The default could wake investors and bankers to the realization that companies they thought were safe bets are potentially not, and they could begin to reassess other loans and investments to other corporations. In other words, they might start redefining what is and is not risky. That could then lead to a credit crunch, when nervous bankers become wary of lending money, or lending at affordable interest rates. More bankruptcies could result. That eventually causes the financial markets to lock up — and we end up transitioning from a Bear Stearns moment to a Lehman Brothers moment, when the financial sector melts down. “We think the chain reaction will probably start,” Cui wrote. “In the U.S., it took about a year to reach the Lehman stage when the market panicked … We assess that it may take less time in China.”

The Financial Post reported in January:

The U.S. and Europe learned the hard way about the dangers of shadow banks in the financial crisis but, five years later, China appears set to get its own painful lesson about what can happen when large capital flows get diverted to unregulated corners of the financial system.

***

“We estimate that 88% of the revenues of Chinese trust companies is at risk in the long term,” said McKinsey and Ping An.

***

Billionaire investor George Soros recently wrote on a popular news website that the impending default and the growing fear reflected in Chinese markets has “eerie resemblances” to the global crisis of 2008.

The big picture:  the $23 trillion dollar Chinese credit bubble is starting to collapse.

As Michael Snyder wrote in January:

It could be a “Lehman Brothers moment” for Asia.  And since the global financial system is more interconnected today than ever before, that would be very bad news for the United States as well.  Since Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, the level of private domestic credit in China has risen from $9 trillion to an astounding $23 trillion.  That is an increase of $14 trillion in just a little bit more than 5 years.  Much of that “hot money” has flowed into stocks, bonds and real estate in the United States.  So what do you think is going to happen when that bubble collapses?

The bubble of private debt that we have seen inflate in China since the Lehman crisis is unlike anything that the world has ever seen.  Never before has so much private debt been accumulated in such a short period of time.  [Note: Private debt is much more dangerous than public debt.] All of this debt has helped fuel tremendous economic growth in China, but now a whole bunch of Chinese companies are realizing that they have gotten in way, way over their heads.  In fact, it is being projected that Chinese companies will pay out the equivalent of approximately a trillion dollars in interest payments this year alone.  That is more than twice the amount that the U.S. government will pay in interest in 2014.

***

As the Telegraph pointed out a while back, the Chinese have essentially “replicated the entire U.S. commercial banking system” in just five years…

Overall credit has jumped from $9 trillion to $23 trillion since the Lehman crisis. “They have replicated the entire U.S. commercial banking system in five years,” she said.

The ratio of credit to GDP has jumped by 75 percentage points to 200pc of GDP, compared to roughly 40 points in the US over five years leading up to the subprime bubble, or in Japan before the Nikkei bubble burst in 1990. “This is beyond anything we have ever seen before in a large economy. We don’t know how this will play out. The next six months will be crucial,” she said.

As with all other things in the financial world, what goes up must eventually come down.

***
The big underlying problem is the fact that private debt and the money supply have both been growing far too rapidly in China.  According to Forbes, M2 in China increased by 13.6 percent last year…

And at the same time China’s money supply and credit are still expanding.  Last year, the closely watched M2 increased by only 13.6%, down from 2012’s 13.8% growth.  Optimists say China is getting its credit addiction under control, but that’s not correct.  In fact, credit expanded by at least 20% last year as money poured into new channels not measured by traditional statistics.

Overall, M2 in China is up by about 1000 percent since 1999.  That is absolutely insane.

***

But I am not the only one talking about it.

In fact, the World Economic Forum is warning about the exact same thing…

Fiscal crises triggered by ballooning debt levels in advanced economies pose the biggest threat to the global economy in 2014, a report by the World Economic Forum has warned.

***

What has been going on in the global financial system is completely and totally unsustainable, and it is inevitable that it is all going to come horribly crashing down at some point during the next few years.

It is just a matter of time.

Why the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks were Set-up to Fail

March 8th, 2014 by Timothy Alexander Guzman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama met to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian Peace talks. However, it should be no surprise that there is no optimism in the talks. Netanyahu said that “Israel has been doing its part and, I regret to say, the Palestinians have not” according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry has a deadline on April 29th for a “framework Agreement” between Israel and Palestine. “It’s my belief that ultimately it is still possible to create two states, a Jewish state of Israel and a state of Palestine, with people living side by side in peace and security,” Obama said. “But it’s difficult. It requires compromise on all sides” the report said.

On Tuesday Netanyahu demanded that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas recognize Israel as a ‘Jewish State’, “President Abbas: recognize the Jewish state and in doing so, you would be telling your people.. to abandon the fantasy of flooding Israel with refugees” he said at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) earlier this month. One of the major compromises that the Palestinians would have to accept according to Netanyahu is for Israel to be recognized as a “Jewish State”. Netanyahu demands comes at a time when his administration continues to build Jewish settlements at unprecedented levels which have been admitted by the Israeli media including the Times of Israel. The Times of Israel stated the facts:

New construction in the West Bank skyrocketed in 2013 compared to 2012, new Israeli data revealed on Monday. The Central Bureau of Statistics reported an increase of 123 percent in construction of new homes in the West Bank in 2013 compared to 2012, a ratio dramatically higher than in the other six districts examined. The southern district, coming in second, witnessed an increase of 12%, Haifa 8%, Jerusalem 3%, central Israel 2%, and northern Israel 1%. New construction in the Tel Aviv district dropped 19% between 2012 and 2013

The Lebanese based online news website the Daily Star reported that Mohammad al-Madani who quoted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as saying “We cannot continue negotiations with ongoing settlement construction,” concerning the negotiations imposed by Washington. The report confirmed that Abbas met Zehava Galon who is head of the Meretz party (an Israeli left wing political party) in Ramallah this past Monday:

A statement from Galon’s office said that in addition to a settlement freeze, Abbas would also demand a release of “further prisoners beyond the next tranche, including women, youths and administrative detainees.”

Israel committed in July to releasing 104 Palestinian prisoners in four tranches. It has so far released 78 of those in three batches.

Abbas also told Galon that “if the American framework agreement will not sufficiently address the fundamental principles of the core issues, we won’t enable extending the negotiations,” according to the statement

For the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a ‘Jewish State’ would be devastating politically. It would concede that all Jewish people would have a natural right to be in Palestine. For Palestinians who do live in Palestine, it will be only by permission of the “Jewish State” not as a natural right of the Palestinians who have been in the land for thousands of years. If the Palestinians were to recognize Israel as a “Jewish State” then the Palestinians living in Palestine has been illegitimate.   This is one of the main reasons the Palestinians would not accept the “Jewish State” status of Israel. One other factor that the Israel and the Palestinian Authority will not succeed is because the United Nations recognition of Palestine based on its pre-1967 borders with Israel. This does not sit well with Israel because it legitimizes the Palestinians territorial integrity. Historically Palestinians have a right to be in Palestine and exercise their right to establish a sovereign state of their own. It is important to note that Israel as a Jewish State would also jeopardize the rights of all Palestinians who currently live in the Palestinian territories and of the Palestinian refugees who were forcibly expelled from their homes in 1948 after the state of Israel was created under the Balfour Declaration.

Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State is not beneficial for all people living within Israel as well since 25% of the current population is actually non-Jewish. Despite Netanyahu’s demands, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) under Yasir Arafat recognized Israel in the 1980’while Israel did not recognize Palestine. In 1988, The New York Times reported that Yasir Arafat and the PLO with the Palestinian parliament had ”accepted the existence of Israel as a state in the region” and ”declared its rejection and condemnation of terrorism in all its forms.” But it was rejected by both Washington and Tel Aviv as the New York Times explained why they were not convinced:

In Jerusalem, Israeli leaders discounted the Stockholm declaration and Mr. Arafat’s comments. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres characterized them as a ”cunning exercise in public relations.” What was needed, he said, was ”a commitment in reality” to an end to violence. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was similarly dismissive.

The United States has long said it would not deal with the P.L.O. until it stated unambiguously that it recognized Israel’s right to exist and United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which lay out the basis for a negotiated settlement and peace in the Middle East. The United States has also asked for an unequivocal statement that the P.L.O. renounces all forms of terrorism

The peace process began in 1991 in Madrid with the intention of establishing peace between Israel and Palestine. The United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 was eventually accepted by Arafat and the PLO in 1993 during the Oslo accords disregarding the Palestinian people. The Oslo Accords or the Declaration of Principles (DOP) resulted in the recognition of Israel by the PLO and  Israel recognizing the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people for whom the Israeli government can negotiate with. The Oslo Accords helped create the Palestinian Authority (PA) with limited self-government over Palestinian lands, but many issues involving Israel’s recognition of Palestine as a state and its occupation and the Palestinian right of return remained unsolved. Overall, a Palestinian state was never granted under the Oslo Accords, it was a failure. When the Oslo Accords began and Yasir Arafat agreed to recognize Israel as a state, it only gave the Israeli government more power over the negotiations and the Palestinian people.  In an article written by human rights advocate and fellow Palestinian Edward Said called ‘The Morning After’ he criticized Arafat’s decision to recognize Israel as a State. He wrote:

By contrast Arafat’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist carries with it a whole series of renunciations: of the PLO Charter; of violence and terrorism; of all relevant UN resolutions, except 242 and 338, which do not have one word in them about the Palestinians, their rights or aspirations. By implication, the PLO set aside numerous other UN resolutions (which, with Israel and the US, it is now apparently undertaking to modify or rescind) that, since 1948, have given Palestinians refugee rights, including either compensation or repatriation. The Palestinians had won numerous international resolutions – passed by, among others, the EC, the non-aligned movement, the Islamic Conference and the Arab League, as well as the UN – which disallowed or censured Israeli settlements, annexations and crimes against the people under occupation

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Yasir Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994 for their peace efforts during the Oslo Accords agreement. According to the Oslo Declaration of Principles, it states that “a permanent settlement based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338″ which did not address Palestinian rights. MIT professor Noam Chomsky explained in Z magazine in 1993 the flaws regarding UN Resolution 242 and what it meant for the Palestinian people. He wrote:

The draft agreement makes no mention of Palestinian national rights, the primary issue on which the US and Israel broke with the international consensus from the mid-1970s. Throughout these years, it was agreed that a settlement should be based on UN 242.

There were two basic points of contention: (1) Do we interpret the withdrawal clause of 242 in accord with the international consensus (including the US, pre-1971), or in accord with the position of Israel and US policy from 1971? (2) Is the settlement based solely on UN 242, which offers nothing to the Palestinians, or 242 and other relevant UN resolutions, as the PLO had proposed for many years in accord with the nonrejectionist international consensus. Thus, does the settlement incorporate the right of refugees to return or compensation, as the UN has insisted since December 1948 (with US endorsement, long forgotten), and the Palestinian right to national self-determination that has repeatedly been endorsed by the UN (though blocked by Washington)? These are the crucial issues that have stood in the way of a political settlement.

On these issues, the agreement explicitly and without equivocation adopts the US-Israeli stand. As noted, Article I states that the “permanent status will lead to the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338,” nothing more. Furthermore, as Beilin made explicit, the withdrawal clause of UN 242 is to be understood in the terms unilaterally imposed by the US (from 1971). In fact, the agreement does not even preclude further Israeli settlement in the large areas of the West Bank it has taken over, or even new land takeovers. On such central matters as control of water, it speaks only of “cooperation” and “equitable utilization” in a manner to be determined by “experts from both sides.” The outcome of cooperation between an elephant and a fly is not hard to predict.

Chomsky was correct in his assessment on UN resolution 242 when one of the Nobel Peace Prize Winners Shimon Peres addressed the Israeli public in 1995 and stated that “the deal kept the following in Israeli hands: 73 percent of the lands of the territories, 97 percent of security and 80 percent of the water.”  Another important factor regarding the DOP is in Article XVII Jurisdiction 1.

In accordance with the DOP, the jurisdiction of the Council will cover West Bank and Gaza Strip territory as a single territorial unit, except for:

a. issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations: Jerusalem, settlements, specified military locations, Palestinian refugees, borders, foreign relations and Israelis; and

b. powers and responsibilities not transferred to the Council

Which means that the Palestinian matters concerning Israel’s strategic military locations, Israeli settlements, the Palestinian Right of Return to their lands and the issue of Jerusalem becoming the capital of Israel would be under political and strategic control of the Israeli government. Oslo Accords was a failure for the Palestinians and for Israel for the simple matter that they could not wrap their tentacles around the Palestinian people and its lands any tighter than it already is.  Israel would have come out being the benefactor to the peace agreements, not the Palestinians. The peace talks are unfortunately going to fail once again. The pre-conditions for the Palestinians to accept a peace deal with Israel through Secretary of State John Kerry’s “Framework Agreement” will backfire. “Jerusalem will not be divided so long as I’m prime minister” Netanyahu was quoted as saying on Israeli television this past January. President Abbas responded by saying “The Palestinians want confirmation in writing that the capital of a future Palestinian state will be in East Jerusalem, Abbas told the Meretz leader. With regard to the refugee issue, Abbas said that claims he wants to flood Israel with 5 million Palestinian refugees are a lie.” President Abbas was also responding to Netanyahu’s speech at the AIPAC conference. President Abbas said “If the American framework agreement doesn’t address our basic principles regarding the core issues, we will not allow the talks to be extended beyond the original end date of April 29,” Gal-On quoted Abbas as saying” according to the Haaretz report. “Back in the region, Meretz chairwoman MK Zahava Gal-On said after meeting with Abbas yesterday that he was pessimistic about the chances of reaching a framework agreement that would allow the peace talks to continue.”

Allowing Palestine to accept Israel as a “Jewish State” will not happen. The new peace talks are not any different from the previous efforts by the United States and Israel. This time Netanyahu demands the Palestinian government to recognize the “Jewish State” of Israel. However, he does want a two-state solution, but on his terms. He once said “I think that peace will require two states, a Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state.”

The Palestinians deserve their own state; Palestine is a place that dates back thousands of years, it is a nation. David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister admitted that the Palestine belonged to the Palestinians in 1938 speech when he clearly stated

“Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves … politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves… The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country.”

Maybe Netanyahu should revisit the historical speeches of Israel’s past leaders, but that would not make a difference anyway. Peace is unachievable with the US backed “Framework Agreement” because what Israel is asking the Palestinians to accept is unrealistic.  It is only a process that would advance Israel’s hegemony in the Middle East and allow it to expand its territory and obtain natural resources with its advanced military capabilities with the help of Washington.

 James Kirchick is just the neutral reporter the Daily Beast would assign to  report on the ideological controversy surrounding the Russian backed RT-TV Channel’s coverage of the crisis in the Ukraine. 

 The Beast lives up to its name by sending a hardcore polemical ideologue to uncover what he predictably labels as ideological media bias.

 Kirchickis a veteran of the anti-communist wars, now revived as the anti Putin wars, not some neutral journo crusading for democracy.

According to Wikipedia, he is a fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington,  prior to this he was writer-at-large for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He is a graduate of the New Republic, Murdoch’s Weekly Standard and writes for Azure, a magazine that described itself as pro-Zionist and freemarket.

Ok, just so we know who are dealing with here.

And now, to bolster his “credibility” he presents himself as a victim in his latest article that exposes himself, far more than his target, asserting that his rights as a journalist were somehow compromised because of a gutsy quest for truth.

Here’s his exhibit:

•The Headline: “Watch RT, Putin’s TV Network, Call the Cops on Me”

 •The Lead:“That’s what happens, it seems, when you ask some simple questions outside RT’s Washington headquarters.”

 •The Polemic: “What would possess an American to work for a Russian propaganda outlet, especially now that the world is on the brink of a potential war in Eastern Europe? 

I asked that question of about two dozen people coming in and out of the Washington headquarters of RT, the Kremlin-funded television network that has become infamous in recent days for whitewashing Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. No one would answer me directly. Instead, RT called the local cops on me. …”

Kirchik’s first story in his jihad against RT was to interview Anchor Liz Wahl who resigned  flamboyantly on the air denouncing the channel she worked and making her an instant shero among Russia-bashers the world over.

Wahl offered up sweet innocence laced with the veneer of red white and blue (drop the red) patriotism, declaring, “I’m very lucky to have grown up here in the United States,” she said.

“I’m the daughter of a veteran. My partner is a physician at a military base where he sees every day the first-hand accounts of the ultimate prices that people pay for this country. And that is why personally I cannot be part of a network that whitewashes the actions of Putin. I am proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth and that is why after this newscast I’m resigning.”

 Cue the National Anthem!

Funny, after her declaration of independence, and stagy pledge to quit was broadcast on a network that could have cut her off, none other than former Congressman Ron Paul who was interviewed by Wahl weighed in after she claimed RT censored her interview with him.

 He denied it, saying, “I don’t think it was slanted in any way.”

Earlier, another RT on-airpersonality, Abby Martin,  also denounced Putin’s Ukraine policy on the air but was not fired and did not quit.

 Later, she turned  up on CNN debating Piers Morgan, he of the show about to be cancelled, about how fair and objective most American TV is. She was far better informed on that subject than this departing British host in assessing the US press, and on a network considered by some critics as an “American propaganda outlet.”

 In an article about Martin in National Journal, Lucia Graves wrote, “While it’s clear the network maintains a strong pro-Russian bias, Glenn Greenwald on Tuesday defended RT’s coverage, saying it isn’t so different from what we saw on American media outlets in the lead up to the Iraq War. “For all the self-celebrating American journalists and political commentators: Was there even a single U.S. television host who said anything comparable to this in the lead up to, or the early stages of, the U.S. invasion of Iraq?” he wrote.

 On Google, a story from CNN on Wahl’s hyped farewell to RT carried Martin’s picture, not hers.

Oh well, details, details!

Back to Mr. Kirchick’sheroism in defense of democracy!

Watch the video of how he posed some of his “simple” questions to RT employees  outside their office.

 What you see is a  wise-guy provocateur harassing people entering the building with hostile, if not nasty and self-righteous questions, in an argumentative and aggressively hostile manner.

RT  later challenged this image-building exerciseof the “man who is not afraid of Putin”  with a denial that they called the cops, an “update” that the Daily Beast tacked on to their story.

“RT America did not contact the DC police at any point,” Anna Belkina said in a statement. “The building’s security personnel called in the police after an intruder has been reported inside the building. The police questioned Mr. Kirchick as part of the investigation of that incident.”

Kirchick’s shouted out questions were there to call attention to himself, and score political points, and not to challenge the networkthat actually offers programs with views that are more diverse than on any US TV newschannel. It features programs with Tom Hartmann and even Larry King, both of whom deny they have been censored.

As an occasional commentator on RT News myself, I can and have said the same. I am not surprised that the networks I once worked for, ABC, CNN and CNBC never have me on,  while BBC, RT, Press TV and Saudi TV, among others,feature my commentaries without telling me what to say.

Kirchick is less bothered by what gets on RT than that it exists at all, and especially because the network has built an audience among Americans disgusted by how controlled and manipulated most US media outlets are.

His real target are RT’s viewers who he bitterly denounces as a “species,” perhaps because they are looking for information you never find on the Daily Beast or many of the outlets he whores for as a self-styled “objective newsman.”

Listen to this: “RT has become the go-to network for a particular species of disillusioned American, fed-up with what the “corporate media” is telling them about the world.”

 He doesn’twaste any putdowns eitherfrom an arsenal of vituperative broadsides and even—get this— denouncesRT employees as “slovenly.”

 He then rants on to share what may have been his Yale-bred elitism about his perception of the people the network interviews that includes politicians and commentators of all stripes.

 “RT, both inits employment and viewership,” he writes,” seems to attract a particular type of person. You know the man who writes political chain emails IN ALL CAPS or the bag lady shouting on the street corner about the metal device the government has implanted in her head? Under normal circumstances, no one would give them a television show. But these are the people who appear on, and watch, RT.”

 Oh, really– another round of clichés to keep the truth from getting in the way of his preconceived perceptions.

 Now, now,  feel better Mr. Kirchick,  time to take your medication,  before you melt down, or stir up more hatred and animosity for people who lack your years of slimy experience as a media warrior in the service of a neocon empire.

MR KIRCHICK?

Oh, you have more to say?

For the past 9 years, RT has provided steady paychecks and frequent media appearances to a veritable insane asylum of the great unwashed and unemployable dredges of the American fringe.”

 Whew, I am glad he got that out of his system, until tomorrow, of course,  when he will find another way of cursing without cursing,while showcasing superiority to those of us in that other sub- human “species.”

Now, let me get back to my Rolling Stones record:

I’ll never be your beast of burden
I’ll never be your beast of burden
Never, never, never, never, never, never, never be

Also, by the way, do I need to say that I am not a Putin booster, my father was a veteran, I have pledged allegiance to the flag many times, and wrote two books and made a film about media miscoverage of the Iraq War. My critique was based, in part, in my own experience in network TV.

 News Dissector Danny Schechter edits Mediachannel.org and blogs at NewsDissector.net. His latest book is Madiba A to Z: The Many Faces of Nelson Mandela. Comments to [email protected].

 

Due to Western ethnocentric views, the woman soldiers, sailors, and pilots of Russia and other otherized (demeaned, alienated, vilified, and demonized) societies, such as China, Iran, Libya, and Syria, remain invisible while Western women serving in Western military forces are lionized as showpieces of equality between the sexes.

This text provides a sociological overview of one of the largest known events in history involving woman combatants: Soviet women in what is ethno-geocentrically referred to in the West  as the “Eastern Front” during the Second World War (or the Great Patriotic War, as it is called in Russia, Ukraine, and the republics of the former Soviet Union). By itself or sui generis, the role of Soviet women in defending places like Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia refutes any views that women are only able to fight in Western military forces because of the myth that they enjoy a certain level of equality. This text, however, goes beyond such a rebuttal by endeavouring to explain the logos behind the mobilization and creation of Soviet woman combatants by examining the roles of societal events, governmental policies, and ideology. Its goal is not only to illustrate that the achievements of women in otherized societies are ignored, but to also challenge the views that woman (unlike men) are simply maternal creatures tied to life that cannot form a large presence in the armed forces.

The Women of the Blessed versus the Women of the Wretched of the Earth

In regards to social rights, “The cause is effect: you are rich because you are white; you are white because you are rich,” according to Franz Fanon in The Wretched of the Earth (1961).

Similarly, with regards to women’s rights the cause is effect: you are strong because you are a man; you are a man because you are strong.

When pictures of Lieutenant Helen Seymour of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) coming out of her Eurofighter Typoon jet in Gioia del Colle, Italy emerged in March 2011, during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombing campaign against Libya, it was hailed by the media as a triumph for women in the world of military affairs and combat. The British would showcase how woman had made a great leap forward when Lieutenant Seymour was announced to be one of only ten female pilots using the RAF’s Typoon or Tornado jets. The Guardian would explain in an article titled “Woman pilot in Libya combat mission” (March 23, 2011) by Nick Hopkins the following: “Women have been flying fast jets in the RAF since 1994, but no more than 10 are flying the Tornado or Typhoon at the moment. However, the number is on the rise, and about 12% of personnel in the RAF are now women.”

While London’s Evening Standard in an article titled “Top girls – the women patrolling the sky for the RAF” (March 25, 2003) by Jasmine Gardner would give a historical overview of women in the RAF:

And, like [Lieutenant] Julie Gibson who was the RAF’s first operational female pilot in 1990, [Lieutenant] Kirsty Moore who became the RAF’s first woman on the Red Arrows team in 2009 and [Lieutenant] Juliette Fleming who is one half of the first all-female Tornado crew with her weapons systems officer, Squadron Leader Nikki Thomas, Seymour’s “first” has made us stand to attention.

These media reports that projected the concept of equality among the sexes and the overall theme of women in combat deserve sociological attention, including scrutiny through the use of the plethora of research methods that fall under the school of critical discourse analysis (CRA). This text aims to flush out the ethnocentric and exceptionalist attitudes and notions that are behind the ideas that women in what can be called largely Western or Western-oriented societies, such as in the United States of America or the State of Israel, have reached a level of equality to fight alongside men. The achievements of women in the armed forces of countries like Libya, which was ironically being bombed by the RAF at the time, and the People’s Republic of China largely goes unnoticed in the West. Through an exercise of historical sociological analysis that examines Soviet women as combatants and the logos that allowed them entry into the world of warfare, this text aims to show that woman have not only played historically important roles in combat, but to also demonstrate how the role of women in Otherized societies in not acknowledged in the West.

The Soviet Amazons

Although the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was a patriarchal society at its roots, unlike their counter-parts in Western Europe and North America, women in Soviet society were far more involved in societal development outside of the home, commerce, statecraft, nation-building, and, finally when the time came, warfare. These women were much more intimately involved in their country’s defence and frontline combat than the woman of any other combating society in World War II or the Great Patriotic War as it was called in the USSR. Moreover, Soviet women went to the Eastern Front to fight against Germany and its Axis allies in direct combat roles that included bomber pilots, tankers, machine gunners, infanteers, and grenadiers. 800,000 women went directly to the Eastern Front, which was really a mere fraction of all those who volunteered and wanted to go (Engel and Posadskaya-Vanderbeck 1998). 520,000 of these women served as regular troops in the Red Army, while another 300,000 served in combat and anti-aircraft formation (Krylova 2010). By 1943 about 8% of Red Army personnel were women, which meant that almost one out of ten people in uniform was a woman, and at World War II’s end (1945), young women composed 70% of all Young Communist soldiers (Engel and Posadskaya-Vanderbeck 1998; Krylova 2010). This was a period in which many Soviet fighting women rouse to fame and became Heroes/Heroines of the Soviet Union, from the Ukrainian sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko to the pilot Nadezhda Popova, another Ukrainian, who served in an infamous bomber regiment called the “Night Witches” by the Germans. This was also not the first time that the Germans faced women from Russian/Soviet society; in the First World War the Germans had fought the Women’s Battalion of Death led by the famous Maria Bochkareva/Botchlareva (née Frolkova) from Siberia (Botchlareva 1918). The performative acts of masculinity and femininity were challenged by these Soviet warriors; war and violence were clearly not an exclusive male space with such a large female Soviet presence.

The logos behind the Soviet woman combatant and what made her are broadly tied to the revolutionary ideology of the Bolsheviks and a stream of succeeding historical events that are tied to upheavals and conflict in the Russian Empire and succeeding USSR. Firstly, as a result of the long period of fighting the number of men in Russian/Soviet society had steadily been decreasing. Added to this were the country’s expanding industry and its need for workers. This allowed large numbers of Soviet women to take the places of men in traditionally masculine jobs. Structurally women in the Soviet Union were integrated into the work force (Bisha et al. 2002; Clement 1979; Engel and Posadskaya-Vanderbeck 1998; Field 1968; Goldman 1993; Hayden [1979] 1984; Pushkareva 1997). Before the rise of the Bolsheviks there was a famous proverb in Russian society, ne zhenat, ne chelovek, which meant “not married, not human” (Stites 1978:8). This changed with the Bolsheviks who at least ideologically saw marriage and the bourgeois family as entities tied to the exploitation of woman. The communist ideology of the Bolsheviks was also radically open to the emancipation of woman and their integration into political life. Bolshevism introduced new laws and programs aimed at integrating and resocializing women while making them politically, socially, legally, and economically equal to men in a militantly socialist society. Clement (1979:xii) calls this “the great Soviet experiment in female emancipation,” which she describes as “one of the most far-reaching efforts to free women ever undertaken.” Several back-to-back wars and internal war also had added to the political activation of women and later to the massive mobilization of woman when Germany attacked in 1941; these events start with the Crimean War then proceed with the Russo-Japanese War, the First World War, and the Russian Civil War and end with the entry of the Soviet Union into the Second World War in 1941. All these things were the variables that produced the social environment needed to unleash the potential of the Soviet woman as women-at-arms or female warriors fighting Hitler’s forces. With the end to the long period of conflict and the increasing ideological pragmatism of the Communist Party, however, the momentum that led to the creation of the Soviet woman soldier or zhenshchina-boets slowed down and saw some reversals (Krylova 2010). Demographics and female reproductive capacities and fertility ultimately undermined the socialist/communist program to mobilization the woman citizen.

At least in romanticized views, the traditional role of women in the Russian Empire, before its replacement by the Soviet Union with the rise of Bolshevism, was confined to the domestic space and can be summed up as “keepers of the hearth” (Bisha et al. 2002). The historian Hayden ([1979] 1984:2) writes that most women in the Russian Empire had very little control over their lives and that countless songs and stories in their culture(s) were about “young women being sold in marriage to strangers and brutally used as little more than household slaves by their husbands and in-laws.” There, however, was much more to the collection of Finish, Polish, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, Caucasian, Lithuanian, German, Turkic, and other ethnic women that comprised the ethno-linguistic mosaic of the Russian Empire. Although it was barely recognized, women historically were among the most noted authors of Russian literature in the imperial period (Bisha et al. 2002; Tosi 2007).[1] The involvement of women from their society in war was also not unheard of. Women like Varvara Bakunina accompanied her husband in 1796 to the Caucasus as the Russians fought to annex Dagestan, Armenia, Karabakh, and the region around Baku from the Iranians after Iran restored its control over Georgia (Bisha et al. 2002). Women in Russia also fought in wars as far back as the War of 1812 against Napoléon Bonaparte’s Grande Armée; the most famous account being those of the memoirs of Nadia/Nadezhda Durova who served in the Russian Imperial Army and retired as a cavalry captain (Bisha et al. 2002; Meyer 1991).  Under Catherin II an entire woman’s military company was put together composed of “noblewomen and the daughters of Balaklave Greeks [from Crimea]” (Meyer 1991:219).

War, Liberalization, and the Emergence of the Woman Question

The Crimean War (Eastern War; 1853-1856) against the Ottomans, Britain, and France arguably opened the doors for civic improvement and modernization in the Russian Empire through what are called the Great Reforms (Bisha et al. 2002; Hayden [1979] 1984; Stites 1978). It was during the Crimean War that Russian women for the first time served as military nurses and as a result then went on to work in the fields of professional medicine, teaching, and aid work (Bisha et al. 2002). Although the bulk of the female population were specifically not targeted, the programs of the Great Reform recognized that to modernize Russia the country’s entire population needed access to government services and programs, such as legal bodies (Bisha et al. 2002; Hayden [1979] 1984). This actually prompted a staggering amount of peasant women to use the newly established peasant cantonal courts, which alarmed supporters of the patriarchal family (Bisha et al. 2002). It also led to women attending lectures at St. Petersburg University in 1859 and to the establishment of secondary schools for women in 1860, which were available to all social classes in theory (Hayden [1979] 1984). The “women’s question” (called the zhenski vopros in the Russian language) emerged in this period, as a result of Russia’s defeat by the Anglo-Franco-Ottoman Triple Alliance and was brought to the forefront by intellectuals like M.L. Mikhailov (publishing in Sovremennik from 1858-1861) who argued for education programs as the key to the emancipation of women” (Hayden [1979] 1984).[2] During this period of liberalization the universities were slowly opened up to women on the basis of the need of professionals and to prevent upper class women from coming back to the Russian Empire with radical ideas from studying in foreign universities; women’s educational institutes would also be setup in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Odessa (Hayden [1979] 1984). Only briefly from 1891 to 1894 would women be barred from universities (Hayden [1979] 1984).

The feminist movement in the Russian Empire began to decline in the 1890s, because it had successfully reached its objective of opening up education women as upper and middle class women gained more access to education (Hayden [1979] 1984).[3] It is also important to note that these opportunities were limited to the higher classes and that the feminist movements were classist and represented the upper and middle class women, who make a small fraction of their society’s female population, and did not represent the peasants and working class (narod).

The defeat of the Russian Empire at the hands of the Japanese in East Asia during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) proved to accelerate the trends and demands for civic reform. It proved to be a turning point for all Russian society, including the empire’s non-Russian majority and women (Mandel 1984). During the war women organized feminist groups dually opposing the war with Japan and demanding equal rights (Edmondson 1992). The country’s autocratic system under the Romanovs would be dented and political liberalization and mobilization would sweep the country. This would provide one of the initial impetuses inside the Russian Empire for the socialist/communist activities that had been sweeping European societies further west. The unfolding of these events, including their effect on women, can be summed up in the following words:

In the political realm, the forces of reform, revolution, and conservatism first met in violent confrontation in the revolution of 1905-1906, an event to which Russia’s loss in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 contributed significantly. Nicholas II was forced to create a legislative body, albeit one with limited power, to break the revolutionary coalition. From 1906-1914 the Duma, the new Russian legislative assembly, regularly included the questions of suffrage for women and the improvement of the legal and civil rights of women among the issues it debated. Among the political parties that emerged from the revolution were several explicitly feminist organizations, reflecting a split among politically active women between those who advocated separate organizations to promote issues of importance to women and those [women] who believed that real equality for women could be achieved only through a social (and socialist) revolution (Bisha et al. 2002:10).[4]

The “women’s question” would mature as an increasingly important issue as feminists, radicals, and liberals all looked for ways to find a solution to the problems of women in the Russian Empire (Hayden [1979] 1984; Stites 1978).

The debates and experiences of this period would later be reflected in the Soviet Zhenotdel or Women’s Bureau/Department inside the Communist Party. According to historical research, “[t]he program and methods employed by the Zhenotdel to improve the status of Russian/Soviet women derived basically from two sources: the theory and traditions of the Western Marxist movement and the experience of Russian liberalism and radicalism in the eight-year period preceding the 1917 revolution” (Hayden [1979] 1984:vii). Broadly, these views were a philosophical continuation of the arguments of Enlightenment thinkers, like François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire) and Denis Diderot for legal equality, and Charles-Louis de Secondat (Baron Montesquieu) about the role played by education in gender inequality (Goldman 1993).

Divisions between socialists/communists and non-socialists/communists would also emerge by the time the Great War or World War I (1914-1918) erupted.  A great schism between the Bolsheviks and the feminists inside Russian/Soviet society would result:

The remaining feminist organizations plunged wholeheartedly into support for the war effort, hoping thereby to gain new supporters for their cause of women’s rights by demonstrating their loyalty and usefulness in [supporting the state] to win the war. The hypocrisy and opportunism of their actions have been aptly described by Richard Stites: ‘All over Russia, feminists who before the war had warned that only women’s suffrage would save mankind from the scourge of war now intoned hymns for victory.’ This chauvinist behavior on the part of the feminists was presented by the Bolsheviks as decisive proof of the bourgeois character of the feminist movement (Hayden [1979] 1984:80).

The Russian Civil War resulted in broad efforts to mobilize woman as militant communists and to enlist in combat support positions for the Red Army (Hayden [1979] 1984). Although women played a predominately secondary role in direct combat, during the Russian Civil War the role of women in the Red Army as partisan fighters was sensationalized, romanticized, and celebrated by the Bolsheviks to encourage women to embrace communism; the defence of Petrograd — the new Soviet name for St. Petersburg — against the White Army involved numerous women and the putting down of the Kronstadt uprising involved 1,300 Red Army women; the women’s theoretical-based publication Kommunistka reported that in 1920 about 1,850 Red Army women were killed, wounded, or taken prisoners by the White Army and foreign armies from places like the US, UK, Canada, France, and Japan assisting them  (Hayden [1979] 1984).

The Emancipation of Women and the Soviet Use of Marxist Theory

Early Marxists have been faulted for a lack or deficit of sex and gender analysis. This does not mean that Marxist theory is totally void of any meaningful analyses of gender and sex or is theoretical incompatible with them. Theoretically, it is the opposite. Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State by Friedrich Engels and Women Under Socialism by August Bebel, which were both published in the 1880s, make the Marxist position on patriarchy very clear.[5] Before this Engels and Marx, either separately or in collaboration as co-authors, also published several works concerning the exploitation of women in capitalist societies in the 1840s.

Firstly, the criticism of the so-called “community of women” (the concept that all women in a utopian futuristic communist society would become sexually available to all men) by Marx and Engels as “thoughtless communism” is interpreted as some type of support for patriarchy by their critics, when both social thinkers actually opposed it on the grounds that it “would reduce women to a piece of communal and common property and would represent merely a passage from marriage (a form of exclusive private property) to general prostitution to the whole community” (Hayden [1979] 1984:29). What Marx and Engels are criticizing is the transformation of women from being the property of one man to the property of all males and not women being given the choice to have sexual relations with whosoever they please; the two Germans were not criticizing the ability of women to have agency in sexual affairs, but the lack of agency they would have as part of some type of futuristic harem. The Communist Manifesto also clarifies the fact that they believed that the “community of women” already existed under capitalism (Engels and Marx [1888] 2012). This reduced women to property and led to monogamous marriages, unequal rights between spouses, and marriage as a means of concentrating capital (Luryi 1980).

Secondly, Marx and Engels are critiqued for saying that because of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution the domestic function of women as mothers and wives was affected and eroded. Engels wrote that industrialization and capitalism were breaking the family apart; he wrote the following in The Condition of the Working Class in England:

When women work in factories the most important result is the dissolution of family ties. If a woman works for 12 or 13 hours a day and her husband is employed either in the same establishment or in some other works, what is the fate of the children? They lack parental care and control … this can be seen by the increase in the number of accidents to little children which occur in the factory district (Field 1968:9).[6]

Statements like this have been evaluated idiosyncratically to criticize Engels and Marx. Such critiques fail to take a holistic account of the duo’s work. The two argued that the domestic and generderized roles of women, including their oppression, were a result of the proto-type of the class struggle and one can find constant references to the oppression of women by capitalism in their works (Field 1968; Hayden [1979] 1984). Boston University sociologist and Harvard Russian studies expert Mark Field (1968:8-9) writes:

Marx and Engels regarded the division of labor between men and women for the procreation of children as the first division of labor. Engels postulated that the first instance of class antagonism to appear in history arose from the antagonism between men and women in monogamy and that the first example of class oppression was that of the female by the male, and was caused by the existence of private property. Seen through the prism of the Marxist optic, the battle of the sexes was regarded as the prototype of the class struggle—man appropriated and enslaved women as his means for the production of “legitimate” heirs to whom his private property could be transmitted. Hence the institution of monogamy, the strong sanctions against the adulteress (but not against the philanderer), the double standard (in favor of men only), the existence and encouragement of prostitution, and the stigmatization of the unmarried mother and her offspring (the “natural” or illegitimate child).

Moreover, the following passage should also vindicate the two Germans from accusations that they ignored women in their theoretical work:

The implications, of course, [of the notes of Marx and the text of Engels about the family] were quite clear. Women had not always played a subordinate role in human society; thus there was no reason to believe that there was anything “natural” about the inferior status of women in modern society. If women had not always been oppressed in the past, they need not continue to be oppressed indefinitely into the future. According to Engels, ‘That woman was the slave of man at the commencement of society is one of the most absurd notions that have come down to us from the period of Enlightenment of the eighteenth century.’ Similarly, the idea that the individual patriarchal family had existed since the dawn of history was equally discredited [for Engels and Marx] by the discovery of matrilineal kinship systems: ‘…all written history so far takes as its point of departure the absurd assumption, which became inviolable in the eighteenth century, that the monogamian individual family, an institution scarcely older than civilization, is the nucleus around which society and the state gradually crystallized’” (Hayden [1979] 1984:33-34).

This passage is important because it not only challenges the notion of the patriarchic state, but it also challenges the biological deterministic views that condemned women to a natural state of inferiority. Both Marx and Engels considered the emancipation of women historically inevitable (Buckley 1985).  From the Marxist theoretical standpoint, patriarchy will not be eliminated until there is a classless society.

Marxists saw the “woman question” as a part of the larger issues of social justice and equality (Goldman 1993; Hayden [1979] 1984; Pushkareva 1997; Rosalind1998; Stites 1978). They did not see the inequality of sexes as outside of the same realm of exploitation that workers faced. The prostitution of women was even called inhuman and a particular expression of the general prostitution of all workers to capitalism by Marx (Hayden [1979] 1984). Finally, Marx even quoted the French philosopher François Fourier by saying that the extent of women’s emancipation was the natural measuring stick of general emancipation in a society (Hayden [1979] 1984).

The contemporary family was seen as a bourgeoisie construct, under which the man controlled the woman in every way and she was forced to be dependent on him, that would melt away (Engels and Marx [1888] 2012; Field 1968; Goldman 1993; Hayden [1979] 1984; Pushkareva 1997).  Marx stated:

However terrible and disgusting the dissolution, under the capitalist system, of the old family ties may appear, nevertheless, modern industry, by assigning as it does an important part in the process of production, outside the domestic sphere, to women [...] creates a new economic foundation for a higher form of the family and the relations between the sexes (Field 1968:10).

A higher family, where all were brother and sister, would form according to the early Marxists. Marx called this the “new family” and the Bolsheviks called it the “family-society” (Field 1968; Goldman 1993). It would be this concept of transcending the old family, and thus dissolving marriage, that would be central to the Bolshevik project to emancipate women in the USSR. It is these theoretical views that in part made joining the communist movement in its revolutionary stages an act of both personal and sexual liberation for many young women (Goldman 1993; Hayden [1979] 1984; Pushkareva 1997; Stites 1978).

Marxist Ideology in Practice under the Bolsheviks

When they took power, one prominent Bolshevik leader would say that their revolution would be remembered in human history for actively involving women unlike the French Revolution (Stites 1979:317). Prior to the Soviet social engineering programs, historical records contain little evidence, aside from Peter the Great’s so-called Westernization/Europeanization programs, of direct government attempts to openly determine the role of women in Russian/Soviet society (Bisha et al. 2002; O’Malley 2007).[7] The takeover’s effects on woman can be summed as thus:

[It was] the first time in modern history that the government of any modern nation officially announced its intention to carry out a full-scale program for women’s emancipation. At a time when women’s movements in the West limited themselves primarily to demands for a broader political enfranchisement of women, the fledgling Soviet government granted women full and equal political participation at all levels of government. Moreover, the Soviet regime in addition proposed a radical transformation of women’s conditions of daily life, which would include the establishment of a broad network of social services designed to ‘socialize’ women’s household labor, liberalization of marriage and divorce laws, and the setting up of ‘affirmative action’ programs for the purpose of drawing women into government, political organizations, trade unions, factory management, and the professions and skilled trade. This was the most radical program for female equality advanced by any national government in modern times (Hayden [1979] 1984:iv).

Dedicated communist ideologues like Inessa Armand and Alexandra/Aleksandra Kollontai, who was chosen by Lenin to run the Commissariat for Social Welfare, would establish the Zhenotdel for women (Clement 1979; Hayden [1979] 1984). Along with the Komsomol (Youth Branch of the Communist Party) and the Communist Party, the Zhenotdel would come to form one of the three most important organizations of communist power in Soviet society. It is worth quoting Clement (1979:ix) about the life of Kollontai, who was a remarkable Soviet revolutionary and thinker:

She participated in the campaigns for female emancipation and she made a contribution to the literature on the woman question by exploring the relationship between sexuality and liberation. Yet Kollontai vehemently denied that she was a feminist; rather, she saw herself as a Marxist revolutionary who sought freedom for women as part of the freeing of all humankind from the control of capitalism. Thus she set herself apart from these other members of her generation who pursued reforms for women, becoming instead a socialist…

Before the Bolsheviks came into power, wife-beating was officially sanctioned by customary law and the dominance of women by their husbands and fathers was upheld by the imperial state (Hayden [1979] 1984; Stites 1978). In the words of Hayden ([1979] 1984:2), “a wife was obliged to obey her husband as the head of the family, to abide with him in love, honor, and unlimited obedience, and to render him every satisfaction and affection.” Nor could women fully work and getting a divorce was nearly impossible for a woman (Hayden [1979] 1984; Pushkareva 1997; Stites 1978). Women could not even practice law if they had degrees, except in Siberia, until the Bolshevik takeover (Hayden [1979] 1984).

As an application of Marxist theory, marriage laws were changed by the Bolsheviks starting in 1917 with the view of establishing legal and social equality (Hayden [1979] 1984; Pushkareva 1997). In 1918 the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet (VTsIK) ratified the Complete Code on Marriage, the Family, and Guardianship which “constituted nothing less than the most progressive family legislation the world had ever seen” (Goldman 1993:51) Under Soviet law women and men were now legally equal and couples could now pick the surname of either spouse, only civil marriage was recognized, divorce could be obtained upon simple request by either partner, both men and women had equal responsibility for their children, mutual support for one another was required in cases where one partner could not work, and neither partner was compelled to move around the country with the other (Buckley 1985; Goldman 1993; Hayden [1979] 1984; Pushkareva 1997 ; Stites 1978).[8] As early as 1930, the Soviet judiciary even clarified that common residence was not needed for a married couple (Luryi 1980). Property laws, which favoured men where now erased by wiping out the concept of illegitimate children; all children born within or outside wedlock had equal status and were entitled to full support by both parents (Buckley 1985; Goldman 1993; Pushkareva 1997). Women also retained full control of their earnings and both sexes kept all of their own property (Goldman 1993). These new laws probably even encouraged more intermingling among the different ethnic groups of the Soviet Union. With the exception of the Yucatan in Mexico from 1923 to 1926, the USSR was the only country in the world with full freedom of divorce (Stites 1978). Furthermore, it should be noted that Soviet laws were formulated through an internal Bolshevik consensus between more radical-minded and more conservative-minded members, otherwise M.A Reisner suggested that children even have rights to manage property and N.A. Roslavets from Ukraine objected strongly to registered marriage as opposed to “socialist freedom” (Goldman 1993). De facto unions would also receive the same rights as registered marriages in 1925 (Goldman 1993),

Women were given the right to vote in 1917 (Pushkareva 1997). They had the rights to employment and education, the rights to govern and manage the state equally with men, and encouraged to be active citizens who would better themselves to help society and not be uneducated chattel subordinate to their society’s men. Three major publications for women, along with women’s pages (stranichki) in most publications were organized (Hayden [1979] 1984)[9]

The new Soviet Land Code adopted in 1922 abolished all private property, but allowed for the peasants to maintain reformed agricultural communes that were democratized through a new voting system that included women and women, regardless of age or in-law status, were also given ownership rights within the commune’s family units (dvor) which no longer rested on their husbands or sons (Goldman 1993:152-163; Pushkareva 1997). Women actually began to attain “undisputed authority” in rural society (Pushkareva 1997).

Women were encouraged to work in factories and outside of the home and as a result the stereotype of the house wife does not appear to be prevalent in Soviet society (Goldman 1993; Hayden [1979] 1984). The economic independence of woman was pivotal for ensuring the emancipation of Soviet women; women were to be employed and to work. This was not only a communist idea. The early feminist movements in Czarist Russia were involved with charity work, even they as non-communists began to move towards ideas that it was important to make women economically independent  (Hayden [1979] 1984; Pushkareva 1997). One such project was Peter/Petr Lavrov’s “Society of Female Labour,” which aimed at reducing prostitution by allowing women to support themselves and their children through opening up employment opportunities (Hayden [1979] 1984). Soviet sociological studies also found a link between prostitution and unemployment (Goldman 1993:119-120)

The Bolsheviks recognized that woman still had to do a double-shift through what was called a double-burden of public and private work (Buckley 1985; Field 1968; Goldman 1993). Their national project intended to transfer household work from the private sphere to the public arena by turning unpaid household work into paid communal work, such as by creating communal dining halls, having nurseries, and public laundries (Buckley 1985; Field 1968; Goldman 1993; Pushkareva 1997). This was grounded in Marxist ideology; The German Ideology outlined domestic communalism as a precondition for women’s emancipation (Goldman 1993). Maternity leave was also introduced to make sure women would not have to choose between biological reproduction and their work outside of the home (Goldman 1993; Pushkareva 1997). The historian Goldman (1993) calls many of these policies a result of “war communism” due to their connection to industrial output, which depended heavily on Soviet women.

The 1885 Criminal Code of the Russian Empire designated abortion as murder and banned it and the Bolsheviks originally forbid it too, but it was still widely practiced in Russian/Soviet society and the Russian Group of the International Union of Criminologists in the city of St. Petersburg called for its decriminalization in 1914 while the Soviet Supreme Court even acknowledged the pervasiveness of abortion by exonerating a mother who was found guilty of murder by a lower court in early 1920; it would be legalized in November 1920 by both the Soviet Health and Justice Ministries as a means of protecting women from hurting themselves by trying to conduct their own abortions or being exploited by abortionist profiteers (Buckley 1985; Engelstein 1991; Goldman 1991, 1993; Stites 1978).[10] Fertility was important for Soviet officials; the subject of abortion always saw tensions between those who saw it as a public issue of population and women who did not want extra children.

Social Statics and Social Dynamics: Tradition versus the Woman Proletariat

There was a break with tradition in Russian/Soviet society, which started due to capitalism and industrialization. When the Bolsheviks took over Russian/Soviet society, the country’s industrialization would be amplified until it reached a rapid pace during the Stalinist era. They first implemented their industrial programs through a process called “labour militarization” during the internal fighting. The ending of the Russian Civil War, however, ended a period of prolonged fighting that started with World War I and allowed many men to return to the Soviet workforce at the expense of working women (Goldman 1993; Hayden [1979] 1984).  A large chunk of the female workforce would become unemployed in 1921 under the New Economic Plan, but the number of women would gradually rise throughout the 1920s (Engel and Posadskaya-Vanderbeck 1998; Goldman 1993; Hayden [1979] 1984). In 1924 about 27% of Soviet industrial strength would be composed of women (Hayden [1979] 1984:248). Before Soviet industrialization, women had been slowly flocking to Russian industrial factories so that by 1895 they composed 25% of industrial labour and 40% of the textile sectors employees inside the Russian Empire (Hayden [1979] 1984:44). This trend was a result of the lower wages given to women and because they were less likely to strike. As the country industrialized, the long period of conflicts would increase the need for working woman. For example, Russian/Soviet women composed 43.2% of industry in 1917 as a result of the First World War (Meyer 1991:214). The shortage of men also led to the pronounced feminization of the agricultural sector and the advance of women into such traditionally male jobs as messengers, porters, mail carriers, streetcar conductors, truck drivers, railway workers, and metalwork; in Moscow alone there were 115,000 women working in industrial jobs, with 20,000 in metal factories (Meye 1991:213).

The emancipation of women, however, required more than industrialization: “The Bolsheviks recognized that the oppression of women was deeply rooted in the traditional way of life of the Russian people and that it would be necessary to institute fundamental changes in basic social relationships, such as marriage and the family” (Hayden [1979] 1984:iii-iv). Ironically, and maybe in misogynistic terms, the private space — which was associated with women and the family — was disliked and even loathed in the socialist/communist normative system unlike in capitalist societies. This standpoint was the consequence of the Soviet emphasis on the “civic family” of the state and loyalty to the country and the public versus individualism, the private, and the family. The Soviet model actually looked down on much that was traditionally considered feminine:

Yet while Soviet culture gave prominence to the female worker and political activists, it also projected another image of women as unenlightened [under feminine gender scripts], caught up in private and domestic matters, and therefore unable to play a full role in society. Private life, and, by implication, traditional female concerns, were dismissed as being of little relevance unless they could be integrated into the new [socialist/communist] social structure, and even then women’s social responsibilities [as citizens of the state] were expected to take precedence over her family (Hodgson 1998:136).

Marxist morality now aimed for “the destruction of marriage regulations, which creates the illusion that the laborers’ communist collective can consider the interests of two married members as separate and isolated from it” (Hayden [1979] 1984:171). The identification of both marriage and the family as being root causes for the oppression of women was also reflected by the biographic background of many pre-communist female radical activists as middle and upper class women who had to struggle and resist the state-sanctioned authority of their parents and husbands in Czarist Russia (Hayden [1979] 1984). Moreover, under Bolshevik ideology, the concept of illegitimate offspring was archaic (Goldman 1993). Albeit Lenin and certain Soviet leaders had diverging views, a communist ontology of sexuality was disseminated — at least with some success — amongst Soviet society which aimed to have sex recognized as a natural and legitimate act that was neither shameful nor sinful nor tied to morality (Goldman 1993; Hayden [1979] 1984; Stites 1978). Additionally, because of all the fighting in this period and due to the shortage of men, single mothers were not uncommon either. Because the Soviet government wanted to raise the birth rates, it did not allow for the demonization of woman with bastard children; structurally it encouraged adultery and helped normalize single-motherhood (Goldman 1993).

Ironically, a lot of the most progressive Soviet laws about women’s working conditions were opposed by women or made managers fear hiring them (Goldman 1993; Hayden [1979] 1984). For examples, the laws forbidding pregnant women from working at night were protested by pregnant women who said that they were being segregated (Hayden [1979] 1984). Soviet daycare programs were actually met with alarm and bitter resistance by many women and men (Hayden, 1979). When husbands started beating their wives over the issue, the women’s branch of the Communist Party organized very effective “social courts” to stop the violence that were displayed in public to make spectacles of the violent men (Hayden [1979] 1984). Maternity leave also made many managers in Soviet factories reconsider hiring women (Goldman 1993). Soviet officials countered this by decreeing that women and men that possessed the same skills had to be terminated in equal proportions, pregnant women or women with infants on maternity leave could no longer be fired, women with children less than a year old had to have employment priority, single women could not be thrown out of their quarters, and women who lost their jobs were still entitled to keep their children in factory daycares (Goldman 1993).

Male resistance to the communist emancipation of women also persisted throughout the USSR, particularly in the Caucasus, Volga, and Central Asia (Hayden [1979] 1984). Clashes between traditional ways of life and Soviet social engineering took place. Inroads, however, were made.

A major issue of resistance and resentment against Soviet policy involved traditional dress codes in Russian/Soviet society, especially in the peripheral regions.  The traditional veils of the Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and Muslim worn amongst what were called “the women of the East” were targeted by Soviet policy and there are cases in the Caucasus were groups of women would gather and publicly throw off their veils; at one noteworthy meeting in Moscow a delegation of seventy-four Soviet women belonging to the so-called “Eastern nationalities” appeared all covered in their traditional dresses, from head to toe, and then suddenly removed their traditional coverings   (Hayden [1979] 1984; Stites 1978). Traditional dress and religious veils were seen by the Zhenotdel and Communist Party leaders as symbols for female “isolation and untouchability” (Stites 1978:333).

Total War and the Soviet Amazons

Total war has always had an interesting interplay with gender scripts. Hodgson (1998:135) writes that “[w]ar, it can be argued, puts men and women back in their proper places [defined by gender scripts].” Inversely, Meyer (1991:208-209) points out in his work on Russian women in World War I that gender stereotypes can be turned on their heads as many men prove to be “sensitive, averse to violence, brutality, and killing,” while many women are provided the opportunity “to prove themselves as fighters.” Paradoxically, while men felt “an unaccustomed lack of power and freedom of movement,” Sandra Gilbert described the First World War as a liberating experience for women, which replaced feelings of powerless in the world (Hodgson 1998:135).

The mobilization of Soviet women against the invading German Wehrmacht can be explained as a synergy of identity, metaphysical concepts of womanhood based on both a mix of tradition and the revolutionary ideology of the state, and finally survival. The scholar Hodgson (1998) believes that it was the traditional view of women and femininity as “moral beings” and the Soviet mobilization of women as “civic beings” that prompted Soviet females to join their male counter-parts in the Soviet military and impelled many of the same Soviet women to demand combat roles. She argues that a figure like Olga Berggolts (Bergholz) became the wartime poet laureate of Leningrad, because she was a woman, the traditional view of women as moral voices in Russian and Soviet societies, and the pragmatic widespread call to arms used to mobilize Soviet men to protect their country’s women and ultimately the “Motherland” (Hodgson: 1998).[11] She also acknowledges that the civic responsibilities of women in Soviet society brought about by Soviet socialism were integral to this:

According to Elshtain, women in wartime are portrayed as ‘civic beings’ responding not just to family demands, but to social claims as well. Soviet women were, however, expected to satisfy these dual demands in peacetime. Perhaps this might suggest that Soviet society perceived itself to be, if not actually at war, then constantly preparing for war. Elsewhere after the 1914-1918 war women had been expected to return to the [gendered] domestic sphere from their brief spell as ‘temporary citizens’ (Hodgson 1998:136).

In her work Hodgson (1998:135), herself an expert of the Russian language and Russian women writers during World War II, writes about the existence of “the wartime poetry of some women who served at the front” and its reflection that war’s effects on Soviet women as liberating, as well as traumatic, from “their assumption[s] of traditional masculine roles.”

Nor were the Soviet/Russian women that went to fight in the Eastern Front forced to fight by Joseph Stalin and Soviet authorities. As social actors, they had agency and were reacting on the basis of the normative settings of the Soviet/Russian social landscape. In context of their social environment, their socialist/communist normative system, and the identities of Soviet womanhood, it can rhetorically be ask if it is even correct to say that Soviet women needed to be mobilized for combat in the Eastern Front in 1941. By the time the Bolsheviks won the Russian Civil War, women had already played active roles on all sides of the internal conflict (Bisha et al. 2002; Hayden [1979] 1984). It can even be postulated that Soviet women fighting to protect their country is a reflection of the “collective conscience,” which in Durkheimian terms is said to be reflected by the individuals that make the population of a society — in this case a socialist/communist “collective conscience.” The socialist/communist normative system and structural changes in Russian/Soviet society had created a generation of modern “Decembrists,” as the Soviets called these militant revolutionaries, which were ready to fight for a world revolution at a moment’s notice.[12] Everywhere that a socialist/communist movement or a socialist-leaning revolutionary movement has gained a hold, women have been integrated into the military, from Cuba where Fidel Castro had a women’s brigade of rebel soldiers fighting against the US-supported Batista regime to the Farabundo Martí Liberation People’s Forces (FPL) in El Salvador and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) — which are believed to have anywhere from one-third to one-fifth of their forces composed of women fighters — in Colombia. The militant aspects of socialist/communist ideologies tied to revolution equally applied to the militarization of men and women as revolutionaries ready to fight capitalism, counter-revolution, fascism, and colonialism. It is these circumstances that are the origins of the identity of the “Red Rifle Woman,” which includes figures like the Marxist intellectual and anti-war activist Rosa Luxemburg.

At the heart of the matter, Soviet female combatants refute any notions of biological determinism that woman are incapable of fighting or waging war. Women will resist and fight just like men to defend their communities or societies:

What is beyond dispute is that women have been able to participate in specific combat situations. The desperate though ultimately futile participation of [N]ative American women in the defense of their villages, as just one example, finds mention in the diaries of US Cavalry troopers. George Armstrong Custer attests: “Before engaging in the fight orders were given to prevent the killing of any but the fighting strength of the village; but in a struggle of this character it is impossible at all times to discriminate, particularly when (…) the squaws [a term for Native/Aboriginal American women] are as dangerous adversaries as the [male] warriors” (Maninger 2008:16-17).

This example of Aboriginal women fighting to defend their communities can be thought of in universal terms and easily applied to Soviet women. Krylova’s (2010) recount of the experiences of Soviet woman combatants leaves no doubt about the agency of the women she depicts in making their choices to fight as combat personnel in the Second World War.

Retreat of the Amazons: Return of Tradition or Curse of the Maternal Body?

Towards the 1980s, women composed over 50% of the Komsomol, including just over 57% of its lower level committees, and 25% of the Communist Party’s members — it was 20% in the 1960s — with rising numbers, which substantiated Soviet claims of increasing female participation in the USSR (Browning 1985; Field 1968). Lenin’s wife, Krupskaya, was actually the closest political contender against Stalin before 1925 (Stites 1979). From 1924 to 1939 there had been three prominent female leaders inside the Central Committee of the Communist Party, the highest political body of the Soviet Union, when women were virtually invisible in other societies in the world (Stites 1979). There was no question that Soviet society was the most progressive in the world when it came to equality of the sexes. Yet, there were many shortcomings in the Soviet project that prevented the USSR from reaching its goal of emancipating women. The paradoxes here were that many of the elements that helped discard the traditional gender roles of women could also have the reverse effect in Soviet society. The Soviet concept of citizenship versus the distinct identity of women, population politics, and the centralization of the Soviet Union all contributed to weakening the project. Foci on the family instead of foci on other gender issues and Soviet failure to develop the structures needed to fully shift domestic work into the public sphere also added to this, not to mention that the family was viewed as the basic unit to repopulate the Soviet Union — a state emerging from decades of large-scale conflict(s). Traditional views also started making a comeback in the Stalinist period. The bureaucratization of the Soviet state and Communist Party factionalism also weakened the Zhenotdel.

Marxist ideology through state socialism undoubtedly has pioneered the work to equalize women with men. State ideology said that Soviet women and men were no different and both were expected to be contributing citizens. In the USSR equality meant equal obligations, which also explains the willingness of Soviet women to fight in the Eastern Front in 1941. In this regard, however, the Soviet state in addition took priority over women. Citizenship, as an identity and social script, came before everything else in Soviet society — including gender roles or any other social statuses — and the so-called “woman question” was supposedly solved after 1917 (Bisha et al. 2002; Buckley 1985; Engel and Posadskaya-Vanderbeck 1998; Goldman 1993; Hayden [1979] 1984; Hodgson 1998; Marsh 1998; Pushkareva 1997). Yet, it seemed that with the demographic decline and the rapid industrialization of the USSR that to be a good citizen for women was tied to being a mother in the Stalinist period. Nor is there any evidence that the socialist state implemented programs to resocialize Soviet men directly.

The need of the state to repopulate tied to this view of citizenship proved to undermine women. In 1946, Soviet women outnumbered men by about 26 million (Engel and Posadskaya-Vanderbeck 1998). This initially helped women during the decades of fighting, because it opened economic roles to Soviet women (Field 1968).  Yet, the decline in the population was a two-edge sword. While the population declined, in terms of a shortage of manpower and a need to staff factories with increasing demands for labour, it allowed women to become active and move into jobs traditionally held by men, in the long run. When peace came, the population decline actually constrained the role of women to mothers and wives who were pushed to have children to repopulate the USSR. This leads to the subject of the maternal body again. The reproductive capacity of women prevented Soviet society from breaking its patriarchal base. This is where the basis of the contradictions in Soviet society and ideology appear; reproduction was central in a society that believed in state planning under scientific socialism. In other words, population planning and demographical politics — a manifestation of the maternal body — were the greatest anti-thesis to progressive Soviet policies for equality of the sexes.

Another major shortcoming of Soviet policy was that “[t]he abolition of the family, rather than gender conflict within it, held the key to woman’s emancipation” (Goldman 1993:6). It is also convincingly argued that because the Soviet Union had a less developed retail and consumption sector, the family had to stay intact and that women were still tied to pink collar jobs. As one observer put during the later part of the Cold War:

Soviet women enjoy many advantages, yet to be won by women in the West, such as a widespread network of state-supported child care institutions, free access to a wide range of trade and professions, and a large degree of economic equality with their male co-workers. However, more than sixty years after the Bolshevik Revolution, Soviet women continue to bear the major burden for household labor, and women have suffered the most from the government’s long-term decision to give a low priority to consumers’ goods and production. Lack of modern household appliances, the poor quality of meals in public dining rooms, and the scarcity, high cost, and inferior quality of basic necessities force women to labor any additional hours outside of their jobs to maintain their households (Hayden [1979] 1984:v-vi).

This was part of the failure to solve the double-burden that the demands of production and reproduction in a modern society put on women as more and more of them were forced to work for wages (Buckley 1985; Goldman 1993).

Pragmatism turned out to become a dilution of ideology and commitment. The Kremlin’s pragmatism ended up hurting Soviet women, the original Soviet vision, and factory democratization. Some blame this on the effects of the total war that the USSR faced from the plains of Soviet Ukraine to the gates of Stalingrad. Just as she opposed feminism as a Marxist, the Bolshevik leader Kollontai also opposed the Communist Party’s divergence from the original Soviet democratic worker-run factory system, which resulted in her essentially being exiled from the USSR through diplomatic postings in Scandinavia (Clement 1979; Hayden [1979] 1984).  What happened was that the Soviet policies and laws that were designed to “wither away” the state —which some refer to as the ideas of anarchic communism and libertarian communism — were instead reversed for the strengthening of the Stalinist USSR. This arguably could have been tied to the preparations for a showdown with Germany and other external forces. This change in the USSR led one British feminist looking back at Soviet policies on women to explain that it appeared that Marxism did not appear to be more than a mere justification for Soviet policies and not their source (Buckley 1985).

Soviet society existed in a paradox, because of the cohabitation or modus vivendi of patriarchal traditions with Soviet communist ideology. Hodgson maintains that the resurrection of pre-Bolshevik traditional cultural values in the 1930s— which also revived patriotic sentiments from the Czarist period that resurrected gendered symbols of masculine heroes like Ivan the Terrible or Peter the Great and the feminine concept of “Mother Russia” — repealed the legislation on abortion and divorce (Hodgson 1998). Discussions of free love and sexuality also disappeared from the Soviet press (Pushkareva 1997). The return to tradition may also be described thus in a political context: “The association between women and honesty relied to a certain extent on women’s identification with the private sphere, which offered some asylum from the encroaching state, a space free from political slogans were more reliable truths might be found” (Hodgson 1998:140).

The discussion on tradition leads to the figure of Joseph Stalin and arguments. Stalin has been criticized as a traditionalist and for curbing women’s rights. Under his rule the Zhenotdel was eroded and then disbanded in 1930. A look at Stalin’s record, however, opens up the floor for debate. New Soviet laws were passed in June 1936 that put legal penalties on any men that did not pay alimony to women, but the laws also made divorce harder, and abortion a measure of last choice that could only be conducted if a woman’s health was in danger (Goldman 1991, 1993; Pushkareva 1997). Abortion would not be legalized in the USSR again until 1955 (Pushkareva 1997). The new laws tried not to target women and appeared to be based on population planning through the strengthening of the family unit to support Stalin’s industrialization program; these Stalinist laws expanded the number of childcare facilities in the USSR, only sentenced people who conducted and pressured (presumably mostly men) pregnant women to have abortions with death or two years in prison, increased pay and benefits for pregnant women or new mothers, and applied criminal penalties to any employer who refused to hire pregnant women or discriminated against them (Goldman 1991, 1993; Pushkareva 1997).[13] A tax on “childlessness” was also imposed (Pushkareva 1997). Major economic and housing incentives were also offered to women to have more children (Goldman 1993; Pushkareva 1997) Golman writes (1993:332): “To every mother with seven children or more, it granted 2,000 rubles for five years for every child born thereafter. Mothers with eleven children were to receive 5,000 rubles per additional child for one year and 3,000 rubles for the next four years.” During the Stalinist era the Zhenotdel’s last activities actually intensified and increased with the so-called “women of the East,” specifically in Soviet Central Asia (Hayden, 1979). In the 1930s there were also campaigns to get women to become automobile drivers, pilots, and to bring women into senior positions and possessions previously monopolized by men (Engel and Posadskaya-Vanderbeck 1998). Article 122 of the Soviet Constitution of 1936 makes the USSR’s commitment to women under Stalin clear:

Women in the U.S.S.R. are accorded equal rights with men in all spheres of economic, state, cultural, social and political life. The possibility of exercising these rights is ensured to women by granting them an equal right with men to work, payment for work, rest and leisure, social insurance and education, and by state protection of the interests of mother and child, pre-maternity and maternity leave with full pay, and the provision of a wide network of maternity homes, nurseries and kindergartens (Beard 1996).

Stalin was clearly concerned with order and working on a structural framework to increase the population, which came at the expense of the older communist programs aimed at producing the emancipation of women in Soviet society.[14]

The Myths/Chains of Military Traditionalists and Patriarchy

What prevents any cognizant recognition or acceptance by military traditionalists and military forces about the ability of women to fight in combat roles are the myths perpetuated, like discursive weapons, by the (1) the cult of the body, which believes that most women cannot fight due to their psychological and physiological characteristics; (2) the cult of homogeneity, which is based on the presumption that the presence of women among military men will disrupt group cohesion and bonding and lower group performance; and (3) the concept of the maternal body, which reduces women to their fertility as reproductive vessels of procreation for men that are destined to be mothers vis-à-vis their female bodies (Carreiras and Kümmel 2008). These views represent a metaphysical dualism that represents man through the mind, objectivity, discipline, civilization, strength, logic, and science while women are represented by the body, subjectivity, wildness, nature, weakness, desire, lust, and emotions. These notions reduce women into mere bodies and prevent them from even having the possibility to transcend. They ultimately turn women into property.

Klaus Theweleit’s ([1977] 1987, [1978]1989) two volumes of Male Fantasies is work that embodies the essentialist views that imprison women within the confines of the maternal body. The maternal body has weighed women down, because women cannot abject themselves from their bodies. Theweleit does not acknowledge historic truths and his methodology requires women to essentially be constructed as good creatures that are naturally alien to conflict. His work refuses to even recognize the sexuality of the very men in the German Freikorps that he studies, by portraying them as masculine minds protecting themselves from the weaknesses of the body represented by women; never once does it mention that these men all fought in the brutal campaigns of Germany’s African colonies and that rape was prevalently uses as a disciplinary tool in the German military, especially in Africa (Amidon and Krier 2009).

The cult of homogeneity — which it can be argued is akin to a sexist version of racist apartheid — is easily disarmed. If not a myth, social homogeneity can easily be disagreed with on the basis that gender roles are socially constructed and thus subject to change. This clearly means there is no natural urge by men to be in an all-male environment in the military unless they have been socially conditioned this way. Therefore, if they are socialized and conditioned in a different way, then their concepts of social homogeneity would be different.

The historical record from the Soviet Union challenges all of these views. Moreover, these views, which are deeply enshrined in the West, cannot even come to terms with the successful en masse mobilization of frontline female fighters in the USSR, and instead ignore what took place during World War II. Nor can these perspectives and beliefs sociologically explain why many women soldiers in the USSR did not see a contradiction in their roles as both women and fighters (Krylova 2010).

The military mobilization of Soviet women played an important role in defeating German Third Reich in Europe. Soviet women combatants did not have to choose between being women and soldiers. They were both women and soldiers, or women soldiers, as a result of the series of events and socialist/communist normative system of Soviet society.

Unlike in the Soviet Union, women in the West were not viewed as authentic soldiers.When Soviet women were fighting as tankers, snipers, and pilots to defend Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and the entire Soviet Union, from Sevastopol to Stalingrad, they essentially had no Western counter-parts. The visit of one famous Soviet female sniper, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, to the United States is very telling about the gap. After fighting to defend the Crimea from the Germans, Pavlichenko was shocked by Western perceptions about how women soldiers in the frontlines should act. While visiting the US to lobby for the opening of a Western Front in Europe to relieve the Soviets from doing most the fighting against Germany, Pavlichenko was shocked to see that US society was more interested to know if female Soviet soldiers wore makeup instead of being interested in what role Soviet women played in resisting the Nazis. Despite the historical record, the West still believes that it is globally pioneering the road for women and gender equality, which is why Western media praise the role of their women as pilots without any cognizance that otherized societies like in places such as Russia have been way ahead of them.

 


NOTES

[1] Russian women writers were able to assume an important role during the Great Patriotic War too (Marsh 1998; Hodgson 1998).

 [2] Mikhailov argued that women’s education should not merely be confined to gender socialization and for the roles of wifehood and motherhood. He was against the concept of “free love,” but believed that a well-educated couple would have a more happy union and thus improve society and both would raise better families (Hayden [1979] 1984).

 [3] Unlike most men, the government would not finance the education of women, except in medical courses to become nurses, and spent only 3% of its education budget on women in 1911-1912. Women were also not allowed to teach at higher levels and graduates were not given civil service jobs (Hayden [1979] 1984).

[4] The strict opposition of Rosa Luxemburg to nationalism (and the nationalist project to divide Russian Poland from Russia) also parallels this view of Marxist orthodoxy at the time that objected to women and men being divided in their struggles or for working women to unite with the female bourgeoisie instead of the rest of the proletariat.  Just as Marxist orthodoxy opposed the division of ethnic groups in their political struggles or cognitively diversified by joining non-socialists/communists and the bourgeoisie, it also opposed a division between men and women. It was capitalism that profited on sex-based and ethnic divisions. This is why the latter group of Russian/Soviet women, which included Alexandra/Aleksandra Kollontai, did not join or form feminist organizations.

[5] Engels used notes made on the anthropologist Lewis Morgan’s study of the Iroquois family (based on matrilineal kinship and matriarchy) by Marx, who had died in 1883, to prepare his text in 1884 (Hayden [1979] 1984:32-34).

[6] See The Condition of the Working Class (1845) by Engels for more on the effects of industrial factories on woman and children.

[7] It is worth noting that the views of Peter the Great (r. 1682-1725), who build St. Petersburg (which was renamed Leningrad in 1924 after V.I. Lenin died), and the Soviet authorities had one similarity. Czar Peter I saw both men and women alike as tools to be utilized by his Czardom in statecraft, just like Soviet officials and planners. Peter’s programs aimed at making the Russian Empire a European great power through the resocialization of the men and women of the nobility and the Westernization of high culture (O’Malley 2007). In Peter’s time the peasants were more or less considered outside of the realm of culture, as social aliens, and all that culture entailed.  In no way were the changes applied by Peter the Great aimed at correcting any “perceived inequality in the status of women within Russian [imperial] society” (Bisha et al. 2002:2-3).

[8] For a time couples were even allowed to use a double name consisting of the family names of both, but the law was changed in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic because hyphenated last names were causing problems (Luryi 1980).

[9] Kommunistka, Peasant Woman (Krestinka), and Woman Worker (Rabotnista) were the names of this triumvirate of  important women’s publications (Hayden [1979] 1984; Pushkareva 1997).

[10] The religious authorities of the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities in the Russian Empire/USSR also all opposed and forbid it.

[11] Olga Berggolts (Bergholz), the poet of the nine-hundred day siege of Leningrad, spent most of her time making radio broadcasts that transformed her from a relatively unknown poet to the popular symbol of Leningrad’s resistance as the “Voice of Leningrad” and the “Muse of the Blockade” (Hodgson 1998: 134).

[12] This term comes from the end of the Napoleonic era. Many Russian nobleman and officers who fought against the French Empire ended occupying France. Upon their return to the Russian Empire they brought back new French ideas about government and civic rights, which prompted them to overthrow Alexander/Aleksandr I (r. 1801-1825) in December 1825. Many of the conspirators, called the “Decembrists” due to the month of their coup,  that were exiled to Siberia were also joined by their wives, which were elevated by Soviet historians as the first female revolutionaries of Russian society even though they were not politically active (Bisha et al. 2002:2-3). This may be because the first feminist organization ever established in Russia was established in 1859 by Maria Trubnikova, the daughter of the Decembrist V.P. Ivashev (Hayden [1979] 1984).

[13] Women who got abortions would only be fined 300 if they were caught having an abortion a second time (Goldman 1993:331).

[14] Stalin’s policies on non-Russian nationalities in the USSR parallel his policy on women in many ways. Order was the common denominator for both.


 

WORKS CITED

Amidon, Kevin S., and Dan Krier. 2009. “On Rereading Klaus Theweleit’s Male Fantasies.” Men and Masculinity 11(4):488-496

Beard, Robert, trans. 1996. “1936 Constitution of the USSR.” Bucknell University: Accessed on Nov. 14, 2012 <www.departments.bucknell.edu/russian/const/36cons04.html#chap10>.

Bisha, Robin et al., eds. and trans. 2002. Russian Women, 1689-1917: Experience and Expression, An Anthology of Sources. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Botchlareva, Maria. 1918. Yashka: My Life As Peasant, Exile and Soldier. Isaac Don Levine, trans. and transcriber. London, UK: Constable and Company.

Browning, Genia. 1985. “Soviet Politics – Were are the Women?” Pp.207-236 in Soviet Sisterhood: British Feminists on Women in the USSR. Barbara Holland, ed. London, UK: Fourth Estate.

Buckley, Marry. 1985. “Soviet Interpretations of the Woman Question.” Pp.24-53 in Soviet Sisterhood: British Feminists on Women in the USSR. Barbara Holland, ed. London, UK: Fourth Estate.

Carreiras, Helena, and Gerhard Kümmel, 2008. “Off Limits: The Cults of the Body and Social Homogeneity as Discoursive Weapons Targeting Gender Integration in the Military.” Pp.29-47 in Women in the Military and Armed Conflict by Helena Carreiras and Gerhard Kümmel, eds. The Netherlands: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Clement, Barbara Evans. 1979. Bolshevik Feminist: The Life of Aleksandra Kollontai. London, UK: Indian University Press.

Edmondson, Linda. 1992. “Women’s rights, civil rights and the debate over citizenship in the 1905 Revolution.” Pp.77-100 in Women and Society in Russia and the Soviet Union. Linda Edmondson, ed.NYC: Cambridge University Press.

Engel, Barbara Alpern, and Anastasia Posadskaya-Vanderbeck, eds. 1998. A Revolution of Their Own: Voices of Women in Soviet History. Translated by Sona Hoisington. Oxford, UK: Westview Press.

Engels, Friedrich, and Karl Marx. 1888 /2012. The Communist Manifesto.  London, UK: Verso Books.

Engelstein, Laura. 1991. Abortion and Civic Order: The Legal and Medical Debates.” Pp. 185-207 in Russia’s Women: Accommodation, Resistance, Transformation by Barbara Evans Clements, Barbara Alpern Engel, and Christine D. Worobec, eds. Berkley: University of California Press.

Field, Mark G. 1968. “Workers (and Mothers): Soviet Women Today.” Pp.7-56 in The Role and Status of Women in the Soviet Union by Donald R. Brown, ed. NYC: Teachers College Press.

Gardner, Jasmine. March 25, 2003. “Top girls – the women patrolling the sky for the RAF.” Evening Standard. Accessed on January 12, 2013: <www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/top-girls-the-women-patrolling-the-sky-for-the-raf-6385146.html>.

Goldman, Wendy. 1991. “Women, Abortion, and the State, 1917-1936.” Pp.243-266 in Russia’s Women: Accommodation, Resistance, Transformation by Barbara Evans Clements, Barbara Alpern Engel, and Christine D. Worobec, eds. Berkley: University of California Press.

Goldman, Wendy Z. 1993. Women, The State, and Revolution: Soviet Family Policy and Social Life, 1917-1936. NYC: Cambridge University Press.

Hayden, Carol Eubanks. 1979 /1984. Feminism and Bolshevism: The Zhenotdel and the Politics of Women’s Emancipation in Russia, 1917-1930. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International.

Hodgson, Katherine. 1998. “Under an Unwomanly Star: War in the Writing of Ol’ga Berggol’ts” Pp.134-147 in Women and Russian Culture: Projections and Self-Perceptions by Rosalind Marsh, ed. Oxford, UK: Berghahn Books.

Hopkins, Nick. March 23, 2011. “Woman pilot in Libya combat mission.” The Guardian. Accessed on January 12, 2013: <www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/mar/23/woman-pilot-libya-combat-mission>.

Krylova, Anna. 2010. Soviet Women in Combat: A History of Violence on the Eastern Front. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Luryi, Yuri I. 1980. Soviet Family Law. Buffalo, NY: William S. Hein and Company.

Mandel, William M. 1985. Soviet But Not Russian: The ‘Other’ Peoples in the Soviet Union. Palo Alto, California: University of Alberta and Ramparts Press.

Maninger, Stephan. 2008. “Women in Combat: Reconsidering the Case Against the Deployment of Women in Combat-Support and Combat Units.” Pp.9-27 in Women in the Military and Armed Conflict by Helena Carreiras and Gerhard Kümmel, eds. The Netherlands: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Marsh, Rosalind. 1998. “Introduction.” Pp.ix-xix in Women and Russian Culture: Projections and Self-Perceptions by Rosalind Marsh, ed. Oxford, UK: Berghahn Books.

Meyer, Alfred G.1991. “The Impact of World War I on Russian Women’s Lives.” Pp.209-224 in Russia’s Women: Accommodation, Resistance, Transformation by Barbara Evans Clements, Barbara Alpern Engel, and Christine D. Worobec, eds. Berkley: University of California Press.

O’Malley, Lurana Donnels. 2007. “Signs from Empress and Actress: Women and Theatre in the Eighteenth Century.” Pp.9-23 in Women in Russian Culture and Society, 1700-1825 by Wendy Rosslyn and Alessandra Tosi, eds. NYC: Palgrave Macmillan

Pushkareva, Natalia.1997. Women in Russian History: From the Tenth to the Twentieth Century. Translated and edited by Eve Levin. London, UK: M.E. Sharpe.

Stites, Richard. 1978. The Women’s Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism 1860-1930. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Theweleit, Klaus. 1977/1987. Women, Flood, Bodies and History. Vol. 1 of Male Fantasies. Erica Carter, Steven Conway, and Chris Turner, trans. Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press.

Theweleit, Klaus. 1978/1989. Male Bodies: Psychoanalysing the White Terror. Vol. 2 of Male Fantasies. Erica Carter, Steven Conway, and Chris Turner, trans. Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press.

Tosi, Alessandra. 2007. “Women and Literature, Women in Literature: Female Authors of  Fiction in the Early Nineteenth Century.” Pp.39-62 in Women in Russian Culture and Society, 1700-1825 by Wendy Rosslyn and Alessandra Tosi, eds. NYC: Palgrave Macmillan

 

Originally published on March 6, 2012

During the late-Nineteenth-Century struggles against America’s Robber Barons and the Ku Klux Klan, Lucy Gonzales Parsons was a brave fighter for human rights.

On March 7, 1942, fire engulfed the simple home of 89-year-old Lucy Gonzales Parsons on Chicago’s North Troy Street, and ended a life dedicated to liberating working women and men of the world from capitalism and racial oppression.

A dynamic, militant, self-educated public speaker and writer, she became the first American woman of color to carry her crusade for socialism across the country and overseas. In 1905, she was credited with the idea of striking workers sitting down at their work place rather than going outside, a concept that has resonated through time with the lunch counter sit-ins for civil rights and today’s Occupy movement.

Lucy Gonzales Parsons, a battler for labor and human rights.

Lucy Gonzales started life in Texas. She was of Mexican-American, African-American, and Native-American descent and born into slavery. The path she chose after emancipation led to conflict with the Ku Klux Klan, hard work, painful personal losses, and many nights in jail.

In Albert Parsons, a white man who’s Waco Spectator fought the Klan and demanded social and political equality for African-Americans, she found a handsome, committed soul mate. The white supremacy forces in Texas considered the couple dangerous and their marriage illegal, and soon drove them from the state.

Lucy and Albert reached Chicago, where they began a family and threw themselves into two new militant movements, one to build strong industrial unions and the other to agitate for socialism. Lucy concentrated on organizing working women and Albert became a famous radical organizer and speaker, one of the few important union leaders in Chicago who was not an immigrant.

In 1886, the couple and their two children stepped onto Michigan Avenue to lead 80,000 working people in the world’s first May Day parade and a demand for the eight-hour day. A new international holiday was born as more than 100,000 also marched in other U.S. cities.

By then, Chicago’s wealthy industrial and banking elite had targeted Albert and other radical figures for elimination — to decapitate the growing union movement. A protest rally called by Albert a few days after May Day became known as the Haymarket Riot when seven Chicago policemen died in a bomb blast. No evidence has ever been found pointing to those who made or detonated the bomb, but Parsons and seven immigrant union leaders were arrested.

As the corporate media whipped up patriotic and law-and-order fervor, a rigged legal system rushed the eight to convictions and death sentences. When Lucy led the campaign to win a new trial, one Chicago official called her “more dangerous than a thousand rioters.” When Albert and three other comrades were executed, and four others were sentenced to prison, the movement for industrial unions and the eight-hour day was beheaded.

Lucy, far from discouraged, accelerated her actions. Though she had lost Albert — and two years later lost her young daughter to illness — Lucy continued her crusade against capitalism and war, and to exonerate “the Haymarket Martyrs.” She led poor women into rich neighborhoods “to confront the rich on their doorsteps,” challenged politicians at public meetings, marched on picket lines, and continued to address and write political tracts for workers’ groups far beyond Chicago.

Though Lucy had justified direct action against those who used violence against workers, in 1905 she suggested a very different strategy. She was one of only two women delegates (the other was Mother Jones) among the 200 men at the founding convention of the militant Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the only woman to speak.

First she advocated a measure close to her heart when she called women “the slaves of slaves” and urged IWW delegates to fight for equality and assess underpaid women lower union fees. In a longer speech, she called for the use of nonviolence that would have broad meaning for the world’s protest movements.

She told delegates that workers shouldn’t “strike and go out and starve, but to strike and remain in and take possession of the necessary property of production.”

A year later Mahatma Gandhi, speaking to fellow Indians at the Johannesburg Empire Theater, advocated nonviolence to fight colonialism, but he was still 25 years away from leading fellow Indians in nonviolent marches against India’s British rulers.

Eventually Lucy Parsons’s principle traveled to the U.S. sit-down strikers of the 1930s, Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, the antiwar movements that followed, and finally to today’s Arab Spring and the Occupy movements.

Lucy was an unrelenting agitator, leading picket lines and speaking to workers’ audiences in the United States, and then before trade union meetings in England. In February 1941, poor and living on a pension for the blind, the Farm Equipment Workers Union asked Lucy Parsons to give an inspirational speech to its workers, and a few months later she rode as the guest of honor on its May Day parade float.

After the fire that took her life, federal and local lawmen arrived at the gutted Parsons home to make sure her legacy died with her. They poked through the wreckage, confiscated her vast library and personal writings, and never returned them.

Lucy Parsons’s determined effort to elevate and inspire the oppressed to take command remained alive among those who knew, heard, and loved her. But few today are aware of her insights, courage and tenacity. Despite her fertile mind, writing and oratorical skills, and striking beauty, Lucy Parsons has not found a place in school texts, social studies curricula, or Hollywood movies.

Yet she has earned a prominent place in the long fight for a better life for working people, for women, for people of color, for her country, and for her world.

 William Loren Katz adapted this essay from his updated and expanded edition of Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage [Atheneum, 2012]. Website: williamlkatz.com. This essay also appears at the Zinn Education Project:  http://zinnedproject.org/posts/16855

Women’s History: Trail-blazing Women of our Time

March 8th, 2014 by Joyce Chediac

Did you know that satellites stay in orbit because rocket scientist Yvonne Brill discovered how to keep them there?  Or that environmental science was made possible by the research of one botanist, Ruth Patrick? Neither did this reporter, until she read their obituaries.

There are many such women whose life work inspires.  Some have received important recognition in their fields. But they are not the national figures and the role models that they should be. Ironically, most can only learn about who these women were, what they did and how they did it after they die, by reading their obituaries.

 Instead, the common images of women in the major media are “the glamorous sex kitten, the sainted mother, the devious witch, the hard-faced corporate and political climber,” according to a 2009 UNESCO report. At the current rate of progress on stereotyping women, the report continues, it will take another 75 years to achieve gender equality in the media.

 Culled from New York Times obituaries that appeared in 2013, this article focuses on some of the women innovators who made their mark in the physical sciences and other non-traditional fields that are still mostly male bastions. For example, according to a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce, women had seen no employment growth in science, technology, engineering and math jobs since 2000.

The public view, created and reinforced by the establishment media, is that women in these fields have yet to make their mark.  Yet all along, women — though few in numbers — were among the very top scientific achievers and visionaries. It is a telling comment on the undervaluing of women today that female innovators come to national attention not during their lives, but through the news of their deaths.

This raises the question: How many other women are making major contributions today to science, math, the social sciences, political and social life without their work and lives receiving much visibility in the national press? And what can be done to reverse this?

But let us return to the women.  Their obituaries reveal their astounding contributions. But they also uncover the barriers they faced as women, the burdens they carried in their careers due to their gender, and the anti-woman bias that continues even into these write-ups.

This article aims to reclaim these women and tell of what they have done, so that they may take their rightful place on the pages of the people’s history.

 She began environmental science  

Dr. Ruth Patrick, who died in 2013 at the age of 105, was a botanist who developed the science used today for pollution control and was a pioneer in environmental activism. She was also the foremost authority on U.S. river systems.

Patrick, who began her work in the 1940s, discovered that the number and kinds of species in a body of water — its biological diversity — reflected environmental stresses. That idea became known as the Patrick Principle; it can also be applied to an entire ecosystem and lies at the heart of environmental science.

 “She was worried about and addressing water pollution before the rest of us even thought of focusing on it,” said James Gustave Speth, a former dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

 Patrick became an adviser to presidents and was the recipient of distinguished science awards. Her work led Congress to pass the 1972 Clean Water Act, which she helped write. But it didn’t start that way. One of the few women of her generation to enter the sciences, she was told in 1934 when she began working for the Academy of Natural Sciences that she would not be paid. Patrick worked there for eight years as a “volunteer” before earning a salary. She then went on to become the first woman chair of the Academy’s board of trustees.

 A rocket scientist — who ‘followed her husband from job to job’

Dr. Yvonne Brill was a rocket scientist who invented a propulsion system to help keep communications satellites from slipping out of orbit. Her work became the industry standard. She was likely the only woman rocket scientist in the country in the 1940s when satellite designs were developed.  Brill was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2010.

 Despite such amazing accomplishments, her Times obituary began, “She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children.‘The world’s best mom,’ her son Matthew said.”

 The second paragraph started with, “But Yvonne Brill, who died on Wednesday at 88 in Princeton, N.J., was also a brilliant rocket scientist. …”

 Many Times readers objected. They pointed out that no male rocket scientist’s obituary begins with his family role, and that describing Brill in this manner belittled her work.  Additionally, she did not take eight years off to raise her children, as the Times said, but worked part-time as she raised them.

 The Times changed the obituary’s opening, but not by much, still emphasizing the family role.  The final version, which many saw as grating and still containing gender bias, was staunchly defended by the Times obituary editor.

A review of some of her work shows why the Times felt that Brill merited a substantial obituary in the first place. She contributed to the propulsion systems of the first weather satellite; a series of rocket designs that were used in American moon missions; the first upper-atmosphere satellite; and the Mars Observer, which almost entered a Mars orbit in 1992 before losing communication with Earth.

 Brill’s innovative concepts for satellite propulsion systems and her breakthrough engineering solutions earned her an international reputation as a pioneer in space exploration.

She wanted recognition for her work

Dr. Candace Pert, while a lab assistant in the 1970s, helped discover the brain receptor for opiates. This was one of the most sought-after goals of brain research at that time, as it explained how drugs like morphine worked.

The discovery merited the prestigious Albert Lasker Award in 1978, often a precursor to the Nobel Prize. However, neither Pert nor any of the other lab assistants on the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine team who made the discovery were mentioned in the awarding of the prize.  It went solely to Solomon H. Snyder, who headed the lab.

 Such omissions were common at the time.  However, Pert did not let this go.  She sent a letter to the head of the foundation that awards the prize, explaining that she had “played a key role in initiating the research and following it up” and was “angry and upset to be excluded.” Her exclusion was seen as an example of the bias against women in science careers.

 Pert spent her career pioneering work on receptors and the neuropeptides that fit into them. Her best-known book, “Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine,  was described by author Deepak Chopra as a “landmark in our understanding of the mind-body connection.”  (New York: Scribner, 1997)

 She invented permanent press

Dr. Ruth Benerito, who died at 97, was the chemist who invented permanent press cotton, considered one of the major contributions to the textile industry in the 20th century.  She also invented stain- and flame-resistant fabrics.

 It was very unusual for a woman of her time to earn a Ph.D. degree in the hard sciences, and even more unusual to make such an important contribution in textile science, known for its swaggering men.  Benerito, however, held more than 50 patents for her inventions, many of them in textiles, and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2008.

 While Benerito is usually described as the sole inventor of permanent press, she described the breakthrough as a group effort.  She credited the team she worked with in the 1950s and the incremental work of other 20th century scientists, and even traced the roots of wrinkle-free cotton to an 18th century Shaker community in Maine, which made, wove and traded the fabric.

 Nothing comes from a vacuum. Benerito’s view of how permanent press came to be is a more accurate description of how scientific inventions really work.  Her acknowledgment that breakthroughs are built on the work of many others, often over generations, including artisans and workers, stands in marked contrast to the exclusionary conventions of that time, as seen by how Pert was treated.

 Benerito’s protests that she was not the sole inventor of permanent press were seen then as modesty. Her ego did not get in the way of her recognizing that breakthroughs are always built on the work and assistance of others. In this, as well as in her inventions, she was ahead of her time.

 She changed medicine

 Dr. Jane Wright was a pioneering oncologist whose work elevated chemotherapy from a last resort for cancer patients to a major treatment option. She did this by analyzing a wide range of anti-cancer agents, exploring the relationship between patient and tissue culture response, and developing new techniques for administering cancer chemotherapy.

 In 1967, Wright became head of the cancer chemotherapy department and associate dean at New York Medical College, the first African-American woman to hold  so high a post at an American medical school. She was the first woman president of  the New York Cancer Society and a founder of  the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

 Dr. Sandra Swain, current president of ASCO, said that Wright’s work was not only scientific “but it was visionary for the whole science of oncology.” Referring to the racism and gender bias Wright faced, she added, “It’s amazing to me that a Black woman, in her day and age, was able to do what she did.”

 She out-computed computers

 Shakuntala Devi was known as “the human computer” for her ability to make amazingly quick mathematical calculations. Devi demonstrated her mathematical gifts around the world, at colleges, in theaters and on radio and television.

 Devi became a performer instead of a scientist because she had no educational opportunities.  Many such women exist worldwide with special gifts but little opportunity to develop their full potential.

 Devi was born in 1929 into a poor family in Bangalore, India.  Her father, a circus trapeze artist and lion tamer, realized his daughter was a mathematical prodigy when she was three years old.  He encouraged her to practice her skills so that she could perform mathematical feats to help the family survive.

 “I had become the sole breadwinner of my family, and the responsibility was a huge one for a young child. At the age of 6,” remarked Devi.  “I gave my first major show at the University of Mysore, and this was the beginning of my marathon of public performances.”

 In 1977, at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Devi extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in 50 seconds, beating a Univac computer, which took 62 seconds.  In 1980, she multiplied two 13-digit numbers in only 28 seconds at London’s Imperial College. The 28 seconds even included the time to recite the 26-digit solution. This feat earned her a place in the 1982 Guinness Book of World Records.

Devi toured Europe in 1950. When she appeared on the BBC, her answer to a difficult calculation was different from the interviewer’s, but she was right. At the University of Rome, experts thought one of her answers to a problem was wrong, until they reexamined their own calculations and found she was right.

 Devi traveled the world for the better part of six decades. Clad in beautiful saris, she was a warm stage presence.  She would rattle off the dates of, say, every Friday in a given year.  She asked for the birth years and dates of people in the audience. In one second or so, she came up with the day of the week on which they were born.

 They called her ‘the night witch’

As a bomber pilot, Nadezhda Popova flew 852 missions against Nazi occupation forces during World II and survived being shot down several times. She was highly decorated after the war by the Soviet Union.  After that government’s collapse, her achievements and those of other women pilots were forgotten.

 One of the first volunteers for an all-women regiment of pilots, Popova became the deputy commander of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, which the Nazis named the “night witches.”  The women took the name as a compliment and kept it.

Mostly in their late teens and early twenties, the women were all volunteers.  They dropped their bombs at night from crop duster planes made of plywood with open cockpits.   Their uniforms were hand-me-downs from male pilots.

 They flew only at night and concentrated on harassment bombing of German encampments, rear-area bases and supply depots. Their faces froze in the open cockpits. If their planes were hit, they often burst into flames like paper. They had no parachutes, guns, radios or radar, only maps and compasses, yet the three regiments of women pilots flew 30,000 missions over four years, dropping 23,000 tons of bombs on the Nazi invaders of the Soviet Union.

 One German source said they were “precise, merciless and came from nowhere.”  The women’s skill led the Nazis to spread a rumor that the Soviet women were given special injections and pills to give them catlike night vision.  “This, of course, was nonsense,” Popova said.

 A trailblazer in judo

Keiko Fukuda was the highest-ranking woman judo expert in history, and the first woman to hold the highest-level black belt in that discipline. She taught martial arts until she was 98 years old.

 Born in Japan, Fukuda was a student of the founder of Judo, Kano- Jigoro-.  She grew to love the sport. When she learned she would have to give it up as part of an arranged marriage, she refused to be married. By 1930, she had become an instructor and developed an expertise in ju-no-kata, a gentler form of judo.

 Fukuda demonstrated women’s judo at the 1964 Summer Olympics. She returned to the United States in 1966 at the invitation of a judo club in California and stayed. The highest-ranked female judoka in history, she held the rank of 9th dan from the Kodokan, and 10th dan from USA Judo. She stood 4 feet 10 inches tall, and weighed less than 100 pounds.

 These women’s obituaries appeared in the New York Times on the following dates in 2013:  Ruth Patrick, Sept. 23; Yvonne Brill, March 30; Candace Pert, Sept. 19; Ruth Benerito, Oct. 7; Jane Wright, March 2, Shakuntala Devi, April 23; Nadezhda Popova, July 14; and Keiko Fukuda, Feb. 16.

The crisis in development is paralleled by the crisis in feminism. Both have reached an impasse, i.e. both have negated the usefulness of grand theory and are also in danger of plummeting to the depths of that other extreme, cultural relativism. This is characterised by simplistic cultural comparisons without recourse to political and economic analysis. Nederveen Pieterse aspires to a new pluralism within development discourse through which ‘. . .the field of debate is opened wide, the focal points are no longer confined to the bipolar confrontation between capitalism and Marxism’. [1] He advocates ‘a profound historical and cultural review of the western [development] project.’ [2] This must be extended to the study of women also so that we no longer have to rely on the ethnocentric analytical tools of Western feminism.

Thus the central aim of this paper is to show that the descriptive and normative dimensions of western feminism are found to be sadly lacking when applied to non-western societies. Geeta Somjee accuses Western feminists of theoretical reductionism. [3] This may be defined as seeking universal validity for their arguments by attempting to homogenise complex and internally changing aspects of social reality in order to fit neatly into their theoretical models.

This paper begins by briefly describing different theoretical strands within Western feminist thought. This will be followed by an argument for the continued incorporation of ethnographic studies within feminism which has been initiated by feminist anthropologists. Moore asserts that

‘anthropology … is able to provide cross-cultural data which demonstrates the western bias in much mainstrain feminist theorising’. [4]

After all, oppression is experienced first and foremost at the personal and local levels, i.e. in the realm of the mind, the home and the local community. Objective economic and patriarchal conditions are interpreted through the subjective filter of consciousness, which is culture-specific. Thus it is to the study of culture we must look for the creation of a more meaningful feminist paradigm. Peter Worsley says that culture ‘supplies a project, a design for living’. [5] Many dimensions of women’s oppression cut across class and a materialist analysis thereof will not suffice. Macro- studies of political economy must thus be augmented by anthropological data so that instead of trying to create ‘sameness’ where it does not exist, we can instead celebrate difference. We must turn to the study of culture to show that women who are ostensibly passive often resist patriarchy in many inventive yet practical ways, as it exists in their own local environment.

The inadequacies of western feminism

A problem in Western feminist circles is that more time and effort is spent on ideological nit-picking than on the formulation of strategies to redress the problems they highlight. In the following section I briefly outline the theoretical concepts of Marxist and radical feminism and show how ethnography should be an essential element in each of these in order to strengthen their arguments. These theorists have to adopt an international perspective in order to avoid the common traps of racism and Eurocentrism.

(A) Marxist feminism

This branch of feminism emerged due to a dissatisfaction with the lack of gender analysis in classic Marxist theory, which was deemed ‘sex-blind’.6 Thereafter, a Marxist feminist body of work emerged which blamed the capitalist mode of production for female subjugation; for example, Sheila Rowbotham argued that woman’s role within the family actually maintains capitalism by providing it with the human relations it cannot provide in the world of men’s work. [7] A corollary of this was, of course, that if women did enter the wage-earning sphere of work, they still maintained the housekeeping role as well, and so were left with a ‘double load’. Harry Braverman suggested that women constituted the ideal ‘reserve army of labour’ for capital because of their reproductive and domestic roles. [8]

Thus emerged the distinction between the ‘public sphere’, the wage-earning workplace dominated by men, and the ‘private sphere’ of the household, upheld by women. [9] Child-bearing was conveniently slotted into the category of ‘reproduction’, a concept intended to subsume both procreation (the reproduction of the species) and consumption (the use of commodities to reproduce capitalism). Much debate has ensued as to what extent women’s oppression is separate from the exploitation of the working class and also to what extent it is located at the level of ideology. [10] Marxist feminists adopted the term ‘patriarchy’ to fill this conceptual hiatus. The strategy for change propounded by Marxist feminism was to establish solidarity with the working class in a united bid to oust capitalism and to establish a socialist world order, thereby freeing workers and women from oppression.

I would argue that Marxist feminism is as much a product of capitalist relations of production in the west as the specific type of female subjugation these breed in industrialised nations. The commoditisation of women’s labour took a very specific form in industrialising Europe, with wage-labour being ‘productive’ and domestic labour ‘non-productive’. [11] It is folly to presume that today, the sexual division of labour within the home and the manifestations of the capitalist mode of production are the same from the Rockies to the Andes to the Himalayas. Townsend and Momsen bear strong testament to this fact. [12] Thus while these theorists deem Marxism ‘sex-blind’, I would describe Marxist feminism as being ‘culture-blind’. The Marxist feminist notion of patriarchy is not at all clearly defined; thus in its present form it is not a useful conceptual tool in the analysis of women’s oppression, as it is expressed in all its varied forms throughout the world. Michele Barrett points out that gender divisions existed in Europe prior to the transition to capitalism, as they do in the many subsistence economies today. [13] It is presumed by Marxist feminists that all of women’s problems derive from capitalism and no other mode of production is adequately discussed. So I believe that Marxist feminism, just like Marxism itself, is guilty of a certain evolutionary, Eurocentric bias because it assumes that all societies will inevitably become industrialised according to the European design.

In the words of Rosa Luxemburg:

‘capital is faced with difficulties because vast tracts of the globe’s surface are in the possession of social organisations that have no desire for commodity exchange or cannot, because of the entire social structure and the forms of ownership, offer for sale the productive forces in which capital is primarily interested.’ [14]

It also presumes the existence of a nuclear family structure, which is unknown in many parts of the world. Modern capitalism also has created an extensive male-oriented migrant labour pattern in many Third World countries which leaves the woman the head of household. [15] In fact, it has been estimated that from one quarter to one third of households worldwide are headed by women.[16] Another vital aspect of women’s employment that is ignored here is the operation of the informal economy, which provides the means of subsistence for millions of women.

(B) Radical feminism

Another school of feminists expresses the aforementioned ‘patriarchy’ as an over-arching category of male dominance which is analytically independent of the capitalist or any other mode of production. [17] Proponents of this radical interpretation of patriarchy say that men’s sexual power over women is the fundamental political division in society, that is ‘more rigorous than class stratification, more uniform and certainly more enduring’. [18] Therefore, according to these theorists, women are defined primarily through their procreative role, no matter what the existent economic structure may be. Shulamith Firestone goes so far as to advocate the substitution of sex for class as the main engine of change in a materialist account of history; therefore women’s control over their bodies is seen as the main objective.

It is vital to avoid the use of transhistorical, transcultural concepts which obscure important differences in women’s experience throughout the world. It appears to me that this is exactly the manner in which radical feminists use the concept of patriarchy. Firstly, they seem to adopt women’s role as procreators too readily and do not provide any analysis of women’s labour outside the home. Neither do they acknowledge that women’s experience of patriarchal structures varies enormously due to economic, historical and cultural circumstances. It is a fallacy to suggest that there exists a global model of patriarchal domination. ‘Freedom’ certainly does not mean the same thing to all the women of the world.

This paper argues that it is possible to redeem all of the aforementioned concepts, i.e. patriarchy, public and private spheres of production, sexual division of labour etc., simply by becoming more flexible in our outlook. Moore succinctly describes the fear which western feminists feel at confronting differences in women’s experience: ‘The problem for feminism is that the concept of difference threatens to deconstruct the isomorphism, the “sameness” and with it the whole edifice on which feminist politics is based.’ [20]

These are all useful building blocks in our analysis, but we must avoid the intellectual rigidity and tunnel vision that an over-emphasis on any one of these can foster. The manner in which patriarchy and capitalism manifest themselves in concrete terms results from complex interactions between economic, ideological and cultural systems; [21] the means that women use in resisting them are equally varied. The issues around which women’ s demonstrations of dissent are organised are very different throughout the world and while western feminists have sometimes provided a blueprint for protest, the final plans are necessarily tailored to suit the specific needs of women worldwide.

The role of culture

How then do we inject this flexibility and vitality into western feminism? Firstly, it bears repeating that its inherent concepts are indeed vital in our analysis because male domination is indeed universal. Secondly, I believe that the void in feminism as we know it results from the inadequate integration of the cultural dimension in political and economic analyses.

Before focussing upon the contribution of cultural studies to feminism, it is important to stress the centrality of that area which is emphasised by Marxist feminists: the economic sphere. The impact of colonialism and the penetration of capitalism have certainly exacerbated existing gender divisions. [22] Also, the type and level of industrialisation has led to the creation of very diverse circumstances for women. As Nanneke Redclift puts it: ‘. . .the differing paths of transition to capitalism give rise to varying forms of relationship between the family and the productive system, and these themselves are influenced by the precise configuration of the local market and its position in the national and international economy.’ [23]

From studies of the experience of women in different economic circumstances, we can see that it is not useful to apply theoretical concepts in a fixed, determinate way because this leads to a kind of ‘monism’. [24] By this is meant the over-emphasis on one particular dimension of experience, be it in the public or private sphere. This is of limited use to any development theory or strategy because it is essential that patriarchy and capitalism be recognised and analysed as multi-faceted phenomena.

While the economic sphere is central to an analysis of women’s role in society, study of it alone is far from adequate. In the words of Gayle Rubin: ‘No analysis of the reproduction of labour power under capitalism can explain foot-binding, chastity belts, or any of the incredible array of Byzantine, fetishized indignities, let alone the more ordinary ones, which have been inflicted upon women in various times and places’. [25] It is at this juncture that we take recourse to anthropology which ‘seeks to fashion a set of terms in which … we can comprehend both generically what it means to be human, to be a person at all, and also what it means to be a person of a particular time and place, fashioned within some unique, historically-realised configuration of social and cultural circumstances’. [26] The object of anthropological study, culture is quite a difficult concept with which to come to terms. Peter Worsley describes it as ‘the realm of those crucial institutions in which the ideas we live by are produced and through which they are communicated – and penetrate even the economy’. [27] This definition implies then that culture is the ‘filter’ through which we perceive the world around us. The social structure both creates and is created by the meanings attached to everyday aspects of life. Therefore a two-way continuum of influence, a dialectic, operates between culture and socio- economic structure and this dialectic is now beginning to be addressed by feminism. [28]

It is by examining this dialectic between culture and social structure that we can assess the relevance of existing social scientific models such as feminist theories. Ethnographic enquiry- helps us to determine whether they are in fact realistic when applied to specific peoples and places. This view is advocated by Marcus and Fischer; ‘Ethnography is thus the sensitive register of change at the level of experience, and it is this kind of understanding that seems critical when the concepts of systems perspectives are descriptively out of joint with the reality to which they are meant to refer.’ [29]

It is only through the use of this data that we can learn about women in other places. Western feminism offers litde in terms of imaginative strategies for change whereas a wealth of these are provided by non-Western feminists, as I intend to show. Only by studying these can we begin to understand and establish solidarity with women in other parts of the world, thus gaining strength from diversity.

Culture as a patriarchal weapon

Thierry Verheslt emphasises that we should show real solidarity with projects that encourage cultural heterogeneity as a means of ‘delinking’ from global exploitative relations of production. He describes this as ‘the refusal to continue submitting the economy and politics to the imperatives of ‘interdependence’, ‘co-development’, and ‘global village’ illusions’. [30] Goulet also emphasises the cultural dimension. [31] However, ‘culture’ and ‘tradition’ are often deliberately confused and many manifestations of this phenomenon are directly responsible for the subjugation of millions of women, as illustrated by the following examples.

Nationalist movements are often guilty of misinterpreting culture and tradition. Many of these movements are nominally pro-feminist. Some Islamic nationalist movements such as those of Iran and Algeria provide worthy examples. The liberation of women is indeed a priority for Muslims in theory, but they are faced with huge dilemmas when confronted with the forces of religious fervour and traditionalism. This process is exacerbated during neo-colonial battles when ‘the forces of both modernity and tradition are unleashed in a single stroke and confront each other with dramatic consequences for relations between the sexes’. [32] In Eritrea, many women fought on the frontline along with men, yet when they return home they still have to conform to Islamic rule. [33]

There has been a sharp upsurge in fundamentalism in many major religions in recent times. [34] Concern for the preservation of traditional family structures and cultures has been used to legitimise the maintenance of the sexual divide. In Iran, since the overthrow of the Shah, ‘the Government has become a theocracy wedded to the subordination of women’. [35] El Sadaawi, the Egyptian feminist, suggests that governments and politicians pick from Islamic scripture what suits them to justify their position. [36] Nationalist movements are often very conservative with regard to sex roles and, at the end of the day, they usually advocate the maintenance of women’s traditional role as mother and homemaker so as not to upset the moral code or divert people from the ’cause’. In Ireland, Eamon de Valera expressed these concerns in the 1937 Irish Constitution. The relevant article still exists:

Article 41 – ‘The Family’:

1.1. The State recognises the Family as the natural, primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable . . . rights antecedent and superior to all positive law. . . .

2.1. In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

2.2. The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home. [37]

Some legal provisions obviously aim to keep women subordinate, both legally and economically. Such conservatism is called ‘culture’ but it is really ‘tradition’: culture is here seen as something to which we return rather than a complex and dynamic contemporary process. We thus witness the aforementioned confusion of tradition and culture.

This paper argues that it is not for us in the west to indiscriminately prescribe the preservation of particular traditions. Instead, it is our role to become more humble and to listen to others’ views. Consider the contentious issue of female circumcision: on one side are the cultural relativists who argue for the preservation of all aspects of regional cultures and on the other, the feminists who argue for its abolition because of the terrible effect it has on the health and sexuality of the women in question.

The role of western participants in development debates such as this is to enter into dialogue with and listen to the women in question and not to attempt to impose our morals on them. Steinem and Morgan inform us that there is quite a lot of campaigning against female circumcision already by local women in the affected countries. They go on to say that ‘it’s hopeful, too, that such patriarchal practices are beginning to be understood as a universal problem in varying degrees, not the fault of one culture or religion’. [38] EI Sadaawi extends this point by saying that ‘educational circumcision is as harmful as physical circumcision . . . because it creates the illusion that you are complete and free’. [39] By studying such problems as this, we can ‘build an incremental picture of their researched common denominator.’ [40] The manifestations of patriarchy are so diverse that we have to confront the differences as well as the similarities in women’s experience in order to broaden the base of feminism.

‘Cultural’ Resistance

In many societies, women are publicly perceived as oppressed and yet simultaneously exercise a certain amount ofcontrol within their own spheres. We thus need to examine the relatively invisible means by which women exert this control. It is only by using the tools of ethnographic analysis that we can embark upon a study of ‘cultural’ resistance as it is practiced by ordinary people, particularly women. Grand social theory often tends to assume that people passively accept the hand that society deals them. Marxism deems only one course of action to be valid for the poor – revolution. This scenario is far from accurate. James C. Scott, in his book Weapons of the Weak argues that, in the case of peasants, it is the everyday forms of resistance that are the most effective in the long run. By these are meant:

‘the ordinary weapons of relatively powerless groups: foot-dragging, dissimulation, false compliance, pilfering, feigned ignorance, slander, arson, sabotage, and so forth. . . . They require little or no coordination or planning; they often represent a form of individual self-help; and they typically avoid any direct symbolic confrontation with authority or with elite norms. To understand these commonplace forms of resistance is to understand what much of the peasantry does ‘between revolts’ to defend its interests as best it can.’ [41]

Much of what Scott says about the peasantry can easily be transferred to the study of women’s resistance. In reality, most poor women are too busy simply trying to survive within the existing system to even think about changing it. Also, since patriarchy in all its forms is hegemonic, it by definition sets the parameters of consciousness for many women. Patriarchy is grounded in the economic but also in the cultural. Because of the huge diversity of its manifestations, it is farcical to expect all women to reach the same conclusions about their condition. For example, women have very different means of achieving their desired goals. Many young Muslim women choose to wear the chador, their traditional dress, to resist western sex stereotyping. Indeed El Sadaawi informs us that Algerian women, during their revolution, used the chador to hide weapons, to carry guns, i.e. they used a manifestation of partiarchy for revolutionary purposes. [42] Thierry Verheslt tells us of the Chipko women’s group in India who prevented a logging company from cutting down their local forest by hugging the trees and thus stopping the machines. If the trees were cut down, their livelihood and culture would have been threatened so they literally took the matter into their own hands. [43] These are two very different means of feminist resistance from which we can learn, both about others and about ourselves. The richness that only people can provide is thus infused into feminism.

Capitalism itself breeds a myriad of different modes of resistance to what Marx called ‘commodity fetishism’. Taussig describes this as when ‘the products of the interrelations of persons are no longer seen as such but as things that stand over, control, and in some vital sense may even produce people.’ [44] Scott argues that it is not only the formal political avenues that count in this struggle but also the informal ones, e.g., women workers in a textile factory gossiping about the boss or doing their job in a careless fashion. [45] Both of these are relatively invisible and acceptable forms of resistance which operate within the existing system. These women are not seeking to change the economic structure but just to improve their lot within it by changing the dominant ideological system within the workplace. Gramsci was the first Marxist to emphasise this ideological sphere: ‘The oppressed must demystify the ideological armour of the status quo and create their own “integrated culture” prior to and within the process of achieving economic and political control, it follows that destroying this hegemonic totality must be central to . . . any revolutionary movement.’ [46]

The furthest these women can go within formal institutions to achieve their short-term objectives is to join the trade union because this is the only forum for dissent which is accommodated by capitalism. Even this is often beyond the realm of possibility because unions are generally male- dominated and women are put off joining them.

This emphasis on cultural resistance and informal politics turns on its head the idea that if exploitative relations of production exist, the subjected people will almost by a process of osmosis develop revolutionary ideas and subsequently act on them. Even if these people do perceive their exploitation as part of a global system, this perception may often remain at the level of ideology and not translate into practice. While some marxists may allow for the difficulties involved in this process, there has been little analysis of alternative strategies for resistance on their part. The risks resulting from overt revolutionary action for women in many Third World countries may range from social ridicule to torture to death.

People find many different ways of resisting what Ivan Illich terms ‘the modernisation of poverty’. This occurs when our whole lives are determined by market forces, when we become inseparable from commodities. [47]

Lorelei Harris’ 1980 study of women factory workers in the West of Ireland is interesting from the angle of cultural resistance to industrial capitalism. Harris shows how the women adapt to doing such repetitive work by resorting to an Irish cultural construct, i.e. ‘the crack’, by which is meant fun, gossip, etc. They resist the state of ‘alienated worker’ by focussing instead on the positive aspects of camaraderie and solidarity which are associated with work. She says; ‘For men, the “crack” is a continuation of forms of male association which exist outside work. For women … it is specific to work. It gives them a way of defining themselves sharply against male workers and a weapon against the gender inequalities they see as emanating from men on the shop floor, backed by the unions.’ [48]

This type of resistance directly parallels that of the peasants described by Scott. They share the characteristics of beingpragmatic, acceptable to the authorities, non-confrontational, requiring no coordination or planning and being a form of individual self-help. I would argue that these informal means of establishing solidarity are vital to the subsequent creation of a collective feminist consciousness.

In order to understand how a feminist consciousness could be thus formed, we must reconceptualise ‘militancy’. In studies of women in the workplace, there has been a common confusion between women’s militancy and trade union activism. [49] Purcell points out how, in her research in Britain, many women workers consciously decided not to join the very male-dominated union but instead perceived it as more effective to bargain at a local level. It was not deemed necessary to directly challenge this ‘club’ and they decided to try to achieve their objectives in an alternative manner. Therefore militancy in these circumstances could be defined as a decision to act in a rational fashion around a specific issue. Informal forms of solidarity are central to the development of such local initiatives which can be used to challenge capitalist and patriarchal power structures. An example of such a local initiative is provided by Mitter. [50] She describes an alternative type of union in India which protects some of the poorest members of that society. SEWA contains home-workers from the textile industry, street vendors, basket-makers etc., many of whom are ‘untouchables’. This type of initiative demonstrates an ability to deal with a worldwide problem – the exploitation of women in the black economy. Obviously, formal union politics in the west finds it very difficult to deal with this issue and it is only by studying informal resistance and solidarity that progress can be made with regard to this and many other issues. Some development agencies are beginning to utilise these insights in order to encourage ‘women’s initiatives’ throughout the world.

Conclusion

Because of their exclusive nature, western feminist normative models isolate and marginalise the actions and experiences of many Third World women. Scott tells us that

‘the main function of a system of domination is … to define what is realistic . . . and to drive certain goals and aspirations into the realm of the impossible, the realm of the dreams, of wishful thinking’. [51]

Women often resist capitalist and patriarchal domination in anonymous, invisible ways which may ultimately serve their interests much more efficiently than an overt challenge to the existing system. These forms of resistance are rendered impotent by macro-economic analyses and are often obscured by feminist rhetoric which may homogenise whole dimensions of experience. It is only by the continued use of ethnographic data by feminists that we can see that it is the everyday, subjective interpretation of capitalism and patriarchy that shapes how women resist them. It is from ‘the continual war of wits’ [52] between women and men and between capital and labour as it is expressed throughout the world that the harvest of feminist cultural resistance may be reaped.

Notes

  1. Pieterse J. Nederveen, (1991), ‘Dilemmas of development discourse: the crisis of developmentalism and the comparative method’ in Development and Change, vol.22, p.23
  2. lbid.,p.24
  3. G. Somjee, (1989), Narrowing the Gender Gap, Basingstoke and London, Macmillan
  4. H. Moore, (1988), Feminism and Anthropology, London, Polity Press, p. 11
  5. P, Worsley, (1984), The Three Worlds, London, Weidenfeld and Nicholson
  6. M. Barrett, (1986), Women’s Oppression Today – Problems in Marxist Feminist Analysis, London, Verso
  7. Sheila Rowbotham, (1973), Woman’s Consciousness; Man’s World, Harmonsworth, Penguin Books
  8. Harry Braverman, (1974), Labour and Monopoly Capital, London, Monthly Review Press
  9. Engels was the original proponent of this distinction: Friedrich Engels, (1972), The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, New York, International Publications (original edition 1884)
  10. J. Brenner and M. Ramas, (1984), ‘Rethinking women’s oppression’, New Left Review, no. 144, March/April, pp.33-71
  11. E. Fox-Genovese, (1982), ‘Placing women’s history in history’, New Left Review, no. 127, May/June
  12. J. Townsend and J.H. Momsen (eds), (1987), Geography of Gender in the Third World, London, Hutchinson
  13. Barrett, (1986), op.cit.
  14. Rosa Luxemburg, (1951), The Accumulation of Capital, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, p.370
  15. I. Dankelman and J. Davidson, (1988), Women and Environment in the Third World: Alliance for the Future, London, Earthscan
  16. N. Redclift, (1988), ‘Gender, Accumulation and the Labour Process’ in R.E. Pahl (ed.), On Work: Historical, Comparative and Theoretical Perspectives, Oxford, Blackwell
  17. Barrett,(1986),op.cit.
  18. K. Millett, (1971), Sexual Politics, London, Virago Press
  19. Shulamith Firestone, (1972), The Dialectic of Sex, New York, Bantam Books, quoted in A.M. Jaggar, (1983), Feminist Politics and Human Nature, Sussex, Rowman and Allanheld
  20. Moore, (1988), op.cit., p. 11
  21. Redclift, (1988), op.cit.
  22. G.L. Nijeholt, (1988), ‘Women and development: the fallacy of integration’ in A. Farmar (ed.), The Developing World,Dublin, DESC.
  23. Redclift, (1988), op.cit.
  24. M. Albert et al, (1986), Liberating Theory, Boston, South End Press, p.41
  25. Gayle Rubin, (1975), ‘The traffic in women: notes on the political economy of sex’ in R.R. Reiter (ed), Toward an Anthropology of Women, New York, Monthly Review Press
  26. C.S. Kessler, (1987), ‘Marx as eultural theorist: the prehistory of modern anthropology’ in D.J. Austin-Broos, Creating Culture, Sydney, Allen and Unwin
  27. Worsley, (1984), op. cit.
  28. We have also seen how central cultural values have been to the development of political philosophies, e.g.> the Ujamaa philosophy of Julius Nyerere of Tanzania: ‘Ujamaa is a brand of African socialism… characterised by African traditional values such as community and solidarity’: P. Frostin, (1988), Liberation Theology in Tanzania and South Africa: A First World Interpretation, Lund, Lund University Press
  29. G.E. Mareus and M.J. Fischer, (1986), Anthropology as Cultural Critique, Chicago, Chicago University Press.
  30. T. Verheslt, (1990), No Life without Roots: Culture and Development, London, Zed Books, p.82
  31. D. Goulet, (1971), The Cruel Choke: A New Concept in the Theory of Development, New York, Atheneum
  32. F. Mernessi, (1985), Beyond the Veil, London, Al Saqi, p.l 1
  33. A. Wilson, (1991), The Challenge Road: Women and the Eritrean Revolution, London, Earthscan
  34. G. Sen and C. Grown, (1988), Development, Crises and Alternative Visions: Third World Women’s Perspectives,London, Earthscan, p.75
  35. Ibid.
  36. N. El Sadaawi, (1980), Notes and Documents in Race and Class, vol.22, No.2,p.l76
  37. J.L. Pyle, (1990), ‘Female employment and export-led development in Ireland: Labour market impact of state-reinforced gender inequality in the household’ in S. Stichter and J.L. Parpart (eds), Women’s Employment and the Family in the International Division of Labour, London, Macmillan, p.152
  38. G. Steinem and R. Morgan (1984), ‘The international crime of genital mutilation’ in G. Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, London, Foncana, p. 3 00
  39. El Sadaawi, (1980), op. cit., p.177
  40. Somjee, (1989), op. cit.,p.20
  41. James C. Scott, (1985), Weapons of the Weak, New York, Yale University Press, p.29
  42. El Sadaawi, (1980), op.cit., p.179
  43. Verheslt, (1990), op.cit., p.45
  44. M. Taussig, (1980), The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America, N. Carolina, University of N. Carolina Press. Taussig takes the conecpt of commodity fethishism and shows how two tribes of South American Indians resist it by relying strongly on a set of indigenous cultural constructs. They ameliorate the effects of capitalism by retreating into their own cultural world when they enter into a wage-labour contract. This study is ideal because it places a familiar social scientific concept under an ethnographic microscope; it is examined for its utility through the eyes of a very different cultural group, affording it enormous richness as a result. In so doing, Taussig firstly leads us to examine our own relationship to capitalism, secondly shows us that not all people passively absorb the capitalist cultural precepts of the market, competition etc., and thirdly demonstrates the importance of the cultural realm to the development of a militant political consciousness for it is here that a duel may be fought for ideological hegemony.
  45. Scott, (1985), op.cit.
  46. C. Boggs, (1976), Gramsci’s Marxism, London, Pluto Press, p.123
  47. Ivan lllich, (1977), Toward a History of Needs, London, Pantheon Press, p.x
  48. Lorelei Harris, (1983), ‘Industrialisation, women and working class politics in the west of Ireland’, Capital and Class, tyring 1983
  49. K. Purcell, (1984), ‘Militancy and acquiescence amongst women workers’ in J. Siltaneu and M. Stanworth (eds),Women and the Public Sphere, London, Hutchiuson
  50. S. Mitrer, (1986), Common Fate, Common Bond: Women in the Global Economy, London, Pluto Press, p. 154
  51. Scott, (1985), op.cit., p.326
  52. E-Zola, (1980), The Earth (La Terre), London, Penguin Books, p.317

Obama and Putin: Liar’s Poker and the Dangers of War

March 8th, 2014 by Washington's Blog

Obama has certainly lied about the Ukraine crisis.   As Yves Smith notes:

Bush the Senior cut a deal with Gorbachev to facilitate the peaceful unwind of the USSR, which was that NATO would not move into former Warsaw Pact states. The Clinton Administration broke the pact, something that even dedicated cold warrior George Kennan regarded as a disastrous error. Destabilizing Ukraine, a country that had been part of Russia and is on Russia’s border, was taking the stealth battle against Russia too close to its doorstep.

***

the US appears to have the unrealistic expectation of getting Putin to pull troops out of Crimea, when their numbers, if not necessarily their location, are within treaty boundaries.

Painting by Anthony Freda

Obama has also pretended that the Ukrainian protests which led to the ouster of the old president were peaceful, and comprised solely of everday Ukrainians.

But even the BBC is now admitting that the leading spear of the protests were neo-Nazi fascists:

But Putin has now been caught lying, as well.   As Martin Armstrong notes:

For Obama to claim that a public vote in Crimea would violate the Constitution of Ukraine and International Law is really just as absurd that the same argument put forth by Putin that nothing in Kiev was legal because it was not signed by Yanukovych. There should be a vote, but it should be monitored independently to ensure it is real. To argue that no state may move to secede from a federal government is ridiculous. Obama said:

“Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine. In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders.”

Texas has the ABSOLUTE right to secede from the United States if it so desired and the Washington has no right to invade Texas to prevent that – although they too would in the blink-of-an-eye. There are no “democratic” leaders in Kiev as of yet because this is a grass-roots uprising that distrusts anyone who has EVER been in government before.

Meanwhile, you cannot say the people have no right to decide their own fate because this violates the will of “democratic” leaders. No elected official has the right to trump the wishes of the people and let us call a spade a spade ….

Putin also said that he was withdrawing all of the Russian troops in Crimea back to their bunkers. But today, Russians troops allegedly tried to storm a Ukrainian air force base in Crimea.

Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail, and will prevent war.

And Russia is supposedly enacting a law labeling journalists as terrorists.   (Even if true, Russia would simply be joining Japan, U.S. and Britain.)

In reality, it’s hard to know what’s really going, because there is so much propaganda flying on both sides

by Claire Quiney

Social Workers

Falling Through the Cracks: Why Social Work is Important The range of ailments and bad situations in which social workers help is astounding. With over 600,000 in the US today, there’s more need for even more social workers than ever.[1]

What do they do?
Support communities in need:
(including those dealing with…)[2]
Poverty
Discrimination
Abuse
Addiction
Physical illness
Divorce
Loss
Unemployment
Educational problems
Disability
Mental illness

Homelessness
What is it?[3]
Definition: lacking a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence
or, when a primary residence is a temporary place for people about to be institutionalized
or, any place not meant for regular sleeping and accommodation by humans
or, a supervised, temporary shelter.

Over 600,000 Americans are homeless on any given night. [11]
with around 65% living in emergency shelters or transitional housing
and 35% living in unsheltered locations

Abuse: A new child abuse report is made every 10 seconds[5]
With 4.5 American children dying per day because of maltreatment.
Types of child abuse:
Neglect: 78.3%
Physical Abuse: 18.3%
Sexual Abuse: 9.3%
Psychological maltreatment: 8.5%
Medical Neglect: 2.3%
Other/unknown: 10.8%

By the numbers:
(substantiated instances,roughly, 2012)
Neglect, 500k+
Physical abuse, 120k
Sexual abuse, 60k
Psychological maltreatment, 50k
Medical neglect, 10k
Other/unknown, 70k

And it pays off. Because with help, bad outcomes can be avoided.
Children experiencing child abuse and neglect are 9x more likely to become involved in criminal activities.
Totaling 14% of men in prison
and 36% of women in prison
Were abused.

Other outcomes:
Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy
And engage in sexual risk taking. Leading to STD’s
2/3 of people in drug abuse treatment facilities report being abused or neglected as children.
With 1/3 of abuse or neglect reporting adolescents having a substance use disorder by the age 18.

Poverty: 15% of Americans life at or below the poverty line[6]
That’s at least one person in any room of ten.
Or 46.5 million Americans.
Or 5.5 NY’s. Of people living in poverty.
–Including 16 million children.[7]
(22% of all children)

Federal poverty line = $23,500 for a family of four
Research shows that families need about twice that to cover basic income.

Over 1/3 children in Mississippi live in poverty.
While only 1/10 in North Dakota are under the poverty line.

Addiction
22.6 million Americans used illicit drugs last month. [10]
Leading to over 6 million children living with at least one parent with a drug addiction.
Most common illicit drugs:
Alcohol
Marijuana
Rx painkillers
Cocaine
Hallucinogens

RX drug abuse is on a two decade rise:[9]
The US is 5% of the world’s population
And we consume 75% of the world’s prescription pills.
With non-medical prescription drug use rising 500% since 1990.
Including non-medical use/abuse.

The numbers are massive, and it’s not for everyone:

Required education for social work:
Bachelor’s, Masters or Doctorate depending on position.
Average Pay: $53,000[13]
But without good social workers, whole sections of our nation are goners

Some well known social workers:
Two U.S. Senators and seven U.S. Representatives. These include: Sen. Barbara Mikulski (MD), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI), Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9), Rep. Allyson Schwartz (PA-13), Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (NH-1), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL-4), Rep. Niki Tsongas (MA-3) and Rep. Susan Davis (CA-53). [2]

Are you up to the challenge?

Social-Workers_THUMB

Citations:

  1. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm
  2. https://www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/features/general/profession.asp
  3. http://www.socialworkpolicy.org/research/homelessness.html
  4. http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/Mental_Illness.pdf
  5. http://www.childhelp.org/pages/statistics
  6. http://www.thenation.com/article/176242/americas-shameful-poverty-stats#
  7. http://www.nccp.org/topics/childpoverty.html
  8. http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k12/NSDUH115/sr115-nonmedical-use-pain-relievers.htm
  9. http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/popping-pills-prescription-drug-abuse-in-america
  10. http://www.michaelshouse.com/drug-addiction/the-statistics/
  11. https://www.onecpd.info/resources/documents/AHAR-2013-Part1.pdf
  12. http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/43-children-in-poverty?loc=1&loct=2#ranking/2/any/true/868/any/322
  13. http://www.indeed.com/salary/Social-Worker.html

Why There Will Be War in Ukraine

March 8th, 2014 by Global Research News

By Sergei Markov

The current crisis is not about Crimea. It is about the rights of Russian-speakers throughout Ukraine whom the Kremlin wants to protect from violence and discrimination. Russia does not want a military intervention in Crimea and does not want to take Crimea from Ukraine.

There is a political solution to this crisis.

First, create a coalition government in Kiev composed of all parties, including those from the east and south of the country. The current government is dominated by anti-Russian extremists from western Ukraine.

Second, Ukraine needs to draft a democratic constitution that has guarantees for Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population that would grant official status to the Russian language and establish the principle of federalism.

Third, presidential and parliamentary elections must be held soon. Independent election observers must play an active role in ensuring that the elections are free and fair. There is a real danger that they will be manipulated by the neo-Nazi militants who de facto seized power in a coup.

If these democratic and peaceful solutions to the crisis in Ukraine are rejected by the opposition forces that have seized power in Kiev, I am afraid that Russia will have no other choice but to revert to military means. If the junta leaders want to avoid war, they need to adopt Moscow’s peaceful and democratic proposals and adhere to them.

Those currently in power in Kiev are carrying out a political strategy that is not so much pro-European as it is anti-Russian, as evidenced by the surprisingly heavy-handed tactics the U.S. and European Union  have employed in Ukraine. In the end, a minority executed a violent coup that removed the democratically elected and legitimate president of Ukraine.

The Kremlin believes that the current Ukrainian leadership will manipulate the elections planned for May 25 to install a single leader or coalition government functioning much as former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili did in Tbilisi. A ”Ukrainian Saakashvili” will unleash an even more repressive campaign of intimidation against Russian-speakers, one that over several years would stoke anti-Russia hysteria among the general population.

After that, Kiev may evict Russia’s Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol and purge Crimea of any Russian influence. Ukraine could easily become a radicalized, anti-Russian state, at which point Kiev will fabricate a pretext to justify taking subversive action against Moscow. This looks especially likely considering that ruling coalition members from the neo-fascist Svoboda and Right Sector parties have already made territorial claims against Russia. They could easily send their army of activists to Russia to join local separatists and foment rebellion in the North Caucasus and other unstable regions in Russia. In addition, Russia’s opposition movement will surely want to use the successful experience and technology of the Euromaidan protests and, with the help and financial support of the West, try to carry out their own revolution in Moscow. The goal: to remove President Vladimir Putin from power and install a puppet leadership that will sell Russia’s strategic interests out to the West in the same way former President Boris Yeltsin did in the 1990s.

The official census puts the Russian minority in Ukraine at 16 percent of the total population, although that number was falsified. The actual number is closer to 25 percent. Surveys indicate that 45 percent of the country’s population speak Russian at home, 45 percent speak Ukrainian and 10 percent speak both languages. In the most recent Gallup survey, when asked in which language they would like to be polled, 83 percent of respondents chose Russian. Taking into account the rural population in western and central Ukraine, about 75 percent of the people, probably speak Russian. Of that 75 percent, only about 10 percent are those in Kiev and a few other major cities who supported the protests. This means that only 35 percent of the population are attempting to impose its will on the remaining 65 percent, using a violent coup to achieve their goals.

Putin made the right decision: He did not to wait for that attack and took preventative measures. Many in the West say the Kremlin’s reactions were paranoiac, but Germany’s Jews also thought the same of leaving the country in 1934. Most of them chose to believe they were safe and remained in Germany even after Hitler came to power. The infamous Kristallnacht took place five years later, one of the first early chapters in the “Final Solution.” Similarly, just four years remain until Russia’s presidential election in 2018, and there is a strong risk that subversive forces within and outside Russia will try to overthrow Putin, in part using their new foothold in Ukraine.

If the extremists who seized power  in Kiev do not accept Russia’s democratic proposals, Russia will likely be forced to revert to military means to solve the crisis in Ukraine.

Will there be war in Ukraine? I am afraid so. After all, the extremists who seized power in Kiev want to see a bloodbath. Only fear for their own lives might stop them from inciting such a conflict. Russia is prepared to move its forces into southern and eastern Ukraine if repressive measures are used against the Russian-speaking population or if a military intervention occurs. Russia will not annex Crimea. It has enough territory already. At the same time, however, it will also not stand by passively while Russophobic and neo-Nazi gangs hold the people of Crimea, Kharkiv and Donetsk at their mercy.

Sergei Markov is director of the Institute of Political Studies.

Copyright Moscow Times 2014

The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused the US State Department of double standards and low-level propaganda after it published a list of President Vladimir Putin’s “false claims” about the events in Ukraine.

“The State Department is trying to play on a shamelessly one-sided interpretation of the events,” ministry spokesperson Aleksandr Lukashevich said on Thursday. “Surely, Washington cannot admit that they were nurturing Maidan [protests], encouraging the violent overthrow of the legitimate government, and thus clearing the way for those who are now pretending to be a legitimate power in Kiev.”

On Wednesday, one day after the Russian president’s media conference on the events in Ukraine, the US State Department accused him of lying and published a “fact sheet” of Putin’s 10 “false claims” surrounding the crisis.

Moscow said that it will not respond to such “low-level propaganda.”

“We will only say, yet again, that we are dealing with unacceptable arrogance and a pretense of having a monopoly on the truth,” Lukashevich said in a statement posted on the Foreign Ministry’s website.

The United States has “no moral right” to lecture about observing international laws and respecting the sovereignty of other states, the diplomat added.

“What about the bombing of former Yugoslavia or the invasion of Iraq over a fabricated cause?” Lukashevich pointed out.

There have been quite a few examples of American military foreign interventions when there was no real threat to US security: Vietnam, Lebanon, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Libya, and Panama.

“The Vietnam War claimed the lives of two million civilians, not to mention totally destroyed the country and polluted the environment,” the diplomat said. “On the pretext of providing security to Americans who simply happened to be in conflict zones, the US invaded Lebanon in 1958 and the Dominican Republic in 1965, attacked tiny Grenada in 1983, bombed Libya in 1986, and occupied Panama three years later.”

“Still, they dare to blame Russia of ‘armed aggression’ when it stands up for its compatriots – who comprise the majority of Crimea’s population – in order to prevent ultra-nationalist forces from organizing yet another bloody Maidan.”

Apparently, Washington cannot adequately handle the development of events which are not in line with American templates, Moscow said. But this is no reason to shift the blame, the ministry concluded.

The two nuclear powers have been involved in a bitter dispute over the Ukrainian crisis, with Washington giving its backing to the coup-appointed government. The US has repeatedly accused Russia of “invading” the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, ignoring the fact that an existing 1997 agreement between Russia and Ukraine allows Moscow to keep up to 25,000 Black Sea Fleet troops in the peninsula.

Following the violent uprising which resulted in the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich,Crimean authorities denounced the coup-appointed government in Kiev and declared that all Ukrainian law enforcement and military deployed in the peninsula must take orders from them. The government of the republic – which comprises of mostly Russian speakers – asked Moscow to provide assistance to ensure peace and order in the region.

Crimea is to decide in a March 16 referendum whether it wants to remain within Ukraine or join Russia.

Another day, another stitch up. On 6th March Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, the eloquent and elegant Mr. Bashar al- Ja’afari and the Syrian UN Mission had restrictions placed on them by the US State Department, limiting their travel to no further than twenty five miles from New York’s Columbus Circle intersection.

The UN Secretary General – representing the world organization avowed: “to practice tolerance and live together with one another as good neighbours … to develop friendly relations among nations … to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations … based on the principle of sovereign equality of all its Members” – is predictably silent.

Predictably not silent is the self-declared Coalition for a Democratic Syria (1) a pro-insurgent Syrian-American group who declared that Mr al-Ja’afari was engaged in: “a series of propaganda tours across the United States”, according to Reuters.

These cheerleaders for military intervention, in a “Call to Action” to “Contact your Congress Members”, last September urged US involvement in Syria and has adopted a “Policy Brief” which is: “used to brief members of the US government on the crisis in Syria … and delineates a comprehensive strategy for the US government to pursue.” Impossible not to be reminded of Ahmed Chalabi’s mega CIA-funded Iraq National Congress who peddled stories of non-existent weapons of mass destruction and invaders being greeted with “sweets and flowers.” There is, however no indication of the source of sources for the funding for the Coalition.

Last year they urged: “ON APRIL 11, CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND  SENATORS AND TELL THEM:

“I am calling to voice my support for the Free Syria Act of 2013 (HR 1327) or the Syria Democratic Transition Act of 2013.” On 25th April it was “Mark Your Calenders …Come to Washington and directly lobby House and Senate offices to support the Syrian revolution.”

The Free Syria Act :

“Provides funding and other assistance for a peaceful, stable, and organized political transition to a democratic, inclusive government …”(2) which, incidentally, makes President Nobel Obama and John Kerry’s current protestations regarding the sanctity of “sovereignty and territorial integrity”, regarding Russia’s legitimate (and shot free) concerns in the Crimea duplicitous in the extreme. Terrorism is, after all, whether in Iraq, whose special forces the US is currently training in Jordan to “attack their own people”, Libya, Syria or Ukraine, is “achieving political ends by violent means.”

No doubt the sort of “propaganda” that Mr al-Ja’afari is charged with spreading in the US is what he so reasonably told the world’s media at the “Peace Summit” in Geneva last month. That each item for discussion was vitally interconnected, complex and could not be rushed:

“We insisted on considering each item separately in the dialogue within the draft agenda, to reach an agreement on each of them, because such an accord would reflect positively on other items.”

Further:

“They want to make ‘the transitional government’ a priority because the side utilizing terrorism has not finished yet, those who allege desire of ceasing violence should accept the item of counterterrorism.”

He also explained:

“ The USA looming military escalation has encouraged the coalition delegation to show intransigence and foil this round. We are ready to return to Geneva after agreeing a date for the next round, stemming from our belief in the importance of the political solution … We came for reaching a political solution according to Geneva, but no solution could begin while the Syrian people are living under terrorism”.(3)

That terrorism in addition to beheadings, chopping of hands, in the last days has extended to executing children and elderly men, shown in another stomach churning, graphic video.

In a supreme irony, Mr. Al-Ja’affari’s assertions are endorsed in no uncertain terms by the man who moved heaven and earth to destabilize Syria as US Ambassador there until he fled in 2011, Robert Ford.

On March 1st, in a speech at Tufts University, Ford stated:“You have one Al Qaeda faction fighting another Al Qaeda faction. That’s how fractured this is. One sharp sliver, fighting another sharp sliver. I bring no good news to you tonight about Syria. The Syrian opposition itself has done a miserable job distinguishing itself from the Al Qaeda elements. There are some really bad people in Syria right now, on the opposition side. Can the opposition show that it is willing to reach out and figure out a way security-wise and politics-wise to reunify across that sectarian divide?”

Ambassador Al-Ja’afari, a man who does not duck from inconvenient truths, also warned on 3rd September on CNN: “You can repeat the same mistakes that the previous American administrations did, many times, during (the) Vietnam War, during the Cuban Crisis or the Iraqi War with Colin Powell in the Security Council”, referring to the pack of outright lies on which Powell based the case for the invasion.

But the petty restrictions by the US and the silence of the US’ safe pair of hands at it’s helm in the UN’s eighth Secretary General, Ban-Ki-moon (“who has sought to be a bridge-builder” and support “countries facing crisis or instability”) mirrors exactly what happened to Iraq’s Mission when the country was repeatedly bombed, eventually invaded and, as Syria, strangulatingly embargoed. Kofi Annan, Ban’s predecessor was equally mute, even taking nearly a year to declare the ultimate invasion illegal.

Iran and North Korea also share Syria’s travel restrictions in the “Land of the Free.”

Syria is a founding Member of the UN, signing on the day of the launching of its Charter on 24th October 1945.

Meanwhile, Israel, subject of seventy seven UN Resolutions against the State -1955-2013 – (4) was elevated last week, by the US to a “status above any other country”, which is likely to include visa waivers and status as a “major strategic ally.”

Included are “measures that would encourage enhanced cooperation such as missile development, energy and security. No other state has ever got this status. US weapons reserves stockpiled in Israel are to be expanded.”(5)

Pondering on the country that has the honour to host the United Nations,  thus the chance to truly be a bridge builder, with the potential to make peace around the globe, it is despair making to watch just, blundering, bigotry, venom, violence, ignorance, even plummeting to the pettiest of  restrictions on home soil.

Notes

1. http://www.coalitionforademocraticsyria.org/

2. http://syriantaskforce.org/index.php/about-us/setf-blog/36-advocacy-day-2013

3. http://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/geneva-2-bashar-al-jaafari-no-solution-while-syrians-are-suffering-under-terrorism-eng-fra3videos/

4. http://www.ifamericansknew.org/stat/un.html

5. https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/10152-us-upgrades-israel-to-status-above-any-other-country

Western media’s coverage of the Ukraine crisis has reached epic proportions of bias and despicable hypocrisy, and once more, the western liberal “left” media spectrum is busily laying the groundwork for Imperialist-friendly narratives.

Having last year no-platformed a Syrian nun who had the audacity to protest against western-sponsored takfiri mercenaries in Syria, chief pseudo-dissenter of the British liberal “left”, Owen Jones, has kindly decided to educate the masses on the finer points of the Ukrainian crisis.

True to form, and synonymous with the vast majority of western media, Jones begins his narrative with crass revisionism, claiming that Western governments have been “restrained” in their response to what he describes as a “Russian invasion”. Yet, and quite obvious to most, the events in Ukraine did not commence with Russia adding to its troop numbers in the Crimean peninsular. In reality, the chain of events leading to this particular crisis began when state-members of the European Union, led by the United States and its NATO partners, instigated a violent coup d’etat, through the fomentation and manipulation of a disillusioned minority, alongside the overt sponsorship of Nazi-sympathising oligarchs and their fascist shock-troops. This is not to mention the equally relevant context of decades of NATO-instigated war, ethnic division, and social antagonism in the former Soviet bloc with the desired aim of militarily “containing” Russia. When viewed in this wider historical context, Russia’s supposed “invasion” of Ukraine is in fact a muted reaction to the aggressive policies of the Western states. Jones and the liberal “lefts” blatant disregard of the historical process in turn bolsters the false portrayal of a “restrained” western Empire competing with an insubordinate lesser state, in this case Russia.

To omit this vital historical context, the consequent processes and their correct chronology, and then duplicitously begin the narrative from the falsehood of a “Russian invasion”, is to engage in the most vile form of historical revisionism.

Moreover, by engaging in the semantics of western bourgeois media and falsely portraying Russia’s limited military manoeuvres in Crimea as an “invasion”, “leftists” such as Jones help to buttress western Imperialisms false moral equivalence. In actual fact, the two principal geopolitical actors, the Russian state on the one hand, and the US Empire on the other, are nothing close to comparable in the context of the current crisis in Ukraine, or any other modern conflict. To equate Russia defending – arguably warranted – “interests” on its own borders, and allied regions, with aggressive Imperialism acting as the catalyst, is beyond stupidity, it is purposeful semantic trickery, propagated in order to demonize “them” and “their” actions, while legitimizing “us” and “ours”. Such use of poorly disguised social chauvinism to form bias narratives is but typical of the bourgeois British liberal, intrinsic within supposedly “leftist” media.

Unfortunately, Jones’ muddleheaded sophism has only just begun. Having distorted the underlying historical processes and causes for the crisis, whitewashed the culpability of Imperialism thereby equating it to the lesser target state, in turn building a false moral platform for Imperialist aggression, Jones now turns to fascist apologia. While correctly pointing out the “AK-47 wielding.. right-wing extremists” and the subsequent seizure of power via illegal and anti-democratic means, Jones then immediately attempts to mitigate their central role, and the equally important role the fascist shock-troops played in the “victorious uprising”, as he now calls it. “This was not a coup,..” claims Jones, “..but a genuinely popular uprising in the country’s western and central regions, if not in its east and south.” The contradiction is evident in this sentence alone; what exactly is a “genuine uprising” that only reaches the “western and central regions” of any state? Furthermore, what is Jones’ material evidence, let alone criteria, for determining an uprising in less than half of a country is “popular”? Further still, what is Jones’ legal, nay, logical reasoning behind avowing a coup with the title of “Government”?

Such slogans and terminology represent nothing more than liberal quackery of the highest order. Jones has no idea just how “popular” the heavily manufactured protests and opposition groups are, or ever were in Ukraine, or whether they amounted to a big enough demographic to be labelled as the crude abstraction of a “genuine uprising”. Contrary to Jones rosy portrayal, more than half of Ukraine totally ignored the Maidan anti-government protests, the eastern half of the country is almost universally opposed to the fascist coup regime in Kiev while local authorities are quite literally asking for Russian aid and protection, not to mention the further intricacies of what has for centuries been a Russian-aligned, virtually autonomous region of Crimea.

Does this sound like a “genuine”, or even “popular” “victorious uprising” of an entire state of forty-plus million people, or does it resemble a violent coup, verging on organised ethnic antagonism, orchestrated by Imperialism?

Perhaps the (stated) $5 billion dollars the US State Dept has put towards engineering regime change via the fascist groups now seizing power may have helped the “uprising” become a “victorious” one. No doubt the US-EU bourgeoisie handing out cookies and hand-picking the “Governments” new leadership benefitted its domestic “popularity” in Ukraine enormously. Or perhaps the xenophobia, Nazi iconography and overt racism espoused by Svoboda’s henchmen became so “genuine” that there is no longer any room for a dissenting voice; effectively rendering the fascist vanguard and its acolytes “popular” enough to call a Government. Maybe the former Zionist occupiers leading various neo-fascist thugs in Ukraine helped them gain some “popularity”, or the snipers randomly killing both police and protesters – allegedly employed by the opposition – helped to align the disparate factions of protesters into a “genuine” grassroots unified movement. Then again, perhaps not. Regardless of all this reaction, fascism, thuggery, alienation and social antagonism, Imperialism can surely rely on the empty phrases and liberal sophism of western bourgeois media to afford their proxies the veneer of respectability.

According to Jones, there have been no “systematic” attacks on Russian speakers, and although the coup regime are illegally seizing power, including every top position in the Duma and what remains of the military and police, they “do not own the whole revolt, and will only be strengthened by Russian intervention”. To suggest that no party “owns the revolt” is a meaningless abstraction. Does Jones seriously believe that no faction is leading, or “owns”, the coup? That no specific faction is currently enforcing its will unabated with the direct support of western Imperialism? It only takes a cursory glance at the tonnes of reports and prior documentation (see herehereherehereherehere, andhere) that expose Ukraine’s “uprising” as being both led and dominated by reactionary fascists sponsored by Imperialism. Yet Jones is either too stupid to see this vanguard long in “ownership” of the revolt, or he is deliberately marginalizing them from the reality of the situation to afford Empires’ proxies with an unwarranted moral platform.

What’s more, the insinuation that Russian “intervention” against said fascist proxies, will inevitably increase their power is completely bereft of the context of who actually empowered and sustained them up until, and no doubt beyond this very moment! In Jones backward narrative, it is as if these fascists came to power entirely of their own volition as a result of Russian provocation, forget the direct aid and sponsorship of western Imperialism. Again, the historical context of the initial causes, and the western actors responsible for the ascendance of fascists in Ukraine has been erasedand replaced with the anachronism of a Russian reaction.

In the western liberal “lefts” moral equation, killing millions through decades of western Imperial aggression and Russia’s bloodless “invasion” of Crimea “are all symptoms of the same phenomenon”. There is of course some concrete truth in that, but for Jones to use the comparison in the Ukrainian context is fraudulent, it distorts the historical and material causes of this specific conflict. To then further posit the simplistic notion that “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine… would have undoubtedly happened anyway” in turn bolsters the skewed perspective of western Imperialism, neglecting cause and effect and vital historical context that exposes real culpability. It is to demand Russia’s hyped “invasion” should be judged minus the Imperialist provocation that instigated it, while further neglecting the decades of western Imperialist slaughter, expansion and provocation preceding the latest violent upheaval. Russia is therefore deemed equally, if not more so, culpable for the Ukrainian crisis, while the perception of the predatory western Imperialists has been sanitized, and their massive culpability reduced dramatically from the equation.

A further example of the sophism and superficiality so inherent to the modern liberal media class came in the form of a pseudo-moralistic rant from RT “Journalist” Abbey Martin. Immediately lauded by western media liberals for her “principled”, yet ahistorical, and uninformed outburst denouncing the Russian Governments “military intervention” in Ukraine, Martin went on to explain that although she knew little of the situation – why would she? – she opposed “all military intervention”. Well, how principled one might say, but what exactly is the “principle” of non-intervention other than a utopian liberal absurdity? Moreover, what is the worthwhile principle behind denouncing a military manoeuvre you know little of, or can even attempt to explain? Such pandering to empty humanitarian slogans and simplification of complex sociopolitical processes can only be explained by the commodification and subsequent self-gratification that petty bourgeois liberals crave when chasing their individualist desires. Fight the man, doesn’t matter who, or why, just make sure people see you doing it.

Dumbing-down media coverage of complex issues and historical revisionism within all “sides” of the bourgeois media gamut is of course not exclusive to the recent coverage in Ukraine, precisely the same deceptive methods are employed on an endless scale for the same reasons listed above. Libya and Syria provide two further recent examples of how the media’s supposedly “left” and liberal outlets and pundits often fulfill a vital role in legitimizing Imperialist aggression. Western media’s almost overwhelming support for the Imperialist plunder of Iraq is but another striking example. Crucial historical context and the chronology of events have been manipulated, misinformed, diverted through false moral platforms, or omitted entirely to form western-friendly narratives and remove Imperial culpability.

Demonization campaigns that effectively “other” peoples, governments and targeted leaders are commonplace in the liberal “left” spectrum of western media just as they are in the “right”. Perhaps the greatest example of the liberal media’s subservience to corporate power is provided by the Guardian newspaper. Its lurid role in promoting religious fundamentalist proxies of western Imperialism in Libya and Syria, and the masses of misinformation and bias narratives propagated on their behalf, again exposes the almost complete lack of disparity between the “right” and “left” bourgeois western press. In both cases, and increasingly in Ukraine, media manipulation of timelines, and liberal apologia for what are essentially reactionary proxies of Imperialism became pivotal to maintaining public acquiescence, or worse still ignorance and support of aggressive western provocations and covert war. Bar a few dissenting voices in the opinion pages, the Guardian’s supposedly liberal “left” coverage of western Imperialism is now virtually indistinguishable to that of the shameless right.

No longer can overt militaristic Imperialism be forced upon the western masses as it was in the immediate post-9-11 era. Thus, covert proxy-war has taken center stage for predatory Imperialism. A most crucial tool of the western bourgeoisie in achieving the concessions and acquiescence of the masses during this current period of covert Imperialist violence and aggression, has once again exposed itself in the form of the petty bourgeois opportunists, the “social democrats”, the liberal “lefts” of the modern epoch and their corporate media lackeys.

Ominously, and without a shred of self-awareness it seems, Jones warns us: “there is a frightening tradition of conservatives and liberals helping fascists into power.” Indeed, here Jones is almost correct, but curiously fails to analyse the definitive classes currently aiding fascists into power in Ukraine, ie: the petty bourgeois western liberal class and its neoconservative counterparts, both essentially factions of western Imperialism. Neither is there any attempt to analyse or distinguish the class which has played the pivotal role in aiding fascists into power in the service of the capitalist class throughout modern history, perhaps the result of such an analysis would be too close to the bone.

How long can Monsanto ignore the mounting actual scientific evidence that their technology is not only failing to live up to its promises, it’s putting public health at risk?

To hear the pesticide and junk food marketers of the world tell it, anyone who questions the value, legitimacy or safety of GMO (genetically modified organisms) crops is naïve, anti-science and irrational to the point of hysteria.

But how long can Monsanto ignore the mounting actual scientific evidence that their technology is not only failing to live up to its promises, it’s putting public health at risk?

How long can Monsanto ignore the mounting actual scientific evidence that their technology is not only failing to live up to its promises, it’s putting public health at risk?

Jim Goodman, farmer, activist and member of the Organic Consumers Association policy advisory board, recently wrote about Monsanto’s deceptive use of the expression “sound science.”

But, ‘sound science’ has no scientific definition. It does not mean peer reviewed, or well documented research. ‘Sound science’ is only a term, an ideological term, used to support a particular point of view, policy statement or a technology. ‘Sound science’ is little more than the opinions of so-called “experts” representing corporate interests.Simply put, ‘sound science’ always supports the position of industry over people, corporate profit over food safety, the environment and public health.

Here are five new reports and studies, published in the last two months, that blow huge holes in Monsanto’s “sound science” story. Reports of everything from Monsanto’s Roundup causing fatal, chronic kidney disease to how, contrary to industry claims, Roundup persists for years,contaminating soil, air and water. And oh-by-the-way, no, GMO crops will not feed the world, nor have they reduced the use of herbicides and pesticides.

1. Monsanto’s Roundup linked to fatal, chronic kidney disease. Article in Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, February 2014

What happens when you mix glyphosate, the key active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, with “hard” water? That is, water that contains metals, such as calcium, magnesium, strontium and iron, either found naturally in the soil, or resulting from the use of chemical fertilizers?

The glyphosate becomes “extremely toxic” to the kidneys.

That’s the theory put forth by researchers trying to uncover the mystery of thousands of deaths from chronic kidney disease among people in farming areas of Sri Lanka, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

2. Monsanto’s Roundup persists in soil and water. U.S. Geological Survey report in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, February 2014

Monsanto has always insisted (despite evidence to the contrary) that its Roundup herbicide is benign, that its toxicity doesn’t persist.

But that’s only half the story, according to a study published this month in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Researchers now say that if you study only the key active ingredient, glyphosate, you might, as Monsanto claims, determine that Roundup is benign.

But there are other ingredients in Roundup, including one called Aminomethylphosphonic acid, or AMPA. The study, called “Pesticides in Mississippi air and rain: A comparison between 1995 and 2007,” found that glyphosate and its still-toxic byproduct, AMPA, were found in over 75 percent of the air and rain samples tested from Mississippi in 2007.

What does that mean for you? According to one analysis, “if you were breathing in the sampled air you would be inhaling approximately 2.5 nanograms of glyphosate per cubic meter of air. It has been estimated the average adult inhales approximately 388 cubic feet or 11 cubic meters of air per day, which would equal to 27.5 nanograms (billionths of a gram) of glyphosate a day.” Gasp.

3. GMO crops have led to an increase in use of pesticides and herbicides. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, February 2014

The USDA, which gauging from its track record has never met a GMO crop it didn’t like, published a report substantiating what responsible, independent scientists have been saying along. Genetic engineering does not result in increased yields (as industry would have us believe)—but it has led to the increased (not decreased, as industry claims) use of pesticides and herbicides.

To be fair, the report gives overall favorable reviews to GMO crops. Not surprising, given the agency’s cozy relationship with Monsanto. But that makes it all the more telling that the once staunch-defender of GMO crops is now raising questions about industry’s long-term, decidedly unproven and unscientific, claims that biotechnology is the best thing since sliced (GMO wheat) bread.

Sustainable Pulse does a good job of sifting through the USDA’s report to reveal the agency’s criticisms of GMO crops.

4. Pesticides are more dangerous than we thought. Article in BioMed Research International, February 2014

More bad news on pesticides. A study published in BioMed Research International this month says that it’s not just the toxic chemicals we need to worry about in pesticides. It’s the inert ingredients, and how they interact with the active, toxic ingredients.

Typically, studies conducted to determine the safety of pesticides focus exclusively on the active ingredients. But scientists at the University of Caen tested eight commercial products, including Roundup, and found that nine of them were hundreds of times more toxic than their active ingredient alone.

Which product won the “Most Toxic” award? Monsanto’s Roundup, which was found to be “by far the most toxic of the herbicides and insecticides tested,” according to the study.

5. Small-Scale, organic farming needed to feed the world. U.N. Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Wake Up Before It Is Too Late, December 2013

In December 2013, the U.N. Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released the results of a lengthy, in-depth study that blows a huge hole in one of Monsanto’s favorite claims, that we need GMOs to feed the world. The study, entitledWake Up Before it is Too Late, concluded with this warning: Small-scale organic farming is the only way to feed the world.

According to an analysis by one of the report’s contributors, the report contains in-depth sections on the shift toward more sustainable, resilient agriculture; livestock production and climate change; the importance of research and extension; the role of land use; and the role of reforming global trade rules.

More than 60 experts from around the world contributed to the report.

Clearly the evidence—real, scientific evidence—against GMO crops is mounting, when five new anti-GMO studies and reports surface in a matter of a couple of months.

How much more will it take before the USDA, U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stop supporting an industry under attack from the scientific community? And start putting public health before corporate profits?

In December, more than 200 scientists, physicians, and experts from relevant fields, signed a statement declaring that the biotech industry is deceiving the public when it claims that GMOs are safe. There is, the group said, no “scientific consensus” to support industry’s claims that GMOs are safe.

But as new studies surface every day, it’s become increasingly clear that among credible physicians and scientists, the consensus is that we’d better wake up, soon, to the risks and threats posed by a reckless technology that has been allowed to dominate our food and farming systems, unchecked, for far too long.

KIEV, March 07, 20:53 /ITAR-TASS/. A district court in Kiev has issued an authorization to arrest the people’s governor of the country’s eastern Donetsk region, Pavel Gubarev, for a period of two months, a spokesman for the Security Service of Ukraine said Friday.

“A decision to choose arrest for a period of two months as a pretrial measure for Gubarev was taken by the judges Friday,” he said. “The court thus entertained a petition by the Security Service’s main department for investigation.”

Pavel Gubarev, whom a many-thousands-strong meeting of opponents of the incumbent Kiev government elected “people’s governor” of the predominantly Russian-speaking region March 1, is charged with crimes related to encroachments on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, with actions aimed at an overthrow or toppling of the constitutional system or the seizure of state power, and seizure of government and public offices.

The U.S. and European Union countries played a key role in the overthrow of the elected government in the Ukraine headed by Victor Yanukovych and the Party of Regions. Listening to the politicians in Washington or watching the corporate media, it would be easy to believe that the coup in the Ukraine has ushered in new era of democracy for the people of that country.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The new, self-appointed government in Kiev is a coalition between right-wing and outright fascist forces, and the line between the two is often difficult to discern. Moreover, it is the fascist forces, particularly the Svoboda party and the Right Sector, who are in the ascendancy, as evidenced by the fact that they have been given key government positions in charge of the military and other core elements of the state apparatus.

Dmytro Yarosh, Right Sector neo-Nazi commander who said “our revival begins with our Maidan,” is now second-in-command of the National Defense and Security Council (covering the military, police, courts and intelligence apparatus).

Andriy Parubiy, co-founder of the fascist Social National Party, which later changed its name to Svoboda. He is the new top commander of the National Defense and Security Council.

New Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk [left], a powerful right-wing banker, meets with neo-con John McCain. Pictured center is neo-Nazi Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok, now one of the most powerful figures in the country.

Ihor Tenyukh, member of neo-Nazi Svoboda party, now Minister of Defense.

Oleksandr Sych, member of neo-Nazi Svoboda, is one of three Vice Prime Ministers.

Oleg Makhnitsky, member of neo-Nazi Svoboda, now Prosecutor-General (Attorney General), and has immediately set out to indict the leaders of Crimea who do not want to live under the new order in Kiev.

That millions of Ukrainians, Russians, Greeks, Jews and others would abhor living under such a government should come as a surprise to no one. Seven decades ago, Nazi Germany and its allies invaded the Soviet Union, of which the Ukraine was a part.

It was inside the Soviet Union that the main forces of the Nazi war machine were destroyed—but at an appalling price. More than 27 million Soviet soldiers and civilians were killed and the country devastated. (By comparison, 416,800 U.S. personnel were killed in the same war, also a huge number itself, but one that only represents about 1.5 percent of Soviet deaths.)Highlighting its extreme right-wing character, among the first actions of the rump Rada (parliament) were terminating the official status of Russian and Greek as minority languages, rescinding the Crimea’s autonomy, and outlawing the Ukrainian Communist Party.The Fatherland party is leading the new government, headed by Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

A few weeks before the Feb. 24 coup, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, then in Kiev to support the anti-government protests, was recorded calling for Yatsenyuk to become the new leader. Yatsenyuk is a banker, very Western-oriented, and seen as sure to accede to the demands of the International Monetary Fund and the international banks for austerity measures in exchange for a “bailout”  of the Ukraine’s debt.

In addition, Yatsenyuk is not from an overtly fascist party, a major public relations advantage for Western imperialist backers of the new regime.

The new Secretary of the powerful National Defense and Security Council is Andriy Parubiy, is also listed as being from the Fatherland party. But here the murky divide between the right-wing and fascist parties comes into view.

Parubiy was co-founder of the Social National Party in 1991, an openly fascist party whose symbol was the “Wolfsnagel,” which closely resembles a swastika. The SNP changed its name to Svoboda (“Freedom”) in 2004, and has tried to somewhat moderate its image while retaining its neo-Nazi core.

It was only in 2012 that Parubiy ran on the Fatherland ticket. During the opposition demonstrations in the Maidan Square, he was known as “the commandant.”

Parubiy’s deputy is Dmytro Yarosh, who was the leader of the fascist Right Sector’s para-military forces in Maidan. In a recent BBC video, a Right Sector leader said: “National socialist [Nazi] ideas are popular here…We want a clean nation, not like under Hitler, but a little bit like that.”

The new Defense Minister is Ihor Tenyukh, former head of the Ukrainian navy and from the Svoboda party. Oleksandr Sych, also from Svoboda, is one of three Vice Prime Ministers.

Another key post held by an open Svoboda member is that of Prosecutor-General. Oleg Makhnitsky is now the equivalent of Attorney General in the U.S., and has immediately set out to indict the leaders of Crimea who do not want to live under the new order in Kiev.

The new, self-appointed government in Kiev is a coalition between right-wing and outright fascist forces, and the line between the two is often difficult to discern.

Svoboda also holds the ministries of ecology and, especially critical in the Ukraine, agriculture in the new government.

Though not named as a government minister—clearly by choice—Oleh Tyahnybok is the leader of Svoboda, of which he was also a co-founder when it was known as the Social National Party. Now he is one of the most powerful figures in the country.

While Tyahnybok sought to moderate Svoboda’s public image beginning with the name change in 2004, a speech he gave the same year showed just how paper-thin that cover was.

Speaking at memorial to a commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA) that collaborated with the Nazis and massacred tens of thousands of Poles, Jews and communists, he called for Ukrainians to fight the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia” which he claimed were running the country.

Tyahnybok praised the UIA and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists led by Stepan Bandera, who “fought against the Russians, Germans, Jews and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.”  (For the terms “Russians” and “Jews,” he substituted extremely derogatory slurs).

In 2005, Tyahnybok signed an open letter to Ukraine leaders denouncing the “criminal activities” of “organized Jewry” who, he claimed, wanted to commit “genocide” against Ukrainian people.

Support for the fascists is surging in the Ukraine. In 2006, Svoboda received .36 of 1 percent in the elections; in 2012 it became the fourth largest party in the Rada (parliament) with 10.45 percent of the vote and 37 seats out of 450. In a public opinion poll taken at the beginning of February, 54 percent said they would vote for Tyahnybok for president if he ran against Yanukovych. (The poll was held three weeks before the overthrow of Yanukovych.)

The smiling faces of Victoria Nuland and Sen. John McCain, among other U.S. officials, have appeared in countless photos with Tyahnybok in recent months.

Ukraine and America’s Strive for World Domination

March 8th, 2014 by William Blum

When it gets complicated and confusing, when you’re overwhelmed with too much information, changing daily; too many explanations, some contradictory … try putting it into some kind of context by stepping back and looking at the larger, long-term picture.

The United States strives for world domination, hegemony wherever possible, their main occupation for over a century, it’s what they do for a living. The United States, NATO and the European Union form The Holy Triumvirate. The Holy Triumvirate has subsidiaries, chiefly The International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, International Criminal Court … all help to keep in line those governments lacking the Holy Triumvirate Seal Of Approval: the IMF, WB, and WTO impose market fundamentalism, while foreign leaders who act too independent are threatened with being handed over to the ICC for heavy punishment, as the United States imposes sanctions on governments and their leaders as only the King of Sanctions can, lacking any sense of hypocrisy or irony.

And who threatens United States domination?

Who can challenge The Holy Triumvirate’s hegemony? Only Russia and China, if they were as imperialistic as the Western powers. (No, the Soviet Union wasn’t imperialistic; that was self-defense; Eastern Europe was a highway twice used by the West to invade; tens of millions of Russians killed or wounded.)

Since the end of the Cold War the United States has been surrounding Russia, building one base after another, ceaselessly looking for new ones, including in Ukraine; one missile site after another, with Moscow in range; NATO has grabbed one former Soviet Republic after another. The White House, and the unquestioning American mainstream media, have assured us that such operations have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO some years ago, “is this is a military organization? Yes, it’s military. … Is it moving towards our border? It’s moving towards our border. Why?”

The Holy Triumvirate would love to rip Ukraine from the Moscow bosom, evict the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and establish a US military and/or NATO presence on Russia’s border. (In case you were wondering what prompted the Russian military action.) Kiev’s membership in the EU would then not be far off; after which the country could embrace the joys of neo-conservatism, receiving the benefits of the standard privatization-deregulation-austerity package and join Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain as an impoverished orphan of the family; but no price is too great to pay to for being part of glorious Europe and the West!

The Ukrainian insurgents and their Western-power supporters didn’t care who their Ukrainian allies were in carrying out their coup against President Viktor Yanukovych last month … thugs who set policemen on fire head to toe … all manner of extreme right-wingers, including Chechnyan Islamic militants… a deputy of the ultra-right Svoboda Party, part of the new government, who threatens to rebuild Ukraine’s nukes in three to six months.… the snipers firing on the protestors who apparently were not what they appeared to be – A bugged phone conversation between Urmas Paet, the Estonian foreign minister, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, reveals Paet saying: “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.”… neo-Nazi protestors in Kiev who have openly denounced Jews, hoisting a banner honoring Stepan Bandera, the infamous Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on February 24 that Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman advised “Kiev’s Jews to leave the city and even the country.” Edward Dolinsky, head of an umbrella organization of Ukrainian Jews, described the situation for Ukrainian Jews as “dire” and requested Israel’s help.

All in all a questionable gang of allies for a dubious cause; reminiscent of the Kosovo Liberation Army thugs Washington put into power for an earlier regime change, and has kept in power since 1999.

The now-famous recorded phone conversation between top US State Department official Victoria Nuland and the US ambassador to the Ukraine, wherein they discuss which Ukrainians would be to Washington’s liking in a new government, and which not, is an example of this regime-change mentality. Nuland’s choice, Arseniy Yatseniuk, emerged as interim prime minister.

The National Endowment for Democracy, an agency created by the Reagan administration in 1983 to promote political action and psychological warfare against states not in love with US foreign policy, is Washington’s foremost non-military tool for effecting regime change. The NED website lists 65 projects that it has supported financially in recent years in Ukraine.The descriptions NED gives to the projects don’t reveal the fact that generally their programs impart the basic philosophy that working people and other citizens are best served under a system of free enterprise, class cooperation, collective bargaining, minimal government intervention in the economy, and opposition to socialism in any shape or form. A free-market economy is equated with democracy, reform, and growth; and the merits of foreign investment in their economy are emphasized.

The idea was that the NED would do somewhat overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades, and thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert activities. Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, declared in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

NED, receives virtually all its financing from the US government ($5 billion in total since 1991), but it likes to refer to itself as an NGO (Non-governmental organization) because this helps to maintain a certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not have. But NGO is the wrong category. NED is a GO. Its long-time intervention in Ukraine is as supra-legal as the Russian military deployment there. Journalist Robert Parry has observed:

For NED and American neocons, Yanukovych’s electoral legitimacy lasted only as long as he accepted European demands for new “trade agreements” and stern economic “reforms” required by the International Monetary Fund. When Yanukovych was negotiating those pacts, he won praise, but when he judged the price too high for Ukraine and opted for a more generous deal from Russia, he immediately became a target for “regime change.”

Thus, we have to ask, as Mr. Putin asked – “Why?” Why has NED been funding 65 projects in one foreign country? Why were Washington officials grooming a replacement for President Yanukovych, legally and democratically elected in 2010, who, in the face of protests, moved elections up so he could have been voted out of office – not thrown out by a mob? Yanukovych made repeated important concessions, including amnesty for those arrested and offering, on January 25, to make two of his adversaries prime minister and deputy prime minister; all to no avail; key elements of the protestors, and those behind them, wanted their putsch.

Carl Gershman, president of NED, wrote last September that “Ukraine is the biggest prize”.The man knows whereof he speaks. He has presided over NED since its beginning, overseeing the Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003), the Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004), the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (2005), the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005), the Green Revolution in Iran (2009), and now Ukraine once again. It’s as if the Cold War never ended.

The current unbridled animosity of the American media toward Putin also reflects an old practice. The United States is so accustomed to world leaders holding their tongue and not voicing criticism of Washington’s policies appropriate to the criminality of those policies, that when a Vladimir Putin comes along and expresses even a relatively mild condemnation he is labeled Public Enemy Number One and his words are accordingly ridiculed or ignored.

On March 2 US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” in Ukraine (Crimea) and threatened economic sanctions. “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text.”

Iraq was in the 21st century. Senator John Kerry voted for it. Hypocrisy of this magnitude has to be respected.

POSTSCRIPT:

Ukraine’s interim prime minister announced March 7 that he has invited the NATO Council to hold a meeting in Kiev over the recent developments in the country. “I invited the North Atlantic Council to visit Kiev and hold a meeting there,” Arseny Yatsenyuk said during a visit to Brussels, where he met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and EU officials. “We believe that it will strengthen our cooperation.”

Notes

  1. Guardian Weekly (London), June 27, 2001
  2. RT television (RT.com, Moscow/Washington, DC), March 1, 2014
  3. Deputy Mikhail Golovko, RT, March 1, 2014
  4. RT, March 5, 2014, “The EU’s Ukraine policy and moral bankruptcy”; the phone conversation is believed to have taken place February 26.
  5. NED 2012 Annual Report
  6. Washington Post, September 22, 1991
  7. Victoria Nuland, speaking at the National Press Club, Washington, DC, December 13, 2013
  8. Washington Post, September 26, 2013
  9. “Face the Nation”, CBS, March 2, 2014

The Rutgers University Faculty Council has approved a resolution calling upon the university’s Board of Governors to rescind its invitation to Condoleezza Rice to speak at commencement.

It was just last month when the board unanimously picked Rice to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and serve as its principal commencement speaker for the upcoming graduation ceremonies. Rice, who was George W. Bush’s second Secretary of State, will also be paid $35,000 for her efforts.

But the faculty council’s resolution has thrown a sizable wrench into the university’s graduation gears, plans and festivities. It has reminded us all of Rice’s distasteful war record, including her misleading of the public about the ill-advised and costly Iraq war. Recall her dire warnings against Saddam Hussein’s soon-to-come “mushroom cloud” which would destroy us all?

“Condoleezza Rice … played a prominent role in (the Bush) administration’s effort to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction,” according to the resolution. And she “at the very least condoned the Bush administration’s policy of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ such as water boarding,” the resolution read.

The professors were just warming up, though:

“A Commencement speaker… should embody moral authority and exemplary citizenship,” it continued, and “an honorary Doctor of Laws degree should not honor someone who participated in a political effort to circumvent the law.”

Ouch!

As might be expected, the professors are not alone in their opposition to Rice’s presence on campus. Several petitions are circulating among students as well.

“I’m a member of the faculty council and this seemed the right forum to raise the concern,” said Robert Boikess, a Chemistry professor who actually introduced the resolution. “Many students are very concerned as well.”

Rudolph Bell is a professor of history, and was willing to cut Rice at least a little slack: Rice would be welcome to speak on campus at any event other than graduation, because “…the person invited for the graduation, which is supposed to inspire graduating seniors, that is a different kind of setting,” he said. “Academic freedom doesn’t guarantee the right to be a speaker or receive an honorary degree.”

A spokeswoman for Rice declined to comment.

French professor Francois pointed to the “political” nature of this pick. “It seemed to me that this was a heavily political decision that had little to do with interest of our graduating students,” he said. “She was intimately involved in a campaign that was a manipulation. Whether she was aware of it or not. Our students are being manipulated to deliver a political point.”

At this writing, the university is not backing down. Rutgers spokesman Greg Trevor said that Board of Governors selection of Rice was “unanimously approved” on Feb. 4, and that:

“Dr. Rice is a highly accomplished and respected diplomat, scholar and author, and we are excited that she has agreed to address our graduates and guests at Commencement,” Trevor said.

Rutgers’ student newspaper published a letter from Lawrence Michael Ladutke, an alumnus, who was critical of the school’s choice as well: “Honoring such a dishonorable person is disgusting because doing so honors the inhumane and unconstitutional actions Rice carried out,” Ladutke wrote. “My face is red, and not with scarlet pride. Rather it is red from embarrassment and anger.”

Rice is no stranger to this kind of controversy, however. Back in 2006, while still in office, she gave the commencement address at Boston College. A large number of students and faculty stood and turned their backs to her throughout her address.

And as recently as 2012, she gave the commencement address at Southern Methodist University, home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. No back-turning occurred at that event, however.

Opinion

One of then-Sen. Barack Obama’s first votes in the Senate was in favor of the confirmation of Rice as secretary of state. I knew then that Obama was not all he was cracked up to be.

Recall that he campaigned vigorously for the Senate (and later for the presidency) as a staunch opponent of “Bush’s war.”

Folks in Chicago were left scratching our heads wondering how could he possibly vote to confirm Bush’s national security adviser as secretary of state?

Turns out that that was one of his less controversial betrayals of everything he ran and stood for.

My unsolicited advice, then, to the students and faculty of Rutgers is this: Yes, Rice is “free” to speak in the name of both “free speech” and “academic freedom.” But do not simply follow Boston College’s example by turning your backs on Rice. Actually get up and march out of the ceremony en masse if she dares to show her face.

There are rumored to be arrest warrants waiting for her, Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney – the whole damn crew – should they ever venture beyond the borders of the US.

References

http://crooksandliars.com/2014/02/rutgers-faculty-denounce-selection?utm_source=Crooks+and+Liars+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=e250f8fcbd-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d4904be7bc-e250f8fcbd-326965005

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CC8QqQIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nj.com%2Feducation%2F2014%2F02%2Frutgers_faculty_publicly_denounce_selection_of_condoleezza_rice_as_commencement_speaker.html&ei=F10TU7CiEuGfyQHOx4C4DQ&usg=AFQjCNHUDUaPzUBkEx-FwvWnuFdu3R8d2A&sig2=_jWnBaJvqci8lQ3nzsFI9g&amp;bvm=bv.62286460,d.aWc

http://www.nj.com/education/2014/02/condoleezza_rice_named_rutgers_commencement_speaker.html

http://freakoutnation.com/2014/03/01/rutgers-faculty-denounce-selection-of-condoleezza-rice-as-commencement-speaker/

http://commencement.rutgers.edu/2014-commencement-speaker

http://wyblog.us/blog/education/rutgers-faculty-h8-condi-rice.html

http://liberalplanet.com/2014/03/01/rutgers-faculty-denounce-selection-of-condoleezza-rice-as-commencement-speaker/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condoleezza_Rice

Herbert Dyer, Jr. is based in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.

The hypocrisy that is part and parcel of US foreign policy throughout the globe has never been more glaring and blatant than now being demonstrated in Ukraine. Rather than succumb to the propaganda-disinformation blitz that it is Russia acting as the bad guy-oppressor, a slightly deeper examination of recent behind-the-scenes events in Ukraine would clearly indicate the opposite.

Since November it was the US and NATO forces in the form of a US State Department cover that launched an all out assault on the democratically elected Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych and his government.

That now infamous statement made by profanity-carping Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland obscured what otherwise was a transparently intended plan for the coup that was attained in February when armed US backed demonstrators and mercenaries began shooting and killing dozens of Ukrainian citizens in its capitol Kiev that then drove the Ukraine President fleeing his country to seek refuge in Moscow. While the Putin and Yanukovych governments are clearly not saints, the US government that carries on the charade of being so exceptionally virtuous and benevolent is even more clearly anything but.

What historically used to be the not so covert actions of the CIA and joint CIA-military operations throughout the world assassinating and triggering countless government overthrows and regime changes has undergone a not so hidden transformational shift to a covertly led, increasing US State Department role that funds and relies on Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s) with humanitarian window fronts to do its dirty work, craftily distancing and further obscuring any and all accountability and culpability in the growing destabilization of nations around the globe.

This shadowy transformation of US foreign policy has mirrored the development in recent decades of a slithering shadow elite that has formed a loose and informal neocon network of various linked organizations such as think tanks, NGO’s, private corporate sponsors and lobbyists acting as no bid contractors, university research grants, and various intertwined government and mainstream media organizations all designed to seal the cloak of secrecy and deception that permit the oligarchic global cabal to tighten its control, effectively conceal both its overt and covert misdeeds along with its enormous money laundering scam operation from all public scrutiny and accountability.

In recent months five billion dollars at taxpayers expense were invested and poured into Ukraine to topple the government to in effect, install and buy the current puppet regime. The systematically aggressive deployment of a widespread and pervasive strategy to turn every former outer Soviet nation-state against Moscow has been underway ever since the breakup of the Soviet Empire in 1991. One by one all the nations that comprised the former Iron Curtain are now solidly aligned with NATO, the European Union and the US-Western alliance complete with its ongoing schedule of anti-missile defense deployments providing the missile shield directly aimed at Russia along its border. Of course this has Russia reacting with its own missile shield deployment in what has once again ushered in a renewed arms race.

The intended US foreign policy in Eurasia is to cut off Russia from the rest of Europe and all its Central Asian neighbors, thereby weakening Russia’s geopolitical influence and economic power in the region. Once the US has Ukraine in its back pocket which of course this recent coup effectively secures, the gas pipelines that drive Europe’s dependency on Russia to supply 90% of its natural gas will quickly be eliminated and instead the oil and gas rich Ukraine can then be “groomed” as Europe’s new main supplier. So all that protesting since November in Ukraine calling for closer democratic ties to the West was a mere propagandist ploy designed to appear as though it was actually another impromptu, so called populist movement uprising (not unlike the other fake Arab spring neo-con job) ostensibly demanding more democratic freedom and civil liberties, sadly the very same rapidly disappearing freedom and liberties since 9/11 that have been usurped by US government tyranny and oppression in the militarized police state that has now come to firmly roost here in America.

Like a caged animal that for years has been backed into the corner and repeatedly prodded, Russia’s President Putin finally reacted in self-defense to this ever so thinly veiled US assault on his nation by invading Crimea, the part of Ukraine made up nearly entirely of fellow ethnic Russians under the guise of protecting his own people. But in actuality Putin’s so called defiantly offensive move into the Ukraine was a mere reactive gesture out of desperation directly caused by the rising US Empire hegemony and its imposing global, across-the-boards military, geo-political and economic dominance, purposefully designed to severely undercut and weaken Russia’s regional power and influence. In effect, it was Putin acting in self-defense in the face of the US’s full frontal assault on his nation. Yet predictably America is now gleefully leading the charge in its sanctimonious and self-righteous condemnation to impose immediate sanctions in order to swiftly punish Russia for its feeble, desperate attempt to defend itself from the US-led onslaught.

Meanwhile, under the radar it is the United States that has been the insidious and aggressive attacker of sovereign nations around the world, not Russia. It is the United States that has military occupiers waging covert wars in 134 nations around the world, not Russia. It is the United States that possesses over a thousand active military installations around the world on every inhabitable continent, not Russia. It is the United States that has made the world far more armed and dangerous today than any prior time in human history, supplying near twice as much arms including weapons of mass destruction to the rest of the world, not its next distant competitor Russia.

It is the United States that spends more money on its military than the rest of the world combined, not Russia. It is the United States that has murdered thirty million human beings waging nonstop wars around the world ever since World War II, not Russia. In actuality it is the American Empire that is the true enemy of the world, not Russia. Psychopathic lies of deception that constantly twist and distort the true reality are currently being used once again to maliciously demonize the US Empire’s next biggest foe Russia.

It is the covert manipulation of the United States that is center stage aggressively pushing the buttons and pulling the strings behind the Oz-like curtain, ready to be exposed as the true instigator of the resurging cold war now boiling over. But the pathology of US lies consistently used to cover up the systematic raping and plundering of this earth is about to be exposed for all the world to see like never before, and that it in fact is the United States that is the true world bully, serial nation-killer, serial mass murderer and brutal enemy of the rest of the world.

Photo: Debo Adegbile (left) Mumia Abu-Jamal (right).

Seven Senate Democrats voted against the nomination of Debo Adegbile to lead the civil rights division of the Department of Justice on Wednesday, defeating his appointment.

The seven Democrats rejected the nomination because Adegbile served as the litigation director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund when the organization legally represented political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal in a 2011 appeal from the death penalty.

The move is a clear signal that admission into the highest echelons of the American government is available only to those who have no connection whatsoever to any effort to defend the democratic rights of the population of the United States.

Abu-Jamal, a former leader of the Black Panther Party in Philadelphia and an advocate against widespread police brutality, was convicted over 30 years ago for the 1982 killing of police officer Daniel Faulkner. Abu-Jamal was kept on death row for decades despite significant evidence of his innocence.

Since the trial, prosecution witnesses have admitted that they were coerced by police under threat of death into testifying against the defendant. Moreover, a man named Arnold Beverly signed an affidavit admitting that he himself had been ordered by crooked police officers to kill Faulkner. In a blatantly illegal move, the prosecution also withheld exculpatory evidence, including the results of Faulkner’s autopsy, which showed that the policeman was shot by a .44 caliber weapon. Abu-Jamal’s .38 could therefore not have been the murder weapon.

In 2011, the Third US Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that state prosecutors conduct a new sentencing hearing for Abu-Jamal on the grounds that the manner in which the death sentencing instructions were given to jury members was unconstitutional. According to the Third Circuit, the judge in Abu-Jamal’s trial unconstitutionally rammed through the death penalty sentence without properly considering whether there were any mitigating circumstances that should have been considered.

State prosecutors ultimately backed away from their threats to defend the death penalty in renewed sentencing hearings, ending the threat of Abu-Jamal’s execution. He remains in prison, serving life without parole.

It was the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, led at the time by Adegbile, which argued the case before the Third Circuit. Even then, Adegbile’s involvement in the case was attenuated at best. The NAACP only became involved in Abu-Jamal’s legal defense in 2006, when it challenged efforts by the prosecution to remove black members of the jury. Even after filing “friend of the court” briefs periodically, the NAACP only became directly involved in 2011. At no point was Adegbile part of the legal team that prepared the case on appeal.

Yet simply for belonging to an organization that attempted to reduce a political prisoner’s sentence from death to life imprisonment on clear constitutional grounds, Adegbile has been barred from heading the Department of Justice’s civil rights division.

It should go without saying that, given he was selected for the position by President Obama, the former NAACP lawyer is far from a political radical. And if the Senate had approved his nomination, Adegbile would simply have become another cog in the machinery of the capitalist state, working under the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder, the defender of a presidential “right” to assassinate any American citizen, using drone-fired missiles, without trial or any other form of judicial review.

This makes the Senate action all the more extraordinary. This vote to punish a lawyer for his legal representation of political prisoners underscores the deeply anti-democratic character of the American ruling elite. By the logic of this action, those accused of offenses against the state should be denied legal representation, or even trials of any kind, and railroaded straight to prison.

In other words, the type of “justice” being meted out to detainees at Guantanamo Bay should become the norm for all those who run afoul of the American police apparatus.

The contempt with which the American political establishment view democratic rights is expressed in the comments of those senators who voted against Adegbile’s nomination. They are particularly incensed because of Abu-Jamal’s unwavering stance that he is innocent and the victim of a frame-up.

Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware defended his “no” vote with the statement that “the decades-long public campaign by others to elevate a heinous, coldblooded killer to the status of a political prisoner and folk hero has caused tremendous pain to the widow of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner and shown great disrespect for law enforcement officers and families throughout our region.”

Senator Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said that Adegbile had “inserted his office in an effort to turn reality on its head, impugn honorable and selfless law enforcement officers, and glorify an unrepentant cop-killer. This is not required by our legal system. On the contrary, it is noxious to it.”

Contrary to the proclamations of McConnell (himself a lawyer), the protection of criminal defendants from being put to death by the state when there are serious questions as to their innocence is unquestionably required by the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments of the Constitution. That the government’s highest ranking political figures can state point-blank that such a right does not exist underscores the reality that the Constitution is a dead letter to the political representatives of the financial aristocracy.

The US economy added 175,000 jobs in February; barely enough to keep up with population growth, according to figures released Friday by the Department of Labor. The ranks of the long-term unemployed, those who have been out of work for more than 27 weeks, grew by 203,000, hitting 3.8 million.

Thirty-seven percent of unemployed people have now been out of work for six months or more. Before the 2008 crash, the long-term unemployed never amounted to more than 26 percent of the total jobless, while the total number of long-term unemployed was one-third its present level. The mean duration of unemployment currently stands at 35.4 weeks, up from 16.9 weeks in 2006.

The continued growth in the number of long-term unemployed comes after Congress and the White House cut off emergency federal jobless benefits at the end of last year for 1.3 million people. The number of unemployed workers denied benefits has since increased by 576,000, bringing the total to nearly 2 million. Counting the family members in these households, those affected could number as high as 6 million.

The latest report follows two months of dismal jobs reports. Job growth in December and January was the worst for any two-month period since 2010, and well below the already tepid monthly average of 160,000 from January through November of last year. The US economy created 129,000 jobs in January, and followed December’s increase of 75,000.

The total number of unemployed hit 10.5 million in February, up 223,000 over the previous month, and up from 6.8 million in 2007, according to Friday’s report.

February’s jobs figure was “well below the 200,000 to 300,000 jobs a month that a robust jobs recovery would have generated,” said Chad Stone, chief economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

There are now 651,000 fewer jobs than there were before the recession, even though the working-age population has grown by about 8 million during that time. Friday’s jobs report noted that the labor force participation rate is down by 0.5 percent from a year ago and is down by about 3.5 percentage points since 2007.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, 5.66 million “missing workers” have dropped out of the labor force over the past five years for economic, not demographic, reasons. If these missing workers were counted as unemployed, the unemployment rate would be 10 percent.

A large section of the jobs added in February were low skilled and low wage, such as food service workers and home health aides. Professional and business services added 79,000 jobs, a significant portion of which (24,000) came from temporary employment.

The food service sector added 21,000 jobs. The typical food preparation worker receives $9.18 per hour, or $19,100 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Private education and health services added 18,200 jobs, including 6,900 in home health care services, mostly consisting of home health care aides, who have a median pay of $9.70 per hour.

The number of federal government jobs fell by 6,000 in February, although the reduction was partially offset by increases in the number of state and local government jobs. Since February 2010, 617,000 government jobs have been eliminated, led by a reduction of 392,000 in local government.

February’s tepid jobs report comes amid a string of layoff announcements. Earlier this month, IBM began its planned series of layoffs that could entail the elimination of up to 15,000 workers, according to media reports. This will be on top of last year’s layoffs, in which some 3,000 workers lost their jobs.

This week, electronics retailer RadioShack announced that it would close over a thousand stores after worse than expected holiday sales, while Staples Inc., the office supply chain, announced plans to close 225 stores by the end of 2014.

Amid the staggering growth in the number of long-term unemployed, the media has dropped the issue of extended jobless benefits, with next to no coverage of the impact of the ending of the program.

The cutoff of emergency jobless aid is only the latest in a series of sweeping attacks on bedrock antipoverty programs. On November 1, food stamps were slashed by $11 billion, leading to benefit reductions for 46 million people. In January, Congress voted to slash an additional $8.7 billion from food stamps. Thus, millions of long-term unemployed workers are not only being cut off from cash assistance, but are also being hit with reductions in food aid.

Everyone says that they hate war, and most people really do, yet war has always been a part of human life. Nearly all societies throughout history have engaged in some form of warfare. And for as long as there has been war there have been good people trying to end it. Unfortunately, despite minor successes lasting peace has been a dream that has been impossible to realize. That dream has not died, however, and people continue the fight to end all war. A recent example is the new campaign called World Beyond War (WBW).

At the WBW website, the organizers call for new ideas and ask for feedback on the strategies outlined there. The group’s approach to ending war calls for “defeating the propaganda of war promoters and countering the economic interests of war promoters with alternative economic possibilities.” Furthermore, WBW stresses the need for “a combination of disarmament and investment alternatives.” This means that nations must disarm, stop selling arms, and negotiate disarmament agreements.

How to accomplish such things is the problem. The disarmament ideas would require governments to dramatically change course but the governments are often led by the “war promoters.” Changing the governments in any substantial way would necessitate a dramatic change in the mindset of most citizens. Similarly, although there are theoretical ways to counter the economic interests of war promoters, such as coordinating the purchasing and tax-paying decisions of citizens en masse, organizing for it would require unprecedented changes in public opinion. The arguments of the past won’t make that happen.

Like many others, I believe that unprecedented changes in public opinion can be achieved by taking a more courageous and committed approach to one of WBW’s key objectives. That objective is to “communicate the facts about war and discard the myths.” It takes courage to really examine the facts and myths about how wars begin and how they are maintained because most of us—even people who see themselves as peace activists—play a part in that process.

How do wars start, for what reasons, and by what mechanisms? To answer these important questions it might help to begin by dispelling several powerful myths about the origins of war.

Wars are often mistakenly seen as disputes based primarily on the differences between religions. But a closer examination of individual conflicts shows that this is not true. Sometimes differences in religion are emphasized by war promoters as a means of dividing the people and pitting them against each other. But war is not ever fundamentally about religion. The Arab-Israeli conflict, for example, began as a political and nationalist land grab following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Only later did various arguments about who might be God’s “chosen people” play a part. Similarly, the 350-year long conflict in Ireland never had much to do with the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. Although Oliver Cromwell was a Puritan, he was sent purely for the purpose of seizing the land.

War is also not about vengeance. It’s true that some people have been known to spend years seeking vengeance in small-scale acts of violence. The Apache chief Geronimo is an example as described in his memoirs. He spent decades killing Mexicans in guerrilla raids because of the murder of his wife and children in a place now called Arizona. But Geronimo and his small band of fighters ultimately fought, as did most Native Americans, simply to keep their land.

To be clear, war is not about religion or vengeance—it’s about the land and its resources.

The beginnings of every war can be traced back to efforts by a powerful few to control land and its strategic benefits. This fact is most easily seen in the wars that have been fought by the United States, the country that WBW hopes to focus on first. Whether it was for trade routes, or bases to establish military presence, or some other corporate access, all of the wars in which the U.S. has engaged have been about securing strategic property.

War ButtonThe ability to start and perpetuate large-scale war depends on the ability of the few to manipulate the emotional state of the masses. An old saying is that “truth is the first casualty of war” but that is misleading. War is born of deception and is manufactured for the benefit of the wealthy few. It is supported by people who gain through the military-industrial complex, and it is sold to everyone else through more deception.

The lies used to start and maintain wars are based on manipulating the natural mechanisms by which individuals protect their self-image. The most common form of this trickery was described by the founder of the Nazi Gestapo, Hermann Göring, who said “Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? [But] the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

Göring and his cohorts used that very mechanism of deception to bring the Nazis to power in 1933 via the Reichstag Fire. The result was World War II and 60 million people dead. Since that time, the wars in which the U.S. has engaged have been initiated through the same kinds of lies. The U.S. military was committed to the Vietnam War as a result of a false claim about an attack in the Gulf of Tonkin. And the 1991 Gulf War was started by way of false testimony from a Kuwaiti girl who claimed that Iraqi troops were killing babies. Dick Cheney then falsely claimed that satellite photos showed Iraqi troops massing at the Saudi border. The cooperation of the American public and the Saudis followed quickly thereafter.

How are wars started? By telling the people that they are being attacked and by inventing outrageous claims that demonize the intended enemy. You know, the terrorists are out to get us. They want to steal our freedoms. They are a dark people with inhuman culture and violent religion. We’ll never know where they will strike next.

Once started, wars are perpetuated through propaganda that manipulates the public’s sense of patriotism. Whoever doesn’t support the war is accused of not supporting the troops. Whoever reveals anything truthful about the situation is accused of putting the country at risk, or of being a conspiracy theorist.

By recognizing what is happening we can understand how to eliminate war. The first and most important step is the same as for solving any other challenge. It is to realize the problem. As Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “All warfare is based on deception.” Therefore war can only be ended by realizing and managing the mechanisms by which we are deceived. How do we realize when mass-deception has occurred? We can understand it academically or by rationalizing but it is only a gut wrenching here-and-now realization that can move us to do anything about it. Emotions are what drive people to do something.

This leads directly to the war-ending idea that has been ignored by many peace activists for the last 13 years. It’s an idea that has been shared by many others, including over one third of the American public according to a 2006 Scripps Howard poll. We don’t know what happened on September 11, 2001 and many people understand that fact. But it is overwhelmingly clear to anyone who examines the evidence that the accused 19 young men could not have accomplished most of what happened. And it’s clear that the 9/11 events and government responses followed the pattern of a war-initiating deception.

Those facts lead people to a catastrophic and catalyzing realization. The crimes of 9/11 represent the greatest war-generating scam of our lifetime. What a great opportunity to begin solving the problem of war!  If we have the courage to re-evaluate our understanding of that seminal event, we might still have the chance to leverage the resulting emotional power to drive the changes needed.

We can defeat the propaganda of war promoters and counter their economic interests with peace-promoting possibilities. We can disarm, stop selling arms, and negotiate disarmament agreements. We can do all these things now if we are willing to recognize and overcome the ego-based deceptions behind war. To do so we need to be willing to face the problem fundamentally and get out of our comfort zones. The good news is that 9/11 provides a real opportunity to do that and we still have time.

Everyone says that they hate war, and most people really do, yet war has always been a part of human life. Nearly all societies throughout history have engaged in some form of warfare. And for as long as there has been war there have been good people trying to end it. Unfortunately, despite minor successes lasting peace has been a dream that has been impossible to realize. That dream has not died, however, and people continue the fight to end all war. A recent example is the new campaign called World Beyond War (WBW).

At the WBW website, the organizers call for new ideas and ask for feedback on the strategies outlined there. The group’s approach to ending war calls for “defeating the propaganda of war promoters and countering the economic interests of war promoters with alternative economic possibilities.” Furthermore, WBW stresses the need for “a combination of disarmament and investment alternatives.” This means that nations must disarm, stop selling arms, and negotiate disarmament agreements.

How to accomplish such things is the problem. The disarmament ideas would require governments to dramatically change course but the governments are often led by the “war promoters.” Changing the governments in any substantial way would necessitate a dramatic change in the mindset of most citizens. Similarly, although there are theoretical ways to counter the economic interests of war promoters, such as coordinating the purchasing and tax-paying decisions of citizens en masse, organizing for it would require unprecedented changes in public opinion. The arguments of the past won’t make that happen.

Like many others, I believe that unprecedented changes in public opinion can be achieved by taking a more courageous and committed approach to one of WBW’s key objectives. That objective is to “communicate the facts about war and discard the myths.” It takes courage to really examine the facts and myths about how wars begin and how they are maintained because most of us—even people who see themselves as peace activists—play a part in that process.

How do wars start, for what reasons, and by what mechanisms? To answer these important questions it might help to begin by dispelling several powerful myths about the origins of war.

Wars are often mistakenly seen as disputes based primarily on the differences between religions. But a closer examination of individual conflicts shows that this is not true. Sometimes differences in religion are emphasized by war promoters as a means of dividing the people and pitting them against each other. But war is not ever fundamentally about religion. The Arab-Israeli conflict, for example, began as a political and nationalist land grab following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Only later did various arguments about who might be God’s “chosen people” play a part. Similarly, the 350-year long conflict in Ireland never had much to do with the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. Although Oliver Cromwell was a Puritan, he was sent purely for the purpose of seizing the land.

War is also not about vengeance. It’s true that some people have been known to spend years seeking vengeance in small-scale acts of violence. The Apache chief Geronimo is an example as described in his memoirs. He spent decades killing Mexicans in guerrilla raids because of the murder of his wife and children in a place now called Arizona. But Geronimo and his small band of fighters ultimately fought, as did most Native Americans, simply to keep their land.

To be clear, war is not about religion or vengeance—it’s about the land and its resources.

The beginnings of every war can be traced back to efforts by a powerful few to control land and its strategic benefits. This fact is most easily seen in the wars that have been fought by the United States, the country that WBW hopes to focus on first. Whether it was for trade routes, or bases to establish military presence, or some other corporate access, all of the wars in which the U.S. has engaged have been about securing strategic property.

The ability to start and perpetuate large-scale war depends on the ability of the few to manipulate the emotional state of the masses. An old saying is that “truth is the first casualty of war” but that is misleading. War is born of deception and is manufactured for the benefit of the wealthy few. It is supported by people who gain through the military-industrial complex, and it is sold to everyone else through more deception.

The lies used to start and maintain wars are based on manipulating the natural mechanisms by which individuals protect their self-image. The most common form of this trickery was described by the founder of the Nazi Gestapo, Hermann Göring, who said “Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? [But] the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

Göring and his cohorts used that very mechanism of deception to bring the Nazis to power in 1933 via the Reichstag Fire. The result was World War II and 60 million people dead. Since that time, the wars in which the U.S. has engaged have been initiated through the same kinds of lies. The U.S. military was committed to the Vietnam War as a result of a false claim about an attack in the Gulf of Tonkin. And the 1991 Gulf War was started by way of false testimony from a Kuwaiti girl who claimed that Iraqi troops were killing babies. Dick Cheney then falsely claimed that satellite photos showed Iraqi troops massing at the Saudi border. The cooperation of the American public and the Saudis followed quickly thereafter.

How are wars started? By telling the people that they are being attacked and by inventing outrageous claims that demonize the intended enemy. You know, the terrorists are out to get us. They want to steal our freedoms. They are a dark people with inhuman culture and violent religion. We’ll never know where they will strike next.

Once started, wars are perpetuated through propaganda that manipulates the public’s sense of patriotism. Whoever doesn’t support the war is accused of not supporting the troops. Whoever reveals anything truthful about the situation is accused of putting the country at risk, or of being a conspiracy theorist.

By recognizing what is happening we can understand how to eliminate war. The first and most important step is the same as for solving any other challenge. It is to realize the problem. As Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “All warfare is based on deception.” Therefore war can only be ended by realizing and managing the mechanisms by which we are deceived. How do we realize when mass-deception has occurred? We can understand it academically or by rationalizing but it is only a gut wrenching here-and-now realization that can move us to do anything about it. Emotions are what drive people to do something.

This leads directly to the war-ending idea that has been ignored by many peace activists for the last 13 years. It’s an idea that has been shared by many others, including over one third of the American public according to a 2006 Scripps Howard poll. We don’t know what happened on September 11, 2001 and many people understand that fact. But it is overwhelmingly clear to anyone who examines the evidence that the accused 19 young men could not have accomplished most of what happened. And it’s clear that the 9/11 events and government responses followed the pattern of a war-initiating deception.

Those facts lead people to a catastrophic and catalyzing realization. The crimes of 9/11 represent the greatest war-generating scam of our lifetime. What a great opportunity to begin solving the problem of war!  If we have the courage to re-evaluate our understanding of that seminal event, we might still have the chance to leverage the resulting emotional power to drive the changes needed.

We can defeat the propaganda of war promoters and counter their economic interests with peace-promoting initiatives like mass purchasing decisions and tax resistance. We can disarm, stop selling arms, and negotiate disarmament agreements. We can do all these things if we are all willing to recognize and overcome the ego-based deceptions behind war. To do so we need to face the problem fundamentally and get out of our comfort zones. The good news is that 9/11 provides a real opportunity to do that and we still have time.

The recent firing of scholar and activist Dr. Anthony Monteiro from Temple University is unquestionably a politically motivated and racist assault on a world-renowned professor and community leader. However, it is equally an attack upon the very foundation of higher education and the place of Black people, Black politics, and Black communities within it.

Dr. Monteiro, internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on W.E.B. DuBois and the Black left radical tradition, has been a fixture on the campus of Temple University in Philadelphia for more than a decade. His lectures, publications, annual W.E.B. DuBois symposia, community engagement, leadership in the movement to free Mumia Abu Jamal, and other activism have made him an indispensable figure at Temple University, in Philadelphia, and in the Black scholarly community more generally. So, the question then becomes…why was his contract terminated?

The Real Story

The events which led to the dismissal or, as Temple University Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Teresa Soufas lovingly refers to it, his “non-renewal,” have their roots in the struggle over the Chair of the African-American Studies department. In 2012, Soufas attempted to assert her control over the historic African-American Studies program (the first in the country to offer a PhD in Black Studies), by appointing her colleague and ideological ally Dr. Jayne Drake as interim Chair of the program. Dr. Drake, a white professor of American literature, was installed over the vociferous objections of many in the department and the campus community – objections voiced perhaps most strongly by Dr. Monteiro.

Monteiro supported Dr. Kariamu Welsh, a tenured professor from the Dance department of the Boyer College of Music and Dance to chair the department. In the struggle that ensued, Dean Soufas attempted to impose her will on the program with the appointment of Dr. Drake. Monteiro then led numerous demonstrations in collaboration with campus and community groups to unseat Soufas’ viceroy and, instead, reappoint the founder and former Chair of the program Dr. Molefi Asante. Despite initial resistance and continued threats and attacks upon the integrity and character of Dr. Monteiro, Soufas relented and Asante assumed the position of Chair of the department in 2013.

Although the struggle led by Monteiro was ultimately successful, this victory left a bullseye on his back, and it seems that Dean Soufas used the issue of his contract termination as her vengeance. As Dr. Monteiro stated:

This is a retaliatory act and firing for the [protest] we held to get Dr. Molefi Kete Asante as the chair of the [African-American Studies] department over her [Dean Soufas] objections…It’s nothing except her anger…It is her getting back at me for my standing up to her bullying, pointing fingers at Black men, her authoritarian attempt to take over African American Studies and my taking the struggles for the life and integrity of our department to the Black community — those to whom we are ultimately accountable.

When asked about this critical question of the motivation and ultimate responsibility for the decision to not renew the contract of one of the most highly regarded lecturers on campus, the story takes on an added dimension. Dean Soufas seems to imply that the ultimate decision was made by the department Chair Molefi Asante himself, while Dr. Asante asserts that he was merely informed of the Dean’s decision. Dean Soufas stated on the record that there was “no truth whatsoever” to Monteiro’s allegations. However, she also immediately pointed the finger at Dr. Asante who she said ultimately collaborated in the decision not to renew Monteiro’s contract.

Soufas explained that:

All decisions about the renewal of contracts of non-tenure-track faculty members are made jointly by department chairs and the dean’s office[emphasis added]. Often when departments revise their curricula, it is necessary to change faculty resources in the non-tenure-track ranks to match the new course directions. Dr. Asante, the chairman of African-American Studies, is making some exciting curriculum changes in the department and wanted different fields of study to be covered by instructors.

Of course, in response to the accusation that Asante himself made the decision, Dr. Asante replied that:

The dean writes the letter when she wants to write a letter about anybody in the department…Did she consult with me to tell me what she was going to do? Yes, she did. I didn’t provide any guidance at all. My position is he has a year-to-year contract and it’s up to the dean… [I am] not worried about [Monteiro’s contract not being renewed] because it is year-to-year…there are scores of African-American people who could help us build this program. The thing you can’t worry about … if somebody signs a [year-to-year] contract and then get upset when someone says your year is up.

At best, Asante shows a complete disregard and utter betrayal of a colleague who, just a year earlier, led the charge to have him reappointed to a prominent position. At worst, Asante actively participated in the decision to terminate Dr. Monteiro, demonstrating an insidious willingness to collaborate with a vindictive attack upon a colleague in the interest of pleasing those in positions of power. In his statement, Asante implies that Monteiro could easily be replaced by “scores” of other African-American scholars. Such a statement should be correctly understood as a personal insult not only to Monteiro, but to the thousands of undergraduate and graduate students at Temple who have studied under him, as well as the countless Philadelphia residents who have benefitted from his activism and engagement with the community.

Why Monteiro Matters

Dr. Monteiro, or Tony as his friends refer to him, is an absolutely essential figure for Temple University, Philadelphia, and the Black community as a whole. As a scholar and educator, he is world-renowned. He established the annual W.E.B. DuBois symposium to bring together scholars and activists from all over the world to not only celebrate DuBois’s great contributions to the fields of sociology, anthropology, political philosophy, and race theory, but also to engage communities in an understanding of DuBois’s relevance today. It is this connection between “the Academy” and the lives of working people, the poor and the otherwise marginalized that truly illustrates what Tony is about.

Tony goes further, leading the “Saturday Free School” which brought members of the community of North Philadelphia and surrounding areas onto the campus of the university – a grave sin in the eyes of the white establishment, investors, and real estate developer “philanthropists” – to truly incorporate the black community into the campus culture. He has worked tirelessly to bring together organized labor, community groups, political associations and others in order to build coalitions that could represent the interests of working people in and around Philadelphia and resist the continued privatization, gentrification, and liquidation of the poor and disadvantaged communities.

Tony is one of the principal organizers of Educators for Mumia Abu Jamal, a coalition of scholars and academics who continue to wage a tireless campaign to free the revolutionary activist, journalist, and leader Mumia Abu Jamal, as well as all other political prisoners languishing in the Great American Gulag. The movement that Tony helped build has grown throughout the US and internationally, with Monteiro as one of its key figures. Mumia himself, in speaking from prison about Dr. Monteiro, noted that, “Dr. Anthony Monteiro is a name known among scholars, among activists, among sociologists, and among the people of Philadelphia. A brilliant and incisive teacher and thinker, Dr. Monteiro is a scholar’s scholar.”

Monteiro has published over one hundred articles and essays in a wide variety of journals and publications, engaging wide-ranging fields of study including sociology, critical theory, African and African-American studies, and a host of other disciplines. He is the most cited scholar in his department, and one of the most cited DuBois scholars in the world. His work has received acclaim from academics the world over. For these reasons, he is respected by some of the most prominent scholars and public intellectuals in the United States, including Dr. Cornel West who, in support of Tony stated that Monteiro is, “one of our grand intellectual freedom fighters who works in the tradition of W.E.B. DuBois and C.L.R. James. I’m in his corner 120 percent…I’m so glad to see both his students, as well as the community, rise up and support Dr. Monteiro.”

One would think that with world famous intellectuals such as Cornel West and Mumia Abu Jamal, among many others, speaking on his behalf, there would be no question that Monteiro would be secure in his position, with tenure, and the respect afforded to a public intellectual of his stature. However, that is not the case. The question is why?

The Neoliberal Purge of Black Radicalism in Academia

The treatment of Dr. Monteiro by Asante and Soufas is worrying in and of itself. However, even more troubling is the fact that it represents a continuing trend within academia and, specifically, within the Black academic community. It would seem that the “Age of Obama” has done wonders to make some corners of the Black academic community feel as if, contrary to their previous status as outsiders who felt it their responsibility to challenge the power structure and agitate for radical progressive change, today there is a growing sense of participation in power.

No doubt, this is one of the deleterious effects of the Obama presidency where many white and black liberal scholars have felt it their responsibility to close ranks behind the President and, in so doing, transform the radical tradition itself. In discussing precisely this development Glen Ford, the renowned political commentator and Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report, explained in the context of Angela Davis’s support of Obama that:

The “delusional effect” that swept Black America with the advent of the First Black President has warped and weakened the mental powers of some of our most revered icons – and it has been painful to behold…Angela Davis diminished herself as a scholar and thinker in a gush of nonsense about the corporate executive in the White House…She called [his] campaign a ‘victory, not of an individual, but of…people who refused to believe that it was impossible to elect a person, a Black person, who identified with the Black radical tradition’… Angela Davis was saying that Barack Obama is a man who identifies with the Black radical tradition. She said it casually, as if Black radicalism and Obama were not antithetical terms; as if everything he has written, said and done in national politics has not been a repudiation of the Black radical tradition.

Ford correctly notes the feeling of betrayal by icons of the Black radical movement willingly deluding themselves into believing that the ruling class has suddenly transformed itself, that the black radical tradition, rather than being in opposition to Obama and the neoliberal order, is now a part of it. For Angela Davis, an icon of the liberation struggle and black academia, to spout this narrative, is indicative of the transformation currently underway – a transformation to sanitize the radical tradition and to annex it to the power structure, with Obama as the catalyst.

This same delusional thinking can be seen in the historical revisionism of Manning Marable in his book Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention in which Marable, a respected black scholar and author, essentially argued that Obama is the natural inheritor of the tradition of Malcolm X and of black radicalism. However, thankfully not all agree with such absurd revisionism. Noted author and lecturer Jared Ball wrote in his book A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X that Marable’s book, “is a corporate product, a simple commodity to be traded, but for more than money; it is a carefully constructed ideological assault on history, on radical politics, on historical and cultural memory, on the very idea of revolution.” Ball essentially argues that Marable, like Angela Davis, purges the radicalism from black radicalism in order to fit it within the narrative of contemporary political discourse, namely the discourse of power, the discourse of inclusion within the ruling class.

Davis and Marable (before his death), along with Molefi Asante, represent not only a betrayal of the radical tradition and a selling out to, and collusion with, neoliberal capitalism in the “Age of Obama”, they have made themselves into the arbiters of “acceptable discourse” within black academia. And it is precisely this acceptable discourse that Dr. Anthony Monteiro rejects. And it is for precisely this reason that Asante has spoken of “scores of African-Americans” who can take his place. Indeed, there are scores of African-American scholars willing and able to supplicate to corporate power and the de-radicalization of the radical tradition.

But not Monteiro. Rather than submit and cooperate, he continues to challenge power, whether it is the derisive wag of Dean Soufas’ white finger, or the limitless greed and racism of the white establishment and its black collaborators. He opposes them both with vigor, with fervor, and with uncompromising ethical and moral courage. He upholds the tradition of W.E.B. Dubois, and lives his principles. This is why he has been attacked. And this is why he must be supported.

Visit “Justice for Dr. Anthony Monteiro” on Facebook to see how you can get involved. If you are an educator, please contact [email protected] or [email protected] to sign the petition to reinstate Dr. Monteiro.

Join Dr. Monteiro and members of the community to show your support at a meeting of Temple University’s Board of Trustees meeting:

 

Monday March 10th, 2014 at 2pm.

Sullivan Hall

1330 Polett Walk

Philadelphia, PA 19122

 

Eric Draitser is the founder of StopImperialism.com. He is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. You can reach him at [email protected].

 

Once again, the Oscars dominated headlines on US television networks as well for the last 86 Years. ‘12 Years a Slave’ based on the book by Solomon Northup won the 2014 Oscar for best picture of the year tells the story of how slaves of African ancestry were treated by its white owners. Host of the Oscars Ellen DeGeneres said “Tonight, there are so many different possibilities. Possibility number one: 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture. Possibility number two: You’re all racists! Now, for our first white presenter, Anne Hathaway!”

That was funny, especially coming out of Hollywood. Racial politics seems to be the norm in the United States especially if you listen to the main stream media and its new propagandist, the Reverend Al Sharpton on MSNBC. An analysis by the Washington Free Beacon said that “MSNBC host Al Sharpton mentioned race in some capacity a total of 314 times on Politics Nation in 2013.”

Race is often used by the media to divide and conquer people at least in the United States especially between black and white. But the fact remains that there were millions of Africans transported to North and South America have been tortured, murdered, raped and exploited for slave labor.  African-Americans suffered a great deal because of the slave trade, and many still do today.  Many cultures throughout human history have suffered the same fate. Whether black, white, indigenous, Jewish or Irish, human tragedies have taken place. Race and class wars have played a part in many of these crimes against humanity. Sometimes a tyrannical system such as fascism or extreme communism for example, under the leadership of Pol Pot in the 1960’s who imposed slavery on society.

It is not just the human history of one group over another that we should acknowledge it is a systemic problem of our society. Slavery existedthroughout all regions of the world.  Many people were slaves including the Irish, Jews, and many others.  It was and still is a system of the elite class who wish to rule humanity because of their status. Today a modern-day form of slavery exists through debt.

However, there is a piece of history not mentioned in history books or in Hollywood movies. It was called “Anti-Italianism” during the early 20th Century in America. Italian immigrants were seen as the enemy in the United States especially during a time of tensions when it came to employment and the economic hard times. Anti-Italian immigrant movements developed in several areas of the United States in the 20th century. In an interesting article called “Dark Legacy” by David Pacchioli, it describes what filmmaker of Linciati: Lynchings of Italians in America, Heather Hartley discovered during her research:

As she proceeded, however, Hartley’s research turned up another lynching of Italians, then another. “The more I looked, the more I uncovered,” she remembers. Accounts told of lynchings in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Colorado, Kentucky, Illinois, Washington, and New York between the years of 1885 and 1915, some 50 killings in all

Pacchioli’s article explains why the lynching’s in the United States happened to the Italian community:

The most egregious example, in New Orleans, was precipitated by a rivalry between two groups of Italian dockworkers. When the city’s police chief was shot and killed shortly before he was to testify against one of these groups, Italian males in the city were rounded up indiscriminately. The New Orleans Times-Democrat captured the mood: “The little jail was crowded with Sicilians,” the paper reported, “whose low, receding foreheads, repulsive countenances and slovenly attire proclaimed their brutal nature”

Nine Italian men were tried and acquitted of murder. In response, a large mob led by some of the city’s leading citizens stormed the parish prison, shot nine men as they cowered in their cells, then dragged out and hanged two more. It was the largest lynching in American history, and although no one was indicted for the crime, President Benjamin Harrison subsequently paid reparations of $25,000 to the Italian government

In ‘Guns, Goats, And Italians: The Tallulah Lynching of 1899’ by Edward F. Haas of the North Louisiana Historical Association wrote:

Six times in the 1890s Italians fell prey to American mob violence. Three of these tragedies happened in Louisiana. The most famous case resulted from the fatal shooting of New Orleans Police Superintendent, David Hennessy, in October 1890. Before he died, the chief reportedly whispered, “The dagos did it.” Authorities attributed the crime to the Mafia and soon arrested a score of Italians. After a public meeting in downtown New Orleans on March 14, 1891, an angry mob that included numerous prominent citizens descended upon the city jail, and meeting no resistance, systematically shot or clubbed to death, eleven of the Italian prisoners. When an investigation excused the mob’s actions, the Italian government severed diplomatic relations with the United States and briefly contemplated war

What is important to understand is that many different people of society were affected one way or another by a society based on racism and exploitation. It is not just a problem of one or two groups. It is a societal problem that we face as human beings.  Slavery, torture and lynching hangs a dark cloud over all of humanity and understanding our past would allow us to better ourselves as a human race.

Here is an excerpt from a Documentary called “Pane Amaro (Bitter Bread)” about the lynching’s that took place involving Italian immigrants:

Originally published by Global Research on March 31, 2014

The MH 370 Boeing 777 had  advanced “emergency locator equipment” which was emitting signals, which should have facilitated its location.  It was subsequently established that the MH 370 flight had gone Southbound towards the Indian Ocean.

Located in the Indian Ocean, the US Diego Garcia military and intelligence base –described by defense observers as the “best-kept secret in the navy”– has a gamut of advanced observation and detection equipment which should have facilitated the search of the Malaysian airlines plane.

But instead, the US military preferred to remain mum on the subject, as outlined by a carefully documented article by Matthias Chang.

According to Reuters (28th March, 2014, quoted by Matthias Chang):

Ultimately, the only country with the technical resources to recover the plane – or at least its black box recorder, which could lie in water several miles deep – may be the United States. Its deep-sea vehicles ultimately hauled up the wreckage of Air France 447 after its 2009 crash into a remote region of the South Atlantic.

The US has a state of the art spy satellite system, with very precise capabilities of monitoring the earth’s surface, including moving objects. These technologies are part of the United States Space Surveillance Network. The Diego Garcia base “is one of only a handful of locations equipped with a Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance system for tracking objects in deep space”.  Given the levels of sophistication of these observation technologies, it is highly unlikely that the MH370 flight could have travelled unnoticed over a large span of the Indian Ocean.

Another Indian Ocean Disaster: The December 2004 Tsunami

The recent stance of the US military and its failure to act in relation to flight MH 370 bears a canny resemblance to that adopted by Washington in relation to the Indian Ocean tsunami tragedy in December 2004.

Both events pertain to advanced observation and tracking technologies located at Diego Garcia. In both cases the US military remained mum.

In the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami hitting the coastline of Sri Lanka and Thailand on December 26, 2004, “a spokesman for the US national weather service confirmed … that the Hawaii centre, part of America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had alerted the Diego Garcia base. He did not know if American military personnel at the base alerted anyone else in the region to the danger.” (The Guardian, January 6, 2005, emphasis added)

The Weather Service alerts the Military? The presumption was that the people at the Diego Garcia military facility were totally unaware of what was going on and had no information concerning the tsunami and its deadly trajectory. An absurd proposition.

Known and documented, the US military at Diego Garcia had advanced systems which enabled it to monitor in a very precise way the movement of the seismic wave in real time as well as the precise trajectory of the Tsunami. Yet they chose not send out an emergency warning which would have saved hundreds of lives in Thailand,  Sri Lanka, India and Malaysia.

Who informs whom? While the Hawaii Centre had formally notified Washington and the Military at Diego Garcia, the US government already knew, because the seismic data pertaining to the tsunami (transmitted out of the Diego Garcia facility) had been processed within minutes by an agency under the jurisdiction of the US Department of the Interior, namely the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) based in Golden, Colorado.

Metallic Debris on the Ocean Floor

The search for the debris of the Malaysian Boeing 777 and its blackbox has terminated without obtaining relevant evidence on the causes of the accident.

The key question: does the US military know where these debris are?

The Diego Garcia base also has advanced technologies which enable it to undertake detection of metal objects on the Indian Ocean floor. Why are these technologies not being applied?

Articles on the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

Foreknowledge of A Natural Disaster Dec 29, 2004 … … in the Tsunami Warning System, by Michel Chossudovsky … The tsunami swept across the Pacific also causing destruction along the Pacific …

Nine Years Ago, December 26, 2004: Indian Ocean Tsunami. Why …Dec 24, 2013 … … Information Not Get Out? By Prof Michel Chossudovsky … Indian Ocean Tsunami: Why did the Information Not Get Out? This article was first …

Members of Congress and the Obama administration have consistently placed the blame for the violence stemming from protests on the Venezuelan government, while overlooking or ignoring violent incidents by opposition protesters, including the decapitation of motorcycle riders, the burning of government buildings and metro stations, attacks against state media companies, and the killing of individuals seeking to dismantle barricades, including a National Guard officer. Officials have referred instead to “systematic” human rights abuses and government repression, without citing evidence.

Based on these assertions, momentum is building to implement sanctions on members of the Venezuelan government. U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) told the press on Monday that, “There should be sanctions on individuals. … The administration is looking at those.” Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, cited a “high-level” State Department official that she had recently spoken to.

That the administration is considering sanctions comes on the heels of demands from members of congress that the Obama administration go further in its application of pressure on the Venezuelan government. After introducing legislation “supporting the people of Venezuela as they protest peacefully for democracy,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) stated that:

“But this resolution can only be the first step to hold Maduro and his fellow regime thugs accountable for their violent response and their abuses of the Venezuelan people’s liberties and human rights. I have already begun circulating a letter amongst my colleagues in the House, addressed to President Obama, asking him to take immediate actions against Maduro and other Venezuelan officials who are responsible for violations of their people’s human rights. We are calling for the President to enact immediate sanctions against these officials, under authorities granted to him under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), including denying them visas to enter the United States, blocking their property and freezing their assets in the U.S., as well as prohibiting them from making any financial transactions in the U.S.”

Ros-Lehtinen also plans to introduce a bill that would require the administration to take these steps. The moves from the House of Representatives have been echoed in the Senate, where the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have introduced a resolution calling for sanctions. Menendez stated:

“Now is the time to pursue a course of targeted sanctions by denying and revoking visas, and freezing the assets of Venezuelan officials complicit in the deaths of peaceful protestors. Human rights violators should be held accountable for the crimes they committed and their presence should not be welcome in our nation. Venezuelans today are denied basic rights, freedoms, and the ability to peacefully protest the dire economic circumstances caused by President Maduro and his government. We stand with the Venezuelan people and the brave opposition leaders in their pursuit to build a more hopeful Venezuela that embraces a bright future while discarding a failed past.”

Marco Rubio even made the case for sanctions on NBC News’ “Meet The Press,”telling host David Gregory that, “I would like to see specific U.S. sanctions against individuals in the Maduro government that are systematically participating in the violation of human rights and anti-democratic actions.” Florida Governor Rick Scott has also called for sanctions. Although neither the House nor the Senate have passed these resolutions calling for sanctions, Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters last week that, “with respect to Venezuela, Congress has urged sanctions.”

The call for sanctions has also been trumpeted by the press, with Miami Heraldcolumnist Andres Oppenheimer saying that if Venezuela does not respond to “international diplomatic pressures,” then the Congress “should revoke the U.S. visas of Venezuelan government and military leaders.” Further, Otto Reich, the former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela and Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the time of the U.S.-backed coup of 2002, wrote an opinion piece for the National Review titled “It’s Time for Sanctions in Venezuela.”

None of the members of congress nor any of the resolutions mention the fact that of the 18 tragic deaths in Venezuela since the protests began, many were not protestors, but individuals removing barricades and motorcyclists killed by wires strung across streets, or by crashing into barricades. In one case, a member of the Venezuelan National Guard was shot and killed. The Senate resolution makes no call for both sides to refrain from violence nor does it condemn the violent actions of some from the protest movement, however it does deplore “the use of excessive and unlawful force against peaceful demonstrators in Venezuela and the inexcusable use of violence…to intimidate the country’s political opposition.”

While, undoubtedly, excessive force has been used by members of the Venezuelan security forces, over 10 individuals have been arrested for these actions and further investigations are under way. According to the Attorney General (AG) of Venezuela, there are currently 27 investigations into violations of human rights. The AG, Luisa Ortega Diaz, stated that her office “will not tolerate violations of human rights under any circumstance and that any official turns out to be responsible will be sanctioned as established by the laws of Venezuela.” Far from censoring information or trying to hide the extent of the arrests or of those killed in the last few weeks, Diaz has provided regular updates to the press and has kept the public informed about the status of investigations.

In an open appeal to international communist, workers’ and left parties, the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU) warns that their country is the latest to fall victim to the “colour revolutions.”

As the Ukrainian Communists say, “shocking massacres, acts of vandalism, riots and seizures of administrative buildings in Ukraine have been shown to the world media.” The clashes have included serious injuries and even deaths to protesters and law enforcement officers, as well as kidnappings and physical violence against parties to the conflict.

These events, according to the CPU, have dispelled the myth that the struggle is between a “criminal regime” and “peaceful European democrats.”

In reality, they say, there is a fight for power among oligarchic clans in Ukraine, and for the Presidency in particular. Calling the current events a “coup”, the CPU points to the creation of parallel institutions of power by the opposition groups, fuelling the conflict and provoking stronger responses from the authorities.

Little mentioned in the West has been the role of neo‑Nazi and extreme nationalist political forces which provoke violence and confrontation. These organizations, says the CPU, include the Spilna Sprava (“Common Cause”), Trizub (“Trident”), UNAUNSO, “Right sector”, the “Freedom” party, etc.

The “Freedom” party occupies a special role in the escalation of the conflict. As a parliamentary party, in power in some Western regions of the country, “Freedom” continues to pursue “a policy of subversion against the constitutional order in Ukraine.”

All of these organizations, warns the CPU, follow the example of Nazi collaborators like Bandera and Shukhevych, even using identical slogans. For example, a popular slogan today, “Glory to Ukraine, Glory to Heroes!”, was used during the massacre of peaceful Polish and Ukrainian residents in western Ukraine. The neo-Nazi forces have committed numerous acts of vandalism, destroying statues of Lenin and Soviet‑era monuments to the heroes of struggle against fascism.

Fuelling the escalation of the conflict, says the CPU, is the political support of the Western powers in Ukraine. The U.S. State Department constantly demands that the Ukrainian authorities negotiate with the opposition, withdraw all law enforcement officers from Kiev, and allow the “opposition” to seize the government and reverse laws adopted by the Parliament of Ukraine.

Contrary to descriptions in the corporate media, these laws are consistent with similar legislation in the West, such as the requirement that public organizations financed from abroad must register as foreign agents. Many western countries have implemented laws to prohibit protesters from hiding their faces, or from using helmets and shields during demonstrations.

The Communist Party of Ukraine says it believes that “the responsibility for the violence equally rests on Ukraine’s leadership, whose actions forced the people of Ukraine to enter the mass protests, and leaders of the so‑called `opposition’, the ultra‑nationalist militant organizations and foreign politicians who urged people to `radicalize the protests’ and `fight to the bitter end.’”

The CPU is calling for an end to the use of force, non-interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine, and negotiations to end the conflict. The attempts to create parallel structures of authority, they say, threaten to escalate the conflict into civil war and a division of Ukraine.

In these circumstances, the Communist Party of Ukraine presents concrete proposals to resolve the situation:

 - Declare a Ukrainian referendum on the definition of foreign economic policy of Ukraine’s integration.

- Conduct a political reform to eliminate the presidency and install a parliamentary republic, and significantly expand the rights of territorial communities.

- Return to a proportional voting electoral system.

- Establish an independent civilian “National control” body with the broadest powers.

- Conduct judicial reform and introduce the institution of electing judges.

The CPU also urges international condemnation of extremist actions, fascist propaganda, and external interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) filed two complaints today against the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The complaints allege that the two agencies illegally monitored and spied on the peaceful and democratic activities of community groups and First Nations opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project. These groups include ForestEthics Advocacy, Dogwood Initiative, LeadNow.ca, the Idle No More movement, and others.

The BCCLA alleges that the RCMP and CSIS interfered with the freedoms of expression, assembly and association protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by gathering intelligence about citizens opposed to the Enbridge project through a range of sources. The complaints also claim that the spying activities potentially included illegal searches of private information. The complaint against CSIS further alleges that the spy agency broke the law by gathering information on the peaceful and democratic activities of Canadians, which it is banned by law from doing. The documents released made clear that none of the groups under surveillance posed any threat to the National Energy Board hearings or public safety.

“It’s against the law and the constitution for police and spy agencies to spy on the lawful activities of people who are just speaking out and getting involved in their communities. That’s why we have filed these complaints,” said Josh Paterson, Executive Director of the BCCLA. “This is bigger than an environmental debate – it’s a question of fundamental human rights. There are plenty of undemocratic countries where governments spy on people that they don’t agree with. That’s not supposed to happen in Canada, and when it does, it can frighten people away from expressing themselves and participating in democratic debate.”

“It’s intimidating for people to learn that they’re being spied on by their own government,” said Ben West, Tar Sands Campaign Director for ForestEthics Advocacy, one of the groups that was spied upon. “Regular people are being made to feel like they are on a list of enemies of the state, just because they are speaking out to protect their community from a threat to their health and safety or trying to do what’s right in the era of climate change.”

One incident recorded in the intelligence-gathering was a Kelowna, B.C. volunteer meeting co-hosted by the advocacy organization LeadNow.ca and the Dogwood Initiative, a community action group based in Victoria. Jamie Biggar, the Executive Director of LeadNow, said, “Government spies should not be compiling reports about volunteers literally gathered in church basements to hand-paint signs – and then sharing that information with oil companies. That puts the interests of a handful of corporations ahead of the privacy rights of Canadians. It’s just wrong – period.”

Will Horter, the Executive Director of the Dogwood Initiative, added: “We are helping Canadians engage in their communities and in public decision-making processes for Enbridge and other projects. There is something deeply wrong when holding a story-telling workshop attracts heat from spies and police forces. It’s democracy, not a national security threat.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, who attended one of the meetings that was spied upon, stated: “I was shocked and disgusted to learn that the police and the National Energy Board colluded to keep track of First Nations people who are simply speaking out, including those who participate in Idle No More. This is the kind of thing we’d expect to see in a police state, and it’s a violation of our freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.”

Some of the intelligence gathered appears to have been shared with the National Energy Board, including information about ForestEthics Advocacy which was an intervening party in the Board’s hearings, as well as with Enbridge and other oil and energy companies. The complaint against the RCMP alleges that this could compromise the fairness of the Enbridge hearings. West added: “You can’t have a fair hearing when the police secretly gather information about our activities and then provide secret evidence to the National Energy Board and Enbridge, one of the other parties.”

The activities of CSIS and the RCMP outlined in the complaints originally came to light through an access to information request filed by Matthew Millar of the Vancouver Observer. It is unclear whether covert surveillance, wiretaps or other means were used in gathering the intelligence.

 

Chinese state media lashed out at the US and the European Union for their policies in Ukraine, their “Cold War mentality” and their drive to antagonize Russia at all costs.

 Despite the relative calm of official Chinese diplomacy, Beijing has not remained silent on the issue of American-sponsored coup in Kiev. Given that diplomatic etiquette prevents Chinese officials from harsh statements, but what can’t be said by diplomats can be written by the state media. People’s Daily, the newspaper owned by the Communist Party of China, published an editorial criticizing the US and the EU over their policies in Ukraine. The editorial is signed by”Zhong Sheng”, meaning “Voice of China” , a pseudonym used by Chinese officials to express their views.

“Zhong Sheng” slams the US for its “Cold War mentality”: “The theories related to politics, economics and security during the Cold War period are still influencing many people on their concept of the world, and some Western people are still imbued with resentment towards Russia ”

China is clearly angry and clearly sympathizes with the Russian position on Ukraine. Given that Beijing its often subjected to unfair treatment from the West it is natural that Beijing doesn’t agree with American policies based on double standards.

China strives for a multi-polar world in which developed countries don’t organize armed coups and respect the international law. In this context, it is easy to see why People’s Daily editorialists advise the West to give up their old political habits and drop the double standards for the sake of global peace and stability: ”Ridding the shackles of the Cold War mentality will reduce unnecessary confrontation, thereby allowing for a smoother transition in international relations.”

Sanctions on Russia over Ukraine would hurt the EU, US

March 7th, 2014 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

The EU is freezing talks on a visa-free regime with Russia, according to the European Council President Herman Van Rompuy. The move has been branded as “politicized, not constructive and ungrounded” by Russia. The Voice of Russia talked to Mahdi Nazemroaya, Globalization studies center research fellow.

 

VoR: In your opinion are European powers likely to come to an agreement on Russia’s role in Ukrainian crisis in the immediate future?

Nazemroaya: First of all I think we should emphasize that there is a difference of opinion not only within governments comprising the EU but there is a difference of opinion amongst the citizens of the EU. A lot of them believe that they shouldn’t be involved in the affairs of Ukraine or in the former Soviet Union, a lot of them see this as a stoking of cold war tensions that are totally unnecessary, and they believe that their governments should back off in regards to the events in Ukraine as well as Russian involvement there. In regards to the actual governments though, and the media which is trying to spread the flames of Russophobia in Europe, a lot of these governments are very cautious: we can’t forget that Russia is a major trading partner for Germany; France has a lot of investments in Russia, in the auto industry for example; Russian energy resources are very important for many European countries. These things have to be taken into consideration and that is why many European countries are less gung-ho than the US is about sanctions against Russia for example or any aggressive movement against Russia. So there are divisions within the EU. And the factor we have to look at is the pressure the US is putting on the EU to sanction Russia or to get an aggressive encounter with the Russian Federation. I don’t know how they would want to impose any sanctions on Russia, I think that it would be a big mistake.

VoR: If some sanctions would be imposed what kind of sanctions could be on the table?

Nazemroaya: We know that the US has made a list of people that it wants to sanction. Right now there are people in the Crimea, Ukrainian citizens, which the US claims are threats to Ukrainian sovereignty and stability. But the Obama Administration and the White House have authorized the adding of Russian officials on to that list, but from what we know no Russians officials have been added to the list. I can’t see anything more than talking sanctions. If Russia is sanctioned by the EU or the US it would hurt them, it would divide the global financial system.

I don’t think that they can sanction Russia, it is such an important part of the global economy. It has trade with the Chinese; the Chinese are one of the engines of the global economy. Are they going to follow these sanctions? No, they are not. The Chinese will not follow these sanctions, nor will a vast segment of the international community and the countries of the world. You won’t see any of the BRICS countries be part of any sanctions regime against the Russian Federation.

But I still want to emphasize too that since 2011 the US has wanted to economically and politically punish Russia as well as the Chinese. We can recall Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State during the Friends of the Syrian People conference which had nothing to do with the Syrian people, it had everything to do with colonialism. During that conference she was saying: ‘We have to make the Russians and the Chinese pay, we need to make consequences for them.’ Those thoughts are there and that is something they want.

VoR: Speaking about US-Russian relations, how will they develop taking into account the situation in Ukraine?

Nazemroaya: I think we have to be very clear about what has happened in Ukraine. Historically Ukraine and Russia have essentially been one entity. Russia’s history starts in Kievan Rus. These two countries have been one. The languages historically were one language, they were both Proto-Russian before it divided into Belorussian and Ukrainian and modern Russian. These people have such close connections and one of the things about these connections is the US wants to use them against Russia’s strategic interests – the coup in Ukraine is aimed primarily against Russia. According to one of its own senior diplomats Victoria Nuland, the US has spent billions of dollars on this project – to install a government in Kiev that would basically extend the Euro-Atlantic zone, which is more properly called the Euro-American zone because it is American influence in Europe.

The coup is aimed against Russia. The US has pushed for years for this. This is part two of the Orange Revolution. They failed with their proxies and puppets during the Orange Revolution so now they are back for act two.

Interview conducted by Nadezhda Kulikova.

Peter Koenig talked to the Voice of Russia about the crisis in Ukraine, the biased coverage of the Western media and the “meaningless” threats of sanctions issued by the Obama administration. Peter Koenig is an economist and former World Bank staff. He worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources.

 Before we start discussing the threats issued by the Obama administration, could you share your impressions about the way the Western media covers Ukraine?

Sadly, the “presstitute” media have converted the western populace into mindless puppets, a brainwashed western population to the point of losing all sense of reality, of right and wrong; blinded to the point of screaming into the bullhorn of Washington’s Assassin in Chief.

Just to make sure that everyone understands what “presstitute” means. According to Urban Dictionary it is “ A term coined by Gerald Celente and often used by independent journalists and writers in the alternative media in reference to journalists and talking heads in the mainstream media who give biased and predetermined views in favor of the government and corporations, thus neglecting their fundamental duty of reporting news impartially. It is a portmanteau of press and prostitute.”

Just look at today’s article in the NYTimes on Mr. Putin’s Press conference on Ukraine! It typically portrays its utmost disdain for President Putin – “He sat alone in an armchair, alternately slouching, his legs spread wide in confidence, and squirming uncomfortably.”- and – “He demonstrated his characteristically uncanny grasp of detail in such matters as natural-gas pricing, but contradicted himself at times and wandered off into obscure historical digressions.”

The NYT piece goes on – “He delivered a version of the crisis that was fundamentally at odds with the view held by most officials in the United States, Europe and Ukraine.”

Basically, the coverage is utterly biased and everything that doesn’t fit into the Washington-approved narrative is disregarded.

Of course the true version of the crisis is at odds with the western views. They are those of stooges of Washington, who are constantly manipulated by a war-mongering corporate media, paid for by the murderously interested US military industrial complex.

The gentlemen diplomat, Mr. Putin, did not even mention how the west, driven by the US, has subverted Ukrainian democracy and organized a coup d’état . He didn’t need to. After Madame Nuland’s bragging statement that US spent more than 5 billion dollars to prepare Ukraine for ‘regime change’, made history around the world, it should be clear to every journalist present at the press conference, including the one Steven Lee Myers, who authored the biased and oozing of hatred NYT’s article.

Nevertheless, the emperor without clothes dares to rattle its toothless sabers. Their numbed minds can’t imagine a reverse scenario, say Russia destabilizing Mexico in the emperor’s ‘backyard’ (as Obama is infamously known to call Latin America), to install a puppet government of their liking. – Imagine!

Let’s talk about sanctions. The US threatened to kick Russia out of the G8 and introduce trade sanctions. Will those sanctions hurt Russia?

Mr. Obama, himself a puppet of Corporate America, should know that in reality threats of sanctions, like ‘we are not coming to the G-8 summit in Sochi’, or ‘we will confiscate Russian assets in the US’, or ‘ we will discontinue talks on trade’ – are meaningless. Russia does not need the Western economy. Period.

That’s a very strong statement. Could you elaborate?

Russia in solidarity and alliance with China has all the trumps in its court. – Europe depends up to 40% on gas supplied from Russia, of which 80% passes through Ukraine. China holds about 1.6 trillion dollars of US debt they could drop and annihilate the US economy. Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa ( the BRICS ) have almost 50% of the planet’s population and about one third of the world’s GDP and therefore are self-sufficient and do not need the Anglo-Saxon led all-aggressive and war-ready Occident. They are about prepared to launch their own common currency – a solid alternative to the “mickey-mouse dollar”.

You’re saying that the self-sufficiency of the non-western world is reason enough to ignore the threats coming from Washington.

Who cares about American sanctions? Nobody needs the hollow US economy whose only sustenance is constant wars. Not even the European puppets are dependent on it. Of course, the yes-saying, head-bowing corrupt and coward EU leaders are dreaming of collecting some crumbs of the empire’s loot.

Does Russia and its allies have a way of retaliating?

Sanctions could easily come the other way and eventually they will, salvaging the globe’s enslaved populations. The BRICS can issue their own currency, a sound and solid basket of their countries money. It is likely to be adopted by all those who are striving to associate with the BRICS, among them many energy producers. So, a new reserve currency, a solid alternative for the debt ridden worthless US dollar will emerge. The BRICS and associates have a lready shed the dollar as currency of reference for international treaties, using instead their own national money and that has angered Washington.

At the international Energy summit last fall in South Korea, Russia’s representative has announced trading hydrocarbons in the near future in the countries’ own currencies, decoupling petrol and gas from the dollar. Many hydrocarbon producers today are just waiting for that day to come. Imagine what that would mean for the US dollar! The corporate presstitute media is silent about these developments to protect the false prestige of the decaying empire. But truth will prevail.

Back to Ukraine. What is your view on Russia’s intervention?

Isn’t a Russian intervention for its own national security (using America’s all justifying notorious slogan) protection from the Western installed fascist government a logical step? If the people of Ukraine have not yet realized what economic mayhem would await them becoming a close ally of Europe, they may just look to Greece, where IMF and EU imposed privatization of public services and a burden of debt have turned the population into lasting enslavement.

There are people who still believe that Ukraine will be better off under IMF administration.

In Ukraine, a devastating free trade agreement (sic) with the EU, a burden of the IMF/EU imposed debt to ‘restructure’ its economy, privatization and massive unemployment would create an economic and social disaster. If the people of Ukraine would see this coming, they would forever be grateful for Russian intervention. Look at Greece as an example. It is not only that the IMF and Germany have already encouraged Greece to ‘privatize’ its islands. Now, under the dictate of the same IMF, international mining companies are allowed using confiscating peasants’ land without compensation to suck the country empty of its remaining natural resources, under the pretext of Greece amortizing the ECB, EC and IMF imposed debt. As a side effect the mines will pollute surface and groundwater as well as the rich Aegean Sea, so that fishermen too will lose their livelihood.

That’s the world we are living in. Ukraine better take note before it is too late – before they submit to the pillage by the elite of the One World Order.

Valentin Mândrăşescu

 Behind the Flash mob Attack on Obama’s DOJ Attorney General Nominee Debo Adegbile

 by Noelle Hanrahan

(cowritten version with Stephen Vittoria at http://www.mumia-themovie.com/blog.html

 Download “Bullies of Babylon” (2:48) by Mumia (mp3)

47-52 the motion fails.

There is a story that lies behind the Adegbile partisan fight on the senate floor. If you want to understand why the Republicans are using Adegbile’s association with Mumia Abu-Jamal to try and block his nomination, take a long hard look at ‘Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary”, www.mumia-themovie.com. This will give you the measure of the man.

 It chronicles Mumia Abu-Jamal’s evolution as one of the world’s most notable public intellectuals. 

Today’s stage is the floor of the U.S. Senate where a cloture vote on Adegible’s nomination takes place in the wake of his clearing the Judiciary Committee. And where that nomination failed. According to an OP ED in the Wall Street Journal Adegbile’s representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal when he headed the NAACP LDF is reason enough to derail his nomination. The Fraternal Order of police, Fox News and bipartisan derision from Pennsylvania politicians republican Senator Pat Toomey, and Democrat Bob Casey has fueled the impending drama. 

It is a drama where U.S. Senators and political pundits regurgitate blatant lies that seek to demonize Mumia because they face zero accountability to the facts(1). Just one fact: When Terry Maurer Carter, a court reporter came forward and sworn in an affidavit that Albert Sabo the original judge said of during the first week of Mumia’s trial” “I am going to help them fry the nigger”, Philadelphia Common Pleas court judge Pamela Dembe ruled it “irrelevant”, and that it was not an indication that the case was racially biased. 

The media and congressional pundits deplore that Mumia’s death sentence was overturned and he was removed from death row. They repeatedly attribute this result to advocacy lawyers who put forward fabricated tale of racial bias. Come now, really? Racial bias in the U.S. Criminal Justice system and Philadelphia is a fairy tale?

They also conveniently ignore that Mumia’s death sentence was overturned by a court: the U.S. Third Circuit and that decision was upheld by the U.S. Supreme court- hardly a liberal bastion by any means.

But why is Mumia relevant at all. Why are they concerned that he lives or dies? What does he represent? Why must he have remained silent. The answer is because what he says and has been saying for over thirty years is relevant.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, is an internationally acclaimed intellectual who writes in the tradition of Franz Fanon and Noam Chomsky. That he has done his work from an Pennsylvania prison cell for over 33 yrs. (30 of which were spent in solitary on death row) is remarkable. His weekly worldwide radio broadcasts and bestselling books have been translated into nine languages.

Nelson Mandela, the European Parliament, Maya Angelou, E.L. Doctorow, Amnesty International, Danielle Mitterrand, Danny Glover, among many others have called his trial a miscarriage of justice and lauded his incisive writing.

Abu-Jamal through his radio essays and writing directly challenges the false but convenient “we have realized the dream narrative” that everyone from Time Magazine to Obama is promulgating as we honor Martin Luther King and celebrate Black History month.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is the conscience of America. And the backlash is swift. The level of vitriol and outright demands for his death/silence reminds one of the terrorist label put on Nelson Mandela for a quarter of a century. 

Certain revolutionary ideas were not meant to survive the U.S. state sponsored “programme” that targeted Black freedom leaders such as Martin Luther King and ultimately for the last fifty years, black life in America. 

The “dream” was assassinated whether it is comfortable to admit that or not. Mumia Abu-Jamal survived. And he is one of the many U.S. political prisoners, who are the living witnesses to the true struggle to realize the dreams of freedom and justice. The United States government through CointelPro and other repressive means has consciously and deliberately attempted to suppress the hopes and dreams of many African Americans. Listen to Mumia Abu-Jamal www.prisonradio.org.

Noelle Hanrahan, Producer “Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary

[email protected]

Note

(1) See “Manufacturing Guilt” a short explosive expose of the Ed Rendell (District Attorney) and Joseph McGill Prosecutor’s fabrication and hubris during the case against Mumia Abu-Jamal for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9th 1981.

By Kells Hetherington

The situation in Ukraine intensified March 6 as President Barack Obama imposed visa restrictions and economic sanctions on Russians suspected of involvement in military action in Ukraine. The White House is also working with allies on a set of international sanctions on Russia. Meanwhile, the Crimean parliament voted to leave the Ukraine for Russia and hold a referendum to affirm the decision.

 University of Illinois College of Law professor Francis Boyle criticized the United States for its handling of diplomatic conversations about the crisis held yesterday in Paris.

“The decision by President [Vladimir] Putin to stand down the 150 thousand troops on war exercises off the border of Ukraine was very positive and it should have been taken up immediately by Secretary of State Kerry … yet unfortunately, rather than building on this, it seems that the Obama administration is escalating the crisis,” he said.

The U.S. has dispatched more forces to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland, according to Boyle, despite the fact these four countries are not under threat.

“[The U.S.] already have two warships in the Black Sea and they are sending another one … they have the George Bush aircraft carrier taskforce steaming towards the Eastern Mediterranean so it does not really appear that the United States government is trying to de-escalate,” said Boyle.

The U.S. wants to escalate the crisis in Ukraine, according to the professor.

“If Kerry had wanted to he could have had reasonable good faith negotiations with [Russian] Foreign Minister [Sergei ] Lavrov,” explained Boyle. “Instead, he insisted that Lavrov had to meet with his little proxy there from Kiev.”

Kerry should go to Russia and meet with Putin, according to Boyle, who also said the terms of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum don’t promise Ukraine military protections.

According to a report in Kommersant-Ukraine, the finance ministry of Washington’s stooges in Kiev who are pretending to be a government has prepared an economic austerity plan that will cut Ukrainian pensions from $160 to $80 so that Western bankers who lent money to Ukraine can be repaid at the expense of Ukraine’s poor.  http://www.kommersant.ua/doc/2424454  It is Greece all over again.

 Before anything approaching stability and legitimacy has been obtained for the puppet government put in power by the Washington orchestrated coup against the legitimate, elected Ukraine government, the Western looters are already at work. Naive protesters who believed the propaganda that EU membership offered a better life are due to lose half of their pension by April.  But this is only the beginning.

The corrupt Western media describes loans as “aid.”  However, the 11 billion euros that

the EU is offering Kiev is not aid.  It is a loan.  Moreover, it comes with many strings, including Kiev’s acceptance of an IMF austerity plan.

Remember now, gullible Ukrainians participated in the protests that were used to overthrow their elected government, because they believed the lies told to them by Washington-financed NGOs that once they joined the EU they would have streets paved with gold.  Instead they are getting cuts in their pensions and an IMF austerity plan.

 The austerity plan will cut social services, funds for education, layoff government workers, devalue the currency, thus raising the prices of imports which include Russian gas, thus electricity, and open Ukrainian assets to takeover by Western corporations.

Ukraine’s agriculture lands will pass into the hands of American agribusiness.

One part of the Washington/EU plan for Ukraine, or that part of Ukraine that doesn’t defect to Russia, has succeeded.  What remains of the country will be thoroughly looted by the West.

The other part hasn’t worked as well.  Washington’s Ukrainian stooges lost control of the protests to organized and armed ultra-nationalists.  These groups, whose roots go back to those who fought for Hitler during World War 2, engaged in words and deeds that sent southern and eastern Ukraine clamoring to be returned to Russia where they resided prior to the 1950s when the Soviet communist party stuck them into Ukraine.

At this time of writing it looks like Crimea has seceded from Ukraine. Washington and its NATO puppets can do nothing but bluster and threaten sanctions.  The White House Fool has demonstrated the impotence of the “US sole superpower” by issuing sanctions against unknown persons, whoever they are, responsible for returning Crimea to Russia, where it existed for about 200 years before, according to Solzhenitsyn, a drunk Khrushchev of Ukrainian ethnicity moved southern and eastern Russian provinces into Ukraine. Having observed the events in western Ukraine, those Russian provinces want to go back home where they belong, just as South Ossetia wanted nothing to do with Georgia. 

 Washington’s stooges in Kiev can do nothing about Crimea except bluster. Under the Russian-Ukraine agreement, Russia is permitted 25,000 troops in Crimea.  The US/EU media’s deploring of a “Russian invasion of 16,000 troops” is either total ignorance or complicity in Washington’s lies.  Obviously, the US/EU media is corrupt.  Only a fool would rely on their reports. Any media that would believe anything Washington says after George W. Bush and Dick Cheney sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN to peddle the regime’s lies about “Iraqi weapons of mass destruction,” which the weapons inspectors had told the White House did not exist, is clearly a collection of bought-and-paid for whores.

In the former Russian provinces of eastern, Ukraine Putin’s low-key approach to the strategic threat that Washington has brought to Russia has given Washington a chance to hold on to a major industrial complex that serves the Russian economy and military.  The people themselves in eastern Ukraine are in the streets demanding separation from the unelected government that Washington’s coup has imposed in Kiev.  Washington, realizing that its incompetence has lost Crimea, had its Kiev stooges  appoint Ukrainian oligarchs, against whom the Maiden protests were partly directed, to governing positions in eastern Ukraine cities.  These oligarchs have their own private militias in addition to the police and any Ukrainian military units that are still functioning.  The leaders of the protesting Russians are being arrested and disappeared.  Washington and its EU puppets, who proclaim their support for self-determination, are only for self-determination when it can be orchestrated in their favor.  Therefore, Washington is busy at work suppressing self-determination in eastern Ukraine.

 This is a dilemma for Putin.  His low-key approach has allowed Washington to seize the initiative in eastern Ukraine.  The oligarchs Taruta and Kolomoyskiy have been put in power in Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk, and are carrying out arrests of Russians and committing unspeakable crimes, but you will never hear of it from the US presstitutes.  Washington’s strategy is to arrest and deep-six the leaders of the secessionists so that there no authorities to request Putin’s intervention. 

If Putin has drones, he has the option of taking out Taruta and Kolomoyskiy.  If Putin lets Washington retain the Russian provinces of eastern Ukraine, he will have demonstrated a weakness that Washington will exploit. Washington will exploit the weakness to the point that Washington forces Putin to war. 

The war will be nuclear.

 

 

Global headlines are now dominated with news emanating from the recent Western-backed coup d’état in Ukraine. Western leaders and mainstream media have predictably attempted to lend credibility to this recent seizure of power by Orange Revolution’ retreads and their extremist right-wing allies, framing it as a popular desire to shift away from an overbearing Russia. It has been celebrated as yet another auspicious development towards ‘democracy’ and integration with the EU. But as this new leadership begins to reshape Ukraine from Kiev, the geopolitical landscape does as well with potentially dangerous ramifications. This new regime, coming into being through unconstitutional methods — by fiat of the new rump parliament alone backed by legions of violent right-wing rioters — most notably bears an animus towards Russia, and herein lies the chief danger for the world.

At the heart of the crisis lie an omnipresent Western ambition for the expansion of their strategic ‘bridgehead’ into the Eurasian supercontinent — this time in the very “soft underbelly” of Russia. Their desired outcome in Ukraine is the replacement of the Yanukovych regime — notwithstanding its inherent problems with rampant oligarchism, still one that was democratically elected — with a regime subservient to the EU, NATO, and that will enact the brutal austerity dictates of the International Monetary Fund. Towards this end, they exploited legitimate grievances of the people through the use of their patent ‘Color Revolution’ methods (recently updated during the so-called ‘Arab Spring’) to subvert the existing government. To supplement these efforts, the most violent right-wing elements in Ukraine were employed as shock troops to impose the new regime. This tendency to incorporate extremist elements in their efforts, strongly redolent of recent Western backed efforts in the MENA region, represents the devolution of the ‘Color Revolution’ template into a more violent and radical model.

The Danger of the New Regime 

In the present Obama foreign policy epoch the chief geopolitical gambit is buck-passing or ‘leading from behind.’ This entails outsourcing geopolitical initiatives to allies — with them trumpeting at the forefront — while Washington discreetly provides military or logistical assistance.

To smash the Libyan state the US allowed France and Britain to appear to be leading the initiative, while the bulk of logistical work on the ground as well as NATO bombing was performed by the US; in Syria the US encouraged Turkey to be at the forefront of operations to smash the Syrian state; Poland assisted the subversion of the Ukrainian state in question. In the present context — where a new right wing regime bearing anti-Russian animus has come to power — the temptation to direct their criminal mob energy towards foreign policy adventurism against neighboring Russia or Belarus is great. The danger here twofold: the aforementioned US tendency for buck-passing as well as the temptation for a “Wag the Dog” type military adventure to overshadow the downward economic stresses the new regime will inevitably face.

This is particularly exacerbated by the economic situation of Ukraine, which is dire, and will continue to deteriorate after the new regime begins to implement ineluctable Western demands for austerity. In other words, the combined hatred for Russia, US ‘lead-from-behind’ strategy, and a ‘Wag the Dog’ temptation sets the world on a course towards perilous confrontation.

Ukraine: Crucial ‘Geopolitical Pivot’

In the geopolitical calculus of both Russia and the NATO bloc, Ukraine is of crucial importance. Its interest to the West and to Russia entails a willingness to engage on the ‘Grand Chessboard’ of Eurasian geopolitics for influence or control over it.

For the West led by the US, influence over Ukraine is an opportunity to cut Russia out of European affairs and to bolster its continual push East through the expansion of NATO. This is seen, with good reason, by Moscow as an unabated drive towards encirclement. For Russia, Ukraine represents, inter alia, a potentially sensitive position from which it is vulnerable militarily; it is a cornerstone of viable Russian security in Europe.

According to Zbigniew Brzezinski — US foreign policy guru who founded the elite Trilateral Commission along with David Rockefeller, as well as reputed teacher of Obama at Columbia University — Ukraine can be classified as a ‘geopolitical pivot.’ That is a state “whose importance is derived not from their power and motivation but rather from their sensitive location and from the consequences of their potentially vulnerable condition for the behavior of geopolitical players.” For Brzezinski, a Ukraine severed from Russia consequently severs Russia from Europe, albeit in his terms in its “imperial status” as a Eurasian power. Severed from Ukraine, Russia would be reoriented towards Asia, which sets it on a collision course with an emerging China (an ideal scenario for Washington with its wont for buck-passing):

Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian Chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to to be a Eurasian empire. Russia without Ukraine can still strive for imperial status, but it would then become a predominantly Asian imperial state, more likely to be drawn into debilitating conflicts with aroused Central Asians … China would also be likely to oppose any restoration of Russian domination over Central Asia…

For Russia, militarily, control of its eastern frontier has perennially poised a potential quagmire: it has been the point from which armies have invaded to push into the Russian heartland particularly for topographic reasons. Thus, for Stalin negotiating with the Allies at Yalta, the question of Poland was “one of life and death.” “Throughout history,” he cautioned, “Poland has been the corridor for attack on Russia.” With Poland today already an integral part of NATO, Ukraine, with even greater proximity to the Russian heartland doubtless presents an even greater worry. Indeed, the geopolitical analysis group Stratfor aptly characterizes Ukraine as the “soft underbelly of Russia.” “Ukraine is as important to Russian national security as Scotland is to England or Texas is to the United States. In the hands of an enemy, these places would pose an existential threat to all three countries. Therefore, rumors to the contrary, neither Scotland nor Texas is going anywhere. Nor is Ukraine, if Russia has anything to do with it.”

Topographically, a potential attack on Russia can be greatly reduced if Ukraine is in the Russian orbit; conversely, it can be augmented if controlled by a Western power:

Dominated by Russia, Ukraine anchors Russian power in the Carpathian [mountains]…If Ukraine is under the influence or control of a Western power, Russia’s (and Belarus’s) southern flank is wide open along along an arc running from the Polish border east almost to Volgograd then south to the Sea of Azov, a distance of more than 1,000 miles, more than 700 of which lie along Russia proper. There are few natural barriers.

Thus, a Russia bereft of Ukraine loses the crucial security safeguard of the Carpathians. The road to Moscow is one step closer through subverting the government in Kiev.

The continuing systematic Western military buildup surrounding Russia has doubtless already increased Russian anxiety in the present context. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union — and the emergence of the unipolar world order — the US led West has steadily marched towards post-Soviet Russia, extending NATO menacingly all the way to its borders. In addition to official NATO membership the US has established a military outpost in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, leading to the Russo-Georgian war of 2008. This expansionist march of NATO is viewed by Russia as a betrayal of agreements it was given that such NATO growth would not occur.

Additionally, the ongoing provocative military ‘defensive’ shield installations in Poland and Romania — ostensibly to protect the West from Iran, which neither has has nuclear weapons or missiles with which to deliver them with — has been a point of tremendous concern. (A more rational location to place such installations, if we are to accept NATO’s motives at face value, would have been near NATO member Turkey.) To Moscow, this represents an existential threat to the critical Russian nuclear deterrent, a centerpiece of its military defesive strategy for decades. This fundamental reality informs the Russian stance when Nikolai Makarov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, threatened Russia would preemptively destroy such NATO military installations in the event of a crisis.

The current reshaping of Ukraine represents — yet again — a potential extension (de facto or officially) of NATO, part of its continual march east. Not least among concerns, a Ukraine in the NATO orbit leaves its “soft underbelly” accessible to the bloc. Far from the partisan portrayals of Western media concerning the EU’s association agreement — which it largely terms as a benign “civilizational” proposal to usher prosperity and to shift away from the Kremlin’s overbearing embrace — there is, in fact, a military component. As Russian expert Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at NYU and Princeton, points out the ” proposal, for example, includes ‘security policy’ provisions, almost never reported, that would apparently subordinate Ukraine to NATO.” Ukraine would, in effect, have to abide by NATO military policies to the dismay of Moscow. Revealingly, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen declared the prospective agreement with Ukraine would have been “a major boost to Euro-Atlantic security.”

Ukraine in the NATO orbit would also potentially deprive Russia of its critical naval port and military presence in the Crimean peninsula. This would cut Russia off from access to the Black Sea and therefore the Mediterranean Sea. That Russia has a robust naval presence with access to the Mediterranean means the sea cannot become exclusively the province of NATO. This fundamental reality also frustrates NATO’s continuing efforts to unseat Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Energy exports are also a centerpiece of Russian foreign policy. Being excluded from the Mediterranean would also hamper this policy. Moreover, Moscow has watched as NATO has in recent times been very active on the world scene participating in ruthless military actions in Libya as well as aiding in the attempted smashing of the Syria state in the ongoing civil war. Western elites are seen increasingly as more unstable and willing to participate in wild military adventurism. These plethora of considerations weigh heavily on Moscow’s calculations, as they rationally inveigh against persistent and intensifying Western encroachment. In this fraught and tense scene of European and Eurasian affairs Ukraine is the ‘geopolitical pivot’ par excellence.

NATO ‘Color Revolution’ Methodology 

The recent unrest in Ukraine represents one more episode in an ongoing campaign of “Color Revolutions” by the NATO bloc to unseat recalcitrant leaders (those who do not conform to NATO bloc dictates) under the cloak of “democracy promotion.” The unrest in Ukraine conforms to a very familiar script: pro-democracy protestors are being repressed by an autocratic state, in this case, refusing to accede to their demands for EU integration against Western interests. As observed by the Voltaire Network:

For over a decade now, the American public has been led to believe that successive waves of “people power” have risen up to overthrow oppressive rulers across Eurasia and the Middle East, all of whom just happened to contradict US interests. None of this was accidental; from Belgrade and Tbilisi to Minsk and Kishinev, the CIA and State Department have carried out plausible-deniability regime-change operations with varying degrees of success.

Ukraine is no stranger to the “Color Revolution.” In 2004 it was part of a wave of such “Color Revolutions” supported by Washington and the NATO bloc. This was the discredited “Orange Revolution” which installed Victor Yuschenko and oligarch Yulia Tymochenka. The method, now a template, functions through US created and sponsored political action groups — euphemistically termed NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) — chiefly, the NED (National Endowment for Democracy). These groups encourage and foster neoliberal self-described ‘revolutionaries’ who are ostensibly committed to ‘democracy.’ In reality, these groups typically offer a political program which centers on the deposition of an existing leader or the subversion of an existing regime.

The ‘Color Revolution’ as originally applied to Ukraine in 2004 was usefully described by Ian Traynor of the London Guardian:

With their websites and stickers, their pranks and slogans aimed at banishing widespread fear of a corrupt regime, the democracy guerrillas of the Ukrainian Pora youth movement have already notched up a famous victory – whatever the outcome of the dangerous stand-off in Kiev.

[T]he campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavory regimes.

Funded and organized by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organizations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze. Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in central America, notably in Nicaragua, organized a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko.

The operation – engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience – is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people’s elections.

Washington has brought the model of the ‘Color Revolution’ to the very doorstep of Russia once again. This time, however, the dynamics at play have been dramatically altered in the wake of the massive destabilization of the MENA region known as the ‘Arab Spring.’ The hackneyed ‘Color Revolution’ model of Western intelligence and the State Department has been updated; in some ways more trite, in others more destructive and explosive. Events have demonstrated that a failure of ‘civilian based power’ initiative to seize power can quickly degenerate into a violent struggle for power with NATO willing to support its side with ruthless military force. In the international landscape after UNSC Resolution 1973 against Libya (itself of dubious legality) a Western-backed ‘Color Revolution’ can rapidly turn into a ruthless bombing campaign. Alternatively, a Syrian scenario — whereby NATO and GCC intelligence massively arm and train extremists to foment civil war and overthrow the state — is equally feasible, with NATO having no aversion to employing extremists for regime change. The threat that the new NATO-backed regime in Kiev may engage military adventurism against Russia of Belarus remains as well.

The recent US history of meddling in Ukraine is unequivocal; nevertheless, Washington’s strategy in the near term — conforming to the Obama regime’s ‘leading-from-behind’ strategy — is to remain bashful about its ongoing subversive activities. From the US perspective, unwanted attention on its activities discredits the potential vassals it wants in place. This attitude for Washington’s recent wave of regime change was recently summed up by Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for the Obama regime, who according to The New York Times plays a role more prominent than his official title:

These democratic movements will be more sustainable if they are seen as not an extension of America or any other country, but coming from within these societies,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser. “For the longer term, it is better to let the people within the country be the strongest voice while also ensuring that at the appropriate times you are weighing in publicly and privately.

This “weighing in” privately by the world’s foremost power is the crucial aspect of the multitude of movements sponored by Washington to unseat leaders, while its public face lends diplomatic cover and legitimacy. Recently however, Washington received unwanted exposure to its activities, thanks in part to Russia. In a leaked recording, the US’s top diplomat for Europe, the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, Victoria Nuland and the ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt were exposed as plotting to effect a coup to oust the democratically elected leader of Ukraine. The Washington Post, house organ of US government foreign policy apparatchiks, had to concede that Nuland and Pyatt were “laying bare a deep degree of US involvement in affairs that Washington officially says are Ukraine’s to resolve.”

The recording also shows the US diplomats indicating which opposition figures should and should not be included in a new Ukrainian regime. The revelatory recording also shows a certain intimacy with these opposition figures. It shows that in contrast to the US rhetorical posture of supporting another sponteneous ‘democracy’ movement, it is active in seeing the Ukrainian crisis end in their favor. Indeed, in a triumphant and lofty speech, preceded by three visits in a five week span, Nuland delineated how in the past two decades the US has spent $5 billion dollars to subvert Ukraine and sever it away from its historic relationship with Russia. This imperialism is on the cheap in comparison to the Bush II regime, which was notable for its costly use of overt military force and posturing.

NATO’s Right-Wing Extremists in Ukraine

20140306-172933.jpg

The recent coup in Ukraine arrives with the backdrop of recent NATO sponsored efforts to smash existing states across MENA. What these destabilization demonstrated was a willingness of the Western powers to engage with and use otherwise unpalatable extremists groups to produce desired results. In Libya, Egypt, and Syria this took the form of a willingness to engage with political Islamists and their radical Islamic extremist allies, groups whose erstwhile depiction in the West has been highly unfavorable, due to their proclivity for sectarianism and terrorism. In Ukraine this has taken the form of Western blanket support for extreme right-wing and quasi-fascist groups within the opposition; these groups have steadfastly remained at the forefront of the effort to unseat Yanukovych. This usage of extremists is departure from earlier “Color Revolution” models which mainly employed young well-meaning neoliberal democracy activists — the golden youth. These extremist groups — still hailed as “protestors” in Western parlance — were responsible for the explosion of violence and tumult which overtook the Maidan in Kiev and which gradually increased as they gained in confidence and resolve. Their proclivity for violence has roots in Nazism and can be classified as neo-Nazi.

Their overall militant formation is called “Right Sector.” It is an umbrella organization for a catalogue of right-wing ultra-nationalist groups. It includes “Svoboda” (Freedom) Party, “Patriots of Ukraine,” “Ukrainian National Assembly,” and “Trizub.” The common denominator for these groups is an ideology that is anti-immigrant, anti-Jewish, and virulently Russophobic while promoting the idea of “one” “pure” Ukrainian nation.

The most prominent and politically successful group is the All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda party led by Oleh Tyahnybok. In the 2012 parliamentary elections the party secured secured 10.45% of the vote. Svoboda is currently Ukraine’s fourth biggest party and holds 36 seats in parliament. Its origins, like that of its allies, lie in the National Socialist Party of Ukraine. When the party was registered in 1995 it used the a swastika-style “wolfsangel” rune as its logo and restricted membership exclusively to ethnic Ukrainians. Like its Right Sector comrades, it promotes the anti-Jewish National Socialist ideology, including advocating the denaturalization of Jewish Ukrainians. According to its leader Tyahynbok, Ukraine is being run by a “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” Unsurprisingly, the World Jewish Congress called for Svoboda to be banned for its hardline anti-Jewish positions. The group frequently appears on academic studies of Neo-Nazism in Europe. A Tel Aviv University report from 1999 termed the group as “an extremist, right-wing, nationalist organization which emphasizes its identification with the ideology of German National Socialism.”

Their tradition is one that composed an entire Waffen-SS division. Tellingly, these groups all have a common reverence for the leader of that division, the infamous Ukrainian Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. He was the leader of the “Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists,” a group which fought against the Soviet Union and committed some of the worst attrocities of World War II. Hailing primarily from Galicia in Ukraine’s Western extremities (previously under Polish and Austro-Hungarian rule and generally Catholic ) Ukraine’s neo-Nazi groups view themselves as continuing their ancestors legacies to liberate themselves from the yoke of an Orthodox-centered Muscovite civilization.

In the timeline of events, the protests against Yanukovych’s EU Association rejection — christened Euromaidan by and Eurorevolution by Radio Free Europe of the State Department — however misguided, began relatively peaceful. The violence escalated when extremists groups resolved to seize the initiative, and force the president out of office, by any means necessary. The movement at first was redolent of the discredited Orange Revolution. But then on 1 January 2014 the dynamics in the street changed when Svoboda organized a march of 15, 000 in a torch-lit memory to Stepan Bandera, the Ukrainian nationalist Nazi collaborator that fought against the Soviets. Since this watershed event violence became more wide-spread and in mid-January rioters armed with clubs, helmets, and Molotov cocktails began to unleash brutality to kill police and those with suspected pro-government sympathies.

On January 24 Britain’s Channel 4 reported that the far-right extremists were “at the core of ‘democracy’ protests.” It reported that Svoboda was assuming a leading role in the movement with its splinter paramilitary wing leading in street fighting. When the group seized city hall they displayed a white power logo in the center of the stage along with the Svoboda party flags. According to Channel 4, ” Svoboda flags have been a permanent fixture in Independence Square, with pictures from clashes also revealing the presence of militant far-right groups carrying neo-Nazi flags and the red and black Ukrainian ‘insurgent army’ flags.”

Sergey Kirichuk, member of the group Borotba, which publishes and anti-fascist magazine in Ukraine, lamented how Svoboda and Right Sector were dominating ideologically in the Maidan. “When left-wing groups tried to join the protests they were attacked and beaten by fascists. Svoboda are leading ideologically now. Fascism is like a fashion now, with more and more people getting involved,” he related. Apparently, fascism is also in fashion for Western leaders.

20140306-173808.jpg

The West, for its part, rather than castigating or blackballing these groups for their ultra-nationalist extremist positions and acts of violence, (as one should expect) they have enthusiastically supported their cause. In fact, neocon US senator John McCain travelled to Ukraine in December to support and egg on the opposition. He appeared on stage with leaders of the three opposition parties. This included appearing on stage with the far-right party Svoboda and its leader Tyanybok (right image), infamous for his extremist positions. Victoria Nuland, the top US diplomat for Europe who was recorded as facilitating the coup, also made an appearance to egg on the opposition. She handed out cookies. Their extremism, by no means, precludes Western backing.

As Neil Clark, writing for RT posits:

The reality is that you can be as ultranationalist, as Neo-Nazi, as racist and as homophobic as you like – so long as you are opposing a government that the western elites want toppled. The extremism of Ukrainian far-right groups is therefore swept under the carpet, because such groups want Ukraine to sever its links with Russia. Yes, they’re fascists, homophobes and racists, but they’re “our kind” of fascists, homophobes and racists i.e. anti-Russian ones. But in other European countries – e.g. Hungary – ultranationalist groups are condemned, because their interests are not in line with western elite interests.

Indeed, support a government the NATO bloc wants eliminated and gain impunity.

Yanukovych the Appeaser 

Almost from start to end the approach to the crisis taken by the Ukrainian president Yanukovych was that of appeasement and compromise. As he continued to attempt to appease the opposition, they esalted their demands and efforts to unseat him. The opposition’s street fighting groups in Right Sector and their allies gradually intensified the level of violence against state institutions and police. It went from rocks, clubs, and throwing Molotov cocktails at policemen to firearms. Far from the violence being one-sided, many policemen lost their lives.

Following the hue and cry from the opposition mob on the streets Yanukovych dismissed the Prime Minister, Azarov, reputed to be pro-Russian, in an impotent attempt at appeasement. Consequently, the opposition escalated their efforts. Following this, in a further attempt to appease the opposition, he offered a national unity government, a coalition government that would share power with the opposition. In negotiations with moderate leaders such as Vitaly Klitschko, leader of the Udar (“Punch”) Party, he offered them both the prime ministership and deputy prime ministership, a colossal concession. The opposition seeking approval from the Kiev street, firmly in control of right-wing forces, rejected this offer; they instead escalated their efforts.

Furthermore, perhaps the most significant development for the balance-of-power, he enacted an amnesty for the rioters for acts they committed during the tumult. This released many of the rioters who had been arrested restrengthening their ranks.

As the situation escalated, the rioters seized government administrative buildings, and in Lviv near Ukraine’s Western extremity, they seized armories and even military installations. Simultaneously, Western leaders and media remained steadfast in their attempts to lend legitimacy to the groups. In short, Yanukovych tolerated the intolerable, what no European or North American country would. For example, attacks by rioters with clubs or Molotov cocktails or the seizure administrative buildings and armories would doubtless be met with lethal force in any American city. Nonetheless, for President Obama, “We have been watching very carefully and we expect the Ukrainian government to show restraint, to not resort to violence in dealing with peaceful protesters.”

This lack of response by the Yanukovych was not missed by some state officials. A group of military officials called for more decisive action to restore order. A statement on the ministry of defense website said that during a meeting of military officials it was deemed that the “violent seizure of state institutions and interference with representatives of of state and local governments to carry out their duties” was “unacceptable.” They urged President Yanukovych “as permitted by law to take immediate measures to stabilize the situation and achieve harmony in society.” No such actions by Yanukovych were forthcoming and guns became a more prominent feature of Right Sector militants. The Financial Times had to concede, “Some demonstrators wearing camouflage clothing, military helmets and bullet proof vests responded with what appeared to be hand guns.” It also wrote “Right Sector, one of the most militarized protest groups, urged citizens with guns to join the encampment.” German news channel N24 reported that the “radicals of Right Sector have hijacked the protest movement.” It noted that the group consists of “supporters of ultra right-wing organizations across the country,” adding, “With their faces hidden behind masks or helmets, they attack the police in Kiev with batons and iron bars.”

In his final act of appeasement he entered negotiations with opposition figures and secured a “truce” and a pact brokered and signed by the foreign ministers of France, Germany, and Poland. The deal gave more sweeping concessions: a return to the 2004 constitution which would strip the president of many powers and call for early elections. The deal was never upheld, the opposition in street continued their push and drove him out. The foreign ministers who brokered the deal did not make a peep about how the opposition had not upheld their end of the deal. Instead, they continued to work on facilitating the opposition’s seizure of power, to the consternation of Russia.

An Illegal Government in Kiev 

When Yanukovych was finally toppled and forced to flee it was by mob rule, the technical term “ochlocracy.” Through unconstitutional methods a new regime seized power. The violent mob — spearheaded by Right Sector — was allowed to take control of the situation by virtue of Yanukovych’s fecklessness. Instead of reestablishing law and order — which was his duty as the president — he allowed violent rioters to overtake central Kiev. Subsequently, a rump parliament took shape — including Yanukovych’s betrayers and those fearful of violent rioters who seized control of the city — to rubber stamp the dictates of the opposition parties. Unconstitutionally, it arrogated powers it did not have.

Yanukovych’s grip on power was swifly ended after the riot police, the Berkut, pulled out. Their departure was likely an outcome of Yanukovych’s own tepid support for them in addition to the influx of firearms into the fray. On February 20th, The New York Times reported, as the protesters made their final drive for control that “both protesters and riot police officers used firearms in the deadliest day so far.” Additionally, a few dozen policemen were captured and ignominiously paraded around the city “dazed and bloody, toward the center of the square through a crowd of men who heckled and shoved them.” In any case, this watershed event of the police withdrawal sealed his fate. As the Times reported, “Several street fighters…said that they saw police officers walking away from their positions, and that this emboldened them. Some protesters fired hunting rifles and shotguns. Police lines crumpled.” With no forces left to defend the presidential palace and the parliament, where the rioters had been making inroads to overtake, the president was forced to flee. The protestors now effectively seized control of the situation in the city.

The violent protestors, many with guns, were now in control of the city. Buttressed by their mob fury, they surrounded the parliament building and assaulted MPs from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions in front of the parliament. Pictures in Reuters showed a deputy of Yanukovych’s party of regions being assaulted by the Kiev mob. They also showed the protestors standing guard menacingly outside of the parliament building. With a horde of violent rioters bearing animus against them outside of the parliament building, many of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions members fled as well fearing for their lives. Many Yanukovych allies including the Chairman of the Rada Volodymyr Rybak faced death threats and were forced to resign. The fact that firearms had increasingly been more prominent in the fray made their situation more precarious.

20140306-171751.jpg

From this point onward the parliament was, in effect, a rump parliament. With any potential dissent coming from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions effectively neutralized, the opposition was able to ram through any measures it deemed necessary. Indeed, a testament to this fact, the Times reported that on a key vote after his departure “at least 106 lawmakers [were] absent, most of them members of Mr. Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, which had controlled Parliament until its leaders fled on Saturday and then were dismissed from their posts in similarly lopsided votes.”

Natalia Vatrenko of the Ukrainian Socialist party offered an incisive assessment of the situation. The unfolding events, including the new rump Rada’s decision to impeach Yanukovych and pardon criminals, were unconstitutional:

 On February 22, militants and terrorists of the Euromaidan Parliament [i.e. the Kiev fascist mob]        executed a neo-Nazi coup using armed force. Violating all norms of the Constitution, international law, and trampling European values, Parliament exceeded its authority and committed criminal acts.
Washington and Brussels — who told the world and all mankind that Euromaidan is a nonviolent action of the Ukrainian people, to make a European choice and protect democracy and European values — should now honestly admit that the Ukrainian people got nothing. They used a Nazi coup, carried out by the insurgents, terrorists and politicians of Euromaidan to serve the geopolitical interests of the West.
1) The change of government happened in an unconstitutional way. This violated the European rule of law. In violation of the XIIIth section of the Constitution (which describes in detail the procedure for changing the Constitution), without the participation of the Constitutional Court, the state system of our country has been changed by the Supreme Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine;
2) Going beyond the powers of the Parliament of Ukraine, violating article 19 of the Constitution, Parliament appointed overseers over the Ministry of the Interior ,the Security Service of Ukraine, and the Prosecutor General’s Office.
These supervisors are installed with the aim of exerting the political violence of Euromaidan over the constitutional institutions of the state to promote the interests of the West in an unconstitutional way
 3) Ukrainian President Yanukovych (whom our party has opposed as we have made clear for the last four years) was deprived of his constitutional powers in gross violation of the Constitution. The Constitution does not provide for a right of the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine to deprive the president of power in the way this has just been done.
The Constitution provides a detailed impeachment procedure which is specified in writing. But again, not guided by the rule of law, but rather by alleged revolutionary expediency, while flouting the European principle of the presumption of innocence, Yanukovych was removed from office and a new president was appointed in violation of the Constitution;
4) The Parliament, eager to defend the militants and terrorists of Euromaidan, pardoned and made heroes of all its members, beginning the process of giving them the presidency.
This means that there will be no accountability for those who use armed force to kill civilians or innocent law enforcement officers, who seize and smash office buildings and warehouses with armed force, who carry out lynchings, or exercise blackmail and kidnapping. This creates a basis for the formation of a neo-Nazi repressive state machinery.
The U.S. and EU should know that this power grab by political parties and movements including neo-Nazi forces (such as “Svoboda – Freedom” and “Right Sector”) , announced the implementation of a national revolution under the slogans “Ukraine for Ukrainians,” ” Glory to the nation – death to enemies, ” ” Muscovite tools and Communists to the gallows ! ” and others.

Far from the trite Western narrative on Ukraine, what the opposition’s seizure of power amounted to was mob rule. It bore no resemblance to any democratic process. In a country of 46 million, a protest of, at most, 30,000 people took control of the capital city of Kiev and imposed their rule by force. Far from a boon to democracy, the movement’s success was a blow to democracy. Yanukovych was democratically elected in what was, according to outside observers such as the OSCE, generally fair and free election. Moreover, their views of EU integration and ousting Yanukovych did not represent that of the majority of the country.

Polls in December determined the country was divided over the question, unsurprisingly, mostly along an east and west axis where the country has been divided historically, culturally, and linguistically. As Russian expert Stephen Cohen observed in his piece “Distorting Russia,” “…every informed observer knows—from Ukraine’s history, geography, languages, religions, culture, recent politics and opinion surveys—that the country is deeply divided as to whether it should join Europe or remain close politically and economically to Russia. There is not one Ukraine or one “Ukrainian people” but at least two, generally situated in its Western and Eastern regions.” The gaggle’s seizure of power saw a minority impose its will illegally, backed up only by the force of the mob and the diplomatic cover of its international Western supporters. This fundamental reality did not stop the NATO bloc and its media propaganda ministers from hailing it and praising the opposition’s solidification of power.

Ukraine’s Oligarch Problem 

But what accounts for the temperate approach by Yanukovych? Why was he unwilling to effectively crackdown on the increasingly violent rioters and protestors? If he was the inveterate authoritarian depicted in mainstream media surely he would have had recourse to clearing the Maidan with a few minutes of machine gun fire.

Far from the Western mainstream media narrative — which insists that Yanukovuch’s conduct was guided by pro-Russian considerations or ever further that he was a Russian “puppet” — Yanukovych was more beholden to the Ukrainian oligarchy than to any other group. It is from this group that the behavior of Yanukovuch in the crisis was ultimtely determined. This is because power in Ukraine gravitates around this group. The beneficiaries of the wave of massive privitizations of Soviet state resources following the collapse of the Soviet Union, these oligarchs control media, many industries, and influence politics. Unlike in Russian where Putin has effectively truncated their power in politics, these groups maintain an inordinate influence. There has yet to be a leader in Kiev strong enough to rein in Ukraine’s oligarchs. They continue to control a number of MPs, television stations, and stay extremely close to political leaders.

The approach taken by Yanukovych to the situation for Russia was inadequate. As Moscow watched the situation on its borders escalate, it repeatedly called for Yanukovych to reestablish order; the oligarchs who were ostensibly backers of the president and those who claimed neutrality, called for compromise or moderation. Russia lamented Yanukovych’s refusal to seize control of the situation. In an interview with Sergey Glazyev, Putin’s leading advisor on Ukraine, he lamented Yanukovych’s conciliatory approach, stating, “The authorities are not fulfilling their duty to defend the state, negotiating with putschists as if they are law-abiding citizens….As for starting to use force, in a situation where the authorities face an attempted coup d’etat, they simply have no other course of action. Otherwise, the country will be plunged into chaos.” As the situation escalated, this was also reflected by Russia’s prime minister, Dmitri Medvedev, who began losing patience with Yanukovych. The Times reported he “told his cabinet the Ukrainian government should restore order and not bow to pressure from the outside.” He remarked “it’s necessary that the partners are themselves in shape and that the authorities that are working in Ukraine are legitimate and effective, so that people don’t wipe their feet on them like a doormat.”

Contrasting with the Russian calls for order, Yanukovych’s oligarchical allies signaled they wanted a conciliatory approach. In an almost unnoticed but doubtless significant event, Rinat Akhmetov — the country’s richest oligarch and ostensibly a Yanukovych ally — called for moderation and dialogue hours before Yanukovych initially entered negotiations with opposition. The dynamic between the two is that Yanukovych was the ‘political director’ while Akhmetov the ‘business director’. According to political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko “Yanukovych became president because of Akhmetov, and he remains the only oligarch who can call the president directly and affect his position.”

A statement on Akhmatov’s company website read: “It is only by peaceful action that the political crisis can be resolved. Any use of force and weapons is unacceptable. With this scenario there will be no winners in Ukraine, only victims and losers. But most importantly, the use of force will not help to find a way out.” Following this call, Yanukovych softened his approach to the situation. As Shaun Walker commenting in the London Guardian observed, in Ukraine “Akhmetov is the most powerful [oligarch], and the timing of his statement, on the same day as the president’s complete change of tack, seems unlikely to be a coincidence.”

The primary interest of the oligarchs is to preserve their wealth. Many of the Ukrainian oligarchs have intertwined their fortunes with Western capital and markets. Ukraine, as a pariah state — depicted as partaking in a dramatic crackdown on ‘peaceful protestors’ in the Western narrative — would threaten these interests. Moreover, some Ukrainian oligarchs were discontented by the conduct of Yanukovuch, who according to them has facilitated the rise of a group called “the family,” a group of businessmen around the president promoted and given favorable contracts.

This provides another example that oligarchy, wherever it exists, is never concerned with national interests but instead with the perpetuation of its own oligarchical privileges. This reality informs one of the most crucial domestic realities of Ukraine where the oligarchs have run wild.

Ukraine’s Looming Economic Impoverishment 

Adjacent to the neo-Nazi fascists, the other important component of the Ukrainian “opposition” hail from the the “Fatherland” Party of Yulia Tymochenka, the jailed billionaire oligarch. This group is composed of “Orange Revolution” retreads. The group, pro-Western, are, in effect, IMF agents. Their business is neo-liberalism. Now that they have seized power, what looms for Ukraine is economic impoverishment.

Conveniently deleted from the narrative of Western media was the brutal reality of the EU’s Association Agreement. Economically, it would have been subjected it to Washington-Consensus neoliberalism which will leave it a dumping grounds for Western multinationals, gutting its manufacturing base, and impose draconian IMF austerity dictates. This is same austerity that precipitated unrest in the EU in countries such as Italy, Greece, and Spain. Ukraine will be forced to attenuate its social safety net: driving down wages, slashing pensions, and crucially the critical gas subsidy.

The EU and and US have leaned heavily on Kiev to accept the Western aid package led by the International Monetary Fund, asserting that only it could solve Ukraine’s fiscal problems. As the Times reported, ” With this in mind, Europe and the United States have largely subcontracted the job to the I.M.F., which has been negotiating with Kiev for months over an aid package that, unlike the money offered by Moscow, has numerous strings attached, notably requirements that Ukraine scythe a thicket of bureaucratic regulations and cut subsidies that keep domestic energy prices low — and cripple the government’s finances.” Such a cut to pensions and the energy subsidy will be hard felt by the working people of the country. Indeed, “Among the reasons Mr. Yanukovych turned away from signing political and trade accords with Europe in November was his unwillingness to carry out painful austerity measures and other reforms that had been demanded by the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a large assistance package” the Times also reported. The $15 billion aid package from Moscow had no such strings attached, and in contrast kept gas proses below market value. Yanukovych understood that the Association Agreement would lead to economic ruin and as a corollary create a political calamity.

As the new gaggle assumes power the pro-EU and pro-West leadership are looking to quickly solve the economic concerns of the country. They are already moving swiftly to accept the Western aid package. Yatseniuk, or “Yats,” the favorite of Victoria Nuland of the State Department was appointed interim prime minister and already expressed the need for expediency to implement Western economic demands. US Treasury Secretary Lew spoke with Yatseniuk on the phone saying he urged Yatsenyuk to “quickly begin implementing economic reforms” and enter talks with the IMF. Lew also conferred with the IMF head Christine Lagarde on how to provide assistance. To not leave anything in doubt, the IMF made clear it will demand its typical austerity measures and more changes as a prerequisite to any assistance it may provide.

As a portend of the looming economic and political catastrophe, protestors confronted a government official of the new regime in Kiev. The Times reported, “Peppered with angry demands that the Parliament raise pensions, reopen closed hospitals and find work for the jobless, Mr. Lytvyn struggled to respond but basically called for patience, a virtue that is likely to be in short supply if the interim government does not manage to convince people it is working to improve their lives, not line its own pockets.” These demands, reasonable and commonsensical, will not only go unfulfilled, but their opposite will occur. These well-meaning Ukrainaian liberals expecting any of these measures are in for a shock — IMF style. When the austerity regime begins to implement itself patience will be indeed be in short supply.

Chris Macavel is an independent political analyst based in Harlem, NY. He writes for the blog “The Nation-State” at thenationalstate.wordpress.com. He seeks to enlighten about the growing dangers of NATO imperialist ambitions and Wall Street domination in American political life. He is the author of the forthcoming book “Imperialism in the “Arab Spring: How Western Imperialists Guided the MENA Uprisings”.

Sources:

“Good-Bye Lenin? Is Ukraine’s ‘Revolution’ Pro-European or Pro-Oligarchic?”

http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2013/12/good-bye-lenin-ukraines-revolution-pro-european-pro-oligarchic.html

“A New Cold War? Ukraine Violence Escalates, Leaked Tape Suggests U.S. Was Plotting Coup”

http://m.democracynow.org/stories/14211

“Debate: Is Ukraine’s Opposition a Democratic Movement or a Force of Right-Wing Extremism?”

http://m.democracynow.org/stories/14172

“The Ukraine: Neo-Nazi criminal state looming in the centre of Europe”

http://www.voltairenet.org/article182329.html

“…and Europe’s Cure
Ukraine’s Sickness”

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/02/24/ukraines-sickness/

“Don’t be fooled by her angelic looks, she’s as ruthless as she’s corrupt: A withering portrait of Ukraine’s ‘saviour’ by EDWARD LUCAS, a Russia expert who knows her well”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2566299/Dont-fooled-angelic-looks-shes-ruthless-shes-corrupt-A-withering-portrait-Ukraines-saviour-EDWARD-LUCAS-Russia-expert-knows-well.html#ixzz2vE4s3dbX

“‘I’ll be fighting Jews and Russians till I die’: Ukrainian right-wing militants aiming for power”

http://rt.com/news/ukraine-right-sector-militants-210/

“Poland as the ‘Slavic Turkey’ of NATO Destabilization”

http://www.voltairenet.org/article182276.html#nh1

“Coup d’État in Disguise: Washington’s New World Order “Democratization” Template”

http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/MOW502A.html

“Ukraine: far-right extremists at core of ‘democracy’ protest”

http://www.channel4.com/news/kiev-svoboda-far-right-protests-right-sector-riot-police

“The Menace Across the European Continent
Ukraine and the Rebirth of Fascism”

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/29/ukraine-and-the-rebirth-of-fascism/

“Distorting Russia
How the American media misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine.”

http://www.thenation.com/article/178344/distorting-russia#

“Ukraine: NATO’s Eastern Prize”

http://m.strategic-culture.org/news/2013/12/16/ukraine-nato-eastern-prize.html

“Ukraine: On the Edge of Empires”

http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20101129_geopolitical_journey_part_6_ukraine

“In Ukraine, fascists, oligarchs and western expansion are at the heart of the crisis.

The story we’re told about the protests gripping Kiev bears only the sketchiest relationship with reality”

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/29/ukraine-fascists-oligarchs-eu-nato-expansion

“Viktor Yanukovych’s future may depend on oligarchs as much as protesters
Offer of concessions follows Rinat Akhmetov’s call for dialogue, suggesting oligarchs fear Ukraine becoming pariah state”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/27/viktor-yanukovych-ukraine-oligarchs-protest-rinat-akhmetov

“After Yugoslavia, Ukraine ?”

http://www.voltairenet.org/article182188.html

“Coup in Western Ukraine: the Arab Spring unleashed in Europe”

http://www.voltairenet.org/article181927.html

“Crisis in Ukraine: blood on the Maidan”

http://www.voltairenet.org/article182030.html

“When is the far-right acceptable to the West? When it’s in Ukraine”

http://rt.com/op-edge/west-double-standards-ukraine-russia-403/

It is becoming clearer every day that the United States and Germany instigated the crisis in Ukraine, installing a right-wing nationalist regime completely subservient to Washington and NATO, with the intention of provoking a confrontation with Russia.

On Thursday, the Obama administration brushed aside conciliatory talk from Russian President Vladimir Putin and announced an initial round of sanctions, pushing the European Union to announce its own sanctions later in the day. Meanwhile, American warplanes have been dispatched to the Baltics and US warships have entered the Black Sea.

In response to a unanimous vote by the Crimean parliament in favor of seceding from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation and the setting of a referendum on secession for March 16, President Obama declared the holding of such a vote a violation of the Ukrainian Constitution and international law.

As always—and as has been the case throughout this crisis—the statements of the US government are infused with hypocrisy. In 1992, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United States pressed for the breakup of Yugoslavia. In 1999, it went to war against Serbia to secure the secession of the province of Kosovo. Washington’s position on one or another issue is never determined by the principles of international law, but rather by its calculation of US geopolitical and economic interests.

The question is now: how far is the US prepared to go in order to secure a victory over Russia in this confrontation? In a television interview, US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power repeated Washington’s ultimatum that Russia recognize the US-backed regime in Kiev, even as she warned that developments in Ukraine could “go south.”

So reckless is the warmongering of the US that even former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the most ruthless practitioner of imperialist power politics, is alarmed. He began an op-ed piece in Thursday’s Washington Post by writing: “Political discussion on Ukraine is all about confrontation. But do we know where we are going?”

Washington’s strategic playbook is all too clear: it made use of Ukrainian fascist “demonstrators” to topple the elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych and acquire unfettered control over the country. The Obama administration assumed that Putin would offer at least token resistance, if only to avoid an extreme loss of face.

However, the US is not seeking a compromise with Russia. It wants Russia to make a humiliating climb-down, and is risking the outbreak of nuclear war in the process. The United States is demanding nothing less than Moscow’s acceptance of a hostile Ukraine that will serve as a forward staging post for US and NATO military forces and intensified operations aimed at dismembering Russia.

In part, the stance taken by Washington reflects anger over recent events, specifically Russian support for the Assad regime in Syria and the decision by Putin to provide asylum to National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Both cases are viewed as an expression of Russia’s refusal to accept unconditionally the global hegemony of the United States. Washington wants a sharp and permanent change in the relationship of forces between itself and Moscow.

The Obama administration seems to be counting on Putin’s willingness to back down in the face of the combined military and financial might of US and European imperialism. But the fact remains that it has provoked a crisis that could spiral into a military collision with catastrophic consequences. Even if nuclear war is averted in this instance, the events of the past week have demonstrated that a new world war, utilizing nuclear weapons, is not just a danger. It is an inevitability unless the working class intervenes to put an end to capitalism and imperialism.

This situation, and the position in which Russia finds itself, fully confirm the catastrophic consequences of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The December, 1991 announcement by Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his Ukrainian and Belarusian counterparts Leonid Kravchuk and Stanislav Shushkevich of the dissolution of the USSR was the final act of treachery in decades of betrayal by the Stalinist bureaucracy of the October 1917 Revolution that created the workers’ state and the socialist and internationalist program upon which the revolution was based.

The bellicose propaganda in the Western media about Russian “expansionism” is absurd. Since the breakup of the USSR, vast portions of the former Soviet Union and all of its East Bloc allies have been brought into the orbit of US and European imperialism. The fate of Russia has confirmed the warnings of the Trotskyist movement that the dissolution of the Soviet Union would result in the transformation of post-Soviet Russia into an impoverished and despotic semi-colony of Western imperialism.

Prior to the breakup of the USSR, the linchpin of Stalinist foreign policy was “peaceful coexistence” with imperialism. The Kremlin used all of its influence to suppress the international working class struggle against capitalism in return for an imperialist accommodation with the USSR.

In the final years of its rule, as it completed its repudiation of whatever remained of the legacy of the October Revolution, the Kremlin bureaucracy under Gorbachev acted as if imperialism was a Marxist fiction. As they dismantled the Soviet Union, the bureaucrats peddled the illusion that a capitalist Russia would be allowed by the United States and its European NATO allies to live in peace, as the new Russian biznismen grew ever richer on the plundered wealth of the old USSR.

But imperialism is not a fiction. It is a brutal reality, and its geopolitical and economic interests rule out peaceful coexistence with Russia. The opposition of the United States to the Soviet Union was based not only on the non-capitalist structure of the USSR. The United States could never reconcile itself to the fact that the Soviet Union, the creation of the October Revolution, deprived American imperialism of direct control over the vast natural and human resources of such an immense country. Even though the USSR no longer exists, the appetites of US and European imperialism remain.

Thus, a weak capitalist Russia confronts the threats of American and European imperialism. Leading a regime that rests on an utterly corrupt elite—which has deposited a substantial portion of its ill-gotten riches in US and European banks—Putin relies on the reactionary mechanisms of military maneuvers and Great Russian chauvinism. Bereft of a coherent strategic vision—let alone one that would find support beyond the borders of Russia—he is looking for an avenue of retreat that will not leave his regime utterly humiliated and discredited. But it is not at all certain that the United States will ease the pressure, and the danger exists that the crisis may escalate out of control.

In The Sleepwalkers, a recently published book on the July 1914 crisis that led to the outbreak of World War I, historian Christopher Clark calls attention to the recklessness of the European diplomats whose miscalculations produced a disaster. But compared to Obama and his European allies, the actors in the 1914 crisis seem almost models of restraint!

Even if a way is found out of the present impasse, it will be only of short duration. Another crisis will soon follow. The crisis of February-March 2014 should leave no doubt that the imperialist system must lead to war. The only means by which this can be prevented is through the unification of the international working class in the struggle for socialism.

America’s “Unlimited Imperialism”, Now Ukraine

March 7th, 2014 by Francis A. Boyle

 It is the Unlimited Imperialists along the lines of Alexander, Rome, Napoleon and Hitler who are now in charge of conducting American foreign policy. The factual circumstances surrounding the outbreaks of both the First World War and the Second World War currently hover like twin  Swords of Damocles over the heads of all humanity. 

Historically, this latest eruption of American militarism at the start of the 21st Century is akin to that of America opening the 20th Century by means of the U.S.-instigated Spanish-American War in 1898.  Then the Republican administration of President  William McKinley stole their colonial empire from Spain in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines; inflicted a near genocidal war against the Filipino people; while at the same time illegally annexing the Kingdom of Hawaii and subjecting the Native Hawaiian people (who call themselves the Kanaka Maoli) to near genocidal conditions.  Additionally, McKinley’s military and colonial expansion into the Pacific was also designed to secure America’s economic exploitation of China pursuant to the euphemistic rubric of the “open door” policy.  

But over the next four decades America’s aggressive presence, policies, and practices in the “Pacific” would ineluctably pave the way for Japan’s attack at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 194l, and thus America’s precipitation into the ongoing Second World War. Today a century later the serial imperial aggressions launched and menaced by the Republican Bush Jr. administration and now the Democratic Obama administration  are  threatening to set off World War III.

By shamelessly exploiting the terrible tragedy of 11 September 2001, the Bush Jr. administration set forth to steal a hydrocarbon empire from the Muslim states and peoples living in Central Asia and the Persian Gulf and Africa  under the bogus pretexts of

(1) fighting a war against international terrorism; and/or

(2) eliminating weapons of mass destruction; and/or

(3) the promotion of democracy; and/or

(4) self-styled “humanitarian intervention”/responsibility to protect. 

Only this time the geopolitical stakes are infinitely greater than they were a century ago:  control and domination of two-thirds of the world’s hydrocarbon resources and thus the very fundament and energizer of the global economic system – oil and gas. 

The Bush Jr./ Obama  administrations  have  already targeted the remaining hydrocarbon reserves of Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia for further conquest or domination, together with the strategic choke-points at sea and on land required for their transportation.  In this regard, the Bush Jr. administration  announced the establishment of the U.S. Pentagon’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) in order to better control, dominate, and exploit both the natural resources and the variegated peoples of the continent of Africa, the very cradle of our human species.  Libya and the Libyans became the first victims to succumb to AFRICOM under the Obama administration. They will not be the last.

This current bout of U.S. imperialism is what my teacher, mentor and friend  Hans Morgenthau denominated “unlimited imperialism” in his seminal work Politics Among Nations (4th ed. 1968, at 52-53): 

“The outstanding historic examples of unlimited imperialism are the expansionist policies of Alexander the Great, Rome, the Arabs in the seventh and eighth centuries, Napoleon I, and Hitler. They all have in common an urge toward expansion which knows no rational limits, feeds on its own successes and, if not stopped by a superior force, will go on to the confines of the political world. This urge will not be satisfied so long as there remains anywhere a possible object of domination–a politically organized group of men which by its very independence challenges the conqueror’s lust for power. It is, as we shall see, exactly the lack of moderation, the aspiration to conquer all that lends itself to conquest, characteristic of unlimited imperialism, which in the past has been the undoing of the imperialistic policies of this kind… “

 It is the Unlimited Imperialists along the lines of Alexander, Rome, Napoleon and Hitler who are now in charge of conducting American foreign policy. The factual circumstances surrounding the outbreaks of both the First World War and the Second World War currently hover like twin  Swords of Damocles over the heads of all humanity.

 

1. Two Invasions

The stakes are high in the Ukraine: after the coup, as Crimea and Donbas asserted their right to self determination, American and Russian troops entered Ukrainian territory, both under cover.

The American soldiers are “military advisors”, ostensibly members of Blackwater private army (renamed Academi); a few hundred of them patrol Kiev while others try to suppress the revolt in Donetsk. Officially, they were invited by the new West-installed regime. They are the spearhead of the US invasion attempting to prop up the regime and break down all resistance. They have already bloodied their hands in Donetsk.

Besides, the Pentagon has doubled the number of US fighter jets on a NATO air patrol mission in the Baltics; the US air carrier entered the Black Sea, some US Marines reportedly landed in Lvov “as a part of pre-planned manoeuvres”.

The Russian soldiers ostensibly belong to the Russian Fleet, legally stationed in Crimea. They were in Crimea before the coup, in accordance with the Russian-Ukrainian treaty (like the US 5th fleet in Kuwait), but their presence was probably beefed up. Additional Russian troops were invited in by deposed but legitimately elected President Yanukovych (compare this with the US landing on Haiti in support of the deposed President Aristide ). They help the local pro-Russian militia maintain order, and no one gets killed in the process. In addition, Russia brought its troops on alert and returned a few warships to the Black Sea.

It is only the Russian presence which is described as an “invasion” by the Western media, while the American one is hardly mentioned. ”We have a moral duty to stick our nose in your business in your backyard a world away from our homeland. It’s for your own good”, wrote an ironic American blogger.

Moscow woke up to trouble in Ukraine after its preoccupation, nay obsession, with the Winter Olympic games had somewhat abated, — when people began to say that “Putin won the games and lost the Ukraine”. Indeed, while Putin watched sports in Sochi, the Brown Revolution succeeded in Ukraine. A great European country the size of France, the biggest republic of the former USSR (save Russia), was taken over by a coalition of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and (mainly Jewish) oligarchs. The legitimate president was forced to flee for his very life. Members of Parliament were manhandled, and in some cases their children were taken hostage to ensure their vote, as their houses were visited by gunmen. The putsch was completed. The West recognised the new government; Russia refused to recognise it, but continued to deal with it on a day -to-day basis. However the real story is now developing in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, a story of resistance to the pro-Western takeover.

2.       The Putsch

The economic situation of Ukraine is dreadful. They are where Russia was in the 1990s, before Putin – in Ukraine the Nineties never ended. For years the country was ripped off by the oligarchs who siphoned off profits to Western banks, bringing it to the very edge of the abyss. To avoid default and collapse, the Ukraine was to receive a Russian loan of 15 billion euros without preconditions, but then came the coup. Now the junta’s prime minister will be happy to receive a mere one billion dollars from the US via IMF. (Europeans have promised more, but in a few years’ time…) He already accepted the conditions of the IMF, which will mean austerity, unemployment and debt bondage. Probably this was the raison d’être for the coup. IMF and US loans are a major source of profit for the financial community, and they are used to enslave debtor countries, as Perkins explained at length.

The oligarchs who financed the Maidan operation divided the spoils: the most generous supporter, multi-billionaire Igor “Benya” Kolomoysky, received the great Russian-speaking city of Dnepropetrovsk in fief. He was not required to give up his Israeli passport. His brethren oligarchs took other Russian-speaking industrial cities, including Kharkov and Donetsk, the Ukrainian Chicago or Liverpool. Kolomoysky is not just an ‘oligarch of Jewish origin’: he is an active member of the Jewish community, a supporter of Israel and a donor of many synagogues, one of them the biggest in Europe. He had no problem supporting the neo-Nazis, even those whose entry to the US had been banned because of their declared antisemitism. That is why the appeals to Jewish consciousness against the Brown putsch demonstrably failed.

Now came the nationalists’ crusade against Russian-speakers (ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking Ukrainians – the distinction is moot), chiefly industrial workers of East and South of the country. The Kiev regime banned the Communist Party and the Regions’ Party (the biggest party of the country, mainly supported by the Russian-speaking workers). The regime’s first decree banned the Russian language from schools, radio and TV, and forbade all official use of Russian. The Minister of Culture called Russian-speakers “imbeciles” and proposed to jail them for using the banned tongue in public places. Another decree threatened every holder of dual Russian/Ukrainian nationality with a ten-years jail sentence, unless he gives up the Russian one right away.

Not empty words, these threats: The storm-troopers of the Right Sector, the leading fighting force of the New Order, went around the country terrorising officials, taking over government buildings, beating up citizens, destroying Lenin’s statues, smashing memorials of the Second World War and otherwise enforcing their rule A video showed a Right Sector fighter mistreating the city attorney while police looked other way. They began to hunt down riot policemen who supported the ex-president, and they burned down a synagogue or two. They tortured a governor, and lynched some technicians they found in the former ruling party’s headquarters. They started to take over the Orthodox churches of the Russian rite, intending to transfer them to their own Greek-Catholic Church.

The instructions of US State Dept.’s Victoria Nuland were followed through: the Ukraine had had the government she prescribed in the famous telephone conversation with the US Ambassador. Amazingly, while she notoriously gave “fuck” to the EU, she did not give a fuck about the Russian view of Ukraine’s immediate future.

Russia was not involved in Ukrainian developments: Putin did not want to be accused of meddling in Ukrainian internal affairs, even when the US and EU envoys assisted and directed the rebels. The people of Russia would applaud him if he were to send his tanks to Kiev to regain the whole of Ukraine, as they consider it an integral part of Russia. But Putin is not a Russian nationalist, not a man of Imperial designs. Though he would like the Ukraine to be friendly to Russia, annexing it, in whole or in part, has never been his ambition. It would be too expensive even for wealthy Russia: the average income in the Ukraine is just half of the Russian one, and tits infrastructure is in a shambles. (Compare to the very costly West German takeover of the GDR.) It would not be easy, either, for every Ukrainian government in the past twenty years has drenched the people with anti-Russian sentiment. But involvement was forced upon Putin:

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians voted with their feet and fled to Russia, asking for asylum. Two hundred thousand refugees checked in during the weekend. The only free piece of land in the whole republic was the city of Sevastopol, the object of a French and British siege in 1852 and of a German siege in 1941, and the home base of the Russian Black Sea fleet. This heroic city did not surrender to the Kiev emissaries, though even here some local deputies were ready to submit. And at that last moment, the people began their resistance. The awful success of the putsch was the beginning of its undoing. The pendulum of Ukraine, forever swinging between East and West, began its return movement.

3.       The Rising

The people of Crimea rose, dismissed their compromise-seeking officials and elected a new leader, Mr Sergey Aksyonov. The new leadership assumed power, took over Crimea and asked for Russian troops to save them from the impending attack by the Kiev storm troopers. It does not seem to have been necessary at this stage: there were plenty of Crimeans ready to defend their land from the Brown invaders, there were Cossack volunteers and there is the Russian Navy stationed in Crimea by treaty. Its Marines would probably be able to help the Crimeans in case of trouble. The Crimeans, with some Russian help, manned the road blocks on the narrow isthmus that connects Crimea to the mainland.

The parliament of Crimea voted to join Russia, but this vote should be confirmed by a poll on March 16 to determine Crimea’s future — whether it will revert to Russia or remain an autonomous republic within the Ukraine. From my conversation with locals, it seems that they would prefer to join the Russian Federation they left on Khrushchev’s orders only a half century ago. Given the Russian-language issue and the consanguinity, this makes sense: Ukraine is broke, Russia is solvent and ready to assume its protection. Ukraine can’t pay salaries and pensions, Russia had promised to do so. Kiev was taking away the lion’s share of income generated in Crimea by Russian tourists; now the profits will remain in the peninsula and presumably help repair the rundown infrastructure. Real estate would likely rise drastically in price, optimistic natives surmise, and this view is shared by Russian businessmen. They already say that Crimea will beat out Sochi in a few years’ time, as drab old stuff will be replaced by Russian Imperial chic.

Perhaps Putin would prefer the Crimea gain independence, like Kosovo, or even remain under a token Ukrainian sovereignty, as Taiwan is still nominally part of China. It could become a showcase pro-Russian Ukraine to allow other Ukrainians to see what they’re missing, as West Berlin was for the East Germans during the Cold War. Regaining Crimea would be nice, but not at the price of having a consolidated and hostile Ukraine for a neighbour. Still Putin will probably have no choice but to accept the people’s decision.

There was an attempt to play the Crimean Tatars against the Russians; apparently it failed. Though the majlis, their self-appointed organisation, supports Kiev, the elders spoke up for neutrality. There are persistent rumours that the colourful Chechen leader Mr Kadyrov, a staunch supporter of Mr Putin, had sent his squads to the Tatars to strong-arm them into dropping their objections to Crimea’s switch to Russia. At the beginning, the Tatars supported Kiev, and even tried to prevent the pro-Russian takeover. But these wise people are born survivors, they know when to adjust their attitudes, and there is no doubt they will manage just fine.

Russian Nazis, as anti-Putin as Ukrainian Nazis, are divided: some support a “Russian Crimea” whilst others prefer pro-European Kiev. They are bad as enemies, but even worse as friends: the supportive Nazis try to wedge between Russians and Ukrainians and Tatars, and they hate to see that Kadyrov’s Chechnya actually helps Russian plans, for they are anti-Chechen and try to convince people that Russia is better off without Chechens, a warlike Muslim tribe.

As Crimea defied orders from Kiev, it became a beacon for other regions of the Ukraine. Donbas, the coal and steel region, raised Russian banners and declared its desire for self-determination, “like Crimea”. They do want to join a Russian-led Customs Union; it is not clear whether they would prefer independence, autonomy or something else, but they, too, scheduled a poll – for March 30. There were big demonstrations against the Kiev regime in Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov and other Russian-speaking cities. Practically everywhere, the deputies seek accommodation with Kiev and look for a way to make some profit, but the people do not agree. They are furious and do not accept the junta.

The Kiev regime does not accept their quest for freedom. A popularly-elected Mayor of Donetsk was kidnapped by the Ukrainian security forces and taken to Kiev. There are now violent demonstrations in the city.

The Ukrainian navy in the Black Sea switched its allegiance from Kiev to Crimea, and they were followed by some units of the air force with dozens of fighter jets and ground troops. Troops loyal to Kiev were blocked off by the Crimeans, but there was no violence in this peaceful transfer of power.

The junta appointed an oligarch to rule Donbas, Mr Sergey Taruta, but he had difficulty assuming power as the local people did not want him, and with good reason: Taruta had bought the major Polish port of Gdansk and brought it to bankruptcy. It seems he is better at siphoning capital away than in running serious business. Ominously, Mr Taruta brought with him some unidentified, heavily armed security personnel, reportedly guns-for-hire from Blackwater (a.k.a. Academi) fresh from Iraq and Afghanistan. He will need a lot more of them if he wants to take Donbas by force.

In Kharkov, the biggest Eastern city, erstwhile capital of Soviet Ukraine, local people ejected the raiding force of the Right Sector from government offices, but police joined with the oligarchs. While the fake revolution took place in Kiev under the tutelage of US and EC envoys, the real revolution is taking place now, and its future is far from certain.

The Ukraine hasn’t got much of an army, as the oligarchs stole everything ever assigned to the military. The Kiev regime does not rely on its army anyway. Their attempt to draft able-bodied men failed immediately as hardly anybody answered the call. They still intend to squash the revolution. Another three hundred Blackwater mercenaries landed Wednesday in Kiev airport. The Kiev regime applied for NATO help and expressed its readiness to allow US missiles to be stationed in the Ukraine. Missiles in the Ukraine (as now stationed in Poland, also too close for Russian comfort) would probably cross Russia’s red line, just as Russian missiles in Cuba crossed America’s red line in 1962. Retired Israeli intelligence chief Yaakov Kedmi, an expert on Russia, said that in his view the Russians just can’t allow that, at any price, even if this means all-out war.

Putin asked the upper house of the Russian parliament for permission to deploy Russian troops if needed, and the parliament unanimously approved his request. They will probably be deployed in order to defend the workers in case of attack by a Right Sector beefed up by Blackwater mercenaries. Humanitarian catastrophe, large-scale disturbances, the flow of refugees or the arrival of NATO troops could also force Putin’s hand, even against his will.

4.       The President in exile

President Yanukovych will be historically viewed as a weak, tragic figure, and he deserves a better pen with a more leisured pace than mine. He tried his best to avoid casualties, though he faced a full-scale revolt led by very violent Brown storm-troopers. And still he was blamed for killing some eighty people, protesters and policemen.

Some of the victims were killed by the Right Sector as they stormed the ruling party offices. The politicians left the building well in advance, but the secretarial staff remained behind — many women, janitors and suchlike. An engineer named Vladimir Zakharov went to the besieging rebels and asked them to let the women out. They killed him on the spot with their bats. Another man was burned alive.

But the majority of casualties were victims of sniper fire, also blamed on Yanukovych. The Kiev regime even asked the Hague tribunal to indict the President as they had President Milosevic. But now, a telephone conversation between EC representative Catherine Ashton and Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet reveals that the EC emissaries were aware that dozens of victims of sniper fire at the Maidan were killed by Maidan rebel supporters, and not by police or by President Yanukovych, as they claimed. Urmas Paet acknowledged the veracity of this conversation at a press conference, and called for an independent enquiry. It turned out that the rebel snipers shot and killed policemen and Maidan protesters alike, in order to shed blood and blame it on the President.

This appears to be a staple feature of the US-arranged revolutions. Snipers killing both protesters and police were reported in Moscow’s 1991 and 1993 revolutions, as well as in many other cases. Some sources claim that famed Israeli snipers were employed on such occasions, which is plausible in view of Mr Kolomoysky’s Israeli connection. A personal friend of Mr Kolomoysky, prominent member of the then-opposition, Parliamentarian and present head of administration Sergey Pashinsky was stopped by police as he removed a sniper’s rifle with a silencer from the scene of murder. This discovery was briefly reported in the New York Times, but later removed. This revelation eliminates (or at least seriously undermines) the case against the President. Probably it will be disappear down the memory hole and be totally forgotten, as were the Seymour Hersh revelations about Syria’s sarin attack.

Another revelation was made by President Putin at his press-conference of March 4, 2014. He said that he convinced (read: forced) President Yanukovych to sign his agreement of February 21, 2014 with the opposition, as Western ministers had demanded. By this agreement, or actually capitulation act, the Ukrainian President agreed to all the demands of the Brown rebels, including speedy elections for the Parliament and President. However, the agreement did not help: the rebels tried to kill Yanukovych that same night as he travelled to Kharkov.

Putin expressed amazement that they were not satisfied with the agreement and proceeded with the coup anyway. The reason was provided by Right Sector goons: they said that their gunmen will be stationed by every election booth and that they would count the vote. Naturally, the agreement did not allow for that, and the junta had every reason to doubt their ability to win honest elections.

It appears Yanukovych hoped to establish a new power base in Kharkov, where a large assembly of deputies from East and South of Ukraine was called in advance. The assembly, says Mr Kolomoysky, was asked to assume powers and support the President, but the deputies refused. That is why President Yanukovych, with great difficulty, escaped to Russia. His landing in Rostov made quite an impression on people as his plane was accompanied by fighter jets.

Yanukovych tried to contact President Putin, but the Russian president did not want to leave the impression that he wants to force Yanukovych on the people of Ukraine, and refused to meet or to speak with him directly. Perhaps Putin had no time to waste on such a weak figure, but he publicly recognised him anyway as the legitimate President of the Ukraine. This made sense, as President Yanukovych requested Russian troops to bring peace to his country. He still may make a comeback – as the president of a Free Ukraine, if such should ever be formed in some part of the country, – or as the protagonist of an opera.

[English language editing by Ken Freeland]

Israel Shamir can be reached at [email protected]

Israel Shamir can be reached on [email protected]

Hillary Clinton: Playing a Dog-Eared “Hitler” Card

March 7th, 2014 by Norman Solomon

The frontrunner to become the next president of the United States is playing an old and dangerous political game — comparing a foreign leader to Adolf Hitler.

At a private charity event on Tuesday, in comments preserved on audio, Hillary Clinton talked about actions by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in the Crimea. “Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the ’30s,” she said.

The next day, Clinton gave the inflammatory story more oxygen when speaking at UCLA. She “largely stood by the remarks,” the Washington Post reported. Clinton “said she was merely noting parallels between Putin’s claim that he was protecting Russian-speaking minorities in Crimea and Hitler’s moves into Poland, Czechoslovakia and other parts of Europe to protect German minorities.”

 Clinton denied that she was comparing Putin with Hitler even while she persisted in comparing Putin with Hitler. “I just want people to have a little historic perspective,” she said. “I’m not making a comparison certainly, but I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before.”

Yes indeed. Let’s learn from this tactic that has been used before – the tactic of comparing overseas adversaries to Hitler. Such comparisons by U.S. political leaders have a long history of fueling momentum for war.

“Surrender in Vietnam” would not bring peace, President Lyndon Johnson said at a news conference on July 28, 1965 as he tried to justify escalating the war, “because we learned from Hitler at Munich that success only feeds the appetite of aggression.”

After Ho Chi Minh was gone, the Hitler analogy went to other leaders of countries in U.S. crosshairs. The tag was also useful when attached to governments facing U.S.-backed armies.

 Three decades ago, while Washington funded the contra forces in Nicaragua, absurd efforts to smear the elected left-wing Sandinistas knew no rhetorical bounds. Secretary of State George Shultz said on February 15, 1984, at a speech in Boston: “I’ve had good friends who experienced Germany in the 1930s go there and come back and say, ‘I’ve visited many communist countries, but Nicaragua doesn’t feel like that. It feels like Nazi Germany.’”

Washington embraced Panama’s Gen. Manuel Noriega as an ally, and for a while he was a CIA collaborator. But there was a falling out, and tension spiked in the summer of 1989. Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger said that drug trafficking by Noriega “is aggression as surely as Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland 50 years ago was aggression.” A U.S. invasion overthrew Noriega in December 1989.

In early August 1990, the sudden Iraqi invasion of Kuwait abruptly ended cordial relations between Washington and Baghdad. The two governments had a history of close cooperation during the 1980s. But President George H. W. Bush proclaimed that Saddam Hussein was “a little Hitler.” In January 1991, the U.S. government launched the Gulf War.

 Near the end of the decade, Hillary Clinton got a close look at how useful it can be to conflate a foreign leader with Hitler, as President Bill Clinton and top aides repeatedly drew the parallel against Serbia’s president, Slobodan Milosevic. In late March 1999, the day before the bombing of Kosovo and Serbia began, President Clinton said in a speech: “And so I want to talk to you about Kosovo today but just remember this — it’s about our values. What if someone had listened to Winston Churchill and stood up to Adolf Hitler earlier?”

 As the U.S.-led NATO bombing intensified, so did efforts to justify it with references to Hitler. “Clinton and his senior advisers harked repeatedly back to images of World War II and Nazism to give moral weight to the bombing,” the Washington Post reported. Vice President Al Gore chimed in for the war chorus, calling Milosevic “one of these junior-league Hitler types.”

 Just a few years later, the George W. Bush administration cranked up a revival of Saddam-Hitler comparisons. They became commonplace.

Five months before the invasion of Iraq, it was nothing extraordinary when a leading congressional Democrat pulled out all the stops. “Had Hitler’s regime been taken out in a timely fashion,” said Rep. Tom Lantos, “the 51 million innocent people who lost their lives during the Second World War would have been able to finish their normal life cycles. Mr. Chairman, if we appease Saddam Hussein, we will stand humiliated before both humanity and history.”

From the Vietnam War to the Iraq War, facile and wildly inaccurate comparisons between foreign adversaries and Adolf Hitler have served the interests of politicians hell-bent on propelling the United States into war. Often, those politicians succeeded. The carnage and the endless suffering have been vast.

Now, Hillary Clinton is ratcheting up her own Hitler analogies. She knows as well as anyone the power they can generate for demonizing a targeted leader.

 With the largest nuclear arsenals on the planet, the United States and Russia have the entire world on a horrific knife’s edge. Nuclear saber-rattling is implicit in what the prospective President Hillary Clinton has done in recent days, going out of her way to tar Russia’s president with a Hitler brush. Her eagerness to heighten tensions with Russia indicates that she is willing to risk war — and even nuclear holocaust — for the benefit of her political ambitions.

Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” Information about the documentary based on the book is at www.WarMadeEasyTheMovie.org.

Prof Kiyul Chung

The US has installed what is tantamount to a fascist dictatorship in Seoul under the mantle of democracy.

The following statement was made by Dr. Lee Jung Hee who has become over last two three years one of the most respected progressive Korean politicians. She is the leader of the Unified Progressive Party(UPP). which supports the rights of workers and farmers. UPP has taken anti-imperialist, peace and anti-war stance and has pursued the objective of “peaceful, self-determined reunification,” of North and South Korea.

However, ever since the “Lady dictator Park” has come to power in February 2013, the UPP has been deliberate target of the most a hateful campaign characterised by outright political and legal manipulation. 

The UPP has been repeatedly singled-outed for a  vicious  and calculated political process of persecution and isolation. The conservative and traditionally pro-regime corporate medias have also joined bandwagon with a view to demonizing the UPP and its leader Dr. Lee.

Tragically, the other “reform-oriented” (so-called) opposition parties like the Democratic Party, as a result of America’s ongoing “Divide and Conquer” strategy for over 60 years, have supported the government of “Lady Hitler” to isolate and demonize the only real and genuine opposition party, namely the the UPP.

Dr. Lee who is a brilliant and down-to-earth lawyer committed to civil rights made the following statement on January 28 at her First Defense at a Seoul local court against the “illegally-elected President” Park who’s lately earned the nickname of  “Lady Hitler,” the Strongman’s daughter, referring to her father General Park Chung Hee who (with the support of Washington) declared martial law, suspended the country’s constitution and made himself President for Life.

 The Seoul local court, like most other Korean courts which have also earned for over half a century a notoriously dishonorable nickname, i.e  the “faithful servants of the power,” sentenced one of the most prominent leaders of the UPP, Representative Lee Seok-gi to  20 years in jail and 5 other UPP leaders to 15 and 10 years respectively for a politically-motivated thereby -framed/manufactured “anti-state” crime, entitled  “conspiracy of a rebellion.”

Even before she’s moved into the powerhouse, called the Blue House, “Lady Hitler” was determined to destroy the UPP by any means necessary, specifically Dr. Lee who has confronted Park in a number of public settings, particularly at the public Presidential Debates in December 2012. To get rid of the opposition, president Park has asked the Korea’s Constitutional Court to disband the UPP for its allegedly “pro-North, pro-Communist, anti-state political platform and activities.”

An extremist version of the 21st Century McCarthyism in South Korea (implemented with Washington’s support) has been used to to implement a political “witch-hunt” reminiscent of Nazi Germany by expelling anybody who’s openly confronts president Park. What is of significance is that a distinct form of neo-nazism has been resurrected in Seoul, not in the 1930s or 40s but in 21st Century in Korea!

The UPP and its nationally-respected humble leader Dr. Lee has been named Enemy Number One by president Park.

Prof. Kiyul Chung, Editor in Chief, The 4th Media

***

The first statement of the defense on the case – request of the dissolution of the Unified Progressive Party

“Requests of the dissolution of the UPP is violation of the spirit of the Constitution”

By Representative Lee Jung-hee at the first defense statement

- Date: 14:00 January 28, 2014

- Venue: Grand chamber of the Constitutional Court

1.The Constitution of 1987 was the expression of the national people’s will not to retreat to the past of dictatorship

The case – request of the dissolution of the UPP clearly demonstrates the radical retreat of democracy in Korean society. Democracy begins from recognizing there are different ideas from mine. It is the minimal condition for democratic politics that the ruler recognizes the existence of the opposition political parties which have different political opinions from the ruling power. Meanwhile, the first sign of dictatorship which is certainly conflicting with democracy is the ruler’s disrupting and prohibiting activities of the opposition political parties.

Korean society had long period of times under the dictatorship which sought to eradicate the opposition political parties. Examples include the Rhee Seung-man administration’s cancellation of the Progressive Party in 1958, the Park Jung-hee administration’s prohibition of political activities of 4,374 opposition politicians through the Act on Political Activities Purification in 1962 and the Chun Doo-hwan administration’s winding up of opposition political parties and deprivation of opposition politicians’ political rights by restricting 835 politicians from engaging in political activities through the Act on Politics Practices Reform in 1980.

The current Constitution which was the fruit of the June Struggle of 1987 guarantees the political parties’ activities as well as other political rights. It is the expression of the people’s clear will not to repeat the past of dictatorship. Korea people were confident that under the Constitution, regardless of whoever takes power, Korean society would never be back to dictatorship.

However Park Guen-hye administration destroyed this confidence by proceeding requests of the dissolution of the UPP in eight months of its inauguration. Of course, the final decision of the case will rely on the judgment of the Constitutional Court in terms of legal sphere.

However, in terms of political sphere, the government already derailed from democratic politics by declaring it would not accept the existence of opposition political parties as long as they promote independence, democracy, equality and peaceful reunification.

  2. The significance of the case

(1) The dictatorship conducted under the name of democracy even more severely undermines democracy.

Whether the lost democracy in political sphere can be recovered and revived at least in legal sphere, or whether the law is no more than a technique to provide formal legality cover to political acts without limits: the prolonged tensional relations between the law and politics are demonstrated in the case of requests of the dissolution of the UPP in its extreme.

I think, this case may be the most political case in the history of the Constitutional Court since it was first established. The principles of a law-governed country which are the fundamental principle of the Constitution are based upon the premise that the law serves not as a technique to legitimize political acts but as a firm justice to redress unjust political abuses. The rule of law is one of the principles for realization of democracy and the Constitutional Court is one of the tools to realize democracy.

Democracy is our people’s direction and desire. Co-existence of different views is the premise of democracy. The so-called “defensive democracy” which was justified against political powers not hesitating to commit even crimes against humanism such as Nazism is often compared to fighting against a robber with a gun, with a knife. However today, the case is different. Seeking to dissolve a political party which shares the values of the dignity of life, peace and co-existence under the excuse of defensive democracy just because its views seem to be dangerous to the incumbent regime only can be compared to cruelly slashing a person who just wanted to initiate a conversation.

In this situation, defensive democracy is no more than a tactic of dictatorship to cover itself with the skin of “democracy.” The dictatorship done under the name of democracy undermines democracy even much more severely. I ask the judges to accurately identify and distinguish this point and make a right decision. The trial is historically significant in whether it will be recorded as the best practice to realize the rule of law for the effective accomplishment of democracy or as the notorious political trial legitimizing the retreat of democracy.

(2) We should not confine the Constitution to the past of the Cold War

This trial is also very significant in the progress of the Constitution of the ROK. What judgment comes out will decide the fate of our Constitution whether it retreats to the one of the outdated Cold War era or progresses to the one of the future with diverse co-existence.

The incumbent government attempts to apply the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany in the 1950s to dissolve the German Communist Party to this case. The government first requested to dissolve the UPP for the so-called conspiracy of an insurrection case as it was confirmed and later is strongly arguing that regardless of the outcome, it is necessary to dissolve the UPP in terms of preventing future danger.

It is also attacking the platform of the UPP as a camouflage tactic though the platform was decided through wide discussion of 100,000 members of the Party, reflecting reform demands of the majority of the people. In addition, it is stubbornly questioning hidden intentions and long-term purposes of the UPP though there are no such things. All of these attacks are derived from the government’s intention to dissolve the UPP like the German Communist Party.

However, adopting other country’s past case as a golden rule is no more than an irrational argument to go back to the past. Every judgment in the past has its limitations in the situation of the times. It is an inherent limit of human society. What makes the history progress is the capacity of mankind to correctly recognize the limitations of the past, reanalyze the past judgment, face the limitations of the present time, and seek for ways to usher in a better future.

However, the incumbent government is in the anachronism, applying the judgment of the 1950s when the entire world was dominated by intensive tension of the Cold War immediately after the World War 2 to the case of 2014, 60 years later and when reconciliation and cooperation between the two Koreas have been sought for after the end of the Cold War. If we cannot stop this, our Constitution will retreat to the Cold War era of the 1950s.

Rather, we painfully recognize the limitations of the times where the legacy of the Cold War which has been overcome globally still remains as a painful old division system in Korean society, hindering the progress of democracy. How much longer should we keep a rigid society where citizens, religious leaders and political parties who are against the extreme policies of the government are attacked and condemned as following North Korea just because the South is conflicting with the North? While it is critical to change the present division system into peaceful reunification in order to move toward a better future, even more important thing is our efforts not to postpone the progress of democracy under the excuse of division.

Please don’t confine our Constitution to the past of the Cold War. Please pave the way for our Constitution to move toward the future of peace, reunification and democracy. I believe that preventing the Constitution from being displayed as a remain of the past and developing it as the one living and breathing and ushering into the future is the way the Constitutional Court, the fruit of the June Struggle of 1987 to fulfill its mission to protect the Constitution.

3. The effective realization of the sovereignty of people is what the UPP has promoted

I am Representative of the UPP and a lawyer at the same time. The activities of the UPP to realize the effective sovereignty of people declared by the Constitution of 1987 are not different from what I wanted to achieve as a lawyer.

Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea prescribes that “the Republic of Korea shall be a democratic republic. The sovereignty of the Republic of Korea shall reside in the people, and all state authority shall emanate from the people.” However, in reality, the sovereignty resides in the people only during the election campaigns. Campaign pledges are too easy to cancel and the people fall to the ignorant mass too easy to deceive.

Moreover, during the last presidential election, a range of state agencies including the NIS illegally intervened in the election through attacking the opposition as pro-North Korea. The people who casted a vote after watching false investigation reports of the police were in fact targets for another deception. They were not respected as the sovereign. The UPP requested the government to be held accountable for the rigged election.

It was to realize the sovereignty of the people. However, the UPP only ended up with the charge of bidding an insurrection and the request of the dissolution of the Party.

The Constitution prescribes the principle of the sovereignty of the people. However, if irregular workers lose their job just because they organized a trade union though the Constitution guarantees the right to organize, can we say the sovereignty of the state resides in them? Are the farmers who only find themselves in increasing debts as they cannot earn even the cost of production how hard they work really the sovereign of the ROK? Is there actually the right to live as a decent person guaranteed for a father who kills himself to allow his handicapped child eligible for governmental livelihood support.

Unlike what the Constitution says, it is undeniable truth that Korean society is divided into the privileged and the underprivileged. The UPP values the realization of the genuine sovereignty of the people most. To that end, we believe unjust and unfair privilege should be eliminated and workers, farmers and low-income group whose fundamental rights have been violated should be capable of exercise their rights as a sovereign.

It is the world the UPP has consistently promoted and the world where working people are the owner. The UPP has always promoted the elimination of the unfair privilege and guarantee of equal sovereignty. The UPP has never said to invest sovereignty to a certain group of people or deprive fundamental rights of another group of people.

If a country cannot protect its territory with its own military, it is like lacking complete sovereignty. Therefore, in its platform, the UPP said the phased withdrawal of the U.S. troops stationed in Korea as well as stepping up the establishment of peace and reunification is necessary for the complete realization of the sovereignty.

Regardless of the opinion of the Korean people as a sovereign, the U.S. and the Soviet Union drew a line to divide the nation right after it was liberated from the Japanese colonial rule, resulting in the Korean War.

The UPP has presented for the two Koreas to recognize pains and differences of each other and achieve the peaceful reunification in accordance with the principle of peaceful reunification described in the Constitution, thereby overcoming the damage of confrontation caused by the conflicting super powers in the past without any more pains.

However, the incumbent government insists that the UPP is unconstitutional as it doesn’t suggest reunifying the Korean Peninsula by the South absorbing the North. However, I believe the claim to absorb the North will only cause another armed conflict and intervention of super powers and so it is the violation of the Constitution which declares the peaceful reunification. I believe the claim is unconstitutional with risks of triggering restrictions on other sovereignties.

Most of the evidence that the government collected to accuse the activities of the UPP to realize the sovereignty of the people as unconstitutional is prejudices and misunderstandings on the UPP created by the NIS through internet postings and comments as well as groundless rumors and assumptions based on them.

The rest of the evidence provided by the government is mostly documents on private activities of individuals unrelated with the UPP or already excluded evidence in related criminal cases due to its illegality in collection. Some are even interpreted by contraries.

The government has insisted that the Democratic Labor Party, predecessor of the UPP revised its platform according to the orders from North Korea. But today, the government admitted it could not tell how and through whom the order was delivered to the party.

The government suggests Representatives, staff, and executives of the UPP were selected by the orders from North Korea. I strongly wonder by whom such orders were delivered.

Accusing the UPP of being unconstitutional based on groundless assumptions should be over. Nevertheless, again in today’s proceeding, the government side is referring to false allegations with doubtful admissibility of evidence or those that cannot be found in any evidence provided by the applicant as if they are confirmed facts.

It is really regretful that the proceeding of today shortly before the Lunar New Year’s holiday when political issues have greater ripple effect than usual is clear to be deliberately scheduled by the government of ill political intention to infuse distorted false ideas into the people via the media.

The government should present the facts composed of strict evidence to the judges of the court. However today the government side is only referring to the distorted second evidence without any further explanation such as the transcripts that the NIS which created the transcripts already admitted hundreds points were fabricated or distorted as well as reports on the comments of the staff members of the UPP, meanings and intentions of which were also distorted.

For example, the government’s argument that communism was referred to in revising the platform of the UPP is a typical distortion. In fact, the actual comments made at the Party Conference in June 2011 were to persuade delegates and members of the UPP who raised opposition to deleting the statement that the party succeeds ideals and values of socialism from the platform.

As there were a significant number of people who opposed the removal, on the premise that “though there would not be anyone who promotes communism within the UPP,” “communism” was only referred to say, even self-declared communists who ultimately aim to liberate people may agree with the revision of the platform though there are some points that they don’t agree with, so please give your motion rather than protest. Interpreting the comments as the revised platform represents or implies communism is totally absurd.

The government’s behavior repeating and adding distortion to distortion reminds me of Paul Joseph Goebbels, notorious propaganda minister in the Nazi Germany.

Joseph Goebbels said “give me just one sentence, then I can make anyone a criminal.” I wonder what is different between the attitude of the Korean government of today and that of this propaganda minister of the Nazi Germany, the origin of “ the defensive democracy”.

If careful and strict evidence-based investigations are made, the distortion and exaggeration of the government will be clearly revealed at the court to the public.

 4. Requests of the dissolution of the UPP is causing the deprivation of workers, farmers and low-income group’s political rights and the violation of the people’s fundamental rights

Though I stand here today as Representative of the UPP, the defendant, what I try to protect is not just the constitutional protection of the UPP as a political party. Rather, I feel much more responsibility to prevent the violation of each individual citizen’s fundamental rights resulted from the dissolution of the UPP.

The UPP has dedicated itself to creating the politics where workers, farmers and low-income group can have the ownership. The vast majority of the membership is workers and farmers. Most of the staff members, nominated representatives and representatives of the UPP are from workers and farmers.

In the UPP, there are no local notables who inherited the politics as a family business, no big company owners who entered the politics with the enterprises as a foothold, and no opportunists who tried to buy nomination with money. The UPP has identified itself as a political party to help those who have neither asset nor academic backgrounds can enter politics. The UPP has proactively proposed bills for workers and farmers including the bill to eliminate the dispatched workers system and change the status of all the irregular workers to regular and the bill to protect farmers and self-employed people affected by the FTAs.

The request of the dissolution of the UPP violate the rights of workers, farmers, and low-income group to organize political opinions who express their opinions by providing support to the UPP. The dissolution of the UPP will also lead to derivate workers, farmers, and low-income group of the tools to realize their political rights in accordance with their own will when they try to participate in political party’s activities and be elected to public posts.

In addition, the already vulnerable attempts for workers, farmers and the low-income group to execute their rights as a sovereign by proposing and legislating necessary laws through the UPP will be prohibited. Therefore, in balancing conflicting interests, the court should consider not only the UPP’s rights to political activities but also the violation of the citizen’s fundamental political rights realized through the UPP significantly.

5. Filing for an injunction is to prevent the UPP from participating in the June 4 local elections

 

The government is encouraging the politicalization of the trial, by filing for an injunction to prevent the UPP from running candidates in the upcoming June 4 local elections.

 

Your honor, as you know, the local elections are not changing political authority like the presidential election. It is to facilitate local governments and guarantee residents’ participation.

The UPP has contributed more actively and positively than any other political parties to effective realization of a local self-governing system and local residents’ participation by proposing ordinances to change the status of irregular workers to regular, pay dry field subsidy, and establish citizens’ participatory budget system.

In this regard, the government’s attempt to completely prevent the UPP from participating in the local elections through an injunction is no less than a political suppression against political opponents to take the initiative in the political situation while totally neglecting the merits and nature of thelocal elections, the effective realization of the local self-governing.

6. The government should withdraw the request to dissolve the UPP and publicly present the direction of democracy.

Your honor,

Due to the case – request of the dissolution of the UPP, first of its kind in history since the beginning of the constitutional government, today all of us are at a crossroads of having a country which forcefully dissolves a political party to eliminate political opponents or a country which develops democracy through free exchange of various opinions and people’s evaluation via elections.

I ask the government to withdraw the requests and declare publicly to take the direction of democracy before too late. If the government insists the request, I hope the judge will make a wise decision to dismiss the request so that it becomes the last case of an attempt to dissolve a political party.

Thank you for your attention.

Representative, Chair of UPP and Lawyer Ms. Lee Jung-hee

So now we (or at least the 0.03% of us who care to hunt for it) discover that U.S. military spending is not actually being cut at all, but increasing. Also going up: U.S. nuclear weapons spending.  Some of the new nukes will violatetreaties, but the entire program violates the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which requires disarmament, not increased armament.  The U.S. policy of first-strike and the U.S. practice of informing other nations that “all options are on the table” also violate the U.N. Charter’s ban on threatening force.

But do nuclear weapons, by the nature of their technology, violate the U.S. Constitution? Do they violate the basic social contract and all possibility of self-governance?  Thus argues a new book called Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom by Elaine Scarry.  It’s not unheard of for people to see out-of-control nuclear spending as a symptom of out-of-control military spending, itself a symptom of government corruption, legalized bribery, and a militaristic culture.  Scarry’s argument suggests a reversal: the root of all this evil is not the almighty dollar but the almighty bomb.

The argument runs something like this.  The primary purpose of the social contract is to create peace and prevent war and other injury.  The U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8, clause 11) bans the making of war without the approval of both houses of Congress.  This approval was to be required not just for an existing military to attack another country, but for a military to be raised at all — standing armies not being anticipated.  And it was understood that an army would not be raised and deployed into war unless the citizen-soldiers went willingly, their ability to dissent by desertion not needing to be spelled out (or, let us say, their ability to dissent by mass-desertion, as desertion in the war that led to the Constitution was punished by death).

And yet, because this point was so crucial to the entire governmental project, Scarry argues, it was in fact spelled out — in the Second Amendment.  Arms — that is 18th century muskets — were to be freely distributed among the people, not concentrated in the hands of a king.  “Civilian” control over the military meant popular control, not presidential. The decision to go to war would have to pass through the people’s representatives in Congress, and through the people as a whole in the form of soldiers who might refuse to fight.  By this thinking, had the Ludlow Amendment, to create a public referendum before any war, passed in the 1930s, it would have been redundant.

Before the 1940s were over, in Scarry’s view, a Ludlow Amendment wouldn’t have been worth the paper it was written on, as the existence of nuclear weapons erases Constitutional checks on war.  With nuclear weapons, a tiny number of people in a government — be it 1 or 3 or 20 or 500 — hold the power to very quickly and easily kill millions or billions of human beings, and other species, and very likely themselves in the process.  “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both,” said Louis Brandeis.  We may have democracy, or we may have thermonuclear bombs, but we can’t have both, says Elaine Scarry.

Each of the series of presidents beginning with Truman and running up through Nixon is known to have repeatedly come close to choosing to use nuclear bombs, something the public has learned of, each time, only decades after the fact.  No more recent president has said he didn’t come close; we may very well learn their secrets on the usual schedule.  When you add to that insanity, the long string of accidents, mistakes, and misunderstandings, the damage of the testing and the waste, and the repeated ability of ploughshares activists (and therefore anybody else) to walk right up to U.S. nuclear weapons to protest them, it’s amazing that life exists on earth.  But Scarry’s focus is on what the new ability to kill off a continent at the push of a button has done to presidential power.

While wars since World War II have been non-nuclear, apart from depleted uranium weapons, they have also been endless and undeclared.  Because presidents can nuke nations, they and Congress and the public have assumed that a president on his or her own authority can attack nations with non-nuclear weapons too.  Now, I suspect that the military industrial complex, corrupt elections, and nuclear thinking all feed off each other.  I don’t want a single person who’s trying to clean up election spending or halt fighter-jet production to stop what they’re doing.  But the possible influence of nuclear thinking on U.S. foreign policy is intriguing.  Once a president has been given more power than any king has ever had, one might expect some people to do exactly what they’ve done and treat him like a king in all but name.

Scarry believes that we’re suffering from the false idea that we’re in a permanent emergency, and that in an emergency there’s no time to think.  In fact, the Constitutional constraints on war were intended precisely for emergencies, Scarry argues, and are needed precisely then.  But an emergency that can be dealt with by raising an army is perhaps different from an emergency that will leave everyone on earth dead by tomorrow either with or without the U.S. government having the opportunity to contribute its measure of mass-killing to the general apocalypse.  The latter is, of course, not an emergency at all, but an insistence on glorified ignorance to the bitter end.  An emergency that allows time to raise an army is also different from an emergency involving 21st century “conventional” weapons, but not nearly as different as we suppose.  Remember the desperate urgency to hit Syria with missiles last September that vanished the moment Congress refused to do it? The mad rush to start a war before anyone can look too closely at its justifications does, I think, benefit from nuclear thinking — from the idea that there is not time to stop and think.

So, what can we do? Scarry believes that if nukes were eliminated, Congress could take charge of debates over wars again.  Perhaps it could.  But would it approve wars? Would it approve public financing, free air time, and open elections? Would it ban its members from profiting from war?  Would people killed in a Congressionally declared war be any less dead?

What if the Second Amendment as Scarry understands it were fulfilled to some slight degree, that is if weapons were slightly more equitably distributed as a result of the elimination of nukes?  The government would still have all the aircraft carriers and missiles and bombs and predator drones, but it would have the same number of nukes as the rest of us.  Wouldn’t compliance with the Second Amendment require either the madness of giving everybody a missile launcher or the sanity of eliminating non-nuclear weapons of modern war-making along with the nuclear ones?

I think the historical argument that Scarry lays out against the concentration of military power in the hands of a monarch is equally a case either for distributing that power or for eliminating it.  If large standing armies are the greatest danger to liberty, as James Madison supposed on his slave plantation, isn’t that an argument against permanently stationing troops in 175 nations with or without nukes, as well as against militarizing local police forces at home? If unjustified war and imprisonment are the greatest violations of the social contract, must we not end for-profit mass incarceration by plea bargain along with for-profit mass-murder?

I think Scarry’s argument carries us further in a good direction than she spells out in the book.  It’s a thick book full of extremely lengthy background information, not to say tangents.  There’s a wonderful account of the history of military desertion.  There’s a beautiful account of Thomas Hobbes as peace advocate. Much of this is valuable for its own sake.  My favorite tangent is a comparison between Switzerland and the United States.  Switzerland decided that air-raid shelters would help people survive in a nuclear war.  While opposing and not possessing nuclear weapons, Switzerland has created shelters for more than the total number of people in the country.  The United States claimed to have concluded that shelters would not work, and then spent more on building them exclusively for the government than it spent on all variety of needs and services for the rest of us.  The nuclear nation has behaved as a monarchy, while the non-nuclear nation may preserve a remnant of humanity to tell the tale.

Scarry ends her book by stating that Article I and the Second Amendment are the best tools she’s found for dismantling nuclear weapons, but that she’d like to hear of any others.  Of course, mass nonviolent action, education, and organizing are tools that will carry any campaign beyond the confines of legal argumentation, but as long as we’re within those confines, I’ll throw out a proposal: Comply with the Kellogg-Briand Pact.  It is far newer, clearer, and less ambiguous than the Constitution.  It is, under the Constitution, unambiguously the Supreme Law of the Land as a treaty of the U.S. government.  It applies in other nations as well, including a number of other nuclear weapons nations.  It clarifies our thinking on the worst practice our species has developed, one that will destroy us all, directly or indirectly, if not ended, with or without nuclear: the practice of war.

The treaty that I recommend remembering bans war.  When we begin to think in those terms, we won’t see torture as the worst war crime, as Scarry suggests, but war itself as the worst crime of war.  We won’t suggest that killing is wrong because it’s “nonbattlefield,” as Scarry does at one point.  We might question, as Scarry seems not to, that Hawaii was really part of the United States in 1941, or that U.S. torture really ended when Obama was elected.  I’m quibbling with tiny bits in a large book, but only because I want to suggest that the arguments that best reject nuclear weaponry reject all modern war weaponry, its possession, and its use.