Crimeans Vote on Joining Russia

March 16th, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

Ahead of the vote, John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov met in London. US pressure to get Russia to accept US demands failed.

Both nations are geopolitical opposites. Washington demands its way or else.

Kerry called Russia’s endorsing the right of Crimeans to secede “a backdoor annexation of Crimea.” He demands it remain part of Ukraine.

He ignores the right of sovereign people to choose their future freely. He wants Washington rules enforced.

Lavrov said Russia respects “the declaration of the will of the Crimean people in the coming referendum of March 16.”

“We have confirmed our stance…repeatedly,” he stressed. Ukraine’s crisis is not Russia’s doing, he added.

On Saturday, Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution on Crimea’s referendum. UN envoy Vitaly Chirkin said:

“It’s a secret to no one that the Russian Federation” intended to do so.

“We cannot go along with (its) basic assumption that is declaring illegal the…planned referendum.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov called it “unacceptable” to Moscow.

“Americans have submitted this resolution and our attitude towards it is most negative, he said. “We do not support such a resolution.”

It “talks about things that the UN Security Council shouldn’t discuss as international peace and security are not the issue here.”

“The main thing that the draft resolution contains is an appeal not to recognize the results of the referendum in Crimea. Therefore such a resolution is of course unacceptable for us.”

It “totally ignored the objective realities that have emerged.”

“We think the right of people who are frightened of a repeat of the Cyprus scenario to express their will must be taken into account.”

Russia “will of course respect decisions that referendum participants vote for.”

 ”We do not think that the Security Council ought to interfere in the decision by the legitimate authorities of Crimea regarding the organization of a referendum as this is not prohibited by the UN Charter or other international law.”

Lavrov said Crimea “means immeasurably more” to Russia than the Comoro Islands to France or the Falklands to Britain.

If Kosovo’s independence was “a special case,” he added, he’s “convinced that…Crimea is…no less special.”

Days earlier, Vladimir Putin stressed the legitimacy of Crimea’s referendum.

A Kremlin statement said he “underlined in particular that the steps taken by Crimea’s legitimate authorities are based on international law and aimed at guaranteeing the legitimate interests of the peninsula’s population.”

This article is written ahead of referendum voting. A follow-up one will discuss results and reactions to them.

It bears repeating what earlier articles explained. Crimea’s referendum is legal. Sovereign people have the right to choose their own future.

UN Charter provisions affirm it. “The organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members” and free people everywhere.

It promotes “friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.”

On September 18, 2014, Scottish citizens vote up or down on independence. It’s their choice. Opponents don’t claim illegality.

Under provisions of the October 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law, Crimeans may legally secede.

The World Court’s July 2010 advisory opinion on Kosovo’s declaration of independence affirms their right to do so.

It said “the adoption of (Kosovo’s) declaration of independence of the 17 February 2008 did not violate general international law because (it) contains no ‘prohibition on declarations of independence.’ ”

Crimeans may opt out of Ukraine. They can declare independence. They can vote to join Russia. It’s their legal right. Claims otherwise are false.

Moscow has every right to welcome them. Odds strongly favor it. US threats won’t stop it.

On July 4, 1776, 13 American colonies declared independence from Britain.

They said everyone has “certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

“That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

“That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government…”

“(W)hen a long train of abuses and usurpations (establishes) absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government.”

Resisting tyranny is a universal right. Illegitimate putschists control Ukraine. Crimeans overwhelmingly reject them.

Don’t expect The New York Times to explain. Misinformation rubbish substitutes for full and accurate reporting. On March 14, it headlined “Pressure and Intimidation Sweep Crimea Ahead of Secession Vote,” saying:

Moscow “recreat(ed) the constrained conditions of (its) own civic sphere in Crimea.”

Times reporters, commentators and editors misinform. They lie. They do so repeatedly. They claim Russia invaded Crimea.

No invasion occurred. None exists. Moscow’s only Crimean-based forces relate to its Black Sea Fleet. Russian/Ukrainian 1997 Friendship Treaty terms authorize numbers up to 25,000.

About 16,000 are present. They’re deployed legitimately. Claims otherwise are false.

Crimean self-defense forces are duplicitously called Russian ones. The Big Lie repeats ad nauseam. So do numerous others.

Russia bashing is intense. Putin is public enemy number one. The Times lied claiming “dissent (in Crimea is) suppressed by the implicit use of force.”

It claims a nonexistent “military occupation by unmistakably elite  Russian units and many of the trappings of the election-season carnivals that have long accompanied rigged ballots across the old Soviet world…”

No evidence whatever suggests election-rigging. Or intimidation. Or suppression of freedom. Or threats against Crimean Ukrainians and Tartars.

Crimeans overwhelmingly reject Kiev Putschists. Independent polls show over 80% favor joining Russia.

Don’t expect The Times to explain. Managed news misinformation substitutes. Readers are systematically lied to. It’s longstanding Times policy.

It gave feature op-ed space to John McCain. He’s ideologically over-the-top. He’s hardline neocon.

He’s an embarrassment to legitimate governance. He’s an unindicted war criminal. He supports lawless aggression against nonbelligerent countries.

On March 14, he headlined “Obama Has Made America Look Weak.” He blamed Putin for “invad(ing) Crimea. He lied claiming it.

He represents lunatic fringe politics. He supports hardball US policies. He favors toughness over diplomacy. He nonsensically said Crimea “exposed (Obama’s) disturbing lack of realism…”

He wants NATO expanded to Russia’s borders. He wants so-called missile defense intended for offense targeting its heartland.

He favors clash of civilizations recklessness. Perhaps he wants WW III. Why Arizonans support him, they’ll have to explain.

He lied claiming Putin wants former Soviet republics “brought back under Moscow’s dominion by any means possible.”

He maliciously accused him of “aggression in Crimea.” He urged “sanctioning Russian officials.” He wants Moscow isolated internationally.

He wants “increasing NATO military presence and exercises” near Russia’s borders. He wants Sochi’s scheduled G-8 meeting “boycott(ed).”

He wants G-7 countries (sans Russia) convening elsewhere. He calls Ukrainian neo-Nazi putschists “patriots.”

Ronald Reagan called Afghan mujahideen fighters (today’s Taliban) “the moral equivalent of our founding fathers.”

McCain wants Ukraine “anchored firmly in Europe.” He wants its resources stolen. He wants its people exploited.

He wants Crimeans denied the right to choose their own future. He wants Russia eliminated as a rival power.

Perhaps he favors war to achieve it. Why Times editors published his belligerent diatribe, they’ll have to explain.

On March 16, Crimeans voted. They were asked two questions:

(1) “Do you support reunification of Sevastopol with Russia as its constituent member?”

(2) “Do you support the restoration of the Constitution of 1992 and Sevastopol’s to Ukraine?”

The outcome is a foregone conclusion. Only the certified majority remains to be determined.

According to Referendum Commission chairman Mikhail Malyshev, 135 observers from 23 countries monitored voting. Over 600 journalists from 169 media outlets covered the process.

International observers from America, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, Latvia and other countries came.

So did European parliamentarians, international law experts, and 1,240 Crimean organization representatives. Human rights activists were involved.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was invited. It declined. It issued a statement saying:

“In its current form, the referendum regarding Crimea…is in contradiction with the Ukrainian Constitution and must be considered illegal.”

Observers “have a red certificate,” said Malyshev. “Representatives of other organizations will have certificates of green and blue colors.”

“We want as many observers as possible,” he said. He wants confirmation of a free, fair, open process. On Monday, results will be announced.

Ahead of Sunday’s vote, observers visited all Crimean regions. They did so to determine if voting procedures complied with local law and international standards.

European Geopolitical Analysis Centre’s Mateusz Piskorski said observers are experienced in electoral monitoring.

According to international standards, Crimean media, including television, abstained from campaigning for independence or joining Russia.

At the same time, Crimeans were urged to vote. Nothing suggested which way. No pressure was applied. A Simferopol resident likely spoke for most others, saying:

“We made our choice long ago. Ukraine has given us nothing, so we will try to live in Russia.”

A Kerch resident called what’s happening in Ukraine “horrible. They won’t let us live, it’s clear.”

Foreign journalists arrived in droves. A British reporter expressed surprise. Each taxi driver he asked gave “an approving nod when hearing the word ‘Russia.’ ”

Other foreign journalists are surprised at how many cars display Russian flags. Popular sentiment overwhelmingly is pro-Russian.

Moscow’s Simferopol consul general, Vyacheslav Svetlichny, said:

“We are in constant contact with the leadership of Crimea and feel all necessary measures to ensure security at the referendum are being taken.”

“We think there are no grounds for anxiety and hope the referendum will be held in an atmosphere of stability and calm.”

“The authorities of Crimea (and) self-defense units fully control the situation.”

On Saturday, illegitimate Kiev putschist legislators voted to dissolve Crimea’s lawful parliament. Effective immediately, they said.

Crimeans reject their authority. On Monday, we’ll know how overwhelmingly.

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

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

El Parlamento Europeo cuestiona (a medias) a la Troika

March 16th, 2014 by Fátima Martín

El examen que el Parlamento Europeo hace a la Troika justifica las graves deficiencias democráticas y jurídicas en las que Comisión Europea, Banco CentralEuropeo y FMI llevan incurriendo durante cuatro años a los países sometidos a “programas” de rescates financieros.

Pese a su disimulada intención de lavar la cara a la Troika, el informe preliminar del Parlamento Europeo no puede evitar señalar sus múltiples irregularidades. Esta fiscalización incluye cuestionarios enviados a los principales responsables, que éstos impunemente no responden o lo hacen a medias.

Dependiente del Comité de Asuntos Económicos y Monetarios del Parlamento Europeo, el proyecto de informe, firmado por Othmar Karas y Liem Hoang Ngoc, curiosa e inexplicablemente, se olvida del rescate de hasta 100.000 millones de euros (de los que se dice que se han usado 41.300 millones) a la banca española en junio de 2012.

Pese a que el informe preliminar, que se espera sea definitivo para abril, poco antes de las elecciones europeas, señala grandes irregularidades de la Troika, justifica en muchos de sus puntos su acción. Por ejemplo, al hablar del “inmenso reto de la Troika”, defiende que “el tiempo se agotaba, los obstáculos legales tuvieron que ser despejados, el miedo a una fusión del núcleo de la Eurozona era palpable, hubo que adoptar acuerdos políticos…”. En otro momento, rechaza que hubiera sido posible plantear alternativas al sostener que “la asistencia financiera en el corto plazo evitó un impago desordenado de la deuda soberana que habría tenido consecuencias económicas y sociales extremadamente graves, así como efectos indirectos en otros países de una magnitud incalculable (…)”.

El documento señala que, “debido a su naturaleza ad hoc, no había base jurídica adecuada para la creación de la Troika sobre la base del Derecho primario de la Unión”. Esto ha sido confirmado indirectamente por la Comisión cuando escribe que “el modelo de la Troika ha sido respaldado por el legislador de la UE (ver artículo 7 de la Regulación de la UE Nº 472/2013)”, lo cual implica que antes de 2013 no hubo tal respaldo, cuando es sabido que todos los programas de la Troika salvo el de Chipre han arrancado antes de esa fecha.

Asimismo, subraya la doble función de la CE –como agente de los estados y como institución de la UE– y del BCE –como asesor técnico y acreedor– en la Troika y sus evidentes conflictos de interés, al ser juez y parte. Según el Tratado de Funcionamiento de la Unión Europea, el mandato del BCE está limitado a la política monetaria, por lo que “la participación del BCE en cualquier asunto relacionado con las políticas presupuestarias, fiscales y estructurales se encuentra en un terreno legal incierto”. Además, incide en “la débil responsabilidad democrática de la Troika” en los países sometidos al “programa”.

El informe advierte que “el mandato de la Troika ha sido percibido como opaco y no transparente” y se muestra especialmente crítico con los Memorandum de Entendimiento (MoU), de los que lamenta su falta de transparencia en las negociaciones.

La Troika elude las preguntas y apunta a los estados como responsables.

Al extenso cuestionario enviado a los presuntos responsables de los rescates: CE, BCE, FMI, Eurogrupo y Consejo Europeo responden, si lo hacen, de manera escasa e insatisfactoria. Todos coinciden en exculparse trasladando las responsabilidades a otros.

Por ejemplo, el FMI se ha negado a contestar argumentando que no tiene que rendir cuentas a los Parlamentos, lo cual es sorprendente, dado que él mismo impone sus políticas a los parlamentos. Herman Van Rompuy ha contestado que “no está involucrado”, cuando como presidente del Consejo Europeo representa a los estados miembros de la UE. Por su parte, el presidente del Eurogrupo ha eludido la pregunta diciendo que las instituciones de la Troika son las más indicadas para contestar, mientras el BCE devuelve la pelota al Eurogrupo: “Sobre medidas concretas para países concretos, sería más apropiado que respondiera el Eurogrupo”.
Todos estos responsables llevan años implicados en las políticas de austeridad llevadas a cabo por los gobiernos bajo el mandato opaco de la Troika, apoyándolas y presionando a los estados para que las apliquen. Ahora bien, a la hora de contestar a un cuestionario del Parlamento Europeo, eluden sus responsabilidades y echan la culpa a los estados a los que robaron su soberanía. Tanto la CE como el BCE lo dicen claro: “la autoría del diseño del programa pertenece a las autoridades del estado miembro afectado”. Ya sabíamos que los altos funcionarios de estas instituciones gozan de total impunidad ante la justicia, ahora sabemos que rechazan incluso contestar a preguntas sobre sus implicaciones. ¿Será que huyen de sus responsabilidades frente a una opinión popular cada día más enfadada con las consecuencias humanitarias de dichas políticas?

Ethnic cleansing is official Israeli policy. So is stealing Palestinian land and resources.

Martin Schulz is European Parliament president. He visited Israel.  On February 12, he addressed Knesset members. Outrage followed his remarks. Israeli MKs walked out in protest.

Days earlier he met a Palestinian youth. “Why can an Israeli use 70 cubic liters of water daily and a Palestinian only 17,” he asked.

Schulz raised the issue in his remarks. He said he hadn’t “checked the data. I’m asking you if this is correct.”

Right-wing extremist MK Moti Yogev shouted at him while he was speaking. “Shame on you,” he said. “You support someone who incites against Jews.

Fascists infest Israel’s Knesset. Naftali Bennett is one of the worst. He’s Israel’s Economy Minister. He heads the fascist Habayit (The Jewish Home) party.

He’s a Netanyahu coalition partner. He deplores political activism. He wants truth and full disclosure suppressed. He and right-wing ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman are ideological allies.

They spurn rule of law principles. They want settlements expanded. They want Palestinian resources stolen. They want them denied all rights.

Bennett left during Schulz’s speech. He said “I will not tolerate duplicitous propaganda against Israel in the Knesset especially not in German.”

He accused Schulz of lying. He disgracefully alluded to Germany’s Nazi past. “I say unequivocally that someone speaking in German should be even more careful about saying things critical of” Israel, he added.

Culture and Sports Minister Lomor Livnat expressed a similar sentiment, saying:

“We gave him every respect…but when he tells an outright lie, and in German, no wonder MKs and ministers got upset.”

Likud party extremist Moshe Feiglin boycotted the Knesset session. He called it “inappropriate that a speech is given in the parliament of the Jewish state, in the language used when our parents were thrust into the railway wagons and in the crematoria.”

Netanyahu accused Schulz of repeating claims without “check(ing) first.” Doing so would largely verify his comments.

 Israel systematically denies Palestinians their own resources. It steals them for its own use. It sells them for profit.

Schulz’s comments addressed Palestinian persecution, saying:

They “have the right to self-determination and equality.” They want to “live in peace and have unlimited freedom of movement.” Gazans are entirely denied it, he added.

 ”The blockade…is your reaction to attacks on the civilian population. But it does not allow real development and drives people to despair, which in turn is used by extremists. Perhaps the blockade creates not more, but less, security.”

Before he spoke, he said Israel won’t tolerate justifiable criticism. It’s “quite normal in a democracy,” he stressed.

“The EU stands by its special relationship with Israel, but that does not mean that it has to agree every decision of (its) government.”

B’Tselem monitors human rights in Occupied Palestine. There’s “undeniable (Israeli) discrimination in the amount of water allocated to Israelis and Palestinians,” it said.

Jews get up to over double the World Health Organization’s (WHO) minimum daily recommendation. Palestinians on average get less than three-fourths the minimum needed. In Jenin, they get less than 40%.

 More below on B’Tselem’s analysis of polluted water Gazans are forced to use.

On Wednesday evening, Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein met privately with Schulz. He lied about water amounts Israel allows Palestinians.

He shamelessly claimed “no blockade of Gaza” exists. He lied saying Israelis are bombarded by missiles.

Israel attacks Gaza repeatedly. It does so by air, land and sea. It does so preemptively. It does it lawlessly

It shoots Palestinian farmers in their fields. It uses Palestinian children for target practice. It gets away with cold-blooded murder unaccountably. It calls legitimate self-defense terrorism.

On February 9, B’Tselem headlined “Over 90% of water in Gaza Strip unfit for drinking.” Offshore waters are dangerously contaminated.

Coastal aquifer water is Gaza’s main source for drinking. It’s “been continuously over-pumped for decades.”

“(T)he Palestinian Water Authority pumps some 180 million cubic meters (mcm) a year…” Replenishment falls way short of what’s needed. It’s about 50 – 60 mcm annually.

Groundwater is significantly lowered. Contamination results from seawater seepage as well as saline water “rising from deeper in the reservoir.”

Israel sells Gaza 4.2 mcm of water annually. It agreed to sell another 5 mcm of desalinated water a year. Infrastructure to transport it doesn’t exist.

It remains to be completed. Besieged Gaza has no proper wastewater treatment facility. Many residents aren’t connected to a sewage system.

Domestic waste flows into cesspits. It seeps into groundwater. It contaminates it. “The problem (worsened) in recent years, primarily due to electricity shortages,” said B’Tselem.

It’s one of many serious problems affecting Gaza. Israel bears full responsibility. Cast Lead and Pillar of Cloud attacks severely damaged power and wastewater treatment facilities.

Huge amounts of sewage go untreated. War inflicted damage was largely repaired. Capacity can’t keep up with need. “Gaza’s wastewater treatment facilities are far from able to meet the required amounts and standards,” B’Tselem explained.Projects to improve things haven’t progressed. Blockade restrictions bear full responsibility. Construction materials and equipment are inadequate. Lengthy bureaucratic delays exacerbate conditions.

The Palestinian Water Authority found a dangerous rise in nitrate levels. It’s from contamination from agricultural pesticide use. It’s from sewage seeping into aquifer water.

“Every day, only some 25 percent of Gaza’s wastewater – about 30,000 cubic meters – is treated and recycled for agricultural use,” said B’Tselem.

“Some 90,000 cubic meters of untreated or partially treated wastewater flows into the Mediterranean.” Contamination follows. So do health hazards and damage to Gazan fishing.

Aquifer water is dangerously high in nitrogen and chloride. It makes “90 to 95% percent of (Gazan) water unfit for drinking and problematic for agricultural use.”

PA Water Authority officials said only 6.5% of Gazan well water meets WHO minimum standards.

“Ninety-seven percent of Gazans are connected to the public water supply system.” It doesn’t provide enough water. Shortages exist. Inadequate infrastructure and power complicate things.

Residents suffer regular water outages. They “receiv(e) running water for only six to eight hours at a time: 25% of households on a daily basis, 40% every other day, 20% once every three days, and the remaining 15% (in Gaza City, Rafah and Jabaliya) only one day out of four.”

Erratic supplies force Gazans to collect water in containers. They’re placed on rooftops.

Power outages put pumps out of commission. Water can’t be channeled into containers. Residents are forced to collect water at ground level.

Wafa al-Faran is a married mother of eight. She lives in Gaza City’s a-Shuja’iya neighborhood. She explained her ordeal, saying:

“The power outages really interfere with the water supply to our houses. When there’s no electricity, there’s very little water in the taps.”

“We had to buy a pump so that the water would reach the containers on our roof. We have four containers of 4,000 liters altogether.”

“When we get running water, we turn the pump on and fill up the containers. But sometimes, there’s no electricity when there’s water.”

“When that happened, we used to operate the pump with a generator, so that we wouldn’t run out of water. But the generator uses a lot of fuel, which is very expensive.”

“Now there’s no fuel from Egypt and the fuel from Israel is very expensive, so we don’t use the generator at all. Even at night, when we don’t have power, we make do with candles and flashlights.”

“A few months ago, my husband bought a new water container, which we put at the entrance to the house, so that we can fill it up when there’s no power.”

“We get water out of the container in buckets, because it’s not connected to our plumbing.”

“We don’t drink the water that from the pipes and don’t use it for making coffee or tea or for cooking. We buy fresh water from water vendors.”

“Sometimes, I use the fresh water to wash my daughters’ hair, and in the morning we use this water to wash our faces, because the water from the taps burns our eyes.”

Imagine living through this daily ordeal. Most Gazans are impoverished. Many can’t afford to buy fresh water. Imagine consuming what’s unfit to drink.

Imagine the health risks doing it. Average Gazan daily water consumption falls below WHO minimums. Residents struggle to get by.

Ibtesam Kheir a-Din is a married mother of six. “The water we get is salty and unfit for drinking,” she said. “Sometimes it even smells bad.”

“We only use it to clean the house and do dishes and laundry, but nothing ever feels really clean.”

“Clothes smell bad and get stained.” She and family use vendor-supplied water for drinking.

Last November, Gaza’s power plant shut. Enough fuel wasn’t available. Generators ran sewage pumping stations.

In mid-month, one in a-Zaytun broke down. A generator malfunction caused 35,000 mcm of raw sewage to flood the neighborhood. Leakage entered homes.

In 2009, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) recommended ceasing coastal aquifer pumping. At issue is possible collapse of Gaza’s water system.

Over-pumping continues. What other choice do residents have? No longterm solution exists. Gaza’s water crisis deepens.

The Palestinian Water Authority and UNEP agreed. Coastal aquifer supplies “passed the point of no return in terms of rehabilitation options.”

By 2016, pumping water no longer will be possible. Crisis conditions are serious. Another solution must be found.

At stake is the health and welfare of nearly 1.8 million Gazans. They need potable water to survive. Siege conditions exacerbate crisis conditions. It’s unclear how they’ll be resolved.

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

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Reservas-ouro da Ucrânia evacuadas secretamente

March 16th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Um sítio internet russo de notícias, o Iskra (Fagulha) com base em Zaporozhye, na Ucrânia do Leste, informou em 7 de Março que “as reservas de ouro da Ucrânia haviam sido apressadamente transportadas por via aérea para os Estados Unidos a partir do Aeroporto de Borispol, a Leste de Kiev.

Esta alegada remoção aérea e confisco das reservas ouro da Ucrânia pelo New York Federal Reserve não foi confirmada pelos media ocidentais.

Segundo o Iskra News :

Às 2 horas da manhã [7 de Março] um avião de transporte não identificado estava na pista do Aeroporto de Borispol. Segundo a equipe do aeroporto, antes da vinda do avião chegaram ao local quatro camiões e dois minibuses Volkwagen, todos eles sem matrícula de identificação.

Quinze pessoas com uniformes negros, máscaras e armadura corporal saíram, alguns armados com metralhadoras. Eles carregaram o avião com mais de 40 caixas pesadas.

Depois disso chegou um homem misterioso que entrou no avião.

Todo o carregamento foi feito às pressas.

O avião decolou numa base de emergência (emergency basis). 

Aqueles que assistiram esta misteriosa operação especial imediatamente notificaram os responsáveis do aeroporto, os quais lhes disseram para não se meterem nos assuntos dos outros.

Posteriormente um telefonema de resposta de um alto responsável do antigo Ministério das Receitas Fiscais (Ministry of Revenue) informou esta noite que, por ordens de um dos novos líderes da Ucrânia, os Estados Unidos haviam tomado a custódia de todas as reservas ouro na Ucrânia. iskra-news.info. Zaporozhye, Ukraine, March 7, 2014, traduzido do russo pelo Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc (GATA) , ênfase acrescentada)

A seguir a esta revelação, o secretário tesoureiro do GATA, Chris Powell, requereu ao New Federal Reserve e ao Departamento de Estado dos EUA que indicasse se o NY Fed havia “tomado a custódia” do ouro da Ucrânia.

Um porta-voz do New York Fed disse simplesmente: “Qualquer indagação respeitante a contas ouro deveria ser dirigida ao possuidor da conta. Você pode contactar o Banco Nacional da Ucrânia para discutir esta informação”.

Uma indagação semelhante do GATA, na noite passada, ao Departamento de Estado dos EUA ainda não teve qualquer resposta.

Na noite passada o GATA chamou a atenção sobre este assunto a cerca de 30 jornalistas financeiros e redactores de newsletters “de referência”(mainstream) na esperança confessadamente bizarra de que pudessem também colocar a questão.

1) A primeira regra do jornalismo financeiro “de referência” e particularmente do jornalismo financeiro acerca do ouro é nunca apresentar uma pergunta específica acerca do metal monetário a qualquer dos participantes primários no mercado do ouro, os bancos centrais. Ou seja, quase toda a informação sobre o mercado do ouro é, intencionalmente, na melhor das hipóteses distracção irrelevante e na pior desinformação.

2) A verdadeira localização e disposição das reservas ouro nacionais são segredos muito mais sensíveis do que a localização e disposição de armas nucleares. Chris Powell, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

Apesar da informação não confirmada respeitante às reservas ouro da Ucrânia não ter sido objecto de cobertura pelos noticiários financeiros “de referência”, a história no entanto foi levantada pelo Shanghai Metals Market, em Metal.com , o qual declara, citando uma informação do governo ucraniano, que reservas ouro da Ucrânia haviam sido “removidas num avião … de Kiev para os Estados Unidos… em 40 caixas seladas” carregadas numa aeronave não identificada.

A fonte não confirmada citada pelo Metal.com diz que a operação de remoção aérea do ouro da Ucrânia foi ordenada pelo primeiro-ministro interino Arseny Yatsenyuk tendo em vista manter seguras no NY Fed as reservas ouro da Ucrânia, prevenindo uma possível invasão russa a qual levaria ao confisco das mesmas.

No dia 10 de Março, o kingworldnews , um importante blog financeiro online publicou uma entrevista incisiva de William Kaye , administrador do hedge fund Pacific Group Ltd., com sede em Hong Kong, o qual anteriormente trabalhou para a Goldman Sachs em fusões e aquisições.

Os despojos de guerra e a mudança de regime 

Acto de vassalagem.É significativa nesta entrevista com William Kaye a analogia entre a Ucrânia, o Iraque e a Líbia. Não se deve esquecer:   tanto o Iraque como a Líbia tiveram as suas reservas ouro confiscadas pelos EUA.

Kaye: Há agora informações vindas da Ucrânia de que todo o ouro ucraniano foi removido por via aérea, às 2 horas da madrugada, a partir do aeroporto principal, Borispil, em Kiev, e está a ser transportado para Nova York – sendo o presumível destino o New York Fed…

Verifica-se que estas 33 toneladas de ouro valem algo entre US$1,5 e US$2,0 mil milhões. Essa quantia seria um pagamento inicial (down payment) muito lindo para os US$5 mil milhões que a secretária de Estado Assistente Victor Nuland gabou-se de os Estados Unidos terem gasto nos seus esforços para desestabilizar a Ucrânia e instalar ali o seu próprio governo não eleito.

Eric King: “Se os Estados Unidos derrubam Saddam Hussein no Iraque ou Muamar Kadafi na Líbia, parece que há sempre ouro no fim do arco-íris, do qual então os EUA apropriam-se”.

Kaye: “Essa é uma boa observação, Eric. Os Estados Unidos instalaram um antigo banqueiro na Ucrânia o qual é muito amistoso para com o ocidente. Ele é também um rapaz com experiência de banco central. Esta teria sido a sua primeira grande decisão:   transportar aquele ouro para fora da Ucrânia, para os Estados Unidos.

Você pode recordar que exigências alegadamente logísticas impediram o New York Fed de devolver à Alemanha as 300 toneladas de ouro que os Estados Unidos armazenam. Após um ano de espera, o New York Fed devolveu apenas 5 toneladas de ouro à Alemanha. Só 5 toneladas de ouro foram enviadas do Fed para a Alemanha e não eram as mesmas 5 toneladas que haviam sido originalmente armazenadas no Fed.

Mesmo o Bundesbank admitiu que o ouro que lhes fora enviada pelo New York Fed tinha de ser fundido e testado quanto à pureza porque não eram as barras originais da Alemanha. Se isso é assim, uma vez que exigências logísticas supostamente são uma questão tão grande, como é que num voo, assumindo que esta informação é correcta, todo o ouro que a Ucrânia possuía no seu cofre foi retirado do país e entregue ao New York Fed?

Penso que qualquer um com células cerebrais activas sabe que tal como a Alemanha, a Ucrânia terá de esperar um tempo muito longo e provavelmente nunca verá aquele ouro outra vez . Significa que o ouro se foi”. ( KingsWorldNews , March 10, 2014, ênfase acrescentada)

Ver no sítio web oficial do Banco Nacional da Ucrânia a omissão da informação quanto à entrega das suas reservas-ouro: www.bank.gov.ua/control/en/index

Texto original em inglês : Ukraine’s Gold Reserves Secretely Flown Out and Confiscated by the New York Federal Reserve?

Tradução : resistir.info

Indicative of the West’s true stance on democracy, Reuters reported in its article, “Kerry warns U.S., Europe ready to act if Crimea referendum held,” that: 

The United States and the European Union will take serious steps against Russia if a referendum on Ukraine’s Crimea region goes ahead as planned on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday.

Bloomberg News would add that the US and EU planned to “exact an economic toll” if the referendum went ahead – in other words the emplacement of sanctions. The report would also claim:

With Ukraine accusing Russian forces of seizing Crimea in the run-up to the referendum, Western powers are trying to muster economic and diplomatic sanctions to force Putin to defuse the situation. Russia has held firm in the worst dispute between the two sides since the end of the Cold War.

Perplexing is the US’ sudden aversion to the democratic process – apparently because it stands poised to decide in favor of a future divergent from Western interests.

To bolster its case for sanctions and expanded confrontation with Russia, the West has attempted to frame the current crisis in Ukraine as “Russian aggression,” the “overthrow” of the government of Crimea, and the “annexing” of Crimea at the cost of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Absent from this narrative is the fact that Western-backed, armed Nazis violently overthrew the government in Ukraine’s capital of Kiev, precipitating this conflict in the first place.

Also missing is the fact that the new proxy government in Kiev is led by overt bigots, racists, and torch bearers of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi ideology - with the self-proclaimed Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk literally leading a party called “Fatherland,” espousing bigotry which even caught the attention of Amnesty International in its 2008 report, “Overview of Lesbian and Gay Rights in Eastern Europe (.pdf),” and more recently in LGBT Weekly’s 2013 article,  ”Leading Ukraine Opposition figure surprises supporters by denouncing gay marriage.”

It would be difficult to imagine the people of Ukraine reacting in any other way but recoiling from the new regime in Kiev, and wanting to either rid their nation of it, or entirely disassociate themselves with it. For most people in Ukraine, that option will be difficult at best, but for the people of Crimea, which already enjoys closer ties to Russia and greater autonomy, an upcoming referendum this Sunday offers them an easy exit from the predictable downward trajectory the Eastern European nation is now plodding along.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has made astoundingly hypocritical remarks regarding the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine, which according to him, apparently trumps even the “democratic” process he and the rest of the West are generally so found of promoting. Considering the violations of territorial integrity in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Serbia, Somalia, and Sudan (and now South Sudan), one must wonder who exactly Secretary Kerry believes he is convincing in regards to this fabricated motive to explain the West’s widening confrontation with Russia.

Kerry has also referenced the constitution of Ukraine, skipping past the unconstitutional methods employed by the current US-backed proxy regime to place itself into power including an armed coup led by Nazi militants.

US Threats, Russian Counter-Threats

Military force applied by the West would be both tragic and futile. For an armed front that struggled for months against the unprepared, poorly equipped army of Libya, and has all but failed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now in its proxy war with Syria – war with Russia on its own doorstep would be a disaster. Knowing this, and unable to muster a significant military threat, the West is attempting instead to leverage economic penalties.

The West has increasingly been applying “sanctions” to every nation that opposes its “international order.” And in tandem, it has been seeing diminishing returns from this strategy. An economically crumbling bloc the rest of the world has been working decades to become independent of only isolates itself with sanctions – turning this once potent geopolitical tool into an implement of self-inflicted harm. Threats to sanction Russia will only drive whatever remaining interests are still tied to the West within Russia into the arms of other economic partners.

For Russia itself which is contemplating dumping the US Dollar, could compound the already precarious downward spiral the currency has entered. For a currency entirely dependent on US stability, a nation like Russia dumping it, and dumping it because of increasingly unsound and unstable US foreign policy, could be more trouble than the US’ ambitions in Ukraine and Eastern Europe are worth.US Secretary of State John Kerry appeared feckless, impotent, and all together confused during his most recent press conference in London, England (video). Even he appeared not to believe his threats of sanctions would stop Russia from checking the West’s overt meddling in Ukraine. He, and the policy makers writing his speeches and scripting the questions during his press conferences, appear aware that they face a dwindling number of options to defend the gains they’ve made meddling in Kiev.

Russia’s ability to check the West is owed to both its sound foreign policy and its economic strategy. The multipolar order it promotes is more appealing to partners, and its overall aversion to foreign meddling gives it a wide berth and a sense of legitimacy when confronting extreme circumstances directly on its border and clearly posing a threat to Russia’s own national security.

The countervailing paradigm Russia, China, and other growing nations are promoting is slowly exposing and isolating the West’s tired unipolar model of global economic and geopolitical hegemony. While Russia can counter the West with a number of moves geopolitically, militarily, and economically, it is the West’s persistence in pursuing this ill-conceived incursion along Russia’s borders that may deal the worst blow of all.

As seen in Libya, and more recently in Syria, each and every move the West makes now in pursuit of global hegemony, costs it permanently in terms of credibility and legitimacy. Few are able to watch US Secretary of State John Kerry and not spot instantly the obscene hypocrisy of his criticism of Russia or see the overt provocations the West has made that have triggered this confrontation in the first place.

The West’s continued push into Ukraine, whether it is successful, or even partially successful, will only cost them more legitimacy, and make it more difficult to carry on in the long run. In the meantime, they are stretching themselves out thin in their various geopolitical pursuits, like the Nazis of World War II, leaving themselves vulnerable for the inevitable counterstroke that will finally stop and reverse permanently their global enterprise. For those still invested in that enterprise, now may be a good time to divest.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

In the 1930s it was a notorious fact the German government of Adolf Hitler chose the month 0f March ( Ides of Mars),  to perpetrate its most daring moves in reasserting the nation as a continental power, culminating in the most deadly war in history.

For example:

March 1933: German federal election brings Hitler to power as chancellor

March 1936:  Germany remilitarizes the Rhineland in contravention of the Treaty of Versailles

March 1937:  The Third Reich’s Condor Legion bombs and attacks Durango, Spain and the next month bombs Guernica

March 1938: Germany absorbs Austria

Over the past fifteen years a not dissimilar pattern has emerged.

In March of 1999 the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization began Operation Allied Force, the 78-day air war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In March of 2003 the U.S. and several of its NATO allies began Operation Iraqi Freedom, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, ultimately with troops from 23 of NATO’s current 28 member states stationed in the country.

In March of 2011 the U.S. launched Operation Odyssey Dawn, nineteen days later taken over by NATO under the code name of Operation Unified Protector, a more than six-and-a-half-month-long air war and naval blockade against Libya.

The above were the first wars ever conducted by NATO and were, respectively, its first wars in three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa.

In the unbroken series of direct, covert and proxy wars waged by the U.S. and NATO since the attack on Yugoslavia on March 24, 1999, the following nations and former nations have been seriously, more than likely fatally, wounded. Destroyed.

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (subsequently the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, now splintered into three entities)
Macedonia

Afghanistan (what was left of it after the U.S. and several of its NATO allies supported a fundamentalist-extremist insurgency operating out of Pakistan from 1978-1992 and then backhandedly supported the Taliban takeover in 1995-1996)

Iraq
Somalia
Ivory Coast
Libya
Yemen
Syria
Sudan
Mali
Ukraine

Having last week expounded upon the duplicity of the western “liberal lefts” position on the Imperialist-sponsored fascist coup in Ukraine, a particularly egregious example of the same petty bourgeois sophism so pervasive within western civilised dissent has once again reared its ugly head. In what can only be described as emo agitprop, the west’s flagship of misinformation and Imperialist propaganda recently published an article on Syria by self-proclaimed “leftist Artist” Molly Crabapple.

The article covers a demonstration organised by an anti-government Syrian activist, who has chosen to read the names of 100,000 victims of the Syrian war standing outside the White House for 72 hours. The intended symbolism of such a demonstration is quite difficult to ascertain, particularly considering a sound historical analysis shows that western Imperialism – ergo: the White House – bears huge responsibility for the deaths of those very people now being used to “guilt” the western public into supporting some form of further “action” against the Syrian state – meaning, (overt) US military intervention, NATO freedom-bombs, etc. Moreover, it seems that both Crabapple and her subject have forgotten, or are intentionally omitting the fact that over half of those victims met their deaths at the hands of the western/Israeli/wahhabi monarch-sponsored fundamentalist dominated militia; the very same militia Crabapple is now lionizing as “revolutionaries”.

Naturally for the Guardian, the narrative fulfills just about every western falsehood propagated on behalf of the reactionary insurgency since it began, by doing so, it provides an opportunity to expand upon and expose the role that western left-opportunism has played in buttressing said falsehood throughout the Syrian crisis. Further still, it provides a chance to counter the twisted theories and phrasing being used to attack anti-Imperialists and anti-revisionists from within the western petty bourgeois “celebrity-left” camp, through which Crabapple and Co. postulate the absurd notion that westerners with the tendency to focus on the role of western Imperialism represent “perverse Orientalists”.

Barring the usual “40 year dictatorship” slogans so typical of the deluded and self-righteous cheerleaders of western bourgeois “democracy”, the historical context for Crabapple’s Syrian “revolution” is built via the rosy portrayal of a wave of protests that “swept the world”. In Syria, a “police state and neoliberal reforms” are the central material factors used to explain the crisis. These puerile simplifications are employed to distort and minimise the primary role of western predatory Imperialism, either that, or simply through blind stupidity and laziness.

In such a decontextualised analysis, there is no space available to document the years of western-led economic sanctions and subversion; nor is any space permitted to analyse the sociopolitical effects of the five-year drought that had decimated Syria’s agricultural industry prior to 2011 – causing widespread impoverishment to the disaffected rural sections of society, there is no economic analysis whatsoever. More importantly, there is no space afforded to document the decades of western support and collusion with Saudi Arabia’s overt and covert sponsorship of fundamentalist ideologues, with the direct aim of unleashing them and their sectarian hatred upon Syria (or any other target in the region, see: Libya, Hezbollah, Iraq, etc) when political needs required; no space is given for the direct sponsorship of western Imperialism toward the ex-pat “SNC” puppet administrators travelling between hotel suites in Ankara, Doha and Riyadh, or the thousands of US State Department-trained “activists” and NGO workers flooding media and commentary with false or bias accounts, staged photos and misinformation. Any critique of the western corporate media, and the complimentary “tailored analysis” industrys disgraceful servitude to western government narratives is completely omitted – regardless of the fact that both form essential components of modern “soft” Imperialism.

To suggest western Imperialism has invested in any of these individuals, policies or organisations with any sort of altruistic intention is comparable to suggesting over sixty years of historical evidence to the contrary is worthless; negating any value in historical materialism and dialectics. Omission of context and crude historical revisionism are entirely deliberate and further prohibit the prospect of reaching a sound political or moral examination of events and their evolving processes. Dialectics, logic, critical distance and contradictory evidence are replaced with emotionally driven narrow-framed discourse to remove the wider context, therefore western culpability, and form the false depiction of a “popular peaceful uprising versus despotic regime”.

Crabapple informs us that “it took four months for Syria’s protests to become an armed insurgency”. This blatant lie is a most crucial one in upholding the US-NATO false narrative on Syria. Yet, as we shall see, while the celebrity-lefts continue to blindly recycle the lie, it has long been refuted, in even the most loyal organs of western Imperialism itself.

Once the underlying causes of the crisis have been distorted beyond any semblance of reality, whitewashing the “rebels” and their Imperialist sponsors role as the instigators and primary actors responsible for excacerbating the crisis, Crabapple then attempts to bolster the false distinctions between the supposedly moderate and extremist rebel groups with the double fabrication that Al Qaeda took six months to enter the fray, and that Saudi Arabia took twenty months to “officially” start supplying arms; portraying the fundamentalists emergence at around February to March 2012. This is quite the perversion, and once again can only be interpreted as pure stupidity, or outright disingenuity in the aim of furnishing the imaginary “secular moderate freedom fighters” with unwarranted moral platform.

Contrary to this crude and uninformed analysis, and long known by anyone paying attention, the dominant proto-Salafi militia such as Ahrar-al Sham – who form the vanguard of the insurgency throughout, and are inextricably linked to both the overt Al Qaeda elements and the ostensible “moderates” in thrall to Imperialism – openly admit to planning a violent sectarian insurgency before any protests in Syria began. These militia, who share much in common with their overtly extreme counterparts, were most certainly active in the first weeks of the crisis, as evidenced by the oppositions own death-toll accounts; the one hundred-plus Syrian soldiers and police killed during March-April 2011 alone belies the fantasy that the violence erupted simply through state oppression of peaceful protesters.

Further contradicting the “peaceful protester-moderate rebel” narrative, corresponding incidents of organised violence against state security became widespread by the middle of 2011 (see: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), the massacre of 120 soldiers in Jisr al Shugour (20 miles from the Turkish border) in June 2011 provides but one prominent example. Either Crabapple is oblivious to all this, or is deliberately omitting it for the same reasons listed above. In attempting to skirt the issue, Crabapple regurgitates the western opportunists evidence-free conspiracy theory that the soldiers were executed by their own superiors for refusing to fire on protesters: further dehumanizing the Syrian army.

Another critical falsehood follows, and one that has been endlessly spewed to form unwarranted moral platform in the face of compelling contradictory evidence. Crabapple claims that “crimes are committed on all sides. But only the Assad regime, with its superiority of force … could kill on the scale and with the consistency that turned war crimes into a tactic of war.” Again, this is a blatant lie and distortion of the facts. The theory that the Syrian airforce’s bombardment of rebel encampments in civilian zones equates to a larger percentage of the death toll is complete logical fallacy void of any material evidence. The opposite is in fact true; according to the US Chief of Staff, 90% of deaths in Syria have been incurred by gunshot or ground-to-ground artillery; weapons which the rebels have had, and used, in abundance since the early stages. It has been amply documented that every stage of western, Turkish or Gulf initiated military support to the rebels has resulted in a huge increase in the both the death-toll and civilian displacement – most notably in the period between late 2011, when Russia and China made it clear they would block any Libya-style No Fly Zone attempts, and July 2012, when the CIA and the Gulf states dramatically increased the arms shipments to rebels.

Death tolls provided by anti-government activists such as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – used as a principal source for western media, the UN, and western “humanitarian NGO’s” no less – show it is the fundamentalist rebels that are likely responsible for the majority of killing. In its latest tally, the SOHR claims that 55,000 Syrian army and national defence force personnel have been killed during the conflict, accounting for almost 40% of total deaths, whereas rebel deaths – including 10,000 foreign fighters – amount to 33,000, accounting for almost 25% of the total, leaving roughly 50,000 civilian deaths, or 35% the total.

Using these figures; if one were to equally divide the civilian deaths between government and opposition forces, then the “revolutionaries” would be responsible for close to 80,000 people killed, or around 55% of the total – unless of course one were to posit the absurd theory that thousands of disparate fundamentalist militia have the ability to kill twice as many professional soldiers than they lose, while avoiding a considerable toll on the civilians within the urban zones they invade and militarize.

The equally false portrayal that a majority of Syrians oppose the government is omnipresent throughout such commentary on Syria, and of course, this is another blatant lie. An example of just how far-removed from reality this perception is was exposed way back in January 2012 – at the height of domestic anti-government sentiment and western agitprop – when a Qatari-funded YouGov poll found that 55% of Syrians,  a massive majority considering the political conditions, still supported their government.  This percentage has undoubtedly continued to rise as the conflict has dragged on, primarily as a result of the barbaric practices employed by the rebels in civilian areas they encamp, ethnically cleanse, militarize, and generally terrorize the remaining inhabitants of; the sentiment is only intensified through the prolonged incompetence of the ex-pat puppets in five-star hotels elevated to the lofty position of “the sole representatives of the Syrian people” by virtue of Imperialism alone. Needless to say, the poll and its results were completely whitewashed from western media narratives and was most observantly ignored by the western petty bourgeois opportunists, who find themselves parodying William Hague when claiming to speak on behalf of the “Syrian people”.

Based on the fact a majority of Syrians support the government, and would therefore face the wrath of the fundamentalist rebels rather than the army they see as protecting them, a fact which is further evidenced by the vast majority of internally displaced people fleeing “rebel liberation” for the refuge of government safe-zones; then the wilful misrepresentation of the death toll becomes evermore deplorable. It can only be explained by Crabapple and the opportunists being so indoctrinated by their own narrow parameters and dehumanizing terminology; they simply don’t see the tens of thousands of dead Syrian soldiers, their families, and the majority of Syrian civilians who support the government as people worth accounting for. Crabapple and the pseudo-lefts in turn defile the victims of the wahhabi mercenaries and Imperialism in Syria by attempting to blame their fate on the very actors protecting them, effectively turning the victim into the oppressor. The only other explanation is, once again, blind stupidity.

Over and above, it has long been known that western special forces, alongside Gulf, Jordanian, Lebanese factions allied to the Saudi’s, Turkish and Israeli counterparts, have been actively conspiring with, and militarily supporting, what are essentially fundamentalist militia – to the tune of billions of dollars and thousands of tonnes of arms. It is these actors accountable for setting in motion the violent insurgency they had been planning since at least 2006, and now continue to do so without even the pretense of plausible deniability.

The argument the pseudo-lefts are now attempting to throw at western anti-imperialists is one of utter opportunism and deception. Crabapple mimics Zizek (and other servants of bourgeois intelligentsia), and asserts that the emphasis on predatory western Imperialism’s role when analysing conflicts and crises abroad – the emphasis espoused by westerners no less! – is in fact a “perverse kind of Orientalism” that removes and belittles the “agency” (another delightful abstraction implanted into petty bourgeois leftist discourse) of indigenous people.

How damning one might say, but where does this “logic” end? For instance, if one opposed the Imperialist rape of Iraq, then did one oppose the “agency” of Ahmed Chalabi and all the other reactionary cretins who allied with western Imperialism? Did they who opposed the Imperialist destruction of Libya – whose position has now been fully vindicated, despite the grotesque doublespeak of Bernhard Henri Levy and his acolytes – “deny the agency” of Al Qaeda, Salafi warlords and the criminals now running riot and destroying the remnants NATO left behind? The glaring contradiction is lay bare with the aid of a further simple example that may especially perplex the opportunists who feign support for Palestinian Resistance: if one opposes the occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine, is one opposing Zionist “agency”?

Applying this “logic” to the Syrian context, if western anti-Imperialists “deny the agency” of Syrians by opposing a fundamentalist-led insurgency sponsored by Imperialism, then what exactly do the opportunists deny when ignoring the majority of Syrians that oppose the wahhabi revolutionaries!? In the western liberal-left equation, this majority of Syrians simply don’t exist, they have no “agency” worth even considering, let alone their right to self-determination. The opportunists are in fact misrepresenting said “agency” they hold in such high esteem by falsely portraying a minority of localised dissent, alongside a fundamentalist insurgency orchestrated and sponsored by western Imperialism, as representative of the entire Syrian population. The opportunists accuse us anti-Imperialists of Orientalism and “denying agency” while committing the very act! A case of pure cognitive dissonance, or simply a feeble attempt at creating confusion.

Such fallacious arguments and semantic trickery is employed in the vain attempt to shut down critical analysis that does not abide by western bourgeois political ideology and partisan agenda. In reality, it is the western pseudo-lefts who act as the agents of western Imperialism, betraying self-determination and the foundations of internationalist socialism. To engage in such pointless obfuscation and theorizing is to deliberately obstruct simple material fact, historical dialectics, a “ruthless criticism of all that exists” and the correct examinations and conclusions to be drawn in the international sense.

Lenin was forced to spend great energy in combating the same strands of left-opportunism one hundred years ago, rightly describing it as “the principle enemy within the working class movement”. The modern celebrity-lefts distortions and twisted theories represent nothing more than the vile opportunism witnessed within the socialist parties during the outbreak of WWI, when the so-called Marxists chose to side with their national bourgeoisie against the bourgeoisie and the working classes of hostile nations. The European opportunists who chose to employ the catchphrases of social chauvinism and act as the agents of their own bourgeoisie in “defending the fatherland” are today reflected by the western “socialists” and “leftists” that endlessly obscure the international characteristics of modern capitalism and its inevitable antagonism, in turn diminishing the pre-eminent role, and therefore culpability, of western Imperialism.

Phil Greaves is a UK based writer on UK/US Foreign Policy, with a focus on the Arab World, post WWII. http://notthemsmdotcom.wordpress.com/

When the report of Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 was released in December 2002, it was met with considerable skepticism. That skepticism grew for a period of time but then was reduced to speculation about what was contained in the 28 pages that had been redacted by the Bush White House.

Various U.S. government leaders have since suggested that the missing 28 pages point to Saudi Arabia’s complicity in the 9/11 crimes. However such musings fail to discuss other important issues, like the links between the Saudi regime and the Western deep state, or the fact that, from the start, even the Saudis were calling for the 28 pages to be released. Discussion of the missing 28 pages also omits mention of the highly suspicious nature of the Inquiry’s investigation and its leaders.

GanG2The leaders of the 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry were Congressman Porter Goss and Senator Bob Graham, who headed-up the House and Senate intelligence committees at the time. Due to Goss and Graham’s activities before 9/11 and on that day, as well as their representation of the state of Florida, their leadership of the Inquiry presented a remarkable number of questions.

For example, Goss and Graham were meeting with Pakistani ISI General Mahmud Ahmed just as the first plane struck the World Trade Center. The Ahmed meeting is interesting due to the Pakistani ISI’s history with the CIA in arming the “Afghan Arabs” from which al Qaeda evolved. The ISI had also been intimately linked with the terrorist network previously run by the CIA’s partner—the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). Added to these coincidences was the fact that Goss and Graham had just returned from a trip to Pakistan in which they had specifically discussed Osama bin Laden, who was a topic of discussion at their 9/11 breakfast meeting as well.

It seems to be an unusual coincidence that the leader of the Pakistani ISI would be present as al Qaeda’s historic attack was taking place. Ahmed’s meeting with Goss and Graham is also notable in light of Goss’ history as a veteran CIA operative, a member of a secret assassination squad, and someone who was trained to recruit and run foreign operatives. It is also remarkable that Goss’ home district was the primary base for several of the alleged 9/11 hijackers.

In fact, much of the evidence that established the official account about the accused men came from Florida. Twelve of them were said to have opened bank accounts in the state, primarily through one institution—SunTrust Bank. Deposits made to these accounts often came from a country that the Inquiry seemed to be protecting—the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which owned the BCCI infrastructure.

In the years since the Inquiry, Graham has claimed that there is compelling evidence that one or more foreign governments facilitated the terrorists in some way. And although he continues to call for release of the redacted 28 pages, Graham now focuses his comments primarily on the Saudi link, which is named in the subtitle of his book on the subject. Others like Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism lead who is personally close to the UAE royal family, have joined Graham in making these accusations. Yet these men ignore the Saudi connections to other aspects of 9/11 and U.S. leaders, as well as the links to the UAE, Kuwait, and Pakistan’s ISI.

In response to questions about the Inquiry report, Goss was less committed. He said “I can tell you right now that I don’t know exactly how the plot was hatched. I don’t know the where, the when and the why and the who in every instance. That’s after two years of trying. And we will someday have the documents to exploit, we will have the people to interrogate, we will have ways to get more information to put the rest of the pieces of this puzzle on the table. But right now, we don’t have it.”

Therefore it seems that we all agree it would be good to release the missing 28 pages. But it would also be very good for the public to consider the history of the Joint Inquiry and its leaders.

CIA Operative Goss and His Political Benefactor, Graham

Porter Goss joined the CIA in 1961 when he was a student at Yale. It has been reported that Goss was one of the hundreds of CIA officers employed in Operation Mongoose, the covert U.S. project to displace Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Goss later acknowledged that he had recruited and run foreign agents and he said that he would be uncomfortable traveling to Cuba. Over the next decade, Goss worked for the CIA’s Directorate of Operations as a covert operative in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Western Europe.

In his book, Barry and the Boys, Daniel Hopsicker published a photograph that he had received from the wife of CIA operative and drug-trafficker Barry Seal. Hopsicker claimed that the picture was taken at a nightclub in Mexico City in 1963 and that it included members of a team called Operation 40. One of the men was Porter Goss.

Operation 40 was a CIA-sponsored team accused of conducting assassinations. According to a senior member of the Cuban security apparatus, it was funded by an “important group of businessmen headed by George Bush (Snr.) and Jack Crichton, both Texas oilmen.” Frank Sturgis, one of the “plumbers” who broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel in 1972, later admitted to having been part of Operation 40. Other infamous CIA operatives who belonged to the group were Thomas Clines and Ted Shackley.

After leaving the CIA (assuming that is possible) Goss began his political career thanks to a favor granted by the man who would later help him lead the 9/11 Joint Inquiry. Goss was appointed by then-Florida Governor Bob Graham, to fill a Democrat vacancy as commissioner of Lee County. Why Graham appointed Goss, a Republican, for the normally partisan post is unclear. But remember that Goss was not just a Republican he was a CIA assassin who admitted to having recruited and run foreign agents.

Goss went on to represent regions of Florida where the alleged 9/11hijackers trained. He was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1988, as a Republican representative from the 13th district. The 13th district included Venice, the home of Huffman Aviation where several of the alleged hijackers trained. After the district was re-zoned, Goss became the representative from district 14, where he was re-elected four times. In the few years prior to 9/11, the alleged terrorists used Goss’ district, in Charlotte County, as one of their main bases of operations.

The area that Goss represented was also known for a long history of CIA-linked drug running. Three weeks after Mohamed Atta showed up at Huffman Aviation, the flight school’s owner, Wally Hilliard, had his Learjet seized when it was carrying 43 lbs of heroin. Rudi Dekkers, the man Wally Hilliard hired to run Huffman Aviation, was arrested for drug trafficking in 2012.

These links between the alleged hijackers and a drug trafficking flight school are not surprising given the history of the area. Covert drug operations in that area went back at least 60 years. The tiny Venice Airport, where the alleged hijackers trained, originated as the Venice Army Airfield and was the home of the operatives who worked for General Claire Chennault. Civil Air Transport, the successor to Chennault’s Flying Tigers and the world’s largest heroin-trafficking operation at the time, transported the drugs that funded the early covert operations of the CIA and those airmen worked closely with organized crime while doing so.

 

In American War Machine, Peter Dale Scott described how many covert U.S. operations since World War II have been intimately connected with, even dependent on, illicit drug trafficking. From Mexico to Laos and Vietnam, and more recently in Afghanistan, a  “shadow CIA” has worked with organized crime figures and banking networks like BCCI to use drug money to undermine democracy.

 

In 1996, Goss became chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In this role, Goss oversaw the inquiry into the drug and gun trafficking that supported the Nicaraguan Contras. That scandal had been exposed a decade earlier but Goss led the cover-up of the CIA’s involvement and the evidence that Vice President Bush had been involved.

 

In 1999, FBI informant Randy Glass gained some interesting information from Pakistani ISI agent Rajaa Gulum Abbas. As Glass, Abbas, and two others were having dinner in a New York City restaurant surrounded by undercover FBI agents, Abbas pointed to the WTC and said, “Those towers are coming down.” Abbas later made two other references to an attack on the WTC. Glass sent this information to Senator Graham in August 2001. It is not clear whether Graham did anything with it but he certainly isn’t saying anything about it today.

Shortly after 9/11, people were beginning to question what the Bush Administration might have known about a potential al Qaeda hijacking plot. Goss shouted down the accusations. “The only thing that this uproar does is give aid and comfort to the enemy and I don’t think there’s anybody who wants to give aid and comfort to the terrorists,” he said.

The Joint Congressional Inquiry

In the months following 9/11, both Goss and Graham rejected calls for an investigation. The Senate voted for one anyway, however, and that led both Bush and Cheney to attempt to stop it or limit its scope. Apparently the best they could do was to make sure that Goss and Graham were put in charge. That seemed to work as the Inquiry began in February 2002, more than five months after the attacks, and the approach taken was one of uncritical deference to the Bush Administration and the intelligence community.

Goss immediately made it clear that the Inquiry would not be looking for guilt or accountability with regard to 9/11. Saying he was “looking for solutions, not scapegoats,” Goss continued to defend the White House with regard to warnings the president had received about an impending attack, saying it was “a lot of nonsense.”

The FBI did not cooperate but that didn’t seem to bother Goss and Graham. One glaring example of this was that the Bureau would not allow Inquiry staff to interview Abdussattar Shaikh, the FBI informant that two of the alleged hijackers had lived with in San Diego. The FBI also refused to serve a deposition notice and subpoena on Shaikh, despite knowing where he was. Not only that, although the Joint Inquiry agreed to serve written interrogatories on the him, and the FBI had agreed to that plan, Shaikh’s lawyer later said that his client would not respond to the interrogatories. The attorney also warned that, if subpoenaed, Shaikh would be unwilling to testify unless he was granted immunity.

According to the final report from the Joint Inquiry, when interviewed by the FBI Shaikh gave inaccurate information and had an “inconclusive” polygraph examination about his foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Apparently, some FBI agents believed that Shaikh had knowledge not only of the two alleged hijackers with whom he lived, but also of alleged pilot Hani Hanjour.

The Joint Inquiry’s passive response to Shaikh’s lack of cooperation was astonishing. It cannot be reconciled with the approach taken with other persons of interest. This informant clearly had more information and stronger links to the alleged hijackers than almost anyone. Yet the FBI was intent on protecting him and the Joint Inquiry allowed that protection.

The public must wonder why authorities did not simply arrest and torture this man as they did so many others. How can the preferential treatment of Shaikh, someone who obviously knew something about al Qaeda operatives, be reconciled with the treatment of other “persons of interest”? Shaikh was handled as if he was too important to be troubled, whereas people like Abu Zubaydah, who turned out to not have any connection to al Qaeda, were tortured repeatedly.

The Saudi who brought the two alleged hijackers to San Diego to live with Shaikh was Omar Al-Bayoumi. The subject of an FBI investigation three years before 9/11, Al-Bayoumi appeared to be a Saudi intelligence agent. After 9/11, he was allowed to leave the country without being questioned as part of the investigation.

In November 2002, an FBI official sent a letter to Graham and Goss saying, “the Administration would not sanction a staff interview with [Abdussattar Shaikh], nor did the Administration agree to allow the FBI to serve a subpoena or a notice of deposition on [him].” The letter caused Graham to comment, “We were seeing in writing what we had suspected for some time: the White House was directing the cover-up.”

However, that was not the only important issue on which the Joint Inquiry rolled over. For example, the Inquiry could not convince CIA director (DCI) George Tenet to be interviewed, and it accepted the restriction that operational cables and certain other documents could not be viewed other than at CIA headquarters. Further restrictions included that no copies could be made. Clearly, protecting the CIA’s secrets was more important than the safety of potential victims of terrorism.

As with the CIA, the FBI would not allow the Joint Inquiry to take notes on or make copies of documents deemed sensitive by the Bureau. This restricted the Inquiry’s ability to complete its charter, which was very limited to begin with. Yet the Inquiry did not complain. It has since been revealed that the FBI had an asset in direct contact with Osama bin Laden for the eight years leading up to 9/11. Too bad that didn’t get revealed in 2002 but it’s interesting that Graham is not calling attention to it now.

It was claimed by insiders that Goss and Graham exercised “near total control over the panel, forbidding the inquiry’s staff to speak to other lawmakers.” Other members of the Inquiry complained that the two co-chairmen withheld information and controlled the process. One way in which Graham and Goss controlled the investigation was to ask the FBI to look into panel members who might have leaked information. This resulted in the FBI investigating the Inquiry as the Inquiry was investigating the FBI.

Years later, Graham claimed that the White House had disrupted the Inquiry’s work. He said, “Looking back at it, I think we were clearly set up by Dick Cheney and the White House. They wanted to shut us down. And they wanted to shut down a legitimate Congressional inquiry that might raise questions in part about whether their own people had aggressively pursued al-Qaeda in the days prior to the September 11 attacks. The vice president attempted to manipulate the situation, and he attempted to manipulate us. But if his goal was to get us to back off, he was unsuccessful.” According to Graham, Goss was of the same opinion.

Goss agreed that he and Graham were of like mind, even to the point of saying they were “like Frick and Frack” at the time of the inquiry. But the idea that Goss felt obstructed by the White House does not make sense in view of Goss’ own actions.

For one thing, as a congressman Goss had been, and would continue to be, essentially a Bush Administration cheerleader. Additionally, there was no evidence that Goss was in any way interested in achieving truth or justice with regard to the crimes of 9/11. An example was that the CIA’s Inspector General report on 9/11 originally called for accountability with respect to certain individuals including DCI Tenet. In 2004, DCI Goss changed that wording to call for “accountability boards” to be formed at a later date. Then in 2005, when the revised report came out, Goss removed the accountability boards altogether.

The Inquiry protected not only the CIA and FBI, however. The Inquiry’s report also concealed the possible involvement of the United Arab Emirates. The report noted the FBI claim that “the operational planning for the September 11th attacks took place in overseas locations, most notably Germany, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.” This is remarkable in that the report went on to make detailed comments in subsequent sections on Malaysia and Germany, but, tellingly, ignored the UAE entirely.

A similar example was the Joint Inquiry’s treatment of the ease with which the alleged hijackers received their travel visas. After noting that special treatment was given to visa applicants from two countries, the report asked why, considering that the “pervasiveness in Saudi Arabia of Wahhabism, a radical, anti-American variant of Islam, was well known before 9/11.” Saudi Arabia was singled out, but the same tough questions were not asked of the second country, the UAE. Neither Richard Armitage (who had helped arm and train the Mujahideen) nor his subordinate, former Sears World Trade executive Grant Green, were examined at all—despite having overseen the Bureau of Consular Affairs which issued the visas.

What Are They Leaving Out?

Bob Graham’s book, Intelligence Matters: ‪The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America’s War on Terror, refers to Saudi Arabia over 100 times. But it mentions the UAE only in reference to one of the hijackers who came from that country.

Is the preferential treatment of the UAE a result of the close relationship that Richard Clarke had with its leaders? More specifically, was Clarke’s relationship merely a result of the fact that the UAE owned BCCI and therefore was able to finance and conduct CIA-like covert operations as part of a private or officially sanctioned network? In other words, was 9/11 a CIA-like operation conducted with the help of countries that the Joint Inquiry failed to criticize—Pakistan and the UAE?

These shortcomings should lead investigators to review where the evidence against the accused terrorists originated. Most of that evidence was delivered by the FBI and the CIA but it often originated in the UAE and in Florida. The UAE was the source of much of the alleged funding of the alleged hijackers. And evidence concerning the travel of the accused was traced back to the UAE, with all but three of the 19 alleged hijackers having traveled through the UAE on their way to the United States.

The facts call into question the apparent goodwill of Bob Graham who was, along with Goss, a “Frick and Frack” lapdog for the cover-up led by the Bush White House and the U.S. intelligence agencies. What were they hiding—the glaring links to Saudi Arabia? That seems like a very convenient limited hangout considering that long-term control of Saudi Arabian oil is an absolute necessity for maintaining the U.S. economy.

A year after release of the Joint Inquiry’s report, an amendment was introduced to the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for 2004. That amendment called for release of the redacted 28 pages and it implied that Saudi Arabia was the only missing piece of the 9/11 puzzle. The amendment was killed by a claim that it was not germane to the foreign appropriations bill. But the idea that Saudi Arabia was the only foreign power involved in the 9/11 operation was firmly implanted in the American psyche.

What’s different today? Saudi Arabia certainly does have strong connections to 9/11, and in many more ways than Graham will admit. But discussion of the financing and management of the alleged hijackers is only the tip of the iceberg and, even within that limited context, the work of the Joint Inquiry has diverted attention away from many of the facts. Let’s hope that, twelve years later, Americans have become a little more educated about 9/11 and the cover-up investigations into those crimes.

Washington Has Set The World On A Path To War

March 16th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Why is Washington so opposed to Crimean self-determination?  The answer is that one of the main purposes of Washington’s coup in Kiev was to have the new puppet government evict Russia from its Black Sea naval base in Crimea. Washington cannot use the government Washington has installed in Ukraine for that purpose if Crimea is no longer part of Ukraine.  

What Washington has made completely obvious is that “self-determination” is a weapon used by Washington in behalf of its agenda.  If self-determination advances Washington’s agenda, Washington is for it.  If self-determination does not advance Washington’s agenda, Washington is against it.

The Washington-initiated UN Security Council resolution, vetoed by Russia, falsely declares that the referendum in Crimea, a referendum demanded by the people, “can have no validity, and cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea; and calls upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of Crimea on the basis of this referendum and to refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognizing any such altered status.”

Washington could not make it any clearer that Washington totally opposes self-determination by Crimeans.

Washington claims, falsely, that the referendum cannot be valid unless the entire population of Ukraine votes and agrees with the decision by Crimeans.  Note that when Washington stole Kosovo from Serbia, Washington did not let Serbians vote.

But lets overlook Washington’s rank hypocrisy and self-serving double-standards. Let’s apply Washington’s argument that in order to be valid any change in Crimea’s status requires a vote on the part of the population of the country that it departs.  If this is the case, then Crimea has never been a part of  Ukraine.

Under Washington’ s interpretation of international law, Ukraine is still a part of Russia.

When Khrushchev transferred Crimea (but not Sevastopol, the Black Sea base) to Ukraine, Russians did not get to vote. Therefore, according to Washington’s own logic it is invalid to recognize Crimea as part of Ukraine.  That also goes for other parts of Russia that Lenin transferred to Ukraine.  Under the logic of Washington’s UN resolution, large parts of Ukraine are not legitimately part of Ukraine. They have remained parts of Russia, because Russians were not allowed to vote on their transfer to Ukraine.  Thus, there is no issue about “Russia annexing Crimea,” because, according to Washington’s logic, Crimea is still a part of Russia.

Do you need any more proof that the Ukrainian crisis is made up out of thin air by schemers in Washington who created the entire crisis for one purpose–to weaken Russia militarily.

No one was surprised that the New York Times published on March 14 the warmongering rant, written by neoconservatives for John McCain, which described Washington’s aggression in Ukraine as Russia’s aggression.  The US government overthrows an elected democratic Ukrainian government and then accuses Russia of “invading and annexing Crimea” in order to divert attention from Washington’s overthrow of Ukrainian democracy.  There is no elected government in Kiev.  The stooges acting as a government in Kiev were put in office by Washington.  Who else choose them?

What surprised some was Rand Paul joining the hysteria. Rand Paul wrote his propagandistic rant against Russia for Time. Rand Paul claims, falsely, that Putin has invaded Crimea and that it is an affront to “the international community.”  First of all, the decision of Crimea to leave Ukraine is a decision of the Crimean population and the elected government, not a decision by Russia.  But, for the sake of argument, let’s take Rand Paul’s lie as the truth:  Is “Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine a gross violation of that nation’s sovereignty and an affront to the international community” like Washington’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Washington-sponsored invasions of Libya and Syria, and Washington’s ongoing slaughter of Pakistanis and Yemenis with drones, and Washington’s violation of Iran’s sovereignty with illegal sanctions, and Washington’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty by overthrowing the elected government and imposing Washington’s stooges?

If Putin is behaving as Rand Paul ignorantly asserts, Putin is just following the precedents established by Clinton in Serbia, by Bush in Afghanistan and Iraq, and by Obama in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.  Washington’s argument is reduced to: “We, the exceptional and indispensable nation can behave this way, but no other country can.”

As some Americans have misplaced hopes in Rand Paul, it is just as well that he revealed in Time that he is just another fool prostituting himself for the neoconservative warmongers and the military/security complex. If Rand Paul is the hope for America, then clearly there is no hope.

As I have been pointing out, the propaganda and lies issuing from Washington, its European puppets, New York Times, Time, and the entirety of the Western media are repeating the path to war that led to World War 1.  It is happening right before our eyes.

Since 1935, the following seal appears on the reverse side of every $1 dollar Federal Reserve Note: 

-

Annuit Coeptis is Latin for “Providence Favors our Undertakings” and Novus Ordo Seclorum is Latin for “New Order of the Ages” 

As we approach the 100 year anniversary of the creation of the Federal Reserve, it is absolutely imperative that we get the American people to understand that the Fed is at the very heart of our economic problems.  It is a system of money that was created by the bankers and that operates for the benefit of the bankers.  The American people like to think that we have a “democratic system”, but there is nothing “democratic” about the Federal Reserve.  Unelected, unaccountable central planners from a private central bank run our financial system and manage our economy. 

clip_image001[4]There is a reason why financial markets respond with a yawn when Barack Obama says something about the economy, but they swing wildly whenever Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke opens his mouth.  The Federal Reserve has far more power over the U.S. economy than anyone else does by a huge margin.  The Fed is the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of the world, and if the American people truly understood how it really works, they would be screaming for it to be abolished immediately.  The following are 25 fast facts about the Federal Reserve that everyone should know…

#1 The greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was when there was no central bank.

#2 The United States never had a persistent, ongoing problem with inflation until the Federal Reserve was created.  In the century before the Federal Reserve was created, the average annual rate of inflation was about half a percent.  In the century since the Federal Reserve was created, the average annual rate of inflation has been about 3.5 percent, and it would be even higher than that if the inflation numbers were not being so grossly manipulated.

#3 Even using the official numbers, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by more than 95 percent since the Federal Reserve was created nearly 100 years ago.

#4 The secret November 1910 gathering at Jekyll Island, Georgia during which the plan for the Federal Reserve was hatched was attended by U.S. Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Department A.P. Andrews and a whole host of representatives from the upper crust of the Wall Street banking establishment.

#5 In 1913, Congress was promised that if the Federal Reserve Act was passed that it would eliminate the business cycle.

#6 The following comes directly from the Fed’s official mission statement: “To provide the nation with a safer, more flexible, and more stable monetary and financial system. Over the years, its role in banking and the economy has expanded.”

#7 It was not an accident that a permanent income tax was also introduced the same year when the Federal Reserve system was established.  The whole idea was to transfer wealth from our pockets to the federal government and from the federal government to the bankers.

#8 Within 20 years of the creation of the Federal Reserve, the U.S. economy was plunged into the Great Depression.

#9 If you can believe it, there have been 10 different economic recessions since 1950.  The Federal Reserve created the “dotcom bubble”, the Federal Reserve created the “housing bubble” and now it has created the largest bond bubble in the history of the planet.

#10 According to an official government report, the Federal Reserve made 16.1 trillion dollars in secret loans to the big banks during the last financial crisis.  The following is a list of loan recipients that was taken directly from page 131 of the report…

Citigroup – $2.513 trillion
Morgan Stanley – $2.041 trillion
Merrill Lynch – $1.949 trillion
Bank of America – $1.344 trillion
Barclays PLC – $868 billion
Bear Sterns – $853 billion
Goldman Sachs – $814 billion
Royal Bank of Scotland – $541 billion
JP Morgan Chase – $391 billion
Deutsche Bank – $354 billion
UBS – $287 billion
Credit Suisse – $262 billion
Lehman Brothers – $183 billion
Bank of Scotland – $181 billion
BNP Paribas – $175 billion
Wells Fargo – $159 billion
Dexia – $159 billion
Wachovia – $142 billion
Dresdner Bank – $135 billion
Societe Generale – $124 billion
“All Other Borrowers” – $2.639 trillion

 #11 The Federal Reserve also paid those big banks $659.4 million in fees to help “administer” those secret loans.

 #12 The Federal Reserve has created approximately 2.75 trillion dollars out of thin air and injected it into the financial system over the past five years.  This has allowed the stock market to soar to unprecedented heights, but it has also caused our financial system to become extremely unstable.

#13 We were told that the purpose of quantitative easing is to help “stimulate the economy”, but today the Federal Reserve is actually paying the big banks not to lend out 1.8 trillion dollars in “excess reserves” that they have parked at the Fed.

#14 Quantitative easing overwhelming benefits those that own stocks and other financial investments.  In other words, quantitative easing overwhelmingly favors the very wealthy.  Even Barack Obama has admitted that 95 percent of the income gains since he has been president have gone to the top one percent of income earners.

#15 The gap between the top one percent and the rest of the country is now the greatest that it has been since the 1920s.

#16 The Federal Reserve has argued vehemently in federal court that it is “not an agency” of the federal government and therefore not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

#17 The Federal Reserve openly admits that the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks are organized “much like private corporations“.

#18 The regional Federal Reserve banks issue shares of stock to the “member banks” that own them.

#19 The Federal Reserve system greatly favors the biggest banks.  Back in 1970, the five largest U.S. banks held 17 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets.  Today, the five largest U.S. banks hold 52 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets.

#20 The Federal Reserve is supposed to “regulate” the big banks, but it has done nothing to stop a 441 trillion dollar interest rate derivatives bubble from inflating which could absolutely devastate our entire financial system.

#21 The Federal Reserve was designed to be a perpetual debt machine.  The bankers that designed it intended to trap the U.S. government in a perpetual debt spiral from which it could never possibly escape.  Since the Federal Reserve was established nearly 100 years ago, the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger.

#22 The U.S. government will spend more than 400 billion dollars just on interest on the national debt this year.

#23 If the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt rises to just 6 percent (and it has been much higher than that in the past), we will be paying out more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.

#24 According to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Congress is the one that is supposed to have the authority to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures”.  So exactly why is the Federal Reserve doing it?

#25 There are plenty of possible alternative financial systems, but at this point all 187 nations that belong to the IMF have a central bank.  Are we supposed to believe that this is just some sort of a bizarre coincidence?

The recent protests in Ukraine have the stench of a foreign-orchestrated attempt to destabilize the government of Viktor Yanukovych after he walked away from signing an EU Association Agreement that would have driven a deep wedge between Russia and Ukraine. Glamor-star boxer-turned political guru, Vitaly Klitschko, has been meeting with the US State Department and is close to Angela Merkel’s CDU political machine in Germany.

The EU association agreement with Ukraine is widely resisted by many EU member states with deep economic problems of their own. The two EU figures most pushing it—Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski—are both well known in the EU as close to Washington.

The US is strongly pushing the Ukraine EU integration just as it had been behind the 2004 failed “Orange Revolution” to split Ukraine from Russia in a  bid to isolate and weaken Russia. Now Ukrainians have found evidence of direct involvement of the Belgrade US-financed training group, CANVAS behind the carefully-orchestrated Kiev protests.

A copy of the pamphlet that was given out to opposition protestors in Kiev has been obtained. It is a word-for-word and picture-for-picture translation of the pamphlet used by US-financed Canvas organizers in the 2011 Cairo Tahrir Square protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak and opened the door to the US-backed Muslim Brotherhood.[1] The photo below is a side-by-side comparison:

The photo left is from Tahrir Square; the right from Kiev and here below is the English original used by the Belgrade CANVAS NGO:

Canvas, formerly Otpor, received significant money from the US State Department in 2000 to stage the first successful Color Revolution against Slobodan Milosovic in then-Yugoslavia. Since then they have been transformed into a full-time “revolution consultancy” for the US, posing as a Serbian grass-root group backing “democracy.” [2] Who would ever think a Serbian-based NGO would be a front for US-backed regime change?

The Strange Ukraine “Opposition”

Direct sources in Kiev that I have contacted report that the anti-government protestors have been recruited with money from among university students and unemplyed to come by bus into the heart of  Kiev. The revealing aspect is the spectacular emergence of champion boxed Vitaly Klitschko as presumably the wise politician guiding Ukraine’s future. No doubt spending your career beating other boxers unconscious is a superb preparation for becoming a statesman, though I for one doubt it. It reminds of the choice of a low-grade Hollywood movie actor, Ronald Reagan as President. But more interesting about “opposition” spokesman Klitschko is who his friends are.

Klitschko is being backed by US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. Nuland, former US Ambassador to NATO, is a neo-conservative married to leading neo-conservative hawk, Robert Kagan, and was herself a former adviser to Dick Cheney. [3]

Klitschko is also very friendly with German Chancellor Merkel. According to a recent Der Spiegel report, Merkel wants to support Klitschko in his bid to become Ukraine’s president in 2015. [4]

More evidence that a darker agenda lies behind the “democracy” opposition is the fact that the demands of the protestors went from demanding accession to the EU to demanding the immediate resignation of the Yanukovich government. Klitschko and the opposition used an unfortunate police crackdown on protesters to massively expand the protest from a few hundred to tens of thousands. On December 18, the government took the wind partly out of the Klitschko sails by signing a major economic agreement with Moscow in which Russia agreed to cut the price of Russian gas exported to Ukraine by a third, down to $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters from the current level of more than $400, and to buy $15 billion of Ukraine’s debt in eurobonds. That gives Ukraine breathing room to avoid a sovereign debt default and calmly negotiate over its future.

William Engdahl is author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics in the New World Order. He is a contributing author at BFP and may be contacted through his website at www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net where this article was originally published.

Notes:

[1] SysAdmin, Pamphlets in Ukraine handed out during protests and pamphlets that were handed out in Egypt, December 12, 2013, accessed in http://12160.info/photo/photo/show?id=2649739%3APhoto%3A1376645.

[2] Nebojsa Malic, Invasion of the Mind Snatchers: Empire’s Revolution Business, AntiWar.com, June 24, 2011, accessed in http://original.antiwar.com/malic/2011/06/23/invasion-of-the-mind-snatchers/.

[3] NTDTV,Ukrainian Opposition Vitaly Klitschko Meets US Official Victoria Nuland, December 6, 2013, accessed in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0miz548u0WY.

[4] Die Zeit, Merkel unterstützt Klitschko, 8. Dezember 2013, accessed in http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2013-12/merkel-klitschko-ukraine.

The referendum in Crimea on March 16, 2014 will probably attach the peninsula to the Russian federation. While it is unlikely that NATO will intervene and seek a direct military confrontation with Russia, the United States and the European Union are already cooking some broad and unwise economic sanctions with which to punish Russia. 

Russia, for its part, has at its disposal some mighty economic weapons with which to retaliate, as needed.

The economic pain from this tit for tat of sanctions will be, in particular, inflicted to the EU. Because of the interconnections between all economies and financial markets, mutual economic sanctions could drive a still fragile world economy to a financial crash.

The West, acting as if it solely and arrogantly represents the international community, has formulated a hazardous policy to isolate Russia. This ill-advised strategy is extremely shortsighted on all levels. Unlike Iran, Russia is fully integrated into the global economy.

A test for BRICS

The Ukraine crisis is a major test of BRICS‘ geopolitical validity as an economic group, political  force and potential military alliance. China, Russia’s biggest partner in BRICS, has been strangely muted about Ukraine and the Crimea referendum, urging for “restraint on all sides” and pushing for a political solution.

During the emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on March 15, 2014, on a resolution to declare Crimea’s referendum illegal, China did not side with Russia by using its veto power but instead abstained from voting. China’s abstention does not fare well for the future of BRICS, as it plays into the strategy of the US and its EU partner to isolate Russia. China, by its abstention from the UN vote, and India, Brazil and South Africa, by their subdued responses, have already played into the hands of the US and its European allies. Will China and other BRICS members step in forcefully to stop the madness of multilateral economic sanctions?

Dumping US Treasury Bonds

Russia, to prevent the announced freeze of its assets in the US, has already acted on the looming sanctions by liquidating more than $100 billion of its holdings in US Treasury Bonds. The bonds, which represent about 80 percent of Russia’s holding in US T-Bonds, were transferred out of the US Central Bank. The withdrawal was revealed by the US central bank when it announced that its holdings in T-Bonds dropped by $105 billion for the week ending March 12, 2014, from $2.96 trillion to $2.85 trillion. This abrupt sale is three times higher than any weekly sale was at the peak of the 2008 financial crisis.

Of all countries, China has the means to diffuse the potential economic crisis by also threatening to dump US T-Bonds. China owns an estimated $1.3 trillion in US Treasury Bonds and is the number one investor amongst foreign governments. Other BRICS members such Brazil and India own respectively $250 billion and $64 billion in T-Bonds. Consequently, the threat by BRICS members of a coordinated fire sale would represent more than $1.6 trillion in T-Bonds. This would be a powerful enough “financial weapon of mass destruction,” to quote Warren Buffet,  to crash Wall Street, the US dollar, and by a ripple effect, the European financial markets.

Economic sanctions’ global boomerang effect

China has rightly warned that drastic economic sanctions against Russia, and Russia’s subsequent retaliation could make the global economy “spiral into chaos.” Sanctions on Russian exports would greatly expose the EU. Europe imports 30 percents of its gas from the Russian state-owned company Gazprom. Russia is also Europe’s biggest customer. The EU is, by far, Russia’s leading trade partner and accounts for about 50 percent of all Russian exports and imports. In 2014, EU-Russia overall trade stands at around 360 billion Euros per year. Russia’s total export to the EU, which is principally raw materials such as gas and oil, stands at around 230 billion Euros, while Russia’s imports from the EU amount to around 130 billion Euros of mainly manufactured products as well as foodstuff. The EU is also the largest investor in the Russian economy and accounts for 75 percent of all foreign investments in Russia.

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In case of Western economic sanctions, Russian lawmakers have announced that they would pass a bill to freeze the assets of European and American companies that operate in Russia. On the other side, more than 100 Russian businessmen and politicians are allegedly targeted by the EU for a freeze of their European assets. Besides Alexey Miller, head of the state-owned Gazprom, the CEO of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, is also apparently on the sanction hit list. Rosneft is the largest listed oil company in the world and, as such, has partners worldwide, including in the West. For example, the US-based company Exxon-Mobil has a $500 million oil-exploration project with Rosneft in Siberia, and Exxon-Mobil is already in partnership with the Russian giant oil company to exploit Black Sea oil reserves.

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Global zero sum game or is it  fracking stupid?

The US’ booming fracking business and its lobbyists in Washington view Ukraine’s crisis as an opportunity for expansion into new markets. They argue that the US can provide Europe with all its gas needs and, by doing so, make obsolete Russia’s main economic weapon of shutting off EU’s main gas supply. Needless to say, this would harm the Russian economy by cutting off one of  its key sources of revenue, which amounts to $230 billion a year of export to the EU.

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On paper and in theory, the plan to supply the EU with natural gas from fracking sounds manageable. Fortunately, for the sake of the environment, this idea to provide Europe with gas proudly made in the USA is a pie in the sky. Fracking has been singled out as perhaps the most damaging way to extract energy, due to its pollution of water, release of the extremely strong greenhouse gas methane, and potential to cause earthquakes. Realistically, it would take at least three years to sort out the issues of transport, storage and distribution of the US-derived natural gas for Europe. Europeans have a choice: either stick to Gazprom’s cheap and reliable gas or rely on Uncle Sam’s pipe dream for their energy needs. Military escalation is unlikely once Crimea decides to join the Russian federation: NATO doesn’t have the stomach for it. On the other hand, economic sanctions and the Russian retaliations are a recipe for disaster. This game of sanctions is a global zero sum game that could make the 2008 crash look for all of us like a walk in the park.

Photograph by Street Work. Illustrations six and seven by Jamie Sneddon.

In March 2012 the Russian defense minister Anatoli Serdjukov said:

“The development of weaponry based on new physics principles; direct-energy weapons, geophysical weapons, wave-energy weapons, genetic weapons, psychotronic weapons, etc., is part of the state arms procurement program for 2011-2020,”Voice of Russia

The world media reacted to this hint on the open use of psychotronic weapons by the publication of scientific experiments from the 1960‘s where electromagnetic waves were used to transmit simple sounds into the human brain. However, most of them avoided saying that since then extensive scientific research has been carried out in this area throughout the world. Only a Colombian newspaper, El Spectador, published an article covering the whole scale of the achievements of this (computerized English translation).

Britain’s Daily Mail, as another exception, wrote that research in electromagnetic weapons has been secretly carried out in the USA and Russia since the 1950’s and that „previous research has shown that low-frequency waves or beams can affect brain cells, alter psychological states and make it possible to transmit suggestions and commands directly into someone’s thought processes. High doses of microwaves can damage the functioning of internal organs, control behaviour or even drive victims to suicide.”

In 1975, a neuropsychologist Don R. Justesen, the director of  Laboratories of Experimental Neuropsychology at Veterans Administration Hospital in Kansas City, unwittingly leaked National Security Information. He published an article in “American Psychologist” on the influence of microwaves on living creatures’ behavior.

In the article he quoted the results of an experiment described to him by his colleague, Joseph C. Sharp, who was working on Pandora, a secret project of the American Navy.

Don R. Justesen wrote in his article:

“By radiating themselves with these ‘voice modulated’ microwaves, Sharp and Grove were readily able to hear, identify, and distinguish among the 9 words. The sounds heard were not unlike those emitted by persons with artificial larynxes”  (pg. 396).

That this system was later brought to perfection is proved by the document which appeared on the website of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1997, where its Office of Research and Development presented the Department of Defense’s project:“Communicating Via the Microwave Auditory Effect”.In the description it said:

“An innovative and revolutionary technology is described that offers a low-probability-of-intercept radiofrequency (RF) communications. The feasibility of the concept has been established using both a low intensity laboratory system and a high power RF transmitter. Numerous military applications exist in areas of search and rescue, security and special operations” (See web.iol.cz)

In January 2007 the Washington Post wrote on the same subject:

“In 2002, the Air Force Research Laboratory patented precisely such a technology: using microwaves to send words into someone’s head… Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the research laboratory’s directed energy directorate, declined to discuss that patent or current or related research in the field, citing the lab’s policy not to comment on its microwave work. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed for this article, the Air Force released unclassified documents surrounding that 2002 patent — records that note that the patent was based on human experimentation in October 1994 at the Air Force lab, where scientists were able to transmit phrases into the heads of human subjects, albeit with marginal intelligibility. Research appeared to continue at least through 2002. Where this work has gone since is unclear — the research laboratory, citing classification, refused to discuss it or release other materials“

We can only stress again that the world media avoid publishing the full scale of the progress in the research of the remote control of human nervous system. Dr. Robert Becker, who was twice nominated for Nobel Prize for his share in the discovery of the effects of pulsed fields at the healing of broken bones, wrote in his book “Body Electric” about the experiment from 1974 by J. F. Schapitz, released due to the Freedom of Information Act request.

J.F. Schapitz stated:

“In this investigation it will be shown that the spoken word of hypnotist may also be conveyed by modulated electromagnetic energy directly into the subconscious parts of the human brain – i. e. without employing any technical devices for receiving or transcoding the messages and without the person exposed to such influence having a chance to control the information input consciously.”

In one of the four experiments subjects were given a test of hundred questions, ranging from easy to technical ones. Later, not knowing they were being irradiated, they would be subjected to information beams suggesting the answers to the questions they had left blank, amnesia for some of their correct answers, and memory falsification for other correct answers. After 2 weeks they had to pass the test again (Dr. Robert Becker: Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life, William Morrow and comp., New York, 1985,. The results of the second test were never published. It is rather evident that in those experiments the messages were sent into human brain in ultrasound frequencies which the human brain perceives, but of which the subject is unaware. Dr. Robert Becker, due to those publications and his refusal to support the building of the antennae for the communication with submarines in brain frequencies, lost financial support for his research which meant an end to his scientific career.

Transmitting human speech into the human brain by means of electromagnetic waves is apparently, for the researchers, one of the most difficult tasks. It must be much easier to control human emotions which motivate human thinking, decision making and actions. People who claim to be victims of experiments with those devices complain, aside of hearing voices, of false feelings (including orgasms) as well of aches of internal organs which the physicians are unable to diagnose.

In November 2000 the Committee on Security of the Russian State Duma stated that capabilities enabling remote control of the human nervous system or the remote infliction of health impairment are available to many modern governments .See web.iol.cz

It is rather evident that those technologies are used, in conflict with the Nuremberg code, for experiments on unwitting human subjects. In 2001 the newspaper of the U.S. army, Defense News, wrote that Israel was experimenting with those weapons on Palestinians. Ibid 

As well ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, while under siege in Brazilian embassy in Honduras, complained that he had been subjected to an “electron bombardment with microwaves” which produces “headache and organic destabilization” The Guardian, October 2008

When asked by Amy Goodman from Democracy Now: „

As president, do you know about this in the Honduran arsenal?” He replied: „Yes, of course“

The use of those weapons is time and again reemerging in times of political crisis. According to Russian daily newspapers, during the failed putsch against Mikhail Gorbachov in 1991, general Kobets warned the defenders of the Russian White House that mind control technology could be used against them (Komsomolskaya Pravda, September 7,1991, O. Volkov, „Sluchi o tom chto nam davili na psychiku nepotverzdalis. Poka“).

After the putsch, the vice president of the League of Independent Scientists of the USSR, Victor Sedlecki, published a declaration in the Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda where he stated:

As an expert and a legal entity I declare that mass production … of psychotronic biogenerators was launched in Kiev (this is indeed a very serious issue). I cannot assert for sure that that were exactly Kiev generators that were used during the putsch… However, the fact that they were used is obvious to me. What are psychotronic generators? It is an electronic equipment producing the effect of guided control in human organism. It especially affects the left and right hemisphere of the cortex. This is also the technology of the U.S. Project Zombie 5“. He further stated that due to the inexperience of the personnel who operated them the attempt to use the generators failed

(Komsomolskaya Pravda, August 27,1991, “Avtory programy Zombi obnaruzheny v Kieve”,

See also http://web.iol.cz/mhzzrz/img/Authors_of_project_zombie.gif).

In the USA, at present several hundred people complaining of the remote manipulation of their nervous system are preparing a class action lawsuit against the FBI, Department of Defense and other agencies, requesting them to release files pertaining to their persons, detect the harmful radiations aimed at their bodies and sources of those radiations. As well perhaps over 2000 people are complaining in Russia, over 200 in Europe, over 300 in Japan and tens of people in China and India. Russian politician, Vladimir Lopatin, who was working on Committee on Security of the Russian State Duma and introduced there a bill banning the use of those technologies, admitted in his book „Psychotronic Weapon and Security of Russia“ (publishing house Sinteg, Moscow, 1999) that in Russia experiments on unwitting citizens are carried out, when he wrote: „

Compensation of damages and losses connected with social rehabilitation of persons suffering from destructive informational influence must be realized in legal trial“ (excerpts from the book in English

(http://mojmir.webuda.com/Psychotronic_Weapon_and_the_Security_of_Russia, pg. 113).

It should be understood that most of those people pass through mental hospitals. Vladimir Lopatin visited the USA in 1999 as a chairman of the Military Reform Subcommittee of the USSR Supreme Soviet Committee for Issues of Defense and State Security and met with Richard Cheney. At that time he was described as the “leader of a new breed of Soviet dissidents”. Then he disappeared from top ranks of Russian politicians.

Why has this research remained classified until present time? There are two explanations for this: First there is a secret arms race in progress in the world where the superpowers compete to gain decisive supremacy in this area and in this way master the control of the whole world. Second the governments keep those technologies in store for the case that they would not be able to control, by democratic means, the crisis that may arise as a result of their poor decisions. In both cases the era of democracy and human freedom in history will come to an end. According to the declaration of the former Russian Defense minister Serdjukov, there are maximally eight years left within which those weapons will officially become a part of the Russian military arsenal. For democracy this would mean a beginning of the end.

Anyway, in the past Russians were not resolved to put those means to work. When the construction of the American system HAARP was launched, with the system supposedly being able to target large regions of the planet by vibrating the ionosphere in brain frequencies (in this experiment the brain frequencies were not used, but the HAARP system can transmit in brain frequencies as well), Russia declared its willingness to ban mind control technologies. The Russian State Duma and consequently , the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Union of Independent States addressed the United Nations, OBSE and the European Council with a proposal for an international convention banning the development and use of informational weapons. According to the Russian newspaper Segodnya in March 1998, the matter was discussed with U.N. secretary general Kofi Anan, and included on the agenda of the General Assembly of the U.N. web.iol,cz, op cit

It is most likely the USA refused to negotiate this convention and in consequence the ban of informational weapons was not discussed by the United Nations General Assembly. Even in the U.S. congress appeared a bill proposing the ban of mind control technologies http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?c107:chemtrails.

But this was only for a very short period of time. The bill was then changed and in the new bill the ban of those technologies was left out of the Space Preservation Bill. Neither the U.S. congress nor the U.S. president made ever an effort to ban mind control weapons. The European Parliament reacted as well to the launch of the HAARP system construction, when it called in 1999 for the ban of manipulation of human beings.

The resolution was passed after the testimony of the American author of the book “Angels Don’t Play this HAARP”, Nick Begich, which apparently convinced the European Parliament of the possible use of this system to manipulate minds of whole populations. In the report by the European Parliament’s STOA (Science and Technological Options Assessment) panel “Crowd Control Technologies” the originally proposed text of the European Parliament’s resolution is quoted. There the European Parliament calls “for an international convention and global ban on all research and development , whether civilian or military , which seeks to apply knowledge of the chemical, electrical, sound vibration or other functioning of the human brain to the development of weapons which might enable any form of manipulation of human beings, including a ban on any actual or possible deployment (stressed by the author of the article) of such systems“. (40, pg CII, ref. 369). But apparently at the same time the European countries resigned on this intention when accepting the NATO politics of non-lethal weapons.

The same STOA report claims that the USA is a major promoter of the use of those arms and that:

“In October 1999 NATO announced a new policy on non-lethal weapons and their place in allied arsenals” (pg. xlv) and it goes on:

“In 1996 non-lethal tools identified by the U.S. Army included… directed energy systems” and “radio frequency weapons”European Parliament

(at the bottom of the page, second reference pg. Xlvi).

Directed energy system is further defined by the STOA document: „

Directed energy weapon system designed to match radio frequency source to interfere with human brain activity at synapse level“  (at the bottom of the page, first reference, Appendix 6-67). Since 1999 those weapons have been upgraded for another 13 years. European Parliament

In 1976 the future National Security advisor to president Carter, Zbygniew Brzezinski, wrote a book “Between Two Ages, America’s Role in the Technetronic Era” (Penguin Books, 1976, Massachusets). In the book he predicted “more controlled and directed society” based on the development of technology, where an elite group will play a leading role, which will take advantage of persisting social crises to use “the latest modern techniques for influencing public behavior and keeping society under close surveillance and control”.

The use of mind control technologies was predicted as well in the publication of Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, published in 1994

http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=241.

The scenario for the year 2000 expected the growth of terrorism, drug trafficking and criminality and drew a conclusion:

“The president was thus amenable to the use of the sort of psychotechnology which formed the core of the RMA (revolution in military affairs)… it was necessary to rethink our ethical prohibitions on manipulating the minds of enemies (and potential enemies) both international and domestic… Through persistent efforts and very sophisticated domestic ”consciousness raising”, old-fashioned notions of personal privacy and national sovereignty changed. As technology changed the way force was applied, things such as personal courage, face-to-face leadership, and the ‘warfighter’ mentality became irrelevant.”…

“Potential or possible supporters of the insurgency around the world were identified using the comprehensive Interagency Integrated Database. These were categorized as ‘potential’ or ‘active’, with sophisticated personality simulations used to develop, tailor and focus psychological campaigns for each“. So the Institute of Strategic Studies supposed that in the year 2000 those technologies would be that advanced that it will be possible to deprive human being of his freedom and adjust his personality to the needs of ruling elite. Most probably those technologies were at this level already in 1994.

The attempts to make the general public acquainted with the existence of those weapons are, with respect to the fact that it is evident that democratic public would require immediate ban of those technologies, systematically suppressed. Vladimir Lopatin wrote:

„The arms race is speeding up as a consequence of classification. Secrecy – this is in the first place the way to secure cruel control over the people… the way how to curtail their creativity, turn them into biorobots…”, and that psychotronic war “is already taking place without declaration of war, secretly… Only if the work on mind control problem is no more covered by the screen of secrecy, extraordinariness, mysteriousness, if complex, open scientific research with international participation, is carried out, the psychotronic war including the use of psychotronic weapon can be prevented”.

The article “Informacni zbrane ohrozuji demokracii a lidstvo” was deleted from the website of the Czech internet newspaper Britske Listy (www.blisty.cz). The sharing of the original web address of the English version of the same article – Means of Information War Threaten Democracy and Mankind – is blocked on Facebook and a similar article was deleted from the webpage of the Australian magazine “New Dawn”.

There exist no legislations punishing the use of those technologies by governments. Only in Russia and some of the states in the USA there are legislations punishing the ownership or trading with those technologies by non governmental entities. For example in the state of Michigan the sentence for this crime is equal to the sentence for ownership or trading with weapons of mass destruction.

The readers who will be reached by this article and prefer democratic political system would help its preservation if they forwarded the article to their friends.

Three Years Ago, March 17, 2011:

Was it a Protest movement or an Armed insurrection integrated by US-Israeli supported death squads?

This article first published in May 2011 recounts the events of March 17-18, 2011 in Daraa, a small border town with Jordan.

The Daraa “protest movement” on March 17-18 had all the appearances of a staged event involving covert support to Islamic terrorists by Mossad and/or Western intelligence.

Government sources pointed to the role of radical Salafist groups (supported by Israel).

In chorus, the Western media described the events in Daraa as a protest movement against Bashar Al Assad.

In a bitter irony, the deaths of policemen were higher than those of “demonstrators”.

In Daraa, roof top snipers were targeting both police and demonstrators.

Reading between the lines of Israeli and Lebanese news reports (which acknowledge the police deaths) a clearer picture of what happened in Daraa on March 17-18 had emerged. The Israel National News Report (which can not have be accused of being biased in favor of Bashar al Assad) confirmed that:

“Seven police officers and at least four demonstrators in Syria have been killed in continuing violent clashes that erupted in the southern town of Daraa last Thursday. … and the Baath Party Headquarters and courthouse were torched, in renewed violence on Sunday. (Gavriel Queenann, Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protests, Israel National News, Arutz Sheva, March 21, 2011, emphasis added)

The Lebanese news report also acknowledged the killings of seven policemen in Daraa.

[They were killed] “during clashes between the security forces and protesters… They got killed trying to drive away protesters during demonstration in Dara’a”

The Lebanese Ya Libnan report quoting Al Jazeera also acknowledged that protesters had “burned the headquarters of the Baath Party and the court house in Dara’a” (emphasis added)

These news reports of the events in Daraa confirmed that from the very outset this was not a “peaceful protest” as claimed by the Western media. There was evidence of acts of arson directed government buildings as well sniper firing from rooftops, shooting at police and demonstrators, similar to what occurred in late February 2014 in Maidan square. Moreover, from an assessment of the initial casualty figures (Israel News), there were more policemen than demonstrators who were killed.

This is significant because it suggests that the police force may have initially been outnumbered by a well organized armed gang of professional killers.

What was clear from these initial reports is that many of the demonstrators were not demonstrators but terrorists involved in premeditated acts of killing and arson.

The title of the Israeli news report summarized what happened: Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protest

The US-NATO-Israel agenda consisted in supporting an Al Qaeda affiliated insurgency integrated by death squads. President Bashar al Assad was then to be blamed for killing his own people.

Does it Sound familiar?

The same “false flag” strategy of killing innocent civilians was used during the Ukraine protest movement. 

On February 20th, 2014, professional snipers were shooting at both demonstrators and policemen with a view to accusing president Viktor Yanukovych of “mass murder.”

It was subsequently revealed that these snipers were controlled by the opponents of president Yanukovych, who are now part of the coalition government. 

The “humanitarian mandate” of the US and its allies is sustained by diabolical “false flags” attacks which consist in killing civilians with a view to breaking the legitimacy of governments which refuse to abide by the diktats of Washington and its allies.

Michel Chossudovsky, March 15, 2014


SYRIA: Who is Behind The Protest Movement? Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO “Humanitarian Intervention

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, May 3, 2011

There is evidence of gross media manipulation and falsification from the outset of the protest movement in southern Syria on March 17th.

The Western media has presented the events in Syria as part of the broader Arab pro-democracy protest movement, spreading spontaneously from Tunisia, to Egypt, and from Libya to Syria.

Media coverage has focussed on the Syrian police and armed forces, which are accused of indiscriminately shooting and killing unarmed “pro-democracy” demonstrators. While these police shootings did indeed occur, what the media failed to mention is that among the demonstrators there were armed gunmen as well as snipers who were shooting at both the security forces and the protesters.

The death figures presented in the reports are often unsubstantiated. Many of the reports are “according to witnesses”. The images and video footages aired on Al Jazeera and CNN do not always correspond to the events which are being covered by the news reports.

Alawite Map

There is certainly cause for social unrest and mass protest in Syria: unemployment has increased in recent year, social conditions have deteriorated, particularly since the adoption in 2006 of sweeping economic reforms under IMF guidance. The IMF’s “economic medicine” includes austerity measures, a freeze on wages, the deregulation of the financial system, trade reform and privatization. (See IMF  Syrian Arab Republic — IMF Article IV Consultation Mission’s Concluding Statement, http://www.imf.org/external/np/ms/2006/051406.htm, 2006)

With a government dominated by the minority Alawite (an offshoot of Shia Islam), Syria is no “model society” with regard to civil rights and freedom of expression. It nonetheless constitutes the only (remaining) independent secular state in the Arab world. Its populist, anti-Imperialist and secular base is inherited from the dominant Baath party, which integrates Muslims, Christians and Druze.

Moreover, in contrast to Egypt and Tunisia, in Syria there is considerable popular support for President Bashar Al Assad. The large rally in Damascus on March 29, “with tens of thousands of supporters” (Reuters) of President Al Assad is barely mentioned. Yet in an unusual twist, the images and video footage of several pro-government events were used by the Western media to convince international public opinion that the President was being confronted by mass anti-government rallies.

Tens of thousands of Syrians gather for a pro-government rally at the central
bank square in Damascus March 29, 2011. (Reuters Photo)

Syrians display a giant national flag with a picture of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad during a
pro-government rally at the central bank square in Damascus March 29, 2011. (Reuters Photo)

The “Epicenter” of the Protest Movement. Daraa: A Small Border Town in southern Syria

What is the nature of the protest movement? From what sectors of Syrian society does it emanate? What triggered the violence?

What is the cause of the deaths?

The existence of an organized insurrection composed of armed gangs involved in acts of killing and arson has been dismissed by the Western media, despite evidence to the contrary.

The demonstrations  did not start in Damascus, the nation’s capital. At the outset, the protests were not integrated by a mass movement of citizens in Syria’s capital.

The demonstrations started in Daraa, a small border town of 75,000 inhabitants, on the Syrian Jordanian border, rather than in Damascus or Aleppo, where the mainstay of organized political opposition and social movements are located. (Daraa is a small border town comparable e.g. to Plattsburgh, NY on the US-Canadian border).

The Associated Press report (quoting unnamed “witnesses” and “activists”) describes the early protests in Daraa as follows:

The violence in Daraa, a city of about 300,000 near the border with Jordan, was fast becoming a major challenge for President Bashar Assad, …. Syrian police launched a relentless assault Wednesday on a neighborhood sheltering anti-government protesters [Daraa], fatally shooting at least 15 in an operation that began before dawn, witnesses said.

At least six were killed in the early morning attack on the al-Omari mosque in the southern agricultural city of Daraa, where protesters have taken to the streets in calls for reforms and political freedoms, witnesses said. An activist in contact with people in Daraa said police shot another three people protesting in its Roman-era city center after dusk. Six more bodies were found later in the day, the activist said.

As the casualties mounted, people from the nearby villages of Inkhil, Jasim, Khirbet Ghazaleh and al-Harrah tried to march on Daraa Wednesday night but security forces opened fire as they approached, the activist said. It was not immediately clear if there were more deaths or injuries. (AP, March 23, 2011, emphasis added)

The AP report inflates the numbers: Daraa is presented as a city of 300,000 when in fact its population is 75,000;  “protesters gathered by the thousands”, “casualties mounted”.

The report is silent on the death of policemen which in the West invariably makes the front page of the tabloids.

The deaths of the policemen are important in assessing what actually happened. When there are police casualties, this means that there is an exchange of gunfire between opposing sides, between policemen and “demonstrators”.

Who are these “demonstrators” including roof top snipers who were targeting the police.

Israeli and Lebanese news reports (which acknowledge the police deaths) provide a clearer picture of what happened in Daraa on March 17-18. The Israel National News Report (which cannot be accused of being biased in favor of Damascus) reviews these same events as follows:

Seven police officers and at least four demonstrators in Syria have been killed in continuing violent clashes that erupted in the southern town of Daraa last Thursday.

…. On Friday police opened fire on armed protesters killing four and injuring as many as 100 others. According to one witness, who spoke to the press on condition of anonymity, “They used live ammunition immediately — no tear gas or anything else.”

…. In an uncharacteristic gesture intended to ease tensions the government offered to release the detained students, but seven police officers were killed, and the Baath Party Headquarters and courthouse were torched, in renewed violence on Sunday. (Gavriel Queenann, Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protests, Israel National News, Arutz Sheva, March 21, 2011, emphasis added)

The Lebanese news report, quoting various sources, also acknowledges the killings of seven policemen in Daraa: They were killed  “during clashes between the security forces and protesters… They got killed trying to drive away protesters during demonstration in Dara’a” 

The Lebanese Ya Libnan report quoting Al Jazeera also acknowledged that protesters had “burned the headquarters of the Baath Party and the court house in Dara’a”  (emphasis added)

These news reports of the events in Daraa confirm the following:

1. This was not a “peaceful protest” as claimed by the Western media. Several of the “demonstrators” had fire arms and were using them against the police:  “The police opened fire on armed protesters killing four”.

2. From the initial casualty figures (Israel News), there were more policemen than demonstrators who were killed:  7 policemen killed versus 4 demonstrators. This is significant because it suggests that the police force might have been initially outnumbered by a well organized armed gang. According to Syrian media sources, there were also snipers on rooftops which were shooting at both the police and the protesters.

What is clear from these initial reports is that many of the demonstrators were not demonstrators but terrorists involved in premeditated acts of killing and arson. The title of the Israeli news report summarizes what happened:  Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protests

The Daraa “protest movement” on March 18 had all the appearances of a staged event involving, in all likelihood, covert support to Islamic terrorists by Mossad and/or Western intelligence. Government sources point to the role of radical Salafist groups (supported by Israel)

Other reports have pointed to the role of Saudi Arabia in financing the protest movement.

What has unfolded in Daraa in the weeks following the initial violent clashes on 17-18 March, is the confrontation between the police and the armed forces on the one hand and armed units of terrorists and snipers on the other which have infiltrated the protest movement.

Reports suggest that these terrorists are integrated by Islamists. There is no concrete evidence as to which Islamic organizations are behind the terrorists and the government has not released corroborating information as to who these groups are.

Both the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (whose leadership is in exile in the UK) and the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Party of Liberation), among others have paid lip service to the protest movement. Hizb ut Tahir (led in the 1980s by Syrian born Omar Bakri Muhammad) tends to “dominate the British Islamist scene” according to Foreign Affairs. Hizb ut Tahir is also considered to be of strategic importance to Britain’s Secret Service MI6. in the pursuit of Anglo-American interests in the Middle East and Central Asia. (Is Hizb-ut-Tahrir another project of British MI6? | State of Pakistan).

Supporters and members of Islamist party ''Hizb Ut-Tahrir'' wave their party's flags and chant slogans during a protest in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, to express solidarity with Syria's protesters, April 22, 2011. REUTERS/ Mohamed Azakir

Hizb ut-Tahrir anti-Assad rally in Tripoli, Lebanon (40 km from Syrian border), April 22, 2011. Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in Syria

Syria is a secular Arab country, a society of religious tolerance, where Muslims and Christians have for several centuries lived in peace. Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Party of Liberation) is a radical political movement committed to the creation of an Islamic caliphate. In Syria, its avowed objective is to destabilize the secular state.

Since the Soviet-Afghan war, Western intelligence agencies as well as Israel’s Mossad have consistently used various Islamic terrorist organizations as “intelligence assets”. Both Washington and its indefectible British ally have provided covert support to “Islamic terrorists” in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and Libya, etc. as a means to triggering ethnic strife, sectarian violence and political instability.

The staged protest movement in Syria is modelled on Libya. The insurrection in Eastern Libya is integrated by the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) which is supported by MI6 and the CIA. The ultimate objective of the Syria protest movement, through media lies and fabrications, is to create divisions within Syrian society as well as justify an eventual “humanitarian intervention”.

Armed Insurrection in Syria

An armed insurrection integrated by Islamists and supported covertly by Western intelligence is central to an understanding of what is occurring on the ground.

The existence of an armed insurrection is not mentioned by the Western media. If it were to be acknowledged and analysed, our understanding of unfolding events would be entirely different.

What is mentioned profusely is that the armed forces and the police are involved in the indiscriminate killing of protesters.

The deployment of the armed forces including tanks in Daraa is directed against an organized armed insurrection, which has been active in the border city since March 17-18.

Casualties are being reported which also include the death of policemen and soldiers.

In a bitter irony, the Western media acknowledges the police/soldier deaths while denying the existence of an armed insurrection.

The key question is how does the media explain these deaths of soldiers and police?

Without evidence, the reports suggest authoritatively that the police is shooting at the soldiers and vice versa the soldiers are shooting on the police. In a April 29 Al Jazeera report, Daraa is described as “a city under siege”.

“Tanks and troops control all roads in and out. Inside the city, shops are shuttered and nobody dare walk the once bustling market streets, today transformed into the kill zone of rooftop snipers.

Unable to crush the people who first dared rise up against him – neither with the secret police,  paid thugs or the special forces of his brother’s military division – President Bashar al-Assad has sent thousands of Syrian soldiers and their heavy weaponry into Deraa for an operation the regime wants nobody in the world to see.

Though almost all communication channels with Deraa have been cut, including the Jordanian mobile service that reaches into the city from just across the border, Al Jazeera has gathered firsthand accounts of life inside the city from residents who just left or from eyewitnesses inside who were able to get outside the blackout area.

The picture that emerges is of a dark and deadly security arena, one driven by the actions of the secret police and their rooftop snipers, in which soldiers and protestors alike are being killed or wounded, in which cracks are emerging in the military itself, and in which is created the very chaos which the regime uses to justify its escalating crackdown. (Daraa, a City under Siege, IPS / Al Jazeera, April 29, 2011)

The Al Jazeera report borders on the absurd. Read carefully.

“Tanks and troops control all roads in and out”,  “thousands of Syrian soldiers and their heavy weaponry into Daraa”

This situation has prevailed for several weeks. This means that bona fide protesters who are not already inside Daraa cannot enter Daraa.

People who live in the city are in their homes: “nobody dares walk … the streets”. If nobody dares walk the streets where are the protesters?

Who is in the streets? According to Al Jazeera, the protesters are in the streets together with the soldiers, and both the protesters and the soldiers are being shot at by “plain clothes secret police”, by “paid thugs” and government sponsored snipers.

The impression conveyed in the report is that these casualties are attributed to infighting between the police and the military.

But the report also says that the soldiers (in the “thousands”) control all roads in and out of the city, but they are being shot upon by the plain clothed secret police.

The purpose of this web of media deceit, namely outright fabrications  –where soldiers are being killed by police and  “government snipers”– is to deny the existence of armed terrorist groups. The later are integrated by snipers and “plain clothed terrorists” who are shooting at the police, the Syrian armed forces and local residents.

These are not spontaneous acts of terror; they are carefully planned and coordinated attacks. In recent developments, according to a Xinhua report (April 30, 2011), armed “terrorist groups” “attacked the housing areas for servicemen” in Daraa province, “killing a sergeant and wounding two”.

While the government bears heavy responsibility for its mishandling of the military-police operation, including the deaths of civilians, the reports confirm that the armed terrorist groups had also opened fire on protesters and local residents. The casualties are then blamed on the armed forces and the police and the Bashar Al Assad government is portrayed by “the international community” as having ordered countless atrocities.

The fact of the matter is that foreign journalists are banned from reporting inside Syria, to the extent that much of the information including the number of casualties is obtained from the unverified accounts of “witnesses”.

It is in the interest of the US-NATO alliance to portray the events in Syria as a peaceful protest movement which is being brutally repressed by a “dictatorial regime”.

The Syrian government may be autocratic. It is certainly not a model of democracy but neither is the US administration, which is characterized by rampant corruption, the derogation of civil liberties under the Patriot legislation, the legalisation of torture, not to mention its “bloodless” “humanitarian wars”:

“The U.S. and its NATO allies have, in addition to U.S. Sixth Fleet and NATO Active Endeavor military assets permanently deployed in the Mediterranean, warplanes, warships and submarines engaged in the assault against Libya that can be used against Syria at a moment’s notice.

On April 27 Russia and China evidently prevented the U.S. and its NATO allies from pushing through an equivalent of Resolution 1973 against Syria in the Security Council, with Russian deputy ambassador to the UN Alexander Pankin stating that the current situation in Syria “does not present a threat to international peace and security.” Syria is Russia’s last true partner in the Mediterranean and the Arab world and hosts one of only two Russian overseas naval bases, that at Tartus. (The other being in Ukraine’s Crimea.)” (Rick Rozoff,   Libyan Scenario For Syria: Towards A US-NATO “Humanitarian Intervention” directed against Syria? Global Research, April 30, 2011)

The ultimate purpose is to trigger sectarian violence and political chaos within Syria by covertly supporting Islamic terrorist organizations.

What lies ahead?

The longer term US foreign policy perspective is “regime change” and the destabilization of Syria as an independent nation-state, through a covert process of “democratization” or through military means.

Syria is on the list of “rogue states”, which are targeted for a US military intervention. As confirmed by former NATO commander General Wesley Clark the “[The] Five-year campaign plan [includes]… a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan” (Pentagon official quoted by General Wesley Clark).

The objective is to weaken the structures of the secular State while justifying an eventual  UN sponsored “humanitarian intervention”. The latter, in the first instance, could take the form of a reinforced embargo on the country (including sanctions) as well as the freezing of Syrian bank assets in overseas foreign financial institutions.

While a US-NATO military intervention in the immediate future seems highly unlikely, Syria is nonetheless on the Pentagon’s military roadmap, namely an eventual war on Syria has been contemplated both by Washington and Tel Aviv.

If it were to occur, at some future date, it would lead to escalation. Israel would inevitably be involved. The entire Middle East Central Asian region from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Chinese-Afghan border would flare up.

Related Video

VIDEO: Humanitarian Intervention in Syria and Libya
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-05-01

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and Editor of globalresearch.ca. He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005). He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages.  He spent a month in Syria in early 2011.

Read about Osama Bin Laden in Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller

America’s “War on Terrorism”

by Michel
Chossudovsky
also available in pdf format

Los bancos y la nueva doctrina “Too big to Jail”

March 15th, 2014 by Eric Toussaint

Es conocida la máxima “demasiado grande para caer” (“too big to fail”). La forma en que los gobiernos han gestionado la crisis provocada por los bancos ha desembocado en una nueva doctrina que puede ser resumida así: “demasiado grandes para ser condenados” |1| . O, “demasiado grandes para ser encarcelados” si se traduce literalmente el nuevo adagio, que está de moda en Estados Unidos y el Reino Unido: “too big to jail” |2| , que rima con “too big to fail”. En efecto, si bien el gobierno estadounidense dejó quebrar a Lehman Brothers en septiembre de 2008, ningún banco ha sido cerrado |3| o desmantelado por decisión judicial, ningún dirigente bancario ha sido condenado con penas de cárcel. La única excepción en el mundo occidental se refiere a Islandia, donde la justicia ha condenado a penas de prisión firme a tres dirigentes bancarios: Larus Welding, principal dirigente del banco Glitnir, quebrado en 2008 cuando todavía era el tercer banco del país, fue condenado a finales de diciembre de 2012 a 9 meses de prisión; Sigurdur Einarson y Hreidar Mar Sugurdsson, los dos principales dirigentes del banco Kaupthing |4|, fueron condenadosv en 2013 a cinco años y cinco años y medio de prisión respectivamente |5|.

Sin embargo, tanto la justicia estadounidense como la europea tienen ante sí delitos muy graves cometidos por los bancos más grandes: estafa organizada contra clientes, (pequeños) accionistas y accionariado público; blanqueo de capitales procedente del crimen organizado; fraude fiscal a gran escala; manipulación organizada de los mercados de cambio; uso de documentación falsificada; delitos por uso de información privilegiada; destrucción de pruebas; enriquecimiento abusivo; manipulación organizada del mercado de los CDS; manipulación en el mercado de las commodities; complicidad en crímenes de guerra |6|… La lista no es exhaustiva.

Eric Holder, procurador general de los Estados Unidos, interrogado en junio de 2013 por una comisión del Senado de su país, resumió claramente el fondo de la doctrina “demasiado grandes para ser condenados”. A propósito de los grandes bancos declaraba en esencia que “esas instituciones son tan grandes que es difícil llevarlas ante los tribunales, y si se hiciera, sería para darse cuenta de que, efectivamente, inculparlas por actividades criminales podría tener repercusiones negativas para la economía nacional, e incluso para la economía mundial” |7|
.

Las consecuencias de esta posición son claras. El hecho de que la especulación y los crímenes financieros hayan causado la peor crisis económica desde el pasado siglo pesa muy poco en la balanza de la justicia. Aunque tales excesos estén asociados a una epidemia de fraudes |8| , a todos los niveles, en las operaciones bancarias en Estados Unidos, esas instituciones están autorizadas a proseguir con sus operaciones. Les basta alcanzar a un acuerdo con la justicia a fin de pagar una multa para evitar una condena. Imaginen una situación como la siguiente: tras un mes de investigación, la policía encuentra a una persona que ha cometido un robo de un millón de euros. En el momento de ser arrestado, la persona en cuestión declara al juez de instrucción y a la policía: “propongo pagar dos mil euros de multa, me dejáis en libertad y no emprendéis acciones judiciales, ¿de acuerdo?”. El juez y la policía le dicen: “OK, no hay problema, perdone las molestias. Que le vaya bien. Intente no dejarse coger de nuevo, sería una pena”. El trato de favor al que tienen derecho los banqueros responsables de delitos y crímenes financieros no es muy diferente de esta situación imaginaria, y Bertold Brecht tenía toda la razón al plantear la pregunta: “¿quién es mayor criminal, quien roba un banco o quien funda uno?” |9|.

Las consecuencias directas de las fechorías de los bancos son particularmente graves: 14 millones de familias en los Estados Unidos han sido expulsadas de sus viviendas entre 2007 y 2013 (ver cuadro más abajo). De ellas, se ha demostrado que al menos 495.000 familias lo han sido de forma totalmente ilegal |10| , millones de personas han perdido su empleo, una parte de ellas han caído por debajo del umbral de la pobreza, la tasa de suicidios ha aumentado entre las personas afectadas, la deuda pública ha estallado y los fondos de pensiones de los países desarrollados han perdido cerca de 5.400 millardos de dólares |11|.

Desahucios en Estados Unidos y en España
Año Estados Unidos España
2005 532.833
2006 717.522
2007 1.285.873
2008 2.330.483 49.848
2009 2.824.674 59.632
2010 2.871.891 81.747
2011 1.887.777 94.825
2012 1.836.634 76.724
Total 14.287.687 362.776

Fuente : Estados UnidosEspaña.

El papel de los bancos privados es tan manifiestamente importante e indispensable para el sistema capitalista que su funcionamiento transciende las imposiciones legales y constitucionales de las sociedades modernas. Como consecuencia, la justicia se pone una venda en los ojos ante los delitos y crímenes cometidos por los bancos y sus dirigentes, a fin de evitarles pasar, aunque solo fuese un día, en la cárcel. A fin de cuentas, no se puede llevar ante la justicia a un dirigente de una institución bancaria que “no hace más que el trabajo de Dios” |12|, por citar a Lloyd Blankfein, patrón de Goldman Sachs.

La declaración que hemos reproducido más arriba podría provocar una sonrisa, si no fuera porque las negociaciones y acuerdos entre bancos y autoridades judiciales o de control no vienen regularmente sino a confirmar la aplicación de la doctrina “demasiado grandes para ser condenados” en las dos riberas del océano Atlántico. Los escándalos continúan y la justicia se limita a multas que representan muy a menudo una ínfima fracción de los beneficios producidos por actividades ilegales, sin que ningún dirigente se vea inquietado. Todo lo más comparecen ante los tribunales y son condenados “fontaneros” como Jérôme Kerviel, pero nunca los patronos que les han empujado a aumentar los beneficios de la empresa utilizando todas las jugarretas posibles e imaginables.

Seis ejemplos bastan para testimoniar acerca de la situación actual: 1. Los acuerdos alcanzados entre bancos estadounidenses y diferentes autoridades de aquel país a fin de evitarles una condena judicial en el asunto de los préstamos hipotecarios abusivos, así como por las ejecuciones hipotecarias (foreclosures) ilegales; 2. HSBC (primer banco británico) multado en Estados Unidos por blanqueo de dinero procedente de los cárteles mexicanos y colombianos de la droga; 3. La manipulación de los tipos de interés interbancario y de las tasas sobre los derivados, conocida como el “asunto LIBOR”; 4. El escándalo de los “préstamos tóxicos” en Francia; 5. Las actividades ilegales de Dexia en Israel; 6. La evasión fiscal internacional organizada por el principal banco suizo, UBS.

En esta serie se analizarán esos seis ejemplos.

Conclusión

De lo anterior se desprende con claridad que los bancos y otras grandes instituciones financieras de dimensión mundial actúan a menudo como un cártel organizado, dando muestras de un nivel raramente observado hasta ahora de cinismo y abuso de poder. Hoy día, después de que los Estados hayan puesto dinero público a disposición de las entidades financieras, cuyas apuestas especulativas han ido mal, los magistrados a cargo de hacer aplicar la Ley se emplean en proteger a los responsables de esas entidades y banalizan así, incluso justifican a posteriori, la conducta ilegal o criminal por las que se han hecho culpables.

Un contexto así, en el que reina la impunidad, anima a los dirigentes de las firmas financieras a más abusos y actuaciones de riesgo. Los bancos como instituciones no son condenados, siendo lo más habitual el que ni siquiera sean llevados ante los tribunales.

Esos bancos hacen recaer toda la responsabilidad en traders como el antes citado Jerôme Kerviel y algunas decenas más como él, mientras logran que la justicia les condene por haberles perjudicado.

La situación de los principales dirigentes de los bancos es muy diferente: el montante de sus bonus crece como consecuencia del incremento en las rentas de la entidad (no es raro ver que el bonus aumenta incluso en caso de bajada en la rentabilidad del banco), independientemente del origen ilegal de los recursos, o del hecho de que sean resultado de actividades financieras especulativas extremadamente arriesgadas. En el peor de los casos, si son descubiertos, no tienen más que abandonar la institución (a menudo con un “paracaídas dorado”), no serán perseguidos por la justicia y conservarán en sus cuentas bancarias la totalidad de los beneficios obtenidos.

Mientras este género de dispositivo perverso sea mantenido, los abusos y el robo de los recursos públicos por parte del sistema financiero no pueden sino prolongarse a lo largo del tiempo.

Más allá de los altos dirigentes hay que subrayar la impunidad de los propios bancos, a los que las autoridades aplican la doctrina de “too big to jail”. Se trata sobre todo de la demostración de la imbricación estrecha entre las direcciones de las entidades, sus grandes accionistas, los gobernantes y los diferentes órganos vitales de los Estados.

En caso de graves infracciones hay que poner en práctica una solución radical: retirar la licencia bancaria a los bancos culpables de crímenes, prohibir definitivamente algunas de sus actividades, llevar ante los tribunales de justicia a los dirigentes y los grandes accionistas. También hay que obtener reparaciones por parte de los dirigentes y de los grandes accionistas.

En fin, es urgente dividir cada gran banco en varias entidades a fin de limitar los riesgos, socializar esos bancos colocándolos bajo control ciudadano y crear así un servicio público bancario que dé prioridad a la satisfacción de las necesidades sociales y a la protección de la naturaleza.

Eric Toussaint

Traducido por Alberto Nadal

Notas

|1| El autor agradece a Daniel Munevar, economista del CADTM, quien escribió una primera síntesis concisa muy útil sobre el tema y le ha autorizado a inspirarse libremente en ella. El autor ha completado luego, en gran medida, la investigación. Véase artículo original de Daniel Munevar, “La doctrine «trop grandes pour être condamnées” ou comment les banques sont au-dessus des lois » (20 de septiembre, 2013).

http://cadtm.org/La-doctrine-trop-grandes-pour-etre

Este estudio prolonga la serie “Bancos contra pueblos: los entresijos de una partida amañada”, publicada durante 2012-2013 en el portal www.cadtm.org así como en otra versión, la serie “Et si on arrêtait de banquer?”, http://cadtm.org/Et-si-on-arretait-de-banquer

|2| Los medios anglosajones utilizan regularmente esta expresión desde hace un par de años. Ver por ejemplo: Abcnews, “Once Again, Is JPMorgan Chase Too Big to Jail?” (7 de enero, 2014)http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/madoff-ponzi-scheme-prosecutors-find-jpmorgan-chase-big/story?id=21448264; o Forbes, “Why DOJ Deemed Bank Execs Too Big To Jail” (29 de julio, 2013)http://www.forbes.com/sites/tedkaufman/2013/07/29/why-doj-deemed-bank-execs-too-big-to-jail/

|3| Otra manera de escribir esto es que ningún banco se ha visto retirar su licencia bancaria. En efecto, para realizar operaciones bancarias, una institución financiera debe obtener una licencia bancaria.

|4| La quiebra de su filial, llamada Icesave, en Reino Unido y Países Bajos, provocó una crisis internacional entre esos dos países con Islandia. Esta crisis continúa todavía en 2014, pues tanto Reino Unido como los Países Bajos han recurrido la sentencia del Tribunal de Arbitraje, quien le había dado la razón a Islandia en enero de 2013. Ver Financial Times, “Iceland premier repels Icesave lawsuit” (12 de febrero, 2014).

|5| Como escribe el Financial Times: “Iceland, almost uniquely in the western world, has launched criminal cases against the men who used to lead its three main banks that collapsed after the global financial crisis in 2008 after collectively becoming 10 times the size of the island’s economy.” (13 de diciembre, 2013). http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/eab58f7e-6345-11e3-a87d-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2thdbsViQ

|6| Ver más adelante la actividad de Dexia en los territorios palestinos ocupados por Israel.

|7| Huffington Post, “Holder admits some Banks too big to jail”, disponible en:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/eric-holder-banks-too-big_n_2821741.html En esa página se puede ver y escuchar la parte del testimonio del procurador general de Estados Unidos, donde declara: “I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy…”. Duración del video: 57 segundos. Vale la pena.

|8| Un reciente estudio sobre las prácticas crediticias de los bancos en Estados Unidos señala que, a pesar de su heterogeneidad, las irregularidades y las falsificaciones están presentes en diversos grados en todas las instituciones financieras analizadas. Ver “Asset Quality Misrepresentation by Financial Intermediaries : Evidence from RMBS Market”, disponible en: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2215422

|9| Bertold Brecht, La ópera de los tres centavos. Se trata de una comedia musical escrita por Bertold Brecht (con música de Kurt Weil), estrenada el 31 de agosto de 1928 /08/1928 en el Theater am Schiffbauerdamm de Berlín y posteriormente, en versión francesa, el 14 de octubre de 1930 en el teatro Montparnasse de París.

|10The New York Times, “Banks to pay $8,5 billion to speed up housing relief”, (7 de enero, 2013)http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/banks-to-pay-8-5-billion-to-speed-up-housing-relief/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1

|11| OCDE (2010) “The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Defined Benefit Plans and the Need for Counter-Cyclical Funding Regulations” http://www.oecd.org/pensions/private-pensions/45694491.pdf

|12The Wall Street Journal, “Goldman Sachs Blankfein : Doing Gods work”, 9 de noviembre, 2009http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2009/11/09/goldman-sachs-blankfein-on-banking-doing-gods-work/

Éric Toussaint, es maître de conférence en la Universidad de Lieja, preside el CADTM Bélgica y es miembro del Consejo Científico de ATTAC Francia. Es autor de diversos libros, entre ellos: Procès d’un homme exemplaire, Ediciones Al Dante, Marsella, 2013; Una mirada al retrovisor: el neoliberalismo desde sus orígenes hasta la actualidad, Icaria, 2010; La Deuda o la Vida (escrito junto con Damien Millet) Icaria, Barcelona, 2011; La crisis global, El Viejo Topo, Barcelona, 2010; La bolsa o la vida: las finanzas contra los pueblos, Gakoa, 2002. Es coautor junto con Damien Millet del libro AAA, Audit, Annulation, Autre politique, Le Seuil, París, 2012. Este último libro ha recibido el premio Prix du livre politique, otorgado por la Feria del libro político de Lieja. http://cadtm.org/Le-CADTM-recoit-le…

On March 5, Ukraine’s Putsch “Prime Minister” Arseniy Yatsenyuk, arbitrarily sacked three senior Defence Ministry politicians, Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Oleynik, with Deputy Defense Ministers Vladimir Mozharovskiy and Arturo Francisco Babenko. According to Itar-Tass (6th March) they had drawn Yatsenyuk’s ire by expressing: “sharp criticism over giving the Right Sector militants the status of regular military units.”

A contact of the publication stated that one of the three had also:

“told Yatsenyuk that actions of today’s Kiev authorities in overtures with radical nationalist organizations would destroy national unity” and that it was simply: “harmful to involve the state military agency in such dangerous games.” Their stand resulted in “management reshuffles” – in the country in which Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has stated that the US has invested $5 Billion: “in the development of democratic institutions and skills in promoting civil society and a good form of government.”(1)

So far US multi-billion democracy-building via the man of whom Nuland opined to the US Ambassador to the Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt: “I think Yats is the guy …”(2) has all the hallmarks of becoming a mirror of the historic tragedies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and being plotted via further humanitarian horrors committed by their proxies in Syria. Additionally the Nobel Peace Laureate American President appears to have reignited the Cold War, laid to rest with such joy across the world as the Berlin Wall fell just over twenty four years ago, on the 9th November1989.

However, if the US Administration’s choice as a democratic Prime Minister is scarily woeful, the man who would be President, Dmitry Yarosh, is nothing short of astonishing. As Julie Levesque has written in a meticulous, jaw dropping article: “Dmitry Yarosh, leader of the Maidan Brown Shirts (is) on an international wanted list and charged with inciting terrorism.

“Under the new government, Yarosh is leader of the Neo-Nazi Right Sector delegation to the Ukraine Parliament. His close friend and political partner Andriy Parubiy co-founder of the Neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine (subsequently renamed Svoboda) was appointed by the new government to the position of Secretary of the National Security and National Defense Committee (RNBOU), a key position which overseas the Ministry of Defense, the Armed Forces, Law Enforcement, National Security and Intelligence. Right Sektor leaders Yarosh was appointed to the number two position at RNBOU.” Levesque asks: “Have the Neo-Nazis cornered Ukraine’s National Security agenda?”.

The answer would appear to be a rapidly accelerating affirmative, with Robert Parry stating that Neo-Nazis are now in charge of four Ministries and:

“some ten ‘oligarchs’ mostly run the show in shifting alliances, buying up media outlets and politicians, while the vast majority of the population faces a bleak future, which now includes more European-demanded ‘austerity’ …”(4)

Meanwhile the stand-off over the Crimea continues. Train tickets between Kiev and Crimea have been suspended by the latest government shoehorned in to the latest “new democracy.”
In neighbouring Russia, as the Sochi Paralympics opened with a spectacular ceremony, President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron, Chancellor Angela Merkel and their parties hurled their collective toys from their prams and failed to attend. Another chance to make peace not war in what should be the Olympic spirit, also willfully thrown away.
The opening theme was “Breaking The Ice,” and “the importance of breaking down barriers and stereotypes …” a popular 1990’s Russian song called “Good-bye America” played as the Russian team closed the parade.
However for all the US posturing, Gallop shows President Putin’s popularity rating at a consistent 67.8% an endorsement of which his American counterpart could only dream, fluctuating between 38% to 42%.

As this ends news comes through that the US is to send fighter jets and personnel to Poland and Lithuania by Thur day, the US Navy destroyer, the USS Truxton, one of the largest destroyers ever built for the US Navy, has crossed in to the Black Sea for “exercises” with the Bulgarian and Romanian navies (5) there are mass protests in the south and east of Ukraine about the “self proclaimed” government in Kiev and America has unleashed a possible World War Three.

Somebody in the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, please demand the return of that ill awarded Peace Prize.

Notes

1. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37599.htm

2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26079957

3.http://www.globalresearch.ca/democratization-and-anti-semitism-in-ukraine-neo-nazi-symbols-become-the-new-normal/5371919

4. http://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/09/crimeas-case-for-leaving-ukraine/

5. http://rt.com/news/us-fighter-jets-poland-830/

Shortly before two synagogue attacks, the cancellation of a Holocaust Remembrance in Kiev, and attacks on Jews in Ukraine, US Senator John McCain stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the leader of one of the rising Neo-Nazi parties in the country.  The party organizations are being accused by both Russia and external observers of exploiting the turmoil and deep divisions in Ukrainian society. The groups have pushed aside peaceful protesters, and employ violence to reach their goals.

Experts on the region have criticized US funding of “democracy initiatives” which helped foster the protests, and say the Neo-Nazi thrust for power was predictable.

Oleh Tyahnybok  leader of Neo-Nazi Svoboda

Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of Neo-Nazi Svoboda (right)

In 2004 the leader of the fastest-growing far-right party, Oleh Tyahnybok, of Svoboda, gave a speech in which he attacked:

“the Moscow-Jewish mafia ruling Ukraine”

In another speech he denounced:

“the Moskali, Germans, Kikes and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.”

The Svoboda deputy party chief, Ihor Miroshnychenko, once wrote an attack on Ukrainian-American actress Mila Kunis on Facebook, saying:

“Kunis is not Ukrainian, she is a Yid. She is proud of it, so Star of David be with her.”

And warning of a Neo-Nazi takeover, a former top Reagan official has called Secretary of State John Kerry’s regional appointee, Victoria Nuland, “stupid,” as well as Kerry himself. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan, recently wrote:

“there was no one in the Obama regime who had enough sense to see the obvious result of their smug, self-satisfied interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine.”

Roberts blasts the US media for simplistic reporting which puts forth the Obama administration’s version of the events, that of peaceful, spontaneous protests met by a Russian crackdown and invasion. Seumas Milne for The Guardian writes:

“The story we’re told about the protests gripping Kiev bears only the sketchiest relationship with reality.”

As McCain took to the stage to encourage the Ukrainian protesters with promises of American support, he was greeted and flanked by Tyahnybok, the leader of Svoboda, which recently gained 38 seats in the Ukrainian Parliament. Svoboda is one of a number of Ukrainian far-right parties, and has ties to other “nationalist” movements across Europe, which preach virulent brands of anti-Semitism, ethnic purity, intolerance of homosexuality.

Another far-right group, Right Sector, openly took credit for engaging in violence during the protests and issued a statement which said:

“Two months of unsuccessful tiptoeing about under the leadership of the opposition parties showed many demonstrators they need to follow not those who speak sweetly from the stage, but rather those who offer a real scenario for revolutionary changes in the country. For this reason, the protest masses followed the nationalists,”

Svoboda takes credit for the iconic image, broadcast widely in the Western media, of protesters toppling the statue of Vladimir Lenin in the city center. Alec Luhn for The Nation reports that:

“Svoboda is the most visible party on the square, it has essentially taken over Kiev City Hall as its base of operations, and it has a large influence in the protestors’ security forces.”

Svoboda in western Ukrainian city of Lviv wearing uniforms of the former Ukrainian Insurgent Army

See photo essay at Globalreasearch.ca

In an interview with Democracy Now, Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University, said of the peaceful protesters:”I think a lot of them have gone home.” Until recently, one of the official elements of Svoboda’s ideology was that government should consist of a single entity, the president, with no other legislative institutions allowed, thus reminiscent of the Nazis’ “Fuhrer Principle.” Writing for Alternet Max Blumenthal observed that:

“After the 2010 conviction of the Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk for his supporting role in the death of nearly 30,000 people at the Sobibor camp, Tyahnybok rushed to Germany to declare him a hero who was “fighting for truth.” In the Ukrainian parliament, where Svoboda holds an unprecedented 37 seats, Tyahnybok’s deputy Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn is fond of quoting Joseph Goebbels — he has even founded a think tank originally called “the Joseph Goebbels Political Research Center.” Another element of Svoboda’s ideology is that Ukraine should become a nuclear power.

One factor to which the rise of such “nationalist” movements has been attributed has been rising youth unemployment. Georgy Kasyanov, a researcher at the Institute for the Development of Education. told The Nation that:

“In the 2010 and 2012 elections, it became visible that a big part of the youth are moving toward nationalism.”  Kasyanov worried that youth unemployment is rising in Ukraine as in the rest of Europe. On December 13, 2013 at the National Press Club in Washington DC, US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Victoria Nuland, openly admitted to US attempts to influence Ukrainian politics, saying that: “Since the declaration of Ukrainian independence in 1991, the United States supported the Ukrainians in the development of democratic institutions and skills in promoting civil society and a good form of government…We have invested more than 5 billion dollars to help Ukraine to achieve these and other goals.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin this week broke his silence over what he says is American involvement in fostering the protests, saying that the U.S. government had interfered in Ukraine “from across the pond in America as if they were sitting in a laboratory and running experiments on rats, without any understanding of the consequences.”

Last December, Assistant Secretary Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt toured the protests in Kiev, reportedly handing out cookies to protesters.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts says the situation has spun “out of control.” Roberts writes: “Yanukovich [the former Ukrainian president] is history, as are Washington’s “moderates.” The moderates are not only corrupt; they are stupid. The fools even disbanded the Riot Police, leaving themselves at the mercy of the armed right-wing nazi thugs. Ukraine is out of control. This is what happens when an arrogant, but stupid, Assistant Secretary of State (Victoria Nuland) plots with an equally arrogant and stupid US ambassador (Pyatt) to put their candidates in power once their coup against the elected president succeeds.

“Making reference to Kerry’s threats to Russia, Dr. Roberts said:: “The puppet politicians who Washington intended to put in charge of Ukraine have lost control to organized and armed neo-Nazis, who are attacking Jews and Russians and intimidating Ukrainian politicians…The stupid Kerry, wallowing in his arrogance, hubris, and evil, issued direct threats to Russia. The Russian foreign minister dismissed Kerry’s threats as “unacceptable.” The stage is set for war.” Roberts is a Distinguished Fellow at the Cato Institute, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is also a former editor of the Wall Street Journal and Businessweek.

Russia Today (RT), owned by Russian state television, has released video of young, athletic men engaged in pitched street battles with police, brandishing and wearing the wolfsangel symbol of various units of the Nazi Waffen SS. RT has also released video of Right Sector leader Aleksandr Shevchenko issuing demands to a Ukrainian city council, while branding an AK-47. Dr. Roberts declared:

” Thug Aleksandr Shevchenko informed the CEC that armed activists will remain in CEC offices in order to make certain that the election is not rigged against the neo-nazis. What he means, of course, is the armed thugs will make sure the neo-nazis win. If the neo-nazis don’t win, the chances are high that they will take power regardless. “

RT Reports, “I dare you to take away my gun”

Reports indicate that the Neo-Nazi groups attack both government authorities and left-leaning organizers of the protests equally. On December 4, labor organizer Denis Levin and his two brothers were beaten by a small Neo-Nazi crowd shouting “Glory to Ukraine” and “Death to Enemies.”

In early February, weeks before the corrupt, elected president of the Ukraine fled from office, Assistant Secretary of State Nuland and Ambassador Pyatt were recorded in a telephone call, which was leaked to the media, in which the future leadership of Ukraine was discussed. The story went viral after Nuland was heard saying “and, you know, f*#k the EU.” (transcript)

Nuland is heard saying “Yats is the guy,” referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, one of the protest leaders, now Prime minister.

Professor Cohen of NYU and Princeton told Democracy Now:

“What are they doing? The highest-ranking State Department official, who presumably represents the Obama administration, and the American ambassador in Kiev are, to put it in blunt terms, plotting a coup d’état against the elected president of Ukraine.”

The Deputy Director of the Center for Society Research in Kiev recently wrote:

“What is most worrying is that the new government cannot control the infamous Right Sector. Its members are now popular heroes, the vanguard of the victorious “revolution”. They have guns captured from police departments in the western regions and now, after Yanukovych’s toppling, are demanding that the revolution needs to continue against “corrupt democracy” and liberalism.

” Some foreign policy observers speculate that US support of a breakaway movement on Russia’s doorstep may be an effort to punish Putin for his frustration of Western efforts to employ military force on Syria, as well as Iran. Obama has recently linked Syria with the Ukraine. Obama said last month at the North American leader’s summit in Mexico: “I think this is an expression of the hopes and aspirations of people inside of Syria and people inside of the Ukraine who recognise that basic freedoms — freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, fair and free elections — are fundamental rights that everybody wants to enjoy.”

In 2005 it was revealed by General Wesley Clark that “Nonconservative” architects of the Iraq War within the Bush White House had planned to invade or attack not just Iraq, but “seven countries in five years,” Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon, and Iran. Russian President Putin has played a pivotal role in frustrating such plans, most recently brokering a deal over chemical weapons in Syria, which politically neutralized US calls for war.  Observers have taken note of the fact that Assistant Secretary Nuland is married to Robert Kagan, one of the founders of Project for a New American Century (PNAC.) PNAC is the Washington think tank credited with spearheading, and providing the intellectual foundation for, a long-term drive for the US invasion and occupation of the Middle East, even long before 9/11. (List of Project for a New American Century affiliations with the Bush administration.)

Wes Clark, Neoconservatives intend to attack “seven countries in five years.”

Addressing the predicament of Jews in Kiev, last month Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman advised Ukraine’s Jews to leave the capital, and, if possible, the country. In his February 25th article, “Is the US Backing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine?” – Alternet’s Max Blumenthal reports one protester’s estimate that around 30% of the protesters, at that time, were fascists. The figure is plausible given election returns for the Neo-Nazi parties in some Ukrainian provinces, which have nudged as high as 50%.

In January, Rabbi Boruch Gorin of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia said of the protesters in Kiev: “Unfortunately, among the opposition leaders and opposition forces, well-defined, anti-Semitic speeches have already been recorded…This is extremely dangerous.”Ukraine has a grim history of Nazi collaboration during World War II, and anti-Semitism historically.

Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale University. He writes for Truth Out, Alternet, Consortium News, Op-Ed News, and other Internet media. He reported from Afghanistan in 2009 and produced a short documentary film.

Thailand: “Mass” Pro-Government Rally is a Mass Flop

March 15th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

Only a few thousand pro-regime “red shirts” gathered in the city of Ayutthaya, a few hours north of Bangkok, after rally organizers promised “200,000″ would attend. The move exposed what many have suspected, and a growing body of evidence has proven, that the regime’s support base has effectively disappeared.  

Thai PBS’ article, “Redshirts to hold big rally Saturday in Ayutthaya,” claimed before the rally that:

UDD chairwoman Tida Thawornseth announced Tuesday that supporters from across the country would travel to the rally site to show their support for democratic elections and the elected government.

Yet, despite the nationwide call for supporters, even pro-regime observers, refusing to give an exact number claimed, “several thousand” attended, while others put the number at approximately 1,500. It appears that the rally never reached even 5,000, dwarfed by previous “red shirt” rallies held years ago at the height of their popularity, and utterly outmatched by the hundreds of thousands who took the streets in recent months in opposition to the regime and its “red shirt” mobs. In fact, the permanent occupation of Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok sees larger crowds nightly than this single day, and clearly failed, publicity stunt attempted by the regime. 

Image: On the top – only 3 of 7 major rally sites during the opening day of “Occupy Bangkok” in which a million people are believed to have taken to the streets throughout the entire day, and at any given time hundreds of thousands occupied the streets of Bangkok. On the bottom, the minuscule pro-regime rally held today in Ayutthaya, which includes, according to the regime itself, regime supporters from across the entire nation. Clearly, the regime has demonstrably depleted its support base. (click image to enlarge).

The Regime’s “Berlin Bunker” Moment Nears

The inability of the regime to muster a counter rally, even in the northern regions of Thailand where its support is supposedly strongest, is yet another indicator that it is a spent force. Sham elections held on February 2, 2014, were outright boycotted by over half of eligible voters. Of those that did vote, many chose to deface their ballots or check “no vote” in protest of the regime and the very process.

More recently, and amid continued street protests, courts have continued to rule against the illegality of many of the regime’s policies, including a 2 trillion baht spending bill that involved voter fraud in the parliament and fears of corruption in the wake of the multi-billion baht, failed rice subsidy program that has imploded in dramatic form.

Despite the growing opposition, and with even the regime’s traditional supporter, the nation’s impoverished rice farmers, turning against them, it continues to cling to power. Thaksin Shinawatra’s nepotist appointed sister, Yingluck Shinawatra serving as Prime Minster, pleaded for an explanation as to why Thais have grown to hate her family.

This is a family that in 2003 saw to the death of some 3,000 innocent people in a so-called “War on Drugs” in which over half of those mass murdered were found to have no tie to the drug trade at all, and those that did, were not formally charged, tried, or sentenced by a judge, but instead extrajudicially executed in the streets. It has sown economic and political strife in the Kingdom for nearly a decade as it pandered to foreign interests in a series of attempted and successful free trade agreements, the use of Thai territory and troops to facilitate Western military aggression worldwide, and the piecemeal privatization and selling off of Thailand’s resources.  

It is clear as to why Thais have united against the Shianwatra’s and the political agenda they represent in growing numbers.  

The opposition continues to build not only its protest movement, but an array of alternatives and solutions to the many problems the regime has created and continues to subject the nation to. Eventually this “shadow government” will assume the role of fully administering the country while the current regime remains paralyzed, lashing out with greater desperation in all directions. 

The regime insists on clinging to power in the hope that it can intimidate and through force, eliminate its opponents. History dictates that this last chapter will not end well for the regime. It also dictates that all those who stubbornly stand with it will lose everything in the final days as it finally collapses and is swept from the pages of Thai history.

 

Dueling East-West Agendas on Ukraine: America Wants War

March 15th, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

Washington’s Ukrainian agenda is polar opposite Moscow’s. It’s irresponsible. It’s unjustifiable.

Reports suggest it’s in two parts. It calls for Moscow to halt Crimean annexation efforts.

It wants demobilization of legitimately deployed Russian troops related to its Black Sea Fleet as well as Crimea’s self-defense force.

It wants a so-called contact group established. Included would be Washington, representatives of EU nations, Russia and Ukraine’s illegitimate Kiev government.

It wants sham May 25 elections endorsed. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said:

“We want a cessation of Russian military activities in Ukraine. We want to see an end to the annexation of Crimea. I don’t think it’s a secret of what we’re talking about here.”

Russia rejects Kiev’s illegitimate government. “How can we come up with a mechanism for the Russians and the Ukrainians to talk,” asked Psaki?

“Obviously, the Russians haven’t agreed to that or we’d be having those discussions now.”

On Saturday, a State Department official commented on John Kerry’s phone discussion with Sergei Lavrov, saying:

“He made clear 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, and he urged utmost restraint.”

On Saturday, Obama spoke with Britain’s David Cameron, France’s Francois Hollande, Italy’s Matteo Renzi, as well as presidents Berzins, Grybauskaite and Ives of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia respectively.

An Office of the Press Secretary statement followed, saying:

“Obama welcomed the strong, unified stance of the United States and the European Union regarding Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, including in the conclusions of the March 6 European Council.”

“The leaders reiterated their grave concern over Russia’s clear violation of international law and reaffirmed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“He told Baltic country leaders of Washington’s “unwavering commitment to our collective defense commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty and our enduring support for the security and democracy of our Baltic allies.”

“All of the leaders agreed on the need for Russia to pull its military forces back to their bases, allow for the deployment of international observers and human rights monitors to the Crimean peninsula, and agree quickly on the formation of a contact group that could lead to direct dialogue between Ukraine and Russia to de-escalate the situation and restore Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

 ”The leaders rejected the proposed referendum in Crimea as a violation of Ukraine’s constitution and underscored that all decisions about the future of Ukraine must include the government in Kiev.”

 ”The leaders made clear that Russia’s continued violation of international law will isolate it from the international community.”

“They also discussed the need for the international community to provide strong support to the government of Ukraine as it works to stabilize its economy and prepares for elections in May.”

Moscow rejects Washington’s proposal. It wants Kiev putschists declared illegitimate. It takes the “situation created by the coup as a starting point,” Lavrov stressed.

 He said Russia’s Security Council prepared its own. Moscow wants international law respected.

It wants all Ukrainians treated equitably, fairly and justly. “We are not just passively receiving proposals from our colleagues,” said Lavrov.

 ”We have prepared our own,” he added. “The idea is to bring the situation back into the framework of international law with due account taken of the interests of all Ukrainians without exception, given the current deep state crisis in that country.”

“The US Secretary of State John Kerry last Friday handed me the paper that I have already made public.” It “raises many questions.”

 ”There is a concept in this document that we are not quite happy with, because everything has been formulated as though there is some kind of conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as though we admit certain facts really exist.”

On March 6, Obama’s Executive Order “Block(ed) Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine.”

It includes what he calls “military intervention in Crimea.” His action doesn’t preclude further steps. Expect more to follow.

 On Sunday, Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken issued a statement saying:

“First, if there is an annexation of Crimea, a referendum that moves Crimea from Ukraine to Russia, we won’t recognize it, nor will most of the world.”

 ”Second, the pressure that we’ve already exerted in coordination with our partners and allies will go up.”

“The president made it very clear in announcing our sanctions, as did the Europeans the other day, that this is the first step and we’ve put in place a very flexible and very tough mechanism to increase the pressure, to increase the sanctions.”

 Former US Russian ambassador Michael McFaul said annexation will “isolate Russia from the rest of the world for years to come, maybe even decades to come.”

Hardball is longstanding US policy. Bullying is standard practice. Rule of law principles don’t matter. Washington rules alone apply.

 Russia won’t roll over for America. It didn’t invade Crimea. It’s going all-out to protect its legitimate interests. It has every right to do so.

Putin was unequivocal calling what happened in Kiev “an anti-constitutional takeover, an armed seizure of power.”

He wants “fratricidal war for the sake of peace (stopped), for the sake of justice and for the sake of Ukraine’s future.”

 He addressed Crimea. He denounced claims of deployed Russian forces. None were sent besides those legally related to its Black Sea Fleet.

“So far, there is no need for (them), but the possibility remains” to protect Russian nationals if necessary, he said.

His biggest concern is “rampag(ing) reactionary forces, nationalist and anti-Semitic forces going on in certain parts of Ukraine, including Kiev.”

 They “chained and handcuffed” an eastern Ukraine governor. 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?”

 Compare Crimea to out-of-control Kiev violence, he said. Compare democracy to neo-Nazi putschists seizing power. Russia hasn’t interfered in Ukraine’s internal affairs, he stressed.

 ”(W)e 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.”

Crimeans have the same right as other Ukrainians, he said. Moscow supports them.

“Putin underlined in particular that the steps taken by Crimea’s legitimate authorities are based on international law and aimed at guaranteeing the legitimate interests of the peninsula’s population,” an official Kremlin statement added.

“We are often told our actions are illegitimate,” Putin said. No one explains how responsibly.

Contrast Russia to America’s lawless aggression. He cited Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. He omitted numerous other examples.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said European sanctions could be imposed next week if Moscow doesn’t accept Western proposals.

“If they respond positively, John Kerry will go to Moscowand then sanctions will not be immediate,” he said.

“If they do not respond or if they respond negatively, there will be a series of sanctions that could be taken as early as this week.”

On Tuesday, Western officials met in London. Asset freezes and travel bans on targeted Russian officials were discussed.

Last week, visa talks were suspended. So was halting negotiations on a new EU/Russian investment agreement. An arms embargo and trade sanctions could follow.

Washington threatened to expel Russia from G-8 participation. Other harsh measures were suggested.

EU/Russian trade is nearly half a trillion dollars annually. Targeting Moscow cuts both ways. Will EU leaders shoot themselves in the foot? Will they harm their own interests?

Energy is a major issue. Europe is heavily dependent on Russian resources. Gazprom supplies Ukraine with over half its gas.

Europe gets 40% from Russia. Germany gets one-third of its oil and gas from this vital source. It remains to be seen where realpolitik overrides bluster.

Ukraine’s illegitimate Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsya’s hyperbole matches his Western counterparts.

We are practically in a state of war with Russia, he claimed. “We have to cope with an aggression that we do not understand.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry denounced Right Sector neo-Nazi lawlessness. Its elements “now rule in eastern regions of Ukraine as a result of the actions of fighters of (its) fighters..with the full connivance” of Kiev putschists,” it said.

 ”The shamefaced silence of our Western partners, human rights organizations and foreign media is surprising.”

“It raises the question – where is the notorious objectivity and commitment to democracy?”

Russian citizens trying to enter Ukraine are blocked. Independent media voices are silenced. Kiev putschists want their message alone heard.

Washington plans provocative Black Sea drills with Bulgaria and Romania. Imagine if Russia or China held their own in America’s Gulf.

US controlled NATO announced AWACS reconnaissance flights over Poland and Romania to monitor conditions in Ukraine.

Washington is waging geopolitical war on Russia. It wants it weakened and isolated.

It wants what remains of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) eliminated. It wants control over all former Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact countries. It wants them incorporated into NATO.

 It wants new eastern European military bases established. It wants them targeting Russia and China.

It wants long-range multiple nuclear warhead-armed missiles targeting their heartlands.

It’s playing with fire. It risks global conflict. It risks the unthinkable.

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

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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

 It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Venezuela foreign minister slams US secretary of state

Venezuela’s foreign minister has slammed US Secretary of State John Kerry for meddling in the internal affairs of the country.

Speaking at a ceremony to honor late President Hugo Chavez in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, on Friday, Elias Jaua said, “We denounce you as an assassin of the Venezuelan people, Mr. Kerry. We are not going to lower our tone before any empire, until you order your lackeys in Venezuela to stop the violence against the people.”

“…You encourage the protests in Venezuela and we are going to denounce that in every part of the world.”

“You who are so hurt that we speak out, as you said to me in Guatemala, ‘You all need to lower your tone.’ We will not lower our tone,” the Venezuelan foreign minister added.

Venezuela has been rocked by a wave of protests since early February. At least 28 people have been killed in the violence since then.

During a separate event on Friday, Interior and Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres said, “Venezuela is being subjected to an insurrectionary protest and it is currently in a subversionary phase.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused the United States of backing the opposition to launch a coup d’état in Venezuela.

On Thursday, the US Senate introduced a bipartisan bill that compels Washington to target Venezuelan officials, who it says are involved in violence in Venezuela.

The proposed bill also includes an additional 15 million dollars in funds to help the Venezuelan opposition.

Meanwhile, ten members of the US House of Representatives are seeking to impose visa bans, asset freezes and financial sanctions on Venezuelan officials.

Behind incessant rhetorical invocations of a “democratic revolution,” Ukraine’s newly-installed government of former bankers, fascists and oligarchs is preparing draconian austerity measures.

The plans being drawn up are openly described as the “Greek model,” i.e., the programme of savage cuts imposed on Greece by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union (EU) that has caused Greece’s economy to collapse by nearly 25 percent in five years and produced a massive growth in unemployment and poverty.

In the case of Ukraine, however, this social devastation is to be unleashed against a country that has already been subjected to the scorched earth economics of capitalist restoration. Even before the latest events, Ukraine was the 80th poorest country in the world based on gross domestic product per capita, behind Iraq, Tonga and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

More than one quarter of its population—11 million people—live below the official poverty line, which is set at a meagre 1,176 UAH ($127) per month. The situation is far worse than official figures indicate, however. With an average monthly wage of only 1,218 UAH ($131), or 79 US cents per hour, millions more survive barely above subsistence level.

The official unemployment rate of 7.5 percent masks large numbers of unregistered and underemployed workers. It is, moreover, held down by high emigration, with tens of thousands fleeing the country in search of jobs. The equivalent of 15 percent of Ukraine’s population has left the country, giving it one of the largest diasporas in the world. Between 1991, when the Soviet Union was dissolved, and 2010, Ukraine’s population shrank from 51.7 million to 45.9 million.

Besides migration, the population decline is a consequence of Ukraine’s contracting birth rate, which is among the lowest in the world. Tragically, the country also has the highest maternal mortality rate in Europe, part of a health crisis that has seen incidences of HIV/AIDS grow to epidemic proportions, with 57 new cases a day identified in 2012.

Poverty has played a major role in the spread of HIV/AIDS—especially in parts of the formerly heavily industrialised regions of the east and south, where conditions are already depression-like.

In poverty’s wake has come an explosion of all manner of social diseases—from drug abuse and alcoholism to prostitution, with every sixth prostitute reckoned to be a minor. This is an underestimation, as Ukraine is a major hub of human trafficking, for the purposes of both sexual exploitation and forced labour.

These conditions are a direct consequence of the counterrevolutionary role of the Stalinist bureaucracy and its betrayal of the October 1917 Revolution, which reached its climax in the destruction of the Soviet Union and the restoration of capitalism.

As a result, Ukraine has been reduced to a pawn in US and European imperialist designs on Russia. In addition to the dangers of civil war and a global military conflagration, Western-backed efforts to pull Ukraine away from Russia have caused ever greater social misery for the masses, first in the aftermath of the so-called “Orange Revolution” of 2004, and then in the wake of the 2008 global capitalist breakdown.

Between 2008 and 2009, for example, Ukraine’s GDP fell by 15.1 percent while unemployment tripled to 9.4 percent. The former Stalinist bureaucrats and mafia-oligarchs who enriched themselves by stealing former state property have continued all the while to plunder state assets and pile up even greater personal fortunes.

Much worse is to come. Ukraine’s total debt is now estimated to be around $80 billion. With its currency having depreciated by 20 percent on the dollar since the start of the year, depleting currency reserves and increasing capital flight, Ukraine’s debt will rapidly grow even larger.

The IMF and EU are said to be working on a “rescue” package of just $15 billion. Not only is most of this earmarked to cover repayments to the Western banks, it is also tied in to massive cuts in spending for pensions and fuel subsidies. Since 1998, Ukraine has been involved in various IMF “structural reform” programmes, all of which have had to be abandoned within one year because their consequences were considered too socially explosive.

It was what former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov described as the “extremely harsh conditions” of a renewed IMF loan brought forward on November 20 last year that led to the government’s decision to put off signing the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. That decision, in turn, became the pretext for the US- and EU-sponsored protests and resulting putsch.

The Western powers now intend to seize the moment they did so much to engineer. Writing in the Financial Times in February, Anders Aslund, a former adviser to the Ukrainian government, welcomed the Western-backed coup as an opportunity to impose austerity. The crisis in Ukraine meant that a “radical reform programme should be easier to undertake… than in many countries that have faced similar crises in the past,” he wrote.

The New York Times, the mouthpiece of American imperialism, cracked the whip in an editorial published Friday under the headline “Fixing Ukraine’s Economy: The country’s leaders need to reform wrongheaded energy and exchange-rate policies.” The editorial denounced “wasteful energy subsidies” and demanded that the Western-installed puppet government get to work “raising retail gas prices for most consumers.”

An IMF mission has already been at work over the last fortnight, meeting with the minister of energy and coal and representatives of the National Bank of Ukraine and the gas distributor Naftogaz. It reports that its work is “progressing well” and that the new authorities are committed to “economic reform.”

These “reforms” include further currency devaluation, major cuts in public spending and pensions and, in particular, an end to state energy subsidises, which are a life-and-death matter in a country where temperatures can fall as low as minus 20 degrees.

The Financial Times reports, “Sixty state agencies in various EU countries have already concluded so-called twinning agreements that aim to refashion their Ukrainian counterparts in their image.”

A 10 percent collapse in GDP is publicly spoken of by economists. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, handpicked by Washington to replace the ousted elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, has stated baldly that he will be “the most unpopular prime minister in the history of my country.”

Sergei Taruta, the oligarch recently appointed governor of the Donbass region, gave an indication of the timeframe for implementing these measures. Describing himself as an “anti-crisis manager,” he said he would take the post only “for six months or a year,” adding, “In that time I want strong people to come into government and then I will leave them to it.”

His comments shed light on why the US and the EU powers are so willing to sign off on a government staffed by fascists and extreme-right paramilitaries. On Thursday, the Ukrainian parliament voted to establish a 60,000-strong National Guard recruited from “activists” in the anti-Russian protests and from military academies.

The force will be overseen by the new security chief, Andriy Parubiy, a founder in the early 1990s of the neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine. His deputy, Dmytro Yarosh, is the leader of the paramilitary Right Sector. It is the Ukrainian equivalent of Hitler’s storm troopers.

In addition to aiding the West in its provocations against Moscow, the main responsibility of these elements will be to carry through a social onslaught against the Ukrainian working class at the behest of international capital.

Escalating pressure from the imperialist powers drove the Ukrainian crisis closer to the brink of war on Friday, as talks in London between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov broke down.

Kerry denounced tomorrow’s scheduled referendum in Crimea on secession from Ukraine and reintegration into Russia as a “backdoor annexation” and accused Moscow of refusing to negotiate.

Lavrov said there was no “common vision” between Moscow and Washington over how to resolve the crisis. He added that Crimea “means more for Russia than the Falklands does for the UK or the Comoros for France. We will respect the choice of the peoples of Crimea.”

While he pointedly compared Russia’s position in Crimea to British imperialism’s role in the Falkland Islands, over which London fought a 1982 war with Argentina, Lavrov said Russia would not attack Ukraine. “Russia doesn’t and can’t have any plans to invade southeastern regions of Ukraine,” he said.

The emergence of opposition in Crimea to the US-backed, fascist-led putsch of February 22 in Kiev has outraged Washington and its European allies. A Russian-speaking area that hosts a key Russian naval base at Sevastopol, Crimea reacted sharply to the move by the newly installed regime in Kiev to strip Russian of its status as an official language and to threats of violence by key regime officials.

Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of the violent, neo-Nazi Right Sector militia and now a top security official in Kiev, threatened in a recent Newsweek interview to “use all possible means” to block Crimean independence.

Kerry admitted in US Senate testimony last week that if the Crimea referendum proceeds, the population will likely vote to join Russia. In response, the imperialist powers are accusing Russia of invading Crimea while they escalate tensions and place the entire region on a war footing.

US and European Union (EU) officials have threatened Russia with dire consequences if the referendum proceeds. President Barack Obama said yesterday: “We continue to hope there is a diplomatic solution to be found, but the United States and Europe stand united not only in message on Ukrainian sovereignty, but that there will be consequences if that sovereignty continues to be violated.”

The hypocrisy of Obama’s statement is staggering. Having backed a putsch led by figures such as Yarosh to install an unelected puppet regime in Kiev, Washington and its allies present themselves as selfless defenders of Ukraine’s sovereignty, when, in fact, they are seeking to turn Ukraine into a forward base for diplomatic and military provocations aimed at isolating and ultimately dismembering Russia. Within Ukraine, the new government is taking its orders from the International Monetary Fund and Wall Street and preparing to unleash a program of savage austerity measures against the working class.

The Russian regime of President Vladimir Putin is incapable of responding in a progressive way to the aggressive moves of the Western imperialist powers. Putin rests on criminal oligarchs who enriched themselves by stealing former state property during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, just as the ousted Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, based his regime on a section of Ukrainian oligarchs. They are incapable of making an appeal to the working class or to progressive, democratic public opinion either in Russia or Ukraine.

Instead, their moves, a combination of military maneuvers and appeals to Russian chauvinism, compliment the reactionary policies of the Western-backed coup regime in Kiev. The current crisis underscores the catastrophic consequences of the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union and restoration of capitalism at the hands of the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Kremlin.

There were unconfirmed reports Friday that Russian forces in Crimea had brought down an American MQ-5B surveillance drone, which they claimed came from the 66th American Reconnaissance Brigade in Bavaria. They said the drone was flying over Crimean airspace in what would be a clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty, the defense of which is the main pretext for the US and European refusal to recognize the Crimean referendum and for their moves to impose sanctions against Russia. The Pentagon subsequently denied the report.

The drone report comes amidst a stepped-up deployment of US forces to Eastern Europe, including the dispatch of fighter jets and surveillance equipment to Poland and the Baltic states. Yesterday, US officials announced that the Pentagon was sending rations to the Ukrainian army.

Even more incendiary proposals are circulating in the US media. In a piece titled “How to Put Military Pressure on Russia,” the Wall Street Journal called for arming Polish Air Force F-16 fighters with nuclear weapons and stationing powerful detachments of US ground troops in Poland, Romania and the Baltics.

The ratcheting up of the crisis by the US and Europe with threats of sanctions and military deployments is being carried out in defiance of broad popular opposition to war. Recent polls found that fully 66 percent of Americans fear that the Ukraine crisis could trigger US intervention, while only 32 percent of Germans support imposing economic sanctions on Russia.

Kerry said on Thursday that if the Crimean vote takes place tomorrow, “there will be a very serious series of steps on Monday in Europe and here.” He promised that sanctions against Russia would “get ugly fast.”

EU heads of state also turned up the pressure on Moscow. After German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s warning Thursday that planned EU sanctions aimed to cause “massive political and economic harm” to Russia, British Prime Minister David Cameron demanded that the Kremlin open direct talks with the Kiev regime (effectively recognizing the new government). “We want to see Ukrainians and Russians talking to each other,” he declared. “And if they don’t, then there are going to have to be consequences.”

Kiev has threatened to cut off payment to Russia for its massive oil and gas exports to Europe via pipelines in Ukraine, the central component of European trade with Russia.

Russian gas producer Gazprom, which previously offered Ukraine’s Naftogaza a $3 billion loan to help cover Ukraine’s arrears, said Thursday that it did not want a “gas crisis.” In Berlin on Thursday, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said: “Yes, in Ukraine there is a deep political crisis, but they have to pay for gas. We find our actions towards Ukraine are completely loyal.”

In one advance sign of the financial turmoil that could emerge, the US Federal Reserve reported an unprecedented $100 billion dollar drop in the quantity of foreign-owned Treasury bonds it stores. This prompted speculation that a major holder of US dollars, most likely Russia, had shifted its dollar holdings overseas to a non-US bank to prevent US authorities from confiscating the funds.

The Western media are broadcasting a torrent of lies to present the Kremlin regime as the aggressor and soften up public opinion for conflict with Russia, a nuclear-armed power. Citing right-wing historian Timothy Snyder, CNN downplayed any threat to Russian or Russian-speaking people in Ukraine, declaring: “All of the official claims that have been made by Russia have been met. Their bases are secure, Russian speakers are not under any threat.”

Snyder added that a “propaganda blitz” by Russian media was responsible for making it difficult for Putin to negotiate a deal with Kiev and its backers in America and Europe.

In fact, ethnic tensions are mounting within Ukraine due to the imperialist powers’ backing of fascist groups that form a critical social base of support for the new regime. The government is raising a 60,000-strong National Guard that will incorporate Ukrainian fascist militias and function under the authority of Yarosh and Andriy Parubiy, the co-founder of the far-right Svoboda party.

There was continuing ethnic violence in Russian-majority regions of eastern Ukraine yesterday, with two people killed in Donetsk as pro-Kiev and pro-Moscow demonstrators clashed.

From Cambridge University in 1932-1933, John Maynard Keynes observed a promising new U.S. president presiding over what he saw as half-baked and confused policies, while labor insurgency was mounting. Roosevelt’s measures were, Keynes conceded, without precedent, but novelty was not enough. Long-term commitment to direct federal employment was required. For Keynes, this was the bottom line.

Existing programs were not only too small, but they were also either temporary (Civilian Conservation Corps and Civil Works Administration) or irrationally tied to the severely weakened states’ ability to raise substantial revenues on their own (Federal Emergency Relief Act and Public Works Administration). CWA had come closest to the kind of commitment Keynes thought indispensable, but it suffered two fatal defects: it was temporary, designed only to help workers get through the harsh winter of 1933, and of all these programs it was the object of Roosevelt’s greatest suspicion. Roosevelt feared that CWA would raise workers’ expectations of what they could permanently expect from government.

 The Dawn of the New Deal and Keynes’s 1933 Letter

The president’s instincts were solidly anti-federalist; there must be no permanent direct government provision of what it is the proper function of the private sector to provide. Roosevelt wanted relatively small, temporary federal efforts on behalf of workers, with the states primarily responsible for the provision of social benefits in the long run. Keynes urged large, permanent programs supplying employment during both economic contractions and expansions, provided directly by the federal government. He communicated his concern to Roosevelt in an open letter published in The New York Times on December 31, 1933. (1)

In the letter he expressed his extreme distress at Roosevelt’s timid policy. “At the moment your sympathizers in England are nervous and sometimes despondent. We wonder whether the order of different urgencies is rightly understood, whether there is a confusion of aim, and whether some of the advice you get is not crack-brained and queer.” He then outlined his alternative analysis.

The basic issue, Keynes insisted, is “Recovery,” whose object is “to increase the national output and put more men to work.” An increase in output depends on “the amount of purchasing power… which is expected to come on the market.” Recovery depends upon increasing purchasing power. There are, Keynes pointed out, three factors operating to raise purchasing power and output. The first is increased consumer spending out of current income, the second is increased investment by capitalists, and the third is that “public authority must be called in aid to create additional current incomes through the expenditure of borrowed or printed money.”

Since the vast majority of consumers are workers, increased consumption expenditure is impossible on the required scale during a period of high unemployment and low wages. Business investment will eventually materialize, but only “after the tide has been turned by the expenditures of public authority.” Government investment in employment-generating public works must come first. Only after large-scale government investment can private investment be expected to kick in.

A compelling logic is implicit in that observation. According to the orthodoxy Keynes is criticizing, a revival of aggregate investment by the class of capitalists is necessary and sufficient to constitute recovery. But investment by an individual capitalist in a severe downturn would be irrational. So each capitalist will defer investment until there is evidence of recovery, i.e. evidence that the other capitalists have undertaken productive outlays. Uh-oh: a structural contradiction is in place. If each investor refrains from investment until all the others invest, no capitalist will invest. Each will die waiting for the others to come across. In the absence of an external impetus to the private investment system, the depression will be endless. Recovery is possible, then, only if a force external to the private market gets the ball rolling. Enter government to the rescue. “[T]he tide has been turned.”

Hence Keynes’s conviction that only government expenditures on a grand scale can breathe life back into a depressed economy. Keynes suggested as an example of what he had in mind “the rehabilitation of the physical condition of the railroads.” He would later, in a 1938 letter, recommend a national program of public housing as a project on the required scale.

The crisis was not merely economic. Keynes had witnessed the rise of revolutionary movements in response to the protracted inability of capitalism to meet the needs of working people. He had written about both the Bolshevik revolution and the tendency of austerity to spawn revolt from the Right. Keynes was antipathetic to both fascist and worker rule, and feared revolutionary consequences should the New Deal fail. “If you fail,” he wrote Roosevelt, “rational change will be gravely prejudiced throughout the world, leaving orthodoxy and revolution to fight it out.” The political stakes were high, as they must be under conditions of protracted capitalist austerity.

The stakes are no less high now. The current contraction emerged from a political-economic settlement, the post-Golden-Age period from 1974 to the present, resembling in relevant respects the Depression-prone economy of the 1920s.

I want to review both those features of the 1920s which generated the economic debacle Keynes addressed, and the corresponding precipitating causes of today’s crisis. The similarity of the origins of both contractions is striking. If Keynes was right to argue -and we shall see that he was- that large-scale public employment is the only remedy for a severe and extended economic contraction, it will be clear that the same prescription applies to the present depression. We will then be in a position better to grasp the urgency of public employment as a policy without which the United States faces a future of long-term stagnation and intolerable unemployment.

The 1920s as Exemplar of Mature Capitalism: the Stage-Setting for the Great Depression

The 1920s was the benchmark decade for mature pre-Keynesian capitalism. The major capital-intensive industries were in place and oligopolized (or rapidly becoming so), technological development raced ahead and production and profit levels were high. By 1919 union power had been dealt a crippling blow; labor was almost entirely unorganized during the 1920s.

The remarkable increases, between 1919 and 1929, in GDP (40 percent), production (64 percent in manufacturing), productivity (43 percent in industry as a whole, 98 percent in automobiles) and profits (200 percent) were not matched by a comparable increase in wages. Productivity advances did not lead to higher wages; wages were no higher in 1929 than they were in 1922. Nor did they bring about falling prices; industrial concentration made for “downwardly sticky” prices. The result was inexorable: national income was distributed upward so that by 1928 the nation exhibited the greatest inequality of the century to that point.

In his landmark study of the economy of the1920s (2), George Soule spelled out the consequences of that settlement:

“…toward the end of [the decade] large amounts of cash remained in the hands of of the big manufacturing and public-utility corporations that they did not distribute either in dividends or by means of new investment… the large corporations accumulated even more cash than they needed for their own uses… This money eventually spilled over into stock speculation. … [T]he surplus funds of large business corporations were now being lent directly to speculators… A curious commentary on the state of the American economy at the time is the fact that business could make less money by using its surplus funds in production than it could by lending the money to purchasers of stocks, the value of which was supposed to be determined by the profit on that production.”

The lessons of the 1920s are clear, and they bear directly on the build-up to the present crisis. Developed capitalism without social democracy and strong labor unions leads to productivity increases far outpacing wage growth, extreme inequality, insufficient working-class purchasing power, an unprecedented buildup of household debt and nowhere for profits to go but into capitalist consumption and financial speculation. With financial growth not reflecting comparable health in the productive economy, a bubble formed in stock market speculation and household debt grew faster than household income. By their nature, bubbles break. The popping of the speculative bubble brought about the stock market crash of 1929.

The crash and ensuing Depression afflicted what we have seen was a highly vulnerable economy. Because the economy had by the 1920s become industrially mature, growth no longer depended upon the breakneck expansion of the capital goods sector, but was now, and for the first time, fuelled by the production and consumption of consumer durable goods like refrigerators, radios, vacuum cleaners and, most importantly, automobiles. Consumption replaced investment as the driver of economic growth. (3) Robust growth would now require high wages.

With wages stagnant, working-class households’ ability to sustain the consumer durables boom became dependent, as it would again from the mid-1970s onward, on unsustainable household debt levels. Supplementing income-based purchasing power with credit had been a fact of life since the late nineteenth century, but the debt increments increased especially rapidly during the 1920s. The proportion of total retail sales financed by credit increased from 10 percent in 1910 to 15 percent in 1927 to 50 percent in 1929. When working-class purchasing power and household debt approached their limit by 1926-1927, the rate of growth of consumer purchases began to decline. Key growth markets like autos and construction became saturated and excess productive capacity became conspicuous. Production fell and profits were directed to financial speculation and bubble creation. The stock market and the economy responded accordingly. The Great Depression was at the door.

A comparable dynamic was in effect during the period preceding September 2008. From the mid-1970s to the year before the housing bubble began to leak, 2005, the gap between productivity growth and flat wages grew wider and wider. As in the 1920s, national income shifted steadily and increasingly to the top. Inequality approximating that of the 1920s grew. 1928 and 2007 were the highest inequality years since 1900. (Each year, not coincidentally, was followed by a major meltdown.) Workers once again resorted to debt to maintain living standards. The ratio of outstanding consumer debt to disposable income had more than doubled, from 62 percent in 1975 to 127.2 percent in 2005. Since 1995 the debt burden, measured by the percentage of household income pledged to debt service, had become increasingly concentrated in the lower three income quintiles. Financial speculation, which had accelerated since the mid-1970s, took off with a vengeance after 1999. Echoes of the 1920s were loud and clear.

When 2008 ushered in today’s depression, the political-economic legacy of the New Deal had long given way to the neoliberal religion of market-only solutions harkening back to the pre-Keynesian 1920s. The Great Depression’s lesson that only public employment on a grand scale could remedy persistent joblessness was cast aside as incompatible with born-again free market fundamentalism. Obama’s remarks at the December 3, 2009 “jobs summit” express the current elite consensus that any politically acceptable remedy for intractable joblessness must be market-based: “[While] government has a critical role in creating the conditions for economic growth, ultimately true economic recovery is only going to come from the private sector.” That’s a recipe for endless depression.

We shall see below that Big Guns from Larry Summers to Paul Krugman have finally drawn the appropriate conclusion: America faces a future of long-term, perhaps permanent, stagnation and high unemployment. This is indeed the price working people will pay for the total exclusion of public employment from current policy discussions. We can see this more clearly after we first have a look at the course of the Great Depression and the alternative Keynes urged upon Roosevelt when the New Deal recovery fizzled in 1937.

The Big Contraction, the Aborted Recovery and Keynes’s Response

From 1929 to 1933 the economy plummeted, leaving 24.9 percent of workers unemployed and many more underemployed. By 1932 more than 32,000 businesses would go bankrupt. National output fell by 50 percent. Investment plunged. 20 percent of U.S. banks, at least 5,000, failed. This is what created the grist for Keynes’s mill.

The Depression reversed the euphoria of the 1920s and initiated a profound sense of desperation frequently referred to by president Roosevelt as a national “emergency.” Motivated by advisors more radical than he and mounting worker impatience, Roosevelt initiated experimental stimulus measures.

The WPA and other modest public employment measures provided sufficient momentum to the economy that a sharp upturn began in late 1933 and lasted until 1937. This was one of the two longest cyclical expansions in the nation’s history, and the steepest ever. The upturn is typically but misleadingly thought to be a direct result of the New Deal’s enormous increase in deficit spending. The lesson “Keynesians” have drawn is that mature capitalism is capable only of brief periods of stability left to its own private devices, so that government intervention during economic downturns is a recurrent necessity built into the system. Private investment, then, is necessary but insufficient to drive the accumulation process; deficit-financed government investment is also required if economic growth is to be accompanied by full employment.

This can be seriously misleading. Government investment is not merely necessary; it is the only form of investment, Keynes claimed, capable of bringing about full employment. Keynes was emphatic that reducing taxes and interest rates, and providing temporary unemployment benefits, were no substitute for direct government job creation. The lesson that matters is that the elimination of unemployment is not the direct result of government deficit spending as such. Public works projects, for example, put people to work, and this provides workers with a wage, the household spending power Keynes underscored as the key to recovery. Without restoring the purchasing power of the working majority, there would be no recovery.

Wages turned into effective demand, then, is the direct cause of a revival of production and employment. But niggardly wages will not do. The nation’s human and non-human resources are vast, and marshalling them for production at full employment calls for aggregate household spending power sufficient to that task. The 1920s and the period from 1974 to the present display those features of mature industrial capitalism which generate the kind of crisis which only high wages can reverse.

The End of the Recovery and the Triumph of Sound Finance

The recovery of 1933-1937 exhibited the fastest growth rates of the twentieth century. At the peak of the expansion industrial output and national income had returned to 1929 levels and purchases of new autos surpassed 1929 sales. (4) New auto sales were fuelled by consumer spending. The consumer demand that drove this exceptional recovery was created by public, not private, investment. It is not investment as such that capitalist development renders otiose, but private investment.

New Deal government investment was a precondition of the 1933-1937 expansion, during which banks had stopped lending and net private investment had evaporated. But the New Deal took no steps to ensure the permanence of adequate consumer demand or household income. Roosevelt took his policies to be temporary urgencies to be terminated once their “jump-start” aims had been accomplished. He anticipated the time when he could reduce deficit spending and return to the principles of sound finance.

The president’s wishes seemed to be coming true in 1937. From FY 1936 to FY 1937 total government expenditures dropped from $8,476,000,000 to $8,001,000,000 and the deficit fell from $4,361,000,000 to $2,708,000,000. Federal tax receipts increased from $4,116,000,000 to $5,294,000,000. (5) As early as January of 1937 Roosevelt was planning retrenchment. (6)

In his January 1938 budget message the president announced with relief that the increase in government income meant that New Deal deficits -meaning New Deal programs- must be reduced to 0.1 percent of GDP and taxes would be increased to fund the Social Security program. So eager was the president to bring the budget closer to balance that he could overlook the sharp declines in employment that had begun in September 1937. The president had felt forced by circumstance to accept policy to which he was otherwise opposed, direct federal employment. The improved fiscal picture provided the fiscally conservative Roosevelt with the opportunity to cut WPA jobs and other income-generating programs.

Keynes promptly wrote, less than one month after the budget message, in a private letter to Roosevelt that it was an “error of optimism” to act as if recovery were assured when it had only just begun. (Read the entire letter here: http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/aboutfdr/pdfs/smFDR-Keynes_1938.pdf )

The president should invest, Keynes urged, more heavily in public works lest another disaster ensue.

Roosevelt paid no heed. New Deal spending fell and unemployment rose. The economy plunged into another, somewhat shorter and shallower, depression. The new contraction was doubly discouraging, causing public confidence in the New Deal to diminish and business to feel threatened by the radical claim that it had been shown to be unable to deliver on its promise to bring about economic renewal once government had withdrawn.

Fed chairman Marinner Eccles urged renewed government spending and Roosevelt responded by increasing WPA and AAA spending, but not by very much. His eggs were in another basket, new military expenditures. Roosevelt’s choice was not merely cynical. He saw the growing aggression of Italy, Germany and Japan in Africa, Europe and East Asia as calling for a re-evaluation of American neutrality.

Public opinion polls in 1938 and 1939 found the public disapproving of the military spending as excessive in the light of intensified economic hardship at home. The 1937 cyclical peak did not after all end the Depression. In that year workers were still pressing for what they deserved but had not yet gained. 1937 saw a massive sit-down strike at the General Motors Flint, Michigan plant. It is a measure of the public’s awareness that the recovery did not mean that the Depression was over that the strike enjoyed broad support. The Governer even called out the National Guard to protect the strikers from possible violent resistance by General Motors.

In his 1938 letter to Roosevelt Keynes urged the president to redouble the efforts that had produced the 1937-1938 upswing:

‘…the present recession is partly due to an “error of optimism” which led to an over-estimation of future demand… But I am quite sure that this is not all. There is a much more troublesome underlying influence. The recovery was mainly due to the following factors: -

   (i) the solution of the credit and insolvency problems, and the       establishment of easy short-term money;

   (ii) the creation of an adequate system of relief for the unemployed;

   (iii) public works and other investments aided by Government funds or guarantees;

   (iv) investment in the instrumental goods required to supply the increased demand for consumption goods;

   (v) the momentum of the recovery [was] thus initiated.’

Keynes intends here to rule out the position common among the administration’s apologists, that current policy is unobjectionable and not at the root of the renewed contraction. The problem, it was argued, was that the president had made an overoptimistic projection of future buying power. The remedy was to resume government spending as before. Keynes objected that the problem rested with current policy, which not only must not be retrenched, as Roosevelt had done, but should be expanded. More of the same was not enough. The key movers of the expansion had been (iii) and (iv), but they were not large enough:

 “Now of these (i) was a prior condition of recovery, since it is no use creating a demand for credit, if there is no supply. But an increased supply will not by itself generate an adequate demand. The influence of

(ii) evaporates as employment improves, so that there is a dead point beyond which this factor cannot carry the economic system. Recourse to (iii) has been greatly curtailed in the past year. (iv) and (v) are functions of the forward movement and cease – indeed (v) is reversed – as soon as the position fails to improve further. The benefit from the momentum of the recovery as such is at the same time the most important and the most dangerous factor in the upward movement. It requires for its continuance, not merely the maintenance of recovery, but always further recovery. Thus it always flatters the early stages and steps from under just when support is most needed. It was largely, I think, a failure to allow for this which caused the “error of optimism” last year.” (Emphasis Keynes’s)

Keynes makes it clear that increased spending on public works is the linchpin of sustained recovery. If spending is not increased, much less actually decreased, as Roosevelt had done, the economy’s “forward movement” will reverse itself. Thus, forward movement must also be “upward movement,” creating a higher level of demand, not merely restoring the pre-downturn 1937 level. Output and income must increase over time. This means that public investment too must increase.

Failure to grasp that consumption demand and investment demand must perpetually increase in tandem will lead one erroneously to “over-optimism,” to infer from the achievement of a higher level of demand that one need only do more of the same, with respect to government investment, in order to maintain demand. But the nature of capitalism is that demand requires not merely to be maintained, but to be increased, and that requires increased investment. The upshot is that government must be permanently involved in support of effective demand, and since the precondition of demand is the availability of jobs, the government must become a permanent provider of employment.

In the letter Keynes recommends “increased investment in durable goods such as housing, public utilities and transport… in the United States at the present time the opportunities, indeed the necessity, for such developments were unexampled.” Keynes had understood from earlier discussions with Roosevelt and his advisors that the administration was commited to the need for hitherto untried alternatives, and that housing was an obvious priority.

But in this case it was Keynes who had been over-optimistic. “Take housing. When I was with you three and a half years ago the necessity for effective new measures was evident. I remember vividly my conversations with Riefler at that time. But what happened? Next to nothing.”

Keynes went on to make the case for investment in public housing as an ideal for a more buoyant and sustained recovery:

 “Housing is by far the best aid to recovery because of the large and continuing scale of potential demand; because of the wide geographical distribution of this demand; and because the sources of its finance are largely independent of the Stock Exchanges. I should advise putting most of your eggs in this basket, caring about this more than about anything, and making absolutely sure that they are being hatched without delay.” (Emphasis Keynes’s)

 Roosevelt apparently did not “care” enough to launch such a program. To this day the U.S. has one of the poorest records on public housing of all the developed capitalist countries.

Keynes was familiar with the American bias toward the individual states, rather than the federal government, as providers economic aid. If the states must be intermediaries of federal funding, so be it, he concedes – but get the job done! “In this country we partly depended for many years on direct subsidies. There are few more proper objects for such than working class houses. If a direct subsidy is required to get a move on (we gave our subsidies through the local authorities), it should be given without delay or hesitation.” (Emphasis Keynes’s)

Keynes implored Roosevelt to nationalize the utilities. “Personally I think there is a great deal to be said for the ownership of all the utilities by publicly owned boards… If I was in your place, I should buy out the utilities at fair prices in every district where the situation was ripe for doing so, and announce that the ultimate ideal was to make this policy nation-wide… a policy of competing plants with losses all round is a ramshackle notion.” As for the railroads, “Nationalize them if the time is ripe.” And the imperative to socialize was not limited to railroads and utilities. “I accept the view that durable investment must come increasingly under state direction… I regard the growth of collective bargaining as essential. I approve minimum wage and hours regulation.”

Note Keynes’s institutional socialism: “durable investment must come increasingly under state direction.” The socialization of investment was no mere “emergency” measure.

Summing up his policy recommendations, Keynes declares that “A convincing policy, whatever its details may be, for promoting large-scale [government] investment under the above heads is an urgent necessity… Far too much precious time has passed.” There will be resistance, Keynes acknowledges, to these measures. Capital will greet all these recommendations with great alarm. Keynes’s instructions to Roosevelt on the proper handling of businessmen is wonderfully clever, close to Oscar Wilde at his best:

“Business men have a different set of delusions from politicians; and need, therefore, different handling… You could do anything you liked with them, if you would treat them (even the big ones), not as wolves and tigers, but as domestic animals by nature, even though they have been badly brought up and not trained as you would wish. It is a mistake to think that they are more immoral than politicians. If you work them into the surly, obstinate, terrified mood, of which domestic animals, wrongly handled, are so capable, the nation’s burdens will not get carried to market…”

This was the way to break down resistance and enlist capital into the recovery effort.

The notion that capital can be cajoled to acquiesce in the socialization of some of the nation’s biggest private investments strikes us as naïve. In Keynes’s day capital had nothing resembling the virtually complete hegemony over public policy that finance capital enjoys today. But about this Keynes was right: capitalists are not more immoral than politicians. The need to enlarge profits under conditions of international competition does not permit moral restraint, any more than those sitting around a Monopoly board are morally bound to throw the game out of empathy with the losers. The rules and objects of the game are such that moral considerations have no application.

Not so with politicians, who are supposed to legislate in the interests of the democratic aspirations of the citizenry. Protecting the less advantaged from the vagaries of the market is a moral and political imperative. This is why picketing the banks, as some did after the September 2008 debacle, betrays a failure to grasp the source of economic power. In themselves, the banks are powerless. Such powers as they have are legislated, all of them. What banks do they do, Capital (sic) Hill willing and enabling. Political economy is first political; the economics is derivative.

Roosevelt could not have been expected to embrace Keynes’s counsel. The resumed spending, niggardly as it was, brought about a minor rebound, but the overall contraction was not ended until the U.S. mobilized for entry into the Second World War.

The Consequences of Rejecting Government Job Creation: Long-Term Stagnation, Chronic Joblessness, Persistent Austerity

Since last November, perhaps the most widely discussed item of economic news has been Larry Summers’s Nov. 8, 2013 speech at the IMF’s Annual Research Conference. Summers argued that it is likely that the US faces a future of chronic “secular stagnation,” with slow growth, high un- and underemployment and low wages. The force of ‘secular’ is that this is not a temporary state; stagnation looks to be the “new normal.”

After the postwar boom began the term ‘secular stagnation’ fell out of use as the 1920s fantasy of endless growth and prosperity once again took hold. But two post-Golden-Age factors have made it increasingly difficult for mainstream economists to sustain optimism. The slow growth rates since 1974, and especially the ineffectiveness of the Fed’s recent unparalleled monetary stimulus, defies orthodox comprehension. More importantly, we are seeing both the mass destruction of full-time jobs, many of which will never return, and record levels of long-term unemployment (unemployed for 15 weeks or longer).

Most revealing is that long-term unemployment has been rising since the late 1960s, well before the triumph of neoliberalism. The short-term unemployed have been a shrinking percentage of all unemployed throughout the entire postwar period. Looking at the business cycle over the last forty years, an ominous trend emerges: in each business-cyclical expansion, the long-term unemployment rate remains either at or above the level of the previous expansion. In a word, for the last forty years the short-term unemployed have been a declining, and the long-term unemployed an increasing, percentage of all unemployed. By Keynes’s own standards, pretend-Keynesian fiscal policy has been a seventy-year bust.
Summers’s forecast shows that this has not been entirely lost on the economics establishment.

Summers’s invocation of secular stagnation takes off from the fact that while the dot.com bubble of the late 1990s did (for three years only) raise employment and wages, the much larger housing bubble of the 2000s had no such effect. It neither produced high employment nor drove up wages nor spurred the economy to full capacity. He adds the equally important observation that neither of these bubbles, representing a huge boost to demand, brought about real-economy inflation, a typical concomitant of robust, employment-creating growth. Krugman adds (New York Times, blog, November 16, 2012) that even earlier expansions, such as characterized the later Reagan years, were driven not by economic “fundamentals” like rising employment and wages, but by “runaway thrift institutions and a large bubble in commercial real estate.” As Summers put it, “Even a great bubble wasn’t enough to produce any excess of aggregate demand… Even with artificial stimulus to demand, coming from all this financial imprudence, you [didn’t] see any excess… I wonder if a set of older ideas, that went under the phrase ‘secular stagnation’… may not be without relevance to America’s experience.”

The conclusion drawn by both Summers and Krugman is that bubbles appear to be required to sustain not merely the listless growth of the post-Golden-Age era, but even the exceptionally sluggish growth rates of the new millenium. So powerful is the tendency to stagnation that even zero interest rates are insufficient to create jobs -much less full employment- or to get the economy running at full capacity. In sum, full-throttle monetary stimulus functioning to sustain bubbles is necessary to keep the economy from falling below stagnation levels of output and rates on unemployment. Bluntly put, if you don’t want a full-fledged Depression, you’ve got to keep the bubble going. Slow growth, high un- and underemployment and low wages are the best we can do.

Expect no relief, says Summers: “The underlying problem may be there forever.” Krugman puts it in the form of a rhetorical question: “[W]hat if the world we’ve been living in for the past five years is the new normal? What if depression-like conditions are on track to persist, not for another year or two, but for decades?” (“A Permanent Slump?”, New York Times, November 17, 2013) To his credit, Krugman saw the handwriting on the wall well before the Summers speech. In his June 27, 2010 column, he wrote: “We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression…[T]he cost – to the world economy and, above all, to the milliions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs – will… be immense.”

In none of this discussion is there mention of the Keynesian solution, government as a permanent and increasingly essential provider of productive employment. Ironically, Summers and Krugman have unwittingly made the case that orthodox, acceptable demand boosters are inadequate to the task of providing working people with material security. Large-scale public employment is, as Keynes argued, the only alternative to mass immiseration.

The Summers-Krugman point confirms Keynes’s central claim that, contrary to the neoclassical theory that the free economy naturally tends toward full-employment equilibrium, the economy can reach equilibrium (the quantity of goods supplied is equal to the quantity of goods demanded) at any level of employment. Let there be 30 percent unemployment. Firms will then produce no more and no less than the lucky 70 percent are willing to pay for. Excess capacity will be wrung out of the system by the liquidation or destruction of redundant plant and equipment. But what about excess labor capacity?

Secular stagnation leaves the nation with a large number of permanently un- and unemployed persons devoid of hope for themselves or their children. But it is just this hope that constitutes the “American dream.” With the dream become a nightmare, we are on the path to social dislocation on a potentially terrifying scale: higher rates of crime, suicide, domestic violence, psychological depression and other forms of social disorder characteristic of periods of intense material insecurity. These are forms of unorganized resistance, and cannot be “wrung out” of the system like idle plants. They will be repressed. The powers that be have been putting in place for some years now, surely in anticipation of widespread social turbulence, the infrastructure of a police state. This comes as no surprise. Historically, capitalism in deep and protracted crisis and without an organized and active Left generates the makings of fascism. If the Left remains dormant, we are in for big trouble.

NOTES

 (1) The letter can be found in its entirety at http://newdeal.feri.org/misc/keynes2.htm

 (2) George Soule, Prosperity Decade (New York: Harper & Row, 1947), pp. 284, 280

 (3) On the shift from investment to consumption as the principal driver of capitalist growth since 1922 see James Livingston, Against Thrift (New York: Basic Books, 2011)

(4) James Livingston, “Their Great Depression and Ours,” Challenge, vol. 52, no. 3, May/June 2009, pp. 34-51, p.39

(5) Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1938, pp. 171-173

 (6) The New York Times, “President Plans 600,000 WPA cut,” January 26, 1937

 About the author: Alan Nasser is professor emeritus of Political Economy and Philosophy at The Evergreen State College. His website is: <http://www.alannasser.org>  His book, The New Normal: Persistent Austerity, Declining Democracy and the Privatization of the State will be published by Pluto Press later this year. If you would like to be notified when the book is released, please send a request to [email protected]

 

Neocons Have Weathered the Storm

March 15th, 2014 by Robert Parry

Official Washington’s bipartisan hysteria over Ukraine and Crimea is evidence that the neocons not only weathered the public fury over the Iraq War but are now back shaping U.S. geopolitical strategies

By the middle of last decade, the storm clouds were building over the neocons: their “regime change” in Iraq was a disaster; President George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech was a running joke; news articles were appearing about their “dark side” behavior in the “war on terror”; and the public was tired of the blood and treasure being wasted.

You might have expected that the neocons would have been banished to the farthest reaches of U.S. policymaking, so far away that they would never be heard from again. However, instead of disappearing, the neocons have proved their staying power, now reemerging as the architects of the U.S. strategy toward Ukraine.

Neocons played key behind-the-scenes roles in instigating the Feb. 22 coup that overthrew a democratically elected president with the help of neo-Nazi militias; the neocons have since whipped Official Washington into a frenzy of bipartisan support for the coup regime; and they are pushing for a new Cold War if the people of Crimea vote to leave Ukraine and join Russia.

A few weeks ago, most Americans probably had never heard of Ukraine and had no idea that Crimea was part of it. But, all of a sudden, the deficit-obsessed U.S. Congress is rushing to send billions of dollars to the coup regime in Kiev, as if the future of Ukraine were the most important issue facing the American people.

Even opinion writers who have resisted other neocon-driven stampedes have joined this one, apparently out of fear of being labeled “an apologist” for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Indeed, it is almost impossible to find any mainstream U.S. politician or pundit who has not fallen into line with the belligerent neocon position on Ukraine.

And the skies ahead are even brighter. The neocons can expect to assert more power as President Barack Obama fades into “lame-duck” status, as his diplomatic initiatives on Syria and Iran struggle (in part because the Ukraine crisis has driven a deep wedge between Obama and Putin), as neocon-leaning Democrat Hillary Clinton scares off any serious opposition for the 2016 presidential nomination, and as her most likely Republican presidential rivals also grovel for the neocons’ blessings.

But this stunning turn of fate would have been hard to predict after the neocons had steered the United States into the catastrophic Iraq War and its ugly bloodletting, including the death and maiming of tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers and the squandering of perhaps $1 trillion in U.S. taxpayers’ money.

In Election 2006, GOP congressional candidates took a pounding because Bush and the Republicans were most associated with the neocons. In Election 2008, Sen. Hillary Clinton, a neocon-lite who had voted for the Iraq War, lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Sen. Barack Obama, who had opposed invading Iraq. Then, in the general election, Obama defeated neocon standard-bearer John McCain to win the White House.

At that moment, it looked like the neocons were in serious trouble. Indeed, many of them did have to pack up their personal belongings and depart government, seeking new jobs at think tanks or other neocon-friendly non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

More significantly, their grand strategy seemed discredited. Many Americans considered the neocons’ dream of more “regime change” across the Middle East — in countries opposed to Israel, especially Syria and Iran – to be an unending nightmare of death and destruction.

After taking office, President Obama called for winding down Bush’s wars and doing some “nation-building at home.” The broad American public seemed to agree. Even some right-wing Republicans were having second thoughts about the neocons’ advocacy of an American Empire, recognizing its devastating impact on the American Republic.

The Comeback

But the neocons were anything but finished. They had positioned themselves wisely.

They still controlled government-funded operations like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED); they held prominent positions inside think tanks, from the American Enterprise Institute to the Council on Foreign Relations to the Brookings Institution; they had powerful allies in Congress, such as Senators McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman; and they dominated TV chat shows and opinion pages, particularly at the Washington Post, the capital’s hometown newspaper.

Since the late 1970s and early 1980s when they first emerged as a noticeable force in Washington, the neocons had become “insiders.” They were both admired and feared for their intellectual ferocity, but — most important for their long-term survival – they had secured access to government money, including the slush fund at NED whose budget grew to over $100 million during the Bush-43 years.

NED, which was founded in 1983, is best known for investing in other countries’ “democracy building” (or CIA-style “destabilization” campaigns, depending on your point of view), but much of NED’s money actually goes to NGOs in Washington, meaning that it became a lifeline for neocon operatives who found themselves out of work because of the arrival of Obama.

While ideological advocates for other failed movements might have had to move back home or take up new professions, the neocons had their financial ballast (from NED and many other sources) so their ideological ship could ride out the rough weather.

And, despite Obama’s opposition to the neocons’ obsession with endless warfare, he didn’t purge them from his administration. Neocons, who had burrowed deep inside the U.S. government as “civil servants” or “career foreign service officers,” remained as a “stay-behind” force, looking for new allies and biding their time.

Obama compounded this “stay-behind” problem with his fateful decision in November 2008 to adopt the trendy idea of “a team of rivals,” including keeping Republican operative (and neocon ally) Robert Gates at the Defense Department and putting hawkish Democrat Hillary Clinton, another neocon ally, at State. The neocons probably couldn’t believe their luck.

Back in Good Graces

Rather than being ostracized and marginalized – as they surely deserved for the Iraq War fiasco – key neocons were still held in the highest regard. According to his memoir Duty, Gates let neocon military theorist Frederick Kagan persuade him to support a “surge” of 30,000 U.S. soldiers into the Afghan War in 2009.

Gates wrote that “an important way station in my ‘pilgrim’s progress’ from skepticism to support of more troops [in Afghanistan] was an essay by the historian Fred Kagan, who sent me a prepublication draft.”

Defense Secretary Gates then collaborated with holdovers from Bush’s high command, including neocon favorite Gen. David Petraeus, and Secretary of State Clinton to maneuver Obama into a political corner from which he felt he had no choice but to accede to their recommendation for the “surge.”

Obama reportedly regretted the decision almost immediately after he made it. The Afghan “surge,” like the earlier neocon-driven Iraq War “surge,” cost another 1,000 or so dead U.S. soldiers but ultimately didn’t change the war’s strategic direction.

At Clinton’s State Department, other neocons were given influential posts. Frederick Kagan’s brother Robert, a neocon from the Reagan administration and co-founder of the neocon Project for the New American Century, was named to an advisory position on the Foreign Affairs Policy Board. Secretary Clinton also elevated Robert Kagan’s wife, Victoria Nuland, to be State Department spokesperson.

Though Obama’s original “team of rivals” eventually left the scene (Gates in mid-2011, Petraeus in a sex scandal in late 2012, and Clinton in early 2013), those three provided the neocons a crucial respite, time to regroup and reorganize. So, when Sen. John Kerry replaced Clinton as Secretary of State (with the considerable help of his neocon friend John McCain), the State Department’s neocons were poised for a powerful comeback.

Nuland was promoted to Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs and took personal aim at the elected government of Ukraine, which had become a choice neocon target because it maintained close ties to Russia, whose President Putin was undercutting the neocons’ “regime change” strategies in their most valued area, the Middle East. Most egregiously, Putin was helping Obama avert wars in Syria and Iran.

So, as neocon NED president Carl Gershman wrote in the Washington Post in September 2013, Ukraine became “the biggest prize,” but he added that the even juicier target beyond Ukraine was Putin, who, Gershman added, “may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

In other words, the ultimate goal of the Ukraine gambit is not just “regime change” in Kiev but “regime change” in Moscow. By eliminating the independent-minded and strong-willed Putin, the neocons presumably fantasize about slipping one of their ciphers (perhaps a Russian version of Ahmed Chalabi) into the Kremlin.

Then, the neocons could press ahead, unencumbered, toward their original “regime change” scheme in the Middle East, with wars against Syria and Iran.

As dangerous – and even crazy – as this neocon vision is (raising the specter of a possible nuclear confrontation between the United States and Russia), the neocons clearly appear back in control of U.S. foreign policy. And, they almost can’t lose in terms of their own self-interest, whichever way the Ukraine crisis breaks.

If Putin backs down in the face of U.S. ultimatums on Ukraine and Crimea, the neocons can beat their chests and argue that similar ultimatums should be presented to other neocon targets, i.e. Syria and Iran. And, if those countries don’t submit to the ultimatums, then there will be no choice but to let the U.S. bombings begin, more “shock and awe.”

On the other hand, if Putin refuses to back down and Crimea votes to abandon Ukraine and reattach itself to Russia (which has ties to Crimea dating back to Catherine the Great in the 1700s), then the neocons can ride the wave of Official Washington’s outrage, demanding that Obama renounce any future cooperation with Putin and thus clear the way for heightened confrontations with Syria and Iran.

Even if Obama can somehow continue to weave his way around the neocon war demands for the next two-plus years, his quiet strategy of collaborating with Putin to resolve difficult disputes with Syria and Iran will be dead in the water. The neocons can then wait for their own sails to fill when either President Hillary Clinton or a Republican (likely to need neocon support) moves into the White House in 2017.

But the neocons don’t need to wait that long to start celebrating. They have weathered the storm.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. He founded Consortiumnews.com in 1995 as the Internet’s first investigative magazine. He saw it as a way to combine modern technology and old-fashioned journalism to counter the increasing triviality of the mainstream U.S. news media.

Helmut Kohl quoted in Bild Zeitung: March 12, 2014
“There has been from the West in recent years, major omissions here . The mood in Ukraine was no longer  wise. Similarly, there is lack of sensitivity in dealing with our Russian neighbors, especially with President Putin.
“We could be much further today. Things cannot be solved overnight. We need time and above all prudence. This applies to all pages and all questions. We must not forget that war is a means of politics . We want peaceful and trusting  coexistence in Europe. The peaceful coexistence between different peoples and religions has to be possible even within a country.
The crisis surrounding the Ukraine makes – unfortunately – even more clear that we are not allowed to feel safe here in Europe. War is not necessarily a question of the past.

War is not necessarily a question of the past. So we have Europe deepen and expand and thereby heed : Europe and foremost remains a work of peace – with all that that entails . Beside the peace , the freedom , democracy , self-determination of people, prosperity and the rule of law ”


“Tony’s death comes only a few days after the tragic loss of Bob Crow; for the second time within a week, our movement has lost an outstanding trade unionist and socialist, and I have lost a close friend.” Arthur Scargill, former leader of the National Union of Miners.

The week just gone saw two giants of the left in Britain pass away. Rail, Maritime and Transport Union leader Bob Crow went well before his time at only 52. Tony Benn, former minister in the Labour government during the 1970s and stalwart of the left, died at 88.

Tributes have poured in for both men. Their genuine friends, colleagues and admirers praised both men’s beliefs, tenacity and courage. They saw them for the men they actually were: honest individuals who remained true to their beliefs and who demonstrated unwavering support for the wholly legitimate causes they believed in.

  Others who hated the socialist beliefs espoused by Benn and Crow paid back-handed complements or offered condolences by merely saying Bob Crow and Tony Benn fought well for what they believed in. Little if anything was said about what they actually believed in or the legitimacy of their beliefs.

 Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Twitter:

 “Sad to learn of the passing of Tony Benn. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.”

PM David Cameron said:

“Tony Benn was a magnificent writer, speaker and campaigner. There was never a dull moment listening to him, even if you disagreed with him.”

  When Margaret Thatcher died last year, her ‘achievements’ were listed, while her wrongdoings were conveniently glossed over. Her supporters in the media and in politics, like Hague and Cameron and those who pretended to portray a neutral stance, included in their lavish praise for her that she was a ‘conviction’ politician and her policies were regarded by some as ‘divisive’. But, on the whole, the general tone of these people was that she did what had to be done. In the wake of Benn and Crow’s passing, by what is not said, it is implied that they were totally misguided.   

  When Thatcher died, such people paid scant regard to the decimation of manufacturing industry under Thatcher’s tenure, the selling off public assets built up by the hands of labour over the decades to profiteers, the deregulation of financial pratices which ultimately contributed to the taxpayer having to ‘bail out’ billionaire bankers, the near destruction of the trade union movement, the ultimate dismantling of the post-war Keynesian consensus on behalf of global capital and the devastation of working class communities across Britain.

  All of this was swept aside by bureaucrat, careerist politicians, mainstream media anchors and commentators who stated that her policies were sometimes ‘contentious’, or they spewed out some other platitude in attempt to gloss over her treacherous impacts and policies.

 Those who suffered as a result of her policies and her political opponents could see through her lies about the efficacy of privatisation or her obsession with the market. Her policies helped to facilitate the shifting of power and wealth from ordinary people to the mega rich, a process the likes of which have not been seen before in modern history. 

 Mick McGahey, Vice President of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) between 1972 and 1988, said that the NUM understood the Thatcher government’s determination to use the state machine against it and that in order to dismember the welfare state and engineer the appropriation of power and wealth by elite interests, the government had to break the trade union movement and they needed to break the miners first.

  The miners lost and what we are left with is the Britain we have today, pillaged, manipulated and controlled by the rich.

 Tony Benn stood against everything that Thatcher stood for. And that’s why in the 1980s, he was vilified. The right wing mainstream media depicted him as being part of the ‘loony left’, and in more recent times Bob Crow was often portrayed as a ‘dinosaur’, a throwback to the Benn era. Both men stood up for the rights of ordinary working class men and women and fought against incompetent management, privatisation, imperialism, the criminal wars engaged in by Britain and the policies of exploitation and the grabbing of wealth by elite interests that masquerade as neo-liberalism.

  Thatcher, followed by Blair and New Labour, did immense damage to the ordinary people of Britain and was rightfully held to account by Tony Benn. When others in the Labour movement ditched their principles to become fudgers, yes-men and careerists, Benn and Crow remained true to their beliefs.

 They stood opposed to the deceit, duplicity, war mongering and hypocrisy of the likes of Cameron, Hague and Blair. They did not want to bring about a ‘fairer’ capitalism, as the current leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband espouses. They had no time for a corrupt, moribund system.

 There is a speech given by Tony Benn in the British parliament in 1990. At that time, the full impact and devastation of Thatcher’s policies had hit the nation. During the speech, Benn talked about having recently been on a crowded train, where people had been tapping away on calculators and not interacting or making eye contact with one another. It represented what Britain had become under Thatcherism: cold, selfish, narcissistic and an erosion of a sense of community.

 The train broke down. As time went by, people began to talk with one another, offer each snacks and shared stories. Benn said it wasn’t too long before that train had been turned into a socialist train of self-help and comradeship. Human nature had finally shone through on that train and had overcome the hypocritical and damaging ‘values’ that had been rammed down the throats of the Brits under Thatcherism.

  For Tony Benn, socialism wasn’t merely an ideology, it was human nature, the type found on that train. In words, deeds and personas, Tony Benn and Bob Crow embodied the genuine notion of socialism, the best aspects of ‘human nature’.

Now that US Secretary of State John Kerry has issued an ultimatum to Russia, telling Putin that he has until Monday to follow Washington’s orders or else, hopefully everyone can see the repeat of the March of Folly that produced World War 1.

In my last column, “Merkel Whores For Washington,” I mistakenly attributed to Khrushchev all transfers of Russian territory to Ukraine.  The first gifts of Russian territories to Ukraine were made by Lenin, and the last was Sevastopol in the early 1990s.

I have posted today Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s account of how Russian territory was given to Ukraine.  In the meantime, Washington’s puppet regime in Kiev has sent in thugs to commit violence against protesting Russians in eastern Ukraine who want nothing to do with Washington’s stooges in Kiev, prompting Russia to issue another warning that the Russian military will protect Russians. Clearly, Washington is doing everything it can to provoke Putin into sending the Russian Army into eastern Ukraine.  Now that Merkel has sold out Europe, the course of Ukrainian events seems clear, which provides an opportunity for me to address Washington’s coup-in-the-making against Venezuela.

Venezuela Also Is Being Overthrown By The Criminal Regime In Washington

The Washington orchestrated coup in Ukraine has kept Venezuela out of the headlines.

A confrontation with nuclear armed Russia is more dangerous than with Venezuela.  But the violence that Washington has unleashed on Venezuela almost simultaneously with Ukraine is testimony to Washington’s stark criminality.

South America has always consisted of a tiny Spanish elite with all the money and power ruling over large majority populations of indigenous peoples who have not had political representation.  In Venezuela, Chavez broke this pattern. An indigenous president was elected who represented the people and worked in their behalf instead of looting the country. Chavez became a role model, and indigenous presidents were elected in Ecuador and Bolivia.

Chavez was hated by Washington and demonized by American presstitutes.  When Chavez died of cancer, Washington celebrated.

Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, was inclined in favor of granting asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Consequently, Washington ordered its European puppet states to deny overflight permission to President Morales’ airplane on its return to Bolivia from Russia. Morales’ airplane, in violation of every diplomatic protocol, was forced down and searched.  Morales has since suffered other indignities at the hands of the Washington criminals.

Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador, made himself a target of Washington by granting political asylum to Julian Assange.  On Washington’s orders, Washington’s  British puppet state has refused to grant free passage to Assange, and Assange is spending his life in the London Embassy of Ecuador, just as Cardinal Mindszenty spent his life in the US Embassy in Communist Hungary.

With Chavez’s death, indigenous Venezuelan Nicolas Maduro became president. Maduro does not have Chavez’s charisma, which makes him an easier target for the tiny Spanish elite that owns the media. 

Washington began the attack on Maduro by attacking the Venezuelan currency and driving down its value in currency markets.  Then university students, many of whom are the children of the rich Spanish elites, were sent out to protest.  The falling Venezuelan currency raised prices and spread dissatisfaction among Maduro’s poor indigenous base.  To put down the rioting, property damage, and unrest that Washington is using to launch a coup, Maduro had to turn to the police. Secretary of State John Kerry has labeled the government’s effort to reestablish public order and forestall a coup a “terror campaign against its own citizens.”

Having orchestrated the protests and plotted a coup, Kerry blamed Maduro for the violence that Kerry unleashed and called on Maduro “to respect human rights.”

For Washington, it is always the same script. Commit a crime and blame the victim.

If Washington can overthrow Maduro, the next target will be Correa.  If Washington can get rid of Correa and re-empower a puppet government of rich Spanish elites, Washington can have the Ecuadoran government revoke the political asylum that Correa granted to Julian Assange.  The Ecuadoran Embassy in London will be ordered to kick Assange out into the waiting arms of the British police who will send him to Sweden who will send him to Washington to be tortured until he confesses to whatever Washington demands.

The poor gullible dupes demonstrating in Venezuelan streets have no more idea of the damage they are doing to themselves and others than their counterparts in Ukraine had. Venezuelans have already forgotten what life for them was like under the rule of the Spanish elites. It appears that Venezuelans are determined to help Washington to return them to their servitude.

If Washington reconquers Venezuela and Ecuador, Bolivia will be next. Then Brazil.

Washington has its sights on Brazil, because the country is a member of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), and Washington intends to destroy this organization before the countries can establish a trading bloc that does not use the US dollar.

Not long ago a US official said that as soon as we (Washington) get Russia in a bind, we will deal with the upstarts in South America. 

The program is on schedule.

The First Nations-led movement Idle No More emerged in Canada in December 2012 to protest legislation that threatened both the rights of First Nations and environmental protections. The movement has since spread into the U.S. and beyond – and has become one of the central voices in the struggle for Indigenous and ecological justice.

Ragina Johnson and Brian Ward (RJ, BW): To start with, the U.S. State Department recently released a report whitewashing the environmental impact of the Keystone XL project, which moves the tar sands pipeline closer to being approved by Barack Obama. Can you talk about how the KXL project has highlighted the need to unite across borders and build solidarity – between environmental justice activists and First Nations?

Alex Wilson (AW): I think that the report wasn’t shocking, but at the same time, it reminded people of the urgency of the situation. I think people are finally starting to see that we’re entering a state of crisis. People always talk about the tipping point, and I think we’re there. All of these oil pipelines that have been leaking and exploding, and all of the rail cars carrying oil that have been derailing are just symptoms of this bigger sickness.

 

It seems like there’s an increased level of awareness – but at the same time, there is increased ignorance from the Canadian and U.S. governments.  This is an indication of just how powerful the energy industry lobbyists are. Solidarity is more important now than ever.

 RJ, BW: Can you talk about the project to extract more tar sands crude oil from Alberta? What has that meant for people in Canada and First Nations?

 AW: It’s accelerating everything – the emissions, the impact on the earth, the impact on the wildlife and so on. We’re seeing studies that consistently report how extraction negatively impacts people’s and worker’s health in the local region. People are seeing the effects of environmental racism, and how this connects to the exploitation of women and children, increased violence and the drug trade in surrounding areas where pipelines are built.

The Climate Action Network did an important analysis about how the Canadian government is pushing this idea that the Canadian economy is dependent on tar sands oil – that’s what kids are being taught in schools and that’s what the media is telling us. The narrative is that tar sands is so important to our gross domestic product – but in reality, tar sands only accounts for 3.5 per cent of our GDP. It’s not what they’re making it out to be.

The government is releasing the First Nations Education Act along with other legislation that will negatively impact First Nations people. So all of these things are happening at the same time. I think that it’s no coincidence that they’re timed like this. It’s done to overwhelm people and make it harder for us to fight back.

Then there’s the voter ID component of the Fair Elections Act. This would prohibit vouching for another person and/or using a Voter Identification card as valid if they didn’t have other identification. The people most impacted by this are people who are most marginalized by the mainstream electoral process – including urban aboriginal people, First Nations on reserves, people who don’t have a fixed address, people who are lower socio-economic status.

So what’s this going to do? The law will cut out all the people who would vote more progressive or be in opposition to right-wing policies.

RJ, BW: We know Idle No More has been doing a lot of work around the First Nations Education Act. Could you say what it is and how it plays into the larger termination policy of the Canadian government under Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper?

AW: In a nutshell, the First Nations Education Act takes away federal responsibility for First Nations education and puts responsibility onto provincial governments. At first, this wouldn’t seem like a big deal, but the act will take away power from First Nations education authorities, and make them more dependent on federal or provincial authorities. There was little to no consultation on an issue that could potentially see First Nations losing sovereignty over their own education.

RJ, BW: It seems like this is part of the bigger struggle that Idle No More is fighting. How has Idle No More helped or influenced other struggles that have been happening for years and maybe weren’t well known?

 AW: That question is really relevant, because sometimes, we think, “Well, we were unable to stop a bill,” and people say, “Idle No More isn’t working, it’s just holding teach-ins.” But I think all the incremental changes do add up, in the way of a groundswell.

I think a really great example is the mascot issue. There has been resistance to the Washington football team’s name for decades. But now – and I think Idle No More plays a big part in this – there’s more awareness, and it’s gone beyond the Native community and typical allies into the mainstream. To some, the mascot issue is relatively unimportant in the scheme of things. But in reality, it’s a symptom of larger systemic problems of racism in our educational settings and society in general.

We have an issue in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with Bedford Road Collegiate, a high school that has a racist mascot [they are known as the “Redmen”]. There has been resistance to that for decades, and it’s in a city with an aboriginal population of 14 per cent. But now we’ve started to see some movement, and I think it’s due to Idle No More, and the growing network and support it’s gaining from all over.

The other day, someone said, “I’m no Idle No More supporter, but I think this mascot in Saskatoon should change.” I said to myself, we never mentioned Idle No More at these school board meetings or anything, but it’s in people’s heads that social movements and social change is connected to Idle No More. I think that’s great. You don’t have to be apologetic about it – you can join the movement. Hopefully, that school board will make a decision soon, and others in the province and elsewhere will follow suit.

I think if we can use our network, with hundreds of thousands of people now, we can have a greater impact. People are really profoundly impacted when they begin to understand and see that this is truly a nonviolent movement and a different kind of social movement.

 RJ, BW: On the question of nonviolence, it seems like the Canadian media have tried to vilify certain people as violent – in particular, during the struggle of Mi’kmaq people of the Elsipogtog nation and their supporters against seismic testing for natural gas fracking, where they carried out regular blockades of Highway 11 through New Brunswick. How have people in Canada dealt with the smear campaign that Idle No More is a violent movement?

 AW: I think that would be a great case study for any kind of university class or community group doing analysis of the mainstream media. That one image of the police car on fire in Elsipogtog got more coverage than anything else.

It’s interesting – I don’t think Idle No More had to do that much to counter this narrative. It’s just emerged naturally. Again, I would say that’s an indication of a shift in the general public’s awareness about Indigenous issues and environmental concerns, brought on by social media, teach-ins and informal forms of education.

The media is really frustrated with Idle No More because they want one or two spokespersons. That doesn’t happen. They want to see hierarchy, and that doesn’t happen. Everything that they want, Idle No More isn’t doing – and so they then say the movement is unorganized, with no leadership. But that’s the beauty of why it’s working.

The media want that one good photo or that one person to say the right sound bite so they can attack it and undo it. If they don’t have the one spokesperson to attack, then what are they going to do – attack every person? They can try, but you have 8 year olds popping up and saying something, you have elders, you have educators.

The Round Dance Revolution is significant, too, because it’s welcoming and bringing everybody in. For me, that’s a spiritual connection. I think that there is some underlying energetic movement that connects us and keeps us moving forward.

In general, there’s a hopefulness. Idle No More is really significant in that it has predominantly been women who have kept the movement on track, even though it has been difficult at times. We have come under some criticism, but we still keep going.

Currently, there’s a focus on creating accessible education for transformation. There’s a website being developed that will have educational materials on anti-racism, anti-oppression, sustainability, environmental rights and activism, treaties and more. So basically, it’s bringing everything together so people can share information.

RJ, BW: On the question of women, author and activist Andrea Smith has documented how Native women in the U.S. experience some of the highest rates of sexual violence of any group – a consequence, according to Smith, of the deep connection between colonialism, land theft, sexual violence and environmental racism. How has Idle No More highlighted the demands for women’s rights and body sovereignty?

 AW: There are so many interconnecting issues that Idle No More addresses. One critical issue to focus on and to set up goals around is the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. We know that it’s an important and overlooked issue in the U.S., Mexico, and Central and South America as well.

As a strategy, to pick this one thing and push for an inquiry in Canada is one step. People have suggested that the inquiry be designed, developed and implemented by Indigenous people, including the family and community members who have been impacted personally. That way, the federal government will not dictate the methods, the findings and the recommendations, and the process itself has the potential to contribute to healing.

We know any governmental report will generally paint missing women as being victims of the sex trade and will blame them for what has happened. So the report isn’t going to be satisfactory to the families of the victims, to us, or to anybody else. If we can get everybody’s efforts behind a community-driven inquiry, we could see some change.

The body sovereignty piece is important. If you don’t have rights over your own body, you don’t have rights over anything. Native women’s bodies have been so regulated by legislation, procedures and practices that stripped away that notion of sovereignty. Obviously, residential schools, forced sterilization, the Indian Act, the narrow definition of marriage and property rights have all contributed to that.

Our own communities have internalized the damaging message of colonialism – that you can own property, and that women are property. A big part of breaking this is just stating that we have the right to sovereignty over our own bodies. For some people, that’s really empowering, even to say this, because they never thought of it before. Body sovereignty means we have sovereignty over our own bodies and actions, and that extends to our communities and to the land as well.

Gender self-determination is important, too. In many of our languages, there has always been a continuum of gender, or an understanding that people can express their gender in whichever way their body sovereign entity desires or wants.

Even our sexuality has been so scripted and regulated – the notion that people are free to be happy sexual beings is very foreign for many aboriginal people. The issue of missing and murdered women is not just about addressing some 800 missing and murdered women. It’s also about taking on the whole system that perpetuates women as less than human.

RJ, BW: This dehumanization that you’re talking about seems to affect Native and aboriginal people at a very young age – look at the high rates of suicide or attempted suicide for youth, especially on reservations in the U.S.

AW: Exactly. just to use queer youth as an example, we’re seeing 10 times the suicide rates in LGBT aboriginal communities in Canada. In a new study that came out on transgender aboriginal youth, almost half of them have attempted suicide.

When you talk about oppression, it’s not a competition, of course. But you can see where all these interconnecting factors come together, with transgender aboriginal youth as the intersection point. What would make it so that half of aboriginal trans youth don’t want to be in the world any  more? We see them dropping out of school as young as they start identifying as transgender – as early as third grade. It’s appalling.

Protest in Montreal against the Harper government’s plans to extend pipeline 9 into Quebec (March 1, 2014). [Photo: Lou Musacchio/Flickr]

This highlights the necessity for systematic change, because it’s not just individuals creating oppression. Oppression isn’t nature. It’s not innate. It’s not biological. It’s something we’ve done ourselves. There’s a spark of hope there, because that means we can undo it. It’s always hopeful that all these socially constructed forms of oppression can be undone.

That’s the spirit of Idle No More that endures and energizes people. We can stand up to something – and if we’re together and united, we can change it.

RJ, BW: How has being involved in Idle No More and these longer-term struggles been empowering for activists? Have you seen a rebirth or blossoming of Native pride through the movement?

 AW: Most definitely. The point of Idle No More is about shifting our understanding and our actions so that we aren’t defined by colonization. We’re ourselves. We have the right to be ourselves. It seems like something simple, but it’s a big concept. For so long, we have been defined and regulated. Now, we’re finally able to present ourselves as who we are. It’s so energizing and exciting.

I can’t imagine myself in grade 12, years ago, doing what youth today are doing. Like Andre, a youth activist in Saskatchewan who is part of the resistance to the Bedford Road logo, standing up and speaking out in school board meetings against racist mascots. The amount of pride in him is unbelievable. He’s openly gay and Cree, so he’s got all the “risk factors.” There are youth like him everywhere, and I think it’s encouraging to see him stand up.

 RJ, BW: Idle No More is just over a year old. How has it changed? What debates and discussions are happening?

 AW: I think each local community has become focused on their local needs, for one. Groups in certain regions have become more galvanized and have taken on a life of their own. The group in Winnipeg has created its own look and feel that’s unique to its community and the needs of its community – similarly in Hawaii, the Bay Area, Minneapolis and so many other communities.

There’s no Idle No More central. This is a misperception that some people have. But there are ways that people unite and stay together, or connect as a vast network – for example, through the website, the database and many Facebook pages.

I think the partnership with Defenders of the Land has been really good, and some people don’t know about that. Defenders of the Land is a grassroots movement that’s networking with Idle No More.

I think the network is getting bigger. We see the Climate Action Network, the ISO, other activists – not just around environmental issues, but human rights as well – as all becoming part of the Idle No More network. There’s a lot of overlap, I think.

Also in Canada, Native people are questioning the formalized structures that are in place, like the Assembly of First Nations. So I think that’s something we will have to figure out how to move forward with. Because the last thing we want is oppressed groups fighting each other. That’s been a bit of a challenge, because the media portrays it that way. They always spin it as two indigenous groups against each other.

We have a federal election coming up next year in Canada. I hope a lot of people vote in the election, even though I know a lot of Native people don’t vote and for obvious reasons.

 RJ, BW: We all know that the U.S. and Canada have broken every treaty they made with Native people. How important is the role of treaties, and how has the idea of sovereignty been highlighted in Idle No More’s work?

 AW: Treaty alliances are being formed, especially in the Prairie Provinces. There’s a better understanding of treaties today than there was even two years ago. Part of this is because in some places, education about treaties is mandated. But there’s also a general interest in knowing more about treaties. That goes hand in hand with sovereignty and self-determination.

Some people don’t agree with treaties because they are agreements with the Crown, so they don’t acknowledge them or honor them. But others do.

There’s another important issue of unceded territory – territory that was never ceded to the Crown. These are the gray areas that aren’t covered by treaties. Technically, there’s quite a bit of land still under the reign of First Nations that is categorized as unceded territory.

RJ, BW: How are those battles being fought out? We’ve heard of British Columbia going through the courts about this issue. Are people trying to go through these unceded lands? Have there been standoffs between First Nations and corporations?

AW: There’s A bit of confusion because if a company has permission from the province to harvest whatever, in the eyes of the courts, that’s legal. From the other point of view, it’s illegal, because the province didn’t have the right to give up the land in the first place. We have our own natural laws that dictate. I think that has caused tension, and it will continue until there’s a way to resolve it.

In some First Nations communities, leaders are making agreements for resource extraction. That’s another thing that has been very controversial, because the reality is that many First Nations see resource extraction as the only viable economic solution. Part of Idle No More is to highlight that there are sustainable economic solutions. The webinars are very successful in terms of the number of people who have been engaged with them – there was one with Winona LaDuke on that topic.

Native peoples still work in tar sands. We have community members who work in mines. The movement isn’t about vilifying people. The movement is about undoing and addressing the systems and the inequities in wealth distribution, and finding ways to be sustainable as humans that won’t destroy the planet by the turn of the next century.

RJ, BW: There are different opinions about extraction mining, even among tribes and nations in the U.S. For example, the Crow Agency, the administrative headquarters of the Crow or Apsaalooke Nation, has moved forward with a project to continue massive coal mining extraction. On the other end of this project, though, there’s resistance from the Lummi Nation and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, which are against having coal shipped through their Northwest territory by rail. This is why the work of Idle No More is so important – not just to say we shouldn’t have extreme extraction, but for us to understand why tribes and nations are forced to do this. It’s the legacy of hundreds of years of economic inequality.

AW: Yes, and it’s a quick solution. People always talk about these seven generations that we should be looking toward. I don’t think too many nations actually do this. But I think we’re at the point now, based on what science – Indigenous science and Western science – is saying and what we’re experiencing in terms of climate change, where we can’t even look forward to seven generations. One generation or two is the rate we’re going, and that will be it.

There are so many issues. It’s truly social justice and ecological justice. I think that’s another thing that the movement has helped me and others understand – the interdependence and the relationality of how everything and everyone is connected. •

This interview first published on the Socialist Worker website.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: Ukraine and The New Russia

March 14th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

I recalled correctly from my Russian studies a half century ago that Soviet leaders had stuck Russian territories into Ukraine, but I mistakenly attributed all of the transfers to Khrushchev. (Paul Craig Roberts)

An Interview With Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,” by Paul Klebnikov, in the May 9, 1994, issue of Forbes magazine

With Russia in chaos, it does sound a bit far-fetched to see her as an aggressor.

Russia today is terribly sick. Her people are sick to the point of total exhaustion. But even so, have a conscience and don’t demand that–just to please America–Russia throw away the last vestiges of her concern for her security and her unprecedented collapse. After all, this concern in no way threatens the United States.

Former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski disagrees. He argues that the U.S. must defend the independence of Ukraine.

In 1919, when he imposed his regime on Ukraine, Lenin gave her several Russian provinces to assuage her feelings. These provinces have never historically belonged to Ukraine. I am talking about the eastern and southern territories of today’s Ukraine.

Then, in 1954, Khrushchev, with the arbitrary capriciousness of a satrap, made a “gift” of the Crimea to Ukraine. But even he did not manage to make Ukraine a “gift” of Sevastopol, which remained a separate city under the jurisdiction of the U.S.S.R. central government. This was accomplished by the American State Department, first verbally through Ambassador Popadiuk in Kiev and later in a more official manner.

Why does the State Department decide who should get Sevastopol? If one recalls the tactless declaration of President Bush about supporting Ukrainian sovereignty even before the referendum on that matter, one must conclude that all this stems from a common aim: to use all means possible, no matter what the consequences, to weaken Russia.

Why does independence for Ukraine weaken Russia?

As a result of the sudden and crude fragmentation of the intermingled Slavic peoples, the borders have torn apart millions of ties of family and friendship. Is this acceptable? The recent elections in Ukraine, for instance, clearly show the [Russian] sympathies of the Crimean and Donets populations. And a democracy must respect this.

I myself am nearly half Ukrainian. I grew up with the sounds of Ukrainian speech. I love her culture and genuinely wish all kinds of success for Ukraine–but only within her real ethnic boundaries, without grabbing Russian provinces.

 Kiev Ukrain Map [1]

Mi mente está a punto de explotar. Las noticias son tan surrealistas que sólo puedo enfrentarlas recurriendo a la sátira. Imagina que se inviertan los roles… (borrosa escena de transición onírica):

ÚLTIMAS NOTICIAS: Putin, Xi, Maduro y Castro llegan a Quebec para negociar un gobierno de transición y proteger a la provincia disidente de represalias por parte de la “hegemonía cultural de habla inglesa”. Putin acusa a Obama de interferir mientras disturbios atraviesan Toronto y Montreal ayudados por el entrenamiento y financiamiento secreto de Rusia y China.  La promesa de Lavrov de mandar “al carajo a esos cabrones ingleses”  quedó grabada en un vídeo. El santo Obama se queda de brazos cruzados diciendo: “No es de nuestra incumbencia. Lo nuestro se trata de libertad, por encima y también por debajo de la frontera.

La situación está perdiendo rápidamente el control mientras que aquellos a los que Putin describe como “manifestantes pacíficos”, se arman con bombas Molotov, fusiles de francotirador y armas saqueadas de los cuarteles de la policía. Unos 87 agentes del orden público fueron asesinados, algunos fueron matados a golpes por una multitud furiosa en plena luz del día. El intento del Presidente canadiense de restaurar el orden fue recibido con una dura y pronta condena por parte de China, de Rusia y de los miembros del Consejo de Cooperación de Shanghái, el cual impuso sanciones inmediatas a Canadá así como también restricciones de viajes a miembros clave del gobierno electo libremente. Putin, quien preguntaba sobre la evidente contradicción entre sus comentarios que elogiaban a las pandillas que hacían justicia por mano propia y sus declaraciones de “democracia” y “libertad de expresión”, permaneció impasible. En respuesta a reiteradas preguntas sobre cómo podía mantener tal posición cuando sus propios ministros habían sido grabados planificando un golpe, arremetió contra los periodistas, Obama y la situación:

“¡Váyanse al carajo! Somos los canallas más prominentes en esta coalición y no nos importa un pito lo que los demás piensen. Hemos derrocado gobiernos en 50, 60 países en los últimos 50 años. ¿Ustedes creen que una sarta de mentiras y rumores quejumbrosos  van a detenernos? No se confundan. Hacemos lo que queremos y, sobre la marcha, inventamos mentiras para justificarlo. Luego, plantamos historias en una prensa corrupta y sumisa para que sus ciudadanos idiotas tomen parte en el juego. Además… ¡La Democracia! ¡La Libertad! ¡Slavsya strana! (¡Gloria al País!); Etc.”

Mientras toda la comunidad mundial,  con excepción de Albania y Andorra,  está horrorizada ante el arrebato de Putin, Obama permanecía curiosamente optimista. “Eso tiene sentido para mí. Queda claro que estas son sólo víctimas inocentes de un diabólico gobierno electo para armar asechanzas. No veo razón alguna por la cual debería estar alarmado ante pandillas armadas que disparan a policías y queman propiedades estatales, incluso cuando están financiados por nuestros enemigos en un país que comparte la frontera internacional más larga del mundo. Sólo esperaremos a ver qué pasa. Pero, ¿qué carajos sé yo? Soy un completo títere hecho de un maldito soquete. Soy el mayor títere de un presidente desde Truman y dos veces más peligroso. Puedo ser eso o la reencarnación del mal. Aún no me he decidido completamente”.

Sólo bromeaba. En realidad, Obama dio la orden inmediata de invadir Canadá, fundamentalmente a la abatida Montreal, Toronto, Quebec, y por alguna razón, Calgary, alegando que esperaba atrapar y sorprender desprevenidos a esos cabrones rojos. DEFCON 5 (grado de alerta)  puso a Beijing, Moscú, La Havana y Caracas como blancos  nucleares mientras que submarinos fueron colocados en posición  para un primer ataque contra todas las ciudades. Ante una conferencia de prensa inusualmente tensa, el Presidente estalló de rabia y dijo: “No podemos permitir esta clase de intromisión en nuestras fronteras. Quiero decir, ¿se imaginan si comenzáramos guerras en, digamos, Georgia y Ucrania? Los rusos se volverían locos, y mis bolas estarían cortadas y puestas sobre una bandeja antes de que pudieran abuchearme. Y estarían completamente en todo su derecho”.

 Daniel Patrick Welch

20 de Febrero de 2014

 

Славься, страна! – un fragmento del himno ruso.

The speech delivered Tuesday on the Senate floor by Senator Dianne Feinstein provides clear and direct evidence of crimes against the US Constitution and the democratic rights of the American people, implicating top officials of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the White House, up to and including the president. Feinstein’s allegations of CIA intimidation, obstruction and spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which she chairs, constitute “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the constitutional basis for impeachment.

Feinstein has longstanding and close ties to the intelligence agencies, which she has categorically defended throughout the months of exposures of illegal spying by the National Security Agency. Yet on Tuesday she gave an hour-long speech in which she charged the CIA with spying on and withholding documents from Congress as part of an attempted cover-up of the program of torture the agency carried out under President George W. Bush.

In the course of her remarks, she provided a detailed narrative of the CIA’s criminal actions, including the attempt by CIA Director John Brennan to intimidate the Senate Intelligence Committee and derail its investigation into the Bush-era crimes by accusing committee staffers of stealing classified documents and demanding that the Justice Department launch a criminal investigation. (Brennan, as director of counter-terrorism under Bush, is implicated in the torture program.)

The portrait that emerges is of an intelligence agency that operates outside of all legal constraints, rejects any genuine congressional oversight, and functions as a law unto itself.

The haste with which the US media has moved to bury Feinstein’s remarks—which it has generally ascribed to a mere “turf war” between the Senate and the CIA—is itself an indication of the fundamental nature of the crimes outlined by the senator and the complicity of the corporate-controlled media in those crimes.

What is involved is nothing less than an open attack on the constitutional order that arose on the basis of the American Revolution, which is founded on the “separation of powers” and a system of “checks and balances” between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government—something the founders deemed essential to prevent the emergence of a dictatorship. The CIA’s subversion of the Senate probe into its activities—including its refusal to sanction the publication of a declassified version of the Intelligence Committee’s 6,300 page report—is a milestone in the establishment of a de facto dictatorship of the military/intelligence establishment over the people.

That the White House is complicit is clear both in Feinstein’s own account of the events and in the response from the Obama administration to the charges. On Wednesday, President Obama sought to pose as a neutral arbiter in the “issues that are going back and forth between the Senate committee and the CIA.” He added, however, that “Brennan has referred them to the appropriate authorities,” making clear that he backs the CIA director and the agency’s decision to file a criminal complaint against the Senate Intelligence Committee. His remarks echoed those of his press secretary, Jay Carney, who said Tuesday that Obama had “great confidence” in Brennan.

The list of crimes and those implicated include:

* The initiation in 2002 (under CIA Director George Tenet) of a secret detention system (“black sites”) in various locations around the world to hold and torture prisoners. According to Feinstein, an initial review by her committee of these programs was “chilling.” She stated, “The interrogations and the conditions of confinement… were far more harsh than the way the CIA has described them to us.”

* The destruction in November of 2005 of 92 videotapes of CIA torture, including water boarding. Among those who approved the destruction of these tapes was Robert Eatinger, then a CIA lawyer and currently the acting CIA general counsel. It is Eatinger who, earlier this year, informed the White House about plans to file a criminal complaint against Senate Intelligence Committee staffers.

In 2010, Obama’s Justice Department decided not to file criminal charges related to the destruction of the torture tapes—part of an overall policy of whitewashing and covering up for the crimes of the Bush administration.

* The Senate Intelligence Committee voted to carry out a full investigation of the CIA detention program in March 2009. From the beginning, this investigation was obstructed by the CIA, almost certainly with the support of the Obama White House. Instead of turning over documents as is standard practice, committee staffers were required to view material in a special office at the CIA, then headed by former Clinton administration official Leon Panetta. In 2010, according to Feinstein, “documents… that had been provided for the committee’s staff were no longer accessible.”

In her remarks Tuesday, Feinstein said that, “the CIA stated that the removal of the documents was ordered by the White House.” If true, the White House is guilty of obstructing a congressional investigation into illegal activity on the part of the executive branch, which includes the CIA. Feinstein noted that the White House denied giving this order.

* In 2010, as part of its investigation, the committee came across drafts of an internal CIA investigation (the “Panetta review”), which, according to Feinstein, includes an “acknowledgment of significant CIA wrongdoing”—i.e., criminal activity. This report has never been made public. Again, these documents were later removed from computers accessible to the Senate Intelligence Committee, though staffers were able to save a copy of some documents included in the review.

* In December 2012, the Intelligence Committee completed its review of the CIA program. Last June, Brennan delivered a 122-page response to the Senate report, rebutting key aspects of the report. This response, which remains classified, contradicts the CIA’s own internal review, the Panetta review, according to Feinstein and other members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

* Last December, the Intelligence Committee requested that the CIA provide it with the full and complete version of the Panetta review. Brennan turned down the request and shortly thereafter, on January 15 of this year, according to Feinstein, he informed the committee that the CIA had secretly searched the computers of committee staff and indicated that the agency would continue to investigate staff members involved in the Senate committee’s review. Feinstein charged that this “may well have violated the separation of powers” as well as “the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act [and] Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance.”

* The CIA followed up its illegal search by filing a complaint with the Justice Department for a criminal investigation into the committee staff, and possibly senators on the committee itself, including Feinstein. The White House was informed of these plans in January and did nothing—giving these actions its tacit support. Feinstein labeled the move “a potential effort to intimidate this staff” and the Intelligence Committee as a whole.

* A report by McClatchy on Wednesday states that more than 9,000 documents have been withheld from the Intelligence Committee at the direct order of the White House, even though Obama has not claimed executive privilege. The news agency quotes Elizabeth Goitein of the New York University Law School as noting, “These documents certainly raise the specter that the White House has been involved in stonewalling the investigation.”

These actions go far beyond the extremely serious crimes carried out by Nixon in the Watergate scandal, which led to his resignation in 1974 in the face of near-certain impeachment and removal from office. Revealed are, at the very least, violations of international and domestic law (torture), the destruction of evidence, obstruction of justice, violation of the separation of powers, and illegal spying.

They implicate the top CIA officials throughout this period as well as the leading White House officials, including Obama himself. They have been carried out by Obama’s appointees and people who work very closely with him. Brennan was Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser during his first term.

All of this has been conducted behind the backs of the American people. Feinstein herself, as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has long sanctioned the crimes of the state and is complicit in their cover-up, making a public statement only after she felt compelled to do so in the face of the CIA’s legal attack. The senators had, in her words, done everything they could “to resolve this dispute in a discreet and respectful way”—i.e., behind closed doors.

At the same time, under both Bush and Obama, a massive unconstitutional spying apparatus has been constructed, partially revealed by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Again, the entire state is complicit, including the Obama White House and Feinstein, who has publicly accused Snowden of carrying out an “act of treason.” The president has also openly acknowledged unilaterally ordering the assassination of US citizens.

Impeachment proceedings against government officials are fully warranted, but by no means sufficient. These crimes against the American people must not go unpunished. All of the facts, including the names of all of the perpetrators and accomplices, must be published.

This would begin to peel back the conspiracy of silence between the White House, the intelligence agencies, Congress, the courts and the media that has given the CIA, the NSA and the Pentagon a green light to shred the Bill of Rights and establish the framework for totalitarian rule.

Nearly a decade-and-a-half has passed since the stolen election of 2000. Since then, the attack on democratic rights has escalated, under Democratic no less than Republican administrations. It has been driven by the staggering growth of social inequality, on the one hand, and the increasing turn to militarism and war on the other. The record has demonstrated that no section of the political establishment retains any serious commitment to democratic rights.

The defense of democratic rights is a class question. The emergence of dictatorial forms of rule and the uncontrolled activity of the intelligence agencies are rooted in the capitalist system and the interests of the ruling class. Democracy is not compatible with endless war and social counterrevolution.

To prevent dictatorship and defend its democratic rights, the working class must organize itself independently in a struggle against the existing political and economic system on the basis of a socialist program.

 

Joseph Kishore and Barry Grey

The report from Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher, based on the Edward Snowden leaks reveals that the NSA – surprise, surprise – has automated its spying operations, so that malware once used to target the odd terror suspect can now be used routinely. The programme is called “Owning the net”. (Israel also gets a special shout-out in the report for its work with the NSA in developing malware.)So it’s no longer – and, of course, never was – only about tracking metadata from our phone calls and Google searches. This is industrialised spying, including on domestic populations, using our interactions with the net (which means most of our activities) to know what is going on in our minds.

Much of the evidence cited in the report is from 2009, so it is difficult to know how much further the NSA has gone in implementing its plans. My guess is things are far worse than even this report suggests: five years is a long time in software development.

The automated system – codenamed TURBINE – is designed to “allow the current implant network to scale to large size (millions of implants) by creating a system that does automated control implants by groups instead of individually.” …

In 2004, according to secret internal records, the agency was managing a small network of only 100 to 150 implants. But over the next six to eight years, as an elite unit called Tailored Access Operations (TAO) recruited new hackers and developed new malware tools, the number of implants soared to tens of thousands. …

In many cases, firewalls and other security measures do not appear to pose much of an obstacle to the NSA. Indeed, the agency’s hackers appear confident in their ability to circumvent any security mechanism that stands between them and compromising a computer or network. “If we can get the target to visit us in some sort of web browser, we can probably own them,” an agency hacker boasts in one secret document.

As I have stated in these pages so often I’m starting to bore myself repeating it, we – the people who elect and supposedly control our governing bodies – are the ultimate targets of these surveillance operations. It is about developing the ability to identify early signs of dissent, so as to snuff out opposition before it can win large-scale support. I was intrigued by the brief reference in the piece to one programme called “Operation Socialist” – interesting to know who were included in that hacking operation.

These programmes are a backstop, designed to deal with the fall-out if our media fail in their struggle to persuade us – given the overwhelming evidence to the contrary – of our leaders’ benign intent and democratic accountability.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/03/12/nsa-plans-infect-millions-computers-malware/

- See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2014-03-14/nsa-malware-industrialises-spying/#sthash.wl8v92kk.dpuf

In an article published Wednesday by the Intercept, “How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware,” Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher made public yet more revelations—based on documents provided to them by Edward Snowden—about US National Security Agency surveillance operations.

The latest documents show that the NSA has escalated its “active” surveillance operations exponentially during the past decade. In contrast to passive surveillance, active surveillance methods involve intervening directly against targeted machines using a sophisticated arsenal of malware for a range of surveillance-related purposes. According to the Intercept, the NSA’s malware efforts have already infected at least 85,000 to 100,000 computers.

The leaked documents detail various aspects of a worldwide surveillance machine that is increasingly automated.

The growth of spying operations has encouraged the agency to automate aspects of its work. The NSA presentation states, “One of the greatest challenges for active SIGINT/attack is scale,” and adds, “Human ‘drivers’ limit ability for large-scale exploitation (humans tend to operate within their own environment, not taking into account the bigger picture.)”

A program codenamed TURBINE, which has been operating since at least the summer of 2010, automated aspects of the process of malware deployment by NSA hackers. The Intercept described the program as “a major tactical shift within the NSA that was expected to have a profound impact—allowing the agency to push forward into a new frontier of surveillance operations.” One NSA document leaked to the Intercept conceived TURBINE as a means to “increase the current capability to deploy and manage hundreds of Computer Network Exploitation (CNE) and Computer Network Attack (CNA) implants to potentially millions of implants.”

The intelligence “Black Budget” leaked by Snowden listed TURBINE as a main component of the NSA project “Owning the Net.”

The NSA leaks characterize TURBINE as: “A new intelligent command and control capability designed to manage a very large number of covert implants for active SIGINT and active Attack that reside on the GENIE covert infrastructure (for endpoint data extraction). It will increase the current capability to deploy and manage hundreds of Computer Network Exploitation (CNE) and Computer Network Attack (CNA) implants to potentially millions of implants.”

Malware tools deployed by the NSA and operating increasingly on an automated basis under TURBINE, include:

UNITEDRAKE—takes control over computers through plug-ins

CAPTIVATEDAUDIENCE—takes control of computer microphones and records users’ conversations

GUMFISH—accesses computer webcams to take photos of those nearby

FOGGYBOTTOM—records users’ browsing histories and collects login information including passwords for email accounts

SALVAGERABBIT—extracts data from removable flash drives once they are linked to a targeted machine

HAMMERCHANT and HAMMERSTEIN—carries out “exploitation attacks” against Virtual Private Network (VPN) systems, track phone calls sent via Skype

QUANTUMSKY—blocks targeted computers from accessing web sites

QUANTUMCOPPER – corrupts files downloaded by targeted computers

WILLOWVIXEN—sends spam messages with malicious links containing “back-door implants”

QUANTUMHAND—uses fake Facebook server to “shoot” malware packets at target

SECONDDATE—modifies content of communications between servers and clients in real time, redirects browsers to NSA servers codenamed FOXACID, said by NSA docs to have “mass exploitation potential for clients passing through network choke points”

VALIDATOR—downloads and uploads data to and from targeted computers

The NSA also launches malware attacks against systems administrators of telecommunications providers. This practice enables the NSA to spy on all communications being handled by a given provider.

“Sys admins are a means to an end” wrote an NSA operative in an internal message titled, “I hunt sys admins,” the documents show.

TURBINE operations are coordinated with a global network of surveillance “sensors,” codenamed TURMOIL, set up by the NSA around the world. This network finds targets by identifying data “selectors” including email and IP addresses, usernames, etc.

The documents leaked to the Intercept show that the other major powers which make up the “Five Eyes” global surveillance alliance—the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia—have been involved in the use of malware implants. As part of its TURMOIL network, the NSA runs a joint eavesdropping base with the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Britain, called the Menwith Hill satellite eavesdropping base.

The latest documents also revealed that GCHQ has been targeting systems administrators at Belgacom, known as “Operation Socialist,” since at least 2010.

In the wake of Snowden’s exposure of the mass surveillance, a propaganda offensive was initiated by the ruling elite, claiming that the spying was “narrowly targeted” against highly specific, imminent terrorist threats. These arguments have been thoroughly discredited. As the most recent leaks show, the US and its allies are carrying out aggressive surveillance and cyberwarfare operations against their own populations and targets around the world.

The implementation of “active” surveillance practices reflects the drive of the state to accumulate as much information on as many people as possible, in preparation for state repression against the mass struggles now developing in the international working class. This political agenda is propelling the continuous expansion and automation of the spying machinery.

Ahead of Sunday’s referendum on the independence of Crimea, Berlin and Washington are escalating a campaign of threats and sanctions against Russia, risking civil war in Ukraine and war with Russia itself.

Addressing the German parliament on Thursday, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned of a “catastrophe” unless Russia backs down. “Ladies and gentlemen, if Russia continues on its course of the past weeks, it will not only be a catastrophe for Ukraine,” she said. “We would not only see it, also as neighbors of Russia, as a threat. And it would not only change the European Union’s relationship with Russia… No, this would also cause massive damage to Russia, economically and politically.”

Merkel blamed Moscow for illegal actions, using the methods of the 19th and 20th centuries. “The law of the jungle is placed against the strength of the law, unilateral geopolitical concerns against understanding and co-operation,” she said.

With staggering hypocrisy, Merkel is standing reality on its head. It is Germany and the US that are acting as the aggressors, backing and organizing a putsch led by fascist groups in Ukraine, the descendants of political forces Nazi Germany relied upon to commit horrible crimes during World War II. It doing so, it is the Western powers that are reviving the criminal methods of 20th century imperialist politics to secure their geo-strategic aims in Europe. Now Berlin and Washington want to force Moscow to back down on the question of Crimea, which has a Russian-speaking majority and is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Merkel warned that the EU would push ahead with economic sanctions unless Moscow agreed to negotiate “in the next few days.” She said: “None of us wishes that it should come to such actions. But we are all ready for them and will decide on them, if they are unavoidable.”

As the US and NATO build up military forces in the region, Russia responded by holding military exercises involving over 8,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. Belarus, a Russian ally, also requested extra fighter jets and transport aircraft.

In its drive for war, the imperialist powers are relying on the most right-wing forces within Ukraine. Yesterday the Ukrainian parliament approved a proposal from unelected President Oleksandr Turchynov to create a 60,000-strong national guard. It will be formed of interior ministry troops, recruits from military academies and “self-defense” units—i.e., paramilitary troops from the fascist Right Sector or other ultra-right-wing militias that led the February 22 coup against Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovych.

In a press conference on Wednesday, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, Andriy Parubiy, claimed that he has “every reason to believe” that “Ukraine now faces the threat of a full-scale invasion.” He called “upon all the groups that were on the Maidan [to] ensure state security, defend the borders, and eliminate terrorist groups.”

Parubiy also used his press conference to appeal to the United States and Britain to fulfill their obligations as guarantors of Ukraine’s security, evoking the 1994 Budapest Memorandum under which Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons stockpile in return for security assurances.

Parubiy was one of the founders of the fascistic Social-National Party of Ukraine, which later transformed itself into the Svoboda party. He played a leading role in the Western-sponsored “Orange Revolution” in 2004. In the lead-up to the 2014 coup, he coordinated the volunteer security corps on the Maidan, made up of war veterans and retired police officers.

Parubiy’s deputy in the new government, Dmytri Yarosh, is the leader of the fascist Right Sector militia and the All-Ukrainian Organization “Tryzub,” whose hero is the World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.

On Wednesday, the US news magazine Newsweek carried an interview with Yarosh, who said, “My guys are continuing military training all across Ukraine, ready to cleanse the country of the occupiers.” He added, “We are coordinating our actions with the council of the National Security and Defense, as well as with the army’s General Headquarters. We are currently negotiating to put our forces on a proper legal footing.”

On Thursday, clashes in the industrial city of Donetsk, near the Russian border, broke out between pro-Russian demonstrators and a group allied with the new government, including Right Sector forces. At least one person was killed.

Asked if the new Ukrainian regime would raise the flag of Bandera, Yarosh replied in the affirmative: “We stood under red and black flags throughout the revolution. Red Ukrainian blood spilled on the black Ukrainian earth—that flag is the symbol of the national revolution. I am convinced that this flag will bring us freedom.”

Yarosh indicated he would resort to force if Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine on Sunday: “Right Sector, together with all other Ukrainian citizens, are ready to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity by all possible means.”

The creation of the national guard and the transformation of the fascistic shock troops of the “revolution” into official state institutions has the backing of the imperialist powers. The vote on the national guard came only one day after interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk met in Washington with US President Barack Obama, who emphasized his support for the new Ukrainian regime and issued new threats against Moscow.

While the Ukrainian National Guard is aimed at Russia, another key target is the Ukrainian working class. Though it is vastly outgunned by the far larger Russian military, the Ukrainian National Guard is sufficiently large to try to intimidate or possibly crush protests against the reactionary agenda of the right-wing, pro-imperialist regime in Kiev.

During his visit with Obama, Yatsenyuk pledged to enforce IMF demands, eliminate subsidies on natural gas prices, and be “the most unpopular prime minister in the whole history.” The gas subsidies, which keep heating costs relatively affordable for Ukrainian workers, amount to fully 7.5 percent of the economy. Eliminating them would bankrupt large sections of the population.

One indication of the unpopularity of these measures is that Yanukovych backed away from signing an association agreement last autumn with the European Union that included such cuts, fearing that they would trigger protests and the fall of his regime.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called for the full reoccupation of the besieged Gaza Strip amid rising tensions in the region.

Lieberman made the remarks on Israel’s Channel 2 television following a retaliatory attack by Palestinian resistance movement, Islamic Jihad, against the Israeli regime earlier on Wednesday.

“Following an attack like this — a barrage of more than 50 rockets — there is no alternative to a full reoccupation of the entire Gaza Strip,” said the Israeli foreign minister.

Earlier in the day, an Israeli security source said more than 60 mortar rounds had been fired from Gaza, while the Israeli military put the number at “more than 30 rockets,” adding eight hit urban areas, and another three were intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome missile system.

“We will continue to strike those who want to harm us. We’ll act against them very forcefully,” Lieberman was quoted by his spokesman, Ofir Gendelman, as saying in a separate statement.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also threatened to respond “very forcefully” to the shelling from the besieged Palestinian sliver.

The al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for the Wednesday rocket attacks on the south of the occupied Palestinian lands, saying, it “responded to (Israeli) aggression with a volley of rockets.”

On Tuesday, three Palestinians lost their lives after an Israeli drone carried out an airstrike on the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas blamed Tel Aviv for the escalation of tensions in the region.

“We hold the occupation responsible, we warn of the consequences of any escalation and we reiterate that resistance is the right of the Palestinian people to defend itself,” AFP quoted Ihab al-Ghassin, a Hamas spokesman, as saying.

Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standards of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.

The apartheid regime of Israel denies about 1.7 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs that pay proper wages, and adequate healthcare and education.

In the Times of India article, “Farmers’ groups give wish list to parties,” it states:

More than 100 farmers’ organisations from about 14 states on Thursday presented a charter of demands to political parties for their considering while preparing the manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections.

The groups demanded guarantee of minimum income for farm households, ecologically sustainable farming, shift to organic farming and control of rural communities over agricultural resources, including land, water, forests and seeds. They also demanded that open-air release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the garb of field trials be stopped.

Regarding the disturbing trend of suicides sweeping across India’s agricultural sector, the report states:

Citing census data, farmers’ representatives said on an average, one farmer commits suicide every half an hour. Everyday, hundreds of farmers are quitting agriculture. 

“The average monthly income of an overwhelming majority of Indian farmers is far less than what their average monthly expenditure is, making it difficult for most farm households to make their ends meet,” said Kavita Kuruganti, convenor for Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture.

Clearly, the agricultural sector of India is failing, and it is not because it has not resigned itself to the devices and designs of foreign big-agri corporations, but precisely because it already has. In rebuttal to the growing backlash against corporations like Monsanto, Western media outlets have proposed that the farmers are wrong about why they claim they are killing themselves, and suggests instead it is both neither as serious as portrayed, and certainly not the result of big-agri’s role in monopolizing India’s agricultural sector.

A 2011 report published by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) claimed the sale of expensive genetically modified seeds to rural Indian farmers was a key factor contributing to the growing suicide crisis. 

“Multinational agribusiness corporations took advantage of India’s new market globalization … by aggressively promoting the introduction of genetically modified seeds in Indian agriculture,” said the report.

But then counters by claiming:

But in 2008, the International Food Policy Research Institute, an alliance of 64 governments, private foundations, and international and regional organizations that aims to end hunger in the developing world, reached an entirely different conclusion. 

“It is not only inaccurate, but simply wrong to blame the use of Bt cotton as the primary cause of farmer suicides in India,” said the report, stating that the introduction of Bt cotton in India had actually been effective in producing higher yields and decreasing pesticide usage by nearly 40%.

The credibility and objectivity of the “International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPR),” particularly in regards to the use of Bt cotton in India, is compromised by the fact that its donors list is dominated by organizations of which Monsanto and other GMO purveyors fund directly.

For example, the “Better Cotton Initiative” which funds the IFPR is in turn backed by big-agri giant Cargill. Another IFPR donor is Crop Life International, which in turn is funded by BASF, Bayer, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Monsanto, Syngenta, and others. The laundering of big-agri cash and support through proxy organizations to conceal their involvement only further raises suspicion regarding the integrity and veracity of the IFPR’s contradictory report – a report that just so happens to define reality in terms that suits big business.

And of course, the National Post itself appears compromised, with its article parroting, almost verbatim, the official rebuttal posted on Monsanto’s official website regarding Bt cotton. Offered up in a post titled, “Is Bt or GMO Cotton the Reason for Indian Farmer Suicides,” Monsanto also claims “multiple societal issues are contributing to an unacceptably frequent occurrence of farmer suicides in India,” just as the National Post does – and to no one’s surprise, references the very report the recipient of Monsanto’s laundered funding published.

And while big-agri attempts to deflect attention away from the impact of genetically modified crops, the big-agri chemical racket even without the use of GMO has resulted in the ruination of farmers nationwide not just in India, but in nearby Thailand as well. Were big-agri’s miracle cures as good as they claim, farmers worldwide would be enjoying unprecedented, undeniable prosperity, rather than constantly living upon a razor’s edge, and more often than not falling into the abyss all together.

India’s Grassroots are Fighting Back 

 The above mentioned farmers’ wishlist is just one of many direct actions being pursued by grassroots activists across India. The growing backlash against big-agri is what necessitates the elaborate and expensive deceptions Monsanto and others in big-agri have found themselves increasingly dependent on for increasingly tenuous results.

 Events like New Delhi’s “National Seeds Festival” raise awareness of the already existent biodiversity found across India and facilitate networking between organic farmers. The Hindu reported in its article, “Sovereign seeds showcase unique biodiversity,” that:

The farmers announced the formation of a National Seed Savers Forum to strengthen conservation and breeding. They plan to impress upon the government the need to promote diversity conservation and prevent bio-piracy and corporate monopolisation.

It also added:

Dr. Deb said indigenous farmers have paddy varieties that are rich in Vitamin B, but the government ignores them and goes for the GM Golden rice variety being developed by Monsanto. He lamented that nutritious foods, crops and millets are being allowed to disappear. 

“We have displayed the richness of India’s biodiversity and seed sovereignty here in the city so that the urban class can appreciate what we have and understand what we stand to lose,” said Kavitha Kuruganti of the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture. “Millets,” she said, “were wiped out because the government is promoting cereals.” 

Like elsewhere, organic farmers realize that the government has been, and most likely always will be bent to the will of both domestic and foreign corporate-financier special interests. Getting organized and engaging in increasing degrees of direct action is the only way to influence public perception and protect both their own livelihoods as well as the genetic heritage of their nation’s agricultural resources.

Big-Agri’s Weak, Predictable Counterstrokes 

vandana-shiva

Food security hero Vandana Shiva.

India’s growing anti-big-agri grassroots movement have produced anti-GMO celebrity Vandana Shiva, whose popularity and impact has grown to such a degree internationally, that Wall Street and London’s corporate-financier funded policy think tanks have dedicated entire columns in Western newspapers denouncing her.

GMO peddler Jon Entine of the corporate-funded Neo-Con American Enterprise Institute (AEI) penned “Vandana Shiva, Anti-GMO Celebrity: ‘Eco Goddess’ Or Dangerous Fabulist?” in Forbes, claiming:

Vandana Shiva is a prominent Indian-born environmentalist who has emerged as one of the world’s most prominent critics of conventional agriculture and biotechnology. In the most recent sign of her iconic status, earlier this month, Beloit College in Wisconsin conferred on her a prestigious honor as the Weissberg Chair in International Studies, calling her a “one-woman movement for peace, sustainability and social justice.” 

Whether that accurately describes Shiva is debatable—there appears to be a sizable gap between her self-representations and the subjects she claims to be an expert on. However her status as a celebrity activist is not in question. Shiva’s unbridled opposition to GMOs has made her a favorite in liberal and environmental circles. She hopscotches the globe, making frequent appearances at anti-GMO rallies, on college campuses and on lecture tours…

Entine then engages in a rambling, irrelevant attack on Vandana Shiva before regurgitating big-agri’s tired and untrue defense of their demonstrably destructive global practices. While Entine damns Shiva for criticizing GMO and the multinational corporations pushing them, he offers no alternative explanation as to why farmers and food security remain in such a precarious state, or why a large and growing movement is forming against him and his corporate-financier backers.

The use of ineffective, transparently compromised propagandists like Jon Entine, is a sign of weakness from the West’s big-agri racket. The success of Vandana Shiva and the growing movement she is a part of in India gives hope to millions around the world trapped under the boot of multinational corporations like Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, DuPont, Bayer, and Cargill.

The answer is not simply protesting and demanding from “elected officials” the end of abuses and exploitation by these corporations, but to fill the strategic space in which they operate with pragmatic solutions, alternative paradigms, networks, economic models, market places, and public perception driven by grassroots. Once these are in place, there will be no more room for foreign interests to operate. The successes of India’s organic anti-GMO movement will then serve as a template for other movements to follow – including those seeking justice and protection from big-pharma and big-energy. India’s successes, like those demonstrated elsewhere around the globe, serve as inspiration for others beyond India’s borders.

It was in India where Mahatma Gandhi challenged the might of the British Empire, not with armed resistance or deadly protests in the streets, but by short-circuiting the paradigm of dependence imposed upon India by its foreign occupiers. The echo of his famous marches to the sea where his followers produced their own salt in defiance of British taxes and regulations can be heard across the organic food movement which seeks independence from foreign multinationals in the development of India’s food security.

Just as the British Empire had done to India economically and sociopolitically, big-agri and other multinational corporate rackets are attempting to impose similar models of servile dependence via patented, monopolized biotechnology. Just as the British used any and every excuse imaginable to defend its colonial practices and undermine the champions of freedom and justice that opposed them, Western multinationals are doing likewise today, as seen in the toxic columns penned by the likes of Jon Entine of the American Enterprise Institute and the dishonest assessments published in the National Post.

And just like the British Empire was fighting an ultimately futile battle against a people who had awoken and who would never again sleep in the colonial dreamworld they had constructed, the people of India today are pushing out multinationals and building a wall against their return, one

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”

Curious information surfaced in the media [2012] – based on space reconnaissance, the US Department of Defense put together a map of Afghanistan showing in detail the country’s mineral riches which, as it transpired, may be quite impressive.

The fact that Afghanistan sits on lucrative natural resources was recognized indirectly back in 2010 when the Afghan ministry of mines rolled out a $1b (!) estimate of what the country might have, and The New York Times quoted a source in the US Administration as saying that Afghanistan’s list of reserves included copper, gold, cobalt, and even lithium on which the present-day industry is heavily dependent. A Pentagon memo actually described Afghanistan’s potential lithium holdings as big enough to make it the “Saudi Arabia of lithium”. Somehow, the news flew below the radars of most watchers worldwide.

It must be taken into account in the context that the areas used for poppy cropping in Afghanistan expanded by a factor of magnitude since the Western coalition invaded the country with an anti-terrorist mission and brought down the Taliban rule. At the moment, millions of Afghans are involved in poppy farming and processing or in heroin trafficking. A year after the advent of the Western coalition, Afghanistan entered the world stage as a heroin monopoly, outputting over 60% of the global supply. It is an open secret that the farmlands given to poppy in Afghanistan far exceed in proportions the cocaine plantations in Columbia, Peru, and Bolivia combined. The US-British explanation is that farmers in Afghanistan – an underdeveloped country supposedly having no natural resources – have to cultivate drugs for survival.

Citing the above claims, in the 2000ies Washington dropped Afghanistan from the narcotics blacklist and lifted the pertinent sanctions. The US President said the step was in the US national interests, while in no time the Afghan “farmers” confronted the neighboring countries, Russia in particular, with the nightmare of a permanent drug Jihad.

Actually, Soviet scientists discovered decades ago that the soils of Afghanistan contained ample mineral resources. Among those, for example, are precious and semiprecious stones: samples of the Sar-e-Sang District Lazurite, whose quality craftsmen praise as exemplary, were found even in Pharaohs’ tombs and during the Troy excavations. The emerald deposit unsealed back in the 1970ies in the Panjshir Province ranks with the world’s largest, with gems comparable in quality to the acclaimed ones mined in Columbia. Also long ago, the Soviets were aware of the existence of Uranium reserves in Afghanistan – in Gen. A. Lyakhovsky’s account presented in his Tragedy and Honor in Afghanistan, the threat that the Uranium would be grabbed by Pakistan and Iran to build nuclear weapons was cited as an argument in favor of the future Soviet invasion at a pivotal December 8, 1979 meeting personally chaired by L.I. Brezhnev. 

The Soviet explorations which went on in Afghanistan till the late 1980ies showed that Afghanistan was extremely rich in various types of ores, with the resources hitherto untapped as the country had never been colonized. The Aynak copper deposit is the biggest in Eurasia, and the Hadjigek iron ore in the proximity of Kabul is believed to be the the top one in South Asia. Pegmatite reserves usable as sources of rubies, Beryl, and seldom-found gems – kunzite and hiddenite – are located east of Kabul. Pegmatite fields can, furthermore, serve to derive Beryllium (estimatedly, the corresponding reserves are the biggest known up to date with a total of over 73,500 tons), Lithium, Tantalum, and Niobium, the substances steady demand for which is pressed by the high tech sector along with the nuclear and aerospace industries.

The Pentagon, therefore, confirmed the old Soviet findings about the reserves of precious metals, ores, sulfur, Lazurite, Baryte, Celestine, etc. in Afghanistan, and actually went further, scrupulously compiling a map of the deposits. The story deserves attention, considering that, contrary to the widespread notion, the war the Afghan mujahiddeen used to wage against the Soviets did not end when the Soviet forces were withdrawn from Afghanistan. In the 2000ies, the war recurred in the form of a drug offensive which cost Russia more lives than the botched Afghan military campaign. In that now fairly distant era, the Soviet death toll reached around 15,000 overall, while these days Afghan drugs kill up to 20,000 people in Russia annually, crippling far more. Most of the victims, it must be noted, are young people. It is absolute cynicism to justify the above with allegations that Afghanistan’s poverty leaves its farmers with no choice but to cultivate drugs.

Desde el triunfo de la Revolución Bolivariana en Venezuela, con la elección del Presidente Hugo Chávez en 1998 (hasta 2013) y la victoria de su sucesor Nicolás Maduro en las últimas elecciones presidenciales de abril de 2013, El País, principal diario español y líder de opinión, ha abandonado la imparcialidad en el tratamiento de la realidad de este país. Peor aún, el periódico español ha dejado el periodismo equilibrado y matizado en favor de una crítica sistemática y unidireccional del poder democráticamente electo de Caracas.

 

Marina Terra/Opera Mundi

Desde el triunfo de la Revolución Bolivariana en Venezuela, El País ha abandonado la imparcialidad en el tratamiento de la realidad

¿Una democracia?

En una tribuna del 9 de marzo de 2014, El País expone su punto de vista y declara que “Venezuela ya no es un país democrático”.1 Poco importa el hecho que haya habido 19 consultas populares desde 1998 y que los chavistas hayan ganado 18 de esos escrutinios en elecciones que todos los organismos internacionales, desde la Organización de Estados Americanos hasta la Unión Europea pasando por el Centro Carter, han calificado de transparentes. Mejor aún, el antiguo presidente de Estados Unidos, Jimmy Carter, califica el sistema electoral venezolano de “el mejor del mundo”.2

La libertad de prensa

El diario madrileño deplora una “asfixia sistemática de la libertad de expresión”. Ahí también, la afirmación no resiste el análisis. Según un informe del Ministerio de Comunicación e Información de 2011, en 1998 existían en Venezuela 587 radios y televisiones de las cuales el 92,5% eran privadas y el 7,5% públicas. En la actualidad hay 938, de las cuales el 70% son privadas, el 25% comunitarias y el 5% públicas. Al contrario, la Revolución Bolivariana multiplicó el número de medios televisivos y radiofónicos y el sector privado aún domina el paisaje mediático. Lejos de ser silenciados, los medios privados aumentaron un 28,7% en 12 años.3

La Revolución Bolivariana, ¿un fracaso?

Un año después de la desaparición de Hugo Chávez, que falleció de un cáncer fulgurante el 5 de marzo de 2013, El País esboza un panorama bastante oscuro de la situación venezolana mediante su corresponsal… en Miami: “Chávez legó una oportunidad perdida, una economía en quiebra que hoy se sostiene a fuerza de endeudamiento y especulación”. El diario agrega que “Durante la última década de su Gobierno, el ingreso petrolero de Venezuela fue siete veces mayor que en 1998, cuando asumió el poder”. No obstante, “la inflación y el desabastecimiento que ha sufrido cíclicamente el país durante la última década, alcanzaron picos alarmantes, especialmente entre los sectores más empobrecidos”.4

A la lectura de este balance, uno concluye que la Revolución Bolivariana ha sido un fracaso. Pero, de hecho, El País oculta la realidad factual. Primero, el diario madrileño omite subrayar que si el precio del petróleo casi se ha multiplicado por 10, fue ante todo gracias a Hugo Chávez quien logró reactivar una OPEP moribunda, limitando la producción de petróleo y llevando el precio del barril de 16 dólares en 1998 a más de 100 dólares hoy día.

Luego, el diario evoca la situación de los “sectores más empobrecidos” sin proporcionar ninguna cifra y presenta “la inflación y el desabastecimiento” como consecuencias de la política chavista. En realidad, la inflación ha caracterizado la economía  venezolana desde hace al menos 70 años y las estadísticas disponibles sobre la realidad social del país desmienten de modo implacable el punto de vista de El País. En efecto, desde 1998, cerca de 1,5 millones de venezolanos aprendieron a leer y a escribir gracias a la campaña de alfabetización denominada Misión Robinson I. En diciembre de 2005, la UNESCO decretó que se había erradicado el analfabetismo en Venezuela. El número de niños escolarizados pasó de 6 millones en 1998 a 13 millones en 2011 y la tasa de escolarización es ahora del 93,2%. La Misión Robinson II se lanzó para llevar al conjunto de la población a alcanzar el nivel secundario. Así, la tasa de escolarización en la enseñanza secundaria pasó de un 53,6% en 2000 a un 73,3% en 2011. Las Misiones Ribas y Sucre permitieron a decenas de miles de jóvenes emprender estudios universitarios. Así, el número de estudiantes pasó de 895.000 en 2000 a 2,3 millones en 2011, con la creación de nuevas universidades.5

Con respecto a la salud, se creó el Sistema Nacional Público para garantizar el acceso gratuito a la atención médica a todos los venezolanos. Entre 2005 y 2012 se crearon 7.873 centros médicos en Venezuela. El número de médicos pasó de 20 por 100.000 habitantes en 1999 a 80 por 100.000 en 2010, o sea un aumento del 300%. La Misión Barrio Adentro I permitió realizar 534 millones de consultas médicas. Cerca de 17 millones de personas pudieron ser atendidas, mientras que en 1998 menos de 3 millones de personas tenían acceso regular a la sanidad. Se salvaron 1,7 millones de vidas entre 2003 y 2011. La tasa de mortalidad infantil pasó de un 19,1 por mil en 1999 a un 10 por mil en 2012, o sea una reducción de un 49%. La esperanza de vida pasó de 72,2 años en 1999 a 74,3 años en 2011. Gracias a la Operación Milagro, lanzada en 2004, 1,5 millones de venezolanos víctimas de cataratas u otras enfermedades oculares, recobraron la vista.6

De 1999 a 2011, la tasa de pobreza pasó de un 42,8% a un 26,5% La tasa de desnutrición infantil se redujo un 40% desde 1999. Y la tasa de extrema pobreza de un 16,6% en 1999 a un 7% en 2011. Cinco millones de niños reciben ahora alimentación gratuita a través del Programa de Alimentación Escolar. Eran 250.000 en 1999. La tasa de desnutrición pasó de un 21% en 1998 a menos del 3% en 2012. Según la FAO, Venezuela es el país de América Latina y del Caribe más avanzado en la erradicación del hambre.7

En la clasificación del Índice de Desarrollo Humano (IDH) del Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD), Venezuela pasó del puesto 83 en el año 2000 (0,656) al puesto 73 en 2011 (0,735) y entró en la categoría de las naciones con el IDH elevado. El coeficiente GINI, que permite calcular la desigualdad en un país, pasó de 0,46 en 1999 a 0,39 en 2011. Según el PNUD, Venezuela ostenta el coeficiente GINI más bajo de América Latina, es el país de la región donde hay menos desigualdad.8

En 1999, el 82% de la población tenía acceso al agua potable. Ahora es un 95%. Antes de 1999, sólo 387.000 ancianos recibían una pensión. Ahora son 2,1 millones. Durante la presidencia de Chávez, los gastos sociales aumentaron un 60,6%. Desde 1999, se construyeron 700.000 viviendas en Venezuela. La tasa de desempleo pasó de un 15,2% en 1998 a un 6,4% en 2012, con la creación de más de 4 millones de empleos.9

Desde 1999, el Gobierno entregó más de un millón de hectáreas de tierras a los pueblos aborígenes del país. La reforma agraria permitió a decenas de miles de agricultores ser dueños de sus  tierras. En total se distribuyeron más de 3 millones de hectáreas. En 1999, Venezuela producía el 51% de los alimentos que consumía. En 2012, la producción es de un 71%, mientras que el consumo de alimentos aumentó en un 81% desde 1999. Si el consumo de 2012 fuera similar al de 1999, Venezuela produciría el 140% de los alimentos consumidos a nivel nacional. Desde 1999, la tasa de calorías que consumen los venezolanos aumentó un 50% gracias a la Misión Alimentación que creó una cadena de distribución de 22.000 almacenes de alimentos (MERCAL, Casas de Alimentación, Red PDVAL), donde se subvencionan los productos a la altura de un 30%. El consumo de carne aumentó un 75% desde 1999.10

Efe

Maduro en Caracas. Lejos de la imagen apocalíptica que presenta El País, la Revolución Bolivariana es un innegable éxito social

El salario mínimo pasó de 100 bolívares (16 dólares) en 1998 a 2.047,52 bolívares (330 dólares) en 2012, o sea, un aumento de más del 2.000%. Se trata de uno de los salarios mínimos más elevados de América Latina. En 1999, el 65% de la población activa cobraba el salario mínimo. En 2012 sólo el 21,1% de los trabajadores dispone de este nivel salarial. Los adultos de cierta edad que nunca trabajaron disponen de un ingreso de protección equivalente al 60% del salario mínimo. Las mujeres desprotegidas, así como las personas discapacitadas, reciben una ayuda equivalente al 80% del salario mínimo. El horario laboral se redujo a 6 horas diarias y a 36 horas semanales sin disminución del salario. El PIB por habitante pasó de 4.100 dólares en 1999 a 10.810 dólares en 2011.11

Lejos de la imagen apocalíptica que presenta El País, la Revolución Bolivariana es un innegable éxito social. Así, según el informe anual World Happiness de 2012, Venezuela es el segundo país más feliz de América Latina, detrás de Costa Rica, y el decimonoveno a nivel mundial, delante de Alemania o España.12

El caso del diario El País ilustra la incapacidad de los medios occidentales –la mayoría se encuentran en manos de conglomerados económicos y financieros – a representar de modo imparcial y equilibrado la Revolución Bolivariana. Hay una razón para ello: el proceso de transformación social iniciado en 1999 estremeció el orden y las estructuras establecidas, puso en tela de juicio el poder de los dominantes y propone una alternativa social en la que –a pesar de todos sus defectos, imperfecciones y contradicciones que conviene no minimizar– el poder del dinero no reina como dueño y los recursos se destinan a la mayoría de los ciudadanos y no a una minoría.

Salim Lamrani

Salim Lamrani es 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.

Contacto: [email protected]
Página Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel

1 Mario Vargas Llosa, “La libertad en las calles”, El País, 9 de marzo del 2014.
2 Correo del Orinoco, “James Carter: Proceso electoral de Venezuela es ‘el mejor del mundo’”, 20 de setembro de 2012.
3 Juan Carlos Figueroa, “Medios públicos venezolanos casi se triplicaron en 12 años“, El Tiempo, 12 de agosto de 2012.
4 Maye Primera, “Un año sin el ‘comandante supremo’”, El País, 5 de março de 2014.
5 Salim Lamrani “50 verdades sobre Hugo Chávez y la Revolución Bolivariana“, Opera Mundi, março de 2013.
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
8 Ibid.
9 Ibid.
10 Ibid.
11 Ibid.

Desde o triunfo da Revolução Bolivariana na Venezuela, com a eleição do presidente Hugo Chávez em 1998 (que governou até 2013) e a vitória de seu sucessor Nicolás Maduro nas últimas eleições presidenciais de abril 2013, o El País, principal diário espanhol e líder de opinião, abandonou a imparcialidade no tratamento da realidade deste país. Pior ainda, o jornal espanhol deixou o jornalismo equilibrado e gradual em favor de uma crítica sistemática e unidirecional do poder democraticamente eleito de Caracas.

Marina Terra/Opera Mundi

Desde eleição de Chávez, o El País abandonou imparcialidade no tratamento do processo revolucionário na Venezuela

Uma democracia?

Em uma coluna de 9 de março de 2014, o El País expõe seu ponto de vista e declara que “a Venezuela já não é um país democrático”.1 Pouco importa o fato de 19 consultas populares terem sido feitas desde de 1998 e de os chavistas terem ganho 18 desses escrutínios em eleições que todos os organismos internacionais, desde a OEA (Organização do Estados Americanos) até a União Europeia, passando pelo Centro Carter, qualificaram como transparentes. Mais ainda, o antigo presidente dos Estados Unidos, Jimmy Carter, qualifica o sistema eleitoral venezuelano de “o melhor do mundo”. 2

A liberdade de imprensa

O diário de Madri deplora uma “asfixia sistemática da liberdade de expressão”. Aí também a afirmação não resiste à análise. De acordo com o relatório do Ministério de Comunicação e Informação, de 2011, em 1998 existiam na Venezuela 587 rádios e televisões, das quais 92,5% eram privadas e 7,5% eram públicas. Atualmente há 938, das quais 70% são privadas, 25% comunitárias e 5% públicas. Pelo contrário, a Revolução Bolivariana multiplicou o número de meios televisivos e radiofônicos e o setor privado ainda domina a paisagem midiática. Longe de serem silenciados, os meios privados aumentaram 28,7% em 12 anos.3

A Revolução Bolivariana é um fracasso?

Um ano depois da desaparição de Hugo Chávez, que faleceu de um câncer fulminante no dia 5 de março de 2013, o El País esboça um panorama muito obscuro da situação venezuelana por meio de seu correspondente… em Miami. “Chávez deixou uma oportunidade perdida, uma economia quebrada que hoje se sustenta por meio de endividamento e especulação”. O diário completa que “durante a última década de seu governo, a receita petroleira da Venezuela foi sete vezes maior que em 1998, quando assumiu o poder”. No entanto, “a inflação e o desabastecimento que o país sofreu ciclicamente durante a última década alcançaram picos alarmantes, especialmente entre os setores mais empobrecidos”.4

Ao ler essa análise, conclui-se que a Revolução Bolivariana tem sido um fracasso. Mas, na verdade, oEl País oculta a realidade factual. Primeiro, o diário de Madri omite que se o preço do petróleo quase se multiplicou por 10, foi antes de mais nada graças a Hugo Chávez, que conseguiu reativar uma OPEP moribunda, limitando a produção de petróleo e levando o preço do barril de 16 dólares em 1998 para mais de 100 dólares atualmente.

Depois, o diário fala da situação dos “setores mais empobrecidos” sem proporcionar nenhuma cifra e apresenta “a inflação e o desabastecimento” como consequências da política chavista. Na realidade, a inflação é característica da economia venezuelana há pelo menos 70 anos e as estatísticas disponíveis sobre a realidade social do país desmentem de maneira implacável o ponto de vista do El País.

A verdade é que, desde 1998, cerca de 1,5 milhão de venezuelanos aprenderam a ler a e escrever graças a uma campanha de alfabetização denominada Missão Robinson I. Em dezembro de 2005, a UNESCO decretou que o analfabetismo tinha sido erradicado da Venezuela. O número de crianças escolarizadas passou de 6 milhões em 1998 para 13 milhões em 2011 e o índice de escolaridade agora é de 93,2%. A Missão Robinson II foi lançada para fazer com que o conjunto da população alcançasse o ensino secundário. Assim, o índice de escolarização no ensino secundário passou de 53,6% no ano 2000 para 73,3% em 2011. As missões Ribas e Sucre permitiram que dezenas de milhares de jovens chegassem à universidade. Assim, o número de estudantes no país passou de 895 mil no ano 2000 para 2,3 milhões em 2011, com a criação de novas universidades.5

Em relação à saúde, criou-se o Sistema Nacional Público para garantir o acesso gratuito ao atendimento médico para todos os venezuelanos. Entre 2005 e 2012 foram criados 7873 centros médicos na Venezuela. O número de médicos passou de 20 a cada 100 mil habitantes em 1999 para 80 a cada 100 mil habitantes em 2010, ou seja, um aumento de 300%. A missão Barrio Adentro I (Dentro do Bairro, em tradução livre) permitiu realizar 534 milhões de consultas médicas. Cerca de 17 milhões de pessoas puderam ser atendidas, sendo que em 1998 menos de 3 milhões de pessoas tinham acesso regular à assistência médica. Salvaram-se 1,7 milhão de vidas. A taxa de mortalidade infantil passou de 19,1 a cada mil em 1999 para 10 a cada mil em 2012, ou seja, uma redução de 49%. A expectativa de vida passou de 72,2 anos em 1999 para 74,3 anos em 2011. Graças à Operação Milagro (Milagre), lançada em 2004, 1,5 milhão de venezuelanos vítimas de catarata ou de outras enfermidades oculares recuperaram a visão.6

De 1999 a 2011, a taxa de pobreza passou de 42,8% para 26,5%. A taxa de desnutrição infantil se reduziu em 40% desde 1999. E a taxa de pobreza extrema foi de 16,6% em 1999 para 7% em 2011. Cinco milhões de crianças recebem agora alimentação gratuita por meio do Programa de Alimentação Escolar. Eram 250 mil em 1999. A taxa de desnutrição passou de 21% em 1998 para menos de 3% em 2012. Segundo a FAO (Organização das Nações Unidas para Alimentação e Agricultura), a Venezuela é o país da América Latina mais avançado na erradicação da fome.7

Na classificação do IDH (Índice de Desenvolvimento Humano) do PNUD (Programa das Nações Unidas para o Desenvolvimento), a Venezuela passou da colocação 83, no ano 2000 (0,656) para a 73 em 2011 (0,735) e entrou na categoria das nações que têm o IDH elevado. O coeficiente de GINI, que permite calcular a desigualdade em um país, passou de 0,46 em 1999 para 0,39 em 2011. Segundo o PNUD, a Venezuela ostenta o coeficiente de GINI mais baixo da América Latina, é o país da região onde há menos desigualdade.8

Em 1999, 82% da população tinha acesso à água potável. Agora são 95%. Antes de 1999, apenas 387 mil idosos recebiam aposentadoria. Agora são 2,1 milhões. Durante a presidência de Chávez, os gastos sociais aumentaram 60,6%. Desde 1999, foram construídas 700 mil habitações na Venezuela. A taxa de desemprego passou de 15,2% em 1998 para 6,4% em 2012, com a criação de mais de 4 milhões de empregos.9

Efe (10/03/2014)

Assim como no do falecido presidente, o governo de Nicolás Maduro também é questionado pelo jornal espanhol

Desde 1999, o governo entregou mais de um milhão de hectares de terras aos povos aborígenes do país. A reforma agrária permitiu a dezenas de milhares de agricultores serem donos de suas terras. No total, foram distribuídos mais de 3 milhões de hectares. Em 1999, a Venezuela produzia 51% dos alimentos que consumia. Em 2012, a produção é de 71%, e o consumo de alimentos aumentou 81% desde 1999. Se o consumo de 2012 fosse similar ao de 1999, a Venezuela produziria 140% dos alimentos consumidos nacionalmente.

Desde 1999, a taxa de calorias que consomem os venezuelanos aumentou 50% graças à Missão Alimentación (Alimentação), que criou uma cadeia de distribuição de 22 mil armazéns de alimentos (MERCAL, Casas de Alimentação, RED PDVAL), onde se subvencionam os produtos em até 30%. O consumo de carne aumentou 75%, desde 1999.

O salário mínimo passou de 100 bolívares (16 dólares) em 1998 para 2047, 52 bolívares (330 dólares) em 2012, ou seja, aumentou mais de 2000%. Trata-se de um dos salários mínimos mais altos da América Latina. Em 1999, 65% da população ativa ganhava salário mínimo. Em 2012, apenas 21,1% dos trabalhadores têm desse nível salarial. Os adultos de certa idade que nunca trabalharam dispõe de um salário de proteção equivalente a 60% do salário mínimo. As mulheres desprotegidas, assim como as pessoas descapacitadas, recebem uma ajuda equivalente a 80% do salário mínimo. O horário de trabalho se reduziu para 6 horas diárias e 36 horas semanais sem diminuição do salário. O PIB por habitante passou de 4.100 dólares em 1999 para 10,810 dólares em 2011.10

Longe da imagem apocalíptica apresentada pelo El País, a Revolução Bolivariana é um inegável êxito social. Asssim, de acordo com o relatório anual World Happiness, de 2012, a Venezuela é o segundo país mais feliz da América Latina, atrás apenas da Costa Rica, e o décimo nono mundialmente, à frente da Alemanha e da Espanha.11

O caso do diário El País ilustra a incapacidade dos meios ocidentais — a maioria está nas mãos de conglomerados econômicos e financeiros – de representar de maneira imparcial e equilibrada a Revolução Bolivariana. Há uma razão para isso: o processo de transformação social iniciado em 1999 estremeceu a ordem e as estruturas estabelecidas, colocou em questão o poder dos dominantes e propõe uma alternativa social na qual — apesar de todos os defeitos, imperfeições e contradições que convém não minimizar — o poder do dinheiro não reina como dono e os recursos se destinam à maioria dos cidadãos e não a uma minoria.

Salim Lamrani

 

Salim Lamrani é Doutor em Estudos Ibéricos e Latino-americanos, Salim Lamrani é 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.

Contato: [email protected]
Página no Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel

1 Mario Vargas Llosa, “La libertad en las calles”, El País, 9 de março de 2014. http://brasil.elpais.com/brasil/2014/03/06/opinion/1394116119_987776.html?rel=rosEP

2 Correo del Orinoco, « James Carter: Proceso electoral de Venezuela es ‘el mejor del mundo’ », 20 de setembro de 2012. http://www.correodelorinoco.gob.ve/nacionales/james-carter-proceso-electoral-venezuela-es-%E2%80%9Cel-mejor-mundo%E2%80%9D/ (site consultado no dia 10 de março de 2014)

3 Juan Carlos Figueroa, “Medios públicos venezolanos casi se triplicaron en 12 años”, El Tiempo, 12 de agosto de 2012. http://eltiempo.com.ve/venezuela/politica/medios-publicos-venezolanos-casi-se-triplicaron-en-12-anos/61589 (site consultado no dia 10 de março de 2014).

4 Maye Primera, “Un año sin el ‘comandante supremo’”, El País, 5 de março de 2014.

5 Salim Lamrani “50 verdades sobre Hugo Chávez e a Revolução Bolivariana“, Opera Mundi, março de 2013.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

The plot and the leading actors are almost the same. Just change the backdrop. Throw in the diplomatic and intelligence machinations into the mix and you have a recipe for regime change.  A corrupt leader backed by a powerful next-door neighbour or an overseas sponsor. Internal dissent in the form of mass, on going, and very violent protests, which lead to several deaths in the streets due to confrontation between riot police and demonstrators. Calls for resignation of the (elected) leader and foreign forces manipulating events by meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.

After US-EU backed palace coup in Kiev is Ankara the next target?

Yes, this sounds very much like pre-putsch Ukraine, doesn’t it? But what if we look across the Black sea to a powerful regional US alley, and key NATO member state (NATO’s second largest standing army in terms of troop numbers): Turkey. The same template or scenario for a popular uprising or potential for  “regime change” can just as well be applied to that country. Sound exaggerated? Let’s see then.

The whole world knows that, Turkey is currently racked by inner or domestic instability. But unlike Ukraine or Arab states which saw their leaders overthrown in successive revolutions as part of the euphemistically termed “Arab Spring”, the Turkish leader has applied methods not unlike his archenemy President Assad of Syria, to remain in power. 

Tactics used such as the systematic persecution of opposition and trade union leaders, journalists, censorship of social media etc. have not gone unnoticed in the EU and the US.  The imprisonment without trial of political dissenters or dissidents (to use the old cold war word) has become a common, or everyday occurrence in Turkey. Hence, the brutality of the ruling AKP (Development and Justice Party) regime makes the reign of ousted (yet democratically elected) President Yanucovitch, seem almost like life in Arcadia or Shangri la by contrast.

 Erdogan’s iron fisted rule over his country has become wearisome for many of the country’s denizens, over the past year or so. How has the west and especially Turkey’s biggest sponsor (the US) reacted to his anti-democratic and at times paranoid (He has accused foreign powers or outside forces, including Israel, and individuals like Fethullah Gulen, of subverting his rule or plotting his demise.) behaviour?  With a slight tap on the wrist or maybe a gentle rebuke or two.

Until Yanukovitch’s overthrow Washington denounced this “Russian puppet” as a corrupt and despotic ruler over Ukraine. However during this same period, and up until now, the US has conspicuously remained strangely mute, about the turbulent events in Turkey. Is there a double standard here, or am I misreading the situation?

But beneath the surface tensions between Turkey and the US are rising. Washington seems displeased with Erdogan’s rule. Might regime change in Turkey be on the menu at the White House? Hard to tell at this point, but Washington’s patience with Erdogan is certainly not unlimited; in other words, it’s running out. As the March 30th municipal elections approach things will get very dicey in the country indeed and Washington’s support for the AKP may begin to wane.

A Ukrainian style “crescent moon” revolution on the way in Turkey?

Reccip Tayyip Erogan has since June 2013 been faced with waves of protest in his country. These protest continue  . He has been exposed recently as a corrupt, venal, authoritarian and some say even a megalomaniac. He’s has done everything to maintain his grip on power, including purging the police, and security and judicial apparatus. His ruthlessness seemingly knows no bounds. The constant repression has reached a tipping point: either more dictatorial style domestic policies will continue or a popular “democratic” and “home-grown” uprising backed by shadowy groups, like the ones currently operating in Ukraine will likely materialise.   The Ukraine scenario of course, is based on outside interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country.

Fomenting a coup in Turkey is far more complicated, due to the country’s immense strategic importance to the west. As well, the only leading actors capable of overthrowing the current, graft- ridden, regime (as in the case of Egypt most recently) is the military. There have been several military coups in Turkey’ history. So this cannot be excluded (some with US assistance).

Ukraine’ Crimean secessionist movement mirrors that of Kurds in Turkey

With the potential of Crimea seceding from the rest of Ukraine or possible reuniting with Russia, Kurds in Turkey who have fought for decades for an independent homeland might be looking closely at the outcome of the referendum there. Moreover, after decades of armed conflict there is a very tenuous peace in that part of eastern Turkey. But growing secessionist movements, clamouring for more regional autonomy (triggered by the Ukraine crisis in the region), might rekindle nationalists’ fervour in Turkish Kurdistan. This could destabilise Turkey further and add to the long sanding domestic internal turmoil.

‘All that glitters is not gold; all that shivers is not cold’

Mythology has it that Midas, the king of Phyrgia, was able to turn everything he touched into gold — ‘the Midas Touch’.  According to Aristotle, the legendry figure died of starvation as a result of his greed to transmute everything from its natural substance to gold.    This myth is a tragic reality when it comes to America and its neocolonial adventures; America’s reach into Ukraine may well be the ‘touch’ that will end America as we know it today.

For decades, American neocons[1] have engaged in coups, false flag operations, covert and overt wars in order to institute their goal of global domination.   The end of the Cold War emboldened them and 9/11 enabled them.   Nations and societies became battlefields facilitated by the concept of ‘jihad’ versus‘crusade’[i] thanks to neocon Bernard Lewis who initiated this idea.   As country after country fell to America’s ruthless touch –  Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, (attempts in Venezuela and Iran), little attention was paid to covert activities against Russia (and China) considered to pose a challenge to America’s global domination.

Failure of the 2004 Western-backed Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the massive 2006 protests in Crimea against NATO’s invasion with slogans such as “Occupiers go home!”whichprompted theparliament of autonomous Ukraine  to declare Crimea a “NATO-free  territory” (Euronews archive), sent Washington’s neocons into a spin mode, especially since NATO and U.S. have been trying to encircle Russia since 1991.

Azar Gat, Ezer Weizman professor of National Security at Tel Aviv University writing for the powerful and influential Council on Foreign Relations publication (Foreign Affairs, July-August 2007) emphasized ‘the significant challenge emanating from China and Russia operating under “authoritarian capitalist” poised for a comeback. ‘

Global domination demanded curbing Russia (and China).   Depriving Russia of its Black Sea Fleet in Crimea and  Russia’s access to Syria’s Tartus Port are no doubt a crucial part of this strategy.   As importantly,  Russia’s gas exports to Europe had to be curbed.

To this end, overt and covert actions were put in place.  CIA/State Department propaganda voice, Radio Free Europe, announced in 2010 that “Ukraine has been the target of democracy-promoting Western foundations, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), for a quarter of a century” (well prior to 1991 dateline admitted to by Victoria Nuland).   NED’s counterpart in England, the UK funded Westminster Foundation for Democracy was an active partner in the endeavor.

It was the Westminster Foundation that coopted the “Ukrainian Foundation for Democracy” – The People’s First Foundation that later that same year would become a member of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC).  Of particular relevance is the cast of characters who would shape things to come in Ukraine (to be discussed shortly). 

“Democracy” promotion aside, the possible and likely role of United States Special Operations Command (USSOC) said to be present in 120 countries as of 2011, and growing (potentially in over 140 countries todate) mut also be considered.  Working with SOC is CIA’s Special Activities Division (SAD) and its departments Special Operations Group (SOG) and Political Action Group (POG), which engage in covert activities related to political influence and psychological operations.

As images of Cocktail Molotovs and sniper shootings and deaths found their way into living rooms across the globe,  Europe (Ashton) concealed doubts cast over Yanukovch’s complicity  in the  sniper shootings, facilitating his overthrow in trumped up charges.    There is no good reason for the Western backers of the mob government not to investigate the sniper killings unless a)they themselves were complicit, b) they  had full knowledge of the actions, or c) concealing the actions was in their interest.  No investigation has taken place to date.

Many scholars have voiced concern that the U.S. is backing neo-Nazis in Ukraine; never mind the neo-Nazis – the EU and the United States have embraced terrorism and have sided with terrorists over a democratically elected president.   Although there is no universal definition of terrorism, Title 22 of the U.S. Code, Section 2656f(d) defines terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”   

This must be an incomprehensible part of the US/EU “war on terror”!   These actions marginalize those of the marines in Afghanistan who urinated on dead corpses .  With their backing of terrorists, the US and EU partners, in effect, have urinated on the graves of all who died in the despicable ‘war on terror’, including Allied soldiers.

This much said, one must surely ask why it is that the Jewish community is supporting the neo-Nazis rise.  Why is it that the presence of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers who led rebel groups has not been questioned and addressed?   Furthermore, why have Jewish leaders voiced  support for the coup and its leaders, and they have chosen to direct their anger and venom toward Russia and President Putin in a letter?

Perhaps, familiarizing oneself with the executive members of the aforementioned USUBC may cast some light on this bizarre behavior.  Especially noteworthy are  names and organizations among the senior advisors to the USUBC are from pro-Israel think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and Brookings, and  Board of Directors executives selected from powerful players at weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon and Boeing (See http://www.usubc.org/site/recent-news/people-first-foundation-joins-u-s-ukraine-business-council-usubc).

Undoubtedly, the cast of characters and their involvement in Ukraine would help ensure the safety of the Ukrainian Jews – especially in light of the fact that Israel is poised to play a huge role in eliminating Europe’s reliance on Russian gas and supplying Europe with gas it has stolen from the Palestinians  – and Syrians.  Or as the New York Post put it last month:  “Israel’s fortune is Putin’s horror

The planning of this “horror” has been in the making for some time. Perhaps the most revealing and interesting article is one penned by David Wurmser writing for the Jewish policy Center titled The Strategic Impact of Israel’s Export of Natural Gas.  Referring to the newly found stolen gas in 2009, he writes “Israel and its neighbor now sit atop roughly two years’ worth of European consumption”.He further suggests “even modest amounts of Israeli gas exports can carry significant strategic leverage”.  Wurmser opines that “The short-term inflexibility of gas trade and the difficulty of replacing disrupted supply also imply that energy prices for consumers and revenues for suppliers can be easily manipulated by marginal increases or decreases.”

Citing Europe’s gas vulnerability, Wurmser posits “Europe’s grim reality could represent a unique window of opportunity for Israel to nail down long-term agreements and align export policy with a broader effort to reset Israeli-European relations.”

In December of last year, The Jerusalem Post reported that not only did Hungary seek Israeli gas as an alternative to Russian gas, but it also offered to Israel access to its state-owned gas storage and offered Hungary “as a central European distribution hub for Israeli gas”.

As recently as March 11, Rigzone cited Gideon Tadmor, CEO of Avner Oil, speaking at a conference in Tel-Aviv: “”With recent events in Europe… and the aspiration of different countries to diversify their gas supply, that puts another spotlight on our massive resources and transforms our story into a global one,” (a must read).

It then should come as no surprise that the Ukrainian Jewish leaders denounce any threat from the presence of ‘neo-Nazis’ claiming that they can take care of themselves.  No doubt this is the case.   But will Ukraine, a state that is not one nation, survive the assault on its diversity and its sovereignty?   The unforeseen circumstances, the unpredicted reactions may well turn Ukraine into the last of America’s ‘Midas touch’.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups in influencing US foreign policy.

Notes

[1] Former, self-confessed neocon Jacob Heilbrunn describes neoconservatism  as “a decisive respect a Jewish phenomenon,” even if many adherents — albeit a minority — are not Jewish and even though most U.S. Jews are not neoconservatives.  Neoconservatives, he adds, both Jew and gentile, are bound by a “shared commitment to the largest, most important Jewish cause: the survival of Israel.”

[i] Bernard Lewis, ‘Learning the Lingo. Jihad vs. Crusade. A Historian’s Guide to the New War’, Wall Street Journal (27 Sept. 2001).

  What You DON’T KNOW About CIA Fight with Congress

You’ve heard that there’s a big battle between the CIA and Congress over the CIA spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s review of documents related to the Bush-era torture program.

Many are calling it a “constitutional crisis“. House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa calls it potential “treason“.

The congress members complaining about spying by the CIA are right, of course.

But they are hypocrites. Specifically, these same congress members  didn’t raise a peep when the government was spying on the people … and instead defended the government’s mass surveillance at every opportunity.

There are hundreds of thousands of Google hits for the search term “Hypocrisy CIA Senate Feinstein“.

High-level NSA whistleblower Bill Binney, Edward Snowden, a very high-level former CIA officer, a former FBI agent and many others are all slamming Congress for the hypocrisy

Even Jon Stewart has lambasted them:

 (And this isn’t the first time that Congress has been hypocritical when the spying was turned against them personally.)

A corrupt CIA is certainly part of the problem.   After all, the same guy who was the lawyer for the CIA torture unit – and who was mentioned 1,600 times in the Senate intelligence report on torture – is now the chief counsel for the CIA … the guy working so hard to make sure the torture report is never released. (He was also involved in the destruction of tapes documenting CIA torture … discussed more fully below).

And don’t let Obama fool you: The White House is a big part of the problem as well.

Obama has for years prevented the Senate Intelligence report on torture – what the CIA’s spying is all about – from being declassified.

Glenn Greenwald tweets:

Could someone remind me who appointed [CIA director] John Brennan and to whom he reports? Having trouble finding it in most discussions ….

Obama appointed current CIA-director John Brennan, who – before the appointment – had expressly endorsed torture, assassination of unidentified strangers (including Americans) without due process, and spying on all Americans, and who got caught in numerous lies got caught in numerous other lies related to national security and defense.   (Indeed, Brennan insisted that he be sworn in with a copy of the Constitution which didn’t include the Bill of Rights.)

The White House has also withheld 9,400 documents from the Senate’s CIA torture investigation. McClatchy reports:

The White House has been withholding for five years more than 9,000 top-secret documents sought by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for its investigation into the now-defunct CIA detention and interrogation program, even though President Barack Obama hasn’t exercised a claim of executive privilege.

In contrast to public assertions that it supports the committee’s work, the White House has ignored or rejected offers in multiple meetings and in letters to find ways for the committee to review the records, a McClatchy investigation has found.

And Senator Mark Udall said that Obama knew about the CIA’s spying on Congress.

Not Just the CIA … And Not a New Problem

But it’s not just the CIA.   And there has been a constitutional crisis for a long time.

For example, the FBI collected files on everyone.  As the New York Times reports:

J. Edgar Hoover compiled secret dossiers on the sexual peccadillos and private misbehavior of those he labeled as enemies — really dangerous people like … President John F. Kennedy, for example.

The NSA has been spying on – and intimidating – its “overseers” in Washington.  Indeed, the NSA spied on anti-war Congress members in the 1970s … including the chair of the Congressional Committee investigating illegal NSA spying.

One of the NSA  whistleblower sources for the 2005 post on illegal spying – Russel Tice – says that the NSA illegally spied on General Petraeus and other generals, Supreme Court Justice Alito and all of the other supreme court justices, the White House spokesman, and many other top officials.

The Washington Times reported in 2006 that – when Tice offered to testify to Congress about this illegal spying – he was informed by the NSA that the Senate intelligence committee was not cleared to hear such information:

Renee Seymour, director of NSA special access programs stated in a Jan. 9 letter to Russ Tice that he should not testify about secret electronic intelligence programs because members and staff of the House and Senate intelligence committees do not have the proper security clearances for the secret intelligence.

(And see this.)

Former high-level NSA executive Bill Binney points out how absurd that statement is:

Russ Tice … was prepared to testify to Congress to this, too, and so NSA sent him a letter saying, we agree that you have a right to go to Congress to testify, but we have to advise you that the intelligence committees that you want to testify to are not cleared for the programs you want to speak about. Now, that fundamentally is an open emission … by NSA that they are violating the intelligence acts of 1947 and 1978, which require NSA and all other intelligence agencies to notify Congress of all the programs that they’re running so they can have effective oversight, which they’ve never had anyway.

The Other Story Getting Lost In the Shuffle

And there’s another story getting lost in the shuffle …

Sure, the top independent interrogation experts say that torture is ineffective … and actually harms national security. You’ve probably already heard arguments one way or the other on this issue, and likely have made up your mind about it.

But remember, the torture used by the U.S. on the Guantanamo suspects was of a “special” type.

Specifically, Senator Levin revealed that the the U.S. used Communist torture techniques specifically aimed at creating false confessions. And see these important reports from McClatchy, New York Times, CNN and Huffington Post.

In other words, were not just talking about torture.  We’re talking about deploying a special type of torture in order to get FALSE confessions.

In addition, the Atlantic notes:

America is likely to torture again, if we aren’t doing it already.

(And see this and this.)

A related part of this underreported part of the torture story is that the CIA’s torture program ended up deceiving the 9/11 Commission. Specifically, the 9/11 Commission Report was largely based on third-hand accounts of what tortured detainees said, with two of the three parties in the communication being government employees. The 9/11 Commissioners were not allowed to speak with the detainees, or even their interrogators. Instead, they got their information third-hand. The Commission itself didn’t really trust the interrogation testimony… yet published it as if it were Gospel.

New York Times investigative reporter Philip Shenon Newsweek noted in a 2009 essay in Newsweek that the 9/11 Commission Report was unreliable because most of the information was based on the statements of tortured detainees.

NBC News reported:

  • Much of the 9/11 Commission Report was based upon the testimony of people who were tortured
  • At least four of the people whose interrogation figured in the 9/11 Commission Report have claimed that they told interrogators information as a way to stop being “tortured.”
  • One of the Commission’s main sources  of information was tortured until he agreed to sign a confession that he was NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO READ
  • The 9/11 Commission itself doubted the accuracy of the torture confessions, and yet kept their doubts to themselves

And the CIA videotaped the interrogation of 9/11 suspects, but falsely told the 9/11 Commission that there were no videotapes or other records of the interrogations, and then illegally destroyed all of the tapes and transcripts of the interrogations. (As discussed above, the current head CIA lawyer helped to destroy the tapes.)

9/11 Commission co-chairs Thomas Keane and Lee Hamilton wrote:

Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.

***

Government officials decided not to inform a lawfully constituted body, created by Congress and the president, to investigate one the greatest tragedies to confront this country. We call that obstruction.

In other words,  we’ve got a rogue governmentThat’s the big story behind the CIA-congressional battle.

Investigative reporter Greg Palast is usually pretty good at peering behind the rhetoric and seeing what is really going on. But in tearing into Senator Elizabeth Warren’s support of postal financial services, he has done a serious disservice to the underdogs – both the underbanked and the US Postal Service itself.

In his February 27 article “Liz Warren Goes Postal,” Palast attacked her support of the USPS Inspector General’s proposal to add “non-bank” financial services to the US Postal Service, calling it “cruel, stupid and frightening” and equating it with the unethical payday lending practices it seeks to eliminate.

After “several thousand tweets by enraged liberals,” he wrote a follow-up article called “Brains Lost in Mail—Postal Bank Bunkum,” in which he contends, “the Postal Governors are running a slick, slick campaign” to “use federal property to run illegal loan-sharking shops.” He says they would “team up with commercial banks to cash in on payday predation,” exempting themselves from Warren’s own consumer protection regulations.

His first article concludes:

While the USPS wants to “partner” with big banks, why not, instead, allow community credit unions to use post offices as annexes to provide full, complete, non-usurious neighborhood banking services? This is the type of full-service “postal banking” successful in Switzerland and Japan that is envisioned by Ellen Brown, not the payday predation proposed by the USPS.

I obviously agree with him on the full-service postal banking alternative, but that is not something Congress appears ready to approve. Palast has not looked closely at the white paper from the Inspector General’s office  relied on by Senator Warren, or at the research on payday lending and the inability of credit unions to service that market. The IG’s proposal, rather than fleecing the poor, would save them from being fleeced by offering basic financial services at much reduced rates. And that makes it a very good start.

The Straits and Strictures of the USPS

In analyzing the proposal, we need to consider the stressed circumstances and limitations of the Postal Service. It is fighting for its life, after the nefarious 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) rendered it insolvent. Apparently intended to force the privatization of the post office, the Act required the prefunding of postal retiree health benefits for 75 years into the future. That means funding workers not yet born, an onerous burden no other public or private company is required to carry.

Worse, as the white paper notes:

The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) generally prohibits the Postal Service from offering new nonpostal services. However, given that the Postal Service is already providing money orders and other types of non-bank financial services, it could explore additional options within its existing authority.

Given the hostility among conservatives in Congress to postal expansion of any sort, full-service banking (involving deposits, checking and savings accounts, and home and business loans) is unlikely to be authorized any time soon. But the proposed prepaid Postal Cards would simply be an electronic 21st century extension of paper money orders, and short-term Postal Loans could be construed as advances on those cards. According to the white paper, the proposed Postal Card would cost users less than half what they pay for prepaid cards now, and Postal Loans would cost them less than one-tenth the cost of a payday loan, a substantial savings for the poor.

It sounds good, but where will the post office get the money for the loans if it cannot branch into taking deposits? And where will it get the capital to back the loans when it is insolvent? The white paper states:

Electronic payment products like Postal Cards might be a wise entry point, and would expand upon existing services like paper money orders. . . . The right partners could bring much needed startup cash to the table as part of the deal, overcoming the Postal Service’s current funding limitations.

The white paper also suggests partnering with banks for the back-end network and expertise necessary to deal with a national or global card system. But the RIGHT partners are emphasized:

One important note of caution: the Postal Service should be very mindful to ensure that no partnership damages its reputation. The level of trust the Postal Service has earned from the public is an unmatched asset, and one that should not be jeopardized.

Billions More for the Poor

The white paper notes that more than a quarter of all US households do not have a bank account, or use costly services like payday loans and check-cashing exchanges just to make ends meet. People who filed for bankruptcy in 2012 were on average just $26 per month short of meeting their expenses, so even modest savings would make a major difference to them:

The average underserved household has an annual income of about $25,500 and spends about $2,412 of that just on alternative financial services fees and interest. That amounts to 9.5 percent of their income. To put that into perspective, that is about the same portion of income that the average American household spends on food in one year. In 2012 alone, the underserved paid some $89 billion in fees and interest.

Banks are closing branches all over the country, mostly in low-income areas; but post offices are still to be found everywhere. They could offer affordable financial services that would save the underserved billions of dollars in exorbitant fees and interest.

Postal Loans could be made for less than a tenth of the fees charged for a typical payday loan of the same size. The example is given of a $375 loan paid off in 5-1/2 months. A typical payday lender would charge annual interest of 391%, for a total of $520 in interest and fees. For a comparable Postal Loan, the borrower would pay a $25 upfront loan fee and 25% interest, making the total for interest and fees a mere $48 across the life of the loan. The white paper concludes:

If even one-tenth of the 12 million Americans who take out a payday loan each year got this hypothetical Postal Loan instead, they could collectively save more than half a billion dollars a year in fees and interest. And that is to say nothing of the benefits Postal Loans could bring to the 10 million unbanked U.S. households which cannot even get payday loans.

The proposed Postal Loan could save these marginal borrowers about $100 per month, potentially saving them from bankruptcy:

If this helped decrease personal bankruptcies by just 5%, it would not only help more than 50,000 people a year avoid the lasting stigma and financial effects of bankruptcy, it would also potentially keep some $10 billion a year in loans and other debts from being dragged through bankruptcy court, where much of it would be canceled at tremendous expense to creditors (most of whom are financial institutions). That would be good for American families, for banks, and for the entire country.

The Questionable Credit Union Alternative

Palast argues that his credit union can give the same loan for 10%, but this is doubtful. In a fall 2012 article titled “Are Payday Lending Markets Competitive?”, Victor Stango shows that credit unions, despite their claims, are generally not able to offer competitive payday loans. Few credit unions even offer them, because both credit unions and borrowers themselves find the credit union version unattractive. Stango’s survey found that borrowers actually preferred the higher-priced payday loans, because they had fewer restrictions.

Banks do not generally make small personal loans, even to creditworthy borrowers, because they are not cost-effective for the bank; and the underserved often cannot get credit cards because they have bad or nonexistent credit histories, making them a high credit risk. They therefore turn to payday loans, on which credit unions do offer lower rates; but they can offer them only by being more restrictive on approval and repayment terms and by adding fees. More restrictive terms mean credit union payday loans have lower default risk; but risk-adjusted prices on standard payday loans, says Stango, may actually be no higher than those on credit union payday loans.

The National Credit Union Administration now allows an APR of 28% on short-term small loans. Lenders can’t really afford to do it for less, because there are so many defaults.

As for big banks licking their chops at getting in on the USPS’ 25% short term loans, this hardly seems likely either. Big banks, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, are already major funders of payday lenders—the ones in the 391% bracket. The USPS returns will seem paltry by comparison.

Profits to the People

Postal Loans and Postal Cards are only two of a suite of non-bank financial services proposed in the white paper that could result in substantial savings for the poor, while at the same time generating much-needed profits for the struggling Postal Service itself. Postal profits serve the public by keeping the Pony Express running and postage stamps affordable.

The Inspector General’s white paper concludes, “As the Postal Service continues to look for new ways to serve the citizens of the 21st century, non-bank financial services may be the ‘killer app’ for diversifying its revenue base.”

It may also be the killer app for keeping both the poor and the Postal Service itself out of bankruptcy.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and a candidate for California State Treasurer running on a state bank platform. She is the author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt and her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, which explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

Washington, enabled by its compliant but stupid NATO puppets, is pushing the Ukrainian situation closer to war.

German Chancellor Merkel has failed her country, Europe, and world piece.  Germany is the strength of the EU and NATO.  Had Merkel said “No” to sanctions on Russia, that would have been the end of the crisis that Washington is brewing, a crisis unlikely to be ended short of war.

But Merkel has signed away the sovereignty of the German nation and assigned the fate of Germany to a province in the American Empire.  Thus has Merkel and the weak German leadership consigned the world to war.  Already blamed for World War 1 and World War 2, now Germany will be blamed for World War 3.

Washington’s mismanaged Ukrainian coup has cost Washington Crimea, which Washington wanted most of all in order to deprive Russia of its warm water naval base on the Black Sea.  In addition, the mismanaged overthrow of an elected government in Ukraine is threatening to also lose the Russian cities of eastern Ukraine.  Like Crimea, eastern Ukraine consists of former Russian areas that Khrushchev stuck into Ukraine in the 1950s.

In what is clearly a fruitless and pointless effort to get Crimea back, Washington is demanding that Russia interfere in Crimea and prevent Crimea from seceding from Ukraine.  If the Russian government refuses to follow Washington’s orders, Washington has announced that it will inflict “damaging sanctions” on Russia.  Initially, EU countries expressed an unwillingness to go along with Washington, but with bribes and threats, Washington has conquered Merkel and has its European puppets lined up following orders.

Washington understands that economic sanctions are a far less threat to Russia than the loss of its Black Sea naval base. Washington also understands that Putin cannot possibly abandon the millions of Russians in eastern and southern Ukraine to the mercy of the anti-Russian and unelected government imposed by Washington in Kiev.  As Washington knows that its threat of sanctions is empty, why did Washington make it?

The answer is in order to drive the crisis to war. Washington’s neoconservative nazis have been agitating for war with Russia for a long time. They want to remover one of the three remaining restraints (Russia, China, Iran) on Washington’s world hegemony.

Washington wants to break up the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) before these countries form a separate currency bloc and avoid the use of the US dollar.

Russia will respond in kind to Washington’s sanctions.  European peoples and Western banks and corporations will suffer losses.  It would be at least two or three years before Washington has in place means of delivering US natural gas achieved by fracking and contamination of US water supplies to Europe to take the place of Russia’s cutoff of energy to Europe. 

The Western presstitute media will dramatize the Russian response to sanctions and demonize Russia, while ignoring who started the fight, thereby helping Washington prepare Americans for war. As neither side can afford to lose the war, nuclear weapons will be used.  There will be no winners.

All of this is perfectly clear, just as was the obvious conclusion of the march of events leading up to World War 1.  Now, like then, the people who see the outcome are powerless to stop it.  Delusion rules.  Arrogance and hubris overflow. Statements and actions become ever more reckless, and then there is hell to pay.

Americans and Europeans, if they had any awareness at all, would be in the streets violently protesting the coming war toward which the insane criminals in Washington are driving the world.

Instead, the German chancellor, the French president, the British prime minister and the Western presstitute media continue to lie:  It was legitimate for the West to steal Kosovo from Serbia and to steal the Ukrainian government, but it is not legitimate for the Russian population of Crimea to exercise self-determination and return to Russia. Washington and its EU puppets even have the audacity to declare falsely, after overthrowing an elected government in Ukraine and installing an unelected one, that Crimean self-determination violates the Ukrainian constitution, which no longer exists because Washington destroyed it.

The criminally insane government in Washington has pushed the Russian bear into a corner. The bear is not going to surrender.

The Seeds Of Suicide: How Monsanto Destroys Farming

March 13th, 2014 by Dr. Vandana Shiva

Monsanto’s talk of ‘technology’ tries to hide its real objectives of control over seed where genetic engineering is a means to control seed,

“Monsanto is an agricultural company.

We apply innovation and technology to help farmers around the world \produce more while conserving more.”

“Producing more, Conserving more, Improving farmers lives.”

These are the promises Monsanto India’s website makes, alongside pictures of smiling, prosperous farmers from the state of Maharashtra. This is a desperate attempt by Monsanto and its PR machinery to delink the epidemic of farmers’ suicides in India from the company’s growing control over cotton seed supply — 95 per cent of India’s cotton seed is now controlled by Monsanto.

Control over seed is the first link in the food chain because seed is the source of life. When a corporation controls seed, it controls life, especially the life of farmers.

Monsanto’s concentrated control over the seed sector in India as well as across the world is very worrying. This is what connects farmers’ suicides in India to Monsanto vs Percy Schmeiser in Canada, to Monsanto vs Bowman in the US, and to farmers in Brazil suing Monsanto for $2.2 billion for unfair collection of royalty.

Through patents on seed, Monsanto has become the “Life Lord” of our planet, collecting rents for life’s renewal from farmers, the original breeders.

Patents on seed are illegitimate because putting a toxic gene into a plant cell is not “creating” or “inventing” a plant. These are seeds of deception — the deception that Monsanto is the creator of seeds and life; the deception that while Monsanto sues farmers and traps them in debt, it pretends to be working for farmers’ welfare, and the deception that GMOs feed the world. GMOs are failing to control pests and weeds, and have instead led to the emergence of superpests and superweeds.

The entry of Monsanto in the Indian seed sector was made possible with a 1988 Seed Policy imposed by the World Bank, requiring the Government of India to deregulate the seed sector. Five things changed with Monsanto’s entry: First, Indian companies were locked into joint-ventures and licensing arrangements, and concentration over the seed sector increased. Second, seed which had been the farmers’ common resource became the “intellectual property” of Monsanto, for which it started collecting royalties, thus raising the costs of seed. Third, open pollinated cotton seeds were displaced by hybrids, including GMO hybrids. A renewable resource became a non-renewable, patented commodity. Fourth, cotton which had earlier been grown as a mixture with food crops now had to be grown as a monoculture, with higher vulnerability to pests, disease, drought and crop failure. Fifth, Monsanto started to subvert India’s regulatory processes and, in fact, started to use public resources to push its non-renewable hybrids and GMOs through so-called public-private partnerships (PPP).

In 1995, Monsanto introduced its Bt technology in India through a joint-venture with the Indian company Mahyco. In 1997-98, Monsanto started open field trials of its GMO Bt cotton illegally and announced that it would be selling the seeds commercially the following year. India has rules for regulating GMOs since 1989, under the Environment Protection Act. It is mandatory to get approval from the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee under the ministry of environment for GMO trials. The Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology sued Monsanto in the Supreme Court of India and Monsanto could not start the commercial sales of its Bt cotton seeds until 2002.
And, after the damning report of India’s parliamentary committee on Bt crops in August 2012, the panel of technical experts appointed by the Supreme Court recommended a 10-year moratorium on field trials of all GM food and termination of all ongoing trials of transgenic crops.

But it had changed Indian agriculture already.

Monsanto’s seed monopolies, the destruction of alternatives, the collection of superprofits in the form of royalties, and the increasing vulnerability of monocultures has created a context for debt, suicides and agrarian distress which is driving the farmers’ suicide epidemic in India. This systemic control has been intensified with Bt cotton. That is why most suicides are in the cotton belt.

An internal advisory by the agricultural ministry of India in January 2012 had this to say to the cotton-growing states in India — “Cotton farmers are in a deep crisis since shifting to Bt cotton. The spate of farmer suicides in 2011-12 has been particularly severe among Bt cotton farmers.”

The highest acreage of Bt cotton is in Maharashtra and this is also where the highest farmer suicides are. Suicides increased after Bt cotton was introduced — Monsanto’s royalty extraction, and the high costs of seed and chemicals have created a debt trap. According to Government of India data, nearly 75 per cent rural debt is due to purchase inputs. As Monsanto’s profits grow, farmers’ debt grows. It is in this systemic sense that Monsanto’s seeds are seeds of suicide.

The ultimate seeds of suicide is Monsanto’s patented technology to create sterile seeds. (Called “Terminator technology” by the media, sterile seed technology is a type of Gene Use Restriction Technology, GRUT, in which seed produced by a crop will not grow — crops will not produce viable offspring seeds or will produce viable seeds with specific genes switched off.) The Convention on Biological Diversity has banned its use, otherwise Monsanto would be collecting even higher profits from seed.

Monsanto’s talk of “technology” tries to hide its real objectives of ownership and control over seed where genetic engineering is just a means to control seed and the food system through patents and intellectual property rights.

A Monsanto representative admitted that they were “the patient’s diagnostician, and physician all in one” in writing the patents on life-forms, from micro-organisms to plants, in the TRIPS’ agreement of WTO. Stopping farmers from saving seeds and exercising their seed sovereignty was the main objective. Monsanto is now extending its patents to conventionally bred seed, as in the case of broccoli and capsicum, or the low gluten wheat it had pirated from India which we challenged as a biopiracy case in the European Patent office.

That is why we have started Fibres of Freedom in the heart of Monsanto’s Bt cotton/suicide belt in Vidharba. We have created community seed banks with indigenous seeds and helped farmers go organic. No GMO seeds, no debt, no suicides.

Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist, and eco feminist.Shiva, currently based in Delhi, has authored more than 20 books and over 500 papers in leading scientific and technical journals.She was trained as a physicist and received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1993. She is the founder of Navdanya http://www.navdanya.org/

In September 2013, a bombshell report from Credit Suisse’s Research Institute brought into sharp focus the staggering health consequences of sugar on the health of Americans. The group revealed that approximately “30%–40% of healthcare expenditures in the USA go to help address issues that are closely tied to the excess consumption of sugar.”[1]The figures suggest that our national addiction to sugar runs us an incredible $1 trillion in healthcare costs each year. The Credit Suisse report highlighted several health conditions including coronary heart diseases, type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which numerous studies have linked to excessive sugar intake.[2]

Just a year earlier in 2012, a report by Dr. Sanjay Gupta appearing on 60 Minutesfeatured the work of Dr. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist from California who gained national attention after a lecture he gave titled “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” went viral in 2009. Lustig’s research has investigated the connection between sugar consumption and the poor health of the American people. He has published twelve articles in peer-reviewed journals identifying sugar as a major factor in the epidemic of degenerative disease that now afflicts our country. The data compiled by Lustigclearly show how excessive sugar consumption plays a key role in the development of many types ofcancer, obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. His research has led him to conclude that 75% of all diseases in America today are brought on by the American lifestyle and are entirely preventable.[3]

Until the airing of this program, no one in the “official” world acknowledged anything wrong with sugar, here is a sampling of some the latest research available to them if they chose to look:

 Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Drinks Linked to Heart Disease

Lawrence de Koning, Vasanti S. Malik, Mark D. Kellogg, Eric B. Rimm, Walter C. Willett, and Frank B. Hu.Sweetened Beverage Consumption, Incident Coronary Heart Disease and Biomarkers of Risk in Men. Circulation, March 12 2012 DOI:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.067017

 How Fructose Causes Obesity and Diabetes

Takuji Ishimoto, Miguel A. Lanaspa, MyPhuong T. Le, Gabriela E. Garcia, Christine P. Diggle, Paul S. MacLean, Matthew R. Jackman, ArunaAsipu, Carlos A. Roncal-Jimenez, Tomoki Kosugi, Christopher J. Rivard, Shoichi Maruyama, Bernardo Rodriguez-Iturbe, Laura G. Sánchez-Lozada, David T. Bonthron, Yuri Y. Sautin, and Richard J. Johnson. Opposing effects of fructokinase C and A isoforms on fructose-induced metabolic syndrome in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 27, 2012 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1119908109

Corn Syrup and Obesity

Bray, George et al. Consumption of high fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Vol. 79, no. 4, p. 537-543, April 2004.

Soda and Sugary Beverages linked with Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, V. S. Malik, B. M. Popkin, G. A. Bray, J.-P. Despres, W. C. Willett, F. B. Hu. Sugar Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-analysis.Diabetes Care, 2010

Fructose intake connected with an increased risk of cardiovascular illness and diabetes in teenagers

N. K. Pollock, V. Bundy, W. Kanto, C. L. Davis, P. J. Bernard, H. Zhu, B. Gutin, Y. Dong. Greater Fructose Consumption Is Associated with Cardiometabolic Risk Markers and Visceral Adiposity in Adolescents.Journal of Nutrition, 2011; 142 (2): 251 DOI:10.3945/jn.111.150219

Fructose consumption increases the risk of heart disease.

K. L. Stanhope, A. A. Bremer, V. Medici, K. Nakajima, Y. Ito, T. Nakano, G. Chen, T. H. Fong, V. Lee, R. I. Menorca, N. L. Keim, P. J. Havel. Consumption of Fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup Increase Postprandial Triglycerides, LDL-Cholesterol, and Apolipoprotein-B in Young Men and Women. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2011; DOI:10.1210/jc.2011-1251

 The Negative Impact of Sugary Drinks on Children.

Lustig, RH, and AA Bremer. “Effects of sugar-sweetened beverages on children..” Pediatric Annals 41.1 (2012): 26-30. pubmed.gov. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.

 Sugar and High Blood Pressure

Lustig, RH, and S Nguyen. “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the blood pressure go up..” Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy 8.11 (2010): 1497-9. pubmed.gov. Web. 2 Apr. 2012.

Sugar Consumption Associated with Fatty Liver Disease and Diabetes

Lim JS, Mietus-Snyder M, Valente A, Schwarz JM, Lustig RH. The role of fructose in the pathogenesis of NAFLD and the metabolic syndrome. Nature Reviews of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2010; 7:251-64.

 Fructose: metabolic, hedonic, and societal parallels with ethanol.Lustig RH. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2010; 110:1307-21.

The Adverse Impact of Dietary Sugars on Cardiovascular Health

Johnson RK, Appel LJ, Brands M, Howard BV, Lefevre M, Lustig RH, Sacks F, Steffen LM, Wylie-Rosett J. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association.Circulation 2009; 120:1011-20.

Princeton Study Shows High Fructose Corn Syrup Promotes Weight Gain

Bocarsly, ME, et al.. “High-fructose corn syrup causes characteristics of obesity in rats: Increased body weight, body fat and triglyceride levels.” Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavio 97.1 (2010): n. pag.pubmed.gov. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.

Rats Fed High Fructose Corn Syrup Exhibit Impaired Brain Function

Stranahan, Alexis M, et al..“Diet-induced insulin resistance impairs hippocampal synaptic plasticity and cognition in middle-aged rats.”Hippocampus 18.11 (2008): 1085-1088. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com. Web. 2 Apr. 2012.

 High Fructose Corn Syrup Intake Linked with Mineral Imbalance and Osteoporosis.

Tsanzi, E,et al. “Effect of consuming different caloric sweeteners on bone health and possible mechanisms..”Nutrition Reviews 66.6 (2008): 301-309. Print.

 Diet of Sugar and Fructose Impairs Brain Function

R. Agrawal, F. Gomez-Pinilla. ’Metabolic syndrome’ in the brain: deficiency in omega-3 fatty acid exacerbates dysfunctions in insulin receptor signaling and cognition. The Journal of Physiology, 2012; 590 (10): 2485 DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.230078

With the rapid spread of information in today’s internet age, more and more health-conscious consumers and watchdog groups are calling attention to the many studies demonstrating sugar’s harmful effects, but many of us in the natural health community have been alarming the public for decades. In point of fact, I have been writing about the hazards of sugar extensively in books and articles since 1971. In 2002, my documentary “Seven Steps to Perfect Health” premiered on PBS stations including WETA in Washington, DC. As part of the PBS program, I poured sugar out of a bag which equaled the number of teaspoons that the average American teenager consumes in a given day. The quantity was verified by my General Counsel, Mr. David Slater, who had measured the number of teaspoons earlier in the day. If anything, my demonstration understated the true amount of sugar we are consuming. 

The program was very well received and the program director informed me that it was so successful that it had set a record for a non-primetime programming and that he intended on replaying it eight or nine times. However, the next day I was informed by him that he was sorry but he had bad news: not only would the program not be aired again, but I would not be invited back to present on the station.  This was after I had presented five medically-vetted, original PBS programs over the years, some of which had set station records. The program director explained that this was because the new information I presented on the dangers of sugar had run smack up against the president of the station board, Sharon Rockefeller. I was told that Ms. Rockefeller had received a phone call from the sugar lobbying group representing soft drink makers and sugar consumers and the decision was made to pull my program. I was informed that my statements regarding sugar’s damaging health effects were deemed inaccurate. As it turned out, Ms. Rockefeller was sitting on the board of Pepsi Cola’s at the time.  

That was my first personal experience of dealing with the politics of sugar, which was also the politics of PBS. In response to this, I wrote letters to the sugar industry, the WETA station board and Sharon Rockefeller contesting their suppression of my program and their claim that sugar was unrelated to American health epidemics. This was ten years ago. When we realize how many people since that time have developed diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and many other illnesses after consuming these quantities of sugar, then should we not hold the major media, including Dr. Gupta and 60 Minutes, morally responsible for having so much scientifically verified information on the dangers of sugar consumption and yet choosing to accept the “official” statements from “official” medical groups, government agencies, trade groups, spokes persons, scientists-for hire-and in effect, accepting industry generated propaganda instead of seeking the truth? If we can find the truth with our limited resources, what possible excuse do Dr. Gupta and other respected physicians with unlimited research capacity have?  Why has it taken 40 years since I first wrote about the dangers of sugar for them to finally discover this truth? And how many tens of millions of children and adults have suffered with diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancers during these years all because of the arrogance, hubris and complicity of the medical establishment and media?

 Financing Disease

A deeper look at the politics of the sugar industry reveals that huge sums are being doled out by government to prop up sugar companies. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, writer Alexandra Wexler explains that American taxpayers are currently responsible for shelling out $280 million to cover the cost ofloans from the USDA which sugar producers are unable to pay back.[4]Given the undeniable evidence demonstrating the toxicity of sugar and its enormous toll on the wellbeing of Americans, why is it that our health agencies and elected officials are not calling for a much-needed overhaul of existing policies, which, in fact, offer generous support to the domestic sugar industry?Where is the outrage over bailing out thepurveyors of what is likely the most dangerous staple in the American diet? For our answers we must follow the money-trail.

In May 2013, members of the US Senate voted 54-44against an amendment to the Farm Bill introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire that would have significantly curtailed federal lending to sugar processers. In an insightful analysis of the vote, Alan Farago of Counterpunch.org, points out that lawmakers opposing the measure were significantly more likely to either represent states in which sugar is grown or to count the sugar industry among their best campaign donors.  Though the reform was voted down by senators on both sides of the aisle, Democrats were apparently even more beholden to sugar interests than their Republican counterparts. Farago writes that        

In the final tally, Democrats opposed sugar reform by 55 percent to 40 percent (NJ Senator Frank Lautenberg did not vote.). U.S. senators from states identified as “healthy” but with sugar constituencies — Minnesota (D), Vermont (D, I), Colorado (D), North Dakota (D, R) and Hawaii (D) — all voted  against reform. The website, Opensecrets.org, points out that the second highest recipient of campaign cash from sugar interests was progressive champion, Al Franken (D-Minnesota).  Franken in 2013 received $27,999. ”Sugar is the only industry in the entire agribusiness sector that has consistently supported Democrats during the past two decades.” [5]

The fact is that the authorities we look upon as “official” are often compromised by lobbyists inside the Beltway while the mainstream media, in thrall to its advertisers, is still unwilling to report the wholetruth about sugar.In order to raise public awareness about this critical issue, this article will provide an in-depth examination of sugar as a both a toxic food and as a thoroughly corrupt extension of Big Business.

The Most Current Research

In his latest published study, Lustig and his colleagues unearthed a strong relationshipbetween the incidence of diabetesand sugar availability in populations around the world.  Published in the online journal, PLOS ONEin February 2013, the study showed that those places in which sugar was more available had a greater incidence of type-2 diabetes.[6]Examining data from 175 countries over the last 10 years, the authors investigated whether the availability of other food groups including, oils, meats, cereals and fibers as well as socioeconomic factors such as income, urbanization and aging wererelated to diabetes prevalence, but only found statistically significant evidence of a sugar-diabetes link.In a piece for the New York Times columnist Mark Bittmanoffered his perspective on Lustig’s latest research:

This is as good (or bad) as it gets, the closest thing to causation and a smoking gun that we will see. (To prove “scientific” causality you’d have to completely control the diets of thousands of people for decades. It’s as technically impossible as “proving” climate change or football-related head injuries or, for that matter, tobacco-caused cancers.) And just as tobacco companies fought, ignored, lied and obfuscated in the ’60s (and, indeed, through the ’90s), the pushers of sugar will do the same now.[7]

In an article published in February 2012 in the journal Nature, Lustig and his co-authors state the following:

Regulating sugar will not be easy…We recognize that societal intervention to reduce the supply and demand for sugar faces an uphill political battle against a powerful sugar lobby, and will require active engagement from all stakeholders. Still, the food industry knows that it has a problem…With enough clamour for change, tectonic shifts in policy become possible. Take, for instance, bans on smoking in public places and the use of designated drivers, not to mention airbags in cars and condom dispensers in public bathrooms. These simple measures — which have all been on the battleground of American politics — are now taken for granted as essential tools for our public health and well-being. It’s time to turn our attention to sugar.[8]

The connection between America’s epidemic of chronic diseases and sugar grows clearer each day. A recent study by nutritional biologist Kimber Stanhope of The University of California, Davis, associated higher intake of high fructose corn syrup with higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol as well as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In the study, test subjects were required to replace 25% of their caloric intake with sugary drinks. The study offered further proof that all calories are not created equally and that those coming from sugar are artery-clogging and actually promote weight gain. [9]

Stanhope’s findings corroborate the results of another study in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation that was published in March 2012. The study found that men who drank one 12 ounce beverage sweetened with sugar a day were 20% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than men who did not consume any sugary drinks.[10]Another recent study recently appearing in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology linked the intake of excess quantities of fructose with cardiovascular illness, diabetes, chronic kidney disease as well metabolic syndrome. [11]

The damaging effects of sugar on cognitive health have been the subject of several recent studies. In September 2012, scientists at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA uncovered that rats that were fed a diet high in fructose performed poorly in tests using mazes which were designed to assess memory and learning when compared to the control group.[12] In a 2012 article entitled “Food for thought: Eat your way to dementia”, researchers at Brown University discussed their findings that a diet high in sugary foods disrupts insulin levels and may trigger the buildup of toxic amyloid proteins, the protein directly implicated in the progression of dementia, in the brain.[13]These conclusions are reinforced by the results of a Mayo Clinic study released in October 2012 which showed that seniors who consumed a diet high in sugars and carbohydrates had a significantly greater risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and dementia when compared to seniors whose diet contained more fat and protein.

Sugar’s Harm on Your Body

 When we think of sugar, we often only think about the refined white sugar bought in paper packages or cubed for tea. If we’re worried about too much sugar, maybe we’ll check the nutritional information on the backs of processed sweets before we make a purchase. But really, sugar is often underestimated because of its incredible predominance in a lot of what we eat every day.

 The American Heart Association (AHA) and the USDA share this broader definition of sugar and the amount of sugar we consume each day.  In a AHA Statement to Healthcare Professionals, the group provided a broad definition of what constitutes “sugar”:

There are many, sometimes confusing, terms used in the literature. Simple carbohydrate (sugar) refers to mono- and disaccharides; complex carbohydrate refers to polysaccharides such as starch. Common disaccharides are sucrose (glucose+fructose), found in sugar cane, sugar beets, honey, and corn syrup; lactose (glucose+galactose), found in milk products; and maltose (glucose+glucose), from malt.  The most common naturally occurring monosaccharide is fructose (found in fruits and vegetables).  The term dextrose is used to refer to glucose.  Intrinsic or naturally occurring sugar refers to the sugar that is an integral constituent of whole fruit, vegetable, and milk products; extrinsic or added sugar refers to sucrose or other refined sugars in soft drinks and incorporated into food, fruit drinks, and other beverages.[14]

The latest statistics tell us that the average American consumes a 130 pounds of sugar each year- or more than one-third of a pound every day.[15]The average amount of sugar consumed by Americans todayis shockingly excessive. As we shall see, this sugar excess contributes to the modern epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.

Sugar and health:

Refined sugar only really became a major part of human diet over the last few hundred years.  As reported by the authors of Sugar Busters!, refined sugar has only been around during a “mere blink of time in man’s digestive evolution.”[16]

It is quite logical that we should have added refined sugar to the priority list of things that are, or may be, “Hazardous To Your Health” when you see the increase in disease caused by our huge consumption of refined sugar and certain other carbohydrates.  Sugar just may be the number one culprit in lowering the quality of life and in causing premature death.  There is certainly enough evidence to bring us to that conclusion.

Historical Deception

As far back as 1942, the American Medical Association stated it would be in the interest of public health to limit the consumption of sugar in any form when it is not combined with significant proportions of foods high in nutritious quality. Lately, however, the AMA and other medical organizations have been largely silent about sugar consumption.  A recent Gallup poll indicates thatnearly half of all Americans consume soft drinks on a daily basis and that those who do drink soda, average about 2.6 glasses per day.[17]. Despite these and many other health risks, the soft drink industry consistently portrays its product as being positively healthful.  In 1997 Coca-Cola spent $277 million in advertising targeted towards children.  The advertising placed their logos and products within easy reach of children, and Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and Seven-Up have licensed their logo to the baby-bottle manufacturer Munchin Bottling, Inc.[18]

In 1998, Ron Lord wrote in the Agricultural Outlook Forum that sugar had once “had a rather negative public image.”[19] Families generally viewed excessive sugar as a health risk and avoided processed sweets. “Then in the 1980s,” Lord goes on, “public attention became focused on fat as something to avoid; and about the same time a rather successful advertising campaign to promote the healthy and natural aspects of sugar was conducted.”[20] This resulted in intense an intense increase in carbohydrate—and especially sugar—consumption. As more sugar found its way into foods not even thought to be sweet, such as fast food and processed goods, this sugar intake has simply ramped up.

Our society is now experiencing the results of the sugar industry’s successful advertising campaign to promote the “healthy and natural aspects of sugar.” But let’s take a look at the negative aspects together. As you’ll see, a diet based in natural foods like vegetables, grains and legumes is a healthy alternative to this troubling explosion in sugar dependency. 

Sugar and Addiction

People often say they have a “sweet tooth.” You may have a friend who excitedly rushes off for a “sugar fix.” But the links between sugar and addiction are actually well-documented in a number of studies.  Dr. C. Colantuoni, an obesity researcher, showed that excessive sugar intake causes serious dependence and that the removal of sugar creates withdrawal symptoms.  He and his colleagues showed that withdrawal from sugar is qualitatively similar to withdrawal from morphine or nicotine.[21]Similar findings concerning sugar addiction have been published by numerous researchers. Using MRI scanners measuring the brain’s reaction the sugar, scientists at the Oregon Research Institute established that sugar has a very similar affect on the brain as highly addictive drugs such as cocaine.[22]

Sugar and Aging             

Of particular concern to those reaching the andropause and menopause stages of life, sugar’s effect on aging should be considered alongside its health risks. Anti-aging research has begun to show that sugar is one of the most powerful aging substances known. One of the most integral negative aging effects to consider is the bonding between glucose and collagen, called glycation, which can result in many negative effects, including thickened arteries, stiff joints, pain, feeble muscles and failing organs.

According to researcher L. Melton, diabetics age prematurely because the sugar-driven damage of glycation cannot be stopped. Diabetics suffer a very high incidence of nerve, artery and kidney damage because high blood sugar levels in their bodies markedly accelerate the chemical reactions that form advanced glycation products. According to Melton, “after years of bread, noodles and cakes, human tissues inevitably become rigid and yellow with pigmented glycation deposits.”[23]

 Sugar and Appetite Suppression:

Researchers have also shown that a lifetime of sugar intake can actually lower your intake of necessary nutrients by suppressing your appetite. Anderson, etal., reasoned that a primary mechanism by which carbohydrates are thought to regulate satiety and food intake is through their effect on blood glucose. They found that food intake and subjective appetite are inversely associated with blood glucose response in the 60 minutes following consumption of carbohydrates. That’s why candy bars are recommended by advertisers to hold you over until you eat a meal. Your body may not be getting any of the nutrients it needs, but it is being tricked into thinking it has ingested the proper amount of energy.[24]Anderson’s study concluded that sugary foods cause appetite suppression and prevent people from achieving a balanced diet with proper nutrients unavailable in sugary products.[25] In other words, sugary snacks have the potential of leading to malnutrition.

 Sugar and Cancer

In the 1930s, Otto Warburg, Ph.D., a Nobel Laureate in medicine, discovered that cancer cells have a fundamentally different energy metabolism compared to healthy cells. He found that increased sugar intake could increase cancer cell production. The more primitive nature of cancer cells requires a direct supply of glucose, not being able to master the more complex synthesis of glucose from larger molecules. The build up of lactic acid and an acidic pH from direct consumption of glucose in cancer cells is a diagnostic factor for cancer.[26] This means that there is a direct relationship between sugar ingestion and the risk of cancer.

An epidemiological study in 21 modern countries (in Europe, North America, Japan and others) and revealed that sugar intake is a strong risk factor that contributes to higher breast cancer rates, particularly in older women.[27]  A four-year study in the Netherlands at the National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection compared 111 biliary tract cancer patients with 480 controls. The study concluded that cancer risk associated with the intake of sugars had more than doubled for the cancer patients.[28]

These findings are mirrored in the research of Michaud, et al., at the National Cancer Institute, who followed up on two large studies conducted over the past 20 years on approximately 50,000 men and 120,000 women.  They concluded that obesity significantly increased the risk of pancreatic cancer and that physical activity appears to decrease the risk of pancreatic cancer, especially among those who are overweight.  Preventing obesity by dietary intervention and exercise is by far the best way to avoid pancreatic cancer.[29] But the Michaud team continued their investigation of the triggers of pancreatic cancer and found that evidence from both animal and human studies suggested abnormal glucose metabolism plays an important role in pancreatic carcinogenesis. They investigated whether diets high in sugar were to blame. They found that a diet high in sugar may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer in women who already have an underlying degree of insulin resistance.[30]

 Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease:

On July 23, 2002, the American Heart Association released a report on “Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease.”  The report concluded that scientific data indicates that sugar consumption is detrimental to human health, that no data indicates that sugar consumption is advantageous, and that high sugar intake should be avoided.  The report also stated that obesity is a definite cause of cardiovascular disease and death.[31]

A study in August, 2000, from the State University of New York at Buffalo reported that excess sugar in the blood increases the production of free radicals, which have been linked to aging and heart disease. Healthy adults who were given a drink containing 75 grams of pure glucose, the equivalent of two cans of cola, experienced a significant rise of free radicals in the blood one hour after the drink, and a doubling of free radicals after two hours.  The sugar drink also produced an increase in a part of an enzyme that promotes free radical generation and a four percent decrease in levels of Vitamin E.  Dr. PareshDandona concluded, “We believe that in obese people, this cumulatively leads to damage and may cause hardening of the arteries.”[32] Numerous other studies have repeatedly documented the relationship between high blood sugar levels and increased heart disease.[33]

In a 2001 UN report commissioned by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agricultural Organization, a team of global experts identified the excessive consumption of sugar from snacks, processed foods, and drinks, as one of a few major factors causing worldwide increases in cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.  In 2001, such chronic diseases contributed approximately 59% of the 59.6 million total reported deaths in the world and 46% of the global burden of disease.[34]

 Sugar and Children’s Behavior

Parents often joke about their children being on a sugar high, especially when those children act up or seem to be out of control. But several important studies have actually confirmed the relationship between sugar consumption and behavioral changes in children.  Between 1973 and 1977, Dr. William Crook showed that a majority of children could have their behavior affected by the removal of particular foods.[35]This was one of the first studies to confirm a link between diet and behavior, but was only a stepping stone to what came later.

Dr. Stephen Schoenthaler conducted diet research on children for almost 30 years.  His original seminal studies eliminated sugar and junk foods from the lunch programs of one million school children in over eight hundred New York schools during a seven-year period (1976-1983).  Learning performance was established first, and then in 1979, diet changes were introduced.  High sucrose foods were gradually eliminated or reduced and there was a gradual elimination of synthetic colors and flavors and selected preservatives (BHA and BHT).  There was a 15.7% gain (from 39.2% to 55%) in learning ability compared with other schools during the years in which these changes in diet were introduced. Schoenthaler also noted that out of 124,000 children who had once been unable to learn grammar and mathematics, 75,000 were able to perform these basic tasks after dietary changes alone.[36]In other words, removing sugary foods made children smarter! Much of this change in learning ability, however, has to do with changed behavior in the classroom and during their studies as a result of removing the excess sugar in their diet. It should be noted that today, sugar intake in children and teens is much higher than it once was. A corresponding spike in behavioral problems and dropout rates should trouble concerned parents who see that diet is important to their children’s future.

Schoenthaler continued his work by studying thousands of juvenile delinquents on junk-food-free diets. The removal of these sugary foods always resulted in the same end product: an observed dramatic improvement in mood and behavior.[37]With regard to sugar intake in particular, Schoenthaler worked with the Los Angeles Probation Department Diet-Behavior Program and observed 1,382 incarcerated delinquents at three juvenile detention halls. When trying a low sucrose diet, these young delinquents showed an averaged 44% drop in antisocial behavior. The greatest reductions, however, were seen in particular groups: repeat offenders (86% drop in antisocial behavior), narcotics offenders (72%), rape offenders (62%), burglars (59%), murderers (47%) and assault offenders (43%).[38]

The second part of his study followed 289 juvenile delinquents at three juvenile rehabilitation camps. They exhibited a 54% reduction in antisocial behavior after sugar consumption was reduced. A similar Alabama Diet Behavior study by Schoenthaler observed 488 incarcerated delinquents for 22 months.  The decline in antisocial behavior resulting from reduction in sugar consumption ranged from a low of 17% to a high of 53% (an average of 45%) depending upon gender, race and type of offender.[39]Schoenthaler’s work with juvenile delinquents and sugar intake offers up pretty unflattering evidence of the effect a sugary diet has on children’s behavior. As we often think about the effects of drug abuse on teen delinquency, it may be time we begin to consider what our kids are snacking on as well.

The sugar industry usually cites four very small-scale studies to deny any link between consumption of sugar by children and hyperactivity.[40] Although there were many flaws in those studies, the conclusions are used to suppress any objections to the increasing amount of sugar in children’s diets.  Problems with these studies included a number of issues that weaken their claims. For instance, the amount of sugar used was too small to warrant a reaction, the size of the trial was very small, the observation times were short, the control group was denied a nutritious alternative to sugar, and artificial sweeteners—which had their own unmeasured effects—were used as the placebo controls.

One of the sugar industry’s favorite studies used an average of only 65 grams (13 teaspoons) of sugar daily for a trial group of 21 persons.[41]  This is the average amount of sugar in a single ten-ounce can of soft drink.  A milkshake alone has 30 teaspoons of sugar, and a sugar-loaded birthday party can net a child as much as100 teaspoons of sugar within several hours. If one were going to measure the overall effect of too much sugar on children, you would think a researcher would start at a higher rate. Some researchers have calculated that a growing pre-teen may consume on average as much as 50 teaspoons of sugar a day, far more than the meager 13 teaspoons used in the study. A clinical study based on giving children only 13 teaspoons of sugar, or about 25% of their normal daily consumption of sugar, should not have produced any appreciable results. Once the study was finished it hadn’t. Yet, by giving the children less sugar than they usually absorb in a day, this study concluded that the mothers of these children were wrong in saying their children were hyperactive as a result of the sugar they consumed.

Further, in the four central studies most often quoted by sugar promoters, the trial size were quite small, using only 10 to 30 children, and followed them only for a period of a few hours.  In contrast, in one of Schoenthaler’s studies, 800,000 schoolchildren were studied over a greater length of time. In six of his other studies, 5,000 juvenile delinquents were studied.[42]Schauss, in two studies, examined over 2,000 juvenile delinquents.[43]As anyone who has followed political polling or any other type of statistics knows, you get closer to the facts when you survey the greatest number.

It is important to note that the more trustable studies performed by Schoenthaler and Schauss both showed how diets high in sugar can lead to juvenile delinquency and behavioral problems in children.  Their studies were also conducted over a period of several years, not just a few hours as was the case with some of the “pro-sugar” studies.  For instance, Behar’s pro-sugar study gave 21 males their 13-teaspoon sugar drink and observed them for only five hours on three mornings.  Wolraich observed his 32 hyperactive school-age boys for only three hours before concluding that consumption of sugar has no effect on human behavior.[44]

Other criticisms of the pro-sugar studies include that there were usually no controls on the childrens’ normal diets.  Thus, the studies were performed with children who were told not to eat any breakfast in the morning.  They would then go to school where they would be given a sugared drink and then tested for changes in behavior. Yet, for these children, the drink was equivalent to their missing breakfast, and would therefore not necessarily cause any changes in behavior.

 As we can see, there is a general consensus among studies championed by the sugar industry: children’s behavior is unaffected by sugar. But there is an opposite consensus among researchers unassociated with the sugar industry and its lobby. That consensus holds that sugar does have an effect on children, causing behavioral problems that range from hyperactivity to delinquency. The best choice is a diet that removes unnecessary sugar and processed foods, one which has no negative effect on children’s behavior and creates a positive effect of lifetime health.    

Sugar and Dental Caries

Studies have repeatedly confirmed that sugar causes dental caries—the cause of tooth decay and cavities.  Dr. A. Sheiham, a professor of epidemiology and public health, found that sugars, particularly sucrose, are the most important dietary cause of dental caries.  Both the frequency of consumption and the total amount of sugars are important factors that cause caries.  The evidence establishing sugars as a cause of dental caries is overwhelming, with the foundation in the multiplicity of studies rather than the power of any one. In fact, we take it as a rule of thumb that sugar is bad for our teeth. 

According to Sheiham, the intake of sugar beyond four times a day leads to an increased risk of dental caries. Further, sugars above 60 grams per person per day increases the rate of dental caries. Sheiham concludes that the main strategy to further reduce the levels of dental caries is to reduce the frequency of sugars in the diet.[45]

Jones, et al., studied over 6,000 fourteen-year-olds to examine the association between the consumption of different drinks and dental caries. The study concluded that consumption of sugary and carbonated drinks was associated with significantly higher levels of dental caries. Drinking unsweetened tea was associated with lower levels of caries.[46] A host of other studies establish that the consumption of sugar significantly increases the incidence of dental caries, tooth decay and cavities.[47]

As we age, our teeth often become weak from a lifetime of sugar damage, calcium depletion and wear. Dental bills stack up. Painful cavities can be ignored and grow worse. The best way to keep from causing all this unnecessary damage is to remove excess sugar from the diet and focus your meals on nutrient-rich foods.

Sugar and the Immune System

As we’ve discussed in other chapters, the immune system—though often overlooked when we consider our health—is one of the most important layers of our body’s interconnected structure. The better our immune system, the better so many other systems. That’s why so much of the advice in this book is aimed at bringing optimal health to the immune system: by keeping away from hormone-treated meats, pesticides, and other toxins. But another key way to immune system health is regulating sugar intake.

Several studies confirm a strong link between a high consumption of sugar and the suppression of the body’s immune system.  For instance, in one study, 10 healthy people were assessed for fasting blood-glucose levels and the phagocytic index of neutrophils, which measures immune-cell ability to envelop and destroy invaders such as cancer. Eating 100 grams (24 teaspoons) of carbohydrates from glucose, sucrose, honey and orange juice all significantly decreased the capacity of neutrophils to engulf bacteria; the neutrophils became “paralyzed.” Complex carbohydrates from starch, on the other hand, did not have this effect.[48]More recently, Yabunaka found that sugar caused an increase in a protein that inhibits macrophage activity.[49] This also weakens the immune system’s ability to function. Elevated levels of blood sugar have also been linked to bacterial invasion and infectious diseases, such as sepsis and vaginal candidiasis.[50] Overall, excessive sugar intake has been shown on many levels to deplete and weaken the immune system. As we know, overall health and a sense of well-being during the andropause and menopause stage depends heavily on one’s immune system functioning at its best.

Sugar and Obesity

Obesity in American children is becoming an epidemic.  In December, 2001, The Journal of the American Medical Association presented a comprehensive national picture of weight trends among children over a twelve-year period.  From 1986 to 1998, the number of overweight non-Hispanic white children doubled from 6% to 12%.  Roughly one in five, or 20% of African-American and Hispanic children are overweight, a 120% increase during the 12-year study period.[51] Several other studies faithfully document that since 1995, there has been a dramatic rise in obesity in American children.[52]This is an alarming change in the overall health of our children, and will soon impact a growing number of adults with the negative effects obesity brings to middle age.

The relationship between increased sugar consumption and obesity in children is well documented in an abundance of recent studies.  In the late 1990s, The Children’s Hospital of Boston and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted the first long-term study to examine the impact of soda and sugar-sweetened beverages on children’s body weight.  The study involved 548 sixth and seventh graders over a 21-month period.  During this time, 57 percent of the children increased their daily intake of soft drinks, and more than half of them by nearly a full serving.  The results showed that the odds of becoming obese increased 1.6 times for each additional can of soft drink consumed above the daily average.  According to government studies, soft drinks are the leading source of added sugars in the diet of young Americans. In a six-year period, soft drink consumption by adolescent males rose from 11.7 ounces per day to 19.3 ounces per day.[53]

More recently, Ludwig, et al., supported by Bellisle’s work, found that one daily soda increases the risk of obesity by 60%.  He found that about 65% of adolescent girls and 74% of adolescent boys consume soft drinks daily. The amount of sugar added to the diet by soda is 36.2 grams (9 tsp) daily for adolescent girls and 57.7 grams (14 tsp) for boys.  It was said that Ludwig’s was the first study of its kind in spite of the fact that the majority of American children have been consuming empty caloric sodas from an early age.[54]

Adult obesity is also at record levels.  Researchers at the CDC report that in 2000, most Americans were overweight (more than 56%), nearly 20% of adults were obese, 7.3% had diabetes and about 3% were both obese and diabetic. They said that diabetes rates could be as high as 10% if undiagnosed cases are considered.[55]  Whitaker surveyed 9,000 people over a 17-year period and found that more than 25% of American adults are obese in their 30s, and over 60% are overweight.[56] The total number of individuals that are morbidly obese (generally at least 100 lbs overweight) rose from 0.78% in 1990 to 2.2% in 2000.[1]  Dr. Mokdad, a researcher of obesity, cautions that, “Obesity continues to increase rapidly in the United States.”  To alter these trends, Dr. Mokdad argues that “strategies and programs for weight maintenance as well as weight reduction must become a higher public health priority.”[57]

Another group of researchers found that “there are existing data on the metabolic and endocrine effects of dietary fructose that suggest that increased consumption of fructose may be detrimental in terms of body weight and adiposity and the metabolic indexes associated with the insulin resistance syndrome.”[58] In other words, high consumption of sugar has an indelible effect on weight gain and obesity.

The medical authors of Sugar Busters! summarize how increased sugar in the blood causes increased secretions of insulin, which leads to obesity:

Carbohydrates are broken down to glucose (sugar) in our body, and the glucose raises our blood sugar.  Insulin is then secreted by the pancreas to lower our blood sugar, but in the process, insulin causes the storage of fat and also increases cholesterol levels.  Insulin also inhibits the mobilization of (loss of) previously stored fat.[59]

According to Public Health Journal, obesity raises the risk of heart disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer.[60]  Researchers have shown that hypertension, Type 2 diabetes mellitus (80% are obese), gallbladder disease, hyperlipidemia, and sleep apnea are other complications of obesity. Other risks include coronary artery disease, knee osteoarthritis, gout, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, colon cancer, and low back pain.[61] 

Sugar and Diabetes

Various anthropological studies have demonstrated that upon the introduction of refined sugar to a culture, the incidence of diabetes increases after a latent period of about 20 years.  According to T.L. Cleave, author of The Saccharine Disease, the “virtual absence of diabetes in primitive communities who live on complex carbohydrates such as various grains and tubers compared with populations eating carbohydrates which are refined is anthropological proof that sugar is a leading cause of diabetes.”[62] But as we know, the link between too much sugar and diabetes is another of those rules of thumb. Yet, like sugar’s effect on dental health, we tend to ignore this shared wisdom when confronted with sugary sweets.

Studies demonstrating the undeniable link between sugar consumption and diabetes are well documented.  Salmeron, et al., at the Harvard School of Public Health examined the relationship between glycemic (i.e., sugar) diets, low fiber intake, and the risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.  They found that diets with a high glycemic load and a low cereal fiber content increase risk of diabetes in women.[63] A host of additional studies demonstrate that sucrose added to the diet of laboratory animals or increased in the diet of healthy volunteers has been shown to be associated with impaired glucose tolerance, retinopathy and nephropathy, and reduced insulin sensitivity of the tissues.[64] These are all major factors of diabetes.

And now there is an increase in adult-onset diabetes in children.  One in four extremely obese children under the age of 10 and one in five obese adolescents under the age of 18 in the US have impaired glucose tolerance—a precursor to type 2 or adult-onset diabetes, which increases the risk of heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and limb amputations. Adult onset diabetes is a chronic degenerative disease that is typically seen in people past the age of 60.[1] The fact that children are now suffering from this debilitative disease would have shocked health professionals a generation ago.

Obesity and diabetes are also causing birth defects that destroy a child’s chance of a normal life. Researchers studied 23,000 pregnant women and found that obese women who also have type 2 diabetes are three times more likely than non-obese non-diabetic women to have a baby with a birth defect, and seven times more likely of giving birth to a child with a craniofacial defect such as cleft palate, or abnormal limb development. Nearly 6% of all women with type 2 diabetes had babies with major defects, compared with 1.34% of women without diabetes.[65]

Socioeconomic Impact:

Though it does not directly affect health, it is always good to know the facts behind the products we take for granted. Often, when we consider a product we may be ready to do without, finding out the moral costs of that product helps to solidify our decision. As with the moral problems raised by meat consumption, sugar has its own moral complications. The sugar industry has a long and sordid history of using both slave labor and child labor to harvest sugar, refine it, and bring it to market.  In an October 17, 2001 article for Creative Loafing, senior editor John Sugg reported the current exploitation of child labor by the sugar industry:

While we’re talking sweet, take a hard look at your sugar bowl. Much of the sugar on American tables comes from the Dominican Republic. The Rev. Kirton recalls seeing cane-cutters, braceros, as young as 6 labor dawn-to-dusk shifts. And it’s not a Dominican company that works the children. ‘Those plantations were owned by Gulf & Western, the same people who make movies at Paramount studios,’ Kirton says.  (In 1985, Gulf & Western sold its 240,000 acres of plantations—along with a posh resort—to the politically powerful Fanjul family of Palm Beach. That clan is often accused of widespread abuses of labor in its fields in the Everglades, so it is unlikely to have improved conditions in the Dominican Republic.)[66]

 The sugar industry was also one of the largest exploiters of slave labor.  The University of Calgary, in its applied history tutorial “The Sugar and Slave Trades,” provides a concise review of sugar production’s historical origins:

Sugar cane cultivation had its origins in Southwest Asia.  From there it was carried to Persia and then to the eastern Mediterranean by Arab conquerors in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.  Shortly after sugar cane’s introduction to the Mediterranean, it was being grown on estates similar to the later plantations of the Americas.  By the fourteenth century Cyprus became a major producer using the labor of Syrian and Arab slaves.  Eventually sugar made its way to Sicily where a familiar pattern of enslaved or coerced labor, relatively large land units, and well-developed long-range commerce was established. The Portuguese and the Spanish both looked to Sicily as a model to be followed in their own colonies in the Atlantic, and in 1420 Prince Henry sent to Sicily for cane plantings and experienced sugar technicians.

 An innovation in sugar production, the roller mill, was introduced to the Mediterranean (perhaps by the Sicilians) and the Atlantic Islands in the fifteenth century. The roller mill reduced the time and labor needed to prepare the sugar cane, thereby increasing the mill’s capacity. It was this technology, combined with the system of production developed in the Mediterranean, which was transplanted and expanded to the Atlantic Islands. The final component necessary for the industry’s growth was satisfying its requirement of a large labor force. The solution was the incorporation of African slaves.[67]

Herbert Klein, in his book African Slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean (1990), traces the history of the sugar industry and compares it to other exploiters of African and indigenous Indian slavery:

Once we enter the more familiar history of the “Atlantic Islands”, sugar and slavery become the economic foundation for European imperialism, even more so than the cotton and tobacco industries.  Before the cotton and tobacco plantations there was the sugar industry in Brazil.  When the Dutch became the direct competitors of their former Brazilian partners in 1630, their first step was to deny Brazil access to its sources of African slaves because slavery was the pivotal component of the sugar industry.  So much so, that the Brazilians were forced to enslave the indigenous Indian populations of the interior regions of Brazil.  Dutch Brazil then became “the source for the tools, techniques, credit and slaves which would carry the sugar revolution into the West Indies, thereby eliminating Brazil’s monopoly position in European markets and leading to the creation of wealthy new American colonies for France and England.[68]

According to Klein, by the 1650s, with the decline in Brazilian production, the Dutch were forced to bring their slaves and sugar-milling equipment to the French and British settlers in the Caribbean. When the Dutch themselves migrated to the Caribbean, the sugar plantation system took hold on the islands and by the 1670s sugar became a larger commercial operation than tobacco and indigo.  The accompanying slave trade led to a declining population of indentured whites and soon blacks outnumbered whites on Barbados for the first time.  By 1700 every year saw the arrival of at least 1300 black slaves and Barbados, with 50,000 slaves, became the most densely populated region in the Americas.-[69]

Kretchmer and Hollenbeck, authors of Sugars and Sweeteners (1991), estimate that in the four centuries prior to the abolishment of slavery, the transport of slaves involved 22 million people, 12 million of whom were utilized in the Americas.  The remainder died on board ship or shortly after arrival. Further, “a number of historians state that sugar was responsible for 70% of the traffic of slavery.”[70]  The critical historical role that slavery played in the development of the sugar industry in the Americas has also been well established in several other scholarly volumes on the subject.[71]

Kevin Bales noted in his book, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy (2001), that even today, large amounts of slave labor exists in Africa, Asia, Pakistan, Brazil, and the Carribean, among other places. As a result of globalization and the international commodities markets, products tainted with slavery are being broadly distributed throughout the world.  According to Bales, “Maybe 40 percent of the world’s chocolate is tainted with slavery. The same is true of steel, sugar, tobacco products, jewelry – the list goes on and on.  Thanks to the global economy, these slave-produced products move smoothly around the globe.”[72] Banes points out that the global market in commodities, such as cocoa and sugar, functions as a money-laundering machine. Cocoa, for instance, coming out of West Africa and entering the world market almost immediately loses its ‘label.’ If you’re a buyer for a candy maker, you don’t say, ‘I’d like to buy six tons of Ghanaian cocoa.’ You just say you want six tons of cocoa. When the cocoa is delivered to your factory, you can’t tell where it’s from, so you may be passing on a slave-tainted product without knowing, and consumers will buy it without knowing.  The same is true of sugar and other commodities, where the source is not easily identifiable.[73]

Peter Cox in the New Internationalist (November, 1998) asked the question, “Slavery on sugar plantations is a thing of the past. Or is it?”  Cox’s investigation revealed the following:

‘We suffered all kinds of punishment,’ one witness told the Brazilian Justice Ministry.  ‘We were hit with rifle butts, kicked and punched.  I tried to escape, so did my uncle.  He was shot and killed by farm gunslingers.’

The word is peonage - a vicious system of forced labor, common in many parts of Latin America, Asia and even in the southern US.  A recruiter entices the poor and the homeless with promises of employment, good wages, food and shelter.  Then they are trucked long distances to toil on remote plantations where they are held prisoner and compelled to work at gunpoint.  The victims aren’t paid cash—they receive notional ‘credits,’ which are offset by extortionate charges for the tools they use and the hammocks they sleep in.

‘Life for these people is worse now than it was under slavery,’ says Wilson Furtado, of the agriculture federation in Bahia state, Brazil. ‘Then the owners had some capital tied up in their slaves so it cost them if one died, but now they lose nothing.’  No matter how hard the victims work – cutting sugar cane or felling trees—they can never break even.  A loaded rifle keeps them in line, but it’s debt that keeps them working.[74]

However, Cox points out an irony for those countries relying on sugar as a cash crop while the sugar industry focuses on more research and development into artificial sweeteners. According to Cox, the plight of non-Western nations whose economies are dependent on cash crops such as sugar is identical to the position of the victims of peonage.  Both are held to economic ransom by a system that ensures they can never free themselves of debt – no matter how hard they try.  The more they produce, the more indebted they become.  In 1981 the Dominican Republic earned $513 million from its sugar exports, yet by 1993 its income had dropped almost by half—to $263 million, despite increasing its production by 84,000 tons.  This disastrous decline in income saw the Dominican Republic’s debt swell from $600 million in 1973 to a staggering $2,400 million in l983.  And not only sugar producers are crippled: plummeting prices for commodities in general have impoverished many Third World economies, leading to widespread starvation.[75]

Cox also investigated how one of the richest islands of the Philippines could become the setting for another Ethiopia-type famine, where an estimated 85,000 Philippine children under six were suffering from moderate or severe malnutrition. Partly, according to Cox, this was because the corrupt Marcos regime mismanaged the industry.  Also, the U.S. market for Philippine sugar had disappeared (being replaced by corn syrup), throwing a quarter of a million sugar workers out of their jobs. And the land—rich and fertile—was exclusively used for sugar cane which prevented self-sufficiency in food production.  Cox concludes that a disaster was waiting to happen.[76]  Quite a few other authors have documented exploitations of modern slavery, and its variants, by the sugar industry.[77]

Sugar and the Environment:

Sugar production also causes stress on our natural environment. As cash-crop economies vainly struggle to repay their debts environmental devastation becomes another consequence of the modern sugar industry. In 1997, American University in Washington, D.C. issued a special-case study on the environmental consequences of the sugar industry on the environment of the Philippines:

The relationship between sugar production and environmental damage is found in deforestation, soil erosion, and consequent bio-diversity loss caused by forest conversion to sugar cane field.  Forest clearing caused widespread soil erosion and had a devastating effect on the ecology, wiping out a third to a half of the known species of snail and birds in the Philippines.

In the overall Philippines, cultivated upland areas increased from 582,000 hectares in 1960 to over 3.9 million hectares in 1987.  Soil erosion was estimated at about 122 to 210 tons per hectare annually for newly established pasture, compared to less than 2 tons per hectare for land under forest cover.  Forest cover declined from 50 percent of the national territory in 1970 to less than 21 percent in 1987.[78]

The deforestation rate of the Philippines, driven in large part by the sugar industry, is now pegged at 25 hectares an hour or 219,000 hectares a year.  Experts say the country can expect its forests to be gone in less than 40 years.[79]

The Multinational Corporations:

Quite a few large multinational companies are invested in the sugar industry.  One example, explored by Daniel Hellinger and Dennis Brooks in their book The Democratic Façade (1991), is Gulf and Western.  They write:

Gulf+Western came to the Dominican Republic in 1966, two years after an invasion by U.S. Marines.  Aided by major tax concessions granted by President Balaguer to foreign investors, economic penetration of the country quickly followed U.S. military and political intervention.  With loans from Chase Manhattan Bank, Gulf+Western gained a foothold in the island’s economy with its purchase of the South Puerto Rico Sugar Company.  By 1976, its investment had grown to $300 million in sugar, meat, citrus, tourism, and tobacco.  Other transnational corporations also operated in the Dominican Republic, but Gulf+Western dominated the economy as the country’s largest landowner, employer, and exporter.  Because the yearly revenues of Gulf+Western were greater than the Dominican Republic’s Gross National Product, it could accurately be called ‘a state within a state.’

Immediately on entering the country, Gulf+Western broke the sugarcane workers’ union, SindicatoUnido.  Denouncing the union as communist controlled, the corporation fired the entire union leadership, annulled its contracts, and sent in police to occupy the plant while the American Institute for Free Labor Development (an agency financed in part by the CIA) formed a new union that obtained immediate acceptance from the Dominican president. The possibility of free unions on Gulf’s sugar plantations disappeared (along with dozens of labor leaders), with the result that of the country’s 20,000 cane cutters, only one out of ten is Dominican. Most of the cane workers are Haitian immigrants paid $1.50 to $3.00 a day to do what Dominicans call ‘slave work.” [80]

Hellinger and Brooks also describe how Gulf+Western set up the first of the industrial free zones that thrive in the Dominican Republic.  Often called ‘runaway shops’ (because businesses relocate there from U.S. communities) or ‘export platforms,’ such zones offer a low-wage labor force, government subsidies, and freedom from taxes and environmental regulations.  Unions are not permitted in these zones, and so in the mid-1980s, 22,000 workers earned an average of 65 cents per hour working in factories surrounded by barbed wire and security guards.  Dominican Law 299 grants corporations a 100 percent exemption from Dominican taxes and also provides them with a 70 percent government subsidy of plant construction costs to set up business in the zones.  Bestform, Esmark, Milton Bradley, Ideal Toys, Fisher Price, and North American Phillips are among the U.S. corporations that take advantage of the free zones to assemble and manufacture their products for export back to the United States.[81]

 Conclusion

 Excess sugar ingestion is rampant in today’s society. We are eating sugar in foods that don’t even warrant sweeteners. Sugary drinks and candies thrive in the business world. But this excess sugar has saddled us with alarming health risks like obesity and diabetes. The sugar industry, with its carelessness for workers and the environment, cannot be trusted to tell us the facts about the health of their product. But that doesn’t stop them from pushing to assure us that constant sugar ingestion is just a part of life.

The truth is, all this sugar doesn’t have to be a part of our everyday life. We can dump sugary products and take up a diet focused on nutrient-rich natural foods. Diets centered on vegetables, legumes and whole grains provide everything a body needs for optimal health, and helps to suppress the addictive desire for sweets. The best choice for those moving into the andropause and menopause stage of life is to drop sugar and pick up healthy alternatives to ensure a long and happy life.

 Notes

 [1]Sugar Consumption at a crossroads.”Credit Suisse Research and Analytics. https://doc.research-and-analytics.csfb.com/docView?language=ENG&source=ulg&format=PDF&document_id=1022457401&serialid=atRE31ByPkIjEXa/p3AyptOvIGdxTK833tLZ1E7AwlQ= (accessed January 14, 2014).

[2] Ibid

[3]“Is sugar toxic? – CBS News.”Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News – CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57407294/is-sugar-toxic/?pageNum=2&tag=contentMain;contentBody (accessed April 2, 2012).

[4]Wexler, Alexandra . “Sugar companies get generous taxpayer bailouts.” MSNMoney. http://money.msn.com/investing/post–sugar-companies-get-generous-taxpayer-bailouts (accessed January 23, 2014).

[6]Basu S, Yoffe P, Hills N, Lustig RH (2013) The Relationship of Sugar to Population-Level Diabetes Prevalence: An Econometric Analysis of Repeated Cross-Sectional Data. PLoS ONE 8(2): e57873. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057873

[8]Lustig, Robert H, et al. “http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v482/n7383/full/482027a.html?WT.mc_id=FBK_NPG.” Nature 482, no. 27-29 (2012). http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v482/n7383/full/482027a.html?WT.mc_id=FBK_NPG (accessed November 12, 2013).

[9]Stanhope KL, Bremer AA, Medici V, et al. Consumption of fructose and high fructose corn syrup increase postprandial triglycerides, LDL-cholesterol, and apolipoprotein-B in young men and women [published online August 17, 2011]. Journal of EndocrinMetab. 2011;96(10): E1596-E1605. – See more at: http://www.ajmc.com/publications/evidence-based-diabetes-management/2013/2013-1-vol19-sp7/Does-Sugar-Cause-Cardiometabolic-Disease-Stanhope-Reviews-the-Evidence#sthash.TsuUIIyW.dpuf

[10]“Sugar-sweetened drinks linked to increased risk of heart disease in men, study suggests.” Science Daily: News & Articles in Science, Health, Environment & Technology. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120312162744.htm (accessed April 2, 2012).

[11]“Research offers insight to how fructose causes obesity and other illness.” Science Daily: News & Articles in Science, Health, Environment & Technology. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120227152723.htm (accessed April 2, 2012)

[12]R. Agrawal, F. Gomez-Pinilla. ‘Metabolic syndrome’ in the brain: deficiency in omega-3 fatty acid exacerbates dysfunctions in insulin receptor signaling and cognition. The Journal of Physiology, 2012; 590 (10): 2485 DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.230078

[13]Trivedi, Bijal. “Food for thought: Eat your way to dementia.” New Scientist 3 Sept. 2012: n. pag.http://www.newscientist.com. Web. 19 Sept. 2012.

[14]Howard, B.V. and J. Wylie-Rosett. Sugar and cardiovascular disease: A statement for healthcare professionals from the Committee on Nutrition of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism of the American Heart Association. Circulation 2002 Jul 23;106(4):523-7.  American Heart Association Report at: http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/106/4/523.

[15]Walton, Alice. “How Much Sugar Are Americans Eating? [Infographic].” Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2012/08/30/how-much-sugar-are-americans-eating-infographic/ (accessed January 29, 2014).

[16]Steward, H.L., M. Bethea, MD, S. Andrews, MD, and L. Blart, MD, Sugar Busters!, Sugar Busters LLC, 1995

[17]Melnick, Meredith. “American Soda Consumption: Half Of Us Drink It Everyday, Study Says.” The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/25/half-of-americans-drink-soda-everyday-consumption_n_1699540.html#slide=1074464 (accessed January 29, 2014).

[19]Lord, R. Agricultural Outlook Forum Tuesday, February 24, 1998. U.S. SUGAR OUTLOOK, Ron Lord Agricultural Economist, USDA.http://jan.mannlib.cornell.edu/reports/erssor/specialty/sss-bb/1998/sss223f.asc  

[20]Ibid  

[21]Colantuoni. C., et al. Evidence that intermittent, excessive sugar intake causes endogenous opioid dependence. Obes Res 2002 Jun 10(6):478-88.

[22]See, e.g., Grimm, J.W., et al. Effect of cocaine and sucrose withdrawal period on extinction behavior, cue-induced reinstatement, and protein levels of the dopamine transporter and tyrosine hydroxylase in limbic and cortical areas in rats, BehavPharmacol 2002 Sep 13(5-6):379-88;  Frisina, P. and A. Sclafani. Naltrexone suppresses the late but not early licking response to a palatable sweet solution: opioid hedonic hypothesis reconsidered. PharmacolBiochemBehav, 2002 Dec 74(1):163l;  Levine, A.S., et al. Naltrexone infusion inhibits the development of preference for a high-sucrose diet. Am J PhysiolRegulIntegr Comp Physiol 2002 Nov 283(5):R1149-54.  Pecoraro, N., et al. Brief access to sucrose engages food-entrainable rhythms in food-deprived rats. BehavNeurosci 2002 Oct 116(5):757-76.  Bartley, G. Neural systems for reinforcement and inhibition of behavior: relevance to eating, addiction, and depression. Well-being: Foundations of Hedonic Psychology 1999 pp. 558-572.  Matthews, D.B., etal. Effects of sweetened ethanol solutions on ethanol self-administration and blood ethanol levels.PharmacolBiochemBehav 2001 Jan 68(1):13-21.  Rogowski, A. et al. Sucrose self-administration predicts only initial phase of ethanol-reinforced behaviour in wistar rats. Alcohol 2002 Sep-Oct 37(5) 436-40.  Olson, G.A., et al. Naloxone and fluid consumption in rats: dose-response relationships for 15 days. PharmacolBiochemBehav 1985 Dec, 23(6):1065-8.  Cichelli, M., and M. Lewis.Naloxone nonselective suppression of drinking of ethanol, sucrose, saccharin, and water by rats.PharmacolBiochemBehav 2002 Jun 72(3):699.  Files, F.J., et al. Sucrose, ethanol, and sucrose/ethanol reinforced responding under variable-interval schedules of reinforcement. Alcohol ClinExp Res 1995 Oct 19(5):1271-8.  Czachowski, C.L., Independent ethanol- and sucrose-maintained responding on a multiple schedule of reinforcement. Alcohol ClinExp Res 1999 Mar 23(3):398-403.

[23]Melton, L.  AGE breakers, Rupturing the body’s sugar-protein bonds might turn back the clock. Sci Am. 2000 Jul 283(1):16.  See also. Cerami, A., H. Vlassara, and M. Brownlee.Glucose and Aging. Scientific American May 1987: 90.

[24]Anderson, G.H., et al. Inverse association between the effect of carbohydrates on blood glucose and subsequent short-term food intake in young men. Am J ClinNutr 2002 Nov 76(5):1023-30.

[25] Ibid

[26]Warburg, O. On the origin of cancer cells.Science 1956 Feb 123:309-14.

[27]Seeley, S. Diet and breast cancer: the possible connection with sugar consumption. Med Hypotheses 1983 Jul 11(3):319-27.

[28]Moerman, C.J., et al. Dietary sugar intake in the aetiology of biliary tract cancer. Int J Epidemiol 1993 Apr 22(2):207-14.

[29]Michaud, D.S., et al. Physical activity, obesity, height, and the risk of pancreatic cancer. JAMA 2001 Aug 22-29 286(8):921-9.

[30]Michaud, D.S., et al. Dietary sugar, glycemic load, and pancreatic cancer risk in a prospective study. J Natl Cancer Inst 2002 Sep 4 94(17):1293-300.

[31]Burfoot, A. Sugar and cardiovascular disease, and other health issues. Runner’s World Website, 2003;  http://www.runnersworld.com/home/0,1300,1-53-84-3623,00.html.  The American Heart Association Report “Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease” is located athttp://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/106/4/523.

[32]Rostler, S. Excess blood sugar may boost free radical production. Atkins Diet & Low Carbohydrate Website 2000.

[33]See Mohanty, P., et al. Glucose challenge stimulates reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation by leucocytes. J ClinEndocrinolMetab 2000 Aug;85(8):2970-3.  Hoogwerf, B.J., et al. Blood glucose concentrations < or = 125 mg/dl and coronary heart disease risk. Am J Cardiol 2002 Mar 1;89(5):596-9.  Norhammar, A., et al. Glucose metabolism in patients with acute myocardial infarction and no previous diagnosis of diabetes mellitus: a prospective study. Lancet 2002 Jun 22;359(9324):2140-4.  McGill Jr., H.C., et al. Obesity accelerates the progression of coronary atherosclerosis in young men; Circulation 2002 Jun 11;105(23):2712-8.  Ziccardi, P., et al. Reduction of inflammatory cytokine concentrations and improvement of endothelial functions in obese women after weight loss over one year. Circulation 2002 Feb 19;105(7):804-9.

[34]World Health Organization Press Release, March 3, 2003, “WHO/FAO release independent Expert Report on diet and chronic disease.”  www.who.int/mediacentre/releases/2003/pr20/en/

[35]Crook, W., Sugar and children’s behavior. New England Journal of Medicine 1994 June 30;330(26):1901-1904.

[36]Schoenthaler, S., et al.The Impact of Low Food Additive and Sucrose Diet on Academic Performance in 803 New York City Public Schools. l986, Int J Biosocial Res 8:2.

[37]Schoenthaler, S., Detention Home Double-Blind Study: Sugar Goes on Trial. Int J Biosocial Res l982 3(1):1-9.  Schoenthaler, S., Northern California Diet-Behavior Program: An Empirical Examination of 3,000 Incarcerated Juveniles in Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall. l983, Int J Biosocial Res 5(2):99-108.

[38]Schoenthaler, S., Detention Home Double-Blind Study: Sugar Goes on Trial. Int J Biosocial Res l982 3(1):1-9.  Schoenthaler, S., Northern California Diet-Behavior Program: An Empirical Examination of 3,000 Incarcerated Juveniles in Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall. l983, Int J Biosocial Res 5(2):99-108

[39]Schoenthaler, S. The Los Angeles Probation Department Diet-Behavior Program: An Empirical Analysis of Six Institutional Settings. l983, Int J Biosocial Res 5(2):88-89.  Schoenthaler, S. Alabama Diet-Behavior Program: An Empirical Evaluation at Coosa Valley Regional Detention Center. l983, Int J Biosocial Res 5(2):78-87.

[40]See, e.g., Aylsworth, J. Sugar and Hyperactivity.Winter l990 Priorities; 31-33.  Behar, D., et al. Diet and Hyperactivity.NutrBehav l984; 1:279-288.  Rapoport, J.L., et al. Behavioral Response to Sweeteners in Preschool Children. Presented at the International Conference on Nutrients and Brain Function, Scottsdale, Arizona, Feb 12, l986.  Originally published in American Journal of Psychiatry, November 1987, Vol. 144, No. 11;http://www.cmer.org/class/articles/sugar1.html.  Prinz, R.. et al. Associations Between Nutrition and Behavior in 5-Year-Old Children. May l986 Nutr Rev.  Rapoport, J. Diet and Hyperactivity.May l989 Nutr Rev Supp 158-161.

[41]Behar, D., et al. Diet and Hyperactivity; NutrBehav l984 1:279-288.

[42]Schoenthaler, S., et al.The Impact of Low Food Additive and Sucrose Diet on Academic Performance in 803 New York City Public Schools. l986, Int J Biosocial Res. 8:2.  Schoenthaler, S. Detention Home Double-Blind Study: Sugar Goes on Trial. l985, Int J. Biosocial Res 3(1):1-9.  Schoenthaler, S. Types of Offenses Which Can be Reduced in an Institutional Setting Using Nutritional Intervention: A Preliminary Empirical Evaluation. l983, Int J Biosocial Res 4(2):74-84. 

[43]Schoenthaler, S., The Los Angeles Probation Department Diet-Behavior Program: An Empirical Analysis of Six Institutional Settings. l983, Int J Biosocial Res 5(2):88-89.  Schoenthaler, S. Alabama Diet-Behavior Program: An Empirical Evaluation at Coosa Valley Regional Detention Center. l983, Int J Biosocial Res 5(2):78-87.  Schoenthaler, S. Northern California Diet-Behavior Program: An Empirical Examination of 3,000 Incarcerated Juveniles in Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall. l983, Int J Biosocial Res. 5(2):99-108.  Schoenthaler, S. The Effects of Citrus on the Treatment and Control of Antisocial Behavior: A Double-Blind Study of an Incarcerated Juvenile Population. l983, Int J Biosocial Res 5(2):107-17.Shauss, A., et al. Published in two parts with Simonsen and Bland-Simonsen J. A critical analysis of the diets of chronic juvenile offenders.Orthom Psychiatry l978 8(3):149-157, and l979 8(4):222-226.  Shauss, A. Diet Crime and Delinquency; Parker House. Berkley, California. l981.

[44]See Graves, F., July-Aug l984: Common Cause, p 25.  Wolraich, R., et al. J Pediatr; l985, 106:675-682.31.  Schoenthaler, S. J., et al. The Impact of Low Food Additive and Sucrose Diet on Academic Performance in 803 New York City Public Schools.l986Int J Biosocial Res 8:2.

[45]Sheiham, A. Dietary effects on dental diseases. Public Health Nutr 2001 Apr 4(2B):569-91.

[46]Jones, C., K. Woods, G. Whittle, H. Worthington, and G. Taylor. Sugar, drinks, deprivation and dental caries in 14-year-old children in the northwest of England in 1995. Community Dent Health 1999 Jun 16(2):68-71.

[47]Parajas, I.L. Sugar content of commonly eaten snack foods of school children in relation to their dental health status. J Philipp Dent Assoc 1999 Jun-Aug 51(1):4-21.  Rodrigues, C.S. and A. Sheiham, The relationships between dietary guidelines, sugar intake and caries in primary teeth in low income Brazilian 3-year-olds: a longitudinal study. Int J Paediatr Dent 2000 Mar;10(1):47-55.  Huumonen, S. L. Tjaderhane, T. Backman, E.L. Hietala, E. Pekkala, and M. Larmas. High-sucrose diet reduces defensive reactions of the pulpo-dentinal complex to dentinal caries in young rats. ActaOdontolScand 2001 Apr;59(2):83-7.  Spruill, W.T. PDA establishes position statement on cola contracts in schools. Pa Dent J (Harrisb) 2000 Sep-Oct;67(5):29-32.  Johnson, R.K. and C. Frary. Choose beverages and foods to moderate your intake of sugars: the 2000 dietary guidelines for Americans–what’s all the fuss about? J Nutr 2001 Oct;131(10):2766S-2771S.  Levine, R.S. Caries experience and bedtime consumption of sugar-sweetened food and drinks–a survey of 600 children. Community Dent Health 2001 Dec;18(4):228-31.  Van Wyk, W., I. Stander, and I. Van Wyk. The dental health of 12-year-old children whose diets include canned fruit from local factories: an added risk for caries? SADJ 2001 Nov;56(11):533-7.  Falco, M.A. The lifetime impact of sugar excess and nutrient depletion on oral health. Gen Dent 2001 Nov-Dec;49(6):591-5.  Sayegh, A., E.L. Dini, R.D. Holt, and R. Bedi. Food and drink consumption, sociodemographic factors and dental caries in 4-5-year-old children in Amman, Jordan. Br Dent J. 2002 Jul 13;193(1):37-42.  Nobre Dos Santos, M., L. Melo Dos Santos, S.B. Francisco, J.A. Cury. Relationship among Dental Plaque Composition, Daily Sugar Exposure and Caries in the Primary Dentition. Caries Res 2002 Sep-Oct;36(5):347-52.

[48]Sanchez, A., et al. Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis. Am J ClinNutr 1973 Nov;26(11):1180-4.

[49]Yabunaka, N., et al. Elevated serum content of macrophage migration inhibitory factor in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2000 Feb;23(2):256-8.

[50]See, Donders, G.G. Lower Genital Tract Infections in Diabetic Women. Curr Infect Dis Rep 2002 Dec;4(6):536-539.

[51]Strauss, R.S. and H.A. Pollack. Epidemic increase in childhood overweight, 1986-1998; JAMA 2001 Dec 12;286(22):2845-8.

[52]Troiano, R.P., et al. Overweight prevalence and trends for children and adolescents; The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 1963 to 1991. Arch PediatrAdolesc Med 1995 Oct;149(10):1085-91.  Melnik, T.A., et al. Overweight school children in New York City: prevalence estimates and characteristics. Int J ObesRelatMetabDisord 1998 Jan;22(1):7-13.  Adair, L.S. and P. Gordon-Larsen.Maturational timing and overweight prevalence in US adolescent girls. Am J Public Health 2001 Apr;91(4):642-4. Styne, D.M. Childhood and adolescent obesity: Prevalence and significance. PediatrClin North Am 2001 Aug;48(4):823-54(vii).  Strauss, R.S. and H.A. Pollack. Epidemic increase in childhood overweight, 1986-1998. JAMA 2001 Dec 12;286(22):2845-8.  Ogden, C.L., et al. Prevalence and trends in overweight among US children and adolescents, 1999-2000. JAMA 2002 Oct 9;288(14):1728-32.

[53]Ludwig, D.S., K.E. Peterson, and S.L. Gortmaker. Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis. Lancet 2001 Feb 17;357(9255):505-8.

[54]Ludwig, D.S., K.E. Peterson, and S.L. Gortmaker. Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis. Lancet 2001 Feb 17;357(9255):505-8.  Bellisle, F., et al. How sugar-containing drinks might increase adiposity in children. Lancet 2001 Feb 17;357(9255):490-1.

[55]Mokdad, A.H., et al. The continuing epidemics of obesity and diabetes in the United States. JAMA 2001 Sep 12;286(10):1195-200.  Flegal, K.M., et al. Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, 1999-2000. JAMA 2002 Oct 9;288(14):1723-7.

[56]Whitaker, R.C. Understanding the complex journey to obesity in early adulthood. Ann Intern Med 2002 Jun 18;136(12):923-5.

[57]Mokdad, A.H., et al. The spread of the obesity epidemic in the United States, 1991-1998. JAMA 1999 Oct 27;282(16):1519-22.

[58]Elliott, S.S., et al. Fructose, weight gain, and the insulin resistance syndrome. Am J ClinNutr 2002 Nov;76(5):911-22.

[59]Steward, H.L., M. Bethea, MD, S. Andrews, MD, and L. Blart, MD, Sugar Busters!, Sugar Busters LLC, 1995, pp 34-35.

[60]Public Health June 2001;115:229-235.

[61]Wolf, C. and M. Tanner. Obesity; Western Journal of Medicine January 2002;176:23-28.

[62]Cleave, T.L., The Saccharine Disease, John Wright & Sons, Ltd., Bristol, l974,  p 83.

[63]Salmeron, J., et al. Dietary fiber, glycemic load, and risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in women. JAMA 1997 Feb 12;277(6):472-7.

[64]Cohen, A. M., et al. Experimental Models in Diabetes.In Sugars in Nutrition; San Francisco, Academic Press, l974, p 483-511.  Storlien, L.H., et al. Effects of Sucrose vs. Starch Diets on in Vivo Insulin Action, Thermogenesis, and Obesity in Rats. l988, Am J ClinNutr 47:420-7.  Levine, R. Monosaccharides in Health and Disease. l986, Ann Rev Nutr 6:221-24.  Schusdziarra, et al. Effect of Solid and Liquid Carbohydrates Upon Postprandial Pancreatic Endocrine Function. l981, J ClinEndocrinolMetab 53:16-20.  Bruckdorfer, K.R., et al. Insulin Sensitivity of Adipose Tissue of Rats Fed with Various Carbohydrates. l974, ProcNutrSci 33:3A.  Wright, D., et al. Sucrose-Induced Insulin Resistance in the Rat: Moduclation by Exercise and Diet. l983, Am J ClinNutr 38:879-883.  Reiser, S., etal. Serum Insulin and Glucose Insulinemic Subjects Fed Three Different Levels of Sucrose. Nov 1981 AM. J. Clin. Nutr. 34:2348.

[65]Epidemiology, November, 2000; 11: 689-694.

[66] Sugg, J. “Suffer the Children, Tykes Toil to Fatten Corporate Coffers,” Creative Loafing, Atlanta, October 17, 2001;http://clatl.com/atlanta/suffer-the-children/Content?oid=1233833

[67]University of Calgary Applied History Research Group, The European Voyages of Exploration: The Sugar and Slave Trades, 1997.http://www.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/tutor/eurvoya/Trade.html

[68]Klein, Herbert; African Slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean; 1990, pp.45-47.

[69]Ibid.

[70]Kretchmer, Norman and Claire B. Hollenbeck.Sugars and Sweeteners, CRC Press, June 27, 1991, Preface, p v.

[71]See, e.g., the following.  Beckles, H. “Sugar and Slavery, 1644-1692”, in H. Beckles, A History of Barbados from Amerindian Settlement to Nation State. Cambridge Univ. Press: Cambridge, 1990.  Chardon, R.E. “Sugar Plantations in the Dominican Republic, 1770-1844”, Geographical Review, 74, 4 (1984).  Curtin, P.D., “The Sugar Revolution and the Settlement of the Carribean”, in The Rise and Fall of the Plantation Complex: Essays in Atlantic History. Cambridge Univ. Press: Cambridge, 1990.  Dunn, R., Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624-1713 (1972).

[72]Jensen, D, “The New Slavery: an Interview with Kevin Bales,” © 2001, The Sun Magazine, Chapel Hill, NC, http://www.thesunmagazine.org/slavery.html.

[73]Jensen, D, “The New Slavery: an Interview with Kevin Bales,” © 2001, The Sun Magazine, Chapel Hill, NC, http://www.thesunmagazine.org/slavery.html.

[74]Cox, Peter, “Sweetness and plight: Slavery on sugar plantations is a thing of the past.  Or is it?”  New Internationalist Magazine, Oxford, England, Issue 189 (November 1988), http://www.newint.org/issue189/plight.htm

[75] Ibid

[76] Ibid

[77]See, e.g., Dr. Charles Jacobs, “Slavery: Worldwide Evil, From India to Indiana, more people are enslaved today than ever before,” © 2001 Abolish.com, the Anti-Slavery Portal, http://www.iabolish.com/today/background/worldwide-evil.htm.

[78]American University, TED Case Studies, “Philippine Sugar and Environment,” January 11, 1997, http://www.american.edu/TED/PHILSUG.HTM

[79] Ibid

[80]Hellinger, Daniel and Dennis Brooks.The Democratic Façade. Cole Publishing Co, 1991, p 233-241;http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Democracy_America/Exporting_Facade_TDF.html

[81] Ibid

Ucrania, autopsia de un golpe de Estado

March 13th, 2014 by Ahmed Bensaada

El movimiento de protesta (llamado «Euromaidán») que ha vivido recientemente Ucrania es interesante por varias razones. Demuestra cómo con apoyo extranjero y sin intervención militar se puede fomentar con éxito un golpe de Estado civil contra un gobierno elegido democráticamente. Desvela la flagrante parcialidad y la falta de integridad de los medios de comunicación dominantes occidentales que con argumentos falaces apoyan ciegamente el intervencionismo occidental y que con una visión maniquea de la situación califican a unos de buenos y a los otros de malos. Lo que es aún más grave, esboza los hasta entonces vaporosos contornos del renacimiento de la Guerra Fría que se creía enterrada con la caída del Muro de Berlín. Finalmente, nos ofrece una proyección probable de la situación de los países «primaverizados» en la medida en que Ucrania conoció su «primavera» en 2004, primavera denominada en general «revolución naranja».

Pero para comprender la situación actual de Ucrania es primordial revisar algunas fechas importantes y los nombres de los principales actores de la política ucraniana tras la era soviética:

 

1991  
Ucrania se separa de la URSS.
1991-1994 Leonid Kravtchouk (exdirigente de la era soviética) es el primer presidente de Ucrania.
1991 Julia Timochenko crea la «Compañía de Petróleo Ucraniano»
1992-1993 Leonid Koutchma (prorruso) es primer ministro bajo la presidencia Kravtchouk. Dimitirá en 1993 para presentarse a las elecciones presidenciales del año siguiente.
1994-1999 Leonid Koutchma es el segundo presidente de Ucrania.
1995 Julia Timochenko reorganiza su sociedad para fundar con la ayuda de Pavlo Lazarenko la compañía de distribución de hidrocarburos « Sistemas energéticos unidos de Ucrania» (SEUU) .
1995 Pavlo Lazarenko es nombrado viceprimer ministro encargado de la energía.
1996 SEUU tiene un volumen de negocios de 10.000 millones de dólares y obtiene 4.000 millones de beneficios.
1996-1997 Pavlo Lazarenko es primer ministro bajo la presidencia de Koutchma.
1997 El presidente Koutchma cesa a Pavlo Lazarenko.
1998 La policía suiza detiene a Lazarenko en la frontera franco-suiza y las autoridades de Berna le acusan de blanqueo de dinero.
1999 Lazarenko es detenido en el aeropuerto JFK de Nueva York. Es condenado en 2004 por blanqueo de dinero (114.000 millones de dólares), corrupción y fraude.
1999-2005 Leonid Koutchma es presidente de Ucrania tras su reelección.
1999-2001 Viktor Iouchtchenko es primer ministro bajo la presidencia de Koutchma.

Julia Timochenko es viceprimer ministra encargada de la energía (puesto que había sido ocupado por Lazarenko).

2001 El presidente Koutchma cesa a Julia Timochenko en enero de 2001. Es acusada de «contrabando y falsificación de documentos» por haber importado fraudulentamente gas ruso en 1996, cuando era presidenta de SEUU.

Timochenko es detenida y pasará 41 días en la cárcel. La justicia investiga su actividad en el sector de la energía durante la década de 1990 y su relación con Lazarenko.

2002-2005 Viktor Yanukovich (prorruso), delfín de Koutchma, es primer ministro bajo su presidencia.

La elección presidencial opone al primer ministro Viktor Yanukovich y al ex primer ministro y líder de la oposición Viktor Yushchenko (prooccidental). Yanukovich gana la segunda vuelta (49,46 contra 46,61%). Se discuten los resultados ya que según la oposición, las elecciones son fraudulentas.

2004 Revolución Naranja: Movimiento de protesta popular prooccidental generosamente apoyado por organismos occidentales de «exportación» de la democracia, en particular estadounidenses. Se considera a Julia Timochenko la egeira de este movimiento. Principal resultado de esta «revolución»: anulación de la segunda vuelta en las presidenciales.

Se organiza una tercera vuelta de las elecciones: resulta elegido Viktor Yushchenko (51,99 contra el 44,19%)

2005-2010 Viktor Yushchenko es el tercer presidente de Ucrania.
2005 (7 meses) Julia Timochenko es primera ministra bajo la presidencia de Yushchenko
2006-2007 Viktor Yanukovich es primer ministro bajo la presidencia de Yushchenko.
2007-2010 Julia Timochenko es primera ministra por segunda vez bajo la presidencia de Yushchenko.

Julia Timochenko es primera ministra por segunda vez bajo la presidencia de Yushchenko.

2010 Elecciones presidenciales.

Resultados de la primera vuelta: primero, Yanukovich (35,32%);

Segunda, Timochenko (25,05%) y quinto, Yushchenko (5,45%).

Segunda vuelta: Yanukovich gana a Timochenko (48,95% contra 45,47%).

2010-2014 Viktor Yanukovich es el cuarto presidente de Ucrania.
2011 Julia Timochenko es condenada a siete años de cárcel por abuso de poder el marco de los contratos de gas firmados entre Ucrania y Rusia en 2009.

 

Un golpe de Estado plebiscitado por Occidente

Lo que ha ocurrido en Ucrania en estos últimos días es un auténtico golpe de Estado. En efecto, el presidente Viktor Yanukovich fue elegido democráticamente el 7 de febrero de 2010 al ganar a Julia Timochenko en la segunda vuelta de las elecciones presidenciales (48,95% de los votos frente al 45,47%).

Evidentemente, Timochenko no aceptó inmediatamente el veredicto de las urnas [1]. Seguramente hubo fraude en alguna parte ya que ella era primera ministra en ejercicio durante las elecciones y Viktor Yanukovich era el presidente del país. Las dos figuras emblemáticas de la Revolución Naranja, ampliamente apoyadas por los países occidentales, las mismas personas que se suponía iban a hacer entrar a Ucrania en una nueva era, la de la democracia y la prosperidad, fueron derrotados por mucho por un candidato prorruso. Y, ¡qué candidato, Yanukovich! La persona que había sido «abucheada» por los activistas de la ola naranja de 2004. En menos de seis años los ucranianos habían comprendido que esta «Revolución» de colores no era una revolución.

El 8 de febrero de 2010, Joao Soares, presidente de la Asamblea Parlamentaria de la Organización para la Seguridad y Cooperación en Europa (OSCE) declaró: «Las elecciones han ofrecido una demostración impresionante de democracia. Es una victoria para todo el mundo en Ucrania. Ahora es el momento de que los dirigentes políticos del país escuchen el veredicto del pueblo y de que hagan que la transición de poder sea pacífica y constructiva» [2].

Sin demasiada convicción pero ante la evidencia del veredicto de los observadores internacionales, Timochenko acabó por retirar su recurso judicial dirigido a invalidar el resultado de las elecciones [3].

Los «indignados» de la plaza Maidán reprochan a Yanukovich haber decidido suspender un acuerdo entre su país y la Unión Europea (UE). Y se plantea una pregunta fundamental: en democracia y en el marco de las prerrogativas de su función, ¿un presidente en ejercicio tiene derecho a firmar los acuerdos que considere beneficiosos para su país? La respuesta es afirmativa, tanto más cuanto que muchos especialistas creen que este acuerdo era nefasto para la economía de Ucrania.

Así, según David Teurtrie, Investigador del Instituto Nacional de las Lenguas y las Civilizaciones Orientales (INALCO, París): « La propuesta que se le hizo a Ucrania era, como yo la llamarían, una estrategia sin esperanzas. ¿Por qué? El acuerdo establecía una zona de libre comercio entre la UE y Ucrania. Pero esta zona de libre comercio era muy desfavorable para Ucrania porque abría el mercado ucraniano a los productos europeos y entreabría el mercado europeo a los productos ucranianos, la mayor parte de los cuales no son competitivos en el mercado occidental. Por consiguiente, vemos que la ventaja es muy poco evidente para Ucrania. Para simplificar, Ucrania sufría todas las desventajas de esta liberalización del comercio con la UE y no obtenía ninguna ventaja » [4].

El economista ruso Sergueï Glaziev es de la misma opinión: «Todos los cálculo s, incluidos los de los analistas europeos, dan cuenta de una ralentización inevitable en la producción de bienes ucranianos en los primeros años tras la firma del Acuerdo de Asociación ya que están condenados a una pérdida de competitividad en relación con los productos europeos» [5].

Al margen de la sensibilidad prorrusa de Yanukovich, está claro que la propuesta rusa era mucho más interesante para Ucrania que la de los europeos. «La UE no promete la luna a los manifestantes… solo Grecia» era el titular irónico del periódico L’Humanité [6].

Tras los sangrientos disturbios de Kiev, curiosamente muchos países occidentales se han apresurado a declarar que estaban dispuestos a apoyar «un nuevo gobierno» en Ucrania [7], es decir, a reconocer implícitamente el golpe de Estado. En vez de avivar la violencia y de financiar las barricadas, ¿no deberían estos países haber ofrecido sus servicios para calmar las cosas y esperar a las siguientes elecciones, tal como dictan los fundamentos de la democracia que ellos tratan de exportar a Ucrania y a otros lugares del mundo?

 

Unas pequeñas precisiones sobre la «Revolución» Naranja

La «Revolución» naranja forma parte de una serie de revueltas bautizadas «revoluciones de colores» que se desarrollaron en la década de 2000 en los países del Este y sobre todo en las antiguas repúblicas soviéticas. Las que desembocaron en un cambio de gobierno fueron la de Serbia (2000), Georgia (2003), Ucrania (2004) y Kirgizistán (2005).

En un artículo exhaustivo y muy detallado sobre el papel de Estados Unidos en las revoluciones de colores G. Sussman y S. Krader de la Portland State University mencionan en su resumen: «Entre 2000 y 2005 los gobiernos aliados de Rusia en Serbia, en Georgia, en Ucrania y en Kirgizistán fueron derrocados por unas revueltas sin efusión de sangre. Aunque los medios occidentales en general pretenden que estos levantamientos son espontáneos, indígenas y populares (poder del pueblo), las «revoluciones de colores» son de hecho el resultado de una vasta planificación. Estados Unidos, en particular, y sus aliados ejercieron sobre los países postcomunistas un extraordinario conjunto de presiones y utilizaron unas financiaciones y unas tecnologías al servicio de la ayuda a la democracia» [8].

Una disección de las técnicas utilizadas durante estas «revoluciones» revela que todas tienen el mismo modus operandi. Se establecieron varios movimientos para dirigir estas revueltas: Otpor («Resistencia») en Serbia, Kmara («¡Basta!») en Georgia, Pora («Es el momento») en Ucrania y KelKel («Renacimiento») en Kirgizistán. El primero de ellos, Otpor, es el que provocó la caída del régimen serbio de Slobodan Milosevic. Después de este éxito ayudó, aconsejó y formó a todos los demás movimientos por medio de una oficina concebida especialmente para esta tarea, el Center for Applied Non Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) domiciliado en la capital serbia. CANVAS forma a disidentes en ciernes de todo el mundo en la aplicación de la resistencia individual no violenta, ideología que teorizó el filósofo y politólogo estadounidense Gene Sharp cuya obra From Dictatorship to Democracy (De la dictadura a la democracia) ha sido la base de todas las revoluciones de colores.

Tanto CANVAS como los diferentes movimientos disidentes se han beneficiado de la ayuda de muchas organizaciones estadounidenses de «exportación» de la democracia como United States Agency for International Development (USAID), National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), Freedom House (FH), Albert Einstein Institution y Open Society Institute (OSI). Estos organismos están financiados por el presupuesto estadounidense o por capitales privados estadounidenses. A modo de ejemplo, el NED está financiado por un presupuesto votado por el Congreso estadounidense y sus fondos los administra un consejo de administración en el que está representados el Partido Republicano, el Partido Demócrata, la Cámara de Comercio de Estados Unidos y el sindicato American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO), mientras que el OSI forma parte de la Fundación Soros, del nombre de su fundador George Soros, el millonario estadounidense, conocido especulador financiero. También es interesante señalar que el consejo de administración de IRI está presidido por el senador John McCain, el candidato derrotado en las elecciones presidenciales estadounidenses de 2008. El excelente documental que la periodista francesa Manon Loizeau ha dedicado a las revoluciones de colores establece claramente la implicación de McCain en estas [9]. Así se comprende bien por qué el senador se precipitó recientemente a Kiev para apoyar a los amotinados ucranianos. También se comprende por qué Rusia ha endurecido el tono en lo que se refiere a las ONG extranjeras presentes en su territorio y la razón que ha motivado la expulsión de USAID de su territorio [10].

Ian Traynor explica la relación entre el movimiento ucraniano «Pora» y estas organizaciones estadounidense en un excelente artículo publicad por The Guardianen noviembre de 2004 [11]. «Oficialmente el gobierno estadounidense gastó 41 millones de dólares durante un año para organizar y financiar la operación que permitió deshacerse de Milosevic […]. En Ucrania la cifra gira en torno a 14 millones de dólares», explica.

Se considera que Julia Timochenko y Viktor Yushchenko son las figuras destacadas de la revolución naranja. Este movimiento, apoyado por los occidentales, obtuvo la anulación de la segunda vuelta de las presidenciales de 2004, que en un principio había ganado Viktor Yanukovich frente a Viktor Yushchenko. La «tercera» vuelta dio finalmente la victoria a Yushchenko, que se convirtió en tercer presidente de Ucrania para gran alegría de estadounidenses y europeos.

Orgulloso de sus éxitos «revolucionarios» de colores, el belicoso senador McCain declaró que había propuesto a Viktor Yushchenko y a su homólogo georgiano prooccidental Mikhail Saakashvili como candidatos al premio Nobel de la Paz [12]. En febrero de 2005 viajó a Kiev para felicitar a su «pupilo» y puede que también para mostrarle que tenía algo que ver con su elección.

Nada más ser nombrado presidente, Yushchenko se apresuró a nombrar primera ministra a Timochenko, pero la «luna de miel» entre los compañeros de revolución no duró mucho tiempo. Aunque Occidente alabó a la pareja Yushchenko-Timochenko, esta no resultó y sus resultados son muy decepcionantes.

Justin Raimondo describe de la siguiente manera el balance la magistratura Yushchenko (2005-2010): «Una vez pasado hace tiempo el estallido naranja de su revolución, hoy su régimen ha resultado ser tan incompetente y plagado de amiguismo como sus predecesores corruptos e interesados, si no más. Ha desaparecido gran parte de la “ayuda” monetaria internacional […]. Peor aún, la imposición de controles de precios ha paralizado la economía y un tráfico de influencias descarado la ha corrompido. El país se ha desintegrado no solo económicamente sino también socialmente bajo el acuerdo de reparto de poder entre Yushchenko y la volátil Julia Timochenko, la «princesa del gas» y amazona oligarca […]. El radical descenso de la economía y los escándalos en curso que se convirtieron en acontecimientos cotidianos durante el gobierno de Yushchenko llevaron a la completa marginación del venerado naranja revolucionario: en la primera vuelta de las elecciones presidenciales [2010] obtuvo un humillante 5% de los votos. Fuera de la carrera y sin necesidad de simular más, Yushchenko lanzó una auténtica bomba a la arena política al honrar a Stepan Bandera, el nacionalista ucraniano y colaborador de los nazis, como “héroe de Ucrania”» [14].

Señalemos por último que las organizaciones estadounidenses de «exportación» de la democracia también estuvieron muy implicadas en lo que se ha llamado la «primavera» árabe. CANVAS formó en la resistencia individual a jóvenes activistas árabes, que también fueron formados en ciberdisidencia por organismos estadounidenses como Alliance of Youth Movements (AYM, una organización patrocinada por el Departamento de Estado) y por los gigantes estadounidenses de las nuevas tecnologías como Google, Facebook o Twitter [15].

 

Los «amables» amotinados de la plaza Maidán

A pesar de la gran diversidad de la «fauna» revolucionaria que ocupó la plaza Maidán de Kiev, los observadores coinciden en reconocer que la disidencia está compuesta de cuatro grupos diferentes situados en un espectro político que va de la derecha a la extrema derecha.

En primer lugar está «Batkivshina» o Unión Panucraniana «Patria» que es un partido político cuyo líder es Julia Timochenko, secundada por Olexandre Turtchinov, un viejo amigo considerado su «fiel escudero» [16]. Este último es quien ha sido nombrado presidente interino de Ucrania tras la partida de Yanukovich.

Foto: Olexandre Turtchinov y Julia Timochenko

Fundada en 1999, Batkivshina es un partido liberal proeuropeo. Es miembro observador del Partido Popular Europoeo (PPE) que reúne a los principales partidos de la derecha europea, entre ellos el CDU (Unión Cristiano-Demócrata Alemana) de la canciller alemana Angela Merkel. Hay que señalar que la Fundación Konrad Adenauer (Konrad Adenauer Stiftung), thinktank del CDU, también está afiliada al PPE. Por otra parte, le PPE mantienen estrechas relaciones con elInternational Republican Institute (IRI). Wilfried Martens, entonces presidente del PPE, apoyó a John McCain durante las elecciones presidenciales estadounidenses de 2008 [17]. Por supuesto, como antes indicamos, John McCain es, sobre todo, presidente del Consejo de Administración del IRI.

Según uno de los responsables del «Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People», movimiento asociado al partido «Patria», el IRI está activo en Ucrania desde hace más de diez años, es decir, que desde la revolución naranja nunca ha abandonado el territorio [18].

Arseni Yatseniuk, personalidad prooccidental de primer plano de la vida política ucraniana, está considerado un «líder estrella de la protesta en Ucrania» [19]. Puro producto de la revolución naranja (ocupó cargos de ministro bajo la presidencia Yushchenko), creó primero su propio partido (el Frente por el Cambio) antes de unirse a las filas de Batkivshina y de acercarse a Timochenko. Yatseniuk, que acaba de ser nombrado primer ministro, fue elegido por los amotinados de la plaza Maidán. Su misión es dirigir un movimiento de unión nacional antes de las elecciones presidenciales anticipadas previstas para el 25 de mayo de 2014 [20].

Foto: Arseni Yatseniuk

El segundo partido implicado en la violenta protesta ucraniana es UDAR (Alianza Ucraniana Democrática por la Reforma). Este partido, también liberal y proeuropeo, se creó en 2010 con la unión de dos partidos, uno de los cuales es Pora, surgido del movimiento de jóvenes que había sido la vanguardia de la revolución naranja. UDAR (que quiere decir «golpe» en ucraniano) está dirigido por el boxeador y excampeón de mundo de pesos pesados Vitali Klitschko. Nacido en Kirgizistán, Klitschko es ucraniano pero vivió en Hamburgo y Los Angeles durante varios años, de modo que sus tres hijos son de nacionalidad estadounidense porque nacieron en Estados Unidos [21].

 

Foto: Vitali Klitschko

Una búsqueda rápida en su página web permite saber que UDAR cuenta entre sus socios extranjeros al IRI (de McCain), el NDI (presidido por Madeleine K. Albright, exsecretaria de Estado estadounidense) y el CDU (de Merkel). Señalemos que el IRI y el NDI son dos de las cuatro organizaciones satélite del NED.

Los socios del UDAR (foto de la página publicada en la página web oficial del partido)

En un informe de German Foreign Policy titulado «Nuestro hombre en Kiev» y fechado en diciembre de 2013 se puede leer a propósito de Klitschko y de su partido: «Según los informes de prensa, al gobierno alemán le gustaría que el campeón de boxeo Vitali Klitschko aspirara a la presidencia para llevarle al poder en Ucrania. Desea mejorar la popularidad de la política de la oposición organizando, por ejemplo, apariciones públicas conjuntas con el ministro de Exteriores alemán. Para ello se ha previsto también que Klitschko se reúna con la canciller Merkel en la próxima cumbre de la UE a mediados de diciembre. En efecto, la Fundación Konrad Adenauer no solo ha apoyado masivamente a Klitschko y su partido UDAR, sino que según un político de la CDU, el partido UDAR se fundó en 2010 siguiendo órdenes directas de la fundación de la CDU. Los informes sobre las actividades de la Fundación para desarrollar el partido de Klitschko ofrecen indicios de cómo los alemanes influyen en los asuntos exteriores de Ucrania vía UDAR» [22]. Así, UDAR sería una creación del CDU, lo que explica la fuerte implicación de la diplomacia alemana en el «atolladero» ucraniano. Otros muchos artículos han confirmado esta información [23].

Un tercer movimiento participó en la insurrección ucraniana prooccidental. Se trata de «Svoboda» (“libertad” en ucraniano) que es un partido de extrema derecha ultranacionalista dirigido por Oleg Tiagnibok . Svoboda ha hecho correr mucha tinta debido a sus posturas xenófoba, antisemita, homófoba, antirrusa y anticommunista [24]. Este partido, abierto solo a los ucranianos de «pura cepa», glorifica a unos personajes históricos ucranianos abiertamente fascistas y pronazis, como el tristemente célebre Stepan Bandera. Durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial Stepa Bandera luchó contra los soviéticos mientras establecía relaciones con la Alemania nazi [25]. A ello hay que añadir que Svoboda está estrechamente relacionado con una organización paramilitar, los «Patriotas de Ucrania» [26]. Considerada neonazi, estuvo muy activa durante los recientes acontecimientos que ensangrentaron las calles de Kiev.

 

Foto: Oleg Tiagnibok

Estos tres partidos formaron una alianza llamada «Grupo de Acción para la Resistencia Nacional» con el objetivo de llevar a cabo la desestabilización del gobierno Yanukovich. Se acaba de saber además que en el parlamento ucraniano post-Yanukovich se ha creado una nueva coalición llamada « Opción Europea » y reúne a 250 diputados de diferentes grupos parlamentarios, entre los que se encuentran Batkivtchina, UDAR y Svoboda [27].

 

Foto: Los líderes del «Grupo de Acción para la Resistencia Nacional»: Klitschko, Tiagnibok y Yatseniuk

 

Y para reforzar el poder del nuevo poder sobre las instituciones ucranianas, Oleg Mahnitsky acaba de ser nombrado fiscal general de Ucrania, puesto de una importancia capital en este periodo de sobresaltos «revolucionarios» y de evidentes arreglos de cuentas «democráticos». Una pequeña precisión: Mahnitsky es miembro del partido Svoboda [28]. ¿La guinda del pastel? En el nuevo gobierno post-Euromaidán ampliamente dominado por el partido Batkivshina de Timochenko, se han concedido tres carteras a miembros de Svoboda: Oleksandr Sych, viceprimer ministro; Andriy Mokhnyk, ministro de Medio Ambiente y Oleksandr Myrnyi, ministro de Agricultura [29].

 

Foto: Oleg Mahnitsky

Oleksandr Sych

Andriy Mokhnyk

Oleksandr Myrnyi

 

Otro nombramiento que no pasa desapercibido en este gobierno es el de Pavel Sheremeta que de 1995 a 1997 fue director de programa en el Open Society Institute de Budapest, la famosa fundación de George Soros [30].

 

Foto: Pavel Sheremeta

 

El cuarto grupo faccioso presente en la plaza Maidán probablemente es el más violento. Conocido con el nombre de «Pravy Sektor» (Sector de Derecha), es la coalición de una multitud de grupúsculos de la extrema derecha radical y fascista que considera que Svoboda es «demasiado liberal» (sic) [31]. Creada en noviembre de 2013 [32], el líder de la organización es Dmitro Yarosh, el jefe de una organización de extrema derecha llamada «Trizub» (Tridente) con fama de ser el núcleo duro de la brutal disidencia [33]. Además de Trizub, reúne en particular a «Patriotas de Ucrania», la «Ukrainska Natsionalna Asambleya – Ukrainska Narodna Sambooborunu – UNA-UNSO» (Asamblea Nacional Ucraniana – Autodefensa Nacional Ucraniana), Bilyi Molot (Martillo Blanco Blanc) y al ala radical de Svoboda [34].

 

Foto: Dmitro Yarosh

En una entrevista concedida a la revista TIME publicada el 4 de febrero de 2014 Yarosh declaró que « sus cohortes antigubernamentales en Kiev están preparadas para la lucha armada » [35]. «No somos políticos, somos soldados de la revolución nacional», añadió. Hay que añadir que el cabecilla del Pravy Sektor pasó algunos años en el ejército soviético y que para él la « ”revolución nacional” es imposible sin violencia y que deberá llevar a un Estado “puramente ucraniano” con Kiev como capital» [36]. En la entrevista también revela que su coalición había amasado un arsenal de armas letales. Y precisa: «Justo lo suficiente para defender Ucrania de los ocupantes internos [esto es, los miembros del gobierno. N. del a.]».

En efecto, en muchos vídeos y fotos se ve a militantes de Pravy Sektor vestidos con atuendo paramilitar entrenándose públicamente en la plaza Maidán [37], envueltos en escaramuzas extremadamente violentas con las fuerzas del orden o utilizando armas de fuego contra los «Berkut» (antidisturbios) [38].

 

 

Vídeo: Acciones ilegales de los manifestantes “pacíficos” en Kiev

 

En un reportaje escrito en Kiev el periodista británico David Blair nos ofrece su punto de vista sobre la organización del Pravy Sektor: «Lo que está claro es que están muy organizados . A los voluntarios de las barricadas les llega un aprovisionamiento regular de máscaras de gas, de comida y de excedentes de camuflaje del ejército. Exsoldados ofrecen una formación de combate con las manos desnudas fuera de la tienda que sirve de pequeña base del Pravy Sektor en la plaza de la Independencia de Kiev. Los voluntarios han descrito un sistema de mando con varios dirigentes que dirigen al heteróclito ejército desplegado en la barricada principal de la calle Grushevskogo de Kiev. Lo que muchas personas se preguntan es qué haría un grupo tan poderoso, fuera del control de los políticos tradicionales, si triunfara la revolución y cayera el gobierno » [39].

 

Foto: milicias de autodefensa organizadas por el grupo de extrema derecha Pravy Sektor (Fuente: Le Monde )

Nadie puede decir si ha triunfado la revolución ni siquiera si esta insurrección se puede considerar tal cosa. Pero de lo que se está seguro es de que el gobierno ha caído verdaderamente y de que se ha nombrado a Dmitro Yarosh adjunto al presidente del Consejo de Seguridad y de Defensa Nacional de Ucrania [40], un organismo consultivo de Estado encargado de la seguridad nacional que depende del presidente del país. ¿Y quién es el presidente de este consejo? No es otro que Andriy Parubiy, «el comandante de Maidan» [41], «el jefe del Estado mayor de la revolución ucraniana» [42] que durante la «revolución» guardó su ropa de diputado del partido Batkivshchyna para ponerse la de «generalísimo» del «ejército» de los amotinados del Euromaidan. Pero lo más interesante es saber que Parubiy es un tránsfuga del partido Svoboda. En efecto, junto con Oleg Tiagnibok cofundó en 1991 del Partido Nacional-Socialista de Ucrania (SNPU), rebautizado Svoboda en 2004 [43]. Esto demuestra que en Ucrania las barricadas, los altercados, la desobediencia civil, la violencia y el fascismo pueden llevar muy alto.

 Foto: Andriy Parubiy

 

Hay que reconocer que los acontecimientos de Kiev han hecho babear a un gran amante de las guerras «sin que le gusten». Así, como un tiburón atraído por la sangre, Bernard-Henri Levy (BHL), el famoso «ruiseñor de los osarios», acudió a Kiev a encontrarse con los amotinados. Con todo descaro y mintiendo como un sacamuelas, exclamó en esta ciudad: «No he visto neonazis, no he oído hablar a antisemitas» [44].

 

 

 

Para contradecir al «dandy» de camisas blancas escotadas, veamos qué dice la ucraniana Natalia Vitrenko, presidenta del Partido Socialista Progresista de Ucrania: «Al principio [los cabecillas] eran los diputados de la oposición Yatseniuk, Klitschko y Tiagnibok. Estos tres personajes encabezaban el Maidán. Pero a continuación tomó las riendas el Pravy Sektor. Desde mediados de diciembre la política del Maidán la decidía Pravy Sektor, que es una alianza de diferentes partidos y movimientos neonazis. Son grupos paramilitares, terroristas muy bien adiestrados» [45].

BHL posant à Kiev

Caricature de “l’événement”

Pero la mejor respuesta y que más corresponde al nivel de la declaración de BHL es la de la periodista Irina Lebedeva: «[BHL] Tiene suerte, es indudable que los militantes de Svoboda y del Pravy Sector, organizaciones que predican la pureza racial, han recibido instrucciones claras de no tocarlo» [46].  

 

Timochenko: ¿rubia o morena?

La figura política ucraniana más mediatizada por la prensa occidental dominante es sin lugar a dudas Julia Timochenko. Tratada como un personaje histórico de una talla desmesurada, goza de unos apodos elogiosos y, sobre todo, pomposos: la «Marianne* de la trenza», la «princesa del gas», la «Juana de Arco ucraniana» o la «Dama de Hierro». Pero aunque algunos hayan observado una estatuilla de Juana de Arco y las memorias de Margaret Thatcher presidiendo su despacho [47], su trayectoria está lejos de ser virtuosa. De hecho, su práctica política tiene que ver más con las novelas de escándalo político-financiero (incluso mafioso) que con la abnegación por la patria y el pueblo ucraniano. Júzguenlo ustedes.

Hablando de novelas, empecemos por Olexandre Turtchinov que, al parecer, es un auténtico novelista especializado en el género de «ciencia ficción». Efectivamente, él es el actual presidente de Ucrania, que ha sido calificado de «escudero fiel» de Timochenko y quien, como ella, ha nacido en la ciudad deDnipropetrovsk.

En 1994 Turtchinov creó con Pavlo Lazarenko, un notable de Dnipropetrovsk, el partido Hromada del que Timochenko se convertirá en presidenta en 1997. Un año después, en 1995, la «Marianne de la trenza», que había empezado humildemente su carrera de jefa de empresa con un préstamo de 5000 dólares, reorganiza su modesta «Compañía del petróleo ucraniano» (creada en 1991) para fundar con ayuda de Lazarenko la compañía de distribución de hidrocarburos «Sistemas Enérgeticos Unidos de Ucraniua» (SEUU). Ese mismo año Lazarenko es nombrado viceprimer ministro encargado de la energía. Los resultados de SEUU se disparan, sin duda beneficiados por las armas políticas inherentes al puesto de Lazarenko: ¡10.000 millones de dólares de volumen de negocios y 4.000 millones de dólares en el año 1996! Y todo ello gracias a unos contratos muy lucrativos vinculados a la venta en Ucrania de gas natural ruso [48]. Los años de bonanza continúan con la promoción de Lazarenko al puesto de primer ministro en mayo de 1996, aunque se librará de un atentado con bomba apenas dos meses después [49]. A principios de 1997 la SEUU controlaba varios bancos, tenía participaciones en decenas de empresas de metalurgia y de construcción mecánica, era copropietaria de la tercera mayor compañía aérea de Ucrania y de su segundo mayor aeropuerto, el de Dnipropetrovsk, además de participar en el desarrollo de gaseoductos turcos y bolivianos, y de controlar varios periódicos locales y nacionales [50].

 

Foto: Lazarenko y Timochenko

 

Dado que el enriquecimiento «exponencial» suele ser sinónimo de negocios sospechosos, se empezaron a levantar sospechas en relación con Lazarenko y la SEUU. En abril de 1997 el New York Times informó que Lazarenko poseía participaciones en esta compañía. Salieron a la luz otros negocios y en julio de ese año el presidente Kutchma cesó a Lazarenko. Lo que sigue es rocambolesco. En 1998 la policía suiza detiene a Lazarenko en la frontera franco-suiza, las autoridades de Berna le acusan de blanqueo de dinero y lo liberan tras pagar una fianza alta. En un artículo publicado en 2000 y titulado «Les comptes fantastiques de M. Lazarenko» [Las cuentas fantásticas del señor Lazarenko] Gilles Gaetner habla de un desvío de dinero público ucraniano del orden de los 800 millones de dólares, « sin duda el caso más importante de blanqueo de dinero de la posguerra» [51]. Lazarenko huye entonces a Estados Unidos donde trata de obtener asilo político, pero es detenido en 1999.

Aunque habían sido elegido como miembros de Hromada, tras los sinsabores de Lazarenko tanto este como Timochenko abandonan ese partido en 1999 para crear, juntos, el partido Batkivshina [52].

Tras ser juzgado por la justicia estadounidense, Lazarenko es condenado en 2006 a nueve años de cárcel por extorsión de fondos, blanqueo de dinero por parte de bancos estadounidenses y fraudes [53]. Un informe de 2004 de «Transparency International Global Corruption» clasifica a Lazarenko entre los diez dirigentes políticos más corruptos del mundo [54]. La justicia ucraniana todavía demanda a Lazarenko por el asesinato del diputado Evguen Scherban y de su mujer en 1996. Según la acusación, el grupo de Scherban competía con la SEUU y era una traba para sus actividades.

Lazarenko fue liberado en noviembre 2013, aunque fue trasladado a un centro de detención para migrantes ya que había expirado su visado [55].

La detención de Lazarenko no mella en absoluto el oportunismo político de Timochenko. En cuanto Viktor Yushchenko accede al puesto de Primer Ministro en 1999, ella es nombrada viceprimera ministra encargada de la energía, cargo que había ocupado Lazarenko unos meses antes. Con todo, el escándalo Lazarenko acaba por salpicarle y en 2001 es acusada de «contrabando y falsificación de documentos» por haber importado fraudulentamente gas ruso en 1996 cuando era presidenta de SEUU [56]. Timochenko es detenida y pasará algunas semanas en la cárcel [57]. En 2002 es víctima de un grave accidente de tráfico que ella interpreta como un intento de asesinato [58].

Durante este periodo es cuando cambia de aspecto. Pasa de ser morena a rubia. «Julia cambia su estilo de mujer de negocios sexy con el cabello suelto y trajes de chaqueta ajustados por uno más recatado de parlamentaria con jerseys de cuello redondeado y falda por debajo de la rodilla. Adopta su peinado actual, la famosa trenza rubia colocada como una diadema sobre la cabeza» [59].

En 2004 estalla la «revolución» naranja y Timochenko se convierte en su musa. Viktor Yushchenko accede al Tribunal Supremo en 2005 y ella al puesto de primera ministra dos veces. Todas las acusaciones se olvidan como por encanto.

Un informe al Congreso estadounidense divulgado por Wikileaks fechado de 2005 describe así a la «princesa del gas»: «Timochenko es una líder energética y carismática con un estilo político a veces combativo que ha hecho una campaña eficaz en favor de Viktor Yushchenko. Sin embargo, es un personaje controvertido debido a su relación a mediados de la década de 1990 con las elites oligárquicas, incluido el ex primer ministro Pavlo Lazarenko, que cumple actualmente una pena de cárcel por fraude, blanqueo de dinero y extorsión. Timochenko ha ejercido tanto de jefa de una empresa de negocio del gas como de primera ministra del gobierno a todas luces corrupto de Lazarenko. Se dice que es extremadamente rica […]. A continuación fue objeto de una investigación por corrupción y blanqueo de dinero, y estuvo brevemente en prisión. Tras la elección de Viktor Yushchenko se retiraron oficialmente todas las acusaciones. Poco antes de la campaña electora Rusia también interpuso oficialmente acusaciones de corrupción contra ella» [60]. 

La llegada al poder de la pareja Yushchenko–Timochenko (gracias a la ola naranja) permite a Turtchinov ocupar el puesto de jefe de los servicios secretos ucranianos (SBU) en febrero de 2005. Pero en 2006 tanto él como su adjunto son objeto de una investigación. Se les acusa de haber destruido el expediente de un peligroso padrino del crimen organizado ucraniano, Semyon Mogilevich [61]. Este mafioso es sospechoso de dirigir un vasto imperio criminal y en 1998 el FBI lo describe como «el gánster más peligroso del mundo» [62]. Unos meses después las acusaciones fueron extrañamente retiradas e incluso obtuvo una excelente promoción. En efecto, en su segundo mandato como primera ministra (2007) Timochenko le concede el puesto de viceprimer ministro, función que ocupará hasta 2010, fecha que Timochenko pierde las elecciones presidenciales contra Yanukovich.

Las conflictivas relaciones de la pareja Yushchenko–Timochenko dan el golpe de gracia a los espejismos de la «revolución» naranja. Se acusa a Timochenko de haber traicionado el interés nacional para preservar sus ambiciones personales [63].

La llegada al poder de Yanukovich acaba con la impunidad de la candidata derrotada en las urnas y se saca del armario su expediente judicial debido a «casos» antiguos y nuevos. Timochenko se ve imputada en varios procesos judiciales: mala utilización de los fondos obtenidos en 2009 por la venta de cuotas de emisión de CO 2, abuso de poder durante la firma en 2009 de contratos de gas con Rusia considerados desfavorables para su país, fraude fiscal y desvío de fondos relativos al caso Lazarenko y su responsabilidad en la gestión de la SEUU [64]. Más grave aún, es acusada de ser cómplice de asesinato (con Lazarenko) en el caso Scherban (1996). Según el fiscal general adjunto, «la víctima estaba en conflicto con Julia, que se ocupaba entonces del distribución de gas ruso en Ucrania y trataba de obligar a las empresas de la región industrial de Donetsk (Este) a comprar esta materia prima a su sociedad Sistemas Energéticos Unidos de Ucrania (SEUU), gracias al apoyo del primer ministro del momento, Pavlo Lazarenko. […] Evguen Scherban, un hombre fuerte de la región y cuyo grupo era competidor de la sociedad de Julia Timochenko, se opuso públicamente a la expansión de SEUU y lo pagó con su vida» [65]. Y añadía «que había testimonios de que ella y el primer ministro Pavlo Lazarenko había pagado por los asesinatos [de Scherban y su esposa]». Apoyaba estas acusaciones Ruslan, el hijo de Shcherban, que sobrevivió al asesinato de sus padres. En una conferencia de prensa declaró haber remitido unos documentos a la oficina del fiscal general que implicaban a los dos ex primeros ministros (Lazarenko et Timochenko) en los asesinatos [66].

 

La oficina del fiscal general de Ucrania publicó un documento explicativo del papel desempeñado por Timochenko en la muerte de Shcherban, se puede leer en este enlace:

Information on the homicide of people’s deputy of Ukraine Y. Shcherban and the financing of this crime

 

Timochenko también es sospechosa de ser cómplice de asesinato en otros dos casos, el hombre de negocios Alexander Momot (asesinado en 1996, unos meses antes que Shcherban) y el exgobernador del Banco Nacional de Ucrania, Vadym Hetman (asesinado en 1998) [67].

 

Alexander Momot

Vadym Hetman

Timochenko fue condenada a siete años de cárcel en octubre 2011 y encarcelada por su implicación en el caso de los contratos de gas [68].

Vídeo: “The rise and fall of Yulia Timoshenko

 

 

 

Los inesperados acontecimientos del Euromaidán sacaron a «la princesa del gas» de su mazmorra. ¡Y cómo! El sábado 22 de febrero de 2014 a las 12h08 horas Turtchinov, el brazo derecho de Timochenko, es elegido presidente del parlamento ucraniano. Treinta minutos después, como era el caso más urgente que había que solucionar en un país en plena insurrección, el parlamento vota la liberación «inmediata» de Timochenko. A título de comparación, solo a las 16h19 horas este mismo parlamento votará la destitución de Yanukovich [69].

Con el nombramiento del militante de extrema derecha Oleg Mahnitsky como fiscal general y el de muchos miembros del partido Batkivshina en puestos clave en el seno del aparato de Estado, se puede predecir fácilmente que, al menos durante un tiempo, Timochenko ya no tendrá que preocuparse por sus problemas judiciales.

Hay que reconocer que en dos ocasiones Timochenko ha sido arrancada de las manos de la justicia gracias a unos altercados populares de gran magnitud, la «revolución» naranja en 2004 y ahora el Euromaidán.

Además de su talento como novelista, parece que el presidente Turtchinov también es pastor evangélico. ¿Habrá «salvado» a su amiga de toda la vida a título de pastor?

Pero «Kiev bien vale una misa», ¿no?  


La descarada injerencia occidental

El Euromaidán se puede considerar una «revolución» de color, revisada y corregida, a la salsa de la Primavera Árabe con aroma sirio. Aunque se podrían encontrar muchas similitudes entre la «revolución naranja» y el Euromaidán, hay que señalar dos diferencias fundamentales. La primera, señalada anteriormente, se refiere a la violencia de las revueltas, la cual se debe esencialmente a la omnipresencia de manifestantes de la extrema derecha fascista y neonazi. En comparación, la «revolución naranja» se basaba en las teorías no violentas de Gene Sharp. La segunda diferencia es la descarada presencia física de personalidades occidentales, políticas y civiles, en la plaza Maidán, arengando a las masas e incitando a la desobediencia civil, en total contradicción con el principio fundamental de no injerencia en los asuntos internos de un país soberano cuyos dirigentes fueron elegidos democráticamente.

Empecemos por John McCain, presidente del consejo de administración del IRI quien, en Kiev, se halla en terreno conocido. Después (y no durante) la «revolución naranja» viajó a Ucrania (en febrero de 2005) para entrevistarse con sus «patrocinados», a los que había financiado generosamente.

 

Foto: Yushchenko y McCain (febrero 2005)

 

El senador estadounidense también viajó a los países árabes «primaverizados»: Túnez (21 de febrero de 2010), Egipto (27 de febrero de 2011), Libia (22 de abril de 2011) y Siria (27 de mayo de 2013). En los dos primeros viajes los gobiernos ya habían caído. En los dos últimos la batalla causaba estragos (aún continúa causándolos en Siria).

En Kiev, McCain se dirigió a los rebeldes de Maidán el 14 de diciembre de 2013: «Estamos aquí para apoyar vuestra justa causa, el derecho soberano de Ucrania a elegir su destino libremente y con total independencia. Y el destino que deseáis está en Europa», aclaró (70).

Se entrevistó con el «triunvirato de Maidán», es decir Yuschenko, Klitschko   y Tiagnibok . No tuvo reparos en posar con Tiagnibok a pesar de que a este último se le prohibió el año pasado la entrada en Estados Unidos debido a sus discursos antisemitas (71). No le produjo ningún rubor tratar con el líder de Svobod, un partido abiertamente ultranacionalista, xenófobo y promotor de los valores neonazis, igual que no le molestó apoyar a los sanguinarios terroristas de Siria y Libia. El fin justifica los medios: lo importante es arrebatar a Ucrania del lado de Rusia.

Foto: McCain se entrevista con Klitschko, Yatseniuk y Tiagnibok (diciembre de 2013)

 

La injerencia estadounidense también se ve claramente en el «asunto Nuland», que demostró que el vocabulario diplomático utilizado por algunos altos funcionarios estadounidenses no tiene nada que envidiar al de los carreteros, «¡Fuck the UE!» [¡Qué se joda la UE!] exclamó, lo que dice mucho de la lucha de influencia que enfrenta al Tío Sam con el viejo continente.

¿Y cómo llama Victoria Nuland, la subsecretaria de Estado para Europa y Eurasia, a los líderes del Euromaidán? ¿«Yats» y «Klitsch»? (72) ¿Como «Jon» y «Ponch», de la popular serie estadounidense CHIPs? Lo menos que se puede decir es que la utilización de un lenguaje tan familiar demuestra una proximidad evidente y una connivencia innegable entre los miembros del triunvirato y la administración estadounidense.

 

Foto: Tiagnibok, Victoria Nulan, Klitschko y Yatseniuk

 

Además del IRI, también está presente en Kiev la NED. Para darse cuenta solo hay que seguir a Nadia Diuk, que escribe desde Kiev y cuyos artículos se publican en le Kivy Post y otros periódicos famosos, Los títulos de sus artículos son idílicos: «La revolución autorganizada de Ucrania» (73), «Las visiones de futuro de Ucrania» (74), etc. Ya en 2004, en plena «revolución naranja» la periodista escribía: «En Ucrania, una libertad indígena» (75) para demostrar que la revolución era espontánea, lo que contradice todos los estudios (occidentales) publicados después. Hay que rendirse a la evidencia de que el contenido de sus artículos no ha cambiado mucho con los tiempos. Y con razón: Nadia Diuk es vicepresidenta de la NED, encargada de los programas para Europa, Eurasia, África, América Latina y el Caribe (76).

Los informes anuales de la NED muestran que, precisamente en 2012, los montos concedidos a unos 60 organismos ucranianos se elevaron a casi 3,4 millones de dólares (77). Ese informe indica que el IRI de McCain y el NDI de Albright se beneficiaron de 380.000 y 345.000 dólares respectivamente para sus actividades en Ucrania.

Esta evidente implicación estadounidense en Ucrania ha sido señalada por Serguei Glaziev, que declaró que «los estadounidenses gastan 20 millones de dólares a la semana para financiar a la oposición y a los rebeldes, incluidas las armas» (78).

El segundo país occidental ampliamente implicado en el Euromaidán es Alemania. Unos doce días antes que McCain, Guido Westerwelle, el jefe de la diplomacia alemana, se dio un baño de multitudes en medio de los manifestantes de la plaza Maidán en compañía de sus «protegidos», «Yats» y «Klitsch», o más finamente Yatseniuk y Klitschko. Tras entrevistarse con ellos a puerta cerrada declaró: «No estamos aquí para apoyar a un partido, sino que apoyamos los valores europeos. Y cuando nos comprometemos con esos valores europeos naturalmente nos agrada saber que la mayoría de los ucranianos comparten esos valores, que quieren compartirlos y desean seguir la vía europea» (79). Hablando de mayoría, ciertamente Westerwelle no ha consultado los recientes sondeos que muestran que solo el 37% de la población ucraniana es partidaria de la adhesión de su país a la Unión Europea (80). Por otra parte, ¿son ciudadanos europeos? No es tan seguro. Por ejemplo, una encuesta reciente muestra que el 65% de los franceses se opone a la idea de una ayuda financiera aportada por Francia y la Unión Europea a Ucrania, y un 67% está en contra de la entrada de este país en la UE (81).

 

Foto: Klitschko, Guido Westerwelle y Yatseniuk

 

Por otra parte, la canciller alemana, al igual que su ministro, recibió a Yushchenko y Klitschko el 17 de febrero de 2014 en Berlín. El candidato por el que apuestan Merkel, el CDU y su think tank, la Fundación Konrad Adenauer, es Klitschko (82). Sin embargo, el partido de Timochenko también está considerado un aliado del PPE y del CDU, lo que afirmó Martens en un discurso en el Club de la Fundación Konrad Adenauer en 2011: «Julia Timochenko es una amiga de confianza y su partido es un miembro importante de nuestra familia política». En ese mismo discurso declaró que su postura era similar a la de McCain en cuanto al apoyo a Timochenko (para liberarla cuando estaba en prisión) (83).

 

Foto: Klitschko, Merkel y Yatseniuk

 

Hay que señalar que esta convergencia de visión entre el IRI y la Fundación Konrad Adenauer no es fortuita ni reciente. En realidad se remonta a la creación de la NED como nos explica Philip Agee, el antiguo agente de la CIA que abandonó la agencia para vivir en Cuba (84). En primer lugar, hay que entender que la NED se creó para hacerse cargo de ciertas tareas que originalmente corresponderían a la CIA, en este caso la gestión de los programas secretos de financiación de la sociedad civil extranjera. Tras consultar con un amplio abanico de organizaciones nacionales y extranjeras, las autoridades estadounidenses decidieron interesarse por las fundaciones de los principales partidos de Alemania occidental financiadas por el gobierno alemán: la Friedrich Ebert Stiftung de los socialdemócratas y la Konrad Adenauer Stiftung de los democristianos. Actualmente encontramos una estructura análoga en el paisaje político estadounidense. El IRI y el NDI, los dos satélites de la NED, están relacionados respectivamente con los partidos republicano y demócrata estadounidenses, y al igual que sus homólogos alemanes están financiados con fondos públicos. Como la CIA colaboraba con esos «Stiftungs» alemanes para financiar movimientos de todo el mundo mucho antes de la creación de la NED por el presidente Reagan en 1983, las relaciones permanecen sólidas hasta nuestros días.

Aunque más discreto que los dos anteriores, el tercer país implicado en los sucesos ucranianos es Canadá. Este interés se debe probablemente a que Canadá alberga la mayor diáspora ucraniana del mundo después de Rusia. Más de 1,2 millones de canadienses son de origen ucraniano (85).

John Baird, ministro de Asuntos Exteriores canadiense, se entrevistó con el triunvirato ucraniano el 4 de diciembre de 2013 en Kiev y, como los demás, efectuó una «peregrinación» a la plaza Maidán. El jefe de la diplomacia canadiense volvió a Kiev el 28 de febrero de 2014 para entrevistarse con las nuevas autoridades: el presidente Turtchinov , el primer ministro Yatseniuk y la «Juana de Arco» ucraniana. Preguntado sobre su apoyo «incondicional» a Ucrania y sus consecuencias sobre las relaciones con Rusia respondió: «Ciertamente no vamos a disculparnos por apoyar al pueblo ucraniano en su lucha por la libertad» (86). Hay que señalar que Paul Grod, el presidente de los ucranianos-canadienses (UCC) acompañó a Baird en sus dos viajes. Sus posturas son calcadas a las de la diplomacia canadiense.

 

Foto: Tiagnibok , Yatseniuk, Baird, Klitschko y Grod

 

Sin embargo las posturas y reacciones de todos esos políticos son sorprendentes. Por supuesto hay que lamentar las vidas perdidas durante ese sangriento conflicto, pero, ¿qué habrían hecho si los manifestantes violentos, pertenecientes a grupos extremista, hubieran ocupado e centro de su capital, matado a los miembros de la fuerzas del orden, secuestrado a decenas de policías, ocupado los centros oficiales y alterado el orden público durante meses? ¿No tienen una parte de responsabilidad en el aumento del número de víctimas al venir a echar leña al fuego de Maidán?

En Francia, por ejemplo, el ministro del Interior Manuel Valls se alzó contra una reciente manifestación de «black bloc» que se saldó con seis policías heridos, el 22 de febrero de 2014. Estos fueron sus comentarios: «Esta violencia procedente de la ultraizquierda, de esos black bloc originarios de nuestro país, pero también de países extranjeros, es inadmisible y continuará encontrando una respuesta particularmente fuerte por parte del Estado». Tras rendir homenaje «al prefecto de la Loira Atlántica, a las fuerzas del orden, policías y gendarmes, que con gran sangre fría y profesionalidad contuvieron esa manifestación», Valls añadió: «No se pueden permitir tales abusos» (87).

¿Y los ucranianos deben aceptarlos? ¿Y cómo habría reaccionado la clase política francesa y occidental si esos «black bloc» hubieran sido financiados, entrenados o apoyados por organismos y políticos extranjeros rusos, chinos o iraníes llegados a Nantes para apoyarlos? Ustedes dirán.

En definitiva, hay que rendirse a la evidencia de que el Euromaidán, lo mismo que la «revolución naranja», es un movimiento ampliamente apoyado por las oficinas occidentales. Esta conclusión no debe eclipsar la realidad de la corrupción de toda la clase política ucraniana. Pretender presentarnos, como hacen los medios de comunicación occidentales de masas, a los «buenos» con Timochenko y a los «malos» con Yanukovich, es una visión sesgada de la realidad. Dado que el Gobierno de Yanukovich fue elegido democráticamente, los recientes sucesos son sin lugar a dudas un golpe de Estado.

Dicho golpe de Estado ha permitido a los militantes de la extrema derecha ucraniana, ultranacionalista, fascista y neonazi, formar parte del nuevo Gobierno de Ucrania. Esta presencia, abiertamente apoyada por los gobiernos occidentales, es nefasta para el futuro y la estabilidad del país. La apresurada, expeditiva, controvertida e incomprensible derogación de la ley «sobre las bases de la política lingüística del Estado» es un ejemplo patente (88).

Además, la aproximación «forzada» de Ucrania a la Unión Europea y su corolario de alejamiento de Rusia no es beneficiosa para el pueblo ucraniano. Según los especialistas occidentales y no occidentales, la propuesta rusa es mucho más interesante que la del conjunto de la Unión Europea y Estados Unidos, cuya única alternativa es ofrecer la «medicina del FMI» al país (89).

Al contrario de las piadosas voces de Timochenko en Maidán, sería utópico pensar que Ucrania formará parte de la Unión «en un futuro próximo» (90), en vista de la desastrosa situación de algunos países europeos, como Grecia por ejemplo. La «Marianne con trenzas» probablemente no ha oído al ministro francés de Asuntos Europeos Thierry Repentin. «En todas las negociaciones para ofrecer a Ucrania un acuerdo de asociación hemos peleado duramente para retirar cualquier alusión a una adhesión a la Unión Europea. Nada de cambiar de postura», declaró en un artículo publicado el pasado 3 de febrero (91).

Si Ucrania no puede pretender una adhesión a la Unión Europea y los defensores occidentales de su «revolución» no se rascan el bolsillo, todo parece indicar que este país solo es un «caballo de Troya» para molestar a Rusia, que está adquiriendo mucha relevancia y soltura en los juegos internacionales, a la manera de su papel en el conflicto sirio. Una forma como cualquiera otra de abrir una nueva época de Guerra Fría. Las revueltas en Crimea y las amenazas de excluir a Rusia del G8 (92) solo son el principio.

Los ucranianos deben saber que están condenados a vivir en buena vecindad con Rusia, a la que les unen una frontera común y lazos históricos, comerciales, culturales y lingüísticos.

Sin embargo, una cosa es segura: el despertar «posrevolucionario» será doloroso para los ucranianos.

Ahmed Bensaada 

ahmedbensaada.com 

Texto original en francés :

manif_masqueUkraine: autopsie d’un coup d’état

 

Traducido del francés para Rebelión por Beatriz Morales Bastos y Caty R.

Notas:

1. AFP, «Élection présidentielle – Ioulia Timochenko refuse de reconnaître sa défaite», Le Point, 9 de febrero de 2010, http://www.lepoint.fr/actualites-monde/2010-02-09/election-presidentielle-ioulia-timochenko-refuse-de-reconnaitre/924/0/422135

2. AFP, «Ukraine: l’OSCE reconnaît la bonne tenue de l’élection», Le Monde, 8 de febrero de 2010, http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2010/02/08/ukraine-ianoukovitch-revendique-une-courte-victoire_1302464_3214.html

3. AFP, «Présidentielle en Ukraine: Timochenko retire son recours en justice», RTL, 20 de febrero de 2010,http://www.rtl.be/info/monde/france/308688/presidentielle-en-ukraine-timochenko-retire-son-recours-en-justice

4. David Teutrie, «L’accord d’association de l’UE avec l’Ukraine est une stratégie perdant-perdant», Institut de la Démocratie et de la Coopération, 4 de febrero de 2014, http://www.idc-europe.org/fr/-Accord-d-Association-avec-l-Ukraine-est-une-strategie-perdant-perdant-

5. Sergeï Glaziev, «L’Union économique eurasiatique n’aspire pas à devenir un Empire comme l’UE», Solidarité et Progrès, 18 de enero de 2014,http://m.solidariteetprogres.org/actualites-001/article/sergei-glaziev-l-union-economique-eurasiatique-n.html

6. Gaël De Santis, «Ukraine. L’UE ne promet pas la lune aux manifestants… juste la Grèce», L’Humanité, 24 de febrero de 2014,http://www.humanite.fr/monde/ukraine-l-ue-ne-promet-pas-la-lune-aux-manifestant-559788

7. AFP, «Ukraine: Washington et Londres prêts à soutenir “un nouveau gouvernement”», Le Monde, 22 de febrero de 2014,http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2014/02/22/ukraine-londres-pret-a-soutenir-un-nouveau-gouvernement_4371763_3214.html

8. G. Sussman y S. Krader, «Template Revolutions: Marketing U.S. Regime Change in Eastern Europe», Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, University of Westminster, Londres, vol. 5, n° 3, 2008, p. 91-112, http://www.westminster.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/20009/WPCC-Vol5-No3-Gerald_Sussman_Sascha_Krader.pdf

9. Manon Loizeau, «États-Unis à la conquête de l’Est», 2005. Se puede ver este documental en este enlace: http://www.ahmedbensaada.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=120:arabesque-americaine-chapitre-1&catid=46:qprintemps-arabeq&Itemid=119

10. BBC , «Russia expels USAID development agency», 19 de septiembre de 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19644897

11. Ian Traynor, «US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev», The Guardian, 26 de noviembre de 2004, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/nov/26/ukraine.usa

12. VOA, «Senator McCain Tells Ukrainians of Nobel Nomination for Yushchenko», 4 de febrero de 2005, http://www.insidevoa.com/content/a-13-34-mccain-intvu-4feb2005/177965.html

13. Archivos del gobierno ucraniano, «Orange Revolution Democracy Emerging in Ukraine»,http://www.archives.gov.ua/Sections/Ukraineomni/ukrelection030905a.htm

14. Justin Raimondo, «The Orange Revolution, Peeled», Antiwar, 8 de febrero de 2010, http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2010/02/07/the-orange-revolution-peeled/

15. Ahmed Bensaada, «Arabesque américaine: Le rôle des États-Unis dans les révoltes de la rue arabe», Éditions Michel Brûlé, Montréal (2011), Éditions Synergie, Alger (2012),

16. Maud Descamps, «Ukraine: le nouveau président par intérim est un pasteur», Europe 1, 23 de febrero de 2014, http://www.europe1.fr/International/Ukraine-le-nouveau-president-par-interim-est-un-pasteur-1809869/

17. DW, «McCain Feels the Love From European Conservatives», 4 de septiembre de 2008, http://www.dw.de/mccain-feels-the-love-from-european-conservatives/a-3618489-1

18. Mikhail Mikhaylov, «Zair Smedlyaev: The Crimean Tatars should have self-autonomy», World and We, 10 de julio de 2013,http://www.worldandwe.com/en/page/Zair_Smedlyaev_The_Crimean_Tatars_should_have_selfautonomy.html#ixzz2uUeETy00

19. Faustine Vincent, «Arseni Iatseniouk, leader phare de la contestation en Ukraine», 20 minutes, 28 de enero de 2014,http://www.20minutes.fr/monde/1283098-20140128-arseni-iatseniouk-leader-phare-contestation-ukraine

20. AFP, «Ukraine: Iatseniouk, désigné premier ministre, face à une tâche herculéenne», Le Devoir, 26 de febrero de 2014,http://www.ledevoir.com/international/actualites-internationales/401165/des-echauffourees-eclatent-en-crimee-pendant-que-poutine-ordonne-des-manoeuvres

21. Centro Europeo para la Ucrania Moderna, «Élections ukrainiennes –Informations», 10 de octubre de 2012, http://www.modernukraine.eu/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Elections-Ukrainiennes-Newsletter-7-10-octobre-2012.pdf

22. German Foreign Policy, «Our Man in Kiev», 10 de diciembre de 2013, http://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/fulltext/58705/print

23. Véase, por ejemplo, Olivier Renault , «Ukraine : Klitchko, ou la construction d’un président par l’OTAN», La voix de la Russie, 24 de enero de 2014,http://french.ruvr.ru/2014_01_24/Ukraine-Klitschko-ou-la-construction-dun-president-par-lOTAN-3540/

24. Palash Ghosh , «Svoboda: The Rising Spectre Of Neo-Nazism In The Ukraine», International Business Times, 27 de diciembre de 2012,http://www.ibtimes.com/svoboda-rising-spectre-neo-nazism-ukraine-974110

25. Palash Ghosh, «Euromaidan: The Dark Shadows Of The Far-Right In Ukraine Protests», International Business Times, 19 de febrero de 2014,http://www.ibtimes.com/euromaidan-dark-shadows-far-right-ukraine-protests-1556654

26. Tadeusz Olszaski, «Svoboda Party – The New Phenomenon on the Ukrainian Right-Wing Scene», Centre for Eastern Studies, 4 de julio de 2011,http://www.isn.ethz.ch/Digital-Library/Publications/Detail/?lng=en&id=137051

27. Ria Novosti, «Ukraine: la coalition “Choix européen” créée au parlement», 27 de febrero de 2014, http://fr.ria.ru/world/20140227/200603490.html

28. 62, «Rada appointed the new Attorney General», 24 de febrero de 2014, http://www.62.ua/news/482461

29. Katya Gorchinskaya, «Kyiv Post: The not-so-revolutionary New Ukraine Government», Novinite , 27 de febrero de 2014,http://www.novinite.com/articles/158543/Kyiv+Post%3A+The+not-so-revolutionary+New+Ukraine+Government

30. IPO Forum, «Pavlo Sheremeta», http://www.ipoforum.com.ua/en/speakers/?pid=422

31. BBC, «Ukraine crisis: Key players», 27 de febrero de 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-25910834

32. BBC, «Groups at the sharp end of Ukraine unrest», 1 de febrero de 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26001710

33. Simon Shuster, «Exclusive: Leader of Far-Right Ukrainian Militant Group Talks Revolution With TIME», TIME, 4 de febrero de 2014,http://world.time.com/2014/02/04/ukraine-dmitri-yarosh-kiev/

34. Global Security, «Pravy Sektor / Praviy Sector (Right Sector)», 6 de febrero de 2014, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/ukraine/right-sector.htm

35. Véase nota 31. 

36. Ibid.

37. Le Parisien, «La tortue du Pravy Sektor 25/01/2014 Kiev Ukraine», 28 de enero de 2014, http://who-when-where-photo.blog.leparisien.fr/archive/2014/01/27/le-secteur-droit-sur-la-place-maidan-25-01-2014-kiev-ukraine-14727.html

38. RT, «Acciones ilegales de ‘manifestantes pacíficos’ en Kiev», 18 de febrero de 2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byAi0vMSSHs#t=34

39. David Blair y Roland Oliphant, «As Kiev violence escalates, opposition leader says ‘a foreign power’ wants to divide Ukraine», The Telegraph, 25 de enero de 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10596968/As-Kiev-violence-escalates-opposition-leader-says-a-foreign-power-wants-to-divide-Ukraine.html

40. Alexei Korolyov, «Commander’ of Ukraine protests: Let parliament lead», USA TODAY, 27 de febrero de 2014,http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/02/27/ukraine-opposition-parubiy/5844437/

41. Yann Merlin y Jérôme Guillas, «Ukraine: “Nous sommes là pour la révolution”», Metronews, 19 de febrero de 2014, http://www.metronews.fr/info/ukraine-andriy-parubiy-nous-sommes-la-pour-la-revolution/mnbs!cSw0WJ6VjTN8/

42. Roman Olearchyk, «Arseniy Yatseniuk poised to become Ukraine prime minister», Financial Times, 26 de febrero de 2014,http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/88987cf8-9f12-11e3-8663-00144feab7de.html?siteedition=intl#axzz2ufydXR5l

43. Liga, «Andriy Parubiy», 28 de febrero de 2014, http://file.liga.net/person/866-andrei-parybii.html

* Marianne es la representación de la República Francesa en forma de un busto de mujer. (N. de las t.).

44. Euronews, «Ukraine: Bernard-Henri Levy parmi les opposants au Maïdan», 10 de febrero de 2014, http://fr.euronews.com/2014/02/10/ukraine-bernard-henri-levy-parmi-les-opposants-au-maidan

45. Natalia Vitrenko, «Ukraine: un putsch néonazi poussé par l’OTAN», Dailymotion, 25 de febrero de 2014, http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1di876_ukraine-un-putsch-neonazi-pousse-par-l-otan_news

46. Irina Lebedeva , «Bernard-Henri Lévy: Harangues of Ignorant Buffoon», Strategic Culture Foundation, 15 de febrero de 2014, http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/02/15/bernard-henri-levy-harangues-of-ignorant-buffoon.html

47. AFP, «Timochenko: dame de fer et “princesse du gaz”», La Libre, 22 de febrero de 2014, http://www.lalibre.be/actu/international/timochenko-dame-de-fer-et-princesse-du-gaz-5308d0f335709867e404dc0b

48. Oleg Varfolomeyev, «Will Yulia Tymoshenko be Ukraine’s first woman prime minister?», PRISM, Volumen 4, ejemplar 3, 6 de febrero de 1998, The Jamestown Foundation http://web.archive.org/web/20061125034223/http://www.jamestown.org/publications_details.php?volume_id=5&issue_id=249&article_id=2820

49. Marta Kolomayets, «Lazarenko escapes assassination attempt», The Ukrainian Weekly, 21 de julio de 1996,http://www.ukrweekly.com/old/archive/1996/299601.shtml

50. Véase nota 47.

51. Gilles Gaetner, «Les comptes fantastiques de M. Lazarenko», L’Express, 1 de junio de 2000, http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/monde/europe/les-comptes-fantastiques-de-m-lazarenko_491978.html

52. Véase nota 16.

53. BBC, «Former Ukraine PM is jailed in US», 25 de agosto de 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5287870.stm

54. Transparency International Global Corruption Report 2004, «World’s Ten Most Corrupt Leaders», http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0921295.html

55. Arielle Thedrel , «Ukraine: Ioulia Timochenko accusée de meurtre», Le Figaro, 22 de enero de 2013, http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2013/01/22/01003-20130122ARTFIG00336-ukraine-ioulia-timochenko-accusee-de-meurtre.php

56. Libération, «La vice-Première ministre ukrainienne limogée», 20 de enero de 2001, http://www.liberation.fr/monde/2001/01/20/la-vice-premiere-ministre-ukrainienne-limogee_351716

57. BBC, «Ukraine: opposition leader injured», 29 de enero de 2002, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1788924.stm

58. Marie Jégo, «Ioulia Timochenko, la “marianne à la tresse”», Le Monde, 24 de febrero de 2014, http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2005/09/09/ioulia-timochenko-la-marianne-a-la-tresse_687380_3214.html  

59. Ibid.

60. Wikileaks, «CRS: Ukraines Political Crisis and U.S. Policy Issues», 1 de febrero de 2005,http://wikileaks.org/wiki/CRS:_Ukraines_Political_Crisis_and_U.S._Policy_Issues,_February_1,_2005

61. Véase nota 16.

62. Robert I. Friedman , «The Most Dangerous Mobster in the World», The Village Voice, 26 de mayo de 1998, http://www.villagevoice.com/1998-05-26/news/the-most-dangerous-mobster-in-the-world/

63. Reuters, «Crise au sommet en Ukraine, menace d’élections anticipées», Le Point, 3 de septiembre de 2008, http://www.lepoint.fr/actualites-monde/2008-09-03/crise-au-sommet-en-ukraine-menace-d-elections-anticipees/924/0/271036

64. AFP, «Ukraine: nouvelle inculpation de Timochenko pour des délits financiers», l’Express, 11 de noviembre de 2011,http://www.lexpress.fr/actualites/1/monde/ukraine-nouvelle-inculpation-de-timochenko-pour-des-delits-financiers_1050142.html

65. AFP, «Ukraine: le parquet va inculper Ioulia Timochenko dans une affaire de meurtre», RTBF, 19 de junio de 2012,http://www.rtbf.be/info/societe/detail_ukraine-le-parquet-va-inculper-ioulia-timochenko-dans-une-affaire-de-meurtre?id=7789919

66. BBC, «Tymoshenko rejects Ukraine murder link as ‘absurd’», 9 de abril de 2012, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-17658811

67. Newspepper, «Prosecutor General of Ukraine examines the involvement of Timoshenko to the three murders», 7 de abril de 2012,http://newspepper.su/news/2012/4/7/prosecutor-general-of-ukraine-examines-the-involvement-of-timoshenko-to-the-three-murders/

68. Thomas Vampouille , «Ioulia Timochenko condamnée à sept ans de prison», Le Figaro, 11 de octubre de 2011,http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2011/10/11/01003-20111011ARTFIG00517-ioulia-timochenko-condamnee-a-sept-ans-de-prison.php

69. Iris Mazzacurati , «En direct. Ukraine: Ianoukovitch démis de ses fonctions, Timochenko libérée», L’Express, 22 de febrero de 2014,http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/monde/europe/en-direct-ukraine-vers-la-fin-du-regne-de-viktor-ianoukovitch_1494265.html

70. Richard Balmforth y Gabriela Baczynska, «Nouvelle manifestation à Kiev, l’UE suspend les négociations», Le Point, 15 de diciembre de 2013,http://www.lepoint.fr/fil-info-reuters/nouvelle-manifestation-a-kiev-l-ue-suspend-les-negociations-15-12-2013-1769842_240.php

71. Bill Van Auken, Leaked phone call on Ukraine lays bare Washington’s gangsterism», WSWS, 10 de febrero de 2014,http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/02/10/pers-f10.html

72. BBC, «Ukraine crisis: Transcript of leaked Nuland-Pyatt call», 7 de febrero de 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957

73. Nadia Diuk, «Ukraine’s self-organizing revolution», Kyiv Post, 3 de febrero de 2014, http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op-ed/nadia-diuk-ukraines-self-organizing-revolution-336155.html

74. Nadia Diuk, «Ukraine’s visions of the future», Kyiv Post, 4 de diciembre de 2013, http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op-ed/nadia-diuk-ukraines-visions-of-the-future-333037.html

75. Nadia Diuk, «In Ukraine, Homegrown Freedo», Washington Post, 4 de diciembre de 2004, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A34008-2004Dec3.html

76. NED, «Nadia Diuk, Vice President, Programs – Africa, Central Europe and Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean», http://www.ned.org/about/staff/nadia-diuk

77. NED, «Ukraine 2012 Annual report», http://www.ned.org/publications/annual-reports/2012-annual-report/central-and-eastern-europe/ukraine

78. Michel Viatteau y Olga Nedbaeva, «Le président ukrainien à Sotchi sur fond de tensions», La Presse, 6 de febrero de 2014,http://www.lapresse.ca/international/europe/201402/06/01-4736241-le-president-ukrainien-a-sotchi-sur-fond-de-tensions.php

79. Philippe Pognan, «Bain de foule de Westerwelle à Kiev», DW, 5 de diciembre de 2013, http://www.dw.de/bain-de-foule-de-westerwelle-%C3%A0-kiev/a-17272897

80. Samuel Charap y Keith A. Darden, «Kiev Isn’t Ready for Europe», The New York Times, 20 de diciembre de 2013,http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/21/opinion/kiev-isnt-ready-for-europe.html?_r=0

81. Atlantico, «65% des Français opposés à une aide financière à l’Ukraine», 27 de febrero de 2014, http://www.atlantico.fr/decryptage/65-francais-opposes-aide-financiere-ukraine-jerome-fourquet-ifop-994234.html

82. Ralf Neukirch, Nikolaus Blome y Matthias Gebauer, «UKRAINE: Klitchko, l’opposant coaché par Merkel, Der Spiegel, 11 de diciembre de 2013,http://www.presseurop.eu/fr/content/article/4396161-klitchko-l-opposant-coache-par-merkel

83. Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, «Speech by EPP President Wilfried Martens, Club of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung», 14 de septiembre de 2011,http://www.kas.de/ukraine/en/publications/28776/

84. Philip Agee, «Terrorism and Civil Society as Instruments of U.S. Policy in Cuba», Cuba Linda, mayo de 2003,http://www.cubalinda.com/English/Groups/TerrorismandCivilSociety.htm

85. Statistics Canada, «2011 National Household Survey: Data tables», http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/dp-pd/dt-td/Rp-eng.cfm?

86. Sonja Puzic, «‘We don’t apologize for standing with Ukrainian people,’ Baird says», CTVNews, 28 de febrero de 2014, http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/we-don-t-apologize-for-standing-with-ukrainian-people-baird-says-1.1707909

87. AFP, «Valls cible «l’ultra-gauche» et les «Black Bloc» après les heurts de Nantes», Libération, 22 de febrero de 2014,http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2014/02/22/valls-cible-l-ultra-gauche-et-les-black-bloc-apres-les-heurts-de-nantes_982282

88. RIA Novosti, «Ukraine: la Rada abroge la loi sur le statut du russe», 23 de febrero de 2014, http://fr.ria.ru/world/20140223/200560426.html

89. AFP , «Une équipe du FMI mardi en Ukraine pour discuter du plan d’aide», Libération, http://www.liberation.fr/monde/2014/03/03/une-equipe-du-fmi-mardi-en-ukraine-pour-discuter-du-plan-d-aide_984175

90. Le Journal du siècle, «Timochenko: “L’Ukraine va devenir un membre de l’Union européenne“», 23 de febrero de 2014,http://lejournaldusiecle.com/2014/02/23/timochenko-lukraine-va-devenir-un-membre-de-lunion-europeenne/

91. Alain Franco, «Ukraine: l’Union européenne sans boussole», Le Point, 3 febrero de 2014, http://www.lepoint.fr/monde/ukraine-l-union-europeenne-sans-boussole-03-02-2014-1787567_24.php

92. Kevin Lamarque, «Une première étape vers une exclusion de la Russie du G8», RFI, 3 de marzo de 2014, http://www.rfi.fr/europe/20140303-une-premiere-etape-vers-une-exclusion-russie-g8-obama-poutine-france-union-europeenne-allemagne-g7/

 

Ahmed Bensaada, doctorado en Física, profesor y escritor argelino, vive en Canadá desde hace 22 años. Enseña Física en escuelas e institutos, escribe artículos políticos y sociales en diversas publicaciones y es autor de varios libros.    

Fuente original: http://www.ahmedbensaada.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=257:ukraine-autopsie-dun-coup-detat&catid=48:orientoccident&Itemid=120

This month is “Women’s History Month”, but what exactly is the importance of shedding light on the oppression of women under US/Western imperialism? If we understand the oppression of women as a necessary precondition of patriarchy, racism, and class exploitation inherent in the “Western way of life”, than it is untenable to imagine a world free of sexism without a world free of racism and class exploitation as well.  In this period, the US corporate media has mass advertised a mainstream “feminism” that promotes collaboration with the US ruling order.  In recent years, the American corporate ruling class has anointed Beyonce into the Black misleadership class and assigned her the leading role to spread this dangerous idea.

In just a little more than a year, Beyonce has become an iconic symbol of corporate feminism.  Her 2011 song “run the world (girls)” resonated with many people in this country who have wrongly been taught that women’s liberation is defined by the equal access in running the affairs of the US capitalist system with their male counterparts. Beyonce has been to the White House many times to hang out with the Obama family, scoring numerous photo-ops with the imperial presidency alongside her husband, Jay-Z.  Last year, the couple was given a special State Department visa to travel to Cuba at the same time exiled Black revolutionary Assata Shakur had her bounty increased to 2 million dollars by the FBI.   Beyonce and Jay-Z gave the Obama Administration political cover for its assault on Black revolutionary politics and its imperialist chess match against Cuba, the economically sanctioned socialist country where Assata Shakur has lived since 1984.  This debacle was a clear signal that artists like Beyonce are not only co-signers of white imperialist objectives, but also active participants in them as well.

Beyonce is currently building a “feminist” initiative with Condelezza Rice called the #banbossy campaign.  The premise of this campaign is to raise awareness about the impact of the word “bossy” when used to “bully” women vying for positions of power.  Yet Beyonce is collaborating with a former Bush Administration bully in Rice, a war criminal responsible for the deaths of millions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world.  Rice was complicit, as was her Black misleader counterpart Colin Powel, in lying to the world about the connection of Iraq and Afghanistan to 9-11.  This moment in history paved the way for a massive erosion of civil liberties in the US and a new pretext for unchecked and permanent imperialist intervention, code-named “the War on Terror.”  Anyone concerned with the liberation of women could not possibly work with someone who by any literal sense of the word is an international “bully” in the worst sense and a perpetrator of the most horrific forms of “bossy” behavior.

Beyonce ultimately cares little about Condeleezza Rice’s or Barack Obama’s record as war criminals for the same reason Alicia Keys disregarded the plight of the Palestinians under Israel’s colonial apartheid regime when she performed in Israel last year. The Black misleadership class is only interested in its own status and wealth acquired from the imperialist ruling class.  The question of women’s liberation and feminism is nothing more than an opportunity for Beyonce to collect money and political clout so she can remain in the public eye once the corporate media no longer has use for her. She is not concerned with the fact that Black women suffer most from homelessness, unemployment, sexual violence, and imprisonment.  To keep herself relevant to the corporate media establishment, Beyonce ignores the pressing issues facing women of color while defacing the self-image of young Black women by bleaching her skin white and dying her hair blonde to appease the corporate media’s erasure of Black female existence.

What is truly unfortunate is that Beyonce and Condeleezza’s campaign to #banbossy will receive more attention than revolutionary leaders such as Assata Shakur, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Claudia Jones, and Harriet Tubman. These are just a few of the many women who led revolutionary movements to end slavery, racism, patriarchy, and the capitalist system that requires each to thrive.  Our task today is to fight to keep the memory of heroic, revolutionary women alive and struggle to develop an organizational basis for women’s libration that fights back against their erasure from historical memory.  This would go a long way in rejecting Beyonce’s brand of corporate feminism.

Before being assassinated by a covert, French imperial coup, President Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso said that:

the revolution and women’s liberation go together. We do not talk of women’s emancipation as an act of charity or because of a surge of compassion. It is a basic necessity for the triumph of the revolution.” Beyonce has no interest in a revolutionary movement to overturn imperialism and institute a new political economy that meets the human needs of women in general and Black women in particular.  Her brand of feminism is one that promotes the privilege of black misleaders like her have a seat at the table of US imperialist affairs.  Our goal must be to take over the table and unseat all of its rulers and collaborators.

Danny Haiphong is an activist and case manager in the Greater Boston area. You can contact Danny at: [email protected]

South Africa is possibly moving forward with a plan to allow Shell Oil Company to explore and develop natural gases through the highly controversial ‘Hydraulic Fracking’ technology in the region of Karoo. The South African based company that produces liquid fuels, chemicals and electricity ‘Sosal’ is optimistic that that the shale gas industry would develop under the current government. Australia’s Sunbird Energy has been exploring and developing oil and gas projects in South Africa, notably the Ibhubesi Gas Field in the West coast.

Fracking is a water-intensive process where millions of gallons of fluids of water, sand, and chemicals (some known to cause cancer) are injected underground at high-pressure to fracture rocks surrounding an oil or gas well. This releases the extra oil and gas from the rock that flows directly into the well. Establishing new well sites also takes drilling and encasing the well where the process of fracking begins. It uses trucks that operate heavy equipment and material that is needed to remove toxic waste. Where toxic waste will be disposed of is another issue. Fracking contributes to air and water pollution and devalues the land it operates on. Fracking technology threatens the air we breathe and the water we drink. But the South African government and Sasol are interested in developing the economy, but fracking technology poses numerous health risks and in the long-term destroys the environment. Karoo has a number of towns that amounts to a population of 71, 000 who live in close proximity to the proposed fracking sites that are dependent of natural ground water. The decision to allow fracking would cause major problems as acid drainage from the mines would contaminate food and water supplies.

In a report by iafrica.com, an online news source stated that

“Sasol is keen to invest in South Africa’s shale gas industry once it gets going, the petrochemical group’s CEO David Constable said. The move could challenge major oil player Royal Dutch Shell, which is reportedly one of the front runners to explore the Karoo area for shale gas.”

The Karoo is a natural region that consists of two main areas. The Little Karoo is often associated as the wet Karoo and the Great Karoo consists of mainly dessert. Fracking is proposed for the latter. “Fracking in the Karoo could unlock one of the world’s biggest gas reserves and the government is keen to development the industry, as it views it as a potential game changer for the country’s economy” the report said. It would develop profits for the energy sector in the short-term but destroy South Africa’s natural resources located in the Karoo. According to Bernama, a news agency based in Malaysia reported that the South African government will conduct research in respect to the economic and social impacts of Fracking technology. The report ‘South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province Launches Study on Impact of Shale Gas Development’ stated the following:

The government of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province has set wheels in motion preparing for massive exploration and production of shale gas in the Karoo Basin, which covers some 600,000 square kilometres in central and southern South Africa and contains thick, organic rich shales.

The provincial government has embarked on a 16 million-Rand (US$1.49 million) research project with the Nelson Mandela University to determine the socio-economic implications of shale gas development in the province.

The Karoo is one of the few major basins in the world where the natural baseline is still intact and the provincial government views the pending extraction of shale gas there as a potential game-changer of the province’s economic fortunes.

According to the iafrica.com report it said that “In late 2013, the government lifted its moratorium on fracking in the Karoo but also imposed new regulations to govern shale gas exploration.” It is an indication that South Africa is on board to move ahead with shale gas fracking technologies since they already implemented regulations Shell Oil Company would have to follow under the South African government. “I am very excited because of the technologies we can bring to the table. We’ve got shale gas upstream experience in British Columbia,” Sasol chief executive David Constable said in a Fin24 report.” Sasol wants to tap into the natural gas industry “We want to get involved and participate and monetize that gas in country with gas to liquid, gas to power, gas to chemicals,” he said. Constable said that Sasol’s experience in British Columbia would enable it to frack the Karoo in “an environmentally friendly fashion.” According to ‘e news channel Africa (eNCA), the South African government is looking forward to the new technology as it claims that it will create new jobs creation and cost-efficient energy resources for the public:

Government is excited about major game-changing discoveries of untapped potential for petroleum development, spanning both off-shore and on-shore, including shale gas. We will move ahead decisively, yet responsibly, with the exploration of shale gas,” said Shabangu. She said government won’t simply brush aside the concerns of activists and communities in the Karoo. “There’ll be a public campaign to visit communities who may be affected to explain what will happen,” she said. Shabangu said the final regulations for the exploration of shale gas are being finalised and will be published shortly

Maybe the South African government should visit shale gas ‘fracking’ sites around the world especially in places like Texas or Pennsylvania that is causing major health problems. An online anti-fracking website called www.nyagainstfracking.org quoted Dr. Sheila Bushkin, MD, MPH of the Institute for Health and the Environment at University at Albany on what the impact of shale gas fracking:

These stories from Pennsylvania are very alarming,” she said. “The perspective of the gas industry fails to show adequate concern for the long-term health and quality of life of people. When you listen to the personal experiences of actual residents of Pennsylvania and other states where fracking has gone forward, you will hear stories of dead cows, pets, sick children, poisoned water and other serious health and environmental problems. These stories confirm our need for much greater research and evidence-based scientific facts”

Let’s hope South Africa would reverse its course for the sake of the South African population and its natural resources. According to www.news24.com, “Multinational Royal Dutch Shell states that fracking in the Karoo for shale gas may not be financially viable” since it is not confirmed how much natural gas is actually available in the Karoo. Shell Oil Company knows that fracking is not environmentally safe for the health of the community it directly affects, but profits over human life do take precedence in this situation.

By Judit Neurink 

Calling it legalized pedophilia, Iraqi women activists and others have come out in force against a proposed change of the Iraqi family law that will make it legal to marry a girl of nine.

“The law deprives women of their dignity and human rights and deepens the sectarianism in Iraq,” says Hanaa Edwar, who heads the Al-Amal Association that strives to improve the socioeconomic situation of Iraqi people.

The outrage against the draft Iraqi status law, due to go before the Iraqi Parliament after legislative elections in April, focuses mainly on the proposed lower marriage age for girls, which is now set at 18.

“They are looking towards young children for having sex,” Edwar says. “Parents with daughters feel disgusted by it.”

Edwar quotes a nine-year-old who spoke at a protest, saying she is playing with her friends, getting muddy and having to be washed every day. “She said:

‘I am a child, and I do not want to get married.’ A very simple and effective message.”

Women in Kirkuk condemn Iraq’s draft family law. Photo: Alsumaria TV

Women in Kirkuk condemn Iraq’s draft family law. Photo: Alsumaria TV

At the same time, child marriages are increasing in Iraq. Edwar knows many girls of around 10 being married in a religious ceremony outside the courts. Often, after a couple of months, a divorce is announced. The background is poverty, she says, with parents agreeing for money.

“A girl will be a mother at 12, with no registration for mother or child, so no ID, no rights and no healthcare. They deprive her of her education. Already half of all the girls in rural areas are illiterate, and this will increase that number even more.”

Edwar is supported by Yanar Mohammed, the president of the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq. “The draft (law) is all about the sexual pleasures and rights of men,” she says. “It is an abuse of children’s rights and their bodily integrity.”

She points out that the new law also arranges alimony in case of a divorce.

“When the wife is too young or too old for sex, no payment is needed. There is no mentioning of a loving agreement, a female is just a body to be enjoyed.”

Mohammed calls the draft law

“something that people might have agreed to two thousand years ago, but not today. But the religious men in expensive suits who speak in the name of God do not ask the people whether they want it or not.”

The proposal has been based on the Shiite Ja’fari school, called after an eighth century Shiite imam. A Supreme Shiite Judicial Council in the holy city of Najaf will supervise nationwide religious tribunals that will settle family matters, and will give the Shiite clerical establishment a larger say in Iraq’s legal system.

The legislation will amend the status law originating from 1959, which was then one of the most liberal of the region. It will apply for the majority of Iraqi citizens, who are Shiites.

Iraq’s council of ministers ratified the draft, proposed by the Shiite Minister of Justice Hassan Al-Shimari. Of the 29 ministers present at the cabinet meeting, 21 voted in favor. Yet clerics in Najaf have already distanced themselves from the bill. They had not expected so much opposition, suggests Mohammed.

It was not only the legalization of child marriages that caused an outcry, but also other articles that interfere with the freedom and status of women, such as one that stipulates women over 18 years of age must still have fatherly consent for marriage. Another objectionable article says that a woman cannot leave the home without the permission of her husband. “Her rights are being confiscated,” concludes Edwar.

There is anger about the proposed right for men to have sex with their wives, and the fact that women cannot refuse. The proposal that a Muslim man cannot marry a non-Muslim, other than in a temporary marriage, even contradicts Islam, as Edwar points out.

Protests against the draft went to the streets of Baghdad on International Women’s Day. Edwar announces an advocacy campaign “to make people aware of the consequences. Most illiterate people hear it’s based on Ja’fari (law) and think it must be good.”

She will lobby with decision makers in and out of the parliament, but thinks pressure from outside Iraq is essential. As Iraq has ratified Cedaw, the international convention against discrimination of women, the UN has already asked for the withdrawal of the draft law.

Yanar Mohammed is convinced that “Iraqi people will not agree to the legalization of pedophilia,” but she also took to the streets and is campaigning against it.

“The objections come from all sides, and the number of women who raised their voices is high.”

There are also men speaking out, she says.

“The politicians tried to make it seem as if all is done in a democratic way. But this is against all our rights. They cannot have it their way.”

Copyright Juit Newrink, rudaw.net 2014

Less than a month before the eleventh anniversary of the illegal US-led invasion of Iraq, the near destruction of much of the country, heritage, culture, secularism, education, health services and all State institutions, the country is poised to revert “two thousand years” say campaigners.

On 25th February Iraq’s Cabinet approved a draft law lowering the age of legal marriage for females to nine years old.

Iraq was, prior to the invasion, a fiercely secular country, with a broadly equal male, female workforce and with women benefiting from a National Personal Status Law, introduced in 1959, which remained “one of the most liberal in the Arab world, with respect to women’s rights.”

The legal age for marriage was set at eighteen, forced marriages were banned and polygamy restricted. Cohesion between communities was enhanced and fostered by: “eliminating the differential treatment of Sunnis and Shiites under the law (and erasing differentiation) between the various religious communities …” Women’s rights in divorce, child custody and inheritance were an integral part of the Law, with Article 14 stating that all Iraqis are equal under the law.(1)

Equality was swept away from the first day of the invasion when George W. Bush and his Administration started to talk of Sunni, Shiite, Kurds, Christians and other religions and ethnicities and also effectively selecting the overseers of the “New Iraq” not by ability but by religion and ethnicity, effectively pitching Iraqi against Iraqi in what, for all the complexities had been a very cohesive society. “Divide and rule” pervaded all.

So far, however, the Personal Status Law still stands, if largely ignored by the US backed Parliament and a largely – with honourable and courageous exceptions – woefully wanting judiciary. The draft law if ratified, as it is aimed to be after the April elections, would sweep its admirable provisions aside and turn Iraq in to a pedophiles paradise.

This outrageous plan was first mooted as early as December 2003, just eight months after the invasion, by Abdel Aziz al Hakim, who heads the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, who cancelled the Personal Status Law when President of the Interim Governing Council. Due to opposition by women and others within the Council and from many civil and women’s organizations, the decision was revoked by Paul Bremer, arguably the only thing he got right during his woeful, ill informed tenure. Then, as now, the change: “would have transferred civil actions concerning family and personal law, including marriage, divorce, and inheritance, to the jurisdiction of clerics”, not civil Courts.

Incredibly: “The proposal has been based on the Shiite Ja’fari school, called after an eighth century Shiite Imam. A Supreme Shiite Judicial Council in the holy city of Najaf will supervise nationwide religious tribunals that will settle family matters …”

Woman’s groups and activists are vociferous in their outrage and condemnation and in spite of twenty one of the twenty nine present at the Cabinet decision voting in favour of the change, some clerics in Najav are distancing themselves from the proposal, which would also include women not being allowed to leave their home without the permission of their husband – and ironically a father’s permission being mandatory for a woman over eighteen to marry. Muslims will not be allowed to marry non-Muslims.

Hanaa Edwar, who heads the Al-Amal Association which fights for the socioeconomic improvement of Iraqis points out that among the poor – which since the invasion has spiraled, children as young as ten are already marrying and further, that  most of the: religious: “ illiterate people hear it’s based on Ja’fari (law) and think it must be good.”

Yanar Mohammed, President of the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq is convinced that: “Iraqi people will not agree to the legalization of pedophilia … the objections come from all sides, and the number of women who rais their voices is high … It is an abuse of children’s rights and their bodily integrity.”(2)

Edwar and Mohammed are lobbying in and out of the parliament, but “pressure from outside Iraq is essential.”

As Iraq has ratified Convention on Elimination Against Women (CEDAW) the UN has already asked for the withdrawal of the draft law. CEDAW “provides that the betrothal and marriage of a child shall have no legal effect.”

At the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna from 14th- 25th June 1993, States were: “urged to repeal existing laws and regulations and to remove customs and practices which discriminate against and cause harm to the girl child. Article 16(2) and the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child preclude States parties from permitting or giving validity to a marriage between persons who have not attained their majority. In the context of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ‘a child’ means every human being below the age of 18 years  …”

Human Rights Watch in a less than robust statement on the marriage of nine year olds, who, in the West would still in Primary school, a year too young to enter Secondary education, never the less state: “This draft personal status law (change) flies in the faces of the Iraqi government’s legal commitments to protect women’s and girls’ rights … Passage of this law by parliament may lead to further discriminatory laws.” (3)

Silent is Ann Clwyd, MP., formerly Tony  Blair’s Human Rights Envoy to Iraq and currently Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group and of the All Party Parliamentary Iraq Group, as is.Middle East “Peace Envoy” Tony “I’d do it again” Blair, as are the US and British Ambassadors in Iraq and the self appointed “Vicar of Baghdad” Canon Andrew White.

The US and UK could put an end to this disgrace instantly by simply withdrawing trade, arms sales, and diplomatic presence. But Iraq is still a destroyed country, courtesy the same US and UK and there are also all those multi-million rebuilding, security, and military training contracts. As with the majority of those in their Iraq puppet Parliament, morality and integrity are long dead and buried.

Notes

1. http://www.lb.boell.org/web/52-263.html

2. http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/100320141

3. http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/03/11/iraq-don-t-legalize-marriage-9-year-olds

“We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.- David Rockefeller, Bilderberg, 1991 (emphasis added)

If you wish to live in a world that is “sophisticated” enough to be a world government run by an intellectual elite and global bankers, then by all means, continue to read the Washington Post, New York Times, and Time Magazine to get all your information. If, however, the idea of a select coterie of a global intellectual-financial elite running the world does not sound like the ideal society for humanity’s future, we must continue to shine the lights of publicity on the actions of powerful individuals and institutions, bringing a critical eye to their ideologies and actions.

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The war on Libya is an integral part of the broader military agenda in the Middle East and Central Asia which until recently consisted of three distinct areas of conflict : Afghanistan and Pakistan (the AfPak War), Iraq, Palestine. A fourth war theater has opened up in North Africa, which raises the issue of escalation over a vast geographical area. These four war theaters are interrelated. They are part of a broader region of conflict, which extends from North Africa and the Middle East, engulfing a large part of the Mediterranean basin, to China’s Western frontier with Afghanistan, and Northern Pakistan.

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Qatar’s Isolation: A Geopolitical Trick?

March 13th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

The sudden shift in Qatar’s standings in the Middle East has left much of the world perplexed, suspicious, and skeptical. Others are hopeful that it indicates a fraying in an axis that has been sowing violence and destabilization across much of North Africa and the Middle East for years. 

The Irish Times reported in its article, Saudi Arabia threatens to blockade Qatar over terrorism,” that: 

Saudi Arabia has threatened to blockade neighbouring Qatar by air, land and sea unless Doha cuts ties with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, closes global channel al-Jazeera, and expels local branches of the US Brookings Institution and Rand Corporation think tanks. 

The threat was issued by Riyadh before it withdrew its ambassador to Doha and branded as “terrorist organisations” the brotherhood, Lebanon’s Hizbullah and al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Jabhat al-Nusra. 

Although the kingdom has long been the font of Sunni ultra-orthodox Salafism and jihadism, it now seeks to contain radical movements and media and other organisations giving them publicity.

The Irish Times would then go on to point out the bizarre contradiction of the Saudis’ move, reminding readers that:

While the law and decree are meant to curb jihadi operations on Saudi soil as well as counter non-jihadi dissidence, these legal instruments appear to contradict government policy on foreign jihad. 

While 400 Saudis have returned home from Syrian battlefields, another 1,000-2,000 are believed to be fighting with jihadi groups funded by the government as well as wealthy Saudis, Kuwaitis and Qataris.

What then could the reason be for this clearly hypocritical, conflicting foreign policy shift? Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have also joined Saudi Arabia in isolating Qatar leaving many to speculate over a wide range of possibilities. 

1. An Axis in Need of  Renewed Credibility? 

0198Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, and the United States have been inexorably linked geopolitically, financially, and even militarily for decades. In recent years, this axis has worked in tandem to destabilize, destroy, and reorder North Africa and the Middle East through a combination of covertly-backed political uprising (the US-engineered Arab Spring), terrorism, proxy-war (Syria), and outright invasion (Libya). The proxy networks used to carry out this vast geopolitical reordering includes the terrorist organization Al Qaeda and its various regional franchises, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood which provides the sociopolitical scaffolding upon which Al Qaeda builds its support, its ranks, and its material resources.

With Libya left decimated and in the hands of Western-aligned proxies, and Syria emerging from a prolonged proxy-war the victors over Western-backed militants, the spanning and vulnerable axis may no longer be needed to operate in such an overt manner upon the global stage.

Moves to isolate Qatar as the remaining facilitator of both the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda, could be an attempt to streamline and compartmentalize further destabilizations across the region in the future – granting other axis members the opportunity to regain much needed legitimacy while maintaining plausible deniability of Qatar’s continued role as chief sponsor of global terror.

Of course, the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia will continue on in collusion with Qatar, but just behind the facade of a renewed and refocused strategy of tension.  
 
Coordinated multinational geopolitical stunts like this are nothing new. During the opening phases of the “Arab Spring,” the US and Israel intentionally feigned support for Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak in an attempt to politically poison him among growing numbers of dissenters in the streets, including members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. False reports of weapon shipments in Mubarak’s support were made to further bolster the illusion – with a similar trick tried soon after in Libya. Simultaneously, the US and Israel condemned Egyptian opposition leaders such as Mohammed ElBaradei, despite ElBaradei literally sitting around the same table with prominent American and Israeli politicians and corporate-financiers in his capacity as trustee of the corporate and foundation-funded International Crisis Group
 
In March of 2010, the Council on Foreign Relations had revealed this ploy through articles featured in its Foreign Affairs magazine. In Steve Cook’s piece “Is ElBaradei Egypt’s Hero?” he explicitly states:

“Further, Egypt’s close relationship with the United States has become a critical and negative factor in Egyptian politics. The opposition has used these ties to delegitimize the regime, while the government has engaged in its own displays of anti-Americanism to insulate itself from such charges. If ElBaradei actually has a reasonable chance of fostering political reform in Egypt, then U.S. policymakers would best serve his cause by not acting strongly.” 

A similar stunt could be seen during the more recent Israeli-Gaza conflict in 2012, which saw new life breathed into both Turkey and Qatar after nearly two years of exposure as collaborators with the US and Israel versus Syria. Carefully staged geopolitical maneuvering by Ankara and Doha against Israel was meant to portray the two Western proxies as “anti-Israeli” and “anti-West,” despite the fact that both regimes had, were, and would continue to play a pivotal role alongside the US and Israel in continued hostilities with Syria.

If the Saudis fail to carry out their threats and allow Qatar to continue hosting both Brookings and RAND, as well as continue funding, arming, and otherwise supporting both the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda globally, it will be clear that this latest foreign policy “shift” regarding Qatar was simply for show. If Saudi Arabia and others in the Persian Gulf have truly turned on their once ally, and assuming they cease their own support for global terrorism, there will be an immediate drop-off of militant support in and around Syria and the the Syrian government will finally be able to fully restore order within and along its borders. 

 2. Persian Gulf States Scramble For the Exits – Leaving Qatar Behind  

1806571574Another possibility is that the Persian Gulf despots have finally realized the global blitzkrieg they have collaborated with the West to execute starting in 2011 with the “Arab Spring” is ending badly and they will be the first to reap the whirlwind in an impending backlash.  

Starting in 2011, counterstrokes, however ineffective, seemed to have been in motion – destabilizing regions in eastern Saudi Arabia, across Bahrain, and even in the UAE. While these uprisings were managed by draconian crackdowns carried out amid a self-imposed media blackout in the West, the threat of greater destabilization still linger across the Persian Gulf’s hereditary dictatorships.  

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE may have calculated that now is the best time to divest from collaborating so directly with the West’s regional ambitions and consolidate their positions and concentrate inward while projecting a better image internationally. 

Qatar’s ties and dependence on the West are perceived by some as somewhat more acute than some of its Persian Gulf neighbors. With US military assets stationed permanently there at what is considered one of America’s most important regional facilities, Al Udeid Air Base, and with Qatar’s capital Doha hosting the US corporate-funded think tank, the Brookings Institution, and its Doha and Saban policy centers (many of Saban Center’s “fellows” and “directors” are based in Doha, Qatar, with the Doha Center itself funded by the State of Qatar), it would be difficult indeed to see Qatar severing ties with the West abruptly or even incrementally.   

The Brookings Saban Center has been responsible for the “Which Path to Persia?” report, a self-indicting manifesto aimed at achieving Western hegemony across the Middle East, using both the US and Israel as a medium to do so – and by specifically attacking, subverting, and destroying both Syria and Iran.

The Saban Center was founded and named after Haim Saban, an Israeli-American media mogul and businessman ranked by Forbes as the 134th richest person in America. For Qatar to host such a collection of policy makers within its own capital, the very people manipulating both sides of a purposefully perpetuated regional conflict shamelessly admitted to be seeking the reassertion of Western interests across the region, could explain why nations like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE might want to isolate it ahead of their own alleged geopolitical reorientations.  

Should Qatar’s neighbors truly be divesting from their relationship with the West, again, they will carry out their threats to isolate and hobble the nation of Qatar, while expelling US forces, corporate interests and other facades of their own long-standing collaboration with the West in the weeks and months to come. Should they fail to do so, again, the recent “shift” in foreign policy may be a ploy to manipulate regional and international perceptions ahead of a joint US-Israeli-Persian Gulf push toward a yet to-be-revealed agenda.

3. You Are Either With Us or Against Us

Yet another interpretation of Qatar’s sudden geopolitical quandary is what some suspect may have been its establishment of closer ties with Iran. Should Qatar have attempted to strike out an independent foreign policy out of sync with the US-Israeli-Persian Gulf axis, the recent swift and severe measures would be expected.  

The supposed pro-Iranian moves on Qatar’s part originate from a US Neo-Con think-tank, the Washington Institute For Near East Policy report titled, “Gulf Arabs in Crisis.” In the report, it claims:

Earlier today, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates recalled their ambassadors from Qatar, choosing a high-visibility tactic to emphasize long-simmering tensions within the Gulf Cooperation Council. The diplomatic rift — which comes a day after fellow GCC member Oman invited Iran’s president to visit, and a few weeks before President Obama’s planned visit to Riyadh — further complicates U.S. efforts to build broad support for its regional policies. Washington had been hoping that the upcoming Saudi trip would not only reassure King Abdullah about U.S. policies on the Iran nuclear issue and Syria, but also serve as an opportunity to win broader Gulf Arab support.

Ultimately, the report’s premise is baseless, and appears to support the notion that the recent posturing is for show – with mention of Iran revealing perhaps another dimension to the recent GCC row. It may be perhaps that the GCC and its Western partners are attempting to lure Iran into a false sense of growing security in the wake of recent setbacks in Syria and ahead of yet another strategy aimed at undermining and ultimately destroying the Islamic Republic.

Should Qatar truly be building closer ties with Iran, enough for the GCC to withdraw its ambassadors and threaten a full spectrum blockade of the tiny peninsula nation, and for the US to fear its regional designs are in jeopardy, then not only will the GCC carry out their threats, but in the days, weeks, and months to come, clear moves by the US will be made to undermine, destabilize and overthrow the regime in Qatar, just as it does around the world through color revolutions, terrorism, and overt military force.

Should these steps not materialize in swift succession, then Iran and its allies should remain vigilant as Qatar’s outreached hand is only a distraction for the dagger it hides behind its back. Treachery has defined the foreign policy of the GCC and its Western sponsors for decades. To believe that sense has returned to the Persian Gulf would require more substantial, demonstrated moves from the GCC. Only time will tell regarding the truth behind the recent row between Qatar and its traditional allies.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”

Radiation Facts and Myths

Many have claimed that wildlife is thriving in the highly-radioactive Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

Some claim that a little radiation is harmless … or even good for you.

One of the main advisors to the Japanese government on Fukushima announced:

If you smile, the radiation will not affect you.   If you do not smile, the radiation will affect you.

This theory has been proven by experiments on animals.

Are these claims true?

-

We Ask an Expert

To find out, Washington’s Blog spoke with one of the world’s leading experts on the effects of radiation on living organisms: Dr. Timothy Mousseau.

Dr. Mousseau is former Program Director at the National Science Foundation (in Population Biology), Panelist for the National Academy of Sciences’ panels on Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities and GAO Panel on Health and Environmental Effects from Tritium Leaks at Nuclear Power Plants, and a biology professor – and former Dean of the Graduate School, and Chair of the Graduate Program in Ecology – at the University of South Carolina.

For the past 15 years, Mousseau and  another leading biologist – Anders Pape Møller – have studied the effects of radiation on birds and other organisms.

Mousseau has made numerous trips to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and Fukushima – making 896 inventories at Chernobyl and 1,100 biotic inventories in Fukushima as of July 2013 – to test the effect of radiation on plants and animals.

On the third anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, we spoke with Dr. Mousseau about what he discovered regarding the effects of radiation on plants, animals … and people.

[Question] How did you get into this field? Is it because you are an anti-nuclear activist?

[Mousseau]  No.

I’m an activist, but not an anti-nuclear scientist. I’m an activist for evidence-based science policy.

I got into this out of an interest in discovery of new forms of adaption to changing environments. I’m an evolutionary biologist by training. And – about a decade and a half ago – I met up with Anders Pape Møller, one of the world’s leading ornithologists.

We decided to go to Chernobyl and see if the females, the mothers, are doing anything to enhance their offspring’s fitness in response to this novel stressor of radioactive contaminants.

And then in 2005, when the international Atomic Energy Agency commissioned this report by a panel – the Chernobyl Forum – and the Chernobyl Forum put out their first release in 2005, followed by their main publication in 2006, we realized they didn’t cite anybody’s work that went against their dogma that contamination levels at Chernobyl were just too low to be of any profound significance for biological communities.

In fact, they have a statement in the Chernobyl Forum report where they suggest that the plants and animals are thriving because there are no people there.  And – by implication – the suggestion is that the radiation isn’t a problem.

[Q] What did you actually find in the field?

[Mousseau] What we observed was that in the more contaminated parts of the Chernobyl zone, there were many fewer critters, fewer birds singing, and we noticed there were no spider webs getting in our face.

We set up a quantitative design to measure the critters not only in the most contaminated areas, but also in the clean areas.  In the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone,  you have everything from pristine, completely uncontaminated areas to really highly-contaminated areas.  It’s kind of a quiltwork … a mosaic.

So this provides the ability to do rigorous comparative analyses of critters that are in the same environment, except for the radiation.

[Q] So you utilized good controls in terms of ruling out other health-damaging and mortality factors, because in this “quiltwork” ecology you had higher or lower levels of radiation … but otherwise the conditions were similar?

[Mousseau] Exactly, combined with the fact that – everywhere we went – we also measured all of the other environmental factors that would likely play some role in the abundance and distribution of organisms … such as the type of soil, whether it was forest or grass, the water, as well as the ambient conditions at the time we collected the data.

And we did a control for human habitation sites as well, in Belarus.

[Q] What kinds of effects did you test for?

[Mousseau] We’ve tested for mutation rates, estimates of genetic damage, estimates of sperm damage, sperm swimming [i.e. how mobile the sperm are], fertility rates in both females and males, longevity, age distribution of the birds in these different areas, species diversity, etc.

[Q] And what did you find?

[Mousseau] The diversity of birds is about half of what it should be in the most contaminated areas.  The total numbers of birds is only about a third of what it should be in the most contaminated areas.

In 2006, I decided to collect fruit flies across the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, and I couldn’t find very many.

And then I realized, there wasn’t any rotting fruit on the ground.  And considering that every farmer, every landowner would put up fruit trees in that part of the world, you look at the fruit trees and realize there’s hardly any fruit on them.

And of course, that’s why there weren’t many fruit flies.

And then it dawned on us, where are the pollinators? And that point, we realized there aren’t many bees and butterflies.

So we started counting the bees, the butterflies, the dragonflies, the spiders, and the grasshoppers.

And that’s when we realized that all of the groups we looked at showed significantly lower numbers in the most-contaminated areas.

It look us a little longer to figure out a way to study mammals. We decided we can count many of the mammals by looking at footprints in the snow. The ecologists in Canada and Northern Europe have been doing this for centuries. There’s even a book published [a field guide] for identifying animals by their footprints in the snow.

 

We found – for most of the mammals – significant declines in numbers in the most contaminated areas. The one exception were the wolves, which showed no difference, probably because they have huge ranges which span across the high and low areas of contamination.

[We'll cut away from the interview to explain what Mousseau found, using information and slides from his published studies. The copyright to all images are owned by Dr. Mousseau.]

Indeed, Mousseau found – in studies of plants, insects and mammals – that:

  • Most organisms studied show significantly increased rates of genetic damage in direct proportion to the level of exposure to radioactive contaminants
  • Many organisms show increased rates of deformities and developmental abnormalities in direct proportion to contamination levels
  • Many organisms show reduced fertility rates
  • Many organisms show reduced life spans
  • Many organisms show reduced population sizes
  • Biodiversity is significantly decreased many species locally extinct
  • Mutations are passed from one generation to the next, and show signs of accumulating over time
  • Mutations are migrating out of affected areas into populations that are not exposed (i.e. population bystander effects)

He found that the numbers of birds plummeted:

And biodiversity significantly declined:

The same is true for bees:

Butterflies:

And mammals:

Examples of abnormalities Mousseau found include cataracts, albinism, and tumors:

 

 

And he found that the brains of birds in high-radiation areas are smaller.

[Back to the interview.]

[Q] Aren’t humans totally different from the plants and animals you’ve studied?

[Mousseau] Most medical research is conducted with either animal models or cell lines. What’s the reason? Because we can look at the effects very clearly in these animal populations.

And we’re just animals … so what happens to animals is likely to be of relevance to humans as well.

[However, since humans live longer than most animals - and much longer than birds or bacteria - it can take longer to see genetic mutations due to radiation.]

[Q] What about people who say that low doses of radiation are actually good for you, what’s called “radiation hormesis?”  And I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but some Department of Energy articles have tried to push that theory.

[Mousseau] Most of those reports have been generated as a result of energy-related funding.  And the data which supports the theory is really shaky … and even flaky.

We conducted meta-analysis a couple of years ago published in the Cambridge Biological Review. We analyzed all of the published we could find that was conducted with any kind of scientific rigor for naturally radioactive areas around the world.

And the idea is that there has been plenty of time in these natural hotspots for organisms to adapt and evolve and show adaptive responses and even hormetic responses.

And there was no indication in this meta-analysis that hormesis was playing any role in any of these populations, and certainly not the human populations.

[Q]  Did your meta-review include human studies?

[Mousseau] Yes, it included everything we could find.

[Q]  Did your research back up the linear no threshold model of radiation [the prevailing scientific view of radiation, which is that there is no safe dose]?

[Mousseau]. Damage increases down to very low levels of radiation.  There’s no indication that the effect disappears at low doses.

Science Daily summarized Mousseau’s findings in 2012:

Even the very lowest levels of radiation are harmful to life, scientists have concluded in the Cambridge Philosophical Society’s journal Biological Reviews. Reporting the results of a wide-ranging analysis of 46 peer-reviewed studies published over the past 40 years, researchers from the University of South Carolina and the University of Paris-Sud found that variation in low-level, natural background radiation was found to have small, but highly statistically significant, negative effects on DNA as well as several measures of health.

The review is a meta-analysis of studies of locations around the globe …. “Pooling across multiple studies, in multiple areas, and in a rigorous statistical manner provides a tool to really get at these questions about low-level radiation.”

Mousseau and co-author Anders Møller of the University of Paris-Sud combed the scientific literature, examining more than 5,000 papers involving natural background radiation that were narrowed to 46 for quantitative comparison. The selected studies all examined both a control group and a more highly irradiated population and quantified the size of the radiation levels for each. Each paper also reported test statistics that allowed direct comparison between the studies.

The organisms studied included plants and animals, but had a large preponderance of human subjects. Each study examined one or more possible effects of radiation, such as DNA damage measured in the lab, prevalence of a disease such as Down’s Syndrome, or the sex ratio produced in offspring. For each effect, a statistical algorithm was used to generate a single value, the effect size, which could be compared across all the studies.

The scientists reported significant negative effects in a range of categories, including immunology, physiology, mutation and disease occurrence. The frequency of negative effects was beyond that of random chance.

***

“When you do the meta-analysis, you do see significant negative effects.”

“It also provides evidence that there is no threshold below which there are no effects of radiation,” he added. “A theory that has been batted around a lot over the last couple of decades is the idea that is there a threshold of exposure below which there are no negative consequences. These data provide fairly strong evidence that there is no threshold — radiation effects are measurable as far down as you can go, given the statistical power you have at hand.”

Mousseau hopes their results, which are consistent with the “linear-no-threshold” model for radiation effects, will better inform the debate about exposure risks. “With the levels of contamination that we have seen as a result of nuclear power plants, especially in the past, and even as a result of Chernobyl and Fukushima and related accidents, there’s an attempt in the industry to downplay the doses that the populations are getting, because maybe it’s only one or two times beyond what is thought to be the natural background level,” he said. “But they’re assuming the natural background levels are fine.”

“And the truth is, if we see effects at these low levels, then we have to be thinking differently about how we develop regulations for exposures, and especially intentional exposures to populations, like the emissions from nuclear power plants, medical procedures, and even some x-ray machines at airports.”

The fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the 239 people on board remains shrouded in mystery, with slender and conflicting evidence and a rash of theories, magnified by the media, as to what took place.

The lack of clarity is further compounded by the various competing interests at stake—including Malaysia Airlines and Boeing, both seeking to protect their corporate images; the Malaysian government—under criticism over its search operations; and the Chinese government, which is under pressure to provide answers about the whereabouts of the many Chinese passengers on the flight.

The latest satellite images released by Chinese authorities showing a “possible crash area” has only added to the confusion. The pictures taken on Sunday show three large indistinct objects floating in waters south of Vietnam. They range in size from 13 by 18 metres to 22 by 24 metres. The location is relatively close to the northerly flight path taken by MH370, which took off from Kuala Lumpur early on Saturday morning, headed for Beijing. Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane an hour later. The crew sent out no distress call.

While the images could provide a much-needed breakthrough, there is no confirmation that the three objects are part of the plane’s wreckage. Previous sightings by Vietnamese search planes of possible debris and large oil slicks proved to have no connection with an aircraft crash. A former US aviation safety director, Tom Haueter, told CNN he would be “surprised” if the objects came from a plane, saying anything of that size would not float. Another former US aviation official, Michael Goldfarb, was more optimistic, declaring that “it’s a high chance that they’re going confirm that these [are] pieces of wreckage.”

Diametrically opposed evidence comes from Malaysian military radar data that places an unidentified aircraft hundreds of kilometres to the west in the Malacca Strait or Andaman Sea. After conflicting reports from Malaysian authorities in previous days, Malaysian air force chief General Rodzali Daud confirmed yesterday that military radar detected an aircraft that could have been MH370 about 300 kilometres north of the Malaysian island of Penang. Daud could not confirm it was the missing flight. The radar data has been sent to US investigators for closer analysis.

 

If the report turns out to be correct, it only compounds the mystery. It would mean that MH370 took off and headed north from Kuala Lumpur and, for reasons unknown, turned abruptly to the west. At about the same time, the plane’s transponder malfunctioned or was turned off and Malaysia’s air traffic control lost contact. The aircraft continued to fly west, across Malaysia, and was last detected to the north of Penang.

Malaysian authorities clearly knew about the military radar data when they asked the Thai navy on Sunday to begin searching the Andaman Sea. Publicly, however, they made contradictory statements, adding to public confusion, the anger of relatives for news and consternation among the 12 countries involved in the search efforts.

Vietnamese authorities yesterday suspended search flights, demanding clarification, but later resumed their operations. In what amounted to a rebuke to Malaysia, the Chinese foreign ministry declared: “There’s too much information and confusion right now. It is very hard for us to decide whether a given piece of information is accurate.”

Media speculation about a possible terrorist hijacking was undermined after Interpol identified two passengers travelling on the flight on stolen passports. Both were Iranian citizens. Pouria Nourmohammadi Mehrdad, 18, and Delavar Seyed Mohammad Reza, 29, both appear to have been seeking to settle in Europe. Interpol secretary general Ronald Noble told the media: “The more information we get, the more we are inclined to conclude it was not a terrorist incident.”

One possible explanation for the MH370 disappearance has received little press coverage. Last year, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned of a serious technical flaw in Boeing 777s, one of which was used in the flight. The FAA issued a worldwide alert over the dangers of cracking in the fuselage skin underneath the aircraft’s satellite antenna that could lead to decompression and render the occupants, including the crew, unconscious.

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, a posting on the Professional Pilots Rumour Network explained: “A slow decompression (e.g. from a golfball-sized hole) would have gradually impaired and confused the pilots before cabin altitude (pressure) warnings sounded… If the decompression was slow enough, it’s possible the pilots did not realise to put on oxygen masks before it was too late.” The site of the flaw could also account for the failure of satellite communications, including the aircraft’s transponder. If that happened, the plane could continue to fly on automatically or veer off course, with the crew and passengers unconscious.

The theory, of course, is speculative, but there are obvious reasons for both Boeing and Malaysian Airlines to downplay such a mechanical flaw. The FAA directive was issued after an inspection of a 14-year-old Boeing 777 discovered a 16-inch crack. The agency called for “repetitive inspections of the visible fuselage skin and doubler” to be incorporated into the routine maintenance schedule for the Boeing 777s worldwide.

When contacted by Fairfax Media, a Boeing spokeswoman declared that it was up to individual airlines, not the manufacturer, to follow FAA directives. The article indicated that it was not known if Malaysia Airlines had incorporated the directive into the maintenance schedule for its Boeing 777 fleet. The airline made substantial losses over the past three years and last year cut its maintenance costs. It has emphasised its good safety record and the experience of the crew flying MH370.

Following a White House meeting with interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk designed to underscore US support for the newly installed government and ratchet up pressure on Russia, President Barack Obama issued new threats against Moscow.

Obama declared that Washington and the “international community” would “completely reject” the referendum to be held Sunday in Crimea on secession from Ukraine and affiliation with the Russian Federation. He reiterated the US demand that Russia withdraw its forces from Crimea and recognize the new right-wing, anti-Russian regime in Kiev, which was installed last month in a US- and European Union-backed coup led by armed fascist militias.

The US would impose new sanctions if Russia refused to comply with these demands, Obama said, claiming that the “international community…will be forced to apply a cost” to what he called Russian violations of international law.

In keeping with the lies and hypocrisy that pervade the official pronouncements of US and European officials on the Ukraine crisis, Obama hailed the actions of the Maidan Square militias that played the leading role in toppling the elected pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych, calling them “ordinary people” fighting for “change” and “democracy.”

The same day that Obama made these statements, one of the Maidan “freedom fighters” incorporated into the new government, Andriy Parubiy, the new security chief, announced that the parliament would vote Thursday to establish a 20,000-strong National Guard recruited from “activists” in the anti-Russian protests and from military academies to prevent “terrorist activities.”

Parubiy, one of the leaders of the fascist-dominated forces that spearheaded the coup, is described by Wikipedia as having founded “the neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine” in 1991, the year of the break-up of the Soviet Union. Wikipedia notes that in 2010, Parubiy asked the European Parliament to reconsider its negative response to awarding the World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera the title of Hero of Ukraine.

Parubiy’s deputy in the new government, Dmytro Yarosh, is head of the fascist Right Sector. Together, they will head up a state-sanctioned and financed ultra-nationalist militia with a mandate to terrorize opponents of the new regime, as well as Jews and other minorities.

Obama also declared that Ukraine “cannot have an outside country dictate to them how to manage their affairs,” and added that the “interests of the US are solely to ensure that the people of Ukraine are able to determine their own destiny.” This is presumably why the US poured billions of dollars into assembling proxy forces in the country and hand-picked “Yats”—in the memorable words of US State Department official Victoria Nuland—to succeed Yanukovych.

Obama’s bellicose remarks were buttressed by those of Secretary of State John Kerry. Testifying Wednesday before a House committee, Kerry warned that the situation in Ukraine “can get ugly fast if the wrong choices are made, and it can get ugly in multiple directions.”

He told the committee that he would fly to London to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday, in what the Obama administration is describing as a “last-ditch” effort at diplomacy in advance of Sunday’s Crimean referendum.

Obama’s White House statement was preceded by a statement from leaders of the G7 group of leading powers declaring that Sunday’s referendum “would have no legal effect,” “no moral force” and would not be recognised.

In a clear indication that action up to and including military aggression is being considered, the statement declared, “Russian annexation of Crimea would be a clear violation of the United Nations Charter; Russia’s commitments under the Helsinki Final Act; its obligations to Ukraine under its 1997 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership; the Russia-Ukraine 1997 basing agreement; and its commitments in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994…

“In addition to its impact on the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea could have grave implications for the legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states. Should the Russian Federation take such a step, we will take further action, individually and collectively.”

Yatsenyuk came to Washington appealing for military backing and money. Ukraine has been promised $1 billion in loan guarantees by Washington and $15 billion from the EU, but only $700 million of this is currently in place.

On the ground, the US is all but running Ukraine through its representatives in Kiev. Announcing Yatsenyuk’s visit on Sunday, Tony Blinken, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that teams from the Treasury and Justice departments and the FBI were in Kiev working to unravel the “kleptocracy” of Yanukovych’s deposed government.

As well as funding the government and running its campaign against its political opponents, the US is expected to whip Ukraine’s army into shape.

On Tuesday Ukraine’s president, Oleksandr Turchynov, declared, “The parliament’s primary task is to ask countries that are guarantors of our security to fulfil their commitments” so that Ukraine could re-forge its armed forces. Turchynov stated that there were presently only 6,000 combat-ready infantry in the army out of a nominal force of 90,000.

The US has already effectively taken operational control of the military activities of Ukraine’s neighbours, launching joint exercises with Poland, Romania, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and dispatching Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) jets from airbases in Geilenkirchen, Germany and Waddington in Britain. The AWACS flights were recommended by NATO’s top military commander, US Air Force General Philip Breedlove.

On Monday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, told PBS that Russia’s interference in Ukraine “exposes Eastern Europe to some significant risk.” He did not rule out US military intervention.

“That’s a question that, I think, deserves to be assessed and reassessed and refreshed as this thing evolves,” he said. “Remember, we do have treaty obligations with our NATO allies.”

Joint war games began Tuesday with Poland, while naval operations in the Black Sea with Romania and Bulgaria were underway yesterday involving the USS Truxtun, which has a nuclear capability, the Bulgarian naval frigate Drazki, and three Romanian vessels.

Obama has devoted considerable effort to attempting to secure China’s tacit support for Washington’s anti-Russian manoeuvres. The US wants China to issue a statement indicating that the Russian intervention in the Crimea is illegal. Phone discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping have been inconclusive, however.

Xi Jinping also held a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, after which the state news agency Xinhua stressed that both sides agreed on the need for “mediation.”

Key to US plans is securing the full support of Germany to ensure that the EU takes a hard line against Russia. Germany has previously pursued a policy of engagement with Russia in trade. A great deal is at stake, with German firms investing $27.7 billion in Russia and owning stakes in over 6,000 Russian companies. Russia supplies Germany with the bulk of its oil and gas imports.

Despite this, Germany is shifting in the direction desired by the US, with Chancellor Angela Merkel describing the planned referendum in Crimea as “illegal” and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier threatening tough sanctions.

The UK is the other European power expressing concern over the impact of sanctions on Russia, with Prime Minister David Cameron stressing that broader EU sanctions involving curbs on energy, trade and financial relations would be enacted only if Russian forces moved beyond Crimea to the main part of eastern Ukraine.

However, oligarchs with substantial investments in London or resident there will not be touched. The Telegraph notes that UK exports to Russia were worth £3.9 billion last year and imports worth £6.8 billion. More than 60 companies originating from the former Soviet Union have listed in London in recent years.

Global Banking and the “Too Big to Jail” Doctrine

March 13th, 2014 by Eric Toussaint

We all know the saying, “Too big to fail”. The way governments have managed the crisis caused by the banks has given rise to, “Too big to jail,” |1| which is equally poetic! |2| Although the US government let Lehman Bros. go to the wall in September 2008, no other bank has been closed or broken-up, no directors have been condemned to prison |3|. The only exception in the western world is Iceland, where the courts have put three bank directors in prison. Larus Welding, the CEO of Glitnir, Iceland’s third biggest bank at the time, which went bankrupt in 2008, was condemned, in December 2012, to nine months in prison. Sigurdur Einarsson and Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, the two principal directors of Kaupthing |4| were condemned to five years and five and a half years in prison in December 2013. |5|

Yet, the US and European justice systems are faced with very serious wrongdoing by the biggest banks: the organised fraud committed against its customers, small shareholders, and public shareholders, money laundering from organised crime, high level tax evasion, plotting to manipulate interest rates (Euribor, Libor), exchange rates, and financial markets (CDS and Commodities), fraud and document forgery, insider trading, destroying evidence, embezzlement, complicity in war crimes, |6| and the list goes on.

Eric Holder, United States Attorney General, when interrogated by a Senate Committee clearly defined the foundations of the “Too Big to Jail” doctrine, “I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. |7|

The outcome is clear. The fact that speculation and financial crime has caused the worst economic crisis for nearly a century is of little concern for justice. Even if such excesses are closely associated with large scale fraud, |8| at all levels of US banking activities, these institutions have de facto authorisation to continue their operations and settle their infringements “out of court.”

Imagine if after a long investigation the police arrested a criminal who stole €1 million. Then during the preliminary proceedings the criminal says, “Listen, you guys! Here’s what we’ll do; I’ll pay a €2000 fine, then you’ll let me off the hook and we’ll forget about everything! OK?” Then the court replies, “No problem! Sorry for the hassle, please try not to be caught again, that would be a bummer.” This imaginary conversation corresponds to the special treatment the banks get. Bertold Brecht hit the nail on the head when he asked, “What’s breaking into a bank compared with founding a bank ?” |9|

The direct consequences of the banks’ nefarious activities are extremely serious: 14 million families in the US have been ejected from their homes between 2007 and 2013 (see chart below), this includes nearly half a million illegal expulsions, |10| millions have lost their jobs, and some of these families have fallen below the poverty line, suicides have increased among the victims, public debt has exploded, and pension funds in the developed countries have lost $4.5 trillion. |11|

Home repossessions in the US and Spain
Year United States Spain
2005 532,833
2006 717,522
2007 1,285,873
2008 2,330,483 49,848
2009 2,824,674 59,632
2010 2,871,891 81,747
2011 1,887,777 94,825
2012 1,836,634 76.724
Total 14,287,687 362,776

Source: United States, Spain

As from the moment the justice system shies away from the crimes and infractions committed by banks and their directors to avoid them passing even a single day behind bars, the private banking system is recognised as playing such an important role in the capitalist system that it transcends the legal and constitutional functioning of modern societies. When all is said and done, we cannot legally accuse the directors of banking institutions for “ doing God’s work,” |12| as Lloyd Blankfein, the boss of Goldman Sachs, put it.

This would be laughable if the relations between banks and legal or controlling authorities did not so often confirm the practice of the “Too big to jail” principle on both sides of the Atlantic. The law applies small fines that are only fractions of the profits from illegal activities, and then it is “business as usual”, without the culprits worrying any more. Some scapegoats, like Jerome Kerviel, do get sentenced, but never the bosses who pushed them to maximise company profits using all the slyest possible and imaginable tricks.

Six examples are sufficient to describe the current situation: 1. The agreements between US banks and different authorities to avoid judicial condemnations in the affairs concerning subprime mortgages, foreclosures, and illegal expulsions; 2. HSBC (the biggest British bank) fined in the US for laundering money for Mexican and Colombian drug cartels; 3. manipulation of the interbank markets and derivatives rates as in the LIBOR affair; 4. the “Toxic Loans” scandal in France; 5. the illegal activities of the Dexia bank in Israel; 6. the international tax evasion network organised by the major Swiss bank UBS.

This series will examine each of these six examples

Conclusion

It is clear that the banks and other world-class financial institutions, often acting in organised cartels, have brought cynicism and abuse of power to new levels rarely seen before. Today, after the governments have bailed-out these entities that are guilty of speculative gambling with public money, the judges in charge of applying the law protect the guilty and justify, a posteriori, their illegal or criminal activities.

Such a context, in which impunity is the norm, encourages the directors of financial corporations to commit more abuses and to be indifferent to the risks involved. The banks as institutions, are not only never condemned, they are never even called to appear in court.

These banks have traders such as Jerome Kerviel, and a few others, condemned for damages to the banks that employed them.

The situation of the top bank directors is quite different. The amount of their bonuses increase as their bank’s revenues increase, and may also increase if the bank’s revenues fall, regardless of the origin of the revenues, whether illegal or from highly speculative operations. If the worst comes to the worst, they leave the bank (taking their golden parachute), they are not called to justice and keep all of their personal gains on their bank accounts.

For as long as this perverted system continues, the abuse and pillage of public resources, by the financial system, will also continue.

It is not only the banks’ directors that are not bothered by the authorities, but also the banks themselves to whom the “too big to jail” doctrine is applied. This is the demonstration of the complicity and the mutually vested interests that exist between Banks, their big shareholders, high authorities, and vital State institutions.

In the case of serious breaches, we must root out the evil: withdraw the banking licence from the establishments guilty of criminal activities, prohibit some activities definitively, prosecute directors and big shareholders. Damages must be awarded against directors and big shareholders.

Finally, it is urgent to break up big banks into smaller units so as to limit the risks, socialise these banks and put them under citizens’ control, so as to create a public banking service that will give priority to satisfying social needs and protecting the environment.

Translation : Mike Krolikowski and Charles La Via

 

notes

|1| The author thanks Daniel Munevar, economist at the CADTM, who produced a very useful and concise preliminary study on the subject and authorised the easy use of his work. I have built on his research. See the original article by Daniel Munevar, « La doctrine «trop grandes pour être condamnées» ou comment les banques sont au-dessus des lois », 20 September 2013, www.cadtm.org/La-doctrine-trop-grandes-pour-etre (in French or Spanish)

|2| The English-speaking media have been using this phrase for about two years : see for exemple: Abc News, “Once Again, Is JPMorgan Chase Too Big to Jail?”, 7 January 2014, http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/madoff-ponzi-scheme-prosecutors-find-jpmorgan-chase-big/story?id=21448264 or Forbes, “Why DOJ Deemed Bank Execs Too Big To Jail”, 29 July 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/tedkaufman/2013/07/29/why-doj-deemed-bank-execs-too-big-to-jail/

|3| Another way of saying that no bank has had it’s obligatory licence for banking activities revoked.

|4| The failure of its “Icesave” subsidiary in the UK and the Netherlands caused a diplomatic crisis between these two coutries and Iceland. This crisis is still ongoing since the two countries are attempting to bring the case before Icelandic courts in spite of the judgement, without possible appeal, by the AELE court that ruled in favour of Iceland in January 2013. See Financial Times, “Iceland premier repels Icesave lawsuit”, 12 February 2014.

|5| The Financial Times said 13 December 2013, “Iceland, almost uniquely in the western world, has launched criminal cases against the men who used to lead its three main banks that collapsed after the global financial crisis in 2008 after collectively becoming 10 times the size of the island’s economy.” See: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/eab58f7e-6345-11e3-a87d-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2thdbsViQ

|6| See further on concerning the presence of Dexia in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel.

|7| Huffington post, “Holder admits some Banks too big to jail”, see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/eric-holder-banks-too-big_n_2821741.html see the part of Holder’s testimony saying the banks are”Too Big to Jail” here: 57 secondes that are worth the trouble”

|8| A recent study of banking practises in the US showed that, in spite of their heterogeneity, irregularities and fraud are current at many levels of activity in all the institutions studied. See “Asset Quality Misrepresentation by Financial Intermediaries: Evidence from RMBS Market”: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2215422

|9| Bertold Brecht, The Threepenny Opera.

|10| The New York Times, “Banks to pay $8.5 billion to speed up housing relief”, 7 January 2013, http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/banks-to-pay-8-5-billion-to-speed-up-housing-relief/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1

|11| OCDE (2010) “The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Defined Benefit Plans and the Need for Counter-Cyclical Funding Regulations”, http://www.oecd.org/pensions/private-pensions/45694491.pdf

|12| Wall Street Journal, “Goldman Sachs Blankfein: Doing God’s work”, 9 November 2009, http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2009/11/09/goldman-sachs-blankfein-on-banking-doing-gods-work/

Dr. Eric Toussaint, is a historian and political scientist, Ph.D.  Paris VIII and Liège. He is the President of CADTM Belgium (www.cadtm.org), and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France. He is the co-author, with Damien Millet of Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers, Monthly Review Books, New York, 2010. He is the author of many essays including one on Jacques de Groote entitled Procès d’un homme exemplaire (The Trial of an Exemplary Man), Al Dante, Marseille, 2013, and wrote with Damien Millet, AAA. Audit Annulation Autre politique (Audit, Abolition, Alternative Politics), Le Seuil, Paris, 2012. See his Series “Banks versus the People: the Underside of a Rigged Game!” http://cadtm.org/Banks-Fudged-health-report

Next book due out in April 2014 (French version): Bancocratie. Published by ADEN, Brussels. http://www.chapitre.com/CHAPITRE/fr/BOOK/toussaint-eric/bancocratie,58547448.aspx This will extend the series “Banks versus the People: the Underside of a Rigged Game!” published in 2012-2013 on www.cadtm.org and in another version, the series (in French only) “Et si on arrêtait de banquer ?” http://cadtm.org/Et-si-on-arretait-de-banquer

It is perhaps not too alarmist to compare the current stand