El escándalo de corrupción en El Salvador que involucró a Francisco Flores, ex presidente de El Salvador entre 1999 y 2004 ha abierto la puerta para el reconocimiento diplomático de la República Popular de China por el siguiente gobierno en San Salvador y que el FMLN falló en confirmar bajo el período del presidente Mauricio Funes. El negociado que compromete a Flores ha creado la oportunidad política apropiada para que el Frente Farabundo Martí de Liberación Nacional formalmente suspenda sus vínculos diplomáticos con Taiwán (formalmente conocido como República de China) si el FMLN elige el presidente el próximo mes de marzo del 2014.

La cuestión diplomática además, revela la coordinación entre bastidores que se está dando entre Beiyín y Taipei. La situación pinta un cuadro de cordial vía hacia la unificación china entre Taiwán y la China Continental y no un cuadro de rivalidad. Ni Beiyín ni Taipei han puesto mayores obstáculos en la vía, reconociendo que finalmente habrá una sola China.

Francisco Flores y la Oligarquía salvadoreña 

Francisco Flores fue presidente de El Salvador cuando la Alianza Republicana Nacionalista, más conocida por sus iniciales en castellano ARENA gobernaba esta república centro-americana. Se trata de un miembro de la corrupta oligarquía, aliada de Estados Unidos, que de hecho ha degradado a El Salvador reduciéndolo a la condición de colonia norteamericana, siguiendo órdenes de Washington DC. Ejemplo de esta relación es que durante el período presidencial de Flores, El Salvador enviaría a cientos de militares para ayudar a Estados Unidos y Gran Bretaña durante la ilegal ocupación de Irak.

La oligarquía salvadoreña, para todos los efectos, ha operado como una clase elitesca compradora, lo cual significa que por último ella sirve como representante local o gerente de corporaciones, gobiernos e intereses extranjeros. En este caso, la oligarquía salvadoreña ha actuado colectivamente como una clase elitesca compradora al servicio de las elites de Estados Unidos las cuales serían descritas de manera más precisa como parasitarias debido al hecho que ellas succionan la mayor parte de la riqueza y recursos de los países que ellas han subvertido a través de su influencia. Históricamente estas elites norteamericanas han penetrado las estructuras de poder y las jerarquías de América Latina luego que la influencia de las elites parasitarias españolas originales en la cima de la jerarquía económica en el Hemisferio Occidental se vino a menos. Muchos países latinoamericanos hasta tenían un funcionario norteamericano o ministro, supervisando su gobierno, incluso sus asuntos cotidianos.

Bajo el gobierno de Flores y ARENA, El Salvador perdió su soberanía monetaria, el colón. La divisa nacional de El Salvador fue eliminada por órdenes del gobierno de Flores y ARENA. El colón fue reemplazado por el dólar norteamericano como la moneda oficial de El Salvador. De este modo, El Salvador se unió a las filas de varios territorios controlados por Estados Unidos, como Timor Oriental, Panamá y Ecuador donde la divisa norteamericana es la moneda oficial.

Bajo el gobierno de ARENA se establecieron numerosos e injustos monopolios privados legalizados por seguidores y miembros de ARENA. Se tornó ilegal y casi imposible comprar medicinas de cualquiera que no fuera Alfredo Cristiani, oligarca que fue el presidente de ARENA en El Salvador anterior a Armando Calderón Sol y posteriormente Funes. Cristiani no solo inició la restructuración económica neoliberal de El Salvador, sino que también empleó su monopolio privado de las medicinas para sobrecargar los precios e incluso vender medicamentos vencidos con toda impunidad. Lo mismo fue con los fertilizantes y otros productos agrícolas los cuales fueron monopolizados privadamente por Cristiani. El régimen de ARENA no permitía ningún tipo de competencia. Así mismo, Cristiani privatizó el sistema bancario salvadoreño permitiendo que su familia utilizara el Banco de Cuscatlán para expandir su influencia en Centroamérica, actualmente este banco es de propiedad del Citibank.

Sin embargo, la corrupción política todavía merodea en El Salvador, el basamento criminal de los anteriores gobiernos de ARENA aparece explícitamente reconocido en los informes y archivos administrativos de su propia policía. Los archivos policiales de inteligencia demuestran que cada presidente, cada ministro de justicia y director de la policía estaba vinculado al crimen organizado hasta que el FMLN asumió el gobierno en San Salvador. Aun más, Alfredo Cristiani, amante del Fondo Monetario Internacional, IMF y del Banco Mundial, está ampliamente reconocido como el padre del crimen organizado en El Salvador.

Los autores de la Opción Salvadoreña

Antes que ARENA se formara oficialmente, los oligarcas salvadoreños empleaban a los militares y a la policía para llevar adelante una feroz guerra con la completa participación del gobierno de Estados Unidos y el Pentágono contra los pueblos indígenas, los campesinos, los pobres en general, contra los intelectuales, los sindicatos, la Iglesia Católica Romana y contra cualquiera que exigiera democracia e igualdad de derechos en El Salvador. La brutal represión y consiguiente guerra civil fue parte de los esfuerzos de la oligarquía para mantener su control sobre la sociedad salvadoreña.

Fue durante el dominio de estos oligarcas que la infame Opción Salvador engendrada por los escuadrones de la muerte afines con Estados Unidos exterminaran aldeas completas de manera lenta, cruel y grotesca. Empleaban picahielos para vaciar ojos y deformar rostros mientras los miembros eran sistemáticamente descuartizados por caballos o vehículos. El asesinato del Arzobispo de San Salvador, Oscar Arnulfo Romero, mientras decía misa fue uno de los hechos más conocidos. El hombre detrás del asesinato de Monseñor Romero fue el Mayor Roberto D’Aubuisson, que sería el fundador de ARENA.

No obstante, el asesinato de Monseñor Romero es solo una de las muchas atrocidades cometidas por estos oligarcas con pleno conocimiento, apoyo y complicidad de Washington. Los oficiales militares salvadoreños fueron entrenados en la infame Escuela de las Américas y por el Pentágono en muchas de las técnicas de tortura y asesinato empleadas por los escuadrones de la muerte, cursos dictados por instructores militares norteamericanos. Por otra parte, muchísimos combatientes guerrilleros salvadoreños recuerdan haber luchado contra tropas norteamericanas y escuchado por radio órdenes de los norteamericanos para bombardear la selva y las aldeas de El Salvador, tanto en inglés como en castellano.

Casi toda la población indígena de El Salvador iba a ser exterminada por los oligarcas. Familias completas serían asesinadas mientras sus bienes serían saqueados o destruidos. Ni siquiera los niños y los animales se salvarían. Tanto las violaciones como la profanación de tumbas fueron prácticas comunes y sistemáticas.

Una de las peores masacres fue cometida el 11 de diciembre de 1981. La masacre la realizaron en la aldea El Mozote en el Departamento de Morazán. Ochocientos (800) civiles, incluyendo niños fueron sistemáticamente torturados, humillados, violados y asesinados por una unidad de operaciones especiales entrenada por Estados Unidos.

Washington enviaría gente como James Steele y John Negroponte a Irak bajo la ocupación anglo-norteamericana para recrear el reino de terror que Estados Unidos contribuyó a crear en El Salvador. Exactamente los mismos patrones y tácticas de asesinato y tortura serían empleados en Irak ocupado, revelando a Estados Unidos como el origen de los escuadrones de la muerte tanto en El Salvador como en Irak ocupado por los anglo-norteamericanos.

¿Soborno Taiwanés?

Mientras la Asamblea Nacional o la Asamblea Legislativa de El Salvador iniciaba una investigación sobre la corrupción, se descubrió que 10 millones de dólares habían sido depositados en una cuenta personal a nombre de Francisco Flores. Cuando Flores fue interrogado acerca de esta enorme cantidad de dinero, él respondía que el dinero le había sido entregado por el gobierno de Taiwán y que en realidad él había recibido más que esa cantidad de parte de Taiwán. Después de esto, Flores trató de huir de El Salvador o aparentó hacerlo. Lo intentó luego que se le ordenó que compareciera de nuevo frente a la Asamblea Nacional en vísperas de la primera ronda de las elecciones presidenciales salvadoreñas del 2014.

Los fondos que Francisco Flores obtuvo eran en realidad parte de un conjunto de pagos secretos hechos anualmente por Taiwán. Taiwán tiene muy estrechos lazos con El Salvador y Centroamérica. Aparte de los estados latinoamericanos patrocinados por Estados Unidos, el gobierno taiwanés se ha unido a Estados Unidos e Israel en apoyo a los oligarcas de El Salvador en su lucha contra el FMLN durante la guerra civil que azotó a El Salvador.

Los pagos secretos hechos por Taiwán a Flores fueron originalmente acordados con el objeto de impedir que El Salvador reconociera al gobierno de Beiyín como el legítimo gobierno de China. Mientras que originalmente los pagos pudieron ser anti-Beiyín o un premio taiwanés por el reconocimiento de Taiwán en vez del gobierno de la China Continental, pareciera que estos se hacían con un sentimiento anti-Beiyín cada vez menor. Los continuos pagos de Taiwán se mantuvieron con el propósito de sostener el tratamiento ventajoso para los intereses comerciales taiwaneses y obtener concesiones económicas en El Salvador, incluyendo el monopolio sobre el sector geotérmico salvadoreño el cual es completamente de propiedad de Taiwán.

Vale la pena notar que el gobierno salvadoreño y Taipei han estado intercambiando información sobre el escándalo de corrupción. Esto en parte se debe al hecho que Chen Shui-bian era el presidente de Taiwán cuyo gobierno le enviaba a Flores los fondos. Shui-bian y su esposa están actualmente en la cárcel en Taiwán condenados por corrupción y es probable que exista una investigación paralela en Taipei que examina el rol de Shui-bian y sus asociados.

La Estrella Ascendente de China

La República Popular China es un actor de creciente importancia en América Latina. Un proyecto importante que involucra a China es la construcción de un mega canal para conectar el Océano Atlántico con el Océano Pacífico, una especie de segundo Canal de Panamá. Sin embargo, este segundo canal de Panamá tendrá su base en Nicaragua y se llamará el Gran Canal de Nicaragua. El gobierno nicaragüense ya firmó un acuerdo el año 2012 con la recién formada empresa con base en Hong-Kong denominada Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co., Ltd. Dirigida por un empresario chino como un imán para captar inversionistas internacionales para la construcción del canal. El proyecto se iniciará en el futuro cercano.

Cuando el FMLN logró que Mauricio Funes fuera elegido presidente, hicieron que de inmediato estableciera relaciones diplomáticas con Cuba en el momento de su ascensión el 1º de junio del 2009. El anterior gobierno de ARENA se negó a tener relaciones con La Habana y contribuyó al bloqueo norteamericano contra Cuba y se opuso a Venezuela y a sus aliados regionales. Del mismo modo, el FMLN estableció relaciones diplomáticas con Vietnam, Cambodia y Rusia. No obstante, no lo hicieron con la República Popular China debido a una multitud de factores.

El no reconocer a Beiyín se debió a la oposición del presidente Funes. Actualmente él, que es presidente saliente de El Salvador, fue empleado de CNN y un popular hombre de radio local que fue apoyado por el FMLN. Funes no es miembro del FMLN como algunas personas en el exterior lo creen. Dentro del acuerdo que Funes tuvo con el FMLN las carteras ministeriales del gabinete salvadoreño fueron divididas entre militantes del FMLN e individuos ajenos a éste (Amigos de Funes) escogidos por Funes. Bajo este acuerdo de poder compartido, Funes controlaba los aspectos estratégicos, la economía nacional y el secretariado para las reformas políticas, en tanto que el FMLN manejó las carteras responsables de la salud, educación y seguridad. Fue dentro de este marco que Funes pudo atascar el reconocimiento de la República Popular China y poner trabas a las reformas políticas y económicas que el FMLN promovía.

En el momento en que el gobierno salvadoreño contactó a funcionarios oficiales de Beiyín, el gobierno chino se mostró un tanto frío ante la idea de establecer lazos diplomáticos. Esto probablemente se debió a la dilación que el gobierno chino tal vez pudo considerar como insultante para la dignidad de Beiyín. Aunque el FMLN como partido político tiene vínculos directos con la República Popular China a través de su oficina de relaciones internacionales y delegaciones suyas han sido invitadas a Beiyín, el FMLN buscará las vías para establecer relaciones diplomáticas formales con Beiyín cuando el FMLN gane las elecciones presidenciales en la segunda vuelta el próximo mes de marzo de este año. En este contexto, un segundo período presidencial del FMLN brindará la oportunidad para que el Frente rectifique el error y reconozca rápidamente a Beiyín bajo un nuevo capítulo cuando el Vicepresidente, Salvador Sánchez sea el próximo presidente.

El gobierno salvadoreño y el FMLN le han dejado en claro a Taiwán en el sentido que finalmente intentan reconocer a Beiyín como el legítimo gobierno de China. Lo que resulta interesante es que no ha habido oposición alguna de parte de Taiwán contra esta decisión. Tampoco la suspensión de los vínculos diplomáticos con Taipei pondrá fin a las relaciones comerciales con El Salvador. Incluso existe un tipo de coordinación silenciosa entre Taiwán y la República Popular China respecto del derrotero que finalmente terminará en el marco de la unificación china.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya se encuentra viajando por Centro América. Actualmente se encuentra en León, Nicaragua, bastión del Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, FSLN. Estuvo presente como observador internacional durante la primera ronda de las elecciones presidenciales en El Salvador y sostuvo conversaciones con funcionarios salvadoreños sobre economía y política exterior.

Traducción desde el inglés para Aporrea por Sergio R. Anacona.

 

 “Once You Give Up Your Rights, You Can Never Get Them Back. Once You Turn On That Police State, You Can Never Turn It Off.”

Richard Clarke is one of the four White House panelists on NSA spying, and the former top counter-terror czar in the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Clarke has previously said that mass surveillance isn’t needed to keep us safe. And see this.

As Tech Target reports:

Revelations about NSA monitoring activities over the last year show the potential for a police state mechanism, according to the former U.S. cybersecurity czar, but there is still time to avoid the dire consequences.

***

“[T]hey have created, with the growth of technologies, the potential for a police state.”

***

“Once you give up your rights, you can never get them back. Once you turn on that police state, you can never turn it off.”

Indeed, top American officials have warned for decades of a police state enabled by the NSA.

And a former top NSA official said that we’ve already got a police state.  He told Washington’s Blog:

I am glad he [Clarke] also understands the threat to democracy.

The only reason I recognized that in 2001 is because I worked the Soviet problem for close to 30 years … and what NSA was doing was exactly what the Soviet’s tried to do (as well as the Stasi and the Gestapo/SS).

And see this.

U.S. Government and Mexican Cartel, Partners in Drug Plot?

February 27th, 2014 by Clarence Walker

The recent capture in Mexico of Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the world’s richest, most dangerous and powerful drug lord labeled by U.S. Government as Public Enemy Number 1. Guzman’s high-profile arrest has triggered a worldwide news media frenzy as government authorities here in the U.S. and abroad work together to take down the remaining Mexico’s Cartel leaders and their henchmen. Responsible for thousands of drug-related murders and once considered the most elusive wanted outlaw behind Osama bin Laden, Joaquin Guzman is the biggest story in the drug world.

But there is another story with links to Guzman’s empire that is expected to take center stage in trial later this year in Chicago involving one of Guzman’s top operatives, a trial that will bear Guzman’s bloody hands in the dope trade, and expose him as one of the world’s worst turncoats to enter the narcotic game.

Recent allegations circulating in the global media allege that Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other federal agents had forged a secret alliance with top level Sinaloa drug cartel members by permitting the narco gangsters to traffic drugs into the U.S., and in a reverse sting, the DEA is accused of allegedly allowing the dealers to ship U.S. made weapons into Mexico without facing prosecution. All this work was done on behalf of the U.S. government to achieve the government’s grand mission to play one cartel off another to destroy feuding narcotic organizations.

These allegations have triggered a firestorm of controversy and conspiracy theories in the Mexican nation and throughout the United States as well.

Informants from the Sinaloa Cartel who once worked for the federal government by snitching off on other cartel groups now feel betrayed by arguing the U.S. Government reneged on a promise to grant the Sinaloa immunity from prosecution as long as they provided secret information on their rivals.

“I was an informant for U.S. Federal Agents, and the agents cut a deal with (me), and members of the Sinaloa Cartel that allowed us to traffic tons of narcotics into the U.S., and to traffic illegal guns across the Mexico-U.S. Border without fear of prosecution under an immunity agreement,” said Vicente Zambada-Niebla in a bombshell court filing in federal court in Chicago Illinois.

As the logistical coordinator for the Sinaloa, the sweeping indictment against Zambada-Niebla and 36 co-defendants, allege that the traffickers conspired to import tons of cocaine and “multi-kilo” quantities of cocaine, heroin and marijuana into Chicago Illinois and throughout other U.S. cities between 2005 and 2008. Zambada (right) coordinated the drug loads by using trains, ships, Boeing 747 cargo jets and even submarines.

Extradited from Mexico to Illinois in February 2010 where he is confined in maximum security lockup under 24-hour security awaiting trial, Zambada-Niebla made quick attempts to get off the hook by filing multiple motions in late 2011 to present a “Public Authority” Defense.”

According to federal statue, to mount a Public Authority Defense, the court must find the defendant, “knowingly committed criminal acts but did so in reasonable reliance upon a grant of authority from a government official who had actual authority as opposed to merely authority.”

The major distinction between “actual authority” and “merely authority” boils down to this: If DEA or FBI agents told Zambada-Niebla that he could traffic drugs into the U.S. without facing arrest by snitching on other cartel groups this “merely authority”, as opposed to the higher echelon of “actual authority”, which such agreements are similar to immunity, must first be approved by Justice Department officials.

Federal prosecutors fired back. They suggested during court hearings on the matter that “even if Zambada-Niebla was an informant that he was not authorized to commit the drug crimes as alleged in the indictment.”

The almighty Feds added that Zambada should not be allowed to use the Public Authority Defense unless he can provide the names of agents or officials who approved his illegal activities.

Here’s where things get sticky. Most of the Sinaloa Cartel communications with the DEA were through the Sinaloa’s lawyer identified as Humberto-Loya Castro, according to Zambada Niebla.

Zambada-Niebla is the son of Ismael Zambada-Garcia who is second in charge of the Sinaloa cartel behind top boss Jose “El Chapo” Guzman (right). Sinaloa lawyer Humberto Loya-Castro became a DEA informant in 1995, after being indicted on cocaine conspiracy charges along with top boss Joaquin Guzman. These ongoing controversial stories follow years of suspicion that Guzman who controls the Sinaloa has only succeeded in eluding capture because of his fellow members cooperating with U.S. federal agents, and Mexico authorities.

Guzman is well known for using government authorities against his enemies like he did against rivals within his own organizations identified as Alfredo Beltran and Ignacio “El Nacho” Villareal.

Newspaper Story Controversy and Past Government Corruption

According to a story in the January issue of El Universal, Mexico’s leading newspaper, the team writers reported in an investigative expose that after interviewing numerous sources and reading voluminous court records documented by Mexico and the U.S., that the American Feds worked closely with the Sinaloa Cartel from 2000 to 2012—as part of a “divide and conquer” strategy to eliminate dope rivals competing against the Sinaloa in exchange for the Sinaloa players to provide the government with damaging information on targeted rivals like the blood thirsty Zetas and the La Familia groups.

To prove the government engaged in previous similar practices, court filings by Zambada-Niebla’s attorneys also pointed out: “The United States Government and its various agencies have a long history of providing benefits, permission and immunity to criminals and their organizations to commit crimes, including murder, in return for receiving information against other criminals,” the court motion said.

Attorneys compared Zambada-Niebla’s case with another high-profile case: “Perhaps no better example, is the celebrated case of Whitey Bulger, the Boston Irish crime boss and murderer, who, along with other group members of criminal organizations were given “Carte Blanche” authority by the FBI to commit murders to help the FBI take down the Italian Mafia in the New England area.”

Subsequently Whitey Bulger was convicted of several murders, drug trafficking, racketeering and obstruction of justice.

Government complicity in the drug trade is not new.

During the early 1990’s, the American-based CIA and cabinet members of then-President Ronald Reagan participated in the Iran-Contra scandal by allowing cocaine to be sold throughout America’s ghettos.

To fund the Contra Rebels war against Nicaragua’s socialist government the CIA teamed with Colombian Cartels to traffic drugs into Los Angeles California and throughout the nation, with the profits shipped back to Central America.

Utilizing every trick in the bag to get off the hook, Zambada Niebla unloaded another bombshell by disclosing another secret the Sinaloa had with the government.

He insisted that himself and cartel allies were in cahoots with the Fast and Furious investigation orchestrated by the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearm), a gun-walk program responsible for agents allowing informants to traffic into Mexico a cache of American purchased weapons in efforts to build federal weapons charges against targeted cartel organizations.

Zambada’s court depositions further stated that a second part of the immunity agreement,” the ATF armed the Sinaloans with several high-caliber assault rifles to use the firepower to destroy rival drug dealers.”

Led by Senator Darrell Issa (R-Calif), Fast and Furious later became the target of critical Senate hearings to determine which members of the Justice Department authorized the gun-walk operation that reeled in only 34 gun traffickers.

Referring to ATF’s Fast and Furious investigation, Zambada’s attorneys, George Panzer and George Santiangelo further argued in court that if the government will allow guns to be transported across the Mexico-U.S. Border and tried to cover-up the botched scheme then the government is capable of allowing the Sinaloa Cartel to ship illegal drugs into the United States. ATF lost track of approximately 1,700 guns as part of the ill-fated operation including the recovery of an AK-47 used by a Mexican National in December 2010, to murder Brian Terry, a Customs-Border Protection Agent.

Aside from his drug immunity claim, Zambada’s version about his role in “Fast and Furious” raise suspicion for a number of reasons, the most obvious being is that Zambada was arrested in March 2009–more than six months before ATF initiated Fast and Furious.

Despite this red flag, it didn’t stop news blogs and conservative online media from reporting Zambada’s claim about his part in the gun-walk program. Nor has it stopped El Universal stories from inferring that DEA was guilty of granting immunity to the Sinaloa cartel, but once the government used the members to achieve their goal they reneged on the immunity deal.

Even without a written immunity agreement, crack lawyers for Zambada-Niebla went a step further by invoking the Classified Information Procedure Act (CIPA). CIPA is a law focused on showing the government is hiding evidence to exonerate a defendant. No hearing has been set on this matter.

Following El Universal’s big scoop story, many news agencies scrambled to write a titillating spin to vilify the government as conspirators with drug cartels. What sounded like a great story but either the reporting team honestly forgot or downplayed the significant decision of Illinois Federal Judge Ruben Castillo who has already ruled in 2012, that Zambada’s evidence heard in court failed to prove the government granted him immunity from prosecution.

So why did the El Universal story slant its piece to infer that newly released U.S. Government documents suggested a conspiracy between the Sinaloa Cartel and DEA agents simply because DEA admitted meeting with Zambada-Niebla and Sinaloa lawyer Humberto Loya-Castro to discuss information that Zambada wanted to give up on other narco traffickers.

Here are excerpts of the release of U.S. Government documents which firmly refute Zambada’s immunity claims:

(1) DEA agents and Justice Department officials met with Sinaloa and Gulf Cartel top-level members to gather information on other rivals.

(2) During a series of meetings U.S. Officials succeeded in establishing a network of cartel informants.

(3) DEA passed the obtained information from the cooperating cartels to Mexican authorities who used the intelligence to execute narcotic raids.

(4) Mexican authorities never revealed to Mexican media exactly where the information came from that took down high-level dealers and killer squads.

 The Mexican government emphasized in their written court response that meeting with cartel members to get information only represents normal intelligence gathering procedure.

Was it Zambada-Niebla Idea to Seek Immunity?

Another major but missing point the El Universal story failed to explain clearly to its readers- the DEA and a Justice Department prosecutor documented evidence that it was Zambada-Niebla who first tried to score an immunity deal through the Sinaloa’s lawyer Loya-Castro who himself was a DEA informant and wanted at the time on the same federal drug charges against Zambada.

The story went down this way:

In 2008, Loya-Castro proposed a meeting with his DEA contact and Zambada-Niebla. On March 17th 2009, both Sinaloa members met with DEA agents at a Sheraton Hotel in Mexico city. DEA agent Manuel Castanon recalled the meeting during an April 2012–court hearing.

“I met for approximately 30 minutes in a hotel room in Mexico City with Zambada-Niebla, DEA agent David Herrod and a cooperating source (Sinaloa lawyer Loya-Castro), with whom I’ve worked as an informant since 2005. I did all of the talking on behalf of the DEA,” the agent testified.

Castanon further said, “Zambada-Niebla communicated interest and willingness to cooperate with the government.”

The agent responded to Zambada’s offer by explaining, “We were not authorized to meet with him, much less have substantive discussions with him,” Castanon recalled, in his matter-of-fact tone.

Shortly after leaving the hotel Zambada was arrested by Mexico authorities on the U.S. drug trafficking warrants and placed in jail to await extradition to the United States.

Patrick Hearns, a Justice Department prosecutor told Federal Judge Ruben Castillo that according to Special Agent Steve Fraga that it was Sinaloa lawyer Loya-Castro who gave information which previously led to a 23 ton cocaine seizure including other big seizures down through the years.

Hearns also pointed out that Sinaloa underboss El Mayo Zambada anxiously requested his son Zambada-Niebla to cooperate with U.S. authorities. Zambada claimed he only met with DEA agents at the hotel under the assumption that the cartel’s lawyer Loya-Castro had already negotiated immunity for his protection but instead was arrested.

If this was true; why did DEA agents allowed Zambada to be arrested?

Informant Guidelines

What is highly noted, according to narcotic experts, is the fact the immunity allegations explicitly detailed in Zambada’s court filings indicating the Sinaloa had free rein for years to ship drugs into America—glaringly deviates from the Fed’s guidelines for informants. High-level confidential informants must sign detailed agreements delineating the crimes an informant may be allowed to involved themselves with–in strict accordance with the Attorney General’s guidelines.

For example, such authorization can run up to 90 days or longer, and the primary law enforcement agency is tasked with close supervision over the informant’s crime activities. The downside to the immunity allegations detailed in Zambada’s court filings skeptically deviates from the Fed’s normal informant practice.

Former experienced federal agents affirm the government’s view on working with informants (who did not have immunity) to gather information on other targets but the same informants were later indicted for crimes although they assisted in having other drug dealers taken off the streets.

Retired DEA agent Joe Toft who headed the U.S. Justice Department’s “Capture or Kill” investigation of Colombian Medellin Cartel Drug Lord Pablo Escobar is familiar with the practice in big cases. Toft, in a phone interview dismissed Zambada’s immunity claim.

“I cannot imagine the DEA and Justice Department agreeing to immunity for the Sinaloa Cartel who brought lots of drugs into this country. Only the Justice Department and Attorney General can sign off on these things,” Toft explained.

Lewis “Big Lew” Rice, a retired DEA Special Agent in Charge of the New York and Detroit Michigan division agrees with Toft.

“My experience in the DEA is that they would never authorize large amounts of drugs to hit the streets.” In very rare circumstances, Lewis said, “personal use amounts of drugs could be authorized on a case specific basis, and agents would have to make a strong case as to why this was necessary, and detail the other investigative steps that were tried, and why it failed.”

Comparing the intelligence gleaned from the Sinaloa and other narcotic informants as typical business, Rice continued.

“Major drug dealers possess a wealth of intelligence but the goal is to collect that information without hurting the public,” Rice concluded.

A drug trafficking book author offered a similar view but with a pessimistic twist.

“It would not surprise me if certain rogue agents would cut corners to bust the worse of two evils to achieve their goals, but I doubt the Justice Department or higher ups would officially sanction something like this,” says Ron Chepesiuk, author of Black Caesar; The Life and Disappearance of Kingpin Frank Matthews.

Chepesiuk also wrote the American Gangster book based on the Life of Harlem Drug Kingpin Frank Lucas, a story later immortalized in a movie with the same name starring iconic actor Denzel Washington.

Since Zambada-Niebla confessed to snitching off rival narco players leads to a provocative question: why was he giving up people if no reward or benefits or some kind of immunity were promised to Zambada? Law enforcement officers say that the public must understand the dope world is a cutthroat business and that drug dealers often snitch off the competition to gain more profits, which, Zambada-Niebla himself provided information to his lawyer Humberto Loya-Castro who forwarded Zambada’s information to DEA.

The following is a breakdown of information explaining how the law deals with informants:

(1) Recruiting Informants Not a Criminal Conspiracy:

Insight Crime Journalist Charles Parkinson wrote the following analysis; “The detailed revelations shows how the U.S. government continues to work with criminal elements as part of anti-narcotics efforts to focus on priority targets to build cases.” Parkinson’s analysis indicate just because DEA recruited informants from the Sinaloa Cartel; or if any informant voluntarily offered intelligence on drug trafficking to earn reward money from asset seizures, then the mere fact that Zambada-Niebla and his crew were informants does not imply the Feds granted immunity to the Cartels.

(2) Informant Status:

Unless authorized in writing, informant status is not rewarded with immunity to avoid prosecution, particularly if the informant go outside his scope of duty with his controlling agent and break the law. This proves true when Zambada-Niebla was arrested outside a Mexico hotel after meeting with DEA agents in 2009. As the Insight story points out, the U.S. Government can still work against a cartel while simultaneously juicing information from criminals within organizations.

Insight story further noted how U.S. Federal Officials worked diligently with Cali Colombian Cartel described as “blood death” rivals of Medellin Kingpin Pablo Escobar when the drug lord had a “kill or capture” warrant hanging over his head.

Retired DEA agent Joe Toft reaffirms the government’s scheme “to gain intelligence on drug organizations like the Cali and Medellin who were killing each other off.”

Toft now says when the Cali and Medellin group were ferociously battling each other the DEA capitalizes on the bloodshed similar like recent tactics used by DEA in dealing with Zambada’s Sinaloa Cartel against the Zetas and Juarez narco groups.

“The theory that drug rivals often provide information on each other is not new,” Toft says. “When we were hunting Pablo Escobar during my time as head of DEA operation in Colombia I would get information on Escobar’s organization from the Cali group, and then we would get information on the Cali Cartel from Escobar’s guys.”

“This is probably what happened with the Sinaloa Cartel,” Toft further explained. “I bet that Sinaloa lawyer (Loya-Castro) was playing both ends between the DEA and the Sinaloa by pumping the group for information on other dealers considering the fact that the lawyer himself was already working as a DEA informant.” Toft said most likely the lawyer would “tell the Sinaloa the DEA had given them immunity from prosecution in order to have those guys to keep feeding the lawyer with intel on other competition, and that the lawyer probably made the reward money for any drug busts.”

In Escobar’s case the DEA and Colombian officials used Diego Murilllo aka Don Berman to help locate Escobar. When Escobar died in a bloody gun battle in 1993 with authorities, Murillo reigned as the new Medellin boss until U.S. government extradited Murillo to America where he is currently serving a long prison stretch on narcotic and money laundering charges.

As a federal informant, Murillo’s case is a classic example that shows; although Murillo helped the government to take down Escobar, the world’s notorious drug kingpin, his snitch work did not stop the Feds from arresting him.

So why would the Feds treat Zambada-Niebla any different?

Conclusion

Reasonable doubt in a court of law is a doubt based on “Reason” and common sense. Doubt will take center stage surrounding the government’s alleged immunity deal with the Sinaloa Cartel. What it will boil down to: Who has more credibility in this finger-pointing affair; the government or Zambada-Niebla?

To sway the jury to acquit Zambada-Niebla, lawyers for the narco gangster must convince them the government lied when they alleged (no) immunity agreement was given to Zambada for trafficking drugs and guns in exchange for the Sinaloa players to snitch on their rivals in the dope game.

Expect Zambada’s attorneys to put the government’s integrity on trial.

U.S. Government should prevail by showing none of their agents gave written or verbal immunity to the Sinaloa Cartel but the imminent danger for the government at trial provokes this question:

What if the jury inherently mistrusts the government? Or what if they are well aware of past government corruptions like the Benghazi cover-up by the Obama administration, the Iran-Contra drugs for cash crimes, Obama’s questionable NSA Spy Surveillance and the Fast and Furious ATF cover-up?

Past scandals looming in the mix are an edge for the defense because all it takes for a guilty person to walk free is reasonable doubt.

To paraphrase the iconic actor Denzel Washington’s well-spoken words in the blockbuster movie “Training Day“, the Oscar-winning actor famously said; “It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove!”

 Journalist Clarence Walker can be reached at: [email protected]

 

We feel the need to help achieve change in the music industry, a favourable change, that is. Artists must remain in control to the extent that this is possible”Puerto Rico’s Calle 13 Collaborated on a new album with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine (RATM) and Palestinian Singer Kamilya Jubran. Other tracks on the album feature author of Open Veins of Latin America, Eduardo Galeano. The album called ‘Multi_Viral’ against news manipulation and political repression is to be released this coming March. It is political and indeed very interesting. It is a new generation of protest music that will grab worldwide attention. According to an online magazine www.venuemagazine.com:

Multi_Viral is Calle 13’s first album under their own record label, El Abismo (The Abyss), allowing them to have more creative and artistic freedom than ever before. “An artist should have control over their art in every way possible”, says René, vocalist and songwriter of the band. It’s this state-of-mind that has set Calle 13 apart from the reggaeton genre pushing boundaries with satirical lyrics and social commentary about Latin American issues and culture

Multi-viral music video is in Spanish, English and Arabic.

Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief and founder of WikiLeaks, a non-profit news organization that gained worldwide attention when they released 250,000 US classified documents to several news outlets which exposed the U.S. government’s global agenda. Julian Assange is currently residing in an Ecuadorian embassy in London, England after Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa granted him Diplomatic Asylum.

Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine (RATM), An American rock band known for their political views, critical of the US government’s policies which reflect in their music. It also features Kamilya Jubran who is a Palestinian singer born in Akka, within the State of Israel. Kamilya was Sabreen’s lead song performer, and player of several oriental instruments including the Oud and the Qanoon among others. In her official website it says

“From 1982 to 2002, Kamilya along with Sabreen represented the voice of resistance; struggle for freedom, and a deep and dynamic artistic-political process that created a new style of a modern Arabic song.”

The Buenos Aires Herald wrote a story called ‘Calle 13 multi-viral trend’ and said that “Calle 13 will then take its vigorous message through the Caribbean, the US, Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada. Highlighting its true commitment to social and political issues, band members René Pérez and stepbrother Eduardo Cabra go by the most telling nicknames of “Resident” and “Visitor” respectively.” Calle 13 is releasing a new album that exposes the mainstream media. “After seven years on the road and releasing no albums with new material, Calle 13’s Multi-viral was published under its own label, El Abismo. In keeping with its spirit, Multi-viral was cowritten by René Pérez and Julian Assange to address the manipulation of information in the media” the report said. The Associated Press reported on December 2013 on Rene Perez’s comments on Palestine’s political situation in comparison to Puerto Rico ‘Calle 13 singer says Palestinians like Puerto Rico.’ It said:

Speaking to the Associated Press in Bethlehem, where he is shooting the band’s latest music video, Rene Perez said Puerto Ricans were linked to Palestinians “because we are a colony of the United States. Here you have the situation with Israel.

Perez, also known as Residente, added that Puerto Rico and the Palestinians both have “cosmetic” governments. “Here most people want to be free, they fight for their country,” he said in the West Bank city, the traditional birthplace of Jesus. “It would be good to start building bridges between Palestine and Puerto Rico

The Associated Press also reported that Calle 13 is anti-establishment:

Perez, who performs along with his step-brother Eduardo Cabra, has emerged as a leading antiestablishment rapper and is a strong supporter of the Puerto Rican independence movement. Calle 13 has a long history of lacing social messages over bass-thumping beats

Perez said he chose to come to the Palestinian territories to shoot the majority of the band’s latest video, “Multi Viral.” He said the song is about manipulation of the media and how it distorts information. He said he worked on the song with Tom Morello, a former guitarist with Rage Against the Machine, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

“I think music never stops being music. It always keeps being music and the message can be social, political, anything,” Perez said.

Recently the New York Times published an article about Calle 13’s new album ‘Still Rebels, Even as Maturity Looms’:

Multi_Viral,” Calle 13’s fifth album, is the work of a duo reckoning with both its global perspective and its contentious artistic impulses, determined to maintain a rebellious spirit even as maturity looms. Mr. Pérez described his new lyrics as “more existential” than previous Calle 13 efforts.

“Suddenly I’ve started to be more aware, or worried, about living and dying,” Mr. Pérez, 36, said. “I thought, maybe I can do something bigger than politics”

It is much bigger than politics; in fact it is about exposing what the media conveys to the public as truth. It also exposes other Global issues the world is facing.

The Gatekeepers, originally a documentary film and now a book, continues to offer a wealth of inside information about the Israeli national security apparatus.  The latest tidbit an Israeli friend gleaned is this September 2003 Yediot article recounting the decisions made during an Israeli security cabinet meeting chaired by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon:

He Will Be Gotten Rid Of

The cabinet decision of last night to get rid of Yasser Arafat has no immediate impact since the timing has not been determined.  Sharon, who formulated the decision [during the meeting], preferred to leave the matter vague and indeterminate between expulsion or assassination.  The decision was supported by every member of the [security] cabinet except for Interior Minister Poraz, who opposed.

assassinate arafat

Within 14 months of this meeting, Arafat was dead.  It is about as clear as anything can be that the cabinet voted to give Sharon carte blanche to determine where, how and when to remove Arafat as a threat to Israel.  Sharon could choose life (in exile) or death.  We know the result.  It almost doesn’t matter whether Swiss forensic scientists can prove he was poisoned and by whom.  We know who did it.  We just don’t know precisely how he achieved the result.

There is a wealth of circumstantial evidence offered by an Israeli confidant of Sharon and others arguing that Sharon intended to kill Arafat.  This news report adds another piece to the puzzle.

 Farmers and herders from northwestern Senegal have travelled to Europe to demand the scrapping of a land deal that threatens the lives and livelihoods of some 9,000 people. A murky international conglomerate, Senhuile SA, has leased 20,000 hectares of land in the Ndiaël Reserve, land which has been used for decades by residents of some 40 villages in the area. The villagers want the project stopped, saying it will cut off their access to grazing land, water, food and firewood – ultimately forcing them off their homes and land.

 Senhuile SA is a joint venture controlled by Italy’s Tampieri Financial Group, Senegalese investors, and Agro Bioethanol International, a shell company registered in New York. The herders, along with representatives of the Conseil National de Concertation et de Coopération des Ruraux (CNCR) and the Senegalese non-governmental organisations ENDA Pronat and ActionAid, are in Europe from today to 6 March 2014 to mobilise citizens to call on Tampieri, Senhuile’s majority shareholder, to close down the project. The project was initially established in another location, Fanaye, where violence resulting from local opposition led to the death of two villagers and dozens more injured in 2011.

A new report released today by the Oakland Institute exposes the numerous flaws with this project, including the lack of consultation with and consent from local communities, the opaque nature of Senhuile’s operations, as well as the devastating impact of the project on people’s livelihoods. Some 6,000 hectares have already been cleared and planted with different crops. The company has built irrigation canals and fences that restrict locals’ access to grazing land, water and firewood. “Villagers complain of harassment, intimidation and physical assault by the police and private guards hired by the firm,” said Frédéric Mousseau, Policy Director of the Oakland Institute.

According to Ardo Sow, spokesperson for Ndiaël Collective of villages resisting the Senhuile project: “The disdain for local communities is far too obvious. An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment was only conducted months after the start of the project, and was never made available to the public. Moreover, the map produced by state technicians before the start of the project identified the existence of only 6 of the 40 villages and hamlets using the land to be leased to Senhuile.”

The Ndiaël Collective, CNCR, ENDA Pronat, ActionAid Senegal, ActionAid Italy, Peuples Solidaires – ActionAid France, Re:Common, GRAIN, and The Oakland Institute are launching today an Urgent Appeal to get Tampieri to withdraw from the Senhuile project. “As concerned international organizations, we support the call of the communities for the project to be stopped and the land to be returned to the people,” said Katia Roux, of Peuples Solidaires in France. “Local farmers and pastoralists need recognition and support to develop their own sustainable, small-scale food systems.”

 The organisations call on all concerned groups and individuals to participate in this action against this land grab in support of the Senegalese farmers and herders by sending a letter to Tampieri here: http://tinyurl.com/n3vghd5

Public events in Europe:

Paris, 28 February 2014, 19:00: http://www.librairie-resistances.com/spip.php?article683
Rome, 3 March 2014, 19:00: http://www.recommon.org/evento-le-responsabilita-italiane-sullaccaparramento-di-terra-in-senegal-3-marzo/

Contacts:

For more information:

– Oakland Institute, “Surrendering our future”, 27 Feb 2014, http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/land-deals-africa-senegal
– Walking on the South, “Voices of Ndiaël”, 27 Feb 2014, http://tinyurl.com/VoicesOfNdiaelextEN
– CRAFS/GRAIN/Re:Common, “Who is behind Senhuile-Senethanol?”, 7 Nov 2013, http://www.grain.org/e/4815

Regional parliament members in a Ukrainian city held a session at gunpoint when one of the radical nationalist opposition leaders came to them, armed to the teeth, as the law of power seems to be prevailing in the tumultuous post-coup country. (Watch video here.)

A Kalashnikov appears to be the best argument in a debate for Aleksandr Muzychko, an activist of the nationalist “Pravy Sektor” (Right Sector) movement and one of the Maidan’s most prominent and controversial leaders.

On Tuesday he came to the Rovno regional parliament, where he threatened the regional MPs with a machine-gun and a number of other weapons as he demanded a decision on granting apartments to the families of protesters who were killed during last week’s violent clashes in central Kiev.

“Who wants to take away my machine-gun? Who wants to take away my gun? Who wants to take away my knives? I dare you!” Muzychko said.

His lobbying methods have apparently been imported from Chechnya, where the man, aka Sashko Bilyi, was fighting alongside separatist forces in the 1990s. He now boasts of having demolished Russian tanks and killed Russian soldiers.

While Sashko Bilyi was intimidating the Rovno MPs into signing bills, his fellow activists in Kiev were putting pressure on Central Election Commission (CEC) officials ahead of the early elections in May.

“Pravy Sektor” members together with activists from another nationalist movement, “Spilna Sprava”(Common Cause), have demanded a complete replacement of staff at the CEC, as well as changes in electoral law. The movements are also calling for the prosecution of those MPs they claim were involved in “rigging” previous elections in Ukraine, despite the results being recognized internationally.

“The corrupt, criminal composition of the CEC must be completely replaced,” Spilna Sprava activist Aleksandr Shevchenko said in a statement, adding that there was no point in holding elections under the watchful eye of the “world’s best election cheats.” In order to guarantee “fair and transparent elections,”activists will stay in CEC offices to “swiftly inform the Maidan” about any suspicious activity, he said, adding that he was not trying to “exert any pressure.”

Officials across the country have been resigning from the former ruling Party of Regions fearing retribution, as events on the ground suggest that Ukrainian radicals have been resorting to scaremongering to suppress counter-revolutionary feelings.

On Monday, the prosecutor’s office in the Volyn region in western Ukraine and members of the Party of Regions in the adjacent Rovno region said they were being pressured and urged to resign by radicals.

A statement by the 24 employees of the office in Volyn says that radicals from the Right Sector intimidated them with “physical threats to them and their families… by displaying firearms, entering premises of public institutions, including the prosecutor’s office and demanding the dismissal of management.”

Deputy Chairman of the Party of Regions in Rivne, Alla Ivoylovoy, said that “armed masked youths burst into the homes” of the party’s members, demanding a list of activists who “participated in the so-called anti-Maidan protest, threatening physical violence and arson of houses.”

The Ukrainian Communist Party, which has been closely aligned with Yanukovich’s Party of Regions, has also been under attack. The house of the party’s leader, Pyotr Simonenko, was set on fire on Monday.


Simonenko’s wife, Oksana Vashenko, told Radio Svoboda that assailants broke into their house to seek incriminating evidence against her husband. Unable to find any evidence, men brought “several boxes” of Molotov cocktails into the house to burn the residence down, to “hide the fact that nothing was found there,” Vashenko said.

The party said it was concerned with the recent burst of “anti-communist psychosis” and the “acts of vandalism and violence” which resulted in toppling the statues to former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin and monuments to the ‘Soviet Soldier’ commemorating the collective sacrifice of the Soviet army fighting against Nazi forces.

The country’s new leadership, Communist Party officials said, is not condemning these actions, while neo-Nazi movements are on the rise in the country.

The former head of the Presidential Administration, Andrey Klyuyev has suffered a gunshot wound to his leg. He was attacked on his way back to Kiev after submitting his resignation personally to Yanukovich in the Crimea, his press secretary Artyom Petrenko said. Klyuyev’s house was raided twice by a crowd of unknown assailants earlier on February 23 and 24, Potrenko said. The former official is now being treated in hospital with a non-life-threatening injury.

Molotov cocktails for churches

The coup has heightened religious tensions in Ukraine, where the majority of Orthodox churches are subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate, while some pledge loyalty to the Kiev one, established in 1992 and unrecognized by Eastern Orthodox communion.

Inspired by the anti-Russian feeling of the Maidan protests, radical activists have been coming up with all kinds of threats to Orthodox churches under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.

On Tuesday, a group of 10 men arrived at the Diocese of Sumy Ukrainian Orthodox Church to force the clergy to pray for the activists in Ukraine.

“They said they are outraged that the clergy of Sumy diocese are allegedly not praying for the victims of the Maidan,” Itar-Tass reported a statement from the diocese as saying.

Archbishop Eulogy met with one of the men who tried to convince the bishop of the need for joint worship with the Archbishop Methodius of Kiev Patriarchate at the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral.

“Having received clarification that canonical rules do not allow him to do so, the men said that the building of the diocese and the cathedral will be bombarded with Molotov cocktails,” the diocese’s press service said.

In a separate incident on the same day, the entrance to the famous Pochaevsky Monastery in western Ukraine was blocked by activists belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Kiev Patriarchate.

“Around noon, six buses drove up to the monastery,” said the monk. “They blocked the entrance, not letting the pilgrims in, people are alarmed.” The group tried to enter the monastery but were prevented from doing so because of their “aggressive behavior.”

The Kiev Patriarchate eventually had to deny rumors that there was a plan to seize churches of the Moscow Patriarchate.

“The Kiev Patriarchate is not calling for attacks on or for seizures of churches under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. We have been calling on our brothers and sisters in the Moscow Patriarchate to unite into one manorial Orthodox church. That’s why we are not interested in instigating enmity in those we wish to unite with,” the Kiev Patriarchate said in a statement, Interfax reported.

Reality on the ground in Ukraine contradicts the incompetent and immoral Obama regime’s portrait of Ukrainian democracy on the march.  

To the extent that government exists in post-coup Ukraine, it is laws dictated by gun and threat wielding thugs of the neo-Nazi, Russophobic, ultra-nationalist, right-wing parties. Watch the video of the armed thug, Aleksandr Muzychko, who boosts of killing Russian soldiers in  Chechnya, dictating to the Rovno regional parliament a grant of apartments to families of protesters.

http://rt.com/news/radical-opposition-intimidating-techniques-882/  

Read about the neo-nazis intimidating the Central Election Commission in order to secure rule and personnel changes in order to favor the ultra-right in the forthcoming elections.  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. 

Members of President Yanukovich’s ruling party, the Party of Regions, have been shot, had arrest warrants issued for them, have experienced home invasions and physical threats, and are resigning in droves in hopes of saving the lives of themselves and their families. The prosecutor’s office in the Volyn region (western Ukraine) has been ordered by ultra-nationalists to resign en masse .

Jewish synagogues and Eastern Orthodox Christian churches are being attacked.

To toot my own horn, I might have been the first and only to predict that Washington’s organization of pro-EU Ukrainian politicians into a coup against the elected government of Ukraine would destroy democracy and establish the precedent that force prevails over elections, thereby empowering the organized and armed extreme right-wing.

This is precisely what has happened.  Note that 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. 

If a democratically elected president and ruling party are so easily driven from power by armed neo-nazis, what chance do Washington’s paid stooges among the so-called “moderates” have of forming a government? These are the corrupt people who wanted President Yanukovich out of office so that they could take the money instead.  The corruption charge against Yanukovich was cover for the disloyal, undemocratic “moderate” schemers to seize power and be paid millions of dollars by Washington for taking Ukraine into the EU and NATO.

The Washington-paid schemers are now reaping their just reward as they sit in craven silence while neo-nazi Muzychko wielding an Ak-47 challenges government officials to their face: “I dare you take my gun!”

Only Obama, Susan Rice, Victoria Nuland, Washington’s European puppets, and the Western prostitute media can describe the brutal reality of post-coup Ukraine as “the forward march of democracy.”

The West now faces a real mess, and so does Russia. The presstitutes will keep the American  public from ever knowing what has happened, and the Obama regime will never admit it.  It is not always clear that even the Russians want to admit it.  The intelligent, reasonable, and humane Russian Foreign Minister, a person 100 cuts above the despicable John Kerry, keeps speaking as if this is all a mistake and appealing to the Western governments to stand behind the agreement that they pressured President Yanukovich to sign.

Yanukovich 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.  The ignorant and deluded who deny any such plotting occurred can listen to the conversation between Nuland and Pyatt here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSxaa-67yGM&feature=player_embedded

The situation will almost certainly lead to war.  Only Putin’s diplomatic skills could prevent it. However, Putin has been demonized by Washington and the whores who comprise the US print and TV media.  European and British politicians would have their Washington paychecks cut off if they aligned with Putin.

War is unavoidable, because the Western public is out to lunch. The more facts and information I provide, the more emails I receive defending the “sincere [and well paid] protesters’ honest protests against corruption,” as if corruption were the issue.  I hear from Ukrainians and from those of Ukrainian ethnicity in Canada and the US that it is natural for Ukrainians to hate Russians because Ukrainians suffered under communism, as if suffering under communism, which disappeared in 1991, is unique to Ukrainians and  has anything to do with the US coup that has fallen into neo-nazi hands,

No doubt. Many suffered under communism, including Russians.  But was the suffering greater than the suffering of Japanese civilians twice nuked by the “Indispensable people,” or the suffering by German civilians whose cities were firebombed, like Tokyo,  by the “exceptional people”?  

Today Japan and Germany are Washington’s puppet states.  In contrast, Ukraine was an independent country with a working relationship with Russia.  It was this relationship that Washington wished to destroy.  

Now that a reckless and incompetent Washington has opened Pandora’s Box, more evil has been released upon the world. The suffering will not be confined to Ukraine.

There are a number of reasons why the situation is likely to develop in a very bad way. One is that most people are unable to deal with reality even when reality directly confronts them.  When I provide the facts as they are known, here are some of the responses I receive: “You are a Putin agent;” “you hate Ukrainians;”  “you are defending corruption;” “you must not know how Ukrainians suffered at the hands of Stalin.”  

Of course, having done Russian studies in graduate school, having been a member of the US-USSR student exchange program in 1961, having traveled in Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, having published in scholarly journals of Slavic and Russian studies, having twice addressed the Soviet Academy of Sciences, having been invited to explain to the CIA why the Soviet economic collapse occurred despite the CIA’s predictions to the contrary, I wouldn’t know anything about how people suffered under communism. The willingness of readers to display to me their utter ignorance and stupidity is astonishing. There is a large number of people who think reality consists of their delusions.

Reality is simply too much for mentally and emotionally weak people who are capable of holding on to their delusions in the face of all evidence to the contrary. The masses of deluded people and the total inability of Washington, wallowing it its hubris, to admit a mistake, mean that Washington’s destabilization of Ukraine is a problem for us all.

RT reports that “Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an urgent military drill to test combat readiness of the armed forces across western and central Russia.”  According to Russia’s Defense Minister, the surprise drill tested ground troops, Air Force, airborne troops and aerospace defense. http://rt.com/news/putin-drill-combat-army-864/  

The Defense Minister said: “The drills are not connected with events in Ukraine at all.”

Yes, of course.  The Defense Minister says this, because Putin still hopes that the EU will come to its senses.  In my opinion, and I hope I am wrong, the European “leaders” are too corrupted by Washington’s money to have any sense.  They are bought-and-paid-for. Nothing is important to them but money.

Ask yourself, why does Russia need at this time an urgent readiness test unrelated to Ukraine? Anyone familiar with geography knows that western and central Russia sit atop Ukraine.  

Let us all cross our fingers that another war is not the consequence of the insouciant American public, the craven cowardice of the presstitute media, Washington’s corrupt European puppets, and the utter mendacity of the criminals who rule in Washington.

In every part of the globe, the world’s sovereign nations are feeling the wrath of a US imperialist system in decline.  US imperialism is losing its grip as the most dominant capitalist economy on the planet.  To reconcile its humiliation and maintain its waning economic dominance, US imperialism has resorted to building a vast military empire abroad to submerge independent states under its thumb.  From 1945 and through the GW Bush era’s call for a “New American Century”, the overthrow of democratically elected governments and overt acts of war either had to gain popular consensus in the US first or be done covertly by the CIA. Now, with the global capitalist economy in permanent crisis, the US and its allies are sponsoring so called “protest movements” and “opposition” groups to wage wars most Americans no longer support.

Nowhere is this clearer than in Venezuela, North Korea, and Ukraine. As in Libya and Syria, Venezuela and Ukraine are struggling to defeat Washington-backed “opposition” groups looking to install US-friendly regimes. Venezuela’s democratically elected government was never forgiven for betraying the wishes of the neo-colonial oligarchy and completely reforming its electoral and economic basis to align with the interests of Venezuela’s poor majority.  The Bolivarian government has made important gains in the areas of poverty reduction, healthcare, literacy, and education.  But the corporate media and US political leaders are having us believe that “anti-government” protesters funded at 5 million per year by the US government itself somehow represent the interests of the Venezuelan majority.  Undoubtedly, the Venezuelan oligarchy and their sugar-daddys in Washington are bitter that their representatives lost over 70 percent of municipalities in the local elections and failed to become the ruling party in what Jimmy Carter called the most democratic Presidential election process in the world in 2012.

In Ukraine, a fascist “protest” movement has been growing with armed support from NATO and the US.  These “protesters”, armed with heavy artillery and shwastika banners, are demanding the Ukrainian government open up relations with the EU and allow their economy to become a nest for finance capital. The Ukrainian government has defied the wishes of fascists and their Western allies by swearing allegiance to Russia. The US-NATO-EU alliance sees Ukraine as a possible NATO military base and an economic asset to mend the austerity and crisis ridden European capitalist order. Only a coup at this point can achieve these ends. The replacement of President Yanukovych with a EU friendly government would exacerbate economic woes and set back the hopes of Russia and its allies for a multi-polar economic and military global order.

At the level of soft power, a new report emerged from the UN that used interview data from exiles residing in the West and South Korea. The report concluded that the leader of the DPRK, Kim Jong Un, should be referred to the International Criminal Court for “crimes against humanity.”  Hypocrisy stains this report from top to bottom. The US never ended its war against Korea, only signing an armistice in 1953 that kept the country divided between socialist DPRK and the neo-Colony South Korea.  The US has never been referred to any international body for its war crimes let alone for its horrific bombing campaign that left Korea in ruins and forced thousands into death or homelessness. Nor will the UN report admit that US-imposed sanctions on the DPRK beginning after the fall of the Soviet Union is a blatant act of war. The US, not the DPRK, uses “food as a weapon” on the people of North Korea by blocking its ability to receive needed resources abroad to increase its foodstuffs.  Lastly, The UN remains silent on the crimes of the South Korean government, which presides over masses of impoverished people and imprisons dissidents of its fascist regime. The UN and its ruler, the US, never criticize South Korea’s military operations, which violate of North Korea’s sovereignty. Indeed, the UN report was conducted for the sole purpose of justifying further US intervention against North Korea in pursuit of geopolitical dominance.

The reality is that the US imperialist system is in such a terrible economic state that it must rely on waging war in every corner of the globe to maintain its relevancy.  No longer is US imperialism able to conduct widespread bombing campaigns or overthrow democratically elected governments through the CIA with impunity.  In order to bypass Russia and China in the United Nations, US imperialism must resort to mass manipulation through the corporate media and a network of intelligence agencies, private military contractors, and allied nations in imperial organizations like NATO to train and fund so called “protest movements” and “opposition” groups.   Venezuela, Ukraine, and North Korea have fallen victim to media deception and mercenary terrorism sponsored by the Wall Street ruled US-Western alliance.  Anti-imperialists in the United States need to defend these countries right to sovereignty and organize resistance to US imperialism at home.  Furthermore, anti-imperialists residing in the US must explain to the people the connection between US imperialism abroad and the increased austerity, poverty, racism, and massive prison and police state at home.

Danny Haiphong is an activist and case manager in the Greater Boston area. You can contact Danny at: [email protected] 

A stunning new report indicates the U.S. Navy knew that sailors from the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan took major radiation hits from the Fukushima atomic power plant after its meltdowns and explosions nearly three years ago. 

If true, the revelations cast new light on the $1 billion lawsuit filed by the sailors against Tokyo Electric Power. Many of the sailors are already suffering devastating health impacts, but are being stonewalled by Tepco and the Navy.The Reagan had joined several other U.S. ships in Operation Tomodachi (“Friendship”) to aid victims of the March 11, 2011 quake and tsunami. Photographic evidence and first-person testimony confirms that on March 12, 2011 the ship was within two miles of Fukushima Dai’ichi as the reactors there began to melt and explode.

In the midst of a snow storm, deck hands were enveloped in a warm cloud that came with a metallic taste. Sailors testify that the Reagan’s 5,500-member crew was told over the ship’s intercom to avoid drinking or bathing in desalinized water drawn from a radioactive sea. The huge carrier quickly ceased its humanitarian efforts and sailed 100 miles out to sea, where newly published internal Navy communications confirm it was still taking serious doses of radioactive fallout.

Scores of sailors from the Reagan and other ships stationed nearby now report a wide range of ailments reminiscent of those documented downwind from atomic bomb tests in the Pacific and Nevada, and at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. A similar metallic taste was described by pilots who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and by central Pennsylvanians downwind of Three Mile Island. Some parts of the atolls downwind from the South Pacific bomb tests remain uninhabitable six decades later.

Among the 81 plaintiffs in the federal class action are a sailor who was pregnant during the mission, and her “Baby A.G.,” born that October with multiple genetic mutations.

Officially, Tepco and the Navy say the dose levels were safe.

But a stunning new report by an American scholar based in Tokyo confirms that Naval officers communicated about what they knew to be the serious irradiation of the Reagan. Written by Kyle Cunningham and published in Japan Focus, “Mobilizing Nuclear Bias” describes the interplay between the U.S. and Japanese governments as Fukushima devolved into disaster.

Cunningham writes that transcribed conversations obtained through the Freedom of Information Act feature naval officials who acknowledge that even while 100 miles away from Fukushima, the Reagan’s readings “compared to just normal background [are] about 30 times what you would detect just on a normal air sample out to sea.”

On the nuclear-powered carrier “all of our continuous monitors alarmed at the same level, at this value. And then we took portable air samples on the flight deck and got the same value,” the transcript says.

Serious fallout was also apparently found on helicopters coming back from relief missions. One unnamed U.S. government expert is quoted in the Japan Focus article as saying:At 100 meters away it (the helicopter) was reading 4 sieverts per hour. That is an astronomical number and it told me, what that number means to me, a trained person, is there is no water on the reactor cores and they are just melting down, there is nothing containing the release of radioactivity. It is an unmitigated, unshielded number. (Confidential communication, Sept. 17, 2012).The transcript then contains discussion of health impacts that could come within a matter of “10 hours. It’s a thyroid issue.”

Tepco and the Navy contend the Reagan did not receive a high enough dose to warrant serious concern. But Japan, South Korea and Guam deemed the carrier too radioactive to enter their ports. Stock photographs show sailors working en masse to scrub the ship down.

Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) conduct a counter-measure wash down on the flight deck to remove potential radiation contamination while operating off the coast of Japan providing humanitarian assistance in support of Operation Tomodachi, March 22, 2011. Picture taken March 22, 2011.

The $4.3 billion boat is now docked in San Diego. Critics question whether it belongs there at all. Attempts to decontaminate U.S. ships irradiated during the Pacific nuclear bombs tests from 1946-1963 proved fruitless. Hundreds of sailors were exposed to heavy doses of radiation, but some ships had to be sunk anyway.

Leaks at the Fukushima site continue to worsen. Despite its denials, Tepco recently admitted it had underestimated certain radiation releases by a factor of 500 percent. A new report indicates that particles of radioactive Cesium 134 from Fukushima have been detected in the ocean off the west coast of North America.

Global concerns continue to rise about Fukushima’s on-going crises with liquid leaks, the troubled removal of radioactive fuel rods, the search for three missing melted cores, organized crime influence at the site and much more. The flow of information has been seriously darkened by the pro-nuclear Abe Administration’s State Secrets Act, which imposes major penalties on those who might report what happens at Fukushima.

But if this new evidence holds true, it means that the Navy knew the Ronald Reagan was being plastered with serious radioactive fallout and it casts the accident in a light even more sinister than previously believed.

The stricken sailors are barred from suing the Navy, and their case against Tepco will depend on a series of complex international challenges.

But one thing is certain: neither they nor the global community have been getting anything near the full truth about Fukushima.

Obama Drones On: The Slaughter of Pakistani Civilians

February 26th, 2014 by William Boardman

In 2009, my home was attacked by a drone. My brother and son were martyred. My son’s name was Hafiz Zahinullah. My brother’s name was Asif Iqbal. There was a third person who was a stone mason. He was a Pakistani. His name was Khaliq Dad…. Their bodies were covered with wounds. Later, I found some of their fingers in the rubble.” – Kareem Khan, a Pakistani journalist, speaking of his personal experience with civilians killed by Americans, in the documentary “Wounds of Waziristan,” 2013

…it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in every war. And for the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred throughout conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.” – President Obama, May 23, 2013, at the National Defense University

President Obama should be justly haunted by the slaughter of innocents, especially the ones he has personally condemned to death on untested evidence. But it’s hard to imagine him actually being haunted by any of his lethal failures, perhaps least of all by innocents condemned by the mere turning down of his imperial thumb in these or any other circumstances. The Nobel Peace Prize winner hardly sounds haunted when he’s quoted saying, “Turns out I’m really good at killing people. Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.”

 Such sadistic preening, regardless of possibly ironic intent, helps explain why his  haunting, real or imagined, has mostly led his administration to deny the killings and to refuse any succor to the innocent victims’ innocent families. It is as if Obama plays Macbeth and says to the Banquo’s ghost of drone murder, “Thou canst not say I did it: never shake thy gory locks at me” – a deluded and specious lawyer’s argument even then, and still false to its deepest moral roots.

Presumably Kareem Khan would like to see Obama haunted much more vigorously by the living. For more than four years Kahn has been doing what he could to bring at least some Americans to justice for killing his son and brother. As of February 19, he was in Europe as part of a campaign against the CIA drone assassination program, scheduled to visit with political leaders in Germany, the Netherlands, and UK. Khan is a freelance journalist and now an anti-drone activist. He once lived near Mir Ali in North Waziristan until the Americans destroyed his house and its occupants. Khan, who is in his fifties, now lives in Rawalpindi with his wife and his other, younger children, who were present when he was kidnapped by apparent secret police in the early hours of February 5.    

 “When a person is blindfolded […] they feel very bad, and when you are being treated this way, you feel like you are going crazy.” – Kareem Khan describing his captivity to Al Jazeera 

For the next five days, local police refused to file a report on the event, much less acknowledge that that Khan had been disappeared in classic totalitarian style. On February 10, a local court ordered police to make a report, which then dryly noted that a kidnapping case was filed against “unidentified persons,” adding that those persons were not local police. According to witnesses, these unidentified persons numbered as many as 20, eight of whom wore some sort of police uniforms, perhaps Punjab Police. Some police state agency had taken Khan. 

 Khan’s lawyer, Shahzad Akbar, also filed a habeus corpus request with the Rawalpindi bench of Lahore High Court. The court responded by ordering the Ministry of the Interior, which oversees Pakistani intelligence agencies (ISI), either to produce Khan by February 20, or to explain to the court, in writing, why Khan was seized and held. Presently, there are more than 900 open cases of missing Pakistanis allegedly disappeared by their government. The ISI did not respond to the court about Khan. But in the early hours of February 14, unidentified persons threw Khan, still blindfolded, from a van onto a public street in a neighborhood of Rawalpindi

 Before releasing him, Khan’s captors had warned him not to talk to the media. Later the same day, Khan issued a statement and talked to the media about his experience of being kept blindfolded and handcuffed for eight days in a basement where he and perhaps a dozen other prisoners were held in cells and periodically tortured.   

 “There were different types of torture. There was mental torture – they would abuse me using very harsh and dirty curse words. Physically, they would punch me and slap me, on the face and shoulder. I was hit with a stick, on my arms and legs. They hit me on my open palms….  they would hang me upside down, and then one of them would hit the soles of my feet with a leather strap so that it did not leave a mark. But it was very painful.”– Kareem Khan, in Al Jazeera, February 14, 2014

 Within hours of his release, Khan travelled to Europe in a delegation sponsored by Reprieve, the British human rights charity that has supported Khan’s efforts since 2010 as part of its program against abuses in counter-terrorism (“Reprieve investigates extra-judicial killing and detention around the world and reunites ‘disappeared’ prisoners with their legal rights”). The Reprieve delegation to Europe included, in addition to Kareem Khan:

Noor Behram, 42, is a photo-journalist from North Waziristan who started documenting drone atrocities in 2008. In his experience, he said: “For every 10 to 15 people killed, maybe they get one militant. I don’t go to count how many Taliban are killed. I go to count how many children, women, innocent people, are killed…. The youth in the area surrounding a strike gets crazed. Hatred builds up inside those who have seen a drone attack. The Americans think it is working, but the damage they’re doing is far greater.” He is president of the Tribal Union of Journalists, the representative body of journalists in the region. 

 Shazad Akbar, 50ish, an attorney who represents Kareem Khan, is a human rights lawyer in Islamabad, where he founded and runs the human rights organization Foundation for Fundamental Rights (FFR). He currently holds a Legal Fellowship from Reprieve. Shahzad qualified as a Barrister from Lincolns Inn and also holds a LLM from University of Newcastle. In November 2010, Shahzad Akbar filed a lawsuit against the CIA on behalf of Kareem Khan for the wrongful deaths of his son and brother. The lawyer later said publicly: “If the US believes in the rule of law, it should not be hindering my advocacy of claims against the CIA for wrongful death and injury.”  The U.S. government barred him from the country in May 2011 when he was invited to speak at Columbia University. Shahzad Akbar filed another lawsuit on behalf of drone victims in May 2012, this time demanding that the Pakistani government take action against the U.S. for war crimes, but also bring the issue of drone assassinations before the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice to stop them. The U.S. again barred the lawyer from entering the country, then relented in the face of public outcry, and he spoke at the first international Drone Summit in April 2013 in Washington. The U.S. barred him yet again in the fall, keeping him away when his clients testified before Congress in another case

 Jennifer Gibson, 32ish, is a U.S. lawyer based in the UK, a staff attorney who leads Reprieve’s work on drones in Pakistan. She has a doctorate in international studies from the University of Cambridge and a law degree from Stanford. While at Stanford, she was part of a research team that visited Pakistan and she is a co-author of “Living Under Drones” – a 2012 project that reaches devastating conclusions about American aerial murder: (1) “In addition to killing and maiming, the presence of drones exacts a high toll on civilian life in northwest Pakistan;” (2) “Evidence gathered in the report casts doubt on the legality of drone strikes in northwest Pakistan;” (3) “Drone strikes foster anti-American sentiment and undermine the rule of law.” Soon after the report’s release, Gibson wrote: “Unfortunately, many commentators missed the report’s key message: drones are terrorising an entire civilian population…. because no one knows who the informants are, people are reluctant to invite neighbours into their homes. The entire community withdraws from the public square, afraid to venture out, but equally afraid to bring the outside in. This is what it means to live under drones. It has turned North Waziristan into the world’s largest prison.” When the U.S. barred Shahzad Akbar from accompanying his clients before Congress, Jennifer Gibson appeared in his place and told the lawmakers that “every child who loses life or limb persuades dozens more tribes in Pakistan that the United States does not distinguish friend from foe.” 

“The CIA killer drones programme is the death penalty without trial, and the new face of state lawlessness in the name of counter-terrorism. Reprieve is assisting victims’ families to seek legal accountability for drone attacks, with the goal of exposing the programme to scrutiny and restoring the rule of law.”  

Reprieve statement on American drones in Pakistan

 “America does not take strikes to punish individuals; we act against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people, and when there are no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat.  And before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured — the highest standard we can set….”– President Obama, May 23, 2013, at the National Defense University

Obama’s use of “near certainty” is about as deceitful as it gets. In the first place, the government has no honest idea of the actual identities of the men, women, and children they’ve killed beyond 10 per cent or, generously, maybe 30. In the second place, the government refuses to tell the truth about what it does or doesn’t know. In the third place, the government defines “militants” as any male of military age, a flexible category that the president may expand to include women and children as exigency demands (as when the U.S. killed American citizen Abdulrahman Awlaki who was 16). The critical evidence of a person’s guilt is that the U.S. killed that person.

In other words, every published report of drone strikes killing “militants” is unverifiable and probably false, yet media everywhere report the government version uncritically, with few exceptions. The argument over the number of civilian casualties is ridiculous at its unknowable heart. The number of identified executed civilians can be only a minimum measure of American-inflicted carnage.

The New America Foundation is a somewhat paranoid, threat-obsessed Washington think tank devoted to “appropriate methods to secure the homeland.” Without providing meaningful context, the foundation reports that the number of “jihadist extremists” in the U.S. “has continued to decline from its peak in 2009,” which is similar to the trend for icebergs in the South Atlantic. The foundation has gone to great pains to try to rationalize the irrational, creating databases for drone strikes in Pakistan and other countries, citing “the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the Stanford International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic, the Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law, and the Columbia University Law School for their valuable work on this subject.”

For all its manifest bias in favor of a security state with a siege mentality that allows the U.S. to kill anyone for any imagined reason, the foundation does offer a more rational way of assessing the usefulness of America’s drone crimes war. Tucked in the middle of its “Key Findings,” the foundation states: “Only 58 known militant leaders have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan, representing just 2% of the total deaths.” [emphasis added] That represents an American moral calculus in which one “known militant leader” (whatever that means) is worth another 49 dead Pakistanis who are not “known” to have been anything but previously alive, whether they were grunts or civilians.

“Under the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 particularly Article 199 thereof put this Court under  tremendous obligation to safeguard & protect the life &  property of the citizen of Pakistan and any person for the  time being in Pakistan, being fundamental rights, hence,  this Court is constrained to hold as follows:  

i.              That the drone strikes, carried out in the tribal areas (FATA)  particularly North & South  Waziristan by the CIA & US  Authorities, are blatant violation of  Basic Human Rights and are against  the UN Charter, the UN General  Assembly Resolution, adopted  unanimously, the provision of  Geneva Conventions thus, it is held  to be a War Crime, cognizable by the  International Court of Justice or  Special Tribunal for War Crimes,  constituted or to be constituted by the  UNO for this purpose. 

ii.            That the drone strikes carried out  against a handful of alleged  militants, who are not engaged in  combat with the US Authorities or  Forces, amounts to breach of  International Law and Conventions  on the subject matter, therefore, it is  held that these are absolutely illegal  & blatant violation of the  Sovereignty of the State of Pakistan  because frequent intrusion is made  on its territory / airspace without its  consent rather against its wishes as  despite of the protests lodged by the  Government of Pakistan with USA on  the subject matter, these are being  carried out with impunity. 

 iii.          That the civilians casualties, as  discussed above, including  considerable damage to properties,  livestock, wildlife & killing of  infants/ suckling babies, women and  preteen children, is an uncondonable  crime on the part of US Authorities  including CIA and it is held so.”  

– Judgment of Peshawar High Court [excerpt] on petition #1551-P/2012 and two other cases, issued May 9, 2013 

 “So it is in this context that the United States has taken lethal, targeted action against al Qaeda and its associated forces, including with remotely piloted aircraft commonly referred to as drones.” – President Obama, May 23, 2013, at the National Defense University

The two most familiar U.S. serial-killing drones are appropriately named Reaper and Predator, with a wingspan of about 65 feet, almost twice as long as the body. A drone’s payload of almost two tons can include a mix-to-taste array of air-to-ground missiles, air-to-air missiles, and laser-guided bombs with explosive power in the 500-2000 pound range. Drones have flown hundreds o missions over Pakistan since 2004, bombing a country with which the U.S. is not at war, a country which has officially demanded that the U.S. stop violating Pakistani sovereignty while simultaneously doing nothing about it. 

 The Pakistani government has done nothing to enforce the Peshawar High Court’s order of May 2013. Even suggesting that the government act to protect its people creates controversy. An uncertain number of other cases are still pending in Pakistani courts.  One of those is Kareem Khan’s 2010 wrongful death suit against the CIA for killing innocent people in his house in 2009.

On New Year’s Eve in 2009, Kareem Khan was a respected working reporter in Islamabad, Pakistan, perhaps wishing he could be home that night. At 9 pm on December 31, 2009, an American drone controlled by the CIA attacked Kareem Khan’s house in North Waziristan, killing all three civilians inside: Khaliq Dad, a visiting stone mason; Asif Iqbal, a secondary school teacher and Kareem Khan’s brother; and Zahin Ullah Khan, a government security employee and the reporter’s 18 year old son.

None of these three had any connection to militants in the region, nor did Kareem Khan, other than sometimes reporting on them.

Attorney Shahzad Akbar, working with Reprieve, filed Kareem Khan’s wrongful death suit in late 2010, seeking $500 million from the CIA. The case is still pending. In the interim, another 35 Pakistanis have joined the suit, seeking justice for the wrongful deaths of members of their families.

Will the International Criminal Court act on war crimes?

On February 19, Kareem Khan and Attorney Akbar were at The Hague, where they filed a complaint against NATO countries for committing war crimes by aiding and abetting U.S. drone assassinations. A press release from Reprieve announcing the filing said: “It has been revealed in recent months that the UK, Germany, Australia, and other NATO partners support US drone strikes through intelligence-sharing. Because all these countries are signatories to the Rome Statute, they fall under The ICC’s jurisdiction and can therefore be investigated for war crimes. Kareem Khan… is at The Hague with his lawyers from the human rights charity Reprieve and the Foundation for Fundamental Rights who have filed the complaint on his behalf.”  

[Last fall, a group of Egyptian lawyers filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court, charging President Obama with crimes against humanity in connection with U.S. support for the Muslim Brotherhood. In June 2013, in South Africa, the Muslim Lawyers Association there petitioned the court to arrest and try President Obama for war crimes and crimes against humanity resulting from the American drone killing program.]

 Accused of murder, the United States has offered no explanation, no defense, no information whatsoever to justify this extrajudicial execution campaign in which President Obama functions as judge, jury, and executioner, although he sometimes delegates some of these activities to underlings. The United States has become a rogue state and a state sponsor of terrorism and apparently the best justification the president has to offer for a decade-long killing spree in Pakistan and wanton lawless executions elsewhere is that – they do it too!

 Never mind that the countries the U.S. is “protecting” are tired of the American protection racket. What’s important, according to the president in his May 23, 2013 speech is to keep in mind that crimes against humanity justify other crimes against humanity, although he put it somewhat more obliquely:

“Remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians, and the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from drone strikes.  So doing nothing is not an option.” 

 How is that any different from the Hellfire missile victim who says: “If God gives me the chance of getting to Obama, I will. He is not only the killer of my son and brother, but he is the killer of many Muslims. The punishment or killing is to be killed. I would kill [Obama].”

Or are we facing another, grimmer parallel from Macbeth as he approaches the endgame and observes:

“All causes shall give way. I am in blood

“Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,

“Returning were as tedious as go o’er.”

National elections were held in Haiti less than one year after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in January 2010 had killed 220,000 or more, left 1.5 million people homeless, and ravaged the country’s infrastructure. Accusations were rampant that the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) had introduced cholera into Haiti’s river system; the resulting epidemic would kill over 8,500 and sicken hundreds of thousands. The November 28 election was contested under crisis conditions. Hundreds of thousands of voters were either shut out of the electoral process or boycotted the vote after the most popular party in the country—Fanmi Lavalas—was banned from competing, as it had been numerous times since being overthrown in a coup in 2004. Many of those displaced by the earthquake were not allowed to vote, and in the end less than 23 percent of registered voters had their vote counted.

Eyewitness testimony on election day reported numerous electoral violations: ballot stuffing, tearing up of ballots, intimidation, and fraud. Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), responsible for overseeing elections, announced that former first lady Mirlande Manigat had won but lacked the margin of victory needed to avoid a runoff. The Organization of American States (OAS) dispatched a mission of “experts” to examine the results. As a result, candidate and pop musician Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly was selected to compete in the runoff instead of the governing party’s candidate Jude Célestin.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) subsequently released a report showing that there were so many problems with the election tallies that the OAS’s conclusions represented a political decision rather than an electoral one. CEPR reported that the CEP either didn’t receive or quarantined tally sheets for some 1,326 voting booths; as a result, about 12.7 percent of the vote was not included in the final totals released by the CEP on December 7, 2010.  When the OAS mission stepped in to review the tally sheets, it chose to examine only 8 percent of them, and those it discarded were from disproportionately pro-Célestin areas, as CEPR also noted. Nor did the OAS mission use any statistical inference to estimate what might have resulted had it examined the other 92 percent.

The runoff was finally scheduled for March 20, 2011, and Martelly was declared the winner with 67.6 percent of the vote versus Manigat’s 31.5. Turnout was so low that Martelly was declared president-elect after receiving the votes of less than 17 percent of the electorate in the second round.

Into the fray stepped Ricardo Seitenfus, a respected Brazilian professor of international relations, who had been working as a special representative of the OAS in Haiti since 2008. After observing the electoral process, Seitenfus made statements to Swiss newspaper Le Temps criticizing international meddling in Haiti in general, and by MINUSTAH and NGOs in particular. He was abruptly ousted on Christmas Day. (The press was equivocal on whether Seitenfus was fired or forced to take a two-month “vacation” before his tenure as special representative ended in March 2011.)

In his new book, Haiti: Dilemas e Fracassos Internacionais (“International Crossroads and Failures in Haiti,” to be published in Brazil later this year by Editora Unijui), Seitenfus takes a long view of the electoral crisis that he witnessed in 2010. In his account, Haiti’s tragedy began over two centuries ago in 1804, when the country committed what Seitenfus terms its “original sin,” an unpardonable act of lèse-majesté: it became the first (and only) independent nation to emerge from a slave rebellion. “The Haitian revolutionary model scared the colonialist and racist Great Powers,” Seitenfus writes. France demanded heavy financial compensation from the new republic as a condition of its honoring Haiti’s nationhood, and the United States only recognized Haiti’s independence in 1862, just before abolishing its own system of slavery. Haiti has been isolated and manipulated on the international scene ever since, its people “prisoners on their own island.”

Was Seitenfus let go for calling the relationship between the government of Haiti and NGOs “evil or perverse”? For his accusations about the cholera cover-up? Or, more troubling, because of his knowledge of how a secret “Core Group” was quietly orchestrating the elections against then-President Rene Préval? In this interview, Seitenfus shares his view of international plans for a “silent coup d’etat,” electoral interference, and more.


Q: Before getting to the 2010 election, let’s start with the cholera epidemic we now know was caused by MINUSTAH in October 2010. You write about the “shameless” attitude of the UN and ambassadors of the so-called “friends of Haiti”countries that refused to take responsibility after MINUSTAH introduced cholera to Haiti. You say that this “transforms this peace mission into one of the worst in the history of the United Nations.” Would you be willing to testify in the current class action lawsuit, filed in a U.S. federal court, accusing the UN of gross negligence and misconduct on behalf of cholera victims in Haiti?

RS: There is no doubt that the UN—especially former MINUSTAH head Edmond Mulet and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon—systematically denied its direct and scientifically verified responsibility for the introduction of Vibrio cholera into Haiti, projecting a lasting shadow over that peace operation. What is shocking is not MINUSTAH’s carelessness, but the lie, turned into strategy, by the international community, including the “Group of Friends of Haiti.” It constitutes an embarrassment that will forever mark the relations of these countries with Haiti.

Even former U.S. President Bill Clinton, serving as the UN’s special envoy to Haiti, publicly admitted in 2012 that it was UN employees who brought cholera to the country. Yet the UN is hiding behind the immunity clause conferred by the July 9, 2004 agreement signed with Haiti legalizing MINUSTAH’s existence. This despite the fact that this agreement was signed not by the acting president of Haiti (as stipulated by the Haitian constitution), Boniface Alexandre, but by Prime Minister Gerard Latortue. According to the 1969 and 1986 Vienna Conventions on the Law of Treaties, any treaty signed by someone who lacks jus tractum—that is, treaty making power—is null.

With its contempt for Haitian constitutional rights and international law, the UN demonstrated once again the levity with which it treats Haitian matters. Responsible for establishing the rule of law in the country, according to its own mission, the U.N. does not follow even its own fundamental provisions, thus making the text that it supports and that should legalize its actions in Haiti void and ineffective.  Because MINUSTAH’s very existence is plagued with illegalities, the UN’s attempt to deny its responsibility for introducing cholera in Haiti can be easily circumvented. I am and will always be available to any judicial power that deals with this case, including federal courts in the United States.

Q: In your book, you write about international collusion in plans for a “silent coup.” Why wait until now to name the perpetrators?

RS: No. It is not true that I kept quiet. I gave interviews to the Brazilian and international press, in late December 2010 and early January 2011, mentioning this and other episodes. (See, for example, my interviews with the BBC [Portuguese] and Al Jazeera.) The problem is that the international press was manipulated during the electoral crisis and never had an interest in doing investigative journalism. In the interviews that I gave, and especially in my book (International Crossroads and Failures in Haiti), soon to be published in Brazil and other countries, I describe the electoral coup in great detail.

Furthermore, the vast majority of the elements I reveal, I discovered in a scientific research project over the past three years. Many questions were hanging in the air, without adequate answers. I believe I managed to connect the different views and actors, providing the reader a logical and consistent interpretation about what happened. We are dealing with a work that is required by the historical memory, without any shadow of revenge or settling of scores.

Q: You describe a “Core Group” who you say had decided who the next president of Haiti would be before the elections even took place. Who is in this Core Group, and what else can you tell us about them? What other kinds of decisions do they make for Haiti?

RS: As a coordination agency for the main foreign actors (states and international organizations) in Haiti, a limited Core Group (which includes Brazil, Canada, Spain, the United States, France, the UN, the OAS, and the European Union) is an indispensable and fundamental instrument in the relations between the international community and the Haitian government. I do not question its existence in itself. The majority of the decisions in which I participated as representative to the OAS in the Core Group during the years 2009 and 2010 were sensible and important.

However, I was able to verify that on November 28, 2010 [election day], in the absence of any discussion or decision about the matter, [then head of MINUSTAH] Edmond Mulet, speaking on behalf of the Core Group, tried to remove [then president of Haiti] René Préval from power and to send him into exile. Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince published a press release at 9 p.m. the same day dismissing the results of the vote and imposing its position on the whole Core Group.

On that Sunday, November 28, 2010, when visiting a voting center in the city of Léogane, at around 8:30 a.m., Mulet reiterated in interviews with radio and TV stations that everything was going normally, in spite of timely complaints by some voters who could not find their names in the list of the voting station where, as they thought, they were supposed to vote. According to Mulet,

In general everything is going well, everything is peaceful. I see a great passion of citizens and from citizens for democracy in this country. MINUSTAH is here. There is no reason to be frightened. It’s an electoral celebration. There are some small administrative problems, but no big problem that is going to reduce participation.

Only four hours after making these statements, Mulet convened the Core Group for an urgent meeting in view of an alleged crisis. Before the gathering started he confided in me, with some concern, in a natural and calm way, as if what he was about to tell me was in the order of things, that: “I just finished talking on the phone with Préval, informing him that an airplane would be at his disposal to leave the country. In forty-eight hours, at the latest—that is, until Tuesday, the 30th—Prevál will have to leave the presidency and abandon Haiti.”

I don’t know how I managed to hide my indignant surprise in the face of such an absurdity. I kept calm, hiding behind a false sense of casualness, in order to find out what had been Préval’s reaction. Mulet responded: “President Préval says he is not Aristide, but that he is Salvador Allende.” 1 And, sounding disheartened, Mulet concluded, in Spanish: “Ricardo, we are not doing very well.”

When [then Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max] Bellerive arrived at the meeting, he asked directly, without beating about the bush, bluntly: I would like to know whether President Prevál’s mandate is on the negotiation table? Yes or no?” He looked across the room at his audience, who remained in silence. A heavy and very long silence. Glances met. It was a moment of extreme seriousness. Well beyond the fate of the then-president, the response was going to be decisive, both for the future of Haiti and for the integrity of MINUSTAH.

Mulet’s words, Préval’s alleged reaction, and the assertions by some of those present—in apparent agreement with Préval’s departure, were all still echoing in me.

The presence of [OAS Assistant Secretary General] Albert Ramdin—a major official in the OAS present in the meeting—tied my hands and silenced my voice. What to do? In the face of Bellerive’s direct question, the exalted coup plotters of the Core Group fell silent; their words still echoing in the room. A sense of the unusual was met by cowardice. Yet, it was necessary to act quickly because the first action in this tense environment would guide the debate.

We were about to commit a moral disgrace and a gross political error. With the active and crucial participation of the international community, we would be once again throwing Haiti toward the precipice.

To break a silence that seemed to have no end, and convinced that I was interpreting basic principles and not mere circumstantial interests, I took the initiative and asked to speak. It was necessary to do so, for we were about to commit a moral disgrace and a gross political error. With the active and crucial participation of the international community, we would be once again throwing Haiti toward the precipice mentioned by the American Luigi R. Einaudi (then-Acting Secretary General of the OAS) during the February 2004 crisis. I did not even consider the possibility of unpleasant consequences, both personal and professional, that could affect me. It was the opposite. To oppose the absurdity that was intended by the international community appeared to me a simple obligation. A democratic conscience and the respect for the Haitian institutions guided my attitude. It was not going to be the OAS representative in Haiti who would speak. It would be the Brazilian and the university professor.

Taking care to state that I was speaking on my own behalf and not on behalf of the OAS, I told them that I was doing this out of a duty of loyalty to colleagues. Moreover, everyone knew the work I had done in Haiti in the preparation of the voter registry, in conditions of great difficulty. I had legitimacy, therefore, to speak. Essentially speaking to the non-Americans [i.e., those not from the Americas] present who, in theory, were not used to our political and judicial rules, I pointed out that In 2001, in the Americas, a document entitled the Inter-American Democratic Charter was signed. This Charter signals that any modification to the mandate of a democratically-elected president, outside of the constitutional precepts, should be considered to be a putsch.”

There was silence once again. A long and heavy silence. Before it got too long again, I looked at the Brazilian ambassador, who had positioned himself in front of me in this imaginary circle that we were forming, and asked: “I would like to know Brazil’s position.”

Igor Kipman said immediately: Brazil shares the same interpretation.”

I was relieved I was no longer alone. Next in line was the Argentinian Rodolfo Matarollo, the UNASUR [Union of South American Nations] representative, who made a similar statement. Looking desolate, [then-U.S. Ambassador to Haiti] Kenneth Merten was shaking his head, signalling his dissatisfaction with how the meeting was unfolding. When he broke his silence it was to recognize that the coup by the Core Group against Préval would fail and he said: We’re not going to talk about this anymore.”

After aborting the maneuver to repeat with Préval what had been done with Aristide in February 2004, I was confident in defending my position. Outraged by the prospect that presented itself and still shocked and stunned by what I was experiencing, I concluded that when it comes to Haiti, the international community does not have limits for the actions it takes. Legality and common sense had prevailed. Until when? My hopes were still alive and I did not notice that a common international front had formed that would decide the electoral path to be followed by Haiti.

Q: You suggest that the press conference held by the various presidential candidates—excluding the governing party’s candidate Jude Célestin—on the day of the election, calling for the vote to be annulled, was planned beforehand. If the Core Group already had a plan to bar a Célestin victory, why did all these candidates take part in the press conference? Were they unaware of the Core Group plan? Did the plan not involve any Haitian politicians? Was the plan always to have Martelly win, or was it simply to not let Célestin win?

RS: In my presence, the Core Group, until the fateful meeting in Edmond Mulet’s residence on the early afternoon of November 28, 2010, had not taken any decision or even discussed a strategy to give Martelly Haiti’s presidency. What did happen, constantly, was an undercutting of Jude Célestin’s candidacy. They accused him of being Préval’s son-in-law and of being his puppet. Mulet, despite having no evidence, said that ministers would travel to the countryside with “suitcases full of money to buy votes.”

Inite’s [the party of Préval and Célestin] electoral campaign, being a major political party and considering the situation, was also more visible, the most well organized and the one with the most resources. Later, these advantages would become disadvantages. The version of rampant corruption was gaining credibility.

The main leader in the process of dismantling the incumbent party’s candidacy was MINUSTAH’s chief himself. Mulet always spoke negatively when mentioning Jude Célestin. It was in this breeding ground that two major factors intervened during the day of the election. On the one hand, there was the gathering of twelve of the eighteen candidates denouncing an alleged electoral fraud and demanding the annulment of the election. On the other, and much more decisive, were the demonstrations—mostly peaceful—that supposedly forced the members of the Core Group to seek refuge in their homes. In that moment, a dilemma presented itself and the atavistic fear of foreigners reemerged: what to do if Martelly’s youth movement were to degenerate? Would MINUSTAH be willing to control it? Would it have the capacity? And at what cost?

Convinced that it would be less risky to retract itself, the Core Group decided to sacrifice the elections. Their cowardice served as an inexhaustible source of inspiration to throw away the hard work of thousands of individuals to organize the elections in extreme conditions. The logic of this strategy was to reward the main grave-diggers of the young Haitian democracy.

In short, for the international community, Haiti is not worth the trouble. Or better said, its recurring crises have made us grow accustomed to act, moved by principles that we always condemn. For someone who arrived in Haiti as a professor of democracy, our lessons leave much to be desired.

Q: What can you tell us about the OAS expert mission that intervened in Haiti’s elections? How were these “experts” chosen? How was their mandate to look at the results negotiated?

RS: There is little I can say since I was no longer in Haiti. I know that Brazil, Spain and the European Union pressured, in vain, to place their specialists in the OAS/CARICOM vote recount mission. The suggestion by the CEP Advisor Ginette Chérubin proposing the formation of a Special Verification Commission (SVC), fully independent from the executive and formed exclusively by Haitians, was not even considered, starting with President Préval. The nationalism and foreign non-interventionism underlying the formation of this SVC is not an item on the agenda. It would be the foreigners, and them exclusively, who were to define the will of the Haitian voter.

Although the foreign technicians, hired by the UNDP, were responsible for counting the votes, it was not enough. It was necessary to change the result of the first round. The only possibility was to annul the results in certain ballot boxes that favored Célestin. That way, he would fall back to third place at the same time that the candidate anointed by the international community would go on to participate in the second round, along with Mirlande Manigat.

After making the decision of transforming the OAS/CARICOM Observation mission into a vote recountingmission, it became necessary to sign an agreement to complement and reinforce the original one. A first draft of the agreement, written under the supervision of Albert Ramdin, OAS Deputy Secretary—in spite of the inevitable and very harsh conditions imposed on the Haitian electoral authorities—made explicit in the second article, in an unprecedented manner in the annals of the organization’s electoral cooperation, that the mission would be formed by specialists “chosen by the OAS Office of the Secretary General in consultation with the governments of Canada, France and the United States of America.”

What to everyone should be an unacceptable condition is an object of criticism by the European Union and Spain. However, the reserve soldiers do not interfere with the electoral diktat imposed on Haiti by the Imperial Trident (Canada, the United States, and France). Much to the contrary. The claims originated in Brussels and Madrid derived from the absence of any specific mention providing for the ex officio presence of their supposed specialists in being part of the new mission.

Insulza realizes that he should not allow—formally and legally—the recount mission to put itself at the exclusive service of the interests of three states, one of them not an OAS member. He then accepts Préval’s considerations to demand a new version of the agreement. The agreement changes in form; never in its objectives or contents. Rewritten, the supplementary agreement is signed on December 29 by Gaillot Dorsainvil, CEP President; by Jean-Max Bellerive and by the Chief of the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM), Colin Granderson.

Formed by nine individuals, two of them OAS career officials—from the United States and Chile—it is interesting to note the nationality of the others: there were three citizens from the United States, two from France, one from Canada, and one from Jamaica. The traditional powers that control Haitian politics reserved for themselves the lion’s share, since seven out of the nine participants were nationals from these countries.

Latin America, in turn, who aspired to play a dominant role, returned to her historical insignificance and was conspicuous by her absence. In effect, although Brazil tried to include one or two ministers from the Supreme Electoral Court in the recount mission, backed both by its financial contribution to the EOM as well as by the technical expertise of these individuals, the fact is that the OAS did not take into account the suggestion. It is very likely that the Brazilian presence would have made it difficult for the Imperial Trident to attain the mission’s political objectives.

Once the agreement was signed, there was the challenge of making it operational. This was a complex task since the mission, with its new clothes and functions, was to replace the country’s electoral authorities. Accordingly, it was essential to maintain the appearance that the CEP’s autonomy and independence remained unharmed. This “Corneille’s choice”2 was impossible to fulfill without the connivance of the CEP advisers, who opposed the maneuver.

The mission was to invent rules and principles that were nonexistent in the Haitian electoral regulations and entirely unknown in all other electoral systems.

The recount mission had two objectives. On the one hand, to get Jude Célestin out of the second round, and on the other, to impose this as if it were legal before the Haitian Constitution and Electoral Law. Given that there could be no doubt about the results of the recount, the mission was to invent rules and principles that were nonexistent in the Haitian electoral regulations and entirely unknown in all other electoral systems. We are talking about an unprecedented and innovative operation that will remain in the annals of electoral audits. Thus, it decided that no candidate could have more than 225 votes—even when the average number of registered voters was 460—in each polling station. It was of little importance what level of local and regional approval each candidate had.

Still unsatisfied, the mission applied this innovative method to the candidate Jude Célestin, dismissing ex officio those ballot boxes in which he obtained 225 or more votes. To maintain a good appearance, they decided, nonetheless, to eliminate some of the votes for Mirlande Manigat and Michel Martelly. Thus, 13,830 votes were eliminated from the former and 7,150 from the latter, while Jude Célestin saw 38,541 votes disappear, or 60 percent of all the votes that were eliminated.

Although having applied a revolutionary method, the recount, unfortunately, did not reach the percentages needed to reverse the official results announced by the CEP. Since it had already abandoned all qualms and principles, the mission decided then to reduce to 150 the cutoff for the votes going to Célestin. Next, they extrapolated the votes obtained in these ballot boxes to the other candidates through simple prorating. When the reversal of Célestin’s and Martelly’s places was accomplished, it decided it was satisfied and concluded the operation.

It was never a concern for the recount mission to identify the existence of fraud. It did not perform any analysis of the voting tallies, of the data transfer, or of the voters’ identity cards.

It also had no interest in auditing the results of the ballot boxes. Despite calling itself a recount instrument, it did not perform any audit of the votes or count of them. It simply acted until it reached its objective and decided its work was completed. Therefore, the number of votes obtained by each of the candidates will never be known.

Swiftly, promptly and in bad faith, on January 13 the EOM, equipped with its unprecedented powers and applying a methodology below any suspicion, decided that Mirlande Manigat remained in first place with 31.6 percent of the vote, with the second place now going to Michel Martelly (22.2 percent). Jude Célestin was relegated to third place, after obtaining 21.9 percent. There was a slight reversion of the percentages, enough to rid that candidate from the second round.

Once again, the international community had behaved in Haiti as if it were in conquered territory. It boldly put into practice, absent any legal, technical or moral basis, a white coup and a blatant electoral intervention.

Once its alleged recount work was over, and anticipating the official release of its recommendations to the Haitian authorities, the results of the recount mission were leaked out to the press through two international news agencies. Coinciding with the nationality of a good portion of the alleged experts in the mission, the American Associated Press (AP) and the French Agence France-Presse (AFP) were selected, agencies which lent themselves willingly to the maneuver. Since in this game no one is naïve, the leaks had the clear objective of becoming accomplished facts. Later they did.

In the fifty years of electoral cooperation offered by the OAS to the member states, it had never dared to adopt these procedures. It had never so evidently and shamelessly replaced not only the electoral authorities of the sponsoring state, but also the voters themselves.

The basic rules that guide the OAS observation and electoral monitoring missions were violated. Its procedures manual was not followed. As a result of the debacle of one of the most respected instruments of the American [i.e., Americas] system, the Director of the OAS Department of Electoral Cooperation, the Chilean Pablo Gutiérrez, presented his resignation.

This episode marked the OAS with a permanent stain and became the most regretful, though little known, event in [OAS Secretary General] José Miguel Insulza’s administration.

One cannot disagree with René Préval when, faced with the ratification of the election of a candidate imposed by the United States through the international community, he asked himself: In this case, why were elections held?”


Georgianne Nienaber is a freelance writer and author and frequent contributor to the Huffington PostDan Beeton is International Communications Director at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and a frequent contributor to its Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch blog.

A full version of the interview is available at CEPR and the LA Progressive.

Notes

1. Haiti’s democratically-elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was flown out of Haiti in 2004 in what he called a “kidnapping in the service of a coup d’etat.” Chile’s democratically-elected president Salvador Allende committed suicide in the presidential palace during the country’s September 11, 1973 coup.

2. French expression referring to a difficult choice.

Glenn Greenwald’s piece on manipulation of the Internet by intelligence agencies gives examples – based upon documents leaked by Edward Snowden – of how governments disrupt social media websites.

Other whistleblowers have provided very specific information about how agents disrupt social media news sites.

This essay will focus one specific technique: the “Counter Reset”.

To explain the Counter Reset technique, we have to understand the concepts of “momentum” and “social proof”.

Specifically, the government spends a great deal of manpower and money to monitor which stories, memes and social movements are developing the momentum to actually pose a threat to the status quo.  For example, the Federal Reserve, PentagonDepartment of Homeland Security, and other agencies all monitor social media for stories critical of their agencies … or the government in general.   Other governments – and private corporations – do the same thing.

Why?

Because a story gaining momentum ranks high on social media sites.  So it has a high probability of bursting into popular awareness, destroying the secrecy which allows corruption, and becoming a real challenge to the powers-that-be.

“Social proof” is a related concept.  Social proof is the well-known principle stating that people will believe something if most other people believe it. And see this.  In other words, most people have a herd instinct, so if a story ranks highly, more people are likely to believe it and be influenced by it.

That is why vested interests go to great lengths – using computer power and human resources – to monitor social media momentum.   If a story critical of one of these powerful entities is gaining momentum, they will go to great lengths to kill its momentum, and destroy the social proof which comes with alot of upvotes, likes or recommendations in social media.

They may choose to flood social media with comments supporting the entities, using armies of sock puppets, i.e. fake social media identities. See thisthisthisthis and this. Or moderators at the social media sites themselves can just censor the stories.

Or they can be more sneaky … and do a Counter Reset to destroy momentum.

Giving specific examples will illustrate the technique.   Reddit moderators have continuously reset the counter over the last couple of days on the new Greenwald/Snowden story, to destroy momentum which would otherwise have guaranteed that the story was the top story.

Similarly, the owners of popular Youtube channels have repeatedly reported that Counter Resets are done on their most controversial news stories.

The attractiveness of the Counter Reset from a moderator’s perspective is that it destroys momentum, while leaving some plausible deniability.

If users point out that the story keeps getting spiked, the moderator can say that it hasn’t been censored, but instead that the moderators have allowed it to stay up (with periodic Counter Resets along the way).

Alternatively – if the moderators have continuously deleted the story each time it is posted – the moderators can say that it has been posted “numerous times”, and pretend that shows that they are letting the story gather momentum, when they are in fact deleting it again and again.  For example, when hundreds of Redditors complained yesterday that the Greenwald/Snowden story kept getting deleted, moderators chimed in on every thread proclaiming that the story had run multiple times … without admitting that it had been deleted each time.

Now that you know about the Counter Reset, watch your favorite social media sites to see how this technique is used for the hardest-hitting stories and videos which directly challenge the legitimacy of the powers-that-be.

President Obama has placed whole nations on his Kill List. Syria and Venezuela are to join Libya and Iraq as states that have been made to fail, while Ukraine is snatched into the NATO-EU orbit. “The neo-conservative project for a new American century has reached full fruition under a Democratic president, who now has many notches on his gun.”

The word imperialism fell into disuse in recent decades. If it seems slightly retro, that is only because there aren’t enough Americans committed to telling the ugly truth about their government.

During the cold war era we were told that communism increased in influence via a domino effect, knocking down nations one by one and forcing them into Moscow’s or Beijing’s orbit. In the 21st century there is a new domino theory which puts every part of the world into America’s cross hairs.

Barack Obama has succeeded in expanding America’s influence in ways that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney could only dream about. The neo-conservative project for a new American century has reached full fruition under a Democratic president, who now has many notches on his gun. He and the rest of the NATO leaders began the trail of destruction with Libya, tearing that country asunder under the guise of saving it.

Using lies and their servants in the corporate media, they constructed a tale of a tyrant and a people yearning for protection. That evil success emboldened them and their gulf monarchy allies further and they decided that Syria would be the next domino.

That plan didn’t work quite as well as Obama and the rest of murder incorporated team thought it would. When the British parliament said no to new military adventures Obama was left sputtering on national television. He was forced to back down from an adamant position he had taken just days earlier.

The semi-comedic setback was only temporary because the monster must be fed at all cost. The system can no longer sustain itself and brute force is the only out. There is nothing old fashioned about imperialism. This malevolent force is still alive and well.

George W. Bush made efforts to overthrow the democratically elected Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela when he plotted with the opposition against the late Hugo Chavez. Obama is clearly more committed to violence than his predecessor and has helped to stir up right wing Venezuelans who want to rid themselves of Nicolas Maduro. Maduro has been weakened by the ginned up protests and is now forced into talks with an opposition that won’t be satisfied until he is dead and gone too.

The Venezuelan people have voted for their revolution numerous times. The U.S., a country that never ceases to call itself a democracy, has thwarted their clearly expressed will time and time again. But that is the essence of empire after all.

While armed force against Syria was temporarily blocked, the West, the Persian gulf monarchies, Israel, and jihadists have not given up their effort to topple the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria. The savage war has made thousands of Syrians homeless and starving refugees, all because the empire needs its next domino.

Not only does United States meddles in its own backyard, it also relentlessly interferes on the other side of the world in far away Ukraine. Popular discontent against that country’s president became a successful effort to bring that country into the western sphere of economic influence but with the awful strings of austerity attached. Ukraine has the choice of going bankrupt or being bailed out and dying a slow death a la Greece.

While the machinations were afoot, president Obama warned Vladimir Putin away with threats of sanctions. The scenes of sometimes violent street protests in Ukraine made a fortuitous tableau for the United States which claimed the infamous “responsibility to protect” which never protects anyone who actually needs help and which has brought so much suffering to people around the world. Every invasion, occupation and disruption in recent years can be laid at the feet of the United States and its allies. Iraq has been destroyed quite literally, Iran has been destroyed economically. Libya was taken out and Syria is on the brink.

The United States quite openly makes it clear that it wants to have its way in the world. If Russia attempts to use its influence then it is vilified and caricatured as a cruel dictatorship controlled by a tyrant. No matter how many elections Chavez and now Maduro won, they are called dictators by American talking heads.

A superpower can foment conflict anywhere it wants to at anytime it chooses. Venezuelans must knuckle under or face the prospect of more turmoil and violence. Ukraine must sign onto economic policies which have already proven disastrous. The United States leaves its fingerprints in these and many other places and that is the essence of imperialism. It is all about control with the rawest brute force available.

The United States hasn’t officially made Venezuela or any other a colony but it doesn’t have to do that. It just has to show that it is boss and the dominos will fall wherever it chooses.

Margaret Kimberley‘s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. 

Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

Oleh Tyahnybok, Svoboda Party

Attempts to set up a government by the Western-backed Ukrainian opposition forces that seized power in Saturday’s fascist putsch have collapsed amid rising demands for social attacks on the working class from Washington and the European Union (EU), and military tensions with Russia.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton left Kiev yesterday after two days of fruitless talks attempting to bring the different opposition parties together in a government. The putsch, cynically hailed by the Western media as a struggle for democracy, is proving to be an operation to forcibly install a filthy dictatorship of imperialist finance capital. Opposition officials estimated this week that Ukraine needs up to $35 billion to refinance its debts. However, the major international banks have effectively cut off credit to Ukraine, charging ruinously high interest rates that it cannot afford. Meanwhile, Russia has withdrawn its offer of $15 billion in aid after the putsch toppled Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovych.

EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials are demanding austerity measures, such as deep cuts to state subsidies for consumer energy prices, in exchange for a $1or 2 billion payment to stave off immediate bankruptcy. Yanukovych rejected a planned association agreement with the EU entailing such cuts last autumn—the decision which led to the opposition protests against him—fearing that the cuts might lead to social upheavals that would bring down his regime.

Now, the pro-Western opposition, supported by gangs of fascist thugs from the Svoboda party and the neo-Nazi Right Sector group, is trying to push this reactionary, anti-democratic agenda through. Arseniy Yatsenyuk of billionaire oligarch Yulya Tymoshenko’s Fatherland Party, whom Washington has identified as its preferred right-wing figurehead in Ukraine, called on the opposition to join government and do the banks’ bidding despite popular opposition. “This is about political responsibility. You know to be in this government is to commit political suicide, and we need to be very frank and open,” Yatsenyuk told reporters outside Parliament.

Such remarks underscore that the opposition aims to run roughshod over the Ukrainian people, trying to use violently anti-working class forces like Svoboda or Right Sector, which openly glorify Nazism and the Holocaust, to crush whatever popular opposition emerges.

Reports of broader public opinion in Ukraine indicate popular hostility not only to Yanukovych, but also to the leading opposition oligarch, Tymoshenko. One woman told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, “They are all crooks, the ones like the other, and Yulya [Tymoshenko] is no better.”

Tensions are escalating with Russia over the Western powers’ move to snatch Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence. In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry attacked US and EU policy in Ukraine as driven “not by a concern for the fate of Ukraine, but by unilateral geopolitical calculations … A course has been set to use dictatorial and sometimes terrorist methods to suppress dissenters in various regions.”

Speaking to Interfax on Monday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev denounced the putsch in Kiev. He said, “Strictly speaking, there is no one to talk to there. The legitimacy of a whole host of government bodies raises huge doubts … If people crossing Kiev in black masks and Kalashnikov rifles are considered a government, it will be difficult for us to work with such a government.”

Medvedev added, however, that Russia would honor legally-binding energy contracts to provide Ukraine with natural gas. “Those agreements which are legally binding must be honored. We are not cooperating with personalities or isolated individuals. These are inter-state relations. We are neighbors, close nations, and we cannot run away from one another. Whatever has been signed must be honored. For us, Ukraine remains a serious and important partner.”

The opposition has abolished the status of Russian—which is widely spoken, particularly in the east of Ukraine—as an official language. There is widespread fear of possible fighting, including Russian intervention, if opposition forces in Kiev attempt to conquer the east or take over Russian military installations in the Crimea.

NATO commander in Europe General Philip Breedlove spoke with Russian Chief of General Staff General Valery Gerasimov in a tense exchange on Monday, in which both “expressed concern over the situation in Ukraine.”

Such remarks highlight the bankruptcy of the Russian regime of President Vladimir Putin, and the disastrous geo-strategic implications of the Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the USSR, 23 years ago. Dependent on Ukrainian pipelines to transport its natural gas to European markets, the Kremlin oligarchy has no more popular base than the corrupt Yanukovych regime. It is vulnerable to similar right-wing provocations by middle class opposition forces or internal ethnic conflicts, such as the one in Chechnya, fueled by the United States and its allies. To the extent that it tries to use its military machine to block the offensive of imperialism’s far-right proxies, Moscow only runs the risk of triggering all-out war with NATO.

The only way forward is to mobilize the working class in Ukraine and internationally against the imperialist powers’ drive to impose far-right, neo-colonial regimes throughout the former USSR. In the absence of this, the imperialist powers will simply press ahead with mobilizing right-wing, middle class forces to destabilize the entire region, ultimately aiming to dismember Russia. The ex-Soviet republic of Georgia, whose US-backed government fought a brief war with Russia in 2008 after attacking Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia, is now applying for a EU association agreement like that turned down in Ukraine by Yanukovych.

In yesterday’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, Lilia Shevtsova of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think-tank in Moscow indicated that pro-Western opposition forces are preparing for operations like the Ukrainian putsch throughout the territories of the former USSR, including in Russia itself.

Praising the fascist-led putsch in Kiev in Orwellian fashion as “a new form of national self-realization, with its own leaders and heroes,” and calling for Ukraine to join NATO, she wrote: “Ukraine proved to be the weakest link in the post-Soviet chain. One must keep in mind that similar uprisings are also possible in other countries.”

Pointing to the foreign policy of German President Joachim Gauck, who has called for Germany to abandon restraints on its foreign and military policies observed since the fall of the Nazi regime, Shevtsova raised the possibility that Berlin might support similar operations against Russia.

She wrote, “One can therefore hope that the Ukrainians will not be disappointed in Europe again, and also that the democratic forces in Russia will be able to overcome their current disappointment with Europe.”

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel released a five-year budget plan for the Pentagon Monday which calls for restoring all the cuts in future military spending contained in the current spending deal between the Obama administration and congressional Republicans.

The plan takes as its point of departure the $496 billion in spending authorization for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins October 1, 2014, set under the bipartisan budget deal last December. This does not include an additional $80 billion in spending on the war in Afghanistan, set aside in an overseas contingency operations fund.

Thereafter, however, the budget plan assumes that the sequester cuts for FY 2016 and subsequent years will not take effect. Hagel and Dempsey warned that those cuts would dramatically worsen the readiness and effectiveness of the US military, essentially demanding that Congress rescind them, which would add $115 billion to military spending over the five-year period.

While the Hagel plan has been portrayed in the American media as a drastic scaling back of the US military—with headlines focusing on the cutback in total Army personnel to a level last seen before World War II—the real content of the budget is a shift in the military strategy of American imperialism.

Instead of protracted wars of occupation like Iraq and Afghanistan, involving hundreds of thousands of ground troops stationed overseas for many years, the Pentagon restructuring is geared to different types of warfare envisioned in coming decades.

The Pentagon plan would reduce the size of the active-duty military by 13 percent and the reserve force by 5 percent, but it would increase the size of US Special Forces by 6 percent, adding about 3,000 troops. These are the units that have been deployed to Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and other strife-torn countries in Africa and the Middle East, in addition to the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

At the other end of the combat spectrum, the Pentagon plan is geared to a major war against China, which would involve attacks by sea, air and cyberspace, with less emphasis on significant ground combat on the Asian mainland, the only form of battle in which China, with its enormous manpower, might have an advantage.

A war against Iran would be a lesser example of the same type of conflict and could perhaps serve as a trial run: instead of a land invasion of a country four times the size of Iraq, with three times the population, the preferred strategy of US imperialism involves crippling the country with air, sea and cyberwar attacks, accompanied by a blockade to strangle its economy and starve the Iranian people.

Such strategic considerations explain many of the decisions outlined by Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a press conference Monday.

Hagel proposed, for example, to eliminate the entire fleet of Air Force A-10 attack aircraft, originally designed to destroy Soviet tanks in the event of a full-scale conventional war in central Europe. The A-10 is currently used as air support for ground troops in Afghanistan, but this capability would be replaced by increasing the number of Apache helicopter gunships, shifting all those now in use by the National Guard to the regular Army.

The Navy is being reconfigured for military operations in the Western Pacific, as part of the overall “pivot to Asia,” which will increase the proportion of US military assets deployed in the Asia-Pacific region from the present 50 percent to 60 percent or more.

Hagel proposes to develop a new frigate design that would likely replace the littoral combat ship, or LCS, which was originally developed for naval operations in critical waterways like Strait of Malacca, through which much of China’s trade and fuel supplies pass. Four US littoral combat ships were stationed last year at Singapore, but new orders for such ships are being halted.

At the press conference, Hagel hinted that the modernization of Chinese naval forces had made the LCS obsolete. “We need to closely examine whether the LCS has the protection and firepower to survive against a more advanced military adversary and emerging new technologies, especially in the Asia Pacific,” he said.

Hagel warned more generally that many US military advantages were being eroded. “The development and proliferation of more advanced military technologies by other nations mean that we are entering an era where American dominance on the seas, in the skies and in space can no longer be taken for granted,” he told reporters.

Hagel proposed the retention of all 11 US aircraft carriers, rejecting a proposal to mothball one carrier for budgetary reasons. But he warned that if Congress did not rescind the sequester cuts, such a reduction in carrier strength would be unavoidable. To underscore this blackmail threat, he ordered the carrier USS George Washington to enter long-term refitting this year, a process that could become an outright scrapping in the unlikely event Congress fails to pay up.

In addition, the Pentagon plan would retain 11 naval cruisers, previously scheduled for retirement, and modernize them to extend their life as air-defense platforms.

At the press conference and in subsequent meetings with congressional leaders, Hagel and Dempsey focused attention on the need for fiscal discipline, by which they meant, not significantly scaling back the gargantuan American military machine, and limiting its worldwide operations, but carrying out a program of military aggression more cheaply and efficiently. “This is a time for reality,” Hagel said. “This is a budget that recognizes the reality of the magnitude of our fiscal challenges …”

In practice, this means cutting subsidies and benefits for military servicemen and veterans. “Personnel costs reflect some 50% of the Pentagon budget and cannot be exempted in the context of the significant cuts the department is facing,” Adm. John Kirby, the Defense Department’s top spokesman, told the press. “Secretary Hagel has been clear that, while we do not want to, we ultimately must slow the growth of military pay and compensation.”

The Pentagon plan calls for a symbolic one-year pay freeze for general and flag officers, while the 1 percent raise for lower ranks, provided in December’s budget deal, will go forward. Retired military personnel will pay more for their health care, up from 8 percent to 11 percent of the total cost, although this figure remains far below the share that most civilian workers pay. Other changes in retirement benefits will await the outcome of a special commission studying military pensions, to report in 2015.

There will be significant cuts in subsidies for military commissaries at US bases, which will fall from $1.4 billion to $500 million. Housing subsidies will be capped, meaning that military personnel will begin to pay a greater share of the cost, as rents and utility charges rise.

Meanwhile, the gravy train continues for the giant corporations that have drunk deeply at the Pentagon’s trough. Notably, stock prices for defense contractors like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics rose Monday in the wake of Hagel’s press conference.

According to one analysis, the Pentagon will end a four-year scaling back in weapons purchases and research and development, areas where most of the spending goes to US-based corporations. One key initiative is for a new and more fuel-efficient jet engine, where General Electric is a prime contractor. Hagel also reaffirmed future purchases of Lockheed’s F-35 jet fighter, the most expensive warplane ever built.

Washington y el Vaticano andan mano en la mano

February 26th, 2014 by Oscar Fortin

Washington, centro del poder del imperio, se interesa especialmente al Estado del Vaticano, centro del poder religioso y político de los católicos en el mundo.

Bajo los dos últimos papas, la alianza entre estos dos poderes fue especialmente intensa e indefectible. Se tiene que pensar en la entrega por el Presidente G.W. Bush de la medalla de libertad al papa Juan-Pablo II o también a este aniversario de Benedicto XVI, celebrado en los jardines de la Casa-Blanca. Para quienes querrían ver todas las ramificaciones y sutilezas, les invito a que lean este otro artículo que encontrarán aquí.

La llegada del papa Francisco no está sin suscitar algunas inquietudes en Washington. Su amor de los pobres se vuelve cada vez más molestoso, sobre todo porque comienza a identificar las causas estructurales, entre ellas, el capitalismo salvaje, el individualismo, la codicia y las ambiciones de poder. Las desigualdades sociales son cada vez más evidentes y la paz por las armas no puede sino engendrar más guerras.

Washington no sabría permanecer los brazos cruzados como si no pasaría nada. Necesita colocar a sus hombres, como lo hace en la mayoría de los Gobiernos del mundo, con quienes podrá contar en puestos estratégicos del poder. En el Vaticano, son los puestos cerca del papa. Lo más importante de éstos, después del puesto papal, es él del Secretario de Estado del Vaticano, un puesto central, como él de un Primer Ministro. Ahí tienes lo que dice la Constitución Pastor Bonus :

«Son competencia suya las relaciones diplomáticas de la Santa Sede con los Estados, e incluido el establecimiento de Concordatos o acuerdos similares, la representación de la Santa Sede cerca de las conferencias y organismos internacionales; en circunstancias particulares, bajo mandato del Soberano Pontífice y después de la consulta de los Dicasterios competentes de la Curia, la preparación de los nombramientos en las Iglesias particulares, así como la constitución de estas últimas o su modificación; los nombramientos de los obispos en los países que han concluido con la Santa Sede tratados o acuerdos de derecho internacional, en colaboración con las Congregaciones para los Obispos. »

En el momento de escribir estas líneas, en junio pasado, este puesto de Secretario de Estado del Vaticano no estaba aún colmado y la suerte del cardenal hondureño, Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga, presentido por varios para este puesto, no estaba aún sellada. Desde entonces, el nuncio apostólico en Venezuela, Pietro Parolin, ha sido nombrado Secretario de Estado del Vaticano y el cardenal Maradiaga fue nombrado Coordinador del Comité especial para aconsejar al papa sobre la reforma de la Curia romana. Nombramientos que tienen ciertamente sus secretos. Los dos personajes mas importantes, Pierto Parolin, secretario del Estado del Vaticano y el cardinal Mardiaga, brazo derecho del papa Françisco, tienen en comun el no compartir el socialismo de la revolucion bolivariana.

¿QUIEN ES PUES ESE CARDINAL DE HONDURAS?

Se trata obviamente de un personaje importante en la Iglesia y, a no subestimar, en la geopolítica de América Latina. En varias ocasiones el papa le significó que había toda su confianza.

Ya en 2005, en el Cónclave para elegir al sucesor del papa Juan-Pablo II, estaba en la lista de los candidatos serios para el papado. En la época, se había adquirido una determinada reputación de un cardenal próximo a los pobres y simpático a la corriente de pensamiento de la teología de la liberación.

Esta reputación se evaporó rápidamente cuando se asoció, en 2009, a los golpistasquiénes se apoderaron, por la fuerza, de los poderes del Estado Hondureño, expulsando por las armas al Presidente legítimamente elegido, Manuel Zelaya. Este 28 de junio de 2009 habrá sido determinante para descubrir detrás de este cardenal de los pobres, el aliado indefectible de Washington y de las oligarquías nacionales.

Estos acontecimientos reflejaron el personaje político del cardenal. Sabemos que la decisión del golpe de Estado fue, antetodo, motivada por el hecho de que el Presidente Zelaya se había juntado al grupo de la Alianza bolivariana para los pueblos de nuestra América – Tratado de comercio de los Pueblos (ALBA – TCP).

“En primer lugar evocada por Hugo Chávez, presidente de Venezuela, en una cumbre, en diciembre de 2001, de los Jefes de Estado de la Comunidad caribéenne, el ALBA fue lanzada oficialmente en abril de 2005, con la firma del “Tratado comercial del pueblo ” entre Cuba y Venezuela. Desde entonces, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica y Honduras se asociaron a esa iniciativa, que miraba en primer lugar a promover una alternativa a la ZLEA (Zona de libre comercio de las Américas) promovida por Washington. »

Se trataba por los putschistas, de un paso a no dar de parte del presidente Zelaya con el ALBA.

Los habituados de la reciente historia de América Latina saben muy bien que ningún golpe de Estado sería posible sin el acuerdo y el apoyo de la Iglesia institucional. Honduras no escapa a esta norma.

El cardenal Maradiaga ha sido implicado en encuentros preparatorios a este golpe de Estado. Él no podía ignorar que el motivo oficial alegado para derrocar al Presidente legítimo era inconsiste. De hecho, se trataba de una consulta no vinculante en cuanto a la pertinencia de hacer votar, en una cuarta urna, la formación de una asamblea constituyente para elaborar una nueva constitución.

El presidente Zelaya no estaba en la lista de los candidatos a la presidencia. Este echo no modificó en nada el apoyo del cardenal a este golpe de Estado militar, juzgado totalmente legal por él y la conferencia de los Obispos.

Además, no podía ignorar que la firma al pié de la supuesta carta de dimisión del Presidente era una falsificación de su firma y una maniobra injusta para hacer tragar esta culebra (de golpe de Estado) por la opinión mundial. Lejos de denunciar el carácter criminal, hizo como si no pasaba nada.

Durante todo el período de represión que siguió, se hizo muy silencioso sobre los crímenes cometidos. Periodistas han sido asesinados y dirigentes sindicales eliminados. No se lo vio levarse en contra de los militares y estas élites que llevaban al Estado como bien les parecían.

De parte de un supuesto simpatizante de la teología de la liberación, como algunos les gustaban decirlo, era un vuelco a la democracia y a los dejados por cuenta.

Su sectarismo y sus escogencias ideológicas se revelaron plenamente en la homilía que pronunció, el 3 de febrero de 2010, con motivo de la misa de Acción de gracia en el honor del nuevo presidente, Porfirio Lobo. He aquí un extracto de estas palabras elogiosas que tuvo con respeto al principal golpista, Roberto Micheletti:

« Hoy es un día especial para dar gracias a Dios, por la Virgen María, para nuestro Honduras, para la libertad, la soberanía y la independencia que Don Roberto Micheletti supo defender con las fuerzas armadas y al lado de millares de Hondureños que quieren formar parte de las soluciones, no de los problemas ».

El 10 de febrero de 2010, añadía en presencia de los nuevos electos:

“Alégrense, queridos hermanos y queridas hermanas, Ustedes que deben dirigir este país. Dios los ha elegido, ya que Dios bendice Honduras”.
“Queremos que reinen entre nosotros la comunión, la fraternidad, la reconciliación y la paz”.

“Nos alegramos en el Señor cuando un Hondureño respeta otro que piensa diferentemente, cuando nosotros no nos tratamos como enemigos, pero como hermanos, cuando nos miramos en los ojos y reconocemos a los hijos de Dios, de un mismo padre, de Honduras y de Nuestra Señora de Suyapa”.

“Somos llenos de esperanza, ya que sabemos que el humanismo cristiano guiará esta nueva etapa de Honduras, y deseamos poder colaborarlo todos en este proyecto para el bien de la nación”.

He aquí un discurso que merecería por sí solo un análisis profundo. No obstante, se puede plantearse desde ahora una cuestión de fondo. ¿Por qué no haber tenido este discurso ante las oligarquías y los golpistas, antes de cometer sus crímenes, en junio de 2009? Lejos de allí, él sugiere incluso que los electos de Dios, que son los nuevos dirigentes oligárquicos, sean los auténticos portadores del humanismo cristiano y que los otros, los que los precedieron, no eran ni los electos de Dios, ni los portadores del humanismo cristiano. Ya se ve por donde va el cardenal.

Les refiero a un artículo, escrito sobre el tema en julio de 2009. También hay este debate que suscitó la invitación del Instituto Católico de París al cardenal Maradiaga para hacerlo Doctor Honoris Causa. Sobre esta cuestión, les refiero también a este artículo de Golias. Esta ceremonia, a raíz de las numerosas protestas, fue cancelada.

Estamos obviamente lejos de la presentación que nos hace Wikipédia. Todo no se para allí. Se convirtió en el hombre clave de Washington para sus relaciones con la Iglesia y América Latina.

UNA ESTRATEGIA PARA VOLVER A TOMAR EL PODER

Numerosos acontecimientos y varios análisis permiten descodificar una estrategia de intervención que transforma en salvador a quien no lo es y en diablos a los otros. Podríamos llamarla la estrategia de los dos extremos con miras a crear el espacio necesario para que un nuevo salvador pase por el medio.

Sabemos por experiencia de vida que entre dos extremos, hay siempre quienes hacen figura de gran sensatez y que se presentan como una alternativa razonable a estos dos polos extremos. Para eso, es necesario y obvio que existan estos dos extremos o por falta de existencia, es necesario crearlos.

El ejemplo perfecto para hacer comprender bien este enfoque me viene del discurso desarrollado por algunas autoridades eclesiales. Últimamente, el papa Francisco en su exhortación apostólica “Evangelii Gaudium” denunció con fuerza uno de estos extremos, representados por estas fuerzas ocultas de las finanzas y de la economía que reduce la persona humana a residuos para la basura. El nombre de este extremo es el capitalismo y el imperialismo.

¿Mientras tanto, qué permanece como alternativas? Inevitablemente varios portarán sus miradas sobre los países emergentes de América Latina que se inspiran en un socialismo que definen del siglo XXI. Ahora bien, este socialismo, lo sabemos, es la bestia negra de los episcopados latinoamericanos y coincidentemente de los Estados Unidos, los cuales son lugares y sitios del imperio.

Se plantea entonces la cuestión de saber cómo, sin negar las pláticas del papa Francisco, deshacerse de esta alternativa más bien molesta para el episcopado latinoamericano y para el imperio con quien coopera.

Aquí, entra en acción nuestro cardenal Maradiaga. He aquí un extracto de la entrevista concedida a periodistas, en su paso por Berlín en enero pasado. En esta entrevista, añade más sobre las declaraciones del papa hablando del fracaso de la globalización y de la corrupción endémica que alcanza a todos los dirigentes latinoamericanos. En el mismo soplo, hace igual con el socialismo del siglo XXI que asocia a Venezuela y que califica no solamente de fracaso, sino de un “gran” fracaso.” ¿Qué persiste entonces, si no es la llegada de una primavera latinoamericana que hará aparecer nuevas figuras para una nueva gobernanza? Un espacio necesario para que Washington y sus aliados, bajo exteriores de un renacimiento, vuelvan a tomar el control de los Gobiernos, bajo la forma, sin duda, de un humanismo cristiano, versión Maradiaga.

Religión digital da cuenta de una entrevista concedida por el cardenal a periodistas, bajo el título: Maradiaga: “La globalización fue un fracaso: es una mascarada para un monopolio disimulado” Traduzco para ustedes el informe en español.

“En un encuentro con los periodistas en Berlín, Rodríguez Maradiaga, Salesiano y el Presidente de Cáritas Internacional, consideró que la política en América Latina se convirtió en una “industria” dónde lo principal es el beneficio personal de la clase dirigente y no la búsqueda del bien común.

Esta situación generó una corrupción increíble, acompañada de una gran “impunidad” causando profundas desigualdades que dividen el subcontinente, uno de los problemas principales de América latina.

Eso conduce a la tentación de otro tipo de gobernanzadando el ejemplo de Venezuela, cuyo sistema igualmente es un gran fracaso y que, a su modo de ver, implica la misma corrupción, pero bajo otra cara.

“¿Para cuándo la llegada de una primavera latinoamericana, se preguntó el cardenal Hondureño, haciendo la aproximación con lo que pasó con las revoluciones que tomaron su despegue en 2011 en el mundo árabe?”

Aquí, la mesa está puesta para que el imperio, amante de esta democracia sobre la cual detiene el máximo control, se implique y haga posible las condiciones para una revolución cuyo primer objetivo consistirá en poner fin a este socialismo del siglo XXI y volver a tomar el control de los Estados.

Es necesario decir que el cardenal no perdió tiempo a analizar lo que pasa en Bolivia, en Ecuador e incluso en Venezuela. No tomó más tiempo para detenerse en la dinámica de los organismos regionales como MERCOSUR, UNASUR, CELAC, ALBA, etc. En resumen, él no ve que ya existe una primavera latinoamericana en plena extensión, una primavera que se realiza no por la violencia, los saqueos y los homicidas sino por la resistencia y la democracia. De esta primavera, el cardenal prefiere no hablar, ignorándola y fundiéndola en lo genérico de “toda América Latina” corrompida. Asi, Lula, Dilma Rousseff, José Mujica, Rafael Correa, Evoi Morales, Hugo Chavez y ahora Nicolas Maduro son todos corruptos.

Nos salta a la vista que la intervención del cardenal se sitúa en el marco de un plan global, seguramente establecido por Washington y algunas autoridades eclesiales, de las cuales forma parte.

Así pues, el gran lobo malévolo de la globalización volverá a ser, esta vez, vestido de la ropa del Buen Pastor, el salvador de un mundo corroído por la corrupción y la utopía engañosa. Sin perder nada de sus prerrogativas anteriores, sabrá dar a todas sus intervenciones el aspecto de la moderación y de una gran sensatez. Los socialistas malévolos habrán sido borrados del mapa y los capitalistas sin conciencia habrán encontrado su lugar bajo exteriores más encantadores y humanos. Igualmente, sin duda, más generoso con Cáritas Internacional.

El papa emérito Benedicto XVI, en su libro “Jesús de Nazaret, volumen 1”, habla también de una falta de alternativa a este capitalismo, guardándose, no obstante, de hablar de esta alternativa que puede representar el socialismo del siglo XXI, en vigor en Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela y Nicaragua. Nos recomienda más bien, inspirado del profeta Ezequiel 9,4, el ejemplo de los que “gimen y que claman á causa de todas las abominaciones que se hacen en medio de la ciudad ». Se trata de hombres y mujeres que no gritan con “los lobos y que no son cómplices de las injusticias”.

« a estas personas que no se dejan entrenar a hacerse cómplices de la injusticia que se ha convertido natural, sino que al contrario la padecen. Incluso, si no es en su poder de cambiar en su conjunto esta situación, oponen al reino del mal la resistencia pasiva del sufrimiento, la tristeza que asigna un límite al poder del mal” (p.108).

El cardenal Maradiaga, hombre de acción, no lo entiende de esta manera. Declara, de su autoridad episcopal y sin otras explicaciones que su personal convicción, que el régimen en desarrollo en Venezuela es un gran fracaso y que el tiempo ya vino para abrir la vía a esta primavera latinoamericana. Se guarda bien de reclamar esta primavera para su país, el Honduras. Uno de los países más pobres y dónde la violencia es la más grande. Es más fácil para él de hablar de América Latina en su conjunto y de Venezuela en su particular.

No cabe duda de que los últimos acontecimientos de violencia en Venezuela, que tomaron su despegue el 12 de febrero último, se presentan como una respuesta a su llamada para una primavera latinoamericana.

Washington, con tal hombre eclesiástico, puede dormir en paz en su lucha para reconquistar los países que se liberaron de su poder de dominación. No es sorprendente que los episcopados latinoamericanos se asocien a este movimiento de reconquista del imperio.

El cardenal se convertirá en el profeta que habrá anunciado el día de la liberación de los pueblos de América Latina. La violencia, el saqueo y los muertos harán obviamente parte, para estos nuevos liberadores, de los daños colaterales o, si se puede hacerlo creer, de una represión excesiva por parte de los gobiernos.

Los medios de comunicación, bien rodados al pensamiento único, sabrán formatear los espíritus para decir que América Latina vive tiempos nuevos. Seguramente como fue el caso en Irak, Libia, Egipto, y ahora en Siria.

Con el cardenal Maradiaga y el Secretario de Estado del Vaticano, Pietro Parolin, solidarios del episcopado venezolano, Washington y el Vaticano caminan mano en mano. ¡Qué el pueblo venezolano y todos los demás que avanzan por el mismo camino se lo tengan por dicho!!!

En relación con los datos objetivos de la evolución social, económica y política del país les refiero al un estudio que nos da por gráficos lo antes de Chavez y lo a partir de Chavez. Datos que el cardenal debería tomar en cuenta cuando dice que el régimen de Venezuela es un gran fracaso. Esos datos, lejos de confirmar lo que dice el cardenal, confirman mas bien todo lo contrario.

Oscar Fortin
Québec, el 20 de febrero 2014
http://blogs.periodistadigital.com/humanismo-de-jesus.php
http://humanisme.blogspot.com

Traductor : Marius Morin

Come la Nato ha scavato sotto l’Ucraina

February 26th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

«Ben scavato, vecchia talpa!»: così Marx descriveva il lavoro preparatorio della rivoluzione a metà Ottocento. La stessa immagine può essere usata oggi, in senso rovesciato, per decrivere  l’operazione condotta dalla Nato in Ucraina. Essa inizia quando nel 1991, dopo il Patto di Varsavia, si disgrega anche l’Unione Sovietica: al posto di un unico stato se ne formano quindici, tra cui l’Ucraina. Gli Stati Uniti e gli alleati europei si muovono subito per trarre il massimo vantaggio dalla nuova situazione geopolitica. Nel 1999 la Nato demolisce con la guerra la Federazione Iugoslava, stato che avrebbe potuto ostacolare la sua espansione a Est, e ingloba i primi paesi dell’ex Patto di Varsavia: Polonia, Repubblica ceca e Ungheria. Quindi, nel 2004 e 2009, si estende a Estonia, Lettonia, Lituania (già parte dell’Urss); Bulgaria, Romania, Slovacchia; Slovenia e Croazia (repubbliche della ex Iugoslavia) e Albania. L’Ucraina – il cui territorio di oltre 600mila km2 fa da cuscinetto tra Nato e Russia ed è attraversato dai corridoi energetici tra Russia e Ue – resta invece autonoma. Entra però a far parte del «Consiglio di cooperazione nord-atlantica» e, nel 1994, della «Partnership per la pace», contribuendo alle operazioni di «peacekeeping» nei Balcani.

Nel 2002 viene adottato il «Piano di azione Nato-Ucraina» e il presidente Kuchma annuncia l’intenzione di aderire alla Nato. Nel 2005, sulla scia della «rivoluzione arancione», il presidente Yushchenko viene invitato al summit Nato a Bruxelles. Subito dopo viene lanciato un «dialogo intensificato sull’aspirazione dell’Ucraina a divenire membro della Nato» e nel 2008 il summit di Bucarest dà luce verde al suo ingresso. Nel 2009 Kiev firma un accordo che permette il transito terrestre in Ucraina di rifornimenti per le forze Nato in Afghanistan. Ormai l’adesione alla Nato sembra certa ma, nel 2010, il neoeletto presidente Yanukovych annuncia che, pur continuando la cooperazione, l’adesione alla Nato non è nell’agenda del suo governo. Nel frattempo però la Nato è riuscita a tessere una rete di legami all’interno delle forze armate ucraine. Alti ufficiali partecipano da anni a corsi del Nato Defense College a Roma e a Oberammergau (Germania), su temi riguardanti l’integrazione delle forze armate ucraine con quelle Nato.

Nello stesso quadro si inserisce l’istituzione, presso l’Accademia militare ucraina, di una nuova «facoltà multinazionale» con docenti Nato. Notevolmente sviluppata anche la cooperazione tecnico-scientifica nel campo degli armamenti per facilitare, attraverso una maggiore interoperabilità, la partecipazione delle forze armate ucraine a «operazioni congiunte per la pace» a guida Nato. Inoltre, dato che «molti ucraini mancano di informazioni sul ruolo e gli scopi dell’Alleanza e conservano nella propria mente sorpassati stereotipi della guerra fredda», la Nato ha istituito a Kiev un Centro di informazione che organizza incontri e seminari e anche visite di «rappresentanti della società civile» al quartier generale di Bruxelles. E poiché non esiste solo ciò che si vede, è evidente che la Nato ha una rete di collegamenti negli ambienti militari e civili molto più estesa di quella che appare. Lo conferma il tono di comando con cui il segretario generale della Nato si rivolge il 20 febbraio alle forze armate ucraine, avvertendole di «restare neutrali», pena «gravi conseguenze negative per le nostre relazioni». La Nato si sente ormai sicura di poter compiere un altro passo nella sua espansione ad Est, inglobando probabilmente metà Ucraina, mentre continua la sua campagna contro «i sorpassati stereotipi della guerra fredda».

Manlio Dinucci

Is the US backing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine?

February 25th, 2014 by Max Blumenthal

As the Euromaidan protests in the Ukrainian capitol of Kiev culminated this week, displays of open fascism and neo-Nazi extremism became too glaring to ignore. Since demonstrators filled the downtown square to battle Ukrainian riot police and demand the ouster of the corruption-stained, pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich, it has been filled with far-right streetfighting men pledging to defend their country’s ethnic purity.

White supremacist banners and Confederate flags were draped inside Kiev’s occupied City Hall, and demonstrators have hoisted Nazi SS and white power symbols over a toppled memorial to V.I. Lenin. After Yanukovich fled his palatial estate by helicopter, EuroMaidan protesters destroyed a memorial to Ukrainians who died battling German occupation during World War II. Sieg heil salutes and the Nazi Wolfsangel symbol have become an increasingly common site in Maidan Square, and neo-Nazi forces have established “autonomous zones” in and around Kiev.

An Anarchist group called AntiFascist Union Ukraine attempted to join the Euromaidan demonstrations but found it difficult to avoid threats of violence and imprecations from the gangs of neo-Nazis roving the square. “They called the Anarchists things like Jews, blacks, Communists,” one of its members said. “There weren’t even any Communists, that was just an insult.”

“There are lots of Nationalists here, including Nazis,” the anti-fascist continued. “They came from all over Ukraine, and they make up about 30% of protesters.”

One of the “Big Three” political parties behind the protests is the ultra-nationalist Svoboda, whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, has called for the liberation of his country from the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” 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.” According to Per Anders Rudling, a leading academic expert on European neo-fascism, the self-described “socialist nationalist” Mykhalchyshyn is the main link between Svoboda’s official wing and neo-Nazi militias like Right Sector.

Right Sector is a shadowy syndicate of self-described “autonomous nationalists” identified by their skinhead style of dress, ascetic lifestyle, and fascination with street violence. Armed with riot shields and clubs, the group’s cadres have manned the front lines of the Euromaidan battles this month, filling the air with their signature chant: “Ukraine above all!” In a recent Right Sector propaganda video [embedded at the bottom of this article], the group promised to fight “against degeneration and totalitarian liberalism, for traditional national morality and family values.” With Svoboda linked to a constellation of international neo-fascist parties through the Alliance of European National Movements, Right Sector is promising to lead its army of aimless, disillusioned young men on “a great European Reconquest.”

Svoboda’s openly pro-Nazi politics have not deterred Senator John McCain from addressing a EuroMaidan rally alongside Tyahnybok, nor did it prevent Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland from enjoying a friendly meeting with the Svoboda leader this February. Eager to fend off accusations of anti-Semitism, the Svoboda leader recently hosted the Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine. “I would like to ask Israelis to also respect our patriotic feelings,” Tyahnybok has remarked. “Probably each party in the [Israeli] Knesset is nationalist. With God’s help, let it be this way for us too.”

In a leaked phone conversation with Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine, Nuland revealed her wish for Tyahnybok to remain “on the outside,” but to consult with the US’s replacement for Yanukovich, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, “four times a week.” At a December 5, 2013 US-Ukraine Foundation Conference, Nuland boasted that the US had invested $5 billion to “build democratic skills and institutions” in Ukraine, though she did not offer any details.

“The Euro-Maidan movement has come to embody the principles and values that are the cornerstones for all free democracies,” Nuland proclaimed.

Two weeks later, 15,000 Svoboda members held a torchlight ceremony in the city of Lviv in honor of Stepan Bandera, a World War II-era Nazi collaborator who led the pro-fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B). Lviv has become the epicenter of neo-fascist activity in Ukraine, with elected Svoboda officials waging a campaign to rename its airport after Bandera and successfully changing the name of Peace Street to the name of the Nachtigall Battalion, an OUN-B wing that participated directly in the Holocaust. “’Peace’ is a holdover from Soviet stereotypes,” a Svoboda deputy explained.

Revered by Ukrainian nationalists as a legendary freedom fighter, Bandera’s real record was ignominious at best. After participating in a campaign to assassinate Ukrainians who supported accommodation with the Polish during the 1930’s, Bandera’s forces set themselves to ethnically cleanse western Ukraine of Poles in 1943 and 1944. In the process, they killed over 90,000 Poles and many Jews, whom Bandera’s top deputy and acting “Prime Minister,” Yaroslav Stetsko, were determined to exterminate. Bandera held fast to fascist ideology in the years after the war, advocating a totalitarian, ethnically pure Europe while his affiliated Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) carried out a doomed armed struggle against the Soviet Union. The bloodbath he inspired ended when KGB agents assassinated him in Munich in 1959.

The Right Connections

Many surviving OUN-B members fled to Western Europe and the United States – occasionally with CIA help – where they quietly forged political alliances with right-wing elements. “You have to understand, we are an underground organization. We have spent years quietly penetrating positions of influence,” one member told journalist Russ Bellant, who documented the group’s resurgence in the United States in his 1988 book, “Old Nazis, New Right, and the Republican Party.”

In Washington, the OUN-B reconstituted under the banner of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), an umbrella organization comprised of “complete OUN-B fronts,” according to Bellant. By the mid-1980’s, the Reagan administration was honeycombed with UCCA members, with the group’s chairman Lev Dobriansky, serving as ambassador to the Bahamas, and his daughter, Paula, sitting on the National Security Council. Reagan personally welcomed Stetsko, the Banderist leader who oversaw the massacre of 7000 Jews in Lviv, into the White House in 1983.

“Your struggle is our struggle,” Reagan told the former Nazi collaborator. “Your dream is our dream.”

When the Justice Department launched a crusade to capture and prosecute Nazi war criminals in 1985, UCCA snapped into action, lobbying Congress to halt the initiative. “The UCCA has also played a leading role in opposing federal investigations of suspected Nazi war criminals since those queries got underway in the late 1970’s,” Bellant wrote. “Some UCCA members have many reasons to worry – reasons which began in the 1930’s.”

Still an active and influential lobbying force in Washington, the UCCA does not appear to have shed its reverence for Banderist nationalism. In 2009, on the 50th anniversary of Bandera’s death, the group proclaimed him “a symbol of strength and righteousness for his followers” who “continue[s] to inspire Ukrainians today.” A year later, the group honored the 60th anniversary of the death of Roman Shukhevych, the OUN-B commander of the Nachtigall Battalion that slaughtered Jews in Lviv and Belarus, calling him a “hero” who “fought for honor, righteousness…”

Back in Ukraine in 2010, then-President Viktor Yushchenko awarded Bandera the title of “National Hero of Ukraine,” marking the culmination of his efforts to manufacture an anti-Russian national narrative that sanitized the OUN-B’s fascism. (Yuschenko’s wife, Katherine Chumachenko, was a former Reagan administration official and ex-staffer at the right-wing Heritage Foundation). When the European Parliament condemned Yushchenko’s proclamation as an affront to “European values,” the UCCA-affiliated Ukrainian World Congress reacted with outrage, accusing the EU of “another attempt to rewrite Ukrainian history during WWII.” On its website, the UCCA dismissed historical accounts of Bandera’s collaboration with the Nazis as “Soviet propaganda.”

Following the demise of Yanukovich this month, the UCCA helped organize rallies in cities across the US in support of the EuroMaidan protests. When several hundred demonstrators marchedthrough downtown Chicago, some waved Ukrainian flags while others proudly flew the red and black banners of the UPA and OUN-B. “USA supports Ukraine!” they chanted.

Max Blumenthal is an award winning journalist and the bestselling author of “Republican Gomorrah: Inside the movement that shattered the party”

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The Crisis In Ukraine: What it Means to be Looted by the West

February 25th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

In 2004 Hungary joined the EU, expecting streets of gold.  Instead, four years later in 2008 Hungary became indebted to the IMF.  The rock video by the Hungarian group, Mouksa Underground sums up the result in Hungary today of falling into the hands of the EU and IMF. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jg8h526sB7w&feature=youtu.be

The song is about the disappointing results of leaving socialism for capitalism, and in Hungary the results are certainly not encouraging.  The title is “Disappointment with the System Change.” Here are the lyrics:

Over twenty some years now

We’ve been waiting for the good life

For the average citizen

Instead of wealth we have poverty

Unrestrained exploitation

So this is the big system change

So this is what you waited for

No housing No food No work

But that’s what was assured wouldn’t happen

Those on top

Prey upon us

The poor suffer everyday

So this is the big system change

So this is what you waited for

(Repeat)

When will real change occur?

When will there be a livable world

The ultimate solution will arise

When this economic system is forever abandoned

So this is the big system change

So this is what you waited for

(Repeat)

There is no solution but revolution

Perhaps if the Kiev students had listened to the Hungarian rock group instead of to Washington’s NGOs, they would understand what it means to be looted by the West,  and Ukraine would not be in turmoil and headed toward destruction.

As Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland made clear in her speech last December and in the leaked recording of her telephone conversation with the US ambassador in Kiev, Washington spent $5 billion of US taxpayer dollars engineering a coup in Ukraine that overthrew the elected democratic government. 

That it was a coup is also underlined by the obvious public lies that Obama has told about the situation, blaming, of course, the overthrown government, and by the total misrepresentation of Ukrainian developments by the US and European presstitute media.  The only reason to misrepresent the events is to support the coup and to cover up Washington’s hand.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the coup is a strategic move by Washington to weaken Russia. Washington tried to capture Ukraine in 2004 with the Washington-funded “Orange Revolution,” but failed.  Ukraine was part of Russia for 200 years prior to being granted independence in the 1990s. The eastern and southern provinces of Ukraine are Russian areas that were added to Ukraine in the 1950s by the Soviet leadership in order to water down the influence of the nazi elements in the western Ukraine that had fought for Adolf Hitler against the Soviet Union during World War 2.  

The loss of Ukraine to the EU and NATO would mean the loss of Russia’s naval base on the Black Sea and the loss of many military industries.  If Russia were to accept such strategic defeat, it would mean that Russia had submitted to Washington’s hegemony.

Whatever course the Russian government takes, the Russian population of eastern and southern Ukraine will not accept oppression by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and neo-nazis.

The hostility already shown toward the Russian population can be seen in the destruction by Ukrainians of the monument to the Russian troops that drove Hitler’s divisions out of Ukraine during World War 2 and the destruction of the monument to Russian General Kutuzov, whose tactics destroyed Napoleon’s Grand Army and resulted in the fall of Napoleon.  

The question at the moment is whether Washington miscalculated and lost control of the coup to the neo-nazi elements who seem to have taken control from the Washington-paid moderates in Kiev, or whether the Washington neocons have been working with the neo-nazis for years.   Max Blumenthal says the latter:  http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37752.htm

The moderates have certainly lost control. They cannot protect public monuments, and they are forced to try to pre-empt the neo-nazis by legislating the neo-nazi program. The captive Ukrainian parliament has introduced measures to ban any official use of the Russian language. This, of course, is unacceptable to the Russian provinces.

As I noted in a previous column, the Ukrainian parliament itself is responsible for the destruction of democracy in Ukraine. Its unconstitutional and undemocratic actions have paved the way for the neo-nazis who now have the precedent to treat the moderates the same way that the moderates treated the elected government and to cover up their illegality with accusations of crimes and arrest warrants. Today the illegally deposed President Yanukovych is on the run.  Tomorrow will the current president, Oleksander Turchinov, put in office by the moderates, not by the people, be on the run?  If a democratic election did not convey legitimacy to President Yanukovych, how does selection by a rump parliament convey legitimacy to Turchinov?

What can Turchinov answer if the neo-nazis put to him Lenin’s question to Kerensky: “Who chose you?”

If Washington has lost control of the coup and is unable to restore control to the moderates whom it has aligned with the EU and NATO, war would seem to be unavoidable. There is no doubt that the Russian provinces would seek  and be granted Russia’s protection. Whether Russia would go further and overthrow the neo-nazis in western Ukraine is unknown.  Whether Washington, which seems to have positioned military forces in the region, would provide the military might for the moderates to defeat the neo-nazis is also an open question, as is Russia’s response. 

In a previous column I described the situation as “Sleepwalking Again,” an analogy to how miscalculations resulted in World War 1.

The entire world should be alarmed at the reckless and irresponsible interference by Washington in Ukraine.  By bringing a direct strategic threat to Russia, the crazed Washington hegemon has engineered a Great Power confrontation and created the risk of world destruction.

The situation in Ukraine is evolving by the hour.  Right wing ultranationalists and their “liberal” collaborators have taken control of the Rada (Ukrainian parliament) and deposed the democratically elected, though utterly corrupt and incompetent, President Yanukovich.

Former Prime Minister, and convicted criminal, Yulia Tymoshenko has been freed, and is now making common cause with Noe-Nazi Right Sector, Svoboda, and other fascist elements, while the opposition’s nominal leaders such as Arseny Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko begin to fade into the background. 

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin undoubtedly watches with anxiousness.  In Washington, Victoria Nuland and the Obama administration rejoice.  However, perhaps the most critical development of all is soon to emerge in Europe, as the forces of Western finance capital prepare to welcome Ukraine into the fold.  They will come bearing the usual neoliberal gifts: austerity and “economic liberalization.”

With the overthrow of the Yanukovich government, the $15 billion of promised Russian financial assistance to Ukraine is in doubt.  According to Moody’s rating agency, “Ukraine will require $24 billion to cover a budget deficit, debt repayments, natural gas bills and pension support just in 2014.”  Without Moscow’s continued bond purchasing and other forms of financial aid, and with pro-EU forces taking control of the country’s economic and foreign policy, the outcome is not hard to predict: a rescue package from Europe and the IMF with all the usual austerity conditions attached.

In exchange for European “aid”, Ukraine will be forced to accept the driving down of wages, significant cuts to the public sector and social services, in addition to a rise in taxes on the working class and slashing of pensions.  Moreover, the country will be compelled to accede to a liberalization program that will allow Europe to dump goods into the Ukrainian market, deregulation and the further opening up the country’s financial sector to predatory speculation and privatization.

It doesn’t take psychic powers to predict these developments.  One merely has to look at the wave of austerity in European countries such as Greece and Cyprus.  Furthermore, Eastern European countries with similar economic and historical conditions to Ukraine – Latvia and Slovenia specifically – provide a roadmap for what Ukraine should expect.

The Model of “Success”

As Ukraine’s pro-EU “leadership” under Tymoshenko & Co. (and the fascist Right) begins to eye the future, they will immediately look to Europe to address the most pressing economic concerns.  The Ukrainian people however would do well to examine the precedent of Latvia to understand what lies in store for them.  As renowned economists Michael Hudson and Jeffrey Sommers wrote in 2012:

What enabled Latvia to survive the crisis were EU and IMF bailouts…Elites aside, many emigrated…Demographers estimate that 200,000 have departed the past decade – roughly 10 per cent of the population…Latvia experienced the full effects of austerity and neoliberalism. Birth rates fell during the crisis – as is the case almost everywhere austerity programs are imposed. It continues having among Europe’s highest rates of suicide and of road deaths caused by drunk driving. Violent crime is high, arguably, because of prolonged unemployment and police budget cuts. Moreover, a soaring brain drain moves in tandem with blue-collar emigration.

The myth of prosperity to follow EU integration and bailouts is just that, a myth.  The reality is pain and suffering on a scale far greater than the poverty and unemployment Ukraine, especially the western portion of the country, have already experienced.  The most highly educated, those most equipped to take up the mantle of leadership, will flee en masse.   Those leaders who remain will do so while lining their pockets and ingratiating themselves to the European and American financiers who will flock to Ukraine like vultures to carrion.  In short, the corruption and mismanagement of the Yanukovich government will seem like a pleasant memory.

The “liberalization” that Europe demands will create massive profits for speculators, but very few jobs for working people.  The best land will be sold to foreign corporations and land-grabbers, while the resources, including the highly regarded agricultural sector, will be stripped and sold on the world market, leaving farmers and city dwellers alike in grinding poverty, their children going to bed hungry.  This will be the “success” of Ukraine.  One shudders to think what failure would look like.

In Slovenia, another Eastern European country that has experienced the “success” Europe strives for, the economic dictates of Brussels have ravaged the country’s working people and its institutions.  The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued a 2013 report in which it recommended that, as a first step, Slovenia act to “help the banking sector stand on its feet again,” adding that, “additional and radical measures are necessary as soon as possible.”

Furthermore, the OECD recommended the full privatization of Slovenia’s banks and other major firms, despite predicting a more than 2% contraction of the economy.  In laymen’s terms, Europe recommends that Slovenia sacrifice itself and its people to the forces of international finance capital, nothing less.  Such is the cost of European “integration.”

Ukraine is undergoing a transformation of the worst kind.  Its political institutions have been trampled upon by a motley collection of delusional liberals, slick politicians in fancy suits, and Nazi extremists.  The social fabric is tearing apart at the seams, with each region searching for a local solution to the problems of what used to be their nation.  And, in the midst of it all, the specter of profit-seeking financiers with dollar signs in their eyes is all the Ukrainian people can expect.

OAS Insider Reveals Details of Illegal Foreign Intervention Against Haitian Democracy

February 25th, 2014 by Center for Economic and Policy Research

In 2010, a secret “core group” of foreign dignitaries sought to force the president of Haiti out of office in a coup. They also engineered an intervention in Haiti’s presidential elections that year that ensured that the governing party’s candidate would not proceed to a runoff. These are the revelations being made by the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Special Representative to Haiti at the time, Ricardo Seitenfus. In an exclusive interview published by Dissent Magazine, Seitenfus – who was present at some of these meetings – describes these and other bombshells detailed in his new book being published in his native Brazil, titled International Crossroads and Failures in Haiti.

In the written interview with Dan Beeton of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and journalist Georgianne Nienaber, Seitenfus provides new details regarding threats against then-president of Haiti René Préval. Seitenfus also corroborates the conclusions of CEPR’s earlier analysis of an OAS “Expert” Mission sent to verify the election: that the OAS overturned the results of the first round in a political intervention. The OAS took this unprecedented step without so much as a recount or calling for a new election, something that had never been done before by an international body. This was a “white coup and a blatant electoral intervention,” Seitenfus says.

“[W]hen it comes to Haiti, the international community does not have limits for the actions it takes,” Seitenfus writes in the interview.

The OAS “Expert” Mission, most of its members coming from the U.S., Canada and France, recommended changing the result of the first round of the election after findings that CEPR’s analysis determined to be “methodologically and statistically flawed, and arbitrary.” The international community – especially the U.S. government – then exerted strong pressure for the Haitian government to accept the mission’s recommendations, which would remove governing party candidate Jude Célestin from the runoff, to be replaced by Michel Martelly. Martelly went on to win the second round of an election versus another conservative opponent, Mirlande Manigat, with less than 17 percent of the vote from the eligible electorate.

Seitenfus’ account of events corroborates the results of this statistical analysis:

It was necessary to change the result of the first round. The only possibility was to annul the results in certain ballot boxes that favored Célestin. That way, he would fall back to third place at the same time that the candidate anointed by the international community would go on to participate in the second round, along with Mirlande Manigat.

Seitenfus names names in a blow-by-blow account of a secret discussion on whether Préval should be removed from office, which he says would have been “a moral disgrace and a gross political error.” In his account, Seitenfus says that then-head of the U.N. Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) Edmond Mulet told Préval he would have to “leave the presidency and abandon Haiti.” Seitenfus also suggests that the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti at the time, Kenneth Merten, supported forcing Préval out of office. Ultimately, the ambassadors of Brazil and Argentina – and Seitenfus himself – opposed the plan, he says, and it was dropped.

In the full interview (available on CEPR’s Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch blog), Seitenfus also levels sharp criticism at the U.N., the OAS, the U.S. government and other key actors in Haiti, laments the lack of coordination among large NGOs and international organizations, and praises PetroCaribe and other assistance from Venezuela, which he describes as “a counter model to traditional development aid from the developed countries and international organizations” that has “take[n] away from the Haitian state the little financial autonomy that it possesses.”

Ucrânia : A Conexão Clinton-Pinchuk

February 25th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Na mesa de negociações de Kiev onde então se decidiu o acordo formal entre o governo, a oposição, a UE, e a Rússia, não se encontrava oficialmente nenhum representante da poderosa oligaquia interna, que está mais ligada a Washington e a OTAN do que a Bruxelas e a UE. Tem-se aqui então que foi essa mesma oligarquia que levou a Ucrânia em direção ao ocidente. Emblemático é o caso de Victor Pinchuk,  magnata do aço, classificado pela revista Forbes entre os homens mais ricos do mundo.

A fortuna de Pinchuk começou de quando ele em 2002 casou-se com Elena, a filha de Leonídio Kuchma, o segundo presidente da Ucrânia ( 1994- 2005). Em 2004 o ilustre sogro privatisou o maior complexo siderúrgico ucraniano, o de Kryvorizhstal, vendendo-o a sociedade Interpipe, onde o seu genro é co-proprietário, por $ 800.000.000, oitocentos milhões de dólares, isso significa 1/6 do seu valor real.

A Interpipe também monopoliza a fabricação da canalização em aço. Em 2007 Pinchuk criou o grupo “EastOne”, uma sociedade de consultações para investimentos internacionais a qual fornece para as multinacionais todos os instrumentos necessários para a penetração das economias do Leste. Ele se transformou ao mesmo tempo em proprietário de quatro redes de televisão e de um jornal popular, (Fatos e Comentários) o qual tem uma difusão de mais de um milhão de exemplares. Entretanto, ele não negligenciou as obras de caridade criando então a Fundação Victor Pinchuk, considerada como a maior “fundação filantrópica” ucraniana.


Victor Pinchuk e sua esposa Elena

Foi através dessa fundação que Pinchuk se aliou aos Clintons, apoiando a Clinton Global Iniciativa, a qual foi estabelecida por Bill e Hillary Clinton, em 2005.  A missão dessa initiativa seria a de “reunir os líderes mundiais para criar soluções inovadoras frente aos desafios mundiais mais urgentes”. Por detrás desse brilhante lema encontra-se o real objetivo:  criar uma rede internacional de poderosos que apoiem Hillary Clinton, a ex-primeira dama, que depois de ter sido senadora de Nova Iorque em 2001- 2009, e Secretária de Estado de 2009 à 2013, tenta de novo a ascensão a presidência.

Tendo começado em 2007 – de quando Bill Clinton agradecia a: -“Victor e Elena Pinchuk por sua vigorosa atividade social assim como ao apôio dado ao nosso programa internacional” – a colaboração apresentam-se agora como vantajosa.

Tem-se então que Pinchuk concretizou o prometido com uma primeira contribuição de 5 millhões de dólares para a Iniciativa Global dos Clintons, aos quais se seguiram outros.

Isso abriu a Pinchuk as portas de Washington : ele empregou por $ 40.000 dólres mensais o lobbysta Schoen, que organizou para ele uma série de contactos com personagens influentes, assim como arrumou cerca de uma dezena de encontros, entre 2011 e 2012, com altos funcionários do Departamento do Estado. Isso favorece também os negócios permitindo a Pinchuk o aumeto das exportações para os Estados Unidos, mesmo se atualmente os metalúrgicos de Pensilvania e Ohio o acusem de estar vendendo os tubos de aço aos Estados Unidos por preços que eles vêem como sendo abaixo do razoável.

 

 Pinchuk e Hillary Clinton

Fonte da foto:- http://yes-ukraine.org/en/photo-and-video/photo/vechirnya-promova-gillari-klinton-liderstvo-okrema-dumka

 

Para reinforçar ainda mais seus laços com os Estados Unidos, e o ocidente, Pinchuk lançou a Yalta European Strategy, YES,  “a maior instituição social de diplomacia pública na Europa oriental”, onde o objetivo oficial é o de “ajudar a Ukraina a se desenvolver em um país moderno, democrático e economicamente poderoso”.

Graças a grande disponibilidade financeira de Pinchuk (para festejar seu aniversário de 50 anos ele gastou mais de $5 milhões de dólares numa localidade francesa de esqui) a YES mostra-se na condição de montar uma grande rede de contactos internacionais, o que se pode ver nas conferências anuais, em Yalta. Nessas podem  participar “mais do que 200 políticos, diplomatas, homens de estado, jornalistas, analistas, assim como dirigentes do mundo dos negócios, provenientes de mais de 20 países”. Entre esses notam-se os nomes de Hillary e Bill Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Tony Blair, George Soros, José Manuel Barroso e Mario Monti, os quais participaram no encontro de setembro do ano passado. Ao lado desses poderiam ser encontradas personagens menos conhecidos, mas não menos influentes, como por exemplo dirigentes do Fundo Monetário Internacional e (entre esses então Dominique Strauss-Khan, voir NdT).

Como explicou Condoleezza Rice na conferência do YES  em 2012, “as transformações democráticas requerem tempo e paciência, requerendo também apôio tanto do exterior como interno”. Essa é uma excelente síntese da estratégia que o ocidente adota abaixo da cobertura de “apôio externo” para favorecer as “transformações democráticas”. Uma estrtégia que vimos consolidada da Iugoslávia à Líbia, assim como da Síria á Ucrânia : pôr a ênfase nas falhas, que todos os países as tem, com o objetivo de arrebentar as bases dos mesmos, e apoiar ou atiçar revoltas anti-governamentais (tipo da de Kiev, sendo demais pontuais e organizadas para poderem ser consideradas como simplesmente espontâneas). Isso se dando então ao mesmo tempo em que se desencadeia uma enorme campanha midiática contra o governo que querem abater. Ao que concerne a Ucrânia, o objetivo é o de derrubar o governo do país, ou dividí-lo em dois : uma parte que entraria na OTAN e na UE, e uma outra que restaria maioritariamente ligada a Rússia. É nesse cenário que a Yalta European Strategy – YES,  da oligarquia amiga dos Clintons, se enquadra.

Manlio Dinucci

Edição de sábado, 22 de fevereiro o il manifesto

http://ilmanifesto.it/la-clinton-pinchuk-connection-una-oligarchia-ucraino-americana/

Tradução Anna Malm, artigospoliticos.wordpress.compara mondialisation.ca


E aqui alguns aspectos da Conexão Pinchuk-França (NdT)

“Quarta-feira, 27 de março de 2013,  a Ministra da Cultura e da Comunicação, Madame Aurélie Filippetti, entregou as insígnias de cavalheiro da ordem de Artes e Letras à Victor Pinchuk, com a saudação de que se via nele “a imagem européia do mecenato” assim como o “feliz casamento entre a indústria e a cultura. Assim como a imagem da monumental instalação de Olafur Eliasson, na qual o ferro se mostra em súbitos e constantes mudanças de estado, metamorfoseia-se também a nova fabricação do aço de Pinchuk” (http://www.ambafrance-ua.org/Victor-Pinchuk-chevalier-de-l ).

“Meu professor de arte contemporânea é francês, Nicolas Bourriaud (crítico de arte que dirigiu “le Palais de Tokyo” – “o Palácio de Tóquio” com Jérôme Sans de 2002 à 2006 e que atualmente é o diretor des “Beaus-Arts de Paris”- “Belas-Artes de Paris”, desde outubro de 2011). Eu o chamo mesmo de meu gurú! Eu o reencontrei em 2002 por intermédio do meu amigo Marcel Gross, diretor associado da Euro RSCG”. (http://www.lefigaro.fr/arts-expositions/2013/04/09/03015-20130409ARTFIG00261-victor-pinchuk-j-aime-la-folie-provocatrice-des-artistes.php )

“Como existir socialmente em seu país sem se fazer nada de política?” É a Euro RSCG, na pessoa de Français Stéphane Fouks, que vai fornecer a Pinchuk uma resposta contendo três pontos centrais : 1. Criando um museu de arte contemporânea que valorize a arte ucraniana. 2. Criar um grupo de discussões (think tanks) para magnificar a Ukraina e sua entrada na Europa. 3. Criar uma fundação anti-sida abaixo da direção de sua esposa.

O oligarca se investe na filantropia

[...] “ Num certo período da vida apresenta-se o tempo de dar de volta o que se recebeu, guiado então por uma visão”, disse Pinchuk. Tem-se aqui então depois que a Ukraina não perde o seu rumo : o frenesi artístico não é mais que uma etapa de conquista. Em cada outono europeu, em Yalta na Ukraina, o seu grupo de discussões YES, Yalta European Strategy, trabalha para magnificar a Ukraina com convidados como Tony Blair ou Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Em Davos, a margem do summit, ele imprimiu sua marca em 27 de janeiro organizando uma mesa redonda com a jovem Cheikha Mayassa, princesa do Qatar, a qual se interessera muito pelas artes, e Paulo Coelho”. (http://www.lepoint.fr/culture/pinchuk-l-amateur-d-art-qui-venait-du-froid-24-01-2011-130601_3.php ).

 

The alternative media has documented for 5 years that the government uses disinformation and disruption  (and here) on the web to discredit activists and manipulate public opinion, just like it smears traditional television and print reporters who question the government too acutely.

We’ve long reported that the government censors and manipulates social media. More proof here.

New Edward Snowden documents confirm that Britain’s spy agency is doing so.

As Glenn Greenwald writes today:

One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction.

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These agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself. Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums.

***

Critically, the “targets” for this deceit and reputation-destruction extend far beyond the customary roster of normal spycraft: hostile nations and their leaders, military agencies, and intelligence services. In fact, the discussion of many of these techniques occurs in the context of using them in lieu of “traditional law enforcement” against people suspected (but not charged or convicted) of ordinary crimes or, more broadly still, “hacktivism”, meaning those who use online protest activity for political ends.

The title page of one of these documents reflects the agency’s own awareness that it is “pushing the boundaries” by using “cyber offensive” techniques against people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats, and indeed, centrally involves law enforcement agents who investigate ordinary crimes….

***

It is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption. There is a strong argument to make, as Jay Leiderman demonstrated in the Guardian in the context of the Paypal 14 hacktivist persecution, that the “denial of service” tactics used by hacktivists result in (at most) trivial damage (far less than the cyber-warfare tactics favored by the US and UK) and are far more akin to the type of political protest protected by the First Amendment.

The broader point is that, far beyond hacktivists, these surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats. As Anonymous expert Gabriella Coleman of McGill University told me, “targeting Anonymous and hacktivists amounts to targeting citizens for expressing their political beliefs, resulting in the stifling of legitimate dissent.” Pointing to this study she published, Professor Coleman vehemently contested the assertion that “there is anything terrorist/violent in their actions.”

Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups. [Background on Sunstein here and here.]

Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” which spread what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the government.

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Then there is the use of psychology and other social sciences to not only understand, but shape and control, how online activism and discourse unfolds. Today’s newly published document touts the work of GCHQ’s “Human Science Operations Cell”, devoted to “online human intelligence” and “strategic influence and disruption”….

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Under the title “Online Covert Action”, the document details a variety of means to engage in “influence and info ops” as well as “disruption and computer net attack”, while dissecting how human beings can be manipulated using “leaders”, “trust, “obedience” and “compliance”:

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The documents lay out theories of how humans interact with one another, particularly online, and then attempt to identify ways to influence the outcomes – or “game” it:

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No government should be able to engage in these tactics: what justification is there for having government agencies target people – who have been charged with no crime – for reputation-destruction, infiltrate online political communities, and develop techniques for manipulating online discourse?

Here are the newly-released Snowden documents in full:

The Art of Deception

Through Fire and Water: Canada Backs Israeli Apartheid

February 25th, 2014 by Michael Welch

On some campuses, intellectualized arguments against Israeli policies thinly mask the underlying realities, such as the shunning of Israeli academics and the harassment of Jewish students. Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state. Think about that. Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: a state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history. That is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism. It is nothing short of sickening.”
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressing the Israeli Knesset January 20, 2014 [1]

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This special broadcast of the Global Research News Hour examines the politics of Canada and Israel.

In January, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper took part in a seven day visit of the Middle East which included four days in Israel. The visit reportedly cost Canadian taxpayers $239,000 and included an entourage of more than 200 people which included representatives from prominent Jewish organizations in Canada. [2]

The Harper government has distinguished itself as the most Israel-friendly Canadian government in recent history, but is this stance significantly at odds with other Canadian governments historically?

Not according to Yves Engler. The Canadian Foreign Policy critic and author of Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid wrote an article in January explaining that Canada’s embrace of Zionism is rooted in Christianity and the British Empire’s desire historically to maintain geo-strategic dominance in the Middle East. Engler expands on this thesis in the first half hour of the programme.

Are there economic as well as political and personal considerations underwriting Canada’s cozy relationship with Israel? Long time Anti-War activist and researcher with the Coalition Opposed to the Arms Trade Richard Sanders published a two part series: “Profiting from Israeli Apartheid” in his magazine Press For Conversion. He details the benefits derived by Canadians through Canadian Pension Plan investments in Israel’s military, police and prison-industrial infrastructure which targets Palestinians. Richard Sanders joins the Global Research News Hour in the latter half of the show.

Finally, University of Guelph Emeritus Professor of Literary Studies Michael Keefer, author of Antisemitism Real and Imagined: Responses to the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism deconstructs the attempts by Harper and other parliamentarians to paint legitimate criticism of Israel as anti-semitism.

 

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The Global Research News Hour, hosted by Michael Welch, airs on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Fridays at 1pm CDT. The programme is also broadcast weekly (Monday, 5-6pm ET) by theProgressive Radio Network in the US, and is available for download on the Global Research website.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario – Thursdays at 1pm ET

Notes

1) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/read-the-full-text-of-harpers-historic-speech-to-israels-knesset/article16406371/?page=2

2) Bruce Campion-Smith, The Toronto Star, Feb 21, 2014; “Stephen Harper’s Middle East trip cost $239,000”; http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/02/21/stephen_harpers_middle_east_trip_cost_239000.html

 

Germany to Represent Israel in Islamic Countries

February 25th, 2014 by Global Research News

Germany and Israel are today due to sign an agreement allowing Germany to represent Israel’s diplomatic and consular relations in countries where Israel has no embassy especially in Muslim countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia; German Der Spiegelnewspaper reported.

The newspaper quoted a statement by the Israeli Embassy in Berlin saying the agreement promotes relations between the two sides and allows Germany to represent Israel’s consular affairs in countries where Israel has no embassy. Der Spiegel also quoted the Israeli ambassador in Berlin Yakov Hadas-Handelsman as saying the German offer represents a special message from Germany and reflects its global status.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her cabinet will visit Israel on Monday for two days. The delegation will participate in the annual German-Israeli joint cabinet session which started in 2008 to develop strategic partnerships between the two sides on various fields; mainly youth exchange projects and scientific cooperation.

The meetings boost relations between the two sides and make Israel on par with France, Spain, Italy and Russia, which hold joint cabinet meetings with Germany.

On April 30, 1999 NATO aviation delivered two strikes against the township Murino, a small resort in eastern Montenegro. Civilians died, including three children who went to grade school. Fifteen years have passed. Milo Djukanovic (photo), the Montenegrin dictator, said that joining NATO is a political priority for his country. It is emphasized that 2014 is a decisive year because Montenegro must be ready for the NATO’s September summit to be held in the United Kingdom. The expansion of the Alliance to the East will be an issue on the agenda.

The authorities affirm that the country has completely changed during in the last 15 years. Podgorica has recognized the independence of Kosovo and Metohija and forgotten those who lost their lives during the NATO aggression. With German funds it is ready to erect a memorial to Hitler’s fascists, who occupied Montenegro during World War II. It is planned to reconstruct the German Nazi soldiers’ cemetery near the Golubovci airport, which was bombed by NATO in 1999.

The old and new fascists have one thing in common – they share the feeling of hatred towards the Russian people. Hitler eliminated the League of Nations. The NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia has drastically diminished the role of the United Nations on the world arena, as well as the influence of United Nations Charter on international law. It’s not an occasion the US intelligence services during the Second World War were created with the help of German generals: Heinrich Müller, Reinhard Gehlen, Baron Otto von Bolschwing and Emil Augsburg.

Montenegro has really changed during the last dozen of years, but Milo Djukanovic is still the same. In his time he was assigned the role an ideal partner of NATO. There is a very important historic aspect to be remembered here. During WWII, the United States resorted to the help of mafia while liberating Italy. According to Swiss professor Daniele Ganser, the alliance between Italian mafia and the United States, as well as mafia and NATO still exists. For instance, Washington uses criminal structures to eliminate its opponents – independent politicians and journalists in Europe. The United States and NATO rely on mafia in the Balkans.

They have brought terrorists, drug dealers and illegal traders of human organs to power in Pristina on the territory of occupied Kosovo and Metohija.

According to documents in the possession of Italy’s prosecutor’s office and inquiries of independent journalists, Milo Djukanovic has had close ties with Italian and American mafia since a long time. A 409 – page report is added to the indictment brought by Italian prosecution.

Prosecutor Giuseppe Scelsi has formally stated that Milo Djukanovic is the top boss of Montenegrin mafia.

In the 1980s well-known mafiosi Della Torre organized large heroin supplies from Italy to the US East Coast. There was solid evidence that Della Torre was involved in money laundering. He got profit from heroin trade through Swiss banks, but Americans never brought charges against him with a string attached – he had to cooperate with the US special services. In 1996 the Italian mafiosi started to run his own chain involved in counterfeit cigarettes business. As sources confirm, he worked with Milo Djukanovic. The counterfeit cigarettes trade brought millions of dollars into the pockets of US intelligence. Many of truth pursuers, who stood in the way of the CIA and mafia alliance, paid with their lives, including two journalists: Dusko Jovanovic, the Editor of Montenegrin newspaper Dan, and Ivo Pukanic, Editor-in-Chief of Croatian weekly magazine National. Pukanic has published facts providing ample evidence of the Djukanovic and Subotić involvement in illegal cigarette trade.

In March 2011 US Senator Richard Lugar formally proposed to make Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro full-fledged NATO members. According to him, the expansion is of crucial importance for security and democracy in the Balkans. At the beginning of October 2013 Lugar met Djukanovic and said that «Montenegro is the number one candidate for membership in NATO». At the very same time Italian prosecutor Giuseppe Scelsi, who possessed irrefutable evidence of the fact that Djukanovic was involved in criminal activities, was charged in October 2013 with abuse of office. Today Washington lets Djukanovic know that if he makes Montenegro a NATO member, then all the accusations related to criminal activities will be lifted…

In 1999 NATO started its expansion to the Balkans by committing a grave crime – an aggression against Yugoslavia. Nowadays the creation of criminal regimes on the territory of former Yugoslavia is a logical continuation of its policy.

Thailand: BBC Attempts to Justify Terrorism

February 25th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

BBC plums new depths with dishonest coverage of Thai crisis and attempted justification of expanding pro-regime terror campaign.

The BBC has once again attempted to manipulate public perception regarding world events, this time in Thailand where the Western-backed regime of Thaksin Shinawatra had announced, and is now in the process of carrying out, a deadly campaign of terrorism aimed at growing dissent sweeping the country.

The BBC’s article, “Thailand crisis: Deadly attacks on opposition rallies,” starts by claiming:

An explosion has killed two people and wounded more than 20 others near an anti-government protest rally in the Thai capital Bangkok.

A boy aged 12 and a 40-year-old woman died in the attack near the Central World shopping mall, officials said.

It came hours after gunmen opened fire on an anti-government rally in eastern Thailand, killing a five-year-old girl.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra condemned the attacks, describing them as “terrorist acts for political gain”.

She said her government would not tolerate terrorism, and ordered a full investigation.

In reality, the regime itself, via its “red shirt” enforcers declared their intent to carry out just such a deadly campaign of armed terror against growing protests if elections on February 2, 2014, were disrupted.

TIME magazine on January 16 reported in their article, “”Bangkok Shutdown: Yingluck Supporters Prepare to Fight for Democracy,” that: 

As Thailand’s anti-government protests enter their fourth day, observers say prospects for violent confrontation are increasing, with reports of government supporters stockpiling weapons in case of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s ouster. 

According to the Bangkok Post, radical members of the Red Shirts — diehard champions of Yingluck and her notorious brother Thaksin Shinawatra — are readying a cache of arms in case the 46-year-old premier is forced from office by either military or judicial intervention. 

The paper quoted a Red Shirt source as saying “There are strong anti-coup and anti-court sentiments among the red-shirt mavericks who are familiar and experienced with weapon use.”

The elections were not disrupted however, but rather saw massive nationwide boycotts leading to an unprecedented, astoundingly low 46% voter turnout. The regime is now without either a democratic mandate, or a cusus belli to use violence against protesters.

Still, the BBC is attempting to make a case for violence, citing “frustration.” The BBC would claim:

No group has so far said they carried out either attack.

But the BBC’s Jonathan Head in Bangkok says it appears to be the start of retaliation by the armed wing of the so-called “red-shirt” movement that backs the governing Pheu Thai party.
For three months red-shirt activists have watched with growing frustration as the protesters – who enjoy the backing of the military and powerful royalists – have been allowed to obstruct the government and sabotage an election that would almost certainly have been won by Pheu Thai, he says.

Jonathan Head’s analysis is, however, wholly, consistently, and intentionally dishonest. His attempt to frame the opposition as backed by “the military and powerful royalists” excludes massive numbers of growing dissent among rural rice farmers cheated now for over half a year of promised crop subsidies. Head also claims that elections were “sabotaged,” again, omitting that even in regions of the country where polling stations were open, the majority chose not to vote in what they considered sham elections.

What the BBC is attempting to do, and as it has done elsewhere including in Syria, is justify terrorism in the name of Western-backed interests in Thailand – namely the regime of Thaksin Shinawatra. While the West and the regime itself is still attempting to sell the notion of a divided Thailand and the prospect of a civil war, it should be noted that the facts on the ground make both entirely impossible.

The Spectacle in Kiev: The Brown Revolution in Ukraine

February 25th, 2014 by Israel Shamir

I am a great fan of Kiev, an affable city of pleasing bourgeois character, with its plentiful small restaurants, clean tree-lined streets, and bonhomie of its beer gardens. A hundred years ago Kiev was predominantly a Russian resort, and some central areas have retained this flavour. Now Kiev is patrolled by armed thugs from the Western Ukraine, by fighters from the neo-Nazi -Right Sector, descendants of Stepan Bandera, the Ukrainian Quisling’s troopers, and by their local comrades-in-arms of nationalist persuasion.

After a month of confrontation, President Viktor Yanukovych gave in, signed the EC-prepared surrender and escaped their rough revolutionary justice by the skin of his teeth. The ruling party MPs were beaten and dispersed, the communists almost lynched, the opposition have the parliament all to themselves, and they’ve appointed new ministers and taken over the Ukraine. The Brown Revolution has won in the Ukraine. This big East European country of fifty million inhabitants has gone the way of Libya. The US and the EU won this round, and pushed Russia back eastwards, just as they intended.

It remains to be seen whether the neo-Nazi thugs who won the battle will agree to surrender the sweet fruits of victory to politicians, who are, God knows, nasty enough. And more importantly, it remains to be seen whether the Russian-speaking East and South East of the country will accept the Brown rule of Kiev, or split off and go their own way, as the people of Israel (so relates the Bible) after King Solomon’s death rebelled against his heir saying “To your tents, o Israel!” and proclaimed independence of their fief (I Kings 12:16). Meanwhile it seems that the Easterners’ desire to preserve Ukrainian state integrity is stronger than their dislike for the victorious Browns. Though they assembled their representatives for what could be a declaration of independence, they did not dare to claim power. These peaceful people have little stamina for strife.

Their great neighbour, Russia, does not appear overtly concerned with this ominous development. Both Russian news agencies, TASS and RIA, didn’t even place the dire Ukrainian news at the top, as Reuters and BBC did: for them, the Olympics and the biathlon were of greater importance, as you can see on these print screens:

shamir1

shamir2

This “ostrich” attitude is quite typical of the Russian media: whenever they find themselves in an embarrassing position, they escape into showing the Swan Lake ballet on TV. That’s what they did when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. This time it was the Olympics instead of the ballet.

Anti-Putin opposition in Russia heartily approved of the Ukrainian coup. Yesterday Kiev, tomorrow Moscow, they chanted. Maidan (the main square of Kiev, the site of anti-government demos) equals Bolotnaya (a square in Moscow, the site of anti-government protests in December 2012) is another popular slogan.

The majority of Russians were upset but not surprised. Russia decided to minimise its involvement in the Ukraine some weeks ago as if they wished to demonstrate to the world their non-interference. Their behaviour bordered on recklessness. While foreign ministers of EC countries and their allies crowded Kiev, Putin sent Vladimir Lukin, a human rights emissary, an elder low-level politician of very little clout, to deal with the Ukrainian crisis. The Russian Ambassador Mr Zurabov, another non-entity, completely disappeared from public view. (Now he was recalled to Moscow). Putin made not a single public statement on the Ukraine, treating it as though it were Libya or Mali, not a neighbouring country quite close to the Russian hinterland.

This hands-off approach could have been expected: Russia did not interfere in the disastrous Ukrainian elections 2004, or in the Georgian elections that produced extremely anti-Russian governments. Russia gets involved only if there is a real battle on the ground, and a legitimate government asks for help, as in Ossetia in 2008 or in Syria in 2011. Russia supports those who fight for their cause, otherwise Russia, somewhat disappointingly, stands aside.

The West has no such inhibitions and its representatives were extremely active: the US State Department representative Victoria “Fuck EC’’ Nuland had spent days and weeks in Kiev, feeding the insurgents with cookies, delivering millions of smuggled greenbacks to them, meeting with their leaders, planning and plotting the coup. Kiev is awash with the newest US dollars fresh from its mint (of a kind yet unseen in Moscow, I’ve been told by Russian friends). The US embassy spread money around like a tipsy Texan in a night club. Every able-bodied young man willing to fight received five hundred dollar a week, a qualified fighter – up to a thousand, a platoon commander had two thousand dollars – good money by Ukrainian standards.

Money is not all. People are also needed for a successful coup. There was an opposition to Yanukovych who won democratic elections, and accordingly, three parties lost elections. Supporters of the three parties could field a lot of people for a peaceful demonstration, or for a sit-in. But would they fight when push comes to shove? Probably not. Ditto the recipients of generous US and EC grants (Nuland estimated the total sum of American investment in “democracy building” at five billion dollars). They could be called to come to the main square for a demo. However, the NGO beneficiaries are timid folk, not likely to risk their well-being. And the US needed a better fighting stock to remove the democratically elected president from power.

Serpent Eggs

In the Western Ukraine, the serpent eggs hatched: children of Nazi collaborators who had imbibed hatred towards the Russians with their mothers’ milk. Their fathers had formed a network under Reinhard Gehlen, the German spymaster. In 1945, as Germany was defeated, Gehlen swore allegiance to the US and delivered his networks to the CIA. They continued their guerrilla war against the Soviets until 1956. Their cruelty was legendary, for they aimed to terrify the population into full compliance to their command. Notoriously, they strangulated the Ukrainians suspected of being friendly to Russians with their bare hands.

A horrifying confession of a participant tells of their activities in Volyn: “One night, we strangulated 84 men. We strangulated adults, as for little kids, we held their legs, swung and broke their heads at a doorpost. …Two nice kids, Stepa and Olya, 12 and 14 years old… we tore the younger one into two parts, and there was no need to strangulate her mother Julia, she died of a heart attack” and so on and so on. They slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Poles and Jews; even the dreadful Baby Yar massacre was done by them, with German connivance, somewhat similar to Israeli connivance in the Sabra and Chatila massacres of Palestinians by the Lebanese fascists of the Phalange.

The children of these Bandera murderers were brought up to hate Communism, Soviets and Russians, and in adoration of their fathers’ deeds. They formed the spearhead of the pro-US anti-government rebels in the Ukraine, the Right Sector led by out-and-out fascist Dmytro Yarosh. They were ready to fight, to die and kill. Such units attract potential rebels of differing backgrounds: their spokesman is young Russian -turned -Ukrainian -nationalist Artem Skoropadsky, a journalist with the mainstream oligarch-owned Kommersant-UA daily. There are similar young Russians who join Salafi networks and become suicide-bombers in the Caucasus mountains – young people whose desire for action and sacrifice could not be satisfied in the consumer society. This is a Slav al-Qaeda — real neo-Nazi storm troopers, a natural ally of the US.

And they did not fight only for association with EC and against joining a Russia-led TC. Their enemies were also the Russians in the Ukraine, and Russian-speaking ethnic Ukrainians. The difference between the twain is moot. Before independence in 1991, some three quarters of the population preferred to speak Russian. Since then, successive governments have tried to force people to use Ukrainian. For the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, anyone who speaks Russian is an enemy. You can compare this with Scotland, where people speak English, and nationalists would like to force them to speak the language of Burns.

Behind the spearhead of the Right Sector, with its fervent anti-communist and anti-Russian fighters, a larger organisation could be counted on: the neo-Nazi Freedom (Svoboda), of Tyagnibok. Some years ago Tyagnibok called for a fight against Russians and Jews, now he has become more cautious regarding the Jews. He is still as anti-Russian as John Foster Dulles. Tyagnibok was tolerated or even encouraged by Yanukovych, who wanted to take a leaf from the French president Jacques Chirac’s book. Chirac won the second round of elections against nationalist Le Pen, while probably he would have lost against any other opponent. In the same wise, Yanukovych wished Tyagnibok to become his defeatable opponent at the second round of presidential elections.

The parliamentary parties (the biggest one is the party of Julia Timoshenko with 25% of seats, the smaller one was the party of Klitschko the boxer with 15%) would support the turmoil as a way to gain power they lost at the elections.

Union of nationalists and liberals

Thus, a union of nationalists and liberals was formed. This union is the trademark of a new US policy in the Eastern Europe. It was tried in Russia two years ago, where enemies of Putin comprise of these two forces, of pro-Western liberals and of their new allies, Russian ethnic nationalists, soft and hard neo-Nazis. The liberals won’t fight, they are unpopular with the masses; they include an above-average percentage of Jews, gays, millionaires and liberal columnists; the nationalists can incite the great unwashed masses almost as well as the Bolsheviks, and will fight. This is the anti-Putin cocktail preferred by the US. This alliance actually took over 20% of vote in Moscow city elections, after their attempt to seize power by coup was beaten off by Putin. The Ukraine is their second, successful joint action.

Bear in mind: liberals do not have to support democracy. They do so only if they are certain democracy will deliver what they want. Otherwise, they can join forces with al Qaeda as now in Syria, with Islamic extremists as in Libya, with the Army as in Egypt, or with neo-Nazis, as now in Russia and the Ukraine. Historically, the liberal–Nazi alliance did not work because the old Nazis were enemies of bankers and financial capital, and therefore anti-Jewish. This hitch could be avoided: Mussolini was friendly to Jews and had a few Jewish ministers in his government; he objected to Hitler’s anti-Jewish attitude saying that “Jews are useful and friendly”. Hitler replied that if he were to allow that, thousands of Jews would join his party. Nowadays, this problem has vanished: modern neo-Nazis are friendly towards Jews, bankers and gays. The Norwegian killer Breivik is an exemplary sample of a Jew-friendly neo-Nazi. So are the Ukrainian and Russian neo-Nazis.

While the original Bandera thugs killed every Jew (and Pole) that came their way, their modern heirs receive some valuable Jewish support. The oligarchs of Jewish origin (Kolomoysky, Pinchuk and Poroshenko) financed them, while a prominent Jewish leader, Chairman of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of the Ukraine, Josef Zissels, supported them and justified them. There are many supporters of Bandera in Israel; they usually claim that Bandera was not an anti-Semite, as he had a Jewish doctor. (So did Hitler.) Jews do not mind Nazis who do not target them. The Russian neo-Nazis target Tajik gastarbeiters, and the Ukrainian neo-Nazis target Russian-speakers.

Revolution: the Outline

The revolution deserves to be described in a few lines: Yanukovych was not too bad a president, prudent though weak. Still the Ukraine came to the edge of financial abyss. (You can read more about it in my previous piece) He tried to save the situation by allying with the EC, but the EC had no money to spare. Then he tried to make a deal with Russia, and Putin offered him a way out, without even demanding from him that the Ukraine join the Russian-led TC. This triggered the violent response of the EC and the US, as they were worried it would strengthen Russia.

Yanuk, as people call him for short, had few friends. Powerful Ukrainian oligarchs weren’t enamoured with him. Besides the usual reasons, they did not like the raider habits of Yanuk’s son, who would steal other men’s businesses. Here they may have had a point, for the leader of Belarus, the doughty Lukashenko, said that Yanuk’s son’s unorthodox ways of acquiring businesses brought disaster.

Yanuk’s electorate, the Russian-speaking people of the Ukraine (and they are a majority in the land, like English-speaking Scots are majority in Scotland) were disappointed with him because he did not give them the right to speak Russian and teach their children in Russian. The followers of Julia Timoshenko disliked him for jailing their leader. (She richly deserved it: she hired assassins, stole billions of Ukrainian state money in cahoots with a former prime minister, made a crooked deal with Gazprom at the expense of Ukrainian consumers, and what not.) Extreme nationalists hated him for not eradicating the Russian language.

The US-orchestrated attack on the elected President followed Gene Sharp’s instructions to a tee, namely: (1) seize a central square and organise a mass peaceful sit-in, (2) speak endlessly of danger of violent dispersal, (3) if the authorities do nothing, provoke bloodshed, (4) yell bloody murder, (5) the authority is horrified and stupefied and (6) removed and (7) new powers take over.

The most important element of the scheme has never been voiced by the cunning Sharp, and that is why the Occupy Wall Street movement (who thumbed through the book) failed to achieve the desired result. You have to have the Masters of Discourse™ i.e., Western mainstream media, on your side. Otherwise, the government will squash you as they did with the Occupy and many other similar movements. But here, the Western media was fully on the rebels’ side, for the events were organised by the US embassy.

At first, they gathered for a sit-in on the Independence Square (aka “Maidan Square”) some people they knew: recipients of USAID grants via the NGO network, wrote a Ukrainian expert Andrey Vajra, networks of fugitive oligarch Khoroshkovski, neo-Nazis of the Right Sector and radicals of the Common Cause. The peaceful assembly was lavishly entertained by artists; food and drink were served for free, free sex was encouraged – it was a carnival in the centre of the capital, and it began to attract the masses, as would happen in every city in the known universe. This carnival was paid for by the oligarchs and by the US embassy.

But the carnival could not last forever. As per (2), rumours of violent dispersal were spread. People became scared and drifted away. Only a small crowd of activists remained on the square. Provocation as per (3) was supplied by a Western agent within the administration, Mr Sergey Levochkin. He wrote his resignation letter, posted it and ordered police to violently disperse the sit-in. Police moved in and dispersed the activists. Nobody was killed, nobody was seriously wounded, – today, after a hundredfold dead, it is ridiculous even to mention this thrashing, – but the opposition yelled bloody murder at the time. The world media, this powerful tool in the hands of Masters of Discourse, decried “Yanukovych massacred children”. The EC and the US slapped on sanctions, foreign diplomats moved in, all claiming they want to protect peaceful demonstrators, while at the same time beefing up the Maidan crowd with armed gunmen and Right Sector fighters.

We referred to Gene Sharp, but the Maidan had an additional influence, that of Guy Debord and his concept of Society of Spectacle. It was not a real thing, but a well-done make-believe, as was its predecessor, the August 1991 Moscow “coup”. Yanukovych did everything to build up the Maidan resistance: he would send his riot police to disperse the crowd, and after they did only half of the job, he would call them back, and he did this every day. After such treatment, even a very placid dog would bite.

The Spectacle-like unreal quality of Kiev events was emphasized by arrival of the imperial warmonger, the neocon philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy. He came to Maidan like he came to Libya and Bosnia, claiming human rights and threatening sanctions and bombing. Whenever he comes, war is following. I hope I shall be away from every country he plans to visit.

First victims of the Brown Revolution were the monuments – those of Lenin, for they do hate communism in every form, and those of the world war, because the revolutionaries solidarise with the lost side, with the German Nazis.

History will tell us to what extent Yanuk and his advisors understood what they were doing. Anyway, he encouraged the fire of Maidan by his inefficient raids by a weaponless police force. The neo-Nazis of Maidan used snipers against the police force, dozens of people were killed, but President Obama called upon Yanuk to desist, and he desisted. After renewed shooting, he would send the police in again. An EC diplomat would threaten him with the Hague tribunal dock, and he would call his police back. No government could function in such circumstances.

Eventually he collapsed, signed on the dotted line and departed for unknown destination. The rebels seized power, forbade the Russian language and began sacking Kiev and Lvov. Now the life of the placid people of Kiev has been turned into a living hell: daily robberies, beating, murder abound. The victors are preparing a military operation against the Russian-speaking areas in the South East of Ukraine. The spectacle of the revolution can yet turn really bloody.

Some Ukrainians hope that Julia Timoshenko, freshly released from jail, will be able to rein the rebels in. Others hope that President Putin will pay heed to the Ukrainian events, now that his Olympic games are, mercifully, finished. The spectacle is not over until the fat lady sings, but sing she will – her song still remains to be seen and heard.

English language editing by Ken Freeland

Israel Shamir can be reached at [email protected]

Economic Boom? Russia After Sochi

February 25th, 2014 by Michael Hudson

The Sochi Olympics were the great success Russia hoped for. The opening ceremonies proved a radiant display drawing on Russia’s most compelling cultural assets.  This artful look back to Russia’s past greatness proved both a reminder and challenge to its own people to reprise their historical greatness going forward. Meanwhile, its closing ceremonies reprised these themes, reminding the viewer of Russia’s continued vibrancy in the arts.

From an economic vantage point, national hosts for Olympic games always use them as an occasion for enormous infrastructure spending for economic development. One of us (Hudson) was the economist for Montreal brokerage houses back in 1976 when every French Canadian family seemed to become millionaires on the games’ cost overruns. The usual argument by governments is to hire a Keynesian economist who will say, “Spend tens of $billions and the multiplier will generate hundreds of $billions in national income. Taxes at 20% will recover all the expense, so in an economy with under-employment, whatever you spend on the Olympics will be free.” This is the kind of argument that World Bank economists use to justify infrastructure investment by underdeveloped countries, and what any Olympic host city argues to minimize the vast cost overruns that always occur. Construction contracts are about as honest as figure skating judging.

At least this argument is better than trickle-down economics. For Russia, the Sochi Olympics did for that city’s infrastructure what the Olympics did for Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and other sites. But for Russia, it was the first real Keynesian-type investment in infrastructure to start rebuilding the nation physically – in an economy where construction has not been the strong suit that it has in Western economies.

If there were any time for those hostile to Russia to provoke an intemperate move, this was it. The games were supposed to show a positive Russian face to the world, helping heal the old Cold War tensions. So, from Mr. Putin’s vantage point, the worst thing that could happen would be a distraction to remind the world of old Soviet-era repression. So of course, this was precisely what the Western press played up. To read the New York Times or Washington Post, the real sporting event was whether the police would descend on Pussy Riot’s sideshow.

Russia did itself no favors by sending Cossacks to deal with what would otherwise have been a nearly invisible Pussy Riot protest performance. If Putin’s aim was to promote a view of Russia as a modern developing country, that of the demonstrators was to identify his government as modern-day Stalinists.

In advance of the games American audiences were regaled with ‘Orange Alert’ tales of impending doom from terrorist attacks on the demonstrations staged by the regime’s opponents. But the Russian government dealt deftly to provide security for the games while seeing the Western anti-public relations ploy and did not overreact. The games were indeed about athletics, not minority rights, separatism and anti-authoritarian democracy. There was nothing like the violence seen in New York City when the city’s police descended on the peaceful Occupy Wall Street demonstration after 1:30 AM and started smashing the equipment of the demonstrators (especially their guitars and musical instruments), trashing their library and driving them out, with liberal use of pepper spray on the defenseless.

Russia’s poorly conceived Cossack intervention aside, it refrained from doing anything on the scale of what Mayor Bloomberg did to Occupy Wall Street. This contrast was not drawn by the Western media. The last thing that they would promote was the idea of Russia new role as peacebroker on the international stage. So there was no mention of how Russian pressure on Bashar al-Assad in Syria prevented an escalation of conflict there that could have rippled through the Middle East, providing fertile terrain for the expansion of the Al-Qaeda franchise in the U.S.-backed alliance. Putin’s act in saving the US from a disastrous intervention might have helped the ‘reset’ on US-Russian cooperation and security relations.

Leading up to the Sochi Olympics were reports from US media of failed infrastructure on the ground. Hotel rooms were not quite ready. The water was yellow (as usually is the case in newly built and plumbed buildings). The real story, of course, was precisely the vast infrastructure investment in building. This was a new path for Russia, where construction had languished ever since 1917 as the economy pushed industrialization more than residential or commercial building.

Yet here was a regional city that had been living under near-Third World conditions before the Olympic reconstruction began. Sochi even lacked potable water – a condition still found in many parts of Russia since the collapse of the USSR. The economic success of Sochi has been to turn it into a modern city in the making, with infrastructure that will contribute to its long-term potential to become a tourist destination.

The Olympics thus served as a catalyst to bring money and development to the Caucasus. This is, after all, the best tonic against the Islamic fundamentalist movements that thrive most in poverty. The Sochi success thus is a first step in a constructive and peaceful mode of dealing with terrorism, in contrast to the devastation that has been wrought in post-revolution Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

Sochi represents the kind of development that should take place across all of Russia. It is much better than building up sovereign wealth funds to play in stock markets. Russia’s money and resources – above all its labor – is best employed at home, and construction has been lacking for too long. It typically accounts for 10 percent of GDP in advanced countries. (In hothouse Ireland it rose to 25% of GDP by 2007.) Where better to spend credit and money than on infrastructure to transform Russia’s economy and living standards?

What has collapsed in the past two decades is not only much of Russia’s infrastructure, but its prospective middle class. Nothing would go further toward rebuilding prosperity than a national program to transform the country’s infrastructure. Sochi has shown the way forward. That is the real story that the Western media have sidestepped.

The usual corruption charges were leveled against the Sochi Olympics, as in every such games within memory. That is what happens with big construction projects everywhere. Yet there was no reminiscing about similar events over the pasts three or four decades, or for the role in such infrastructure investment in catalyzing an economic takeoff. If Russia becomes a leading actor in the struggle for clean government in the realm of big construction, it will be nearly among the first nation to do this, and let’s hope it can be.

The other major criticism of Russia as the games approached led to many Americans not attend: Russia’s recent discriminatory laws against the LGBT community. These laws are mostly designed to pacify socially conservative elements in Russia (as right-wing as American Christian churches – well, maybe not quite as intolerant, but you get the picture). But the reality is that these laws are not being enforced in any serious way. While we hardly support these measures, the best way to deal with this issue will be real economic development of the type presented by Sochi. Development leads to tolerance.

The most serious human rights challenge in Russia is that from ethnic vigilante groups. They are the gangs taking real action against their targets as they once did in the US. In this instance the Russian government has moved aggressively to thwart this dangerous trend.

What would Dick Cheney have done if Russian NGOs sponsored separatist movements in Texas, California or New England? How would US police have reacted against armed revolutionaries seizing the armory and throwing Molotov cocktails and bombs at public buildings, killing police, painting swastikas on Jewish houses and claiming vigilante justice? If this is Obama’s “reset” with Russia, he is resetting the Cold War by setting the neocons loose in the former Soviet economies. If there is one thing that the CIA has shown its competence in, it is in setting one ethnic group against the others – Sunni vs Shiite, Kurd against Arab, Persian against them all. When other countries seek to defend a multi-ethnic secular state, the US foreign office in all cases has backed the fundamentalists for the past half-century. Let’s hope Obama moves away from these hardline elements in his State Department and more toward the type of cooperation with Russia that prevented a US invasion of Sryia.

Sochi shows that Russia can pull off world-class projects on the global stage. The games proved how Russia can transform its economy through infrastructure investment in a way that can build up a middle class while countering religious and racist fundamentalist discontent.

The US has a curious double standard when it comes to Russian leaders. The Western press applauded Boris Yeltsin for unleashing tanks on Russia’s elected parliament in 1993, and Wall Street applauded when he turned over the country’s wealth to oligarchs. Contrast this with the treatment of Putin. Although not an ideal democrat in the ‘Western’ mold, he has shown himself a potentially valuable partner for the US in foreign affairs and he hasn’t unleashed tanks on parliament.

Would not the world be a much better place with a developed and thriving Russia, building up a middle class through a construction boom? Wouldn’t Russia better develop if blocked the escape of its national wealth to offshore banks located in the West? What terrifies the West is that Russia may in fact do as the Americans have historically done in building up protected industry and agriculture and introducing a rule of law aiming at nationwide development rather than a client kleptocracy. That is the real nightmare of the US press, judging from its Olympic coverage: that Russia may succeed and provide an alternative to the renewal of Cold War-like belligerence now being encouraged by the American “resets” from Ukraine to Sochi.

Michael Hudson’s book summarizing his economic theories, “The Bubble and Beyond,” is available on Amazon. His latest book is Finance Capitalism and Its Discontents.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. He can be reached via his website, [email protected]

Jeffrey Sommers is an associate professor of political economy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and is visiting faculty at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga.  He is co-editor of the forthcoming book The Contradictions of Austerity. In addition to CounterPunch he also publishes in The Financial Times, The Guardian, TruthOut and routinely appears as an expert on global television programs.  He can be reached at: [email protected]

Poverty Alleviation, Foreign Aid and the Free Market

February 25th, 2014 by Andy Dilks

There has been much debate here in the UK about the government’s expenditure on foreign aid in light of the woefully inadequate response to widespread flooding across the south of England as a result of powerful storms. “If we haven’t got the money to help our own people,” the argument goes, “then why are we spending so much helping others in faraway lands?” Why, for instance, has austerity in Britain exacerbated conditions of poverty while at the same time Britain’s commitment to foreign aid combating poverty abroad increased?

When David Cameron entered office in 2010 he expressed his commitment to maintaining the Department for International Development (DFID) as a separate department, stating, “even in these difficult times we will meet our commitment to increase spending on aid to 0.7% of gross national income from 2013″. Presented as a progressive counterpoint to the raft of cuts made in other departments (including the Department of Work and Pensions headed by Iain Duncan Smith, whose severe cuts compounded by incompetence and financial mismanagement have cost the taxpayer millions while hitting the poorest and most vulnerable in society the hardest), the reaction to the increase in foreign aid has perhaps understandably been met with accusations that the government is prioritising the poor abroad over the poor at home. But does this commitment reflect a genuine concern to help the poorest in the world and, as the slogan goes, “Make Poverty History”, or are there ulterio motives at work not mentioned by the PR heads in the media?

On paper the Department for International Development sounds impressive, with goals including:

  • halving the number of people around the globe living in extreme poverty and hunger
  • promoting sexual equality
  • improving health for mothers and decreasing the death rates for children
  • Combating HIV and AIDS as well as other diseases
  • building a global partnership for those working in development

All perfectly noble-sounding objectives, but it is the latter point which brings us to some of the problems associated with the DFID.

In 2011 the DFID paid out nearly half a billion pounds to mostly British consultants, many of them on 6-7 figure incomes paid for by out of the aid budget. An investigation revealed that these “poverty barons” and the huge sums they were receiving represented a clear conflict of interest, where aid-funded business clears up huge wads of cash which could otherwise be effectively spent on poverty and disease.

The reality is that aid is sometimes diverted away from more deserving countries to places where there are no real problems to speak of but instead attractive beaches and luxury facilities for the poverty consultants to enjoy – for example, the DFID gave £75 million in aid to the Caribbean despite the well developed infrastructure (replete with expensive hotels and restaurants). Further aid goes to consultants in Barbados, where DFID cash helps pay their £180,000 salaries.

The DFID also faced criticism in the 2005 report from ActionAid, Real Aid: an agenda for making aid work, which not only revealed how the government inflated the value of its aid to the poor, but also how much of this money is “phantom aid” which does nothing to reduce poverty. It goes on to describe scant accounting, administrative waste and a culture of paying large sums to “consultants” and “technical advisors”. One scheme – the construction of a defense system to protect villagers from flooding in Cambodia – saw three quarters of its budget allocated to offices, administration and consultancy firms, despite the project being promoted as “community-based”.

Other problems have been identified by the World Development Movement, who have identified what they refer to as a “worrying trend” for prioritising the private sector in the way in which the DFID distributes its funds. In this dynamic aid becomes tax breaks for multinational corporations such as Nike – in Bangladesh, for example, £11 million was given to the World Bank’s Private Sector Development project which led to the creation of “export processing zones” (EPZ), tax havens where corporations avoid tax payments while at the same time banning workers from joining trade unions. In some cases, the land on which these zones are constructed can be confiscated by the government, with the issue of compensation for those living on the land murky, to say the least. Protesters have predictably been met with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Needless to say, the consultants receiving hefty sums of aid cash from the DFID are instrumental in the establishment of EPZs – similar public-private partnerships have been planned for completion in India by 2015 and the distinction between aid and business is becoming increasingly blurred. The DFID’s Girl Hub Project is being implemented by the Nike Foundation, while David Cameron announced a new project by GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever at the Olympics Hunger Summit. This reliance on the profit-driven private sector represents a worrying trend in global aid, where returns on investments not only trump the needs of the poor but – as is the case with EPZs – actively work against the best interests of those on the lowest spectrum of society.

Corporate Watch has extensively covered the shortcomings of DFID and World Bank aid investment in Bangladesh and India and highlights a raft of problems associated with wages, working conditions and corruption which bear little resemblance to the “democractic principles” so often espoused by British politicians when they speak of foreign policy (admittedly often with forked tongues). Privatization, the degradation of services such as education and the distribution of aid money to NGOs which display an inherent pro-DFID bias, regardless of the fact that much of the money is ending up in private hands rather than those who need it the most, all point towards foreign aid as something of a fallacy – a contradiction between the PR and rhetoric and the facts on the ground.

Aid funds are often swallowed up by the corrupt governments in third world countries who are tasked with distributing among their people or using it to fund projects of benefit to local communities. The DFID featured in a damning report from think-tank Chatham House in September 2013, which accused them of giving the Nigerian government over £1 billion in aid, fully aware that this would end up in private pockets. Corruption in Nigeria is endemic, with the report stating,“Nigerian crude oil is being stolen on an industrial scale and proceeds are laundered through world financial centres. In Nigeria, politicians, military officers, militants, oil industry personnel, oil traders and communities profit, as do organised criminal groups.”

Money from the illicit trafficking is often laundered in financial institutions found in the City of London – a British commentator quoted at Nigerian Watch neatly summed up the dynamic, saying, “It’s a magic trick. The British government takes large amounts of public money and gives it away then they get some back via business deals usually with companies they are involved with or are very friendly with and some of the money magically makes its way back but ends up in their pockets in a roundabout kind of way.” The scale of corruption in London’s financial centre – and the impunity with which bankers and businesses act – is legendary, with the watchdog Transparency International describing it as “the capital of dirty money”.

While this points to fundamental flaws in the way in which the DFID distributes its aid, it is perhaps unfair to write off their work entirely as achieving nothing positive whatsoever for the world’s poor. At the same time, perhaps it is to be expected that the British government would prioritise its own interests abroad, working in tandem with key global institutions and corporations which share its economic values. The negative impact of the DFID on global poverty in respect to its conformity to free market capitalism is miniscule in comparison to some of the large international financial institutions, and it must be acknowledged that, if blame is to be attributed anywhere for the rise in poverty around the world, then it rests largely at the doors of organizations such as the World Bank (with whom the DFID engage) and the International Monetary Fund.

Anyone familiar with the work of Naomi Klein and John Perkins is all too aware of the fundamental role played by international banks in the exploitation and ruination of the developing world. Klein argued eloquently against what she referred to as “disaster capitalism” – the free market economic model developed by Milton Friedman and the Chicago Boys – in her book The Shock Doctrine, outlining a predatory form of capitalism which exploits, and may even deliberately engineer, political and social unrest for the benefit of multinational corporations.

Klein views the World Bank and IMF as key architects of this process, and it is difficult to argue against this conclusion given the track record of ruinous intervention in developing countries, where IMF structural readjustment programs have led to widespread poverty, increasingly authoritarian political systems and degraded public services, while large corporations are free to strip the country of its most valuable assets, ensuring that none of the wealth returns to the indigenous population (aside from the corrupt puppet politicians who accept the terms of IMF loans).

So, while the DFID could be seen as attempting to put a plaster on an open wound (albeit one infected with the shortcomings of neoliberal ideology), the institutions which are the root cause of poverty are the ones most sorely in need of reform, if not complete overhaul or abolition. The poor of the world imperiled by acute malnourishment and mass starvation are victims of a much larger system which has at its heart an agenda of increasing the wealth of the few at the expense of the many; a network of international finance which vastly overshadows the problem of misdirected foreign aid.

Sadly, the will to address the root cause of the problem – given that our political leaders are deeply embedded in the same neoliberal ideological mindset - isn’t likely to occur any time soon.

The recent events in Ukraine are a warning to the international working class. Under conditions in which workers lack both a perspective and a party to enable them to intervene independently in political events, the situation in Ukraine has developed in an extremely reactionary direction. What had been unthinkable in Europe since the fall of Hitler’s Third Reich in 1945 has come to pass: while the US and Germany ruthlessly and recklessly destabilized the country, fascists became the decisive force on the ground.

The crisis was sparked in November of last year by President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union. This was unacceptable for Washington and Berlin. As Theo Sommer put it in Die Zeit, the issue at stake was “Where should the EU’s eastern boundary, and the western boundary of the Russian sphere of influence, be situated?”

The US and Germany systematically supported the pro-EU opposition, which organized the demonstrations against Yanukovych. In addition to Julia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland and Vitali Klitschko’s UDAR—two right-wing parties with close ties to the German CDU—the opposition also included the fascist Svoboda party of Oleh Tyahnybok.

The fact that Svoboda employs neo-fascist symbols, agitates against foreigners, Jews, Hungarians and Poles, maintains close relations with the French National Front and is compared to the ultra-right Greek Golden Dawn and Hungarian Jobbik by the World Jewish Congress, has not prevented the foreign ministers of the United States and Germany from publicly embracing Tyahnybok.

The initial opposition demonstrations, however, failed to force Yanukovych to resign. At this point, paramilitary fascist militias were mobilized to intensify the conflict and propel the country to the brink of civil war. The leading role was played by the so-called Right Sector, whose masked militants, equipped with helmets, batons, fire bombs and firearms soon dominated the center of Kiev, carrying out fierce attacks on the security forces. News reports estimate their number in Kiev alone to be between 2,000 and 3,000.

The conservative Die Welt paper termed the Right Sector an “informal association of right-wing and neo-fascist splinter groups”. Time magazine, which interviewed its leader Dmitry Yarosh, writes that their “ideology borders on fascism and it enjoys support only from Ukraine’s most hard-line nationalists”. Many of its members are former soldiers or fought in the conflict on the side of Azerbaijan, and in Chechnya and South Ossetia against Russia.

It was these paramilitary fascist militias which ensured that the situation escalated last Thursday. While they fought bloody battles with the security forces, resulting in dozens of casualties on both sides, the German, Polish and French foreign ministers flew into Kiev and forced Yanukovych to accept a “compromise” following hours of negotiations. It was the beginning of the end for the president.

When the Right Sector spoke out against the agreement and threatened to resume hostilities, the military declared its neutrality, and many deputies from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions changed sides. This sealed his fate.

The situation in Ukraine is still extremely tense and unstable. The various camps of the opposition are fighting for political dominance, while there is the danger of secession and civil war in Crimea and the east of the county. The fascist forces upon which the Western powers and the opposition relied to force through regime change are demanding their pound of flesh and will play an important role in the political life of the country.

When she spoke at Independence Square after her release from prison, former prime minister and Fatherland party leader Yulia Tymoshenko made a series of overtures to the fascist militias. She expressly thanked Right Sector for its “contribution to the revolution.” The new interior minister promised that the “Self-Defense Forces from Maidan” would be integrated into the new order.

This strengthening of the fascists would not be possible without the systematic support of the media and the main political parties in Europe and the US. Liberal newspapers such as the New York Times and the Süddeutsche Zeitung have produced a deluge of propaganda portraying events in Ukraine as a “democratic revolution”, glossing over the role of fascists and glorifying the coup.

Representatives of parties of all stripes—the US Democrats and Republicans, the Conservatives, Social Democrats, Greens and Pirates from Germany and other European countries—have made pilgrimages to Kiev to express their solidarity with the right-wing mob. In particular, Germany’s social-democratic Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier played a key role in the coup against Yanukovych.

This shift towards fascist forces is not limited to Ukraine. Sections of the French elites are turning towards the National Front (FN), which has benefited in turn from the right-wing, anti-working class policies of the Socialist Party. The FN currently is in first place in polls for the upcoming European elections. Underlying this shift to the right is the intensification of the international crisis of capitalism and growing social polarization.

In Kiev, the first task of the new government will be to administer the medicine already prescribed for Greece: austerity, welfare cuts and price increases. Representatives of the EU and the IMF have made clear that these are the prerequisites for the loans Ukraine needs to stave off bankruptcy. This will cheer the billionaire Ukrainian oligarchs, some of whom backed the opposition, while others changed sides in the past few days.

The US and EU are using the coup in Ukraine to step up pressure on Russia, risking a military confrontation. In the Financial Times, former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski warns that Russian meddling in Ukraine’s internal conflicts “would compel Washington to use its influence internationally to prompt steps that would be costly to Moscow.”

Throughout the crisis the working class in Ukraine has had no opportunity to intervene in political events. This is why the imperialist powers, competing oligarchic cliques, and the fascists were able to prevail. The growing threat of dictatorship and war—which is so clear today in Ukraine—can only be countered by a united movement of the international working class fighting to overthrow capitalism and all its backers on the basis of a socialist program.

The takeover of power in Kiev by the mainstream opposition is a coup that has been executed by force, which overlooks the opinions of at least half of the Ukrainian population. Yet, you would not know this from listening to such media outlets and networks as CNN or Fox News or reading the headlines being produced by Reuters and the state-owned British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The events in Kiev are misleadingly being billed and framed by these media sources and the so-called “Western” governments they support, either directly or indirectly, as the triumph of people power and democracy in Ukraine.

Utter hypocrisy is at work. When similar protests and riots broke out in Britain and France, the positions taken and the tones used by the above actors was very different. These actors framed the protests and riots in Britain and France as issues of law and order, using language very favourable to the British and French governments. Where were the statements of concern about the rights and safety of protesters from the US government and the European Commission when force was used by the British and French governments or when protesters died?

While not overlooking, disregarding, or devaluing the loss of life in Kiev, the roots of the violence there need to be discussed honestly and traced back. On the same note, it has to be understood that members of the Ukrainian opposition and their supporters were agitating for a violent confrontation against the Ukrainian government. There is no argument here against the right of citizens to protest, but rioting or taking up arms with the intent to oust a democratically-elected government is a different matter that no government in the US or the EU would accept on their own territory.

When the laws that the US and EU countries have in place are quickly glimpsed at, gross double-standards are evident. Universally, the criminal codes of these governments forbid the assembly of their citizens for the purpose of discussing the overthrow of the government alone. Their criminal codes consider whoever advocates, aids, advises, or preaches for the overthrowing or the government by political subversion as a criminal and threat to the state. In the US “anyone  with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so” is considered a felon under the criminal code. If two or more persons even meet to talk about removing the government in most these countries, they can be imprisoned. In the case of the United States, as the US Criminal Code states, these individuals “shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.”

Washington and the European Union have aided and encouraged the above acts by openly supporting the campaign of the Ukrainian opposition and even sending officials and politicians to encourage the anti-government forces in Ukraine. The irony is that this is the exact type of behaviour that the US and the European Union have outlawed on their own territories and would not tolerate against themselves whatsoever.

If it were merely a case of ethnocentrisim, this attitude could be called exceptionalism. It, however, is not exceptionalism. To be very candid, it is heartless regime change perpetrated by governments that have a record of insincerely hiding behind democracy and humanitarianism.

How the European Union Enabled the Coup

What has taken place in Kiev is a coup that has unfolded through the manipulation of the emotions and hopes of a significant segment of the Ukrainian population by opposition leaders.  It has to be emphasized that many opposition supporters are doing what they believe is right for their country and that they themselves are the victims of their own corrupt leaders. It must equally be emphasized, regardless of which side they support, that the Ukrainian people are all the victims of their corrupt politicians. Both the governing party and opposition parties have taken turns ruling the country and exploiting Ukraine for their personal gains.

The opposition leadership has basically usurped power while the European Union and the United States have given their full support to them. This has been done via EU and US attempts to legitimize the opposition power grab through the portrayal of the coup in Kiev as the climax of a popular revolution in Ukraine.

Albeit the mainstream opposition is not truly united, opposition leaders have grossly refused to fulfill any of their obligations after an agreement was brokered between them and the Ukrainian government by the European Union through mediation by the troika of France, Germany, and Poland. The Ukrainian government and Russia have rightly accused the European Union and the EU mediators of refusing to fulfill their obligations to make sure that the opposition respects the EU-brokered agreement.  Instead the European Union has allowed Ukrainian opposition leaders to ignore their commitments and to grossly violate the agreement.

While one faction of the opposition was negotiating another faction of the opposition continued the pressure from the streets, refusing to stop until the government was ousted. The agreement signed between the Ukrainian government and the mainstream opposition on February 21, 2014 had no clause or terms, however, that granted the opposition the rights or power to take over the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of Ukraine or to unilaterally create new legislation. Any information that implies that the agreement allows for this to take place is false and misleading.

Instead the agreement has been used as a disguise for the opposition’s takeover of the state. In truth, the European Union helped broker the agreement as a means of empowering the Ukrainian opposition. The leaked phone conversation about the protests in Ukraine between the US Department of State’s Victoria Nuland and Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador in Kiev, even indicated that the US and EU were planning on creating a new government in Ukraine. The Nuland tape reveals that Washington was working to inaugurate a new opposition-led government in Ukraine with Ukrainian figures that would readily submit and acquiesce to US and EU demands.

What Nuland and Pyatt discussed is regime change in Ukraine, which has nothing to do with what the Ukrainian people want and everything to do with what the US government and its allies need from Ukraine. If the US government really believed that the Ukrainian people have the right to determine their future, it would not be busy working to appoint political figures in the Ukrainian government or trying to configure how the Ukrainian government would be constructed. Instead Washington would leave the creation of government in Kiev to the Ukrainian people.

Using Parliamentary Camouflage in the Rada to Disguise a Coup

The leaders of the opposition are trying to cosmetically deceive Ukrainians and the world by hijacking the legislative branch of their country’s government. There are strong chances that this is being done with the coordination and the encouragement of the US government and the European Union. To legitimize their takeover, the Ukrainian opposition is now using the Ukrainian Parliament or Verkhovna Rada. The Rada was already a heavily corrupt place with notoriously crooked and dishonest politicians dominating both the pro-government and opposition sides of the aisle, now it is functioning as a rubber stamp legislature. In other words, the Ukrainian opposition leadership is trying to legitimize its coup in Kiev by using the dysfunctional Ukrainian Rada.

The Rada has not been at full decorum for all the voting. The opposition initially used the instability and fleeing of the government to opportunistically declare its unchallenged Rada bills as legitimate. This happened while approximately half of Ukraine’s parliamentarians were either absent or in hiding due to the violence and riots in Kiev. In other words, opposition leaders used the absence of about half the parliamentarians in the Rada to falsely give a cover of legality to their coup by taking the opportunity to pass parliamentary legislation that would be defeated if all the Rada’s members were present and voting.

Albeit under the management of the opposition the Rada has retained a sufficient amount of parliamentarians or deputies to hold an emergency session, there are serious ethical, procedural, technical, legal, and constitutional questions about what is taking place. To hold an emergency session, the Rada needs at least two hundred and twenty-six of its parliamentarians to be present.  Under opposition management there were initially two hundred and thirty-nine deputies, but this did not entitle the opposition to pass any type of legislature that it pleased or to pretend that the Rada was operating under a regular constitutional session. Moreover, there were important and specific procedures that still needed to be followed that the opposition parties outright ignored and violated.

Ukraine’s biggest political party, the Party of Regions, and the other pro-government parties or independent parliamentarians have not been present for all the Rada votes taking place. Albeit an increasing number of pro-government deputies are now beginning to negotiate with the opposition and a faction of the deputies from the Party of Regions have returned to the Rada to protect themselves, the absence of many of the Rada’s deputies and the fact that all Ukrainian parliamentarians are not inside the Rada to challenge the opposition bills makes, at the very least, the legislation that has been passed questionable. Examining other factors, the laws being passed in the Rada become even more questionable.

The Rada’s chairman (speaker or president), Volodymyr Rybak, has not been present for the reading of Rada bills either. It has been reported that Rybak has resigned from his Rada post. Not only must the individual that has been elected as Rada chairperson by a full constitutional session of the Rada be present for the voting process to be legitimate, but the Rada chairperson must also approve the acts adopted by the Rada with their signature before they are sent to the executive branch of government for promulgation. Nor can Ukrainian bills be passed into law or promulgated after the Rada votes without a final presidential signature. The only way that a presidential veto can be overturned is if two-thirds of the Rada’s deputies or members support a bill after the presidential veto, in which case either the president must sign it or the Rada’s chairperson signs the bill into law.

The opposition has tried to circumvent the necessary presidential approval and the absence of a Rada chairperson. Instead opposition leaders got their parties to unilaterally select a new chairman, Oleksandr Turchynov, so that they can push their political agenda forward without getting challenged. Turchynov’s appointment as Rada chairman was meant to give the Ukrainian opposition’s parliamentary work the cover of legitimacy. The opposition appointed Turchynov to claim that constitutional procedures have been followed, because a Rada chairperson has been overseeing their partisan bills and approving them. Moreover, Oleksandr Turchynov is not only overseeing and approving the unilateral bills of the Ukrainian opposition, but has signed them into law as the acting president of Ukraine too.

What the opposition has done with Turchynov, however, is illegal for a number of reasons. Firstly, most of the Rada, meaning all the deputies or members of the Ukrainian Parliament, must convene before a new Rada chairman or speaker is selected to oversee parliamentary voting on bills. This did not taken place, because many of the Rada’s members were missing when he was selected. Secondly, Turchynov cannot assume the role of Rada chairperson if there is already a chairperson with a first vice-chairperson (first deputy chairperson) or assume the role of acting president until President Viktor Yanukovych resigns or is impeached by the Rada, which did not take place when he was declared acting president.

Using divisions inside the bewildered Party of Regions hierarchy, the opposition has sought to cover its unconstitutional tracks. Days after Turchynov was appointed chairman of the Rada, the opposition got a faction of the Party of Regions deputies that returned to the Rada and a series of independent Rada deputies to impeach President Yanukovych. These Party of Regions and independent parliamentarians are working with the opposition in order to keep their places or to secure positions for themselves under the new political regime in Kiev.

The Rada is now a rubber stamp body controlled by the opposition. It has already acted illicitly. Although there is still uncertainty or arguments on whether the 2004 version or 2010 version of the Ukrainian Constitution is in operation, Article 82 of the Ukrainian Constitution (regardless of whichever version is in operation) stipulates that the Rada is only “competent on the condition that no less than two-thirds of its constitutional composition has been elected.”

Discussions have also taken place about new media regulations and expelling the Russian media from Ukraine. Exposing just how fake their democratic leanings are, the opposition leadership has threatened to use the Rada to additionally outlaw any of the political parties in Ukraine that have opposed them. This includes banning Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions

The Party of Regions is not only the most widely supported Ukrainian political party; it also holds nearly forty percent of the seats in the Rada. No other political party even comes close to holding this type of support in the Ukrainian political landscape or the Rada. Excluding the parliamentary seats of its political allies in the unicameral Rada, which houses four hundred and forty-two seats in total, the Party of Regions alone has one hundred and sixty-five seats. The opposition political parties and coalitions comprised of the All-Ukrainian Union Fatherland (Batkivshchyna), the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform, and Svoboda have a combined one hundred and sixty-seven seats. There is no question about which party the majority of Ukrainian voters support. Outlawing the Party of Regions essentially annuls the electoral choice of the most significant plurality of Ukrainians.

Opposition leaders also want to illicitly use the Rada to outlaw the Ukrainian Communist Party. The Ukrainian Communist Party has called the so-called EuroMaidan/Euromaidan protests a foreign-sponsored coup against Ukraine and its people. The opposition threats about banning the Ukrainian Communist Party, and even killing its members in the streets, is meant to punish it for the position it has taken and for the support it has given to the Ukrainian government against the anti-government protests in Kiev.

The Balkanization of Ukraine? Is Ukraine to follow Yugoslavia’s Path?

It seems that maybe the worst is yet to come. Is Ukraine destined to go the way of the former Yugoslavia? The question is being entertained more and more seriously. Andrei Vorobyov, a Russian diplomat in Kiev, even commented, much to the angst of the Ukrainian government, that federalization may be the best solution for Ukraine and that Ukraine was already in a de facto federal state. The reasons behind the angst about the federalization comments are the increasing anxieties of Ukrainian authorities and citizens about the possibility that their country could divide or fragment.

Before the opposition takeover of Kiev in February 2014, Ukraine was already a polarized country and society. The western portion of Ukraine has been under the influence and control of the mainstream opposition whereas the eastern and southern portions have been under the influence and control of the Party of Regions and its political allies. The opposition’s actions outside of the framework of democracy have opened the door for lawlessness and a devolution of governmental power.

Different areas of Ukraine have fallen into the hands of opposition militias. The militia of Aleksandr Muzychko, one of the ultra-nationalist opposition leaders and a fervent opponent of Russia that fought alongside Chechen separatists in Grozny against the Russian military, now control different towns in the western portion of Ukraine. They have threatened to wage war against the Ukrainian government using tanks and heavy weaponry.

Political machinations from all sides are at work too. After the opposition takeover, officials from President Yanukovych’s own Party of Regions laid responsibility for the deaths in Kiev squarely on his shoulder and condemned him as a coward and traitor to Ukraine, virtually ignoring the role that opposition leaders played in igniting the political crisis and the loss of life. Fearing the violent segments of the opposition, the Party of Regions has additionally condemned the mainstream opposition’s intimidation campaign and threats of violence against the Party of Regions and its supporters.

There are Rada deputies or parliamentarians from the Party of Regions that are now in the eastern and southern portions of Ukraine and afraid to return to Kiev due to the violent opposition militias that have taken over. There are reports that a parallel parliament may be established somewhere in eastern or southern Ukraine, which would effectively divide the country like Bosnia was divided when the Bosnian Serbs created their own parallel parliament after the Bosnian Parliament in Sarajevo ignored Bosnia’s communitarian formula that essentially guaranteed a veto to Bosnia’s Bosniak, Croat, and Serb communities as a means of maintaining co-existence.

The silent or unheard of half of Ukraine, which the mainstream media in the US and the EU refuse to acknowledge, is now bracing itself and preparing for an expansion of the violence in Kiev. It fears the spread of violence being perpetrated by the militant segment of the opposition. The violence has already begun to touch Kharkiv. There are now calls for secession from the predominately-Russophone Crimean Peninsula, which wants to annul the Soviet era decision of Nikita Khrushchev to detach the Crimean Peninsula from Soviet Russia as an award to Soviet Ukraine that symbolizes unity and kinship between Russia and Ukraine.

If the Crimean Peninsula should separate, there are suggestions that Russia could intervene militarily in the Crimean Peninsula. If this was to happen, it would take place through an invitation by Crimean officials and the Autonomous Rada (Duma or Parliament) of the Crimea, which in June 2006 even created anti-NATO legislation banning North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces from entering Crimean territory while its officials called Viktor Yushchenko, the pro-NATO president of Ukraine, a puppet of the US and the EU. The concern about Russian intervention has even been addressed with an ironically hypocritical and indirect warning from Susan Rice to the Kremlin not to sent troops into Ukraine.

The Autonomous Republic of the Crimea in the Crimean Peninsula, which is the historical home of Ukraine’s Muslim minority, is not the only place in Ukraine that has threatened to take action as a result of the coup in Kiev. As a precautionary reaction to the violent and armed segments of the Ukrainian opposition that have destabilized Kiev, counter-militias are now being formed in places like the oblasts of Kharkiv and Donetsk in the eastern and southern portions of Ukraine. Officials and Ukrainians from these eastern and southern parts of Ukraine have also said that they do not recognize the Rada in Kiev as legitimate any longer and that the legislation being passed by it is illegal and void.

Ukraine’s polarized politics also overlap with the contours of organized religion. While the majority of Ukrainians are Christians that belong to the Russian Orthodox Church of Ukraine (simply called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church), there is also a division among them that is linked to nationalist politics. About half the followers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church look to Patriarch Kirill in Moscow as their patriarch and as the supreme primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, but the other half belongs to the breakaway portion of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that follows Patriarch Filaret in Kiev. At least in nominal terms, ultra-nationalists and opposition supporters mostly follow the Kiev Patriarchate and those supporting the Party of Regions generally look to Moscow as their spiritual centre. These divisions have the potential of being manipulated in a Yugoslavia-style scenario.

The picture gets more complicated when the minority faiths in Ukraine are examined. Ukrainian Catholics, both the Unites of the Greek Catholic Church and the Roman Catholics, generally seem to favour the opposition and integration with the EU too. There has actually been growing resentment towards the Ukrainian Catholics, who are viewed as Polish agents, by members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.  Despite the well-known and advertised dislike of Jews by a segment of opposition supporters (similar negative views about Jews, which have historically existed in Ukraine, also exist among some government supporters), Ukrainian Jews are divided between the pro-government and anti-government camps. According to the Jerusalem Post and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Ukrainian Jews have taken part in the anti-government protests alongside Ukrainian ultra-nationalists. Ukrainian Muslims, three-fifths of which are Crimean Tartars, on the other hand seem to generally support the pro-government side, albeit there is Muslim support for opposition parties. Ukrainian Muslims, however, are cautious and do not support the dissolution of Ukraine or separatist feelings that exist among the Russian community.

The Blurred Lines that Exist between Ukrainians and Russians

The Eastern European country’s politics are even more complicated by the fact that the Russian language is prevalent in the eastern and southern sections of Ukraine. There is an ongoing dispute about the exact numbers. Due to the closeness of both the Russian and Ukrainian languages, in some parts of Ukraine it is hard to identify if the local population is actually speaking a dialect of the Ukrainian language or the Russian language. Even more confounding, the lines between Ukrainian and Russian identity and language are not clear cut.

Aside from the blurred language lines and the fact that both Ukrainian and Russian were once one language, there is a blurred line on who is ethnically Ukrainian and who is ethnically Russian. Approximately thirty percent of Ukrainians consider Russian as either their first or mother language and are Russophones according to the Ukrainian government, but only about half of these Russophone Ukrainian citizens are actually ethnically Russkiye (ethnic Russian). Sociological work conducted in 2004 asserts that the number of Russophones is actually much higher and that Russian and Ukrainian are actually used almost equally.

There is even a minority of ethnic Russians that speak Ukrainian as their first language and a much larger minority of ethnic Ukrainians that speak Russian as their first language. Many Ukrainian citizens are also bilingual and there is also a preference for using Russian as a daily language and business language in many parts of Ukraine. As part of a historical and sociological process, ethnic Ukrainians have adopted the identity of ethnic Russians and vice-versa, ethnic Russians have adopted identities as ethnic Ukrainians. When asked, many Ukrainian citizens are not even sure if they are Russkiye or ethnic Ukrainian.

If anything is to be remembered about the causes of the First World War and the Second World War, it should be that nationalism and feelings of exceptionalism were used like opiates to captivate and manipulate ordinary citizens into supporting war and the rise of opportunists. The Ukrainian opposition leadership has deliberately promoted and nurtured ultra-nationalist sentiments to blind and manipulate its followers. Ukrainian nationalism, specifically the Western-leaning pro-European Union type, has been formulated on the unhealthy basis of anti-Russian sentiments and a distorted notion of the cultural superiority of the European Union and the cultural inferiority of the Eastern Slavs (particularly Russians, but including Ukrainians and Belarusians).

It is the multiple convergences between Ukrainians and Russians and the complex relationship between the Ukrainian and Russian identities that make the decidedly anti-Russian attitudes of the mainstream opposition, some of which openly glorify Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich and its invasion of the Soviet Union, so dangerous for solidarity in Ukrainian society and Kiev’s future relations with Russia and the other countries bordering Ukraine.

Revolution for Democracy or Riots Promoting Subversion to the European Union?

The crisis in Ukraine did not take place, because the Ukrainian government was corrupt or used force against the protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square. It started, because the Ukrainian government refused to sign the European Union’s EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in November 2013. This is why the violence in Kiev has not only unreservedly been given political cover from the political establishment in the United States and the European Union to internationally give it public legitimacy, but has also received media support in the form of biased reporting that favours the opposition.

Social media has been saturated by advertisements and questionable grassroots videos and footage, like the professionally-produced Council for Foreign Relations-linked “I Am a Ukrainian” YouTube video, that paints a distorted narrative of the reasons behind the anti-government riots. Like the other propaganda ignoring the reasons behind the anti-government protests, the “I Am a Ukrainian” video totally ignores the fact that the protests in Kiev did not start on the basis of democratic demands, but started due to the Ukrainian government’s refusal to sign an agreement with the European Union.

Actually, the Ukrainian government and the Party of Regions were initially very supportive of the association agreement with the European Union, but backed out after the EU refused to renegotiate the agreement or to give financial guarantees and economic relief to Kiev for the trade losses and higher gas prices that Ukraine would face as a result of signing the agreement. Moreover, the Ukrainian oligarchs aligned to President Yanukovich and his Party of Regions realized that the agreement would allow corporations from the European Union to dismantle their own corporations and to replace their monopolies with EU corporate monopolies and control. The EU agreement would force Ukraine to change many of its trade laws and regulations that would disadvantage the Ukrainian oligarch’s corporations and, in economic terms, allow for Ukraine to be gutted and essentially reduced to an Eastern European colony.

The Ukrainian government did not sign the EU agreement because it is pro-Russian. Albeit the Party of Regions politically caters to Ukrainians that view Russia favourable, anyone that says or thinks that the leadership in the Party of Regions is pro-Russian or that the Party of Regions is a pro-Russian political party is grossly misinformed or lying. For many years the leadership of the Party of Regions has even openly said that they are not hostile to NATO and Viktor Yanukovych, in the role of prime minister, himself even implemented the NATO integration policies that President Leonid Kuchma was pursuing. The Ukrainian government did not sign the European Union’s EU-Ukraine Association Agreement  because of its own interests and not on the basis of favourable sentiments towards Russia.

If the deal only targeted the Ukrainian economy without challenging the monopolies and privileges of the Ukrainian oligarchs, President Yanukovich and the Ukrainian government would have signed it without any hesitation. The EU deal, however, was simply unfeasible and suicidal for both the Ukrainian oligarchs and the economy. The agreement with the EU additionally would force Ukraine to cut its trade ties with its major economic partners, Russia and the other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), without providing any alternative. It would have politically hurt the Party of Regions in the future too.

The Euro-Atlantic Drive into Eurasia: Using Kiev to Target Russia and Beyond… 

The US and EU support for the Ukrainian opposition, even if in part, is aimed at bringing Ukraine into their orbit and to encircle, isolate, and eventual subvert the Russian Federation. Resurgent Orangists and a new coalition of opposition figures have formed a new front, which can be called a neo-Orangist front, which is intensely intent on shifting Ukraine into the Euro-Atlantic orbit of Washington and the European Commission through eventual membership in such institutions and supranational structures as NATO and the European Union.

These opposition politicians made a mess of things after the Orange Revolution when they ran Ukraine earlier. It remains to be seen if they can re-orient Ukraine into the Euro-Atlantic zone (the word “Euro-Atlantic” camouflages the role that the US plays in Europe; more properly it should be called the Euro-American zone). When mainstream opposition leaders were ruling Ukraine, they were too busy embezzling and fighting one another to further the goals of the US and the EU. Yulia Tymoshenko, when she was in the position of prime minister, and the Orangist President Viktor Yushchenko were even busy accusing one another of corruption and betrayal.

There is a simultaneous campaign to erase Ukraine’s history and its deep and historic ties to Russia from the Soviet and pre-Soviet eras. Not only has the Russian Federation been demonized and the Russian language discriminated against in Ukraine by the mainstream opposition and the ultra-nationalist elements inside its ranks, but Ukrainian citizens with ethnic Russian background or favourable views towards Russia and Eurasian integration have also been portrayed as traitors, foreigners, or the enemies of Ukraine. Any reminders of a common history with Russia have been attacked, including monuments to the fallen soldiers that defended Ukraine and the Soviet Union from the Germans during the Second World War or, as it is called in Ukraine and Russia, the Great Patriot War.

Concerning Syria and Iran, it has been repeatedly stated many times that the road to Tehran goes through Damascus and that the US and its allies have targeted Syria as a means of going after Iran. In regards to Ukraine and Russia, a very similar axiom is also applicable. The road to Moscow goes through Kiev. The takeover of Ukraine is part and parcel of a geo-strategic campaign against the Russians, as is the regime change campaign against Damascus to a lesser degree.

Regime change in Ukraine is part of a covert and overt war against the Russian Federation. The installment of a puppet government in Ukraine will remove one of the most important partners that Moscow has. If Ukraine joins the EU and NATO, it will be a direct threat to the western borders of Russia and the security of one of the most important Russian naval bases, which is the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and located at Sevastopol in the Crimean Peninsula.

If they escalate, the events in Ukraine will disrupt the security and diplomatic ties between all the regional countries in Eastern Europe. Poland is already being watched with distrust from Belarus and Russia. The Polish government, in its interaction with Ukraine, has acted just like the Turkish government has acted towards Syria. With the backing of the governments of the US, Britain, Germany, and France, Warsaw has supported Ukrainian anti-government forces in multiple ways, just as Ankara has supported anti-government forces and regime change operations inside Syria in multiple ways.

Russia is not alone. The Russian Federation is not the only country concerned about what has happened in Ukraine. The estrangement of Ukraine from Russia additionally aims to isolate Russia from Europe and to reduce the Eurasian Union being formed by Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus into a predominately Asiatic project instead of a dually European and Asian project. Both the Belarusian and Kazakhstani government are worried too. Countries like Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, and China are watching the events in Kiev with concern as well. Ukraine has been a partner to these countries and they all view the conflict in Syria and the anti-government riots in Ukraine and Venezuela as part of a multi-front global war that the US has waged against them and their allies.

The views of the Iranians are not much different from that of the Russians. Iran has voiced its concerns that what has been set in motion in Kiev will result in the eventual disintegration of Ukraine with far-reaching consequences that will destabilize the flanking Caucasus region, which shares the Black Sea with Ukraine, and will eventually reach Iran. The head of the Iranian military has even commented on the coup as a “move from independence to dependence.”

Just to give an idea on the importance of the value that this group of countries put on Ukraine, it should be noted that the Chinese signed a December 5, 2013 bilateral agreement announcing that Ukraine was Beijing’s strategic partner. Included in the agreement was a Chinese pledge to provide Kiev with the military protection of a Chinese nuclear umbrella. The governments of Ukraine, China, and Russia had also discussed admitting Ukraine into the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement (SCO).

There is no question that the Ukrainian government is corrupt, but the opposition is no better and equally as corrupt. It cannot be denied, however, that when it comes to the question of popular backing by the Ukrainian people, the Party of Regions and its political allies have greater support from Ukrainians than the opposition parties that have taken over the country through the use of force and intimidation. Nor does the pandering of fearful Party of Regions officials towards the empowered opposition justify or hide the coup that has taken place in Kiev; these officials are now trying to either save their own skins or salvage the situation.

Even if it is denied that the opposition originally planned a coup, only when democratic means are exhausted can such a use of force be legitimate. The mainstream opposition leadership in Ukraine galvanized all their supporters and mobilized them into pouring into Kiev and pushed for a violent escalation, while the pro-government half of the country remained mostly immobilized. As mentioned and alluded to earlier, the show of numbers in the streets of Kiev by the opposition also has an equally large or possibly even larger number of Ukrainians opposing it. What about their opinions about the future of Ukraine?

The Victim of a Police Assault Should Not be Prosecuted

February 24th, 2014 by Kevin Zeese

 The prosecution of occupy activist Cecily McMillan highlights the worst hallmarks of how police and prosecutors in New York responded to the occupy protests. 

These include abusive targeting of people who are not protesting or who are even obeying police orders, overuse of force and mass arrests in response to assemblies, failure to prosecute abusive police but instead prosecuting victims of police abuse and police falsely testifying in ways that are inconsistent with video tape and photographs of the incident.

The question in the prosecution of Cecily McMillan is whether District Attorney Cyrus Vance will be a participant in serving justice or injustice.  If this prosecution of a victim of police abuse continues, he can only be seen as unjust. The victim of police assault will be facing seven years in jail for felony police assault for trying to stop the police from grabbing her breast. The injustice is particularly stark in light of the fact that there is only one police witness who saw, actually participated, in the incident and his credibility is in serious doubt. This one-witness prosecution should be dropped.

Cecily McMillan’s Abusive Arrest and Injuries from Police Assault

Let’s review the incident involving Cecily McMillan. On the six month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street Cecily McMillan arrived at Zuccotti Park to meet some friends and go out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Instead, at the end of the night, she found herself in a hospital waking up from being unconscious having suffered seizures and badly bruised; and under arrest.

McMillan arrived in Zuccotti Park around midnight looking for friends she was supposed to meet. She was not there to protest.  She arrived as the police began to violently break up the crowd. One officer told her to leave the park and she was doing so when she felt someone violently grab her right breast.  She involuntarily swung her elbow around and hit the offender in the face. It turned out to be police officer Grantley Bovell. She was then aggressively arrested by a group of police officers, knocked to the ground unconscious and she began suffering seizures while she was handcuffed. It took 15 to 20 minutes before an ambulance arrived. Photos of McMillan document bruises on her right breast showing finger marks where she was grabbed, a swollen eye and other bruises.

The sole witness who saw the incident was the police officer who grabbed her breast.  Cecily’s attorney, Marty Stolar, has filed a motion with the court for Officer Bovell’s personnel file. This is a rare motion to file because it cannot be used for a fishing expedition by the defense.  But, in this case the defense has good reason for the motion. Stolar already knows of some problems regarding Bovell that undermine his credibility. The District Attorney has provided Stolar with documents that show Bovell was part of the infamous 2011 Bronx ticket-fixing scandal. In a recent interview Stolar told me that Bovell was internally disciplined for his corrupt actions in that case.

In addition, Bovell is a defendant in a lawsuit for alleged police abuse of a young African American who was riding a dirt bike.  The lawsuit alleges that Bovell was one of the officers involved in using two police cars to push him off the road on March 21, 2010 resulting in the young man being knocked unconscious with a broken nose, two teeth knocked out and a large cut on his forehead. The lawsuit is still pending.

 Abusive Police and Prosecutorial Actions Against Protesters Are the Norm; Vance’s Lack of Prosecution Makes it Worse

The abusive actions of the NYPD in their response to occupy have been well documented. What has been less well documented is the complicity of the New York District Attorney’s Office.  Under the leadership of Cy Vance, police have not been prosecuted, obviously false testimony has been put on the stand by prosecutors and victims of police abuse have had to file lawsuits to protect their rights. Prosecutor Vance’s actions have done nothing to curtail police violence against people exercising their constitutional rights.  In fact, his failure to act makes his office part of the problem when it should be part of the solution.

Legal clinics at NYU and Fordham issued a report on police abuse that included input by researchers from legal clinics at Harvard, Stanford, Loyola, Charlotte and Rutgers law schools. After eight months of research they issued the report, “Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in Response to Occupy Wall Street.” They found that the NYPD protesters’ rights were constantly violated and described scores of specific examples of police abuse, many of which were documented by video tape and by immediate interviews of people present at the event.  The report documented numerous practices that were present in the McMillan incident including:

• Aggressive, unnecessary and excessive police force against peaceful protesters, bystanders, legal observers, and journalists,

• Obstruction of press freedoms and independent legal monitoring,

• Violent late-night raids on peaceful encampments,

• Unjustified closure of public space, dispersal of peaceful assemblies, and kettling (corralling and trapping) of protesters,

• Arbitrary and selective rule enforcement and baseless arrests,

• Failures to ensure accountability for those allegedly responsible for abuses

The report recommended a series of steps to promote accountability of police actions.  Among those were investigation and prosecution of police officers responsible for crimes and infractions. Yet, in response to these scores of documented cases how many NYPD officers has he prosecuted involved in police abuse? A search of the Internet found very little evidence of any accountability and no prosecutions.

One of the infamous cases involved Inspector Tony Bologna who pepper-sprayed women who were already under arrest and behind an orange mesh barrier.  Bologna is shown on multiple videos walking over to the women and pepper spraying them.  There is nothing in any of the camera angles that shows the woman doing anything justifying of this abuse.  He was found to have violated internal police department rules, yet District Attorney Cy Vance’s office announced in April 2013 that they would not prosecute him.

On the same day Vance’s office also announced that Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona, who videos shot from several angles shows sucker-punching a man in the face without provocation and in full view of the media on October 14, 2011. Cardona was also involved in an incident one month earlier, in which he was caught on video grabbing a female protester by the neck and dragging her to the ground, with no evidence of provocation shown. Vance refused to prosecute this repeat offender.

The failure to hold New York City police accountable is endemic.  Not only has prosecutor Vance failed to prosecute but the police department has declined to act on a growing number of cases substantiated by the Civilian Complaint Review Board that have recommended prosecuting police officers. And where the NYPD did pursue discipline against officers it often issued the least serious punishment against the recommendations of the Review Board.

 Prosecutors Seem to be Facilitating Perjury by Police

On top of the failure to prosecute violent police, the District Attorney’s office puts forward testimony from police that is inconsistent with videotape and photographic evidence.  If the case against McMillan goes forward, Officer Bovell, who already has credibility problems, will be testifying in ways inconsistent with videos and photos of the event.

In a prosecution of an occupy activist for the same charge Cecily McMillan is facing, police abuse, the jury acquitted Michael Premo after the police officer’s testimony was shown to be completely inconsistent with videotape of the incident. Prosecutors and police claimed that Premo tackled a police officer and in doing so broke a bone.  But, videotape showed a very different story, officers actually charged into Premo unprovoked. Thankfully, the jury acquitted Premo of all charges including felony assault. The video from Democracy Now also showed that an NYPD officer was also filming the arrest, but prosecutors told Premo’s attorney that no such footage existed.

Did Vance’s office do anything about this perjury or the police illegally hiding exculpatory evidence?  How could prosecutors even go forward with a prosecution when videotape evidence plainly showed the police story was false?

In fact, going back to the first trial of an OWS protester, a videotape similarly shows perjury by police. The case involved Alexander Arbuckle who was at the protest doing a photojournalism project.  His thesis was that the NYPD was being unfairly accused of violence and abuse. He wanted to document how professional the police were but instead found himself arrested even though he was doing nothing illegal.

Officer Elisheba Vera testified that “The protesters, including Arbuckle, were in the street blocking traffic.”  She claimed they had to make arrests in order for traffic to move.  Fortunately for Arbuckle there were photographs and video of what actually occurred and it was the opposite of Officer Vera’s testimony.  According to a live-streamer’s video, protesters were on the sidewalk, obeying police orders.

Again, Vance failed to act.  The District Attorney’s office did not prosecute Vera for lying under oath.  Perhaps if they had done so in this first occupy prosecution, police officers would have gotten the message – perjury will not be tolerated in New York courts.  But, the failure to prosecute sent the opposite message – “testilying,” as perjury by police is called, will be allowed; in fact prosecutors will help police get away with it.

Even with this free-for-all of police deceit in the courts, the 2,600 occupy arrests in New York were almost all dismissed or reduced to charges where there would be no arrest record. In many cases the police who made the arrests did not even bother to show up. Again, what did Vance do about this abuse of process? Silence from a prosecutor in the face of mass arrests only encourages police to misbehave when people exercise their rights.

 Dismissing the Charges is the Only Path to Justice in the McMillan Case

All of these issues are raised in the Cecily McMillan case. As a result, District Attorney Vance should stand on the side of  justice and dismiss the charges before the case goes to trial.

When I interviewed Cecily’s attorney, I asked what evidence the police have that justifies her being arrested?  Only one police officer witnessed the incident and that was Officer Bovell who grabbed Cecily’s breast from behind.  Marty Stolar points out that if there were any other witnesses to the event, the prosecutors were required to tell him about it as part of the discovery in preparation for trial. Bovell is the only witness to the offense that he has been told about.

This one-witness case gives District Attorney Vance all he needs to drop the charges against McMillan. Officer Bovell has a serious credibility problem because of his involvement in the ticket-fixing scandal for which he has been reprimanded; and he also has a past record of likely abuse for which he is being sued.

On top of that, there are photographs and videos that support Cecily McMillan’s story.  Photographs of McMillan taken at the hospital show bruises to her breast and other parts of her body. Videos show police attacking her and her being knocked unconscious and convulsing while in handcuffs.  There are no videos, photographs or witnesses that support Bovell’s story.

Certainly a woman whose breast is violently grabbed from behind in a crowd would instinctively react as Cecily did.  This is not a case of criminal intent to assault a police officer, but rather is a case of a woman involuntarily reacting to her breast being grabbed so aggressively that she was severely bruised.

When District Attorney Vance spoke to the New York City Bar Association, he quoted key language from Berger v. United States on the role of a prosecutor that has become the ethical standard throughout the nation.  He said our “interest . . . in a criminal prosecution is not that [we] win a case, but that justice shall be done.” His speech noted the challenge of prosecuting a case where a witness’s testimony is compromised and explained that was why he did not prosecute Dominque Strauss-Kahn in the notorious alleged sexual assault case involving a hotel maid.  He summarized his approach to making sure the innocent were not prosecuted by saying:

“I believe that prosecutors should be among the most skeptical actors in the criminal justice system about what that concept means and how our decision-making process gets us there. Otherwise, we risk the phrase ‘doing justice’ devolving into an empty shibboleth.”

District Attorney Vance’s words will be an “empty shibboleth” if he does not reconsider the prosecution of Cecily McMillan based on the testimony of a police officer who sexually assaulted her, who lacks credibility and whose testimony is inconsistent with other evidence.

Mr. Vance has the opportunity to seek justice for Cecily McMillan but the only way to do so is to dismiss the charges against her.

What you can do:

Visit Drop The Charges Against Cecily McMillan and send a tweet, @ManhattanDA,  or call the New York District Attorney, (212) 335-9000, urging him to not prosecute Cecily McMillan.  Let them know the public is watching this case closely.

 Also, visit the support page for Cecily McMillan, Justice for Cecily, to find out what else you can do.

 And, if you can be in court in New York City on March 3 please do so. The case will be heard at 9:30 AM at 100 Centre Street, New York, NY, United States Room 1333 part 31, arrive early.

This article was first published on AlterNet.

Kevin Zeese is an organizer with Popular Resistance and serves as the Attorney General for the Green Shadow Cabinet.

 

No matter the size, a nuclear reactor pool fire is dangerous enough to change millions of lives forever.

The Nuclear Information Resource and Service and dozens of other organizations on Tuesday uncovered an unpublished study by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that suggests that even a small nuclear reactor pool fire could render up to 9,400 square miles uninhabitable, displacing more than 4 million Americans.

The study examined spent fuel storage at the Peach Bottom reactor in Pennsylvania and determined that releasing a small fraction of the pool into the environment could result in a disaster worse than the one in Fukushima, Japan.

As a result, 34 environmental organizations filed a petition asking the NRC to hold off on issuing any more reactor licensing. According to petition, the NRC has never before acknowledged such dire pool fire risks while deciding on reactor licenses. The petition also seeks to debunk old NRC conclusions that the impacts of spent fuel storage during reactor operation are insignificant.

“If a pool fire accident occurs such as was studied in the Peach Bottom case study, the resulting widespread contamination and displacement of people could have enormous socioeconomic impacts, matching or exceeding the devastating effects of the Fukushima accident on Japanese society,” said Diane Curran, an attorney with Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg, L.L.P. who jointly filed the petition with Mindy Goldstein, director of the Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory University.

Other filing organizations include the Nuclear Energy Information Service, Citizens Allied for Safe Energy,  Physicians for Social Responsibility and No Nukes Pennsylvania.

The NRC’s study also said that spent reactor fuel could be transferred out of high-density storage fuels—where the fire risk is the greatest—in a cost-effective manner.

The groups challenge the NRC to protect the environment along with public health and safety.  That includes ecological health and socioeconomic well-being, the groups say.

Visit EcoWatch’s NUCLEAR page for more related news on this topic.

 NATO’s first act of illegal “humanitarian” aggressive war called “Operation Deliberate Force” in 1995 against the Republic Srpska which it got away with and emboldened it to later carry out “Operation Allied Force”, the merciless brutal air campaign against civilian targets in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The fact that NATO was allowed to get away with these acts of aggressive war and that the US/NATO architects were allowed to carry out such scenarios emboldened the “alliance” even further and has led to the recent global expansion by NATO and the scores of “regime change” and “resource wars” presented as “humanitarian interventions”.

The scenario is almost identical every time and is currently being played out in Ukraine. On the 15 year anniversary of the aggression on Yugoslavia, in an exclusive interview, the Voice of Russia spoke to the last Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Živadin Jovanović.

This is John Robles, I’m speaking with Živadin Jovanović. He is the former Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia and the Chairman of the Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals. This is part 1 of a longer interview. You can find the rest of this interview on our website at voiceofrussia.com.

PART 1

Robles: Hello Sir! How are you this evening?

Jovanović: Fine, John. I’m glad to be able to talk for the Voice of Russia.

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Robles: Thank you! And it is a pleasure for me to speaking with you. I’ve read a lot of your work. Given your background as the Foreign Minister of the former Yugoslavia, you were the Foreign Minister during the upheavals and the foreign-initiated revolutions that destroyed the country, can you tell us a little bit about the histories, maybe, something we don’t know about and give us your views on what is happening now in Ukraine and in Bosnia etc?

Jovanović: Well, I would like to recall that the Dayton Peace Agreement about peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina was reached in 1995 and the key figure in reaching the peace in Bosnia was Slobodan Milosevic, at the time President of the Republic of Serbia and later on the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

I would like to say that his role was widely recognized, at that time, as a peace-maker in the Balkans. And indeed, no one of the other leaders of the former Yugoslav Republics did contribute to reaching peace in the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as Slobodan Milosevic did. This was repeatedly stated at the Paris Conference which formally marks the signing of the peace agreement and he was hailed by the presidents of the US, of France and many other countries.

But we know now that in Dayton Americans wanted also to discuss the problem of the Serbian southern province of Kosovo and Metohija. And they wanted to include this into the Dayton Negotiations agenda. Slobodan Milosevic and the Yugoslav delegation decisively refused this, even saying that if the Americans want to discuss the internal issue of Yugoslavia, of Serbia, at an international forum, they would not take part in such an exercise.

So, faced with this refusal of Slobodan Milosevic, Americans, first of all, Richard Holbrook (the then State Secretary) and the other officials of the US accepted to discuss only how to reach the peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. And the peace was really reached in Dayton.

But later on they needed Milosevic in the process of implementing the Dayton peace agreement. Many conferences, many meetings were held all over Europe: in Geneva, in Rome, in Berlin and various other capitals and in Moscow too, as to how secure the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement.

All this time Yugoslavia and President Milosevic were needed as a key peace factor. Without Yugoslavia and President Milosevic nobody could imagine reaching the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement. But this was also a period when Yugoslavia was freed from UN sanctions, which were based on accusations that Yugoslavia was committing aggression in the Bosnian civil war.

The sanctions were adopted at the Security Council in May 1992 and they lasted until 1995 when the Dayton Peace Agreement was reached. They were afterwards abolished, first suspended and then, finally, abolished. But the USA did not abolish its own sanctions, the so-called “outer wall” of sanctions. That means that the Americans did not allow Yugoslavia to renew its membership in OSCE, in the UN, position in the World Bank, in IMF and many other international organizations.

They kept these tools for the reason that they had other plans. And they didn’t actually forget that Milosevic was not willing to allow treatment of the internal issue of Kosovo and Metohija on the international scene.

So, after the stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina was settled, after Milosevic was not needed any longer to cooperate on Bosnia and Herzegovina, they opened the problem of Kosovo and Metohija.

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 Well, they not only opened, but they were financing, training and organizing terrorist organization: the so-called KLA. It was not actually only the US who did it, but the American European allies, like Germany, like Great Britain and some other countries were very cooperative in supporting separatist movements and the terrorist organization of KLA in Kosovo and Metohija.

So, they were bringing up this internal problem of Serbia in various international forums and they were actually provoking clashes on the territory of Serbia. Many policemen, many teachers, many soldiers and many Serbian public workers were killed in 1997-1998. And so in 1998 the government did not have any other possibility than to confront the rising terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija.

At that time the US started to initiate negotiations with Milosevic. Richard Holbrook was leading negotiations, there were rounds and rounds of negotiations. All the time it was clearly seen that Americans are siding and propping up separatism in Kosovo and Metohija, and squeezing Serbia, squeezing Milosevic to accept various conditions that in principle were not acceptable.

So, in June 1998 the American administration actually recognized the terrorist organization called KLA as a “liberation” organization. And we have a witness in British Colonel John Crosland, who was the British military attaché in Belgrade who gave a written a testimony to the Hague Tribunal stating, among other things, that in June 1998 President Clinton, Richard Holbrook and Madeline Albright decided to overthrow Milosevic and they considered that the KLA (terrorist KLA organization) in Kosovo could be a “tool” in achieving this objective.

John Crosland said:

“From that moment onwards it was absolutely irrelevant what we thought about KLA, whether it was a terrorist or a liberation organization, because “the center of power” decided it was an ally.”

This organization later on, during military NATO aggression against Yugoslavia which started March 24rth 1999, became a ground force of NATO. NATO was in the air and KLA was on the ground.

So, we actually see a certain period of preparation of this aggression. First stage o preparations had objective to stigmatize President Milosevic and the Government of Yugoslavia as intolerant, authoritarian, uncooperative and unpredictable. The whole network of western propaganda, of NATO propaganda, was repeating accusa\tions of the State Department and of the Foreign Office in London. The stigmatization was the first stage of preparing the European and international public for what was to follow later – for the war.

Then, they staged the so-called massacre of Albanian civilians in Račak, in Kosovo and Metohija. In Račak there was a security action of the security forces of Yugoslavia against units of KLA. And it was announced to the OSCE and to the so-called “international community” that there will be a security operation against the terrorist organization.

 And everybody in place, in Kosovo and Metohija and from the international community were informed. And some of them really did observe, some of them even filmed the operation. It was a legitimate operation of the government forces against terrorism.

But nevertheless, the American Ambassador Walker who was in charge of the OSCE mission in Kosovo and Metohija proclaimed: “It was a massacre of civilians!”

This was like a triggering moment for NATO to take action. And this is a detail which was to be repeated in many ways later on.

Before that we had, in Bosnia, the so-called Markale incident when civilians queuing in front of a bakery were bombed and killed and accusations were immediately directed at the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while today we have even the military from the former Muslim side and Izetbegović’s side, and Russian experts and other experts from the UN claiming that there was no proof of the Serbian side being involved in that. Everybody says that Muslims had provoked this massacre themselves in order to attribute it to the Serbian “enemy”.

We have in Syria, you know, about the Sarin gas and so on.

Robles: If we could, before we get too far along here, because I have a lot of questions, because this is the exact same thing that they’ve done in Libya, in Syria, in Ukraine, now in Bosnia they are trying to do it again, in Egypt… Every country they want to overthrow they do the same thing. They’ll support any terrorist. In Ukraine they are supporting neo-Nazis. It doesn’t matter, as long as they can overthrow the government. In the Middle East they are supporting Al-Qaeda. In Libya, in Syria it is Al-Qaeda terrorists. I agree with you 100%. I’d like to ask you some questions. If you could, give me some more details about… you were the Foreign Minister, you knew what was going on: why and when exactly did they start talking about Kosovo? That appears to be their initial goal – Kosovo – from the beginning.

Jovanović: Exactly!

Robles: Why is that?

 Jovanović: Well, I always claimed from the very beginning, it was not for regional or local objectives. It was a matter of geopolitical objectives of the US and of the leading NATO countries.

Recently at one conference in Germany I was asked: “What were the geopolitical reasons for the aggression of NATO on Kosovo?”

I said: “Well it is first of all the realization of the policy of expansion of NATO towards the east. The objective was to make a base for further military expansion towards the Russian borders.”

I was even blunt to say that they want to get closer to the resources of Siberia, to the resources of the Middle East, to the Caspian Basin and so on and so forth.

And the people who asked me the question were quite silent after that, they didn’t have any other comments. I think everybody realized that we completely understand the essence of the American strategy.

The American strategy has been tabled in April 2000 at the NATO summit in Bratislava. We have a written document of the renown German politician Willy Wimmer, who was present at that NATO summit, in the form of his report to the then Chancellor Gerhard Schroder. Willy Wimmer among other things in his report quotes that the American strategist informed the NATO allies in Bratislava in April 2000 that the NATO strategy is to establish a similar situation in Europe as it was in times when the Roman Empire was at the peak of its might.

So, they said, from the Baltic to Anatolia, in Turkey, there should be the same situation as in the era of the Roman Empire. And they quoted some concrete examples. They said Poland should be surrounded by friendly countries, Bulgaria and Romania should be a bridge towards Asia, and Serbia should be permanently kept out of European development.

So, we see that conquering Kosovo was a starting point of a US/NATO/EU expansion towards the East. In 1999, exactly 15 years ago the Americans established their military base Bondsteel, which by many political analysts is considered to be the largest American military base in the world outside of the American territory.

Robles: Yet it is!

Jovanović: And if we presume that it is the largest or one of the largest, the question is why it should be based in Kosovo, when Kosovo and Serbia are so small, so tiny places. And there is no explanation from a regional point of view.

This is part 1 of an interview with Živadin Jovanović. You can find the rest of this interview on our website at voiceofrussia.com.

Ukraine: Neo-Nazi Criminal State Looming

February 24th, 2014 by Oriental Review

“There are many who do not know they are fascists
but will find it out when the time comes.”
Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls

After signing a void agreement on “crisis settlement” on Friday, the situation in Ukraine has rapidly got out of control of its signatories and “witnesses”. No provisions of this document were fulfilled. The legitimate authorities fled (or tried to flee) the country, the governmental buildings in Kiev are taken by the revolutionary mob. The radicals are dictating the new rules to façade opposition “leaders” who desperately try to bridle theMaidan.

What happened to Ukraine on February 21, 2014 is essentially a criminal coup committed by the radical armed anarchists and Ukrainian Nazis who have been enjoying a comprehensive financial, military, diplomatic and even religious support and instigation from the Western power groups for the last two decades. Many of Ukraine’s cities are now falling into the chaos of lootings, unprovoked violence, lynch law and political repressions.

The first signs of upcoming chaos were clearly seen as the Ukrainian authorities wavered at the three-month siege of the centre of Kiev by the radical guerrilla elements from Galicia and local criminal gangs. They watched silently when furious fanatics were burning unarmed riot police Berkut officers alivelynching them and pulling out their eyes. They did nothing to stop frantic “freedom fighters” from storming regional administrationshumiliating the officials and looting police and military arsenals in the West Ukraine. They were paralyzed when unidentified snipers were cool-bloodily killing militia personnel, protesters and casual passer-bys from the roofs of Kiev’s buildings. They even declared amnesty (twice!) to those guilty of the brutal crimes against policemen and public order. Thus Yanukovych’s regime itself paved the way for a sinister ghost of the war-torn Libya to come to Ukraine.

Is the guerrilla side a self-organized and self-indoctrinated popular movement tired of a corrupt and inefficient state? That is hardly the case.

svobodaSince the collapse of the Soviet Union the international power groups have invested billions of the Federal Reserve notes (aka US$) into Ukrainian “pro-democratic” NGOs and politicians. While preaching “Ukrainian commitment to the European choice and democratic values” in the meantime they clearly saw that there is no short-term historical perspective for making Ukraine a state hostile to Russia, which is evidently the final goal of the globalist Eastern policy. The stakes were placed on the ultranationalist elements in the Western Ukraine and in the Uniate Church, a minority religious Greek-Catholic community of the Eastern rite, created by the Holy See in XVI century in a desperate attempt to weaken close ties of Rzeczpospolita’s Orthodox with Moscow. Since the early 1990s the Uniates enjoyed silent support of the newly-independent central authorities in Kiev. Theit tactic was to aggressively occupy Orthodox cathedrals on the canonic territory of the Moscow Patriarchate. The last thing the Uniate clergy used to preach in the occupied churches for all these years was the Christian call for repentance and peace. Instead they propagated a new crusade against the Orthodox and directly instigated and justified race-motivated prosecutions and even killings, acting exactly like radical jihadist preachers of the militant pseudo-Islamic sects. Suffice to watch a “Sunday sermon” by Mykhailo Arsenych, the clergyman from a local Uniate church in Ivano-Frankovsk region, Ukraine saying: “Today we are really ready for a revolution.The only effective methods of combat are assassination and terror! We want to be sure that no Chinese, Negro, Jew or Muscovite will try to come and grab our land tomorrow!”

Link to YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5EXdbzIDEk

The products of such indoctrination were not long in coming. A number of NATO-sponsored training centers for the Ukrainian ultranationalist militants were opened on the territory of the Baltic states immediately after they joined NATO in 2004. The detailed photo report on a Ukrainian group taking a course of subversive activities at a NATO training center in Estonia in 2006 is available here (texts in Russian).

Abundant financial and human resources were directed to bolster the paramilitary units of the radical UNA-UNSOSvoboda and other ultranationalist organizations in the Ukraine. Since 1990s these thugs were participating in the Chechen and Balkan wars on the side of radical Wahhabi (!) militants and committing war crimes against captured Russian and Serbian soldiers and civilian population. One of the notorious guerilla fighters of the Ukrainian origin in Chechnya, Olexander Muzychko (aka criminal leader Sasha Biliy) today is heading a brigade of “Pravyi Sector”, the radical militant driving force of

Olexander Muzychko today in Kiev (left) and in Chechnya in 1994.

Olexander Muzychko today in Kiev (left) and in Chechnya in 1994.

the ongoing coup d’état in Kiev. According to his “official” biography (linkin Russian), in 1994 he was awarded by the then top commander of terroristIchkeria enclave Dzhohar Dudayev with the order “Hero of Nation” for “outstanding military successes against Russian troops”. His “military skills” were quite specific: he used to lure the Russian units operating in remote Chechen locations to guerilla ambushes. Then he personally participated in tortures and beheadings of the captured Russian soldiers. After returning to the Ukraine in 1995, he led a criminal gang in Rovno. Eventually he was prosecuted and sentences for 8 years term for kidnapping for ransom and attempted assassination of a Ukrainian businessman. He entered politics after release from prison in late 2000s.

After the end of Chechen and Balkan wars the British and American private military contractors were routinely recruiting Ukrainian mercenaries for operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.The Britam Defense scandal revealed the way and scale of how the Ukrainian personnel of the private military contractors were used in provocative clandestine actions to meet Western political goals in the Middle East. Many of them were sent to Kiev to make the job they are paid for – to target both policemen and protesters on “Euromaidan” from the roofs of surrounding buildings.

The real leaders of the protest have already clearly expressed their radical views to the European press (read e.g. the interview with the Pravyi Sector leader Dmitro Yarosh and several recent Guardian’s publications here and here).

That is the sort of people the half-hearted European politicians are about to deal with in the Ukraine. These fanatics are the real authority in today’s Kiev seized by the marauding mobs. They have torn the Friday’s agreement signed by four Ukrainian “leaders” and three European officials before the ink was dry on this paper. Their treatment of Yulia Timoshenko after her emotional speech on the Maidan Saturday night has clearly shown that her nomination de facto head of failing Ukrainian state would be their decision. Latest Western advice to financially support Ukraine with the IMF and the EU funds suggest that they have chosen to buy the loyalty of the ultranationalists for the transition period. Therefore, the ongoing Western policy of appeasement towards the radical insurgents in Kiev very much resembles the Anglo-American connivance in Hitler’s accession to power in Germany in 1933 and the rise of the Third Reich. But if the Western elitist groups suppose that the Neo-Nazi project that they have carefully cherished and supported in Ukraine for decades, would be controlled by political means and set against Russia, they are deadly wrong.After facing furious resistance and blowback at the East and South of the Ukraine, the radical Nazi ideological avalanche encouraged by the illusion of success in Kiev would inevitably enter the degrading European political landscape where the neo-Nazi and hooligan outbreaks are already a notable destabilizing factor. Their established links with the Islamist underground in Europe add another sinister dimension to the murky European future.

Is it the price the Europeans are ready to pay for bringing its eastern neighbors into the “family of civilized nations”?

The New Military-Industrial Complex

February 24th, 2014 by Ivan Gutiérrez del Arroyo

According to US historian and researcher William F. Engdahl’s new book, “Full Spectrum Dominance,” as the “Soviet Union dissolved into chaos” a new Military-Industrial Complex (MIC) was put together with two major components: the American Security Council (ASC) and the Big Three Weapons makers – Lockheed Martin Corporation, Boeing Corporation, and Raytheon Corporation.

 The American Security Council is “one of the least known and most influential organizations to formulate policy initiatives for the MIC.” This non-profit organization was founded in 1956, but its origin dated back to 1938. The ASC “had a profound impact on the history of the United Statesand its global leadership role, yet it remained almost completely shielded from public view”. The core group of the ASC was put together in 1938 at the same time that Council on Foreign Relations with the funding from the Rockefeller Foundation launched the War & Peace project. This project, according to Engdahl, developed the outlines to establish a postwar American imperium that would disguise its real intentions with misleading jargon about “anti-colonialism, free enterprise and democratic ideals” around the world.

   Who were the architects of this new imperialist American Century?

·       Henry Luce – the founder of Time and Life’s magazines

  •        Jay Lodestone – AFL-CIO’s director of its International Affairs Department, which channeled millions of CIA dollars to anti-communist projects internationally, particularly in Latin American.
  •        Hughston McBain – chairman of Chicago’s Marshall Field department stores.
  •        Theodore V. Houser – chairman of Sears & Roebuck, now owned by K-Mart.
  •        Hollywood’s Walt Disney
  •        Averrel Harriman – former Soviet ambassador and FDR’s wartime liaison to Churchill.
  •        Gen. Douglass MacArthur
  •        Nelson A. Rockefeller – scion of Standard Oil, wartime head of the CIA in Latin America, National Security Adviser under Eisenhower, and Vice President to Pres. Ford.

The ASC acted as a “lobbying group for the armaments industry, for the biggest defense contractor,” including some of the most aggressive military organizations in the USA: the Coalition for Peace Through Strength, which lobbied against the SALT treaty and suggested that Carter “was unilaterally disarming the US.” This group sponsored South Korean anti-communist Rev. Sun Myune Moon’s right-wing daily, The Washington Times and the ultra-right-wing magazine Human Event of the John Birch Society.

The Clinton administration encouraged and subsidized the Big Three weapons makers: Lockheed, Boeing and Raytheon, which now receive among themselves over $30 billion per year in Pentagon contracts.

 *[email protected]

Ivan Gutierrez del Arroyo on Facebook/Twitter

Liga de Ciudadanos Caribenos on Facebook/Twitter

Drone Wars UK understands that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will announce on Monday (24 Feb) that live training flights of the Watchkeeper drone will begin over Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.

The Watchkeeper drone has been developed under a £900m MoD contract by U-TacS,  a joint-venture company owned by Thales UK and Israeli company Elbit Systems.  Watchkeeper has now gained certification from the Military Aviation Authority  - who said that the drone has met “an acceptable level for design safety and integrity”  - and has been given an interim release to service, which will allow army crews to begin training flights.  It should be noted that while Reaper drones are flown by RAF pilots with previous experience of flying, the Watchkeeper is operated by the army and flown by members of the Royal Artillery.

While the Watchkeepers have undergone test flights at Parc Aberporth in West Wales in completely segregated airspace, the training flights will now begin from Boscombe Down airfield, an area used by piloted aircraft before flying into segregated airspace over Salisbury Plain.  This is the first time that the larger type of unmanned drones will have been regularly flown in UK airspace alongside ‘manned’ aircraft and substantially increases the danger of a crash involving drones.

Drones crash much more than piloted aircraft and we have recorded more than 70 crashes of the larger type of drones in the past three years alone.  In October 2010 there were two near-misses involving smaller drones and military helicopters at Salisbury Plain in one day.  According to the BBC, the official UK Airprox Board report into one of the near misses involving a small Desert Hawk drone and an Apache helicopter said they “were on a collision course” and there was “a very high risk of a crash”.

Watchkeeper is based on the Israeli Hermes 450 drone which the UK is currently renting for use in Afghanistan. The MoD reported in October 2012 that eleven of the Hermes flown by UK forces had crashed. Watchkeeper was due to replace the use of Hermes in Afghanistan but the project is now three years behind schedule and it looks increasingly like the system will not be ready before British troops pull-out by the end of 2014.  In December 2013 War on Want argued in its Killer Drones report that the UK was complicit in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people by “in effect, buying technology that has been ‘field tested’ on Palestinians.”

Besides the increased chance of a drone crash, the people of Wiltshire can also expect a lot of noise from the Watchkeeper. Local residents living near to where the Watchkeeper is being tested in west Wales regularly complain about the disturbing noise which they describe as like a loud flying lawnmower.

Perhaps most disturbingly however local residents may be targeted by the drones during the Watchkeeper test flights.  In 2012 it was revealed  that drone pilots in the US train by tracking and trailing vehicles driving along local highways. Who knows, it may well be that in the near future people driving along the A36 or the A303 near Salisbury Plain will, unknown to them, be followed by a Watchkeeper drone as part of a training exercise.

Below is an MoD presentation on Watchkeeper obtained by Drone Wars UK in 2011 following a FoI request.

MoD presentation on Watchkeeper – click to view

More details of the Watchkeeper programme can be found on the Wanderingraven Watchkeeper stream

Stefan Selig.

A controversial trade deal being touted by the White House is expected to give American corporations broad new authority if approved. Now according to newly released documents, big banks gave millions to the execs that are now orchestrating the agreement.

Investigative journalist Lee Fang wrote for Republic Report on Tuesday this week that two former well-placed individuals within the ranks of Bank of America and CitiGroup were awarded millions of dollars in bonuses before jumping ship to work on the Trans-Pacific Partnership on behalf of the White House.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a widely-contested trade deal between the US and 11 other nations adjacent to the Pacific Rim, and has been negotiated by representatives for those countries in utmost secrecy. According to leaked excerpts of the TPP and remarks from experts following the news closely, though, it’s believed that the arrangement would allow corporations to oppose foreign laws while at the same time limiting the abilities for governments to regulate those entities.

On Tuesday, Fang wrote that two major United States-based financial firms have significantly awarded former executives who have since attracted the attention of President Barack Obama and subsequently been offered positions that put them directly involved in TPP talks.

Former Bank of America investment banker Stefan Selig, Fang acknowledged, received more than $9 million in bonus pay after he was nominated to join the Obama administration in November. And Michael Froman, the current US trade representative, was awarded over $4 million from Citigroup when he left them in 2009 in order to go work for the White House. Republic Report were provided those statistics through financial disclosures included in Fang’s article.

When Selig was asked to head the International Trade Administration by the White House last November — a Commerce Department job — the New York Times considered it “a rare appointment of a Wall Street banker by the Obama administration.” If he is confirmed by the Senate as expected, he will work directly with US trade officials on hammering out final arrangements for the TPP. Froman has been the US trade representative since last June, and according to his biography on that department’s official website, is directly overseeing TPP discussions.

In Fang’s report, he noted that such hefty bonuses aren’t unusual on Wall Street.

“Many large corporations with a strong incentive to influence public policy award bonuses and other incentive pay to executives if they take jobs within the government,” he wrote.

But with the TPP expected to have serious implications on the corporate and financial realms, the appointments of Selig and Froman raise new questions about the potential influence of Wall Street on an already widely-disputed trade deal.

“The controversial TPP trade deal has rankled activists for containing provisions that would newly empower corporations to sue governments in ad hoc arbitration tribunals to demand compensation from governments for laws and regulations they claim undermine their business interests,” Fang acknowledged.“A fact-sheet provided by Public Citizen explains how multi-national corporations may use the TPP deal to skirt domestic courts and local laws. The arrangement would [allow] corporations to go after governments before foreign tribunals to demand compensations for tobacco, prescription drug and environment protections that they claim would undermine their expected future profits.”

“Not only do US treaties mandate that all forms of finance move across borders freely and without delay, but deals such as the TPP would allow private investors to directly file claims against governments that regulate them, as opposed to a WTO-like system where nation states (ie the regulators) decide whether claims are brought,” Boston University associate professor Kevin Gallagher told Fang.

When WikiLeaks released a draft version of a section of the TPP last year, the anti-secrecy group warned that “Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards

No wonder they kept it secret,” internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom told RT at the time. “What a malicious piece of US corporate lobbying. TPP is about world domination for US corporations. Nothing else.”

Last month, leaked memos obtained by the Huffington Post suggested that the US has lost almost all international support from the 11 other Pacific Rim nations engaged in TPP discussions.

Neocons and the Ukraine Coup

February 24th, 2014 by Robert Parry

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland.

American neocons helped destabilize Ukraine and engineer the overthrow of its elected government, a “regime change” on Russia’s western border. But the coup – and the neo-Nazi militias at the forefront – also reveal divisions within the Obama administration.

More than five years into his presidency, Barack Obama has failed to take full control over his foreign policy, allowing a bureaucracy shaped by long years of Republican control and spurred on by a neocon-dominated U.S. news media to frustrate many of his efforts to redirect America’s approach to the world in a more peaceful direction.

But Obama deserves a big dose of the blame for this predicament because he did little to neutralize the government holdovers and indeed played into their hands with his initial appointments to head the State and Defense departments, Hillary Clinton, a neocon-leaning Democrat, and Robert Gates, a Republican cold warrior, respectively.

Even now, key U.S. diplomats are more attuned to hard-line positions than to promoting peace. The latest example is Ukraine where U.S. diplomats, including Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, are celebrating the overthrow of an elected pro-Russian government.

Occurring during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the coup in Ukraine dealt an embarrassing black eye to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had offended neocon sensibilities by quietly cooperating with Obama to reduce tensions over Iran and Syria, where the neocons favored military options.

Over the past several weeks, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was undercut by a destabilization campaign encouraged by Nuland and Pyatt and then deposed in a coup spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias. Even after Yanukovych and the political opposition agreed to an orderly transition toward early elections, right-wing armed patrols shattered the agreement and took strategic positions around Kiev.

Despite these ominous signs, Ambassador Pyatt hailed the coup as “a day for the history books.” Most of the mainstream U.S. news media also sided with the coup, with commentators praising the overthrow of an elected government as “reform.” But a few dissonant reports have pierced the happy talk by noting that the armed militias are part of the Pravy Sektor, a right-wing nationalist group which is often compared to the Nazis.

Thus, the Ukrainian coup could become the latest neocon-initiated “regime change” that ousted a target government but failed to take into account who would fill the void.

Some of these same American neocons pushed for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, not realizing that removing Saddam Hussein would touch off a sectarian conflict and lead to a pro-Iranian Shiite regime. Similarly, U.S. military intervention in Libya in 2011 eliminated Muammar Gaddafi but also empowered Islamic extremists who later murdered the U.S. ambassador and spread unrest beyond Libya’s borders to nearby Mali.

One might trace this neocons’ blindness to consequences back to Afghanistan in the 1980s when the Reagan administration supported Islamic militants, including Osama bin Laden, in a war against Soviet troops, only to have Muslim extremists take control of Afghanistan and provide a base for al-Qaeda to plot the 9/11 attacks against the United States.

Regarding Ukraine, today’s State Department bureaucracy seems to be continuing the same anti-Moscow geopolitical strategy set during those Reagan-Bush years.

Robert Gates described the approach in his new memoir, Duty, explaining the view of President George H.W. Bush’s Defense Secretary Dick Cheney: “When the Soviet Union was collapsing in late 1991, Dick wanted to see the dismantlement not only of the Soviet Union and the Russian empire but of Russia itself, so it could never again be a threat to the rest of the world.”

Vice President Cheney and the neocons pursued a similar strategy during George W. Bush’s presidency, expanding NATO aggressively to the east and backing anti-Russian regimes in the region including the hard-line Georgian government, which provoked a military confrontation with Moscow in 2008, ironically, during the Summer Olympics in China.

Obama’s Strategy

As President, Obama has sought a more cooperative relationship with Russia’s Putin and, generally, a less belligerent approach toward adversarial countries. Obama has been supported by an inner circle at the White House with analytical assistance from some elements of the U.S. intelligence community.

But the neocon momentum at the State Department and from other parts of the U.S. government has continued in the direction set by George W. Bush’s neocon administration and by neocon-lite Democrats who surrounded Secretary of State Clinton during Obama’s first term.

The two competing currents of geopolitical thinking – a less combative one from the White House and a more aggressive one from the foreign policy bureaucracy – have often worked at cross-purposes. But Obama, with only a few exceptions, has been unwilling to confront the hardliners or even fully articulate his foreign policy vision publicly.

For instance, Obama succumbed to the insistence of Gates, Clinton and Gen. David Petraeus to escalate the war in Afghanistan in 2009, though the President reportedly felt trapped into the decision which he soon regretted. In 2010, Obama backed away from a Brazilian-Turkish-brokered deal with Iran to curtail its nuclear program after Clinton denounced the arrangement and pushed for economic sanctions and confrontation as favored by the neocons and Israel.

Just last summer, Obama – only at the last second – reversed a course charted by the State Department favoring a military intervention in Syria over disputed U.S. claims that the Syrian government had launched a chemical weapons attack on civilians. Putin helped arrange a way out for Obama by getting the Syrian government to agree to surrender its chemical weapons. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “A Showdown for War or Peace.”]

Stirring Up Trouble

Now, you have Assistant Secretary of State Nuland, the wife of prominent neocon Robert Kagan, acting as a leading instigator in the Ukrainian unrest, explicitly seeking to pry the country out of the Russian orbit. Last December, she reminded Ukrainian business leaders that, to help Ukraine achieve “its European aspirations, we have invested more than $5 billion.” She said the U.S. goal was to take “Ukraine into the future that it deserves.”

The Kagan family includes other important neocons, such as Frederick Kagan, who was a principal architect of the Iraq and Afghan “surge” strategies. In Duty, Gates writes 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.

“I knew and respected Kagan. He had been a prominent proponent of the surge in Iraq, and we had talked from time to time about both wars, including one long evening conversation on the veranda of one of Saddam’s palaces in Baghdad.”

Now, another member of the Kagan family, albeit an in-law, has been orchestrating the escalation of tensions in Ukraine with an eye toward one more “regime change.”

As for Nuland’s sidekick, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Pyatt previously served as a U.S. diplomat in Vienna involved in bringing the International Atomic Energy Agency into a line with U.S. and Israeli hostility toward Iran. A July 9, 2009, cable from Pyatt, which was released by Pvt. Bradley Manning, revealed Pyatt to be the middleman who coordinated strategy with the U.S.-installed IAEA director-general  Yukiya Amano.

Pyatt reported that Amano offered to cooperate with the U.S. and Israel on Iran, including having private meetings with Israeli officials, supporting U.S. sanctions, and agreeing to IAEA personnel changes favored by the United States. According to the cable, Pyatt promised strong U.S. backing for Amano and Amano asked for more U.S. money. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “America’s Debt to Bradley Manning.”]

It was Ambassador Pyatt who was on the other end of Nuland’s infamous Jan. 28 phone call in which she discussed how to manipulate Ukraine’s tensions and who to elevate into the country’s leadership. According to the conversation, which was intercepted and made public, Nuland ruled out one opposition figure, Vitali Klitschko, a popular former boxer, because he lacked experience.

Nuland also favored the UN as mediator over the European Union, at which point in the conversation she exclaimed, “Fuck the E.U.” to which Pyatt responded, “Oh, exactly …”

Ultimately, the Ukrainian unrest – over a policy debate whether Ukraine should move toward entering the European Union – led to a violent showdown in which neo-fascist storm troopers battled police, leaving scores dead. To ease the crisis, President Yanukovych agreed to a power-sharing government and to accelerated elections. But no sooner was that agreement signed then the hard-right faction threw it out and pressed for power in an apparent coup.

Again, the American neocons had performed the role of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, unleashing forces and creating chaos that soon was spinning out of control. But this latest “regime change,” which humiliated President Putin, could also do long-term damage to U.S.-Russian cooperation vital to resolving other crises, with Iran and Syria, two more countries where the neocons are also eager for confrontation.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

Paura e delirio in Turchia: Erdogan contro i gulenisti

February 24th, 2014 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

A prima vista, gli scandali turchi emersi nel dicembre 2013 sembrano essere casi di corruzione ordinaria, ma sotto la superficie si svolge una lotta per il potere.

A differenza delle proteste del Parco Gezi, questo confronto è tra chi detiene il potere, non solo tra governo turco e una sezione dell’opposizione.

I due antagonisti sono, in un angolo i gulenisti, gli accoliti dell’influente studioso statunitense Fethullah Gulen (il predicatore d’”oltre oceano”) nel partito Giustizia e Sviluppo (AKP) e nelle istituzioni statali turche, e i seguaci del primo ministro Erdogan e ciò che può essere definita la fazione nazionalista de AKP nell’altro angolo. L’Iran sembra essere stato incastrato nel fuoco incrociato tra le due cricche turchi rivali per via del coinvolgimento della Halkbank.

Vendetta, indagine per corruzione dell’AKP o operazione di cambio di regime?

umulavano da qualche tempo, ma il divorzio si è svelato in pieno quando il governo turco ha annunciato, nel novembre 2013, che chiudeva scuole e tutorati privati turchi. Un attacco ai gulenisti per indebolirli, perché gestiscono numerose scuole private in Turchia e nel mondo per i lucrosi profitti nonché per reclutare ed indottrinare nuovi membri. Già un precedente scandalo riguardo i colloqui segreti di pace con i separatisti curdi, nel 2012, vide lo scontro tra i due campi, la chiusura delle scuole è il punto di non ritorno. La decisione di Erdogan ha trasformato la silenziosa lotta di potere interna tra le due fazioni in una guerra aperta.

La frattura è apparsa con le dimissioni del deputato Idris Bal dall’AKP, il 30 novembre, in segno di protesta per la chiusura delle scuole private. Le dimissioni di Bal sono state seguite dalle dimissioni del deputato Hakan Sukur, un gulenista, il 16 dicembre. Sukur ha anche ammesso pubblicamente di aver consultato Fethullah Gulen sulla decisione. Hasan Yildirim Hami è un altro associato al movimento gulenista che avrebbe dato le dimissioni il 31 dicembre 2013.

Il giorno dopo il ritiro di Sukur dall’AKP, furono avviate ufficialmente le indagini contro i membri dell’AKP e le loro famiglie, per riciclaggio di denaro, frode, corruzione e vendita illegale della cittadinanza turca. Le basi per tali indagini furono segretamente preparate nel 2012, lo stesso anno della battaglia per i colloqui di pace curdi. Tre indagini anticorruzione provocarono uno grosso scandalo per il governo turco. Gulenista o no, il procuratore capo era Zekeriya Oz, responsabile dell’inchiesta Ergenekon contro i militari turchi che avrebbero pianificato un colpo di Stato contro l’AKP. I procedimenti giudiziari in stile McCarthy di Oz furono una caccia alle streghe sostenuta inflessibilmente e lodata dal governo dell’AKP, che definì Oz un eroe nazionale.

Le foto infamanti delle scatole da scarpe piene di dollari trovate a casa del CEO di Halkbank trapelarono sui media ad opera degli investigatori turchi. La reazione del primo ministro Erdogan fu  dura. Intervenne direttamente nelle indagini, creando tensioni con polizia e magistratura. Il governo AKP era offeso dal fatto che non fosse stato consultato prima dell’avvio delle indagini. Tutte le unità di polizia e delle forze dell’ordine ebbero l’ordine di informare d’ora in poi i loro superiori, in sostanza il governo, per l’approvazione di tutte le indagini.

Centinaia di poliziotti e agenti delle forze dell’ordine, tra cui i capi della polizia di Istanbul e Turchia, furono licenziati e l’AKP presentò un piano di ristrutturazione del sistema giudiziario turco. Comunque, per ordine del governo, i giornalisti non furono più autorizzati ad entrare nei dipartimenti di polizia turchi. Infine, il governo turco eliminò cinquemila persone dai loro incarichi, anche dalla direzione delle Telecomunicazioni (TIB), e dall’agenzia di regolamento e vigilanza bancaria (BDDK). Le motivazioni erano che l’AKP ripuliva le istituzioni statali dai gulenisti che stavano creando uno Stato parallelo e collaboravano con interessi stranieri.

Erdogan dimise anche Oz, rivelando quanto fosse corrotto e quante diverse vacanze lussuose in tutto il mondo facesse ogni anno. Indicando la profondità della lotta interna, i media iniziarono a ricevere le umilianti registrazioni delle telefonate private del premier Erdogan, che parlava del suo tentativo d’insabbiamento.

Le indagini mirano a colpire i rapporti turco-iraniani?

Ci fu uno scandalo corrispondente ma meno esplosivo in Iran, con rissa al Parlamento iraniano e molti parlamentari che denunciarono il governo. A Teheran fu arrestato il miliardario iraniano Babak Zanjani, il capo di Reza Sarraf/Zarrab in Turchia. Zanjani fu incaricato dal governo del Presidente Mahmud Ahmadinejad di eludere le sanzioni USA contro l’Iran. Lo scandalo Halkbank mise le operazioni di Zanjání sotto stretta sorveglianza delle autorità di Teheran. Dopo che lo scandalo in Turchia divenne pubblico, le autorità iraniane probabilmente si resero conto che Zanjani e i suoi soci intascavano molto più denaro del dovuto nel commercio segreto che dovevano favorire per conto di Teheran. Zanjani fu quindi accusato dalla polizia iraniana di essersi appropriato di circa due miliardi di dollari di fondi governativi.

I media iraniani non unirono i puntini o discussero seriamente dei collegamenti tra Zanjani e Halkbank. Comprensibilmente, il governo e i suoi partner non volevano andare troppo in profondità sul modo con cui usarono Turchia e altri Paesi, tra cui la Cina, per aggirare il regime delle sanzioni USA. Il ministro dell’Intelligence iraniano Mahmud Alavi chiese persino, parlando all’agenzia Mehr, che i media iraniani non seguissero la faccenda della corruzione di Zanjani, per via degli effetti che potrebbe avere sugli investimenti nell’economia iraniana.

È importante essere consapevoli che lo scandalo in Turchia scoppiò quando il governo turco cercava di distanziarsi silenziosamente dalla politica neo-ottomana adottata all’esplodere della primavera araba del 2011. Mentre i legami politici di Ankara con Teheran e Mosca sono costantemente degenerati per via dell’abortito piano neo-ottomano del governo dell’AKP di ritagliarsi una sfera d’influenza nel mondo arabo, i funzionari turchi sempre più dolorosamente furono consapevoli che i legami turchi con Iran e Russia sono indispensabili.

Ankara aveva ottimisticamente previsto che il governo siriano sarebbe crollato e che avrebbe poi riassunto i suoi legami con l’Iran e la Russia, ma lentamente comprese che l’ordine regionale neo-ottomano, originariamente previsto, è irrealizzabile. Perciò, negli ultimi mesi del 2013, il governo turco sembrò ammorbidire la posizione su Damasco, almeno pubblicamente, cominciando ad intraprendere un percorso per ricostruire i legami con l’Iran e la Russia. Vi furono anche numerosi rapporti che suggerivano che Ankara abbia chiesto a Teheran trattative a porte chiuse per riallacciare i rapporti con il governo siriano.

Nel contesto dell’avvicinamento verso l’Iran e la Russia, il primo ministro Erdogan chiese al Presidente Vladimir Putin e ai funzionari russi, nel corso della conferenza stampa tenutasi a San Pietroburgo nel novembre 2013, di far entrare la Turchia nella Shanghai Cooperation Organization come membro a pieno titolo, promettendo che la Turchia avrebbe dimenticato ogni idea di adesione all’UE se entrava nella SCO. Non era la prima volta che Erdogan parlava dell’adesione della Turchia alla SCO, l’ultima volta fu durante un’intervista a Kanal 24 nel gennaio 2013. Questa volta, però, chiese anche che la Turchia aderisse all’Unione Eurasiatica che la Russia e le repubbliche alleate Kazakhstan e Bielorussia formano.

Circa due mesi dopo la conferenza stampa di San Pietroburgo con Putin, Erdogan giunse a denunciare ed abbandonare la politica neo-ottomana dell’AKP, mentre  visitava il Giappone nel gennaio 2014. Dichiarò, in presenza dei suoi ospiti giapponesi, che Ankara aveva l’ambizione che la Turchia diventasse una potenza regionale e globale. Una posizione piuttosto diversa da quella che il ministro degli Esteri Davutoglu e Erdogan avevano sposato nel 2011.

I turchi inoltre chiesero agli iraniani di partecipare alla seconda conferenza internazionale per la pace in Siria, in Svizzera, e che l’Iran fosse ospitato nella conferenza del 17 gennaio a Sanliurfa, dei Paesi confinanti con la Siria. Ankara iniziò ad allinearsi alle posizioni iraniane e russe sulla Siria coordinandosi su alcune questioni prima di Ginevra II a Montreux. Inoltre, il primo ministro Erdogan visitò Teheran alla fine di gennaio, nonostante l’avvertimento di Washington, forgiando un terreno comune sulla Siria.

L’ingerenza di Stati Uniti e Israele in Turchia?

Il governo turco accusa Stati Uniti e Israele dello scontro con i gulenisti, ripetendo le accuse del governo dell’AKP sulla mano straniera responsabile delle proteste del Parco Gezi. Tali affermazioni possono essere liquidate come tattiche diversive, ma hanno un certo peso.

Sfruttando l’azione dell’Iran tramite la Turchia per aggirare le sanzioni, il governo degli Stati Uniti ha vietato le esportazioni di oro in Iran nel luglio 2013, forse nello stesso momento in cui gli investigatori turchi scoprirono che il CEO di Halkbank riceveva soldi da Sarraf/Zarrab, il che significa la possibilità che fossero stati informati dai canali statunitensi o viceversa, informando il governo USA attraverso il movimento gulenista o altri canali. Stati Uniti e Israele erano anche sconvolti dal fatto che Halkbankfosse utilizzata dall’India per comprarsi il petrolio dell’Iran.

Il gruppo del primo ministro Erdogan denuncia un complotto internazionale contro la Turchia, mentre la fazione gulenista sostiene che Erdogan e i suoi alleati mentono per nascondere la loro corruzione. Una fazione molto più piccola dei media riferisce che la corruzione del governo è stata denunciata dai gulenisti per motivazioni politiche e per un cambio di regime.

I gulenisti vengono dipinti come, consapevolmente o inconsapevolmente, agenti statunitensi e israeliani, pedine degli interessi di Washington e Tel Aviv. Il ruolo dei gulenisti nel rivelare servizi di Halkbank con Teheran supporta tale idea, perché colpisce gli interessi di Erdogan e dell’Iran. Vi sono anche altri fattori che rendono credibile l’idea che i gulenisti siano legati a Stati Uniti ed Israele. Questi fattori sono: l’opposizione di Fethullah Gulen agli sforzi turchi per inviare la flottiglia di aiuti ai palestinesi della Striscia di Gaza nel 2010, il riconoscimento di Gulen d’Israele quale autorità di Gaza, in linea con la sua posizione pro-israeliana, Gulen e la sua oscura aggressiva opposizione a una soluzione pacifica nella Turchia-Kurdistan settentrionale o nel sud-est della Turchia.

Indipendentemente dalla natura dei loro legami con Washington e Tel Aviv, i gulenisti perseguono ulteriori obiettivi statunitensi e israeliani con le loro pretese sul Kurdistan. È una coincidenza che le stesse persone che negli Stati Uniti e in Israele parlano di dividere Siria, Iraq, Libano e Iran, parlano anche di dividere la Turchia. L’opzione militare nella Turchia/Kurdistan settentrionale che i gulenisti desiderano, avrebbe effetti negativi sulla Turchia e i Paesi confinanti. Destabilizzerebbe la Turchia polarizzandone i cittadini curdi e ampliando la frattura etnica tra turchi e curdi, catalizzando i curdi di tutta la regione contro il loro governo e dividendo la Turchia, uno scenario favorevole a Stati Uniti e Israele.

Non ci s’inganni nel pensare che il movimento di Fethullah Gulen sia sano. È un’organizzazione ombra con molti soldi e beni nel mondo, e nessuno sa come tutto ciò sia stato acquisito. Potrebbe benissimo essere finanziata dalla CIA per aumentare la propria influenza nel Caucaso e in Asia centrale. Il movimento ebbe anche chiuse le scuole in altri luoghi. Il vecchio Gulen può anche non avere alcun controllo sull’organizzazione. Funzionari governativi turchi inoltre evitano di menzionarne il nome, usando costantemente un linguaggio criptico. Le purghe mostrano che vi è una reale paura di loro.

Le indagini sulla corruzione avviate dai gulenisti non hanno nulla a che fare con la legge. Le indagini sono una ritorsione di Gulen nella lotta per il potere con il primo ministro Erdogan ed i suoi alleati. I gulenisti non hanno mai avuto problemi con la corruzione del governo precedente. Ne fecero parte e invariabilmente guardarono dall’altra parte durante gli scandali precedenti, come ad esempio lo scandalo di Deniz Feneri, che la stessa magistratura insabbiò.

Non va dimenticato che Erdogan stesso ha permesso ai gulenisti d’accedere a posizioni importanti. Non aveva nessun problema finché erano soci. Né va dimenticato che il suo governo è anche intimamente legato a Stati Uniti e Israele, sia apertamente che clandestinamente.

Il Jinni dell’incertezza esce dalla bottiglia?

La base dell’AKP si divide, essendovi crescenti mormorii sul primo ministro Erdogan. Vi sarebbero  tensioni tra lui e il presidente Abdullah Gul. Uno dei ministri dimessi, Erdogan Bayraktar, ha anche detto che Erdogan era pienamente consapevole di tutto ciò che accadeva chiedendogli provocatoriamente di dimettersi.

Una rivolta nell’AKP contro Erdogan e i suoi luogotenenti potrebbe eventualmente erodere politicamente l’AKP. Le elezioni comunali turche di marzo 2014 attizzeranno tali fiamme.

Forse come segnale del panico dell’AKP per le prossime elezioni comunali, i funzionari turchi hanno ordinato che le attività del Partito Repubblicano del Popolo (CHP), principale oppositore ad Istanbul, siano confiscate per un prestito inesigibile del 1998. La mossa sarebbe un modo per assicurare che l’AKP d’Istanbul resti al governo.

Probabilmente vi sono ancora dei gulenisti nell’AKP che probabilmente mostreranno il loro vero volto con il tempo, forse quando scoppierà una rivolta nell’AKP contro Erdogan e i suoi alleati.

La Turchia è stata danneggiata in diversi modi. La lira turca è caduta e la speculazione colpisce l’economia, per non parlare dei vertici del Tesoro degli Stati Uniti, responsabili delle sanzioni USA contro l’Iran, giunti  in Turchia per discutere della Halkbank.

La magistratura turca ora è al centro della lotta nel governo. Mentre l’AKP sostiene di voler rimuovere elementi sovversivi, i suoi critici sostengono che cancella l’indipendenza del potere giudiziario subordinando ufficialmente i giudici al governo.

I vertici militari turchi fanno coraggiose dichiarazioni nell’arena politica, chiedendo nuovi processi per i militari condannati. C’è il timore legittimo nell’intellighenzia turca del ritorno della tutela militare.

La domanda che nasce da tutto ciò è se lo scontro tra Erdogan e i gulenisti sia volto ad impedire alla Turchia, danneggiata o meno, d’avere una politica estera indipendente che permetta ad Ankara di orientarsi verso Iran e Russia.

Articolo originariamente pubblicato da Russia Today, il 10 febbraio 2014.

Traduzione di Alessandro Lattanzio.

The shroud that surrounds the deepening integration of Canada’s two principal intelligence agencies was pulled back, if only very slightly, by the recent publication of figures on the number of times the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIC) has requested assistance from the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC)—the Canadian counterpart and partner of the US National Security Agency (NSA).

According to a Globe and Mail report, CSIS requested CSEC assistance 205 times in the four years from 2009 through 2012. The Globe report, which was based on an Access to Information request, also reveals that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or RCMP asked for CSEC’s help in spying on Canadians 85 times during the same period.

The Globe report does not specify how many of these requests were accommodated. Nor does it disclose any further details about the content of these requests.

CSEC functions under secret Defence Minister directives known at most to a handful of cabinet members and a cabal of national-security operatives. Much of what is publicly known about CSEC’s activities originated with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who released the first batch of his exposures last June. One of his most recent leaks shows that in 2012, CSEC, working in conjunction with the NSA, developed and field-tested a program to tap into the wireless devices of travellers at Canadian airports and other public spaces and to track them for up to two weeks afterward.

The Conservative government had, since last June, steadfastly refused to confirm reports that CSEC is spying on Canadians, systematically collecting and analyzing the metadata of their electronic communications.

However, once the airport surveillance story went to print, the government changed tack, baldly asserting the Canadian state’s “lawful” right to collect the metadata of Canadians’ private phone and Internet communications. Stephen Rigby, the National Security Advisor to Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, declared that such a practice “does not compromise (Canadians’) private communications” and the CSEC Commissioner, the retired judge who ostensibly monitors CSEC activities to ensure they are lawful, issued a report claiming he had looked into the airport surveillance and determined the spy agency had done nothing wrong. (See: “Canada’s government curtly dismisses concerns over blanket spying“).

CSIS is tasked with discovering and countering “national security threats” and collaborates closely with the RCMP and municipal law enforcement agencies across the country. CSEC is the country’s foreign signals intelligence agency and a member of the “Five Eyes” global surveillance partnership led by the American NSA. Officially, CSIS and CSEC are separate intelligence agencies and fulfill different national security functions, with what the government calls a “legal wall” separating them. Only in exceptional circumstances, or so the government claims, does CSEC provide CSIS assistance and then only if the latter obtains a court warrant.

As the Globe story and a series of other revelations have shown, not only are the two agencies becoming more tightly integrated and dismantling these separations; they are routinely flouting the law in the process and directing their spying programs at ordinary Canadians.

The government has advanced a spurious, pseudo-legal argument—one that has not been approved by parliament or even tested in public court—to arrogate the power to spy on the metadata of Canadians’ communications. The government and CSEC claim metadata is not the content of a communication but merely its “envelope” and, therefore, not a form of constitutionally protected private communication, making it “fair game” for collection and analysis.

In reality metadata consists of highly detailed information on the sender and recipient of a phone or Internet communication, including the date it was sent and the location of both parties. This data can be used to construct detailed personal profiles of individuals, including one’s political affiliations.

The growing collaboration between CSIS and CSEC has raised red flags for human rights and privacy advocates. Michael Vonn, a lawyer for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), referred to the CSIS requests as a possible “end run around the warrant process.” Last October, the BCCLA filed a lawsuit against the federal government challenging the constitutionality of its metadata collection practices. The lawsuit is in its pretrial phase.

Since CSEC and the government have arrogated the power to spy on Canadians’ metadata on the claim it is not constitutionally protected communication, it is only logical to assume that CSIS’s requests for CSEC’s help in collecting such data would be deemed by Canada’s intelligence agencies and the government to require no court authorization.

CSIS and CSEC are already known to have conspired to deceive the federal courts and “spin” court decisions to assert new powers. Last November, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley renounced his landmark 2009 decision granting CSIS the power to conduct foreign surveillance of Canadian targets. He did so after learning that CSIS and CSEC had lied to him by claiming that the surveillance would be conducted entirely from within Canada and had kept the court “in the dark” as to the fact that CSEC was enlisting the help of its Five Eyes partners to spy on such Canadians “targets.” (See: “Canada’s spy agencies lied to the courts)

The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) and Liberals have maintained a silence over CSEC’s participation in the NSA’s global spying operations and its illegal targeting of Canadians’ metadata that can only be described as criminal. In the immediate aftermath of each of Snowden’s leaks, the opposition parties feign outrage and make hollow calls for greater parliamentary oversight and/or the creation of an independent state-vetted independent committee to review CSEC’s operations, only to quickly lapse into silence.

An examination of the existing CSIS review committee’s 2012-2013 annual report gives an idea of what to expect from any oversight body created within the framework of the capitalist state. Published last October, the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) report overflows with enthusiasm for the operations of CSIS, and encourages the type of deeper integration among the intelligence agencies that has since been revealed as an established fact.

Far from fulfilling its mandate of protecting Canadians from the long and pervasive reach of warrantless state surveillance, the SIRC has in fact called for an expansion of the scope of CSIS’s operations.

Right out of the gate, the report presents its arguments for an “inevitable—and desirable—growth of cooperation” between CSIS and CSEC and makes proposals to facilitate this collaboration. These include “the creation of a joint CSIS and CSEC senior management operational board to provide strategic-level management” of the spy agencies’ joint operations.

Purported budgetary constraints and the increased sophistication of developing technologies are cited by the SIRC as grounds to further integrate the two intelligence agencies. This rationale is particularly disingenuous, as the budgets of both agencies have ballooned in recent years to near $1 billion combined. A sprawling compound for CSEC is currently under construction and will be physically connected to CSIS’s headquarters.

As Edward Snowden has revealed, CSEC continuously exchanges personnel, cutting-edge technology, and equipment with the much larger NSA. To this day, neither the Canadian intelligence agencies, nor their foreign intelligence partners, have offered any credible proof that their blanket spying operations have thwarted a single terrorist plot.

In contrast, numerous investigations have illustrated that spy agencies and their allies in law enforcement regularly entrap individuals in fabricated terror plots, and infiltrate protest groups as agent provocateurs to incite them to violence. Such operations are used to defame these organizations and justify further right-wing security measures.

The language of the SIRC report makes clear that, far from targeting terrorists or criminals, the clandestine spying activities of CSIS and CSEC are treating the entire population as a potential threat to the capitalist state. Indeed, the SIRC report actively encourages CSIS to cast a wide net in its spying on domestic opposition to the Canadian government and its big business agenda, citing the 2010 Toronto G-20 protests as supposed proof that apparently peaceful groups can become involved in a “sudden flare up of domestic violence.”

That such conduct is CSIS’s bread and butter has been underlined by the recent revelation that CSIS and the RCMP spied on environmental and aboriginal groups opposing the Northern Gateway Pipeline project. The government documents that reveal the spying also make clear that the intelligence and police agencies themselves found “no direct or specific criminal threat” from any of the groups targeted or any of the individuals involved in their meetings and protests. Nevertheless, the spying on Northern Gateway’s opponents, including the infiltration of meetings, continued.

With social inequality reaching unbearable levels, the ruling class and its state agencies are preparing to meet mass opposition by erecting the scaffolding of a police state.

25 verdades sobre las manifestaciones en Venezuela

February 24th, 2014 by Salim Lamrani

Como en 2002, la oposición radical, incapaz de tomar el poder por vía de las urnas, multiplica las acciones con el objetivo de romper el orden constitucional.

1. Nicolás Maduro, Presidente legítimo de Venezuela desde abril de 2013, hace frente a una poderosa oposición, apoyada por Estados Unidos, que aspira retomar el poder que perdió en 1998.

2. Como perdió las elecciones presidenciales de abril de 2013 por una diferencia del 1,59%, la oposición rechazó primero los resultados electorales, avalados no obstante por las más importantes instituciones internacionales, desde la Unión Europea hasta la Organización de Estados Americanos, pasando por el Centro Carter, y expresó su rabia en actos violentos que costaron la vida a once militantes chavistas.

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El presidente de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, habla durante una rueda de prensa en el Salon Simón Bolívar del Palacio de Miraflores 

3. No obstante, el débil margen que separó al candidato de la oposición Henrique Capriles al vencedor Nicolás Maduro, galvanizó a la derecha, motivada por la perspectiva de la reconquista del poder. Entonces hizo de las elecciones municipales de diciembre de 2013 un objetivo estratégico.

4. Contra todo pronóstico, las elecciones municipales se transformaron en plebiscito a favor del poder chavista que ganó el 76% de los municipios (256) contra el 23% (76) para la coalición MUD que agrupó a toda la oposición.

5. Desmoralizado por ese serio revés, viendo la perspectiva de una reconquista del poder por la vía democrática alejarse otra vez – las próximas elecciones serán las legislativas en diciembre de 2015 –, la oposición ha decidido reproducir el esquema de abril de 2002 que desembocó en un golpe de Estado mediático-militar contra el Presidente Hugo Chávez.

6. A partir de enero de 2014, el sector radical de la oposición decidió actuar. Leopoldo López, líder del partido Voluntad Popular, quien participó en el golpe de Estado de abril de 2002, lanzó un llamado a la insurrección a partir del 2 de enero de 2014: “Queremos lanzar un llamado a los venezolanos […] a que nos alcemos. Convocamos al pueblo venezolano a decir ‘basta ya’. […] Con una meta a discutir: ‘la salida. ¿Cuál es la salida a este desastre?”.

7. El 2 de febrero de 2014, durante una manifestación, Leopoldo López designó al poder como el responsable de todos los males: “Las carencias que padecemos hoy tienen un culpable. Ese culpable es el poder nacional”.

8. El 2 de febrero de 2014, Antonio Ledezma, figura de la oposición y alcalde de la capital Caracas, también lanzó un llamado al cambio: “Este régimen quien cumple hoy quince años continuos promoviendo la confrontación. Hoy comienza la unidad en la calle de toda Venezuela”.

9. María Corina Machado, diputada de la oposición, lanzó un llamado a poder fin a la “tiranía”: “El pueblo de Venezuela tiene una respuesta: ‘Rebeldía, rebeldía’. Hay algunos que dicen que debemos esperar a unas elecciones en unos cuantos años. ¿Pueden esperar los que no consiguen alimentos para sus hijos? ¿Pueden esperar los empleados públicos, los campesinos, los comerciantes, a quienes les arrebatan su derecho al trabajo y a la propiedad? Venezuela no puede esperar más”.

10. El 6 de febrero de 2014, tras una manifestación de la oposición, un grupo de una centena de estudiantes encapuchados atacó la residencia del gobernador del Estado de Táchira, hiriendo a una decena de policías.

11. La misma semana, varias manifestaciones de la oposición se suceden en diferentes Estados y degeneran todas en violencia.

12. El 12 de febrero de 2014, otra manifestación, orquestada por la oposición frente al Ministerio Público, compuesta de estudiantes de las universidades privadas organizados en grupos de choque, resultó ser de una violencia inaudita, con tres muertos, una centena de heridos e innumerables daños materiales.

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El dirigente opositor venezolano Leopoldo López se entrega a miembros de la Guardia Nacional en una plaza en Caracas

13. Como durante el golpe de Estado de abril de 2002, las tres personas fallecidas fueron todas ejecutadas con una bala en la cabeza.

14. Entre ellas se encontraban un militante chavista Juan Montoya y un opositor llamado Basil Da Acosta. Según la investigación balística, ambos fueron ejecutados con la misma arma.

15. Los siguientes días, los manifestantes, oficialmente movilizados “contra la vida cara y la inseguridad”, se instalaron en la Plaza Altamira, situada en un barrio rico de Caracas.

16. Desde hace varios meses, Venezuela sufre una guerra económica orquestada por la oposición que controla aún amplios sectores, con la organización artificial de penurias, de acaparamiento de productos de primera necesidad, y de multiplicación de actos especulativos.

17. Así, el 5 de febrero de 2014, las autoridades acautelaron en el Estado de Táchira cerca de mil toneladas de productos alimenticios de primera necesidad (arroz, azúcar, aceite, café, etc.) escondidos en almacenes. Desde enero de 2013, las autoridades acautelaron más de 50.000 toneladas de alimentos.

18. El gobierno bolivariano decidió actuar y castigar a los acaparadores y especuladores. En noviembre de 2013, la cadena Daka de productos electrodomésticos fue intervenida y las autoridades decidieron regular los precios. En efecto, la empresa facturaba sus productos con un beneficio de más del 1000%, por lo que era inaccesibles para la mayoría de los venezolanos.

Leia mais:
Após proposta de Maduro, EUA recusam diálogo com a Venezuela

19. Ahora el margen máximo para las empresas no podrá superar el 30%.

20. El Presidente Nicolás Maduro denunció un intento de golpe de Estado y llamó a los ciudadanos a hacer frente al “fascismo”. “Nada nos apartará del camino de la Patria y de la vía de la democracia”, afirmó.

21. El 17 de febrero de 2014, tres diplomáticos estadounidenses fueron expulsados del país por su implicación con los sangrientos acontecimientos. Se habían reunido con los estudiantes de las universidades privadas para coordinar las manifestaciones, según las autoridades venezolanas.

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Una manifestante le habla a un policía durante una marcha contra el gobierno de Nicolás Maduro en San Cristobal, Táchira 

22. El 18 de febrero de 2014, Leopoldo López fue arrestado por su responsabilidad política en las violentas manifestaciones y fue entregado a la justicia.

23. La administración Obama condenó al gobierno de Caracas por las violencias, sin señalar un solo instante la responsabilidad de la oposición que intenta realizar un golpe de Estado. Al contrario, el Departamento de Estado exigió la liberación inmediata de Leopoldo López, principal instigador de los acontecimientos dramáticos.

24. Los medios occidentales ocultaron los actos violentos de los grupúsculos armados (metros y edificios públicos saqueados, tiendas Mercal – ¡donde el pueblo se abastece en alimentos! – quemadas), así como el hecho de que la televisión pública Venezolana de Televisión fue atacada con armas de fuego.

Leia mais:
Quem é Leopoldo López, acusado pelo chavismo de planejar atos de violência

25. Los medios occidentales, lejos de presentar los acontecimientos dramáticos ocurridos en Venezuela con toda imparcialidad, tomaron partido a favor de la oposición golpista y contra el gobierno democrático y legítimo de Nicolás Maduro. No vacilan en manipular a la opinión pública y presentan la situación como un levantamiento popular masivo contra el poder. En realidad, Maduro dispone del apoyo masivo de la mayoría de los venezolanos, como lo ilustran las manifestaciones gigantescas a favor de la Revolución Bolivariana.

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] ; [email protected]
Página Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel 

Russian General: “We Are At War”

February 24th, 2014 by General Leonid Ivashov

In an interview published Feb. 5 by km.ru, Gen. Leonid Ivashov, the former foreign relations head of the Russian Ministry of Defense and current president of the Academy of Geopolitical Studies, issued a sharp warning about the nature of the strategic crisis unfolding in Ukraine:

“Apparently they [officials of the European Union and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry] have dedicated themselves, and continue to do so, to deeply and thoroughly studying the doctrine of Dr. Goebbels. . . They present everything backwards from reality. It is one of the formulas which Nazi propaganda employed most successfully: . . . They accuse the party that is defending itself, of aggression. What is happening in Ukraine and Syria is is a project of the West, a new type of war: in both places you see a clear anti-Russian approach, and as is well known, wars today begin with psychological and information warfare operations. . . Kerry and Obama are encouraging in Kiev what they harshly repress in their country. European leaders break up unauthorized demonstrations with hoses, throwing demonstrators in jail, while in the Ukrainian case they do the exact opposite, and on top of that they threaten Russia. Logically, this is part of information warfare.

“Keep in mind that, under the cover of information commotion, U.S. ships are entering the Black Sea, that is, near Ukraine. They are sending marines, and they have also begun to deploy more tanks in Europe. . . We see that on the heels of the disinformation operation a land-sea, and possibly air operation is being prepared.

“They haven’t even taught [opposition leaders] Klitchko, Yatsenyuk and Tyahnybok to run a government efficiently. The main thing is for them to take power, and destroy the Ukrainian state.”

Currently in the Ukraine, there is a parliament in Kiev and a parliament in Kharkov.  The parliament stripped Yanukovych of his powers and impeached him but he says they dont have the powers to do that and refuses to step down.  The latest reports have the President in Donetsk.  There is actually no single person in charge over there. It’s chaos.  Everything about the ‘rebellion’ reeks of western puppetry and fascism.  Everything about the Yanukovych supporters of course reeks of Russia.  The Crimea is having massive protests right now in the streets because they want to join in union with Russia.  And Russia has stated it is prepared tosend in troops to protect ethnic Russiansof which there is 7-8 million of in Ukraine.  Things are very fluid and changing hourly.  Stay tuned..

Copyright Before It’s News 2014

by Christopher Gerteis and Timothy S. George1

Christopher Gerteis and Timothy S. George make a case for revisiting Japan’s postwar history in the second decade of the twenty-first century. They argue that Japan’s problematic responses to the triple disasters

Japan’s spectacular economic growth after 1945 made it an exemplar of modern capitalism for business leaders in the Americas, Europe, and especially Pacific Asia, particularly at the height of its economic dominance in the 1980s. Japan was frequently held up as a model for the development of East and Southeast Asia. Malaysia was among the first to adopt a “Look East” policy, explicitly rejecting the “western model” in favor of one attributed to Japan. In 1979, the American sociologist Ezra Vogel published Japan as Number One, with the subtitle Lessons for America. Soon, executives from the United States were visiting their former pupil and strategic junior partner to learn the secrets of its success, while Japanese hubris was reflected in the bits of gold foil one could order sprinkled on sushi at exclusive restaurants. Japan was seen – and saw itself – as the successful pioneer and model in solving the problems of late-industrial capitalism, from urban crowding to labor-management relations to pollution.

However, the collapse of mammoth real estate and stock market bubbles by 1991 launched the nation on two decades of economic stagnation punctuated by episodes of fitful growth, deflation and soul searching. The hubris that drove the 1980s – that “we had all the answers” – had collapsed. The confidence, and the certainty about national goals, slipped away in the 1990s. The bubble burst, the Cold War ended, the population aged, rural areas hemorrhaged population and struggled to stay alive, and China’s era of spectacularly rapid economic growth continued even longer than had Japan’s. Japan struggled to find a direction in what suddenly seemed to be a new and unfamiliar version of modernity, or postmodernity. There was much talk about the “Galapagos-ization” of Japan, a turning inward, a giving up of grand dreams and an acceptance that Japan’s global role and importance might shrink to the point where the nation would be ignored rather than copied by the rest of the world. It was no surprise that one response was to remember – or imagine – a time when things had been different.

And then, after 11 March 2011, the state’s ineffectual response to the triple-crises of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in northeastern Japan heightened popular debate over whether the nation was doomed to a slow decline or might yet be able to recover its vigor and discover a new path and new purposes. The flurry of international attention, including a level of media coverage on Japan not seen since the early 1990s, again brought global interest to bear on Japan’s economic and social woes. Yet the content of that analysis too often suggested that Japan’s successes are relevant but its failures are unique. While financial reports seemed to regularly declare Japan “out of recession,” media discussions in and outside Japan after March of 2011 remained haunted by the failure to bounce back from the devastation inflicted by one of the strongest earthquakes in recorded human history. The ruins of disaster provided further fodder for dismissing Japan as irrelevant on the international political stage. Reports of Japan’s demise since 1990 remain wildly overstated, to the point that it has been quite fashionable to publicly wonder whether Japan really matters anymore.2

This seems absurd for a country that enjoys the highest standard of living in East Asia, sustained by the third-largest economy in the world. Of course Japan matters for many reasons. It was the first non-Western nation to have a constitution and to industrialize. Japan avoided being colonized and became a colonial power itself. It plunged into a devastating war that killed tens of millions in East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific and ended with Japan as the first and only nation to suffer the horrors of nuclear warfare. In defeat, Japan arose from the ashes of war to become an even greater industrial power while simultaneously establishing itself as a vibrant, pacifist, and contentious democracy. Its modern history continues to inspire leaders in the developing world even as many citizens of those countries once occupied by Imperial Japan remonstrate against resurgent denials of Japanese wrong-doing.

Nevertheless, dismissals of Japan’s relevance have deflected attention from the ways that Japan’s real problems today are shared with others. Both Japan’s successes and failures hold common cause with those of the late-stage capitalist economics of the Americas, Europe and Pacific Asia. Japan’s achievements – positive and negative – since the end of the nineteenth century remain highly relevant for policy makers, business leaders, and citizenry across the globe. In some respects Japan in the twenty-first century is once again leading the way, this time as the first nation in Pacific Asia to struggle with the consequences of declining industrial significance, and as the fastest-aging society in the world. Japan must finance the welfare of a population that is anticipated by 2020 to be comprised of more septuagenarians than teenagers. And perhaps most significantly, the Japanese continue to redefine their modern collective identity and their country’s place in the world, as they have been doing for over 150 years.

These developments make it all the more important that the nation forge better relations with its Asia-Pacific neighbors – a task its leaders do not seem to be taking seriously enough. Several of Japan’s other problems, such as the extent to which the Japanese state will follow through on its mandate to reconstruct the quake-devastated Northeast, are also undoubtedly critical. Indeed, there is reason to doubt that the Japanese government will adequately respond given its persistent incapacity to call to heel the accident-prone nuclear industry and the diplomatic hornet’s nest stirred up each time a government minister decries the veracity of Chinese and Korean memories of the Second World War.3

It seems clear that those engaged in explaining Japan’s geopolitical role need to move beyond the simplistic messages of “copy this” and “beware of that.” It is time to once more rethink how we explain Japan to the wider world. Our recent edited volume, Japan since 1945: From Postwar to Post-bubble (Bloomsbury 2013), grew out of two gatherings of scholars of postwar Japan. Unlike many pundits over the past two decades, the participants in the 2009 conference “Revisiting Postwar Japan” at Sophia University in Tokyo, and a workshop at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies in 2010, did not take for granted the value of studying Japan since 1945. In that volume, we focused on four issues: civic life, the legacies of war and military occupation, the emergence of a postindustrial economy, and the interaction of public memory with the social, political, and economic trajectories from the postwar to the post-bubble era. Our goal was to paint a more robust portrait of Japan’s contemporary history by examining the social, cultural, and political underpinnings of Japan’s postwar and postindustrial trajectories. More broadly, our ongoing collective goal is to cross the intellectual boundaries where history leaves off and other disciplines begin, in order to put to rest popular dismissals of Japan’s relevance in the twenty-firCCt century world.

Civic Imaginations

As the term “postwar” suggests, the formative narrative and material framework for Japan today is still World War II. Japan’s war in Pacific Asia from 1931 to 1945 caused the most widespread bloodshed the region had ever known, with a total cost in lives that may have reached as many as 20 million people dead.4 The domestic experiences of war for many ordinary Japanese was of death and severe hardship, culminating with the incendiary bombings of Tokyo and Osaka and nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the wake of Japan’s surrender in August 1945, the international war crimes tribunals tried, convicted, and hanged only a handful of the political and military leaders most responsible for the war, leaving many issues of war responsibility unresolved. Yet the people and government of postwar Japan were remarkable for their ability to convert the experiences of the wartime era into productive, long-lived alliances with many of Japan’s former enemies. This was one way that Japan became a model for the world’s late industrializers.

Positioning themselves in the dual role of proconsul and tutor, the mostly American officials of the Allied Occupation of Japan (1945–1952) translated their social and political vision of democracy into a constitutional monarchy for Japan that embraced the rights of free speech, formal gender equality and a “minimum standard of cultured living.” Yet, while the Allied Occupation is often characterized as a liberal “New Deal” for Japan, reactionary strains within the American political system, in particular the rise of anti-Communism and the onset of the Cold War, also had tremendous repercussions for Japan. They strengthened the hands of its more conservative politicians and left the nation no choice but to join the American side in a polarized world.

One persistent belief about Japan is that it lacked a historical tradition of an engaged citizenry. This is of course a myth – generated by and believed in by many Japanese as well as others.

However, the Meiji, Taishō, and even the early Shōwa eras (1868–1912, 1912–1926, and 1926–1931) witnessed considerable right- and left-wing political activity, some of it quite radical. The postwar years saw an even greater level of civic engagement. Indeed, the postwar era was a clear example of fractious democratic capitalism, even though the huge citizens’ movements of the era are rarely recalled today. As a result, the postwar era is largely remembered within the narrow, sometimes stultifying context of the “economic miracle” narrative. For some, this blind spot has the ironic – and at times convenient – consequence of obscuring the way that Japan can be a useful model for societies that hope to enjoy both economic growth and political pluralism. However, others see it as obscuring the way citizens’ movements were coopted before they could fundamentally transform the nation’s political economy.

Japan’s two constitutions – the Meiji constitution of 1890, and the current constitution in effect since May 3, 1947 – were both literally handed to the Japanese people from above, the former from the Meiji emperor and the latter from their postwar occupiers. The Allied Occupation, the legacies of the war and the new constitution constituted an infrastructure that the everyday citizens could do little to change. What they could control, however, was how they responded to them, and the meanings they assigned to these responses. In doing so, they were writing new chapters in the story of Japan’s continuing redefinition of its modern domestic and international identity.

The 1950s were indeed witness to great social and economic turmoil.  from the efforts by the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the nuclear arms race to the unionization struggles led by coal miners demanding basic safety equipment and fair wages. – This picture of Japanese life stands in stark contrast to the middle-class family lives portrayed widely in television and motion picture melodramas today. Yet the 1950s nevertheless saw the emergence of conservative one-party rule, despite the upsurge in civic organizations and mass movements underpinned by constitutional protections for individual rights and mass politics.

By 1960, the political dissatisfactions of millions of Japanese had sparked a national movement to rescind the postwar military treaties with the United States. These dissatisfactions grew by the end of the decade into vast national movements calling for the end of Japanese support for the Vietnam War and the reversion of Okinawa from American to Japanese sovereignty. The protests targeted American government policies as much as those of the Japanese government. Not coincidentally, the United States poured resources into protecting the Japanese government from democratic demands to expel the U.S. bases and end Japan’s logistical support for the war in Vietnam. Then, after these national social movements of the 1960s were squelched by extra-parliamentary and occasionally extrajudicial action, many politically active Japanese people refocused their civic engagement onto more local concerns, such as industrial pollution in Minamata, social welfare policies and resistance to state encroachment upon the rights of farmers in Narita. They were able to force the Japanese government to make significant policy changes in these areas in order to hold on to political power.

These social movements from the late 1950s to the early 1970s defined the new outer boundaries of democracy in Japan, shaped not by citizen apathy but by increasingly impermeable institutional barriers. Citizens were deeply involved in national political movements for the first 15 years of the postwar era, but hit several roadblocks between 1960 and 1970 that demarcated what has customarily been characterized as a decline in participatory democracy and the consolidation of one-party rule. Although leftist political movements exerted considerable influence on the shape of Japanese society, the center-right leveraged its access to corporate patronage networks and American Cold War preferences, determined to emerge as the more powerful force. The formation of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 1955 marked the beginning of an era of conservative politics that remained the norm apart from short breaks in LDP rule in 1993-94 and 2009-12. These conservative rulers continued the pattern going back to Meiji of responding to domestic challenges just in time and just enough to remain in power.

The opening chapters of Japan since 1945 explore the meaning of Japan’s postwar democracy at the local level. This section features essays exploring how Japan’s postwar democracy translated into – or was defined by – local practice by examining the shape of civic engagement that developed in various local communities, although all were also influenced by the national politics that flowed from the capital city. By reconstructing narratives of civic life in Kamakura, a historically significant satellite of Tokyo, and several townships deep in Japan’s rural periphery, Laura Hein, Timothy George, and Martin Dusinberre each examine from different angles the structures of civil society and of regional identity that emerged within the postwar constitutional order. Running against a tide of literature that depicts postwar Japan as a nation driven by an interventionist state in league with vertically integrated corporate systems, the essays in this section reconstruct a more nuanced portrait of civic life in postwar Japan than those focused solely on the national center. George and Dusinberre also explore the boundaries of the nostalgic longing for “traditional” village Japan that accompanied the rise of the “furusato” (native place) movement in the 1990s.

Legacies of War and Occupation

If anything has been proven by the endless debates about when or whether the “postwar” has ended, it is that Japan has never escaped the long shadow of its Asia-Pacific War. The “postwar” was declared over many times, including when the Allied Occupation ended in 1952, again when the nation’s GNP regained its prewar peak in 1955, when Japan’s economy passed that of West Germany in 1968 to become the third largest in the world after those of the USA and the USSR, the two superpowers of the day, once again in the 1980s when Japan was the world’s largest creditor and foreign aid donor and home to the world’s ten largest banks, and in 1989 when the Shōwa emperor died after 63 years on the throne. Some still believe the end of the postwar has not yet arrived.

Yet, there remained ever-present reminders that the war was not buried in the past. Okinawa was occupied and administeredby the United States until 1972, and large portions of it remain under U.S. military control. Beginning in the 1980s and continuing since then, former victims of Japan’s invasion of the Asian continent reacted in anger when textbooks in Japan called that invasion an “advance” and Japanese politicians denied that there had been a Rape of Nanjing. Such discontent again appeared when Asia’s former “comfort women,” forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese government during the war, spoke out in the 1990s to demand compensation and apology. Throughout the postwar and into the twenty-first century, many Koreans and Chinese, along with their governments, repeatedly insisted that Japan had never fully apologized for its actions.

Even the scenes of devastation left by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 brought to mind for many Japanese strong public memories of the hard times that followed in the wake of surrender in 1945, as did the current emperor’s decision to address the Japanese people in the immediate aftermath of the March 2011 disasters, as his father had done for the first time on August 15, 1945, 66 years earlier. The decision by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East of 1946–1948 (the “Tokyo War Crimes Trial”) to blame a small number of top leaders – not including the emperor – for the war had discouraged most Japanese from considering their individual responsibility for the nation’s actions. Many came to think of the war as a tragedy that had happened to them, brought on by those above. Even more so for later generations, the shadow of the war was something bequeathed to them by others and with which they simply had to live.

Even conventional periodizations of Japanese history, which tend to focus on decisive breaks in 1868, 1945, and 1952, can obscure as much as they illuminate. David Obermiller shows how Okinawa experienced a much longer and very different sort of occupation than the one that ended for the rest of the nation (except the Ogasawara Islands) in 1952, and how attention to Okinawa complicates questions of national and regional identity. The ethnographic emphasis in American views of and policies toward Okinawa had a decidedly colonial flavor. So too did American attempts to shape the ways Okinawans defined themselves and remembered their past, affecting local, mainland Japanese, and global views of the region. Similarly, Katarzyna Cwiertka describes the continuity in food shortages and distribution systems across the great divide of defeat in August 1945. By focusing on patterns of food distribution and consumption, she shows that actual practices did not always change in the wake of changes in rulers, laws, and policies. In the early years after the war citizens and occupiers alike found wartime institutions useful, albeit for new goals. The new Labor Law granted workers the basic rights denied them by the wartime state, even though it was a re-crafted version of laws and regulations drafted by mid-level bureaucrats during the war. Institutions for collectively settling workplace grievances developed by the wartime state enabled the rapid emergence of a militant and strike-ready labor movement. Furthermore, neighborhood associations used to mobilize women for Civil Defense during the war became grassroots mechanisms for campaigns by women seeking to influence national and local political issues.

In the postwar period, Japanese were no longer subjects but citizens with a much greater space for political activism. Even marginalized groups could, in theory, choose between attempting to win seats at the tables of power to make policies, or simply attempting to win recognition and compensation from “those above” (okami) in other ways. The nurses described by Sally Hastings chose the former path, organizing and electing representatives to the National Diet. She shows us the complicated interconnectedness of work, gender and occupational politics, which involved not just female nurses rebalancing their power vis-à-vis male doctors and politicians, but also contestations between nurses and midwives over notions of female professionalization. Tetsuya Fujiwara shows how the largest group of disabled veterans chose to demand formal recognition of their social and economic status as patriots who sacrificed more than the majority, but in doing so also had to contend with some of their own, the “white gown” beggars – disabled, demobilized men begging for alms along the streets of Japan’s bombed-out cities – who threatened to undermine attempts by their better-situated disabled brothers to avoid social and economic marginalization.

State Policy for a Late-Capitalist Society

In his title for a controversial book, journalist and oft-quoted “Japan expert” Karel van Wolferen characterized the essence of Japan’s rise to global prominence as The Enigma of Japanese Power. He was referring to economic rather than military power. Writing at the height of Japan’s economic success in 1989, van Wolferen attempted to explain how Japan came to be the second largest economy in the world. This postwar “economic miracle” is indeed an important subject for historical study and the Japanese “success story” has been both envied and resented throughout the world. Japan’s rapid rise to global economic prominence was by far the most famous of all its postwar accomplishments, yet many scholars and pundits have, since the bursting of the economic bubble in the early 1990s, simply distanced themselves from their own earlier praise for Japan’s accomplishments and aimed harsh criticism at the state’s failure to effect economic recovery since then. They fail to explain why things changed or whether the problems today are the result of actions taken earlier. There is, of course, an important back story to this narrative, one that was neglected during the decades of economic growth.

Pundits and scholars often assert that national economic policy was the secret of Japan’s postwar economic success, particularly Prime Minister Ikeda Hayato’s 1960 income-doubling policy. Less often did they emphasize the extent to which that policy was a cooptive response to the strong showing by labor in the social protest movements of the 1950s. Unprecedented economic growth enabled managers to refrain from mass layoffs even when individual firms were losing money. Their companies demanded an ever greater commitment of cheerful labor from workers in return, in a grand bargain that rested on full (male) employment. Indeed, Japan’s unemployment rate remained well below 3 percent until the late 1980s.

The rapid economic growth from the 1950s to the early 1970s dramatically increased the standard of living of most Japanese households. By the end of the 1960s, the three Cs – car, “cooler” (air conditioner), and color television – were the longed-for icons of Japan’s new material wealth. By the mid-1970s, most blue- and white-collar families had, or would soon have, cars, color TVs, and air conditioners. And by then, the majority of Japanese considered themselves to be middle class. By the height of the economic boom of the 1980s, middle-class affluence took on a level of mass opulence unparalleled in modern history. But even at the height of the bubble years of the 1980s, it was becoming clear that Japanese affluence was built on unsustainable social, economic, and environmental models. Nor did everyone delight in the frenetic pace at which many Japanese sought to consume the trappings of extravagances theretofore unaffordable, of which Gucci and Luis Vuitton handbags were emblematic.

The economic bubble burst in 1991. Housing prices plummeted and suicide rates skyrocketed. Along with the increasingly bleak economic outlook came cultural and social issues that included the re-emergence of teenage prostitution (enjo kōsai, or compensated dating), along with increasing rates of unemployment and homelessness, all of which had been ubiquitous in prewar and Occupation-era Japan. Japan’s long nineties, also known as the lost decade, stretched well into the twenty-first century. In 2002, the official national unemployment rate exceeded 5 percent for the first time since the early 1950s. When disaggregated, the data revealed a more troubling concern: the average unemployment rate for persons aged 15-24 was double that for the overall population. All through the decade preceding the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake, aggregate wages continued to decline, the ratio of part-time temporary to full-time regular workers rose, and the prospects for young adults remained grim, because the employment system favored those who already had jobs.

Many Japanese wondered if the system that had brought so much success was breaking down, or perhaps was no longer appropriate for a post-Cold War, post-high growth era in which Japan no longer had clear models from which to learn. Were the system and the bureaucrats, politicians, and business leaders who ran it incapable of adapting to a changed world? Young people, in particular, feared that the system and the social bargains that had enabled it were now closing off rather than creating opportunities for them. Critics blamed the state for having failed to develop either viable welfare strategies for the aging population or adequate employment for the nation’s youth, but at the same time, numerous pundits and politicians insisted that it was the filial duty of these “lazy” young people to buckle down and work harder.

Three of our authors focus directly on the ways that state policy initiatives toward industry, fisheries, and finance effected considerable changes to the relationship between the postwar state and producers, not always for the better. Essays by Lonny Carlile, Bruce Aronson and Satsuki Takahashi reconstruct policy initiatives of the postwar and post-bubble eras to examine how the state has addressed some of Japan’s most pressing policy problems. Carlile and Aronson focus specifically on policies centered in Tokyo that, with varying degrees of success, attempted to address the interconnected milieu of pressing urban economic and social problems. Looking to rural Japan, Takahashi paints a portrait of fisheries policies that illustrates quite plainly the persistence of Japan’s historical rural/urban divide. All three essays suggest that the precedents of bubble-era policies continue to shape the relationship between state and society in the wake of the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake.

Looking Out, Looking Back

The high speed growth years were culturally transformative, although the ghost of the war was never fully banished, especially when Japanese interacted with people beyond their national boundaries. Christine Yano’s essay takes us back to a time when the sky was the limit, when most people believed that the world was about to become Japan’s oyster. Showing the way into the joys of global travel, leisure, and cosmopolitanism were Japanese stewardesses for Pan Am, who traveled abroad even before the relaxation of currency restrictions in 1964 allowed other Japanese to follow. America became a different sort of model, offering glamorous employment and freedom for young women and lessons in the consumption of leisure travel and media for a generation who had not known the war, or who seemed to have forgotten it. Christopher Gerteis’ chapter reminds us, however, that the past was not always so easily left behind. The NYK shipping line’s redefinition of itself at the moment when Japan left the twentieth century and entered the twenty-first included new “corporate social responsibility” practices that involved reframing public presentation of its past. Its attempt to focus only on the supposed glitter, cosmopolitanism, and good relations with Asia up through the interwar years, and, even more improbably, to paint itself as a passive victim of the Pacific War, only served to demonstrate the difficulty of escaping the shadow of the war.

Hiraku Shimoda’s analysis of the Project X television series argues that even domestically there were dangers inherent in the nostalgia for the golden age of Japan’s “greatest generation,” the everymen (rarely are women foregrounded) who sacrificed and struggled to create the products on which growth and affluence were built. In the “good old days” of high growth, the Project X series asserts, when “death from overwork” (karōshi) was not yet a legally recognized cause of death, inventiveness, nose-to-the-grindstone determination, production, and consumption gave Japan its purpose and identity.

The implicit message of the television show was that Japan needed to re-adopt these values, but imagined golden ages of the past can never be recovered. The sages of old, be they the Duke of Zhou put forward as a model by Confucius, or the inventors of Cup Noodles or the Walkman celebrated by Project X, cannot show Japanese how to solve the unprecedented problems of our late capitalist era. Even after the many crises that swept Japan in the wake of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, some still seemed to think that it would be possible to turn back the clock or simply stay the course. Most disturbingly such true believers included not only the nuclear power industry, but also members of both the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan.

Other Japanese people responded to the disaster by striking out in new directions. Among them was the richest man in Japan, Son Masayoshi, the Korean-Japanese entrepreneur and CEO of the SoftBank mobile phone company, who pushed for a massive solar power network to replace Japan’s dependence on nuclear power. Another was Mikitani Hiroshi, CEO of the internet company Rakuten, who advocated a thoroughgoing internationalization of Japanese corporate culture. Whether these or other ideas could bring back Japan’s optimism, and again make it a global model, remained to be seen.

Contextualizing the Study of Postwar Japan

Japan’s more than two decades of economic troubles look very much like an early example of the sort of economic predicament in which almost all the advanced economies of North America and Europe found themselves less than a decade into the twenty-first century, suggesting that there is much to be learned from the mistakes of the first postindustrial society. Moreover, despite everything, Japan still features one of the highest standards of living in the world, reminding us that it provides positive examples in crucial ways.5 In short, far more than is acknowledged, Japan’s situation resembles that of most highly industrialized nations of Europe and the Americas in both good and bad ways. Some of the most important social, economic, and political problems they share are high youth unemployment, aging populations, industrial decline, financial crises, environmental degradation, and even natural disasters. The worry by so many about whether or not Japan matters seems motivated by a fear that the standard of living enjoyed by most Japanese since the 1960s is about to disappear. It was created by turning Japan into the world’s industrial base but this state of affairs is now over. The Japanese experience of de-industrialization, shared with other countries with high standards of living, is taken by many to indicate that the inevitable result is the end of affluence for all of us. Japan is now an exemplar of how postindustrial societies cope.

Yet none of these significant strengths either prevented the disaster or led to an adequate response. While Japan’s response to March 2011 perhaps topped that of the American government in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, it seemed reasonable to expect that a nation built upon a web of earthquake faults would have been better prepared for the disasters that befell the Fukushima nuclear power plant and beyond. Fukushima destroyed the image of Japan as technologically capable when it needs to be, both at home and abroad.

The recent Tokyo gubernatorial election raises doubts about the meaningfulness of political change in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. In February 2014 pro-nuclear candidate Masuzoe Yōichi won the governorship of Tokyo over a field of candidates, including a former prime minister who opposed restoring the nation’s reliance on nuclear power. Perhaps even more disconcerting are Masuzoe’s public views that women are unsuitable for government leadership roles, which further underscores the extent to which he is another of the “old boys” who just doesn’t get it. Yet, the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 could still provide Japan’s political elites with the opportunity to demonstrate a vision for the future, as did their predecessors in 1964 when the Olympic Games were used to demonstrate to the world that Japan had reformed, recovered, rebuilt, and rejoined the club of industrialized nations. It remains doubtful, however, that the Japanese will achieve by 2020 as broad a consensus on national goals as was perceived in 1964.

The triple disasters of March 2011 have been described as a break with the past. The contributors to Japan since 1945 do not attempt to predict how those disasters will change Japan or the ways its history is already being told. But we are certain that, whatever directions Japanese take now – and they will most certainly not all take the same direction – they will be building on their pasts, particularly their experiences, accomplishments, and failures, as all societies always do.

These new approaches encourage all of us to take fresh looks at how the Japanese – and outsiders – have understood their postwar paths. There are no simple answers to the question of when or whether the postwar period has ended, or what the decisive turning points since 1945 have been. But these questions matter because Japan’s future, built on the precedents of its past, will still have much to teach us, good and bad, about life in the twenty-first century. The proof is in the pudding, or rather how we approach the pudding: by attacking difficult questions from a multiplicity of angles, this new wave of scholars may even contribute to the debates – still in their infancy – about whether the disasters of 11 March 2011 constituted a decisive turning point in postwar Japanese and global history.

Christopher Gerteis is Senior Lecturer in the History of Contemporary Japan at SOAS, University of London. He is author of Gender Struggles: Wage-earning Women and Male-Dominated Unions in Postwar Japan, (2009); co-editor of Japan since 1945: from Postwar to Post-Bubble, (2013); and editor of the SOAS Studies in Modern and Contemporary Japan‘, a peer-reviewed scholarly monograph series published in association with Bloomsbury (here).

Timothy S. George is Professor and Chair of History at the University of Rhode Island. He recently published an essay in Japan at Nature’s Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power (edited by Ian Miller, Julia Thomas, and Brett Walker, 2013). He is also the author of Minamata: Pollution and the Struggle for Democracy in Postwar Japan (2001; Chinese translation published in 2013), coeditor with Christopher Gerteis of Japan since 1945: from Postwar to Post-Bubble, (2013).

Notes

1 Updated and Adapted from “Revisiting the History of Postwar Japan,” in Christopher Gerteis and Timothy S. George, eds., Japan since 1945: From Postwar to Post-bubble (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2013).

2 Katsuki Aoki, “Whither Japanese keiretsu? The transformation of vertical keiretsu in Toyota, Nissan and Honda 1991–2011,” Asia Pacific Business Review, 19: 1, 70-84; Richard Katz, Japan, the System That Soured: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Economic Miracle. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1998; “Keeping Japan on the Map: A One-Day Conference in Celebration of the Sasakawa Lectureship Programme and the Breadth of Japanese Studies in the UK Today” held at Birkbeck College, University of London, 18 November 2011.

3 Jeff Kingston, “Abe’s Nuclear Energy Policy and Japan’s Future,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 34, No. 1, August 19, 2013; and Cai Hong, “Over Japan’s past, Abe should ditch ambiguity for reconciliation,” China Daily, 18 July 2013. Available here at ChinaPost. Accessed 21 July 2013.

4 The question of the total numbers of people killed during the Asia-Pacific War (1931–1945) is still very controversial, although estimates range between 15 and 20 million. For a sobering discussion of this issue, see John Dower’s epilogue “From War to Peace” in John W. Dower, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (New York: Pantheon Books, 1986), 293–317.

5Turning Japanese: Debt and Politics in America and Europe,” The Economist, 30 July 2011. Accessed 21 January 2013.

Copyright Asia Pacific Journal, 2014

by Jamie Doucette and Se-Woong Koo

Since our article appeared, there have been several developments that demand the reader’s attention. The scale of electoral interference was found to have been more extensive than we originally reported. Last December, prosecutors investigating the case disclosed that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) had produced over a period of two years leading up to the election some 1900 online posts and approximately 22 million Tweets with political or election-related content—roughly 30% of all election-related content that was generated on Twitter. This was circulated by agents of the NIS’s psychological warfare team and hired contractors.The trial of former NIS chief Won Sei-hoon, who stands accused of overseeing the spread of messages favorable to the ruling Saenuri Party, is due to begin in the near future.

On the other hand, on February 6 Kim Yong-pan, the former Seoul Metropolitan Police chief, was acquitted on the charge of ordering a cover-up of the NIS’s criminal activities after the court deemed the evidence insufficient to establish his guilt, ignoring the testimony of a key whistleblower in its entirety.

The conduct of the trial and its verdict were condemned by members of the legal group MINBYUN (Lawyers for a Democratic Society) which criticized the police for limiting the scope of their initial analysis into NIS tweets and failing to fully investigate the online activity of NIS agent Kim Ha-young, the woman discovered on the eve of the presidential election to be spreading pro-Saenuri tweets and social media posts from her studio apartment.On February 17 the United Progressive Party (UPP)’s left-nationalist lawmaker Lee Seok-ki was found guilty of sedition, plotting an armed rebellion, and National Security Law (NSL) violation based on a transcript from meetings held by Lee and his associates. He and his lawyers have vowed to appeal the verdict. The evidence against Lee, especially the transcript originally circulated by the NIS, was called into question in the course of the legal proceeding, as several original recordings on which the transcript was based proved missing and the transcript itself appeared to substitute extremist language in place of more neutral words. The court, however, largely accepted the case as presented by the NIS and prosecutors. Lee’s conviction on the charge of NSL violation was deemed especially troubling by progressive commentators as it relied heavily on the fact that Lee and his associates had sung “revolutionary” songs from North Korea.

Besieged by numerous popular protests and the growing scope of the scandal, President Park Geun-hye reluctantly consented to a bipartisan special committee in the National Assembly for discussing possible NIS reform. The Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic Party came to a tentative agreement on December 31 that the NIS would report to the National Assembly’s intelligence committee, bringing the agency for the first time under the control of a democratically elected body. Although the NIS’s power to surveil other state agencies, political parties, civilian institutions and individuals was partly curtailed and any political involvement explicitly criminalized, its psychological warfare division, at the center of the electoral scandal, was left intact.

The politics by public security that began under former president Lee Myung-bak and intensified under the current president as discussed in detail here took a turn for the worse late last fall. In addition to the crackdowns on the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union (KTU) and the Korean Government Employees’ Union (KGEU), the Park administration began an attempt to privatize the country’s high-speed railway system, the KTX. When public opinion on the KTX privatization turned negative, the police searched the homes of the Korean Railway Workers’ Union (KRWU) leaders, who were at the forefront of combined strike action and anti-privatization protests, accusing them of violating the NSL by forming an organization within the railway corporation that “plotted to expand chongbuk forces” and spread pro-North propaganda. Late last December the police also raided the headquarters of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KTCU), the umbrella organization for Korean labor unions, in the name of arresting the KRWU leaders, but without a proper warrant. In the process the police caused extensive damage to the Kyunghyang Shimmun building, home to the KCTU office as well as one of the country’s main liberal newspapers, in a move that has been much criticized as a heavy-handed, illegal crackdown on press freedom.

Perhaps because of public backlash against the punitive approach of the Park administration, the government was forced to negotiate with the KRWU, which called off the strike after the government declared that it would not pursue privatization. Nonetheless, the KRWU is still being sued by the Korea Railroad Corporation (KORAIL) for damage claims amounting to 4.7 million USD for waging the strike.

The conservative anti-communist rhetoric of chongbuk documented in the article continues to proliferate. Growing criticism of the state of politics from the religious sector, particularly the administration’s stance on NIS reform and trenchant pursuit of labor activists, has provoked conservative ire. When leaders of the KRWU took refuge in the main temple of the country’s largest Buddhist order, Chogyejong, its monks were called chongbuk activists (slavish followers of North Korea) in the conservative media. A demand for President Park’s resignation by the Chŏnju dioceses of the Korean Catholic Church last November was met by this comment from Saenuri Party floor leader Hwang Woo-yeah, who had served as a judge under the Chun Doo-hwan dictatorship: “We must be cautious and pay careful attention to allegations that efforts to reject the results of the presidential election really picked up after North Korea recently issued orders for an anti-government campaign in the South.” However, with falling support after the president’s first year in office, moderate conservatives have suggested that Park return to her original and since-discarded program of ‘economic democratization’ instead of continuing along the antagonistic path her administration has pursued since last spring.   •

 Introduction

Although a full year has not elapsed since the election of South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye, there are already troubling signs that her term as President is going to be a difficult period for both the health of Korean democracy and for liberal and progressive political forces. In the months since she was elected, significant evidence of political and electoral interference by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and other state agencies has come to light, leading to an expanding series of political scandals, most notably the indictment of former NIS director Won Sei-hoon.


Won Sei-hoon

A sitting lawmaker, Lee Seok-ki, has been arrested on suspicion of sedition and plotting a rebellion, as well as charges of violating Korea’s National Security Law (NSL). Citing this arrest, the Ministry of Justice has recently moved to disband the United Progressive Party (UPP), of which Lee is a member, charging that the party’s ‘progressive democracy’ platform is based on “the so-called founding ideology of North Korea”.


Lee Seok-ki shouts as security agents detain him

This sequence of events has been accompanied by a broader shift in political discourse.  For the purpose of discrediting its opponents, the broader South Korean right has returned to its cavalier use of the chimerical label chongbuk chwap’a: a term commonly translated as ‘pro-North leftists,’ encompassing not only suspected proxies of North Korea but anyone seen as deferential to the wishes of the North. The term ‘chong’ means to obey or follow, with connotations of being slavish, while ‘buk’ means North. Chwap’a stands for ‘left faction,’ or leftist.

The way in which chongbuk has been coupled with chwap’a as a compound term in contemporary conservative discourse attempts to erase the distinction between what were originally two very different concepts, such that in the current political climate the left become synonymous with chongbuk, and vice versa. This terminology has been used to discredit groups from across the liberal-left opposition, including not only the UPP, but also Democratic Party politicians associated with the liberal administrations of Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun. These politicians have faced vilification by the right as chongbuk for assuming a conciliatory stance towards North Korea, and for seeking to reform the state apparatus designed by former military governments to contain dissent.

In this essay, we argue that this rhetorical shift has been accompanied by an expansion of what South Korean intellectuals term ‘politics by public security,’ a phrase used to describe the use of public security as a ground for stifling dissent and criticism. What is unique about the present moment is not simply the evocation of a threat to national security but the extent to which state agencies have been actively involved in this process, whether it be in the form of direct electoral interference, the leaking of confidential state documents, or the initiation of probes into prominent critics of the government from across the liberal-progressive opposition. In what follows, we examine the recent sequence of events from NIS electoral interference to the more recent move to disband the United Progressive Party in order to better understand distorting effects to Korean democracy brought about by this recent rhetorical shift and its intricate relation to ‘politics by public security.’

Insinuating Pro-North Politics 

This shift in political tone was not widely anticipated before the election. Though many intellectuals, including the National Association of Professors for Democracy (2012), warned that the election of Park could lead to a restoration of political forces associated with past dictatorships and a comprehensive rollback of rights in South Korean society, Park’s presidential campaign began on a benign note. She started the election season off by visiting key sites for previous democracy movements and even met with the families of activists who had protested the regime of her father, Park Chung-hee; the most contentious of these visits was her foiled attempt to lay flowers in front of a memorial statue of labour martyr Chun Tae-il. More importantly, Park staked her presidential campaign on the idea of ‘economic democratisation’ (kyŏngje minjuhwa) and appointed the generally affable economic reformer Kim Jong-in as chairman of her ‘National Happiness Committee’. Kim was the architect of Article 119, item 2—the famous “economic democracy clause”—of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea that accords a strong role to the state in ensuring equitable distribution of wealth and preventing abuse of economic power by dominant players: Kim’s inclusion of this clause in the constitution after the June 29 Declaration of 1987 (which granted significant concessions to the Democracy Movement) had earned him the ire of the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI). While Kim was uncertain about the conservative party’s loyalty to the cause of economic democracy, his participation in the campaign meant that in contrast to the last presidential election in 2007, differences between the liberal and conservative camps on economic issues were surprisingly small, with both sides promising to regulate the avarice of Korea’s large conglomerates, the chaebol, and invest in social welfare. In short, Park ran on a more progressive platform than past conservative candidates; she even pledged to create a universal old-age pension and to significantly expand day care. But things swiftly changed after her ascendance to the presidency.

The civil tone of debate on economic democratisation notwithstanding, perhaps because of a need to more strongly distinguish the conservative party from the liberal opposition, Cold War rhetoric eventually crept into the conservatives’ campaign discourse. The initial target was the UPP’s candidate Lee Jung-hee, who directly confronted Park in the televised debates, declaring that “The Saenuri Party and Park Geun-hye are the roots of [pro-Japanese] collaboration and dictatorship and do not have the right to sing the national anthem” (Hankyoreh 05 Dec 2012). Lee in turn was painted as a North Korean sympathizer for her activist past and her vocal attacks on the right, in addition to what was seen as her hesitance to directly criticize North Korea. The insinuation of pro-North politics was not isolated to attacks on Lee Jung-hee. As early as two months before election day, Park’s campaign struck at the Democratic Party (DP) candidate and main contender, Moon Jae-in, with similar rhetoric. Chung Moon-hun, a lawmaker from the ruling Saenuri party with close ties to then-president Lee Myung-bak, began to spread a claim that former president Roh Moo-hyun, for whom Moon had served as chief of staff, had agreed to abandon the de facto western maritime boundary between the two Koreas known as the Northern Limit Line (NLL) during his summit meeting with the North’s leader in 2007. Kim Moo-sung, another Saenuri lawmaker and the chief manager of the ruling party’s campaign, cited a key excerpt from the summit transcript almost verbatim during the campaigning period to reenergise Chung’s accusation, signalling that both he and Chung had somehow illegally accessed the summit transcript, which, under the law, was considered a classified and sealed state document.2

While such attacks against the liberal-left were scathing, the most alarming aspect of last year’s presidential campaign was the expansive use of popular internet forums and social networking sites by state organs, chiefly the NIS, to create and circulate messages intended to discredit key opposition figures as pro-North leftists. At the time of writing, prosecutors have disclosed over 1.2 million Twitter messages and approximately 1900 online posts with political or election-related content produced or circulated by agents of the NIS’s psychological warfare team; the investigation also uncovered posts by private sector supporters hired by the NIS but these have not, as yet, been included in the indictment.3 It was this direct interference that was most alarming to many observers as it represented a clear violation of the Public Official Election Act (Articles 9 and 85). At its most juvenile, the NIS appears to have concocted rather poetic sobriquets for the three most prominent presidential candidates: “Park Geun-hye has a friendly smile, Moon Jae-in has startled rabbit eyes, and Ahn Cheol-soo has an icky snake face” (Hankyoreh 21 Oct 2013, np). Most other messages were more ideologically informed and substantive, calling Moon a ‘traitor eager to give the NLL away to North Korea,’ and accusing him of scheming to ‘establish an inter-Korean federation and achieve a red reunification’ (ibid, np).

The NIS’s psychological warfare had the potential to seriously damage the Park camp. One week before the election, the DP went public with its discovery that the NIS was manipulating public opinion, but the party was only able to implicate one agent, Kim Ah-young, who was caught carrying out her duties inside a studio rental in Seoul. DP staff and reporters surrounded the apartment until the police and staff from the National Election Commission arrived; however, after a quick, controversial investigation, the Seoul Metropolitan Police announced that they had been unable to discover any wrongdoing, effectively exonerating the NIS of any electoral interference, and dealing a blow to Moon Jae-In, who just hours before had accused the NIS agent of doing just that in a televised presidential debate. Furthermore, Moon and his supporters were blamed for forcibly confining an innocent woman who happened to be an NIS employee. It was only later, after Park was inaugurated, that Kim was indeed revealed to have engaged in tweeting and blogging in support of Park under direct orders of her superiors at the NIS.

This revelation of the NIS involvement, and the ensuing indictment of former NIS Chief Won Sei-hoon in June on charges of breaking the national election law, which was then followed by a further indictment on bribery in July, sparked a series of protests and candlelight vigils demanding a thorough investigation throughout the summer and into the fall. The popular call for a new, independent inquiry into the intelligence agency’s activities during the election campaign grew stronger following reports by two liberal media outlets—The Hankyoreh and the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism—that soldiers and employees of the Ministry of National Defense’s Cyberwarfare Command had similarly worked to assist Park’s campaign. A National Assembly audit also revealed that the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs had been engaged in activities that promoted Park in positive terms and denounced the opposition as chongbuk, or pro-North leftists. The ministry had additionally organized a training program for opinion leaders in the months prior to the election, using a curriculum that argued “economic development during the authoritarian military governments of Park Chung-hee (the current president’s father) and Chun Doo-Hwan was the structural condition necessary for sustainable democracy” (Hankyoreh 14 Oct 2013, np); furthermore, The Hankyoreh reported that one such program in the country’s second-largest city of Pusan included a video titled The Truth of the Chongbuk Faction claiming that the democratisation movement against the dictatorship during Park Chung-hee’s Yushin regime had been carried out on the orders of North Korea (ibid, np).

Politics by Public Security

The insinuation of pro-North politics aims to delegitimise the democratic movement by claiming that it sought guidance from North Korea, negating the movement’s attempts to expand equality and liberty in South Korea and work towards engagement with North Korea. The use of anti-communist rhetoric is nothing new in South Korean politics; South Korean conservatives have long utilized their own ‘paranoid style’ (Hofstadler 1964) for political leverage against their opponents. What is most distressing for liberal and progressive politicians and social movements is not the use of this rhetoric per se, but the degree to which state institutions have participated in such politics by directly intervening in South Korean elections and defending their actions as justified acts of psychological warfare against, in Won Sei-hoon’s words, “leftist followers of North Korea [who] are trying to regain power through being in contact with North Korea” (Associated Press 14 June 2013; cf. New York Times, 14 June 2013).

The actions of the NIS and other state agencies evoke uncomfortable memories of past authoritarian governments that the Korean democracy movement sought to overcome and in many ways confirm the fears surrounding Park’s election that were expressed in the pre-election statement by the National Association of Professors for Democracy (NAPD):

There is a vivid historical record of past military regimes in Asia seeking ways of justifying their oppressive rule by exaggerating security threats, expanding the military and militarism, equating domestic dissident views as national threats, and employing illegal methods of exercising violence against citizens, only to monopolize power, wealth and media into a few hands. The result was the devastation of the safety and basic livelihood of the common people. This record makes us look at the come-back of oligarchic forces in South Korea through nostalgia towards the late South Korean dictator as an ominous sign for the future of democracy in South Korea as well as elsewhere. (NAPD 2012)

The electoral interference cases involving the NIS and other state agencies, however, were not the only signs of a return of what many Korean intellectuals call ‘politics by public security.’

The growing number of scandals roughly coincided with a reversal of Park’s main campaign pledge to institute so-called “economic democratisation” by curtailing the power of the dominant conglomerates and expanding social welfare. After introducing some very mild corporate governance reforms and backtracking on key campaign pledges to establish a universal old-age pension system, Park declared that her economic democratisation drive was complete. Sometime after this announcement, though perhaps not related to it, there was a flurry of sensationalized efforts to implicate liberal-left political forces in pro-North politics as part of the wider discourse of public security. In a move seen as an attempt to deflect attention from its own wrongdoings and highlight what it viewed as chongbuk tendencies in liberal and progressive politicians, on June 25 the NIS leaked an excerpt from the 2007 inter-Korean summit meeting—the same excerpt cited by the ruling party’s chief campaign manager last year—reiterating the pre-election charge by Saenuri that the late President Roh Moo-hyun had been prepared to renegotiate South Korea’s NLL with North Korea and to cede South Korean territory to the North. The leak strongly hinted that the NIS and the ruling party might have collaborated on President Park’s election campaign by illegally sharing state secrets, prompting further outcry.

Then, on August 28, the NIS revealed that it was investigating UPP lawmaker Lee Seok-ki and his associates on charges of sedition and plotting an armed rebellion to sabotage the South Korean government in the event of war on the divided Korean Peninsula, as well as charges of violating the NSL. On September 4, a large majority of National Assembly lawmakers voted to strip Lee’s legislative immunity, although several liberal and progressive lawmakers expressed concern about NIS behaviour which included leaking surveillance transcripts from meetings of Lee’s alleged chongbuk group within the UPP. Speaking to this so-called ‘Revolutionary Organization’ (RO), Lee allegedly made comments about the need to prepare to fight against American imperialism and by extension the South Korean government, if a war broke out between the two Koreas.4 According to the full transcript published exclusively by Hankook ilbo, others in attendance outlined strategies to attack transportation, energy, communication, and other key state infrastructures (Hankook ilbo, 2 Sep 2013, A10-11; 3 Sep 2013, A10-11).5 The publication did much to quell public outrage at the government and the NIS; in the immediate aftermath of Lee’s arrest, President Park’s approval rating recorded an all-time high of 64% according to Gallop Korea, roughly corresponding to the percentage of respondents expressing belief in Lee’s guilt (61%).6

There have been other efforts to derail the NIS electoral interference investigation. Chae Dong-wook, the prosecutor general who indicted Won Sei-hoon, was accused on the front page of the conservative daily Chosun ilbo of having fathered an illegitimate son (Chosun ilbo, 6 Sep 2013, A1), and allegations surfaced that the Blue House (the Office of the Korean President) and the NIS had conducted an unprecedented private audit on a sitting prosecutor general to gather intelligence against him. Chae subsequently resigned from his position. Next to go was Yun Sŏk-yeol, the lead investigator in charge of the NIS case, ostensibly for arresting NIS agents without first informing his superiors. In spite of these intrigues and the increasing scope of the scandal, or perhaps because of them, President Park almost entirely abstained from commenting on the NIS case throughout the summer and early autumn, leaving it to her advisors to defend the NIS. It was not until October 31 that Park spoke definitively, endorsing the ongoing investigation into the case. Despite her endorsement, however, it was reported widely in the media that Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and the new NIS Director Nam Jae-joon had sought to obstruct the investigation into the NIS. Minister Hwang had allegedly pressured Prosecutor General Chae not to pursue the election fraud charges, and Director Nam took exception with the lead investigator Yun for arresting and interrogating the NIS agents, who were released promptly following Yun’s dismissal from the investigating team.

The Perfect Scapegoat?

To many in South Korea and abroad, it appears that the NIS is employing different strategies to avoid scrutiny of its own suspected illegal activities, but above all, taking advantage of the antics of Lee and his associates, for he is perhaps the perfect scapegoat for the resurgent public security politics. Lee champions a strand of left-nationalism popular in the 1980s but in decline since. After the Kwangju Massacre of 1980, many South Korean activists came to express conviction that the United States valued anti-communism more than democracy and human rights in South Korea (Park 2007 182-83). Some intellectuals came to insist that Korea was a colonial society and that a revolution against American imperialism was necessary. In pursuit of ‘national liberation’ (NL), some with this tendency embraced Kim Il-sung’s ideology of chuch’e (self-reliance). The most prominent of these thinkers was Kim Young-hwan who visited North Korea and met Kim Il-sung in 1991. While these so-called NL activists participated in the unification movement in the late 1980s and 90s, their ideological positions underwent a number of transformations following the transition to electoral democracy in 1987. The collapse of the Soviet Union, Clinton’s Agreed Framework with North Korea, as well as greater access to information on North Korea led to gradual dissolution of pro-North tendencies. Like many former Popular Front leftists who became Cold War anti-communists in the United States, some former chuch’e proponents such as Kim Young-hwan had a change of heart and became prominent conservative intellectuals associated with Korea’s new-right movement (Park 2007, 186-190).

While some left-nationalist and pro-unification groups continued to embrace a critique of American foreign policy towards South Korea, it is rare to find activists espousing chuch’e or a pro-North line today, despite renewed attempts by conservatives to paint a gamut of pro-democracy and reunification forces with the chongbuk label (cf. Doucette 2013). In following the Lee Seok-ki case, many on the left were fazed by the antiquated language and ideas expressed in the transcripts. For instance, social theorist Yi Jin-kyŏng, a long time critic of the NL faction, stated that the transcripts from Lee’s alleged RO meeting resemble language locked in the antagonistic US-NK relation of the 1950s (Ku, Lee and Lee 2013, np; cf. Bae 2009). If Lee and his associates did indeed make the remarks contained in the transcript provided by the NIS, they appear to belong to a very small minority within the South Korean left. Yi Jin-kyŏng commented that even before the recent crisis, most participants in the progressive movement considered Lee’s position anachronistic and have long distanced themselves from Lee’s faction (Ku, Lee and Lee 2013, np). Lee’s political views, ascent within the UPP, and controversial appointment to the National Assembly as a proportional representative through a contentious internal party procedure were all reasons behind the departure of liberal and progressive figures from UPP ranks.7

While other progressive thinkers share Yi’s sense that Lee Seok-ki’s views are outmoded and far from the position of the liberal-left, they argue that the case could do considerable damage to progressive political organizations. Regardless of the fact that Lee Seok-ki’s faction is marginal at best, they contend, his case is being used to undermine the liberal-left and distract the public from the wider issues of the NIS scandal and the need for continued democratic reform within South Korean society (see Hankyoreh 02 Sep 2013). By charging Lee and other UPP members with such sensational crimes, the NIS has effectively turned the tide of public opinion in its favour, because Lee’s alleged fantasies of what to do in the event of a war between the Koreas makes him an ideal object to counter the liberal-left’s demand for an independent investigation into the electoral interference and substantial reform of the NIS itself. The Lee Seok-ki case also has the potential to undermine attempts at broader democratic reform within South Korean society in as much as it provides fuel for politics by public security. Conservatives have singled out Lee’s political successes as proof that pro-North leftism is alive and well in South Korea, infecting the whole of the UPP and the South Korean liberal-left. In the process, they have ignored the fact that Lee’s strident left-nationalist convictions, a remnant of the former national liberation (NL) ideology, are a poor illustration of the broader South Korean liberal-left.

Contesting Democratisation

What is taking place in South Korea is part of a broader attempt since 2008 at erasing the gains made by the country’s liberal administrations and democracy movement. While the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun governments were by no means progressive in terms of their main economic and foreign policies (which included expansive labour market deregulation, multiple free trade agreements, and participation in the Iraq war), both Kim and Roh did seek engagement and detente with North Korea through the Sunshine Policy (cf. Choi, 2005). They also sought to reform the coercive apparatus of the Korean state: establishing the National Human Rights Commission and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; promoting women’s rights through the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family; and attempting to reform the NIS and other disciplinary institutions.8 Prominent activists, intellectuals and public figures from the democracy movements of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s participated in this process and many of them held key positions in the administrations of both Presidents Kim and Roh.

Under President Lee Myung-bak, these new institutions were restructured, disbanded, or largely subordinated to the administration. In general, Lee’s tenure was also animated by the continuation of anti-communist rhetoric and undermining of Korean democratisation. The role of new-right intellectuals in the revision of history textbooks, the defunding of civic groups that participated in the “Candlelight Protest” against Lee’s policies in the first months of his administration, as well as the actions of conservative civic groups such as the Korea Parent Federation, Korea Agent Orange Veterans’ Association, and the Alliance for Patriotism against liberal-left opposition groups are noteworthy examples of the politics of the era.

What is interesting about the current moment, however, is the extent of intervention by disciplinary institutions in national political life. These include independent initiatives of various ministries as well as efforts coordinated at a more central level to strengthen conservative power and obstruct the work of liberals and progressives. It is also noteworthy that these institutions took to social media to generate support for the conservative candidate and to slander the opposition. While governments often surveil social media to monitor opposition activities, the NIS electoral interference case may be one of the first examples of widespread use of social media by state agencies to influence an electoral outcome.

Furthemore, the charges against Lee Seok-ki and his associates—NSL violation, sedition, and plotting an armed rebellion—evoke uncomfortable memories of the exaggerated national security threats during the Cold War era. While political activists from South Korea’s student, labour and grassroots movements have often been targeted under the NSL, even under the liberal governments of Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, charges of this severity have been unheard of since the end of the military dictatorship in 1987. The only exception was when former dictators Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo were belatedly prosecuted and convicted in 1995 for mutiny and treason. The resurrection of charges synonymous with the bygone era brings to mind previous travesties like the trial of political dissident and later president and Nobel Peace Laureate Kim Dae-jung in 1980, and the fabricated People’s Revolutionary Party case of the mid-1970s, which led to the arrest without warrant of over one thousand dissidents and ended in the swift execution of eight innocent people who were posthumously exonerated in the late 2000s. In both of these cases the NIS, then called the Korea Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), played a central role, as it does today in the investigation and prosecution of Lee Seok-ki.

Based on Lee’s arrest and indictment, the ruling Saenuri party has sponsored a bill to revise the Democratisation Movement Activists’ Honor-Restoration and Compensation Act, a law to exonerate and compensate former pro-democracy activists who were imprisoned, tortured, and prosecuted under authoritarian governments from the 1960s to the 1980s. The proposed amendment would allow the prime minister to ask for a review of compensation decisions and retrieve awarded funds, if the recipient was found unworthy. This attempt to undermine the existing law cites Lee Seok-ki’s place on the list of candidates for exoneration and compensation, as well as previous honours conferred through the law on his alleged accomplices in the RO, as evidence that the entire South Korean democracy movement and its associated political parties must be re-examined. For instance, major conservative daily Donga ilbo, the first to break the story connecting Lee to the now-contentious law, made the point of saying that former opposition presidential candidate Moon Jae-in, too, had been involved in the committee charged with vetting democracy activists, in an effort to cast doubt not only on the UPP itself but also the main opposition DP and the history of South Korean democratisation (Donga ilbo, 7 Sep 2013, np).

Finally, the government plan to disband the UPP before the courts make their final decision in the Lee Seok-ki case is seen by most politicians on the liberal-left as a serious breach of due process. They claim that the government has sought to make Lee’s alleged RO synonymous with the UPP and the liberal-left as a whole, and, by association, also tar the main opposition DP as a chongbuk organization that secretly embraces Lee’s rhetoric. The Hankyoreh reports that the Ministry of Justice identified parts of the UPP’s “progressive democracy” platform as unconstitutional and “identical to the arguments coming from Pyongyang,” such as “overcoming foreign domination and dissolving South Korea’s dependence on the alliance with the US” (Hankyoreh 6 Nov 2013; Ministry of Justice 2013). This government claim, as well as the prosecutors’ apparent deletion of several original recordings on which the crucial transcripts are based, have raised concerns that the Ministry of Justice is overstating the threat in order to suppress criticism of the NIS. Moreover, while the ministry cited improprieties in the UPP primary as part of its concerns, these improprieties are being addressed by the court. In short, there is no legal ground for dissolving a political party, least of all prior to court decision; such an event has not occurred since the era of authoritarian governments.9

Conclusion

This is a dangerous moment for South Korean democratisation. Politics by public security, a residual product of early anti-communist national security states, is experiencing a curious afterlife. There are other examples of politics by public security that cannot be explored in greater depth here but also deserve brief mention: the illegal surveillance of civilians by the Defense Security Command (a branch of the Korean army) and the Prime Minister’s Office under the Lee Myung-bak administration; and President Park’s recent appointment of Kim Ki-choon, a figure closely linked to the dictatorship of her father, General Park Chung-hee, as her new chief of staff. Park’s administration is aggressively seeking to deregister one of the country’s largest labour unions, the 60,000 member Korean Teacher’s and Educational Workers’ Union (KTU), on the ground that it retained a handful of fired or dismissed workers as members. The KTU has been at the forefront of contesting recent revision of Korean textbooks to paint the Park Chung-hee dictatorship in a favourable light and has traditionally been an active and at times militant labour union, making it a prominent thorn in the side of conservative forces. The most recent target of state action is the Korean Government Employees’ Union (KGEU), whose server was taken over by prosecutors for twenty-two hours because its web forum hosted a message by an external organization favouring the opposition during the presidential campaign. The union claims that prosecutors confiscated materials far exceeding the parameters of the case, including meeting minutes and the list of site users dating back more than two years.

These recent events pale in comparison to the magnitude of the aforementioned scandals, but they, too, reveal a negative trajectory for political forces seeking to finally lay to rest the remnants of the Cold War and the dictatorships of the past. Yet the bold manoeuvres by the NIS and its backers in the ruling party to slander the gamut of liberal and progressive forces through the insinuation of pro-North politics underscore just how much outdated state institutions and conservative ideologues feel threatened by the legacy of democratisation. On the upside, the NIS has given the public ample reasons to fight its intrusion into the political sphere, invigorating a new sequence of popular democratic activism. The opposition and progressive civic groups are calling on President Park to draw a clear line between her own administration and her father’s by appointing an independent special prosecutor to investigate the NIS and restructuring this state agency created to maintain security at the expense of civil liberties and democratic rights.10

But NIS reform is just one piece of a wider puzzle. Substantive progress in democratisation must ultimately include all of the following: egalitarian reform in pursuit of economic democratisation as articulated in the constitution of the Republic of Korea; reform of what remains of the coercive Cold War apparatus, both its institutional vestiges such as the NIS and its legal expression that is the NSL, which are used to repress political dissent by people who hold strong beliefs; and perhaps most importantly, doing away with the cultural politics of the Cold War that attempts to paint every political perspective left of the conservative security state as an example of chongbuk politics.

Jamie Doucette is Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Manchester. Se-Woong Koo is Rice Family Foundation Visiting Fellow and Lecturer at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University. Along with several other scholars, they helped initiate the Concerned scholars statement on National Intelligence Service interference in South Korea Democracy and signature campaign in early September, 2013. The statement was signed by over 200 international scholars and presented at a press conference at the Korea Democracy Foundation in Seoul on October 22.

References

Associated Press 2013. “South Korea’s ex-Spy indicted in election scandal.” 14 June. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/skoreas-ex-spy-chief-indicted-election-scandal

Bae J B 2009 “The South Korean left’s ‘northern question,’” in Frank R, Hoare J E, K Kollner P and Pares S (eds) Korea yearbook 2009: politics, economy and society. Brill, Leiden 87–116.

Choi J J 2005 Democracy after Democratization: The Korean Experience. Humanitas, Seoul.

Chosun ilbo 2013 “Prosecutor-general Chae hid his illegitimate son.” [Korean] 6 September, A1.

Donga ilbo 2013 “Exclusive: RO members include numerous democracy activism honorees,” [Korean] 7 September.

Doucette, J 2013 “The Korean Thermidor: On political space and conservative reactions.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Volume 38, Issue 2, pages 299–310.

Gallop Korea 2013 “Daily Opinion 083.” [Korean] 6 September.

Hankook ilbo 2013 “UPP RO meeting transcript in full, part 1.” [Korean] 2 September, A10-11.

—— 2013. “UPP RO meeting transcript in full, part 2.” [Korean] 3 September, A10-11.

Hankyoreh 2013 “Park administration’s prickly reaction to priest’s comments.” 26 November.

—— 2013. “UPP’s Progressive platform blown up into ‘chongbuk.’” 6 November.

—— 2013. “NIS sent out more than 50,000 politically motivated Twitter messages.” 21 October.

—— 2013. “Documents show ministry indoctrinated “opinion leaders” with conservative bias.” 14 October.

—— 2013. “Progressive experts on how to respond to insurrection scandal.” 2 September.

—— 2012. “Progressive candidate steals debate show by blasting Park Geun-hye.” 5

December. 

Hofstadler R 1964. “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” Harper’s Magazine, November, 77-86.

Journalists’ Association of Korea 2013. “Hankook ilbo ‘Lee Seok-ki transcript’ article deletion injunction denied.” [Korean] 10 October.

Kim DC 2010. “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Korea:  Uncovering the Hidden Korean War,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, 9-5-10, np.

Ku YS, Lee HH, and Lee JY 2013. “Interview: The Lee Seok-ki situation and the progressive movement; Suyunŏmŏ N’s Prof. Yi Jin-kyŏng“. [Korean] OhMyNews. Accessed October 2013.

Ministry of Justice [Korea] 2013. “United Progressive Party: Judgement on the political party’s dissolution”. [Korean] 5 November. 

National Association of Professors for Democracy 2012. Statement of intellectuals who remember the Yushin Dictatorship.

New York Times 2013. “South Korea Intelligence Agents Accused of Tarring Opposition Online Before Election.” 14 June.

Park, KY 2007. “The Evolution of Anti-Americanism in South Korea: Policy Implications for the United States.” Korea Journal (Winter) pp.177-195.

TV Chosun 2013. “TV Chosun Exclusive: NIS Exposes ‘Lee Seok-ki’s Underground Organization RO’” 28 August.
Notes 

1 The authors thank Mark Selden and Jae-Jung Suh for comments and suggestions on drafts of this article. As usual, all errors are the authors’ own.

2 After the election, an investigation in search of the original transcript from the National Archives would come up empty handed, and the Ministry of National Defense would confirm that former President Roh had given no indication of wishing to abandon the NLL in talks with the North.

3 At the time of writing, prosecutors are also considering additional, criminal charges against 22 members of the NIS psychological warfare team. It seems certain that there will continue to be further repercussions from the NIS case.

4 The English acronym “RO” as the shorthand for this group’s alleged Korean name, Mujang Inmin Hyŏngmyŏng Kigu (Armed People’s Revolutionary Organization), reportedly appeared in the NIS arrest warrant for Lee and other members of the UPP. It was mentioned in the press first by TV Chosun on August 28 and subsequently picked up by other outlets. It is, however, still unclear if Lee and those accused of being in the group used the name themselves (TV Chosun, 28 Aug 2013).

5 While there are concerns about the accuracy of the transcripts in circulation, the Seoul District Court refused to issue an injunction requested by the UPP against the newspaper, saying that “it is difficult to deem the content of the transcripts to be different from actual statements made by the attendees in consideration of the interim reports by investigating prosecutors and the UPP’s own press conferences” (Journalists’ Association of Korea, 10 Oct 2013, np).

6 Among those who favorably assessed Park’s performance, the biggest reason (22%) for supporting her was her “policy towards North Korea” (Gallop Korea 2013).

7 The recent crisis has only amplified this process; for example, the Progressive Justice Party, made up of several former key UPP politicians who exited the party after the controversy involving electoral irregularities in selecting proportional representation candidates including Lee, was decisive in voting to strip his immunity in the National Assembly, partly out of open disdain for him but also to set itself apart itself from Lee’s ideology and the increasingly cornered UPP. The main opposition DP similarly voted for Lee’s arrest in recognizing his growing public notoriety as a liability it could ill afford.

8 For more detail, see the special issue of Critical Asian Studies (Vol. 42, Issue 4 2010) on Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (cf. Kim DC 2010).

9 In the first criminal trial which came to an end in October 2013, 45 UPP members were found not guilty on the charge of ‘obstructing official business’ for their alleged involvement in manipulating the proxy voting process. The prosecutors have appealed the ruling and the date of the second trial has yet to be announced at the time of writing.

10 So far this effort has been labelled by the right as another example of chongbuk politics. For example, in a recent meeting of the supreme council of the ruling Saenuri Party, party leader Hwang Woo-yea (who served as a judge under the Chun Doo-hwan dictatorship), argued in response to demands for Park’s resignation by the Chŏnju diocese of the Catholic Priests for Justice that: “We must be cautious and pay careful attention to allegations that efforts to reject the results of the presidential election really picked up after North Korea recently issued orders for an anti-government campaign in the South” (Hankyoreh 26 November 2013). 

Copyright The Asia-Pacific Journal 2014

The Fed Is Very Political … And Serves the Big Banks and the Powers-That-Be

The Federal Reserve likes to pretend that it is “independent” and “apolitical”.

The facts are different:

  • According to Robert D. Auerbach – an economist with the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee for eleven years, assisting with oversight of the Federal Reserve, and subsequently Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin – the Fed had a hand in Watergate and arming Saddam Hussein.  See this and this
  • The Fed threw money at “several billionaires and tens of multi-millionaires”, including billionaire businessman H. Wayne Huizenga, billionaire Michael Dell of Dell computer, billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson, billionaire private equity honcho J. Christopher Flowers, and the wife of Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack

Democracy Murdered By Protest: Ukraine Falls To Intrigue and Violence

February 24th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

 Who’s in charge?  Certainly not the bought-and-paid-for-moderates that Washington and the EU hoped to install as the new government of Ukraine. The agreement that the Washington and EU supported opposition concluded with President Yanukovich to end the crisis did not last an hour. 

Even the former boxing champion, Vitaly Klitschko, who was riding high as an opposition leader until a few hours ago has been booed by the rioters and shoved aside. The newly appointed president by what is perhaps an irrelevant parliament, Oleksandr Turchynov, has no support base among those who overthrew the government. As the BBC reports, “like all of the mainstream opposition politicians, Mr. Turchynov is not entirely trusted or respected by the protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square.” 

In western Ukraine the only organized and armed force is the ultra-nationalist Right Sector. From the way this group’s leaders speak, they assume that they are in charge.

One of the group’s leaders, Aleksandr Muzychko, has pledged to fight against “Jews and Russians until I die.”  Asserting the Right Sector’s authority over the situation, Muzychko declared that now that the democratically elected government has been overthrown, “there will be order and discipline” or “Right Sector squads will shoot the bastards on the spot.”

The bastards are any protesters who dare to protest the Right Sector’s control.

Muzychko declared, “The next president of Ukraine will be from Right Sector.”

Another Right Sector leader, Dmitry Yarosh, declared: “the Right Sector will not lay down its arms.”  He declared the deal made between the opposition and the President to be “unacceptable” and demanded the liquidation of President Yanukovich’s political party.

The Right Sector’s roots go back to the Ukrainians who fought for Adolf Hitler against the Soviet Union during World War 2. It was the Right Sector that introduced armed fighters and turned the tide of the protests in Kiev from peaceful protests in favor of joining the EU to violent attacks on police with the view of overthrowing the democratically elected government, which the Right Sector succeeded in doing. 

The Right Sector did not overthrow the Ukraine government in order to deliver it into the hands of the Washington and EU paid “opposition.”

There is a tendency to discount the Right Sector as a small fringe group, but the Right Sector not only took control of the protests away from the Western supported moderates, as moderate leaders themselves admitted,  but also the Right Sector has enough public support to destroy the national monument to the Red Army soldiers who died liberating Ukraine from Nazi Germany. 

Unlike the US orchestrated toppling of the stature of Saddam Hussein, which was a PR event for the presstitutes in which Iraqis themselves were not involved, Ukrainian rightists’ destruction of the monument commemorating the Red Army’s liberation of the Ukraine had public support. If the Right Sector hates Russians for defeating the Nazis, the Right Sector also hates the US, France, and England for the same reason. The Right Sector is an unlikely political party to take Ukraine into the EU.

The Russian parts of Ukraine clearly understand that the Right Sector’s destruction of the monument commemorating the stand of the Red Army against the German troops is a threat against the Russian population of Ukraine. Provincial governments in eastern and southern Ukraine that formerly were part of Russia are organizing militias against the ultra-nationalist threat unleashed by Washington’s stupidity and incompetence and by the naive and gullible Kiev protesters.

Having interfered in Ukraine’s internal affairs and lost control, Washington is now issuing ultimatums to Russia not to interfere in Ukraine. Does the idiot Susan Rice, Obama’s neoconservative National Security Advisor, think Putin is going to pay any attention to her ultimatums or to any instruction from a government so militarily incompetent that it was unable to successfully occupy Baghdad after 8 years or to defeat a few thousand lightly armed Taliban after 12 years?  In only took a few hours for Russian troops to destroy the American and Israeli trained and armed Georgian army that Washington sent to invade South Ossetia.

Where does Obama find morons like Susan Rice and Victoria Nuland? These two belong in a kindergarten for mentally handicapped children, not in the government of a superpower where their ignorance and arrogance can start World War 3.

Ukraine is far more important to Russia than it is to the US or EU. If the situation in Ukraine spirals out of control and right-wing extremists seize control, Russian intervention is certain. The arrogant and stupid Obama regime has carelessly and recklessly created a direct strategic threat to the existence of Russia. 

 According to the Moscow Times, this is what a senior Russian official has to say: “If Ukraine breaks apart, it will trigger a war.”  Ukraine “will lose Crimera first,” because Russia “will go in just as we did in Georgia.”  Another Russian official said: “ We will not allow Europe and the US to take Ukraine from us. The states of the former Soviet Union, we are one family. They think Russia is still as weak as in the early 1990s but we are not.”

The Ukrainian right-wing is in a stronger position than Washington’s paid Ukrainian puppets, essentially weak and irrelevant persons who sold out their country for Washington’s money. The Right Sector is organized. It is armed. It is indigenous. It is not dependent on money funneled in from Washington and EU financed NGOs. It has an ideology, and it is focused. The Right Sector doesn’t have to pay its protesters to take to the streets like Washington had to do.

Most importantly, well-meaning but stupid protesters–especially the Kiev students–and an Ukrainian parliament playing to the protesters destroyed Ukrainian democracy.  The opposition controlled parliament removed an elected president from office without an election, an obvious illegal and undemocratic action. The opposition controlled parliament issued illegal arrest warrants for members of the president’s government. The opposition controlled parliament illegally released criminals from prison.  As the opposition has created a regime of illegality in place of law and constitutional procedures, the field is wide open for the Right Sector. Expect everything the opposition did to Yanukovich to be done to them by the Right Sector. By their own illegal and unconstitutional actions, the opposition has set the precedent for their own demise.

Just as the February 1917 revolution against the Russian Tsar set the stage for the October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, surprising the stupid “reformers,” the overthrow of the Ukrainian political order has set the stage for the Right Sector. We can only hope that the Right Sector blows its chance.

The American media is a useless news source. It serves as a Ministry for Government Lies. The corrupt propagandists are portraying the undemocratic removal of Yanukovich  as a victory for freedom and democracy. When it begins to leak out that everything has gone wrong, the presstitutes will blame it all on Russia and Putin.  The Western media is a plague upon humanity.

Americans have no idea that the neoconservative regime of the White House Fool is leading them into a Great Power Confrontation that could end in destruction of life on earth. 

Ironic, isn’t it.  America’s “first black president,” the person liberals thought would restore  justice, morality, and reason to Western civilization, is instead now positioned as the person who will have to accept humiliating defeat or risk the destruction of life on earth.

Sources:

http://rt.com/news/ukraine-right-sector-militants-210/

http://rt.com/news/war-monument-toppled-ukraine-351/

http://rt.com/news/ukraine-acting-president-yanukovich-339/

http://rt.com/news/ukraine-opposition-yanukovich-coup-273/

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/russia-pledges-to-fight-for-crimea-if-ukraine-splits/495034.html  

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26312008 

http://www.channel4.com/news/kiev-svoboda-far-right-protests-right-sector-riot-police  

Image from stryi.com.ua

The ‘Soviet Soldier’ – a monument commemorating the collective sacrifice of the Soviet army against Nazi forces – has been toppled in western Ukraine. This follows the country-wide fall of some two dozen Lenin statues.

The taking down of the ‘Soviet Soldier’ in the town of Stryi, Lvov region, turns a new page in the chaos that gripped the nation in November, and has taken on dangerously nationalist overtones in the past fortnight.

The city administration’s website first reported on the story of the monument, erected in 1965 as a companion piece to two other objects: an obelisk with WWII engravings and the Eternal Flame over the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

No official confirmation of any orders for its removal has been given.

 

The incident follows the dismantling of some 25 statues of Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the 1917 revolution that paved way to the creation of the USSR.

One of the latest in a string of such incidents, in Dnepropetrovsk, saw people using ropes and a saw, before jumping onto the statue – the way people did in Iraq when Saddam Hussein lost power. The writing on the monument was then taken apart letter by letter, which the rioters kept as souvenirs.

After the statue was toppled, the City Council declared Lenin Square in Dnepropetrovsk was renamed into Heroes of Maidan Square.

[Below, a user comments on Alexey's earlier tweet. "Look at what's happening in our town. Just look at what is being written and drawn. 'The Right Sector', in one word", the user says.]

As the fallen statues were being counted, on Sunday the Ukrainian Rada decided to strip Russian of its status in the Ukraine; a fate that will befall other regional languages as well. With Russian, however, the figures are quite clear: the latest census of 2001 showed that nearly 30 percent of Ukraine considers Russian to be its mother tongue – nearly 15 percent of them are Ukrainians.

Although the language has never had official status, it was given regional status in 2012 in the south-east of the country.

The repealed law on regional language usage was President Yanukovich’s campaigning ace, as he sought to combat the notion created by former President Viktor Yushchenko – that Ukrainian should dominate over all areas and spheres of life.

Speaking recently to Kharkov’s UBR TV channel, President Viktor Yanukovich aired his grievances about government.

“Everything that is happening today is, to a greater degree, about vandalism, bandits and a coup d’etat,” Yanukovich said. The president went on to dub the events as the country’s worst political crisis in modern history and compared it to the rise of the Nazi ideology in the 1930s.

We now see the same things that were [happening] in the 1930s, when the Nazis came to power. [They] forbade [political] parties…It’s the same now – [they] ban the party, stalk, beat people, burn down offices,” he said.

Although Kiev’s Independence Square, and the country as a whole, could be seen containing a number of different groups and opinions at the start of the mass riots, the so-called Right Sector has by many accounts begun to play a more prominent role in the uprising. Reports from the ground indicate that this segment of the opposition is a loose conglomeration made up of the remnants of post-war Nazi-collaborators – the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, as well as various football hooligans and smaller nationalist gangs.

 

A protester breaks apart a statue of Lenin at a monument in his honor after it was pulled down during a mass rally called "The March of a Million" in Kiev's Independence Square on December 8, 2013. (AFP Photo / Anatoli Boiko)

A protester breaks apart a statue of Lenin at a monument in his honor after it was pulled down during a mass rally called “The March of a Million” in Kiev’s Independence Square on December 8, 2013. (AFP Photo / Anatoli Boiko)

 

People surround a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin, which was toppled by protesters during a rally organized by supporters of EU integration in Kiev, December 8, 2013. (Reuters / Stoyan Nenov)

People surround a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin, which was toppled by protesters during a rally organized by supporters of EU integration in Kiev, December 8, 2013. (Reuters / Stoyan Nenov)

Central Banks Go to Great Lengths To Prop Up Insolvent Banks … and Put Lipstick On a Pig

We noted in 2012 that bot the Bank of England and Federal Reserve knew about the Libor interest rate rigging scandal by the big banks.

Newly-released minutes of the meeting of the Fed’s Open Market Committee confirm that the Fed knew about the Libor interest rate manipulation.

And Bloomberg reported earlier this month:

Bank of England officials told currency traders it wasn’t improper to share impending customer orders with counterparts at other firms, a practice at the heart of a widening probe into alleged market manipulation, according to a person who has seen notes turned over to regulators.

***

Traders representing some of the world’s biggest banks told officials at the meeting that they shared information about aggregate orders before currency benchmarks were set, three people with knowledge of the discussion said. The officials said there wasn’t a policy on such communications and that banks should make their own rules, according to the people.

This isn’t some minor case of stretching the truth a little bit … The Libor interest rate scandal was the biggest financial scandal in world history:

  • Even though RBS and a handful of other banks have been fined for interest rate manipulation, Libor is still being manipulated. No wonder … the fines are pocket change – the cost of doing business – for the big banks

Indeed, the Bank of England and Fed have desperately tried to put lipstick on a pig, and have gone to great lengths to prop up insolvent banks.

One of the main ways they have done so is to turn the other way and ignore the massive crimes and manipulations of the big banks.

JPMorgon é o não reconhecido, ou falado, arquiteto da fraude e da corrupção do maior esquema manipulativo, à la Ponzi, da história. O objetivo desse esquema manipulativo é o de apropriar-se de riquezas através da manipulação de mercados.

« No mês passado, JPMorgan Chase reconheceu que tinha facilitado o maior manipulativo esquema  Ponzi da história, em fechando os olhos sobre as ações de Bernie Madoff, o qual descaradamente tinha transformado sua comercial conta bancária no JPMorgan numa operação de lavagem de dinheiro sem precedentes, o que teria feito soar alarme em qualquer outro banco.

O Departamento de Justiça dos Estados Unidos permitiu a JPMorgan que esse pagasse $1.7 bilhões de dólares e assinasse um acordo de adiação de um processo da procuração. Isso  significa, mais uma vez, que ninguém do JPMorgan acaba por ser preso. A grande questão, a qual ninguém poderia ou irá responder, é a de saber como os servidores da justiça, encarregados de verificar conformidade com a lei contra a lavagem de dinheiro na JPMOrgan, poderia ter ignorado, durante anos, as centenas de transferências de bilhões de dólares entrando e saindo das contas bancárias de Madoff e de Norman Levy. Mesmo uma única manobra desse gênero deveria ter iniciado uma investigação. (Levy faleceu e os administradores dos negócios das vítimas de Madoff concluiram um entendimento com os herdeiros.) » (Pam Martens, Russ Martens, JPMorgan Vice President’s Death Shines Light on Bank’s Close Ties to the CIA, WallStreetParade.com 12 février, 2014) [Pam Martens, Russ Martens, A morte do vice presidente  da JPMorgan casta luz  na próxima relação do banco com a CIA, WallStreetParade.com, 12 de fevereiro de 2014.]

Para realizar com sucesso suas diversas operações financeiras, JPMorgan não só controla políticos em altos postos mas utiliza também políticos reformados para exercer funções consultativas.

Depois de ter deixado suas funções de primeiro ministro, Tony Blair foi nominado ao posto de primeiro-conselheiro do JPMorgan. Os seus honorários, de tempo-parcial, ou seja não integral, eram comparativamente razoáveis., constituindo-se de £ 500.000 libras esterlinas anuais ($750.000). Esses, subsequentemente se elevaram a £2 milhões de libras.

Tony Blair deveria utilizar sua rede de amizades e de relações  políticas na Grã Bretanha, e no Oriente Médio, para servir os intereses de JPMorgan Chase. Ele trabalhou estreitamente com o diretor e presidente Jamie Dimon, o qual recentemente veio a ser  objeto de controvérsias.

« Nós temos negócios por todo o mundo, declarou Jamie Dimon, e Tony Blair trará aos nossos dirigentes, e aos nossos clientes, uma perspectiva internacional única, inestimável, e de uma importância crucial, nesses tempos difíceis. A nossa empresa beneficiará enormemente de seus conhecimentos e da sua experiência (Comunicação de Imprensa de JPmorgan, janeiro de 2008)

Note-se que em 2003, depois da invasão do Iraque, e de quando Tony Blair ainda era primeiro ministro, que JP Morgan Chase foi designado a dirigir o Banco do Comércio do Iraque.

Em suma. Tony Blair é um criminoso de guerra que tem relações com uma rede bancária fraudulenta.

Mortes misteriosas de quatro altos dirigentes bancários da Wall Street

No desenrolar de recente acontecimentos, em 28 de janeiro, um vice-presidente da JP Morgan Chase no Reino Unido, Gabriel Magee, « foi encontrado morto sobre o telhado do nono andar, de um edifício de 33 pavimentos, onde se situa a sede do banco na Europa, na secção Canary Wharf de Londres »

Em 10 de fevereiro, Ryan Henry Crane, 37 anos, um outro alto dirigente do JP Morgan Chase, morreu em circunstâncias misteriosas. Crane era o responsável do programa global de comércio do JPMorgan.

A morte de Crane veio após uma « onda de suicídios » num período de 6 semanas, envolvendo três prominentes banqueiros, incluindo-se aqui Gabriel Magee de JPMorgan, ex-economista da Reserva Federal Mike Dueker e William Broeksmit, ex-alto dirigente do Deutsche Bank, o qual foi encontrado « enforcado em sua casa, numa morte que também tinha aparência de suicídio ».  De acordo com as reportagens, Broeksmit estava envolvido no processo de manipulação de mercados de câmbio.

Michel Chossudovsky

 

Artigo original Suicides of Bank Executives, Fraud, Financial Manipulation: JPMorgan Chase Advisor Tony Blair is Not Involved, publicado em 14 de fevereiro de 2014.

Appointment of Tony Blair: Text of January 2008 Press JP Morgan Chase Press Release

NEW YORK, January 10 [2008]/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — JPMorgan Chase announced today that it has appointed former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a
senior advisory capacity to the firm, effective immediately. Mr. Blair will
also join the company’s International Council.

Mr. Blair will advise JPMorgan Chase’s CEO and senior management team
on a part-time basis – drawing on his immense international experience to
provide the firm with strategic advice and insight on global political
issues and emerging trends.

In addition, Mr. Blair will participate in select events and
conferences for the company including senior-level client events and will
provide briefings on political trends to the firm’s Board of Directors.

“We’re honored that Tony Blair has chosen to join JPMorgan Chase as a
senior advisor to our executive team and Board,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman
and CEO. “We operate our business all over the world, and Tony Blair will
bring our leaders and clients a unique and invaluable global perspective
that is especially critical in turbulent times like these. Our firm will
benefit greatly from his knowledge and experience.”

Mr. Blair added, “It is a great opportunity to be able to contribute to
the work of JPMorgan Chase. They are a leading company at the cutting edge
of the global economy, with a footprint in virtually every part of the
world. I look forward to advising them on how they approach the huge
political and economic changes that globalisation brings. I am excited at
the prospect of joining Jamie Dimon, for whom I have a lot of respect, and
the whole team, adding my own experience to their work and helping them to
grow.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services
firm with assets of $1.5 trillion and operations in more than 50 countries.
The firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for
consumers, small business and commercial banking, financial transaction
processing, asset management, and private equity. A component of the Dow
Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase serves millions of consumers in
the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate,
institutional and government clients under its JPMorgan and Chase brands.
JPMorgan Chase is committed to investing in education, economic
opportunity, development and environmental programs that enable people and
communities to thrive. Information about the firm is available at

http://www.jpmorganchase.com.

Michel Chossudovsky é diretor do Centro de Pesquisas sobre a globalização e Professor Emeritus de ciências econômicas da Universidade de Ottawa. Ele é autor do livro Guerre et mondialisation, La vérité derrière le 11 septembre et de la Mondialisation de la pauvreté et nouvel ordre mondial (um best-seller internacional publicado em mais de 20 linguas)
Guerre et mondialisationMondialisation de la pauvreté

Tradução para o português: Anna Malm – http://artigospolíticos.wordpress.com

Obama planeja intervenção contra a Síria

February 23rd, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

Neocons infestam a administração de Obama. Eles querem ver Assad derrubado a força. Diplomacia manipulada pode ser o pretexto para isso.

Dois turnos de discussões em Geneva já ficaram paralisados. Não espere mudanças. A estratégia dos Estados Unidos é uma de mudança de regime. Isso será feito a maneira antiga. Está dentro dos planos que se derrube Assad violentamente.

Em 17 de fevereiro a mídia network SFPN, Syrian Free Press Network  deu a manchete – ”Alerta Vermelho: Os serviços de inteligência dos Estados Unidos, Israel e dos Britânicos, na Jordânia, estão planejando um ataque , AGORA, com (os chamados) Takfiris `moderados´ para criar um mini-estado no sul da Síria.”

Na sexta-feira o ministro da defesa Asaad Mustafa, do chamado governo de interím, renunciou. Isso seria alegadamente por disputas internas.

Ao mesmo tempo o representante principal do chamado Exército Livre da Síria, FSA, Salim Idris, foi despedido. Abdel Alah al-Bashir o substituiu.

Fars News reportou que Idris tinha fugido para a Turquia a caminho de Doha no Qatar, em dezembro. Os terroristas sírios “tinham tomado posse de seus quartéis e armazens de equipamentos militares providos pelos Estados Unidos.” Esses estavam localizados ao longo da fronteira Turquia/Síria.,” disse então a SFPN.

SFPN disse ainda que o embaixador dos Estados Unidos na Síria, Robert Ford, e o sub-Secretário de Estado para Negócios Políticos Wendy Sherman, tinham proposto que se “fizesse a Jordânia, e as suas fronteiras com a Síria, a maior passagem para os avançados equipamentos militares dos Estados Unidos, e da Europa, (indo) para a oposição armada na Síria, “

Os planos propostos teriam o objetivo de fazer do sul da Síria “um mini-estado”. A idéia seria deslanchar operações contra Damasco, completou SFPN.

Na segunda-feira o Ministro dos Negócios Exteriores da Síria, Walid al-Moallem, levantou essa questão. O seu governo assim como as forças armadas estariam prontos para quaisquer que fossem os planos, disse ele então.

Os editores do Washington Post apoiam uma Guerra na Síria. Eles incitam para uma direta intervenção dos Estados Unidos. Eles citam  desacreditadas acusações anti-Assad, uma após a outra.

Eles querem mudança de regime. Eles querem a força substituindo a diplomacia. Eles querem Assad condenado por não ter se submetido as exigências dos Estados Unidos

Eles dizem que ele está demorando a eliminar o armamento químico. De acordo com a Rússia as coisas estão andando como planejado.

Extremo cuidado precisa de ser observado. O principal é manter o material químico, CWs, longe das mãos dos insurgentes.

O tambor do Washington Post continua batendo enquanto John Kerry promove a escalação do conflito. Ele está replicando o infame momento de Colin Powell. Isso ele já o fez inúmeras vezes.

Em setembro ele mentiu dizendo que a Siria tinha atacado Gouta com gás sarin. Clara evidência provava uma outra coisa. Os insurgentes tinham quanto a esse ataque, toda a culpa.

Em 17 de fevereiro ele mentiu dizendo que Assad tinha posto obstruções as discussões de paz dizendo: “Até agora (ele näo esteve) engajado nas discussões dentro dos prometidos e requeridos padrões…”

Falso! As proceduras combinadas seriam as de seguir o comunicado nos itens do Geneva I. Isso está sendo feito em ordem de importância. O mais importante é parar com o terrorismo e a violência.

Os representantes de Assad “se refusaram a abrir um único momneto de discussão” para um governo de transição, disse então Kerry.

Falso! Eles estavam dispostos a discutir todos os itens da Geneva I. Eles queriam esses discutidos em ordem de importância.

A resolução de outras questões depende de que se ponha um fim a violência e ao terrorismo. Fazer isso é o mais importante. A salvação da Síria depende disso. Os representantes de Assad querem isso resolvido com toda a prioridade.

Eles insistem, corretamente, que a lei internacional tem que ser respeitada. Os sírios, eles mesmos, deverão decidir quem os governará.

Interferência estrangeira não irá ser tolerada. A lei internacional proibe interferência em negócios internos de outros países. Isso Kerry não explicou. Mentiras querem passar por verdades.

“Isso está muito claro (disse Kerry). Assad está tentando vencer tudo no campo de batalha, em vez de ir a mesa de discussões honestamente.”

Falso! Para começar, Assad nunca quis nenhum conflito.  Ele continua não querendo. Ele quer uma resolução pacífica. Ele está fazendo siimplesmente todo o possível, e o impossível, para conseguir isso.

Ele aqui não tem um legítimo adversário para discutir paz. Faltando isso a paz será impossível. Os delegados da oposição representam Washington. Obama quer uma guerra. Não a paz.

Em 17 de fevereiro, WaPO, Washington Post, fez manchete com “Kerry diz que a Rússia mina as discussões sobre a Síria”

Kerry atacou a Rússia e o Irã. Ele os acusou de estarem minando o processo de paz “através de aumentar o apoio militar e a assistência” a Assad.

Ele aqui ignorou o envolvimento de Washington no recrutamento, no fornecimento de armamentos, no treino, e na direção dos esquadrões da morte, invasores.

Obama tem a total responsabilidade pela guerra contra a Síria mas Kerry aí também deveria ter a sua parte. O seu trabalho é o de promover a ilegalidade imperial.

Ele está endossando a derrubada de um independente líder após outro. Ele está justificando carnificina e destruição.

Ele está fechando os olhos para uma inconcebível miséria humana. Kerry pode tirar benefícios em devastar e destuir países. Ele é um bilionário.

Ele quer extrema riqueza transformada em ainda mais. Ele quer que países sejam saqueados para que isso possa se tornar realidade.

Ele representa o pior do lado nefasto dos Estados Unidos. Assim também é com muitos outros semelhantes extremistas infestando Washington.

Assad é constantemente acusado pelos crimes cometidos pelos insurgents, apoiados por Washington. Kerry condenou o “barbárico assalto” contra civís feito por esses, como se fosse obra de Assad.

Ele está fazendo todo o possível para os proteger. Ele está lutando por jihadistas esquadrões da morte enlistados pelos Estados Unidos como terroristas.

Sempre que os soldados da Síria liberam áreas, até de então controladas pelo inimigo, eles são benvindos nas mesmas. Eles são aplaudidos quando chegam.

Na segunda-feira o Ministro do Exterior da Rússia citou estatísticas que acusavam os terroristas pelos crimes que queriam jogar para cima de Assad.

Eles estão alimentando crises. Washington fecha os olhos. Lavrov virou-se para os oficiais dos Estados Unidos fazendo pressão em Damasco, dizendo:

Nós estivemos dizendo a eles que trabalhassem diretamente com as autoridades sírias, se fosse o caso de ser pressões políticas o que eles tivessem em mente.

“Eu dizia (a Kerry), sempre que ele fazia pressão para que se impusessem (novas) sanções… que ele precisava agir sensatamente.”

Lavrov explicou que a Rússia tinha novas informações.  Ele disse que “certos financiadores da oposição tinham começado a criar novas estruturas (independentemente) da Coalisão Nacional,”

Esses queriam a SNC, [a coalisão nacional da Síria] substituida. “Em outras palavras, eles estão mais uma vez tomando um rumo que diverge do caminho de negociações. Eles estão olhando para uma opção de cenário militar. Essa opção deveria contar com um grande apoio vindo de fora.”

Lavrov parou a poucos passos de acusar Washington. Dá para ser repetido o que anteriores artigos já explicaram. A guerra na Síria é a guerra de Obama. Ele deplora a paz.

Ele quer um pretexto para uma direta intervenção dos Estados Unidos. Ele quer Assad derrubado, a força. Ele quer que um governo servil aos interesses do ocidente o substitua.

Ele quer autoridade incondicional para decider o futuro da Síria. Ele não quer que o povo da Síria tenha qualquer coisa a dizer quanto a isso. Dominância age dessa maneira. América é, de longe, a pior.

Em 16 de fevereiro Kerry fez uma declaração para a mídia (press statement ) onde ele levantou a questão da Síria separadamente. O que definiu essa declaração foi a duplicidade de uma lingua bifurcada.

De acordo com Kerry  “o sofrimento do povo sírio” continua. Aqui ele ignorou a total responsabilidade de Washington quanto a isso.

Ele erradamente acusou Assad de “obstrução.” Ele disse que esse fazia com que discussões difíceis ficassem ainda mais difíceis.

Se não fosse trágico seria cômico de quando dos louvores de Kerry aos representantes da SNC. Ele declarava, muito exclamativamente, que eles “tinham demonstrado uma corajosa e madura seriedade de objetivos, assim como boa vontade para discutir todos os aspectos do conflito”

Fact check  – Control dos fatos

SNC delegados obstruiram as discussões. Eles demandaram incondicional mudança de regime. Os delegados da Síria concordaram em discutir os tópicos. Eles querem que todos os ítens da Geneva I sejam discutidos.

Os representantes da SNC fizeram objeções. Eles querem primeiramente um acordo sobre um governo de transição. Esse acordo significaria que Assad teria que ir-se embora. Essa era a demanda. Eles não se importavam com o que os sírios poderiam querer. A mesma coisa é com Kerry.

Ele quer que Washington decida o futuro da Síria. Ele quer continuar com a carnificina e a destruição.

Ele quer que o conflito seja resolvido beligerantemente. Ele quer que Assad seja o acusado das obstruções, para que se tenha um pretexto para essas.

Ele repete uma grande mentira atrás da outra. Ele mente para justificar a agenda imperial de Washington. Ele quer a incontestável dominância de Washington.

Ele quer que o mundo torne-se seguro para os saqueadores. Ele quer o que os sírios rejeitam. Ele quer o que o povo comum deplora.

Uma direta intervenção paira sobre o horizonte. A procura de Obama para novas opções e diretivas políticas mostra isso. Espere-se que a guerra por procuração de Obama entre em escala de conflito total.

Espere-se uma Síria completamente devastada, destruida e pilhada. Espere-se uma repetição do acontecido no Afeganistão, no Iraque e na Líbia. Espere uma Síria transformada em uma indesejável e amedrentadora ruína. Espere Obama apresentando esse novo troféu imperial.

Quanto mais sofrimento sírio será necessário para que seja sofrimento demais? Por quanto tempo ainda Washington conseguirá se evadir da responsabilidade e continuar com assassinatos e destruição em massa? Quando será que guerras de agressão [as condenadas pelo processo de Nuremberg] não mais serão chamadas de liberadoras ou humanitárias?

Quando irão as devastantes carnificinas e as destruições ter um ponto final? Quando virá um chega e um basta, e nada mais? Quando não se verá mais o poder se sobrepor ao justo e ao certo? Quando não se verá mais os interesses do dinheiro decidir sobre a vida ou a morte?

Quando irá a América ter que responder por generações de crimes de guerra contra a humanidade e genocídio? Quando irá essa extrema força maléfica, força essa que o mundo jamais dantes presenciou, ser neutralizada?

Stephen Lendman 

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

 

 

Tradução Anna Malm – http://artigospoliticos.wordpress.com

 

 

Week in Review: Fake Images and the Revolution Business

February 23rd, 2014 by Global Research

fistwallstreet

Who is Behind Regime Change? “Revolution Business” NGO Supported by Wall Street and US IntelligenceCarl Gibson and Steve Horn, February 23, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UCRAINA : La Clinton-Pinchuk Connection

February 23rd, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Al tavolo di Kiev in cui è stato negoziato l’accordo formale tra governo, opposizione, Ue e Russia non sedeva ufficialmente alcun rappresentante della potente oligarchia interna che, legata più a Washington e alla Nato che a Bruxelles e alla Ue, spinge l’Ucraina verso l’Occidente. Emblematico il caso di Victor Pinchuk, 54nne magnate dell’acciaio,  classificato dalla rivista Forbes tra gli uomini più ricchi del mondo.

La fortuna di Pinchuk inizia quando nel 2002 sposa Olena, figlia di Leonid Kuchma, secondo presidente dell’Ucraina (1994-2005). Nel 2004 l’illustre suocero privatizza il maggiore complesso siderurgico ucraino, quello di Kryvorizhstal, vendendolo alla società Interpipe, di cui il genero è comproprietario, per 800  milioni di dollari, circa un sesto del valore reale. La Interpipe monopolizza in tal modo la fabbricazione di tubazioni in acciaio. Nel 2007 Pinchuk costituisce l’EastOne Group, società di consulenza per investimenti internazionali, che fornisce alle multinazionali tutti gli strumenti per penetrare nelle economie dell’Est. Diviene allo stesso tempo proprietario di quattro canali televisivi e di un popolare tabloid (Fatti e commenti) con una circolazione di oltre un milione di copie. Non trascura però le opere di bene: crea la Victor Pinchuk Foundation, considerata la maggiore «fondazione filantropica» ucraina.

È attraverso questa fondazione che Pinchuk si collega ai Clinton, sostenendo la Clinton Global Initiative stabilita da Bill e Hillary nel 2005, la cui missione è «riunire i leader globali per creare soluzioni innovative alle sfide mondiali più pressanti». Dietro questo altisonante slogan c’è lo scopo reale: creare una rete internazionale di potenti appoggi a Hillary Clinton, la già first lady che, dopo essere stata senatrice di New York nel 2001-2009 e segretaria di stato nel 2009-2013, tenta di nuovo la scalata alla presidenza. La fruttuosa collaborazione inizia nel 2007 quando Bill Clinton ringrazia «Victor e Olena Pinchuk per la loro vigorosa attività sociale e l’appoggio fornito al nostro programma internazionale». Appoggio che Pinchuk concretizza con un primo contributo di 5 milioni di dollari, cui ne seguono altri, alla Clinton Global Initiative. Ciò apre a Pinchuk le porte di Washington: assume per 40mila dollari al mese il lobbista Schoen,  che gli organizza una serie di contatti con influenti personaggi, compresa una dozzina di incontri in un anno, tra il 2011 e il 2012, con alti funzionari del Dipartimento di stato. Ciò favorisce anche gli affari, permettendo a Pinchuk di aumentare le esportazioni negli Stati uniti, anche se ora i metallurgici della Pennsylvania e dell’Ohio lo accusano di vendere sottocosto tubi di acciaio negli Usa.

Per rafforzare ulteriormente i legami con gli Stati uniti e l’Occidente,  Pinchuk vara la Yalta European Strategy (Yes), «la più grande istituzione sociale di diplomazia pubblica nell’Europa orientale», il cui scopo ufficiale è «aiutare l’Ucraina a svilupparsi in un paese moderno, democratico ed economicamente potente». Grazie alla grossa disponbilità finanziaria di Pinchuk (che solo per festeggiare il suo 50° compleanno in una località sciistica francese ha speso oltre 6 milioni di dollari),  la Yes è in grado di tessere una vasta rete di contatti internazionali, che diventa visibile nel meeting annuale organizzato a Yalta.  Vi partecipano «oltre 200 politici, diplomatici, statisti, giornalisti, analisti e dirigenti del mondo degli affari provenienti da oltre 20 paesi». Tra questi emergono i nomi di Hillary e Bill Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Tony Blair, George Soros, Jose Manuel Barroso, Mario Monti (che ha partecipato al meeting dello scorso settembre), ai quali si affiancano personaggi meno noti, ma non per questo meno influenti, tra cui dirigenti del Fondo monetario internazionale.

Come ha spiegato Condoleezza Rice al meeting Yes 2012, «le trasformazioni democratiche richiedono tempo e pazienza, richiedono appoggio dall’esterno così come dall’interno». Un’ottima sintesi della strategia che l’Occidente adotta sotto il manto dell’«appoggio dall’esterno» per favorire le «trasformazioni democratiche». Una strategia ormai consolidata, dalla Iugoslavia alla Libia, dalla Siria all’Ucraina: infilare cunei nelle crepe che ogni stato ha, per scardinarne le basi sostenendo o fomentando ribellioni antigovernative (tipo quelle a Kiev, troppo puntuali e organizzate per essere considerate semplicemente spontanee), mentre si scatena una martellante campagna mediatica contro il governo che si vuole abbattere. Per ciò che riguarda l’Ucraina, l’obiettivo è di far crollare lo stato o spaccarlo in due: una parte che entrerebbe nella Nato e nella Ue, un’altra che resterebbe maggiormente collegata alla Russia. In tale quadro si inserisce la Yalta European Strategy dell’oligarca, amico dei Clinton.

 Manlio Dinucci

Serbia’s Srdja Popovic is known by many as a leading architect of regime changes in Eastern Europe and elsewhere since the late-1990s, and as one of the co-founders of Otpor!, the U.S.-funded Serbian activist group which overthrew Slobodan Milošević in 2000.

Lesser known, an exclusive Occupy.com investigation reveals that Popovic and the Otpor! offshoot CANVAS (Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies) have also maintained close ties with a Goldman Sachs executive and the private intelligence firm Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.), as well as the U.S. government. Popovic’s wife also worked at Stratfor for a year.

These revelations come in the aftermath of thousands of new emails released by Wikileaks’ “Global Intelligence Files.” The emails reveal Popovic worked closely with Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based private firm that gathers intelligence on geopolitical events and activists for clients ranging from the American Petroleum Institute and Archer Daniels Midland to Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Northrop Grumman, Intel and Coca-Cola.

Referred to in emails under the moniker “SR501,” Popovic was first approached by Stratfor in 2007 to give a lecture in the firm’s office about events transpiring in Eastern Europe, according to a Stratfor source who asked to remain confidential for this story.

In one of the emails, Popovic forwarded information about activists harmed or killed by the U.S.-armed Bahraini government, obtained from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights during the regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy activists in fall 2011. Popovic also penned a blueprint for Stratfor on how to unseat the now-deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in September 2010.

Stratfor’s Global Activist Connector

Using his celebrated activist status, Popovic opened many doors for Stratfor to meet with activists globally. In turn, the information Stratfor intended to gain from Popovic’s contacts would serve as “actionable intelligence”—the firm billed itself as a “Shadow CIA”—for its corporate clients.

Popovic passed information to Stratfor about on-the-ground activist events in countries around the world, ranging from the Philippines, LibyaTunisiaVietnamIranAzerbaijanEgyptTibetZimbabwePoland and BelarusGeorgiaBahrainVenezuela and Malaysia. Often, the emails reveal, Popovic passed on the information to Stratfor without the consent of the activists and likely without the activists ever knowing that their emails were being shuttled to the private security firm.

In the U.S., this investigation’s co-author, Carl Gibson (representing US Uncut), and the Yes Men’s Andy Bichlbaum had a meeting with Popovic shortly after their two respective groups used a media hoax to play a prank on General Electric, ridiculing the company over itsnon-payment of U.S. taxes.

The pair gave Popovic information about both groups’ plans for the coming year and news later came out that Stratfor closely monitored the Yes Men’s activities. (The blow photograph taken by Bichlbaum in April 2011 shows Popovic (L) and US Uncut’s Carl Gibson.)

During the Arab Spring, in Egypt in January 2011, Popovic received an interview invitation for an appearance on CNN. The first people he turned to for talking points were Stratfor employees, who provided him with five talking points to lead with.

Stratfor said Popovic’s main use for the firm was his vast array of grassroots activist contacts around the world.

“A little reminder that the main utility in this contact is his ability to connect us to the troublemakers around the world that he is in touch with. His own ability to discern situation on the ground may be limited, he mainly has initial contact with an asset and then lets them do their own thing,” reads a May 2010 email written by former Stratfor Eurasia Analyst Marko Papic. “He does himself have information that may be useful from time to time. But, the idea is to gather a network of contacts through CANVAS, contacts that we can then contact independently.”

Popovic was so well-received by Stratfor that he even got his wife, Marijah, a job there. She worked for a year from March 2010 through March 2011 as the weekend open source intelligence analyst at Stratfor. The other candidate for the job, Jelena Tancic, also worked for CANVAS.

“The Canvas guy [Popovic] is a friend/source [for Stratfor], and recommended her to us,” Stratfor’s Vice President of Analysis Scott Stewart said in a March 2010 email, leaving out that the two were dating at the time.

Popovic and his wife grew so close to Stratfor, in fact, that Popovic invited numerous members of the Stratfor staff to their wedding in Belgrade, Serbia.

Helping Stratfor Manufacture Revolutions

Stratfor saw Popovic’s main value not only as a source for intelligence on global revolutionary and activist movements, but also as someone who, if needed, could help overthrow leaders of countries hostile to U.S. geopolitical and financial interests. So useful was Popovic to Stratfor that the firm gave him a free subscription, dubbed “legit sources we use all the time as a company” by Papic.

In a June 2011 email, Papic referred to Popovic as a “great friend” of his and described him as a “Serb activist who travels the world fomenting revolution.”

“They…basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like ;) ,” Papic says in one email. Replying to a follow up to that email, he states, “They just go and set up shop in a country and try to bring the government down. When used properly, more powerful than an aircraft carrier battle group.”

In response to the “aircraft battle group” email, Stratfor Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton sardonically said that perhaps they could be sent into Iran. Emails also reveal Popovic served as an information source intermediary for on-the-ground activists in Iran, also informing Stratfor of the funding struggle for “democracy programs” there, as the U.S. government pushed a “soft power” agenda.

Another March 2010 email from Stewart to Burton said that CANVAS was “trying to get rid of Chavez,” referring to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In 2007, CANVAS trained activists to overthrow Chavez.

“If I remember correctly, we use hushmail communication to contact him regarding Venezuela due to the sensitivity of using a revolutionary NGO as a source considering we have clients who operate in country,” Papic said in a January 2011 email of Popovic.

Stratfor grew so enamored of CANVAS’s ability to foment regime change abroad that it invited Popovic to its Austin headquarters in 2010 to give seminars on the subject, and paid for his trip there.

CANVAS’s Goldman Sachs Cash

One of CANVAS’s major funders is Muneer Satter, a former Goldman Sachs executive who stepped down from that position in June 2012and now owns Satter Investment Management LLC. Stratfor CEO Shea Morenz worked for ten years at Goldman Sachs as well, where he served as Managing Director in the Investment Management Division and Region Head for Private Wealth Management for the Southwest Region.

Satter is meanwhile a major funder of the Republican Party, giving over $300,000 to Karl Rove’s Super PAC Crossroads GPS before the 2012 election, and another $100,000 to the Republican Governors Association in the first half of 2013 prior to the 2014 mid-term elections.

Living in a massive, $9.5 million mansion in Chicago’s North Shore suburb of Lake Michigan, Muneer also gave $50,000 toward President Obama’s inaugural fund in 2009.

When it came time to connect Muneer with the global intelligence firm, Popovic served as the middle man introducing Satter to Stratfor Chairman George Friedman.

“Whenever I want to understand the details behind world events, I turn to Stratfor,” reads an endorsement from Satter on Stratfor’s website. “They have the most detailed and insightful analysis of world affairs and are miles ahead of mainstream media.”

Otpor!: A Counter-History

To understand how Popovic came to aide Stratfor in its intelligence-gathering efforts, it’s crucial to examine Otpor! and CANVAS critically. A close examination demonstrates that Popovic was a natural choice to be a Stratfor informant and close advisor.

Often valorized by grassroots activists and Western media, there was far more to the “Bulldozer Revolution” that led to the overthrow of Milošević and subsequent Eastern European regimes than meets the eye.

“In principle, [Serbia] was an overt operation, funded by congressional appropriations of around $10 million for fiscal 1999 and $31 million for 2000. Some Americans involved in the anti-Milosevic effort said they were aware of CIA activity at the fringes of the campaign, but had trouble finding out what the agency was up to,” explained a 2000 investigative piece appearing in The Washington Post.

“The lead role was taken by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the government’s foreign assistance agency, which channeled the funds through commercial contractors and nonprofit groups such as NDI and its Republican counterpart, the International Republican Institute (IRI).”

“In fact between 1997 and 2000 the National Endowment for Democracy and US government may have accomplished what NATO’s 37,000 bombing sorties had been unable to do: oust Milosevic, replace him with their favoured candidate Vojislav Kostunica and promote a neoliberal vision for Serbia,” independent scholar Michael Barker wrote for Z Magazine. “In much the same way as corporate front groups and astroturf groups recruit genuinely committed supporters, strategically useful social movements can potentially dominate civil society when provided with the right resources (massive financial and professional backing).”

Otpor! was so successful that it was ushered into Ukraine to help manufacture regime change there in 2004, using the template applied originally in Serbia with $65 million in cash from the U.S. government.

“We trained them in how to set up an organization, how to open local chapters, how to create a ‘brand,’ how to create a logo, symbols, and key messages,” an Otpor! activist told U.S.-funded media outlet Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty. “We trained them in how to identify the key weaknesses in society and what people’s most pressing problems were—what might be a motivating factor for people, and above all young people, to go to the ballot box and in this way shape their own destiny.”

The overthrow of Milošević was accompanied by U.S.-funding for the creation of a robust media apparatus in Serbia, and Popovic’s wife worked at one of the U.S.-funded radio and TV outlets as a journalist and anchor B92 from 2004-2009.

“By helping Radio B92 and linking it with a network of radio stations (ANEM), international assistance undermined the regime’s direct and indirect control over news and information,” a January 2004 policy paper released by USAID explained. “In Serbia, independent media supported by USAID and other international donors facilitated the regime change.”

Critics point out that what happened in Eastern Europe was regime change, not revolution in any real sense of the term.

“[They] were not revolutions at all; actually, they were little more than intra-elite power transfers,’” Portland State University Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, Gerald Sussman, explained in his book, “Branded Democracy: U.S. Regime Change in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe.”

“Modern tactics of electioneering were employed to cast regime change as populist, which took advantage of the unstable and vulnerable situations in those regions following the breakup of the Soviet Union,” he wrote.

Given Otpor!’s ties to powerful factions in the U.S. government, perhaps it’s unsurprising that Popovic felt comfortable giving a lecture to the Air Force Academy in May 2010, and attending a National Security Council meeting in December 2009.

A powerful individual who lobbied the U.S. government to give money to CANVAS early on was Michael McFaul, the current U.S. Ambassador to Russia for the State Department and someone who “worked closely with” Popovic while serving as a Senior Fellow at theright-wing Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Critics Chime In, Popovic Responds

Maryam Alkhawaja, director of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, said she had known Popovic for several years as an activist and had no knowledge of his outside relationships before the Wikileaks release of Stratfor emails.

“Srdja is someone I’ve met more than once. He was very supportive of the Bahrain revolution, supportive of the human rights fight,” Alkhawaja said in a phone interview. “When he gave me their information, that’s what surprised me the most.”

Alkhawaja said that at the time she wasn’t aware of what kind of firm Stratfor was, but she became immediately suspicious after reading Stratfor’s questions to her. She never corresponded with Stratfor due to what she felt was the suspicious nature of the emails coming from the firm.

“It was a series of really weird intelligence agency-like questions, given that they knew I was working in a human rights group. They were asking questions like, who’s funding the party coalition, how many members do they have, questions that even I didn’t know the answers to,” she said. “The fact that they asked questions like that, made me question the motive behind the email I received. That’s why I never responded.”

“Whenever we get emails like that or were contacted by people who seemed very interested in asking intelligence agency-like questions, we usually block them, because we know they probably work for the government,” Alkhawaja continued. “Journalists know the kind of work we do so they wouldn’t ask those questions in the first place. I just found the email very weird and thats why I actually never responded.”

In a Skype interview, one of Otpor!’s co-founders, who left the movement and asked to maintain his confidentiality, said his primary concern from the Wikileaks emails was that Popovic was giving out activists’ information to a third party without their prior consent.

An interview with Popovic sang a different tune about CANVAS. He stated, “We definitely wouldn’t jeopardize any of our activists’ safety, so we always follow their lead and never expose them to anybody without their consent.”

Popovic also said CANVAS would speak to anyone and everyone—without any discrimination—about nonviolent direct action.

“CANVAS will present anywhere — to those committed to activism and nonviolent struggle, but also to those who still live in the Cold War era and think that tanks and planes and nukes shape the world, not the common people leading popular movements,” he said.

“If we can persuade any decision maker in the world, in Washington, Kremlin, Tel Aviv or Damascus that it is nonviolent struggle that they should embrace and respect – not foreign military intervention, or oppression over own population – we would do that.”

Yet, given Popovic’s track-record—and specifically, who buttered his bread during the long professional career he pursued in activism—critics say Popovic fit like a glove at Stratfor.

“A group of Serbs cannot lead a protest movement anywhere outside Serbia, but his techniques are nonetheless instrumental in helping achieve certain political aims,” Professor Sussman said in an interview. “He also serves as an intelligence gatherer in the process—of use to private and state intelligence agencies. That’s what Stratfor saw as his use.”

On the 100th Anniversary of World War 1, the Western powers are again sleepwalking into destructive conflict. Hegemonic ambition has Washington interfering in the internal affairs of Ukraine, but developments seem to be moving beyond Washington’s control.

Regime change in Ukraine for a mere $5 billion dollars would be a bargain compared to the massive sums squandered in Iraq ($3,000 billion), Afghanistan ($3,000 billion), Somalia, and Libya, or the money Washington is wasting murdering people with drones in Pakistan and Yemen, or the money Washington has spent supporting al Qaeda in Syria, or the massive sums Washington has wasted surrounding Iran with 40 military bases and several fleets in the Persian Gulf in an effort to terrorize Iran into submission. 

So far, in Washington’s attempt at regime change in Ukraine large numbers of Americans are not being killed and maimed. Only Ukrainians are dying, all the better for Washington as the deaths are blamed on the Ukrainian government that the US has targeted for overthrow.

The problem with Washington’s plot to overthrow the elected government of Ukraine and install its minions is twofold:  The chosen US puppets have lost control of the protests to armed radical elements with historical links to nazism, and Russia regards an EU/NATO takeover of Ukraine as a strategic threat to Russian independence.

Washington overlooked that the financially viable part of today’s Ukraine consists of historical Russian provinces in the east and south that the Soviet leadership merged into Ukraine in order to dilute the fascist elements in western Ukraine that fought for Adolf Hitler against the Soviet Union.  It is these ultra-nationalist elements with nazi roots, not Washington’s chosen puppets, who are now in charge of the armed rebellion in Western Ukraine.

If the democratically elected Ukraine government is overthrown, the eastern and southern parts would rejoin Russia. The western part would be looted by Western bankers and corporations, and the NATO Ukraine bases would be targeted by Russian Iskander missiles.

It would be a defeat for Washington and their gullible Ukrainian dupes to see half of the country return to Russia. To save face, Washington might provoke a great power confrontation, which could be the end of all of us.

My series of articles on the situation in Ukraine resulted in a number of interviews from Canada to Russia, with more scheduled.  It also produced emotional rants from people of Ukrainian descent whose delusions are impenetrable by facts. Deranged Russophobes dismissed as propaganda the easily verifiable report of Assistant Secretary of State Nuland’s public address last December, in which she boasted that Washington had spent $5 billion preparing Ukraine to be aligned with Washington’s interests. Protest sympathizers claim that the intercepted telephone call between Nuland and the US Ambassador in Ukraine, in which the two US officials chose the government that would be installed following the coup, is a fake. 

One person actually suggested that my position should be aligned with the “sincerity of the Kiev students,” not with the facts.

Some Trekkers and Trekkies were more concerned that I used an improper title for Spock than they were with the prospect of great power confrontation. The point of my article flew off into space and missed planet Earth.

Spock’s mental powers were the best weapon that Starship Enterprise had. Among my graduate school friends, Spock was known as Dr. Spock, because he was the cool, calm, and unemotional member of the crew who could diagnose the problem and save the situation.

There are no Spocks in the US or any Western government and certainly not among the Ukrainian protesters.   

I have often wondered if Spock’s Vulcan ancestry was Gene Roddenberry’s way of underlining by contrast the fragility of human reason. In the context of modern military technology, is it possible for life to survive humanity’s penchant for emotion to trump reason and for self-delusion to prevail over factual reality?

February marks the third anniversary of the 2011 revolt in Wisconsin, the occupation of the state capital and mass protests against the attack on workers. Wisconsin was the largest of the protests at that time, but across the United States there were a series of protestsagainst foreclosures, austerity and the unjust economy.

The Wisconsin uprising, along with the Arab Spring and Indignado movement in Europe, inspired Occupy, a revolt that began on Wall Street and spread across the nation. It was a revolt against an economic system – big finance capitalism – that is causing a corrupt and unfair economy; as well as against a government that serves the interests of the wealthiest before meeting the necessities of the people.

People often want to know what the movement for social and economic justice wants.  Occupy Wall Street issued its Declaration of the Occupation of New York City which laid out a series of grievances. But, in addition to knowing what we oppose, we need to define what we stand for. If we do not like big finance capitalism, what will take the place of the current economy?

 During the organizing of the occupation in Washington, DC on Freedom Plaza we developed a list of 15 core crisis issues that the country is facing and we outlined solutions to them. These solutions are supported by super-majorities of Americans who, polls show,  could rule better than the elites.

At the core of these solutions is the desire to put in place an economic democracy agenda, building institutions that are controlled by and benefit communities while also protecting the planet. By building wealth in a way that is more equitable and democratic, the rule of money is weakened. A democratized economy shifts political power away from concentrated capital to the public and further empowers people by meeting their basic needs for shelter , food, education, healthcare and income.

In many respects we are in a conflict with big finance capitalism and seeking to birth a new economy that serves the people.  How do we get there? In her book, Getting Past Capitalism: History, Vision, Hope, Cynthia Kaufman suggests we are in a variety of struggles and rather than seeking total replacement, we need to build healthy institutions while challenging those unhealthy ones we can defeat. Gar Alperovitz defines the transition as ‘evolutionary reconstruction’, a way that we gradually build a better world.

 Economic Democracy

This week, we re-launched It’s Our Economy, a project dedicated to reporting on and assisting the growing movement for economic democracy. We define economic democracy as:

 … premised on the idea that people should not cede power to mega-corporations, big finance, or a “professional” political class. The people have the shared knowledge to help build an economy that works to strengthen communities and build wealth for all, not just a few. We recognize the internal contradictions of big finance capitalism and we have seen the failures of state-based socialism and are seeking to create a new type of economy that is democratized, empowers people to gain control over their economic lives and encourages cooperative solutions that create wealth for ourselves and our communities….

Economic democracy also emphasizes the commonwealth.  The commons includes not only roads, land, water and resources but also the knowledge and technology developed, often with public dollars, which has been built up over  generations….

Economic democracy stands in contrast with neoliberal economics. Neoliberalism privatizes public goods and seeks to commodify everything possible to create profit-centers while cutting public services in the name of austerity.

One way to understand what makes healthy institutions that serve the people is to use a human rights framework. There are five human rights principles. These include:

Universality: Human rights must be afforded to everyone, without exception.

Equity: Every person is entitled to the same access to services and public goods.

Accountability: Mechanisms must exist to enforce the protection of human rights.

 Transparency: Government institutions must be open and provide the public with information on the decision-making processes.

Participation: People need to be empowered to participate in the decision-making process.

 The need for a new economy based on the goal of benefitting all people, not just the wealthiest, has become more urgent as the impact of the economic collapse and its false recovery are felt. These include high rates of Americans dropping out of the labor force, the wealth divide expanding, record poverty and lowered incomes for most people.

 People Are Creating the New Economy in Many Ways

 Political and economic leadership continues to go in the opposite direction of what people want: cutting the social safety net and doing little to invest in re-building the economy while the costs of energy, food, healthcare and other necessities rise.  People across the country are acting on their own to build an economy that will serve them.

 The building of the new economy, sometimes called a ‘solidarity economy,’ has been developing for many years, particularly in other areas of the world such as Latin America. As a result we can now see reports of its success. A fundamental belief of economic democracy is to build from the bottom up, starting with local communities.  A report this week from the Institute for Self Reliance found that communities with buy local programs have seen local businesses grow three times as fast as communities without such programs and businesses report a 75% increase in customer traffic.

One key aspect of buying local is our food supply. The International Forum on Globalisation reports that “the average plate of food eaten in western industrial food-importing nations is likely to have traveled 2,000 miles from source to plate.” Around the country people are working to change that. Two programs that were in movement news this week were “Our Harvest” and “CropMobster.”

Our Harvest comes out of a 2009 agreement between the United Steelworkers and the Mondragon Co-op to create union co-ops. Our Harvest is a produce farm and food hub for aggregation and food processing. The goal is to re-create this model around the country to provide local foods and good jobs in union co-operatives.

CropMobster is a project from Petaluma, CA that seeks to redistribute food to reduce waste and to provide healthy food while growing a shared economy. CropMobster is an instant-alert service linking communities-in-need with local farmers, producers and food purveyors who have excess food to sell or donate. In one year it has spread to the greater SF Bay Area, with a dozen counties participating. Already, more than 300,000 pounds of food has been saved and over 1 million servings eaten; more than 4,000 participants and hundreds of farmers and small food businesses are joining with CropMobster.

Another issue that has been in the news lately because of multiple environmental disasters is the quality of drinking water. The chemical spill in West Virginia, coal slurry spills, hydrofracking and pipelines bursting in multiple states have been a few examples of how fresh water is now at risk. In addition, the extraction of fossil fuels and uranium are consuming tremendous amounts of water even in areas that are facing droughts. Water will be an item on the political agenda at the state and national level.  This week in Europe, 1.66 million people were able to put the issues of the right to clean water and stopping water privatization before the European Parliament.

 At the center of so many issues – the environment, climate, water, air, jobs – is energy.  President Obama and the bi-partisans in Congress continue to push a disastrous “all of the above” energy strategy that is leading to extreme energy extraction with terrible environmental consequences.  The corporate duopoly seems unable to challenge big oil, gas, coal and nuclear to put in place the carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy that is needed.

 In the absence of national leadership, people are moving forward. Over 80 landowners have dedicated nearly 20,000 acres to what will become the largest wind farm in South Dakota that will increase the wind energy output in the state by 50%. As solar rapidly grows in the United States, research is now showing that more people will be employed by solar than by oil and coal combined.

Big changes are also on the horizon in the labor front. There are widespread battles for raising the minimum wage to a living wage, and while many companies treat their employees as if they were disposable, in other workplaces employees are becoming owners so they can share in the wealth created by their labor. There is a growing movement for worker-owned cooperatives with national meetings in the United States and in Europe.

 

An example that was in the news this week was WinCo, a growing competitor to Walmart. WinCo is now operating 93 employee-owned stores in seven states with nearly 15,000 employees.  The company has lower prices than Walmart and provides employees with a health plan that includes dental and vision as well as an Employee Stock Ownership Plan for their pension.

 

Other businesses are creating a more just world by redefining corporate charters so that one of their purposes is to provide public benefits rather than profits to investors. In the past few years, 20 states, including the District of Columbia, have enacted legislation that allows companies to register as benefit corporations and 16 more states are considering it. Delaware, the home of half of US corporations and two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, enacted a B Corp. law. This status protects corporations from lawsuits by shareholders for not maximizing profit, and it even gives shareholders the right to sue the corporation for failing to optimize its social mission.

 

We are Creating a Renaissance

The examples above just give a taste of all of the changes that are taking place to create new systems that replace the old failing ones. For more ideas, visit the “Create” section of PopularResistance.org or ItsOurEconomy.us.

 

What is amazing is that around the world, the same ideas and values are being put forward. People are joining together to create societies that respect life and the planet and that are more horizontal and just. We are truly in a time of transformation which is made more urgent by the many crises we face.

 There has been talk of global revolution, and in some areas, revolution – the changing of governments – is occurring. But we are not yet in a global revolution. In his article, “Revolution, or Digital-Age Renaissance,” Bernardo Gutierrez writes, “Ruskoff argues that the revolution has not arrived and what we are experiencing is a new renaissance. ‘Renaissances are historical instances of widespread recontextualisation. It is the rebirth of old ideas in a new context. Renaissance is a dimensional leap, when our perspective shifts so dramatically that our understanding of the oldest, most fundamental elements of existence changes. The stories we have been using no longer work.’” Gutierrez explains that revolutions come after the renaissance.

Currently people are not only creating new systems, but they are questioning the stories that have been told to maintain the status quo and are recognizing that many of our restraints are artificial. People do have the ability to rethink the premises upon which we base our assumptions and to change their views and behaviors.

 For decades we have been taught to believe in capitalism and neo-liberalism. We have been told that there will always be poor people and we must accept that. We’ve been told that wealth trickles down and that we should all compete to achieve the “American Dream.” We’ve thought that in order to achieve that dream we must go into debt. And we’ve believed that the people in power should be trusted to make decisions for us, that we didn’t have the capacity to make them.

All of that is changing and being turned in its head. Awareness is growing that we can do things differently. People are actively confronting the old ways through both resistance and the creation of new approaches or the re-emergence of older methods. One area is the recognition that there are alternatives to debt-based economies. This is not a new idea. There were debt jubilees in ancient history.

In the article, “Debt Refusal Essential To Rebuilding Popular Democracy,” the editor writes that “resisting debt is not only moral, it may be essential to re-envisioning a democracy built on legitimate bonds to our community.” StrikeDebt, which was organized out of Occupy Wall Street, teaches us that “working together to build greater economic democracy would mean weaving a dense, creative network where our debts are to each other, not to them (read: the big banks).”StrikeDebt created a Debt Resister’s Manual and is organizing a nationwide debt resistance movement. Their new manual is due out soon.

Another area of renaissance is globalization. To date, globalization has been based on the neoliberal economic model that leaves poverty and environmental destruction in its wake. But now that we understand these consequences , it is becoming more difficult for governments to continue on this path. A case in point is the current Trans-Pacific Partnership which was negotiated for years in secret and the plan was to pass it quietly through Congress using Fast Track. That effort has stalled for now and instead civil society groups are working together to redefine what global trade should look like and how it should be governed.

There is a call for ‘deglobalization’ which does not oppose global trade but refers to orienting trade so our communities can build local economies, to produce goods that are needed and to become more self-reliant. A detailed plan for this is outlined in the blog on systemic alternatives. They write that deglobalization is not about withdrawing from the world economy but is about restructuring it: “Today’s need is not another centralized global institution but the deconcentration and decentralization of institutional power and the creation of a pluralistic system of state and non-state institutions and organizations interacting with one another, guided by broad and flexible agreements and understandings, which receive their authority and legitimacy from below.”

We have an opportunity right now while trade deals are stalled to redefine global governance. Collectively, the people can confront the dominant paradigms and global power structure and rebirth a world grounded in the principles of human rights and protection of the planet. Resistance is not only protest, but includes acts of creation. When you get involved in your community to build democratized economies, you are part of the global transformation.

This article is produced by PopularResistance.org in conjunction with AlterNet.  It is based on PopularResistance.org’s weekly newsletter reviewing the activities of the resistance movement.

Kevin Zeese, JD and Margaret Flowers, MD are participants in PopularResistance.org; they co-direct It’s Our Economy and co-host Clearing the FOG. Their twitters are @KBZeese and MFlowers8.

The new openings in the relations between Iran and the international community following the election of moderate President Hassan Rouhani in June 2013 presidential polls are indicative of the fact that the future of Iran’s nuclear standoff is bright and that there are hopes for a comprehensive and final solution that can bring the decade-long controversy to an end. There are difficulties on this path, as Iran and the six world powers (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany) have started intensive and breathtaking negotiations for a comprehensive deal, but both sides have voiced their optimism and hope that the talks will be fruitful.

In order to discuss the ongoing talks between Iran and the P5+1 and the future of Iran’s nuclear program, Iran Review conducted an interview with Prof. Stephen M. Walt.

Stephen Walt is one of the world’s leading political scientists who has authored tens of academic and non-academic articles about Iran’s nuclear program as well as several books on the U.S. foreign policy, including the renowned book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” he has co-written with his close friend and colleague John Mearsheimer.

Walt is a professor of international affairs at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. A vocal critic of the U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, he has long advocated for the rapprochement and improvement of mutual relations between Iran and the United States.

“Although some U.S. commentators like to think that the United States should get to decide for itself what other countries can do, I think the U.S. government understands that Iran has a right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” said Prof. Walt in an exclusive interview with Iran Review.

To discuss about the different aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, the ongoing talks between Iran and the six world powers and the prospects of Iran-U.S. relations in the light of the new diplomatic overtures by the Iranian government, Iran Review did an interview with Prof. Stephen M. Walt. What follows is the text of the interview.

Q: Throughout the past decade, the Iran-U.S. relations experienced a serious decline in such a way that in addition to the lack of diplomatic connections between the two countries, several rounds of unilateral and multilateral sanctions were imposed against Iran by the United States. Here we can pose two questions. First, what have been the major reasons for the fluctuations and frequent ups and downs in the mutual relations? And second, what role has the Israeli lobby played in the deterioration of Iran-U.S. relations?

A: There have been significant conflicts of interest between the United States and Iran ever since the 1979 revolution and the Israel lobby is not responsible for them. Since the early 1990s, however, groups within the broader Israel lobby, and the Israeli government itself, have worked hard to dramatize the threat from Iran and to prevent any serious rapprochement between Washington and Tehran.

 

Q: One of the reasons why the talks between Iran and the six world powers constantly reached a deadlock in the past decade is that the United States never distanced itself from the policy of regime change which a number of neo-conservative think tanks, intelligence and military officials and statesmen advocated. This means that Iran cannot be confident about a just negotiation with the United States based on mutual respect and on equal footing. Has this policy ever changed, at least in the Obama administration?

 

A: Although there are groups in the United States that still favor regime change, I do not think this is an active goal for the Obama administration, especially since the election of President Rouhani.   I believe the administration is sincere about wanting a better relationship with Iran, but it remains to be seen if the two countries can work out the most serious issues that divide them.

Q: As you’ve noted in one of your articles, a group of the U.S. Congressmen have recently written a letter to President Obama, offering that the United States would not impose any new sanctions on Iran, and in return, Iran should give up its whole nuclear program. The suggestion sounds childish, because Iran is already under several rounds of unilateral and multilateral sanctions, and if there’s going to be a deal on the nuclear program, the focus should be on the existing sanctions, not those which are not defined yet. With such an approach, does the U.S. Congress allow the government to reach a viable and comprehensive agreement with Iran?

A: The threat of new Congressional sanctions did not work, because the president, his advisors, and most of the American people realized that it would derail the negotiations before they got underway. I believe Congress would be willing to endorse a comprehensive deal, but it depends entirely on the specific terms.  The question is: will Congress accept a deal that is also acceptable to Iran, and vice versa?

Q: Right; in one of your articles, you talked about China’s nuclear program in the 1960s and that extremist U.S. politicians tried at that time to portray it as a threat to the world peace and security. China accessed nuclear weapons, but never attacked any country. Are the United States and Israel really afraid of a nuclear Iran? Isn’t what troubles them the growth of Iran’s economic – political power and influence?

A: Israel is definitely worried about a nuclear Iran, and so is the United States.   I believe this fear is greatly exaggerated, however, because having a nuclear weapon would not make Iran a superpower and would not give it any significant leverage over the US, Israel, or anyone else.  And of course, any use of a nuclear weapon would be suicidal as well as immoral.   Israel and the United States are also worried about Iran’s long-term power potential, but that is a concern that is best addressed through sensible regional diplomacy.

Q: What’s your assessment of the momentous phone call between the presidents of Iran and the United States on the final hours of Hassan Rouhani’s trip to New York? Can this phone conversation melt the ice of diplomatic relations?

A: It was an important symbolic step, as it signaled the two sides willingness to talk to each other in a more-or-less normal fashion.  But now the two sides have to add substance to symbolism.

Q: It was shortly after the phone conversation between the presidents of Iran and the United States that President Obama conferred with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said that the military option is still on the table regarding Iran’s nuclear case. He repeated the military threat several times afterwards. Aren’t the recent diplomatic openings in the mutual relations between the two countries in contradiction with Mr. Obama’s war threats against Iran?

A: I would not over-interpret anything that might have been said during this period.   Saying that the military option is still “on the table” means very little, because the main emphasis is on diplomacy at present.

Q: How is it possible to dissolve this wishful American thinking that recognizing Iran’s nuclear rights is a gift and award given to Iran by the United States? In your writings, you’ve argued that as a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran is entitled to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, so the United States would not be doing a favor to Iran by recognizing Iran’s rights. If this thinking is corrected, then the United States would not negotiate while looking down at Iran with contempt, but rather will be seeking a realistic solution. What’s your take on that?

A: Although some U.S. commentators like to think that the United States should get to decide for itself what other countries can do, I think the U.S. government understands that Iran has a right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Given past conflicts and mutual suspicions, however, the United States is seeking to ensure that the exercise of this right does not lead to Iran leaving the NPT at some future point and becoming a nuclear weapons state.

Q: Does the United States government have the sufficient authority and independence to ignore the voices of pro-war, hawkish interest groups and the Israeli lobby and come to the negotiating table with Iran based on mutual respect and with a peaceful approach? We constantly hear the U.S. politicians reaffirming their commitment to the security of Israel. Can such a commitment and moving toward normalizing ties with Iran come at once and next to each other?

A: These statements are partly a reflection of the political power of the Israel lobby; politicians say these things because they think it is to their advantage to sound strongly “pro-Israel.” But there is no real contradiction between support for Israel and support for constructive diplomacy with Iran, leading to a comprehensive deal. Israel would in fact be safer if US-Iranian relations were better, and if there was a formal, multilateral agreement that acknowledged Iran’s rights to peaceful nuclear energy but also reassured everyone about the actual purpose and capabilities of Iran’s program.

Q: The coming to power of a moderate and pro-reform government in Iran which has the backing and support of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is a great opportunity for the international community to solve Iran’s nuclear program controversy, and draw it to a conclusion forever. The resolution of Iran’s nuclear standoff can contribute to the regional and global peace and security, as well. How should the United States and its allies use this opportunity and react to the peace-loving calls of the Iranian nation and also obviate their challenges with Iran?

A: In my view, the United States and the rest of the P5+1 should take the threat of military force “off the table” and negotiate sensible limits to Iran’s enrichment capabilities and its stockpile of enriched uranium, along with appropriate inspections and other safeguards. That is a first step, but an important one. It should then begin easing sanctions, encourage travel and tourism, and gradually welcome Iran back among the community of nations. It will also be necessary to discuss other contentious issues, including the tragedy in Syria and the continuing conflict in Afghanistan. In short, the United States should strive for a more “normal” relationship with Iran, even it is not especially warm or close, at least not yet.