Oct 082015

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart


Dear listeners and friends,

This week on Dialogos Radio, the Dialogos Interview Series will feature an exclusive and timely interview that you will not want to miss, with Déborah Berman-Santana, recently-retired professor of geography and Ethnic Studies at Mills College in Oakland, California.

Berman-Santana, a native of Puerto Rico, spoke to us about the economic crisis which is impacting Puerto Rico at this time and the many similarities which exist in the crises that are currently being experienced by the two nations, including the similarities in which the crisis is being responded to on a political level, with the enforcement of harsh austerity measures, privatizations, and foreign technocrats. Furthermore, Berman-Santana will speak about the island’s colonial history and how the current crisis is deeply rooted in this history, how the people of Puerto Rico are responding, her thoughts on the current situation in Greece and her own interest in Greece and the Greek culture, including her current visit to Greece.

In addition to this interview, we will air our commentary of the week segment, plus some great Greek music and much more! Tune in this week, exclusively on Dialogos Radio!

For more information and this week’s full broadcast schedule, visit http://dialogosmedia.org/?p=5586.

Our Interview with Political Analyst Dimitri Lascaris Featured in Truthout

Dialogos Radio’s recent radio interview with journalist and political analyst Dimitri Lascaris of The Real News Network has been featured in Truthout! In this interview, Lascaris analyzes the results of the snap parliamentary elections held in Greece on September 20, the implications of these results for Greece, and he discusses his own candidacy in the upcoming Canadian parliamentary elections.

Find this interview online here: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33108-democracy-no-longer-matters-in-the-eu-dimitri-lascaris-analyzes-the-greek-election-results.

Dialogos Radio & Media

Oct 082015

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan99GetSmart


A prominent Turkish anchorman of the critical news network CNNTurk and columnist for critical daily newspaper Hurriyet, Ahmet Hakan has been subjected to a brutal attack by four men recently. The assailants had then quickly been caught and taken to Directorate of Combat with Organized Crime where the investigation was to be carried out and their statements to be taken separately. The four men had given similar statements as confession that they had been offered 100.000 TL (~$35.000), and the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and the “Chief” is also involved in the situation.

Raids against Media

The whistleblower from President Erdoğan’s circle “Fuat Avni” had spoken of raids against the critical news networks in the month of August, and several newspaper headquarters had been raided by police, and on September 5th, Hurriyet Daily’s HQ building was raided by an angry mob which seemed to have been coordinated and organized by an MP of the governing AK Party. The attack against Ahmet Hakan came in the aftermath of this raid, and several other Doğan Media journalists have been threatened openly, even during live broadcast through social media messages.

Massive Payment Promised in Return for Attack against Journalist

One of the assailants, K.E., has stated that they were offered 100.000 TL in order to carry out the attack; and the cross-examination of the statements have revealed the planned assault as to how the assailants carried out close examination and surveillance prior to the attack and how they followed the journalist back home.

The assailants have now been released except for one who is now under arrest; and all of them have changed their statements after they have been taken to the court house of Istanbul and met the prosecutor.

One of the assailants’ statement reveals that they were taken to a disclosed location and someone who introduced himself as the district chairperson told them that there is a problem with the journalist Ahmet Hakan and he needs to be beaten. The 100.000 TL promised would be arranged through the Ottoman Organization district directorate by someone named Nezir.

The assailants claim that they were under the influence of drugs at time of the negotiation and that’s why they had accepted the offer; and they also stated that they were promised immunity and no-investigation as the request has come from the state but would only realize the gravity of the issue once taken to Directorate of Combat with Organized Crime.

K.E. also stated that they have been deceived and were subjected to a conspiracy and would file a legal complaint about a retired special-ops officer called Y.K.G. who has given them the orders and given false legal information.

New-Deep State Involvement?

According to the statements from the assailants, Y.K.G., who owns a cafe in Fatih district of Istanbul, invited them and gave the orders there. He told them that Ahmet Hakan says “dead” rather than “martyr” for soldiers, and he supports HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) and provokes people. He added “the secret service is in this, whole security department is in this, the Chief is in this. In the next two days you are to finish this and the package will arrive.”

The assailants explain the event of the night as follows, “On the night of 30th, YKG was angry as we could not carry out the orders, then he told us that Ahmet Hakan’s program ends at 8:30pm. We went to the back-exit and followed his car until they came to the street where he lives. When his car stopped, we crushed slowly and he came out of the car after his bodyguard and driver. The bodyguard was warded off by one of us and when we finished we went back to Y.K.G.”

One of the assailants U.A. tells in his statement that they “met with someone named N.Ö. at Y.K.G.’s cafe and he told them that the Ottoman Organization (pro-AK Party far right youth assembly) would be much better than the Nationalist Movement Party (Far Right political party in the parliament with the abbreviation MHP). Upon following Ahmet Hakan with a car, the aim was to start a fight after a minor traffic accident. Once outside of the car, he made a run for his house, fell down and then upon second attempt to run he was caught and pushed and fell again.”

“After getting caught, in detention room we decided to tell the authorities that we got into a fight after a traffic accident, then we were transferred to the Organized Crime Unit. We were told that Hakam was a traitor and we were doing this for the state, in the name of security.”

According to cross-examination statements, Ahmet Hakan was requested to be beaten in such a way that he would be unable to hold a pen and write again; and the Y.K.G. would talk of him as a traitor who provokes violence. And the assailants were promised that they would receive a hero’s welcome by the security forces, justice, people and everyone as well as the promised sum of money.

Ahmet Hakan’s lawyer Aslı Kazan Gilmore, commented on the change of statements in the courthouse and said, “The assailants have given consistent statements regarding who requested them to do what and how much was promised, and it is all in coherence with what seems to have happened; however the investigation at the courthouse seems to have changed a few things alongside the statements given. Now the assailants deny their statements; the aim is to hide those who are behind this attack.”

Oct 062015

Translated by Michael Nevradakis, 99GetSmart


In the photo above, seven members of the “I Don’t Pay Movement” are pictured holding their case files. All seven members have had charges filed against them, either by the multinational corporations which operate Greece’s highway system, or by their state-employed collaborators, such as “anonymous” traffic police officers and other officials. Many of these cases were filed under the watch of the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks coalition government. Two of these cases will be held this month. One case, involving our member Makis Damoulianos, will be heard on October 9 in the city of Larissa. The other case, involving Vasilis Papadopoulos, will be heard on October 30 in Patra. Both men are facing the identical charge of destroying a tollgate. Another case will be heard in December, in which our member, Dimitris Peinoudis, is facing charges simply because he “dared” to stand up to a state official, in the case where charges were filed by the anonymous traffic cop.


Oct 062015

By James Petras, 99GetSmart



Western imperialism, in all of its manifestation, is being challenged by five political leaders, through diplomacy, moral persuasion and public pressure. In recent time, Pope Francis, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn have raised fundamental questions concerning (1) war and peace in the Middle East and the Caucuses; (2) climate change and the destruction of the environment; (3) economic sanctions, military threats and confrontation; and (4) growing inequalities of class, gender and race.

The New Global Agenda

These five protagonists of a new global agenda differ from past critics from the left both in the style and substance of their politics.

The politics of change, reform and peace in the near immediate period has a particular complex, heterodox complexion, which contains traditional conservative and popular components.

These leaders have a global audience and major impact on world public opinion – and indirectly and directly on Western politics.

Defying Past Left-Right Divisions

These five leaders defy the traditional left-right division. Pope Francis demands immigrant rights, equal pay for women, diplomacy and peace negotiations instead of war, and greater class equality. He excoriates neoliberal, capitalism (“the dung of the devil”).

But he also defends traditional Catholic doctrine on abortion, divorce, contraception and homosexuality. He opposes class struggle and social revolution in favor of class collaboration, dialogue, and negotiations.

President Putin favors negotiations and peaceful resolution of conflicts in Syria and the Ukraine. He is an ardent advocate of a global coalition to fight Islamic terrorism. He has sharply reduced western pillage of the Russian economy and restored salaries, pensions and employment. He has restored Russian military capacity and national security and reduced terrorist assaults from the Caucuses.

At the same time Putin supports some of the biggest Yeltsin era billionaires; is closely aligned with the conservative Russian Orthodox Church; and is excavating the remains of the last tyrannical Russian Tsar to honor him and his family.

President Xi Jinping has played a leading role in promoting increases in consumer spending, wages, pensions and social welfare. He has deepened links with US high tech industries and signed off on a major reduction of carbon fuels and pollution, offering $3 billion dollars to fund alternatives for less developed countries. He has fired, prosecuted and jailed over 250,000 corrupt government and party officials who exploited and abused the public, while limiting operations of speculative Western hedge funds.

At the same time, Xi retains the authoritarian one party system; defends China’s one hundred-plus billionaires; and restricts all forms of independent class political and trade union organizations.

Hassan Rouhani is both devout practicing Muslim and a staunch advocate of peace. He supports a ‘nuclear-free Middle East’. He is a consequential opponent of terrorism by Salafist Islamists, Zionists, Christians and Hindus. He is the leading critic of Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen and a principled defender of national self-determination. Internally he has reduced authoritarian state controls and censorship of free expression and promoted scientific and technological research – in a country where half of research scientists are women.

President Rohani has signed a high risk peace agreement with the US and its partners (5 + 1) dismantling Iran’s nuclear facilities and opening its military installations to international inspection by an international  atomic agency of dubious neutrality.

At the same time, Rohani opposes a secular state, supports liberalizing the economy, invites foreign multi-nationals to exploit lucrative oil and gas fields, and supports the corrupt and regressive US backed Shia regime in Iraq.

Jeremy Corbyn, the newly elected head of the British Labor Party, has been a consequential critic of neo-liberal capitalism and a strong advocate of public ownership of strategic economic sectors. He backs a highly graduated progressive income tax to finance a comprehensive welfare program.

He advocates a democratic foreign policy that opposes Anglo-American and Israeli imperialism in the Middle East and elsewhere.

However, upon taking office as head of the neo-liberal, pro-imperialist Labor Party, he confronts a parliamentary party dominated by his adversaries. His appointments to the “shadow cabinet” are overwhelmingly pro-NATO and pro-European Union; some even oppose his Keynesian budgetary agenda. Moreover, Corbyn endorses ‘working in the EU’ and promises to support a ‘yes vote’ in any referendum, even as the world witnessed how the EU imposed harsh austerity budgets on Latvia, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and other countries in financial straits.

The Collective Impact of the Five

There is no question that these five leaders have made a major impact on world public opinion on issues of peace, climate change, equality and the need to reach international agreements. In most cases one or more of the leaders have exercised greater influence on a specific public or region and have had a greater impact on some issues over others.

The Pope, for example, has greater influence on Christians; Rohani on the Muslim public; Putin, Corbyn and Xi on secular opinion. Xi and the Pope have a greater impact on proposals for climate change. Putin, the Pope, Rohani and Xi are prominent in advocating peaceful resolution of conflicts; Corbyn and the Pope on reducing inequalities and securing social justice.

With the exception of Corbyn and Xi, all support traditional religious beliefs and observances. Most are ‘ecumenical’ in the sense of supporting religious tolerance.

Most important, all pursue these goals through persuasion, diplomacy and winning over public opinion. None of these world leaders have invaded or overthrown incumbent adversarial regimes or occupied countries. All are leading opponents of terror – especially ISIS.

President Putin is playing a leading role in challenging President Obama to join a broad coalition, including Bashar Assad and Iran, in fighting ISIS terrorism.

Washington, despite its rhetorical hostility, was pressured to respond – ‘partially favorable’.

President Putin has also taken the initiative in the Middle East. He leads a coalition, including Iraq, Iran and Syria to co-ordinate the war against terrorism.

China’s President Xi has committed military forces in support of the Russia’s anti-terrorist proposal for Syria. The Pope has offered tacit support via his pronouncements against terrorism and for international coalitions.

As a consequence of the massive flood of refugees resulting from the US-EU-Saudi-Turkey support of Islamist mercenaries invading Syria and Iraq, several European allies of Washington are reconsidering their anti-Assad policies. They are moving toward the broad front proposals of Putin-Rohani-Xi and the Pope.

The social-economic impact of the Pope’s call for social justice is less apparent, apart from the routine lip-service from Western leaders. Among the quintet, Rohani is looking toward ‘market solutions’: inviting Western and Asian investors to revitalize the oil industry. Xi is cracking down on big time fraudsters in China and abroad, but has yet to embrace a comprehensive welfare and incomes policy. Putin presides over a petrol-economy in recession and has relied on private corporate oligarchs and overseas investors to regain growth. Corbyn’s egalitarian pronouncements have little impact among Labor Party politicians and his shadow cabinet. Moreover, he appears reluctant to mobilize the rank and file Labor activists for a fight for his program within the  Party.

The climate change and environmental struggle received robust backing from the Pope –in his speeches to the US Congress, the United Nations and in his mass gatherings.

President Xi reinforced the message by proposing to fund a massive clean air program for the less developed countries, while setting rigorous targets to reduce pollution in China. There is no doubt that their message is well received by all environmental groups and the general public. Some political leaders, including Obama, appear to be, in part, receptive.

Rohani, Putin and Corbyn have played only a minor role in the defense of the environment.

Response of the Western Powers

The US, EU, Japan, Israel and Australia, referred to as the ‘Western Powers’ paid lip service to the cause of peace, while continuing to pursue military objectives via air wars, cross border terrorist activities and military build ups.

In general terms, they manipulate a double discourse – of talking peace and bombing adversaries.

However, the Western Powers feel the pressure of ‘the quintet,’ which is winning the political ideological contest. The ‘Russian threat’ is no longer viewed as credible by most of the international public. China’s international financial initiatives have gained major support from across the globe.

Japanese militarization has provoked mass domestic unrest and regional concerns – especially in Southeast Asia.

Israel is a pariah, not just in the Middle East but is increasingly viewed with hostility by the rest of international public opinion.

Germany, Europe’s leading economic power, has been discredited because of the massive fraud scandal by Volkswagen, its leading automobile maker and major exporter.

In other words, while the Western Powers retain military superiority and important markets, their overseas policies have suffered severe setbacks and their leaders have lost credibility. Their domestic and overseas supporters are turning against them. Moreover, the moral authority of Western leaders has been severely questioned by the Pope’s harsh critique of the ‘exclusionary’ policies toward immigrants and refugees, the excessive greed of capitalism, the reliance on force instead of diplomacy and the massive human suffering due to capitalism’s unrelenting destruction of the environment.

The Pope’s generalities would not have had such a powerful political impact, if they were not accompanied by (1) the selective use of arms and diplomacy emanating from President Putin; (2) the diplomatic successes of President Rohani; and (3) the economic muscle of President Xi, in support of economic development and international co-operation on the environment and climate change.


From widely divergent origins and diverse ideological backgrounds, five political leaders have set a new agenda for dealing with war and peace, equality and inequality, security and terrorism and environmental protection. Except for Jeremy Corbyn, who in any case will probably be rendered impotent by his own party’s elite, none of these progressive leaders’ ideologies is derived from the secular left.

They challenge the status quo, and raise the central issues of our time, at a time when the secular left is marginal or self-destructs (as Greece’s Syriza, Spain’s Podemos or Italy’s Five Stars in Southern Europe).

Faced with this heterodox reality, the Left has the choice of (1) remaining in sterile isolation; (2) embracing one, some, or all of ‘the quintet’; (3) or aligning with them on specific pronouncements and proposals.

The five have sufficient drawbacks, ‘contradictions’ and limitations to warrant criticism and distance. But in the big picture, on the major issues of our time, these leaders have adopted progressive policies, which warrant whole-hearted active support. They are the only ‘show’ in the real world – if we are serious about joining the struggle against imperial wars, terrorism, environmental destruction and injustice.

Sep 292015

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan99GetSmart



The Turkish educational system suffers yet another blow; after last year’s signaling of a lifestyle indoctrination by President Erdoğan, this year’s new rules and regulations update seems to target the students’ future experiences and uses of free speech and questioning capacity. President Erdoğan had said “We have a problem with certain things, still. Thus we will tackle those problematic feelings by presenting [children with] a lifestyle, starting from as early as kindergarten onward.”

He had been talking about how the educational system was working in favor of “traitors” thus this was an open call for educational experts to work on new precautions to stop treason. The new rules and regulations that all children at school between the ages of 7 and 18 are subjected to now are as follows:

  • “National Values” is a recognized criteria that requires all pupils to comply with national and spiritual values; as well as present behaviors that follow general morality and customs. Failure in compliance results in expulsion from school.
  • Separatist, destructive, immoral, pro-violence content in the form of audio, textual, visual, video material will bring ultimate expulsion from school and the pupil will not be accepted back to schools anymore.
  • Students will only be allowed to miss 30 school days throughout the year; those who wish to become hafiz will not be required to comply with the 30 day limit.
  • Students who indulge in IT tools without the knowledge and control of the teacher will get disciplinary punishment.
  • Students who pester classmates through social media will get ultimate expulsion from school.
  • Students who share visual material that is shot at school, will be sent to disciplinary board.

In December 2014 President Erdoğan had accused the educational system of training individuals who are departing from their mother tongue and are ashamed of their society and culture; defined this as a national problem of training and discipline. After the national elections on June 7, 2015, the opposition parties all demanded to take ministry of education to reverse the harm done during the single party rule of AKP in the past 13 years, regarding the curricula and rules & regulations that are applied to children. The current system of national education in Turkey dictates a way of life and ideology.

More stories by Gürkan Özturan http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Sep 262015

Posted by Michael Nevradakis, 99GetSmart


Dear listeners and friends,

This week on Dialogos Radio, we will feature coverage of this past Sunday’s snap parliamentary elections in Greece, including an exclusive interview with journalist and political analyst Dimitri Lascaris of The Real News Network, as part of the Dialogos Interview Series. Lascaris will analyze the results of the elections, the new SYRIZA-led coalition government, the record high abstention level, and the failure of the Popular Unity party to enter parliament. Additionally, Lascaris will discuss his own candidacy in the upcoming Canadian parliamentary elections, as a member of the Green Party.

In addition to our exclusive interview, we will feature our own commentary and analysis of the Greek election results, plus some great Greek music! All this, exclusively on Dialogos Radio!

For more details and our full broadcast schedule, visit http://dialogosmedia.org/?p=5544. On our website, you can also find our podcasts, our on-demand programming, our articles and written work, our past playlists, and you can listen to our online radio station, Dialogos Radio 24/7.

Greek Election Interviews Featured on The Real News Network

Following the outcome of the September 20 snap parliamentary elections in Greece, Michael Nevradakis, producer and host of Dialogos Radio, spoke with The Real News Network about the results and what they might mean politically and economically for Greece going forward, including an analysis of the high abstention rate, the failure of the Popular Unity party to gain representation in the Greek parliament, and the first-place finish of SYRIZA, despite the political events of the past summer.

Videos and transcripts of the interview are available at the following links:

Part 1: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=14757

Part 2: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=14759


Dialogos Radio & Media

Sep 232015

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

Michael Nevradakis, scholar and host of Dialogos Radio in Athens, says the low voter turnout of 55% reflects widespread disenchantment with the Greek political system and SYRIZA:

Part 1

Part 2

Michael Nevradakis is a Ph.D. student at The University of Texas and a Fulbright Scholar based in Athens who has conducted extensive research on Greek media and politics. He is the producer and host of Dialogos Radio, a weekly radio program featuring interviews with leading Greek and international figures on matters pertaining to Greece, and is a frequent contributor to several Greek and international media outlets.

Sep 212015

By James Petras, 99GetSmart



Step by step, Washington is inexorably setting up a major provocation against China. Until now, the Obama regime tightened a military encirclement of China, expanding its armed forces agreements with Japan, the Philippines and Australia. In addition, it has promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a regional trade agreement which openly excludes China. Obama has ordered a major naval build-up in the South China Sea and embarked on extensive cyber-espionage of Chinese industries and the government via major US high-tech companies, as revealed by Edward Snowden in his release of confidential NSA document.

As President Xi Jinping prepares for his first US visit as China’s leader on September 25, with the aim of extending economic ties between Chinese and US business (especially with the high tech corporations in Seattle and Silicon Valley), the Obama regime has threatened to impose a series of punitive sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals for ‘cyber-espionage’, essentially undermining the purpose of his trip.

Characterizing the Chinese as ‘cyber-thieves’ and imposing sanctions on Chinese businesses on the eve of Xi’s visit will be justifiably seen as a deliberate humiliation and a provocation, designed to treat China as a mere vassal state of Washington.

This will force the Chinese government to retaliate on behalf of Chinese businesses – and President Xi is fully capable of imposing retaliatory sanctions against multi-billion dollar high tech US corporations, which had been flourishing – up to now – in China.

Obama’s decision to provoke China on multiple fronts reflects the overwhelming influence of the militarist power configurations in Washington: the Pentagon, the NSA and the Zionist-militarist ideologues.

In contrast to Washington’s aggressive policy, the major US high tech corporations are almost unanimous in their opposition to Obama’s ‘military pivot’ and are appalled by the threat of cyber sanctions, rightly calling them a “needless provocation”.

For its part, Wall Street has taken an intermediary position – hoping Washington will coerce China into ‘opening’ its protected financial markets to the big US banks. It doesn’t necessarily support aggressive sanctions, which could provoke a response from China closing off lucrative opportunities in the world’s biggest financial market.

Background to a Momentous Confrontation

China’s growth and overseas economic expansion has increasingly challenged US market supremacy in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

China’s relationship with the US, EU and Japanese multi-national corporations has changed due to its recent technological advances in its manufacturing and service sectors moving its production up the value chain. Increasingly, the Chinese have been demanding technology transfers from their multinational partners and an increasing use of locally manufactured parts in their assembly plants.

China’s economic expansion and industrial maturation has evoked divergent responses from the elites in Washington, Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

US Elites Diverge

The Pentagon and the White House developed the ‘military pivot’ to deal with China’s ascendency as an economic world power. This is essentially a policy of strategic confrontations, including military encirclement through regional base agreements, deliberate economic exclusion through regional trade agreements and political provocation through threatened sanctions. US military bases have expanded and a huge naval armada patrols China’s maritime frontier. There are US fighter planes flying over Beijing’s reclaimed island installations while the US State Department goads China’s neighbors to stake their own territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The White House and its highly militarized State Department have launched a full-scale propaganda campaign through the US mass media, criminalizing China with unsubstantiated charges of espionage. The range, intensity and frequency of these accusations indicate that this campaign is not some clever diplomatic ploy intended to squeeze out concessions in an otherwise peaceful relation. Rather Washington’s criminalization of China is meant to provoke a full rupture in diplomatic, political and economic relations and prepare for harsh military confrontations.

Washington’s campaign to criminalize China includes the hysterical claims that China has engaged in the long-term, large scale theft of US intellectual property rights. By falsely attributing China’s technological advances to ‘theft’ Washington denigrates China’s endogenous scientific and technological achievements as well as criminalizing the Beijing and Chinese companies.

In the last few years, the US arrested several Chinese scientists and issued warrants for others, publicly accusing them of spying on US companies. The charges against several of the scientists were later quietly dropped by the FBI for lack of evidence but not before the scientists had seen their careers destroyed. The negative propaganda impact on the US public was successful – Chinese scholars and scientists were depicted as spies. Whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations of National Security Agency’s documents clearly show that it was the US which was engaged in large-scale spying on Beijing, using major US IT corporations operating in China as a principal vehicle for data theft.

The US has accused China of violating international norms regarding the governance of the internet – claiming that Chinese authorities exercise censorship and control over US IT companies as well as its own citizens. In other words, Washington denies Chinese sovereignty by claiming extra-territorial jurisdiction over the internet! Along the same lines, Washington asserts that China has blocked US market access by insisting that public agencies rely on Chinese suppliers and that US firms store their data in China. China’s new policies developed after they discovered that US multi-national corporations were working hand-in-glove with the NSA and other US intelligence agencies. Is it any wonder that China sought to protect its industrial and trade secrets, as well as national security, by limiting access for US IT corporations?

The “Financial Press”: Wars over Markets

Washington’s provocative campaign to criminalize China and Chinese industries has been amplified in the financial pages of the respectable US and British press. The degree to which the leading Anglo-American financial newspapers, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, have become rabid advocates of Obama’s militarist confrontational policy instead of serving the business community’s market interests, evaluating the impact of sanctions on US high tech multi-nationals and presenting the much more moderate position of the major high-tech multi-nationals is striking.

The financial press’s shrill campaign is designed to paint China as a corporate criminal and ignores major US corporate opposition to any rash military actions. This propaganda campaign is warning the US IT elite of an imminent barrage of economic sanctions against China’s burgeoning cyber industries. These Sanctions could be announced prior to or even during President Xi Jinping’s visit to the US– if the militarists have their way.

White House Sanctions: The Divergences in US Policy

Despite White House rhetoric and anti-China hysteria, most US IT corporations have reaped huge profits from their sales and business arrangements with the Chinese state and Chinese businesses. According to one executive, “Apple is the standout success story, with sales of the iPhone rising 75 percent in China over the past year (2014)’. (FT 9/12 – 9/13/15).

Senior IT executives have expressed their willingness to accommodate China’s demands a change in the way they do business, including technology transfers, because they see “huge opportunities (for profit) in the near term”. The last thing Silicon Valley wants is for Washington to provoke hostile retaliation from China if Obama imposes sanctions:  That would entail the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars!

In the highly militarized-‘Zionized’ Obama administration, immersed in the politics of provocation and war, the multi-nationals do not have the final say.

China’s Maturing Capitalism: Indigenous Innovations

China’s maturing capitalism has been accompanied by significant changes. And in 2006, the Chinese leadership announced a new policy promoting ‘indigenous innovation’. The purpose of the policy was two-fold: to become less dependent on foreign technology and to combat the growing threat of Washington’s espionage via US high tech corporations operating in China.

In line with these strategic goals, in 2009 China ruled that only companies with locally developed technology would be allowed to bid for public procurement contracts.

In 2010, Google’s operations in China were shutdown when it was revealed that the company had acted as a ‘transmission belt’ transferring sensitive Chinese data to the NSA.  Washington immediately denounced China for what it termed “censorship” of Google.

As the endogenous innovation policy gained momentum, the US MNC monopoly of China’s high tech market was undermined. The MNC’s called for Washington to intervene and force China to “open” its markets to US dominance.

In strategic terms, the tie-in between the US IT MNCs and Washington boomeranged: While spying for NSA may have gained short-term favors for the high tech sector, it undermined strategic relations with China and its lucrative market. The IT moguls re-thought the strategy and sought greater autonomy from the NSA to regain China’s trust and re-enter its market.

High Tech Diplomacy

The high tech multinational corporations are eager to welcome China’s President Xi on his visit, viewing it as an opportunity to mend and expand relations. The Silicon Valley-Seattle corporate elite oppose sanctions against while the White House claim to be acting on their behalf.

The US high tech elite are aware that American IT companies must accommodate China’s demands to transfer and share technology. They have adopted a realistic perspective that if they do not share markets, technology and sales – they can lose out entirely.

Apple, IBM, CISCO, Qualcomm have declared that they would rather cooperate with China’s indigenous innovations policy than face big losses or total exclusion from the Chinese market.

Even Google, which served as the NSA’s willing accomplice and was expelled for espionage against China, is now seeking approval for a limited re-entry.

Wall Street Diplomacy: Pressure not Provocation

The big Wall Street bankers, on the other hand, want the White House to pressure China to de- regulate its financial markets. They want China to allow American hedge funds and speculators to sell short and artificially drive down the value of Chinese stocks, increasing volatility and discouraging investors.

It is questionable whether Wall Street’s idea of US “pressure” extends to applying punitive economic sanctions. After all, limited financial access under present circumstances is still far more lucrative than total exclusion which could result from Chinese retaliation in response to White House sanctions.


The divergent interests and approaches among US imperial elites, between high powered IT corporate CEO’s and Pentagon and White House militarists is evident in two parallel meetings taking place during President Xi’s visit.

During his visit to the US, Xi will stop over in Seattle to confer with top IT executives, coinciding with the US-China Internet Industry Forum. The timing and location (Seattle) of the Forum is not coincidental. Its timing was planned by the Chinese and reflects their influence and capacity to play-off powerful US economic elites against Washington’s war mongers and Pentagon militarists.

The White House has been pushing for a fight with China ever since Obama announced his so-called ‘pivot to Asia’. The saber rattling has escalated over the past two years, aided and abetted by an all-out propaganda campaign denigrating China’s scientific and economic performance and exaggerating fears of its defense modernization programs. When one reads the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times, one would think the Chinese economy is on the verge of collapse. They describe the drop in China’s projected annual growth from 7.3% to 7% as ‘catastrophic’! If the EU and US grew at half that rate, the financial scribes would claim an ‘economic miracle’!

Denigration of the Chinese economy; screeds and characterizations of the Chinese as industrial thieves engaged in spying and criminal behavior and the wild paranoid warnings about the growing ‘Chinese military threat’ are part of a systematic build-up to counter lucrative economic relations between China and IT corporations and other leading US economic sectors.

Washington’s projected sanctions on China will be many times more costly to US MNC than its current sanctions on Russia. White House sanctions on Moscow mainly damaged European-based industries and businesses. However sanctions against China will have a massive impact on the US economy.

The White House’s version of the “yellow peril” has no redeeming features for any sector of the US economy. It is the purest expression of militarism run amok. It over-rides any rational economic interest in pursuit of unadulterated geo-political military supremacy. Even on its own terms military supremacy is unattainable as Washington will soon discover, as China deepens its military ties with Russia!

If and when Washington raises the specter of sanctions against China, (with the accompanying gratuitous insults and unsubstantiated accusations of state sponsored “cyber theft”) the Chinese government will respond.

President Xi will take reprisals as he has done before, faced with lesser threats. And he will have the support of the vast majority of Chinese from all regions and classes.

US IT corporations are aware of this potential debacle and have openly and forcefully conveyed their views to Washington. For them, the so-called ‘cyber theft’ is a minor issue compared to the lucrative long term strategic opportunities in working with China.

So far the militarists in the Obama White House have commanded US-China policy. Up to now they have disregarded corporate American interests; whether it is US oil interests in Iraq and Libya, or IT corporations in China.

If Zionist officials in the Executive influence the militarists on Middle East policy, the hard core militarists influence the Zionists in the Far East.

If the US military-driven Middle East policy has been a failure, a similar policy toward China will be catastrophic.

US sanctions and humiliation against China and the consequent falling out of relations will play out in slow motion. Beginning with the precipitous decline of joint ventures and exports, it will lead to lifeless cranes in empty Pacific coast ports and rusting container ships; profit losses and vacant country clubs in Silicon Valley and lost sales for US auto companies. The list is endless but the consequences are clear.

Sep 182015

By Michael Nevradakis, 99GetSmart

Greek woman casts ballot in the 2014 electoral race in Thessaloniki, Greece, May 25, 2014. (Photo: Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock.com)

Greek woman casts ballot in the 2014 electoral race in Thessaloniki, Greece, May 25, 2014. (Photo: Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock.com)

Following a fiery summer in Greece, during which the Syriza-led coalition government turned its back on the majority of the electorate, which delivered a resounding “no” to austerity in Greece’s referendum, the country is preparing for snap parliamentary elections on September 20, in which it is far from clear whether Syriza will be able to win and form a new coalition government.

Scholar and analyst James Petras, one of the few voices who expressed doubts initially about Syriza’s desire and ability to deliver on its promises, offers his thoughts on the upcoming election.

Petras was an adviser to the Pasok government of Andreas Papandreou in Greece in the early 1980s, another “left-wing” regime elected on promises of radical change that were swiftly broken. He has also served as an adviser to leaders such as Hugo Chávez and Salvador Allende and has written extensively about politics in Greece. In this interview, Petras discusses Syriza’s collapse, how Syriza turned its back on the result of the July 5 referendum, and his thoughts on Popular Unity, the party that broke off from Syriza and that now promises to lead the anti-austerity front in Greece.

Michael Nevradakis: Many in Greece, and outside of Greece, were surprised (some would say shocked) at Syriza’s about-face in the space of just a few months – at how it essentially turned its back on those who overwhelmingly voted “no” toward more austerity in the July 5 referendum and at the very harsh memorandum agreement it signed with the troika. You, however, were not surprised at Syriza’s capitulation. What is your reaction to what happened?

James Petras: Well, it’s very clear that Syriza’s capitulation and subordination to the European Union struck a very powerful blow against the demands of the great majority of the people who voted for them, and disillusioned an enormous sector of the population. I think it wasn’t surprising because Syriza had within it many former leaders and people from Pasok, which had a notorious trajectory of not fulfilling programs and submitting to the European Union.

I think the fundamental problem was in the fact that Syriza never spoke out about an alternative to the European Union. Syriza’s members accepted the European Union as the framework; they accepted paying the debt as a framework, and they never formulated an independent policy. They overestimated their capacity to negotiate a progressive solution within the European Union, and absolutely nothing suggested that.

Their agreement to pay the debt was another fallacy: There was no way in the world that Greece would find the resources to maintain its debt. I think these three things – the composition of Syriza, the framework in which they agreed to orient, and the fact that they continued to channel resources to their creditors – undermined any possibility of a repudiation of the program of austerity and regression.

This debt was also found to be, in large part, odious and illegitimate.

Yes. That was decisively determined by a commission formed by the head of the Greek parliament, who was a leading member of Syriza, but this was completely rejected. [Former Greek Prime Minister Alexis] Tsipras acted as if the commission and the decisions on the debt meant nothing, and I think it was emblematic of his whole attitude towards any dissent. He acted like a Napoleon; he had a Napoleonic complex, in which anything which didn’t correspond to his notion of complying with the debt, complying with the EU, was out the window. It’s a very dictatorial and arbitrary organization, and the membership, the central committee and even some of his cabinet ministers didn’t mount a serious challenge to his dictatorial rule.

What do you believe was the actual message of the Greek electorate in their overwhelming vote of “no” in the referendum, and how do you believe this sentiment might be expressed in the upcoming parliamentary elections?

Well, I think the vote was clearly a rejection of more punishment, more regressive measures. It was a rejection of the dictatorship of the EU. It was an attempt to recover lost income, an attempt to recover sovereignty. It was a way of affirming Greek independence, Greek popular sovereignty, and a desire for Greek priorities to be given a greater importance over the creditors and debt payments and the privatizations and the firings. I think it was a very decisive “no” to everything that preceded it and everything that Syriza and Tsipras subsequently agreed to. So here you have this episode of the “no” in the referendum, sandwiched in-between the Syriza leadership’s compliance and subordination to the EU and continuation of regressive policies.

There are many now in Greece and outside of Greece who have their hopes set on the new political party, Popular Unity, which formed from the members of Syriza’s “Left Platform,” which broke off of Syriza a few weeks ago, with optimism that the likes of former Greek Parliament speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou, who will run in an alignment with Popular Unity, or Popular Unity party leader Panagiotis Lafazanis will stand up for those who voted “no.” Do you believe that this will actually be the case, or do you believe that Popular Unity, like Syriza, is insincere in its rhetoric?

Well, let’s look at the larger picture. Going in to these elections, Syriza is clearly going to decline. The political spectrum is going to become even more fragmented. The voters, going into the election, are highly disillusioned. Whatever they vote for and whoever they vote for, it’s basically a vote of fear rather than hope. It’s a vote that says, “Where can we find our new clients?” Not the instruments of structural change – “Who is the lesser evil?” I think that the hopes and aspirations and the radicalism that went into the January election is absent. I think Popular Unity will do poorly. It stayed in Syriza too long; it didn’t grow a mass organization outside of Syriza; it has very little insertion in any mass movement. Its struggle in the end with Syriza was essentially a parliamentary struggle. They didn’t put people in the streets, and I think people are disenchanted in general with anything associated with Syriza, and I think the level of trust for a second try is very low, especially as they saw many of the Popular Unity people sitting in the cabinet while all the damage was being done, all the capitulations were done.

I think that Popular Unity will be lucky to get representation in parliament. I think voters will hold their noses and maybe a quarter of the electorate will vote for Syriza. Popular Unity will probably get around 5 percent of the vote, and I think that the right-wing parties – New Democracy, Pasok, Potami – probably are going to put together a ramshackle kind of coalition. I don’t think they have objections to bringing Syriza in on a coalition, since they all agree on the latest memorandum. I think politically there is very little reason for them not to form a broad, right-wing regime.

What do you believe such a coalition will mean for Greece?

I think they would implement the very harmful and regressive policies that Syriza has signed off on. I think they will privatize most of the major lucrative resources in the Greek economy. I think there will be massive layoffs in the process of privatization. I think pensions will be cut, wages will be cut, salaries and public sector employment will be cut. I think this will send Greece into a continuing depression, and I don’t think any new investment in new enterprises will take place. The money that will be gained through privatization will simply be recycled to the outside bankers.

I think Greece faces a prolonged depression, prolonged regression and stagnation as a result of this, and hopefully, as people come to realize that Syriza and the right wing have nothing to offer them, I think there will be a return to street demonstrations and perhaps a radicalization of those demonstrations. There will be an increase in popular exodus, capital exodus; I think Greece will become a one-crop economy, essentially a tourist economy, largely controlled by foreign capital. I think the decline of public ownership is simply the increase of foreign ownership.

Popular Unity is said to be running in these elections on the Thessaloniki policy platform, which had originally been proposed by Syriza prior to the January elections, and which Syriza quickly abandoned. Do you believe that the Thessaloniki policy platform, with its ambivalence toward issues such as a “Grexit” and a write-down of Greece’s debt, is even enough for Greece at this time?

I don’t think that the Thessaloniki policy program represents a serious break. First of all because it is very ambiguous on Greece’s exit from the European Union and the eurozone, and that undermines any possibility of developing an alternative policy. Secondly, it doesn’t say anything about a moratorium on the foreign debt, which is necessary to channel new resources into revitalizing and developing an alternative economic strategy. So, whatever reforms the Thessaloniki program proposes are undercut by the framework and the resources which will be available. Whatever the attraction of the Thessaloniki program might have in terms of social reforms, are not viable within the framework, which it refuses to break with.

Furthermore, I think that Popular Unity did not fight on these issues when they were dealt with them. I think that they didn’t make a plausible case that they are willing to break with the renunciation Tsipras made very early on the Thessaloniki program. They mumbled and criticized, but all of it in Parliament. There was no convocation of mass movement, so one wonders whether Popular Unity leaders have that capacity, to put people in the streets, to build up that pressure, to create social consciousness, to sustain an alternative at this point. So, I think Popular Unity is largely a parliamentary tempest in the teapot.

Let’s talk for a moment about the European Union and its behavior in recent months. How would you characterize its stance toward Greece, with the new memorandum and harsh austerity it forced upon the country, and how would you gauge its stance toward the worsening refugee crisis from Syria and the Middle East, which has also greatly impacted Greece?

Well, the European Union was, is and will continue to be an oligarchical organization controlled by Germany, England, France, perhaps the Netherlands, in association with its subordinates in Eastern Europe. I don’t think it has any representation of anything progressive in Europe. I think it’s a very rigid, hierarchical, top-down organization that basically is organized around the idea that any members must accept the fiscal dictates, the economic and income policies dictated by, especially, Germany. And so, I think that the EU functioned as a debt collector for Greece. It took positions of intransigence, no recognition that they had a sovereign government that was democratically elected. They didn’t care. The main thing was to force Greece to meet its external obligations to the debt collectors, even after five years of failed policies – failed from the point of view of Greece getting out from under the depression. So, the question that they raised was, first debt payments and then we’ll talk about growth, and if you don’t meet your debt obligations, there was destabilization and every effort made to precipitate a capital flight and disinvestment in Greece.

I think you can say the European Union is an oligarchical organization that is essentially designed to favor German, English and French bankers, over and above the national interests of the majority of the citizens in Europe, especially those that are under the tutelage of the European Union. I think the European Union bears a great deal of responsibility for the refugees, because the refugees are coming from countries where the EU joined with the United States in wars, in destructive wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and sub-Saharan Africa. They destroyed economies and fostered mercenaries and terrorist groups, sectarian conflicts, and now they’re reaping the consequences: People that have been uprooted by the wars are now going to Europe because Europe destroyed their households, and they’re saying now, “You created our situation, and now you must deal with it.” I think Europe uprooted the people, and now Europeans want to avoid and evade the consequences, which is essentially resettling these uprooted people, who are products of Euro-US wars.

What do you believe would be the best policy solutions for Greece at this time? Do you believe that a “Grexit” or a departure from the European Union is in Greece’s best interest?

I think the only policy is to break with the European Union oligarchy and to assume an independent state, an independent policy. It’s necessary to get out of NATO and to deepen and develop alternative trade ties and to reverse the privatizations, to set a moratorium on the debt, impose capital controls and expropriate the banks. In other words, to mobilize and concentrate as many national resources and to develop trade with Europe, but on the basis of equality and outside of the European Union. To have their own fiscal policy, their own currency, in order to use their monetary policies if they need to devalue, in order to foster trade, if they need to develop a new development strategy, they need to control their national economy.

There are opportunities to trade and develop ties with Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela and even countries with the European Union, on a different basis. I think that the continuation of the European Union is a total and unmitigated disaster, and it’s demonstrated that it is a very arbitrary and dictatorial group that doesn’t take account of the interests and circumstances of its subordinate members.

Michael Nevradakis is a Ph.D. student in media studies at the University of Texas at Austin and a US Fulbright Scholar presently based in Athens, Greece. Michael is also the host of Dialogos Radio, a weekly radio program featuring interviews and coverage of current events in Greece.

Sep 152015

By Eric Toussaint, CADTM, 99GetSmart

Eric Toussaint, CADTM

Eric Toussaint, CADTM

Another way is possible …

Chapter titles:

  • The Citizen Audit Commission of 2011
  • The position of SYRIZA’s leadership regarding the citizen audit committee of 2011
  • SYRIZA’s program in the legislative elections of May-June 2012
  • Late 2012: SYRIZA’s leadership moderates its positions
  • October 2013: Alexis Tsipras calls for a European conference on public debt
  • SYRIZA becomes the leading party in Greece with the May 2014 European elections
  • The January 2015 victory5.
  • The fatal agreement of 20 February 2015 with the institutional creditors
  • A different policy was desirable and possible
  • The Truth Committee on the Greek Public Debt is launched
  • The Greek government refrains from making use of the audit
  • From the referendum on 5 July to the agreement of 13 July 2015
  • The lessons of the capitulation of 13 July 2015
  • A parallel currency as part of “Plan B”

Subtitles in the video by snakearbusto