greydog

Linda Ross aka greydog is a native Chicagoan who lives and works in Prague. greydog is the founder and editor of 99GetSmart.

Apr 232014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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During the beginning of his first term in office President Obama promised “to remake the Middle East into a region of prosperity and freedom”. Six years later the reality is totally the contrary: the Middle East is ruled by despotic regimes whose jails are overflowing with political prisoners.  The vast majority of pro-democracy activists who have been incarcerated, have been subject to harsh torture and are serving long prison sentences.  The rulers lack legitimacy, having seized power and maintained their rule through a centralized police state and military repression. Direct  US military and CIA intervention, massive shipments of arms,military  bases, training missions and Special Forces are decisive in the construction of the Gulag chain from North Africa to the Gulf States.

We will proceed by documenting the scale and scope of political repression in each US backed police state. We will then describe the scale and scope of US military aid buttressing the “remaking of the Middle East” into a chain of political prisons run by and for the US Empire.

The countries and regimes include Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Yemen, Jordan and Turkey . . . all of which promote and defend US imperial interests against the pro-democracy majority, represented by their independent social-political movements.

Egypt:  Strategic Vassal State

Chuck Hagel, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi

A longtime vassal state and the largest Arab country in the Middle East, Egypt’s current military dictatorship, product of a coup in July 2013, launched a savage wave of repression

subsequent to seizing power. According to the Egyptian Center for Social and Economic Rights, between July and December 2013, 21,317 pro-democracy demonstrators were arrested.  As of April 2014, over 16,000 political prisoners are incarcerated.  Most have been tortured.  The summary trials, by kangaroo courts, have resulted in death sentences for hundreds and long prison terms for most.  The Obama regime has refused to call the military’s overthrow of the democratically elected Morsi government a coup in order to continue providing military aid to the junta.In exchange the military dictatorship continues to back the Israeli blockade of Gaza and support US military operations throughout the Middle East.

Israel:  The Region’s Biggest Jailer

Palestinian-prisoners

Israel, whose supporters in the US dub it the “only democracy in the Middle East”, is in fact the largest jailer in the region.

According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselm, between 1967 and December 2012, 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned at some point, over 20% of the population. Over 100,000 have been  held in “administrative detention” without charges or trial.  Almost all have been tortured and brutalized.  Currently Israel has 4,881 political prisoners in jail.  What makes the Jewish state God’s chosen… premier jailer, however, is the holding of 1.82 million Palestinians living in Gaza in a virtual open air prison. Israel restricts travel, trade, fishing, building , manufacturing and farming through air, sea and ground policing and blockades.  In addition, 2.7 million Palestinians in the Occupied Territories (West Bank) are surrounded by prison-like walls, subject to daily military incursions, arbitrary arrests and violent assaults by the Israeli armed forces and Jewish vigilante settlers engaged in perpetual dispossession of Palestinian inhabitants.

Saudi Arabia:  Absolutist Monarchy

Barack Obama, King Abdullah

According to President Obama’s ‘remaking of Middle East’ Saudi Arabia stands as Washington’s “staunchest ally in the Arab world”.  As a loyal vassal state, its jails overflow with pro-democracy dissidents incarcerated for seeking free elections, civil liberties and an end to misogynist policies.  According to the Islamic Human Rights Commission the Saudis are holding 30,000 political prisoners, most arbitrarily detained without charges or trial.

The Saudi dictatorship plays a major role bankrolling police state regimes throughout the region.  They have poured $15 billion into the coffers of the Egyptian junta subsequent to the military coup, as a reward for its massive bloody purge of elected officials and their pro-democracy supporters.  Saudi Arabia plays a big role in sustaining Washington’s dominance, by financing and arming ‘jailer-regimes’ in Pakistan, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt.

Bahrain:  Small Country – Many Jails

Bahrain

According to the local respected Center for Human Rights, Bahrain has the dubious distinction of being the “top country globally in the number of political prisoners per capita”.  According to the Economist (4/2/14) Bahrain has 4,000 political prisoners out of a population of 750,000.  According to the Pentagon, Bahrain’s absolutist dictatorship plays a vital role in providing the US with air and maritime bases, for attacking Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.  The majority of pro-democracy dissidents are jailed for seeking to end vassalage , autocracy, and servility to US imperial interest and the Saudi dictatorship.

Iraq:  Abu Ghraib with Arab Characters

Barack Obama, Nouri al-Maliki

Beginning with the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 and continuing under its proxy vassal Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens have been tortured, jailed and murdered.  Iraq’s ruling junta, has continued to rely on US military and Special Forces and to engage in the same kinds of military and police ‘sweeps’ which eviscerate any democratic pretensions. Al-Maliki relies on special branches of his secret police, the notorious Brigade 56, to assault opposition communities and dissident strongholds. Both the Shi’a  regime and Sunni opposition engage in ongoing terror-warfare.  Both have served as close collaborators with Washington at different moments.

The weekly death toll runs in the hundreds.  The Al-Maliki regime has taken over the torture centers (including Abu Ghraib), techniques and jails previously headed and run by the US and have retained US ‘Special Forces’ advisers, overseeing the round-up of human rights critics, trade unionists and democratic dissidents.

Yemen:  A  Joint US-Saudi Satellite

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Yemen has been ruled by US-Saudi client dictators for decades.  The autocratic rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh was accompanied by the jailing and torture of thousands of pro-democracy activists, secular and religious, as well as serving as a clandestine torture center for political dissidents kidnapped and transported by the CIA under its  so-called “rendition” program.  In 2011 despite prolonged and violent repression by the US backed Saleh regime, a mass rebellion exploded threatening the existence of the state and its ties to the US and Saudi regimes.  In order to preserve their dominance and ties to the military, Washington and Saudi orchestrated a ‘reshuffle’ of the regime: rigged elections were held and one Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi, a loyal crony of Saleh and servant of Washington, took power.  Hadi continued where Saleh left off:  kidnapping, torturing, killing pro-democracy protestors… Washington chose to call Hadi’s rule “a transition to democracy”.  According to the Yemen Times (4/5/14) over 3,000 political prisoners fill the Yemen prisons.  “Jailhouse democracy” serves to consolidate the US military presence in the Arabian Peninsula.

Jordan:  A Client Police State of Longstanding Duration

Supporters of Jordan's opposition parties shout slogans during a demonstration after Friday prayers in Amman

For over a half century, three generations of reigning Jordanian absolutist monarchs have been on the CIA payroll and have served US interests in the Middle East.  Jordan’s vassal rulers savage Arab nationalists and Palestinian resistance movements; signed off on a so-called “peace agreement” with Israel to repress any cross-border support for Palestine; provide military bases in support of US, Saudi and EU training, arming and financing of mercenaries invading Syria.

The corrupt monarchy and its crony oligarchy oversee an economy perpetually dependent on foreign subsidies to keep it afloat: unemployment is running over 25% and half the population is subsisting in poverty.  The regime has jailed thousands of peaceful protestors.  According to a recent  Amnesty International Report (Jordan 2013), King Abdullah’s dictatorship “has detained thousands without charges”.  The jailhouse monarchy plays a central role in buttressing US empire-building in the Middle East and facilitating Israeli land grabbing in Palestine.

Turkey:  NATO Bulwark and Jailhouse Democracy

Under the reign of the self-styled “Justice and Development Party” led by Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has evolved into a major military operational base for the NATO backed invasion of Syria.  Erdoğan has had his differences with the US; especially Turkey’s cooling relations with Israel over the latters’ seizure of a Turkish ship in international waters and the slaughter of nine unarmed Turkish humanitarian activists.  But as Turkey has turned toward greater dependence on international capital flows and integration into NATO’s international wars, Erdoğan has become more authoritarian.  Facing large scale public challenges to his arbitrary privatization of public spaces and dispossession of households in working class neighborhoods, Erdoğan launched a purge of civil society ,class based movements and  state institutions.  In the face of large scale pro-democracy demonstrations in the summer of 2013, Erdoğan launched a savage assault on the dissidents.  According to human rights groups over 5,000 were arrested and 8,000 were injured during the Gezi Park protests.

Earlier Erdoğan established “Special Authorized Courts” which organized political show trials based on falsified evidence which facilitated the arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of military officers, party activists, trade unionists, human rights lawyers and journalists, particularly those critical of his support for the war against Syria.  Despite conciliatory rhetoric, Erdogan’s jails contain several thousand Kurdish dissidents, including electoral activists and legislators (Global Views 10/17/12).

While Erdoğan has served as an able and loyal Islamist anchor against popular democratic and nationalist movements in the Middle East, his pursuit of greater Turkish influence in the region, has led the US to deepen its political ties with the more submissive and pro-Washington , pro-Israel Gulenist movement embedded in the state apparatus ,business and education.  The latter has adopted a permeationist-strategy: purging adversaries in its  quiet march to power from within the state.  The US still relies on Erdoğan’s “jailhouse democracy” to repress anti-imperialist movements in Turkey; to serve as a military anchor for the war against Syria; to back sanctions against Iran and to support the pro-NATO Maliki regime in Iraq.

The Middle East Gulag and US Military Aid

The police state regimes and the long-term authoritarian political culture in the Arab world is a product of long-term US military support for despotic rulers.  The absence of democracy is a necessary condition for expanding and advancing the US imperial military presence in the region.

A small army of US Islamophobic academics, “experts”, journalists and media pundits totally ignore the role of the US in promoting, sustaining and strengthening the ruling dictators and repressing the profoundly democratic mass movements which have erupted over a prolonged period of time.  Spearheaded by long-time pro-Israel Middle East scribes and scholars, in Ivy League universities, these propagandists, claim that Arab dictatorships are a product of “Islamic culture”,or  the “authoritarian personality of Arabs” in search of a ‘strongman’ to guide and rule them.  Ignoring or distorting the history of working class struggles, pro-democracy protests and affirmations, in all of the major Arab countries, these scholars justify the US ties to the dictatorships as “realistic policies” given the “available options”.

Wherever real democracy begins to emerge, where political rights begin to be exercised, Washington provokes coups and intervenes to bolster the repressive apparatus of the state (Bahrain 2011-14, Yemen 2011 to 2014, Egypt 2013, Jordan 2012 among numerous other cases). While the bulk of the Middle East “experts” blame the Arab citizens for authoritarian rule, they completely ignore and cover-up Israel’s racist majority which solidly backs the incarceration and torture of hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy Palestinians.

To understand the Middle East gulag requires a discussion of US ‘aid policy’ which is central to sustaining the ‘jailhouse regimes’.

US Aid to Egypt:  Billions for Dictators

The Egyptian police state anchors the US ‘arc of empire’ from North Africa to the Middle East.  Egypt has been actively engaged in destabilizing Libya, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria and collaborating with Israel’s dispossession of Palestinians.  The Mubarak dictatorship received $2 billion dollars a year from Washington – nearly $65 billion for its imperial services.  US aid strengthened its capacity to jail, and torture pro-democracy and trade union activists.  Washington continued its military support of dictatorial rule after the military coup against Egypt’s first democratically elected government, to the tune of $1.55 billion dollars for 2014 .

Despite “expressions of concern” over the murder of thousands of pro-democracy protestors by the new military strongman General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, there was no cut in funding for so-called “counter-terrorism” and “security”.  To continue funding the dictatorship under US Congressional legislation, Washington refused to characterize the violent seizure of power as a coup . . . referring to it as a “transition to democracy”.  The key role of Egypt in US foreign policy is to protect Israel’s ‘eastern flank’. US aid to Egypt is product of the pressure and influence of the Zionist power configuration in Congress and the White House:  US aid is conditioned on Egypt’s ‘policing’ of the Gaza border, ensuring that Israel’s blockade is effective.  The White House supports Cairo’s repression of the majority of nationalist, anti-colonial Egyptians opposed to Tel Aviv’s dispossession of the Palestinians.  Insofar as Israel’s interests’define US Middle East policy, Washington’s financing of Egypt’s jailhouse dictatorship is in accord with Zionist Washington’s strategy.

Israel:  The US “Pivot” in the Middle East

Most independent and knowledgeable experts agree that US Middle East policy is largely dictated by a multitude of Zionist loyalists occupying key policymaking positions in Treasury, State Department, the Pentagon and Commerce as well as Congressional dominance by the Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish Organizations and their 171,000 full time paid activists.  While there is some truth in what some critics cite as the divergence of the ‘real’ US ‘national interest’ from Israel’s colonial ambitions, the fact is that US leaders in Washington perceive a convergence between imperial dominance and Israeli militarism.  In point of fact a submissive Egypt serves wider US imperial and Israeli colonial interests.

Israel’s war on Lebanon against the anti-imperialist Hezbollah movement served US efforts to install a docile client as well as Israeli’s effort to destroy a partisan of Palestinian self-determination.  Washington’s divergence with Israel over Israel’s dispossession of all Palestine does run counter to Washington’s interest in a Palestinian mini-state run by neo-colonial Arab officials.  As a result of Zionist influence, Israel is the biggest per-capita US aid recipient in the world, despite having a higher standard of living than 60% of US citizens.  Between 1985-2014, Israel received over $100 billion dollars, of which 70% was military, including the most advance high technology weaponry.  Israel ,the country which has the world record for political prisoners and military attacks on its neighbors over the past forty years, holds the record for US military aid.  Israel as the premier ‘jailhouse democracy’ is a key link in the chain of gulags extending from North Africa to the Gulf States.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia competes with Israel as an incarceration center of pro-democracy dissidents; the Saudi’s recycle hundreds of billions of petro-rents through Wall Street, enriching local Saudi despots and overseas pro-Israel investment bankers.  The Saudi-US-Israeli convergence is more than incidental.  They share military interests in warring against pro-independence, pro-democracy Arab movements throughout the Middle East. Saudi houses the major US military base and the biggest intelligence operations in the Gulf.  It backed the US invasion of Iraq.  It finances thousands of Islamic mercenaries in the US-NATO proxy war against Syria.  It invaded Bahrain to smash the pro-democracy movement.  It intervenes with Washington in support of the Yemen police state.  It is the biggest and most lucrative market for the US military-industrial complex.  US military sales between 1951 – 2006 totaled $80 billion.  In October 2010 it signed off on a $60.5 billion purchase of US arms and services.

Bahrain:  A US Aircraft Carrier called a Country

Bahrain serves as the naval base for the US Fifth fleet – and an operative base for attacking Iran.  It has been servicing the occupation of Afghanistan and US control of oil shipping routes.  The Al-Khalifa dictatorship is extremely isolated, highly unpopular and faces constant pressure from the pro-democracy majority.  To bolster their vassal rulers, Washington has increased its military sales to the tiny statelet from $400 million between 1993-2000 to $1.4 billion in the subsequent decade.  Washington has increased its sales and military training program in direct proportion to the growth of democratic discontent, resulting in the geometrical growth of political prisoners.

Iraq:  War, Occupation,and the Killing Fields of a Jailhouse Democracy

The US invasion and occupation of Iraq led to the slaughter of nearly 1.5 million Iraqis (mostly civilians, non-combatants) at a cost of $1.5 trillion dollars and 4,801 US military deaths.  In 2006 the US engineered ‘elections’ led to the installation of the Maliki regime, buttressed by US arms, mercenaries, advisers and bases.  According to a recent study for the Congressional Research Office (February 2014), by Kenneth Kilzman, there are 16,000 US military personnel and “contractors” currently in Iraq.  Over 3,500 US military contractors in the Office of Security Cooperation bolster the corrupt Maliki police state.  The jailhouse democracy has been supplied with US missiles and drones and over $10 billion dollars in military assistance :this includes $2.5 billion in aid and $7.9 billion sales between 2005 – 2013.  For 2014 -2015 Malaki has requested $15 billion in weapons, including 36 US F-16 combat aircraft and scores of Apache attack helicopters.  In 2013 the Malaki regime registered 8,000 political deaths resulting from its internal war.

Iraq is a crucial center for US control of oil, the Gulf and as a launch pad to attack Iran.  While Maliki makes ‘gestures’ toward Iran, its role as an advanced link in the US imperial gulag defines its real ‘function’ in the Gulf region.

Yemen:  The Desert Military Outpost for the American Gulag

Yemen is a costly military outpost for Saudi despotism and US power on the Arabian Peninsula.  According to a study, Yemen: Background and US Relations by Jeremy Sharp for the Congressional Research Service (2014), the US has supplied $1.3 billion in military aid to Yemen between 2009-2014.  Saudi Arabia donated $3.2 billion in 2012 to bolster the Saleh dictatorship in the face of a mass popular anti-dictatorial uprising.  Washington engineered a transfer of power from Saleh to “President” Hadi and ensured his continuity by doubling military aid to keep the jails full and the resistance in check. According to the New York Times (6/31/13) Hadi was “a carry-over of dictator Saleh”.  The continuity of a jailhouse democracy in Yemen is a crucial link between the Egypt-Israel-Jordan axis and the Saudi-Bahrain imperial gulag.

Jordan:  Eternal Vassal and Mendicant Monarchy

Jordan’s despotic monarchy has been on the US payroll for over a half century.  Recently it has served as a torture center for kidnapped victims seized by US Special Forces engaged in the “rendition” program.  Jordan has collaborated with Israel in assaulting and arresting Palestinians in Jordan engaged in the freedom struggle.  Currently Jordan along with Turkey serves as a training and weapons depot for NATO backed mercenary terrorists invading Syria.  For its collaboration with Israel, Washington and NATO, the corrupt jailhouse monarchy receives large scale long-term military and economic aid.  The monarchy and its extended network of cronies, jailers and family, skim tens of millions of dollars in foreign aid, laundered in overseas accounts in London, Switzerland, Dubai and New York.  According to a Congressional Research Service Report (January 27, 2014), US aid to the Jordanian royal dictatorship amounts to $660 million per year.  An additional $150 million for military aid was channeled to the regime with the onset of the NATO intervention in Syria.  The fund was directed to build-up the infrastructure around the Jordan-Syria border.  In addition, Jordan serves as a major conduit for arms to terrorists attacking Syria: $340 million destined for “overseas contingencies” probably is channeled through Amman to arm the terrorists invading Syria.  In October 2012, Jordan signed agreements with the US allowing a large contingent of Special Forces to establish airfields and bases to supply and train terrorists.

Turkey:  A Loyal Vassal State with Regional Ambitions

As the southern military bulwark of NATO, on Russia’s frontier, Turkey has been on the US payroll for over 66 years.  According to a recent study by James Zanotti Turkey – US Defense Co-Operation:  Prospects and Challenges (Congressional Research Service, April 8, 2011) in exchange for bolstering the military power of Turkey’s “jailhouse democracy”, the US secured a major military presence including a huge air base in Incirlik a major operational center housing 1,800 US military personnel.  Turkey collaborated with the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and supported the NATO bombing of Libya.  Today Turkey is the most important military operational center for jihadist terrorists invading Syria. Despite President Erdoğan’s periodic demagogic nationalist bombast, the US empire builders continue to have access to Turkish bases and transport corridors for its wars, occupations and interventions in the Middle East and  South and Central Asia.  In exchange the US has stationed missile defense systems and vastly increased arms sales, so-called “security assistance”. Between 2006 – 2009 US military sales exceeded $22 billion dollars.  In 2013-14, tensions between Turkey and the US increased as Erdoğan moved to purge the state of the Gulenists, a US backed fifth column, which permeated the Turkish state and used its position to support closer collaboration with Israel and US military interests.

Conclusion

The expansion of the US Empire throughout North Africa and the Middle East has been built around arming and financing vassal states to serve as military outposts of the empire.  These vassal regimes, ruled by dictatorial monarchies, and authoritarian military and civilian rulers, rely on force and violence to sustain their rule.  The US has supplied the weapons, advisers, and financing allowing them to rule.  The US arc of imperial military bases stretching from Egypt through Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Yemen, Iraq , Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, is protected by a chain of prison camps containing tens of thousands of political prisoners.

The US engagement, its pervasive presence throughout the region, is accompanied by a chain of jailhouse democracies and dictatorships.  Contrary to liberal and conservative policy pundits and academics, US policy for over 50 years has actively sought out, installed and protected bloody tyrants who have pillaged the public treasury, concentrated wealth, surrendered sovereignty and underdeveloped their economies.

Pro-Israel academics at  prestigious US universities have systematically distorted the structural bases of violence, authoritarianism and corruption in the Islamic world:  blaming the victims, the Turkish and Arab people, and ignoring the role of US empire builders in financing and arming the authoritarian civilian and military rulers and absolutist monarchies and their corrupt military, judicial and police officials.

Contrary to the mendacious tomes published by the prestigious University presses and written mostly by highly respected pro-Israel political propagandists, the remaking of the Middle East depends on the strength of the democratic currents in Islamic society.  They are found in the student movements, among the trade unionists and unemployed, the nationalist intellectuals and Islamic and secular forces who oppose the US Empire for very practical and obvious reasons.  Along with Israel the US is the main organizer of the vast chain of political prison camps that destroy the most creative and dynamic forces in the region.  Greater Arab vassalage provokes the periodic explosion of a vibrant democratic culture and movement; unfortunately it also results in  greater US military aid and presence.  The real clash of civilizations is between the democratic aspirations of the Eastern popular classes and the deeply embedded authoritarianism of Euro-American- Israeli  imperialism.

Apr 222014
 

El análisis de James Petras, 99GetSmart

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“El acuerdo sobre Ucrania no tiene sentido. Porque las condiciones para firmar el acuerdo ya fueron violadas y sin pedir disculpas. Es decir, los países occidentales van a continuar violando los acuerdos, no tienen ninguna intención de respetar acuerdos”, dijo el sociólogo norteamericano James Petras en su columna de análisis de la coyuntura internacional por CX36, Radio Centenario. Además, Petras destacó el llamado a elecciones realizado por el gobierno sirio y repudió las acciones terroristas en ese país, incluso recordó que contra lo que dicen los grandes medios pro imperialistas, “el mensaje del Papa (del día de Pascuas) está directamente atacando a las fuerzas apoyadas por la OTAN” y añadió que “todas las autoridades morales han tomado partido en favor de las elecciones de junio y  contra el terrorismo de quienes tiran bombas en la ciudad frente al Parlamento”. Ante la muerte de Gabriel García Márquez, Petras cuestionó que ningún documental sobre su vida, destaque “al hombre político, al luchador profundamente antimperialista”. Transcribimos a continuación el análisis de James Petras que Usted puede volver a escuchar aquí: http://www.ivoox.com/james-petras-21-abril-audios-mp3_rf_3042330_1.html

Efraín Chury Iribarne: Le estamos dando la bienvenida en Radio Centenario a James Petras. Buen día, Petras, ¿cómo estás?

James Petras: Excelente. Después de haber pasado un buen fin de semana que incluyó un asado de cordero por la Pascua, acompañados de amigos y vecinos, estamos con un día soleado de Primavera. Y prontos para comenzar este encuentro semanal.

EChI: Mucho me alegra Petras, comencemos.

Para empezar debo insistir con la situación en Ucrania. ¿Qué está pasando allí? ¿Cuál es el papel de la Unión Europea,  la OTAN y los Estados Unidos en todo eso?

JP: Bien. Es una situación bastante clara y definitiva, que los países occidentales -principalmente Canadá, Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea- buscan demonizar a Rusia y facilitar la toma de toda la Ucrania a partir de las agresiones de los paramilitares vinculados con el gobierno títere en Kiev.

Sabemos que este fin de semana en Ginebra, firmaron un acuerdo con Rusia supuestamente como una forma de buscar un acuerdo que podría dar los derechos a los ciudadanos del Este de Ucrania, derechos lingüísticos y de mayor autonomía.

Pero en vez de eso, en momentos en que se esta formando el acuerdo, el gobierno fascista de Kiev manda un grupo de asesinos neofascista, que atacaron los pueblos del Este, matando al menos a tres personas. Esto hace que pueda surgir algún grupo de autodefensa apara aplastarlos.

Pero de todos modos, esto indica en primer lugar que los países occidentales no tienen ningún interés ni capacidad para controlar a los neofascistas, ya que les permitieron utilizar las rutas, las armas y los respaldos políticos, para tratar de desarmar y aplastar a los pueblos del Este.

En segundo lugar, la prensa burguesa -por ejemplo el New York Times hoy y la BBC todo el fin de semana- no comentaban sobre la agresión, simplemente hablaban de un conflicto, sin poner en  contexto que el conflicto en el Este producto de un invasión de fuerzas armadas desde occidente, que están presentes en el gabinete. No son un grupo suelto de paramilitares, son partidarios de representantes que están en el gobierno.

En otras palabras, ya el acuerdo no tiene sentido. Porque las condiciones para firmar el acuerdo ya fueron violadas y sin pedir disculpas. Es decir, los países occidentales van a continuar violando los acuerdos, no tienen ninguna intención de respetar acuerdos.

Es más, cuando Rusia firma el acuerdo, ellos imponen condiciones que no son aceptables para los ucranianos del Este, incluso los ruso parlantes, que no tienen nada que ver con los golpistas de Kiev, no tienen ningún interés de desarmar a los neofascistas que vienen atacando y más aún, ya tienen el respaldo de las tropas que están presentes allá. Tienen en otras palabras, una mayoría, tienen presencia en el gobierno, tienen su propio gobierno, y están dispuestos a negociar un acuerdo que de todas las libertades que piden. Y Rusia no tiene derecho a desarmarlos o pedir que se desarmen frente a esta agresión. Yo creo que Rusia puede estar bien intencionada, pero ellos confiaban demasiado en firmar acuerdos con (Barack) Obama, (Francois) Hollande y los golpistas. Y no tienen ninguna razón para confiar en estos porque Obama tiene toda una historia de violar acuerdo en cualquier parte del mundo.

Los pueblos del oriente de Ucrania tienen todo el derecho a separarse y formar su propio país, formar su propio gobierno, convocar a sus propias elecciones y referéndum. Y Rusia no debe intervenir en eso con acuerdos de cúpulas, porque los acuerdos que Rusia firmó este fin de semana ya están violados y los países occidentales no tienen ninguna intención de rectificar ni auto criticar su conducta.

EChI: ¿Podríamos suponer que Rusia se siente débil por eso se sienta a negociar? ¿Cuál es la correlación de fuerzas?

JP: Obviamente las sanciones, las amenazas de nuevas sanciones, podrían influir en Rusia. Pero también la presencia de bases militares es un cerco contra Rusia,. Ucrania dentro de la OTAN es peor que sufrir algunas sanciones y algunas presiones desde Occidente. Porque uno, es una presión coyuntural y Rusia tiene posibilidades de romper eso, porque grandes empresas occidentales como las petroleras Shell y British Petroleum, o Siemens de Alemania; todas tienen enormes intereses en Rusia y no tienen ninguna razón para romper relaciones.

En segundo lugar, existe la posibilidad real y efectiva de efectuar grandes acuerdos en Asia, con China y otros países, para compensar cualquier pérdida en el Oeste. El  único gobierno que esta empujando mayores sanciones es el menos afectado, que es Estados Unidos, porque tiene menos comercio, menos inversiones y menos dependencia del petróleo y del gas ruso. Por eso para ellos no cuesta nada perder eso.

Pero en todo caso, creo que Rusia si puede sentirlo, a partir de los oligarcas. Es decir, los mas afectados por las sanciones son los oligarcas y mejor que se vayan, que se bajen.

EChI: Si nos remitimos a los antecedentes recientes, la democracia o los gobiernos democráticamente electos están en peligro -lo pudimos ver en Libia, en Afganistán , Siria, etc. y hasta en Venezuela o Ucrania- ¿podría pasar en Rusia?

JP: Si, tienen una quinta columna que se llaman los liberales y la prensa occidental siempre está destacando su importancia Cualquier comentario, cualquier manifestación por minoritaria que sea, cualquier declaración de un experto o un autodenominado experto, que sirva para demonizar a (Vladimir) Putin. Es cierto que existe esta quinta columna también en Rusia, autodenominados demócratas liberales, pero no tienen capacidad electoral, no controlan el ejército, no tienen capacidad de movilizarse a nivel nacional.Están debilitados electoralmente, divididos entre sí. Yo no creo que estén en este momento, en situación de lanzarse. Pero la política occidental es  apretar a partir de golpes de Estado como en Ucrania: con ejercicios militares en todas las regiones fronterizas -Polonia, Letonia, hacia el sur- ..Es una política de desgastar Rusia y fortalecer la quinta columna rusa, a los demócratas liberales, creando condiciones más favorables para que ellos puedan avanzar en una coyuntura más adelante. En la actualidad, Putin es mucho mas fuerte.Las encuestas muestran un gran salto en su popularidad frente a la agresión occidental y la quinta columna está bastante decaída en este momento porque si se ponen en contra, aparecen como lo que son, como traidores de su país y simples agentes de occidente.

En este sentido, esta confrontación con Occidente ha fortalecido el sentido patriótico y anti agresor de Rusia.

EChI: ¿Qué te ha parecido la convocatoria a elecciones en Siria para junio?

JP: Bueno, ahí hay dos cosas a considerar.

El mismo día, este domingo, cuando el gobierno de Bashar Al Assad anunció elecciones presidenciales para el 3 de junio, los terroristas pro occidentales respaldados por los Estados Unidos pusieron una bomba y mataron a cinco personas frente al Parlamento sirio. Dos tipos de  respuestas completamente divergentes: uno, la iniciativa democrática del Presidente de Siria y dos, las bombas terroristas por parte de la oposición.

Y uno debe anotar una cosa que la prensa occidental trata de esconder: Cuando el Papa desde El Vaticano pide paz y el fin de la violencia, está dirigido contra la oposición; la prensa occidental trata de decir que está contra la “violencia de todos”, pero “todos” no incluye a los que están defendiendo el derecho a la libre creencia incluso protegiendo a los cristianos de los terroristas islámicos que están invadiendo el país. En este sentido, el mensaje del Papa está directamente atacando a las fuerzas apoyadas por la OTAN.

Lo mismo pasa con otra figura religiosa, como el patriarca de la Iglesia Cristiana Ortodoxa, que ha condenado a la oposición tanto por la violación de los derechos religiosos y la violación de todos los lugares sagrados. Incluso hay sectores musulmanes, no solamente los chiíes, sino los suníes que supuestamente están en contra de Bashar Al Assad, han atacado a los terroristas porque no respetan nada de los lugares religiosos

Entonces, el día de Pascua coincidió con la denuncia casi unánime de las grandes religiones en el mundo occidental, menos los rabinos judíos en Israel que siguen apoyando a los terroristas islámicos como aliados de Israel. Pero más allá de eso, debemos decir que todas las autoridades morales han tomado partido en favor de las elecciones de junio y  contra el terrorismo de quienes tiran bombas en la ciudad frente al Parlamento.

EChI: Bien, Petras, como siempre el último tramo es para que abordes los temas de tu interés.

JP: Bueno, quiero verter dos cosas más que nada, porque ya tocamos temas que tenia algunos apuntes.

El primer tema tiene que ver con la hipocresía occidental. Tres periodistas secuestrados por los terroristas en Siria, vuelven a casa en Francia. Fueron encarcelados y torturados por los terroristas apoyados por el gobierno francés. Y este hipócrita de Hollande fue a abrazar y apoyar a los periodistas. Es decir, por una parte apoya, financia y arma a los terroristas que secuestraron a los periodistas y cuando vuelven los secuestrados él va a recibirlos y saludarlos. Esto indica la hipocresía que domina la política occidental, por un lado están fomentando el terrorismo y por otro lado, supuestamente, están apoyando a los liberados.

El segundo punto que quiero exponer, es sobre la muerte de Gabriel García Márquez. En muchos reportajes, testimonios, hablan de la gran figura literaria, de la gran persona, de sus amistades incluso con Fidel Castro; pero no hablan del Gabriel García Márquez como político, como luchador, como partidario activo por los derechos humanos. Yo trabajé diez años con Gabriel García Márquez, entre 1973 y 1982, nos conocimos porque trabajamos casi mano a mano en el Tribunal (Bertrand) Russell contra la represión en América Latina.

Gabriel García Márquez era muy activo en las deliberaciones, lo recuerdo junto a Julio Cortázar pasando la noche entera preparando un Manifiesto en Defensa de los procesos revolucionarios en América Latina, fomentando un llamado a los intelectuales. Recuerdo las conversaciones con Gabo sobre como podíamos promover el Tribunal para recibir más publicidad, y García Márquez propuso invitar al ex agente de la CIA, Philip Agee, a una Sesión. Y le pagó el pasaje, Philip Agee estaba en Inglaterra y nosotros en Bruselas, Gabo lo llamó y en la misma tarde Agee llegó y dio su testimonio a Aula llena.

Es decir, Gabriel García Márquez tenia una imaginación política de cómo levantar la atención del público frente a lo que estaba pasando en el mundo, porque la violación de los derechos humanos no era producto simplemente de los dictadores en América Latina porque atrás de ellos estaba la actividad de la CIA.

Gabriel García Márquez era profundamente antiimperialista y eso no aparece en las memorias.

La hipocresía de los gobernadores en América Latina principalmente en Colombia, donde Gabriel García Márquez me contaba las amenazas que recibía del terrorismo. Incluso en una sesión del Tribunal , Gabriel García Márquez invitó a representantes de la comunidad indígena a dar su testimonio sobre cómo los grandes ganaderos colombianos, respaldados por el gobierno, no pensaban que matar indígenas era un crimen; para ellos era como matar a un lobo, una amenaza a la ganadería. Fue muy chocante oír cuando un indígena contó como un campesino entró a la comunidad a los balazos y cuando lo pararon dijo que su patrón le aseguraba que no era un crimen matar indígenas.

Este tipo de intervención de Gabriel García Márquez, muestra varias cosas. Primero, un profundo compromiso con el pueblo colombiano y no con los gobernadores que amenazaban con matarlo por esos testimonios.

Segundo, era un político de gran imaginación, capaz de promover actividades que llamaran la atención de los medios, incluso los medios burgueses.

Y tercero, Gabriel García Márquez, a pesar de ser un Premio Nobel, siempre mantuvo vínculos con las luchas populares, en todas las dimensiones no solamente humanitarias, sino activamente político contra las oligarquías en América Latina y contra la política imperialista.

Hasta ahora, los documentales que se vieron ahora no muestran estas dimensiones. Yo se que por lo menos por diez años García Márquez trabajó de forma muy consciente en el Tribunal Russell, después en la Organización por los Derechos de los Pueblos y en la fundación de Argelia en 1976.

EChI: Muy bien Petras, muchas gracias por esta aclaración.

Nos reencontramos el lunes.

JP: Así es, un abrazo.

Apr 172014
 

By Shari Foster and Sue Schumann, 99GetSmart

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As the country entered what the mainstream media termed the “Polar Vortex,” we entered into an emotional vortex of concern and dread. While running our errands, struggling with the frigid temperatures it struck us: What would we do if we couldn’t? What if the oil tanks in our homes were empty, what if we didn’t have access to transportation or use of a personal vehicle to purchase groceries? Volunteering with the local Food Not Bombs LI Chapter, we knew first hand that poverty and hunger are ever present in Long Island. The stereotypical version of what Eastern Long Island is – wealth and luxury, beachfront properties with driveways filled with fast and fancy cars – is far from accurate. As temperatures dipped we grew more alarmed, knowing that many houseless were facing the worst weather elements and survival would come at a high price.

Inspired by the work of #OpSafeWinter-NYC, we embarked on our two-woman journey. Since we recognized our limited finances we quickly became both frugal and inventive. SouperSistas started serving soup on January 7, 2014. We went to local grocery stores and scoured the reduced-produce racks for fresh produce and scoped out sales to prepare tasty and healthy food. We were aware of small houseless communities that gather cans and bottles that are redeemed for the five-cent deposit money. Once redeemed, resources are collectively shared in an effort to provide and care for each other. Every Tuesday and Thursday we choose to share our hot soup and fresh bread with these communities. We also served soup in the local Department of Social Services (DSS) parking, lot where we witnessed people with garbage bags and shopping carts filled with their belongings seeking emergency shelter. Recently we were escorted off of DSS property by two police cars that informed us we were on “private property.” We explained that our taxes pay for the parking lot; we decided to leave to avoid arrest. We are trying to decipher the bureaucratic process so we may return to DSS, but in the interim we continue to serve in areas that welcome us.

Marginalized populations face a bureaucratic system that is very complex, one that imposes too many requirements for people to fulfill. In the beginning we were often met with distrust, a certain “what’s in it for you?” reluctance, and deservedly so. When the system fails, contempt and distrust prevail. Over time we can honestly say that the barriers we faced initially have slowly dissipated. The newly formed friendships have been the ultimate gift that we continue to receive. Our respect for the community is overwhelming; the strength, the commitment to each other serve as a constant reminder to us that we must take care of each other. We can’t rely on a compassionless government who creates victims and then blames them for their circumstances. It’s such a simple, basic principle, one that we teach our children at a very young age: the importance of sharing. Sadly, certain cities in the US have made it illegal to share one’s food with homeless people. What kind of lessons are we teaching our young?

We are pleased that others, both on Long Island and in other states, have joined with SouperSistas and share food as well.

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You can follow us on Facebook at #SouperSistas and on twitter @SouperSistas.

Apr 152014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

Vassilis Papadopoulos, Linda Ross (aka greydogg) and Theodosis Temzelidis

Vassilis Papadopoulos, Linda Ross (aka greydogg) and Theodosis Temzelidis

A delegation from the Den Plirono (“I Won’t Pay”) Movement in Greece met Friday, April 4, 2014, in Barcelona with Linda Ross and other activist comrades to deepen relations between the civil disobedience movements of the two countries.

Vassilis Papadopoulos, president of the Movement, and Theodossis Temzelidis, member of the political secretariat of the Movement, represented Den Plirono in Barcelona.

Linda Ross is a well-known activist who has supported the Den Plirono Movement in many ways and is now living in Barcelona.

During the meeting, they exchanged experiences between the movements of the two countries and laid the foundations for the further deepening of relations. 

The delegation of the Movement will meet with other political forces in the region.

Greece and Spain are in the midst of the storm of the capitalist crisis. Common problems include the closing of stores in Barcelona as in Athens and in other cities of the two countries.

The solution to the problems of 99% of the people can be found in the common struggle of the peoples of Europe and the overthrow of the system of exploitation through the assertion of human rights.

The people united will never be defeated.

Den Plirono movement
Apr 142014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* THE RED LINE AND THE RAT LINE

By Seymour M. Hersh, London Review of Books

ERDOGAN-OBAMA GORUSMESI

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons. * Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’ […]

READ @ http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

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* ALL THE PRESIDENTS’ BANKERS: THE WORLD BANK AND THE IMF

By Nomi Prins, zerohedge

Lloyd Blankfein, James Dimon, John Mack, Brian Moynihan

The following is an excerpt from ALL THE PRESIDENTS’ BANKERS: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power by Nomi Prins (on sale April 8, 2014). Nomi Prins is a former managing director at Goldman Sachs.

The World Bank and the IMF: Expanding Wall Street’s Reach Worldwide

Just after the United States entered World War II, two simultaneous initiatives unfolded that would dictate elements of financing after the war, through the joint initiatives of foreign policy measures and private banking whims. Plans were already being formulated to navigate the postwar peace, especially its international power implications for finance and politics, in the background. American political leaders and scholars began considering the concept of “one world” from an economic perspective, void of divisions and imbalances. Or so the theory went.

The original plans to create a set of multinational entities that would finance one-world reconstruction and development (and ostensibly balance the world’s various economies) were conceived by two academics: John Maynard Keynes, an adviser for the British Treasury, and Harry Dexter White, an economist in the Division of Monetary Research of the US Treasury under Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau.

By the spring of 1942, White had drafted plans for a “stabilization fund” and a “Bank for Reconstruction and Development.” His concept for the fund became the seed for the International Monetary Fund. The other idea became the World Bank. But before those entities would come to life through the Bretton Woods conferences, many arguments about their makeup would take place, and millions of lives would be lost. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-12/all-presidents-bankers-world-bank-and-imf

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* EURODAD REPORT SHOWS HOW IMF LENDING OFTEN MAKES CRISIS COUNTRIES’ SITUATION WORSE

Source: Eurodad, CADTM

IMF_2012-04-22

IMF loans come with conditions which are often highly controversial, for example influencing taxes and cutting spending; freezing or reducing public sector wages; and mandating cutbacks in welfare programmes, including pensions. There are also conditions on the restructuring and privatisation of public enterprises, and conditions that reduce minimum wage levels.

Although the IMF has said it has tried to “streamline” its conditional lending, Eurodad counted an average of 19.5 structural conditions per programme – a sharp increase since 2005-7 when Eurodad found an average of 13.7 conditions. The biggest loans had the heaviest conditions, with exceptionally high numbers in Cyprus, Greece and Jamaica – which totalled an average of 35 structural conditions per programme.

Almost all the countries were repeat borrowers from the IMF, suggesting that it is propping up governments with unsustainable debt levels, not lending for a temporary balance of payments problems – its true mandate. Developing countries have a limited voice and minority vote at the IMF, and so these developments are especially worrying for them.

The Ukraine is the latest country to have been in negotiations with the IMF, with conditions attached to their proposed loan reported to include a cut in energy subsidies for consumers and a rise in gas prices by 50 per cent. […]

READ @ http://cadtm.org/Eurodad-report-shows-how-IMF

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* WHITEWASHING THE UGLY FACE OF CAPITALISM

By Patrice Greanville, Greanville Post

capitalism-crash-600x374

(NOTE: This essay is a revised version of the original first published in the fall of 1982 in the premiere edition of Cyrano’s Journal, America’s First Radical Media Review. )

GLOSSARY OF MAJOR DISTORTIONS

1 Capitalism = human nature

This propaganda equation is one of the oldest and most effective ideological weapons utilized in defense of capitalism. It pays off handsomely in a number of important ways. First, if capitalism is congruent with “human nature,” then the capitalist system must be the most “natural” and “logical” form of social organization, as people will have a built-in tendency to observe its basic rules. Second, “human nature,” as defined in bourgeois terms (which the press of course follows) is characterized by two significant traits: immutability and unalterable egoism.

The first “fact” automatically discourages most efforts at seriously reforming, let alone revolutionizing, society. Why should anyone bother if in the end the stubborn intractability of human nature will render all schemes for change and improvement of social conditions worthless and utopian? It’s evident that when sufficient numbers of people are made to believe that an eternal, immutable and invincible “human nature” will time and again scuttle the best-laid plans and the costliest sacrifices for change, then most threats to the status quo will be defanged at the outset.

The second “fact,” addressing the supposed individualistic nature of people, provides a convenient justification for the harsh, dog-eat-dog conditions that prevail under the so-called free-enterprise system. In this vision, all human motivation is supposed to flow from the desire for pecuniary gain and self-aggrandisement. Individuals are perceived uni-dimensionally as simple atoms of unrelenting hedonism, constantly pursuing the calculus of profit and loss, pain and pleasure, as they irrepressibly “maximize” their options to fulfill the dictates of hopelessly greedy natures. This is the fabled “homo economicus” of free market literature; the heroic “rugged individualist” so dear to conservatives, and supposedly the creature on which all human progress and wealth depend. But why do the media–and especially the wilier corporate apologists– embrace this tack with so much fervor? As suggested above, the very possibility of changing things is a highly contested ideological area. Radicals argue that society can and should be drastically changed. Conservatives (and the media, which incorporates the mildly reformist liberal viewpoint) contend that nothing basic can or should be changed because our behavior is rooted in an unchanging human nature true for all epochs, systems, and states of human evolution, and, besides, the system is quite sound as it is. History, however, when properly read, is not very kind to conservative social science. As economists E.K. Hunt and Howard Sherman have pointed out, “human nature” seems quite adept at changing to reflect each new set of prevailing social circumstances.

Thus, “it’s no coincidence that the dominant view or ideology under slavery supports slavery; that under serfdom [it] supports serfdom; and that under capitalism [it] supports capitalism. (…) Since our ideology is determined by our social environment, radical economists contend that a change in our socioeconomic structure will eventually change the dominant ideology. Before the Civil War most Southerners (including their social scientists and religious leaders) believed firmly that slavery, an essentially pre-capitalist, agricultural system, was natural and good; but after 100 years of dominance by capitalist socioeconomic institutions, most Southerners (including their social scientists and religious ministers) now declare that capitalism is “natural and good”. So the dominant ideas of any epoch are not determined by “human nature” but by socioeconomic relations and can be changed by changes in these underlying relationships. There is thus hope for a completely new and better society with new and better views by most people.” (F.K. Hunt and Howard J. Sherman, Economics, Harper & Row, 1978, p. xxviii.)

Further, if “human nature” is inherently greedy, competitive and egoist, how do we explain altruism, sharing, selflessness and social cooperation, which can be readily observed to this day in many human institutions and societies throughout the world? It should be borne in mind that class-divided societies and private property made their appearance barely 10,000 years ago, roughly congruent with the rise of agriculture, food surpluses, sedentarism and animal-domestication, while the bulk of our time on earth as a species has been spent under tribal or primitive communitarianism which stressed familial bonds and a sharing of the commonwealth.Question for our pro-capitalist theoreticians: Did native Americans have a human nature?

READ @ http://www.greanvillepost.com/2014/04/11/whitewashing-capitalism-the-medias-false-propaganda-equations-and-assertions/

Apr 102014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

Source: ECO Media

Despite the blocking of YouTube in Turkey – ECO Media shows YouTube documentary “My Life under Erdoğan — Video Diary from Istanbul”

Weeks before the blocking of YouTube ECO Media started contacting video bloggers in Istanbul. They have filmed the protests in Gezi Park and other places from the beginning on. And they published their videos on YouTube — until the government stopped them.

But this could not prevent ECO Media´s project. The cooperation between the German production company and the Turkish video bloggers was finished. And ECO Media made many interviews with video bloggers and other eye witnesses via Skype. They talk frankly about Erdoğan´s corruptions scandals, the death of a 15 year old boy, their fear after the local elections. A very intense and personal film — unimpressed by Erdoğan´s censorship.

VIDEO @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d82cRXAFXNM

Apr 092014
 

A play by James Petras, 99GetSmart

A Boy and His Father

Fathers and Sons:  The Invisible Ladder

By James Petras

Act 1

Setting: Restaurant, where four middle-age friends, who have known each other since their university days in the early 1970’s, meet for lunch.

Professor:  Should we share a bottle of wine?

Lawyer:      Why not!  There’s no time clock, clients or deadlines.

Social Worker:  (smiles). We can afford it!

Doctor:  No doubt … we’re drawing pensions, Social Security, and annuities.  Medicare covers our medical bills.  Mortgages are paid up.

Professor:       Someone e-mailed me an announcement about a half-century anniversary of the student strike… back then and when.

Lawyer:          Is it that long ago?  Seems like only yesterday we were rabble rousing and doing all-nighters running off leaflets.

Doctor:  For some folks that was the biggest moment of their lives.  They’re frozen in a time warp.

Social Worker:  You’d be surprised how many activists stayed and made a career out of celebrating their past.

Lawyer:          Yeah, past thirty they got seedy.  Didn’t know when to move on to the real world.

Professor: Best advice I ever got was from my dissertation director, who told me to ice the polemical stuff and publish in the premier journals and presses.   First, get in the big league … “After you make it,” he advised, “you can do whatever you want … your endorsement of good causes will be sought and valued.” He was right!

Lawyer: (cynical smile) Course after you climb the ladder, there’s no looking back … (quickly adds) but I still take pro-bono clients once in a while.

Social Worker: That’s good insurance if you ever run into one of those losers who went full-time and landed on their backsides when the big lay-offs hit in the early 1980’s. Now they’re full of envy and resentment of those of us that didn’t burn our bridges.

Lawyer:  I never run into the ‘losers’.  Not at work, not in my neighborhood, or not hanging around my summerhouse.

Professor:  I used to see some of them. The smart ones made it on the lecture circuit and cashed in for a while. But who knows what happened to them after that?

Doctor:  By the way, can I interest you guys in signing a petition for single payer national health care? It’s been circulating on the Internet.

Lawyer:  Send it to me.  I’ll look it over.  It must be for the next generation to worry about.  My medical needs are covered across the board.

Social Worker:  Lots of uncertainty out there. My kid resents paying Social Security.  He claims it won’t be around when it’s time for him to collect.

Professor:  He’s got a point there but he‘s stretching it a bit (pause) Times are changing though…  When I graduated, I had a dozen offers and I was still active in the Movement.  The Viet Nam war was still on and the blacks were rioting in the cities.  But I kept away from the crazies… the ones carrying the Vietcong flag and provoking the cops with taunts.  I published in the right journals, crunched the numbers the right way and I got the grants.  And promotions.

Lawyer:  (yawns discreetly covering his mouth).  It was all a question of hooking up with the right people.  I got an offer from a top law firm and worked round the clock and won my cases.  I made senior partner in five years.  Paid my mortgage in ten.  And bought my beach house when I was lead lawyer in the big Holocaust lawsuit against the Swiss…

Doctor:  It seems like there is no way going back or coming down, even when the protestors disappeared and the right-wing came back to power.

Social Worker:  I disagree. Some things changed for the worst.  I mean social budgets have been cut.  Iraq was invaded. Yugoslavia bombed.  Public employee salaries were frozen and benefits costs skyrocketed.

Professor:  Yeah.  Times are changing for the worst. They  hired three   part-timers to fill my line when I retired – they’ll have no benefits, no chance at tenure and the university saves a bundle.

Lawyer: I would agree … it’s more competitive if you’re starting out now.  But once you make it to the top – it’s never been better!

(Addresses social worker)  Can you pour me a little more of that Rioja?

Doctor:  My kids are making it. One’s a financial adviser and the other finished his residency and became a partner in a  private medical group.

Professor: (somewhat riled by the Doctor’s boasting.) Didn’t you make substantial annual contributions to your medical school alumni fund before he was admitted?

Doctor:  (very dismissive, waves him off) It was his grades and great letters of recommendations… but a little grease never hurt.

Social Worker:  (snickers) No one gets ahead just on talent these days … (Pause.  Tension around the table … friendly faces start to fade.  Professor looks for a way to bridge the differences).

Professor:  Oh by the way.  I’m taking my sailboat out next month.  If anybody’s game let me know.

Lawyer: (casually non-committal) I might take you up on that.  I’m shelving my tennis racket … since my knee operation.

Doctor:  (Looks at his watch).  Should we finish up with a cognac?

Social Workers:  I’ll pass.

Lawyer:  Make mine a Metaxa.

Professor:  I’ll have a double espresso.

Act Two Scenes 1

(Cramped cubicle where the social worker’s son is hunched over a computer ‘talking’ to a screen)

Voice:  I’m listening. It’s all I can do to catch up with the backlog and the new programs and the extra assignments.

Read:  You’re further behind on the new assignments!

Voice:  (distraught). What… extra assignments?

Read:  Remember the new contract, you’re on call 24/7 and responsible for any breakdown. Sign up or sign out!

Voice:  (anguish, ambiguous) I’m on my way.

(The screen goes blank)

Scene 2

(Social worker’s son walks through the office; half the cubicles are empty; dull-looking employees walking in, out and around.  Some are bent over their computer terminals, others are packing brief cases.  Everything is chaotic and dreary.)

(Inner Voice) ‘Costs are down.  Restructuring moves ahead.  Employment is a revolving door…’

New Employee:  Hi

Old Employee:  Good bye

Replacement:  Are you coming in or going out?

Social Worker’s Son:  I’ve been working here five years …

Replacement:  Are you sure?

Son:  No.  I mean yes…. (Looks uncertain).

(He walks to the Human Resources office, knocks and enters)

HR: (looks up) Yes?

Son:  I have some questions about the new hours and the added assignments

HR:  Did you read the memo?

Son:  I have some questions about the new hours and added assignments.

HR:  Sign in or sign out

Son: (anguished voice). What’s this all about?  I put in a lot of time expanding our program…

HR  (interrupts him).  The CEO doesn’t think you’re doing enough.  We are cutting costs. Raising productivity.  We need to show better numbers. (looks at watch and shuffles papers).  You really should be back at your desk … or out in the street.

(Son walks out.  He looks across the office noticing several new faces.  Only one face is familiar:  the receptionist.  One of her hands is holding the phone, the other tapping on the keyboard, her head bobbing signals to a messenger, and a loose finger tweaking something like ‘good bye’.  Son walks over to the desk of the CEO’s secretary. She is on the phone.)

Secretary:  He will be away at Hilton Head for the long weekend.  Yes, he’s busy.  Yes, he’s gotten his bonus  -  stock options…but don’t call back.  He’ll call you.  (She hangs up.  She looks up at the son with a scowl.)  You still around?

Son:  I would like to discuss my new contract with the CEO?

Secretary:  Nothing to discuss.  It’s a done deal.

Son: You could be next.

Secretary:  I’ll take my chances (phone rings). Yes.  You’re from Bloomberg’s? We understand you want an interview … now?…  The CEO is flying back tonight … you want to talk now? Yes, indeed.  I will locate him and have him get in touch with you right away.  I am terribly sorry to keep you waiting.  He’s on a conference call … working on the reorganization.  Hold it.  I’ll put him on.

(Dials CEO’s cell phone).

Sir, Bloomberg’s on the line.  They want a meeting this morning.

CEO’ voice:  (panic).  Send the driver to the airport right away. Stall the guy, tell Bloomberg… I’m sorry for the delay but I will be there in fifty minutes.

Act 3

(Lawyer and son having lunch in an upscale restaurant)

Lawyer:  Environmental law can be a lucrative field…if you don’t get in bed with the tree huggers and owl lovers.

Son:  C’mon dad, you were doing pro-bono work for the homeless in Santa Monica a while back.

Lawyer:  But that was after I was established and had a lucrative clientele.  Anyway my work with the homeless attracted rich liberals.

Son: I am not sure we are on the same wavelength … (pause).  The fish we are having for lunch might come out of the water pre-cooked and radiated, after the Japanese nuclear disaster.

Lawyer:  Well you got a point there. (Pause.)   Anyway environmental law is a two-edged sword.  One of my partners started out with Greenpeace and learned the ropes. Then she made a pile representing BP in the Gulf.

Son:  She switched sides?

Lawyer:  You can’t afford to do pro-bono if you don’t have some cash cows to pay the bills.  How do you think you got through law school without debt?

Son: (defensive). And how did you graduate without debt?

Lawyer:  Well…back then we didn’t have tuition …we just paid student activity fees.

Son:  And that’s when you had all those protests on campus?

Lawyer:  Why not?  The better the times the bigger the protests! (Laughs.)

Son: …I see… Fewer jobs, higher tuition and smaller protests?

Lawyer:  (triumphant). That’s why you should combine environmental and corporate law!

Son:  Thanks for lunch. Waiter the bill.

Lawyer:  (grabbing the bill)  I got it.

Act 3 Scenes 2

Professor(On the phone).  Hi Dave, haven’t seen or heard from you for a while …

Son:  Been working on some big corporate accounts.  I’m coming up for senior partner.

Professor:  I hope we can at least have lunch sometime.

Son:  Look Dad, an investment banker’s hours are not the same as a professor’s.  I’m in by seven and out by eleven – at night.

Professor:  What kind of life is that?  You live to work.

Son:  (snarls). Cut the crap dad! Why don’t you join those ‘Occupy’ bums hanging out in front of our office?  You can watch me crossing the picket line.

Professor:  We once walked picket lines together…

Son:  I remember being dragged along when I was a little kid … but look I’m in the middle of preparing a brief for a big merger.  We’ll talk later.  Bye.

Professor:  (talks into a dead phone) (soliloquy).  I can’t get through.  Something went wrong or maybe it’s just the changing times.  Same energy level but chasing trades rather than backing blacks.

Act 3 Scenes 3

(Doctor and son seated on a bench in a park)

Doctor:  How’s your practice?

Son:  So-so.  We are forced to double up on procedures to make-up for Medicare’s cuts in payment.

Doctor:  How are the kids?

Son:  Studying, basketball, video games … texting.

Doctor:  Taking any time off?

Son:  Going to Washington for the AIPAC conference.  It’s all about Iran. We shake up the clowns in Congress and then hand them our agenda for war against Teheran.

Doctor:  So you have a political passion for Israel?

Son:  What else?

Doctor:  We got problems in this country.

Son:  Let them take care of themselves.  Trouble with you dad is you never looked after your own people.  You never listened to grandpa … remember… “What’s in it for the Jews?”

Doctor:  (defensive) Look, I’m for Israel as much as anybody … but not ‘right or wrong.’  Take those illegal settlements…

Son:  (bursts out and cuts him off). We’ll take them and keep them!  All of them!  Only Arabs and the anti-Semites say they’re “illegal”.  Not our courts.  Nor our judges!

Doctor:  You mean the Supreme Court?

Son:  Yes sir… (spells it out).  The Israeli Supreme Court!

Doctor:  Ever thought of emigrating to Israel?

Son:  They got too many doctors there already.  Anyway, they tell us to stay here.  We are more valuable pushing the agenda in Washington.

Doctor:  You know… when I was active back in the 1960’s we had big fights with the Communists for toeing the Soviet line!  They said…Russian bomb tests were progressive while the US’s were a crime.  Who would have thought I would have a son lining up with ‘Israel, right or wrong’?

Son:  They were Stalinists… I’m a Zionist.

Doctor: Tell me the difference?

Son:  (furious, in a bully mode shouting).  You know if you weren’t my father, I would say you sound like an anti-Semite.

Doctor:  (speechless, stares at son without recognition).

Son:  (standing up facing father with contempt).  Better keep your ideas to yourself.  Watch out for your medical colleagues, especially those on the Medical Executive Committee.

Act 3 Scenes 4

(Social Worker walks into a cluttered bedroom where his son is hunched over his computer.)

Social Worker:  How goes the job search?

Son:  (looking straight ahead). Don’t ask.

Social Worker:  (pause) No luck?

Son:  (Looks back, stares, angry) Entry level, short-term contracts, on call … overtime without pay (turns back to computer).

(Social Worker drifts out of the room).

Social Worker Soliloquy:  I was going to invite him to take a break.  I forgot what it’s like to be unemployed.  I never considered what happened to the health sector workers who got laid-off … or to the teachers…  Well, I can’t worry about their issues … there are problems here and now, in this house.

Son: (looking at the screen and clicking the keyboard)

Son’s Soliloquy:  Two hundred and fifty-one CVs circulating out there … ten responses.  All entry level or part-time contracts.  When did they install the revolving door?  Who plans the restructuring?  It doesn’t matter… I still can’t figure out what happened to my unit.  We were so productive…  Now they’re gone … who knows where?  Everyone for himself … free-lance … free-fall … flexible labor…drop your pants, bend over here comes the CEO … all pain – no gain … more hours, complain and berate … I’m going…

(Shuts down the computer:  glances at blank screen. Rises and slowly walks out. Enters a sunny room and notices his father reading a newspaper. No quip.  No comment.)

Social Worker:  (looking up) How about lunch?

Son:  (stares, tentative) Why not?

Act 3 Scene 5

(Lunch in a café, Social Worker and son at table).

Son:  When I walked out of the office, it felt like I was walking out of a prison … a big load lifted … the buzz of the boss’s whiney voice was still in my head … until I cleared the building… Nobody looked up at me.  No good byes.  The new Indian guy (loudmouth graduate of ‘IIT-Bangalore’ and my cheap replacement) smirked as if he would do it right.  He’s got a moat in his eye.

Social Worker:  You did the right thing.  Your health comes first.  Stress kills.

Son:  Yeah, Dad, stay healthy … because there’s no health plan.

Social Worker: Let’s pack it up for now

Son:  Shop-talk spoils the appetite doesn’t it?  I mean thinking about the work situation. Friends I had, you know, at work, they come and go.

Social Worker: You ever see them?

Son : Who? Where?

Social Worker:  (Pensive. Soliloquy): No lunches over a bottle of wine.

(They finish eating and walk out.  Father’s hand on son’s shoulder)

Act 4

Senior investment banker of hedge fund, relaxing with wife and small child in a beach house in Martha’s Vineyard.

Hedge Fund banker:  This was a great idea buying this place on the Island.

Wife:  Well, I researched it: weather, airport, wind, currents, sun, temperature … and price.

Banker:  My bonus for the acquisition and restructuring of the health industry … came in handy.

Wife:  You did well.  Should we go for a walk?  I love to hear the waves crashing on the breakers.

Banker:  Give me five minutes. I got to send a message to headquarters.  We are preparing a public offering and we are getting rid of this jerk of a CEO who’s been screwing up a whole string of hospitals.  Bloomberg just put them in negative – sell.

Wife:  See you.  Me and Rachel will wait for you at the landing by the boat.

 

Apr 082014
 

By William Blum, 99GetSmart

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Indoctrinating a new generation

Is there anyone out there who still believes that Barack Obama, when he’s speaking about American foreign policy, is capable of being anything like an honest man? In a March 26 talk in Belgium to “European youth”, the president fed his audience one falsehood, half-truth, blatant omission, or hypocrisy after another. If George W. Bush had made some of these statements, Obama supporters would not hesitate to shake their head, roll their eyes, or smirk. Here’s a sample:

“In defending its actions, Russian leaders have further claimed Kosovo as a precedent – an example they say of the West interfering in the affairs of a smaller country, just as they’re doing now. But NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years.”

Most people who follow such things are convinced that the 1999 US/NATO bombing of the Serbian province of Kosovo took place only after the Serbian-forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic deportations of large numbers of people did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a reaction to it, born of Serbia’s extreme anger and powerlessness over the bombing. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, 1999, and the few days following. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:

… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would now vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation. [emphasis added]

On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that nature.

But the propaganda version is already set in marble.

“And Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized, not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbors. None of that even came close to happening in Crimea.”

None of that even came close to happening in Kosovo either. The story is false. The referendum the president speaks of never happened. Did the mainstream media pick up on this or on the previous example? If any reader comes across such I’d appreciate being informed.

Crimea, by the way, did have a referendum. A real one.

“Workers and engineers gave life to the Marshall Plan … As the Iron Curtain fell here in Europe, the iron fist of apartheid was unclenched, and Nelson Mandela emerged upright, proud, from prison to lead a multiracial democracy. Latin American nations rejected dictatorship and built new democracies … “

The president might have mentioned that the main beneficiary of the Marshall Plan was US corporations 1, that the United States played an indispensable role in Mandela being caught and imprisoned, and that virtually all the Latin American dictatorships owed their very existence to Washington. Instead, the European youth were fed the same party line that their parents were fed, as were all Americans.

“Yes, we believe in democracy – with elections that are free and fair.”

In this talk, the main purpose of which was to lambaste the Russians for their actions concerning Ukraine, there was no mention that the government overthrown in that country with the clear support of the United States had been democratically elected.

“Moreover, Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. … But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state that could make decisions about its own future.”

The US did not get UN Security Council approval for its invasion, the only approval that could legitimize the action. It occupied Iraq from one end of the country to the other for 8 years, forcing the government to privatize the oil industry and accept multinational – largely U.S.-based, oil companies’ – ownership. This endeavor was less than successful because of the violence unleashed by the invasion. The US military finally was forced to leave because the Iraqi government refused to give immunity to American soldiers for their many crimes.

Here is a brief summary of what Barack Obama is attempting to present as America’s moral superiority to the Russians:

The modern, educated, advanced nation of Iraq was reduced to a quasi failed state … the Americans, beginning in 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one dubious excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, tortured without inhibition, killed wantonly … the people of that unhappy land lost everything – their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile … The air, soil, water, blood, and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lying in wait for children to pick them up … a river of blood running alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again. … “It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003,” reported the Washington Post. (May 5, 2007)

How can all these mistakes, such arrogance, hypocrisy and absurdity find their way into a single international speech by the president of the United States? Is the White House budget not sufficient to hire a decent fact checker? Someone with an intellect and a social conscience? Or does the desire to score propaganda points trump everything else? Is this another symptom of the Banana-Republicization of America?

Long live the Cold War

In 1933 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized the Soviet Union after some 15 years of severed relations following the Bolshevik Revolution. On a day in December of that year, a train was passing through Poland carrying the first American diplomats dispatched to Moscow. Amongst their number was a 29 year-old Foreign Service Officer, later to become famous as a diplomat and scholar, George Kennan. Though he was already deemed a government expert on Russia, the train provided Kennan’s first actual exposure to the Soviet Union. As he listened to his group’s escort, Russian Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov, reminisce about growing up in a village the train was passing close by, and his dreams of becoming a librarian, the Princeton-educated Kennan was astonished: “We suddenly realized, or at least I did, that these people we were dealing with were human beings like ourselves, that they had been born somewhere, that they had their childhood ambitions as we had. It seemed for a brief moment we could break through and embrace these people.” 2

It hasn’t happened yet.

One would think that the absence in Russia of communism, of socialism, of the basic threat or challenge to the capitalist system, would be sufficient to write finis to the 70-year Cold War mentality. But the United States is virtually as hostile to 21st-century Russia as it was to 20th-century Soviet Union, surrounding Moscow with military bases, missile sites, and NATO members. Why should that be? Ideology is no longer a factor. But power remains one, specifically America’s perpetual lust for world hegemony. Russia is the only nation that (a) is a military powerhouse, and (b) doesn’t believe that the United States has a god-given-American-exceptionalism right to rule the world, and says so. By these criteria, China might qualify as a poor second. But there are no others.

Washington pretends that it doesn’t understand why Moscow should be upset by Western military encroachment, but it has no such problem when roles are reversed. Secretary of State John Kerry recently stated that Russian troops poised near eastern Ukraine are “creating a climate of fear and intimidation in Ukraine” and raising questions about Russia’s next moves and its commitment to diplomacy. 3

NATO – ever in need of finding a raison d’être – has now issued a declaration of [cold] war, which reads in part:

“NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday [April 1, 2014] reaffirmed their commitment to enhance the Alliance’s collective defence, agreed to further support Ukraine and to suspend NATO’s practical cooperation with Russia. ‘NATO’s greatest responsibility is to protect and defend our territory and our people. And make no mistake, this is what we will do,’ NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. … Ministers directed Allied military authorities to develop additional measures to strengthen collective defence and deterrence against any threat of aggression against the Alliance, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said. ‘We will make sure we have updated military plans, enhanced exercises and appropriate deployments,’ he said. NATO has already reinforced its presence on the eastern border of the Alliance, including surveillance patrols over Poland and Romania and increased numbers of fighter aircraft allocated to the NATO air policing mission in the Baltic States. … NATO Foreign Ministers also agreed to suspend all of NATO’s practical cooperation with Russia.” 4

Does anyone recall what NATO said in 2003 when the United States bombed and invaded Iraq with “shock and awe”, compared to the Russians now not firing a single known shot at anyone? And neither Russia nor Ukraine is even a member of NATO. Does NATO have a word to say about the right-wing coup in Ukraine, openly supported by the United States, overthrowing the elected government? Did the hypocrisy get any worse during the Cold War? Imagine that NATO had not been created in 1949. Imagine that it has never existed. What reason could one give today for its creation? Other than to provide a multi-national cover for Washington’s interventions.

One of the main differences between now and the Cold War period is that Americans at home are (not yet) persecuted or prosecuted for supporting Russia or things Russian.

But don’t worry, folks, there won’t be a big US-Russian war. For the same reason there wasn’t one during the Cold War. The United States doesn’t pick on any country which can defend itself.

Cuba … Again … Still … Forever

Is there actually a limit? Will the United States ever stop trying to overthrow the Cuban government? Entire books have been written documenting the unrelenting ways Washington has tried to get rid of tiny Cuba’s horrid socialism – from military invasion to repeated assassination attempts to an embargo that President Clinton’s National Security Advisor called “the most pervasive sanctions ever imposed on a nation in the history of mankind” 5. But nothing has ever come even close to succeeding. The horrid socialism keeps on inspiring people all over the world. It’s the darnedest thing. Can providing people free or remarkably affordable health care, education, housing, food and culture be all that important?

And now it’s “Cuban Twitter” – an elaborately complex system set up by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to disguise its American origins and financing, aiming to bring about a “Cuban Spring” uprising. USAID sought to first “build a Cuban audience, mostly young people; then the plan was to push them toward dissent”, hoping the messaging network “would reach critical mass so that dissidents could organize ‘smart mobs’ – mass gatherings called at a moment’s notice – that might trigger political demonstrations or ‘renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society’.” 6 It’s too bad it’s now been exposed, because we all know how wonderful the Egyptian, Syrian, Libyan, and other “Arab Springs” have turned out.

Here’s USAID speaking after their scheme was revealed on April 3: “Cubans were able to talk among themselves, and we are proud of that.”  7 We are thus asked to believe that normally the poor downtrodden Cubans have no good or safe way to communicate with each other. Is the US National Security Agency working for the Cuban government now?

The Associated Press, which broke the story, asks us further to believe that the “truth” about most things important in the world is being kept from the Cuban people by the Castro regime, and that the “Cuban Twitter” would have opened people’s eyes. But what information might a Cuban citizen discover online that the government would not want him to know about? I can’t imagine. Cubans are in constant touch with relatives in the US, by mail and in person. They get US television programs from Miami and other southern cities; both CNN and Telesur (Venezuela, covering Latin America) are seen regularly on Cuban television”; international conferences on all manner of political, economic and social issues are held regularly in Cuba. I’ve spoken at more than one myself. What – it must be asked – does USAID, as well as the American media, think are the great dark secrets being kept from the Cuban people by the nasty commie government?

Those who push this line sometimes point to the serious difficulty of using the Internet in Cuba. The problem is that it’s extremely slow, making certain desired usages often impractical. From an American friend living in Havana: “It’s not a question of getting or not getting internet. I get internet here. The problem is downloading something or connecting to a link takes too long on the very slow connection that exists here, so usually I/we get ‘timed out’.” But the USAID’s “Cuban Twitter”, after all, could not have functioned at all without the Internet.

Places like universities, upscale hotels, and Internet cafés get better connections, at least some of the time; however, it’s rather expensive to use at the hotels and cafés.

In any event, this isn’t a government plot to hide dangerous information. It’s a matter of technical availability and prohibitive cost, both things at least partly in the hands of the United States and American corporations. Microsoft, for example, at one point, if not at present, barred Cuba from using its Messenger instant messaging service. 8

Cuba and Venezuela have jointly built a fiber optic underwater cable connection that they hope will make them less reliant on the gringos; the outcome of this has not yet been reported in much detail.

The grandly named Agency for International Development does not have an honorable history; this can perhaps be captured by a couple of examples: In 1981, the agency’s director, John Gilligan, stated: “At one time, many AID field offices were infiltrated from top to bottom with CIA people. The idea was to plant operatives in every kind of activity we had overseas, government, volunteer, religious, every kind.” 9

On June 21, 2012, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) issued a resolution calling for the immediate expulsion of USAID from their nine member countries, “due to the fact that we consider their presence and actions to constitute an interference which threatens the sovereignty and stability of our nations.”

USAID, the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy (and the latter’s subsidiaries), together or singly, continue to be present at regime changes, or attempts at same, favorable to Washington, from “color revolutions” to “spring” uprisings, producing a large measure of chaos and suffering for our tired old world.

Notes

  1. William Blum, America’s Deadliest Export – Democracy: The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else, p.22-5
  2. Walter Isaacson & Evan Thomas, The Wise Men (1986), p.158
  3. Washington Post, March 31, 2014
  4. NATO takes measures to reinforce collective defence, agrees on support for Ukraine”, NATO website, April 1, 2014
  5. Sandy Berger, White House press briefing, November 14, 1997, US Newswire transcript
  6. Associated Press, April 3 & 4, 2014
  7. Washington Post, April 4, 2014
  8. Associated Press, June 2, 2009
  9. George Cotter, “Spies, strings and missionaries”, The Christian Century(Chicago), March 25, 1981, p.321
Apr 052014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* IT’S NOT JUST THE STOCK MARKET THAT’S RIGGED: THE ENTIRE STATUS QUO IS RIGGED

By Charles Hugh Smith, Washington’s Blog

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[…] The stock market is only the tip of the iceberg of what’s being rigged. For a taste of what’s rigged, ask yourself this question: if Mr. Elite Insider perpetrates a scam, and Mr. John Q. Citizen breaks similar laws, is there any difference between the treatment each receives?

Let’s go even deeper and ask: why is looting legal, even though it is obviously crooked? Why is high-frequency trading legal? Why is it legal for the Fed to offer money at 0% to its buddies but not to Mr. John Q. Citizen?

Why is it legal to issue student loans to future debt-serfs that is unlike all other debt in that it cannot be discharged in bankruptcy?

Since the legal looting continues unabated regardless of what party or toady is in office, then what actual difference is there between the Demopublicans and Republicrats?

It’s not just the stock market that’s rigged–the entire Status Quo is rigged. There are two sets of laws and two sets of opportunities: one for those holding the concentrated wealth and power, and the other for the rest of us debt-serfs.

If the system isn’t rigged, then why are insolvent banks and bankers protected from the creative destruction of capitalism that befalls John Q. Citizen when his risky bets go bad? Why do we as a nation keep insisting the Emperor’s new clothes are splendid when he is in fact parading around buck-naked?

One has to wonder why we are dodging this truth about what we’ve become: a nation that turns a blind eye to skimmers, scammers and legal looting. Perhaps, in Joseph Conrad’s phrase, we hope to escape the grim shadow of self-knowledge. Here is the passage from Chapter 7 of Lord Jim:

I gave no sign of dissent. I had no intention, for the sake of barren truth, to rob him of the smallest particle of any saving grace that would come in his way. I didn’t know how much of it he believed himself. I didn’t know what he was playing up to–if he was playing up to anything at all–and I suspect he did not know either; for it is my belief no man ever understands quite his own artful dodges to escape from the grim shadow of self-knowledge. […]

READ @ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/04/just-stock-market-thats-rigged-entire-status-quo-rigged.html

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* CIA TORTURE AND THE THREAT OF DICTATORSHIP

Source: GreanvillePost

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These CIA crimes are not blemishes on an otherwise healthy military-intelligence apparatus, but the products of a depraved and deeply criminal American ruling class…

Only one conclusion can be drawn from the report published in the Washington Post Tuesday giving grisly details of CIA torture of prisoners and systematic lying by government officials to cover it up: the US ruling elite as a whole is guilty of war crimes for which it must be held accountable.

The Post report, based on leaks from unnamed “US officials,” describes the findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the operation of CIA “black sites”—the secret prisons in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania, Thailand and other countries where prisoners were held for “interrogation,” i.e., waterboarding, sleep deprivation, beatings, stress positions, induced hypothermia and other forms of torture.

The article provides only a brief extract of the material compiled in the massive committee report, which the CIA has been fighting for more than a year to suppress. On Thursday, the Senate committee is expected to vote to seek the declassification and publication of a 400-page executive summary.

The bulk of the report, which runs to 6,300 pages, is never to be made public, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate panel. The Post article describes its text as divided into three volumes, one giving a full chronology of the secret interrogations, a second contrasting what CIA officials said about the program with what they knew was really happening, and a third giving a detailed accounting of nearly all of the roughly 100 prisoners held at “black sites” between 2002 and 2006. […]

[…] What the report describes is not “excess” or the actions of “rogue” individuals, but a systematic, organized, fully authorized program, endorsed by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. The cover-up, in turn, continues to this day, with the active involvement of the Obama administration, implicating top officials up to and including the president. Directly involved is CIA Director John Brennan—a former top aide in the Obama White House and official in the Bush administration. […]

READ @ http://www.greanvillepost.com/2014/04/03/cia-torture-and-the-threat-of-dictatorship/

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* PROMOTION GIVEN TO COPS WHO SHOT OCCUPY ACTIVIST SCOTT OLSEN

By Brandon Turbeville, Activist Post

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As if there was any doubt that police departments all across America are rewarding their officers for egregious acts of violence, the Oakland police department has recently promoted two of the police officers involved in the shooting of Occupy activist Scott Olsen.

Olsen, readers may remember, was an Occupy activist and Iraq war veteran who was shot in the head with beanbag bullets by Oakland police in 2011. Olsen was only about fifteen feet away from the officer who shot him, fracturing his skull and sending him to the hospital in critical condition. Police also fired flash grenades at activists who rushed to Olsen’s aid and continued to assault the demonstrators as they attempted to drag Olsen to safety and provide him with medical attention. Olsen temporarily lost his ability to speak, perform basic motor functions, and concentrate adequately. While he has recovered the ability to speak, his speech is still slurred and his memory and concentration are still significantly impaired.

Yet despite the fact that the City of Oakland was forced to pay out $4.5 million to Olsen in a settlement, the Oakland Police Department has now promoted two of the cops involved in the shooting. […]

READ @ http://www.activistpost.com/2014/04/promotion-given-to-cops-who-shot-occupy.html

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* CHRISTINE LAGARDE IS CLUELESS: 70 WORDS OF PURE KEYNESIAN CLAPTRAP

By David Stockman, Contracorner

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The world’s official economic institutions are run by people who believe in monetary fairy tales. The 70 words of wisdom below from IMF head Christine Lagarde are par for the course. She asserts that a new jabberwocky expression called “low-flation” is the main obstacle to higher economic growth in Europe and the DM areas generally and that it can be cured by more central bank money printing.

The first obstacle is… the emerging risk of what I call “low-flation,” particularly in the Euro Area. A potentially prolonged period of low inflation can suppress demand and output—and suppress growth and jobs. More monetary easing, including through unconventional measures, is needed in the Euro Area to raise the prospects of achieving the ECB’s price stability objective. The Bank of Japan also should persist with its quantitative easing policy.

Now there is not a shred of credible evidence that prolonged low CPI inflation causes workers to produce less, businesses to invest less or entrepreneurs to invent less. Since these are the fundamental ingredients of economic growth on the free market, the question recurs as to why Keynesian Kool-Aid drinkers like Lagarde (and the huge staff of IMF economists she lip-syncs) apparently believe that eroding the value of savings by say only 1% per year vs. 2% will “suppress demand and output”. […]

READ @ http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/2014/04/04/christine-lagarde-is-clueless-70-words-of-pure-keynesian-claptrap/

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* THE US-EU TRANS-ATLANTIC FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (TAFTA). DEVASTATING SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES

By Colin Todhunter, Global Research

corporatocracy

The Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) between the US and EU aims to ‘protect’ investment and remove ‘unnecessary regulatory barriers’. Corporate interests are driving the agenda, the public have been sidelined and unaccountable, pro-free-trade bureaucrats are facilitating the strategy (1). 

There is growing concern that the negotiations could result in the opening of the floodgates for GMOs and shale gas (fracking) in Europe, the threatening of digital and labour rights and the empowering of corporations to legally challenge a wide range of regulations which they dislike.

One of the key aspects of the negotiations is that both the EU and US should recognise their respective rules and regulations, which in practice could reduce regulation to the lowest common denominator. The official language talks of ‘mutual recognition’ of standards or so-called reduction of non-tariff barriers. For the EU, that could mean accepting US standards in many areas, including food and agriculture, which are lower than the EU’s.

Even the leaders of the US Senate Finance Committee, in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, made it clear that any agreement must reduce EU restrictions on genetically modified crops, chlorinated chickens and hormone-treated beef.

Food lobby group Food and Drink Europe, representing the largest food companies (Unilever, Kraft, Nestlé, etc.), has welcomed the negotiations, with one of their key demands being the facilitation of the low level presence of unapproved GM crops. […]

READ @ http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-us-eu-trans-atlantic-free-trade-agreement-tafta-devastating-social-and-environmental-consequences/5375692

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* NATO AT 65: PHOTO GALLERY

Source: StopNATO

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NATO’s large-scale military operations

The North Atlantic Treaty was signed 65 years ago on April 4, 1949

NATO is a military alliance with the purpose of collective defense. NATO conducts military operations of two kinds: peacekeeping and peace enforcing ones. The difference is that peace keeping actions are realized with the mutual agreement of the parties involved. The ground base for interference in peace enforcing operations is a resolution of the United Nations security council. In reality, however, such operations have taken place without UN’s approval: in 1995 NATO forces interfered in the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina with no UN approval, neither was sanctioned the 1999 NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia. The most widely known large-scale military operations of the NATO in this photo gallery by ITAR-TASS

Captions for photographs:

NATO’s first operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994-1995. Citizens are hiding behind a peacekeeper in Sarajevo in 1995

NATO’s first operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994-1995.

NATO bombs a Serbian arsenal in Pale, near Sarajevo on August 30, 1995

NATO heads the KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, July 14, 1999 Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. Photo: a power plant on fire in Belgrade on March 24, 1999

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. Photo: a brigde across the Danube destroyed by NATO bombing in Novi-Sad

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. Photo: a bridge across the Danube destroyed by NATO bombing in Novi-Sad

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. Photo: NATO bombardment results in the city of Surdulica, Yugoslavia

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. Photo: NATO bombardment results in the city of Aleksinac […]

READ @ http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/nato-at-65-photo-gallery/

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* US THREATENS RUSSIA OVER PETRODOLLAR-BUSTING DEAL

Source: zerohedge

Obama vs Putin

On the heels of Russia’s potential “holy grail” gas deal with China, the news of a Russia-Iran oil “barter” deal, it appears the US is starting to get very concerned about its almighty Petrodollar

  • *U.S. HAS WARNED RUSSIA, IRAN AGAINST POSSIBLE OIL BARTER DEAL
  • *U.S. SAYS ANY SUCH DEAL WOULD TRIGGER SANCTIONS
  • *U.S. HAS CONVEYED CONCERNS TO IRANIAN GOVT THROUGH ALL CHANNELS

We suspect these sanctions would have more teeth than some travel bans, but, as we noted previously, it is just as likely to be another epic geopolitical debacle resulting from what was originally intended to be a demonstration of strength and instead is rapidly turning out into a terminal confirmation of weakness. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-04/us-threatens-russia-sanctions-over-petrodollar-busting-deal

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* BLACK SEA: U.S. TO DEPLOY GUIDED MISSILE WARSHIP AGAINST RUSSIAN

By Hendrick Simoes, StopNATO

14

[…] “We are making plans to meet the intent vocalized by (U.S. and NATO officials) to lay out a sustainable maritime presence in the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, but we do not have anything to announce at this time,” said Capt. Gregory Hicks of the U.S. European Command. He said the Navy routinely operates ships in the Black Sea to demonstrate U.S. commitment to working closely with allies in the region.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the deployment of U.S. warships in the Black Sea during a joint press conference with Kazakhstan’s foreign minister.

According to Russian media reports, Lavrov accused the U.S. of violating the Montreux Convention — a 1936 international agreement that restricts the passage through the Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles of naval ships not belonging to Black Sea states. […]

READ @ http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/black-sea-u-s-to-deploy-guided-missile-warship-against-russia/

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* THE DIVISION OF TURKEY

By Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire

1622847_298033060350263_2004375708_n

The evolution of Turkish politics since Prime Minister Erdoğan disclosed his affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood is comparable to that of Egypt: the unquestionable support he enjoys is only matched by the hatred he arouses. More than ever, the country is divided, with no democratic solution in sight, and a future that – in whatever form – will necessarily be violent.

Political life in Turkey descended into chaos after the anonymous YouTube release, March 27, of the excerpts from recordings of a national security meeting in which the government was contemplating a false flag attack to trigger an open war against Syria [1].

This is not the first time that illegal recordings have been leaked. On February 24, an audio tape exposed the Prime Minister telling his son to stash 30 million euros in cash before the police arrive to search his home [2]. Despite Erdoğan’s denials, this incident shattered his image of a pious and law-abiding man.

In reality, things have stopped functioning normally since the courts and the police launched a vast crackdown at the end of 2013 against corrupt high-profile figures. The Prime Minister decried a plot hatched by his former erstwhile ally and current rival, Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen [3]. He responded by sacking thousands of public servants accused of being his disciples.

While the Western press has focused on the embezzlement scandal per se, the Turkish people have also opened their eyes to the real policies of Mr. Erdoğan. He funded – at the expense of the Turkish state – Al-Qaeda in Syria going so far as to receive several visits from the banker of the sect, despite his name appearing on the United Nations most wanted list of international terrorists [4]. Last Friday’s tapes throw the spotlight on the Foreign Minister, his deputy, the deputy chief of staff and the chief of intelligence. The four men were planning to stage a covert operation to be executed by Syrian agents and attributed to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in order to justify a Turkish invasion. […]

READ @ http://www.voltairenet.org/article183137.html

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* VENEZUELANS WARY THAT FOOD ID CARDS ARE THIN END OF RATIONING WEDGE

By Virginia López, Guardian

Venezuelan police clash with demonstrators in Caracas

Electronic cards that restrict families to shopping once a week aim to prevent widespread food shortages across country

Venezuelans queued on Friday to register for an electronic card system designed to end food shortages that have plagued the country – but which some fear may be the thin end of the rationing wedge.

The ID card, introduced this week, will limit Venezuelans to once-a-week shopping and will set off an alarm to halt any transaction if a purchaser breaks the rules. The government wants to prevent individual shoppers from “over-buying” in a country hit by acute shortages of basic items including milk, sugar and toilet paper. Critics say it is an admission of failure of economic policy in one of the world’s big oil-producing nations. […]

READ @ http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/04/venezuela-queues-food-ration-cards

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* THE STRATEGY OF THE VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION AND HOW IT WORKS

By Steve Ellner, GreanvillePost

Opposition protest in Caracas

The strategy and tactics of the Venezuelan opposition is a replay of events that took place leading up to the coup against Hugo Chávez on April 11, 2002 and is similar (although in some ways quite different) from the script that has been used in the Ukraine and elsewhere. The blatant distortions and in some cases lies of the media (CNN in Spanish playing a lead role) represent an essential element in the strategy.

There are two main groups that the opposition has mobilized and from all appearances the two act in coordination even though their style, and even social background, differs from one another. One group is non-violent and the other engages in acts of aggression in some cases endangering lives.

On the one hand, students and other young people carry out protests which the media and the opposition deceptively call “peaceful.” These mobilizations involve to a disproportionate extent students from private universities and operate almost exclusively in wealthy areas whose mayors (and in some cases governors) belong to the opposition. The protests are not legal, even though many of the protesters are convinced (or have been convinced by their leaders) that they are exercising the constitutional right of dissent. However, nearly all of these protests take over main avenues and highways in urban areas, typically forcing traffic to a halt and then having to pass through just one lane. It often takes hours for cars to pass through these points. In most cases the protesters consist of between 15 and 80 people, and in a few cases over one hundred. […]

READ @ http://www.greanvillepost.com/2014/03/28/the-strategy-of-the-venezuelan-opposition-and-how-it-works/#more-68491

Apr 022014
 

El análisis de James Petras, 99GetSmart 

En Francia “el gobierno mal llamado socialista, mejor llamado social imperialista, sufrió una derrota contundente con más de 40% de ausentismo, o sea la gran mayoría del electorado que anteriormente votaron a los socialistas”, dijo el sociólogo norteamericano James Petras en su columna semanal de análisis de la coyuntura internacional por CX36 (*). En la oportunidad, Petras analizó a fondo lo sucedido en Francia y dijo que es típico pues “cuando hay una colaboración entre las cúpulas políticas de izquierda y el gran capital, siempre pierde el pueblo”. Otros temas abordados este lunes 31 de marzo fueron las elecciones en Turquía, el relacionamiento de estados Unidos con América Latina y con Israel; los últimos hechos acaecidos en Ucrania y las novedades en materia de legislación económica en Cuba. Transcribimos a continuación este material, que usted puede volver a escuchar en el siguiente link: https://soundcloud.com/audioscentenario/columna-de-james-petras-en

Efrain Chury Iribarne: Le damos la bienvenida, como cada lunes, a James Petras desde los Estados Unidos. Buen día, Petras,¿cómo estás?

James Petras: Estamos muy bien.

EChI: Para comenzar te leo una noticia que llega aquí: “La subcomisión de Relaciones Exteriores para el Hemisferio Occidental de la Cámara de Representantes convocó esta semana a una audiencia sobre el alejamiento o desvinculación de Estados Unidos en América Latina” y dice que “los congresistas se manifestaron preocupados por la pérdida del llamado patio trasero de la potencia frente a la llegada de naciones como China, Irán y Rusia. Los legisladores criticaron la política exterior del Gobierno de Barack Obama”.  ¿Es cierto que Obama se ha alejado de América Latina?

JP: El panorama es complejo pero podríamos tomar como punto de referencia dos cosas. Una es lo que pasaba en los años ’90, cuando Washington dominaba la región, involucrándose en las masacres en Centroamérica, influyendo sobre los gobernantes en América Latina como (Carlos Saúl) Menem (en Argentina), (Julio María) Sanguinetti (en Uruguay), (Fernando Henrique) Cardoso (en Brasil), (Gonzalo) Sánchez de Losada (en Bolivia); etc. Eso como punto de referencia, era la ‘época de oro’ cuando EEUU dominaba América Latina.

Después de los levantamientos y elecciones, con algunos gobiernos tibiamente de centro izquierda y mayor comercio diversificado, la influencia norteamericana disminuyó y a partir de eso, los congresistas se empezaron a quejar. Pero ellos mismos apoyaron la política militarista y el involucramiento en las guerras en Afganistán, etc. y la falta de una perspectiva de expansión económica, frente a la competencia de china.

Entonces, ahora despiertan y dicen que no controlan los países como lo hacían en los años ’90. ¿Y quién tiene la culpa? Obviamente la política de la Casa Blanca y comparte la culpa con los congresistas. Pero lo que piden los congresistas es la vuelta del neoliberalismo extremo, la política del garrote, el intervencionismo, y eso -me parece- no tiene mucha capacidad de imponerse.

Por tanto, el debate en el Congreso es algo fuera de la realidad, no tiene ningún contenido concreto, no tiene ningún proyecto económico para involucrar a los EEUU. Pero, podíamos anotar dos cosas. El hecho de que hay una derechización en algunos países de América Latina, empezando con Brasil y Argentina, tal vez Uruguay donde hay más acomodo a las grandes empresas. Por ejemplo, en Argentina la entrada de Chevron, la compensación a Repsol, son el indicio de que las aperturas hacia un proyecto nacional han terminado y los gobiernos vuelven a apoyarse en el capital extranjero.

Lo mismo ha pasado últimamente en Brasil, que nunca estuvo muy lejos de la política de las multinacionales pero ahora está buscando la forma de asociarse al gran capital.

Entonces, tal vez los congresistas piensan que Washington debe aprovecharse de algunas tendencias en America Latina e involucrarse. El caso mas emblemático está en Venezuela donde la Casa Blanca y los congresistas están apoyando a los terroristas y a un golpe de Estado para derrocar al gobierno de (Nicolás) Maduro. Esa es la primer indicación que la política de la derecha ha capturado a los sectores más influyentes en la política de Washington.

EChI: Nos venimos al Caribe, porque “el Parlamento cubano ha celebrado este sábado una sesión extraordinaria para aprobar una nueva Ley de Inversión Extranjera, que busca atraer fondos a la isla”, señala la información. ¿Qué supone esto?

JP: Es una extensión de la política liberal que ha ganado peso últimamente en Cuba. Están dando más facilidades  al capital privado y a asociaciones con empresas extranjeras.

Ahora, la nueva legislación va mucho más lejos, porque permite al capital extranjero entrar sin asociaciones en Cuba en todos los sectores dinámicos de la economía casi sin pagar impuestos o con impuestos muy bajos. Es parte de la política estratégica de los sectores del gobierno que han perdido la esperanza de que pueden revitalizar el sector público.

Es muy peligrosa esta movida y particularmente el hecho de que el debate en el Parlamento cubano fue mínimo y el voto unánime. No creo que una medida tan extremista deba ser aprobada sin debate y por unanimidad. Hay sectores de intelectuales y otros, que cuestionan estas medidas, si no en su totalidad por lo menos en la forma en que está presentado y no tiene representación en el Parlamento.

Entonces, me molesta tanto la forma de aprobación como el contenido, porque es una regresión al capital como fuerza motor de la economía, particularmente del capital extranjero.

Es difícil saber dónde puede terminar eso, si invitan a los viejos cubanos millonarios  exiliados en Miami a volver a Cuba, va a tener repercusiones políticas, no simplemente económicas; y va a fortalecer los sectores menos progresistas en la Isla.

Cuba hace tiempo no representa un modelo para America Latina, tal vez por las condiciones existentes en Cuba que son muy precarias y la política pública, que no tenía suficiente dinamismo. Pero para America Latina Cuba no representa ningún modelo y mucho menos la legislación sobre el capital extranjero, que me parece más cerca de lo que está pasando en México de lo que debe pasar en un país progresista.

EChI: Otra noticia que te pedimos nos analices, dice que “Rusia informa a Ucrania de su intención de cancelar los viejos acuerdos sobre la flota del mar Negro”. ¿Qué significa esto?

JP: Bueno, hoy Rusia enfrenta un caso de un gobierno hostil, un gobierno dispuesto a imponer bases militares de OTAN, un gobierno que surgió de un golpe de Estado con una composición de fascistas y neoliberales y entonces no tiene ninguna razón para seguir subvencionándolos.

Rusia busca un cambio en el gobierno a partir de un referéndum y es lo que temen los EEUU y Europa, porque muchas regiones ucranianas se oponen a la Junta de Gobierno. Si dejamos Kiev afuera –que tal vez es cuestionable- muchas regiones ucranianas y las principales ciudades del Este, buscan mayor autonomía, busca un gobierno electo y no uno nombrado por los golpistas. Entonces Rusia trata de apoyar esas propuestas dentro de Ucrania, no busca invadir, eso es una gran mentira.

Rusia no va a invadir Ucrania. Lo que están criticando los gobernantes y los cipayos en Kiev es que si las regiones eligen su propia representación y consiguen un grado de autonomía para extender sus relaciones y diversificar sus lazos.

En tanto, todos los pueblos de Ucrania tienen miedo del acuerdo del Fondo Monetario, temen que se terminen las subvenciones que recibían en el pasado, temen caer en una enorme crisis económica producto del acuerdo con el FMI. Y ese es el tema. Rusia ofrece concesiones, la Unión Europea y EEUU ofrecen austeridad. En esa situación, obviamente, la forma de imponer la política de la OTAN es a partir de mayor represión y menos representatividad de un nuevo gobierno elegido.

EChI: ¿Qué temas pueden estar en la agenda de la reunión entre el Jefe del Estado Mayor Conjunto de EEUU general Martin E. Dempsey y su par israelí, teniente general Benjamín Gantz?

JP: Israel siempre tiene mucha influencia sobre Estados Unidos. El otro día leímos un reportaje que indicaba que las principales organizaciones judías en los EEUU controlan 26.000 millones de dólares. E incluso, las  organizaciones pro Israel consiguen el 38% de todas los recursos que ingresan a las arcas de las organizaciones judías estadounidenses y eso incluye sobre todo el proceso político, congresistas, presidentes, jueces, etc.

Entonces, la relación EEUU-Israel es muy estrecha en función de las presiones e influencias de los sionistas .Las reuniones bilaterales, son para planificar y compartir influencia en Medio Oriente, para fortalecer a los invasores en Siria, perjudicar a los países independientes como Irán, y fortalecer las alianzas con los sectores árabes más reaccionarios como Arabia Saudita, donde el señor Obama dio un espaldarazo total a la monarquía absolutista y retrógrada; apoyan al nuevo gobierno militar en Egipto; tratan de provocar una guerra civil en Líbano; siguen apoyando a los terroristas que invaden Siria; e Israel sigue tirando bombas y fortaleciendo a los sectores más reaccionarios. Es toda una política coordinada entre EE e Israel, y entre ellos los sionistas con formidables recursos para comprar e influir a los políticos norteamericanos.

EChI: Petras, ¿en qué otros temas estas trabajando?

JP: Bien, podemos empezar con Francia, donde tenemos noticias de las elecciones.

Como indicamos el gobierno mal llamado socialista, mejor llamado social imperialista, sufrió una derrota contundente con más de 40% de ausentismo, o sea la gran mayoría del electorado que anteriormente votaron a los socialistas.

El voto no sólo fue un castigo por las medidas reaccionarias de Francois Hollande ni por las políticas de intervención militarista ni por ser seguidor de la política reaccionaria de la Casa Blanca; fue por la totalidad de la conducta del gobierno que no consulta a ningún sector popular. Solamente se reúne con las cúpulas de los grandes capitales. Y como consecuencia de eso sufrieron la pérdida de más de un tercio de todas las Alcaldías. Fue una derrota histórica, fue el desplome total del electorado socialista. Y también de los que no pudieron aprovechar del descontento, del Partido Comunista o la izquierda supuestamente radical,  porque dieron el apoyo crítico a Hollande y la gente no pudo diferenciar. El votante de izquierda entendió que al dar ese apoyo aunque fuera crítico, hacía que estuvieran implicados en ese gobierno por más que ahora querían separarse, por años formaron alianzas entre la izquierda radical y el Partido Socialista; y ahora están perjudicados también. En tanto, los grandes beneficiados fueron la derecha y la ultraderecha porque se pusieron en contra de la política. Ahora, desde posiciones derechistas; pero si uno quiere castigar a los gobernantes, era hasta lógico que se decidan a votar a esos sectores o a no votar. Es un gran drama, peor indica que la socialdemocracia otra vez muestra su cara reaccionaria y perjudicó a los sectores populares.

Esto me parece que es típico. Cuando hay una colaboración entre las cúpulas políticas de izquierda y el gran capital, siempre pierde el pueblo.

El otro tema que quiero tocar es el de las elecciones en Turquía. Hemos visto hace un año atrás grandes protestas en las calles contra el gobierno de (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan, sectores populares, estudiantes, intelectuales, profesionales,  miles de personas… Pero como resultado de eso no hay un nuevo partido, la gente llena las calles pero al momento de    organizarse para competir en las elecciones no tuvieron capacidad y tampoco tuvieron capacidad para resistir el fraude.

De esto no hablan los grandes medios. Yo recibo comunicaciones de activistas en Turquía y me dicen que hay 1.418 casos registrados de casos de fraude, de estafa electoral,  donde manejaron el voto en forma ilegal.

Más allá de eso debemos entender que cuando tiene un gobierno corrupto, reaccionario, como en Turquía; pero más allá de eso está financiando grandes proyectos de construcción que generan empleos y que consigue aumentar salarios; cuando tiene un gobierno que juega la carta religiosa, musulmán; cuando tienes un gobierno que tiene un estilo de atacar fuerzas externas, de culpar de los problemas a conspiraciones externas; esa configuración me parece formidable … La única forma de desafiarlo es construir un Partido capaz de conseguir la organización para poner una alternativa en las opciones electorales. Pero la única alternativa era el viejo partido kemalista, el Partido Republicano del Pueblo (CHP) que es un partido desprestigiado en el pasado, involucrado en golpes de Estado, en corrupción, etc. Entonces frente a esta competencia, Erdogan consiguió una victoria contundente con un 45% de los votos, pese al fraude, que podemos decir que el 5 o 6% de los votos se consiguieron en forma fraudulenta, pero de todos maneras obtuvo un 40%  contra la oposición que obtuvo menos de 30%.

Eso nos indica que los movimientos sociales tienen que ir de la protesta a la organización; tienen que buscar un plan de acción política que combine varias formas de lucha. Hay que construir las bases para enfrentar a un gobierno que si tiene las bases organizadas en función de todos los proyectos religiosos y el gasto público.

Yo espero una gran purga ahora, porque Erdogan va a tomar el mandato del próximo gobierno para limpiar al gobierno de los sectores vinculados con (Fethullah) Gülen, que es un predicador que en Estados Unidos está más cerca de la Casa Blanca. Era aliado de Erdogan, pero en determinado momento decidió tomar el poder.

Entonces Erdogan va a eliminar esta amenaza con una gran purga; pero a la vez de purgar a los gulanistas va a aprovechar para también atacar a la izquierda y a las fuerzas populares.

Veremos si no hay un viraje hacia un mayor autoritarismo y monopartidismo; Erdogan preparará el camino para ser electo Presidente pero con poderes extendidos para mantenerse en el poder por los próximos diez años.

EChI: ¿Erdogan está calificado como uno de los políticos ‘duros’?

JP: Es un político que ha tenido una carrera evolucionando. Empezó como un centro derecha, una versión musulmana de un demócrata cristiano, un demócrata musulmán; y en los últimos años ha concentrado poderes y ha realizado una gran purga a todos los sectores progresistas en la sociedad civil, fue muy represor. Últimamente ha caído en un conflicto interno entre sus propias fuerzas, entre un sector más pro norteamericano y otro sector que está más involucrado en un proyecto más neo otomano. Es decir otomano implica involucrarse en Siria, Líbano y las otras regiones., Estaban involucrados con Morsi.

Erdogan esta concentrando poderes y preparándose para imponer una jerarquía bajo su mando, tanto en el ejército, la policía y judicial. Va a formar un gobierno  muy autoritario, centralizado y represivo para continuar en el poder utilizando los resultados electorales.

EChI: Te agradecemos mucho en nombre de la audiencia tu análisis y el esclarecimiento de todos estos temas. Nos reencontramos el lunes.

JP: Espero que con mejor tiempo, ya en abril.

Un gran abrazo a los oyentes, particularmente a los pescadores de la rambla montevideana.

(*) Escuche en vivo los lunes a las 11:30 horas (hora local) la audición de James Petras por CX36, Radio Centenario desde Montevideo (Uruguay) para todo el mundo a través de  www.radio36.com.uy