Nov 292016
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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Left-wing academics, writers and journalists have written tendentious articles where they manage to transform reactionary political leaders into working class heroes and present their dreadful policies as progressive advances.

Recently, leftist pundits throughout US and Latin America have plagued the reading public with gross distortions of historical events contributing, in their own way, to the demise of the left and the rise of the right.

The leading international figures in this deceptive left-wing punditry include the famous Noam Chomsky, once eulogized by the New York Times (NYT) as ‘America’s most important public intellectual’. Such effusion is not surprising: Professor Chomsky and the NYT both supported the presidential candidacy of the warmongering Hillary Clinton, the perpetrator of seven wars that uprooted 20 million people from Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, sub-Sahara Africa (Is this any different from Stalin in the ‘30s?) and author/supporter of numerous coups and attempted ‘regime changes’ in Brazil, Honduras, Venezuela, Paraguay and Ukraine.

The same MIT intellectual turned his prestige-laden ire on the authors of the definitive critique of the pro-Israel lobby (The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (2007)) and slandered the most effective activist group against Israeli colonial land grabbers – the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). So much for America’s most ‘prominent intellectual’ – a crypto-warmonger, who not only supported the candidacy of the blood-gorged war goddess Clinton, but has become a leader of the post-election propaganda and ‘regime change’ campaign to overthrow the buffoonish President-Elect Donald Trump. Chomsky’s diatribe against Trump claimed nothing less than the world now faced the gravest danger in all its history with the election of the real estate-casino King Donald. Noam deftly papered over his defeated candidate Hillary’s vow to unleash possible nuclear war by shooting down Russian planes over Syria – in opposition to Trump’s reasoned proposal to work with Putin in ending the brutal war in Syria.

There are different versions of the ‘leftist’-imperial-collaborator apologist Chomsky throughout Latin America. One is Emir Sader.

Emir Sader, professor of Political Science at the University of Rio de Janeiro and author of the book celebrating the first ‘workers’ President of Brazil, Lula DaSilva (Without Fear of Being Happy: Lula, The Workers Party and Brazil(1991)) is a frequent contributor to the leading ‘progressive’ daily newspapers throughout Latin America, including La Jornada of Mexico, as well as the influential bi-monthly The New Left Review in Great Britain.

Lula
Lula

Needless to say, Sader never cited any inconvenient facts when praising the leadership of Lula Da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s last two elected presidents from the Workers Party. For example, Sader omitted the fact that President Da Silva implemented an IMF-mandated austerity program upon taking office. He tiptoed around the Wall Street Bankers’ awarding Lula a “Man of the Year” prize. Professor Sader forgot to cite the abrupt drop in farmland expropriations (guaranteed under Brazil’s Constitution) for rural landless workers movement (MST) – leaving hundreds of thousands of landless peasant families under thin plastic tents. His ‘Worker President’ Lula appointed neo-liberal economists and central bank directors to his cabinet. Lula supported the interests of big agro-business, big oil and big mining oligarchs who slashed and burned the Amazon rain forest murdering indigenous leaders, peasants and ecologists who resisted the devastation and displacement.

Sader lauded, as ‘generous’, the monthly ‘food baskets’, equivalent to $60 dollars, which the local Workers Party operative passed out to about 30 million destitute families to create a rural client-base. Sader and his string of leftist followers in North and South America, England and France never attacked the high level bribery, fraud and corruption linking Workers Party leaders to construction multi-nationals and Petrobras, the state oil company and billions of state contracts.

Sader and his international acolytes celebrated Brazil’s ascent to world power as a member of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) with Lula as a leader in bringing the poor into the ‘middle class’. He never stopped to analyze how Lula managed to balance the interests of the IMF, Wall Street, agro-business, bankers while enticing a huge voting majority among the poor and workers.

Lula’s ‘miracle’ was a temporary mirage, its reality evident to only a few critics who pointed to the reliance on a prolong commodity export boom. The business elites backed Lula because of state subsidies and tax incentives. Hundreds of right-wing Congress people and cabinet members jumped on the Workers Party bandwagon to enjoy the payola payoffs from contractors. But by the end of Lula’s eight year term, exports of primary commodities to China sharply declined, commodity prices collapsed and the business elites and bankers turned their backs on the ‘Worker President’ as they looked for a new regime to rescue them by sacrificing the poor.

The rest of the story is well known: Former PT allies launched corruption investigations to pull down the PT government. Twice-elected President Dilma Rouseff was impeached in a bizarre legislative coup, orchestrated by a corrupt PT ally from a right-wing party, Congressional head Eduardo Cunhal; Rouseff’s corrupt Vice President Temer took over and Lula was indicted for corruption by right-wing prosecutors appointed by the PT. The House of Cards in Brasilia became a grotesque comic opera with all the major players waltzing in and out of jail (except the impeached Rouseff).

But Professor Sader did not looked back in contemplation, let alone class analysis, at the 13 years of Worker Party power in coalition with the worst of Brazil’s crooks. Instead, he bellowed that Lula’s former allies, the corrupt politicians from the right-wing parties, had unjustly ousted the PT. These ‘traitors’ were the same politicians that Professor Sader embraced as ‘strategic allies’ from 2003 to 2014. Any serious observer could understand why Lula’s was first embraced and then divorced by the financial elite – for its own class interest.

Lula and Dilma’s ‘Three-Cornered Ménage’ with Bankers

Contrary to Sader’s PT propaganda and the predictably ill-informed kudos of Chomsky, et al, the Workers Party policies benefited the banks and the agro-business elites above all others, to the detriment of the popular movements and the Brazilian people. Brazilian investment bank revenues rose from $200 million dollars in 2004 to $1.6 billion dollars in 2007 and remained close to the peak until the commodity crash reduced bank revenues drastically. Likewise, the financial speculators and corporate monopolies took part in the capitalist bonanza under Presidents Lula and Dilma. Merger and acquisitions (M&As) rose from $40 billion in 2007 to $140 billion in 2010 but then sharply declined with the drop in world commodity prices down to $25 billion in 2015. The banks made billions of dollars in management fees for arranging the M&A’s over the eight-year period (2007-2015).

The Fall of Banking Revenues and the Rise of Corporate Activists

If we examine Brazilian merger and acquisitions activity and investment bank revenues, one sees a close correlation with the rise and fall of the PT regime. In other words, when the bankers, speculators and monopolists flourished under the PT policies, they supported the government of Lula and Dilma. When the export agro-mining commodity boom collapsed, slashing profits, management fees and interest, the financial sector immediately mobilized their right-wing allies in congress, allied prosecutors and judges and successfully pushed for Dilma’s impeachment, Lula’s indictment, the arrest of former PT allies and the appointment of Vice President Temer to the Presidency.

With the recession fully underway, the business and banking elite demanded large-scale, long-term cuts in public expenditures, slashing budgets for the poor, education, health, housing and pensions, severe wage reduction and a sharp limit on consumer credit. At the same time they pushed through the privatization of the multi-billion dollar petroleum industry (Petrobras) and related state industries, as well as public ports, airlines and airfields, highways and whatever else among Brazil’s public jewels could compensate for their drop in investment bank revenues and management fees for M&As.

For the finance sector, Lula and Dilma’s main crime lay in their reluctance to impose the brutal ‘new austerity policies’ fast enough or totally privatize public enterprises, reverse subsidies to the destitute, freeze wages and slash social budgets for the next two decades.

As soon as the economic elite successfully ousted President Dilma Rousseff through a legislative ‘coup’, their newly enthroned (Vice) President Michel Temer rose to the task: He immediately announced the privatization of Petrobras and froze health and educational budget for the next twenty years. Instead of recognizing the true nature of the ruling class interests behind the coup against Dilma and the arrest of Lula, the PT party hacks and writers denounced political ‘plotters’ and “traitors” and imperialist agents … puppets who were only following orders from the banking and export elite.

After the fall of Dilma and faced with resounding defeats in the 2016 municipal elections wiping out almost all of the PT big city mayors and city officials, Lula finally called for a ‘Left Front’ – fifteen years after having pursued an allied bankers’ front!

Reflections on a Debacle

What stands out is how pro-PT intellectuals and writers have failed to understand that the party’s vulnerability, opportunism and corruption were present early on and reflected the class composition, policy decisions and lack of ethical principles among the PT leadership. Wide-eyed and seduced at their warm reception at PT functions and international conferences, the ill-informed US, Canadian and European intellectuals understood nothing about the real structural and strategic flaws within the party and instead published hundreds of shallow ‘puff pieces’ about Lula’s poverty reduction, minimum wage increases, and consumer credit – ignoring the real nature of class power in Brazil.

Apparently, they threw out two centuries of even the most basic grammar school level history lessons describing the cyclical boom and bust nature of commodity export economies. They ignored a half-century of left-right ‘populist front’ governments, which collapsed into coups once bourgeois support was withdrawn – and instead whined about ‘betrayals’ – as if the elite were capable of anything else.

The fundamental problem was not the stratospheric intellectual pronouncements – the key was the economic and political strategies and policies under Lula and Dilma

The PT Presidents failed to diversify the economy, institute an industrial program, impose content regulations on foreign producers, nationalize the banks and monopolies, prosecute corrupt political officials (including PT leaders) and stop the practice of funding political campaigns through kick-back rewards for rotten deals with construction contractor-cronies.

Once in power, the PT ran expensive campaigns with heavy mass media saturation, while rejecting their own twenty years of effective class struggle that had built the political party with a strong working class cadre.

By the time it was elected to the presidency, the PT membership had shifted dramatically – from workers to middle class professionals. By 2002, 70% of active party members were professionals. They formed the leadership base running for office, designed the new strategies and forged new allies.

The PT discarded its popular class allies in order to gain short-term capitalist alliances based on the export commodity boom economy. During the height of the ‘boom’ they managed to satisfy the bankers and stockbrokers, while providing some subsidies to workers and the poor. When the budgets and the boom economy crashed, the business allies turned against the PT. Meanwhile, the PT had also lost its mass base, which was experiencing double-digit unemployment. The once reliable PT voters knew that, while they suffered, some of their ‘Workers Party’ leaders had become millionaires through corruption and were living in ‘soap-opera’-style luxury. They could imagine them consulting their gold Rolex watches so not to miss an appointment with the corrupt contractors…

Lacking critical and knowledgeable advisers, depending on allies and ministers from the capitalist elite, abandoning the politics of class struggle, and failing to implement any national industrial strategy – including the most basic processing of Brazil’s agro-mineral products, the Left disintegrated losing Latin America’s historic best opportunity to build a workers’ and peasant government from below.

The fiasco of left intellectuals and politicos is not confined to the case of Brazil. The same capitulation to the hard-right keeps happening: In the US, France, England, Greece and Portugal, there were the Bernie Sanders, Noam Chomskys and a small army of left journalists and identity activists rushing to support the candidacy of Hillary Clinton — the most bellicose imperial politician in recent memory. Despite her record of supporting or launching seven wars, creating twenty-million refugees and over one million deaths, despite her reckless advocacy of nuclear war with Russia over Syria, the self-declared ‘anti-fascists’ joined hands to support a recidivist catastrophe-candidate, whose only real success would be her million-dollar speeches before the financial elite and speculators! But then again, the famously furious Greek Left voted for Syriza’s Alexis Tsipras who then imposed history’s worst peacetime austerity program on the people of Greece. It must console Lula and Dilma to know they have plenty of company among the left politicians who speak to the workers and work for the bankers.

James Petras is author of  The End of the Republic and the Delusion of EmpireExtractive Imperialism in the Americas: Capitalism’s New Frontier (with Henry Veltmeyer), and The Politics of Empire: The US, Israel and the Middle EastRead other articles by James, or visit James’s website.

 

Oct 112016
 

By James Petras99GetSmart

temer-dilma

Introduction

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was removed from office through a well-organized, carefully planned operation among the corrupt Brazilian political elite, closely linked to the stock-market, financial institutions and foreign energy companies. This ‘legislative coup d’état ’eliminated the democratically-elected ‘political intermediaries’ and installed a regime directly controlled by the CEOs of leading multi-nationals. The corporate composition of the post-coup regime insured there would be a radical restructuring of the Brazilian economy, with a massive shift from wage support, social spending and public ownership toward profits, a foreign capital take-over of strategic sectors and foreign-domestic elite dominance over the entire economy.

This paper will describe the socio-economic dynamics of the coup and its aftermath, as well as the strategy and program that Brazil’s new rulers will pursue. In the second half of the paper, we will discuss the Workers Party regimes’ policies (under Lula and Rousseff) that prepared the political and economic ground-work for the right-wing seizure of power.

Socio-Economic Dynamics of the Coup

The overthrow of President Rousseff was organized and implemented by Brazil’s capitalist class for its benefit, even though it had the superficial appearance of a power grab by corrupt politicians.

Rousseff’s Vice-President, Michel Temer, acted as the front-man on behalf of the major investment banks: They set the agenda; he played his part.

Moreover, the principal beneficiaries of the economic giveaways under ‘President’ Temer, most notably the privatization of the energy sector, are clearly foreign capitalists. Once the coup makers lined up the votes among Brazil’s notoriously corrupt Congressmen to oust Rousseff, the multinational corporations emerged from the shadow of the stock market to take control over the levers of power.

In the run-up to the coup, when the so-called ‘impeachment’ was gaining momentum, the shares of the largely state-owned oil company sky-rocketed by 70%. In anticipation of the privatization and sell-off of assets, leading speculators and overseas investment houses seized the moment.

The ‘coup’ was no ‘secretive conspiracy’ – it was an overt, direct capitalist seizure of power. Once installed, it proceeded to dismantle the public sector economy and transfer the jewels of Brazil’s economy to foreign multi-nationals.

Master of Pillage

To ensure that the coup would not deviate from the course set by the capitalist coup-masters, Pedro Parente, ‘one of their own’ and the former head (CEO) of the giant agricultural trader, Bunge, was put in charge of the economy. With dizzying speed, Parente imposed the New Order onto the puppet Temer coup regime. He used a set of phony ‘technocratic’ euphemisms to explain the ongoing plunder of Petrobras, the state oil company.

Parente lowered Petrobras’ public investment sector by 25%, which he called ‘debt reduction’. The brutal programed sell-off of Petrobras’ most valuable assets was described as a ‘deleverage timetable’.

The unelected ‘Privatization Czar Parente’, in effect, ended the state’s role in the Brazilian economy by placing it under the exclusive dictates of private capitalist. The primary beneficiaries will prove to be foreign over national capital.

Parente has undermined the competitiveness of the national manufacturing sector and transport system with a hefty increase in domestic fuel prices. On the surface, he claimed the price increase would ‘raise profits for Petrobras’, obscuring the fact that the oil giant’s public assets had been given over to private capitalists. Meanwhile, Parente privatized the gas stations, ethanol production and distribution, as well as the billion-dollar fertilizer and petro chemical industry. Over $15 billion worth of Brazilian prime public assets were sold off to private, mostly foreign capital, in 2015-2016.

Parente’s onslaught deepened. The ‘grand prize’ was access to its rich off-shore oil fields. By the middle of 2016, a large-scale offshore oil license was sold to the Norwegian multi-national, Statoil, for a mere $2.5 billion.

With Parente in command, the ruling elite is on track to sell-off an additional $20 billion worth of Petrobras assets to foreign capital in 2017-18. The key goal has been to replace the state sector as lead operator in the deep water oil and gas fields.

The ongoing pillage of the Brazil’s huge state energy sector, is only the first course in an orgy of privatization: Infrastructure, transport, utilities and basic state-protected industries are on the chopping block. This private plunder of the state economic jewels accompanies a brutal slashing of public pensions, salaries and wages guarantees as well as public sector budgets for health and education and public workers. In order to reduce corporate taxes, increase profits and attract capital, the coup regime has ordered the cuts by fiat.

Conclusion: Challenges to Capitalist Power

The capitalist class seized state power through the corrupt political and judicial machinations of Brazil’s Vice President and Congressional cronies. The take-over was based on a series of alleged corruption scandals by the Workers Party. The fact that the entire Brazilian congress, most notably the capitalist operatives behind the coup, has been deeply immersed in the scandal over an alleged $15 billion looted from Petrobras, undermines their credibility. In fact, the ousted President Rousseff was cleared of all charges of corruption, while her successor faces ongoing investigations. This tragic comedy exposes that some members of the Workers Party are tiny amateurs in this orgy of capitalist plunder.

The current President Michel Temer is charged with receiving bribes from private contractors. If these investigations undermine his already dubious leadership, the capitalist coup-masters will be forced to call for early election. This will introduce considerable uncertainty about the viability of Privatization Czar Parente’s capitalist power grab.

The regime’s ‘slash and burn’ campaign against wages and pensions has heightened class conflicts within Brazil. The three major labor confederations are preparing for major strikes against a regime of questionable legitimacy.

The business coup has allowed the capitalist class to seize state power and decree its agenda. However it has yet to show it can directly impose its draconian polices aimed at reconcentrating wealth and income for the top five percent while repressing scores of millions of industrial workers, rural landless laborers and the urban poor.

In addition, while the rulers can offer the jewels of Brazil’s economy to foreign capital, the current low oil prices, ongoing corruption trials at the highest level of elite power and intensifying class conflicts will undermine their ability to implement their agenda. Indeed the prospect of escalating state repression and criminal gang violence may persuade foreign capitalists to skim off the top of Brazil’s most profitable assets and abandon the ensuing chaos.

Epilogue

After 13 years of Workers Party control of the Brazilian presidency, how did the coup-masters rise so quickly and decisively? The political leader of the coup was Vice President Michel Tener, who had been selected by the Workers Party (PT) leadership as part of their ‘coalition strategy’ of working with the most corrupt elements of the Brazilian capitalist class. The members of the Congressional majority, which voted to impeach President Rousseff, were in partnership with the PT, elected in joint election platforms. The economic decline and recession, which undermined public support for the PT government, was a result of its emphasis on the ‘boom and bust’ commodity strategy. The strategic role played by the private banking and business sector in the ‘legislative coup’ resulted from the PT’s decision to implement the privatizations started by the previous regime of President Cardoso, thus strengthening this parasitic class.

Above all, it was the PT’s new reliance on financing their political campaigns through the donation of contractors and the business elites, instead of combining electoral politics with class warfare and mass struggle that opened the Party to the everyday corrupt practices of the capitalist parties. It is a perverse justice that only the PT newcomers to political corruption would be caught and prosecuted!

In other words’ the PT continued to win elections by becoming a normal bourgeois party with its social welfare agenda reliant on an unstable capitalist growth cycle of commodity exports. The PT were profoundly mistaken when they saw their alliance with the capitalist class as something permanent rather than an ‘alliance of convenience’ where the business elite would tolerate them until it was in a position to overthrow them.

Mar 212014
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

twitler

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

Erdoğan threatened to “eradicate Twitter and their kind and end this breach of privacy and defamation” just hours before Twitter was banned in Turkey. An urgent court decision has been passed within the framework of several laws, one of which is an anti-terror law. The Telecommunications Institute has announced that the ban is directed against defamation, violation of privacy, and misinformation.

Since the Gezi Park protests of June 2013, there have been many court actions by the Turkish state against Twitter to force it to take down content, block access, and share information on users with the Turkish authorities. Twitter, unlike – according to Turkish authorities – other social media platforms (including Facebook), did not open an office in Turkey and complied with the Turkish court rulings.

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In the last few months Turkey had strengthened censorship and surveillance laws and infrastructure and Erdoğan had already said that right after the elections all social media platforms would be banned completely. Moreover he had accused Twitter of collaborating in a coup against his rule in Turkey with the participation of a “robot lobby.”

Only minutes after the ban went into effect, a campaign started, calling people out on streets to protest against AKP. However it seemed very suspicious, since when one analyses the Twitter accounts of the people who write with the hashtag, it is mostly people who previously tweeted for the AKP and actually seem to be bot accounts owed by the party. As there have already been declarations that Erdoğan will do anything in order not to leave office, people had been warned that there would be provocations by the government to force people to take to the streets and turn violent, thus leading up to a situation when elections could be cancelled.

Already, Erdoğan has defied all kinds of election restrictions against his party, AKP, aimed at creating a more egalitarian atmosphere by not allowing any kind of exploitation of national symbols such as the flag or national anthem, or any kind of religious symbols which might lead to unequal terms before elections.

The most recent troublesome issues on social media in Turkey have been: an informant from Erdoğan’s close circle leaking secret information on how the government is corrupt and is going to try to rig the votes, former allies (especially Gülen’s Hizmet movement) declaring open criticism of the government on social-media platforms, leaked alleged phone conversations of government officials, ministers, the Prime Minister, and his family regarding corruption, insult to religious values, bribes, international arms trade to warring nations, violating sanctions on Iran, drug trafficking, etc., rumors regarding an upcoming sex tape of some government officials or another possible leak about death/killing of a nationalist political leader some years ago.

Erdoğan at his party’s rally today in Bursa:

“We now have a court order. We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic”

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

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

Mar 202014
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

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The recent corruption allegations have been gathered and made into a mass statement consisting of 300 pages revealing all kinds of corruption of the government, from illegal arms transfers and billions of euros worth of bribes to trafficking in women. The opposition parties wanted these allegations to be brought to the parliament floor to be discussed officially before the elections, but the ruling AKP party refused this request. Later on, opposition members of the parliament demanded an urgent meeting to discuss corruption allegations, which AKP members had to participate in but rejected open discussion – which means an actual broadcast ban!

Melda Onur, an opposition deputy from the main opposition party, CHP, circumvented this ban through her social media account. She started a livestream of the banned discussion. Obviously, in this day and age, there cannot be a functioning ban of any sort when it comes to freedom of information and the right to acquire knowledge. When one of her Twitter followers asked what would happen if she gets subjected to a parliamentary investigation regarding her circumvention of the broadcast ban, she simply responded “I bite such an investigation :)”

Unfortunately, with the dominant presence of AKP members in the parliament, the entire united opposition cannot pass any motion or even keep discussions from being postponed to a later date or time.

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

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

Mar 082014
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto, 99GetSmart

Source: CADTM Europe

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The CADTM affirms its full and complete solidarity with the people of Cyprus and their organisations struggling against privatizations in the energy, telecoms, and shipping sectors – privatizations required by the Memorandum imposed by the Troika in March 2013. Cyprus is the fourth country to be placed under the budgetary supervision of the European Union, after Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

In the face of the demonstrations of 27 February (a 3-day renewable strike by Electricity Authority of Cyprus workers and a strike by longshoremen at the ports of Limassol and Larnaca), the Parliament was unable to reach a majority to adopt the initial bill (25 votes for, 25 against, 5 abstentions; a majority of 29 is required for adoption). The following day the government handed in its resignation. The media, in total complicity with the Troika, have observed total silence over this situation – an extraordinary one, to say the least.

Despite the refusal expressed by the population in the streets, the Cypriot legislators have just adopted (4 March), by a vote of 30 to 26, a bill that is only a slightly modified version of the one they had themselves rejected the preceding week and which would result in the privatisation of the major public services: EAC (electricity), CYTA (telecoms), and CPA (the port authority). This new version of the law claims to guarantee the jobs of the employees of these companies, but no one actually believes that.

Adoption of the law was a condition for the granting of a new 236-million € tranche of the 10-Bn € loan granted by the Troika in March 2013.

The causes of the crisis in Cyprus have been clearly identified: 

1) A hypertrophied banking system
 that was completely out of control. The banks, who have considerable liquid assets provided by the “financial markets,” have recklessly made risky investments.

In 2012, Cyprus’s banks speculated on the restructuring of the Greek debt – 40% of their external commitments, which cost them 4.5 Bn €, or the equivalent of a quarter of Cyprus’s GDP, and brought on the collapse of this overinflated sector (whose assets represent seven times the country’s GDP).

These private losses were then promptly transformed into public debt. These debts are totally illegitimate and must be abolished, along with those stemming from the assistance plan!

graph-3-ca531

In 2009 and 2010, Cyprus’s public debt was only 52.4% and 60.8% of GDP, whereas in the Euro zone as a whole it was 80% of GDP in 2010.

In Germany, the percentage was 74.5% in 2009 and 82.5% in 2010.

2) A tax situation that is highly advantageous for companies: Corporate tax, which until the Memorandum was at an official rate of 10%, has only been raised to 12.5% (not enough to resolve the budget deficit).

To obtain the 10-Bn € assistance plan from the Troika (9 Bn € from the ECB and 1 Bn € from the IMF), Cyprus’s government also agreed to the restructuring of its banking system, a 10% reduction in public expenditures, and the privatization of the island’s main public sectors.

The IMF, represented in Cyprus by a former executive of Lehman Brothers, itself recognizes the economic ineffectualness of such measures. The IMF’s goal is not to provide support for the population of Cyprus, but to protect and guarantee the interests of the creditors! That is why the agents of the IMF must be run out of Cyprus, along with the representatives of the European Commission and the ECB!

Aside from the obvious risk of growth in unemployment (forecast to reach 19.4% in 2014), Cypriots fear skyrocketing prices, with wages and pensions already reduced by 20% in one year. The people’s mobilisation, practically uninterrupted for months, goes well beyond the industry sectors that are directly concerned.

Rubbish bins brought by the population are piled up in front of bank branches. There are regular interruptions of electrical power and the people are besieging the Parliament and official buildings. All sectors, both private and public, are present around the Parliament, demonstrating their opposition to the Troika’s structural adjustment plan.

The CADTM considers:

  • that the entire debt of Cyprus to the Troika is illegitimate and odious, and must be abolished in its entirety;
  • that the austerity plan imposed by the Troika must be revoked.

The population does not want to pay for the speculators and the wealthiest 1%. International solidarity must organise as soon as possible in support of this exemplary struggle. The CADTM will do all it can.

Translation by Snake Arbusto

Photo : CC – Eu Council Eurozone
Discussion before the meeting begins : Christine LAGARDE, IMF ; Thomas WIESER, President of the EFC (Economic and Financial Committee) and Michael SARRIS, Finances Minister of Cyprus (on the right).

Dec 142013
 

By J. Iddhis Bing, 99GetSmart

Bob Diamond

Where’s Bob Diamond Now?

Early in the summer of 2012, Bob Diamond was an American banker with a talent for making numbers say what he wanted them to say. He was legit and was sitting in the catbird seat at Barclays Bank UK. He’d made $100 million over the previous six years.

A few weeks later, in early July, the world had flipped. Instead of sitting at his desk at Barclays Diamond was answering questions from a Parliamentary committee investigating LIBOR rate-fixing in 2008. A week after that he was out of work.

What’s LIBOR? The London Interbank Offered Rate measures the price at which banks lend currencies to each other. It gauges how much banks charge each other when they carry out interbank trades and it affects the rates businesses and households all over the world pay on loans and other financial products.

Diamond lost his job and Barclays was fined £290m. It was the financial scandal of the summer. Some say of the century, but we’ve got plenty of time to go yet.

July, 2012 was just the first act. The European Union wasn’t asleep at the wheel and started to investigate two other currency markets, the EURIBOR and the Yen LIBOR. They took their time and announced their findings two days ago. It turns out to be a good deal more serious than having to sweat through a rough morning in Parliament. Barclays got off with a £290m penalty in 2012 for their bad behavior. Maybe that wiped out a quarter or a half year’s earnings, and brought them some bad publicity. They found a way to dodge the bullet this time.

On Wednesday it was Joaquín Almunia’s job to announce EU charges against the banks involved. Almunia is the European Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy. He stood behind the podium in Brussels looking like the stern accountant with the big glasses who comes in to set things straight after the wild party’s over. The European Commission was going to levy €1.7bn in fines on seven banks and a brokerage firm for their roles in the worldwide interest rate manipulation. Banks named were Barclays, UBS, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS, bailed out at taxpayer expense), Deutsche Bank, Société Générale and two American banks, Citigroup and JP Morgan. A brokerage house, RP Martin, is in the mix, too. They’re contesting the charges and the fine. The tables with the damages, courtesy the EC, are included here as illustrations.

EU penalties in the Euribor scandal, by duration and number of incidents

EU penalties in the Euribor scandal, by duration and number of incidentsOfficial EU data on the instances and duration of Yen Euribor violations.Official EU data on the instances and duration of Yen Euribor violations

For its part of the deal, RBS will pay another £300m on top of the £390m it has already paid to US and UK regulators. RBS is a nationalized bank. That means English taxpayers will pick up the tab for the bank’s behavior.

Barclays was the first bank caught in the sting back in 2012. They knew which way the wind was blowing. They decided to cut a deal: by exposing the cartel in Euribor rate-fixing they avoided an additional £570m fine. Swiss bank UBS was spared a £2bn fine by doing the same for the rigging of yen interest rates. A cartel? The banks were working together? This is where things get interesting.

“What is shocking about the Libor and Euribor scandals is not only the manipulation of benchmarks, which is being tackled by financial regulators worldwide, but also the collusion between banks who are supposed to be competing with each other,” Almunia said.

Barclays tried to make it sound like they were Boy Scouts who got a little lost in the woods and stumbled on a coven of witches: “The European Commission has today announced that it has reached a settlement with Barclays and a number of other banks in relation to anti-competitive conduct concerning Euribor. The settlement acknowledges that the banks’ conduct infringed EC competition law by attempting to distort the normal course of pricing components for interest rate derivatives referencing Euribor. As today’s announcement from the Commission confirms, Barclays voluntarily reported the Euribor conduct to the Commission and cooperated fully with the Commission’s investigation.”

Which is a nice, elaborate way of saying, we burned the witches and got off scot-free. Would the EU have known about the Euribor fix if they hadn’t?

JPMorgan Chase, not a bank that makes nice to anybody, used the “Rogue” defense, citing “two former traders during a one-month period in early 2007.”

“The settlement makes no finding that JPMorgan Chase management had any knowledge or involvement in the conduct at issue, or that the traders’ actions had any impact on the firm’s LIBOR submissions or the published LIBOR rates. JPMorgan Chase has cooperated fully with the European Commission throughout its investigation and does not believe that the firm engaged in wrongdoing with respect to the EURIBOR benchmark. The company intends to defend itself fully.”

What we know now that we didn’t know in June 2012 was that the banks acted in concert. They didn’t compete on rates, they put their heads together and figured out a way to make even more money by jiggering them. Maybe you’ve read the emails where the traders promise each other crates of champagne if they help each other out. Which is something else that makes it difficult to believe in those “two former traders during a one-month period in early 2007.” The banks are all bonus-driven, and maybe the best way to survive is not to let your boss know what you’re doing. Results are what matter. JP Morgan and the others have cleaned house, and those two rogues won’t be heard from again.

Welcome to the world of the international cartels. The banks now work together to raise interest rates on everybody across the globe. The compliance officer at UBS saved his bank a €2.5bn by blowing the whistle on the yen scam. Maybe bankers only object when the numbers go over a billion.

Almunia said there is more to come. “This will not be the end of the story.” The EU is investigating the firms that refused to settle with the EC over the EURIBOR and yen LIBOR charges, and is taking a look at possible shenanigans in the FOREX market. Regulators in other countries are hard at work as well.

But that’s the problem. We’ve been stuck at the beginning for a while now: the banks find a new way to transgress, they make a bundle, investigators announce fines a few years later, somebody walks the plank and on we go to the next round.

The fines are big but they won’t hurt the banks too much. Nobody’s going out of business. They’ve got Quantitative Easing to thank for that. It’s a nice little program that helps out when the banks get tight.

You get knocked around on the market these days but there’s always a government somewhere to help you out. Even the moderate Socialist “enemy of finance” French government. Whenever Dexia in Belgium gets in a tight spot, François Hollande sends somebody over with a few billion to stop the bleeding. Too much old French money there to take any chances.

Bob Diamond’s long gone. He at least lost his job. Nobody remembers him. Where’d he go with all his millions? Who cares? There’s another millionaire to take his place, saying the same things about how it was all done by subordinates and he had no knowledge. Nobody knows what’s going on at the banks, the traders and compliance officers are running wild. Then one or two of them get caught, there’s an investigation, the bank shells out, somebody leaves and somebody else takes his place and life goes on, right over the waterfall until we all get soaked. Where’s Bob Diamond these days? In some nice paradise where he’s laughing his head off. What’s that to any of us?

J Iddhis Bing
Paris

Jul 192013
 

El análisis de James Petras

Los presidentes José Mujica y  Mariano Rajoy en La Moncloa (mayo/2013)

Los presidentes José Mujica y Mariano Rajoy en La Moncloa (mayo/2013)

“España está gobernada hoy por un delincuente declarado, confirmado por sus propios colegas”, señaló James Petras en su columna semanal, este lunes 15 de julio, al referirse a las revelaciones de corrupción en el gobierno español y que tienen a Mariano Rajoy como uno de los más comprometidos. Al respecto subrayó que esto no se resuelve “simplemente haciendo denuncias como hace Izquierda Unida o el Partido Socialista” pues “hablamos de grandes crímenes del Estado, corrupción profunda extendida, con implicados dentro del Partido confirmando todas las acusaciones, con documentación, etc.” y por eso Petras entiende que la oposición española debería “intervenir y paralizar el gobierno” de lo contrario “Rajoy seguirá en el gobierno”. Además, analizó la situación política egipcia, condenó la absolución del asesino de Trayvon Martin en Estados Unidos y comentó las nuevas repercusiones del ‘caso Snowden’. Lo que sigue es la transcripción de la Columna de james Petras, que puede escuchar/descargar en el siguiente link: https://soundcloud.com/nachov3/diego-martinez-entrevista-a

EChI: Si te parece empezamos con España. ¿Qué pasa con (el presidente del gobierno español, Mariano) Rajoy?

JP: Obviamente que en las cuentas del Partido Popular (PP), que es el partido de la ultraderecha que está gobernando España, hay un sistema disfuncional.

El señor Rajoy, es acusado –y se ha confirmado- de estar recibiendo coimas desde hace muchos años. Lo que llaman cobrar ‘sobre-sueldos’ que son coimas, pagos más allá de su salario, por varios arreglos que han hecho con contratistas de proyectos oficiales.

El ex tesorero Luis Bárcenas ha confirmado que han pasado dinero, cientos de miles, a Rajoy y a toda la dirección del partido. Obviamente es un caso de corrupción profunda, que en cualquier contexto debe descalificar al gobernante y llevarlo a la cárcel; o al menos merece su renuncia y llevarlo a Juicio.

Pero en el caso concreto que estamos tratando, Rajoy rechaza cualquier acusación y se mantiene en silencio. No quiere comparecer en el Congreso, no responde preguntas, no quiere confesar sus crímenes, simplemente han abandonado a Bárcenas. En otras palabras queda impune.

La oposición en el Congreso pide su renuncia y nuevas elecciones, pero más allá de esas exigencias no tienen fuerza para imponer la renuncia.

En otras palabras, España está gobernada hoy por un delincuente declarado, confirmado por sus propios colegas, y no hay nada que hacer. Obviamente que el sistema electoral, el sistema parlamentario en España, no cumple las normas de una democracia donde todos los oficiales están sometidos a las mismas leyes que cualquier ciudadano. Ellos con sus propios instrumentos e instituciones consiguen la impunidad.

Eso descalifica profundamente el sistema político llamado democracia.

Ahora, también  si uno busca alguna medida para paralizar, está la posibilidad de que el Congreso y los afiliados al Partido organicen una protesta constante en el Congreso para no dejar al gobierno corrupto funcionar.Si reclaman que los funcionarios no vayan al trabajo, no cumplan los trámites, no pasen cuentas, no firmen permisos para nada.Que los oficiales fiscales dejen de recaudar Impuestos. O sea,  hay que ir a la acción directa dentro de la institucionalidad, dentro del Parlamento, dentro de la democracia, porque la táctica del PP es quedarse mudo. No contestar, no responder, no aceptar responsabilidades y sigue igual en el gobierno. Frente a eso está sancionando la impunidad.

No creo que simplemente haciendo denuncias como hace Izquierda Unida o el Partido Socialista esto se resuelva, estos son formalidades cotidianas.Pero ahora hablamos de grandes crímenes del Estado, corrupción profunda extendida, con implicados dentro del Partido confirmando todas las acusaciones, con documentación.

Entonces hay que decir basta de formalidades. Si la oposición en España no está en condiciones de dejar las protestas rituales, de intervenir y paralizar el gobierno, creo que Rajoy puede seguir un tiempo más en el gobierno.

EChI: ¿Cómo está la situación en Egipto?

JP: Nosotros hemos visto desde el comienzo en estos contactos semanales, que el golpe de Estado era un golpe militar, antidemocrático, antielectoral, aprobado por Washington y los poderes de OTAN. Ese era nuestro análisis y se sigue cumpliendo esta visión.

Por ejemplo, Mohamed El Baradei que es el vicepresidente  ahora, es un liberal y está funcionando con el nuevo Ministro de Finanzas, Ahmed Galal, que fue embajador en Estados Unidos y es hombre de confianza del Fondo Monetario y de la Casa Blanca. Más allá de eso, el señor Hazem el Beblawi (nuevo primer ministro) está confirmando a todos los seguidores de los militares en todos los puestos y ha hecho una purga de los apoyantes de Mursi. Han dejado a los grupos más derechistas a seguir cumpliendo sus misiones, fortaleciendo el bloqueo a palestinos, rellenando los túneles que alimentan Gaza desde Egipto y declarándose incondicional con Washington en los asuntos más importantes. Y Washington continúa pasándoles ayuda militar., aviones de guerra.

Entonces, es muy claro que con los nombramientos a dedo de la Junta Militar del títere El Beblawi, ahora con Galal y los demás, el señor El Baradei supuestamente líder del Frente de Salvación Nacional, en realidad es del frente de salvación del imperialismo.

No hay dudas que la izquierda que apoyaba a El Baradei está ahora a la cola de la alianza con Washington e Israel. Es una desgracia, es algo terrible, porque ya los movimientos que protestaban contra Mursi han quedado en el abismo, no tienen ninguna posibilidad de rectificar la situación.Los militares se han quedado con el control, los apoyantes de Mubarak  vuelven a tener los puestos claves y Washington tiene su gobierno.Busca ahora con esta represión, tirar un salvavidas a Mursi diciendo que tratarán que lo saquen de la cárcel pero asegurándose que quede impotente en la oposición. Buscan estabilizar la nueva dictadura con al cola de El Baradei y los liberales, y la izquierda totalmente lejos del poder.

EChI: Clarísimo. ¿Qué otros temas ocupan tu atención?

JP: Lo más importante es la decisión judicial de absolver y liberar a un asesino. Se trata de George Zimmerman que mató hace un año a Trayvon Martin, un joven negro, desarmado, que iba caminando a su casa después de ir a una tienda a comprar dulces. Zimmerman, un blanco, caminaba con pistola Asumiendo el papel de ‘vigilante’ lo paró y  le dio un disparo, matando a Trayvon Martin.

Lo llevaron a juicio, el Procurador lamentable, la acusación mal presentada, las pruebas mal también, y el Jurado que no tenía ningún negro, los seis decidieron la absolución de Zimmerman, pese a que tiene fuertes características racistas.

Pero el problema no es simplemente un racista que mató a un joven negro. Aquí el gatillo fácil es común. Cualquier policía que mata negros, cosa que ocurre a diario en este país, nunca pasan a Juicio, siempre lo encausan como autodefensa. Pero ahora un ciudadano cualquiera puede andar por las calles armado, y si alguien lo insulta saca su arma, mata y después dice que fue en autodefensa porque se sentía amenazado.

Las leyes aquí permiten que cualquier persona esté armada en público, por cualquier razón, es la base de eso. Además de la glorificación de la Policía y de los que actúan como policías, porque este Zimmerman no era policía pero era un asumido vigilante, protegiendo la vecindad.

Esto ha provocado protestas en decenas de ciudades, particularmente entre la población negra, en California, San Francisco, Los Ángeles, Nueva York, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington… Mientras, el señor Obama, supuesto negro, ha dicho que esta es un tragedia. Pero no es su tragedia, porque este Presidente no ha tomado posición en ese sentido, no ha expresado indignación, no ha llamado a realizar una investigación Federal ni ha pedido realizar el juicio en otro lugar, en otra instancia del sistema judicial para tratar por lo menos de llevar adelante otro proceso con otras condiciones.

Simplemente se limita a decir que es una tragedia, que todo el mundo debe quedarse en calma y dice que hay que debemos pensar, reflexionar… Es exactamente  el bombero utilizado por los racistas para neutralizar la indignación de millones de personas.

Todo el mundo entiende que Zimmerman era culpable, porque el muchacho que mató no tenía ningún arma, ni palo ni nada.

Este asesino a sangre fría, declarado ahora inocente, me parece otra expresión del profundo racismo no solamente entre los asesinos sino de los ciudadanos cómplices, que ven en cualquier joven negro a un posible asesino. Esa es  la profundización del racismo que hay en este país. Y no hay Justicia. Cuando hay un enfrentamiento o situación conflictiva entre blanco y negro en las calles, siempre el negro es el culpable y debe probar que el otro es el agresor. Incluso si el negro muere, el otro camina libre por la ciudad.

EChI: ¿Hay algo nuevo sobre el caso Snowden?

JP: El caso Snowden sigue siendo aquí un gran tema porque ha revelado todas las implicaciones del imperio norteamericano, mostrando como utiliza el Internet para controlar y manipular los gobiernos,  y acumular información para los chantajes.

No se si se entiende, pero se supo que escuchan mensajes de Presidentes que puede tener alguna relación íntima en algún que después la usan para chantajearlo, presionarlo..

Snowden ha revelado eso. Hoy Alemania, Francia, todos los países entienden que hay un ‘gran hermano’ que está arriba de sus sistema político.

Hay más revelaciones que tienen nombres, lugares, actividades, y que todavía no se ha revelado. El periodista Glenn Greenwald (de The Guardian) que es el que ha publicado mucho sobre las cosas de Snowden, advirtió que si Washington trata de raptar o asesinar a Edward Snowden, los demás documentos van a salir a la luz y Washington está desesperado, haciendo llamadas a Putin a diario para que le entregue a Snowden. Y este con mucha suspicacia, ha decidido permanecer en Rusia un tiempo hasta que pueda conseguir  salir rumbo a América Latina.

Mientras tanto, aquí los políticos han tratado de enfatizar sobre el daño que han hecho a Estado Unidos.Pero no han hecho ningún daño, al contrario han mejorado al país un cien por ciento porque en realidad lo que están atacando es el Estado policial, y están  defendiendo la democracia y los derechos de los ciudadanos.  Snowden ha hecho mucho daño al Estado policial de Estados Unidos, pero por otro lado es un hecho que se han mejorado las condiciones o por lo menos se ha hecho una gran obra de revelaciones contra las prácticas policíacas y en defensa de la democracia.

Esa es la imagen que tiene ahora la mayoría de la gente.Las encuestas dicen que para el 60% de la gente Snowden no es un traidor, que es una persona que debemos respetar. En cambio los políticos, casi sin ninguna excepción, siguen reclamando persecución y cárcel. Y cárcel aquí para un acusado de este nivel significa treinta años encarcelado, en solitario, y con interrogatorios bajo condiciones que pueden provocar disturbios mentales. Por eso Snowden no quiere volver, para no ser víctima de este brutal tratamiento.

EChI: Excelente análisis Petras que te agradecemos mucho, nos reencontramos el próximo lunes.

JP: Muchas gracias, un abrazo a todo el equipo de Radio Centenario y el saludo a la audiencia.

Jun 262013
 

El análisis de James Petras, 99GetSmart

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“Esa coexistencia entre corrupción, enriquecimiento y la incapacidad de atender las exigencias populares queda latente por muchas razones. Por razones de la mistificación de Lula como demagogo populista y después con Rousseff con la esperanza de que ella podría –por lo menos- eliminar la corrupción que estaba fuertemente ubicada en todos los niveles del gobierno y del partido. Sin embargo, se acaba la paciencia, el gobierno involucrado con enormes gastos multimillonarios para la Copa, los juegos olímpicos, etcétera, y la gente no aguanta más”, dijo el sociólogo norteamericano James Petras al analizar este lunes (*) en CX36, lo que está pasando en Brasil. Además, Petras explicó en que está el ‘caso Snowden’, habló de lo que dejó la reunión del G8 y adelantó un trabajo que está concluyendo sobre la demagogia política en Estados Unidos. Transcribimos este análisis a continuación.

Efrain Chury Iribarne: Estamos saludando con mucho gusto a James Petras que ya está en contacto con CX36.

Tenemos muchos temas hoy, si te parece comenzamos con Brasil que vive una situación de agitación popular realmente fuerte.

Petras: Si es muy importante discutir de Brasil porque tiene implicaciones para todos los países de América Latina que combinan un tipo de populismo con el neoliberalismo.

Hace más de 6 años yo escribí sobre los primeros años de gobierno de Lula enfatizando la continuidad entre su política económica y las expresiones populistas que él articulaba. En realidad, Brasil sigue la política de privatización del enfoque sobre el modelo agro mineral, con enormes proyectos que no tienen nada que ver con las necesidades populares y todo disfrazado bajo una imagen de Lula como amigo de los pobres y los programas supuestamente anti pobreza. Ahora, mientras Brasil acumulaba enormes recursos económicos a partir de los altos precios de los commodities, mucha gente academica pensaba que los programas anti pobreza está levantando mucha gente a la clase media y con el gasto de los consumidores eso formaba un nuevo proyecto progresista. Pero en realidad lo que estaba pasando en Brasil era una enorme concentración de ganancia, una enorme acumulación de riqueza y mucho pasaba directamente a las multinacionales y a las cuentas externas. Hemos visto como en Nueva York, en Florida, en Miami, los brasileños venían comprando departamentos de un millón, dos millones de dólares y nosotros pensábamos que algo de enorme concentración de riqueza venía pasando.

Pero los progresistas, los académicos propagandistas del régimen como Emir Sader decían que realmente Lula -y después Rousseff- formaron un nuevo modelo progresista que combinaba bienestar social con el crecimiento económico. En realidad mientras algunos ingresos aumentaran el estandard  de vida,especialmente  la vida cotidiana, se estaba deteriorando. Es decir que si siempre mirabas el ingreso del pobre aumentó en un 20, 30% en términos nominales, pero los gastos para vivir, las condiciones de vida, los hospitales, el transporte, las escuelas no recibieron las subvenciones. Las subvenciones fueron a tres lados, fueron primero al sector agro mineral que era el motor de crecimiento -exportaciones de minerales, petróleo y agricultura, soja, carne,; por otro lado los enormes gastos en proyectos que beneficiaban los grandes contratistas; y tercero a partir de los contratos en los mega proyectos una enorme explosión de corrupción.

Esa coexistencia entre corrupción, enriquecimiento y la incapacidad de atender las exigencias populares queda latente por muchas razones. Por razones de la mistificación de Lula como demagogo populista y después con Rousseff con la esperanza de que ella podría por lo menos eliminar la corrupción que estaba fuertemente ubicado en todos los niveles del gobierno y del partido.

Sin embargo, se acaba la paciencia, el gobierno involucrado con enormes gastos multimillonarios para la Copa, los juegos olímpicos, la gente no aguanta más. Pero pensar que sólo eran los 20 centavos de aumento por el transporte es una de las cosas más ignorantes y pensar que sólo es en exigencia en los servicios públicos también es falso.

Es el conjunto del sistema, la construcción de una economía, donde toda la riqueza y todas las subvenciones están concentrados en una pequeña elite agro mineral y los banqueros y contratistas que se benefician de este proyecto.

El problema es sistémico, no es por un simple cambio de políticas públicas, es la estructura de poder que está influyendo sobre las políticas de Lula y Rousseff, la estructura que concentra poder en los grandes agro negociosos, dueños de minas como Vale de Doce,  y otras empresas

EChI: ¿Qué le han parecido los resultados de la reunión del Grupo de los 8 que tuvo como centro el problema de Siria?

JP: No resolvieron nada en serio. Porque en realidad los países de Europa y Estados Unidos estaban canalizando armas y dinero, junto con las monarquías del Golfo hacia los terroristas, eso ya lo sabemos. Ahora hay una escalada, armas más pesadas que están entregando a los terroristas.

La clave de la reunión era un fracaso de negociar un trato de libre comercio entre Estados Unidos y Europa.Hay tanta discrepancias sobre diferentes sectores económicos que no quieren abrir el mercado, el conflicto entre Francia y Estados Unidos sobre los medios de comunicación y la independencia cultural, las subvenciones norteamericanas sobre la agricultura, las prohibiciones en Europa contra Monsanto y las químicas que están involucrados en diferentes productos norteamericanos; esto sí fue un enorme fracaso.

El hecho de que llegaran allá y que no pudieran firmar ningún acuerdo sobre la gran crisis europea y el estancamiento norteamericano, es notable. Y tratar de concentrar ahora sobre lo que arreglaron con Siria, me parece una indicación de que son incapaces de superar la crisis económica y simplemente postergaran cualquier decisión para el futuro

EChI: Petras recién mencionabas Monsanto, el otro día recibió un premio muy importante ¿cómo consecuencia de qué recibió ese premio?

JP: No sé sobre el premio que refieres…

Pero Monsanto tiene mucho poder económico, tiene acciones multimillonarias, tienen directores involucrados con todos los sectores económicos, enorme influencia en los medios, en los gobiernos y también con los grandes productores en el campo, entonces es un complejo financiero químico agricultor y siempre pueden conseguir cualquier premio en cualquier contexto.

El hecho es que hay una conciencia cada vez más amplia y profunda del daño que Monsanto produce con los químicos, las fumigaciones y la química en la comida .Y también el hecho que tratan de imponer la semilla transgénica que pueden costar a agricultores pequeños y medianos una enorme pérdida de ingresos y costos.

Yo creo que Monsanto es el principal enemigo de muchos agro ecologistas en este mundo que vivimos. En Europa tiene tanta fuerza que limitan la aplicación de la química de Monsanto. El eje de Monsanto está en Norteamérica, en Estados Unidos, en Canadá, en México, y en Inglaterra también. El problema es que cuando la gente aprende es demasiado tarde y por eso Estados Unidos tiene problema al exportar carne y diferentes granos a muchos países, tratan de decir que es un problema de proteccionismo, cuando es un problema de Salud.

EChI: Pasemos a las denuncias de espionaje, el denominado ‘caso Snowden’. ¿En qué está esto?

JP: Lo que pasa con Edward Snowden, es que las revelaciones que hizo sobre el espionaje tuvo enormes repercusiones en todo el mundo, muestra la proyección del estado policíaco interno hacia todo el mundo. No es simplemente para recopilar información sobre todas las comunicaciones entre todo el mundo, sino utilizándola para arreglar la política norteamericana, consiguen información a través del espionaje que después utilizan en cualquier situación militar, económica, negociaciones, etc.

Más allá de eso, el señor Snowden, por su posición en la CIA y después en la Agencia de seguridad Nacional, consiguió el nombre de muchos agentes y las operaciones que realizan a lo largo y ancho del mundo. Pero de eso no se habla hasta ahora.

Es por eso que Estados Unidos entró en pánico y desesperado para de cualquier manera capturarlo y silenciarlo, ya sea poniéndolo en la cárcel o incluso matarlo. También por eso se puso un alto precio a su captura, amenazando con romper relaciones con los países que le ofrezcan refugio como perseguido político; empezando por China a quien informaron que si no lo entregaba sufriría las consecuencias, ahora lo mismo con Rusia, tratan de presionar para que se lo entreguen. Y Rusia obviamente no va a entregarlo pero tampoco le da el asilo.El asunto pasa a ser  qué país lo acogerá, y surge la idea de América Latina. Se ha comentado que puede ir a Cuba en tránsito a Venezuela o Ecuador. Ahora, el caso es que Cuba está tratando de mejorar sus relaciones con Estados Unidos y Venezuela también, y sabemos que Venezuela no tiene el mejor antecedente en cuanto dar asilo a refugiados, como han entregado personas sospechas de estar con el FARC, que en el pasado entregaron a Colombia. Por tanto queda Ecuador, donde el gobierno de Rafael Correa es muy estable, no tiene el tipo de oposición que existe en Venezuela y además, el gobierno ecuatoriano ha dado refugio a Julián Assange y mantiene sus principios firmemente.

Hay que reconocer que mundialmente e incluso en gran parte de los Estados Unidos, el señor Snowden es un héroe, es una persona que tuvo el valor de denunciar toda la máquina de espionaje y las represalias que el gobierno estadounidense puede tomar a partir de las informaciones que consiguen a través del espionaje.

También descalifica  todas las denuncias del gobierno de Estados Unidos de que está bajo el ciber ataque. Ahora la gente dice ‘qué ridículos (el presidente estadounidense Barack) Obama y (el secretario de Estado, John) Kerry que denuncian todo eso mientras son ellos los más grandes ciber agresores en todo el mundo’.

Por tanto, todo esto ha desprestigiado mucho a los Estados Unidos, ha demostrado que no tiene nada que ver con la defensa de la libertad de Internet ya que es el primer violador y Snowden ha jugado en eso un papel muy importante.

EChI: ¿En qué otro tema está trabajando?

JP: Bueno, estoy terminando un análisis sobre cómo los políticos presidenciables norteamericanos logran ser elegidos. Y hay que ver aquí que lo que importa no es lo sustancial en la política, no es la política económica lo que influye en la campaña electoral. Aquí en Estados Unidos todos los candidatos tratan de adoptar un tipo de populismo de Wall  Street, hablan con un acento populista, un lenguaje populista caminan sin corbata aunque con diferentes estilos.

Por ejemplo, Jimmy Carter habló mucho de los derechos humanos,  de los presos políticos en Argentina o Chile, mientras apoyaba a (Anastasio) Somoza (en Nicaragua); mientras lanzó una agresión junto a los yihadistas en Afganistán, matando a miles de personas y lanzando la segunda guerra fría. Ronald Reagan, tocaba la guitarra y hablaba como un vaquero de los westerns de Hollywood, mientras apoyaba baños de sangre en Guatemala con Ríos Mont. Y Bill Clinton fue a las Iglesias negras, mientras aplicaba recortes federales al Presupuesto eliminando los beneficios sociales a las madres jefas de hogar, lanzó guerras ‘humanitarias’ en Yugoslavia. Y podríamos repetir al gran maestro de toda esta demagogia, que es (Barack) Obama  que promete terminar con las guerras y en cambio las multiplica; y sigue presentándose como el gran libertador negro mientras que fue el que lanzó más guerras y agresiones bélicas contra el pueblo africano que cualquier  otro en el mundo; y el que  multiplicó por cinco a los encarcelados mexicanos que cruzan las fronteras, comparado con lo que hizo George W. Bush.

Entonces, hay que entender que el engaño, lo que nosotros llamamos ‘confidence man’ o sea el engañador, el que defrauda a la gente diciendo una cosa y haciendo lo opuesto; y en ese sentido Obama ha superado a todos los que hemos tenido en los últimos 40 años. Es un maestro de la mistificación. Pero cada vez más la gente entiende que es un fraude, lo que falta ahora es ver como formalizar esta denuncia y desenmascararlo.

EChI: Muy bien Petars, te agradecemos todos estos aportes y nos reencontramos el próximo lunes.

JP: Muchas gracias, un saludo para toda la audiencia.

(*) 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

Jun 092013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

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Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Ö.  from Istanbul:

Here is the nightly report on the events in Turkey for 9-6-13

The day was marked by explanations and press conferences by the AKP officials who have started losing a lot of customers in the businesses they do. As this resistance is mainly led by the general middle class with the contributions of lower classes, the people on the street have always been the biggest customers of the government-related people’s businesses. In order to regain their support, officials have employed several professionals to promote their companies in a way that people would still purchase their products, although they cannot agree on political matters. It might be the first time that there are general boycotts nationally in Turkey.

A second interview marked the day as an anonymous policeman gave an interview to an international journalist. To sum up, he was referring to terrible conditions that police are forced to work under. He said the police were forced to work a non-stop 100 hours the first days and there was no back up, no food or drink supplies. The only thing they were left with was teargas and batons and plastic bullet guns. When several policemen were made to watch the brutal interventions and crackdown, they would not believe it was possible that they treated human beings like that. It is not certain how sincere they are in this call, yet it is also true that they have figured out all the pressure mechanisms on themselves. They get deployed to a place hours before anything begins, left alone without food or drink, they were told to be brutal if necessary, and peer pressure encourages this as they do not want to appear soft among partners. Since, after long hours of working the only thing they want is to go back home to their families, they turn ultra brutal so that it all happens very quick; yet they never realized they would trigger a revolution by setting fire in the camp-site to the tents of protesters in Gezi Park. They complain that they are made to work longer than it was allowed (8 hours per day, 40 hours a week) and their union is not recognized, although unions call on them to strike as they are constitutionally not bound to follow these orders. Even though they complain of this, policemen state that they do not see what they did as excessive force except for kicking with feet; as they say “gas and water cannons are our only weapons against humans, if they allow us use other weapons we will be better off.”

During the day, the Carsi Anarchist Football Supporters Association, now representing the name “Istanbul United” have called for two major actions. The first action that they have organized is the march of 100.000 supporters to Taksim Square, so that police would not be able to intervene (although there are almost half a million people crowding the area now) and the second one is that they sent thousands to Ankara as a support for protesters against the police raids, as it was Carsi that managed to drive back the police raids with panzers and gas. As I am writing these lines right now, people continue to be attacked by police, which started only after midnight. The taxi drivers showed a major solidarity gesture and they blocked the traffic when panzers were behind them somewhere, so that they could not attack protesters.

The city council’s declaration yesterday in Istanbul that there would be no intervention during the weekend, so that police could rest too, caused tension among Gezi Parki protesters. They are now strengthening barricades and re-stocking gasmasks, medical supplies, water stocks etc. Although governor Mutlu declared, “They are still asking; no, no, no, no, there will be no intervention, stop asking” about Gezi Parki, people are still upset that there are major clashes in Gazi Mahallesi (the Alevi majority district of Istanbul, subjected to severe crackdown in 1995 which resulted in about 100 deaths in few days rise up, and left all those responsible without punishment). Gazi Mahallesi started a solidarity uprising for Gezi parki and police brutality is much worse there according to people reporting.

Another big event of the day is chopping down the central forest of Van/Ercis. Although townspeople gathered and said no one wants those trees chopped, government ordered clearing off of the forests and constructing big buildings in city center.

As Erdogan had always been a very cynical and pragmatic politician, always aiming for bigger gains through every possible way, there are many people wondering how come he revealed his non-democratic side suddenly with the May Day protests over a month ago. Many people are looking for him to come up with an explanation that all this will lead to something better; or perhaps just like the theory of westernization: the more authoritarian you force it, the more liberal people will end up when the dust settles.

One last remark could be on that Erdogan is going back to Ankara on Sunday, and Mayor Gökcek is forcing municipal workers and their families to attend greeting. Ankara AKP organizations are sending people sms texts, saying they MUST attend this rally and they will receive free transport as well.

MORE STORIES by Gürkan Ö. @ http://radicaldemocrat.blog.com

PREVIOUS UPDATES: 

EU-Turkey Conference Minimizes Overt Police Brutality, Erdogan’s Ongoing Hypocricy & the Failure of Turkish Main Stream Media  @ http://99getsmart.com/turkey-eu-turkey-conference-minimizes-overt-police-brutality-erdogans-ongoing-hypocricy-the-failure-of-turkish-main-stream-media/

Nightly report from Turkey 07-06-13 @ http://99getsmart.com/nightly-report-from-turkey-07-06-13/

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Jun 092013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

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Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Ö.  from Istanbul: 

Opinion of individuals from the ground are very important in such occasions. While the national and world media usually either does not represent or misrepresents the news, it is the people on the street tweeting and writing blogs, putting up videos that will really tell the world about this revolution. Some people find resemblances of the events in Istanbul and other cities to Tunisia, Libya, Egypt etc, yet the only common point is the organizational style (which is still the same in Iran, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Spain,etc…) as it is the most commonly used method of communication today, the social media.

Turkish spring may actually be a Turkish summer, a step ahead spring; yes many people are against the failing system, people ask for a better democracy and more respect to human rights including recognition of all rights (be it minority rights, environmental rights, animal rights, etc). The one common denominator today is that people are asking not only for immediate cease to destruction of environment but also new faces, new ideas, new working system, in order to prevent any future concentration of power – which, in the long run, harms the “others” of the system.

For long years, the mainstream’s “others” have been the Greeks, Armenians, Kurds, Islamists, Alevites, and most recently the Republicans … (alongside may other identities). The day has come to the point where there is no individual left without a rancour against the system that declared him/herself as an enemy. While population in general is uneasy about the developments of recent years, most people were abiding by the system simply because there was no way out for them.

The Media

The bosses have to stand on the side of the government in order to operate in the country or in export / import related businesses. This part is beyond corruption; as government reserves the power of Treasury at her disposal, whenever a boss deviates from the major-plans for the government and give chance to opposition voices in media or other platforms, officials of the treasury raid the accountants of that particular businessperson and write a fine of billions of euros. AfterAydin Dogan was made an example of, no other media-king could ever allow opposition voices be heard on TV, and smaller media-only businesses were fined for any reason. While most businesses in Turkey might still be non-compliant with EU regulations and standards, it was especially the non-governmental businesses that were forced the most, and in this situation of inequality, only government-friendly businesses would grow and get bigger.

Over the years, most media barons left their business to government related business people and the situation was the absolute silence we have seen throughout, if not for the disinformatary broadcast, accusing the protesters of crimes committed by undercover policemen, events that took place years ago and directly turning prime minister’s accusations into “facts”. Moreover, as most of the country does not use internet, a seriously dangerous number of people still have no idea what has been going on and why. The only thing they see on the news usually is “the terrorists that we have always known, this time in our city center”.

In the event of this camera being pulled away to have a clearer focus on the penguins of Antarctica, the Turkish penguins were marching on the streets and defending their rights peacefully, until the police raided in an all-out-attack. It is seriously worrisome because the reporters were told that if they broadcast or report anything that would harm government’s credibility, they would lose their jobs; the police were told that if they cannot stop the protests with all they have, at whatever cost, they would lose their jobs. Also the police being manipulated into losing their minds is another factor in this violence; as serious psychological games are in place to control their behavior and make them more violent towards protesters (see the nightly report from 9-6).

So, in that sense, the only real representation of the events would be clearly from the street, and unlike media reporters from various backgrounds, tweeters, bloggers, video-channel admins show the events as they see and their number brings about a significant accuracy to events. On the street there are many groups bringing live information to all of us, the socialists, communists, nationalists, anarchists, capitalists, greens, pirates, islamists, feminists, homosexuals, football fan-clubs (which have a completely deeper meaning than just the game in Turkey), all kinds of ethnic groups from Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Pontians, Greeks, Jews, Assyrians, Circassians, Bulgarians, etc. to international visitors and residents of Istanbul who are against all kinds of oppression and can stand with a univocal voice for liberties. The groups that were thought never to be able to stand facing each other without harming one another stood shoulder to shoulder, demanding a fair system where no one is marginalized by the mainstream and no “one” power can hold any other control mechanism hostage, simply by the voter support behind it.

What we have seen throughout the last decade in Turkey has been the failure of famous “checks-and-balances” through over-concentration of power, sacrificing democracy for the sake of prosperity (of a few). In the years to come, as this nation has seen the shortcomings of a neo-liberal authoritarian government’s deeds, people would not wait too long to once again voice their demands and put the last brakes on an uncontrolled force that might have taken over all guards against any kind of possible collapse, except for the hearts and minds of the people.

None could have imagined that a country so differentiated between several aspects of the society would unite so well and demand peace and liberty, and only around a green leaf that no longer covers the shame of oppressors.

MORE STORIES by Gürkan Ö. @ http://radicaldemocrat.blog.com

Related Posts: 

EU-Turkey Conference Minimizes Overt Police Brutality, Erdogan’s Ongoing Hypocricy & the Failure of Turkish Main Stream Media @ http://99getsmart.com/turkey-eu-turkey-conference-minimizes-overt-police-brutality-erdogans-ongoing-hypocricy-the-failure-of-turkish-main-stream-media/

Nightly report from Turkey 07-06-13 @ http://99getsmart.com/nightly-report-from-turkey-07-06-13/

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND DAILY UPDATES ON TURKEY:

OccupyGezi @ https://www.rebelmouse.com/OccupyGezi/

Show Support for Turkey and LIKE and SHARE this Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/Gezisolidarity

FOR DAILY LIVESTREAM UPDATES ON TURKEY AND WORLD EVENTS:

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