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Western Power and Press vs Burundi’s President Nkurunziza

By Ann Garrison

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza

Should incumbent Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza be allowed to run for election again? Most Western powers and Western press say no.

Transcript:

KPFA Weekend News Anchor David Rosenberg: The US, the EU, and Western media continue to castigate Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza for seeking a third term in office despite violent street protest and police response, and a failed coup détat. Nkurunziza, who was elected by Burundi’s Parliament in 2005, claims that the Burundian Constitution gives him the right to run for election twice by universal suffrage, and the country’s constitutional court confirmed that right. Two neighboring presidents, Rwanda’s Kagame and DR Congo’s Kabila, successfully claimed the right to be elected a second time by universal suffrage, Kagame in 2010 and Kabila in 2011. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Russia and China blocked a UN Security Council resolution censuring Nkurunziza for seeking another term, and said that Burundi is a sovereign nation that must be left alone to solve its own problems.

Ironically, one of the only voices in the Western press who has also pointed to Burundi’s sovereignty, is Shaka Ssali, the very popular African born host of Straight Talk Africa, an international public affairs show produced by the Voice of America.

Shaka Ssali: George W. Bush was not elected President of the United States in his first term. He was appointed by the Supreme Court of the United States of America, 5 to 4 verdict. And the 5 members who voted for him . . . they had been appointed by Republican presidents. People grumbled here and what have you, but life went on. So let’s be honest. You may not be in agreement with the decision of the Burundian constitutional court, but since the court has spoken, you have to accept it, no?

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Shaka Ssali was speaking to a Burundian in Washington, who responded that the people of Burundi oppose Nkurunziza’s decision to run for election again. Agence France Presse, however, in one newswire that departed significantly from the rest of the Western press, reported that the protests have all occurred in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, and that Nkurunziza is immensely popular with Burundi’s rural peasant majority. Thousands of supporters, they said, met him dancing and singing, in farmland just 30 kilometers outside the capital, after he defeated the coup.

Gearóid Ó Colmáin, an Irish writer based in Paris, explained Nkurunziza’s popularity in an interview with Phil Taylor on CIUT-Toronto’s The Taylor Report.

Gearóid Ó Colmáin: He’s managed to reconstruct the country. He’s actually built more schools, by 2007, than were built before in the entire 50 years of independence. He’s instituted policies that have been very good for working people, with emphasis on infrastructure.

He made a law actually, which requires people to provide free labor, community labor, on Saturdays to build schools and other public infrastructure that people need. So he has created a kind of a national voluntarism which has given people a sense of hope and a sense that they have power to build their country. He’s actually done very well and he spends a lot of his time with poor people on weekends, so he’s extremely popular.

The government has made the claim that this problem, this violence, is really only in Bujumbura, the capital, and that is actually true. In most of the country there are hardly any protests. The foreign funded media tends to be concentrated in Bujumbura. But even in Bujumbura, you only have about four quarters of the capital where there’s violence. So this has really been blown all out of all proportion by the international press.

(Gearóid Ó Colmáin:Are the US and the EU Sponsoring Terrorism in Burundi? )

KPFA: Earlier this week, regional leaders met in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, where they asked Nkurunziza to postpone the election until order could be restored in Burundi. They did not ask Nkurunziza to withdraw from the election, but the US and the EU still do.

For Pacifica, KPFA, and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.


Related:
Coup Attempt Defeated in Burundi, US Continues to Recognize Nkurunziza
Are the US and the EU Sponsoring Terrorism in Burundi?
Peter Erlinder: Second Genocide in Rwanda
Towards a Regional War in Central Africa : Rwandan and Ugandan Troops in the Congo (DRC)

Geopolitics Behind the FIFA Scandal : War Against Russia Enters a New Front

Editorial Comment: Muammar Gaddafi was the First to Expose FIFA Corruption

The FIFA logo at the headquarters Zurich, Switzerland

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

There is no question that there is a lot of corruption inside Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Bribes and behind the scene deals have been going on for decades. The sport federation is responsible for the most watch and popular sport in the world and is part of a lucrative business venture that has a lot of soft power and prestige attached to it.

The scandal and arrests that have taken place in 2015, however, have nothing to do with corruption and everything to do with geopolitics. Welcome to the soccer/football front! FIFA has become another arena for the multi-spectrum war being fought by the US and its allies against countries like Russia. The energy and currency wars are now being augmented by a behind the scenes war at FIFA. Joseph Blatter or Sepp is a casualty of this war.

As far back as 2005, Blatter has refused to get embroiled in Washington’s geopolitical chess game(s). Under him FIFA refused to surrender to the US Department of State’s demands that Iran’s team be blocked from participating World Cup 2006 or demands that Palestine not be admitted into FIFA. FIFA’s geopolitical offenses, however, may have reached a tipping point.

FIFA’s consideration of Palestinian requests to suspend Israel, on the basis of Israeli sabotage and attacks against the Palestinian team, as item fifteen of the agenda of its 65th Congress could have been one of these offenses. Days before the 65th FIFA Congress was to take place, however, Blatter meet with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian quasi-dictator Mahmoud Abbas to reach some type of understanding. This may the basis for the withdrawal of the Palestinian Football Association’s motion to suspend the Israeli Football Association from FIFA.

Not only were both the US and Britain upset that they were not awarded the statuses of hosting World Cup 2018 and World Cup 2022, but they have been pressuring FIFA against Russia. What may have led to Washington’s campaign to remove Blatter by organizing a coup inside against Blatter was FIFA’s refusal to sanction Russia by getting with the US and EU program against Moscow.

Washington’s Attack on FIFA

Just days after he was re-elected on May 29, 2015 to continue heading FIFA for a fifth term by the majority of delegates at the 65th FIFA Congress, Joseph Blatter took the unusual step of announcing that he was stepping down as the international sport federation’s president on June 2, 2015.  The move was unusual, because up until his May re-election Blatter had managed to overcome the pressure and attempts by the US and its allies to force him to resign from the presidency of FIFA. He announced that he had taken the decision because he did not have everyone’s support for his continued presidency in FIFA during a press conference at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.

One hundred and thirty-three out of two hundred and nine association representatives at the 65th FIFA Congress voted for Blatter in the first round of voting at the Hallenstadion in Zurich. This amounts to 63.6%, or roughly 64%, of the FIFA Congress. Since this number was just short of two-thirds or 66% of FIFA’s voting members needed to secure a first round win, a second round of voting was to commence.

FIFA Vice-President for Asia and runner-up, Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein bin Al-Talal bin Abdullah, had no chance of winning and dropped out of the election before a second round of voting took place.  Prince Ali had managed to secure only seventy-three votes in the first round. This means that 34.9% (approximately 35%) of FIFA supported Prince Ali’s bid to run FIFA as its new president.

Despite the fact that he had secured the support of the majority of soccer/football associations at the FIFA elections, Blatter was still coerced into announcing his resignation. After his re-election by the 65th FIFA Congress, reports published by the New York Times, ABC News, and Reuters all announced that Blatter was now being criminally investigated by US authorities. «Blatter had for days tried to distance himself from the controversy, but several United States officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity,» admitted that they wanted to build a case against him by using FIFA colleagues of his that they had arrested earlier (Sam Borden, Michael S. Schmidt, and Matt Apuzzo, «Sepp Blatter Decides to Resign as FIFA President in About-Face,» New York Times, 2 June 2015).

Prior to the investigation on Blatter, the US had the Swiss police arrest seven FIFA officials at the Hotel Baur au Lac in Zurich on May 27, 2015. These officials were in Zurich preparing to cast their ballots for the FIF elections. They were arrested on «suspicions» of corruption and extradited to the US by Switzerland.

The US actually accelerated its investigation even while a separate probe was being conducted by the authorities in Switzerland as to how FIFA awarded World Cup 2018 to Russia and World Cup 2022 to Qatar. This is the crux of the matter. FIFA was not willing to rescind its decisions and follow Washington’s geopolitical script against Russia.

The timing of the raids and arrests occurred twenty-four hours before FIFA’s elections. The arrests were deliberately planned to prevent Blatter from being re-elected. Blatter responded by saying, «No one is going to tell me that it was a simple coincidence, this American attack two days before the elections of FIFA. It doesn’t smell good.»

The Politicization of FIFA: Dividing the World

The contours of geopolitical rivalries and divisions are manifesting themselves in FIFA. While El Salvador and Honduras fought a war ignited by soccer/football in 1969, what is happening behind the scenes with the FIFA scandal is giving new meaning to «Soccer/Football War».

Although the voting at the Hallenstadion was conducted by secret ballot, there is a general understanding of how the FIFA delegates and regional confederacies voted.  Aside from Australia, all forty-seven members of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) are believed to have voted for Blatter. The AFC made strong statements of support for Blatter since the scandal broke. The fifty-four members of the Confédération Africaine de Football/Confederation of African Football (CAF), which is the largest FIFA confederations, also all voted for Blatter and made strong shows of support for him like the AFC.

The Union des Associations Européennes de Football/Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the US on the other hand were hostile towards Blatter. EU politicians, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, had been demanding he resign as the president of FIFA. UEFA even threatened to cut ties with FIFA if Blatter was re-elected.  The English Football Association also called for a boycott of the World Cup. The campaign against Blatter reached a point where Sepp said that UEFA was involved in an unnecessary demonization campaign.

UEFA, however, was not united against Blatter. «UEFA is divided: a quarter of its members apparently voted for Mr Blatter, defying a plea from Michel Platini, UEFA’s head, to oust the Swiss septuagenarian. Among those who backed the incumbent were Russia, Spain and, less predictably, France, Mr Platini’s own country. So UEFA action is, alas, unlikely to extend much beyond removing co-operation from FIFA committees,» the Economist reported («Untangling FIFA’s mysteries,» 2 June 2015).

Aware of what was happening behind the scenes, the Russian Federation, at both the FIFA level and the political level of the Kremlin, voiced its strong support for Joseph Blatter. Vladimir Putin even leapt to support Blatter. Aside from France, Spain, and Russia, as many as eighteen UEFA members, including Armenia, Belarus, Finland, and Kazakhstan are believed to have supported Blatter during the voting in Zurich (««Little point’ to divided Uefa talks on Sepp Blatter, says Dutch football association,» Dutch News, 2 June 2015).

The US and Canada were also isolated among the Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). The CONCACAF countries of Central America and the Caribbean put their support behind Blatter.

Are the US and EU Fighting Corruption or Fighting Democratization in FIFA?

In Orwellian terms, the press in the US and Britain have tried to portray Blatter’s projects to enhance the standing of soccer/football in Africa and Asia through investment and development projects as a form of «bribery.» Even critics admit that the equal division of profits between the two hundred and nine members of FIFA generated by revenues and tournaments «has prompted many a genuine football revolution in the developing world» (Tom Peck, «Fifa corruption: How Sepp Blatter buys support by investing Fifa’s millions in Africa,» Independent [London], 28 May 2015).

Mauritania provides an excellent case study of how the equal division of profits among all of FIFA’s members, starting in 2013, has helped poorer countries improve the standing of soccer/football. To enhance the profile of the sport, studios were built to provide Mauritanians the opportunity to watch the sport from television.  Two paragraphs published in the Independent (ibid) relay what occurred:

•«We now have a TV production unit, one of the first of its kind in Africa,» explained the president of the Mauritanian Football Association, Ahmed Ould Yahya, at the time. «We’ve signed a contract with the national broadcasting company and we show matches every week. That is really changing the image of the game in the country».

•Before the money arrived, Mauritanian football had effectively collapsed. It had never played in an international tournament, and fallen out of the world rankings. It is still struggling, but now it also has pitches and facilities, all paid for by Fifa. Mauritania has never played in a World Cup, but has had its share of the profits. All 209 Fifa member nations receive an equal share of the income from the tournament in Brazil in 2014, around $1.2m (£783,000).

The above is being billed as form of bribery. Not once is the deep corruption involved in UEFA or the European Union ever mentioned. This has prompted observations that aside from geopolitics, this is an issue of power and economics. The following excerpt illustrates this point: ««The past two editions of the World Cup have been played in South Africa and Brazil. The next one is in Russia. All three are BRICS countries. It’s obvious that the west is not very happy with this. All this talk about corruption is an attempt by Europe and America to bring the game back into their sphere of influence,’ says Thiago Cassis, a reputed Brazilian football writer. «There is a lot of corruption in European football too. They do not talk about it. This whole game is not about tackling corruption, but regaining control…»  (Shobhan Saxena, «Make No Mistake, the FIFA War is Not About Football or Corruption», The Wire, 31 May 2015).

«Dependent on South America and Africa for football talent, and, increasingly Asia for TV audiences, the Europeans know they are losing control» of soccer/football, the Brazilian journalist Shobhan Saxena has noted (ibid).  «Europe wants to import all the labour from us because that gives them a global TV audience and lots of money. But they do not want to give us World Cups or share any power with us,» a FIFA delegate from Africa at the 65th FIFA Congress has explained in this regard (ibid).

The Reason Behind the FIFA Arrests: Pressuring Latin America against Russia

All the FIFA officials arrested before the elections in Zurich were Latin Americans from Central America and South America. Aside from their own corruption investigations, this has prompted both resentment and backlash in CONCACAF and the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol/South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).

The Wire gives the Latin American perspective on why the US and its allies targeted the Latin Americans in FIFA. «Why did they arrest officials only from our federations and that too in Switzerland? Why didn’t they approach our governments through Interpol? Is it because they knew that extradition from South America to US is impossible?» one Brazil’s soccer/football official asks (ibid).

This account points to an organized effort to derail FIFA with a coup: «There was also anger about reports in the western media about the CBF chief Marco Polo Del Nero «fleeing’ Zurich for Brazil as he «feared’ arrest. In fact, when papers like the Guardian and New York Times were reporting Del Nero’s «escape’ from the FIFA meeting, the Brazilian official was still in Switzerland. «They brought all this pressure on us to force us to vote for Prince Ali. They have been lobbying with us for months. When they didn’t see it working, they conducted the raid followed by veiled threats to others that they could be arrested too. Some British and American journalists were part of this pressure tactic,’ the Brazilian official alleged» (ibid).

Resending the Selection of Russia as the Venue for World Cup 2018

What it comes down to is World Cup 2018 in Russia. The Latin American perspective is the following: «From the versions of the Zurich raid given by some South American officials, it appears that the FBI, Swiss police and a few western reporters hunted them together,» Saxena reports (ibid). He was also told by one FIFA delegate from South America that the US was trying to pressure the Latin Americans. «As the Asian and African vote was solidly behind Blatter, they wanted the votes from the Americas for Prince Ali. They were desperate to make the prince the new chief of FIFA as he could re-open the bids for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments,» testifies the Paraguayan official (ibid). «Since the UK and the US lost the 2018 and 2022 bids respectively, they have been working to somehow cancel the World Cups in Russia and Qatar. They haven’t accepted the fact that they lost the bids in a fair contest» the same official has explained (ibid).

Prince Ali, who is also the head of both the Jordanian Football Association and the West Asian Football Federation, was the candidate that Blatter’s opponents in the US and Britain had put forward. The US, Britain, and the leadership of the Union des Associations Européennes de Football/Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) had for months been actively lobbying for Prince Ali against Sepp Blatter. True to his pedigree, like the other so-called «royals» of the Hashemite scion in Jordan, Prince Ali  is a puppet or a «stooge» that represents US and British interests as one anonymous Brazilian official told Saxena in an interview (ibid).

The whole FIFA scandal is not about corruption or dignity. The whole affair is about geopolitics and managing the world. Joseph Blatter was forced to step down because FIFA refused to cancel its decision to allow Russia to host World Cup 2018 and to reopen the bids for hosting World Cup 2018 and World Cup 2022.


US ‘Witch-Hunt’ at FIFA Targets Russia

By Finian Cunningham

The United States’ criminal probe into alleged FIFA fraud has the unmistakable air of a witch-hunt. It’s disproportionate and contrived.

The telling dearth of evidence to support high-flown corruption claims, the relatively small sums of money involved, and the hyped Western media-driven focus working hand-in-hand with US law-enforcement agencies are some of the salient signs that there is an ulterior political agenda at play.

That ulterior agenda has to do with Washington’s bigger geopolitical objective of undermining Russia and the government of President Vladimir Putin. Putin has himself pointed to this vicarious objective in the FIFA fiasco.

But let’s examine the nitty-gritty a bit more.

The official purpose of the US investigation — “cleaning up” international football — sounds unconvincing. What we need to look at here is the bigger picture of why this scandal at the World Cup organising body has suddenly exploded.

The “shock decision” this week by FIFA president Sepp Blatter to quit reveals more than meets the eye.

In a surprise announcement, Blatter was forced to eat humble pie by resigning as president of the international football federation — only four days after he was re-elected for the fifth time by the organisation’s 209-member worldwide associations. He had headed the organisation for 17 years and was due to complete another four-year tenure.

The normally ebullient Blatter was visibly deflated in tendering his resignation. Last week, he had brushed off calls to quit, amid US-led allegations of corruption at the World Cup body. But then the 79-year-old chief executive turned around only days later and handed in his notice.

Why the sudden change of heart? After all, last week Blatter rebuffed the idea of standing down because, he said, that would be an admission of his own guilt in the corruption scandal at FIFA. So, why did Blatter bite the bullet? Is he perhaps indeed guilty of financial crimes? Or maybe at his delicate age, he just couldn’t face the unnecessary stress and hassle?

The day before the Swiss FIFA president made his resignation announcement in Zurich, the American media were reporting that the FBI investigation was now fingering Blatter’s right-hand man, Jerome Valcke, in alleged bribery amounting to $10 million over the awarding of the 2010 tournament to South Africa.

Last week, the American authorities had requested Swiss police to arrest seven FIFA officials ahead of the federation’s annual conference in Zurich. American indictments have been issued for seven other officials and sporting executives. Charges range from money laundering to racketeering, amounting to a total of $150 million spread over the past 24 years.

Following the FIFA boss’s decision to quit this week, The New York Times reported: “Mr Blatter had for days tried to distance himself from the controversy, but several United States officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that in their efforts to build a case against Mr Blatter, they were hoping to win the cooperation of some of the FIFA officials now under indictment and work their way up the organisation.”

In other words, the US law enforcers were letting it be known through the media that they are going after Blatter, and it is probable that under building pressure the FIFA boss decided to throw the towel in, simply to avoid further media controversy. Hours after his stepping down, US media reported that Blatter is “now under investigation” by the American authorities. He has not been charged yet, and it is unlikely in any event that Blatter would be extradited to the US, because his Swiss nationality affords certain protection.

None of this is to substantiate that there is any legal case against Blatter. But the important point here is to note the contrived way that the US authorities and the American media worked toward the goal of hounding Blatter out of his position as president of FIFA. Another goal is the further blackening of the federation’s reputation and all its decision-making — in particular the awarding of the 2018 World Cup venue to Russia.

It was the American news media that turned the FBI heat on to Blatter, without any evidence, and merely on the basis of anonymous “official” briefings of unsubstantiated accusations.

As the New York Times reports on its own role: “Initially, much of the public focus of the investigation was on [American football confederation] Concacaf’s role, and FIFA officials, including Blatter, portrayed the arrested officials as rogues. But The New York Times on Monday, based on information from several United States officials and others briefed on the case, linked Mr Blatter’s top deputy, Jerome Valcke, to a series of payments that are believed [sic] to be bribes connected to South Africa’s winning the vote that gave it the 2010 World Cup.”

This smacks of a tawdry trial-by-media. The upshot is that the president of FIFA is effectively kicked out of his post and the entire voting procedure of the global organisation is overturned — simply on the back of “believed” allegations that have emanated from American law-enforcement authorities and broadcast through the mass media.

In any case, what of the central allegation that a $10 million “bribe” was passed from South African authorities to FIFA in order to illicitly gain the right to host the 2010 World Cup. This is the alleged bribe that was linked to Jerome Valcke and his boss, Blatter, tipping the latter to quit.

South Africa sports minister Fikile Mbalula this week acknowledged that a sum of $10 million was donated by his country’s football association, but that the transaction was carried out above-board and through regular bank transfers, not smuggled out in a briefcase, as the Americans and Western media have colourfully claimed. The South African transaction appears to have been a normal, common procedure, whereby financial aid is granted from one FIFA member confederation to another. In this case, the South Africans were making a “legacy donation” to the “African diaspora” in the Caribbean countries, which come under the Concacaf umbrella that also covers North and Central America.

The South African minister, speaking to international media, categorically rejected any suggestion that the grant was made to “buy” the privilege to hold the 2010 World Cup. In short, it was not a bribe.

What’s more, the South African government disclosed that it has not been given any evidence or information by the American authorities over the alleged bribe. In fact, it seems that the Western media have been briefed more by the FBI than have the South African sovereign authorities even though the accusations have served to smear that country’s global reputation. This lack of normal diplomatic protocol from the Americans toward their South African counterparts is indicative of a hidden agenda.

At the end of the day, Sepp Blatter has been bounced out of his FIFA post on the basis of “bribery” alleged anonymously by US officials, for which there actually seems to be a legitimate and entirely mundane explanation, according to the South African government.

The same lack of evidence applies to the headline figure of $150 million that US law enforcement claims FIFA officials have been illicitly linked to over a 24-year period. That pile of alleged ill-gotten loot breaks down to approximately $6.5 million a year.

Hold on a minute. Let’s not be naive about this. A figure of $6.5 million a year in alleged financial fraud is peanuts, when compared with the billions and even trillions of dollars of criminality that Western-based banking corporations are accused of being involved in.

British bank HSBC, for example, was caught earlier this year, thanks to a company whistleblower, involved in massive criminality amounting to $180 billion in tax evasion and money-laundering for drug cartels.

JP Morgan and other Wall Street banks are suspected, with substantial evidence, of illegally rigging gold-price markets and foreign-currency exchanges in order to embezzle trillions of dollars from the wider public — for which the wider public then have to endure crippling austerity policies, while the banking executives become multi-millionaires.

Yet, not one of these “banksters” has ever been arraigned or charged, let alone prosecuted by the US and Western governments.

Therefore, in the scale of known financial crime by global banks and their executives, the wholly over-the-top dramatic focus of American and Swiss law-enforcement agencies on FIFA is patently ridiculous.

That brings us to the ultimate conclusion that the whole US-led witch-hunt against FIFA and its top officials must be directed for an ulterior purpose. The “explanation” of fighting corruption, as the American authorities and Western media claim, is obviously nonsensical.

In the wake of Blatter’s resignation, the Western media are now moving the focus on to questioning the legitimacy of Russia as the 2018 World Cup venue. That tells us everything about what this whole US-driven storm in a teacup at FIFA is really aimed at.

The beautiful game and its billions of fans around the world are being manipulated into an anti-Russian agenda that serves Washington’s geopolitical gaming against Vladimir Putin.

Up to now that gaming has been centred on the Western-fomented Ukrainian conflict. Unable to score desired points on that particular field, due in part to the incompetence of the Neo-Nazi regime in Kiev, the US seems to have decided to try another “venue” for its gaming to destabilise Russia — and conveniently a witch-hunt at FIFA is a handy substitute.

EU’s War on African Migrants Supports Da’esh

Reuters / Antonio Parrinello
See: Britain, Libya and the Mediterranean : The Creation of a Humanitarian Emergency

By Dan Glazebrook

In the wake of the appalling death toll in the Mediterranean at the end of April – when up to 1,300 refugees were estimated to have drowned in one week – the EU was quick to jump on the tragedy as an opportunity to ramp up military involvement in Africa.

Resisting calls to restart search-and-rescue operations, an emergency European Council meeting last month instead called for the bombing of the boats on which the migrants were fleeing, vowing to “undertake systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers in accordance with international law.”

A leaked ‘strategy paper’ presented to the UN Security Council last week by EU foreign representative Federica Mogherini, spelled out exactly what this would entail: “The operation would require a broad range of air, maritime and land capabilities. These could include: intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; boarding teams; patrol units (air and maritime); amphibious assets; destruction air, land and sea, including special forces units.”

Meanwhile, ‘onshore activities’ might include “action along the coast, in harbor or at anchor of smugglers assets and vessels before their use.” In other words, another large scale assault on Libya waged from air, sea and land.

Needless to say the plan has been rejected by both Libyan ‘governments’ – the internationally-recognized one in Tobruk, and in a rare display of unity, also by the Libyan Dawn government based in Tripoli.

Taken at face value, such an approach to the problem of illegal migration is hard to understand. Experts have been queuing up to condemn the planned bombardment, arguing that not only will it be gratuitously cruel, but counter-productive as well. A joint statement issued by the UN’s human right experts on migrants, Francois Crepeau, and on trafficking in persons, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro warned that “Increasing repression of survival migration has not worked in the past and will not work now. Destroying boats is only a very short-sighted solution to combating smuggling. Smugglers continue to skillfully adapt, as long as there is a market to exploit.”

Indeed, the ‘war on drugs’ has already proven that militarized solutions aimed at the ‘supply side’ of criminal enterprises without addressing demand are invariably disastrous. As Ioan Grillo has brilliantly documented in the book El Narco, attempts in Mexico and Colombia to wipe out drug crops through aerial attacks over the past four decades has had two main consequences: first, it drives up the price – and therefore the profits – of the trade; second, it consolidates that trade in the hands of only the most ruthless, vicious and armed gangs. The result has been a massive concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the most ultra-violent drug cartels. The estimated 100,000 killed in Mexico’s Jalisco province over the past eight years is the latest bloody testament to this grim reality. Any attempt to deal with ‘people smuggling’ by bombing their boats out of existence would almost certainly have a similar result.

Reuters / Antonio Parrinello

In Libya, the ‘people smuggling trade’ is currently run by a plethora of small providers, some organizing occasional runs in small vessels hired from fishermen. These small providers would probably not withstand a concerted military assault. With prices going through the roof as a result of continued demand and declining supply, however, the trade would certainly continue. But it would do so in the hands only of those with the firepower necessary to run the operation in the newly militarized terrain – that is to say, in the hands of groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda. And they would be doing so in a market that would have become immeasurably more profitable.

Thus, the practically guaranteed result of the EU’s strategy would not be to eliminate the ‘people smuggling’ trade, but to ensure that it helped concentrate massive wealth and firepower in the hands of Libya’s most violent gangs. This much should be obvious to any high school economics student with even a basic knowledge of supply and demand. No wonder, then, that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the Russian government, and even, apparently, parts of the French military are opposed to the plans.

So why is the EU so firmly in favor of this self-defeating exercise in moral bankruptcy? Of course, one explanation says it is simply a way for governments to outflank their far-right opponents by proving their ‘toughness on immigration.’ Cameron and his ilk, for example, can argue that not even Nigel Farage has promised to actually blow refugees out of the water! This analysis makes some sense when we note that it is Britain, France and Italy in the forefront of the ‘war party’ on this issue – all of whom have witnessed large support for anti-immigrant parties in recent years.

But seen in terms of the broad context of European capitalism’s deep, multi-layered crisis, another explanation also suggests itself.

Myself and many others have argued over the past four years that the unleashing of sectarian violence across the Middle East and North Africa was not an accidental by-product of Western foreign policy in the region, but in fact its very purpose. By the mid-2000s, the growing economic clout of the global South was presenting a very real threat to the continued European/ North American extortion of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Ever since these regions gained formal independence from colonialism, they had remained tied to former (and new) colonial powers through a million economic threads. Yet the rise of China (and to a lesser extent, India and Brazil) has smashed the West’s former monopoly of markets and finance, and has facilitated one country after another freeing themselves from economic dependence on Europe and the US, and moving towards a growing South-South cooperation in which the West has been edged out. The massive rise in Chinese investment in Africa – from $6 billion in 2000 to an estimated $200billion today is but the most vivid example of this global trend.

Destabilization through terrorism, then, has been the West’s way of using military means to claw back that power it can no longer maintain through economic manipulation alone. For destabilized regional powers cannot contribute to the growing strength of the BRICS, cannot support their regions’ moves towards self-sufficiency, and are likely to be ever more reliant on both Western military aid and international finance. By creating one failed state after another – in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Kosovo and Libya – the US and Britain have created the conditions in which terrorist activity can thrive; and then by directly supporting sectarian militias, in Libya and Syria in particular, they have ensured that these militia keep the affected countries in a state of violent chaos. That is to say, weak and dependent.

If this analysis is correct – if the West is pursuing a policy of destabilization against the global South in order to keep it weak and dependent – then the apparently self-defeating strategy of concentrating the ‘people smuggling’ trade in the hands of ISIS and Al-Qaeda suddenly makes perfect sense. It may be a desperate measure to keep these groups alive.

The tide has now definitively turned against the sectarian death squads that the West has been fostering for the past five years. No longer seen as the ‘freedom fighters of the Arab Spring’, the West’s proxy militias – and their political apologists – now inspire little more than revulsion across much of the region. This began with the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt in 2013, and continued throughout 2014 with both the military gains made by Syrian President Bashar Assad and the ousting of the pro-militia parliament in Libyan elections. In Libya, in particular, which has been steeped in sectarian violence and civil war ever since NATO’s invasion in 2011, there are some encouraging signs that the death squads’ reign of terror might be on its last legs.

Last month, the UN envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon announced that the country’s two rival factions have reached a draft accord which is “very close to a final agreement,” and each side has begun putting forward their nominees for positions within a unity government. Of course, this may yet fall though. After all, the Libya Dawn coalition – formed of militia supporters who lost the last election – has apparently rebuffed the agreement. Yet if it is rejected, this just makes it more likely that the Libya Dawn militias will simply meet with outright military defeat – for two reasons.

First, they are intensely divided. The rise of ISIS in Libya has split the so-called ‘Islamists’, with Libya Dawn now officially at war with ISIS, although this is a policy not all of the party’s militias support. Furthermore, the Misrata militias, who broadly support the idea of a ‘unity government’, are increasingly fighting other more hard-line groups that do not. While there are also divisions on the elected government’s side, so far these are on the level of political faction-fighting rather than shooting battles. Clearly the violent divisions on the Misrata – Libya Dawn – ISIS side are likely to be more corrosive than political disputes.

Second, the intervention of Egypt on the side of the elected Tobruk government has significantly altered the balance of power in that government’s favor. And according to intelligence reports from DebkaFile, Egypt is “preparing a large-scale ground and air assault along the Libyan border to oust the Islamic State group from eastern Libya.”

If Egypt does indeed wage such an assault, wiping out ISIS (together, possibly, with its allies and supporters from within Libya Dawn), that will again increase the pressure for Libya Dawn to come to a compromise or risk total annihilation. Either of these outcomes would be a serious spanner in the works to British-US led ‘divide and ruin’ strategy – in which Libya is supposed to play the role of the base of destabilization across the whole region.

Hence the urgency for a ‘new intervention’. Not only would ISIS and company see their smuggling profits boosted exponentially, but the EU plan would also pave the way for SAS involvement in revitalizing the militias (just as they did in 2011) and to serve as a bulwark against Egyptian forces.

The result would, of course, be a much more bloody conflict. But that is precisely the point.


Coup Attempt Defeated in Burundi, US Continues to Recognize Nkurunziza

By Ann Garrison

KPFA Weekend News, 05.16.2015

A coup attempt prevented Burundi’s President Nkurunziza from flying home from Arusha, Tanzania earlier this week, but Nkurunziza now seems to be firmly back in control. The US has called on Burundi to step down and not seek a third term in office, but they do not appear to have supported the aborted coup.

Transcript: 

KPFA Weekend News Anchor David Rosenberg: An attempted coup d’état fell apart in Burundi this week, but not until after the Wikipedia entry on President Pierre Nkurunziza had been revised to say that he’d been ousted from power on May 13, 2015. On that day and the next it was widely reported that coup plotters had seized and darkened Bujumbura’s International Airport, making it impossible for Burundi’s President to fly home from talks on Burundi and regional instability. By Friday, however, the President was back home, and the general who had announced the coup on a private radio station was reported to be on the run. Other coup supporters were reported to have been arrested and arraigned, and the Wikipedia once again identified Nkurunziza as Burundi’s incumbent president. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza speaks to the media after he registered to run for a third five-year term in office, in the capital BujumburaPresident Pierre Nkurunziza accepted his party’s nomination for a third term in April.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Protest broke out in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, in April, after President Nkurunziza’s party announced that they were nominating him for a third term as president, “whatever the consequences.” Nkurunziza’s opponents say that both the 1998 Arusha Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Burundi and the Burundian Constitution legally oblige Nkurunziza to step down, but the text of both documents is ambiguous enough to allow for legal argument on either side and Nkurunziza’s supporters and opponents line up accordingly.

Burundi neighbors Rwanda and shares the same majority Hutu and minority Tutsi demographic and history of conflict. Many pundits and reporters have therefore expressed anxiety about the possible return of the ethnic violence of the 1993-2005 civil war that cost 300,000 lives. Rwandan American legal scholar Charles Kambanda has said, however, that he considers this misguided propaganda.

Charles Kambanda: There was been much misguided propaganda about what is happening in Burundi. I don’t think the Burundian problem is Hutu-Tutsi. It’s struggle for power. It is just struggle for power.

KPFA: The US has called Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term un-constitutional, and called on him to step down, and urged regional leaders to do the same. The US also supported a UN Security Council resolution censuring Nkurunziza but that was blocked by Russia and China, who declared it an internal matter for the sovereign nation of Burundi.

https://i0.wp.com/www.anngarrison.com/sites/default/files/Nyombare.jpgGeneral Godefroid Niyombare announced that Pierre Nkurunziza was no longer Burundi’s president on a private radio station on May 13 and 14. By May 15 he acknowledged that the coup had failed.

Some observers therefore expected that the US might support the coup attempt, but on Thursday, the US State Department issued a statement saying that it continued to recognize Nkurunziza as the country’s president. On Friday, BBC reporter Maud Julienne reporter that coup leader General Godefroid Niyombare was on the run and unable to count on help from either the US or Rwandan Embassy.

BBC/Maud Julienn: Well, he’s on the run at the moment but he doesn’t seem to have a viable exit route in front of him. We understand that the US and the Rwandan Embassies, which he may have counted on for support, are not going to be helping him. He’s thought to still be in the country, though of course it’s not clear where. And he has already admitted to some journalists that he was surrendering, that the coup had failed, so it seems like a matter of hours before he too is arrested.

KPFA: Reuters reported that Burundian authorities claim to have the renegade general in custody, and claim that he did not surrender but was arrested instead. The Burundian government spokesperson, again according to Reuters, has since withdrawn that statement and said that the general is still at large.

For Pacifica, KPFA, and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.


Related:
Are the US and the EU Sponsoring Terrorism in Burundi?
Museveni and Rice Shake Hands on Uganda’s Occupation of South Sudan
Towards a Regional War in Central Africa : Rwandan and Ugandan Troops in the Congo (DRC)

 

Imperialism ‘Genocides the Poorest of the Poor’

African, Asian Migrants Dying in Mass in the Mediterranean

Communication Security Establishment’s Cyberwarfare Toolbox Revealed

1297423615318_ORIGINALMexico, North Africa, Middle East among targets of cyber-spy hacking

By Amber Hildebrandt, Michael Pereira and Dave Seglins
CBC News

Top-secret documents obtained by the CBC show Canada’s electronic spy agency has developed a vast arsenal of cyberwarfare tools alongside its U.S. and British counterparts to hack into computers and phones in many parts of the world, including in friendly trade countries like Mexico and hotspots like the Middle East.

The little known Communications Security Establishment wanted to become more aggressive by 2015, the documents also said.

Revelations about the agency’s prowess should serve as a “major wakeup call for all Canadians,” particularly in the context of the current parliamentary debate over whether to give intelligence officials the power to disrupt national security threats, says Ronald Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab, the respected internet research group at University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

“These are awesome powers that should only be granted to the government with enormous trepidation and only with a correspondingly massive investment in equally powerful systems of oversight, review and public accountability,” says Deibert.

Details of the CSE’s capabilities are revealed in several top-secret documents analyzed by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, a U.S. news website co-founded by Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who obtained the documents from U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The CSE toolbox includes the ability to redirect someone to a fake website, create unrest by pretending to be another government or hacker, and siphon classified information out of computer networks, according to experts who viewed the documents.

The agency refused to answer questions about whether it’s using all the tools listed, citing the Security of Information Act as preventing it from commenting on such classified matters.

In a written statement, though, it did say that some of the documents obtained by CBC News were dated and do “not necessarily reflect current CSE practices or programs.”

Hacking spans globe

Canada’s electronic spy agency and the U.S. National Security Agency “cooperate closely” in “computer network access and exploitation” of certain targets, according to an April 2013 briefing note for the NSA.

Their targets are located in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Mexico, plus other unnamed countries connected to the two agencies’ counterterrorism goals, the documents say. Specific techniques used against the targets are not revealed.

Deibert notes that previous Snowden leaks have disclosed that the CSE uses the highly sophisticated WARRIORPRIDE malware to target cellphones, and maintains a network of infected private computers — what’s called a botnet ​— that it uses to disguise itself when hacking targets.

Other leaked documents revealed back in 2013 that the CSE spied on computers or smartphones connected to Brazil’s mining and energy ministry to get economic intelligence.

But the latest top-secret documents released to CBC News and The Intercept illustrate the development of a large stockpile of Canadian cyber-spy capabilities that go beyond hacking for intelligence, including:

  • destroying infrastructure, which could include electricity, transportation or banking systems;
  • creating unrest by using false-flags — ie. making a target think another country conducted the operation;
  • disrupting online traffic by such techniques as deleting emails, freezing internet connections, blocking websites and redirecting wire money transfers.

It’s unclear which of the 32 cyber tactics listed in the 2011 document are actively used or in development.

‘In Canada’s interests’

Some of the capabilities mirror what CSE’s U.S. counterpart, the NSA, can do under a powerful hacking program called QUANTUM, which was created by the NSA’s elite cyberwarfare unit, Tailored Access Operations, says Christopher Parsons, a post-doctoral fellow at the Citizen Lab, one of the groups CBC News asked to help decipher the CSE documents. QUANTUM is mentioned in the list of CSE cyber capabilities.

A 2011 presentation by a CSE analyst outlines 32 tactics that the spy agency has developed. Click on the photo to see an explainer on some of them.

Publicizing details of QUANTUM’s attack techniques fuelled debate south of the border about the project’s constitutionality, says Parsons, who feels a debate is needed here in Canada as well.

“Our network has been turned into a battlefield without any Canadian being asked: Should it be done? How should it be done?” says Parsons.

National security expert Christian Leuprecht says the wide spectrum of cyber capabilities should come as no surprise, considering Canada’s stature as an industrialized country and partner in the influential Five Eyes spying network, which also includes the U.S., U.K., New Zealand and Australia.

“I think it’s in Canada’s interest to have full-spectrum capability, because if or when the issue does arise, then we want to make sure we can be a major player in taking our collective security interest into our hands,” says Leuprecht, a fellow at Queen’s University’s Centre for International and Defence Policy and professor at the Royal Military College.

Leuprecht adds, however, that “simply having that capability doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to deploy” it.

He also claims Canada has “very explicitly” decided — for now — not to become embroiled in a dangerous cyberwar by using its most destructive tools to attack other countries, citing the example of the mysterious shutdown of North Korea’s internet following that country’s alleged hacking of Sony Pictures.

Canada also faces practical limitations in deploying some of these tools, such as money and strict laws, he says.

Seeking approval for more disruption

According to the documents, the CSE wanted more aggressive powers for use both at home and abroad.

In 2011, the Canadian agency presented its vision for 2015 to the Five Eyes allies at a conference.

CSE CASCADE presentation

“We will seek the authority to conduct a wide spectrum of Effects operations in support of our mandates,” the top-secret presentation says.

Effects operations refer to manipulating and disrupting computers or devices.

CSE said in a written statement: “In moving from ideas or concepts to planning and implementation, we examine proposals closely to ensure that they comply with the law and internal policies, and that they ultimately lead to effective and efficient ways to protect Canada and Canadians against threats.”

Experts say the Anti-Terrorism Act, Bill C-51, currently being debated, could legalize use of some of the capabilities outlined in these classified documents.

Though the act would give CSIS, Canada’s domestic intelligence agency, the power to disrupt threats to the security of Canada both at home and abroad, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service relies on its sister service, the CSE, for technical help with surveillance and infiltration of cellphones and computers.

“With Bill C-51, we’re seeing increased powers being provided to CSIS, and that could mean that they would be able to more readily use or exploit the latent domestic capabilities that CSE has built up,” says Parsons.

A ‘perimeter around Canada’

In an increasingly hostile cyberspace, Canada has also turned its attention to figuring out ways to better protect itself against such attacks.

‘If we wish to enable defence, we must have intelligence to know when attacks enter our national infrastructure.’- CSE presentation

Back in 2011, CSE envisioned creating a “perimeter around Canada” to better defend the country’s interests from potential threats from other countries and criminals, raising the prospect the agency was preparing a broad surveillance program to target Canadians’ online traffic.

At the time, “full visibility of our national infrastructure” was among its goals, according to a planning document for 2015. Security analysts wanted the means to detect an attack before it hit a target like a government website.

“If we wish to enable defence, we must have intelligence to know when attacks enter our national infrastructure,” the 2011 top-secret CSE presentation says.

The agency would not answer how far it got with the 2015 plan. A spokesman called some of the documents obtained by CBC dated and said they “explored possible ideas.”

As a result, the information “does not necessarily reflect current CSE practices or programs,” the agency said in a written statement.

“Logically, it makes perfect sense” that CSE wanted to monitor all traffic coming in and out of the country, says Deibert.

“The problem is the techniques they have at their disposal, the capabilities, if they are indeed in place, are dual use and could be abused.”

List of documents:


CBC is working with U.S. news site The Intercept to shed light on Canada-related files in the cache of documents obtained by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The CBC News team — Dave Seglins, Amber Hildebrandt and Michael Pereira —collaborated with The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher to analyze the documents.

With files from The Intercept’s Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald


Related:
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Canadian Terror Wave a Modern-Day Gladio
Canadian Government and Media Creating a Moral Panic as ISIL Attacks Ottawa
CSIS Agent Helped British Girls Join ISIS in Syria

US Convoy March is ‘Shocking Spectacle Fitting Imperialistic Ambitions’

US Army Stryker infantry carrier vehicles convoy

The US military convoy marching through Eastern Europe, including the Czech Republic, to its base in Germany is a “shocking spectacle in keeping with the US’ imperialistic ambitions,” Petr Hájek, editor-in-chief of the Protiproud website, told Sputnik.


Hájek described the US initiative, nicknamed the Dragoon Ride, as “a show of force … aimed at the Czech society,” not at someone on the outside, for instance, like Russia, adding that the United States treats the Czech Republic like a protectorate.

Czechs will surely stage protests against the convoy, said the former advisor to Václav Klaus, who served as the president of the Czech Republic from 2003 to 2013. But the media, he added, will likely keep silent on any form of discontent.

The initiative has already sparked public outrage in the country prompting the Czech military to announce that it will protect the US military convoy.

The Czech government decided to support the initiative, because “it is not a government of a sovereign nation,” Hájek said.

“We, as an independent nation, have largely lost our sovereign rights after joining the European Union and NATO. Our hands are tied,” Hájek told Sputnik Czech edition. “The Czech Republic … has become a target of someone’s military ambitions. It is losing its freedom,” he added.

The Czech Republic should not take part in the NATO military exercises since drills could lead to the escalation of tensions in the region and provoke a serious military conflict, Hájek said.

The Protiproud website has started a petition asking Czech authorities to leave NATO, which has become an offensive alliance preparing to launch a war against Russia, Hájek added. Thousands have signed the petition. “Honest people should not accept this,” he said.

Czechs to NATO: Thanks, but No Tanks Please

Soldiers of the U.S. Army's 2nd Cavalry Regiment, deployed in Latvia as part of NATO's Operation Atlantic Resolve, ride in armored vehicles named Stryker during a joint military exercise in Adazi

Prague’s decision to allow a US military convoy to travel through the Czech territory has sparked public outrage in the country.

Prague’s decision to allow a US military convoy to pass through the Czech territory has sparked public outrage in the Czech Republic.

Earlier, on March 16, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka announced that the Czech government agreed to allow the US military convoy to travel through the state’s territory. Sobotka underscored that the decision would demonstrate solidarity of the Czech Republic with its NATO allies. The convoy of 120 US armored fighting vehicles, nicknamed “The Dragoon Ride,” will cross the country between March 29 and April 1, demonstrating the manpower maneuverability of the alliance forces to Russia and Eastern European states.

According to Czech Republic’s Defense Minister Martin Stropnicky, the convoy would consist of 516 personnel and 118 vehicles. It will cross the country on three routes and will unite in Prague-Ruzyne and then head to the military base in Bavarian Vilseck, Germany, through West Bohemia. Martin Stropnicky pointed out that the convoy’s transfer is a common practice aimed at demonstrating the US commitment to its NATO allies. He noted that in 2014 there were almost 131 transfers of this type across the republic, including 1,631 foreign troops and 601 pieces of equipment.

However, Prague’s decision sparked controversy amongst both Czech politicians and ordinary civilians alike. The Czech Communist party blasted the move as sheer “provocation,” that could undermine the peace process in Ukraine. Vojtech Filip, head of the Czech Republic’s Communist Party Morava emphasized that the long-anticipated Minsk agreement could be threatened by the NATO maneuvers. He said that he had received numerous letters from Czech civilians, opposing the “show of force.” The Communist leader pledged to draw up a petition aimed against the conflict escalation on the European continent.

Czech Internet users also expressed their growing dissatisfaction with NATO’s plans. Some web users even went so far as to slam Washington for spreading fascism. In the light of the Ukrainian crisis Czech civilians view NATO’s “show of force” as a substantial threat to peace in the region.

In an interview with Sputnik, Eva Novotna, press-secretary of Ne základnám (“No” to bases) organization denounced the decision of the Czech government to allow the US convoy to travel across the country as a “naivety bordering on stupidity.”

“It is a provocation, a demonstration of force and an attempt to split the Czech society into two implacable camps,” Eva Novotna underscored.

She noted that Czech citizens, outraged with the government’s initiative, called upon the organization to prevent the US military forces from entering the country, proposing to block up border posts, lie under wheels of the US’s fighting vehicles or even to use the Molotov cocktails in order to stop the column.

NATO military drills in Eastern Europe could aggravate further tensions triggered by the conflict in eastern Ukraine, according to Eva Novotna. She expressed her deep concerns regarding possible provocations or accidents during the exercises that could flare up a full-scale military conflict in Europe.

US Convinces at Least One EU State – Bombs Mean ‘Freedom’

U.S. Paratroopers arrive in Estonia for NATO training

The Estonian Air Force is set to carry out joint military exercises with the US Air Force beginning next week, an event the Estonian Air Force commander has dubbed “the sound of freedom over our skies.”

The exercises between March 19 and April 17, will include low flights simulating attacks on ground targets to be held at the Estonian Defense Forces’ central firing range in the north of the country. Estonian forces will train alongside the USAF’s 510th Fighter Squadron, regularly based at the Aviano Air Base in Italy. Over the course of the exercises, American forces will be based at the Amari Air Base in northwestern Estonia, about 40km from Tallinn, the country’s capital.

Colonel Jaak Tarien, Commander of the Estonian Air Forces, told Estonian Public Broadcasting that he hopes “that the people of Estonia will appreciate the sound of freedom over our skies and that people will support the exercises.”

Tarien added that the “upcoming exercises are the first stage in the implementation of promises made to us by our allies. The US defense budget for 2015-2016 has committed $24.7 million for the development of the airbase in Amari. This is a clear sign that our allies – the United States, have long-term plans for a presence in Estonia, and similar exercises will be held here on a regular basis.”

Nearly 300 US Armed Forces personnel are set to accompany the Air Force Squadron arriving in the country, with Abrams tanks and other heavy equipment, along with paratroopers beginning to arrive for the Siil 2015 exercises in May, which are to involve a total of 13,000 Estonian and US personnel.

Last month, Estonian and US forces held a parade marking the country’s independence at the border city of Narva, just 300 meters from the Russian border. The Estonian government had earlier announced a 40 million Euro ($42.5 million) military infrastructure development program aimed at accommodating NATO forces on its territory.

NATO has been strengthening its military presence along Russia’s western border amid the conflict in southeastern Ukraine, claiming Moscow’s involvement. Russia has repeatedly stressed that it is not party to the Ukraine crisis and has expressed concern over the expansion of NATO forces along its borders.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated last month that “NATO’s course on strengthening its military potential and expanding its military presence and infrastructure on the alliance’s ‘eastern flank’ as well as an increase in the number of exercises near the Russian border creates additional tensions, provokes confrontation and undermines the whole system of Euro-Atlantic security.”

Last month, NATO countries’ defense ministers agreed on the creation of six new command and control posts in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania during a meeting in Brussels. The ministers also announced that NATO’s Response Force would be increased from 13,000 to 30,000 personnel. Russia’s envoy to the alliance, Alexander Grushko, said the decision “creates a great risk for Russia”, primarily in the Baltics, which could become a region of “military confrontation.”

Military & Intelligence

NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe

NATO plans the expansion of the Alliance in Eastern Europe since the beginning of Ukrainian political crises amid fears of worsening retaliations with Russia. The Alliance has promised not to set up any military bases in Eastern European countries that have joined NATO since the fall of the Soviet Union. Moscow warns that such actions may lead to a new “cold war”.


Related:
US Armored Columns March Through Six Eastern European Countries

Malcolm X Film Festival’s First Historic Event in West Belfast

For some of the younger people of Northern Ireland, “it was the first time they heard Malcolm X’s own words speaking about ‘rejecting the white man,’ developing independence Black liberation organizations, rejecting the dehumanization from the white man, and being inspired by the ‘darker nations’ of Africa and Asia uniting against European colonialism.”

https://i0.wp.com/blackagendareport.com/sites/default/files/styles/image-400x300/public/MXFF_Belfast_BobbySands.jpgBy Sukant Chandan

Belfast and Derry hold some of the most politicized anti-imperialist and socialist working class communities in the entire ‘West.’”

We arrived into Ireland on Friday 13th March as the latest political crisis was gripping this small section of the island of Ireland. Left-wing Irish Republican party Sinn Fein had blocked an austerity budget leading to the freezing of the budget for Northern Ireland. Directly related to this was a public workers one day strike the day our Malcolm X Movement delegation arrived at Belfast International airport, so we had to catch a taxi to West Belfast where we are staying with a local grassroots Irish republican socialist activist and friend. Sitting in the front of the taxi and chatting with the driver, I went through the usual careful and subtle probing as to where he stood in the British colonial-induced division in the six counties. Was he an Irish nationalist (who happen to be overwhelmingly Catholics) who united with the “third world” anti-imperialists, including the ANC, and supported the total end to British rule and the reunification of their country, colonized and partitioned by British colonialism? Or was he a Unionist (who happen to be overwhelmingly Protestants) who were historically planted into Ireland as colonial settlers and who more recently allied to Apartheid South Africa and are still largely allied to racist right-wing forces and the white settler state of Israel and want the six counties to remain eternally a part of the United Kingdom?

As we passed the beautiful hills of Cavehill and Black Mountain that immediately surround Belfast city we discussed the budget crisis at which point the taxi driver mentioned something along the lines of “those who have always held power here do not like to see that changing,” which clearly indicated to me that he was probably an Irish nationalist. It turned out he was and I felt more comfortable and we got into a big conversation whereby I mostly asked questions and he, like it seems so many people who lived through the “Troubles,” were more than happy to impart their usually insightful and sophisticated analysis informed by their experiencing of the horrors of the conflict there.

Towards the end of the conversation we discussed British covert operations in their dirty war in Ireland, with “the Brits” supporting the pro-Unionists “Loyalist” death squads, through what is infamously known as collusion, reminding me of the same covert operations and collusion with neo-colonial death squads in the Muslims world. Our journey came to an end, we bid farewell and he wished us a good stay in West Belfast.

The murals reflected the Irish republicans’ affinity and solidarity with the people of Palestine and South Africa against white supremacy rule, but featured mostly their own revolutionary martyrs.”

It felt great to return to West Belfast, my second time there, and my fifth time in Ireland since 1999, every one of those visits I come to partake in political and cultural work with the Irish revolutionaries who are in Sinn Fein and independent Irish republican socialists and anti-imperialists. Belfast and Derry hold some of the most politicized anti-imperialist and socialist working class communities in the entire “West,” and as such is a primary example and inspiration of how a brutally colonized people (indeed the first colonized nation of English colonialism 800 years ago) can resist, organize and steadily build their politics in an inter-generational time frame.

We arrived to deliver the first of seven events in the First Annual Malcolm X Film Festival, taking place at the well-known cultural centre, Culturlann on the historic Falls Road in West Belfast. However, we had the full afternoon before the event day to have a walk around Falls Road and see the many revolutionary murals painted on gable ends of terraced homes and the famous rows of murals showing brightly and colorfully the recent and ancient history of the struggle of Irish freedom from colonial rule.

While West Belfast remains palpably politicized, one can still feel the Troubles rescinding into the background in the community with a new generation of young people and teenagers who were borne after the start of the peace process formally initiated by the Good Friday Agreement in 1998/1999. While social justice is a long way off there has been some increase of private investment. A shiny leisure center and a massive new shopping tower above the Milltown Cemetery where many of the martyrs for Irish freedom are buried.

Leila Khaled featured on a mural in West Belfast on the Falls RoadLeila Khaled featured on a mural in West Belfast on the Falls Road

We saw Palestinian revolutionary icon, leading PLO and PFLP member Leila Khaled, featured on a few murals. Khaled herself would be addressing the Malcolm X Film Festival the following day. The murals reflected the Irish republicans’ affinity and solidarity with the people of Palestine and South Africa against white supremacy rule, but featured mostly their own revolutionary martyrs, people like James Connolly and IRA prisoner of war and elected MP Bobby Sands whose mural has pride of place on the Falls.

While walking around the Falls our Irish host would greet and have a wee chat with people of the community who were all politically active in some way or another – either working with local youth, or whatever anti-imperialist and socialist activities they were committed to. This is a community that is pulsating with political discussion and activity, hardly spending any time on social media, but actually being socially embedded in real life and struggles with their community. We sat down for a snack and a tea with three young community activists and anti-imperialist socialists, two of them coming from solid revolutionary families with family members having served back in the conflict in the revolutionary national liberation armed movement of the Irish Republican Army, said by some to be unofficial armed wing of Sinn Fein.

Bernadette MacAliskey was the first of two Irish speakers at the event to ‘translate’ Malcolm X for the Irish audience.”

Along with the great “craic,” hospitality and political discussions, the quick wit and charisma and intense discussions that seems to be nearly universal characteristics of the people, there were also instances of the trauma of living through a brutal war. Any working class community has its fair share of trauma, but add into the mix lots of shooting, massacres, torture and imprisonment, and it all adds up to a terrible mix that no humans should have to live through.

The Malcolm X Film Festival saw over 50 local activists attend the event the following day, which my revolutionary Basque Country comrade told me was a decent turn out in West Belfast considering the time and what was concurrently taking place. The event opened up with the first film montage of Malcolm X speaking on Civil Rights and Black Power in his last final years of speeches and interviews. There would be no one more fitting to speak on this panel than Bernadette MacAliskey, who became the most inspiring and audacious revolutionary at a very young age against the British Army’s occupation of the working class district of the Bogside in Derry. She took to the peoples barricades, helped to mobilize the youth and community against the British military police and army, got elected on a national liberation and socialist platform to parliament and remains to this day the youngest woman ever to have been elected. She was a leader of the Irish civil rights movement inspired by the Black civil rights movement in the USA and the undivided Indian peoples non-violent national liberation struggle. As with those historic examples, the oppressed Irish people’s struggle for non-violent change was met with brutality and massacres by the colonialists. The notorious Bloody Sunday Massacre was conducted in 1972 by the British state, killing 14 protestors and leadig to a further radicalization of the movement.

Later in the evening, I was told by an Irish comrade that the event would have seen young activists hear for the first time people with English accents talking about anti-imperialism, socialism and the liberation of Ireland. It was the first time that they would hear someone non-white speaking about these things. And it was the first time they heard Malcolm X’s own words speaking about “rejecting the white man,” developing independence Black liberation organizations, rejecting the dehumanization from the white man, being inspired by the ‘darker nations’ of Africa and Asia uniting against European colonialism etc. Bernadette MacAsliskey speaking at the MXFilmFest in Belfast

Therefore Bernadette MacAliskey was the first of two Irish speakers at the event to ‘translate’ Malcolm X for the Irish audience. She recounted her experiences of going to the USA in the late 1960s and 1970s when she was a highly sort after speaker, invited by white feminists and relatively well-off Irish Americans who lived in houses that to MacAliskey “appeared like plush hotels” with “two toilets and three bathrooms” compared to the poor working class areas of Derry from where she came from, in which the struggle for better housing for Catholics and Irish nationalists was one of the primary issues in the civil rights struggle against the Irish apartheid system. She explained that the feminists in the USA had house servants who were Black or Brown, but she would find more common ground with those Black and Brown women than the white feminists and middle class Irish Americans. She said that she felt at home associating with the Black Panthers and the radical Puerto Rican anti-imperialist socialist group the Young Lords. Famously, MacAliskey was handed the keys to New York City that she instead gave to the Black Panthers. MacAliskey explained that she thought that one of the big problems of the Irish is that they think they are white and have white minds.
Dr Moussa Ibrahim, a prominent figure in the anti-Nato Libyan ResistanceFollowing MacAliskey was Dr. Moussa Ibrahim, the last media spokesperson for the Libyan Socialist Jamahirya government before NATO and its proxies destroyed it in 2011. Dr Ibrahim is still wanted by NATO who have put him on the red list on Interpol; he is still underground and a leading figure in the anti-NATO Libyan resistance. Dr Ibrahim eloquently explained that Malcolm X is a central figure for inspiration for the Libyan resistance. He continued to explain that part of the reason why Libya was destroyed was that like Malcolm X and Kwame Nkrumah and other African revolutionaries, Muammar Gaddafi was pioneering the capacity building of the African continent, and the African Union strategically aimed towards assisting in the liberation of Black people across the world. But the two things, Dr Ibrahim explained, that motivated NATO to destroy Libya was Gaddafi’s proposal for a gold-based African Dinar that would have ended the Dollar and Euro domination of Africa, and also the Global South military alliance that was being developed with Bolivia and Venezuela, a South Atlantic Treaty Organization to counter NATO. Dr. Ibrahim hoped that the Libyan and Irish people can reconnect to the unity that they previously developed, and many Irish activists attending were keen to nurture that unity once more. Dr Ibrahim also conveyed that Libya should be one of the most important Black Liberation struggles to give solidarity to on the planet as the general anti-NATO resistance in Libya is also united together with darker skinned or Black Libyans who have been systematically persecuted in acts of genocide by NATO’s proxies in Libya.

Dr. Ibrahim hoped that the Libyan and Irish people can reconnect to the unity that they previously developed.”

Gerry MacLochlainn, ex IRA prisoner of war and Sinn Fein member based in Derry
The second Irish speaker who translated Malcolm X for the Irish audience was former IRA prisoner of war and Sinn Fein member from Derry, Gerry MacLochlainn. MacLochlainn recounted how the Irish democrats of the 18th and 19th centuries mobilized to ensure that the Belfast port was not used in the genocidal industry of European slavery against African peoples. The most powerful thing MacLochlainn said and on which he finished was that the Irish people have to thank the British in a kind of way, thank them for ensuring that Ireland did not become a European colonizing power and instead because of the British colonial oppression of Ireland pushed the Irish into the camp of the global anti-imperialist movement against racism and colonialism.

I had to nearly pinch myself as I wondered if Ireland had ever seen such a discussion of white supremacy, colonialism and imperialism, resistance, liberation and Malcolm X with such an array of revolutionary speakers. Leila Khaled spoke about the importance of Malcolm X’s message of dignity and liberation of oppressed peoples, and emphasized that the death squads such as “Isis” are working for, and creations of, imperialism and Zionism to destroy the countries and communities in the region. Leila Khaled stressed that it was of primary urgent necessity that people must unite against these neo-colonial death squads. Leila Khaled and the whole room laughed when for the third time she could not understand the English of our Irish comrades and I had to “translate” the questions for her. I later commented and joked with Irish comrades that MacAliskey and MacLochlainn politically translated Malcolm X for the attendees, and I translated the contributions so Leila Khaled could understand. I suppose all of us who are resistant victims of colonialism have to make efforts to listen, learn and understand the differences in our accents and languages to better unite for our common liberation.

We completed our event and visit with discussions about how the Malcolm X Movement and the Irish activists and struggles will work closer together and build for the Second Annual Malcolm X Film Festival in 2016 which will be dedicated to, and working alongside, the Black Panthers to commemorate the 50th anniversary since the founding of another primary radical anti-imperialist and socialist movement from within the West. As the airplane pulled away from the land of Ireland and drifted back to the heart of colonialism and whiteness in London, the Malcolm X Movement delegation left Ireland satisfied that we had fulfilled part of our revolutionary duty to unite Malcolm X with the Irish in a common cause of anti-colonial liberation. There remains much uniting to be done.

NATO Is Marching Towards Russia, and They Have No Idea What Awaits Them

America is fully aware that the way to draw Russia into a conflict is to push forward towards Russia’s borders. In time, Russia will be forced to defend its right to exist, and when this happens, western powers will not know what hit them

By Stanislav Mishin

American politicians in particular and European politicians in general are some of the most ignorant fools when the issue comes to anything outside their own borders. When it comes to Russia, it is an engima wrapped in a mystery… but only because, dear readers, no one has every bothered to try to understand Russians and the Russian world view.

One important historical fact about Russia is that Russia is a unique civilizational empire built upon defense not offense. What this means is that historically, Russia does not start the wars, or series of wars (though it may strike first in a confrontation that is punctuated by a series of wars). In Russian history, Russian leaders, since Russia’s baptism to Orthodoxy, have tried hard to avoid war with our neighbors, though just about every time this has failed. In parallel, as much as we do not like war, and in Orthodoxy killing in combat is still a sin as we do not have the heresy of Just War, we are very very good at killing and destroying. A paradox, but it is the reality.

This was so profound that in the summer of 1914, the Tsar Nicholas II, when war was eminent, even haulted mobilization to try and defuse the situation one more time and talk the Austrians and Germans out of what would become the great tragedy of early 20th century.

The problems with modern, and in truth historical, Western politicos is that these guys are absolute fools with no understanding of the Russian psyche and are sure to be the cause of WW3, be it intentional or accidental. They are projecting their psyche onto Russians.

What this means is that they are projecting a typical negative reinforcement mentality. Europe and the US are societies built on constant aggression towards neighbors. Aggression like that is staved by building up a credible large counter force of allies and blocks, which causes fear of defeat and deescalation…your typical European balance of forces approach.

Russia is a defensive empire, that is, most wars or series of wars were not started by Russians but by enemies attacking or massing on Russia’s borders. After 800 years of almost non-stop aggression by Europeans, Russia does not tolerate any enemy massing on her borders in what appears as a preparation for invasion or the creation of large scales basing areas as would be a US neo-con dominated Ukraine.This is also coupled with the Russian approach of not abandoning Russians (ethnic or cultural) and allies, as opposed to Anglo society where back stabbing allies when the opportunity to earn exists, is a prized skill.

As such, this is a spiral approach. Any escalation by the foreigners will lead to a direct escalation by Russia and not deescalation. Balance of power does not work when Russia feels her survival threatened. Enough of an enemy escalation in the hope of forcing Russia to back off will generate an exact opposite effect in generating a first strike and total war, as Russia feels her life and existence is threatened by the enemy.

Nothing like putting Russian society in a threatened siege mentality to force the individual chaotic Russian nature to crystallize into one direction: total destruction of the threat and the states that generate it.

Russia’s army may be only 1 million but the ready reserve is over 20 million with a follow capability of total mobilization of over 40 more million, and maybe more if one starts counting female combatants and one should.

Last time the factories were run by children, old people and women. Now with massive automation, even more of society is freed up to fight. Since Russian civilization is not just land but a cultural idea/philosophy it generates an absolute fanatical loyalty. This is a loyalty to a culture that allows the temporary surrender of land for time in the understanding that this will then be used, combined with non-stop partisan warfare, to grind down the invader and decimate him deep in the Russian interior, before marching on his cities and burning them to the ground in revenge.

Europe needs to find some German or Romanian veterans and ask them how much fun they had. Mamal Kurgan, the highest hill in Volgograd (Stalingrad) a 1,5 km sq area had 35,000 identifiable bodies on it, half of them German, after 4 months of fighting. That is more than both sides lost on the beaches of Normandy. In WW2 the Germans were on average having 1 soldier killed every 30 seconds. Figure 3-4 times as many wounded.

The present serving armies of NATO would be used up in 3-4 months. That would amount to almost a million and a half dead and wounded.

NATO would collapse. Greeks would refuse to fight. Serbs would be a war in the middle of all this. Cypriots would refuse to fight. Turkey would likely also refuse to die in a war they could only lose from. Bulgaria would probably have a revolution. Romania and Italy and Spain and Portugal would not long suffer heavy casualties before their unpopular governments were overthrown. France more than likely also. US couldn’t fully concentrate their army as they would have to release their grip on all other sectors which in turn would be blowing up.

As for a second front, that is, if America was to invade the Russian far east, well, outside of grabbing Sakhalin and Vladivastok and Khabarovsk, all of which will cost hundreds of thousands of corpses, a US invasion force would be faced with a march of 3,000 km, or about 1,800 miles to the nearest major oil fields and forced to cover a land area larger than the continental United States, in wilderness terrain, with Russian partisans and the very cold Siberian winter (8 months long) filling the corpse lists on a daily basis. In other words, outside of a temporary land grab, nothing to fear.

Also if things got bad China would step in knowing they are next on the hit list, and thus Siberia would be fairly safe from US forces.

The reality, Americans, Germans, and foolish Poles, is, Russians will fight and 152 million people will fight to the end, not because Putin sits in power, or because we fear the enemy, but because love of Russia, the very idea of Russia, will drive fanatical, well trained and armed with advanced weaponry resistance. Russians will fight regardless of who sits the throne, because we are not fighting for the leader but for Christ and for Russia, the land He gave us as the Third Rome. What exactly will you be fighting for?


Related:
US Convoy March is ‘Shocking Spectacle Fitting Imperialistic Ambitions’
US Armored Columns March Through Six Eastern European Countries

US Armored Columns March Through Six Eastern European Countries

Sputnik

US Army soldiers travel in American armored combat vehicles through the streets of Narva, Estonia, during a military parade to mark the country's Independence Day.

The United States Army will send a convoy of American soldiers and military vehicles through Eastern European countries near Russia’s western border, despite Moscow’s repeated expression of concern over NATO’s expansion of forces in the region.

The 1,100 mile journey, dubbed “Dragoon Ride,” will last from March 21 through April 1 and wraps up months the US Army spent training with allies in Poland and the Baltics.

American troops from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment will accompany their eight-wheeled armored combat vehicles, called Strykers, while the Army’s 12th Combat Aviation Brigade will provide aerial reconnaissance support.

The convoy will take soldiers from separate training locations in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland and transport them through Latvia, the Czech Republic and finally to their home base at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany.

“It’s helped us further develop our understanding of freedom of movement in Eastern Europe,” Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, US Army Europe commander, said in an interview with Defense News and Army Times reporters and editors.

Normally, military vehicles would be shipped back to their home base by rail after such a training mission, not by road in a high-profile convoy.

Months of training exercises meant to serve as “reassurance” from the US and other NATO allies to countries on Russia’s western periphery, Stars and Stripes reported.

“This is what the US Army does, we can move a lot of capability a long distance,” Hodges said. “I’ve been watching the Russian exercises… what I cared about is they can get 30,000 people and 1,000 tanks in a place really fast. Damn, that was impressive.”

The US Army flaunted its personnel and equipment last month, too, when it paraded armored personnel carriers and other vehicles through the streets of Narva, Estonia, a border city separated by a narrow frontier from Russia.

The show was a part of the US Army’s participation a military parade to mark Estonia’s Independence Day.

NATO defense ministers agreed in February to the creation of six new command posts in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania, along with an expansion of NATO’s Response Force, a move Russia’s envoy to the alliance said “creates a great risk for Russia,” particularly in the Baltic States, which could become the site of “military confrontation.”

Atlantic Resolve: NATO at Russia’s Gates

Following Crimea’s reunification with Russia, the US launched Operation Atlantic Resolve, staging increasing numbers of military exercises in states which border Russia, as well as in the Black Sea. In March 2014, the situation escalated after the US launched a series of exercises in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, all of which border Russia.

A U.S. soldier stands next to a Patriot surface-to-air missile battery at an army base in Morag, Poland

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US Patriot Missile Battery to Arrive in Poland for Drills in March
US Commander in Europe Panics, Goes on Bizarre Anti-Putin Rant
US Plans to Strengthen Defense, Energy Partnership With Bulgaria
NATO Operation Atlantic Resolve Expands to Bulgaria, Romania – US Colonel>/p>

Deep State Fascism Behind the Anti “Conspiracy Theorist” Discourse

The State Against The Republic

At the request of President François Hollande, the French Socialist Party has published a note on the international “conspiracy theorist” movement. His goal: to prepare new legislation prohibiting it to express itself. In the US, the September 11, 2001 coup established a “permanent state of emergency” (Patriot Act), launching a series of imperial wars. Gradually, the European elites have aligned with their counterparts across the Atlantic. Everywhere, people are worried about being abandoned by their States and they question their institutions. Seeking to retain power, the elites are now ready to use force to gag their opposition.

By Thierry Meyssan

JPEG - 22.5 kbJanuary 27, 2015, President François Hollande made “conspiracy theorists” responsible for the crimes committed by the Nazis against the Jews of Europe. He called for a ban on their freedom of expression.

The President of the French Republic, François Hollande, has assimilated what he calls “conspiracy theories” to Nazism and called to prevent their dissemination on the Internet and social networks.

Thus he declared, on January 27, 2015 at the Shoah Memorial:

[Anti-Semitism] maintains conspiracy theories that spread without limits. Conspiracy theories that have, in the past, led to the worst “(…)” [The] answer is to realize that conspiracy theories are disseminated through the Internet and social networks. Moreover, we must remember that it is words that have in the past prepared extermination. We need to act at the European level, and even internationally, so that a legal framework can be defined, and so that Internet platforms that manage social networks are held to account and that sanctions be imposed for failure to enforce” [1].

Several ministers also decried what they called conspiracy theorists as so many “fermenters of hate and disintegrators of society.”

Knowing that President Hollande calls “conspiracy theory” the idea that States, whatever their regimes – including democracies – have a spontaneous tendency to act in their own interests and not in that of their constituents, we can conclude that he presented this confused amalgam to justify a possible censure of his opponents.

This interpretation is confirmed by the publication of a note entitled “Conspiracy theories, current status” by the Jean-Jaurès Foundation, a Socialist Party think tank of which Mr. Holland was the first secretary. [2]

Let’s leave aside the political relations of François Hollande, the Socialist Party, the Fondation Jean-Jaurès, its political radicalism Observatory and the author of the note and let’s focus on its message and its ideological content.

Definition of “conspiracy theories

The terms “conspiracy theories” and “conspiracy theorism” have developed in France in the wake of the publication of my book on US imperialism post-September 11, titled The Big Lie [3]. At the time, we had trouble understanding what the terms meant because they referred to American political history. In the United States, are commonly called “conspiracy theorists” those according to whom President Kennedy had not been assassinated by one man but by many, forming a conspiracy (in the judicial sense). Over time, these expressions entered in the French language and have overlapped with memories of the 30s and the Second World War, those of the denunciation of the “Jewish conspiracy“. These are therefore now polysemous, sometimes evoking the law of the state-Stator silence and, at other times, European anti-Semitism.

In its note, the Jean-Jaurès Foundation gives its own definition of conspiracy theorism. It is

an ’alternative’ narrative that claims to significantly upset the knowledge we have of an event and therefore competes with the “version” which is commonly accepted, stigmatized as “official”” (p. 2).

Observe that this definition does not apply solely to the delusions of the mentally ill. Thus, Socrates, through the myth of the cave, affirmed his challenge to the certainties of his time; Galileo with his heliocentric theory challenged the prevailing interpretation of the Bible of his time; etc.

For my part, and since they see me as the “pope of conspiracy theorists” or rather the “heretic” in the words of Italian philosopher Roberto Quaglia, I reaffirm my radical political commitment, in keeping with the French republican radicalism of Leon Bourgeois [4], of Georges Clemenceau, [5] of Alain [6] and of Jean Moulin. [7] For me, as for them, the state is a Leviathan which by nature abuses those it governs.

As a radical Republican, I am aware that the state is the enemy of the common good, of the Res Publica; which is why I wish not to abrogate it, but to tame it. The republican ideal is compatible with various political regimes-including monarchies, as was enacted by the authors of the Declaration of 1789.

This opposition, which the current Socialist Party disputes, has so shaped our history as Philippe Pétain repealed the Republic to proclaim the “French State“. Immediately after his assuming presidential office, I denounced Hollande’s Petainism [8]. Today, Mr. Hollande claims to be of the Republic to better fight it and this inversion of values ​​plunges the country into confusion.

Who are the “conspiracy theorists“?

The “conspiracy theorists” are thus citizens who oppose the omnipotence of the State and who wish to place it under surveillance.

The Jean-Jaurès Foundation describes them as follows:

[It’s] a heterogeneous movement, heavily entangled with the Holocaust denial movement, and which combines admirers of Hugo Chavez and fans of Vladimir Putin. An underworld that consist of former left-wing activists or extreme leftists, former “malcontents”, sovereignists, revolutionary nationalists, ultra-nationalists, nostalgists of the Third Reich, anti-vaccination activists, supporters of drawing straws, September 11th revisionists, anti-Zionists, Afrocentricists, survivalists, followers of “alternative medicine”, agents of influence of the Iranian regime, Bacharists, Catholic or Islamic fundamentalists “(p. 8).

One will note the amalgams and abuse of this description aiming to discredit those it designates.

Myths of the “conspiracy theorists

The Jean-Jaurès Foundation continues its vilification by accusing “conspiracy theorists” of ignoring the realities of the world and naively believing hackneyed myths. Thus, they would believe in the “World Zionist plot“, the “illuminati conspiracy” and the “Rothschild myth” (p. 4). And to credit these three statements, it cites an example solely on the “Rothschild myth“: blogger Etienne Chouard – whose work is not simply about the Republic, but goes beyond to treat Democracy [9] – says the Pompidou-Rothschild 1973 law is the source of the debt of France. And the Foundation goes on to refute this assertion by quoting an article published by Libération.

One will note here that the example of Étienne Chouard leaves one unsatisfied about the two other cited myths. Especially, the Foundation addresses ignorant people who have neither read the response from Mr. Chouard to Libération [10] nor the contribution of the “conspiracy theorist“, former Prime minister Michel Rocard. [11] Indeed, in this debate, it is clear that the 1973 law allowed the explosion of the French debt in favor of private banks, which would have been impossible before.

The “conspirasphere

For the Fondation Jean-Jaurès, conspiracy intellectuals would be

essentially North Americans. Particular mention is made of Webster Tarpley and William Engdhal (both former members of the US political-sectarian organization led by Lyndon LaRouche), Wayne Madsen (WayneMadsenReport.com), Kevin Barrett (VeteransToday.com) or Michel Chossudovsky (Mondialisation.ca ). With their European counterparts, they form a kind of International to which Thierry Meyssan, president of Voltaire Network, tried to give concrete form in November 2005 in Brussels, bringing together an “anti-imperialist conference” – “Axis for Peace “- the list of participants of which reads like a who’s who of conspiracy authors most prominent at the time” (p. 8).

First, let’s observe that the Fondation Jean-Jaurès must only read in French and English, and have barely skimmed over the participants’ lists of Axis for Peace, to believe that the phenomenon it describes only concerns France, Canada and the United States. In fact it includes a very large literature in Arabic, Spanish, Persian and Russian; languages ​​which are also in the majority in Axis for Peace.

Let’s note also the malicious nature of the reference to “the politico-sectarian American organization led by Lyndon LaRouche.” Indeed, William Webster Tarpley and Engdhal quit this organization more than 20 years ago. And at the time when they were members, this party was represented in France at an extreme-left organization’s congress.

A little further on, the Jean-Jaurès Foundation does not fail to mention the comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, whose shows the State seeks to prohibit, the sociologist Alain Soral, whose website (EgaliteEtReconciliation.fr ) obtains audience records in France, and Alain Benajam (facebook.com/alain.benajam), chairman of Voltaire Network France and representative of the Novorossian Government of Donbass.
JPEG - 15.5 kbIn 1989, the former head of US intelligence in Europe, Irving Brown, revealed to reporters Roger Faligot and Rémi Kauffer that he had recruited Jean-Christophe Cambadélis when he militated in Lambertists Trotskyists. 25 years later, Mr. Cambadélis became First Secretary of the French Socialist Party.

The political ideas of “conspiracy theorists

After these appetizers, the Fondation Jean-Jaurès comes to the heart of the debate, that of political ideas. It defines those of the “conspiracy theorists” thus:

- “the erasure of any distinction in kind between liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes (deemed more “totalitarian” than the worst of totalitarianism)”;
- “[Opposition to] any anti-racist legislation under the pretext of defending “freedom of expression“;
- “[Rejection of] the relevance of the left-right divide, the real divide is the one between” the system “(or” Empire “or the” oligarchy “) and those who resist it“; (P. 8)
- “the idea that Zionism is a project of world domination” (p. 9).

The Jean-Jaurès Foundation specifically targets areas of conflict, but exaggerates to discredit its opponents. For example, no one is opposed to all anti-racism legislation, but only and exclusively to the Fabius-Gayssot law that punishes by imprisonment any debate about the extermination of the Jews of Europe [12].

What is Zionism?

The Foundation then engages in a very long analysis of my works on Zionism. It disfigures them, then comments:

Thierry Meyssan’s anti-Zionism bears no resemblance to the criticism of a situation, that of the governments that have been able to succeed each other at the head of the State of Israel. It does not arise from an anti-colonialism that would be resolved by Israel’s withdrawal from the territories occupied after the Six Day War and the creation of a Palestinian state. It also does not proceed from an internationalism that would hold in suspicion, in principle, any national movement wherever it comes from, precisely because it does not liken Zionism to a national movement. This paranoid anti-Zionism does not pretend to fight Zionism in the diversity of its historical expressions, but as a fantastic hydra that is the source of evil in the world.

In wanting to conclude this debate by giving it considerable space in its analysis, the Jean Jaurès Foundation highlights its importance. I indeed defend a position thus far absent in the Western political debate [13]:

- The first head of state who stated his intention to bring together Jews from around the world in a state that would be theirs was Lord Cromwell in the seventeenth century. His project, clearly explained, was to use the Jewish diaspora to expand English hegemony. This project has been defended by all successive British governments and registered by Benjamin Disraeli in the agenda of the Berlin Conference.

- Theodor Herzl himself was a disciple of Cecil Rhodes, the theorist of the British Empire. Herzl originally proposed to create Israel in Uganda or Argentina, not in Palestine. When he succeeded in having Jewish activists adhere to the British project, he bought land in Palestine by creating the Jewish Agency whose articles are a carbon copy of the Rhodes society in Southern Africa.

- In 1916-17, the United Kingdom and the United States reconciled themselves by committing together to create the state of Israel through the Balfour Declaration in London and Wilson’s 14 points in Washington.

It is therefore perfectly absurd to claim that Herzl invented Zionism, to separate the Zionist project from British colonialism, and to deny that the State of Israel is a tool of the common imperial project in London and Washington.

The position of the Parti socialiste on this subject is not innocent. In 1936 it proposed with Léon Blum to create the state of Israel on the territory of the Lebanon mandate [14]. However the project was quickly dismissed because of the opposition of the French High Commissioner in Beirut, Damien de Martel de Janville.

Concluding remarks

In 2008, Professor Cass Sunstein, an adviser to President Barack Obama and husband of the US Ambassador to the UN, had written a similar note [15].

He wrote:

We can easily imagine a series of possible answers.
- 1. The government can ban conspiracy theories.
- 2. The government could impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories.
- 3. The government could engage in a contrary discourse to discredit conspiracy theories.
- 4. The government could initiate credible private parties to engage in a discourse against conspiracy theories.
- 5. The government could engage in informal communication with third parties and encourage them.

Ultimately, the US government had decided to fund individuals, both at home and abroad, to disrupt the forum websites of conspiracy theorists and to create groups to contradict them.

This not having sufficed, France is called upon to take authoritarian measures. As in the past, the French elites, of which the Socialist Party forms the pseudo-left wing, have placed themselves under the orders of the main military power of the time, in this case, the US.

Let’s not be naive, we are approaching an inevitable showdown. It remains to be determined which instance, necessarily administrative, will be in charge of censorship and what will be its criteria.

Translation
Roger Lagassé


Attached documents

[1] « Discours de François Hollande au Mémorial de la Shoah », par François Hollande, Réseau Voltaire, 27 janvier 2015.

[2] « Conspirationnisme : un état des lieux », par Rudy Reichstadt, Observatoire des radicalités politiques, Fondation Jean-Jaurès, Parti socialiste, 24 février 2015.

[3] L’Effroyable Imposture suivi de Le Pentagate, par Thierry Meyssan, Nouvelle réédition, entièrement réactualisée et annotée, éditions Demi-Lune.

[4] Léon Bourgeois, sculpteur français (1851-1925). Théoricien du « solidarisme » (que les socialistes actuels confondent avec la Fraternité). Il fut président du Parti radical, président du Conseil des ministres, premier président de la Société des Nations et lauréat du prix Nobel de la paix en 1920. Avec l’aide du Tsar Nicolas II, il posa le principe des arbitrages entre États, dont la Cour internationale de Justice des Nations unies est l’aboutissement actuel.

[5] Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929). Il défendit les Communards face à la droite et combattit la gauche socialiste de Jules Ferry aussi bien contre son projet de colonisation que contre sa vision de la laïcité. Alors que, durant la Grande Guerre, le pays semblait vaincu, il devint président du Conseil et le conduisit jusqu’à la victoire.

[6] Alain, philosophe français (1868-1951), co-fondateur du Comité de vigilance des intellectuels antifascistes (CVIA). Il milita pour une république protectrice de la liberté, strictement contrôlée par le peuple.

[7] Jean Moulin, haut fonctionnaire (1899-1943). Il prit le parti des Républicains espagnols et organisa illégalement, malgré le gouvernement socialiste neutre, un trafic d’armes pour résister aux Franquistes. Durant l’Occupation de la France, il dirigea le Conseil national de la Résistance, y incluant toutes les sensibilités politiques à l’exception de celle qui s’était battue aux côtés des Franquistes. Arrêté par les nazis, il mourut sous la torture.

[8] “France According to François Hollande”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Michele Stoddard , Voltaire Network, 4 August 2012.

[9] La République veille à ce que le Pouvoir serve l’Intérêt général. La Démocratie exige que le Pouvoir soit exercé par tous les citoyens.

[10] «Analyse des réflexions de Monsieur Beitone sur la prétendue rumeur d’extrême droite à propos de la loi de 1973», par Étienne Chouard, 30 décembre 2011.

[11] Émission Mediapolis sur la radio Europe 1, le 22 décembre 2012, l’ancien Premier ministre socialiste Michel Rocard était l’invité de Michel Field et d’Olivier Duhamel.

[12] De nombreux responsables politiques se sont vainement opposés à cette loi, dont l’ancien président Jacques Chirac, et les anciens Premiers ministres Dominique de Villepin et François Fillon.

[13] “Who is the Enemy?”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 4 August 2014.

[14] My Enemy’s Enemy: Lebanon in the Early Zionist Imagination, 1900-1948, Laura Zittrain Eisenberg, Wayne State University Press (1994). Thèse de doctorat vérifiée par Itamar Rabinovitch côté israélien et Kamal Salibi côté libanais.

[15] «Conspiracy Theories», Cass R. Sunstein & Adrian Vermeule, Harvard Law School, January 15, 2008.

EU Parliamentarians Join US-Led Aggressions on Venezuela

The European Parliament passed an anti-Venezuela resolution calling for a “delegation to be sent to assess the situation in Venezuela as soon as possible.”

The European Parliament called on Venezuela Thursday to release opposition members the Parliament claims were “arbitrarily detained” during opposition violence that resulted in 43 deaths last year.

The resolution follows a statement by the U.S. on Monday claiming that Venezuelan government authorities posted an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” The statement also referred to the arrest of some opposition leaders who encouraged the violence.

In a resolution passed by 384 votes to 75, the European Parliament called on Venezuela’s government to “release all those detained and to end its opposition crackdown.” The Parliament did not call on Venezuela to release security officials who have been arrested for the few deaths they were responsible for, nor did it criticize the human rights violations committed by the opposition leaders, who for 4 months led a campaign to oust democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro. Right-wing opposition tactics included burning buses and health centers, stopping children from attending school, prohibiting sick people from getting to hospitals, and murdering various people who tried to clear barricades so that they could go to work.

The European Parliament’s statement referred to such actions by the opposition as “peaceful.”

Venezuela’s Ambassador to the EU, Antonio Garcia, told the press that the vote was part of a “broader campaign” against Venezuela and driven by domestic issues in some member states, such as Spain. Recent polls suggest Spain’s Podemos could win upcoming elections with similar anti-austerity politics which brought the left-wing Syriza party to power in Greece in January.

“It is not a secret to anyone that Venezuela is being used in Spain’s internal politics,” Garcia said.

The leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias told the press Thursday that he didn’t support the U.S. sanctions and aggressions and said that “dialogue” was a better way to solve “international problems.”

Garcia noted that last time the U.S. imposed sanctions on Venezuelan officials, on Dec. 18, the European Parliament also voted on a resolution against Venezuela. He noted that the same thing has happened again and argued that the U.S. executive order was a “very serious attack on Venezuelan sovereignty.”


European Parliament
Venezuela: MEPs deeply concerned about violent crackdown on protesters

Plenary Session Press Release
External Relations
12-03-2015 – 13:00

The Venezuelan authorities must immediately release all peaceful protesters, students and opposition leaders arbitrarily detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression and fundamental rights, Parliament said in a vote on Thursday. The government must also put an end to the political persecution and repression of the democratic opposition, it added.

In the resolution, passed by 384 votes to 75, with 45 abstentions, MEPs call on the authorities immediately to release Antonio Ledezma, Leopoldo Lopez, Daniel Ceballos, and all peaceful protesters, students and opposition leaders arbitrarily detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression and fundamental rights. All the political prisoners must be given medical attention and have immediate, private and regular access to their families and lawyers of their choice, they add.

Let human rights defenders and NGOs do their work, security for all

The government must also create an environment in which human rights defenders and independent non-governmental organisations can do their legitimate work of promoting human rights and democracy and ensuring the security of all citizens, regardless of their political views and affiliations, MEPs insist. They point to the particular responsibility of Venezuela, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, to comply with the rule of law and international law.

Restraint and genuine national dialogue needed

MEPs are concerned that new protests could lead to more violence, which would further polarise the already sensitive political developments in Venezuela.
They call on all parties and sections of society to remain calm in both actions and words.

They also point out that the opposition has suffered arbitrary detentions and attacks in an election year, which could cast doubt on the legitimacy of the electoral process. They call on the authorities to use the pre-election period to establish a genuine national dialogue, with the meaningful participation of all democratic political forces.

Vote result

The resolution was passed by 384 votes to 75, with 45 abstentions.

Background

Local and international organisations report that one year after the peaceful demonstrations in Venezuela, over 1,700 protesters await trial, more than 69 remain jailed, and at least 40 have been killed in protests. Their murderers remain unaccountable.

Fifty Years of Imperial Wars: Results and Perspectives

“Operation Jericho”: Obama’s Failed Coup in Venezuela

Minsk Agreement 2.0 – February 12, 2015

SLAVYANGRAD.org NOTE: Rough Translation, Subject To Amendment
Translated by Gleb Bazov
Source: News.Kremlin.Ru
SLAVYANGRAD.org
For English Text of the Normandy Four Declaration, please see: Eng.Balt.By (in Russian – News.Kremlin.Ru)


A Set of Measures for the Performance of Minsk Agreements

  1. Immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions of Ukraine and its strict implementation commencing at 00 h. 00 min. (Kiev), on February 15, 2015.
  1. Withdrawal of all heavy weapons by both sides to equal distances in order to create a security zone with a width of at least 50 km between them for artillery systems with a calibre of 100 mm and more, and a security zone with a width of 70 km for MLRS and with a width of 140 km for MLRS “Tornado-S” “Uragan,” “Smerch” and tactical missile systems “Tochka” (“Tochka-U”):

– for the Ukrainian troops: from the actual line of contact;

– for the armed forces of the certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions of Ukraine: from the line of contact in accordance with the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014.

The withdrawal of heavy weapons set out above shall begin no later than the second day after the cease-fire and end within 14 days.

This process will be assisted by the OSCE, with the support of the Trilateral Contact Group.

  1. On the part of the OSCE, to ensure effective monitoring and verification of the ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the first day of the withdrawal, with the use of all necessary means, including satellites, drones, radar systems and so forth.
  1. On the first day following the withdrawal to begin a dialogue with respect to the modalities of the local elections in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and the Law of Ukraine “On the temporary order of local government in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions,” as well as with respect to the future operation of these areas on the basis of the Law.

Immediately, and not later than 30 days from the date of signing of this document, to adopt a resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine with the specification of the territory covered by the special regime provided for in the Law of Ukraine “On the temporary order of local government in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions”, [such territory] to be based on the line set out in the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014

  1. Provide pardons and amnesties by means of enacting a law prohibiting the prosecution and punishment of persons in connection with the events that took place in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions of Ukraine.
  1. Facilitate the release and exchange of all hostages and illegally detained persons, based on the principle of “all for all”. This process must be completed no later than on the fifth day following the withdrawal.
  1. Provide secure access, delivery, storage and distribution of humanitarian assistance to those in need on the basis of an international mechanism.
  1. Determination of the modalities of the full restoration of the socio-economic relations, including social transfers, such as pensions and other payments (receipts and income, timely payment of all utility bills, renewal of taxation within the legal framework of Ukraine).

To this end, Ukraine shall reestablish control over the segment of its banking system in the areas affected by conflict, and it is possible that an international mechanism to facilitate such transfers will be created.

  1. Restoration of full control by the government of Ukraine over the state border throughout the conflict zone, which shall begin on the first day following the local elections and be completed following a comprehensive political settlement ([to wit:] [1] local elections in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions on the basis of the Law of Ukraine and [2] a constitutional reform) by the end of 2015, subject to the performance of Paragraph 11 – in consultation and by agreement with the representatives of certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group.
  1. Withdrawal of all foreign armed units, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under the supervision of the OSCE. The disarmament of all illegal groups.
  1. Passing of a constitutional reform in Ukraine with the entry into force by the end of 2015 of a new constitution, which shall incorporate decentralization as a key element (taking into account the characteristics of certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions, to be agreed upon with the representatives of these areas), as well as, before the end of 2015, adoption of permanent legislation with respect to the special status of certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions in accordance with the measures specified in Note [1],.
  1. On the basis of the Law of Ukraine “On the temporary order of local government in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions”, all questions regarding local elections shall be discussed and agreed upon with the representatives of these areas of Donetsk and the Lugansk regions within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group. Elections shall be held in compliance with the relevant standards of the OSCE and shall be monitored by the OSCE ODIHR.
  1. To intensify the activities of the Trilateral Contact Group, including through the establishment of working groups to implement the relevant aspects of the Minsk Agreements. [These working groups] shall reflect the composition of the Trilateral Contact Group.

Note 1:

Such measures in accordance with the Law “On the special order of local government in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions” shall include the following:

  • exemption from punishment, harassment and discrimination of individuals associated with the events that took place in certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions;
  • the right to linguistic self-determination;
  • participation of local governments in the appointment of the heads of prosecutorial bodies and the courts in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions;
  • ability for the central executive authorities to enter into agreements regarding economic, social and cultural development of certain regions of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions with the relevant local authorities;
  • the State shall support the socio-economic development of individual regions of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions;
  • facilitation by the central government of cross-border cooperation between certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions and the regions of the Russian Federation;
  • establishment of units of People’s Militia by order of local councils with the goal of maintaining public order in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions;
  • the powers of local council deputies and officers elected in early elections, to be set by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in accordance with this law, may not be terminated.

Normandy Talks

https://i2.wp.com/eng.news.kremlin.ru/media/events/photos/big/41d536ec536e357ae66a.jpeg
Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and Petro Poroshenko took part in the talks on a settlement to the situation in Ukraine. At the final stage, they were joined by Heidi Tagliavini, OSCE Special Representative to the Trilateral Contact Group on the Ukrainian Settlement.

Participants from the Russian side included Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Karasin, Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov, and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office and Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov.

Following the Normandy format talks, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany adopted a declaration in support of the Measures to Implement the Minsk Agreements adopted on February 12 by the Contact Group on the Ukrainian Settlement.

Vladimir Putin also made a statement for the press.

* * *

We proceed from the notion that all the parties will show restraint until the complete ceasefire. The problem here was that representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics claimed that in response to the aggressive actions of the Kiev authorities they not only held back the Kiev forces but also managed to mount an offensive and surrounded a group of 6,000 to 8,000 servicemen. They, of course, proceed from the idea that this group will lay down arms and stop its resistance.

We nevertheless call on both sides to show restraint and in order to avoid unnecessary excessive bloodshed and casualties they should do everything possible to ensure that the separation of forces, mainly the heavy equipment, is conducted without unnecessary bloodshed.

Representatives of the Ukrainian authorities believe their troops have not been surrounded and therefore think this process will go sufficiently smoothly. I had some initial doubts that I can share with you. If the troops really had been surrounded, then, logically, they will try to break free, while those who are on the outside will try to arrange for a corridor for their trapped servicemen.

Eventually, we agreed with President Poroshenko that we will instruct our experts – I am ready to do so – to establish what is actually going on there. In addition, I will repeat, we will try to develop a set of measures to verify the implementation of our decisions by both sides.

I would like to call on both conflicting parties once again to stop the bloodshed as soon as possible and proceed to a truly political process of a long-term settlement.

Thank you for your attention.

(Answering a question from a Russian journalist)

One document has just been signed by the Minsk Contact Group, it is called Measures to Implement the Minsk Agreements.

The other document does not require signing: it is a statement by the President of France, the President of Ukraine, yours truly and the Federal Chancellor of Germany to the effect that we support the process.

Thank you.

Kremlin



Minsk 2.0: Post Scriptum

By Vladimír Suchan

1. So far the fighting in the Debaltzevo cauldron continues unabated. The Ukrainian troops are encircled there despite Poroshenko’s denials, but Kiev is trying to break the encirclement.
2. The Empire and the Kiev regime are putting much of hope into imposing on the breakaway republics “new local elections” which would change the republics’ leadership and replace it with the junta’s stooges or effective quislings.
3. For it is apparently under the new local “leadership” that the stipulated demilitarization and disarmament of the republics is to be carried out (Point 10: “Withdrawal of all foreign armed units, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under the supervision of the OSCE. The disarmament of all illegal groups.”) The date of these new elections–for Kiev does not recognize the current republics or their leadership as legitimate–is, however, not defined except that all the required changes are to be achieved before the end of 2015.
4. Will the junta be willing to stop shelling Donetsk, Gorlovka and other cities, as implied under the stipulated withdrawal of heavy weapons by March 1?

The disbanding and disarming of the NAF, effectively described by Minsk 2.0 as “an illegal group” (for, according to Minsk 2.0, even the republics have no legal or political standing or status) can be hypothetically achieved in these ways:
1. voluntary self-disarming and dissolution under the current leadership and command
2. disarming and demilitarization after the “new local elections” (option evidently favored by Kiev and the West)
3. enforced and carried out by Russia
4. or by the Kiev regime or/and Kiev’s allied enforcer (i.e., foreign de facto invasion)

Minsk 2.0 basically requires from Kiev only to behave nicely at least initially and to refrain from military actions, that is, to cease their pursuit at least temporarily.

***

Minsk 2.0 (just like Minsk 1.0) de iure (as opposed to de facto for now) buried the existence not only of Novorossiya, but also of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and effectively makes their referendums nil and void.

It re-establishes Kiev’s sovereignty and stipulates that Kiev ought to re-establish full control over all the borders with Russia by the end of 2015. According to Poroshenko, no federalization or autonomy is part of Minsk 2.0. Some sort of “special status” can mean many things, that is to say, very little, if anything. The status of these regions is to be prescribed by a law made by Kiev, merely with some possible coordination or input from the regions. Nothing more.

The crux of the dictate in the form of the agreement is point 10 of the “Set of Measures for the Implementation [of Minsk 1.0]”:

“Withdrawal of all foreign armed units, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under the supervision of the OSCE. The disarmament of all illegal groups.”

The text makes the Army of Novorosssiya an illegal group that needs to be “withdrawn.” Moreover, the use of the word “withdrawn” as opposed, for example, disbanded or removed, implies that these “illegal groups” are be withdrawn from the territory of Ukraine, but, once outside of Ukraine, they don’t need to be disbanded or dissolved–all this helps to paint these forces as Russia’s forces–one of the crucial points which seem to have eluded Russian diplomats.

It is also helpful to compare the text with the attempted positive spin put on it by RT.

Here is the text itself, point 4:

“On the first day following the withdrawal to begin a dialogue with respect to the modalities of the local elections in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and the Law of Ukraine “On the temporary order of local government in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions,” as well as with respect to the future operation of these areas on the basis of the Law.

Immediately, and not later than 30 days from the date of signing of this document, to adopt a resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine with the specification of the territory covered by the special regime provided for in the Law of Ukraine “On the temporary order of local government in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions”, [such territory] to be based on the line set out in the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014.”

Compare with RT’s “Point 4”:

4. “Kiev and the rebels will negotiate the terms for future local elections in the rebel-held areas, which would bring them back into Ukraine’s legal framework. Kiev would adopt legislation on self-governance that would be acceptable for the self-proclaimed republics.”

Telling is also (with others) the difference between what the text actually says and how RT presents it in Point 11.

Point 11 as it is:

“Passing of a constitutional reform in Ukraine with the entry into force by the end of 2015 of a new constitution, which shall incorporate decentralization as a key element (taking into account the characteristics of certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions, to be agreed upon with the representatives of these areas), as well as, before the end of 2015, adoption of permanent legislation with respect to the special status of certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions in accordance with the measures specified in Note [1]”

Note 1: …. participation of local governments in the appointment of the heads of prosecutorial bodies and the courts in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions; … establishment of units of People’s Militia by order of local councils with the goal of maintaining public order in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions; the powers of local council deputies and officers elected in early elections, to be set by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in accordance with this law, may not be terminated.”

RT’s “Point 11”:

“Keiv will implement comprehensive constitutional reform by the end of the year, which would decentralize the Ukrainian political system and give privileges to Donetsk and Lugansk. The privileges include language self-determination, the freedom to appoint prosecutors and judges, and to establish economic ties with Russia.”

In his brief press conference after the talks, Putin confirmed that Kiev categorically refused as a matter of principle to have any direct talks with the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, limiting itself to talks to Russia with the help of its allies, Germany and France.

Importantly, in his statement for the press, Putin pointed out that, at this very moment, the most critical issue is the fate of the encircled 6,000-8,0000 Kiev troops in the Debaltzevo cauldron. Poroshenko denies that they are encircled. The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics demand their surrender and disarmament.


According to Oleg Tzarev, the best that may be said about Minsk 2.0 in favor of Putin and Russia is that 1) “Russia has moved out of the frame of the conflict; It will be now hard to present the war in the eyes of Western society as a conflict between Ukraine and Russia;” (Россия вышла за рамки конфликта. Войну в глазах западного общества теперь очень сложно представить как войну Украины и России.), and that 2) Russia is now “playing on the same team within the European concert” (страна выступает в одной команде с европейским концертом).

Putin as the chess champion he is played his moved brilliantly. He foresaw a long time ago what the junta and its Western allies would want to see Russia committed to and, planning his agreement with it several moves ahead, he pulled off precisely that.

It would be also fitting if Moscow now invites Poroshenko and the representatives of the Kiev regime’s troops for the Victory parade at the Red Square on May 9. It would not even be amiss if the celebration of Victory Day were then renamed in the way in which Kiev wants to see it as a Day of “Reconciliation.” As Oleg Tzarev put it, Russia is “on the same team” and this partnership of the elites has been reconfirmed.

Back in the 1990s, Brzezinski identified Ukraine as the US designated “bridgehead” into Eurasia or the Eurasian Balkans which is to lead to Russia’s disintegration. And since the masters of the universe are also dabbing into occult, it was not without a bit of irony or inside joke that they chose as a lever for securing this bridgehead to use not only an updated tactic already tried with Slobodan Milosevic, but they also called the tool to achieve “the Normandy format” or the “Normandy group” called so after the US-led formation of a bridgehead into Europe in June of 1944 and the celebration of this feat last year where Putin was made to recognize the legitimacy of Poroshenko and the Nazi junta, which he represents. The New “Normandy” was, moreover, completed in Belarus where the unconstitutional dissolution of the Soviet Union was signed on December 25, 1991 by a troika of then still formally Soviet leaders, who were in fact by virtue of the very act fully anti-Soviet already.

If Minsk 2.0 were to be Minsk 1.0, but not just somewhat repackaged, but at this time also enforced and implemented, then the Kremlin (taking a cue from Starikov, for example) would have to declare Russian patriots, including Strelkov, to be “the outlaw party of war” and change the regime in Russia to make it compatible with (the restored “partnership” with) the Kiev junta (and the Empire), possibly in the spirit of Ivan Ilyin’s right-wing “conservatism.”

The originally Norman invasion of England in 1066 (thus going in the opposite direction than that of 1944) was also important in that respect that it brought feudalism (or a new, “modern” form of serfdom or slavery) to the country.

***

RT reports: “The creation of a demilitarized zone in southeast Ukraine and the start of a peace dialogue between Kiev and the rebels are to top the agenda of the ‘Normandy Four’ talks in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, on Wednesday, a source told RIA Novosti. During the talks, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Germany and France are expected to insist on Russia taking responsibility for controlling the establishment of the demilitarized zone in southeast Ukraine, the source added. Meanwhile, Russia believes that it’s the OSCE that should be responsible for the establishment of the demilitarized zone. Those proposals were voiced by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande during talks with Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Friday, the source said. Russia’s permanent representative to the OSCE, Andrey Kelin, told RT that the idea of a demilitarized zone in southeast Ukraine “does exist.” “But we need more specification: How large will it be? What kind of weapons may be kept inside this zone? I feel that one may come to a result that it should be totally weapon-free zone with only police or those who are having sidearms,” he said.”

When it comes to demilitarization (of much of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics), one needs only to ask very simple, basic questions:

1. To whom is such demilitarization in this case (in this case, complete withdrawal from positions) more advantageous–to the defender or to the side preparing for eventual attack and offensive?
2. Would such demilitarization stop the ongoing Nazification of the Ukrainian state or would allow it to continue?
3. If one looks at the size of the territories at stake and if one considers the question of the viability of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics as functioning entities, who would benefit more from such demilitarization (with the DM zones being possibly as wide as 70 km)?
4. Is it necessary in order to prevent the continuous shelling of Donetsk, Gorlovka and other towns by the junta that the militia, which defends these cities, withdraw from these cities and leave them undefended?
5. Did not Yanukovich also demilitarize and remove his forces first and before he was removed–and also under an agreement and guarantees of the same Germany and France?


Related:
Analysis of the Minsk Protocol: Twelve Clauses of Betrayal
Panicked Diplomacy by Western Leaders as Thousands of Ukrainian Troops Encircled by Novorossiyan Militia
Ukraine military bombards Donetsk hospital during Minsk negotiations
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov delivers a speech and answers questions during debates at the 51st Munich Security Conference, Munich, February 7, 2015

Greek Debt, Austerity and Past Military Contracts

Panicked Diplomacy by Western Leaders as Thousands of Ukrainian Troops Encircled by Novorossiyan Militia

On War Crimes and Double Standards in Ukraine

Syriza’s Anti-austerity Moves

Je Suis Eritrean

Liberation of Auschwitz: The Heroic Deeds of Russia’s Red Army

Racism, Islamophobia and the Capitalist Crisis in Europe

Mass Arrests Follow Terror Raids Across Europe

Spanish Government uses Paris False Flag to Clamp Down on Democratic Rights

Spain : The Criminalization of the Right to Privacy

Russia’s Halts Gazprom Supply to EU via Ukraine

US Operative Becomes President of Croatia

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