Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions

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July 11, 2020

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a news conference following political consultations between the foreign ministers of Russia and three African Union countries (South Africa, Egypt and the Congo) via videoconference, Moscow, July 8, 2020

Colleagues,

Today, we held the first political consultation meeting at the foreign minister level between Russia and three members of the African Union. This mechanism was established after the first Russia-Africa Summit held in Sochi last October. These countries are the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Republic of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are the former, current and next presidents of the African Union.

Russia and Africa are linked by traditional friendly relations, strong political dialogue and extensive trade, economic and investment ties. We have even more ambitious plans in all of these areas. Today, Russia and these African countries expressed their reciprocal interest in further building up cooperation in all areas, including the economy, humanitarian ties and political consultations.

We discussed the priorities of developing cooperation through the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum established by the Russian Foreign Ministry. It was set up for daily contact with the foreign ministries of various African countries and the mechanisms of the African Union and other integration associations in Africa. The Secretariat will oversee the organisational and practical preparations of new initiatives for the next Russia-Africa Summit scheduled for 2022 in accordance with the Sochi agreements.

Having met in Sochi, the heads of state decided that it was expedient to hold these summit meetings once every three years.

We also discussed the energy requirements of the African states. They are growing fast given the African countries’ development rates. We reviewed opportunities for enhancing the energy security of African countries, in particular, by supplying them with hydrocarbon resources and especially by developing the nuclear power industry. Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev gave a relevant presentation. Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Alexey Gruzdev spoke about industrial cooperation at our videoconference.

The issues formulated by our African partners today and initiatives on the best ways to develop investment, trade and economic ties will be discussed at the Association of Trade and Economic Cooperation with African Countries. This was established last month by the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum. Large Russian companies are members of this association. They are interested in developing cooperation with African states. In addition to Rosatom, it brings together ALROSA, Gazprombank, Transmashholding, and the Innopraktika development institute, to name a few. As I mentioned, the association will be used as a platform for helping Russian companies that want to work in individual African countries or with the integration associations on the African continent.

We also discussed humanitarian issues focusing, for obvious reasons, on the spread of the coronavirus. The pandemic has made a tangible impact on many aspects of interstate relations and has done harm to the economy. This is also being felt in Africa. Our African colleagues expect this damage to be heavier than it is now.

They expressed gratitude to the Russian Federation for the assistance that our departments have rendered to African states. We continue receiving requests for additional aid. Over 30 countries have sent requests. We are reviewing them as quickly as possible. Deputy Head of Rospotrebnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare) Alexander Simanovsky talked about this in detail today.

We agreed to continue our assistance in countering the coronavirus infection, in part, via African and global multilateral associations. We will support the adoption of decisions that favour the African nations at the UN, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

We emphasised our mutual interest in further cooperation in developing vaccines against such pandemic threats, in particular, by using the very helpful and effective experience of our cooperation (several years ago) in combatting the Ebola virus.

As part of our political dialogue, we focused on the 60th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. This anniversary is marked this year. It is a historically meaningful document that played a critical role in breaking down the world colonialist system. It was the Soviet Union which played the lead role in adopting that declaration. We stressed the need for preserving the historical truth about colonial times. Now, many of our Western colleagues, who have a colonial past on the African continent, prefer to forget where the problems of contemporary Africa largely come from. We believe it is unacceptable to forget about that period or turn a blind eye to the neocolonial practices that continue in Africa, the harmful effects of which were mentioned by our interlocutors today.

We agreed that the establishment of the UN played a decisive role in the upcoming process of decolonization, and the UN itself appeared as a result of defeating Nazism and the Victory in WWII. There is an interesting connection: the countries that try to rewrite the history of World War II try, at the same time, to forget the consequences of the colonial past on the African continent.

We shared the opinion, and Russia made it a point, that decolonisation cannot be declared completed. UN General Assembly resolutions and the International Court of Justice demand the completion of this process, specifically, with respect to the Chagos Archipelago. Mauritius’ sovereignty over it should be restored. The sovereignty of Madagascar should be restored over the Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean and Comoros’ sovereignty over the island of Mayotte. This French territory preserves its status despite numerous UN General Assembly resolutions.

We think it is important to continue these discussions at the UN’s Special Committee on Decolonisation. Together with our African and other partners we will promote implementation of the existing decisions made by the world community.

In general, the talks were very useful. We agreed to draft relevant proposals that would let us start working on the agenda for the next summit, which, as I have said, is scheduled for 2022 pursuant to the understandings reached in Sochi last October. I mean that the next summit will be held in Africa.

We have adopted a joint statement following our discussions which will be distributed to the media. You are welcome to read the document.

Question: I would like to ask you about the situation in Libya. This is a source of constant concern for the international community because of the differences between the confronting parties and the discord among their supporters. Moscow keeps talking about the need to conduct a direct dialogue based on the Berlin Сonference. Russia has also backed Cairo’s initiative – recently the Foreign Ministry has started talking about the need to enhance the UN role in a Libyan settlement. How can this be done in practice when nothing really changes?

Sergey Lavrov: In practice this can be done in only one way – both sides must immediately stop the hostilities and their attempts to move armed units westward and eastward, respectively, or in any direction. Regrettably, the statement of obvious fact by our partners, notably, that the Libyan conflict has no military solution, is not leading to practical actions. At some point, last January before the Berlin conference, we invited the main parties to Moscow: Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar, Head of the Presidential Council and the Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj, and Speaker of Parliament in Tobruk Aguila Saleh. At that time, the LNA believed in its superiority on the ground and did not want to sign a document that suited al-Sarraj. In our estimate, the LNA is now willing to sign a document on an immediate ceasefire but the government in Tripoli is now reluctant to do so in the hope of a military solution once again. This is the main reason for what is happening there.

In the framework of a dialogue as sanctioned by our presidents, we and our Turkish colleagues are coordinating approaches that would make it possible to immediately announce a ceasefire and embark on resolving the other issues, including those mentioned at the Berlin Conference and reaffirmed at the meeting in Cairo in the so-called Cairo Declaration. This is the main problem now.

Recently, we spoke in Moscow with Speaker of the Libyan Parliament in Tobruk Aguila Saleh. We stay in touch with Fayez al-Sarraj who heads the Government of National Accord in Tripoli and, of course, with Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the LNA commander. We express to them that an announcement of the complete cessation of hostilities must be the first, indispensable step and that this has no alternative. Our Turkish colleagues are working with the National Transitional Council towards the same end. I hope they will manage to achieve the only correct solution under the circumstances.

As for the UN’s role and the need to increase it, we do want the UN to be more active here. Unfortunately, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Libya Ghassan Salame resigned soon after the Berlin Conference, almost half a year ago. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been unable to appoint a successor so far. His first proposal to appoint Foreign Minister of Algeria Ramtane Lamamra was supported by most countries except our American colleagues. They refused to support his nomination. Almost two months ago a proposal was put forward to appoint former Foreign Minister of Ghana Hanna Tetteh but for some reason Mr Guterres has failed to have her nomination approved. We tend to think that the US representatives are trying to “hobble” him.

Now the situation is like this. After Salame resigned, the UN mission was headed by the acting special representative. By circumstance, this position is now occupied by an American citizen. We don’t want the US to hold the UN Secretariat by the hand and prevent the appointment of a full special representative in the hope that their compatriot will resolve some objective that we fail to understand.

I say this in the open because it is no secret. I am hoping that commitment to multilateral principles will still prevail in this case, and that the UN Secretary-General will fully display his responsibility for the functioning of this mechanism. I am convinced that this position must be occupied by a representative of the African Union.

Question: Can you comment on the UN commission report that says Russian and Syrian aircraft strikes against civilian infrastructure in Idlib are equated with military crimes?

Sergey Lavrov: You, probably mean the commission that calls itself an international independent commission of inquiry on Syria. This commission was not set up by consensus decision, and its mandate raises many questions as does its methodology. The decision to establish this commission was pushed through primarily by the Western countries, which wanted to change the Syrian regime. They didn’t hide this. Using a vote at the UN Human Rights Council, they provided a mechanism with the established purpose of searching for evidence against and discrediting Damascus and those whom they call its allies.

The commission never went to Idlib like many other entities employed by the West in the non-government sector to gather information compromising the activities of the legitimate Syrian authorities. This so-called independent commission uses facts taken from social networks, from some sources they ask to remain anonymous referring to security considerations. These are the same methods as are currently used by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Our Western colleagues are trying to jam through a resolution based on the report prepared in gross violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention based on information taken from social networks, civil society partners, whose names and addresses they refuse to give saying that it would subject their security to risk and threat. This is why we proceed from the exclusive need to resolve and consider any issue concerning the Syrian or any other conflict based on hard facts alone, and on information for which the relevant entity is ready to be responsible. This independent commission just cannot be responsible for its statements, as has been proven on many occasions.

Question:  Mark Esper has said that in the year since he became head of the Pentagon the US Department of Defence successfully restrained Washington’s main strategic rivals – Russia and China. How would you comment on this statement?

Sergey Lavrov: I do not see that there is anything to comment on here. If he thinks the Pentagon’s main objective is to “restrain” Russia and China, then this is the philosophy of the current US administration. It is really burning with a desire to “restrain” everyone except for themselves, and is seeking to get rid of everything that could restrain its freedom to act with impunity on the international stage, such as the INF Treaty, the TOS, the CTBT, UNESCO, the UN Human Rights Council and the WHO. If this is the case, this is rather regrettable. We believed that the military act much more carefully than politicians in situations that can erupt into a conflict, especially a hot conflict.

This mood and this philosophy of the Pentagon chief are really regrettable, because we are interested in developing a normal dialogue with all countries, including the United States. Telephone contacts between Mark Esper and Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu were highly professional and based on mutual respect.  We would like the foreign policies of all countries not to be aimed at “restraint” but at strategic stability based on a balance of interests of all states, including the world’s leading powers. The phrase “strategic stability” is being replaced with “strategic rivalry” in our dialogue with the Americans. In other words, this philosophy shows that the Americans are preparing for conflicts with any country that will attempt to defend its interests.

This is bad for the United States itself. Maybe Washington is using the alleged threats coming from Russia and China to distract the Americans from the incredible problems we see unfolding in that country. Maybe this is part of the election campaign, for the contenders need to gain points. It would be regrettable if they did this by removing all checks and balances on the international stage and by taking the freedom to venture into risky projects in the hope of getting more votes. We stand for dialogue and strategic stability, as President Putin has noted, including when he proposed a summit meeting of the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Question: It has been reported today that Ukraine plans to withdraw from the 2012 memorandum on counterterrorism cooperation with Russia. The interpretative note reads that “this decision will allow for the creation of additional legal and political grounds for protecting the national interests of Ukraine in conditions of Russia’s armed aggression and enhancing Ukraine’s prestige.” Will you comment on this, please?

Sergey Lavrov: I am not aware of our Ukrainian neighbours’ decision to withdraw from the memorandum on counterterrorism cooperation. They are withdrawing from many documents now, which they have a right to do. They also have a right to present their decisions to terminate cooperation in any way. If they think this will help them to protect their national interests more effectively, be that as it may. But it is obvious to us that counterterrorism must not be a victim and hostage of geopolitical games. Any more or less well-read person can see that the Ukrainian authorities are playing geopolitical games. Just look at the statement made by President Vladimir Zelensky, who has said that the Minsk Agreements are only needed to ensure Western sanctions against Russia. This statement is self-explanatory. I leave this on the conscience of the Ukrainian leadership.

We continue our contacts in the Normandy format. The advisers and political aides of the Normandy format leaders have recently had a meeting. It has reaffirmed that the Ukrainian side categorically refuses to honour the Minsk Agreements, which have been approved by the UN Security Council. It has refused to answer the direct questions of our representatives to this effect. We hope that Germany and France as the parties of the Normandy format will take their share of responsibility for Kiev’s position regarding the vital document titled the Minsk Package of Measures.

Question: Is there any chance of a ceasefire in Libya and that the forces of the Government of National Accord will not cross the Sirte – Al Jufra red line, given yesterday’s reports of attacks in Al Jufra, which neither side in the conflict has confirmed?

Sergey Lavrov: I cannot say if the ceasefire has a chance or not. There is always a chance, but it is difficult to say if it will be used. There was such a chance half a year ago, as well as two, three and four years ago when conferences on Libya were held in Paris, Palermo and Abu Dhabi. A conference was also held in Berlin half a year ago, and before that there was a meeting held in Moscow. A document was adopted, an open and simple document that was only a page and a half long, which stipulated a ceasefire in the first place. One of the sides invited to Moscow and Berlin did not use that chance. Now the other side does not want to use this chance, which still exists. As I have mentioned, it is not simply a chance but a demand which has no alternatives and which must be implemented if we want to start settling the situation in Libya.

As for the military situation on the ground and which side’s forces are preparing to cross any lines, this is of secondary importance. If we agree – and it appears that all sides agree that there is no military solution in Libya – the only thing to do is to stop fighting now. Next we can use the tried and tested mechanisms such as the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission and the proposals sealed in the Cairo Declaration, including the proposal recently advanced by the head of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives Aguila Saleh, who has recently visited Moscow. I am referring to the establishment of truly collective and equal bodies of power where all the three historical regions of Libya will be represented based on a balance of interests. I regard this as an absolutely reasonable proposal.

Question: Is Russia ready to act as a mediator in the conflict around the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam?

Sergey Lavrov: We have offered our assistance, including in the form of technical support, to the conflicting parties. We can do useful things. They know this. The United States has offered its assistance as well. Several meetings have been held in the United States. We welcome the progress achieved so far.

It is encouraging that the sides have recently agreed to stimulate contacts between the concerned ministries. This topic has been discussed at the UN Security Council upon Egypt’s initiative. During the discussion held there, we proposed accelerating the coordination of mutually acceptable approaches based on the existing norms of international law and the interests of the parties involved in this dispute.

Empires and their puppets including Israel will eventually fall: “Free Gaza Movement” co-founder Greta Berlin

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June 8, 2020 – 12:45
Berlin likens the situation in the occupied Palestinian lands to South Africa under the apartheid regime which will finally be a country for all citizens including Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
 “This kind of situation, like its predecessor in South Africa, will eventually fall apart, and the country will end up being a country for all citizens, Jews/Christians/Muslims,” Berlin, an author and activist, tells the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview:  
This is the text of the interview:
1: Madame Greta Berlin, please tell us what Israel has achieved after 72 years since its establishment. Has it succeeded to win legitimacy?
 A: Israel has achieved what all white/colonial/racist entities have achieved; subjugating, terrorizing, marginalizing, and stealing from the indigenous population to make an illicit country. It’s no different than the U.S. or Canada or South Africa or Australia. 
Israel has the biggest gorilla in the room on its side and that’s the U.S.It’s gotten its legitimacy from the very countries who have done the same thing to a population that was already there and perceived as, somehow, being “less human” than the invaders. After 72 years, it’s only legitimate claim to the land of Palestine has been through force, and all empires and their puppets eventually fall. Israel will as well.  
2: How do you analyze the situation inside Israel?
 A: There are three strata inside Israel; Ashkenazi Jews, the white Jews from Europe/Russia, and the U.S. who control power, politics, and money. The second tier is the Sephardic or Arab Jews who were often forced to immigrate to Israel immediately after Israel was founded on the backs of the Palestinians. Once the European Jews drove out 750,000 Palestinians, they needed workers to come and settle in the land they stole. What better place to find them than the Arab Jews of the Middle East and North Africa? If they didn’t want to come peacefully, Mossad made sure they changed their minds. 
After arriving in Israel, they even made up a name for themselves… Mizrahi… so they didn’t have to be called Arab Jews. They are becoming the largest segment of the population, but they have little power. You’ll often see them as members of the IOF, subjugating the third tier in Israel; the Palestinians, who have no power whether they are Israeli citizens or living in the Bantustans of the occupied West Bank and Gaza. 
Americans are beginning to wake up to the terrorism of the Israeli occupation This kind of situation, like its predecessor in South Africa, will eventually fall apart, and the country will end up being a country for all citizens, Jews/Christians/Muslims. 
 3: Israel plans to annex parts of the West Bank, and Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz are unanimous in this move. Netanyahu has confidently said that annexation will take place within “a few months,” or before the American presidential election in November. What has made Israel behave so unashamedly and intransigently? Don’t you think that an impotent international community or inaction by international bodies have made Tel Aviv so emboldened?
 A: Israel has the biggest gorilla in the room on its side and that’s the U.S. It makes no difference who is President in the U.S., Israel controls Congress, and most politicians will bow to its demands. However, watching what is happening in the U.S., everything is going to change over the next few years, as China emerges triumphant and the U.S. becomes another failed empire like Britain and France. 
Personally, I’m all for a one-state solution and have been for decades. And the sooner, the better for everyone living there. Palestinians already outnumber Jews, and those demographics are only going to improve for Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim.  
 4: You are internationally famous for advocating “justice” for Palestinians since early 1960. What prompted you to highlight the sufferings of the Palestinians?
 A: While in graduate school in 1963, I met and married a Palestinian and had two Palestinian/American children who couldn’t return to Safad, the city where their father was raised, while a Jew from New York City could immigrate there with no other credentials except religion. 
That sense of injustice has challenged me since then. The most outspoken advocate for the rights of marginalized people like Palestinians are often the people who learned the truth after being lied to as children. Like many Americans, I grew up thinking Israel was the victim and Jews had the right to settle in the Holy Land. When I met my husband, and he began telling me the truth of the violent takeover of his land by European terrorist Jews, I became an advocate for justice in Palestine for life.  
 5: You were a co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement and among those brave persons who broke the Gaza siege. Can you please explain your experiences and reactions?
 A: This is such a long story, encompassing two years of planning, buying the boats, sailing to Gaza and so much pain, laughter and delight at finally getting there. It’s a book and a movie and a webinar already. The best way of describing our journey to Gaza is to provide people with these three links.
 6: The U.S. has been blindly defending the illegal behavior of Israel toward Palestinians over the past seven decades. How can such support be justified by a country which proclaims leadership of the free world and defender of democracy and human rights?
 A: The U.S. has never been a defender of democracy and human rights. The country was founded on the genocide of the native population and got rich on the back of slavery. It has had, however, one of the most brilliant PR campaigns of any country in the world. Israel tries to emulate it with many of the same catchphrases such as, “the only democracy in the Middle East.” That’s as big a lie as the U.S. saying it stands for human rights.
However, there is a difference between government propaganda and the citizens of the U.S. Americans, once they wake up, are among the most outstanding advocates for justice for people seeking equal rights, and have put their lives on the line, from the martyrs of the civil rights movement, https://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/civil-rights-memorial/civil-rights-martyrs
to Rachel Corrie in Palestine. They are the one bright and hopeful beacons of light in the U.S., especially this younger generation. I have great hopes they will become like many of us out of the 1960s, advocates for a better world. 
 7: How is it possible that successive Congresses and to a lesser extent administrations remain so biased in favor of Israel? Does it show that the American people who vote for their representatives are indifferent or ignorant toward the situation of the Palestinians?
A: Bribery, Blackmail, and Benjamins. 
It is true, however, that Americans are beginning to wake up to the terrorism of the Israeli occupation. But to be honest, Americans can barely make it from one paycheck to the next and are overwhelmed with problems in their own back yards. 
And the country is huge, with 331 million people, only 20% who even own a passport. Very few of us travel outside the Northern Hemisphere. America and much of its population are isolated and not very well-educated about other countries.  
 8: And, why anybody who opposes the stealing of the Palestinian lands or criticizes suppression of Palestinians is easily being accused of ant-Semite?
 A: It’s become a badge of honor to be called anti-Semitic. Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Stephen Hawking, Roger Waters have all been called anti-Semites. I’m proud to be in their company.

US President Jimmy Carter Hid Info on «Israeli» Nuke Experiment

US President Jimmy Carter Hid Info on «Israeli» Nuke Experiment

By Staff, Agencies

The “Israeli” entity conducted a nuclear experiment 40 years ago over the South Atlantic, according to Foreign Policy Magazine on Sunday.

The report suggests that then-US President Jimmy Carter would have decided to suppress this information in order preserve a fledgling peace agreement between the “Israeli” entity and Egypt.

Shortly before sunrise on September 22, 1979, a US surveillance satellite called Vela 6911, whose role is to detect nuclear experiments on Earth, recorded an unusual flash over the South Atlantic.

For Patrick Air Force Base personnel, there was no doubt that it was a nuclear explosion.

An alert was issued that night, and, according to the publication, Carter called an emergency meeting at the White House the next day.

The question looming over the US government was who was responsible for the nuclear test, which was quickly boiled down to only two possibilities: South Africa or the “Israeli” entity.

At that time, Israel was one of the few countries to maintain relations with the apartheid regime, including its clandestine security services.

“There would have been a nuclear explosion near South Africa, probably by the South African government, or by ‘Israel’ from a ship, and nothing else,” Jimmy Carter wrote in his diary on September 22, according to Foreign Policy.

But the South African nuclear program was not sufficiently developed.

And just over a year from the presidential elections, Carter decided to ask his officials to bury this information and provide other reasons to explain the appearance of such a flash.

In May 1980, US scientists published a report claiming that it was probably not a nuclear explosion.

Proceeding Republicans and Democrats administrations continued to conceal the information.

South Africa – Pretend Marxist Neo-Chiefs Practice Destructive Capitalism

August 17, 2019

A South African writer for The Saker Blog

Let’s set the social scene with a video from Vesti News:

People are getting accustomed to living this way. The Neo-Chiefs in the Ruling Party do not care for the minorities, and neither do they care for their own. In the final section, we will return to social issues.

Mentioning a second introductory point may be timely for a watch list. If real trouble strikes in the Persian Gulf and with Iran, the route around the Horn of Africa passing South Africa, may become of strategic significance.

The recent May elections.

48 political parties contested the 2019 elections The results were:

– The governing African National Congress (ANC) won its smallest percentage of votes for national office ever, reflecting the worst performance of this party in any national election since 1994. It still won 57.51 percent of the vote.

– The DA (Democratic Alliance) won 20.76 percent.

– The EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) won 10.79 percent.

– The remaining forty-five parties together won 10.94 percent, though most of them did not win enough to earn a seat.

– The ANC won eight of the nine provincial legislatures; the EFF retained its position as Official Opposition in Limpopo and the North West, beating the DA to second place in Mpumalanga.

– The DA obtained a second place in five provinces won by the ANC.

– In KwaZulu-Natal, the Inkatha Freedom Party beat the DA to second place for the first time since 2014 and grew to 3.38% on a national level.

– In the Western Cape, the only province not won by the ANC, the DA declined from 59.38% to 55.45%.

– The ruling ANC slipped to holding 230 parliament seats, while the main opposition DA now holds 84, the EFF holds 44 seats (with some wiggling and jiggling after the elections that changed a few seats but not materially).

To make these results more understandable for the larger world, the ANC is supposed to be the centrists (but they are not, they are the neo-chiefs), the DA is supposed to be the progressives, and the EFF is clearly the challengers and very far left. The small splinter parties represent a spectrum, including the right. https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/316134/south-african-national-election-2019-final-results/

Shortly after the elections and as is customary, Cyril Ramaphosa (now the 2nd richest man in the country) was again elected President and presented his State of the Nation Address that immediately was described as underwhelming. https://www.thebricspost.com/ramaphosas-state-of-the-nation-address-underwhelms/

The Cabinet changes after the State of the Nation address were described with ‘cautious optimism.’ https://www.thebricspost.com/new-south-african-cabinet-welcomed-with-cautious-optimism/

Ramaphosa’s speech reads like a Christmas tree, all kinds of lights flickering, and will last about as long as a Christmas tree.  This is simply a grab-bag of wish-list promises. He is going to do just everything! It is a pity that the country’s internal education does not supply the people with the ability to do what Ramaphosa’s says he wants to do. Again, he links everything to land redistribution in his opening paragraph, while the problems in the country are much more serious.

“We gather here at the start of the 6th Democratic Parliament, 106 years to the day after the Natives Land Act – one of the most devastating acts of dispossession, pain and humiliation – came into force. “http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/speeches/state-nation-address-president-cyril-ramaphosa%2C-parliament%2C-cape-town 

These neo-chiefs are beginning to sound like they have taken advertising lessons from Holocaust promoters and certainly not taking cognizance of who did what in history. These people that said vile things as depicted in the image on the right, are not in the country any longer; they are long dead and so is apartheid.

In South Africa, where trucks moving goods and food traveling the main North/South Highway (N2) are being pelted with petrol bombs, Ramaphosa wants to build a new smart city, just like in China.  He wants to bring in high speed rail, save the world, cut crime only by 50% percent, redistribute land and just about destroy the ability for food production, while, as is discussed under economy, the youth unemployment rate is 50% and the educational standards are exceedingly poor. Smart cities need engineers, software engineers, people who understand math and science and a host of other skills. Needless to say, the skill-set is just not there, and nothing serious is being done to materially educate people, let alone the electricity to support this notion.  Listening to the State of the Nation, one can only smack your head against a brick wall and say: “Mr Ramaphosa, I’m very happy that you saw smart cities and fast trains in China. But this is a trailing indicator of a 40+ year program of poverty eradication and education. This program is what you should have looked at and this is what you should dream about first. The Smarts and the Speed will Follow if you create a structural base, and we don’t see any of that! All we see, is a crumbling state and infrastructure.”

The initial election of Cyril Ramaphosa as president was covered for The Saker Blog here.

And even though there was a positive feeling in some parts of the country when Ramphosa was first elected, we will soon see that there is very little positivity left.  Even Al Jazeera is listing Ramaphosa’s current problems with sheer graft.

So, let us summarize and highlight:

  • As we move from the hard election results and to discussing South Africa and BRICS, we have a Russian news report unashamedly calling the killings of white farmers “Ethnic Cleansing.” This is in the open now.
  • And then, from China, we have this from the current Chinese ambassador to South Africa.  “Ramaphosa is the “last hope of this country,” Lin Songtian, the Chinese ambassador to South Africa, said in a Reuters interview.”

And the commentary on that:

  • “When the leader of a country starts getting, from abroad, compliments and expressions of support against rival factions — especially from a Chinese diplomat schooled to be studiously even-handed in public — it’s a sure indication that they think he is buried in the political crap. ”  https://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/the-timidity-of-sas-last-hope

South Africa in BRICS

Note that the previous section commenting on the recent elections contains two links, both from The BRICS post, and in each instance, not very flattering or with high enthusiasm. Is this what we can accept as the real sense from the other BRICS partners toward South Africa? Is South Africa the heavy brick that drags down BRICS? Certain forces seem to think so, as there is internal resistance against Brics – Gangsters and Banksters, the “Break the BRICS Coalition.”

As we do not have a cohesive society in the country, this gets complex. The understanding about BRICS in the country is abysmal. This, interestingly enough, illustrates the ideological schism existent for many years within South Africa where the previous dictatorial white government were aligned with the west during the cold war and in its denouement of anything USSR or Chinese at the time, but the black community saw especially the USSR style communist ideology as their only hope for their future; an important point to remember if one looks at South Africa today. This schism is still alive and appears in the strangest of places, especially if a traditional Marxist tells you how bad Russia and China is. The video below will illustrate.

On Thursday 26 July 2018 different formations calling themselves “Break the BRICS Coalition” marched to the Sandton Convention Centre, the venue of the 10th BRICS Summit. The march was a protest against what the coalition calls the capitalist nature of the BRICS states, their anti-working class behavior, and their environmentally destructive policies.”

As can be seen from the first part of the video, the leader of this coalition displays a breathtaking ignorance of the real conditions within China and Russia today, and he carries with him old western cold war ideas. The commentary is valuable however, as it illustrates the general state of education of the population, either for or against a non-existent notion of ‘communism’, but in other circles, talking up Marxism.

The overall interesting question is: Where does South Africa really stand in the move towards a multipolar world system? This anti-Brics coalition leader has some good ideas on that, and indeed, the start of the Free Trade African wide agreement is a good idea. In contrast to the first part of the conversation, which is old cold war rhetoric, this part of the interview starts at time marker 11:38.

BRICS Leaders Are Reinforcing, Not Replacing, the Global System of Power
Patrick Bond (August 2018)

In addition to the internal pushback against BRICS, there is almost symmetrical pushback against what is called the 4th Industrial Revolution. Frequently companies cannot modernize, as modern equipment is broken by workers, set on fire and otherwise tampered with under the slogan “This 4th Industrial Revolution will Take our Jobs.” (Now think of the Ramaphosa promise of a smart city and high speed rail and you will get an idea of how far removed his inauguration speech is from reality on the ground).

What is South Africa’s real role in BRICS? The reality becomes subsumed with all kinds of promises and flowery descriptions.  This study gives an overview:  https://www.unav.edu/documents/16800098/17755721/DT-01-2019_South-Africa_ENG+%281%29.pdf

From this China Daily report, it seems to hinge around the concept of a ‘gateway to Africa.’ http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-09/15/content_13689717.htm

Studying these two documents and others, it seems as if South Africa is just ballast, only present as part of the ‘Global South’ sphere in BRICS, more for the investment opportunities it offers to the other BRICS countries, instead of anything more substantial that the state may provide to the BRICS coalition itself.

One may argue that they are in BRICS to stop them from being in any other alliance.

Nevertheless, this is the formal governmental description, and we will see if it makes sense when we look at the next section on the economy; specifically, the upbeat job creation scenario envisaged in the light of active ‘Staatskaping’ or State Capture.

Professor Wang Yong, in his 2012 Economic Diplomacy Programme paper titled: South Africa’s role in BRICS and the G20 summed up South Africa’s unique role in BRICS when he wrote: South Africa is in a position to make unique contributions, particularly in terms of development of the BRICS Africa agenda, promoting global economic governance reforms, and institution of the BRICS as a credible international organization”.

“Already, these five BRICS countries account for 40 percent of the world population, and as of this year, their combined nominal GDP amounted to US$18.6 trillion, about 23.2% of the gross world product.

Trade between the five countries has doubled in seven years, ballooning from R203 billion in 2010 to R462 billion last year.

South Africa’s membership of BRICS also gallops towards the realization of the country’s National Development Plan mandate of eliminating poverty and the reduction of inequality by 2030. This is aligned with BRICS’ five pillars of priority.

Investment deals between South Africa and the BRICS partners have reached fever pitch, with China leading the way. Several Chinese billion-dollar firms have headed south in recent times. Among them, mobile and green energy companies such as Hisense, FAW, Beijing Automobile International Corporation, Phalabora Mining Company, China Longyuan Power Group.

A PriceWaterCoopers (PwC) report recently showed that the bilateral trade between Pretoria and New Delhi has grown by 400% between 2004 and 2014. According to the report, the investment deals were in the environmental, financial services, mining, pharmaceuticals, automotive, and information technology sectors.

All this could mean one thing – the much-needed job creation. According to the PwC report, the R50 billion investments came with 18,000 jobs in tow.”  https://www.sanews.gov.za/features-south-africa/sa-worthy-member-brics

Let’s move on to the economy and see if we can find those 18,000 jobs.

The Economy is not a bright spot, BRICS, or no BRICS.

We start with a confused ideology. Black Agenda Radio in the US hit it exactly right on most points excepting two.  They say:

“South Africa is the only place in the world where the entire Black political class speaks in the language of Marxism-Leninism, even when they are in cahoots with Big Capital.”

https://soundcloud.com/user-887995524-149532189/talking-marxism-but-serving-capitalism-in-south-africa

The two points:

First – The wealth of the country is no longer centered in white hands and Black Agenda Radio presents as if the EFF are genuine Marxists. They are not.  They are instead the quasi-military wing of the ANC itself, and a violent grouping deeply involved in State Capture. They are now seeking a larger role and are disassociating themselves from the ANC, as the ‘real revolutionaries’. Yet even in this disassociation, the ideological lies are clear:

Get rich or lie trying: Why ANC millionaire Julius Malema posed as a radical.  https://libcom.org/library/get-rich-or-lie-trying-why-anc-millionaire-julius-malema-posed-radical

Second – While South Africa still claims the 2nd biggest economy in Africa (the 1st being Nigeria and the 3rd being Egypt) finding useful economic data becomes a difficult task. One of the frequently mentioned criticisms on Ramaphosa´s state of the nation speech after the May elections is that there is no vision and no expression of the real feeling on the ground. His speech indeed lacks vision and mission and precisely clear policy, paths to implementation of policy, and innovation to economically bring positive changes in the country. Is it because he is incompetent, or is it because there is no vision because vision is not required for the ruling party as their reality story is quite different from having a vision for a functioning country? I would suggest the latter.

After 25 + years of ‘democracy’ the country boasts:

  • a joblessness rate of more than 29% officially – of course, the number on the street is quoted as much higher, (2 out of 3 people not working, so where are those BRICS jobs quoted in the BRICS section?). In addition a youth joblessness rate of 50% +
  • A massive crime rate forced by joblessness, hopelessness, and despair.
  • A surge in foreign debt,
  • fairly open Northern border and a years-long surge-in of more hopeless people from Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
  • The power provider (Eskom) is so poorly managed with unmaintained infrastructure that the country regularly is in rolling electricity blackouts. Btw, even the Chinese Ambassador expressed that the problems here are not financial, but management and application of skills. (machine translation https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=af&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.afriforum.co.za%2Fafriforum-eskom-verliese-en-hoer-werkloosheid-wys-ramaphosa-se-planne-werk-nie%2F
  • the tax collector SARS has not been able administratively to handle its job and is basically falling apart and imploding. – https://www.businesslive.co.za/fm/special-reports/2019-02-21-revenue-collection-dire-cost-of-sarss-implosion/
  • Trains, planes, pick your government service and they are all in financial trouble – there is no end of problems, and infrastructure that worked is now coming to the end of its life. Because of no maintenance during these 25 + years, the end is one of implosion.
  • Labor strikes are too many to count. You can search for ‘strikes in South Africa 2019′. There are national strikes, local strikes, municipality worker’s strikes, mine workers, port authority, wildcat strikes, university strikes and so on, too many to mention.
  • Hospitals are exceedingly badly managed : Go in Alive, Come out a Corpse is the slogan
  • The Police service is in crisis with reports that 41% of officers failed their annual shooting test – People are relying on private security, which increases cost of living.
  • The problem of ‘staatskaping’ or State Capture of the wealth of the country is still in full swing. The form that State Capture takes is that the ANC owns or attempts to hold all of the wealth of the State, even above State objectives. The ANC with its neo-chiefs, enriches itself first. In the last election, however, this is beginning to unravel, because even ANC members and cadres now feel they are not getting their fair share of the hijacked state economy. Basically, all the might of the state and economic affairs is captured or pirated by the ruling party and run as a private enterprise for itself, and the country is left in rack and ruin. The rulers are redirecting the wealth and economy of the country into their own pockets and into their political party.   https://www.sastatecapture.org.za/site/hearings.  This is even visible in religious and church affairs, where the President asks for prayers for the ANC, and not for the country. https://www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2019-04-19-pray-for-us-ramaphosa-invites-the-church-to-be-ancs-watchdog/

Summary : Generally, 25 years+ into so-called democracy, the country is falling apart, but not for the neo-chiefs, who have never partied hardier.

An Experimental Comparison

Let us make a short comparison of what Russia has accomplished since the fall of the Soviet Union 1991, with South Africa’s freedom election in 1994. You may say this is an unfair comparison as Russia is a much bigger country with many more people and massive landmass. Yet, South Africa changed materially in 1994 and has the advantage in such a comparison as the average income in Russia was statistically expressed as 0, and the country was non-functioning, whereas South Africa was a functioning country. Both countries had to deal with the international sphere equally, and Russia was again handicapped with sanctions and having to protect itself militarily. Of the BRICS members, a comparison between South Africa and Russia makes the most sense. This is what it looks like in simple percentage terms:

Consumer Prices in South Africa are 11.36% higher than in Russia

Consumer Prices Including Rent in South Africa are 17.62% higher than in Russia

Rent Prices in South Africa are 39.29% higher than in Russia

Restaurant Prices in South Africa are 4.77% higher than in Russia

Groceries Prices in South Africa are 9.71% higher than in Russia

And a few more:

  • South Africa has a 29% official unemployment rate with a 50% youth unemployment rate, and Russia is in the range of 4% yet Russia was a non-functioning country being plundered in 1991 and South Africa a functioning state in 1994.
  • Russia is a respected country, and South Africa is floundering.
  • Russia does not have laws that exclude a mostly educated workforce from the workplace because of racism.
  • South Africa has a relatively young workforce with a median age of 26.3 years whereas we all know about the Russian people’s resistance against pension age changes for its population, which is of an older median age.
  • The wealth in South Africa has changed hands, and it is now estimated that 40% of the really rich are black neo-chiefs, so the accusation that the whites hold economic power is slowly eroding.
  • South Africa, as a country, has natural resources as has Russia.

Why does the current ANC government still hold the firm belief that making all the whites poor, will enrich the rest of the 55 Million blacks?. On the face of it, it is absurd, as the white minority is slowly going through the process of being impoverished. At this stage, this is nothing more than trumped-up racial revenge to hide the shortcomings of the current management in the country.

Some of the percentage differences between the two countries in a detailed cost of living comparison are quite breathtaking, and is submitted for those with time on their hands. https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=Russia&country2=South+Africa

Russia clearly has an alive, growing and most importantly well-managed economy and South Africa has an economy teetering on stagnation with most public services imploding or falling apart. Just before Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address, Moody’s made the statement that South Africa’s GDP growth will remain one of the lowest among Baa3-rated sovereigns. The debt burden is expected to rise but a brighter point is that the structure of the debt is resilient to shocks. Of course, the significant debt (as far as can be determined) is to China, and China has structured it to be resilient, very specifically the new loans to prop up South Africa’s power generation company Eskom. China works in a particular way with debt that cannot be serviced – they take over the project and infrastructure that the debt financed and run it themselves, leaving very little opportunity for state capture.

In South Africa, as you heard from Black Agenda Radio and many other studies, the inequality of people’s is the highest in the world. The rulers talk Marxism but practice extractive and exploitative capitalism.

So, high level only, what did Russia do differently from their lowest point as a country, in comparison to the steps that the new South African government took from what was a high point if one believed the Rainbow Nation advertising?

1. Russia got their oligarchs under control. In South Africa, the neo-chiefs are the oligarchs and are running the country. It is stated policy to create a black millionaire and billionaire class and that document was hastily hidden when it was first discovered.

2. Russia invested in technology, education, and food production (with sanctions accelerating and mandating this trajectory and they also needed to spend on defense). In South Africa, they are breaking down technology in protest against the so-called 4th industrial revolution, the education is liberal and weak, and the most significant agenda item is land redistribution without compensation, i.e., stealing. What a way to handle your productive food sector by threatening their lives, while saying BRICS is bringing all these jobs. All these jobs? Well, I don’t see them. South Africa is now an importer of maize and corn, and food imports are steadily increasing.

3. The most significant difference is that Russia invested in their country and their people. In South Africa, the neo-chiefs invested in themselves by capturing state income and economy for their own pockets and ideological political party.

4. Russia had an educated workforce and still to today education lacks in South Africa.

The evening before Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation speech, Moody’s dropped a severe report, warning that the country’s growth rate is in trouble and SA’s inequality of people’s is not just staying put, it’s on the increase. (Of course, it is the fault of the whites – everything is, as everything is the fault of Russia if one believes the western propaganda).

So taking a look at economic factors, what is reported is la-la land-like positive outcomes, interspersed with great speeches with promises of doing better when the la-la scenario does not manifest. The big gap, of course, is between promises for the future and how to actually get there. That piece is generally missing in the economic reporting. It is clear that economically South Africans of all colors and classes are struggling to the point of despair, not because they are not productive and good people, but because the country is managed as a ‘get rich’ piggy bank, focused on creating black millionaires and billionaires. If this makes you flash to the Ukraine in your thinking, you would be exactly right but for South Africa, even Mexico is voting Cape Town as exceedingly dangerous and in South Africa, they are even killing Ukrainians in hiding : http://www.radiofreesouthafrica.com/mexican-council-votes-cape-town-as-africas-most-dangerous-city/

Yet, the black cadres are still plotting and planning revolution : http://www.radiofreesouthafrica.com/we-foresee-a-revolution-militants-in-secret-black-power-drill/

Farm Murders and Land expropriation/re-distribution without compensation.

We have a first bright spot here with the ruling government now forced to acknowledge that farm murders are not common crimes but truly unique. These are very specific atrocities against the white farming and rural population perpetrated not only with extreme violence but exceedingly cruel torture (Kill The Boer). Bear in mind that it is difficult to defend yourself because the laws discriminate against the mainly white farming population and their employees.

63% Of the population is urban, so, that leaves us with around 47% of the people as rural. Farm murders are a type of violence in the background of land redistribution without compensation – it is the fear, torture and killing that is necessary to hide the program of state capture for the program of creating a class of black millionaires and billionaires – farm murders are not just crime, they are a project. These murders and attacks on relatively unprotected people show an increase of 60% over the past decade. One should also remember that volunteer groups kept the initial statistics as you could see from the woman killed in the first video by Vesti News. She was reporting on the murders. The hypocrisy does not even pass a first smell test. The ANC government initially stated clearly that they don’t count crimes on minorities separately from the overall crime rate. It is also generally known practice that even if dead and tortured people lay on the ground, the crime is classified as ‘burglary gone wrong’ or something similar. Yet, the rulers seem to count exactly how much land is in the hands of those minorities in a clear stance of egregious double standards. This is besides the fact that they got the numbers wrong by orders of magnitude as well.

Machine translation : https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=af&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fmaroelamedia.co.za%2Fnuus%2Fsa-nuus%2Fplaasaanvalle-styg-afgelope-dekade-met-60%2F

The ANC heads of Noordwes and Gauteng have admitted that farm murders must now be given attention to as priority crime.

The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Ms Thoko Didiza, has spoken out strongly against Farm Murders as well as illegal land grabs. Her deputy stated that the 1.4 million hectares of land that the state owns, will be re-distributed first and the tone of this statement is less racially biased.

Machine Translation: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=af&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fmaroelamedia.co.za%2Fnuus%2Fsa-nuus%2Fminister-veroordeel-plaasmoorde%2F

During July, Ramaphosa himself condemned farm murders, but with so much negative rhetoric stated toward the ones continually exposing the murders and torturous crimes, that his negative rhetoric virtually canceled his condemnation. Nobody believed the man. He has no principles, as you heard again from Black Agenda Radio regarding the Marikana massacres. Where there was some hope expressed after Ramaphosa was elected and I reported on that small hope here, that hope is also now gone.

With the relative loss of votes by the ANC, the visibility of unfair discrimination (workplace and crime rates) to educated minorities, the visibility of state capture, and the concomitant reduction of tourism and investment, the la-la land economic reporting, the service sectors of the state imploding, the balance of power is slowly beginning to change and the ANC might see the beginning of their loss of power. BRICS will not save them.

Then, the second bright spot : The internal knowledge base is slowly beginning to change as well, and reporting such as the following is becoming more common.

New world order looms amid US trade war with China, but SA seems clueless

“… the US does not want the locus of global power to shift from the West to the East. This is precisely what the trade war between China and the US is about. But where does SA stand in all this? Unfortunately, there is no evidence that either our intellectually bland president or our tired international relations minister has a clue. “  https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/opinion/columnists/2019-06-24-new-world-order-looms-amid-us-trade-war-with-china-but-sa-seems-clueless/

It is hard to find bright spots in this downward trajectory of a once flourishing country, but these two, condemning farm murders and an assurance that land will be distributed from state coffers first, as well as some internationally savvy reporting, are indeed welcome. This won’t stop the process of changing the constitution to make land-grabs legal.

What can we say about the future?

Well, it looks bleak. This looks like a country on the way to being a failed state and on a similar trajectory as the Ukraine, only with neo-chiefs as oligarchs. We can only hope that the contact with Russia, China and other BRICS countries changes the level of education, knowledge and sheer intelligence to stop this slide. At least in terms of India there is a lot of interaction, with Indian channels available on the local television networks. This slow decline could continue until there is nothing left to loot and end up in a type of Mogadishu, with increasingly violent strikes, open violent faction fighting and a very poor country with exceedingly wealthy neo-chiefs.

It is a sad state of affairs overall, as South Africa can do much much better. Given government support for those that produce food in country, this sector can be repaired as the know-how is there (if somebody overcomes the fact the many white folks have the know-how). At this stage we have to say .. Get Over Apartheid Already!

We can also look at South Africa pragmatically, as the African Empire in the previous age, which is failing and falling.  So many lessons can be learned while we are all watching the current world Empire, failing and falling.

What would be really wise is to send a delegation to Venezuela to go and investigate and learn how to take a previously western centered capitalist country, to a socialist managed country and to end the State Capture.

To end the formal part of this depressing analysis, it would be best if the country is handed to China for day to day management, and the neo-chiefs maintain their positions only as ceremonial leaders to ‘learn on the job’ so to speak. At least China would have the smarts to put the 50% + unemployed youth into re-education camps and teach them math, science, language and a skill-set. Then, and only then would Ramaphosa’s dream of a smart city and fast rail have a hope.

History – when does it end?

I wrote this part as an ending because the situation is so bleak.  I wanted to find something, anything positive.

If you do not know South Africa or Africa, structurally there may be no method in your head to consider these issues. It is a strange place with a unique set of circumstances and a very unique people. To try and judge this country by what you know of other countries, will probably not be appropriate. If you have not been accused of being “the child of rapists, colonists and plunderers” by a stranger in an airplane, you are not the strange creature that is African, but white and there is only about 5 or 6 million of my kind on the earth.

One must also remember that anything that goes wrong is still blamed on the 5 Million whites and not on the 55 Million blacks. The general accusation against migrants is that migrants do not assimilate or integrate. I, and other similar creatures like me, have done the unthinkable. We assimilated and integrated, built a country and became part of the African Soul. Our feet are still profoundly stuck into the soil of South Africa, and I still cry when I hear the voice of Miriam Makeba. This video contains a short history of Miriam and a very haunting and beautiful love song.

If your skin is white in South Africa, some of your ancestors probably committed sins. These were sins of their times like traditional slavery was a sin of its time.

When does history end? What does a group of people have to do, if their forefathers committed sins? How do they clean their own slate?. Is there an international court that can announce and declare that their debt to society has been paid, and it is enough now, and this South African white minority must be freed from the sins of the ancestors? The laws that mostly prohibit these people to take part in the workplace must now be abolished. The weird race-based laws that virtually prevent any white South African from freely running a business must now be abolished. The slow killing of these people must now stop.

Each time I say these things, there is a chorus of ‘How Bad the Whites Were,’ where no attention is paid to the efforts made by this population to redress the wrongs of their forefathers. And indeed, we can question whether these were wrongs, or whether these were actions taken within the context of the times. I’ve said this before and will repeat it … there was never a conscious ‘killing of black tribes’ akin to the American slaughter of the indigenous Indians; the Trail of Tears, or outright gunning for the indigenous in bloodthirsty horse mounted regiments. There has never been conscious exploitation of South African black folks equal to the British toward the Indians where the Indians were forced to abandon their own food production and grow indigo specifically for the Crown, resulting in hunger for the local population. Where do you all think the ubiquitous blue jeans of the 60’s/70’s free love revolution came from? The cloth was made and dyed and sewed in India under British rule; the jeans were sent to Germany for adding shiny studs – remember Levy-Strauss? Well, the Indians made those, excepting the studs, and we in the west wore those jeans, as a proud emblem of our free love revolution, without knowing that those that dyed the cloth, were under a British slavery system.

But enough of that. Let’s take a more positive look when we all still hoped for the Nelson Mandela rainbow nation. The music was good and is still good, the wine is superb and the current wild flower season breathtaking.

A famous and idiosyncratic South African musician, David Kramer penned these lyrics, in a song to the world:

You’ve got da money but we’ve got da beat!  Everybody born here Mister got the rhythm in their feet!”

This is unique music and old now, but perhaps the equivalent of US country music, yet a very unique west-coast storytelling style. This is happy music, and crying in your beer music and foot-stomping music that everybody knows and everybody enjoys.

This is what South Africans thought they had voted for, when the ANC took over the country and the rainbow nation and Truth and Reconciliation was a word on everyone’s lips.

This is what we got:

Miriam Makeba eventually returned to her homeland after many years in exile, after suppression by both the Americans and the local South African government, and everyone else following. The US wanted to nail the Russians and the Chinese, and South Africa suffered and what has changed?

It is time that this strange creature, an African that is White, could return, without fear of Kill the Boer, because we did the unthinkable, we assimilated and integrated. The blame game toward the whites is slowly unraveling. I don’t have a clue what the Dutch do or what the French do, because we assimilated and created a country. We should be lauded for that, and our skills should be used freely to create a new version of this country.

A moment of silence for Johnny Clegg, who united through music.

Johnny Clegg, Anti-Apartheid Musician in South Africa, Dead at 66

We are the scatterlings of Africa

And finally, for those that always ask me What About Da Joos?

Da Joos still own much of the mining, now only sharing with black leadership. They do what they do in other countries, and of course many have left South Africa, so, they manage their holdings from afar, well integrated with the neo-chiefs. Those that are still there, still protest BDS and work for Israeli causes. But the Jews were inherently racist and the word ‘schwartzes’ was used frequently, so, the ordinary rank and file to a large measure left the country.

 


Additional reading

Black on White crime – An American perspective … https://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2019/07/27/the-brutal-reality-of-black-on-white-crime/

The nature of farm murders described here

https://sputniknews.com/africa/201907181076286740-south-africa-new-farm-murder/

Paul Craig Roberts with a desperate question …. are whites too stupid to survive

http://www.unz.com/proberts/are-white-people-too-stupid-to-survive/

and Is White Genocide in our Future, where Roberts reports on South Africa

Seeing poor white people makes me happy. This was immediately censored, but it still exists in the internet archive

http://archive.vn/2cRrM#selection-713.0-713.39

Added for interest : Trump’s Vision for Africa: the 1960s

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/07/26/trumps-vision-for-africa-the-1960s/

History Reading

AmaBhulu (which means Afrikaners)

https://www.amazon.com/AmaBhulu-Birth-Death-Second-America/dp/0992159016

In 1797 the British Royal Navy feared South Africa would become a “Second America” for Britain, while, in the 20th century, the country was to Africa what the United States was to the world. AmaBhulu describes the developing crisis in the Second America that will inevitably entangle the First America. It is a study in the death of Civilization by its own collective hand; a severe warning for the West.

AmaBhulu is a view of South Africa through eyes different from those employed in fifty years of media reporting, social science, and politics. The author walks the reader from the 1652 landing of the Dutch to the present by following his own family bloodlines as example through the documented history of the country, supported by copious evidence. As settlers, soldiers, slaves, and indigenes, they farm, they fight, they triumph, and they lose. They are mercilessly impaled and massacred by savage African tyrants. They are hanged and fusilladed by an imperial overlord, and herded into concentration camps. Yet, they persevere to create a key Western Christian country; the envy of all Africa and a Cold War bulwark of the West. Eventually it falls to the author to describe the loss of his country through forces beyond his control.

Norman Finkelstein: Israel is An Apartheid State, Netanyahu is an Obnoxious, Racist, Jewish Supremacist

Norman Finkelstein Interview, March 20, 2019.
Transcript:
Jimmy Dore: Hi everybody! Welcome to the Jimmy Dore Show.
We have a special guest today. Norman Finkelstein is an American political scientist, activist, Professor and author. His primary fields of research are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the politics of the Holocaust, an interest motivated by the experiences of his parents who were Jewish Holocaust survivors. He’s a graduate of Binghamton University and received his PhD in Political Science from Princeton University.

Welcome, Norman Finkelstein. Thanks for being our guest.

Norman Finkelstein: Thank you for having me.

Jimmy Dore: You know, you’re an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and I just wanted to… You know, most people don’t really know the cause of the conflict, they just know that there is a conflict and that the United States is friendly to Israel because they’re a democracy and they’re the only democracy in the Middle East, as people like to say.

So how would you explain this conflict to people who don’t really know much about it, which is most of the people in the United States, and they certainly don’t know much about it if they watch the TV news. So I don’t think your average person knows anything really about it. So how do you inform people about that conflict, well, how it started and what it’s about?

Norman Finkelstein: I think the most effective way to inform people is by way of analogy. Effectively, what happened to the Palestinian people over the past century is pretty close to what happened to the Native American population in the United States. If you take for example the fate of the Cherokee Indians, who originally resided in the Eastern coast of the United States, and they were gradually pushed, pushed, pushed, until they were ended up in Arkansas. And then they were pushed into a portion of Arkansas, which then, once all White settlers crowded in that portion, became Oklahoma. And so the Cherokee were effectively the victims of a policy of expulsion, “transfer” as you want to call it in the Israeli vernacular. And basically there are obviously differences, and one doesn’t want to pretend as if there are no differences, but to look at the big picture, the big picture I would say, it is not fundamentally different than what happened to the Native population in the US.

Jimmy Dore: Wow! I’ve never heard it described that way before. And you know, ironically, you know, most Americans aren’t too aware of how horrible that’s a chapter in our history either. So the United States gives aid and billions of dollars in funding to Israel every year, and people say that Israel is running an Apartheid State, and that Gaza is an open-air prison. Now are those two things true, and how could that be? How could that be if we’re supporting them?

Norman Finkelstein: Well, I think both are true. Israel both benefits from two facts. Number one: they benefit in the fact that there’s a convergence of interests between US ruling elites and Israel on many basic occasions. So for example, right now, there’s a convergence of interests between the US and Israel in strengthening Saudi Arabia, strengthening the Gulf and trying to contain Iran. That’s a fundamental convergence of interests, and that in part, probably in the most significant part, it explains US support for Israel.

But there is also another factor, and one shouldn’t pretend as if that other factor doesn’t exist, which is to say there’s a very powerful Israel lobby operating in the United States, not unlike the Gun lobby, the Cuba lobby, etc. The Israel lobby is another lobby, very effective, probably one of the most, if not the most effective lobbies operating in Washington. And its core component is a very powerful, articulate and organized American Jewish community, though even there you have to enter qualifications because among younger Jews, there’s certainly a diminishing of support for Israel. But the big picture is, both because of a convergence of interests and because of a powerful, articulate, organized, strategically placed lobby, a lobby that has a lot of influence in the media, a lot of influence in publishing, a lot of influence in journals of opinion, a lot of influence on Hollywood, that lobby has been a major factor in determining aspects of US policy towards Israel.

Now on the second point, I don’t really think it’s any longer controversial whether or not Israel is an Apartheid state. I don’t say this as a polemicist, I’m trying to be objective and dispassionate about the situation. Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, now, you could say there are roughly about 12 or 13 million people, roughly. Now that includes the West Bank, it includes East Jerusalem, it includes Gaza. And Israel has controlled the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, it’s controlled it now for more than a half-century. And the Israeli government has made clear it has no intention whatsoever of returning to the borders from the June 1967 war, that is pre-controlling West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. So we can’t any longer talk about an occupation, we have to be talking about an annexation. The territories have been de facto annexed. After a half-century, that seems to me to be the reasonable conclusion, there has been a de facto annexation.

So of all that population that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, roughly, roughly speaking, about half has either second-class status or overwhelmingly no rights whatsoever within the State: no voting rights, and then from there down they don’t even have rights to property, property can be confiscated overnight and at whim, with the support of the  [Israeli] Courts. So it seems to me, again trying to be rational, trying to be objective and trying to be dispassionate, there’s no other term to describe a situation in which close to half the population, close to half the population either has second-class rights (that would be within Israel proper), or no rights whatsoever (which would be the West Bank and Gaza). That’s an Apartheid situation.

But again that shouldn’t shock us. You have to remember, I don’t know how old you are, but I have a vivid recollection during the last days of the [South African] Apartheid, Ronald Reagan supported the Apartheid regime, as did Margaret Thatcher. They were calling till the very end, you’re recalling, Nelson Mandela and the ANC, the African National Congress, a terrorist organization. So if our government was until the very end, the end of Apartheid, if our government was supporting South Africa, because it’s sort of a bastion of Western-called, you know, Western civilization, whatever you want to call it, in Africa, so for the same reason, they support Israel in the Middle East.

Jimmy Dore: So you think it’s without… Because I you know you say it’s without question that Israel is an Apartheid State, which I agree with. But there are people who question it, people very loudly push back against that and they quote the numbers of Palestinians… Well they say there’s an Arab political party, that’s the third largest party in Israel, and all day they quote numbers of Palestinians who are allowed to vote… What do you say to those arguments?

Norman Finkelstein: Well, first of all, I’m glad you asked the questions, because there’s no effective, no more effective way to have a discussion. And if someone of us has to play the devil’s advocate, in this case it should be you.

First of all, I tried to be clear, I said there’s a gradation of rights in the case of Israel. The Palestinians have second-class rights. Israel has now officially declared that it declared Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish people. So I for example am Jewish, and if the United States were declared the Nation-State of the Christian people, I would certainly experience that declaration, especially once it becomes enacted in laws, I would certainly experience that as me being a second-class citizen, that is to say I don’t belong here. It’s the State of the Christian people, it’s not my State.

But having said that, let’s keep in mind that it’s not only one component of the Palestinian population that’s under Israeli control or has been effectively annexed by Israel. The West Bank, people in the West Bank, they don’t vote in Israeli elections, they’re not represented in the Israeli Knesset. The people in Gaza, they don’t vote in Israeli  elections, they’re not represented in the Israeli Parliament, the Israeli Knesset. So far, the vast, the vast preponderance of Palestinians currently annexed to the Israeli State, they have no rights whatsoever.

Jimmy Dore: Okay, alright.

Norman Finkelstein: The only way you can get around that is by saying that well, there’s a peace process. But the Israeli government has already made clear, you’d have to be blinder than King Lear not to see that the Israeli government has said we’re not returning to the old Wars [pre-67 borders]. Once you’ve made that Statement, it’s a Declaration of annexation, and if it’s annexation, then you have to accept that when deciding whether or not Israel is an Apartheid State. It can’t be limited to Israel and its pre-67 border: it’s the whole area, including the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, including Gaza.

Jimmy Dore: You know, I’ve heard people say that the majority of the Jewish people don’t support the policy of the Israeli government when it comes to Palestine, Gaza and the West Bank. How could that be? And can you speak about the Likud party, which is like the extremist party, a right-wing party in Israel: what would you say is the percentage of support they actually have in the population inside of Israel and out?

Norman Finkelstein: Well, we should be clear that number one, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, he’s been the head of State now for about a decade, and he’s gone through many elections. And even though he’s surrounded by what scandal after another, none of these scandals have actually made a big dent in his popularity. And the reason for that, I think, is pretty straightforward, it’s pretty uncontroversial at any rate in my opinion. That is to say Benjamin Netanyahu is an obnoxious, racist, Jewish supremacist. And on all of those descriptives: obnoxious, racist, Jewish supremacist, he’s wholly representative of the Israeli population. And the reason they keep reelecting him despite the scandals, which are always said to be imminently going to bring him down, despite the scandals that never bring him down, it’s because when they look at Benjamin Netanyahu, most of the Israeli population, they see themselves. And they vote for him because in his mental outlook, I wouldn’t really call it values because I don’t think people like Mr. Netanyahu have any values per se, but in terms of mental outlook, contempt for Arabs, contempt for Muslims… Actually, with all due respect to you, Mr. Dore, and to all your listeners, unless they’re Jewish, he has contempt for all of you. These are Jewish supremacists.

But he also happens to be in a separate category a racist, and now even though I don’t like to use the terminology, because it’s too simple and too sloganeering, it happens to be, I think, in these particular circumstances, it’s illuminating. Why do Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Trump get along so well? Why is Mr. Netanyahu Mr. Trump’s biggest cheerleader in the world? Well, the answer is simple: they both like walls. Mr. Trump wants to build a wall to keep out Mexicans, Mr. Netanyahu wants to build a wall to keep out Arabs.

They both hate Black people. Mr. Netanyahu, when President Obama, the Head of State in the United States, Mr. Netanyahu, he didn’t see it at all amiss, he didn’t see it at all awry for him to come barging in the United States, barging into the Capitol building and instructing, telling Obama what American policy should be towards Iran. I dare say, and of course you’re free to contradict me, it’s inconceivable, it’s inconceivable, had there been a White Head of State, had it been George Bush or even a Jimmy Carter, had it been even a Jimmy Carter, Mr. Netanyahu would not have dared carry on the way he did with Obama. He’s a racist.

And just like Mr. Trump the racist loathes Muslims, so Mr. Netanyahu loathes Black people, which is why he made it a part of his policy to expel the Arab migrants [from Erythrea, Soudan…], about 30,000, who were fleeing a war situation, fleeing very serious, life challenging situations, and came as refugees to Israel. And he ruled it because you have to remember, Mr. Netanyahu he grew up, a large part of his life was spent in the United States. His father was a professor at Cornell University, and they hated Black people, the Schwartzs, the Schwartzs as it’s called, the Black people, they loathe them. And so now, for Mr. Netanyahu to have to face the prospect that the Schwartzs are invading Israel [is unbearable], so they have to go.

And so it’s that same mindset. It’s not values, it’s a mindset. You can choose what descriptive you want for that mindset: some people would say it’s a Nazi mindset, some people would say it’s a fascist mindset, some people would call it a right-wing racist White supremacist mindset, whatever you want to call it. And they have it, and that’s these ruling people.

It’s a sorry thing to have to say, but I’m not one of those people who in the name of political correctness recoil at generalizations. If you could say most White people in the American South, in the pre-Civil Rights era, if you could say most of them were mean, White racist supremacists, very few people would take issue with that quote-unquote “generalization”. But the moment you use exactly those same terms to describe Israel or Israelis, it suddenly becomes politically incorrect. I disagree. If you want to understand the Israeli mentality, these are the Palestinians or Arabs or Muslims, it’s very easy for an American to understand: just look at Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern States in the pre-Civil Rights era. That’s the mentality. That’s the Israeli mentality. And Mr. Netanyahu, in his mindset, he’s not very much different from a George Wallace or a Lester Maddox, with those who remember that era.

Jimmy Dore: So let me ask you: the Jewish people or the people of Israel, do they not see the tremendous irony that’s actually being played out right now, that the Israeli State was invented as a safe haven for the Jewish people because they’ve been persecuted, and now they turn around, and for the last couple of decades they’ve been doing the exact same thing or a very horrible thing, not the exact same thing, but a very similar thing to the Palestinian people, you know, making them be second-class citizens, stripping them of rights, controlling their movements in and out of wherever they go, and also having economic blockades and medical blockades… And you know, like we’ve said, it’s an open-air prison. Do they really miss the irony of that? Do they not see that?

Norman Finkelstein: Yes, I do think they don’t see it. I do think they miss the irony. First of all, remember that a large portion of Europeans who came to the United States, the Pilgrims, the Puritans, they were fleeing religious persecution. And then they proceeded to inflict a really quite grotesque crimes on the indigenous population when they came here. The fact of the matter is just as the European settlers, White settlers who came here, the Euro-Americans, they couldn’t conceive the domestic population, the indigenous population, they couldn’t conceive them as being human beings of the same order as themselves. They were savages. And in the same way, the Israeli people can’t conceive Arabs or Muslims as being on the same moral order as themselves. They’re terrorists or they’re savages. So I think it’s correct to say that they don’t see anything awry in the way they’re carrying on.

In fact, if you read most of the testimonies of Israelis on the situation there, most Israelis haven’t the slightest of interest in what goes on in the West Bank and Gaza. They live very good lives, they have a very high standard of living, they travel a lot, but for them, the West Bank and Gaza are far-off distant, almost exotic places for Israelis. I know that might come as a surprise, but remember, for example, when I was growing up living in New York City, it’s a compact city as I suppose you know, 99% of White New Yorkers talked about Harlem, were terrified of Harlem, but had never stepped foot in Harlem. They had never seen it, let alone physically placed themselves there. And there was a funny thing back then, when Europeans came over, visitors, you know, young people, you’d ask them where do you live, and they would all say “Harlem, of course”, [Laughter], yeah, because Harlem was exciting, you know, it was clubs, it was jazz… But for White New Yorkers, Harlem was some sight of terror. “Harlem?! You live in Harlem?! Oh my God!”

And I remember when I first went over to the Occupied Territories in 1988, I lived with some families in the West Bank, and when I told Israelis “You know, I went to the West Bank”, they’d say “You went to the West Bank?!” I mean their eyes buldged.  It’s a foreign place to them.

Jimmy Dore: That’s a fascinating… I mean it’s amazing these analogies you’re making, they’re very helpful actually.

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What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela

A Case of News Suppression

Introduction

This news-report is being submitted to all U.S. and allied news-media, and is being published by all honest ones, in order to inform you of crucial facts that the others — the dishonest ones, who hide such crucial facts — are hiding about Venezuela. These are facts that have received coverage only in one single British newspaper: the Independent, which published a summary account of them on January 26th. That newspaper’s account will be excerpted here at the end, but first will be highlights from its topic, the official report to the U.N. General Assembly in August of last year, which has been covered-up ever since. This is why that report’s author has now gone to the Independent, desperate to get the story out, finally, to the public:

The Covered Up Document

On 3 August 2018, the U.N.’s General Assembly received the report from the U.N. Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, concerning his mission to Venezuela and Ecuador. His recent travel through both countries focused on “how best to enhance the enjoyment of all human rights by the populations of both countries.

” He “noted the eradication of illiteracy, free education from primary school to university, and programmes to reduce extreme poverty, provide housing to the homeless and vulnerable, phase out privilege and discrimination, and extend medical care to everyone.”

He noted

“that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Ecuador, both devote around 70 per cent of their national budgets to social services.”

However, (and here, key paragraphs from the report are now quoted):

22. Observers have identified errors committed by the Chávez and Maduro Governments, noting that there are too many ideologues and too few technocrats in public administration, resulting in government policies that lack coherence and professional management and discourage domestic investment, already crippled by inefficiency and corruption, which extend to government officials, transnational corporations and entrepreneurs. Critics warn about the undue influence of the military on government and on the running of enterprises like Petróleos de Venezuela. The lack of regular, publicly available data on nutrition, epidemiology and inflation are said to complicate efforts to provide humanitarian support.

23. Meanwhile, the Attorney General, Tarek Saab, has launched a vigorous anticorruption campaign, investigating the links between Venezuelan enterprises and tax havens, contracting scams, and deals by public officials with Odebrecht. It is estimated that corruption in the oil industry has cost the Government US$ 4.8 billion. The Attorney General’s Office informed the Independent Expert of pending investigations for embezzlement and extortion against 79 officials of Petróleos de Venezuela, including 22 senior managers. The Office also pointed to the arrest of two high-level oil executives, accused of money-laundering in Andorra. The Ministry of Justice estimates corruption losses at some US$ 15 billion. Other stakeholders, in contrast, assert that anti-corruption programmes are selective and have not sufficiently targeted State institutions, including the military.

29. Over the past sixty years, non-conventional economic wars have been waged against Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in order to make their economies fail, facilitate regime change and impose a neo-liberal socioeconomic model. In order to discredit selected governments, failures in the field of human rights are maximized so as to make violent overthrow more palatable. Human rights are being “weaponized” against rivals. Yet, human rights are the heritage of every human being and should never be instrumentalized as weapons of demonization.

30. The principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States belong to customary international law and have been reaffirmed in General Assembly resolutions, notably [a list is supplied].

31. In its judgment of 27 June 1986 concerning Nicaragua v. United States, the International Court of Justice quoted from [U.N.] resolution 2625 (XXV): “no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State”.

36. The effects of sanctions imposed by Presidents Obama and Trump and unilateral measures by Canada and the European Union have directly and indirectly aggravated the shortages in medicines such as insulin and anti-retroviral drugs. To the extent that economic sanctions have caused delays in distribution and thus contributed to many deaths, sanctions contravene the human rights obligations of the countries imposing them. Moreover, sanctions can amount to crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. An investigation by that Court would be appropriate, but the geopolitical submissiveness of the Court may prevent this.

37. Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns with the intention of forcing them to surrender. Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees. A difference, perhaps, is that twenty-first century sanctions are accompanied by the manipulation of public opinion through “fake news”, aggressive public relations and a pseudo-human rights rhetoric so as to give the impression that a human rights “end” justifies the criminal means.

39. Economic asphyxiation policies are comparable to those already practised in Chile, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nicaragua and the Syrian Arab Republic. In January 2018, Middle East correspondent of The Financial Times and The Independent, Patrick Cockburn, wrote on the sanctions affecting Syria:

There is usually a pretence that foodstuffs and medical equipment are being allowed through freely and no mention is made of the financial and other regulatory obstacles making it impossible to deliver them. An example of this is the draconian sanctions imposed on Syria by the US and EU which were meant to target President Bashar al-Assad and help remove him from power. They have wholly failed to do this, but a UN internal report leaked in 2016 shows all too convincingly the effect of the embargo in stopping the delivery of aid by international aid agencies. They cannot import the aid despite waivers because banks and commercial companies dare not risk being penalised for having anything to do with Syria. The report quotes a European doctor working in Syria as saying that “the indirect effect of sanctions … makes the import of the medical instruments and other medical supplies immensely difficult, near impossible”.

In short: economic sanctions kill.

41. Bearing in mind that Venezuelan society is polarized, what is most needed is dialogue between the Government and the opposition, and it would be a noble task on the part of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to offer his good offices for such a dialogue. Yet, opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma and Julio Borges, during a trip through Europe to denounce the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called for further sanctions as well as a military “humanitarian intervention”.

44. Although the situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has not yet reached the humanitarian crisis threshold, there is hunger, malnutrition, anxiety, anguish and emigration. What is crucial is to study the causes of the crisis, including neglected factors of sanctions, sabotage, hoarding, black market activities, induced inflation and contraband in food and medicines. 

45. The “crisis” in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is an economic crisis, which cannot be compared with the humanitarian crises in Gaza, Yemen, Libya, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Haiti, Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, or Myanmar, among others. It is significant that when, in 2017, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela requested medical aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the plea was rejected, because it ”is still a high-income country … and as such is not eligible”.

46. It is pertinent to recall the situation in the years prior to the election of Hugo Chávez. 118 Corruption was ubiquitous and in 1993, President Carlos Pérez was removed because of embezzlement. The Chávez election in 1998 reflected despair with the corruption and neo-liberal policies of the 1980s and 1990s, and rejection of the gulf between the super-rich and the abject poor.

47. Participatory democracy in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called “protagónica”, is anchored in the Constitution of 1999 and relies on frequent elections and referendums. During the mission, the Independent Expert exchanged views with the Electoral Commission and learned that in the 19 years since Chávez, 25 elections and referendums had been conducted, 4 of them observed by the Carter Center. The Independent Expert met with the representative of the Carter Center in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who recalled Carter’s positive assessment of the electoral system. They also discussed the constitutional objections raised by the opposition to the referendum held on 30 July 2017, resulting in the creation of a Constitutional Assembly. Over 8 million Venezuelans voted in the referendum, which was accompanied by international observers, including from the Council of Electoral Specialists of Latin America. 

48. An atmosphere of intimidation accompanied the mission, attempting to pressure the Independent Expert into a predetermined matrix. He received letters from NGOs asking him not to proceed because he was not the “relevant” rapporteur, and almost dictating what should be in the report. Weeks before his arrival, some called the mission a “fake investigation”. Social media insults bordered on “hate speech” and “incitement”. Mobbing before, during and after the mission bore a resemblance to the experience of two American journalists who visited the country in July 2017. Utilizing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, critics questioned the Independent Expert’s integrity and accused him of bias, demonstrating a culture of intransigence and refusal to accept the duty of an independent expert to be neutral, objective, dispassionate and to apply his expertise free of external pressures.

67. The Independent Expert recommends that the General Assembly: (g) Invoke article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations and refer the following questions to the International Court of Justice: Can unilateral coercive measures be compatible with international law? Can unilateral coercive measures amount to crimes against humanity when a large number of persons perish because of scarcity of food and medicines? What reparations are due to the victims of sanctions? Do sanctions and currency manipulations constitute geopolitical crimes? (h) Adopt a resolution along the lines of the resolutions on the United States embargo against Cuba, declaring the sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela contrary to international law and human rights law.

70. The Independent Expert recommends that the International Criminal Court investigate the problem of unilateral coercive measures that cause death from malnutrition, lack of medicines and medical equipment.

72. The Independent Expert recommends that, until the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court address the lethal outcomes of economic wars and sanctions regimes, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, the Russell Tribunal and the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission undertake the task so as to facilitate future judicial pronouncements.

On January 26th, Britain’s Independent headlined “Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens“, and Michael Selby-Green reported that:

The first UN rapporteur to visit Venezuela for 21 years has told The Independent the US sanctions on the country are illegal and could amount to “crimes against humanity” under international law.

Former special rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, who finished his term at the UN in March, has criticized the US for engaging in “economic warfare” against Venezuela which he said is hurting the economy and killing Venezuelans.

The comments come amid worsening tensions in the country after the US and UK have backed Juan Guaido, who appointed himself “interim president” of Venezuela as hundreds of thousands marched to support him.

The US Treasury has not responded to a request for comment on Mr de Zayas’s allegations of the effects of the sanctions programme.

US sanctions prohibit dealing in currencies issued by the Venezuelan government. They also target individuals, and stop US-based companies or people from buying and selling new debt issued by PDVSA or the government.

The US has previously defended its sanctions on Venezuela, with a senior US official saying in 2018: “The fact is that the greatest sanction on Venezuelan oil and oil production is called Nicolas Maduro, and PDVSA’s inefficiencies,” referring to the state-run oil body, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA.

Mr De Zayas’s findings are based on his late-2017 mission to the country and interviews with 12 Venezuelan government minsters, opposition politicians, 35 NGOs working in the country, academics, church officials, activists, chambers of commerce and regional UN agencies.

The US imposed new sanctions against Venezuela on 9 March 2015, when President Barack Obama issued executive order 13692, declaring the country a threat to national security.

The sanctions have since intensified under Donald Trump, who has also threatened military invasion and discussed a coup.

Despite being the first UN official to visit and report from Venezuela in 21 years, Mr de Zayas said his research into the causes of the country’s economic crisis has so far largely been ignored by the UN and the media, and caused little debate within the Human Rights Council.

He believes his report has been ignored because it goes against the popular narrative that Venezuela needs regime change.

The then UN high commissioner, Zeid Raad Al Hussein1, reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit, and the Venezuela desk of the UN Human Rights Council also declined to help with his work after his return despite being obliged to do so, Mr de Zayas claimed.

Ivan Briscoe, Latin America and Caribbean programme director for Crisis Group, an international NGO, told The Independent that Venezuela is a polarising subject. … Briscoe is critical of Mr de Zayas’s report because it highlights US economic warfare but in his view neglects to mention the impact of a difficult business environment in the country. … Briscoe acknowledged rising tensions and the likely presence of US personnel operating covertly in the country.

Eugenia Russian, president of FUNDALATIN, one of the oldest human rights NGOs in Venezuela, founded in 1978 before the Chavez and Maduro governments and with special consultative status at the UN, spoke to The Independent on the significance of the sanctions.

“In contact with the popular communities, we consider that one of the fundamental causes of the economic crisis in the country is the effect that the unilateral coercive sanctions that are applied in the economy, especially by the government of the United States,” Ms Russian said.

She said there may also be causes from internal errors, but said probably few countries in the world have suffered an “economic siege” like the one Venezuelans are living under.

In his report, Mr de Zayas expressed concern that those calling the situation a “humanitarian crisis” are trying to justify regime change and that human rights are being “weaponised” to discredit the government and make violent overthrow more “palatable”….

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and an abundance of other natural resources including gold, bauxite and coltan. But under the Maduro government they’re not easily accessible to US and transnational corporations.

US oil companies had large investments in Venezuela in the early 20th century but were locked out after Venezuelans voted to nationalise the industry in 1973.

Other than readers of that single newspaper, where has the public been able to find these facts? If the public can have these facts hidden from them, then how much trust should the public reasonably have in the government, and in the news-media?

• Here is the garbage that a reader comes to, who is trying to find online Mr. de Zayas’s report on this matter:  As intended, the document remains effectively hidden to the present day. Perhaps the U.N. needs to be replaced and located in Venezuela, Iran, or some other country that’s targeted for take-over by the people who effectively own the United States Government and control the U.N.’s bureaucracy. The hiding of this document was done not only by the press but by the U.N. itself.

• On January 23rd, Germany’s Die Zeit headlined “Christoph Flügge: ‘I am deeply disturbed’: The U.N. International Criminal Court Judge Christoph Flügge Accuses Western Nations of Threatening the Independence of the Judges“. Flügge especially cited U.S. President Trump’s agent, John Bolton. That same day, the Democratic Party and Labour Party organ, Britain’s Guardian, bannered “International criminal court: UN court judge quits The Hague citing political interference“. This news-report said that, “A senior judge has resigned from one of the UN’s international courts in The Hague citing ‘shocking’ political interference from the White House and Turkey.” The judge especially criticised Bolton: “The American security adviser held his speech at a time when The Hague was planning preliminary investigations into American soldiers who had been accused of torturing people in Afghanistan. The American threats against international judges clearly show the new political climate. It is shocking. I had never heard such a threat.” Flügge said that the judges on the court had been “stunned” that “the US would roll out such heavy artillery”. Flügge told the Guardian: “It is consistent with the new American line: ‘We are No 1 and we stand above the law’.”

• On February 6th, a former UK Ambassador to Syria vented at an alt-news site, 21st Century Wire (since he couldn’t get any of the major-media sites to publish it), “A Guide to Decoding the Doublespeak on Syria“, and he brazenly exposed there the Doublespeak-Newspeak that the U.S. Government and press (what he called America’s “frothing neocons and their liberal interventionist fellow travellers”) apply in order to report the ‘news’ about Syria. So: how can the public, in a country such as the U.S., democratically control the Government, if the government and its press are lying to them, like that, all the time, and so routinely?

“RIC”: BRICS after Bolsonaro

November 08, 2018

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

BRICS is the acronym of the “alliance” that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

In reality, and with all due respect to Brazil and South Africa, BRICS is about RIC.

With Russia, India and China, in any order, there lies the future of Eurasia; the virtually unchartered quarter that houses over one third of the entire world population; a huge chunk of landmass, rich in resources, not only human resources, and just waiting for the right moment to make its mark in history.

The so-called “Silk Road”, or in reality silk roads, was historically the network of caravan paths that ancient traders took on their journeys from east to west, linking worlds largely unknown to each other, long before Vasco da Gama’s highly documented trips.

And whilst the ancient cultures of India and China flourished in their own right, apart from Alexander’s conquest, the Muslim and subsequent Mongol conquests, there was little historic geopolitical interaction between that far Far East and the Middle East; let alone Europe. The long icy and hard terrain made it very difficult, even for the brave at heart, to take the journey from Beijing to Vienna. The temptations to make that trip did not match the hardship of the journey for the averagely motivated traveler.

But this is all about to change. The new “Silk Road”, the network of super highways that the “RIC” nations are intent to build is going to change this status quo and shorten land distances.

The Trans-Siberian railway is a Russian route and constructing it linked Vladivostok with Moscow, but it was not intended to link China with Europe. If anything, it helped bolster the isolation of the USSR. But the new “Silk Road” project will change the transportation map of the world upside down once and for ever.

The determination to build this massive road network does not need either Brazil or South Africa; again with all due respect to both nations.

By taking many considerations into account, we must be realistic and say that the electoral win of Brazilian candidate Bolsonaro will not affect the prospect of the “Silk Road” one way or the other. The repercussions of his election will affect Brazil more than any other country. Purportedly, his policies will affect global climate, but this is another issue. His fiscal and international policy making decisions may put Brazil under the American sphere of influence, and this unfortunately can and will affect Brazil very adversely, but the damage is likely to be restricted to Brazil only.

With or without Brazil, BRICS can survive, but for it to survive and make a difference, it will need to become more serious about conducting its business.

The first step towards becoming more proactive is best done by establishing proper trust and conciliation between the three major players; Russia, China and India.

The love-hate relationship that marred the Soviet-Maoist era took a while to heal. The Russians and the Chinese seem to have gone many steps ahead towards establishing trust and confidence in each other. But China and India continue to have serious problems, and for as long as they have border and sovereignty disputes, this hinders them from becoming effective partners in every way.

Furthermore, BRICS needs a preamble and a Statement of Purpose. At the moment, it doesn’t have one. With all of its hypocrisies, the Western alliance camouflages itself behind the veil of Christian values, democracy and the “free world” slogans. Thus far, the only undeclared statement of purpose for BRICS seems to be that of defiance to the Western alliance.

The BRICS alliance will face a struggle founding an attractive preamble. Orthodox Christian Russia, predominantly Hindu India and Communist/Taoist/Buddhist China have little in common religiously speaking. Perhaps the BRICS leaders should be using common political grounds instead. They certainly cannot use democracy; not only because such an adoption would make them look as copycats, but also because they have different ideas about democracy, and Russia and China definitely do not endorse Western-style democracy.

In reality however, BRICS can use abstract lofty principles as their preamble; principles such as morality, honesty, and if they want to be less “theological” as it were, they could use principles such as “International law”, “International equality” and the like.

Apart from accumulating gold, building bridges and super road networks, planning fiscal measures to cushion the effects of a possible collapse of the Western economy on their own economies, developing state-of-the-art hypersonic weaponry and giving a clear message announcing that the world is no longer unipolar, the BRICS alliance ought to make clear statements about what kind of alternative world it envisions.

This is very important, because a significant percentage of the world population does not know what to expect if the BRICS alliance becomes the new dominant financial and military power. They have special concerns about China because they don’t know much about China, and they worry not only about whether or not China will be a new colonial super power, but they also worry about one day waking up and seeing traffic signals in Mandarin; so to speak.

To many people across the globe, the Chinese culture, language and modus operandi look like something from another planet.

The Cyrillic Russian and the Devanagari Indian scripts are no less daunting than the Mandarin script, but many Indians and Russians speak English and the West has had much more cultural interaction with both Russia and India than it ever did with China.

Furthermore, for the BRICS alliance to become more viable, it will need to develop a military alliance akin to that of NATO. When and if such an alliance is forged, then members will be protected as any attack on one will be considered as an attack on the whole coalition. Such an alliance will not increase the chances of war. Quite the contrary in fact, as it can lead to much needed stability. If for argument sake North Korea were a member, it would not be in a situation where it can claim that it needs nuclear weapons for self-defense, and secondly, the West would not be threatening to attack for fear of a major global escalation. The Cold-War, costly and potentially disastrous as it was, presents a successful model of nuclear deterrence. And in retrospect, had Vietnam been a member of the Warsaw Pact (or a similar one that included the USSR), it is possible that America’s war on Vietnam would have been averted. A more realistically plausible scenario is the case of former Yugoslavia. Had the Warsaw Pact been still standing, NATO would have never attacked Serbia back in 1999.

To be able to afford a more effective military deterrent, be a viable stand-alone economic power and to be attractive to the rest of the world, the BRICS coalition will ultimately need more member nations. Ideally, it would be of huge significance if Japan could be convinced to join it. The inclusion of Japan will not only add a huge financial power to the group, but it will also generate an in-house regional security to the China Sea region. Baby steps have been recently made between China and Japan towards conciliation, and much more needs to be done. It will take a lot of work and good intentions on both sides to undo a long history of hostilities and distrust.

Other nations that can and arguably should enter the coalition are; Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and post Erdogan Turkey. Why post Erdogan? Because Erdogan’s Turkey can turn BRICS into a bag of TRICS.

Resource-rich Australia has much to gain in joining such an alliance as this will not only bolster its own security, but it will also secure economic stability and on-going trade.

Thus far, all the official visits that the RIC leaders have exchanged, all the business deals they made, all the projects they are embarking on, huge as they are, are only baby steps towards turning their alliance into one that can lead the world and establish the necessary moral, financial and security foundations that are capable of underpinning it.

Over and above establishing a new world reserve currency, setting up an alternative to the US-based Internet and WWW, SWIFT, etc, the brave new world will need hope, trust, morality and concrete assurances for a long-awaited change for the better. These are the real challenges facing the BRICS alliance now; not the Bolsonaro win.

5-way (Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa, China) televised debate on BRICS (MUST SEE!)

September 02, 2017

Butcher Netanyahu in Africa with many question marks

Butcher Netanyahu in Africa with many question marks

 

Rabid zionist Netanyahu has traveled to Liberia for a rare appearance at a summit of West African nations, prompting one member country to stay away. 

The 51st ordinary meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) began in the Liberian capital Monrovia on Saturday and was to end later on Sunday.

Netanyahu was invited to address the ECOWAS meeting, the first time a non-African leader has been asked to speak to the event.

Moroccan King Mohammed VI canceled his participation at the summit in protest at Netanyahu’s presence.

Morocco’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the monarch “wants his first presence at an ECOWAS summit not to take place in a context of tension and controversy, and wants to avoid any confusion.”

“Over the last few days, key ECOWAS member states have decided to reduce their level of representation at the summit due to their disagreement with the invitation handed to the Israeli prime minister. Other member states also expressed their astonishment at this invitation,” it added.

Participants pose for a group photo at the 50th ordinary meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja, Nigeria, December 17, 2016.

Prior to his departure, Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page that his “visit to Liberia is another chapter in the attempt to break the automatic anti-Israel majority in the United Nations.”

“This process will take years… In the meantime, Israel is coming back to Africa in a big way,” the hardline Israeli prime minister said.

During his trip, the Israeli prime minister was to meet with a number of leaders from West African nations and sign a cooperation agreement and two memoranda of understanding between Tel Aviv and ECOWAS.

This is Netanyahu’s second trip to Africa in a year. Last July, he traveled to four countries of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia, the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to sub-Saharan Africa in 29 years.

 

The Israeli leader is scheduled to attend another summit in Togo in October that is expected to draw leaders from 25 African countries.

 

By visiting Africa, the Israeli premier seeks to convince African countries to stop voting against Israel at the United Nations where the regime is subject to constant rebuke over its settlement expansion.

Most importantly, however, Israel is trying to cash in on Africa’s arms market which has been absorbing Israeli weapons in recent years. Israeli exports to Africa totaled about $1 billion last year, about 2% of its total exports.

With insurgencies and Takfiri militancy growing across Africa, including Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab and Daesh-linked Boko Haram, Israeli leaders are looking to sell advanced military equipment to the continent, the New York Times wrote on the eve of Netanyahu’s visit last year

Love Him or Hate Him, Fidel Castro Had a Huge Impact on the World

Posted on November 26, 2016

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The Cuban Revolution, 1959

The passing of Fidel Castro is being mourned by some and celebrated by others, but one thing that can’t be denied, even by his detractors, is that the Cuban leader had a major impact on the world.

The Cuban Missile Crisis and the alliance Castro forged with Russia have perhaps been cited more so than anything else in the media obits published today. Much less attention is being given to the Cuban health care system that became a model for the world to emulate, although the New York Times does touch on it briefly.

“What a rich experience we have had, to live the two periods of Cuba–capitalism and socialism,” said Concepcion Garcia, a 55-year-old woman  in Havana. The report continues:

She removed her glasses and pointed at her eyes.

“I have the revolution and Fidel to thank for this cataract surgery,” she said, adding that she would not have been able to afford the procedure without Cuba’s socialized medical care. It did not cost her a cent, she said.

“He put Cuba on the map,” Ms. Garcia added, “and the world has recognized that.”

Her neighbor Josue Carmon Arramo, 57, chimed in: “His life may be over, but his work will live on.”

“This story will not die, because we are followers of his ideas of nationalism and solidarity of the Cuban people,” he said. “That’s who we are.”

Back in the 1990s when I was doing work for a radio station in California, I frequented the Cuban website Granma, which posted commentaries by Castro on various issues. In addition to the US-imposed economic blockade, the Cuban president often addressed issues in the wider world at large, including the conflict between Palestine and Israel–and he was a vocal, outspoken supporter of the Palestinians.

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Yasser Arafat on visit to Cuba in 1974

Cuba extended recognition to the PLO when it was founded in 1964, and Yasser Arafat made several trips to Cuba, where he was welcomed as a legitimate head of state.

“The Cubans trained Palestinian cadres, and Fidel himself was a staunch advocate of the Palestinian quest for freedom and independence,” said Mansour Tahboub, former acting director of the Arafat Foundation.

In those days revolutionary movements were breaking out in many other parts of the world as well, particularly in Africa. This included Libya…

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Castro with Muammar Gaddafi

South Africa…

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With Nelson Mandela

And Angola, where Cuba sent 25,000 troops in 1975 to back the Peoples Movement for the Liberation of Angola. The MPLA succeeded in overthrowing Portuguese rule in Angola. Most of us think of “regime change” as something done by the US, but Cuba did it too. The 1970s basically brought about the end of colonialist rule in much of Africa, and many of the revolutionary movements supported by Cuba ended up overthrowing regimes backed by the US–which probably had a lot to do with why the US so obstinately and belligerently maintained its economic embargo over Cuba for as long as it did, this in the face of overwhelming support for Cuba shown by much of the rest of the world.

In fact, it got to be something of an annual theater of the absurd at the United Nations, where every year, going back to 1991, the General Assembly would voteon a resolution calling for an end to the US embargo. Year after year the countries of the world, by a lopsided majority, voted in favor of the measure, with the US and Israel often casting the lone votes against.

Although it’s just speculation on my part, Cuba’s success at regime change may well have been the inspiration for the Oded Yinon plan, which was adopted by Israel in 1982. The timing, at any rate, would seem to be about right.

The US managed to assassinate Castro’s fellow revolutionary, Che Guevara, in 1967, but they were never able to assassinate Castro himself despite numerous efforts (some say as many as 600 attempts ) . This is an accomplishment in its own right.

Whether you love him or hate him, what can’t be denied is that Fidel Castro profoundly shaped the world we live in.

Brazil has a severe infection of zionism

Welcome To Post-Coup Brazil, Where Jews and “Christian” Zionists Run Wild

By Jonathan Azaziah | Mouqawama | September 8, 2016

It’s only been a few weeks since the Zionist coup in Brazil and a Judaized shift in the Latin American powerhouse and BRICS stalwart is already unfolding. Michel Temer, the putschist who seized power from Dilma Rousseff, is known as a “friend of the Brazilian Jewish community”, and this “righteous Gentile” (as the ‘Israelis’ like to call all their puppets) has already appointed another “friend of the Brazilian Jewish community”, Jose Serra, as Brazil’s foreign minister. It has also been revealed that the Coupmonger-In-Chief worked closely with Fernando Lottenberg, the president of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation, on raising awareness (read: brainwashing) among Brazilians about “Holocaust Remembrance Day” as well as passing Zionized “anti-terrorism” legislation that will undoubtedly have an Orwellian effect on Brazil’s citizenry.

Temer has also opened the doors to the “Christian” Zionist scourge that has infected much of America, as well as other Western nations–albeit to a lesser extent–like Canada, the UK and Australia. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), led by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, arrived in Brazil mere days after Rousseff’s overthrow and just concluded its trip 24 hours ago. Rabbi Eckstein’s gang  was on a mission to turn every major “mega-church” in Brazil into even stronger supporters of the usurping Zionist entity for the “cause” of combating “anti-Semitism”. The good “rebbe” and Temer aren’t strangers and thus, this entire event should be looked at not just as a consequence of the Zionist coup against the Workers’ Party (PT), but part and parcel of it. Furthermore, Rabbi Eckstein’s subversive visit should be seen in the greater context of “Christian” Zionist penetration into Brazil and Latin America as a whole.

Brazil, which was once a hotbed of Christian Liberation Theology led by revolutionary luminaries such as Leonardo Boff, is now spiraling into a bottomless pit of “Christian” Zionist hell and has been so since 1977 when the Universal Church–an ultra-Freemasonic institution right down to its reconstruction of Solomon’s Temple–came into being.  And let there be no doubt that this “Christian” Zionism is a byproduct of the utterly devilish Rockefeller-financed Wycliffe Bible Translators and the CIA which have worked hand-in-hand from the “Christian” Zionist outfit’s beginnings in 1942 to evangelize the Catholics of Latin America, with a special focus on Brazil, using the satanic Scofield Reference Bible.

It should be noted for the record that the Freemasonic Universal Church and other like-similar institutions were welcomed by the Brazilian military dictatorship as a counterweight to the Christian Liberation Theologians, who, despite being tortured, killed and disappeared, remained a formidable anti-Imperialist opposition current until the end of the coup regime. And how can we forget that the US-‘Israeli’-backed tyranny that did all of this murdering and maiming would never have attained power if it wasn’t for the Zionist Jew Harold Geneen, who was deathly afraid of losing his multinational ITT telecom giant to democratically-elected Brazilian President João Goulart in a wave of nationalizations.  So the Zionist Jew simply called his “shabbos goy” friend CIA Director John McCone, gave him all-access to ITT’s resources and then the CIA used this new, incredibly useful instrument to push forward with the coup full throttle, ultimately deposing Goulart in 1964. It was International Jewry that crushed Brazil’s first attempt at nationalist-socialism, and it was International Jewry that crushed Brazil’s new experiment in nationalist-socialism exemplified by Dilma Rousseff and her Workers’ Party.

Quite possibly NOTHING encapsulates this entire sad affair like BreakingIsraelNews, a known gateway for Zionist propaganda, which called the illegal ouster of Dilma Rousseff “karma” for her anti-‘Israeli’ posturing and quoted a verse from the genocidal, Jewish supremacist book of Deuteronomy to drive its pro-coup point home even further. The arrogance of World Zionism is indeed boundless and this hubris is certainly driving its offensive throughout Latin America. It’s not just Brazil. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former World Bank economist whose Jewish roots and strong ties to numerous international banks and investment firms (read: the Rothschild Octopus) make him a prime mover and shaker for the Zionist project in the region, is about to take over Peru. Argentina, once run by the fiery anti-globalist Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, is now a pro-US, pro-‘Israel’ neoliberal nightmare run by neocon Mauricio Macri. And Venezuela, home of the Bolivarian Revolution, is once again in the throes of a coup as US-Zionist-aligned oligarchs wage economic war on Caracas through the deliberate creation of food shortages and other forms of destabilizing malice. The homeland of Hugo Chavez (RIP) has long been a target of ‘Israel’–he said so himself–for El Comandante fought the Jewish New World Order tooth and nail, and considering the above-mentioned pomposity of these bloodthirsty “chosenite”  coupmongers, it’s a safe bet to assume they are going to continue their efforts to crush the Bolivarian phenomenon permanently.

If Brazil and Venezuela are to survive this dark, dark period, the peoples of these respective great nations must come to terms with the simple fact that it is not merely “Imperialism” which is seeking to destroy their nationalist-socialisms and impose economic neoliberalism on their societies, but International Jewry’s ZIO-IMPERIALISM which is seeking to impose TOTAL neoliberalism on their societies in the political, financial, cultural and even spiritual sectors, hence the blatant “Christian” Zionist surge as of recent. Resistance on all fronts is the only antidote to this growing poisonous trend, and if it is not fiercely engaged in, as Venezuelan President and Chavez successor Nicolas Maduro is desperately attempting to do now, then the darkness is not only going to continue, but worsen to levels not seen since Guatemala in ’54, Brazil in ’64, Chile in ’73, Argentina in ’76 and in more recent times, Honduras in ’09, ALL PUT TOGETHER. Our full solidarity with the Latin American peoples in the face of Empire Judaica’s storm.

What is Butcher Netanyahu doing in Africa?

What is Butcher Netanyahu doing in Africa?

 

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Butcher Netanyahu is on a four-nation tour of sub-Saharan Africa for the first visit of Israel’s prime minister to the continent in almost 30 years.

He arrived in Uganda on Monday on the first leg of a four-day trip which will also take him to Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

By visiting Africa, the Israeli premier wants to end decades of hostility and convince African countries to stop voting against Israel at the United Nations.

Netanyahu also seeks to cast off Israel’s pariah status in the black continent as he faces growing criticism from Western allies over the dim prospects for a resolution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the United Nations, Israel is a constant subject of rebuke over its settlement enterprise in the occupied West Bank and other violations, including its crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip.

One of Netanyahu’s objectives is to convince African nations not to vote against Israel.

“In the UN there are many [resolutions] which target Israel and we want to change this with the help of the Africans,” Arye Oded, a former Israeli ambassador to Kenya and Uganda, told German broadcaster DW.

Rocky relations   

Israel’s relationship with African nations has historically been fraught because of support for the Palestinian cause from many countries on the continent.

The uneasy history of relations is evident in the fact that no Israeli leader has visited sub-Saharan Africa since Yitzhak Shamir in 1987.

Scores of African countries, including all the countries that Netanyahu is visiting, cut ties with Israel following the 1973 Israeli-Arab war only to restore them in the 1990s.

Israel’s ties with black African countries were further frayed because of its historic support for the apartheid regime in South Africa.

At a recent conference on Africa-Israel ties, Israeli foreign ministry official Yoram Elron noted Tel Aviv’s need for support from African nations in international forums.

“Today relations with the African continent are high on our foreign policy agenda,” he told dozens of African dignitaries and diplomats.

Skepticism 

However, African nations that have survived colonialism and more recently Western plans are skeptical.

Questioned about Israel’s ties to apartheid South Africa, Netanyahu said: “It stopped under my predecessors and I am glad it did.”

Pressed to state whether he had any regrets about the cooperation, he added: “Yeah, and I am glad it [ended].”

Military exports 

Israeli exports to Africa totaled about $1 billion last year, about 2% of its total exports.

With insurgencies and Takfiri militancy growing across Africa, including Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab and Daesh-linked Boko Haram, Israeli leaders are looking to sell advanced military equipment to the continent, the New York Times wrote.

The move comes as Israeli exports to traditional markets in the EU and US have become volatile, Ohad Cohen, head of foreign trade at Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry, told the Times.

“We are trying to diversify our exports through channeling efforts to markets that are growing more rapidly than [others],” he said. “Africa is one of them.”

Amidst Increasingly Successful Boycott, israel Canvases Africa for New Trade Partners

Amidst Increasingly Successful Boycott, Israel Canvases Africa for New Trade Partners

 

06 Jul
8:35 PM

nsnbc : Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Monday, left Israel to visit several African countries. Netanyahu aims at finding new trade partners in Africa as Israel increasingly feels the impact of the international Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Israel_Uganda_Benjamin Netanyahu_Jul 2016The Africa tour of Benjamin Netanyahu is the Prime Minister’s first, and the first Africa tour by an Israeli prime minister since the late PM Yitzak Rabin visited Morocco in 1999.

Before his departure the office of the Prime Minister released a video in which Netanyahu described his Africa tour as a “historic visit” that was of great importance “from diplomatic, economic and security perspectives”.

Addressing dignitaries in Entebbe, Uganda, Netanyahu said: “I am pleased that Israel is going back to Africa in a big way. .. We are opening Africa to Israel again”.

Netanyahu’s four-day tour will take him to Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. The first leg of his journey takes Netanyahu to Entebbe, Uganda, where he will meet with leaders from seven African nations including Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Zambia and Tanzania.

The office of the Israeli Prime Minister reported that Netanyahu is accompanied by a delegation of over 50 business people from 50 companies “to forge commercial ties with African companies and countries”. Israeli business delegates will participate in economic seminars with their African counterparts in Kenya and Ethiopia.

Israel has, over the past years, increased its focus on Africa with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman touring the continent to meet politicians and businessmen. The increased focus on Africa and Netanyahu’s “historic” visit comes against the backdrop of an increasingly successful international Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Israel has also tried to reach out to South Africa, one of the strongest supporters of Palestine on the African continent. Until the end of the apartheid regime, South Africa was one of the strongest and closest Israeli partners in Africa.

In March Dore Gold, the Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, traveled to South Africa in an attempt to mend and strengthen ties between the two countries. Among African leaders who have visited Israel in recent years were Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Anglo-America: Regression and Reversion in the Modern World

Global Research, May 31, 2016
James-Petras

Professor James Petras

What does it mean when the US and British financial systems launder hundreds of billions of dollars of illicit funds stolen by world leaders while their governments turn a ‘blind eye’, and yet the very same Anglo-American officials investigate, prosecute, fine and arrest officials from rival governments, rival banks and political leaders for corruption?

What does it mean when the US government expands a world-wide network of nuclear missiles on bases stretching from Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, the Gulf States to Japan, surrounding Russia, Iran and China, while the very same US and NATO officials investigate and condemn rival defense officials from Russia, China and Iran, as military threats to peace and stability?

What does it mean when Anglo-American economic officials devote decades to raising the age of retirement, reducing working and middle class household income, cutting workers compensation, expanding part-time work, setting the stage for mass layoffs slashing unemployment and health benefits and reducing social spending by the hundreds of billions of dollars and then turn around and investigate and threaten rival countries, like China and Argentina with loss of markets, investment and employment for not doing the same thing ?

The meaning of Anglo-America’s long-term, large-scale structural regression is clearly evident across the world.  From Europe to Latin America and from Asia to Africa, socio-economic and politico-military agendas have been reversed.

Since the end of the Second World War there had been incremental gains in labor rights, stable employment, poverty reduction and working conditions.

Recently, these have all been reversed:  Longer working days and weeks with reduced salaries and benefits; unstable temporary work replaces stable employment; employer-funded pensions are eliminated and replaced by multi-billion dollar corporate tax cuts and off-shore tax evasion.

Systematic structural swindles by the leading financial institutions have forced employees to delay retirement for years in order to ‘self-finance’ their own meager ‘pensions’, some expecting to ‘die at the job’.

Capitalist regression has been implemented by arbitrary state dictates and authoritarian decrees, erasing any pretense of democratic procedures and constitutional laws.

The regressive and retrograde leader-states from the imperial centers impose their conditions on follower regimes like Mexico and Russia forcing them to reverse their legacy of social progress while blackmailing these regimes’ oligarchs with the loss of lucrative markets, access to tax and money-laundering havens and impunity for their crimes and swindles.

Anglo-America:  Historic Reversion

For the past three decades, the US and Great Britain have led the global drive to undermine labor’s advances.  First, the economic structure sustaining labor organizations were dismantled and fragmented.  Then organized labor was decimated, co-opted and corporatized.

Capital proceeded to reverse labor and social welfare legislation and lower wages, in order to impose longer workdays and destabilize employment.

The mass media re-packaged the regression cycle as  ‘economic reform’, a euphemism, which disguised the re-concentration of power, wealth and income over the last three decades.

The growth of inequality and the concentration of wealth and assets to the 1% became ‘the standard’ for the Anglo-American era.  However, class organization and the vicissitudes of class struggles continued to constrain efforts to impose unchallenged Anglo-American capitalist rulership throughout the world.

The first decisive blow against  social reform resulted from the systematic Anglo-American breakdown of the former USSR and allied nations of the Warsaw Pact in East Europe.  This was followed by the endogenous dissolution of Communist Party rule in China, Russia, Eastern Europe, the Baltic and Balkan states and their conversion into capitalist satellites.  Social welfare, full employment, public pensions and health systems were shredded; labor lost all its rights except one – the right to emigrate to the West as cheap labor.

From Russia to Latvia and Poland to Bulgaria and Romania, there were massive layoffs, plant closures and the total dissolution of social security networks driven by the Anglo-America neo-liberal onslaught.  The Atlantic Alliance brought their new Eastern satellites to social submission.

Until the second decade of the 21st century, Western Europe’s centers for the defense of the progressive social agenda were in France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal.  The social agenda in Latin America and China faced the Anglo-America offensive even earlier.

France:  The Strategic Key to Anglo-American Social Regression

France has been the center where the Anglo-American regressive attack on socio-economic policy and Southern Europe’s resistance has been playing out.

By 2015 the regressive alliance had overturned all progressive social policy in the former communist bloc countries.  Their alliance with Germany’s finance sector give them tight control of the EU and they successfully decimated the progressive social programs and labor legislation in Greece, Spain and Portugal.

France became the centerpiece for Western capitalism’s drive to incorporate Italy into the regressive orbit.  The conquest of France and Italy would completely reverse 70 years of incremental labor gains after the defeat of fascist capitalism.

The assault on  France’s progressive social agenda is spearheaded by the retro-Socialist President Francois Hollande and his troika of authoritarian hyper-capitalist ministers:  Financial Minister Michel Sapin, Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron.

The strategy of relying on a ‘nominal socialist’ to destroy the social welfare state is a classic ‘Trojan Horse’ operation. Hollande’s virulent anti-labor policy is implemented by decree under a joint plan developed in association with France’s leading industrialists.

The imposition of the regressive policy in France began in stages.  It first established the retrograde political leadership with Valls, a notorious authoritarian police-state official willing to over-ride any democratic niceties.  The Economy Minister, Emanuel Macron, a millionaire investment banker, is a direct associate of the financial elite, with no qualms in slashing labor programs.  The Finance Minister Michel Sapin, a long-time accomplice of the French bureaucratic-capitalist elite, is prepared to slash pensions and public services while reducing job security in order to lower the cost of labor to capital.

Once the Hollande and his troika took control of the centers of political power, (and after militarizing French society in response to the terrorist attacks), the regime launched its anti-labor offensive to shred the progressive social agenda.  Its first target was its most formidable – the mass of the French working class.

Declaring ‘anti-ISIS’ martial law powers, Hollande adopted an outright authoritarian strategy, bypassing the elected French Parliament in the legislature and imposed ‘rule by decree’ with the announcement of a highly regressive labor law against the French people.

The dictatorial labor decree was a first step to weaken organized labor’s capacity to protect wages and job security in order to give a powerful impetus to employer control over the French labor force.

Once Hollande’s labor decree established capitalist supremacy, his Troika would be in a decisive position to reverse seventy of incremental social advances.

The joint Hollande-Troika-capitalist bloc emasculated the legislature, leaving a weak, bleating chorus of so-called ‘left Socialists’ to bemoan their political impotence. Then an entirely new business anti-labor code was rolled out, which included the right of bosses to hire and fire workers at will, extend the workday , lengthen the work week, undermine labor’s bargaining power and restrain strikes and job actions.  This would open the way for a wave of irregular and contingent jobs for new workers . . . Using the pretext of terrorist attacks, the French capitalist class had begun to rule by decree to further expand and deepen their long planned assault on labor.

Hollande’s troika and France’s capitalists are lowering corporate taxes and employer contribution to social payments.   Regulations that restrained the concentration of elite power were eliminated.

With curfews and ‘anti-terrorist’ militarized police in the streets, French business elite could now freely begin to to imitate the Anglo-American capitalist elite and impose an iron-fisted New Order.

Without labor constraints on French capital, the bosses are is free to relocate factories and investments any and everywhere, under the most favorable wage, tax, employment and environmental conditions.

No longer required to invest in French industry, the business elite can transfer capital from industry to financial sectors, allowing hundreds of billions of euros to be laundered in off shore tax havens.

The Hollande troika will now also establish its own version of ‘Security and Exchange investigators’ to prosecute and fine its rival Anglo-American financial swindlers, just as the Anglo-Americans pursue their French competitors today.

The Hollande regime’s regressive social agenda has opened the door for an even more extreme Presidential prototype to follow and Alain Juppe is waiting.

The rabid Republican Party presidential candidate, Alain Juppe, promises to go ‘whole hog’ in utterly destroying the French welfare state, as it has existed since the fall of fascism.  If elected president, Juppe promised to slash 100 billion euros from the budget – double the amount that the Hollande regime currently seeks to cut.  Juppe has pledged to eliminate 250,000 civil service jobs in all vital social sectors; to delay the retirement age from 62 to 65; eliminate the 35-hour workweek; facilitate worker layoffs and decimate unemployment benefits.  Finally, Juppe has promised French capital that he would implement their entire business agenda, cut taxes for business and bankers and eliminate the tax on inheritance implemented nearly four decades ago.

In other words, the Hollande regime’s assault on labor and embrace of business has opened the door for the rise of the extreme right.  Moreover, Hollande has manipulated the incidents of Islamist terrorism to assume arbitrary decree powers wiping out any pretense of a democratic government.  The terrorist incidents are arguably related to Hollande’s colonialist embrace of the ‘regime change’ assaults against the secular nationalist governments of Libya and Syria and his policy of sending (or tolerating the recruitment of) marginalized French youth of North African ancestry to fight in the ensuing civil wars.  This has further strengthened the rise of the extreme right in France.

As the Socialist and Republicans compete for dictatorial powers to serve business’ regressive agenda, the nationalist, protectionist and social reformist policies of the National Front are emerging as the populist alternative in the coming presidential race.  Anti-fascist rhetoric has worn thin and important sectors of the working class will turn to the National Front in defense of their jobs and social legislation.  The anti-immigration rhetoric of the National Front is now part of the political vocabulary of the Republicans as well as Prime Minister Valls.

The only alternative to a power grab by the French hard right is a mass general strike and sustained street battles in order to resist the reaction by decree.

As throughout history, popular struggles in France begin in the streets – among the trade unions and young workers angrily facing low wages, austerity and the grim prospect of ‘permanently’ temporary jobs.

The outcome of the intensifying French labor-capital conflict will have a decisive impact on the future of labor throughout Europe, especially among all Left unionists.

Latin America:   The Labor-Capital Showdown

Beyond Europe, the Anglo-American onslaught against labor and the working class resonates most directly in Latin America and to a lesser extent in Asia and Africa.

The first country to fall victim to capital’s attack was Mexico with the implementation of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  By the early 1990’s NAFTA had demolished the independent Mexican trade unions, crippled social legislation, eliminated subsidies to small corn farmers, forced peasants into debt, reduced minimum wage, doubled poverty levels and turned the majority of the labor force into landless, indebted, casual workers.  On the other hand, NAFTA has been a bottomless source of wealth as capitalists accumulate double and triple digit profits and absolute power to hire and fire employees.  Mexico’s government, under Anglo-American capital, has allowed the illicit transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars of Mexican assets to US, English and other overseas banks, which have become immense money-laundering operations.  The proximity of Mexican drug cartels to the US banks has facilitated the extension of their networks into the US market.   The horrific expansion of drug cartel death squads, linked to Mexico’s political leaders, dates from the 1990’s and the signing of NAFTA.  This bloody nexus has consolidated neoliberal political power in Mexico and weakened the possibility of a viable mass electoral alternative.

Anglo-American dominance in Latin America in the 1990’s led to an entire panoply of regressive policies: privatizing and denationalizing the most lucrative natural and state resources, banks and industries; reducing wages and social spending for labor while increasing the concentration of capital.  By 2001 however the Anglo-American edifice collapsed throughout South America with the demise of its neo-liberal political leadership.

From Venezuela in 1999, to Argentina in 2002, Brazil 2003, Bolivia 2006 and Ecuador 2007, left and center-left parties capitalized on their mass support and were elected into power.  They took advantage of global economic conditions with the rising commodity prices, booming Chinese markets and new regional alliances to fund a variety of progressive social agendas, including increased social expenditures, guaranteed pensions, family allowances, minimum wages, wage increases for public sector and expanded labor rights.

The Anglo-American power elite was in retreat and isolated, but it was far from defeated.  They retrenched and prepared to re-mobilize their strategic business, banking and political allies when the opportunity arose.   They counter-attacked when global and regional conditions turned unfavorable to the social regimes.

The assault on Latin America was preceded by the Anglo-American neo-liberal take-over of Northern Europe from the 1990’s to the first decade of the 21st century.  This was followed by the sweep and grab of the Balkans and Southern Europe.  The combined Anglo-American-EU-NATO offensive now seeks to reverse the last social-welfare regimes in Europe: France and Italy with the help of President Hollande and Prime Minister Renzi.

Simultaneously the Anglo-American offensive has been launched throughout Latin America.  Their goal is to recover the imperial prerogatives, political power and economic privileges lost during the previous decade.  The primary Euro-American target is the ‘golden triangle’, Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela.  These countries constitute a global center of immense oil and agro-mineral wealth.

The Argentine neo-liberal restoration took off in December 2015 with the election of  far-right President Mauricio Macri (image left).   His junta wasted no time in stripping the state of its social legislation, dismantling job security through large-scale layoffs and assuming authoritarian rule by decree to devalue Argentina’s currency by 40% and to eliminate state subsidies and raising the price for gas, electricity, transport, and water between 300 and 800 %.

The regressive offensive was in full force.  Next, Brazil’s twice elected President Dilma Rousseff was ‘impeached’ and essentially overthrown by a bizarre legislative right-wing coup-d’état, designed to reverse a generation of progressive regulatory, labor and employment legislation.  It was also secretly designed to halt corruption investigations against many right-wing politicians.

Venezuela is next.  It will be the scene of a full-scale-elite coup-d’état with imperial backing, to overthrow the government of President Maduro and end decades of progressive social advances under the Chavista governments.

While in France and Italy, the great social reversal is being implemented by internal enemies from the ‘progressive’ political parties (“Trojan Horses”), in Latin America the reversal is led by openly hostile class enemies who depend on the arbitrary exercise of executive power.  The drive to put a definitive end to the ‘welfare state’ in Europe and Latin America is marked by the use of dictatorial decrees, (in the style of Mussolini in the 1920’s) as exercised by Argentina’s elected President Marci in January 2016 and Brazil’s ‘Interim (Coup) President’ Temer in April 2016.  Meanwhile capitalist lockouts, hoarding and sabotage are being used to crush Venezuela’s elected government.

This epochal confrontation has spread across Africa and Asia. China’s capitalist offensive has seen a four-fold increase in the number of new billionaires in less than a decade, at the expense of hundreds of millions of workers stripped of their rights and social programs.

South Africa, under the ANC government, turned its back on social gains promised by the liberation struggle and has imposed regressive social legislation and repressive anti-labor decrees.  A corrupt class of black and white billionaires now rule by guns and clubs over the black working class.

In Africa and the Middle East, the social welfare states of the nationalist regimes in Iraq and Libya have been completely shredded through imperialist military intervention and civil war.  Their once advanced societies have been thrown back into ethno-tribal warfare with no remaining modern social institutions in those two blighted, resource-rich nations.

Wither the Class Struggle:  Historical Reversal and Class Revolt?

The Anglo-American offensive to reverse decades of social advance has captured most of Europe.  They have incorporated or coopted the Social Democratic parties and are moving swiftly toward dismantling the decade-long center-left welfare states in Latin America.

In Africa, the centerpiece of Anglo-Americanization is South Africa, the continent’s most advanced bastion of international capitalism.

In Asia, China, the second most important capitalist economy in the world, has been leading the struggle to overturn the social agenda of the revolutionary past.

Large-scale, prolonged class resistance in several decisive centers is emerging to confront this Anglo-American process of reversion. The class confrontation however takes specific characteristics in each country.

In France, the major protagonists of street fighting and marches are young unemployed or casual workers, members of the strategic transport and oil unions and student-workers facing a bleak future of marginal employment and a shredded social safety net.

Trade unions and farmers’ association have joined the street struggles on numerous occasions, possibly in preparation for a general strike.

In Latin America, the center of the class struggle is Argentina.  Power-mad President Macri immediately imposed regressive policies against all sectors of the working class.  His actions managed to unite the four major trade union confederations, multiple retirees associations and small businesspeople bankrupted by exorbitant charges on gas and electrical use and regional neighborhood federations.  The widespread growth of job actions among public sector employees points to a general strike.

The regressive assault on long-term social legislation in Brazil immediately followed the thinly disguised capitalist coup.  The ousting of President Rousseff has provoked street demonstrations, led by the huge rural landless workers movement (MST), the confederation of industrial and service workers (CUT), social movements of the homeless workers and the recipients of Lula’s poverty programs.  New revelations, based on taped conversations among the coup plotters reveal their plans to oust the incumbent President Rousseff in order to derail official investigations into their own corruption scandals.  This has enraged the general public.

With the initial take-over, the Brazilian political-financial elite has prepared to launch its full-scale reversal of pensions and employment laws and wage guarantees.  The pro-business leadership plans to slash corporate and wealth taxes and to appoint business executives to all leading ministries.  The deep corruption scandal and the mass demonstrations suggest the rightwing power grab may not survive.

The regressive offensive in Venezuela has severely crippled the national economy and deeply eroded living standards of the vast majority of the working class.  The rightist Congress, backed by the US and allied with international mass media, industry and multinational banks, are trying to force the resignation of Socialist President Maduro.

Maduro has declared a state of emergency and mobilized the armed forces.  He  called on the military and popular militia to defend the constitutional order and has threatened to mobilize the workers to “take control of the means of production”.  Still, the leftist government vacillates over arming the militias and workers.   A wide gap remains before the word and the deed.

In the meantime Venezuela’s right wing and left-wing mass mobilizations face each other in the streets seething with class hatred and waiting to engage in a decisive confrontation.  The military thus far remains constitutionalist and on the side of the elected president.

In South Africa, the corrupt pro-business ANC led by President Zuma (image right) murdered dozens of striking mine workers.  It has impoverished millions of shantytown residents, while increasing the wealth and power of the black-white elite.  On April 30, 2016, 1.1.million South African activists, including civil society and community organizations and trade unions covering the mining, manufacturing and service sectors have organized to form a new confederation linked with informal, unemployed and poor workers.  The South African Workers Summit replaces the moribund and corrupt labor confederation, COSATU, the ‘labor desk’ for the neo-liberal ANC regime.  The new confederation will co-ordinate mass struggles and reclaim social programs as a central part of the anti-capitalist revolution.

In China, the growth and consolidation of the world’s second largest concentration of billionaires has led to the proliferation of large-scale industrial workers’ strikes, walkouts and confrontations with factory bosses, company unions and government officials.  China is becoming the epicenter of Asia’s working class struggles.  Chinese workers have forced the government to investigate and jail over 200,000 corrupt officials, high and low, and to concede substantial wage increases and social compensation to factory workers.  Fearing more social upheaval, China’s billionaires and multi-millionaires have transferred hundreds of billions of dollars of stolen assets abroad in a buying spree of high-end property in the ‘safe’ Anglo-American “heartland” of world reaction.

The continued advance of working class struggles against the public and private oligarchs has forced the Chinese Prime Minister to reform elite privileges and prosecute large-scale banking swindles and illegal seizure of farmland.  Especially important, millions of workers have successfully secured double-digit wage increases and the right to legally live in urban/industrial and construction centers.

As it gains momentum, class struggle in China can become the centerpiece for a wider Asian social transformation and a great leap forward to socialist values.

Conclusion

The Anglo-American drive to establish a global regressive social order has pushed billions of workers on five continents into destitution, insecurity and lifelong exploitation.  The capitalist world rules by fiat and violence, declaring that social regression and worker repression are the ‘wave of the future’. For the elite, the proper order of the universe is being ‘restored’!

In response, new working class organizations have emerged and engage directly to defend their historic social advances and economic rights.

In the course of defending their past progressive social legacy, the new working class militants can clearly see the imperative to challenge and overthrow the entire political and economic order.  From France to Latin America, from China to South Africa, class struggle is defining the present and future of class relations.

The Evil Empire Strikes Back: BRICS Under Attack, Coup in Brazil ~ [Reports Collection]

Syrian Free Press

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BRICS leaders, G-20, 2014 Brisbane-Australia (Photo Agencia Brasil)


(SOTT with Audio) ~ Democratically-elected Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has been suspended pending impeachment, replaced with a corrupt, right-wing, unpopular U.S. spy.

Modi’s India seems to be aligning more with the U.S. in confrontation with China.

South Africa is suffering at the hands of U.S. intrigue.

In short, it appears as if the U.S. Empire is launching a multi-front war on Russia and China by ‘converting’ its BRICS allies to the dark side.

This comes as the U.S. ‘policy’ in Syria is coming apart at the seams.

Their ‘friend and ally’ Turkey has been exposed as arguably the biggest supporter of ISIS/Daesh in Syria.

The U.S. is feebly trying to maintain that the terrorist groups it supports are ‘moderates’.

But unwilling to admit defeat, the U.S. seems keen on taking the world down with it in perhaps the biggest case of suicidal hubris the world has ever known.


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“Soft” Coups Threaten Brazil, Venezuela and South Africa

The Empire of Chaos(The US) has won a major victory in Brazil destroying a democracy in order to bring Brazil back under control. Dilma Rousseff has been impeached on trumped up charges ignoring the wishes of the 54 Million Brazilians who voted for her and replacing her with the traitor Michel Temer.

Temer gives a whole new meaning to the idea of rule by the 1% because Temer has a 1% approval rating. Rousseff has been suspended from office for 180 days while the impeachment process continues. Brazil has joined the list of successful recent coups in Honduras, and Paraguay. Like the people of Argentina the people of Brazil are about to be reminded of what it means to be ruled by neo-liberal Hyenas.

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For the people of Brazil the battle has only begun. The 1964 coup in Brazil installed a brutal military dictatorship and was only the first of many coups that would leave the entire region under the fascist rule of Operation Condors network of military juntas. The people of Brazil and of all of Latin America are in deadly danger. By this act the US has signaled that even minor reforms like those carried out by Brazil’s workers party are unacceptable. Nothing must be allowed to impede the looting and impoverishment of the planet at the hands of the multi-national corporations.

By Hugo Turner, GlobalResearch

Yet the loss of Brazil has even worse consequences for the globe. It is a major strategic victory in the empire of Chaos attempt to reconquer Latin America. It is also a major victory in the effort to destroy the BRICS countries. It marks a major defeat in the effort to build a multi-polar world. Worse still Soft coups are also making gains in Venezuela and in South Africa. In Venezuela a recall referendum obtained the necessary signatures to remove Nicolas Maduro from office. In South Africa a court ruled that Jacob Zuma must again face hundreds of charges that were dismissed years ago. Both Venezuela and South Africa have been the victims of a covert war campaign. In Venezuela a wave of assassinations continues to murder those loyal to the Bolivarian Revolution. In South Africa a wave of arson attacks have been carried out that the government has blamed on the US embassy (ie the CIA). As if plunging large parts of the globe into unending warfare is not enough the empire of chaos is determined to destroy every independent country on the planet.

Flashback: The 1964 Coup

Before I discuss the latest coup in Brazil I will give a brief description of the 1964 coup in Brazil that would go on to have such disastrous consequences for all of Latin America. My account is based on William Blum’s Invaluable book “Killing Hope” Brazil is Chapter 27 out of 56 each recording coups or covert wars the US has carried out since 1945. Jose Goulart had become president after Janio da Silva Quadros had been forced to resign or face a military coup. Goulart the Vice President barely made it into office Right-Wing military officers tried to bar him but Loyalist military officers had interceded forcing the fascists to back down. Quadros had been quite conservative but had sought to ally Brazil with the nonaligned movement and to trade with the USSR. Goulart was also only a mild reformer but even before the moment he came into office the CIA, the Pentagon, the State department began plotting his downfall. CIA officer Vernon Walters (operating under cover as a military attache ) who would go on to play a vital role in setting up operation Condor was a major player in the coup. He helped organize the coup plotters in the Military. Goulart was first targeted with economic warfare, political destabilization and media war. Globo Media which played a major role in the current anti-Rousseff coup played the same role in the 1964 coup.

The CIA financed mass demonstrations, bribed political opposition and helped fund their campaigns. It created it’s own labor movement the AIFLD to destroy the left wing labor movement and to stage strikes and even armed attacks. The tactics of color revolution/Hybrid War are far older then the terms themselves obviously. As mentioned the US had begun plotting against him even before he ever assumed office and in fact had engineered him being fired as minister of Labor back in the 50′s. Once he became president his offenses in the eyes of the empire were refusing to fire ministers the US labeled “Communist. He sought to trade with the eastern block. He instituted mild economic reforms including a very limited land redistribution program. He passed a law limiting the amount of profits multinational corporations could take out of the country and he nationalized a subsidiary of ITT.

For this he was accused of seeking to install a “Totalitarian” Dictatorship by the State department. When they had stirred up enough chaos with their economic war and destabilization campaign when they had succeeded in vilifying Goulart in the media they launched the coup. The military who had been indoctrinated by the US in fanatical anti-communism and trained to see their own people as the enemy were given the go ahead for the coup. On March 31st the CIA backed fascist divisions moved to occupy the capital city Rio.

However the CIA had only gained control of a faction of the military other loyal divisions were willing to resist. The US sent in a huge Naval detachment including Aircraft carriers and destroyers to signal their backing for the coup. Goulart decided to flee rather then risk a civil war. By April 1st he had fled and the Fascist General Castelo Branco seized power arresting thousands of opponents and shooting protestors. And of course the dirty war came anyways tens of thousands would be tortured and killed over the next decades.

Although Latin America’s endless dirty war began long before the Brazil coup (Unending war and oppression began in1492) the 1964 coup would play a decisive role in helping to spread it throughout the continent. Brazil would play a vital role in the coups in Chile, Uruguay, Argentina and in training the death squads and torturers of the continent. Dilma Rousseff herself was among the hundreds of thousands tortured. Meanwhile members of the Condor Network are still powerful in many Latin American militaries and the CIA and Pentagon influence continues. For more on Operation Condor check out my October 2015 article “Operation Condor”. For the continuing dirty war in Latin America see my March 2016 “War on Latin America.” In light of this history it is clear why we must resist this latest coup which threatens to reignite Brazil’s dirty war.

The 2016 Soft Coup

Pepe Escobar has written the definitive account of the coup in Brazil. Thus for a detailed account track down the numerous articles he has written on the subject. Frankly I feel more like screaming or crying than writing about this tragic moment in Brazil’s history. The only real difference between the April 64 coup and the May 2016 coup is that the military were not called in to overthrow the government. Hence people are referring to it as a soft coup. However the manufactured opposition, the media war, the economic war and doubtless the CIA bribes flying left and right are all the same. In fact just like Castelo Branco Brazil’s new president Temer is a CIA asset.

Brazil’s coup has a lot in common with the recent coups in Honduras and Paraguay. Thus even though Brazil’s coup was accomplished with legalistic means does not mean that the tortures and disappearances may not soon re-appear in Brazil not that they ever really ended given Brazil’s unending “low intensity” drug war and privatized death squads that masquerade as security agencies.

These agencies of course were a major factor in the coup part of what Pepe Escobar calls Brazil’s “BBC.” “BBC” stands for in this case not the notorious British propaganda outfit but for the three main economic interests manipulating Brazil’s senate to vote for impeachment. BBC stands for the Bullet, The Bible, and the Cattle. The bullet is weapons and private security. The Bible is pastors and “Evangelical Fanatics.” While Cattle is the powerful Agribusiness lobby. Pepe also lists some illuminating statistics on the senate they are 80% White although Brazil is largely a brown and Black country. 60 percent of the Senate are from political dynasties 58% of them are under criminal investigation and 13% of them were not elected at all worming their way in as “alternates.” These are the oligarchs who had the final say in destroying Brazil’s democracy. They have ignored the wishes of the 54 Million Brazilians who voted for Dilma Rousseff and have replaced her with the traitor Michel Temer with his 1% approval rating.

The main front men for this CIA coup were first Judge Sergio Moro who with his completely one sided car wash investigation set the coup in motion. By ignoring the crimes of the right and focusing only on crimes by the left he turned a corruption investigation into a coup. Next there was then house speaker Eduardo Cunha notorious as one of the most corrupt politicians in Brazil with millions in swiss bank accounts. He lead the impeachment drive in Brazil’s lower house fast tracking the impeachment process. However he lost his job as speaker so that the coup would not be a complete laughing stock. After all Dilma Rousseff is not even charged with having been corrupt and is innocent yet her impeachment campaign was lead by the Cunha “the Shark” one of the most corrupt. Lastly there is Michel Temer or Brutus as Escobar calls him. He openly admitted that the impeachment lacked all legitimacy before switching sides in a twisted power grab. These criminals have earned by their actions the hatred not just of Brazil but of Latin America and indeed of everyone who opposes the empire. Of course they were merely the tools of the Brazil’s Oligarchs, the CIA, and Wall Street but by their treachery they have set Brazil back decades.

The loss of Brazil will help sabotage BRICS. It will be a major blow to attempts to resist the empire of Chaos throughout the continent in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and the other countries that have so far avoided soft coups. For the people of Brazil who had only slowly begun to climb out of poverty thanks to the reforms of Brazil’s workers party which despite it’s flaws did create a major rise in the standard of living the Coup means they will be Ruthlessly thrust back into poverty. Brazil’s massive oil wealth will go not to improving the lives of it’s citizens but to enriching the billionaires on Wall Street.

Far worse may await them as the new coup government will eventually begin to wage war on the angry majority of Brazil to insure that they remain in power. The people must begin to prepare themselves for resistance and in my opinion for revolution. Democracy has failed in Brazil mild reforms have failed in Brazil. The people of Brazil must begin to organize to seize back the power. And should they ever prove successful they must make radical changes to their society that will make impossible this sort of “Soft coup”.

How long will Latin America’s Oligarchs be allowed to wage their campaigns of mass murder before the people wise up and give them a taste of revolutionary justice? Goulart thought he could spare his country a war if he resigned and was proven tragically wrong.

Rousseff appears to have made the same mistake and we can only hope that her failure to destroy these dangerous traitors does not lead to a repeat of Brazil’s horrifying Dirty War.

Recent experience in Honduras or Ukraine do not give us much reason to believe that things will go differently for Brazil. However there are two factors that give reason for hope that this coup may be reversed. First Brazil has powerful social movements, the landless workers movement, the landless peasants, and many thousands of smaller groups. Second if Lula can survive the attempts to destroy him as part of the Car Wash Scandal he may run again in 2018 seizing Brazil back for the people. I hope his security is on full alert sadly his potential to run again and restore democracy in Brazil means his life is in great danger.

If only the idea of Lula being assassinated either violently or via cancer or heart attack were paranoid as some of you are doubtless thinking. But ask Fidel Castro who has survived dozens of assassination attempts. One can no longer ask the great Hugo Chavez but the details of his murder continue to emerge thanks to the work of journalist Eva Golinger. She has uncovered even more evidence of his assassination in particular in a recent interview she discussed some of the many attempts to kill him which failed. One included a Colombian death Squad camped out at a Venezuelan Oligarchs place thankfully they were arrested in time. Another involved a sniper caught staking out someplace Chavez was about to speak at.

Undoubtedly the most memorable involved the attempt to assassinate him with a radioactive chair at an “Prestigious” University in New York where Chavez was giving a speech. She also revealed the names of several traitors who defected to the united states shortly after his death. One of these traitors former Major General Herbert Garcia Plaza is now coordinating the destabilization of Venezuela from the safety of the US. I highly recommend you read the interview with her yourselves to learn even more shocking information.

Venezuela

Unfortunately I must turn my attention to the ongoing “soft coup” in Venezuela. There was some good news the opposition plot to privatize Venezuela’s public housing was struck down by Venezuela’s supreme court as unconstitutional since it interfered with Venezuela’s constitutional commitment to provide housing education healthcare and other social programs. Chavez’s radical reforms have born fruit and Venezuela’s Supreme Court is firmly committed to defending Bolivarian Socialism. However the opposition appropriately named MUD continues it’s campaign to destroy Venezuela on the orders of their CIA/NED controllers. They launched a recall petition and easily achieved the 1% of signatures needed.

Next they only need 20% of voters to agree to a recall referendum and then a Referendum forcing Maduro to resign can eventually be voted on. Maduro is determined to resist this scheme and hopes to fulfill his term which doesn’t end until 2018. Obviously this is a dangerous new development. In addition a wave of assassinations continue to murder loyal government officials and Bolivarian politicians. The CIA is waging a dirty war on Venezuela using drug dealing Colombian death squads and right wing Venezuelan terrorists to wage an operation condor style Phase III assassination campaign aimed at weakening the government by killing it’s most promising leaders. However even more destabilizing has been the economic war and Venezuela’s Oligarchs continue to sabotage the economy eroding public support for the Bolivarian Revolution. The Venezuelan Revolution a source of hope and an inspiration for the entire world remains under deadly threat.

South Africa

In South Africa a soft coup threatens another BRICS member. South Africa is another victim of the economic war which has sent commodities prices plummeting. This has served to destabilize South Africa just as it has Venezuela, and Brazil. But of course the US isn’t content with destabilizing South Africa it wants to overthrow the ANC who have ruled South Africa since the fall or Apartheid. The ANC is far from perfect in a secret deal before coming to power they had to renounce their longstanding platform of nationalizing South Africa’s resources and building a socialist society. However given it was 1994 and the Soviet Union had just collapsed the constant criticism they have suffered since from the left while valid is slightly unfair. Andre Vltchek points out that the ANC has made far more progress then people have given them credit for.

They have also been plagued by corruption scandals but only a fool would believe that if the ANC are overthrown in a soft coup that corruption will suddenly disappear. Instead whoever replaces them would open the country to be looted by western corporations reversing whatever gains people have made since the fall of apartheid. You don’t fight corruption with coups because coups are by their nature corrupting they involve people accepting bribes from the CIA and other intelligence agencies to betray their country. Obviously those willing to sell out their country are unlikely to resist bribes for lesser crimes. Just ask the Ukrainians.

The destabilization campaign against Zuma began innocently enough with students demanding lower fees. However soon instead of chanting the “Fees must Fall” they were shouting “Zuma must Fall.” Now EFF head Julius Melema is calling for Zuma’s downfall even threatening to use force. And if that wasn’t bad enough the US embassy (CIA) have been caught organizing opposition movements and even hiring organized crime to burn down 19 schools in the Limpopo province. Worse now the supreme court has ruled that Zuma must face 783 charges against him that were dismissed back in 2007. They date from when Zuma was deputy president under Thabo Mbeki. Zuma was dismissed as deputy president but this lead to a power struggle within the ANC in which he emerged victorious. He was later elected president despite this scandal so it is ridiculous to try to overthrow him based on a 10 year old scandal. Zuma like Maduro, and Rousseff is facing a soft coup attempt. Whatever petty crimes Zuma may have committed whatever the flaws of the ANC we must oppose this soft coup attempt. The goal has nothing to do with reducing corruption in South Africa or reducing inequality as the EFF deceptively claim. Anyone who thinks a CIA coup will reduce inequality in South Africa needs to read Blum’s “Killing Hope” since every CIA coup has been undertaken to preserve or worsen inequality. Instead the goal is clearly to destroy the BRICS the main hope for a multipolar world. The goal is to break up the economic partnership between China and South Africa damaging China the economic engine of the multipolar world and further isolating Russia the military backbone of BRICS.

We must oppose the coups in Brazil, Venezuela and South Africa. We must support the people as they resist the return of fascism in South America. We must support South Africa as it struggles to maintain it’s independence. The Empire of Chaos thinks it can preserve itself by destroying all the alternatives. It is far to late for that Capitalism itself is in crisis and people are already dreaming of a better world. Remember the overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 inspired the revolutionary career of Che Guevara. In fact to carry out their economic war on the BRICS the Oligarchs are putting the whole stability of their global capitalist system at risk a dangerous gamble. Although 2016 has been a year of victory for the forces of counter-revolution beneath the surface all over the world people can sense revolution in the air. Thus even in the face of defeat and danger instead of despairing we must only redouble our efforts. The time of revolutions is approaching.


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R E L A T E D      R E P O R T S

~

Dilma out: Brazilian plutocracy sets 54mn votes on fire

(Pepe Escobar, RT) ~ Never in modern political history has it been so easy to “abolish the people” and simply erase 54 million votes cast in a free and fair presidential election.

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff-1

Forget about hanging chads, as in Florida 2000. This is a day that will live in infamy all across the Global South – when what was one of its most dynamic democracies veered into a plutocratic regime, under a flimsy parliamentary/judicial veneer, with legal and constitutional guarantees now at the mercy of lowly comprador elites.

After the proverbial marathon, the Brazilian Senate voted 55-22 to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial for “crimes of responsibility” – related to alleged window dressing of the government’s budget.

This is the culmination of a drawn-out process that started even before Rousseff won re-election in late 2014 with over 54 million votes. I have described the bunch of perpetrators of what Brazilian creativity has termed‘golpeachment’ (a mix of coup – “golpe” in Portuguese – and impeachment) as Hybrid War hyenas.

Sophisticated golpeachment – supported by what amounts to an Electoral Inquisition College – has propelled Hybrid War to whole new levels.

Hybrid War as applied to Brazil exhibited classic elements of a color revolution. Of course there was no need for no-fly zones or humanitarian imperialism to “protect human rights” – not to mention provoking a civil war. But considering the high resistance level of the victim state, where civil society is very dynamic, Hybrid War designers in this case bet on a mix of capitulation – and betrayal – of local elites, mixed with“peaceful protests” and a relentless mainstream media campaign. Call it ‘Civil War Light.’

That carried with it a fabulous cost-benefit ratio. Now the (immensely corrupt) Brazilian political system and the current executive/legislative/judiciary/mainstream media alignment can be used by the usual suspects for their geopolitical agenda.

Welcome to regime change light – politics, in a nutshell – as war by other means on the BRICS. A new software, a new operating system. Carrying a pathetic corollary; if the US is the Empire of Chaos, Brazil has now gloriously reached the status of Sub-Empire of Scoundrels.

Scoundrels galore

Rousseff may be accused of serious economic mismanagement, and of being incapable of political articulation among the shark pool that is (immensely corrupt) Brazilian politics. But she is not corrupt. She made a serious mistake in fighting inflation, allowing interest rates to rise to an unsustainable level; so demand in Brazil dramatically dropped, and recession became the norm. She is the (convenient) scapegoat for Brazil’s recession.

She certainly may be blamed for not having a Plan B to fight the global recession. Brazil essentially works on two pillars; commodity exports and local companies relying on the teats of the state. Infrastructure in general is dismal – adding to what is described as the “Brazilian cost” of doing business. With the commodity slump, state funds dwindled and everything was paralyzed – credit, investment, consumption.

The pretext for Rousseff’s impeachment – allegedly transferring loans from public banks to the Treasury in order to disguise the size of Brazil’s fiscal deficit – is flimsy at best. Every administration in the West does it – and that includes Clinton’s, Bush’s and Obama’s.

The Operation Car Wash investigation, dragging on for two years now, was supposed to uncover corruption in the Brazilian political system – as in the collusion of oil giant Petrobras executives, Brazilian construction companies, and political campaign financing. Car Wash has nothing to do with the golpeachment drive. Yet these have been two parallel highways converging to one destination: the criminalization of the Workers’ Party, and the definitive – if possible – political assassination of Rousseff and her mentor, former President Lula.

Dilma-RT-Twitter

When golpeachment reached the lower house of Congress – an appalling spectacle – Rousseff was eviscerated by Hybrid War hyenas of the BBC variety; “BBC,” in English, stands for“bullet,”“bible” and “cattle,” where“bullet” refers to the weapons and private security industry,“bible” to pastors and evangelical fanatics, and “cattle” to the powerful agribusiness lobby.

The “BBC” hyenas are members of almost all Brazilian political parties, paperboys for major corporations, and – last but not least – corruption stalwarts. They all benefited from millionaire political campaigning. The whole Car Wash investigation ultimately revolves around campaign financing, which in Brazil, unlike the US with its legalized lobbies, is a Tarantino-worthy Wild West.

The Brazilian Senate is not exactly an “upper” – as in more polished – house. Eighty percent of members are white men – in a country where miscegenation rules. A staggering 58 percent is under criminal investigation – linked to Car Wash. Sixty percent hail from political dynasties. And 13 percent – as alternates – were not elected at all. Among those favoring impeachment, 30 out of 49 are in trouble with the law. Charges include mostly money laundering, financial crimes and outright corruption. Renan Calheiros, the president of the Senate – who oversaw today’s impeachment vote – is the target of no fewer than nine separate money laundering/corruption Car Wash lines of investigation, plus another two criminal probes.

Meet the three Banana Republic amigos

Rousseff is now suspended for a maximum 180 days while a Senate committee decides whether to impeach her for good. Enter President-in-Waiting Michel Temer – a dodgy, shady operator – who has been branded a“usurper” by Rousseff. And usurper this provincial Brutus certainly is – according to his own words. On March 30 last year, he was tweeting that,“Impeachment is unthinkable, it would create an institutional crisis. There is no judicial or political basis for it.”

His administration is born with the original sin of being illegal and massively unpopular; his approval rating floats between an epic 1 percent and 2 percent. He was already fined last week for violating campaign finance limits. And, predictably, he’s drowning in a corruption swamp – named in two Car Wash plea bargains and accused of being part of an illegal scheme of ethanol buying; he may become ineligible for the next eight years. Almost 60 percent of Brazilians also want him impeached – on the same charges leveled against Rousseff.

Members of Brazil's Senate react after a vote to impeach President Dilma Rousseff for breaking budget laws in Brasilia, Brazil, May 12, 2016. © Ueslei Marcelino

Brutus 1 (Temer) would not bask in the glow of his 15 minutes of fame without the shenanigans of Brutus 2 (Brazil’s number one crook, former speaker of the lower house Eduardo Cunha, facing charges of bribery and perjury, holder of illegal Swiss accounts, and now finally sidelined by the Supreme Court). It was Brutus 2 who fast-tracked impeachment as pure vengeance; the Workers’ Party did not cover his back as he was facing a tsunami of corruption charges. Brutus 2 used all his vast powers – he runs a campaign financing scam inside Congress – to obstruct the Car Wash investigation. His replacement, the interim speaker, is also under investigation for bribery.

So meet Temer, Cunha, Calheiros; these three amigos are the true stars of the Banana Republic of Scoundrels/Crooks.

As if the Supreme Court would be rascal-free. Judge Gilmar Mendes, for instance, is a lowly plutocrat vassal. When an attorney for the government entered a motion to suspend impeachment, he quipped, “Ah, they can go to heaven, to the Pope, or to hell.” Another pompous judge received a request to sideline Cunha as early as December 2015. He only examined the request over four months later, when the whole golpeachment scam was in its decisive phase. And still he argued, “there’s no proof Cunha contaminated the impeachment process.”

Finally, complementing the whole scam, we find Brazilian mainstream media, with the toxic Globo media empire – which lavishly profited from the 1964 military coup – at the forefront.

All hail the neoliberal restoration

Wall Street – as well as the City of London – could not hide its excitement with golpeachment, believing Brutus 1 Temer will be an economic upgrade. Arguably, he might dare to tweak Brazil’s Kafkaesque tax code and do something about the enormous hole in the pension system. But what that mythical entity – the “markets” – and myriad “investors” are salivating about is the prospect of fabulous rates of return in a reopened-for-speculation Brazil. The Brutus 1 game will be a neoliberal feast, actually a restoration, with no popular representation whatsoever.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff. © Adriano Machado

The golpeachment gang gets really incensed when they are identified as coup plotters. Still, they could not give a damn about the OAS, Mercosur, Unasur – all of them condemned the coup – not to mention the Holy Grail: the BRICS. Under Brutus 1, the Foreign Ministry, to be led by a sore loser senator, is bound to sink Brazil’s key role in BRICS cooperation, to the benefit of Exceptionalistan.All one needs to know is that neither Nobel Peace Prize-winner Barack “kill list” Obama nor Queen of Chaos Hillary “We came, we saw, he died” Clinton condemned the ongoing regime change light/golpeachment. That’s predictable, considering Exceptionalistan’sNSA spied on Petrobras and Dilma Rousseff personally – the genesis of what would develop as the Car Wash investigation.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest limited himself to the proverbial platitudes: “challenging moment”; “trust in Brazilian democratic institutions”; or even “mature democracy.” Yet he added, significantly, that Brazil is “under scrutiny.”

Of course, the current stage of a very sophisticated Hybrid War strategy has been accomplished. But there are countless cliffhangers ahead. The Car Wash investigation – currently in slow motion – will pick up speed as a rash of dodgy plea bargains is already in store to create the conditions to criminalize for good not only Dilma Rousseff but the key piece in the chessboard: Lula.

Game over? Not so fast. The anti-golpeachment front does have a strategy: to imprint especially in “deep Brazil,” the vast masses of the working poor, the notion of illegality; to rebuild Rousseff’s image as the victim of a profound injustice; to re-energize the progressive political front; to make sure the Brutus 1 government will fail; and to create the conditions for the man who will come in from the cold to win the 2018 presidential elections.

Brazilian House of Cards? Bets could be made this may even end up as Anaconda, with Lula immobilizing the Hybrid War hyenas in a cobra clutch.


Brazil President Dilma Rousseff-2

Hybrid war hyenas tearing Brazil apart

(Pepe Escobar, RT) ~ The gloomy and repulsive night when the female president of the 7th largest economy in the world was the prey of choice fed to a lynch mob of hyenas in a drab, provincial Circus Maximus will forever live in infamy.

By 367 votes for and 137 against, the impeachment/coup/regime change-light drive against Dilma Rousseff cleared the Brazilian Congressional circus and will now go to the Senate, where a“special commission” will be set up. If approved, Rousseff will then be sidelined for 180 days and a low-rent tropical Brutus, Vice-President Michel Temer, will ascend to power until the Senate’s final verdict.

This lowly farce should serve as a wake-up call not only to the BRICS but to the whole Global South. Who needs NATO, R2P (“responsibility to protect”) or“moderate rebels” when you can get your regime change just by tweaking a nation’s political/judicial system?

The Brazilian Supreme Court has not analyzed the merit of the matter – at least not yet. There’s no solid evidence anywhere Rousseff committed a“crime of responsibility”; she did what every American President since Reagan has done – not to mention leaders all across the world: along with her vice-president, the lowly Brutus, Rousseff got slightly creative with the federal budget’s numbers.

The coup has been sponsored by a certified crook, president of the lower house Eduardo Cunha; reportedly the holder of several illegal accounts in Switzerland, listed in the Panama Papers and under investigation by the Supreme Court. Instead of lording over near-illiterate hyenas in a racist, largely crypto-fascist circus, he should be behind bars. It beggars belief that the Supreme Court has not launched legal action against Cunha. The secret of his power over the circus is a gigantic corruption scheme lasting many years, featuring corporations contributing to his and others’ campaign financing.

And that’s the beauty of a regime change-light/color revolution of Hybrid War when staged in such a dynamically creative nation such as Brazil. The hall of mirrors yields a political simulacrum that would have driven deconstructionists Jean Baudrillard and Umberto Eco, if alive, green with envy; a Congress crammed with fools/patsies/traitors/crooks, some of whom are already being investigated for corruption, has conspired to depose a president who is not under any formal corruption investigation – and has not committed any “crime of responsibility”.

The neoliberal restoration

Still, without a popular vote, the massively rejected tropical Brutus twins, Temer and Cunha, will find it impossible to govern, even though they would perfectly incarnate the project of the immensely arrogant and ignorant Brazilian elites; a neoliberal triumph, with Brazilian “democracy”trampled down six feet under.

It’s impossible to understand what happened at the Circus Maximus this Sunday without knowing there’s a gaggle of Brazilian political parties that are seriously threatened by the non-stop overspill of the Car Wash corruption investigation. To ensure their survival, Car Wash must be“suspended”; and it will, under the bogus “national unity” proposed by lowly Brutus Temer.

But first, Car Wash must produce a high-profile scalp. And that has to be Lula in jail – compared to which the crucifixion of Rousseff is an Aesop fable. Corporate media, led by the noxious Globo empire, would hail it as the ultimate victory, and nobody would care about Car Wash’s enforced retirement.

The 54 million-plus who voted for Rousseff’s reelection in 2014 voted wrong. The overall “project” is a government without vote and without people; a Brazilian-style parliamentary system, without bothering with pesky “elections”and crucially, including very “generous” campaign financing flexibility not bound to incriminate powerful companies/corporations.

In a nutshell, the ultimate aim is to perfectly “align” the Brazilian Executive, Legislative, Judiciary and corporate media interests. Democracy is for suckers. Brazilian elites remote controlling the hyenas know very well that if Lula runs again in 2018, he will win. And Lula has already warned; he won’t buy any“national unity” crap; he’ll be back in the streets fighting whatever illegitimate government pops up.

We’re now open for plundering

As it stands, Rousseff runs the risk of becoming the first major casualty of theNSA-originated, two-year-long Car Wash investigation. The President, admittedly an incompetent economic manager and lacking the right stuff of a master politician, believed that Car Wash – which practically prevented her from governing – would not reach her because she is personally honest. Yet Car Wash’s not so hidden agenda was always regime change. Who cares if in the process the nation is left on the verge of being controlled exactly by many of those indicted by the anti-corruption drive?

Lowly Brutus Temer – a vanity case version of Argentina’s Macri – is the perfect conduit for the implementation of regime change. He represents the powerful banking lobby, the powerful agribusiness lobby and the powerful federation of industries in Brazil’s economic leader, the state of Sao Paulo.

The neo-developmentalist project for Latin America – uniting at least some of the local elites, invested in developing internal markets, in association with the working classes – is now dead, because what may be defined as sub-hegemonic, or peripheral, capitalism is mired in crisis after the 2008 Wall Street-provoked debacle. What’s left is just neoliberal restoration. TINA (“there is no alternative”). This implies, in the Brazilian case, the savage reversion of Lula’s legacy; social policies, technological policies, the drive to globally expand large, competitive Brazilian companies, more public universities, better salaries.

In a message to the nation, Brutus Temer admitted as much; “hope” after impeachment will be absolutely swell for “foreign investment”, as in let them plunder the colony at will; back to the trademark history of Brazil since 1500.

So Wall Street, US Big Oil and the proverbial “American interests” win this round at the circus – thanks to the, once again proverbial, vassal/comprador elites. Chevron execs are already salivating with the prospect of laying their hands on the pre-salt oil deposits; that was already promised by a trusted vassal in the Brazilian opposition.

The coup goes on. The real hyenas haven’t yet pounced. So it’s far from over.

NOTES REGARDING THE LATEST 2 ESCOBAR’S ARTICLES:

  • Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia Times Online. Born in Brazil, he’s been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Even before 9/11 he specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central and East Asia, with an emphasis on Big Power geopolitics and energy wars. He is the author of “Globalistan” (2007), “Red Zone Blues” (2007), “Obama does Globalistan” (2009) and “Empire of Chaos” (2014), all published by Nimble Books. His latest book is “2030”, also by Nimble Books, out in December 2015.

MST-BRASIL-smll

“Ten Facts that Brazil and the World Should Know”

(By Igor Fuser , MST) ~ It is important that we  inform all Brazilian men and women, we must report in such a  clear and objective manner,  that even the wooden figureheads on the bows of the boats on the San Francisco River, will understand  that:

  • 1. The request for the impeachment  of President Dilma Rousseff has nothing to do with what is known as the “Car Wash” or “Lava Jato” operation, nor with any other initiative undertaken  to fight against corruption. Dilma is not accused of stealing a single penny. The pretext used by the opposition politicians to try to overthrow her government is the so-called “fiscal backpedaling” procedure, which is a procedure of routine public budget management  at all levels of government – federal, state and municipal – and was adopted by the administrations of Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Lula Da Silva without any problems. She simply put money from the “Caixa Economica” Federal Savings Bank into social programs, in order to close the accounts and then, within the next year, she returned the money to the Caixa Economica. She did not get any personal benefit and not even her worst enemies can accuse her of a corrupt act.
  • 2. This is precisely why the request for impeachment  constitutes a coup d’etat , because  a president can only be removed if he or she  is found to have  committed a crime -and as a crime did not occur, so far, Dilma’s name has not been presented  in any corruption investigations: not even the slightest suspicion against her exists.
  • 3. Unlike  President Dilma, the politicians calling for her dismissal are corrupt and are as dirty as they come.   Eduardo Cunha (PMDB- RJ) who, as chairman of the House is responsible for the impeachment process, has received more than 52 million Brazilian Rs. (BR$)  from  corrupt schemes undertaken in Petrobras, plus he has  millions   deposited in secret accounts in Switzerland and other tax havens. Of the 65 members of the Parliamentary Commission that  will investigate  the request for impeachment  37 (more than half!) are under the watchful eye of the Justice Department and are being investigated for corruption.  If they manage to depose the president, in exchange they expect to see the charges against them for the fraud they have committed dropped.
  • 4. The PSDB, the party that leads the campaign for impeachment, is  the opposition party that was defeated in the presidential elections of 2014. Their presidential  candidate, Aecio  Neves, through his political manipulations and connections, is trying to achieve  an outcome that he was not able to achieve through the electoral process  thus  disrespecting the vote of those 54,499,901 Brazilian men and women who voted for Dilma (3.4% more voters than those obtained by Aecio  in the second round vote in 2014).
  • 5. If the coup is allowed to succeed, the opposition will put into play  all the elitist and authoritarian proposals that Aecio  planned to implement if he had won the election. The post –coup  president will surely change labor laws to the detriment of wage workers ; he will annul the  policy that supports the adjustment of minimum wage to cost of living; he will implement an unbridled privatization of the  work force; he will hand over  all Brazilian oil reserves in the off-shore fields to transnational corporations(link is external) (as advocated by Senator José Serra); he will privatize Bank of Brasil and Caixa Economica Federal; he will eliminate free public higher education and introduce tuition-based  education in federal universities, as a first step towards privatization; he will repress social movements and freedom of expression on the Internet; he will expel the Cuban doctors  who work in the program “More Doctors;” he will give the green light for agribusiness corporations  to acquire indigenous land; he will eliminate the independent foreign policy, thus reducing Brazil to being  a servant of the United States.    It is all of this that is at stake, much more than President Dilma’s current administration  or Lula’s political future, at stake in the battle against impeachment.
  • 6. It is a mistake  to imagine  that the economy will improve after an eventual change in the presidency of the Republic. All the factors that have led the country to the current crisis will continue to exist, with the addition of many aggravating factors. Political instability will be the rule. The leaders of the current  push toward a coup d’état will fight each other for power as piranhas around a piece of meat. And Dilma will be replaced by a weak political figure, Michel Temer, who is more interested in securing his future (most certainly a chair on the Federal Supreme Court) and protecting himself from accusations of  corruption than in governing effectively. Inflation will continue increasing as well as unemployment.
  • 7. Politically, Brazil will free fall  into a chaotic period of   instability. The overthrow of an elected president, legitimized by the electoral and popular vote will  lead the country,  for the first time since the end of the military regime, to have an illegitimate president as head of the Executive and  one whose  legitimacy is challenged  by a great portion of the society.
  • 8. Conflict will set  the tone of social life. Fascist tendencies, emboldened by the coup, will feel free   act on their violent impulses, those that have been expressed symbolically through the images of dolls  wearing  the MST  cap or the PT star that are hung in effigy,  .    but, more specifically  they will carry out  invasions and attacks on unions and political parties;  savage attacks on people whose only crime is wearing a red shirt. The current leader of the extreme right-wing sector, Deputy Jair Bolsonaro, has openly proposed, in a public event in favor of the impeachment, that every  rancher should carry  a rifle to kill MST militants.
  • 9. Unions and social movements will not stand idly in the face of such  cruelty of the  right –wing sectors and their corporate leaders, nor in the face of attacks to dismantle the  social rights won during the last two decades. They will resist by all means – strikes, land occupations, roadblocks, building take-overs, and more. Brazil will once again become a torn country because of the irresponsibility and uncontrolled ambition of half a dozen greedy politicians incapable of reaching power through the  popular vote. That’s what awaits us if the coup against President Dilma is consummated.
  • 10. But this won’t happen. The mobilization of citizens in defense of legality and democracy is growing, with the participation of more and more people and movements; regardless of political affiliations, religious beliefs and whether or not they support official policies. Our views on the PT or on Dilma’s government are no  longer what matters. What is at stake  is democracy, respect for elections and the right  to vote,  and the constitutional provision that prohibits the application of impeachment without the existence of a crime to justify this extreme measure. More and more Brazilians are realizing this and taking to the streets against coup mongers.

GOLPE-620

MST Statement on the suspension of President Dilma Rousseff

(MST) ~ The Landless Workers Movement (MST) publicly expresses its disgust and dissatisfaction regarding the decision of the Senate, this Thursday (May 12), in admitting the process of impeachment against President Dilma Roussef and temporarily removing her from the post. We are sure, as stated in the text of the case, that the President did not commit any crime with fiscal peddling. If this is to be considered a crime, the vice president, Michel Temer, who now assumes the Presidency, and Senator Anastasia, the rapporteur of the process and former governor of Minas Gerais, should also be accused.

This is an institutional and anti-democratic coup that disrespects the will of 54 million voters and was orchestrated by the most conservative sectors of society, particularly the neoliberal business sector, subservient to the interests of U.S. companies, a coup supported by a permanent campaign of mass media – especially Globo – and by a selective action of the sectors of the judiciary.

The coup endorsed by the Senate does not only disrespect the views of the public about who should be the head of state, but, as announced by Temer, intends to apply a recessive and neoliberal program, one that left sad memories for the Brazilian people from the times of the Collor-Cardoso governments. It is anti-popular and represents a social backlash that was repeatedly rejected by the majority at the polls. Unable to live with democracy and submit to the popular will, the elites have removed the President without any evidence of crime, just so their project of social cuts, unemployment and privatization is able to take place.

Michel Temer’s “Bridge to the recession” will only lead to the accentuation of social and economic crisis and widen the political instability of the country. The newly announced government, for its history, does not represent a rupture with the corrupt methods, which we all have denounced in the streets. We hope that the Senate will redeem itself when it judges the merit. And if it does not, the democratic party forces opposed to the coup should appeal to the Supreme Court. Brazilian society knows we are facing an economic, political, social and environmental crisis. This crisis will not be overcome with coups. What is needed is a broad debate in society that agglutinates most popular and social forces, to seek to build a new national project to confront the crisis.

Regarding the established political crisis, we defend the idea, alongside other popular movements, that only a deep political reform that returns to the people its right to choose their legitimate representatives, can be a real way out. The current Congress has no condition or political will to do so. Hence the need for the Senate to approve the holding of a plebiscite that gives the people the right to convene a constituent assembly, to move forward a political reform to conduct general elections under democratic conditions.

The MST will remain mobilized in defense of democracy and social rights, together with the Brazil Popular Front and the thousands of workers who will not accept the coup. We will keep our struggle against landlordism and agribusiness, for a popular agrarian reform and for the constitutional right of all rural workers to have land and a dignified life in the rural areas.

No to the coup! Temer out!

MST National Coordination (Brasilia)


brazil-pres-intelligence-informant-puppet

Brazil’s acting president used to be US intel informant

(RT) ~ Brazil’s new interim president, Michel Temer, was an embassy informant for US intelligence, WikiLeaks has revealed.

According to the whistleblowing website, Temer communicated with the US embassy in Brazil via telegram, and such content would be classified as “sensitive” and “for official use only.” 


Two cables were released, dated January 11, 2006 and June 21, 2006.

One shows a document sent from Sao Paolo, Brazil, to – among other recipients – the US Southern Command in Miami. In it, Temer discusses the political situation in Brazil during the presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

wiki-brasil

Regarding the 2006 elections, when Lula was re-elected, Temer shared scenarios in which his party (PMDB) would win the elections.

He declined to predict the race, however, but said there would be a run-off and that “anything could happen.” 

Temer said the PMDB would elect between 10 and 15 governors that year, and that the party would have the most representatives in the Senate and thus the House of Representatives. This would mean that the elected president would have to report to PMDB rule.

“Whoever wins the presidential election will have to come to us to do anything,” Temer reportedly said.

Temer has replaced Dilma Rousseff, who was suspended from office earlier this week, after the Senate approved impeachment against her.

Rousseff was suspended from her post for at least 180 days after senators voted 55 to 22 to punish her for manipulating budget data, ahead of her re-election in 2014.

The left-wing politician claimed that Brazil was in a strong economic position, but since she convincingly won the vote, the economy has unraveled, putting Brazil in the worst recession for decades.


A man looks at tank ammunition at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair at the ExCeL centre in east London, on September 10, 2013. The arms fair describes it self as the world's largest fully integrated defence and security exhibition. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
A man looks at tank ammunition at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair at the ExCeL centre in east London, on September 10, 2013. The arms fair describes it self as the world’s largest fully integrated defence and security exhibition. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Arms dealer fears Brexit will hit business

(RT) ~ A British military weapons and hardware dealer trading plane parts and troop carriers says his business would take a hit if the United Kingdom votes to leave the EU.

Richard Moore operates a specialist firm in Cambridgeshire trading with Eastern and Central Europe and exporting to other Western European states.

War Criminals

He told the Mirror that losing access to EU agreements would be a “disaster” for his trade.

EU rules allow him to transport arms and military vehicles across borders in member states without having to notify them, he says.

If the UK leaves the bloc, he will have to close down his business or move it to another country in Europe.

Before the rules were introduced in 2011, Moore would have to contact each state he planned to transport hardware through, and obtain permission, he says.

It took months. Now, providing what you’re buying is in the EU no permits are required. I’ll have to go back to the old ways of having to apply to each country.”

Moore says the firm purchases military hardware such as Magnetrons used to guide fighters on Russian airbases, radar locating equipment, BUK radar systems and scud launchers.

“It can be a dangerous trade dealing with not-so-pleasant people, and when things go wrong you can get locked up in prison,” he told the Wisbech Standard.

Moore suggests the extra paperwork of operating outside the EU would cause headaches for the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

“This could affect our MoD, if they wanted, as they have, special items that are being used against our military.

“This is a very special and secretive trade, but with the chance [of] the UK leaving the EU I have felt obliged to publicize the fact.”

Moore says the EU helps maintain stability and stops wars.

“It’s not perfect. But it is working. Not a single EU member has gone to war with another since its foundation. Frankly, we should be celebrating this peace, with whistles and bells.”


A man looks at tank ammunition at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair at the ExCeL centre in east London, on September 10, 2013. The arms fair describes it self as the world's largest fully integrated defence and security exhibition. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Ex-MI5 chief becomes latest doom-monger
to warn of Brexit risk


SOURCES:
Sign Of The Times, 15/5/2016
Landless Workers Movement (MST) of Brazil (National Coordination)
Pepe Escobar, RT 12/4/2016
Pepe Escobar, RT 19/5/2016
Hugo Turner, GlobalResearch, 14/5/2016
RT, QuestionMore, 13/5/2016
RT, QuestionMore, 16/5/2016
Igor Fuser , MST
Submitted by SyrianPatriots 
War Press Info Network at:
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/temer-brazil-coup/

In Observance of Israeli Apartheid Week

aparsystpalestine

Israeli Apartheid Week is being observed in a number of different countries this week, including South Africa…

From the Israeli Apartheid Week South Africa website

Press Statement: Palestinian Christians Call on South African Churches to Support #IsraeliApartheidWeek

Writing from the Holy Town of Bethlehem, the Palestinian Christian organization Kairos Palestine, has called on South African Churches to participate and support this year’s #IsraeliApartheidWeek. Their letter reads to the SA Churches and members of the Christian community reads:

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
 
“[W]e write from Palestine to express our thanks and appreciation for your solidarity; the solidarity of all South Africans with our people, our struggle, and our quest for liberation and freedom. With great appreciation we turn to South Africa and its preparation for the Israeli Apartheid Week from 7th – 13th of March 2016. Today, such events are more important than ever, because of the increase in discrimination, violence and apartheid imposed on us Palestinians who have suffered Israeli occupation for almost 50 years now.”
 
“We, Palestinian Christians, call upon you, head of churches, church communities and brothers and sisters in faith in South Africa to campaign and advocate for greater awareness of the Palestinian struggle in general and the plight of Palestinian Christians in particular. We ask you to dedicate Sunday services during that week to pray for and reflect on the plight of your Palestinian fellows who have suffered under apartheid for decades…”
 
“The voices of Palestinian Christians have been drowned out in the turmoil of events; the Western narrative about the ‘Promised Land’ dominates theological discourses in Palestine/Israel and justifies injustices towards Palestinians. As active, responsible, and believing Christians, it is time to review Christian theology and promote a true, Christian way of resisting injustice and work for a just peace – in the Middle East and in the world.We wish you a successful week, full of hope and faith and led by the most essential Christian value of Love. Our prayers are with you during this important event.” (Click here to read the full letter).

 

In an attempt to highlight the plight of Palestinian Christians living under Israeli Apartheid, this year, the official movie which will screened in various South African cities and towns as part of #IsraeliApartheidWeek is “The Stones Cry Out”. The movie documents the plight of the Palestinian Christian community (click here for a trailer, or email southafrica.iaw@gmail.com for a free copy).
In the past various South African Church leaders have lent their support to the #IsraeliApartheidWeek (click here).
—————————————-
#IsraeliApartheidWeek (IAW) is an annual international series of events (including rallies, lectures, cultural performances, music shows, films and workshops) that raises awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies, violations of international law and human rights abuses toward the indigenous Palestinian people. It is endorsed in South Africa by over 85 organizations including our ruling party, the ANC, and takes place in over 250 cities across the world.
Members of the media are invited to an interfaith press conference today (Sunday, 6 March 2016) at Freedom Park Museum (Corner Koch & 7th Avenue, Pretoria starting at 11am). The press conference will launch the South African leg of the annual international #IsraeliApartheidWeek awareness-raising campaign taking place in SA between 7 and 13 March. Speakers at the press conference will include representatives and leaders from the Hindu, Jewish, Tamil, Christian, Muslim and other communities.

israel in danger of losing the plot over #BDS

Israel in danger of losing the plot

Articles from the Financial Times and The National


A BDS March from Greenwich Village to Union Square In New York. Photo courtesy of The All-Nite Images/cc/flickr

Cabinet embroiled in battle over Israeli goods boycott

By Henry Mance in London and John Reed in Jerusalem, Financial Times
February 15, 2016

The British government has found itself at the centre of a battle between Israel and Palestinian campaigners, after saying it would punish local councils who boycott Israeli goods.

The Cabinet Office will release guidance on Wednesday saying that locally imposed boycotts, including those targeting Israel, breach WTO rules on procurement.

The move, which could benefit Israeli suppliers and other companies with operations in Israel, comes as the Israeli government seeks to fight back against the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Israel’s political elite has been alarmed by the BDS movement’s recent gains among church groups, students and investors. Companies including security contractor G4S, machinery manufacturer JCB and SodaStream, maker of devices to create homemade carbonated drinks, have all been targeted by campaigners.

Palestinian groups reacted angrily to the Cabinet Office proposals. “This is a bullet at the very heart of a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Middle East and the very heart of democracy in Britain,” Husam Zomlot, a senior Palestinian official, told the Financial Times.

The BDS campaign, which models itself on the fight against apartheid in South Africa, has urged companies and public institutions to boycott Israel until it ends its occupation of Palestinian lands.

A spokesperson for the campaign’s Palestine National Committee said the UK government was “making a grave mistake similar to Margaret Thatcher’s unwavering support of apartheid South Africa”. The Cabinet Office plan “comes at a time when the BDS movement is having unprecedented success”, he added.

Since 2014 Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, has fought against the boycott movement, which is accused of antisemitism and the broader goals of undermining and delegitimising the Jewish state.

The new BDS guidance coincides with a trip by Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock to Israel and the Palestinian territories. It will affect all contracting authorities, including local councils and NHS bodies, on the basis that local boycotts breach the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, which demands that all suppliers are treated equally.

The Cabinet Office did not provide figures on the number of councils that have adopted boycotts, or the sum of contracts affected. A spokesperson said it had no evidence of proceedings having been launched with the WTO on account of existing boycotts.

In October, the government proposed rules aimed at stopping pension funds from “politically motivated boycott and divestment campaigns against UK defence companies and against Israel”.

The Local Government Association has hinted at its unease at the October proposals and the latest guidance, saying that councils “will always seek to promote democratic values”, and this would sometimes include “taking ethical considerations . . . into account where due process allows”.

The guidance would leave private institutions and national and international governments as the focus for the BDS movement. In November the European Commission mandated that goods from illegal Israeli settlements should be labelled, in what the BDS campaign said was “a welcome sign”.

The Israeli response to BDS has included legal warfare or “lawfare” against the movement in foreign countries. “We have stepped up our efforts directly and indirectly, dealing with friends of Israel in a variety of countries in which we have the BDS movement, fighting it with legal instruments,” Emmanuel Nahshon, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, told the Financial Times.

In the US, legislatures in about 30 states, led by South Carolina and Illinois, have adopted or discussed laws or statements meant to counter BDS, according to Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian BDS activist based in Ramallah.
Barack Obama, US president, is expected to sign into a law soon a trade bill that includes anti-BDS measures, although the White House has voiced objections to language in it that equates Israel’s internationally recognised territory with its illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian lands.

Palestinians say Britain holds special responsibility for finding a peaceful resolution to their decades-old conflict with Israel because it was the colonial ruler of Palestine in the run-up to the creation of the Jewish state in 1948.

The new guidance “puts the UK in the position of defending Israel’s expansion and colonialism rather than defending its own rules and laws”, Mr Zomlot said.


The boycott row isn’t just about trade

National Editorial
February 16, 2016

The UK is cracking down on local authorities who take part in the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel (BDS), saying that it violates global trade laws. This follows an international lobbying effort by the Israeli government to encourage foreign powers to rein in anti-Israel campaigners. It is the second success for the Israel lobby against BDS campaigners this week, after US president Barack Obama signed a law that included language recognising trade between illegal Israeli settlements and the United States.

The BDS movement has been dubbed by Israel an existential threat to the state, and is even considered by some politicians as a “new intifada”. The economic impact, however, is disputed. One Israeli government report warned that BDS would cost the state $1.4 billion (Dh5.1bn) each year, roughly 0.5 per cent of the country’s GDP. Other analysts believe that the economic effect is smaller. Few Israeli firms will, for example, mourn the decision by Leicester City Council to stop buying products from Israel, they point out.

Instead, the argument has more symbolic motives on both sides. Israel wishes to delegitimise the BDS movement, and therefore protect its control over the narrative of the conflict with the Palestinians. For Israel, the conflict is about what it says is an issue over security and not about rights. For BDS campaigners, the issue is a moral one, with the focus on the deprivation of Palestinians rights and the nature of the occupation.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is based on narratives. It is nearly impossible for BDS campaigners to significantly derail Israel’s economy, but the conversation that they raise by targetting the likes of Leicester City Council alters the complexion of the mainstream debate about Israel’s behaviour. Therefore, the conflict is fought in small increments that, taken as a whole, may ultimately turn the tide. The 40-year battle to boycott apartheid South Africa is a good example of how long these campaigns can take.

The British government argues that local government support for BDS undermines international trade agreements. This is not an unreasonable interpretation because governments are often bound to protect their economic interests above political concerns. However, the battle is not about trade: it’s about how criticism of Israel can be expressed. Israel wants to persuade foreign governments to make it harder for its critics to have a voice. But the argument will not be settled that easily

Greatest Threat to Free Speech in the West: Criminalizing Activism (BDS) Against israeli Occupation

“There is a very coordinated and well-financed campaign led by Israel and its supporters literally to criminalize political activism against Israeli occupation, based on the particular fear that the worldwide campaign of Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment, or BDS — modeled after the 1980s campaign that brought down the Israel-allied apartheid regime in South Africa — is succeeding.”But only advocates of tyranny could support the literal outlawing of the same type of activism that ended apartheid in South Africa merely on the grounds that this time it is aimed at Israeli occupation (some of Israel’s own leaders have compared its occupation to apartheid).”

THE U.K. GOVERNMENT today announced that it is now illegal for “local [city] councils, public bodies, and even some university student unions … to refuse to buy goods and services from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products, or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.” Thus, any entities that support or participate in the global boycott of Israeli settlements will face “severe penalties” under the criminal law.

This may sound like an extreme infringement of free speech and political activism — and, of course, it is — but it is far from unusual in the West. The opposite is now true. There is a very coordinated and well-financed campaign led by Israel and its supporters literally to criminalize political activism against Israeli occupation, based on the particular fear that the worldwide campaign of Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment, or BDS — modeled after the 1980s campaign that brought down the Israel-allied apartheid regime in South Africa — is succeeding.

The Israeli website +972 reported last year about a pending bill that “would ban entry to foreigners who promote the [BDS] movement that aims to pressure Israel to comply with international law and respect Palestinian rights.” In 2011, a law passed in Israel that “effectively ban[ned] any public call for a boycott — economic, cultural, or academic — against Israel or its West Bank settlements, making such action a punishable offense.”

But the current censorship goal is to make such activism a crime not only in Israel, but in Western countries generally. And it is succeeding.

THIS TREND TO outlaw activism against the decades long Israeli occupation — particularly though not only through boycotts against Israel — has permeated multiple Western nations and countless institutions within them. In October, we reported on the criminal convictions in France of 12 activists “for the ‘crime’ of advocating sanctions and a boycott against Israel as a means of ending the decadeslong military occupation of Palestine,” convictions upheld by France’s highest court. They were literally arrested and prosecuted for “wearing shirts emblazoned with the words ‘Long live Palestine, boycott Israel’” and because “they also handed out fliers that said that ‘buying Israeli products means legitimizing crimes in Gaza.’”

As we noted, Pascal Markowicz, chief lawyer of the CRIF umbrella organization of French Jewish communities, published this celebratory decree (emphasis in original): “BDS is ILLEGAL in France.” Statements advocating a boycott or sanctions, he added, “are completely illegal. If [BDS activists] say their freedom of expression has been violated, now France’s highest legal instance ruled otherwise.” In Canada last year, officials threatened criminal prosecution against anyone supporting boycotts against Israel.

In the U.S., unbeknownst to many, there are similar legislative proscriptions on such activism, and a pending bill would strengthen the outlawing of BDS. As the Washington Post reported last June, “A wave of anti-BDS legislation is sweeping the U.S.” Numerous bills in Congress encourage or require state action to combat BDS.

Eyal Press warned in a must-read New York Times op-ed last month that under a Customs Bill passed by both houses of Congress and headed to the White House, “American officials will be obligated to treat the settlements as part of Israel in future trade negotiations,” a provision specifically designed “to combat the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, a grass-roots campaign.” But as Press notes, under existing law — which is almost never discussed — “Washington already forbids American companies to cooperate with state-led boycotts of Israel.”

The real purpose of this new law, as Press explains it, is to force American companies to treat settlements in the West Bank — which virtually the entire world views as illegal — as a valid part of Israel, by outlawing any behavior that would be deemed cooperative with a boycott of companies occupying the West Bank. U.S. companies would be forced to pretend that products produced in the occupied territories are actually produced in “Israel.” The White House announced that it will sign the bill despite its opposition to the AIPAC-backed pro-settlement provision.

Rahul Saksena of Palestine Legal said that “the BDS provision in the federal customs bill, and the dozens of anti-BDS bills being introduced in Congress and state legislatures across the U.S., are examples of the lengths that Israel’s fiercest advocates and the lawmakers who bend over backward to accommodate them will go to shut down any conversation critical of Israeli policies and supportive of Palestinian freedom.” Dylan Williams, vice president of government affairs for J Street (which opposes BDS), told The Intercept: “The references in the Customs Act to ‘Israeli-controlled territories’ are just one instance of a larger effort to sneak Green Line-blurring language into legislation at both the state and national level.”

Under the existing laws, American companies have been fined for actions deemed supportive of boycotts aimed at Israel. For decades, U.S. companies and their foreign subsidiaries, for instance, have been required by law to refuse to comply with the Arab League boycott of Israel. Penalties for violators include up to 10 years of imprisonment.

In 2010, G M Daewoo Auto & Technology Company, a Korean firm owned by General Motors, was fined $88,500 by the Office of Antiboycott Compliance for 59 anti-boycott violations, including the “crime” of declaring on a customs form: “We hereby state that the carrying vessel … is allowed to enter the Libya ports [sic].” At the time, Libyan law did not allow Israeli goods or ships that had previously stopped in Israel to enter Libyan ports, and the company’s seemingly banal declaration that it was complying with Libyan law was deemed by the U.S. government to constitute support for a boycott of Israel, and it was thus fined.

THE SUPPRESSION OF anti-occupation activism is particularly acute on American college campuses. Among other things, that is deeply ironic. In the U.S. over the past year, there has been a widespread media debate over censorship on college campuses. Notably, the pundits who have most vocally condemned this censorship and held themselves out as free speech crusaders — such as New York’s Jonathan Chait — have completely ignored what is far and away the most widespread form of campus censorship: namely, punishment of those who engage in activism against Israeli actions.

This campus censorship on behalf of Israel was comprehensively documented in a report last year by Palestine Legal titled “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech.” The nationwide censorship effort has seen pro-Palestinian professors fired, anti-occupation student activists suspended and threatened with expulsion, pro-Palestinian groups de-funded, and even discipline for students for the “crime” of flying a Palestinian flag. The report documents how pro-Israel campus groups and alumni “have intensified their efforts to stifle criticism of Israeli government policies.” The report explains: “Rather than engage such criticism on its merits, these groups leverage their significant resources and lobbying power to pressure universities, government actors, and other institutions to censor or punish advocacy in support of Palestinian rights.”

Notably, the students and administrators justifying the campus censorship of anti-Israel views invoke the very same “PC” rhetoric of “safe spaces” and “hate speech” denounced by ostensibly free-speech pundits. The University of Illinois student who led the campaign to fire Steven Salaita for his pro-Gaza tweets, himself a former AIPAC intern, told the New York Times: “Hate speech is never acceptable for those applying for a tenured position; incitement to violence is never acceptable. … There must be a relationship between free speech and civility.” Another “pro-Israel” student demanding Salaita’s firing said, “It’s about feeling safe on campus.”

This was a classic and extreme case of oppressive censorship on campus — the University of Illinois ended up paying Salaita close to $1 million to settle the resulting lawsuit — yet very few of the pundits who turned “college censorship” into a nationwide cause uttered a peep about this case or the countless other instances of suppression of anti-Israel criticism.

It is now routine for students advocating BDS or otherwise working against Israeli occupation to be disciplined or endure other forms of sanctions. As the Palestine Legal report documents:

These heavy-handed tactics often have their desired effect, driving institutions to enact a variety of punitive measures against human rights activists, such as administrative sanctions, censorship, intrusive investigations, viewpoint-based restriction of advocacy, and even criminal prosecutions. Such efforts intimidate activists for Palestinian human rights, chill criticism of Israeli government practices, and impede a fair-minded dialogue on the pressing question of Palestinian rights.

This report, the first of its kind, documents the suppression of Palestine advocacy in the United States. In 2014, Palestine Legal — a nonprofit legal and advocacy organization supporting Palestine activism — responded to 152 incidents of censorship, punishment, or other burdening of advocacy for Palestinian rights and received 68 additional requests for legal assistance in anticipation of such actions. In the first six months of 2015 alone, Palestine Legal responded to 140 incidents and 33 requests for assistance in anticipation of potential suppression. These numbers understate the phenomenon, as many advocates who are unaware of their rights or afraid of attracting further scrutiny stay silent and do not report incidents of suppression. The overwhelming majority of these incidents — 89 percent in 2014 and 80 percent in the first half of 2015 — targeted students and scholars, a reaction to the increasingly central role universities play in the movement for Palestinian rights.

As we reported in September, the University of California — the largest academic system in the country — has been debating proposals to literally outlaw BDS activism by formally equating it with “anti-semitism”: as though opposition to Israeli government oppression (opposition shared by many Jews) is somehow the equivalent of, or is inherently driven by, animosity toward Jews. If anything, what is actually “anti-Semitic” is to conflate the Israeli government with Jews generally (an ugly anti-semitic trope with a long history). Yet that is the Orwellian tactic being used to justify the criminalization of anti-occupation activism, as it converts that activism into “anti-semitism” or “hate speech” and then bans it on that basis.

This attempt to formalize suppression of anti-occupation advocacy on college campuses is long-standing and widespread. The New York state legislature actually passed “a bill that would suspend funding to educational institutions which fund groups that boycott Israel.” Such legislation is becoming commonplace, as the group United With Israel boasted just last month:

Florida became the fifth state in the U.S. to introduce a resolution to confront the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement when it passed a law on December 21, similar to the first anti-BDS legislation introduced in Tennessee last April.

By doing so, Florida has joined Tennessee, New York, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Another 35 states are reportedly considering similar legislation.

The commendably consistent pro-campus-speech group FIRE, while expressing some criticisms of the BDS movement, has repeatedly documented and denounced attempts to outlaw BDS advocacy on campus:

FIRE’s position on the Israel-focused BDS movement is driven by our concern for academic freedom — for students and professors, and for its continuing importance as a meaningful concept in and of itself. Students and professors must be perfectly free to support boycott, divestment, and/or sanctions against Israel or any other country they wish, and they must not face punishment for this support. As you might expect, FIRE has opposed attempts to punish organizations for supporting BDS, and we have certainly defended professors’ rights to be highly critical of Israel — or, frankly, any other country, person, or idea.

YET THIS CENSORSHIP effort to ban BDS and other forms of Israel criticism continues to grow, in multiple countries around the world. It’s not hard to understand why. The Israeli government and its most powerful supporters have invested vast sums of money and considerable political capital into the campaign to institutionalize this censorship.

Last year, GOP billionaire Sheldon Adelson and Democratic billionaire Haim Saban donated tens of millions of dollars to a new fund to combat BDS on college campuses. Also last year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “decided to implement a 2014 resolution to establish a special task force to fight the anti-Israeli sanctions”; that task force has funding of “some 100 million Israeli shekels (roughly $25.5 million).” BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray reported in 2014 that anti-BDS legislation has become a major goal of AIPAC. As part of the controversy at the University of California, Richard Blum, the mega-rich investment banker and husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, threatened the university that his wife would take adverse action against the university if it did not adopt the harsh anti-BDS measures he was demanding.

None of this is to say, obviously, that suppression of anti-occupation activism is the only strain of free speech threats in the West. The prosecution of Western Muslims for core free speech expression under “terrorism” laws, the distortion of “hate speech” legislation as a means of punishing unpopular ideas, threats and violence against those who publish cartoons deemed “blasphemous,” and pressure on social media companies to ban ideas disliked by governments are all serious menaces to this core liberty.

But in terms of systematic, state-sponsored, formalized punishments for speech and activism, nothing compares to the growing multi-nation effort to criminalize activism against Israeli occupation. Rafeef Ziadah, a Palestinian a member of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, told The Intercept: “Israel is increasingly unable to defend its regime of apartheid and settler colonialism over the Palestinian people and its regular massacres of Palestinians in Gaza so is resorting to asking supportive governments in the U.S. and Europe to undermine free speech as a way of shielding it from criticism and measures aimed at holding it to account.”

It is, needless to say, perfectly legitimate to argue against BDS and to engage in activism to defeat it. But only advocates of tyranny could support the literal outlawing of the same type of activism that ended apartheid in South Africa merely on the grounds that this time it is aimed at Israeli occupation (some of Israel’s own leaders have compared its occupation to apartheid). And whatever else is true, commentators and activists who prance around as defenders of campus free speech and free expression generally — yet who completely ignore this most pernicious trend of free speech erosion — are likely many things, but an authentic believer in free speech is not among them.

President Assad Highlights BRICS Role to Unify anti-Terror Efforts

Local Editor

 Assad - S.African envoy
The Syrian president Bashar al-Assad reiterated on Saturday that fighting terrorism demands concerted efforts by all countries, warning of the growing international threat posed by terrorism, SANA reported.He was speaking during a meeting with South African President’s two envoys to the Middle East Zola Skweyiya and Aziz Pahad and the delegation accompanying them.

The President highlighted the dangers of the Takfiri terrorism the Syrian people are being subjected to that is provided direct support by regional sides and a cover by some Western
countries that only claim to be fighting terrorism.

He cited the terrorist attacks that have taken place in several countries worldwide as a proof that terrorism has indeed turned into “an international problem” having at its very core an extremist ideology that knows no
limits.

At the beginning of the meeting, the two South African envoys conveyed to President al-Assad President Jacob Zuma’s greetings and care for cementing bilateral relations with Syria and continuing coordination with it in a way to serve the interests of the two countries’ peoples.

The envoys also exchanged with President al-Assad the common view shared by South Africa and Syria on the need of consolidating the world security and peace.

In this context, President al-Assad told the envoys that the peoples of the Middle East region believe that the BRICS group, which includes South Africa as one of its members, is able to play an efficacious role in uniting efforts of the world countries.

This role is seen, he added, in light of the fact that the main objective of the states of this group- which also includes Brazil, Russia, India, China- is to boost security and stability in the world through the establishment of balanced international relations and compliance by the international conventions based on respecting the sovereignty and unity of countries and peoples’ right to self-determination.

For their part, Skweyiya and Pahad said South Africa will work through the BRICS group and the African Union for supporting the Syrian people in face of the terrorist war waged against Syria, saying Syria today, under President al-Assad’s leadership, is fighting terrorism on behalf of the entire world.

The two envoys said their country backs the efforts seeking a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria, voicing their confidence that the Syrians are capable of finding solutions without any external interference, and that could be done through national dialogue that fulfils the Syrian people’s needs and preserves Syria’s unity and
territorial integrity.

The meeting was attended by Presidential Political and Media Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban and the South African Ambassador in Damascus.

Source: Agencies
27-06-2015 – 16:05 Last updated 27-06-2015 – 16:05

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Abbas’ Palestinian state, rejected by Israel

Rehmat

 

On Wednesday, South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma received West Bank president Mahmoud Abbas, an Israeli ally in Pretoria. Zuma also hosted a meeting between Abbas and SA leaders of pro-Israel Jewish organizations,Jewish Board of Deputies and Zionist Federation. During the meeting, Abbas assured the Jewish leaders that he is committed to the so-called two-statesolution for the Jewish occupied Palestine.

The two Jewish groups in a statement said that they “welcome the confirmation by President Abbas that he and his government remain committed to a negotiated two-state solution to the conflict with Israel and to working with the Israeli government towards attaining that goal.”

I bet these cunning Jewish leaders knew that the Israeli government has already rejected the idea of the “two-state”.

On Monday, in a speech, Israeli envoy at the United Nations, Ron Prosor said:

Imagine the type of state Palestinian society will produce. Does the Middle East really need another (Israel) terror-ocracy.”

The answer to Prosor’s question comes from a non-Muslim, non-Palestinian, A. Bilzarian: Hamas may be the most moral “terrorist” in history.

In Spring 2014, Israeli defense minister Gen. Moshe Ya’alon called his Jewish brother John Kerry “Messianic” for latter’s persistence pursuit of an Israel-Palestinian deal. In October 2014, he said that Palestinian will never get a country of their own. What they will achieve the most – an autonomy within Israel. Here is a glimpse of Ya’alon’s talk with Lally Weymouth of Washington Post:

Q: Do you believe in a two-state solution?

A: You can call it the new Palestinian empire. We don’t want to govern them, but it is not going to be a regular state for many reasons.

Q: What does that mean — the Palestinian empire?

A: Autonomy. It is going to be demilitarized.

Q: In Gaza and the West Bank?

A: It is up to them. According to the agreement, they should be demilitarized. It is up to Abu Mazen if he is able or if he wants to demilitarize Gaza. Otherwise, we are not going to talk about any final settlement.

Q: Is Abu Mazen the best Palestinian leader you’re going to get?

A: I don’t know, but he is not a partner for the two-state solution. He doesn’t recognize the existence of the Jewish state.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to annex occupied JordanValley and expel all its native Muslim and Christian inhabitants.

The Zionist regime doesn’t want a sovereign Palestinian state next to its occupation. What it has in mind is a Palestinian Bantustan modeled on apartheid South African and Canadian-American Native experiment.

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