The West is Becoming Irrelevant, The World is Laughing

Global Research, March 24, 2017
US_DeclineandFalloftheAmericanEmpire

I was recently told by an Asian friend of mine who is working in Paris: “Lately I stopped following almost all that is happening politically in the United States, in the UK and even here in France. It all feels suddenly so irrelevant, a waste of time.”

Statements like this would be unimaginable only one decade ago. In the past, what came from Washington and (to a smaller extent) from London was monitored with great attentiveness and fear, all over the world.

But all of a sudden, things have begun to change, rapidly. Despite the extremely violent nature of the Western-designed-and-manufactured global regime, which has been over-imposed on so many parts of the world for decades and centuries, increasing amounts of people in Asia, Latin America and Africa stopped worrying and went leisurely to the ‘barricades’, beginning to rebel against the perverseness of the ‘world order’.

Did it all really happen ‘all of a sudden’?

Or were there various catalysts at work, for already quite a substantial period of time?

It is a well-known fact that any deep-seated, chronic anxiety cannot disappear in just a short moment. People who are enslaved, humiliated, scared into obedience, people who are forced to feel uncertain and constantly frightened, cannot reverse their state of mind without some important external factor or set of factors.

It became obvious to me, as I have been working continuously on all continents and in almost all conflict zones of our Planet, that the renewed pride and courage which is now inspiring millions of oppressed human beings, actually came from the decisive and determined stand of just several brave and determined nations, big and small.

The myth about the omnipotence of the Empire has received a few significant blows.

The fable of invincibility has not completely disappeared yet, but at least it has got fractured and gravely injured.

The gate of the terrible prison began cracking. It has not collapsed, but the fractures were wide enough for at least some sunlight to enter the dark and dreadful cavities inhabited by billions of unfortunate and shattered beings.

Some victims stood up immediately; not many but at least some did. Others raised their heads in feeble hope, still lying down on the dirty ground, still chained, and still shaking. That weak light alone entering the dungeon was actually much brighter than what most people ever experienced in their entire life. It has been strong enough to provoke wonderful, brilliant sparks of hope.

*

Except for some temporary setbacks (like in Brazil and Argentina), the anti-imperialist coalition is now steadier than ever; it is determined and constantly expanding.

And it is clearly winning!

It is truly a ‘rainbow coalition’ of countries, big and small, ‘red’ and ‘pink’, even ‘green’.

The only unifying factor is the shared determination not to be controlled by Western imperialism and neo-colonialism.

For decades, Cuba stood against the Empire, even after the Soviet block was broken to bits, even when all mutual agreements ceased to be honored by the criminal Yeltsin administration.The Cuban people never surrendered. It is because most of them always believed, from the bottom of their hearts, in socialism and internationalism. And also because they have been convinced that the Western Empire is a morally corrupt and illegitimate entity and therefore has to be resisted.

A small and relatively poor country – Cuba – demonstrated to the entire world that while the Empire is mighty, sadistic and brutal, it is not omnipotent, and it is possible to defy it. There is no reason why one should not dare, orone should not dream about a much better world, why one shouldn’t fight for true freedom, attempting to win.

Cuba inspired the world. Its daring Revolution took place just a few miles from the shores of the United States. Soon after, its teachers and doctors went to all parts of the earth, spreading optimism, solidarity and kindness. Its heroic revolutionaries went to fight against the most dreadful forms of colonialism, which were torturing people, is such places as Congo, Angola and Namibia.

After Obama’s attempts to water down the determination of the Cuban citizens, many enemies began to predict, cynically:

“Now Cuba will compromise and sell its Revolution.”

It never did! I traveled to the Island last year, driving through the countryside, and speaking to people in Havana, Guantanamo and Santiago de Cuba. Almost no one was ready to compromise. A greatly educated nation, Cuba saw through the Empire’s tricks and deceptions.

Now almost nobody speaks about the “Cuban compromise”, anymore, simply because there isn’t any on the table.

China, one of the oldest and greatest civilizations on Earth, went through the terrible period of ‘humiliation’. Divided, occupied and plundered by the West, it has never forgotten nor forgiven.

Now the Chinese Communist state and its mixed economy are helping countries in virtually all parts of the world, from Oceania and Latin America, to the Middle East and especially Africa, to survive and to finally stand on their own feet. Despite all the vitriolic propaganda regurgitated by the West (those people in Europe or North America who know close to zero about Africa or China,habitually passing ‘confident’ and highly cynical ‘judgments’ about China’s involvement in the poor world; judgments based exclusively on the lies and fabrications produced by the Western media), China has been gaining great respect and trust in virtually all corners of the globe.

The Chinese people and their government are now standing firmly against Western imperialism. They will not allow any recurrence of the disgraceful and dreary past.

The West is provoking this mighty and optimistic nation, pushing it into a terrible confrontation. China doesn’t want any military conflict. It is the most peaceful, the most non-confrontational large nation on Earth. But it is becoming clear that if pushed against the wall, this time it will not compromise: it will fight.

In the last years I have spoken to many Chinese people, as I traveled to all corners of the country, and I’m convinced that by now the nation is ready to meet strength with strength.

Such determination gives hope to many other countries on our Planet. The message is clear: the West cannot do whatever it wants, anymore. If it tries, it will be stopped. By reason or by force!

Russia is ready again, too. It is standing next to China, enormous and indignant.

Go to Novosibirsk or Tomsk, to Khabarovsk, Vladivostok or Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka. Talk to Russian people and you will soon understand: almost nobody there believes or respects the West, anymore. Throughout history, Russia was attacked and ransacked from the West. Millions, tens of millions of its people were murdered, literally exterminated. And now, the nation is facing what some consider to be yet another imminent attack.

Like the Chinese people, Russians are unwilling to compromise, anymore. The old Russian forecast is once again alive, that very one professed by Alexander Nevsky:

Go tell all in foreign lands that Russia lives! Those who come to us in peace will be welcome as a guest. But those who come to us sword in hand will die by the sword! On that Russia stands and forever will we stand!

In Russia, as in China, and as in so many other nations that were devastated by the Western plunderers, nothing is forgotten and no one is forgotten. It only appeared for a while that the memory had fainted. It never does. You cannot burn down an entire land, ruin the cities, burn the fields, and still pose as one with the moral mandate. Or as we say in Chile: “Justice takes time, but it always comes!”

And the world is watching. It is suddenly clearly registering this determined and brave, epic stand of morally strong nations. Many of those who are watching are deeply impressed with what they are seeing. Perhaps not in London or in Paris, but go and ask those in Johannesburg or Beirut, or even in Calcutta, Cairo or Buenos Aires. Perhaps you suspect what answers you’d receive there!

Throughout modern history, not once has Iran invaded a foreign country. Yet its secular, progressive and democratic government (under the leadership of Mohammad Mosaddegh) was overthrown in 1953, in a CIA-backed coup. What followed was the monstrosity of the ‘pro-Western Shah’, and then a horrendous war, an invasion by Iraq, which was also fully backed by the West and which took hundreds of thousands of human lives. Since then, Iran has been suffering from targeted killings of its scientists (by the West and Israel), as well as terrorist attacks also backed from abroad.

Instead of falling on its knees and begging for mercy, Iran defied the West. On several occasions and when provoked, it sent its battleships to the neutral waters near the US coast, and it pledged to defend its land, in case it was to be attacked.

Iran also showed great solidarity towards Latin America, working closely with virtually all of the revolutionary governments there. It stood firmly by Venezuela in a time of great crises, building social housing in Caracas and supporting the Process by all other means.

In Latin America, no one will ever forget how former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to Caracas to attend the funeral of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, his dear friend. During the memorial, the aged mother of Chavez suddenly approached Ahmadinejad, in tears. Breaking all religious protocol of a Shi’a country that he was representing, the Iranian President embraced her, and held her against his heart, until she calmed down.

This moment was expressing one simple and powerful reality: all of us, the internationalists and anti-imperialists, are fighting for the survival of humanity and this planet. There is more that unites us than what is tearing us apart. Once we win, and we will win, the world will be able to find a common language.The West wants to divide us, by spreading hostilities and distrust, all through ‘false news’ and fabrications. But we understand its game. We will not break our ranks, anymore.

The West is clearly losing. It knows it. It is in panic.

Its nihilism, its propaganda and indoctrination tactics will soon be defeated.

I wrote a lot about the DPRK and how it joined the list of the ‘most hated nations on Earth’. It is a well known fact that North Korea was, for years and decades, much richer and more democratic than South Korea (ROK). But it embarked on one tremendous humanist ‘project’, and together with Cuba, the Soviet Union and to some extent China, it liberated almost the entire African continent, at great cost and sacrifice. And not only that: it sent its top educators and doctors to all corners of the most devastated continent on Earth. Its pilots also flew Egyptian MIGs against Israel, during the 1967 war. These facts have been silenced by Western propaganda, but they clearly explain why the DPRK has been ostracized, pushed to the corner, hit by senseless embargos, and forced to react the way it has been reacting for at least the last two decades.

North Korea has never surrendered either, and it never will.

Neither has Venezuela, for many years the great sentinel and engine of the Bolivarian Revolution, as well as of Latin Internationalism and solidarity. Surviving coups, embargos, plots and propaganda campaigns, surviving attacks, even terror, of the foreign-backed ‘opposition’, Venezuela has been injured but it is alive. Just a few days ago I spoke to an Italian Parliamentary delegation, consisting of  the“5-Star-Movement” MPs, which recently returned from Caracas. Their conclusion was simple: “The worst is over”.

The world knows it! Venezuela, DPRK, Cuba – they never fell. No matter how many knives penetrated their bodies, despite so much pain caused by the sanctions, coup attempts and direct acts of terrorism administered by the West and its monstrous Empire.

It is becoming clear and obvious: the West is helpless against determination, true courage and patriotic love. It is powerless when confronted with humanist ideologies, and with true loyalty!

And the world keeps watching, drawing its conclusions.

I wrote about Syria, comparing Aleppo to the 20th Century Stalingrad. This is where racism, terrorism, and the lowest forms of Western imperialism (and shameful acts of the regional lackeys) were decisively stopped. The price was terrible, but the message to the world extremely clear: The people who love their country with their entire hearts can fight and win against all odds, especially if by their side stand truly great and reliable friends and comrades!

One day the world will thank the Syrian people, profusely and properly. One day, everything will be understood. One day, perhaps soon.

*

This is one of the greatest moments in human history, perhaps the greatest.

It has arrived without big salvos announcing monumental revolutions.

Everything is happening fast, in an organized and determined manner.

The greatest minds of Russia, China, Latin America and the rest of the world, are feverishly, day and night, trying to determine what really brought our world, our civilization, to this ludicrous downfall.

The simplified and stripped-down answer is this: Western imperialism (military, economic and ‘intellectual’/’cultural’), colonialism and neo-colonialism, as well as that dreadful by-product of all the above combined –a set of unchecked and savage form of capitalism.

Simultaneously, new forms of government, of economy and social systems are being, once again, planned.

The military strategists of the countries that are refusing to kneel in front of the barbaric terror of the West, responsible for hundreds of millions of murders and billions of ruined lives, are planning how to defend their countries and the world.

Once again, the world is at work! It is building trenches, educating people, preparing them for the final showdown with the culture that has been tormenting our Planet for centuries.

It is the moment of great hope and renewed enthusiasm.

Of course, if seen from Western capitals, everything is bleak and depressing. There is no ‘hope’ at all.

I agree fully: there is no hope ‘for them’.

The logic, the ‘philosophy’ with which the Europeans and the North Americans have become accustomed to analyze the world, has arrived at a dead end.

Yes, it is ‘the end of philosophy’, or as they say, ‘the end of history’. I fully agree: it is the end of their philosophy and of their history.

That’s why, reading about their elections or statements produced by their politicians, is nothing less than a waste of time. The world realizes it, more and more.

Their ‘new tricks’ are actually very old. Their entire system is outdated. It should have been retired at least one hundred years ago. It survived only because of its savagery and cruelty.It will go soon, anyway.

These days, encountering people inhabiting the West is like encountering those zombies who were living in Nazi Germany during WWII. After the war was over, they were street walking for years, at least many of them, repeating the same refrains: “We didn’t know!” “We never realized”. The Nazi propaganda and the one, which has been used in the West and in the colonies (as Noam Chomsky and I defined in our book “On Western Terrorism”), are based on precisely the same roots, foundations and methods. Both are extremely effective, when it comes to the total brainwashing of the population.

To follow up the last chapter of the imperialist and turbo capitalist morass of the West is embarrassing and useless.

Both Europe and the United States are suffering from a series of devastating mental illnesses, as was defined by the great Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, right after WWII.

Getting too much involved in pathological behavior, constantly studying and analyzing it, could only break and deeply depress any healthy person’s mind.

There is nothing more to understand. Hundreds of millions of victims in all parts of the world are speaking for themselves.

The only rational issue here is this: how to stop this horror, as soon as possible? How to allow humanity to return to its natural development and evolution patterns?

I don’t believe in ‘punishments’ and ‘trials’ and other vehicles of intimidation and of spreading fear. I don’t care whether the West will ‘pay’ for all that it has done to the world. I only want it to be stopped, once and for all.

I work very hard for it to be stopped.

So are others.

And the world is watching, and all of a sudden enjoying what it sees.

Suddenly more and more people are daring to laugh at the global regime. Of course not in Paris, London or New York (here they are scared and obedient, even more than before). But outside, yes!

People on all continents want to see and hear about what ‘others do’, what ‘we do’, not what the Empire and its mental conditions are producing.

They are laughing and waiting impatiently for what a new day, a new year will bring.They are waiting for the true new beginning to arrive.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are revolutionary novel “Aurora” and two bestselling works of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and  Fighting Against Western Imperialism. View his other books here. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Al-Mayadeen. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo. After having lived in Latin America, Africa and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.

Gallup: Americans’ Hostility to Russia Soared After Obama’s 2012 Re-Election

Gallup: Americans’ Hostility to Russia Soared After Obama’s 2012 Re-Election

ERIC ZUESSE | 21.02.2017 | OPINION

Gallup: Americans’ Hostility to Russia Soared After Obama’s 2012 Re-Election

The Gallup organization samples Americans’ approval-disapproval of Russia in February of each year, and the approval-figure for this year is only slightly more than half as high as it had been back in 2012 when Obama publicly mocked his Presidential-campaign opponent Mitt Romney’s famous statement that «Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe».

Gallup poll released on 20 February 2017 showed that Americans’ favorability rating of Russia, immediately after U.S. President Barack Obama left office, is only 28%, which is just above Americans’ 24% favorability toward The Palestinian Authority, and just below the 31% favorability toward Saudi Arabia. Russia hasn’t always been rated down in that low league of American popularity.

Back in 2012, before Obama’s second term, that favorability rating toward Russia was 50%. The year before that, in 2011, it was 51%. It had been reasonably stable until Obama’s re-election (except during 1998-2004 when it gyrated wildly because of Americans’ uncertainty of what the post-Soviet, post-communist, Russian government was like).

The lowest-ever American approval-rating for Russia occurred in Gallup’s poll on 8-11 February 2015, almost a year after the overthrow of Ukraine’s government and the vote of Crimeans to abandon Ukraine’s government and rejoin Russia, when it was 24%. In Gallup’s immediate-prior poll, which was taken right before the 20-26 February 2014 overthrow of the Ukrainian government, the Gallup poll on 6-9 February 2014, 34% of Americans approved of Russia.

No other nation has plunged even nearly as steeply in Americans’ favorability as did Russia, during Obama’s second term. The plunge, from 50% to 28%, which is a 44% plunge in the rating, compares with, as the second-steepest such plunge, Saudi Arabia: it’s a plunge from 42% in 2012, to 31% now, which is a 26% plunge — far less than the 44% plunge for Russia.

The biggest rise during Obama’s second term was for Cuba: 37% favorability-rating in 2012, 51 % today, which is a 38 % rise, during the four years of Obama’s second term.

Cuba’s remarkable rise during Obama’s second term cannot reasonably be attributed to Obama’s having restored, on 20 July 2015, diplomatic relations with Cuba, which had been severed in 1961. The rise instead occurred gradually throughout Obama’s second term. And, prior to 2012, going all the way back to 1998, Americans’ approval-rating of Cuba had been rather stable, within the 25 % to 30 % range. So: apparently throughout Obama’s second term, the U.S. press were providing increasingly favorable ‘news’ coverage of Cuba.

Russia’s chart-topping plunge occurred fairly steadily throughout Obama’s second term. It wasn’t caused entirely by the events in February and March 2014 in Ukraine: the overthrow of President Yanukovych and the plebiscite in which over 90 % of Crimeans (who had voted overwhelmingly for Yanukovych) voted to no longer to be in Ukraine but instead to return to being citizens of Russia, which Crimeans had been until 1954, when the Soviet dictator arbitrarily transferred Crimea from Russia to Ukraine (he was a Ukrainian: Nikita Khrushchev). Obama’s policy on that was to insist that the people of Crimea had no right of self-determination of peoples (which right he agreed with when it pertained to Catalonians in Spain and to Scots in UK but not to Crimeans in Ukraine) but that instead Russia’s acceptance of Crimeans back into Russia is ‘conquest of land’ by Russia, and so Obama imposed economic sanctions against Russia, and NATO poured U.S. and other troops and missiles onto Russia’s borders, allegedly so that there would be no more such ‘conquests’ by Russia (as if there were anything like a plebiscite in Romania or Latvia or Poland etc. in which a majority of the residents there sought for their land to become a part of Russia).

What is especially important to note regarding the plunge in Americans’ approval-rating for Russia is that it didn’t occur only after, but started well before, those events in Ukraine in 2014; it started at the very end of Obama’s first term, in 2012.

Obama’s State Department started planning the overthrow of Ukraine’s government by no later than 2011, when they were probing Julian Assange for information about how to stir revolutions by drawing supporters into online resistance activities. Assange did not know, at that time, what use the U.S. State Department (assisted by Google’s chief, Eric Schmidt) were aiming to make of the information that he provided. However, by the time the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine started on 1 March 2013 its «tech camps» to implement the ‘revolution’, it became clear what use Obama’s people were making of Assange’s insights.

Apparently, the ‘news’ coverage of Russia during the years of the plunge, 2012-2016, was somehow becoming progressively more and more unfavorable, in preparation for the 2014 Ukrainian coup and its aftermath of economic sanctions and the positioning of increasing numbers of U.S. troops and missiles on and near Russia’s borders. The U.S. government even publicly celebrated its propaganda-success.

Manipulating the public in a ‘democracy’ has become so much of a science, so that a person can reasonably doubt whether democracy, in even the limited extents to which it has existed in the past, possesses any realistic meaning in today’s world — or (if so) what meaning.

The basic theories of politics and understandings of ideology — everything that employs the concept «democracy» — are false now, even if they weren’t false earlier, when ‘democracies’ routinely included societies such as ancient Athens, where the majority of citizens owned one or more slaves.

Where lies reign, what meaning has ‘democracy’? Has it become merely one more lie? This is a serious question.

The Conservative Revolution: the “Left” Dilemma

January 31, 2017

by Iman Safi

Part II; The “Left” Dilemma:

(for part I, please see here)

To understand where the global “left”-“right” divides stands now, we must take a quick look at some key developments and join them together within the particular context sought; because the roots of this divide go back to the times during which the Western mind was in the process of choosing between such issues as succumbing to the Church versus liberation, monarchies versus progressive and democratic governments and science versus fiction.

A quick look at all the opportunities that people have had for awakening in the past reveals, without much effort at all, that they were virtually all quickly and swiftly hijacked by individuals and organizations seeking gain and mileage. One can perhaps understand why some people are driven by ego, others are lured by financial rewards, fame, power etc, and whilst it is not easy to “forgive” them, they are easier to forgive than those who meddle with people’s minds and replace their drive for enlightenment and knowledge by unsurmountable walls of ignorance, darkness, ill-defined destinations and even no destinations at all to aspire to reach.

Western Churches had for centuries controlled the minds of their flocks. As a matter of fact, the term “flock” is quite befitting, because they did regard them as mindless sheep. For many generations, they have told them what to believe in, how to think, what subjects to discuss and what to stay away from. They have even told them what to eat, when to eat, who and when to marry, and should one dare break those rules and commandments, he/she can face the pain of death.

Whilst this monstrosity is considered to be by-and-large a thing of the past in the Western/Christian World, it is still well and alive within some of the other communities and religions, and the new wave of terror under the guise of Islamic terrorism is only a manifestation of this phenomenon that it still thriving.

The age of awakening in Western Europe did not come from the Church that did not reform despite many claims to the contrary made by the mainstream Churches as well as some breakaway factions alike. The awakening was the result of the fact that the Western mind liberated itself from the yokes of the Church and instead of listening to the rhetoric of their priests telling them that they were born sinners and that they will burn forever in hell unless they obey their orders and directives, for a change, they were able to read the works of Spinoza, Descartes, Kant, and listen to the music of Bach and Beethoven and see the creativity of Da Vinci. The scientific revolution that ensued was a result of this liberation, and the Western mind had the opportunity to lead humanity and to prosper at all levels, and it did.

To the dismay of some Americans who believe that the American Revolution was the first such popular action against oppressive regimes, the mother of all revolutions was undoubtedly the French Revolution. This is because the French Revolution was the outcome of enlightenment and social awakening, spearheaded by Voltaire, Mollier, Rousseaux and not just a haphazard revolt related to tea trade tax laws. The French Revolution was in fact the inspiration that gave rise to Hegel and Marx, and in its demand for bread to feed the poor, an economic component was therefore added. Sadly, that awakening was not to last because when the Communist Manifesto was published, the European awakening was inadvertently ready to be hijacked and take a detour from its lofty philosophical spiritual sense and be replaced by financial pragmatism.

Backed by setting up economics as a “science”, in reality, Marx’s “historical materialism” was an indirect outcome of John Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”, and became an uninvited de facto love-child, turned hijacker, of the awakening of the Western mind and the age of European enlightenment. But the “financial/economic revolution” was bound to fail because its approach and reach were not holistic, but at best practical. Somehow, Marx and Hegel have perhaps forgotten that man does not live by bread alone and that mankind seeks spirituality, even when it does not conform with rationality.

Speaking of rationality, we are now hitting a very sensitive chord. Institutionalized religions did not offer the Western mind any rationality at all, but that was only the beginning. However, even though the age of awakening based its doctrine on rationality and bolstered it with advances in science and medicine, the Western mind was only ready for a portion of it, and later on succumbed to financial pragmatism as lifestyle took precedence over the pursuit of knowledge. On the other hand, in Eastern Europe, the Communist takeover took the Eastern European mind into a seemingly opposing political ideology; Communism as opposed to Western Capitalism, but in spiritual, ideological and philosophical terms, they were not proverbial opposite sides of the same coin, but rather different corners of the same side of the same coin. However, the failure of Communism was evident with the demise of the USSR, but the demise of Capitalism continues to be met with total denial. That collapse is already here and upon us, but its acknowledgment is still in the making.

In between the demise of the influence of the Western Churches on Western masses and the rise of and fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, the political notion of “right” and “left” emerged initially in the UK to later on move to the entire world.

The political “left” did not only offer its faithful followers the promise of change, but also the promise of liberation; both in body and in mind.

The right to have a job, fair wages, financial retirement security, medical care, free education, sick pay, maternity pay and similar rights were high on the agenda of the Eastern Communist bloc, and that was perceived as the global socialist “left”. On the other hand, in the Western version of the “left”, and in addition to the above, freedom of political expression and freedom of worship and other freedoms were added to the preamble. Some, indeed many Westerners, would argue that even though the “regimes” of Eastern Europe gave themselves the adjective of being “democratic”, they were very far from it, and use the examples of lifetime leaders like former Yugoslavia’s Tito and Romania’s Ceausescu as examples. In retrospect however, the Eastern European counter-argument is hardly ever heard in the West; and this is not the time and place to present it.

Either way, whether or not the “left”, in its ideal absoluteness, did reach power in either Eastern or Western Europe or not, it has not yet given any overwhelming evidence that it has furnished the promised Holy Grail of freedom and equality and all the minor promises that come with them.

The socialist “left” ideas perhaps reached their zenith when Castro and Guevara came to prominence. Guevara is still celebrated as a hero in the most unlikely places. T-Shirts bearing his portrait are even sold in NYC.

During the USSR era, any ideology that was remotely related to socialism was tagged by Western “regimes” as being Communist. Even speaking about and advocating social justice was a dangerous act in the United States, and immediately labelled one as a member of the infamous, illusive, perhaps fictitious “Un-American Activities Committee”. And whilst many socialist movements, both within the USA or outside it, had nothing to do with Communism per se, they were all made to be perceived as being Communist. That was the establishment’s method to portray them and present them.

It was within this atmosphere that the “left” thrived in Western Europe, but even the then very popular French Communist Party has distanced itself from the Communist version of the Kremlin. Nonetheless, socialist parties in Europe have made big gains and even reached the Élysée when Francois Mitterrand was elected as French President in 1981.

But even though the Western “left” tried to distant itself from the USSR, in the eyes of many, the two remained highly associated with each other. And when British unionist Arthur Scargill visited the USSR to spite Maggie Thatcher he made no apologies at all for visiting it, and thus endorsing it, and for this, among other things, he was seen as a so-called militant unionist. That aside, in the UK and Australia, the Labour/Labor parties are highly associated with trade unions and seek social justice, and this is why they have been identified as being on the “left”. And whilst the American Democratic Party could not be given a loud and clear “left” tag per se, the Labour/Labor parties across the Atlantic and the Pacific, respectively, found in it the natural political ally.

In theory, the demise of the USSR should have put the Western “left” at ease. After all, it meant that any argument based on the alleged association of the Western ”left” with the USSR has lost its foundation. But that demise should have also meant that the “left” had fallen under a new challenge; the challenge of reinventing itself as a stand-alone force for change for the better; in a manner that promoted justice and equality, not only domestically, but also globally.

In reality however, that process of rebirth was nothing short of being disastrous.

Without di-polarity, and for the first time since the partition of the Roman Empire, humanity found itself under a so-called New World Order in which the United States of America was the unrivalled leader of the world. Whilst no bans as such were imposed on “left” ideas and “left” parties in the West, the process of rebirth needed new ideas and new preambles. This required a new generation of leaders, but those leaders were not to be found.

To say that the Western “left” merged into the establishment would be an understatement. If anything, it underpinned the establishment’s position by setting itself up as one of its corner stones. In more ways than one, the “left” in the West did not only merge into the so-called “Imperial Empire” it was meant stand up against, but also became its face and organ. It was no longer a force for the kind of change that was initially promised and expected, and thus has inadvertently lost its stature and very definition of being “left”.

In the sequel article, we shall have a brief look at surrogate principles that the Western “left” conjured up seeking survival, and possibly in another sequel, project how those newly-adopted ideas are highly likely to lead to its removal from the throne that it has placed itself on for at least two centuries.

Part III; What’s Left of the “Left” in the “Left”:

A very brief and quick look at the post USSR Western “left” reveals that it did everything BUT stick to its original principles and ideals.

To elaborate, we must look at certain examples; beginning with the highly controversial subject of refugees. The “left” in the West continues to uphold the principle of aiding and welcoming refugees, and this is good and ought to be applauded. However, the “left” does not even seem to question how those refugees have become refugees in the first place! Whilst it is a fact that most refugees are in essence political refugees who have been displaced due to wars inflicted upon their countries, mostly seeking regime change, the Western “left” seems to turn a blind eye to this reality. Even worse, when the Western “left” gets democratically elected and assumes power, it does not try to reverse the course of events that create refugees.

It gets even worse. Take the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as examples. Both wars were initiated by the “right” wing Republican American President GWB. However, his partner in crime in Iraq was Britain’s Labour leader Tony Blair; who was meant to be from the Western “left”.

And whilst the Australian Labor Party (ALP) can hold its head high because it was an ALP Prime Minister (Gough Whitlam) who bailed Australia out of the infamous Vietnam War, other ALP administrations have followed the USA into wars without too many questions asked about their legitimacy and whether or not they conform with the foundations and principles upon which the ALP is based.

Such views and politics have nothing to do with the original “left” values of promoting freedom, supporting the oppressed and working towards social justice; none what-so-ever, and quite the opposite, if anything.

And even though APHEDA, an organization sponsored by Australian trade unions, supports and sponsors humanitarian projects in Palestine, the current ALP leader Bill Shorten has recently described Israeli PM Netanyahu as a friend.

The contradictions within the Western “left” are not the result of a deliberate attempt to create confusion, but rather the direct outcome of loss of identity and soul, and an inability to reinvent itself in the post-USSR New World Order era.

A proper reinvention process requires new ideas, but instead of undergoing a serious process of soul-searching, the Western “left” shopped around for existing populist issues to capitalize on.

For fairness, when the wider community develops and evolves in a manner that it advocates such issues as marriage equality, political parties will need to listen and respect the wish of the community that it is meant to uphold and attempts to govern. It was therefore a democratically and demographically-driven shift when Western “left” parties became advocates of gender equality at all levels, including marriage equality, and for listening to their constituencies, they ought to be applauded.

That said, moves of this nature lose any genuine intention behind them if and when not done in conjunction with other new moves and directions.

It would therefore not be too cynical to say that in this particular instance, ie the issue of LBGT rights, that Western “left” parties have simply jumped on an existing and popular band wagon.

Here, we must stop and remember that whilst the Obama Administration has approved marriage equality within the United States of America, it continued to endorse the Saudi Government that does not give women the right to even drive a car. Furthermore, that same administration has helped and abetted the Saudi regime in attacking and bombing Yemen and creating a human disaster and starvation that no one in the West, including the most “progressive” parties in the “left” are trying to put an end to; let alone seem to know about.

This is not to forget the support fighters associated with Al-Qaeda and ISIL in Syria and Libya have received from the USA and EU nations; including the so-called socialist “left” French Government of President Hollande. And when we make such exposures, we should not vindicate the Western “left” in opposition in nations like the UK, Australia and in the recent past in Canada.

There was not a word, not a whisper to stop the onslaught of those wars, and if anything, the West as a whole, either directly by the action of “left” governments or by the tacit support of “left” opposition, has been actively engaged in financing and supporting the most oppressive world regimes and helping finance, arm, and facilitate the activities of fundamentalist terror organizations.

And speaking of Obama, just by virtue of being a President from the Democratic Party, he was assumed to be from the “left” side of Western politics; and which admittedly is not as hawkish as the Republican Party. But one would wonder, in the true essence of the “left” philosophy, what was/is it exactly in Obama and the American Democratic Party that was/is remotely “left” in its ideals? After all, it was Democratic Presidents who bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, started the Vietnam War and created Al-Qaeda. It was the Democratic Obama who led the EU to the brink of war with Russia over Ukraine; and ironically did so by supporting the ultra-right Ukrainian Neo-Nazis. How bizarre indeed!

Where is anything that can be even remotely referred to as “left” in these actions and endorsements?

It would be therefore fair to say that with the attempts to reinvent the “left” in the West, the original principles were cast away and fantasy that is very alien to the “left” doctrine seems to have taken precedence over genuine revolutions.

This is not a call to take arms and to go back to the days of revolutions. Humanity has had plenty of that already. But to honour the spirit of Guevara all the while helping the Saudis bomb Yemen and Al-Qaeda to destroy Churches in Syria is grossly hypocritical to say the least, and forms a blatant exposure of the rot and moral bankruptcy that seems to have overtaken Western “left” movements and governments.

Without giving a lesson in history, but when Angola was under attack, Castro sent troops to help; not for any gain for Cuba at all. Whether or not one endorses this action, but that was what a “revolutionary” leftist leaders who is true to his word was supposed to do, and certainly Castro epitomized this image. If we compare Castro’s action to current leaders of the “left”, it becomes therefore fair to say that issues such as global justice are no longer on the Western “left” agenda. If we go further and say that the Western “left” has directly and indirectly been involved in creating more global injustice, it then becomes imperative to concede that the Western “left’ has become a part of problem; not the solution.

So what is really left of the “left” in the “left”? One wonders.

In reality and practice, the “left” concept was reduced to only be contingent upon supporting such issues as gender equality issues and environmental awareness; but all with a huge taint of unrealistic political correctness that bogs it down and blinds its vision from focusing on other important issues.

Even when getting facts and having them laid out to members of the Western “left” on a silver platter, they do not seem to understand that, for example, one cannot only look at certain issues of social justice, whilst totally ignoring one’s country involvement in needless wars that are flooding the world with refugees.

What is also mind-boggling about the Western “left” is its love-hate relationship with mainstream media (MSM). They opt to disbelieve their tabloids and bulletins when they themselves are the victims, but the moment someone else gets his neck under the chopping board of the MSM, instead of putting two and two together and coming up with the conclusion that the MSM make lies not only about them, but also about others, instead of putting two and two together to end up with rational conclusions, they conveniently opt to adopt the easy way out and believe the lies about others whom they choose to dislike.

Where is the sense of fairness in this attitude? What happened to the aspiration for global justice?

Rather shamelessly, they are now crying tears of blood to see Obama finish his term, in a clear indication that they are either unaware of the carnage of his warmongering policy or that they know, but they don’t care. However, when one brings out the facts to them and shows them that Obama has created havoc in Libya, Syria, Yemen and many other corners of the world, and when one presents evidence about the tens of thousands of innocent people who perished as a result, they can no longer argue that they did not know. This is a serious indictment because it ultimately means that they have not only abandoned their lofty ideals of global justice, but also that they blatantly do not give much consideration at all to Libyan, Syrian and Yemeni lives. This makes them racists to the extreme, and they can jump up and down decrying the accusation, but their actions and inactions show their true colours.

In principle, to take the fight against global injustice and racism from the “left” would be tantamount to taking Jesus Christ out of Christianity. But try saying this to today’s alleged “leftists”.

What is most bizarre perhaps is the fact that the notion of speaking about reform with the western “left” is a taboo subject. This is quite oxymoronic to say the least. After all, the “left” is meant to signify reform, is it not? So, what is really and truly left of the “left” in the “left”?

Apart from the name tag, what is left of the “left” in “the Western left” and the “left” in general is a combination of remnants of old ideas mashed together with some new-age fantasies that only merge in minds that do not seem to be able to understand the concept of compatibility. This brings back the issue of rationality, and in this case, the lack of it. There is at best very little left about today’s “left” that is well and truly “left” in its core. It’s a muddled up world of juvenile-minded dreamers and screamers, figments of a bygone past, regressive mutants who seem to run more on superficial and distorted vision rather than principles and rationality.

The truth of the matter is that the “left” is dead, and it cannot be rebirthed; unless it admits its past and present failures and rebuilds itself on its original political doctrine with a clear understanding that its objective is to achieve justice and equal rights for all humans all over the world.

At the end of the day, politics is politics, and at best, it provides the right environment for human awakening. At best, it is the prerequisite and not the ultimate objective, and for this reason, it ought to be built on ethical foundations. For as long as this form of political and ethical rationality is not the corner stone of political activism that is meant to be part-and-parcel of human awakening, any journey with any other objective(s) will fail, and history is full of such examples, and all that humanity needs to do is to look back at its past failed steps to learn.

Part IV; The Seemingly Emerging New Left

In the absence of mainstream political movements pushing for change and reform, the human aspiration for change did not go away. Not even the Western Churches, with their former draconian punishments, were able to stifle humanity and prevent it from demanding awakening and better living conditions.

Demanding change is a part of human nature, and people do this at many levels and even when it comes to mundane things like rearranging their furniture. And whilst the bigger changes they seek and pursue do not always end up with positive outcomes, the desire for change does not go away.

And as the traditional Western “left” and “right” formed the establishment and ran it in accordance with electoral alternation, the differences between them shrank and continued to shrink.

They might have continued to differ on rather minor issues such as government funding of certain projects, where to drop taxes and where to lift them, where to prioritize public spending, their relationships with trade unions and other management issues, but on basic philosophical and doctrinal matters such as global justice, they became almost identical. Ironically, they are both in denial as to how identical they are, even though their constituencies keep telling them that they perceive them as being so.

They try hard to scorn each other and quarrel over petty matters in desperate attempts to recreate the schism that once separated them, but to no avail. If even the mighty Catholic Church reached a point in time when it was no longer able to fool people, they will need to acknowledge that their power of swaying opinion and fooling people will not work.

They conjure up all tricks to accentuate the little difference they have left between them, but they also often go back to adopt some former policies of their political foes. When the Australian Liberal Party was in opposition in the 1980’s, it vehemently fought the Australian Labor Party’s (ALP) so-called “Option C” in which Paul Keating, the then treasurer, advocated the need for introducing a consumption tax. Yet, the Liberal John Howard’s Government was unapologetic when it introduced it nearly a decade later. That said, the ALP was also unapologetic when it voted against introducing it, even though it was originally an ALP idea.

Western voters grew increasingly dissatisfied with their political leaders, and the percentage of citizens who actually vote in countries in which voting is not compulsory is a simple reflection.

Even in a highly decisive and highly controversial election like the recent American presidential elections, 90 million eligible voters out of 231 million did not vote. This is nearly a whopping 40%.

This is democracy in action, and ironically in this instance, perhaps a reflection of the distrust of American voters in the version of democracy that the two-party system has been pushing down their throats for a very long time. Not even a rally like the Clinton-Trump battle was enough to motivate them.

That said, the 60% who did vote, voted with a loud and clear message; but are the major parties listening? One really wonders.

There was a major twist in this election. The Republican candidate Donald Trump has actually won the elections without the support of his party. As a matter of fact, many Republican heavy weights did not endorse him and made statements that they were not going to vote for him.

Against protocol, former President George Bush Senior did not even attend the inaugural ceremony.

It is not by accident that Trump is not liked either by his Democrat foes or by his supposed Republican “comrades”. After all, he has broken the mold and based his campaign on seeking change, the kind of change that neither party wants to address, let alone bring up.

What worries the Western “right” and “left” about Trump is the fact that he has seemingly created a new force in politics and managed to get in from an open window that they least expected and one previously unheard of; the window of the “Conservative Revolution”

The impact of the “Conservative Revolution” is perhaps not any less virulent in Western politics than the impact of the age of European enlightenment was on the Church. Only time will tell.

Would it be too immature and inconceivable to say that for the major Western political parties the worst is yet to come? A close-up look at them reveals that the Trump phenomenon is likely going to be the beginning of an avalanche that will politically sweep the West and push the reset button on its party-based infra-structure.

In the opening article titled “The Conservative Revolution”, and which was not meant to be an opening article per se but rather a stand-alone one, I expressed my views about how the move of the traditional Western “right” and “left” moved to the centre, and how in doing so, they created separate vacuums in the left and right, and which were filled by the Greens and Ultra-Right, respectively.

What is intrinsically pertinent is the fact that when people are denied the opportunity for change, they will find a way to seek it.

Traditionally, the drive for change came from below; from the masses. That was how the mother of all revolutions, the French Revolution, was created.

Traditionally also, the conservative reasoning behind maintaining the status quo came from above; if from authority itself (as in the case of France’s Louis the XVI), the social and financial upper crust, or both.

The financial divide had been a major driving force that divided the ‘haves and the have nots’; those who wanted change from those who resisted it.

However, as different contemporary ideologies – political, financial, doctrinal or otherwise – seem to stem from perspectives and objectives that are invariably partial in their views, selective in their outlooks, and primarily irrational in their rationales to varying degrees; they will always eventually fall down and crumble because they all have their own and specific Achilles heel, and their heels will all be struck once they run out of steam and luck.

Thus, what was seen as a triumph of Capitalism over Communism when the USSR crumbled was in reality a forerunner for Capitalism to come to terms with reality of the forthcoming demise of its own two-party system if not more.

There is undeniably a new and unprecedented political move on the rise in the West, and if the traditional custodians of alternating Western parties in power have an iota of rationality and long-term vision, they ought to stop and look at their own status quo, and at what size hole they have dug up in the middle of the path of their own political future.

In their denial to the proximity that was created by their bi-partisan agreement on major issues, little did they see that in doing so, they had signed a mutual death warrant for each other. Little did they realize that for them to be perceived to be on opposite sides, they needed to demonstrate that they were not only the opposite sides of the same coin, but opposite in every way that was related to their modus operandi. But they did not.

The masses do not go by what is dictated to them, and right or wrong, they will invariably go against the stream when they feel marginalized and ridiculed. If anything, the more they feel they have been marginalized and ridiculed, the more vehement they become in standing up against the offender. And if the offender is the authority, the more they will be inclined to revolt.

As the “left” is clearly no longer what it used to be, and as the “right” is losing more support from its traditional power base because it is seen as being almost identical to the “left”, the drive for change had to open up for itself a new window for self-expression.

This brings us back to the issue of human awakening.

Trump’s “Conservative Revolution” is ideologically and philosophically not in a position to offer humanity an enlightened alternative by any stretch of imagination.

That said, it is presenting a challenge, a real and significant challenge.

For the West in general and the United States in particular to ignore the events that led to the election of Trump as President would be foolhardy. To blame the happening on Russia is ridiculous and laughable.

At the present time, the West is no longer divided on the Cold-War-Take-One divide of Capitalism versus Communism. It is no longer divided on any remaining remnants of that divide that once distinguished “right” from “left” Western politics either.

At the present time, the political divide that separates the traditional major parties in the West is increasingly becoming one that is only seen in the eyes of those parties and their loyal voters. But it is not the loyal voters who decide who wins elections.

The swinging voters and those who do not vote, at least not on a regular basis, are indeed those who make that decision, and their decision is becoming more prominent.

With his business background, Trump may apply fiscal business pragmatism and run the USA as a business. Whilst this sounds like an abhorrent prospect, in reality, it may mean relief to millions around the globe who wish for a cessation of American attempts of further regime changes that serve them with American-style democracy, courtesy of B-52’s.

The “Conservative Revolution” is the slap in the face that both major parties in all Western democracies need and deserve to get. At best however, it cannot be expected to be much better than just that. It is inadvertently the emerging and still ill-defined force for change; ironically a “new left”; even though it does not bear any ideological resemblance to Guevara’s “left”, but rather just by definition of seeking change.

In reality, for as long as people continue to look at each other as groups and nations of conflicting interests, they will find a reason to quarrel. They will only stop once they see that what unites them is much stronger and much more profound, and they cannot and will not do this until they seek proper awakening; the kind of awakening that ancient Greek Philosophers and the European philosophers taught and sought. Religion was meant to be an awakening, but sadly it was hijacked by institutions, twisted, diverted and turned into a tool for suppression rather than liberation.

Will humanity employ the Trump election win as a precursor and a reminder and an incentive to go back to the roots of the age of awakening? This may sound like a huge and a far-fetched call, but in reality, awakening does not necessarily need a huge nudge for it to commence.

At the end of the day, and going back to basics mentioned in an earlier article in this series, meddling with the minds of people is a serious crime. Technically, it is not defined as a form of genocide. It is not; it is much more serious.

Politics and ethics should go hand in hand, and when they don’t, we see events akin to what humanity is experiencing now.

Humanity will survive and will bring out its best, and the best is yet to come.

At the end of the day again, darkness will never be able to overcome light any more than it can stop the light of a candle from breaking darkness and disabling its light from reaching huge distances. Such is the power of light over darkness, because no intensity of darkness can stifle a single humble candle.

And finally, at the end of the day, political movements, right, left, conservative revolutions or otherwise, including the multitude of religious factions and schools, none of them mean much at all, unless they offer humanity the real salvation it needs. And the salvation of humanity will not come from politics and politicians.

But if one looks at different versions of the definitions of salvation, defining salvation as an outcome of knowledge is a definition that cannot be surmounted except by those who prefer ignorance.

Part V; The Establishment Strikes Back

With the backlash to the election and inauguration of President Trump, we are witnessing unprecedented events indeed. Certainly, much of this is based on his controversial “Executive Orders”, and this is well expected; especially the one relating to visa restrictions and the trauma and anxiety it is causing. However, in a major twist of events, and among many other things, we see THE American President attacking the Western Mainstream Media (MSM) and his Press Secretary Sean Spicer warning them that they will be held accountable.

Just a very short time ago, Obama’s Press Secretaries Robert Gibbs and later on Josh Earnest were playing “I scratch your back and you scratch mine” with the same MSM; feeding each other with stories they both loved to hear and making conclusions that suited their “business” agendas.

For decades, the machine of the “establishment” has been none but the so-called “Deep State” represented by the White House, and it’s figurehead was none but the incumbent President whoever he was. Even the seemingly benign, humane and smiley Jimmy Carter was a part of that “establishment” and its “Deep State”, and so was the former President, who promised to be unlike any other; former President Obama, the suave-looking self-made African American with his eloquence, elegant wife and perfect looking family, the President who promised the earth to end up providing scorched earth, and instead of providing hope, millions across the globe looked forward to the day they gave him the title “former president”.

Of course, those shedding crocodile tears for the departure of Obama and rampaging the streets of America and the world do not know or care to know about the carnage the Obama administration has caused across the globe; because they have such a narrow agenda of interests, and because what they are trying to protect is not human rights and women as they proclaim, but certain privileges that they personally possess and only some Western women.

That infamous “establishment” is best described as a pyramid, an octopus if one wishes, but one with a virtually countless number of legs and tentacles, and they all feed off the figurehead, and the head does not only feed them, but offers them raison d’être, protection and all that they need for sustenance and continuity.

Just like Tolkein’s Orcs cling to Sauron and imbibe their life and existence from him, the satellite entities of the “establishment” have always considered the American President to be the apex of the pyramid, the symbol, the be-all-and-end-all being, a god, upon whom their very existence depended; even when they claimed otherwise.

So when the head of the “establishment” turns away from his minions, their struggle for survival kicks in, not only because they need to survive, but also because in his departure, they inadvertently become all what is left of the “establishment” and that for them to restore their might and glory, they will first need to make sure that the “establishment” must restore its own stature first, and for this reason, it ought to strike back; albeit at the head that is meant to be its own.

Thus far, Trump is keeping his election promises; and this is to the utter disappointment and shear horror to what is left of the “establishment”.

In all of their divisions, alliances, and private/personal aspirations, they had been hoping and praying that the moment he got elected he was going to renege on major election promises. He did not. They hoped that the moment he sat in the Oval Office he would then turn his back on his election promises, and thus far he hasn’t. This is not to say that he will not, but thus far, he hasn’t.

But unlike the Orcs who were engulfed into the fissures in the earth which were generated after Frodo destroyed the “ring”, what is left of the “establishment” did not, and was not expected to cease to exist the moment the head was no longer sitting on its shoulders. After all, some of the satellites of the “establishment” are much more intelligent and conniving than Orcs; even though at heart, there is little difference that separates them.

The intelligent ones are capitalizing on the principle of “controlled opposition”; a strategy they developed for other nations in the past, in nations they wanted to destabilize, and this had worked effectively in many places. Now, they are trying this technique at home, and thus far it is working.

The technique is based on conjuring up a populist issue that inflames emotions enough to mobilize people to take to the streets; if not more. We saw this technique work quite effectively in Egypt, Libya and other places. It almost succeeded in Syria.

Those monsters specialize in social engineering, and they capitalize on the goodness in humanity and the desire that good people have for making things better. So they flag huge issues such as liberty (as in the case of Egypt), dictatorship (as they did in Libya and Syria), and they find thousands upon thousands of youth rising up in defense of those principles.

They are playing similar cards now, but this time, they are doing this within the United States of America. They are using a number of anti-Trump trump cards; including misogyny, racism, and Islamophobia.

They are desperately striking back in a life-or-death attempt that can secure their survival. What is ironic about this “strike back” is that it is banking on a support base that is extremely diverse, or at best multi-based.

Throughout history, foot soldiers have either been forcefully drafted or mobilized by some human passion; and this takes us back to the issue of the genocidal concept of meddling with peoples’ minds. The foot soldiers therefore are not the ones to blame; not now, and not at the time when the Catholic Church mobilized waves upon waves of soldiers to take back the Holy Land from the Muslim infidels.

However, unlike the revolutionaries of Soviet and post-Soviet eras, unlike the Al-Qaeda and ISIS Jihadists, the foot soldiers of the post-Obama presidency era do not have any hierarchal foundation at all. They do not have neither a specific agenda nor leadership, neither a preamble nor a strategy, and above all, the diverse backgrounds they have beggars beliefs as to what unites them.

This is because those who move them and motivate them are similar to the former initial enemies of Syria who were only united by their hatred of Syria and her President. And now, the leaders of the protests of America, who are changing the protests into riots, are united by their hatred for Trump; full stop.

And speaking of those different backgrounds, here is an interesting list of those who are anti-Trump; both overtly and covertly. The list includes the “Deep State”, Soros and his NGO’s, Murdoch and his tabloids, the Neo-Cons, the Saudi Royal family, ISIL, and of course; the Western “left”. Need one list more?

Now here is the pertinent question to ask. How do the leaders of the Western “left” feel at ease being associated with those monstrous people and organizations? Do those alleged defenders of women actually know and worry about the fact that they are currently comrades in arms with the Saudi regime? This is the world’s most oppressive anti-women regime, a regime in which women are not only forbidden to vote, but they are not allowed to drive cars either.

And how about the association with Obama himself? The President who bombed more foreign nations than any other, the one who has caused global havoc and destruction? Are the people he killed less human in the eyes of the leaders of the Western “left”? Obviously, they are.

The demise of the Western “left” has to be first and foremost blamed on the demise of its leaders and think-tanks. After all, it is leaders who pave the way and set objectives and strategies to achieve them.

But the blame game has to turn inwardly at some stage, because individuals cannot blame others for all of their actions. They can blame them for misguiding them, but surely, those individuals must reach a point in time at which they must assume at least some responsibility and be able to do their own soul-searching.

Sadly, many leaders and foot soldiers of the Western “left” alike do not seem to be remotely close to the realization that they have failed their own doctrine.

By turning the blind eyes to global social justice, the leaders of the Western “left” have reduced the struggle for freedom and awakening to specific agendas only restricted to gender equality, LBGT rights and global warming issues; and no one was “allowed” to bring in any other subject. And what a short-sighted and moronic definition some of them have to gender equality! Rather than pushing for equality in its literal sense, they want to impose equal numbers of men and women in certain positions. Why do they want to take the suppression of women into another wrong twist? One wonders. Isn’t equality supposed to be meritorious in nature? And what if in a certain area there are more qualified women than men? Do we still need to have 50% male representation?

Such a vision of gender equality is very ill-conceived indeed, and does not serve women’s rights, not the least.

And how can the alleged protectors of women turn a blind eye to the sex slave industry inflicted upon the war-torn countries in which their nations, and even respected leaders, have poked their noses?

Yes, what about the sex slaves that Obama allowed to be bought and sold under his watchful eyes and tacit quietness? Syrian and Iraqi girls as young at 10 years old were bought by filthy old Saudi, Gulfie and Qatari pedophilic men as sex slaves. Where were Meryl Streep and Madonna? Don’t Syrian and Iraqi women, and young girls, deserve protection by those alleged protectors of women? Obviously not. We did not hear a single word, not a whisper from the hundreds of thousands of them.

The West, and its “left”, cannot hide and pretend that the slave industry took off after ISIL (its alleged enemy) took control after June 2014, as facts on the ground clearly indicate that the sex slave industry started very early in the mark at a time when the West fully and overtly endorsed all anti-government forces in Syria, at times when John McCain was visiting them and taking photoshoots with them, and at times when Australia’s then Labor Foreign Minister Bob Carr was calling for the assassination of President Assad.

Does the Western “left” have any intelligence or sense of shame left in it at all?

The global “left” supporters are now up in arms, not because of Trump’s infamous grabbing quote, but because he has destroyed the “establishment”; their establishment, and they are fighting for the restoration of their stature.

And how does the woman who rose to infamy by parading in a vagina dress believe that she is presenting, upholding and protecting women? Is this how she regards women? As vaginas? This is the lowest, most demeaning and most appalling act of objectifying women that I have ever seen or expected to live long enough to see. To her I would like to say that to me, women are my late and beloved mother and grandmother, my aunts, my daughter, my wife, my daughters-in-law, my nieces, my cousins, my friends and their friends, my neighbours, and all other women that I know, respect and love. The women I do not know, when I need to communicate with them not knowing their names, I give them the respectful titles such as madam and the like. I do not see them as vaginas and they do not represent themselves as vaginas.

The demeanour of the vagina dress woman is far worse than Trump’s infamous grabbing statement, but yet, no one seems to be making any comments to condemn her. If anything, she seems to be seen as a heroine.

This woman is clearly a pervert of some sort, and social misfits like her know well that for decades now, they have decimated and destroyed what is known as the “good old values”, and they also know that there are millions upon millions of people across the globe who are sick and tired of their hypocritical antics. They know that the decent people of the world are growing impatient with their debauchery and despicable demeanour.

For decades, they have capitalized on the kindness and acceptance of the majority of people who have endorsed them, protected them, and accepted them. This is because it is the decent majority of people who are the true custodians of democracy and freedom of expression; not them. It is the efforts and sacrifices of the decent majority that resulted in the creation of those attributes in civilized societies; not theirs.

My animated outcry is that of an old leftie who feels that his movement has been hijacked. I feel that the leadership of the Western “left” has fallen off the track, they are not listening to their elders. They are either so politically unsavvy that they don’t know that they have fallen into the traps of the “establishment” they were meant to stand up against, or that they have been fooled to allow to be dragged into it unknowingly. Either way, they have given the reins to a bunch of brainless scavengers, mental retards who are true Fascists in every manner of thought and demeanour. And they are all striking back together, their establishment is striking back with them, because they know that they have been decapitated and that the rest of the world has had enough of them.

If I am sounding angry, it is because I have already lost my country of birth Lebanon and was driven out of it more than 3 decades ago because the progressive atmosphere and movements that I grew up among in the fifties and sixties were all replaced by fundamentalism and strife. In the last 5-6 years, I saw the same happen to my maternal Syrian cousins and family, and for the same reasons. An age of enlightenment was just beginning to dawn in the Middle East and was hijacked by the radical religious movements that swept and destroyed everything in their path.

And now, in my adopted homeland Australia, the country I love and dedicate my heart to, is slipping into an opposite but yet very similar radicalism. That was totally unforeseeable only a few years ago, and there is no force to blame but the “left” and how it allowed itself to morph from an impetus for moving forward to a step back into different forms of spiritual debasement and lack of concern for global justice and national sovereignty.

This may sound like an ultra-right propaganda, but in reality it is not. It is the “left” who has abandoned the principles of the true left and turned it from a force of change and liberation to a force towards breakdown of society and family values. If by endorsing those values and virtues I will be branded a right-wing zealot, then so be it, because as a die-hard true leftie, I do not see any association between my principles and values with what is left of the left in the “left”.

Here we go again, Rex Tillerson Already Talking Regime Change in Venezuela

Rex Tillerson Already Talking Regime Change in Venezuela

Rex Tillerson testifies during a confirmation hearing.

Rex Tillerson testifies during a confirmation hearing. | Photo: Reuters

The secretary of state nominee attacked both Venezuela and Cuba.

The new U.S. administration of Donald Trump has made it public that it will seek a regime change policy in Venezuela disguised in “transition to democracy” rhetoric, the country’s potential new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in an interview this week.

OPINION:
Rex Tillerson Has a Long, Troubled History in Venezuela

“If confirmed, I would urge close cooperation with our friends in the hemisphere, particularly Venezuela’s neighbors Brazil and Colombia, as well as multilateral bodies such as the OAS, to seek a negotiated transition to democratic rule in Venezuela,” the former executive in ExxonMobil told Latin America Goes Global.

He further claimed that the economic crisis in the oil-rich South American country was “largely a product of its incompetent and dysfunctional government, first under Hugo Chavez, and now under his designated successor, Nicolas Maduro.”

The government of President Maduro has, however, blamed the recent crisis on an economic war by right-wing politicians as well as corporations who are hoarding products and halting production to put pressure on the socialist administration.

Meanwhile, Tillerson struck a less aggressive tone when pressed about how he would deal with the standoff between the government and the opposition-led national assembly in Venezuela.

“The U.S. should continue to support legitimate dialogue to resolve the political crisis between the Maduro government and the opposition that now controls the National Assembly.”

But then he called for sanctions against what he called “human rights violators” when asked about political prisoners while also slamming Maduro’s government for “undemocratic practices.”

The right-wing website also asked the nominee for U.S. top diplomat post “about the controversial and misguided decision to normalize relations with Cuba” to which he did not suggest a full rollback from Barack Obama’s steps on Cuba.

“I will engage with Cuba but continue to press for reform of its oppressive regime. I will support human rights defenders and democracy activists in Cuba, empower civil society, defend freedom of expression, and promote improved internet access and I will ask our allies to do the same,” he said.

He added that he would engage in bilateral and multilateral talks with Havana in order to “press Cuba to meet its pledge to become more democratic and consider placing conditions on trade or travel policies to motivate the release of political prisoners.”

However, when the interviewer pressed further Tillerson said he would stand by statements made by Vice President Mike Pence stating that the Trump administration would reverse Obama’s Cuba rapprochement policy.

RELATED:
War Criminal Kissinger Dotes Praise on Trump Secretary Pick

“Yes. There will be a comprehensive review of current policies and executive orders regarding Cuba to determine how best to pressure Cuba to respect human rights and promote democratic changes.”

Tillerson and Venezuela, in fact, have a bitter history and some say he might pursue personal revenge against the socialist government as he takes the international diplomatic stage in Washington.

In 2007, late President Hugo Chavez ordered the nationalization of 22 major multinational corporations operating in the country including ExxonMobil, then headed by Tillerson.

He rejected the compensation deal offered by the government of US$1 billion and took Venezuela to the international arbitration court demanding instead US$10 billion. But the rarely defeated CEO lost and his company settled for US$1.6 billion.

“(Tillerson) took it very personal with Chavez,” said Ghassan Dagher, a Venezuelan oil industry consultant to the New York Times in December.

Tags

Obama’s Legacy In Latin America: Militarization, Right-Wing Coups, & The Rule Of Wall St.

Obama’s Legacy In Latin America: Militarization, Right-Wing Coups, & The Rule Of Wall St.

It seems we have arrived at the witching hour of Obama’s presidency, when corporate media ghouls continue to breathe out the infectious contagion of liberal lies and half-truths about the Great Dissimulator and his accomplishments.

Whether it’s The New York Times’ opinion pages hailing Dr. Changelove as “The Most Successful Democrat Since F.D.R.,” or the noxious nostalgia for the present injected into the public discourse like so many palliatives into the bloodstream of a terminal patient, the true history of Obama’s presidency is being veiled behind a mask of delusion.

Maybe it’s the Orange-Headed Hydra assuming power in Washington that gives the outgoing administration that air of dignity and grace. Maybe it’s the desire to craft a narrative in which “Hope” and “Change” were something other than hollow campaign slogans deftly employed by a charlatan of the first order. Or maybe it’s just business as usual in the heart of the U.S. Empire. No matter the reason, Barack Obama’s media-induced sainthood is now all but complete in liberal America’s collective psyche.

But the United States is not the only “America.”

Indeed, crossing the southern border and entering into that mysterious place called “Latin America,” one encounters a very different Obama legacy, one that is defined by the same policies that Yankee imperialists have employed for more than a century: destabilization, militarization, and exploitation.

Yes We Can!…continue to pursue a neocolonial agenda in Central and South America.

 

Obama’s love affair with the right wing

An artist who prefers to remain anonymous for security reasons pastes up one of his "interventions" that shows President Barack Obama at a podium surrounded by Honduran politician in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. (AP/Eduardo Verdugo)

An artist who prefers to remain anonymous for security reasons pastes up one of his “interventions” that shows President Barack Obama at a podium surrounded by Honduran politician in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. (AP/Eduardo Verdugo)

A mural in Lithuania depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Donald Trump embracing in a passionate kiss has gone viral. The meaning of the image is about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the skull, but it is no less perspicacious for its lack of subtlety. And while Russia has indeed tacitly, and rather shamefully, supported far-right candidates and causes for its own coldly pragmatic political reasons — Brexit, Trump, Le Pen, etc. — the truth is that Obama’s administration has also backed right-wing reactionaries and extremists where it has suited its interests.

Throughout Latin America, President Obama has been a driving force behind the resurgence of right-wing forces that have rolled back the gains of socialist and social democratic governments, targeted indigenous and African diaspora communities, assassinated activists, and toppled governments where they could.

So, yes, let’s talk about “legacy.”

In Honduras, Obama’s legacy was cemented from the very beginning of his presidency. In the summer of 2009, Manuel Zelaya, the country’s democratically-elected left-wing president, was removed from power in a midnight coup orchestrated by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her cronies in Washington and in Tegucigalpa. And while Obama’s tepid condemnation of the coup elicited cheers from many liberals in its contrast to the Bush administration’s loving embrace of the coup against Hugo Chávez in Venezuela in 2002, the reality is that, as with all things Obama, it was mere words. The support of the president and his henchwoman was the driving force behind the coup.

Clinton is never one to shy away from an opportunity to boast about the amount of blood on her hands. In a passage which removed from later editions of her book “Hard Choices,” she rather brazenly admitted:

“In the subsequent days [after the coup] I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere, including Secretary [Patricia] Espinosa in Mexico. We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot and give the Honduran people a chance to choose their own future.”

Obama’s top diplomat was instrumental in installing a right-wing government backed by the wealthiest business interests in Honduras and powerful players in Washington. As Clinton bagman Lanny Davis openly stated in an interview just weeks after the coup:

“My clients represent the CEAL, the [Honduras Chapter of] Business Council of Latin America. … I do not represent the government and do not talk to [interim] President [Roberto] Micheletti. My main contacts are [billionaires] Camilo Atala and Jorge Canahuati. I’m proud to represent businessmen who are committed to the rule of law.”

Indeed, Davis quite candidly exposed himself as an agent of powerful oligarch financiers and landowners who, until the election of Zelaya, had always maintained firm control of the reins of government in Honduras. These are precisely the people, backed by the Obama administration, wielding power in Honduras today through a violent right-wing government that assassinates indigenous leaders and human rights defenders such as Berta Cáceres, Margarita Murillo, and many others for the sake of investors who seek to develop indigenous, Afro-Caribbean, and peasant lands for massive profits.

Student protesters clash with police over the president's decision to run for re-election in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, a year after a controversial Supreme Court ruling voided a longtime constitutional ban on presidential re-election, Thursday Nov. 10, 2016. (AP/Fernando Antonio)

Student protesters clash with police over the president’s decision to run for re-election in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, a year after a controversial Supreme Court ruling voided a longtime constitutional ban on presidential re-election, Thursday Nov. 10, 2016. (AP/Fernando Antonio)

Beyond the killings of activists and the political backing of a right-wing coup government, Obama’s legacy in Honduras is also one of militarization. In 2014, The North American Congress on Latin America reported:

“The steady increase of U.S. assistance to [Honduran] national armed forces has, if anything, been an indicator of tacit U.S. support. But the U.S. role in militarization of national police forces has been direct as well. In 2011 and 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST)—which had previously carried out military-style missions in Afghanistan—set up camp in Honduras to train a local counternarcotics police unit and help plan and execute drug interdiction operations …

Supported by U.S. helicopters mounted with high caliber machine guns, these operations were nearly indistinguishable from military missions, and locals routinely referred to the DEA and Honduran police agents as “soldados” (soldiers).”

The NACLA report further noted that the Obama administration deployed at least five “commando style squads” of FAST teams across Central America. It added that, in Honduras, U.S. and Colombian special forces units have been training, equipping, and deploying with a new “elite” police unit called the Intelligence Troop and Special Security Group, or TIGRES (Spanish for “tigers”), which human rights groups argue is military in nature.

Ultimately, the man who rode the crest of a wave of “Hope” and “Change” not only brought more of the same to Honduras, and Latin America generally, he actually accelerated the re-conquest of the region by the forces of the military-industrial complex and finance capital.

 

Obama’s rightward push in South America

Demonstrators march with a sign that says in Portuguese "Get out Temer" and a drawing of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro, as they demand the impeachment of Brazil's President Michel Temer in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Nov. 27, 2016. (AP/Andre Penner)

Demonstrators march with a sign that says in Portuguese “Get out Temer” and a drawing of Cuba’s late President Fidel Castro, as they demand the impeachment of Brazil’s President Michel Temer in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Nov. 27, 2016. (AP/Andre Penner)

Another example of this confluence between Obama’s right-wing fetish and Wall Street’s boot on the neck of Latin America came last year in Brazil, when Dilma Rousseff’s democratically-elected government was removed from office in what can only be described as a parliamentary coup.

In mid-April of 2016, Reuters published a story exposing Michel Temer, the right-wing vice president at the time and the current president, as preparing the shortlist of his presumptive cabinet months before the Rousseff government had been toppled.

Temer tapped Paulo Leme to serve as either finance minister or head of the Central Bank. Leme is the chairman of Goldman Sachs’s operations in Brazil, making him perhaps the preeminent representative of Wall Street in the country. While his appointment may have been perceived as too brazen, the trend of Wall Street representatives steering the ship of Brazil’s economic and political life is impossible to ignore.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Obama administration, too, has been dominated from the beginning by the same types of financiers — often from the very same companies such as Goldman Sachs — that control the coup government in Brazil. The not-so-invisible hand of finance capital is now tightly coiled around the neck of Brazil. Another feather in Obama’s legacy cap.

Of course, there’s Obama’s graceful tango with the new right-wing government in Argentina led by Wall Street darling Mauricio Macri. While Obama was wining and dining the neoliberal reactionary, Macri was busy loading his new government with Wall Street insiders and representatives of Big Oil and other major industries.

This was the real Obama, the one who will not be paraded before Americans as the revered dear leader already missed before he’s left the stage. Rather, this was the man who, without conscience or compunction, ushered in a wave of right-wing reaction throughout the Western hemisphere.

And he did it with a smile.

 

Obama’s quiet militarization of Latin America

President Barack Obama, left, talks to Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos before the start of their meeting at the Casa De Huespedes during the sixth Summit of the Americas, in Cartagena, Colombia, Sunday April 15, 2012. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

President Barack Obama, left, talks to Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos before the start of their meeting at the Casa De Huespedes during the sixth Summit of the Americas, in Cartagena, Colombia, Sunday April 15, 2012. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

One of Obama’s great accomplishments in the service of the military-industrial complex was his below-the-radar militarization of the region. The pervasive myth of Obama as distinctly different from George W. Bush lives on in the diseased minds of liberal sycophants, but the facts tell a different story.

Obama represented continuity with, and an expansion of, the worst policies of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton when it came to Latin America. Plan Colombia, the broad heading for the billions of dollars spent on U.S. military engagement and cooperation in Colombia begun by Clinton and expanded by Bush, was further expanded under Obama.

Just totaling the military, police, and economic aid to Colombia for 2010 to 2015, the United States has given nearly $3 billion to Colombia in the form of “aid” to fight the so-called “War on Drugs,” widely seen as merely a cover for U.S. military power projection in South America. Add to that the fact that during Obama’s tenure, and under former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command William McRaven, special forces troop deployments ballooned to more than 65,000, with many spread throughout Latin America.

In an eerily similar fashion, Obama expanded funding and scope for the Mérida Initiative, a project launched by Bush in 2008 which essentially makes Mexico’s military and law enforcement into a de facto arm of the U.S. military and government. As with Plan Colombia (and AFRICOM), even though Obama did not launch this initiative, he expanded it significantly, providing more than $2.5 billion since 2008.

But if liberals want to soothe their broken hearts with the fact that Obama did not actually launch these programs, they might want to consider the Central American Regional Security Initiative, created by Obama in 2011.

According to a March 2014 report from the Igarapé Institute, an independent security and development think tank based in Brazil, CARSI and Mérida alone received nearly $3 billion (2008-2013). It is an open secret that the massive funding has been channeled primarily into military and paramilitary programs. Though the United States touts these programs as success stories, their expansion has coincided with increased militarization in every country where U.S. funds have been provided.

In El Salvador, the government led by President Mauricio Funes consolidated military control of law enforcement in the interests of its U.S. backers. These changes took place simultaneous to the implementation of CARSI, and should be seen as an outgrowth of U.S. militarization. In Guatemala, the government of Otto Pérez Molina, a former military leader with a record of atrocities and genocide, further militarized the country before being imprisoned for corruption in September of 2015.

Similarly, Honduras has been transformed into the U.S. military’s primary foothold in Central America. U.S. Coordinator of the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) and Refoundation Party (LIBRE) Lucy Pagoada explained in a 2015 interview that “[Honduras] has turned into a large military base trained and funded by the U.S. They even have School of the Americas forces there.”

“There have been high levels of violence and torture since the [2009] coup,” Pagoada continued.

 

Good cop, bad cop: Obama’s policies on Cuba and Venezuela

An image of President Barack Obama wearing fake ears and the slogan "Obama go home" on a street wall in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro regularly sets social media afire with support, with heavily trending anti-U.S. campaigns such #ObamaYankeeGoHome and #ObamaRepealTheExecutiveOrder, which denounced U.S. sanctions on members of Maduro’s administration. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

An image of President Barack Obama wearing fake ears and the slogan “Obama go home” on a street wall in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro regularly sets social media afire with support, with heavily trending anti-U.S. campaigns such #ObamaYankeeGoHome and #ObamaRepealTheExecutiveOrder, which denounced U.S. sanctions on members of Maduro’s administration. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

Of course, no discussion of Obama’s actions in Latin America would be complete without an examination of Washington’s attempts to reassert its influence in the region with the simultaneous thaw in relations with Cuba and the destabilization of Venezuela.

Obama signed an executive order on Jan. 13 declaring both Venezuela and Cuba “national security threats” despite no evidence of any such threat. Isn’t it interesting that the president being lauded as the man who sought to normalize relations with America’s long-standing foe in Cuba still manages to not only classify the country as a threat, but to expand that same status to another geopolitical and strategic enemy in the region?

The Obama administration has attempted to undermine and destabilize Venezuela using as pretexts everything from a border dispute with neighboring Guyana to artificially created scarcity of staple goods and speculation against the currency by elites who control commodity distribution networks in the country, and whose backers reside in Madrid, Miami, and Washington. Julio Escalona, an economist and former Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, told me in Caracas in 2015: “Our currency is not being devalued by speculation, but by hyper-speculation.”

And, in signature Obama style, Washington has backed the right wing, including many far right fanatics, in an attempt to wrest political control of the country away from the ruling Socialist Party (PSUV) led by President Nicolás Maduro (and in spirit by Hugo Chávez).

Perhaps the best example is the targeted assassination of numerous prominent members of the PSUV, including the 2014 killing of Robert Serra, an up-and-coming Chavista legislator seen by many on the Venezuelan left as the “next Chávez.” Serra was assassinated by individuals connected to Álvaro Uribe, the former president of Colombia and long-standing U.S. proxy.

Similarly, the well-respected journalist and prominent Chavista Ricardo Duran was murdered outside his home in Caracas in January of 2016. Likewise, Fritz St. Louis, international coordinator of the United Socialist Haitian Movement and secretary general of the Haitian Cultural House Bolivariana de Venezuela, was assassinated in March of 2016. In all these killings, the hidden hand of the right wing and its backers in the United States has been an open secret.

And where is the outcry from the liberals who continue to laud Obama? Perhaps now that a Republican is in office they might soon dust off their political consciences to raise their voices against continued U.S. neocolonialism and imperialism in Latin America? Apparently, their interest in human rights and peace is dependent on the color of the tie worn by the man or woman in the Oval Office.

Obama’s legacy in Latin America is, like that of all other U.S. presidents of the last century, one of profit and exploitation, death and destruction. This is surely no secret in Latin America, where millions have raised, and will continue to raise, their voices in opposition to the Yankee Empire.

Unfortunately, the myth of the Nobel Peace Prize winner has become stronger than the reality of lived experience.

In this witching hour, the twilight of Obama’s presidency, let us not be entranced by spells cast by the coven of corporate media warlocks. Let us instead remember Obama’s legacy in Latin America not as “Hope” and “Change,” but as “More of the Same.”

USA finally agrees to release political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera after 36 years in prison

Oscar Lopez Rivera to Be Freed After 36 Years in US Prison

Archive image of Puerto Rican independentista Oscar Lopez Rivera.

Puerto Rico’s independence leader and longest held political prisoner in the U.S. from Latin America will be free.

The United States government announced Tuesday the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera, who has been imprisoned in the U.S. for 36 years for his struggle to free Puerto Rico from U.S. colonial rule.

RELATED:
Oscar Lopez: Colonialism is Puerto Rico’s Biggest Problem

Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama commuted Lopez’ sentence, which will expire on May 17, according to a list of commutations announced by the White House.

Celebrations started almost immediately, while Clarissa Lopez, daughter of Lopez, will hold a press conference Wednesday at 10 a.m. in reaction to his release at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Lopez was born in Puerto Rico in 1943 and upon returning to Chicago after serving in the Vietnam War, he joined the struggle for Puerto Rican rights and participated in acts of civil disobedience and other actions.

In 1976, he joined the clandestine fight for the independence of Puerto Rico as a member of the Armed Forces of National Liberation. In 1981, he was captured by the FBI and accused of “conspiracy” for his militancy in the FALN.

At the time of his capture, he proclaimed himself a prisoner of war, protected in the first protocol of the Geneva Convention of 1949. The protocol protects Lopez from prosecution for having been arrested in a conflict against colonial occupation.

IN PICTURES:
The Fight to Free Oscar Lopez Rivera

The U.S. did not recognize Lopez’ demand and sentenced him to 55 years in prison and after an alleged attempt to escape, the sentence was increased to 70 years in prison, 12 of which he spent in solitary confinement.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1999 offered him a pardon, along with 13 FALN members who accepted, but Lopez rejected it because it included completing 10 more years in jail. Leaders from around the world, as well as human rights organizations, have demanded Lopez’ release for many years.

On June 18, 2012, the U.N. Decolonization Committee approved a resolution, promoted by Cuba, which called for the recognition of Puerto Rico’s right to independence and self-determination and urged the release of all pro-independence prisoners in the United States.

 

Reporting from Cuba: The absence of right…wing politics

by Ramin Mazaheri

It is with great regret that I have to leave Havana after 1 month of special-assignment reporting for Press TV in order to return to Paris.

That may surprise a lot of people, but think of what type of work I am returning to: Stories about unabashed capitalism, chauvinistic neo-imperialism, anti-Muslim xenophobia and the upcoming presidential contest in which the only 2 serious contenders are a right-wing candidate and the far-right National Front.

Why is reporting in France (leftist reporting) considered easy? I cannot count the number of times I have been tear-gassed in the last year while covering on France’s anti-government protests, due to ineffective austerity policies.

Let’s not forget that France is still (14 months now) a police state of emergency, one step short of marital law. The government’s power grab due to just 2 terror attacks continues to undermine France’s claim of democracy (the Nice tragedy was a crazed lone wolf and not organized by any terror group).

And yet it was Cuba which was described as “militarist”, “tyrannical” and “dictatorial” across the West following the recent death of Fidel Castro.

Well, working in Cuba has been totally free of the reactionary violence which is a daily occurrence in France. It has been a celebration of leftist resistance, and the honoring of amazing advances in the face of the genocidal US-orchestrated international Blockade.

I was quite happy to spend 1 month of my life to defend the modern democratic will of the Cuban people and thus the ongoing Cuban Revolution. About all I am looking forward to in France is the bread.

Cuban bread – the type the average person eats and which I regularly bought at local, state-run panaderías – is an offense to bread everywhere. Cubans rightly pointed out that it was the best they can do when the Blockade makes things like oil, butter and salt scarce. Sure, a piece of the subsidized “staff of life” costs just one-fourth of one US penny, and it did keep me from hunger many nights, but I will remember it only as the bitter taste of omnipresent US imperialism, which tastes bad even when dipped in evaporated milk.

In France I defend more than just the culinary endowments of Western Europe’s geographical breadbasket, I defend the democratic will of the people (when France isn’t being reactionary and racist). However, I am part of a very small minority, both socially and as a journalist. In Cuba, I am not, and it has been wonderful.

Why is it like this? Why is France so rich and yet so troubled? Why do I have such trouble finding positive stories there? I have an idea:

In Cuba a far-right simply does not exist – racism, xenophobia and such reactionary stupidities are banned. If you call that “tyranny”, all I can say is that I side with the Cubans in refusing to defend to the death your right to spread inequality, hate and regression.

And what I cannot stress enough is the enormous effect the absence of a right-wing clearly has on the hearts, minds and daily bearing of the Cuban people.

You cannot simply chalk up to the weather the yawning difference between the open-hearted Cubans and the cold, unfriendly, excessively forma and pessimistic French. Surely it is more due to the corrosive cultural effect of tolerating right-wing thought.

Just imagine for yourself what your Western nation would be like if there was no far-right influence? If the goals of racial solidarity and economic equality simply could not be questioned, and had to be promoted?

That’s what Cuban culture has that the West does not, and such cultural gold is both beyond measure and incredibly rare anywhere in 2017.

It clearly gives many French the jollies to insult, denigrate and promote competitiveness, but I assume this is why the silent majority is nauseated, depressed and reportedly adulterous.

But right-wing thought is more than just tolerated across the West, it is avidly promoted by both government and media. From chauvinistic nationalism to capitalist neoliberal dogma which has no factual grounding in reality to “on what moral ground could you possibly claim” humanitarian interventionism – with such ideological tent poles, how can any Western nation claim to be more “modern” or “humanistic” than Cuba?

And yet, the total war against leftist thought means that it’s the French who are considered “modern” and “advanced”. Paris is city full of rich old people who can afford to live in the past – Havana, so close to the belligerent United States, cannot afford such illusions.

People said I could not “report from Cuba”

The idea was something like that I would be prohibited, spied on, redacted and thought-controlled.

Nothing like that happened remotely. It was quite simple, and here is how you do it: You work with the government, not against it.

You don’t sneak into the country on a tourist visa and do a halfway job – you get a formal journalist visa and follow their laws. You provide the government with a list of story ideas and be upfront about what type of journalism you want to do. You meet with them a few times. You talk with them as equals. You remind them that they know more about their own society than you do, and welcome their ideas. You act like what you are – a guest, and not some zealot missionary there to spread light and truth amid darkness and lies.

This is all to show the government that…you are not one of the very many advocating the destruction of their society and culture.

If you cannot understand why Cuba would be vigilant in this respect, you are not smart enough to be permitted to report from here and I hope your visa request is denied!

If you say “such governmental oversight proves the press is not free”, I encourage you do just a bit of research to find out how Iran’s Press TV, to give one example, has been banned, hounded and subverted in places like France, the UK and the US.

There is a crucial difference here: I don’t ever recall Cuba claiming to be a beacon of free press. I have heard the same false claims from the three Western countries just mentioned.

Bottom line: The Cuban Center for International Press was only helpful in my work, and never once did they do anything which I considered remotely infringing on my press freedom.

They permitted me access wherever I wanted to go, helped find me appropriate analysts, and if I had more time here they would have been even more help. They did not redact anything, nor did they have the chance to as they never even asked to see my final products – my work was published without any oversight from the Cuban government whatsoever.

What did I learn from 1 month reporting in Cuba?

If you only read one paragraph, read this:

I talked to dozens of people here, maybe over 100, and from all ages and backgrounds: What seems rock-solid to me is that Cuba is not changing, post-Fidel. He gave up power 9 years ago anyway, so there is no huge sea change due to his death, just a profound sadness for a national hero. I repeat – if you think Cuba is an island adrift, come visit and talk to the people.

Let’s make one key idea clear: The Cuban Revolution is clearly supported en masse.

Their wrong hypothesis is: That the Cuban Revolution was the work of just one exceptional man, Fidel, instead of the combined, sustained efforts of millions of people.

My hypothesis: Not one but two generations have grown up under a total Blockade, so how could they not support the Revolution? Who could go without so long under the gun of a blockade, being deprived of so many basic opportunities, and not be converted? They have no illusions here that the US can or should be trusted; they are committed to independence, anti-imperialism and solidarity with and for all.

This is the main point I take away from Cuba: The Cuban Blockade is an absolute crime against this noble, modern culture.

If you had to rank it, you could place slightly behind the Nazi genocide against Jews, and the Israeli genocide against Palestinians. But the Cubans justifiably call the blockade “The longest genocide in history”. Are not all three the attempt to kill an entire people and destroy an entire culture? This is exactly what is going against Cuba.

Let’s dispense with another idea: The Cuban government/Communist Party also has widespread support because Cuba has been able to do so much despite such total aggression.

Gaping tourists appear slightly more idiotic in Cuba than elsewhere, because the lack of infrastructure is a surprise. This is a poor country, and that is obvious everywhere.

This country is so impoverished that there should be widespread famine – there isn’t, as the people appear very robust. There should be widespread begging in Havana – there is literally none, save one or two drunks. They should be illiterate and jobless and sick – they aren’t.

The lack of these things amid such poverty perfectly explains why Communist Party has justifiably earned the support of the people.

And I could go on here about how Cuba’s system is, in fact, democratic, with popular votes, easy access to candidature, bans on election campaigning, mechanisms for recall, etc., but this is not a dissection of Cuba’s system of communist democracy, which is not at all a contradiction. It is, however, all there in black and white and in the law for those who want to learn more about it.

Anyway, we need space to discuss the fact that one need not even confuse the Cuban Revolution and the Cuban government: to do so is an attempt to construct a strawman argument, and this is precisely what anti-Cuban or anti-Castro forces do (and all they do).

Recall that I am coming from a place where the president has a 4% approval rating, and where his policies are so unpopular, so undemocratic, that he cannot even stand for re-election. This only confirms my thesis that nobody actually likes their government anywhere in the world and that complaining about any and every government is as natural a pastime as talking about the weather.

But despite all the people who hate Donald Trump, does anyone in the US really push for overturning the American Revolution of 1776? Of course not – it is the same here: You can be pro-revolution and anti-government without contradiction, if you insist.

If you are anti-Cuban government as well as anti-Cuban Revolution…you are just a reactionary fascist. The Cuban Revolution, undoubtedly, restored power, land and life to the people. It ended tyranny and foreign domination.

Now, if you do not realize that you should support the Cuban people’s popular choice of government in order to also give much-needed support their Revolution…well, then you are just an average Western fake leftist.

Yes, nobody here every told me that the Cuban government was the most effective, efficient group of men and women who levied taxes and monopolized the use of force, but you’ll never hear that anywhere. If you are looking for such “insights”, I suggest tuning into Washington-funded propaganda outlet Radio and TV Marti.

A government working amid the US-led Blockade genocide

Just as Sartre said that to understand communism must one first embrace its ideals, to truly understand the Cuban government (and by extension Cuban culture) one must first embrace the idea that they have provided food, health, education and security despite the orchestration of a trans-national blockade for nearly 60 years.

And what is the Blockade? Firstly, it is not what the US claims it is – simply a bilateral “embargo”. The US ruthlessly persecutes any nation which tries to do business or even aid Cuba.

It should be stunning to find out that any ship which docks in Cuba cannot dock in the US for 6 months. Cuba is an island nation, after all, hugely reliant on maritime shipping. But how many shipping companies can afford to bypass the world’s largest market just 100 kilometers away in order to work with Cuba?

The Blockade bans any 3rd party from importing products with Cuban sugar or nickel, their only natural resource. The Blockade bans half of all new, world-class drugs, causing innumerable deaths.

Cuba is locked out of the international banking system, crippling their ability to buy and sell goods.

The US even obstructs charitable donations!

This is total war against Cuba, given that invasion already failed at the Bay of Pigs.

The Cuban government deserves an incredible amount of accolades for providing the equal standard of living that they currently have.

Perhaps I am especially sensitive to all this as I am an Iranian citizen – I thought the US sanctions on our country were bad, but Cuba is another level. Iran benefits from increased distance from the US, 6 times more people, and plenty of oil, but innumerable Iranians have died due to the same lack of medication, modern technology and other aggressions against our popular, democratic revolution.

Iran’s development has skyrocketed since the end of the Iran-Iraq War, but even if you could import 10,000 Macintosh computers to Cuba you would find very few buyers because there is simply no money on the island.

It’s not just Cuban cars which are stuck in a time warp: Seemingly everything here dates from 1959, and that’s the new stuff!

That’s what happens after 6 decades of being unable to sell goods; 6 decades of having foreign investors scared off by the United States.

This is what the Communist Party has been up against for so intolerably long, and yet they still lead the hemisphere in many respects.

Obama apologists will point to Cuba as a success – don’t believe it

Opening an embassy was not gutting the Blockade, which he could have via executive order. Full stop. Obama apologists lose, alongside 11 million innocent Cubans. Please stop trying to defend the indefensible.

He also waited too long to even try – less than $400 million in goods have been exported to Cuba since 2014 – and now there are no “economic realities on the ground” which could prevent Trump from reversing everything, as he has promised.

Yeah I’m sure Cuba did go slow, but the dangerous of immediate US economic domination should be obvious. They also largely insist on productive joint ventures, not typical capitalist exploitation.

Exports to Cuba (mostly food) have actually fallen since restrictions were “eased”, and yet less food for Cuba is somehow a success?

Obama had a ton of executive power at his disposal and his main contribution will be to simply reopen communication, but there should be no doubt that he also strengthened the genocide.Even after restoring relations in 2014 his administration levied billions in fines against French and German companies for “blockade violations”.

The message was clear: there is no thaw in relations, and Cuba stays under our thumb.

Obama did not end subversive US programs, bans on imports and exports, a little torture chamber called Guantanamo on Cuban soil which he promised to close and didn’t – all could have been ended by executive order.

At the 11th hour Obama has just repealed the preferential “wet foot/dry foot” immigration policy. Kudos, better late than never. But by waiting so long he added to the US “brain drain” of Cuba for 7 years, 11 months and 51 weeks – he squeezed the most he could out them, I guess.

Try as his apologists might, Obama cannot be transformed into a leftist, because any clear-eyed analysis shows he’s not even a centrist. As is typical of his entire presidency he only represented a change in form and color, not a change in US tactics.

I was able to console Cubans with, “Iranians say the same thing”: They don’t report any changes following a so-called “historic thaw in relations”.

Getting started is always the most difficult, but going from 0 to 1 on a scale of 10 is not a major advance nor worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize.

In fact Obama just added 10 more years of sanctions against Iran, and he did it in his typical “form over substance” method: He didn’t sign the bill, but he allowed it to pass. This is the same thing but now he has plausible deniability.

Now his apologists can say that the sanctions are only the result of an “obstinate Congress”. It’s best to remember that it was assumed he would sign the bill, but this change of tactic was a surprise.

One step forward, 11 steps back, look good doing it, stress racial/identity politics – peaked on election night 2008, no doubt. No wonder many in Cuba support Trump, even though the Donald really only talked tough against Iran and Cuba.

I had so many stories left to do!

3,500 Cubans killed by Miami-based terrorists and not 1 American by Cuban revolutionaries; the occupation of Guantanamo Bay (the only far-right in Cuba, LOL); who will the US seek to assassinate now that Fidel has passed from natural causes; Raul is stepping down next year after two 5-year terms, what’s his legacy; who is Miguel Diaz-Canal, the 55-year old engineer tipped to become the new Communist Party leader; and much more!

But I am glad to have made my small reports. It is too bad that capitalism and imperialist forces dominate the West so thoroughly that pro-Cuban reports – i.e. reporting what the majority of Cuban people believe – are such an outlier in the English language; it’s too bad that so many English-language journalists are so heavily-indoctrinated that they look askance at any report which isn’t “balancing” the Blockade with accusations of tyranny and dictatorship.

I doubt I have made many friends in the Little Havana area of Miami – that’s no problem, because I don’t expect a warm reception in the Iranian-exile dominated area of Beverly Hills, either.

But enough about me and more about Cuba!

And this where Cuba deserves some criticism: They are failing terribly in the information war.

They have not realized that Cuba needs an international media presence like Iran’s Press TV, Venezuela’s TeleSUR and Russia’s RT/Sputnik.

In a place where technological development has been so forcibly retarded, I hypothesize that Cuba simply doesn’t realize that the Internet means that Cuba can finally broadcast their own story to the world; no longer is the world dominated by AP, Reuters and the New York Times.

Yes, such a media costs money, and Cuba is rightly focused on providing for the basic needs of their own people, but I know the world’s leftists are starving for information about Cuba, that Cuba has so many amazing stories to tell and that Cuba has so many fascinating programs to reveal.

Cuba is certainly the leftist leader of the Western Hemisphere – their history of resistance, geographic location and modern culture also makes them a global leftist leader. They need an international media which reflects that, for the good of international leftism. Granma is, after all, just 8 pages long.

Cuba is undoubtedly has a third-world economy – and that’s an unforgiveable crime created by the Blockade – but it is undoubtedly a first-world culture.

I leave Havana convinced that post-Fidel Cuba will not be regressing, and will remain an amazing place for so many of the right leftist reasons.

*****

One final note of interest I’d like to include:

As the longtime correspondent of Iran’s Press TV in France I take a special interest in Muslims – if I don’t cover the bottom of France’s social pyramid, who will? There are only 10,000 Muslims in Cuba, but I visited Havana’s main mosque and not one person said they had ever encountered governmental or even societal discrimination due to their religious belief. One person said he converted 13 years ago and had never heard any Muslim make such a complaint.

This is the exact opposite of what Muslims report in France, as well as much of supposedly “tolerant” Europe.

Of course, the idea that Cuba is anti-religion has been outdated for 2 decades – John Paul II was here in 1998. It’s only promoted by establishment media because it’s another form of anti-Communist propaganda.

Banning religion has clearly not been a long-term success for Communism anywhere, and Cuba recognized that and changed.

Yes, some hugely annoying (and US-based) evangelistic groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been banned, but perhaps they should consider not knocking on everyone’s door to aggressively convert people. When I lived in Gary, Indiana, they disturbed my Saturday morning too many times to count.

I’m not condoning religious oppression and I didn’t care to dig that deep into it, but I was reminded that seemingly every society has some religion that gets oppressed: Scientologists are harassed in Germany (even though I doubt many even know what its tenets are – I don’t), the US killed 82 Seventh-Day Adventists at Waco, Texas, Muslims are attacked in Burma, Jews are targeted for attacks in France, and the list goes on.

The biggest religion in Cuba may be Santeria – a distinctly Cuban-African mix. I visited the homes of White/Aboriginal people who put up elaborate altars to this West African religion, with pictures of Jesus and some Catholic saints added in. It’s pretty telling about the open-mindedness of Cuban culture that non-Blacks have widely embraced a religion which started among the Yoruba of today’s Nigeria.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

%d bloggers like this: