Exclusive: Resistance culture undergoing war – Jamileh Alamolhoda

23 Jan 22:03

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Al Mayadeen English 

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s wife, Jamileh Alamolhoda, tells Al Mayadeen that Iran is standing in the face of western patriarchal hegemony through cultural resistance.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s wife, Jamileh Alamolhoda

Iran is one of the few countries that want to stand in the face of the West’s patriarchal standards, and this is why the West is suppressing Iran, Dr. Jamileh Alamolhoda, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s wife, told Al Mayadeen during an interview that aired Monday.

Alamolhoda explained to Al Mayadeen that there was a widespread media campaign aimed at undermining the culture of Iranian resistance, especially resistance stemming from Iranian women.

She went on to explain that media patriarchy was “taking over the world, and truth be told, they founded a new definition of the woman and introduced a new feminist culture based on their own standards, demanding that all other cultures yield. In the event that someone stands up to them, they suppress them.”

Alamolhoda underlined that if Iranian, Arab, Chinese, or Japanese women reject the Western standards regarding media patriarchy, they would be condemned because of the prevalent form of media repression, which props up only two options: fall in line or perish.

“This attack on women targets all cultures, but the culture of resistance against the culture of hegemony, or in better words, the cultural hegemony that America wants to impose on other cultures is manifested today in the countries of the axis of resistance and is engaging in cultural resistance,” she said.

“They usually look at the issue of resistance from the military aspect only, but the basis of that military resistance is cultural resistance acquired from women within the family and in their upbringing methods,” she stressed.

Furthermore, according to Alamolhoda, the culture of resistance may be acquired from schools and universities, allowing the main supporters of cultural resistance to be the mothers or wives of those martyred in occupied Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq, among other countries.

She also explained that both cultures were prevalent in Iran, “and the question remains, what is the woman’s true choice? But when some resort to riots and violence with the aim of destabilizing security and order, the government cannot but intervene.”

The doctor touched on the rallying of the media against Iran, saying there were around two hundred TV channels that were inciting the masses against the culture of Iranian resistance, especially when it comes to Iranian women. “We have a few friends in the world who share the same thinking, such as Al Mayadeen and Al Manar channels.”

Finally, she directed a message to the women of Iran, the Arab world, and the resistance, which she said also included the women of Africa and Latin America – “everyone seeking salvation from the hegemony of American culture.” She said: “we advise them to review the principles set by Imam Khomeini and those of the leader of the Revolution, reciting the Quran again, and going through the Hadiths to remind themselves of the views and opinions of the Noble Prophet (PBUH).”

This comes against the backdrops of the riots that took place in Iran over alleged violations of human rights and amid accusations of misogyny directed at Iran. 

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry and the Intelligence Organization of the IRGC issued a statement in late October taking a jab at the role of foreign spy agencies, especially the CIA, in puppeteering the riots in Iran that took place in September.

“Numerous examples and undeniable references of the all-out role of the American terrorist regime in designing, implementing, and maintaining” the riots were exposed as part of “continuous and precise” intelligence monitoring in the past year, supported by documents, the statement read.

The statement pointed fingers at the CIA as it “played the main role” while being buddy-buddy with the espionage services of the UK, “Israel” and Saudi Arabia.

“The main perpetrators were the CIA, the British and Saudi intelligence services, the Israeli Mossad, and the intelligence services of other countries,” it read. “the planning and the execution of the majority of the riots were carried out by the Mossad in collaboration with terrorist organizations.”

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Exclusive: Resistance culture undergoing war – Jamileh Alamolhoda

January 23, 2023

Source: Al Mayadeen

Private Dialogue | Dr. Jamila Alamolhoda – Wife of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

By Al Mayadeen English 

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s wife, Jamileh Alamolhoda, tells Al Mayadeen that Iran is standing in the face of western patriarchal hegemony through cultural resistance.

Iran is one of the few countries that want to stand in the face of the West’s patriarchal standards, and this is why the West is suppressing Iran, Dr. Jamileh Alamolhoda, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s wife, told Al Mayadeen during an interview that aired Monday.

Alamolhoda explained to Al Mayadeen that there was a widespread media campaign aimed at undermining the culture of Iranian resistance, especially resistance stemming from Iranian women.

She went on to explain that media patriarchy was “taking over the world, and truth be told, they founded a new definition of the woman and introduced a new feminist culture based on their own standards, demanding that all other cultures yield. In the event that someone stands up to them, they suppress them.”

Alamolhoda underlined that if Iranian, Arab, Chinese, or Japanese women reject the Western standards regarding media patriarchy, they would be condemned because of the prevalent form of media repression, which props up only two options: fall in line or perish.

“This attack on women targets all cultures, but the culture of resistance against the culture of hegemony, or in better words, the cultural hegemony that America wants to impose on other cultures is manifested today in the countries of the axis of resistance and is engaging in cultural resistance,” she said.

“They usually look at the issue of resistance from the military aspect only, but the basis of that military resistance is cultural resistance acquired from women within the family and in their upbringing methods,” she stressed.

Furthermore, according to Alamolhoda, the culture of resistance may be acquired from schools and universities, allowing the main supporters of cultural resistance to be the mothers or wives of those martyred in occupied Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq, among other countries.

She also explained that both cultures were prevalent in Iran, “and the question remains, what is the woman’s true choice? But when some resort to riots and violence with the aim of destabilizing security and order, the government cannot but intervene.”

The doctor touched on the rallying of the media against Iran, saying there were around two hundred TV channels that were inciting the masses against the culture of Iranian resistance, especially when it comes to Iranian women. “We have a few friends in the world who share the same thinking, such as Al Mayadeen and Al Manar channels.”

Finally, she directed a message to the women of Iran, the Arab world, and the resistance, which she said also included the women of Africa and Latin America – “everyone seeking salvation from the hegemony of American culture.” She said: “we advise them to review the principles set by Imam Khomeini and those of the leader of the Revolution, reciting the Quran again, and going through the Hadiths to remind themselves of the views and opinions of the Noble Prophet (PBUH).”

This comes against the backdrops of the riots that took place in Iran over alleged violations of human rights and amid accusations of misogyny directed at Iran. 

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry and the Intelligence Organization of the IRGC issued a statement in late October taking a jab at the role of foreign spy agencies, especially the CIA, in puppeteering the riots in Iran that took place in September.

“Numerous examples and undeniable references of the all-out role of the American terrorist regime in designing, implementing, and maintaining” the riots were exposed as part of “continuous and precise” intelligence monitoring in the past year, supported by documents, the statement read.

The statement pointed fingers at the CIA as it “played the main role” while being buddy-buddy with the espionage services of the UK, “Israel” and Saudi Arabia.

“The main perpetrators were the CIA, the British and Saudi intelligence services, the Israeli Mossad, and the intelligence services of other countries,” it read. “the planning and the execution of the majority of the riots were carried out by the Mossad in collaboration with terrorist organizations.”

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Brazil Supreme Court Jan. 8 riots investigations to include Bolsonaro

14 Jan 2023

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Brazil’s Supreme Court approved a request from the Attorney General’s office to investigate the role of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in inciting the January 8 riots that vandalized government institutions.

Brazilian Security forces arrest supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro after retaking control of Planalto Presidential Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on January 8, 2023 (AFP).

The Supreme Court in Brazil, in its investigation into the incitement of the January 8 Brazil riots, agreed to include former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

The request to investigate Bolsonaro came from the Attorney General’s office to the Supreme Court in a statement, on Friday, that specified that the investigation looked at the “instigation and intellectual authorship of anti-democratic acts that resulted in episodes of vandalism and violence in Brasilia last Sunday.” 

According to the court, there are seven different probes pertaining to the January 8 riots in Brasilia, among which there is one that investigated Bolosonaro’s ties.

A video that questioned the electoral process

The evidence cited by the AG’s office which compelled Justice Alexandre de Moraes to grant the request was a video that Bolsonaro had posted to Facebook two days after the Brasilia riots, in which an attorney in Mato Grosso allegedly questioned the legitimacy of Brazil’s presidential election that brought President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to office once again.

More specifically, the video argued that Lula da Silva’s election was brought on by a decision from the Supreme Court and Brazil’s electoral offices rather than through a democratic election, thus questioning the legitimacy of the entire electoral process.

The video, however, was deleted from Facebook the morning after it was posted.

Prosecutors have maintained that, despite the fact that the video was posted after the riots took place, it remained plausible evidence to probe into Bolsonaro’s role in the incitement of the riots. The prosecutors further noted that the video had “the power to incite new acts of civil insurgency.”

Moreover, it was stated that the video might lead to Bolsonaro being charged with a “crime of incitement,” which is punishable by three to six months in prison or a fine.

De Moraes’ decision also included a request for a hearing to look into political communication on platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram.

Bolosonaro was not alone

In addition to Bolsonaro, his former Justice Minister Anderson Torres, has also been included in the investigation following an arrest order by de Moraes for his “neglect and collusion.”

According to de Moraes, Torres fired subordinates and fleed to the US prior to the riots, which opened the door for the riots to take place.

Despite de Moraes’s allegations, Torres denied any wrongdoing. Notwithstanding Torres’ denial, the investigation has discovered a draft decree in his home that outlined seizing control of Brazil’s electoral authority and possibly overturning the election.

Read more: Washington orchestrating coups in Latin America: Evo Morales

The defense rebuts

Bolsonaro has “never had any relation or participation” in the January 8 riots in Brasilia, said Frederick Wassef, a lawyer representing the former President.
 
“President Jair Bolsonaro always repudiated all the illegal and criminal acts, and always spoke publicly against illicit conducts, just as he was always a defender of the Constitution and democracy,” Wassef said in a statement.

Furthermore, Wassef also noted that “Throughout his government, he always acted according to the four lines of the Constitution,” adding that “President Jair Bolsonaro fiercely repudiates the vandalism and depredation acts against public patrimony committed by infiltrators in the manifestations.”

Brasilia rioters likely had inside help: Lula

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said, on Thursday, that the rioters likely had inside help.

Lula told journalists he had ordered a “thorough review” of presidential palace staff after Sunday’s violent riots, which saw supporters of his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro storm the presidential palace, Congress, and Supreme Court and cause widespread damage.

“I am convinced that the door of the Planalto (presidential) palace was opened for people to enter because there are no broken doors,” the President said in Brasilia.

“This means that someone facilitated their entry,” he added.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he affirmed that “we will investigate calmly to see what really happened.” 

Read more: Brazil rioters dubbed ‘neo-fascists’ dispersed, intl. leaders condemn

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Brazil’s Lula: ‘Fascists’ will be punished with ‘full force of law’

January 9, 2023 

Source: Agencies

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva leads his first ministerial meeting since his inauguration at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023 (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

By Al Mayadeen English 

The Brazilian president orders the federal security to deploy in Brasilia and stop the rioters as he accuses his far-right predecessor Bolsonaro of encouraging his supporter’s riots.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva ordered on Sunday federal security to intervene in Brasilia and restore calm after Bolsonaro supporters raided the National Congress building, the Supreme court and the presidential palace.

Lula said that the “fascists, fanatics” rioters will be punished “with the full force of law.”

The federal intervention in the district will remain until January 31, according to the decree.

According to Brazilian broadcaster GloboNews, Brazil’s congress, Supreme Court and Presidential Palace have all been retaken by security forces.

Read more: Latin America leaders voice support to Brazil’s Lula amid riots

On his Twitter account, the president accused former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro of encouraging his supporter’s acts and held him responsible.

Lula added that the rioters “took advantage” as he is still “setting up the government” to carry out their actions. 

Read more: Lula takes office, cancels privatization of 8 state-owned companies

“They took advantage of the silence on Sunday, when we are still setting up the government, to do what they did. And you know that there are several speeches by the former president encouraging this. And this is also his responsibility and the parties that supported him.”

Supporters of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro broke into the country’s National Congress building and Planalto presidential palace on Sunday, in protest against leftist President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva who defeated far-right Bolsonaro in the presidential elections held on October 30.

Hundreds of protesters holding the Brazilian flag stormed the national congress and took the roofs waving the country’s flags despite attempts by security officers to contain the unrest, an AFP photographer said.

Some protesters were holding signs calling on the country’s military to “intervene militarily” against democratically elected Brazilian President Lula da Silva.

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Qassem Soleimani in Venezuela: The lesser known motive behind his assassination

January 03 2023

Why was Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani assassinated by the US? His visit to Venezuela in 2019 may provide some answers.

Photo Credit: The Cradle
Author

By Hasan Illaik

On 3 January 2020, the US military assassinated Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the elite Quds Force in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), along with his companion, the deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Three years later, the motives for this decision – and its timing – are still being debated. The reasons for the US’s shock killing, however, may not be solely related to Soleimani’s role in regional conflicts, but could also arguably stem from his growing international clout.

Why was Soleimani assassinated?

Soleimani was reportedly responsible for leading Iran’s plan to surround Israel with an arc of missiles and precision drones in the West Asian region – from Lebanon to Syria, Iraq and Gaza, all the way to Yemen – which was viewed by Israeli officials as an existential threat to the Jewish state.

The US has long accused Soleimani of being behind much of the resistance it faced after invading Iraq in 2003, as well as allegedly ordering operations against US forces in the period leading up to his assassination.

The Quds Force commander – along with Muhandis – were critical in the Iraqi effort to defeat ISIS, outside of the control and agenda of the US and its regional allies, who often used the terrorist group to secure political and geographic gains.

Furthermore, the US held Iran, and by extension Soleimani, responsible for the Yemeni attack on Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil facilities on 14 September, 2019. The Aramco attack was so massive that it disrupted half of Saudi oil production, and was the largest of its kind since former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

A leader in the Resistance Axis

Soleimani was the “keyholder” in the Axis of Resistance, according to an Arab politician with strong ties to decision-making circles in both Washington and Riyadh.

“Hajj Qassem,” says the politician, was uniquely capable of making decisions and then implementing them, which is considered a “rare advantage” among leaders. He was able to achieve significant strategic results – rapidly – by moving freely and negotiating directly with various statesmen, militias, and political movements.

Examples of this are rife: The Quds Force commander persuaded Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015 to intervene militarily in Syria, and organized the complex ‘frenemy’ relationship between Turkiye and Tehran through Turkish intelligence director Hakan Fidan.

Soleimani played a pivotal role in preventing the fall of Damascus, maintained and developed important links with Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah in Beirut, led a region wide campaign to defeat ISIS, and successfully managed the delicate balances between various political components in Iraq. In Yemen, he was able to supply the Ansarallah movement with training and arms that arguably changed the course of the Saudi-led aggression.

Together or separately, the aforementioned points made him a desired target of assassination for both the US government and the security establishment in Israel.

A visit to Venezuela

There may, however, be additional factors that contributed to the US decision to assassinate Soleimani on 3 January, 2022. While some analysts cite, for instance, the storming of the 2019 US embassy in Baghdad by demonstrators three days before the extrajudicial killing, US decision makers were unlikely to have mobilized its assassins in reaction to this relatively benign incident.

More significant for them would have been Soleimani’s unannounced trip to Venezuela in 2019, which crossed Washington’s red lines within its own geographic sphere of influence.

His visit to the South American country was publicly revealed more than two years later by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, during an interview with Al-Mayadeen in December 2021.

Maduro stated that Soleimani visited Caracas between March and April 2019, during which time the US launched a cyber and sabotage attack on Venezuela, resulting in widespread power outages. He glorified the Iranian general as a military hero who “combated terrorism and the brutal terrorist criminals who attacked the peoples of the Axis of resistance. He was a brave man.”

Although Maduro did not reveal the exact date of the visit, it can be assumed that it took place on 8 April, 2019, and that Soleimani came on board the first direct flight of the Iranian airline Mahan Air between Tehran and Caracas.

At that time, the US attack on Caracas was at its peak: Washington’s recognition of Juan Guaidó as president of Venezuela, comprehensive economic sanctions, and then, at the end of April, the organization of a coup attempt that succeeded only in securing the escape of US-backed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez to the Spanish embassy.

Expanding military ties with Caracas

During Soleimani’s Caracas visit, military cooperation between Iran and Venezuela was likely a key topic of discussion. Prior to his visit, Maduro had announced the establishment of “Popular Defense Units,” or revolutionary militias, to maintain order in the face of US-backed coup attempts.

Both Iranian and Latin American sources confirm that Tehran had a role in organizing these militias. However, the most significant military cooperation between the two countries has been in the field of military industrialization.

Since the tenure of late, former President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela has been working on a project to manufacture drones. This was announced by Chavez on 13 June, 2012, noting that “We are doing this with the help of different countries including China, Russia, Iran, and other allied countries.”

A few months earlier, the commander of the US Army’s Southern Command SOUTHCOM (its assigned area of responsibility includes Central and South America), General Douglas Fries, spoke about the same project, downplaying its importance by claiming that Iran was building drones with “limited capabilities” in Venezuela for internal security purposes.

Developing drones

In fact, Iran, represented by Soleimani’s Quds Force, was busy increasing military cooperation with Venezuela by developing new generations of drones and providing Caracas with spare parts for its existing American-made aircrafts. Interestingly, the raising of the Iranian flag has become routine in the Venezuelan Air Force’s military ceremonies.

On 20 November, 2020, President Maduro delivered a speech announcing plans to produce different types of drones. Near him, on display, was a miniature model of a drone which appeared to be that of the Iranian “Muhajer 6” aircraft that entered service in Iran in 2018.

This issue was raised by then-Israeli Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, while receiving the heads of American Jewish organizations in February 2022.

Soleimani’s legacy in Latin America

These developments were the direct result of Qassem Soleimani’s efforts. A Venezuelan official has confirmed to The Cradle that the country’s drone project was built with full Iranian support: from training engineers to setting up research and manufacturing centers, all the way to production.

In October 2019, the commander of US Southern Command, Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, warned that Russia, China, Iran and Cuba were operating in varying capacities in SOUTHCOM’s area of responsibility. He noted, specifically, that Iran’s influence and presence is being felt in South America.

In March 2020, the US SOUTHCOM commander repeated the same warning, placing Iran at the “top of the list of countries” that have assisted Venezuela in skirting US sanctions.

The US has long viewed Latin America as its “backyard” and has sought to prevent the influence of rival or hostile powers in the region through its adherence to the Monroe Doctrine. The influence of Soleimani in the western hemisphere may have been viewed as a threat to US interests and a crossing of this “red line.”

His role in assisting Venezuela in developing military capabilities, including the production of drones, was seen in Washington as a qualitative leap in Iran’s foreign relations and was likely a factor in the decision to assassinate Soleimani.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

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Venezuela Opp. Officially Removes US-backed Guaido, Dissolves “Interim” Gov’t

Dec 31, 2023 

Source: Agencies

By Janna Al-Kadri 

By Staff, Agencies

Venezuela’s opposition lawmakers have officially removed US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido and dissolved his so-called “interim government” amid reconciliation efforts with the democratically-elected government of Nicolas Maduro prior to the 2024 elections.

The now-defunct opposition-controlled National Assembly agreed on Friday to eliminate the “interim government” of Guaido with 72 votes in favor, 29 against, and eight abstentions.

Three of the four major Venezuelan opposition groups – Justice First, Democratic Action and A New Era – backed the ouster of Guaido as well as the creation of a five-member commission to manage the country’s foreign assets, especially US-based refiner Citgo, a subsidiary of state-owned oil company PDVSA.

Guaido, whose Voluntad Popular party rejected the effort, had urged the lawmakers at the National Assembly to replace him instead of dissolving the “interim government.”

The decision was made within the framework of peace talks between the Maduro administration and the country’s opposition groups to promote national unity and advance the recovery of the Latin American state from years-long US-imposed bans.

Back in November, Maduro’s administration and the country’s opposition reached a long-delayed “social protection agreement” aimed at easing the drawn-out political and humanitarian situation in the country, with the deal focusing on education, health, food security, flood response, and electricity programs.

Last year, the two sides held several rounds of negotiations with the mediation of Norway in Mexico, but practically it did not bring any favorable results.

After the agreement, the two sides asked the United Nations to manage a fund, worth billions of dollars seized in foreign banks over US sanctions, in an effort to ease the country’s protracted political and humanitarian situation.

Responding to the move, the US Treasury Department issued a license for Chevron, the second largest US oil company, to expand operations in Venezuela, allowing it to import Venezuelan crude into the United States.

The oil-rich Latin American country began going through a downward spiral of poverty as well as social and developmental stagnation in 2018, when the West, led by the US, and its favored Venezuelan opposition contested Maduro’s victory in the presidential election.

Following the election, Western countries began slapping Caracas with a slew of backbreaking sanctions, which have been responsible for spawning the dire economic situation in the country, with millions having fled Venezuela since the onset of the crisis.

More than 7.1 million Venezuelans, as UN estimates show, have left their country and migrated to other Latin American countries or the US amid Venezuela’s high inflation as well as food and medicine shortages following Washington’s crippling sanctions.

Can China help Brazil restart its global soft power?

December 23, 2022

by Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

Bolsonaro reduced Brazil to resources-exporter status; now Lula should follow Argentina’s lead into Belt and Road

Ten days of full immersion in Brazil are not for the faint-hearted. Even restricted to the top two megalopolises, Sao Paulo and Rio, watching live the impact of interlocking economic, political, social and environmental crises exacerbated by the Jair Bolsonaro project leaves one stunned.

The return of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for what will be his third presidential term, starting January 1, 2023, is an extraordinary story trespassed by Sisyphean tasks. All at the same time he will have to

  • fight poverty;
  • reconnect with economic development while redistributing wealth;
  • re-industrialize the nation; and
  • tame environmental pillage.

That will force his new government to summon unforeseen creative powers of political and financial persuasion.

Even a mediocre, conservative politician such as Geraldo Alckmin, former governor of the wealthiest state of the union, Sao Paulo, and coordinator of the presidential transition, was simply astonished at how four years of the Bolsonaro project let loose a cornucopia of vanished documents, a black hole concerning all sorts of data and inexplicable financial losses.

It’s impossible to ascertain the extent of corruption across the spectrum because simply nothing is in the books: Governmental systems have not been fed since 2020.

Alckmin summed it all up: “The Bolsonaro government happened in the Stone Age, where there were no words and numbers.”

Now every single public policy will have to be created, or re-created from scratch, and serious mistakes will be inevitable because of lack of data.

And we’re not talking about a banana republic – even though the country concerned features plenty of (delicious) bananas.

By purchasing power parity (PPP), according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Brazil remains the eighth-ranked economic power in the world even after the Bolsonaro devastation years – behind China, the US, India, Japan, Germany, Russia and Indonesia, and ahead of the UK and France.

A concerted imperial campaign since 2010, duly denounced by WikiLeaks, and implemented by local comprador elites, targeted the Dilma Rousseff presidency – the Brazilian national entrepreneurial champions – and led to Rousseff’s (illegal) impeachment and the jailing of Lula for 580 days on spurious charges (all subsequently dropped), paved the way for Bolsonaro to win the presidency in 2018.

Were it not for this accumulation of disasters, Brazil – a natural leader of the Global South – by now might possibly be placed as the fifth-largest geo-economic power in the world.

What the investment gang wants

Paulo Nogueira Batista Jr, a former vice-president of the New Development Bank (NDB), or BRICS bank, goes straight to the point: Brazil’s dependence on Lula is immensely problematic.

Batista sees Lula facing at least three hostile blocs.

  • The extreme right supported by a significant, powerful faction of the armed forces – and this includes not only Bolsonarists, who are still in front of a few army barracks contesting the presidential election result;
  • The physiological right that dominates Congress – known in Brazil as “The Big Center”;
  • International financial capital – which, predictably, controls the bulk of mainstream media.

The third bloc, to a great extent, gleefully embraced Lula’s notion of a United Front capable of defeating the Bolsonaro project (which project, by the way, never ceased to be immensely profitable for the third bloc).

Now they want their cut. Mainstream media instantly turned to corralling Lula, operating a sort of “financial inquisition,” as described by crack economist Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo.

By appointing longtime Workers’ Party loyalist Fernando Haddad as finance minister, Lula signaled that he, in fact, will be in charge of the economy. Haddad is a political-science professor and was a decent minister of education, but he’s no sharp economic guru. Acolytes of the Goddess of the Market, of course, dismiss him.

Once again, this is the trademark Lula swing in action: He chose to place more importance on what will be complex, protracted negotiations with a hostile Congress to advance his social agenda, confident that all the lineaments of economic policy are in his head.

A lunch party with some members of Sao Paulo’s financial elite, even before Haddad’s name was announced, offered a few fascinating clues. These people are known as the “Faria Limers” – after the high-toned Faria Lima Avenue, which houses quite a few post-mod investment banks’ offices as well as Google and Facebook HQs.

Faria Lima Avenue in San Paulo. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Lunch attendees included a smattering of rabid anti-Workers’ Party investors, the proverbial unreconstructed neoliberals, yet most were enthusiastic about opportunities ahead to make a killing, including an investor looking for deals involving Chinese companies.

The neoliberal mantra of those willing – perhaps – to place their bets on Lula (for a price) is “fiscal responsibility.” That frontally clashes with Lula’s focus on social justice.

That’s where Haddad comes up as a helpful, polite interlocutor because he does privilege nuance, pointing out that only looking at market indicators and forgetting about the 38% of Brazilians who only earn the minimum wage (1,212 Brazilian real or US$233 per month) is not exactly good for business.

The dark arts of non-government

Lula is already winning his first battle: approving a constitutional amendment that allows financing of more social spending.

That allows the government to keep the flagship Bolsa Família welfare program – of roughly $13 a month per poverty-level family – at least for the next two years.

A stroll across downtown Sao Paulo – which in the 1960s was as chic as mid-Manhattan – offers a sorrowful crash course on impoverishment, shut-down businesses, homelessness and raging unemployment. The notorious “Crack Land” – once limited to a street – now encompasses a whole neighborhood, much like junkie, post-pandemic Los Angeles.

Rio offers a completely different vibe if one goes for a walk in Ipanema on a sunny day, always a smashing experience. But Ipanema lives in a bubble. The real Rio of the Bolsonaro years – economically massacred, de-industrialized, occupied by militias – came up in a roundtable downtown where I interacted with, among others, a former energy minister and the man who discovered the immensely valuable pre-salt oil reserves.

In the Q&A, a black man from a very poor community advanced the key challenge for Lula’s third term: To be stable, and able to govern, he has to have the vast poorest sectors of the population backing him up.

This man voiced what seems not to be debated in Brazil at all: How did there come to be millions of poor Bolsonarists – street cleaners, delivery guys, the unemployed? Right-wing populism seduced them – and the established wings of the woke left had, and still have, nothing to offer them.

Addressing this problem is as serious as the destruction of Brazilian  engineering giants by the Car Wash “corruption” racket. Brazil now has a huge number of well-qualified unemployed engineers. How come they have not amassed enough political organization to reclaim their jobs? Why should they resign themselves to becoming Uber drivers?

José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, the new head of the UN Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), may carp about the region’s economic failure as even worse now than in the “lost decade” of the 1980s: Average annual economic growth in Latin America in the decade up to 2023 is set to be just 0.8%.

Yet what the UN is incapable of analyzing is how a plundering neoliberal regime such as Bolsonaro’s managed to “elevate” to unforeseen toxic levels the dark arts of little or no investment, low productivity and less than zero emphasis on education.

President Dilma in da house

Lula was quick to summarize Brazil’s new foreign policy – which will go totally multipolar, with emphasis on increasing Latin American integration, stronger ties across the Global South and a push to reform the UN Security Council (in sync with BRICS members Russia, China and India).

Mauro Vieira, an able diplomat, will be the new foreign minister. But the man fine-tuning Brazil on the world stage will be Celso Amorim, Lula’s former foreign minister from 2003 to 2010.

In a conference that reunited us in Sao Paulo, Amorim elaborated on the complexity of the world Lula is now inheriting, compared with 2003. Yet along with climate change the main priorities – achieving closer integration with South America, reviving Unasur (the Union of South American Nations) and re-approaching Africa – remain the same.

And then there’s the Holy Grail: “good relations with both the US and China.”

The Empire, predictably, will be on extreme close watch. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan dropped in to Brasilia, during the fist days of the World Cup soccer tournament, and was absolutely charmed by Lula, who’s a master of charisma. Yet the Monroe Doctrine always prevails. Lula getting closer and closer to BRICS – and the expanded BRICS+ – is considered virtual anathema in Washington.

Jake Sullivan and Lula in Brasilia on November 28. Photo: Ricardo Stuckert

So Lula will play most overtly in the environment arena. Covertly, it will be a sophisticated balancing act.

The combo behind US President Joe Biden called Lula to congratulate him soon after the election results. Sullivan was in Brasilia setting the stage for a Lula visit to Washington. Chinese President Xi Jinping for his part sent him an affectionate letter, emphasizing the “global strategic partnership” between Brazil and China. Russian President Vladimir Putin called Lula earlier this week – and emphasized their common strategic approach to BRICS.

China has been Brazil’s top trade partner since 2009, ahead of the US. Bilateral trade in 2021 hit $135 billion. The problem is lack of diversification and focus on low added value: iron ore, soybeans, raw crude and animal protein accounted for 87.4% of exports in 2021. China exports, on the other hand, are mostly high-tech manufactured products.

Brazil’s dependence on commodity exports has indeed contributed for years to its rising foreign reserves. But that implies high concentration of wealth, low taxes, low job creation and dependence on cyclical price oscillations.

There’s no question China is focused on Brazilian natural resources to fuel its new development push – or “peaceful modernization,” as established by the latest Party Congress.

But Lula will have to strive for a more equal trade balance in case he manages to restart the nation as a solid economy. In 2000, for instance, Brazil’s top export item was Embraer jets. Now, it’s iron ore and soybeans; yet another dire indicator of the ferocious de-industrialization operated by the Bolsonaro project.

China is already investing substantially in the Brazilian electric sector – mostly due to state companies being bought by Chinese companies. That was the case in 2017 of State Grid buying CPFL in Sao Paulo, for instance, which in turn bought a state company from southern Brazil in 2021.

From Lula’s point of view, that’s inadmissible: a classic case of privatization of strategic public assets.

A different scenario plays in neighboring Argentina. Buenos Aires in February became an official partner of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative, with at least $23 billion in new projects on the pipeline. The Argentine railway system will be upgraded by – who else? – Chinese companies, to the tune of $4.6 billion.

The Chinese will also be investing in the largest solar energy plant in Latin America, a hydroelectric plant in Patagonia, and a nuclear energy plant – complete with transfer of Chinese technology to the Argentine state.

Lula, beaming with invaluable soft power not only personally when it comes to Xi but also appealing to Chinese public opinion, can get similar strategic partnership deals, with even more amplitude. Brasilia may follow the Iranian partnership model – offering oil and gas in exchange for building critical infrastructure.

Inevitably, the golden path ahead will be via joint ventures, not mergers and acquisitions. No wonder many in Rio are already dreaming of high-speed rail linking it to Sao Paulo in just over an hour, instead of the current, congested highway journey of six hours (if you’re lucky).

A key role will be played by former president Dilma Rousseff, who had a long, leisurely lunch with a few of us in Sao Paulo, taking her time to recount, in minutiae, everything from the day she was officially arrested by the military dictatorship (January 16, 1970) to her off-the-record conversations with then-German chancellor Angela Merkel, Putin, and Xi.

President Dilma Rousseff during a bilateral meeting with the president of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, at the G20 Saint Petersburg summit in 2013. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It goes without saying that her political – and personal – capital with both Xi and Putin is stellar. Lula offered her any post she wanted in the new government. Although still a state secret, this will be part of a serious drive to polish Brazil’s global profile, especially across the Global South.

To recover from the previous, disastrous six years – which included a two-year no man’s land (2016-2018) after the impeachment of president Dilma – Brazil will need an unparalleled national drive of re-industrialization at virtually every level, complete with serious investment in research and development, training of specialized work forces and technology transfer.

There is a superpower that can play a crucial role in this process: China, Brazil’s close partner in the expanding BRICS+. Brazil is one of the natural leaders of the Global South, a role much prized by the Chinese leadership.

The key now is for both partners to establish a high-level strategic dialogue – all over again. Lula’s first high-profile foreign visit may be to Washington. But the destination that really matters, as we watch the river of history flow, will be Beijing.

Pepe Escobar is a Brazilian journalist who has written for Asia Times for many years, covering events throughout Asia and the Middle East. He has also been an analyst for RT and Sputnik News, and previously worked for Al Jazeera.

Fascism in the EU

December 10, 2022

Source

by Hans Vogel

“Wij zijn de zwarte soldaten, want wij strijden voor vrijheid en voor recht!”

(We are the black soldiers, ‘cause we fight for freedom and for justice)

Thus went a marching song of the NSB, the Dutch National Socialist party (1932-1945). Of course, black referred to the color of their uniforms, not the color of their skins.

In some weird way this old song, like the men who were singing it and the ideas behind it, shunned by decent society, has regained significance in Europe. Taking a closer look at the EU, it is striking that police uniforms generally are also black, perhaps not always those worn by officers on regular duty, but certainly those of the riot police. Riot police in full gear are literally black soldiers. As such, they have been brutally suppressing peaceful demonstrations for over a decade now. For instance, police brutality—worthy of any “Third World” Rogue State—against the Yellow Vest movement in France has been particularly shocking.

At the same time, another kind of black soldiers has also been taking over the streets of old Europe. Not dressed in black uniforms, but black of skin, less tightly organized and commanded, these black soldiers are also waging a war against the peaceful citizens of EU nations. They are targeting women especially, molesting them, raping them, killing them and intimidating their men and families. These latter black soldiers are sort of operating behind the lines, behind the riot police. In short, there is actually a real war going on against the EU population.

Supreme command is in the hands of EU governments. Even though in most EU nations, the separation of powers is enshrined in the constitution, in practice that separation is not evident. Thus, EU governments are able to use a combination of often overtly abusive police action and the judicial system (judges also being dressed in black!) to subdue the citizenry and to control public opinion and public debate. The media, or the so-called free press, both private and public (with the alleged guarantees to ensure its impartiality, like in Germany), also plays a key role in controlling public opinion. Expressed in military terms, EU governments enjoy “full-spectrum dominance” in the entire public domain.

Under these conditions, it was not difficult to ban Russian media from the EU a few days after the beginning of the Russian Special Military Operation in the Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The few voices raised in protest against this massive and unprecedented censorship were easily silenced and suppressed. It is perhaps no coincidence that EU censorship was decreed by a German, namely the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Germany is the European nation that has enjoyed the longest continuous censorship and strict media control anywhere: ever since Hitler ended press freedom in 1933, the Germans have been living with controlled media and the curtailment of speech. Free speech has now been banned in Germany for almost a century! Today, the very policies first applied by the nazis have become the norm and standard all over the EU.

An essential tool for managing and controlling public debate is to ridicule and frame the opposition. Thus anybody who does not buy into the official narrative is branded a “hater,” “denier” or “conspiracy theorist.” On that account alone, it is suggested such people are unfit to participate in the public debate. If they do so nonetheless, sharper weapons are produced. In that case, it is stated the culprit has “dangerous ideas” or that he is a “potential terrorist.” As such he needs to be taken care of, for instance thrown in jail or subjected to psychiatric treatment. Numerous EU journalists and others saying unwelcome truths have been indicted, thrown in jail or interned in a psychiatric ward. In case someone proves particularly difficult to deal with, he is eliminated by way of a car accident, a “lone wolf” or a suicide.

Fortunately, those violent methods rather rarely need to be applied. State censorship with the help of the police and kangaroo courts takes care of most cases. And even before that, the maintaining of “community standards” on social media such as Facebook, Apple (I-phone), Google, Youtube, Instagram, Amazon (until recently, Twitter as well) and other platforms filters out the vast majority of “crimethink.”

However, for the powers that be in the EU, it would be a bad thing if all citizens would join in the goose stepping march towards fascist heaven. Without a moderate, but controlled and directed level of crimethink, there would be little use for all those black soldiers, whose ranks are swelling daily by entire boatloads of “asylum seekers” brought in upon covert EU orders. The venerable adage of divide and rule has been dusted off and guides the policies of most EU governments and the European Commission.

Actually, the EU governments use shrewd tactics to increase social unrest and anxiety, thus furthering their agenda for total control of the population. This method is based on the criminalization of “hate speech” and the covert facilitation of all kinds of crime by the “black” soldiers from overseas. In Amsterdam, 80% of crime is committed by young Moroccans. Whenever the perpetrators are arrested, they are usually quickly released without charges. If charges are pressed and convictions ensue, these tend to be ridiculously light in comparison with the offense committed. All the while the media dutifully observe instructions never to mention the origin or nationality of perpetrators in their reports. These are therefore described as “youngsters” instead of “young Moroccans.” As a result, whenever the media refer to “youngsters” the public knows these are actually Moroccans. Nevertheless, whoever publicly dares to call a spade a spade, is immediately charged with “hate crime.” Surely, there is no better way to foment social division.

Native Europeans feel betrayed, insecure and angry but are forbidden to vent their feelings. A controllable level of tension can thus be maintained indefinitely, because at the same time the public is being cowed into submission by way of daily doses of fear porn: about nuclear war, holes in the ozone layer, acid rain, climate change, the rising level of the oceans, melting ice caps, carbon and nitrogen emissions and deadly pandemics. The media parade endless rows of “experts” to explain and illustrate the horrifying details of each threat, as they make an appeal to “follow the science.” Experts with conflicting views are never invited to reflect upon the lurking dangers. These latter experts are routinely branded as “deniers.” In the process, the governments and media are actually helping to destroy the last vestiges of academic integrity.

There is always only one way out, one solution to the problem at hand. That is to obey the government and to do precisely as you’re told. Thus, almost a year after the beginning of the Russian SMO in the Ukraine, now that the EU has been engaged in cutting off Europe’s energy supplies and destroying Europe’s industrial base, the citizens are told to limit their use of water and energy. Turn down the heater, they are instructed, drive less, shower less, wear an extra sweater, buy less, eat less meat and switch to insects!

In the meantime, the truly looming danger of a financial collapse is hardly being reported on in the media that uphold the system.

With EU governments exerting rigid full-scale censorship, terrorizing their citizens with SS-like squads of riot police and overseas immigrants (often illegal aliens) with criminal inclinations, throwing dissidents in jail, liquidating them when necessary, while at the same time supporting a regime in the Ukraine that openly glorifies nazi ideology, one is made to wonder about the never-ending and ubiquitous lamenting about how bad those nazis really were. Part and parcel with horror stories about the Second World War, Latin American military dictators, the horrors of communist regimes and any other enemies far away and long ago, these whinings are a cornerstone of PC ideology.

Another epithet the EU governments and their most fanatical supporters such as Greens, Liberals and Social Democrats, like to throw at anybody who disagrees with them is “fascist.” This may actually be a bit like a fossil, an old leftover from a century ago when the left used to be attacked by uniformed street gangs, such as the SA in Germany and the Fasci di combattimento in Italy. Indeed, one may call such people nazis or fascists, if only because that is what they called themselves. But in a more objective sense, what are the distinguishing features of fascism as a political system? These include ruthless oppression of the opposition, censorship and control of every aspect of the lives of the citizens. The EU nicely fits that description. But the most important characteristic is that under fascism, both state and society are subject to the dictates of monopoly capitalism, in other words, of big corporations, including banks. This also happens to be the case in the EU. Whereas in nazi Germany and fascist Italy these corporations were called Krupp, IG Farben, FIAT, Ansaldo and so on, today they are called Blackrock, Vanguard, Amazon and Microsoft.

For many years now, EU legislation, taking precedence over laws enacted by national parliaments, is being written and prepared for passing by a veritable army of lobbyists paid by the monopoly capitalists. These hired hands outnumber the civil servants in the EU capital of Brussels. Instead of resisting, the eurocrats and the Members of the European Parliament and the European Commission concentrate on giving themselves pay hike after pay hike, setting an example for their colleagues in EU member states. Thus one might conclude that not only are the EU and its member states ruled by fascists, but by corrupt fascists. At least, for all their evils and shortcomings, nazi Germany and fascist Italy had significantly lower levels of corruption.

The Russian SMO in the Ukraine has helped to make matters very clear. The truly fascist character of the EU and the “West” in general (basically the US empire), is becoming ever more apparent. That is because underlying truths usually emerge out in the open during crises and wars.

One of these truths is that the EU is fascist to the core.

Vladimir Putin Address to SCO and CIS Defense Ministers Dec 9, 2022 – English Subtitles

December 09, 2022

Operation Gladio: NATO’s Secret War for International Fascism

December 01, 2022

Source

By Cynthia Chung

You may be asking the question what on earth is “international fascism” and how could NATO be in support of such a thing?! Well, the ugly truth is that what took over world policy in our post-WWII era was in fact a continuation of a fascist outlook for a new world order. Fascism, contrary to what we were told, had not in fact been defeated but was given a brand new face for its public endeavours and went underground for some of its more unsavoury methods. The now official recognition of NATO’s Gladio networks, effectively made up of secret armies in service to NATO including a prominent membership of Nazis, trained to commit acts of terrorism and assassinations against Western citizens and their democratic governments is now acknowledged by historians, yet much of the Western populace remain uninformed about this decades long horrifying abuse of power which was used to support a transition towards far right-wing governments.

The thought behind International Fascism in a post-WWII world, was that it would be an alliance that would allow a superior form of organisation that would build up a new European world entity which would function as a model for what would in turn be used on the world stage under a League of Nations mandate.

It is for this reason why so many fascists who had dishonestly referred to themselves as “national socialists” happened to also be promoters of pan-Europeanism and pan-Americanism, and supported the continuation of the British Empire, for these three spheres would function as the three leading regionalisations under a new system of empire under the League of Nations construct. Africa was openly discussed amongst these imperialists and fascists as the necessary slave labour camp to support Europe’s needs.

It is for this reason that individuals such as Oswald Mosley, a leading British fascist who supported both Mussolini’s and Hitler’s reign, began advocating for a “united Europe” as a defense against the supposed communist threat immediately after the Second World War. A “united Europe” reunited with “former” fascists who had now become supposed “defenders of freedom” against the evil totalitarianism of the Soviet Union. Mosley complained in his Europe: Faith and Plan (published in 1958) that this resistance from some European quarters to ally themselves with the fascists against this communist threat was putting the free world in danger. He encouraged Europeans to forget the past abuses that were committed by the fascists, since they were ultimately doing what they thought best for Europe, and that they were not wrong in their outlook but perhaps too hasty and impatient in their execution of such a vision.

With the end of the Second World War, there appeared an almost instantaneous agreement among the Western European nations the need to defend their sovereignty against the rise of Soviet communism. Ironically the solution to this was the idea of a ‘New World Order’[1] for Europe. The Fifth Column was sold as a communist one, and thus the need to work with ‘former’ Nazis and fascists was justified to secure the European civilization from the threatened invasion by the ‘Asiatic hordes.’ Of course, the common people were not notified of this decision to reunite with the fascists; that not even before the end of the Second World War, there were discussions of aligning with the fascists to secure what was to be the ‘New World Order’.

To ensure that Europe would stand strong, it seemed only logical that it should form a European unity, able to collectively use their resources and military in a coordinated defense against this looming “Asian threat”. It would be interesting, that many nations who treated the army of Hitler with seeming indifference up to the very moment of invasion, would now trumpet loudly the need to prepare for war on all fronts (economically, culturally, politically, militarily including paramilitary) against the Eastern barbarians, and Mosley had positioned himself at the forefront of this clarion call.

In his The World Alternative (1936) Mosley wrote: “We must return to the fundamental concept of a European Nation which animated the war generation of 1918.” In reference to the openly pro-fascist former British Prime Minister Lloyd George’s (1916-1922) War Cabinet. When the Axis began losing crucial battles in 1943, this only intensified Europeanism as the new order’s last line of defense that would be entrusted to the younger generation. On November 14th, 1944 Mussolini proposed in the Verona programme “a European Community, with a federation of all nations and the development of Africa’s natural resources.”[2]

Stephen Dorril writes in his book Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British fascism:[3]

The Eastern Front was transformed into the ‘European Front’ as Europe’s defence became a supra-national moral obligation. The Waffen SS assumed the role of Europe’s army and its struggle to hold back the Bolsheviks from overrunning the West invoked an embryonic Europeanism, which became a central myth of post-war Fascism. Neo-Fascist thinker Maurice Bardeche wrote that ‘the Defense of the West has remained in the memory, and this is still the chief meaning of fascist ideas’.”

Churchill would also support such a direction with the United Europe Movement.[4]

On October 1st, 1947 Mosley published The Alternative, where he writes “Chaos looms and the people of Europe seek the alternative…Our creed was brought to dust because the Fascist outlook in each land was too national, we had no sense of European union.” A year later he wrote in The European Situation: The Third Force, that a united Europe will “insure that Europeans shall never be slaves either of West or East; either of finance or of bolshevism. We shall neither be bought by Wall Street nor conquered by the Kremlin.” However, the road to Europe’s salvation would not end there, according to Mosley, there would also be the need to secure labour from Africa to serve the needs of Europeans.

In 1948, the FBI, who were oddly stationed in London, had forwarded to J. Edgar Hoover’s intelligence headquarters that Mosley was planning a Fascist International.[5] The U.S. counterintelligence corps (CIC) also wrote a report noting that Mosley viewed “the national socialist elements in West Germany as the most suitable partners at the organising of a fascist concentration movement in Europe…[Mosley] was continuing the tradition of a Fascist International which Hitler was forced to abandon. He has hit on a stratagem which gives him the air of a progressive spirit.” The Austrian neo-Nazi paper Alpenruf wrote Dec 31st, 1949 “the spiritual centre of a cleansed Fascism is today neither in Germany nor in Austria, but – strange though it may seem – in England.” In the Swedish Fascist paper Vaegen Framat, they “claimed the European underground movements were growing but needed to be brought together to preserve everything that had been valuable in the past. The war had weakened their position and co-operation was essential, even for racial policies. Nations were not strong enough to enforce the unity of Europe.” [6]

This was the new chosen direction towards a Fascist International and none of it would have been possible without Churchill’s announcement of the Iron Curtain, for it pushed the European countries into this very configuration and justified the need to partner with ‘former’ fascists. The fascists did not need to militarily win the war, for the Europeans had walked into the Fascist International out of their own accord.

From this standpoint, WWII was in fact never won, rather it has been continued in the form of a Cold War to this very day. During this over 76 year long Cold War, fascist cells grew and were dispersed globally, and have come only relatively recently to be acknowledged under the umbrella term Gladio due to newly declassified intelligence dossiers. Mosley would also be at the forefront of these post-WWII paramilitary fascist cells, along with Karl-Heinz Priester and the legendary Nazi Otto Skorzeny who was one of the primary masterminds behind the entire Gladio network.[7]

The Gladio network was beholden to NATO, and thus it should not be surprising that the position of NATO Commander and Chief of Allied Forces Central Europe was a position that was filled SOLELY by ‘former’ Nazis for 16 YEARS STRAIGHT, from 1967-1983.

Mosley had concluded in his eerie introduction to his book Europe: Faith and Plan in support of a Pan-Europe:[8]

In the light of all Europe’s recent history it is disingenuous nonsense to pretend that Germany is the only guilty party. It is more, it is a deliberate lie circulated for the vile purpose of perpetuating the division of Europe and for promoting the ultimate victory of communism. In the meantime it serves also the squalid purpose of those who snatch financial gain from the decay and collapse of a dying system, rather than make the effort to benefit both themselves and all Europe by honestly carrying the far greater rewards of constructive tasks in building the new system.

… In all nature the pangs of birth are severe, particularly in political nature. No fully grown man should be blamed for the pain or even the blood that accompanied his birthFor the long memory to linger on these things is to create a complex which can be disastrous to the whole psyche of Europe. That is precisely why we are continually invited to think about them.

Things were done in haste and passion which should now be forgotten. All who were drawn to the new movement of European dynamism and renaissance were people in too much of a hurry. It was a fault on the right side, for the results of the succeeding inertia are now plain to see. We felt that something must be done, and done quickly, to release the new and beneficent forces of science[9] and to wipe away unnecessary suffering from the face of humanity. We were impatient with the forces of inertia, reaction and anarchy which opposed the new European order of mind and will that we believed alone could do these things with the speed that was necessary.

…The catastrophe of this generation has destroyed the old landmarks of politics, and the modern mind should equally eliminate their memory. We have passed beyond Fascism and beyond many tenets of the old Democracy, because science has rendered them irrelevant in a world which confronts us with new facts. Not only are the facts of the post-war period new, but science is continually adding still newer facts.[10] Old policies have no relevance to the present, and old memories of bitterness should have no place in it either.

One great lesson alone we can all derive from the past. We owe to Europe self-restraint in moments of passion, and kindness at all times to our kindred. These evil things which have occurred are not only wrong, they do not pay. In the end they destroy those who commit them. The time-honoured standards of the European alone can endure. In the events of a great age, honour, truth and manly restraint are not only as necessary as in the past but more than ever essential. The great qualities in man should grow in proportion to the age, not diminish. Let us remember the past only long enough to learn this. Then let us forget [the past].

Europe needs a great act of oblivion, before a new birth.”

Operation Gladio: NATO’s Dagger

With the Second World War ‘won’, the world was very much under the impression that we were to take the phrase ‘Never Again’ to heart. Unfortunately, those in charge of forming Western policy and geopolitical strategy post-WWII could not have disagreed more.

Operation Unthinkable is a prime example of the sort of thinking that was ruminating within Britain and the United States post-Roosevelt. Operation Unthinkable was the name given to two related possible future war plans by the British Chiefs of Staff against the Soviet Union in 1945. The creation of the plans was ordered by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in May 1945 and developed by the British Armed Forces’ Joint Planning Staff (Roosevelt passed away on April 12th, 1945). One plan assumed a surprise attack on the Soviet forces stationed in Germany to “impose the will of the Western Allies” on the Soviets. The second plan was a defensive scenario in which the British were to defend against a Soviet drive towards the North Sea and the Atlantic following the withdrawal of the American forces from the Continent.

Though the first plan of the operation would be shelved with the new government under Clement Attlee, this remained a predominantly governing mindset for British and American intelligence. However, contrary to what we are told today, the second plan of Operation Unthinkable was not shelved. It was in fact fully implemented under the initiation of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. This plan would continue through every other British Prime Minister’s term that followed afterward, without the knowledge of most members of the British government.

During the Second World War, preparations were made in the case of a possible German victory and ‘stay-behind’ guerilla warfare units were stationed throughout Europe. The model was the British Special Operations Executive, or SOE, a top-secret guerilla-commando force established in 1940. It was the brainchild of Winston Churchill and was called ‘Churchill’s secret army.’ This program would eventually be adopted into NATO. After the Allied victory, these ‘stay-behind’ units were not disbanded but rather were strengthened and expanded in almost every European country, with direct aid and encouragement from the United States.

Daniele Ganser, a Senior Researcher at the Center for Security Studies at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland published NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe in 2005, which is regarded as an authoritative overview of NATO’s Operation Gladio networks and functions. This chapter will reference extensively Ganser’s pioneering work on this crucial history of Western clandestine warfare that was waged on Western civilians and their democratically elected governments for several decades under the guise of Soviet terrorism.

Daniele Ganser writes in NATO’s Secret Armies:[11]

The clandestine network, which after the revelations of the Italian Prime Minister [Andreotti] was researched by judges, parliamentarians, academics and investigative journalists across Europe, is now understood to have been code-named ‘Gladio’ (the sword) in Italy., while in other countries the network operated under different names including ‘Absalon’ in Denmark, ‘ROC’ in Norway, ‘SDRA8’ in Belgium. In each country, leading members of the executive, including Prime Ministers, Presidents, Interior Ministers and Defense Ministers, were involved in the conspiracy, while the ‘Allied Clandestine Committee’ (ACC), sometimes also euphemistically called the ‘Allied Co-ordination Committee’ and ‘Clandestine Planning Committee’ (CPC), less conspicuously at times also called ‘Coordination and Planning Committee’ of NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), coordinated the networks on the international level. The last confirmed secret meeting of ACC with representatives of European secret services took place on October 24, 1990 in Brussels.

…Leading officers of the secret network trained together with the U.S. Green Berets Special Forces in the United States of America and the British SAS Special Forces in England…In case of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe the secret Gladio soldiers under NATO command… [formed a] stay-behind network operating behind enemy lines.”

However, the expected Soviet invasion never occurred. And thus, these secret armies found another purpose. They were to be used against the people. The desire was that by staging false-flag operations that were blamed on communists, panic and revulsion would be invoked sending voters flocking to the welcoming arms to so-called ‘secure’ right-wing governments. Italy, which had the largest and most powerful communist party in Europe, would be first on the hit-list. The Communist Party of Italy, admired for leading the fight against Mussolini, was expected to win in Italy’s first post-war election in June 1946. This, of course, was considered intolerable under the Iron Curtain diktat.

Investigative journalist Christopher Simpson writes in his book Blowback, how a substantial part of the funding for the opposition to the Communist Party of Italy, which was the Christian Democratic Party, came from captured Nazi assets, largely held by the Americans. This intervention tipped the balance in favour of Italy’s Christian Democratic Party, which hid thousands of fascists in its ranks. The Christian Democratic Party would be the dominating party in Italy for five decades until it was dissolved in 1994.

In March 2001, General Giandelio Maletti, former head of Italian counterintelligence, suggested that next to the Gladio secret army, the Italian secret service and a group of Italian right-wing terrorists, the massacres which had discredited the Italian communists had also been supported by the White House in Washington and the CIA. At a trial of right-wing extremists accused of having been involved in the Piazza Fontana massacre, General Maletti testified:

The CIA, following the directives of its government, wanted to create an Italian nationalism capable of halting what it saw as a slide to the left, and, for this purpose, it may have made use of right-wing terrorism…The impression was that the Americans would do anything to stop Italy from sliding to the left… Italy has been dealt with as a sort of protectorate [of the United States]…[12]

In order to ensure that no further communist support were to arise in Italy, Operation Gladio, with direction and support from the CIA and MI6, led a campaign of brutal violence against Italians that stretched into the better part of two decades known as the ‘years of lead,’ the anni di piombo.

Daniele Ganser writes in NATO’s Secret Armies:[13]

According to the findings of the Belgian parliamentary investigation into Gladio, a secret non-orthodox warfare even preceded the foundation of the alliance [NATO]. As of 1948, non-orthodox warfare was coordinated by the so-called ‘Clandestine Committee of the Western Union’ (CCWU).

…When in 1949 the North Atlantic Treaty was signed, CCWU [Clandestine Committee of the Western Union] was secretly integrated into the new international military apparatus and as of 1951 operated under the new label CPC [Clandestine Planning Committee]. At the time European NATO headquarters were in France and also the CPC was located in Paris. Like the CCWU before it the CPC was concerned with the planning, preparation and direction of non-orthodox warfare carried out by the stay-behind armies and Special Forces. Only officers with the highest NATO security clearance were allowed to enter CPC headquarters…under the guidance of CIA and MI6 experts the chiefs of the Western European Secret Services met at regular intervals during the year in order to coordinate measures of non-orthodox warfare in Western Europe.”

In 1959, an internal NATO briefing minute, dated June 1st, 1959, slipped into the hands of a British newspaper, which revealed that the task of the stay-behind units had been switched from confronting a Soviet invasion to confronting an “internal subversion”. The secret armies were henceforth to play a “determining role…not only on the general policy level of [domestic] warfare, but also on the politics of [domestic] emergency.”[14] What this meant was that a secret army of stay-behind units, under the direction of NATO, in absence of a Soviet threat, were to direct their actions to internal matters which would include espionage and acts of terrorism on the citizens of Europe with the support and cover of those nations’ police units. This would be used to further centralise control within right-wing governments who supported the NATO apparatus.

Operation Gladio, which used the tactic Strategy of Tension, functioned on three basic levels. The first was a guerilla war to be fought primarily on the streets, in order to draw loyalties away from the Soviet Union. The second level was the political front and would involve NATO-inspired conspiracies, which typically accused certain governments of being in secret partnership with the USSR, in order to evict democratically elected governments unfriendly to the NATO state apparatus and replace them with puppet regimes. The third level was the assassination (hard and soft) of figures who were deemed obstructive to NATO’s aims. Examples of Gladio assassinations include Italy’s former Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978, Sweden’s Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986 (known as Sweden’s JFK), Turkey’s Prime Minister Adnan Menderes in 1961 along with two cabinet colleagues, and U.S. President Kennedy in 1963. As well as the soft assassination (character assassination) of UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson. These assassinations would typically be followed by a NATO/U.S. supported putsch. Attempted assassinations from Operation Gladio included President de Gaulle (more on this shortly) and Pope John Paul II.[15]

Yves Guerin-Serac: the Black Ops Grandmaster behind Operation Gladio

“He [Yves Guerin-Serac] was in thrall to his personal vision of a Christian-Fascist New World Order. He was also the intellectual mentor of Gladio terrorism. He wrote the basic training and propaganda manuals which can be fairly described as the Gladio order of battle.”

– Richard Cottrell, Gladio: NATO’s Dagger at the Heart to Europe

Guerin-Serac was a war hero, agent provocateur, assassin, bomber, intelligence agent, Messianic Catholic, and the intellectual grandmaster behind the ‘Strategy of Tension’ essential to the success of Operation Gladio. Guerin-Serac published via Aginter Press the Gladio manual, including Our Political Activity in what can aptly be described as Gladio’s First Commandment:[16]

Our belief is that the first phase of political activity ought to be to create the conditions favouring the installation of chaos in all of the regime’s structuresIn our view the first move we should make is to destroy the structure of the democratic state under the cover of Communist and pro-Soviet activities…Moreover, we have people who have infiltrated these groups.

Guerin-Serac continues:[17]

Two forms of terrorism can provoke such a situation [breakdown of the state]: blind terrorism (committing massacres indiscriminately which cause a large number of victims), and selective terrorism (eliminate chosen persons)…

This destruction of the state must be carried out under the cover of ‘communist activities.’ After that, we must intervene at the heart of the military, the juridical power and the church, in order to influence popular opinion, suggest a solution, and clearly demonstrate the weakness of the present legal apparatus. Popular opinion must be polarized in such a way, that we are being presented as the only instrument capable of saving the nation.

Anarchic random violence was to be the solution to bring about such a state of instability thus allowing for a completely new system, a global authoritarian order. Yves Guerin-Serac, who was an open fascist, would not be the first to use false-flag tactics that were blamed on communists and used to justify more stringent police and military control from the state.

On the 27th of February 1933, Hermann Göring, Hitler’s second-in-command, shouted outside the burning of the Reichstag:

This is the beginning of the Communist revolution! We must not wait a minute. We will show no mercy. Every Communist official must be shot, where he is found. Every Communist deputy must this very day be strung up![18]

It is quite incredible that people never seem to grow tired of these sort of theatrics as part of the popular narrative of what we are told shapes our history, no matter how many times we have heard it played before. The line of obvious patsies is also something that seems to never grow tiring. In the case of the Reichstag fire, now widely acknowledged as a false-flag, it was some befuddled Dutch Jew that was instantly accused.

The day after the fire, six days before the scheduled general election, Hitler persuaded the elderly and confused President von Hindenburg (the icon of the First World War) that the crisis was of such profound gravity it could only be met by complete abolition of all personal liberties. The Reichstag Fire Law conferred by Hindenburg gave Hitler many of the instruments that he required for a total seizure of power. Within two weeks, parliamentary democracy was also reduced to the smoking embers of history. It would not be the only false-flag to be orchestrated by Hitler.

Richard Cottrell writes in Gladio, NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe :[19]

SS units forced a small group of concentration camp victims ‘released’ from Buchenwald and disguised in Polish uniforms, to stage a false flag mock attack on the main radio tower in the Nazi controlled free state of Danzig. Citing provocation by the Poles, the German invasion of Poland followed.”

Guerin-Serac spent his life dedicated to a new Black Empire[20] which he dreamed would combine the universal divinity of the Roman church with the United States and Europe as successor to the Holy Roman Empire. This was Christian Fascism and Yves Guerin-Serac was its Crusader.[21] He belonged to several old gangs, including the first generation of ‘former’ Nazis and fascists. He also belonged to a veteran clan of French officers blooded in the Indochinese and Korean struggles and was a member of the elite troop of the 11ème Demi-Brigade Parachutiste du Choc, which worked with the SDECE (French intelligence agency). His connection to French Intelligence would be key in his becoming a founding member of the Organisation Armée Secrète (OAS), a French terrorist group, made up of disaffected French officers, based in Spain which fought against Algerian independence. Guerin-Serac would form an intricate paramilitary and terrorist network throughout Europe, as well as training facilities to service Operation Gladio, via the cover of Aginter Press.

Cottrell writes:[22]

Guerin-Serac arrived in Lisbon in 1966 with an inspirational blueprint for the next stage of the struggle against godless liberalism. He proposed…an organization that would act as nothing less than an international travel agency for terrorists. The principal funding was supplied by the CIA, according to the Pellegrino Commission established in 1995 by the Italian Senate to investigate the anni di piombo [years of lead]. Guido Salvini was the magistrate appointed to examine the 1969 bombing of the agricultural bank in Milan’s Piazza Fontana. He pinned the blame firmly on Guerin-Serac’s Aginter Press. Salvini told the senators that Aginter operatives were active in Italy from 1967 onwards, instructing local militant neo-fascist organisations in the use of explosives. From this nugget, the CIA is positively connected to the Gladio wave of terrorism sweeping Europe.”

Behind the plain business shopfront of Aginter Press lay an invisible network designed to shuttle terrorists around Europe, Latin America, and Africa providing false documents and passports for killers posing as reporters and photographers including Guerin-Serac.[23]

Cottrell continues:[24]

Aginter… was a Gladio finishing school, where recruits to the secret armies from all over Europe were trained in the arts of bomb making, assassination, psychological operations, destabilisation and counter-insurgency. Much of this was borrowed from the textbooks of the U.S. Army’s centre for covert warfare at Fort Bragg. Guest instructors from time to time included members of Britain’s SAS, the Green Berets …Guerin-Serac was blithely summoned to next door Spain to organise the death squads crushing resistance to the Franco regime. Aginter activities have been traced to all those countries where the Strategy of Tension operated at peak volume: Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Germany and Belgium.”

Britain’s Betrayal of its Greek Brothers-in-Arms in Support of Fascism

Britain did not wait for the end of WWII before cooperating with Nazis. Under Mussolini’s direction, Italian troops attacked Greece during the Second World War in 1940 but were defeated by the massive resistance of the Greek population. Hitler, in turn, sent his German troops which conquered the country and placed it under the control of the Axis Powers in 1941. The Greeks once again organised a massive resistance operation and throughout the war the German army faced great difficulties keeping the country under control. As in Italy and France, Greece’s strongest resistance organisation to the fascist occupation was dominated by the communists. ELAS, the People’s Liberation Army, had been founded on the initiative of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) some months after the German invasion. EAM, the political wing of the People’s Liberation Army was also dominated by the Greek communists. Out of a population of seven million up to two million Greeks were members of the EAM party, while 50,000 were actively fighting in the ranks of the ELAS army.[25]

ELAS’s operations were supported by the British secret army SOE.[26] Many personal friendships developed between the Greek ELAS resistance fighters and the British SOE liaison officers. However, this was abruptly severed in March 1943 when Prime Minister Winston Churchill decided to halt all British support for ELAS, as he feared that Greece after the defeat of the Axis Powers could come under communist control. At that time, Greece was at the peak of fighting a war with the German Nazis.

In order to minimise the power of the Greek communists and socialists, London planned to reinstall the Greek conservative King George II, who had cooperated with the fascist dictator Ioannis Metaxas (Prime Minister of Greece from April 1936 – January 1941), to form a pro-fascist government. Metaxas had called for a fascist “new order” in Greece, argu1943,that the Great Depression proved the failure of democracy and that fascism was the solution.[27] This fascist solution occurred in alignment with the restoring of the Greek monarchy.[28] The crucial British Foreign Office directive of March 20th, 1943 stated “SOE should always veer in the direction of groups willing to support the King and Government, and furthermore impress on such groups as may be anti-monarchical the fact that the King and Government enjoy the fullest support of His Majesty’s Government [of Britain].”[29] King George II was less than popular among many Greeks after having cooperated with the fascist dictator Metaxas. Yet London pursued the conservative policy and in October 1943, the British Foreign Office even contemplated “a downright policy of attacking and weakening EAM by every means in our power.[30]

‘Former’ Nazi collaborators and right-wing special units such as the fascist X Bands, with British support started to hunt and kill ELAS fighters. However, these groups did not enjoy popular support and recruitment levels were only at around 600 men. Thus, Churchill decided to up the ante, and in late 1944 gave the order for a new Greek army unit, which came to be known variously as the Greek mountain Brigade, the Hellenic Raiding Force, or LOK, its Greek acronym Lochos Oreinon Katadromon.[31] As it was aimed against the communists and the socialists, the unit excluded “almost all men with views ranging from moderate conservative to left wing. Under British military supervision and at Churchill’s express order, the unit was filled with royalists and anti-republicans.”[32]

Ganser writes in NATO’s Secret Armies:[33]

As ELAS fought against both the German Nazi occupiers and the British-sponsored Hellenic Raiding Force, Churchill feared a public relations disaster should it be revealed to the British public that London was secretly supporting the fascists against the Communists in Greece. In August 1944 he therefore instructed the BBC to eliminate ‘any credit of any kind’ to ELAS when reporting on the liberation of Greece. But only weeks later ELAS secured victory over the German occupiers and Hitler was forced to withdraw his soldiers also from Greece. Churchill immediately demanded that the resistance should disarm, an order which ELAS was willing to obey if it was equally applied to their only remaining enemy on the field, the British sponsored Hellenic Raiding Force.”

Britain refused to disband the secret right-wing army and thus large Greek demonstrations against Britain’s support for the fascist monarchy took place on December 3rd, 1944, a mere six weeks after Hitler’s forces had been defeated and pushed out of the country. A small group of 200-600 peaceful protestors, men, women and children, gathered at the Syntagma Square in Athens, the main square in front of the Greek parliament. A much larger group of 60,000 protestors were delayed by police blockades. British troops and police with machine guns were positioned on the rooftops.[34] Suddenly, and without warning, the peaceful demonstration was turned into a massacre as the command was given: “Shoot the bastards.” Shortly after the bloodbath, the main group of protestors arrived in the square. In a display of remarkable restraint, these 60,000 protestors held a peaceful demonstration against Britain’s support for the fascist monarchy, while among the dead bodies of their recently slain comrades.

In London, Churchill faced an angry House of Commons which demanded an explanation for the barbarity. While admitting that it had been a “shocking thing,” Churchill stressed that it was equally stupid to bring large numbers of unarmed children to a demonstration, while the city was full of armed men. The role of the secret right-wing army in the Syntagma massacre was never investigated.[35]

After the demonstration of force, the British reinstalled King George II and a succession of weak British puppet governments with right-wing leanings followed. A Greek resistance faction rearmed and took to the hills and in the fall of 1946 started a civil war against the British and the local right. An exhausted Britain asked in early 1947 for the United States’ support. Truman with his famous ‘Truman Doctrine’ in March 1947 was able to convince Congress to openly intervene in Greece. Greece was the first country to be invaded by the United States during the Cold War.[36] In the following decades, Washington put forward the argument used in Greece to justify its open or covert invasions of Korea, Guatemala, Iran, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Panama and several other countries.[37]

The United States secretly started Operation Torch and used chemical warfare to defeat the Greek resistance by dropping thousands of gallons of Napalm on Greece.[38] By late 1948, the Greek resistance which had defeated the Italian fascists, the German Nazis and the British troops, finally collapsed after years of heroic fighting. A hollowed out Greece joined NATO in 1952 and by that time “had been moulded into a supremely reliable ally-client of the United States. It was staunchly anti-Communist and well integrated into the NATO system.”[39]

Peter Murtagh writes in The Rape of Greece: The King, the Colonels and the Resistance:[40]

The [Hellenic] Raiding Force doubled as the Greek arm of the clandestine pan-European guerilla network set up in the 1950s by NATO and the CIA which was controlled from NATO headquarters in Brussels by the Allied Coordination Committee…The Greek branch of the network was…known as Operation Sheepskin.”

Is this what Kalergi was referring to as his “Crusade for Pan-Europe”; a “clandestine pan-European guerilla network” to ‘defend’ Europe?

Ganser writes:[41]

The Greek junta consolidated its power through a regime of imprisonment and torture…Communists, Socialists, artists, academics, journalists, students, politically active women, priests, including their friends and families were [horrifically] tortured…’We are all democrats here’ Inspector Basil Lambro, the chief of the secret police of Athens, was fond of stressing. ‘Everybody who comes here talks. You’re not spoiling our record.’ The sadist torturer made it clear to his victims: ‘We are the government, you are nothing. The government isn’t alone. Behind the government are the Americans.’ If in the mood Basil also offered his analysis of world politics: ‘The whole world is in two parts, the Russians and the Americans. We are the Americans. Be grateful we’ve only tortured you a little. In Russia, they’d kill you’.”

[For more on the British Gladio see Chapters 1, 2, 10 & 11 of my book ‘The Empire on which the Black Sun Never Set’.]

The American Gladio Arm

The National Security Act of 1947, a Trojan horse, was a part of the new breed of legislation post-Roosevelt and led to the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), placing it under the direction of the National Security Council (NSC). Although it did not explicitly authorize the CIA to conduct covert operations, Section 102 was sufficiently vague to permit abuse. By December 1947, less than four months after the creation of the CIA, the perceived necessity to “stem the flow of communism” in Western Europe—particularly Italy—by overt and covert “psychological warfare” forced the issue and NSC 4-A[42] was born. NSC 4-A would be replaced by NSC 10/2[43] less than one year later, approved by President Truman on June 18th, 1948, creating the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). NSC 10/2 was the first presidential document which specified a mechanism to approve and manage covert operations, and also the first in which the term “covert operations” was defined.

In the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, the U.S. parliament investigated the CIA and the NSC via the Frank Church Senate Committee Hearings[44] and found that:

The national elections in Europe in 1948 had been a primary motivation in the establishment of the OPC…By channeling funds to centre parties and developing media assets, OPC attempted to influence the election results – with considerable success…These activities formed the basis for covert political action for the next twenty years. By 1952 approximately forty different covert action projects were under way in one central European country alone…Until 1950 OPC’s paramilitary activities (also referred to as preventive action) were limited to plans and preparations for stay-behind nets in the event of future war. Requested by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, these projected OPC operations focused, once again, on Western Europe and were designed to support NATO forces against Soviet attack.”[45]

George F. Kennan selected Frank Wisner as the first commander of the CIA covert action unit OPC. Wisner and other U.S. OPC officers “tended to be white Anglo-Saxon patricians from old families with old money…and they somewhat inherited traditional British attitudes toward the coloured races of the world.”[46] Wisner became the chief architect of the network of secret armies in Western Europe. From 1948-1950 the OPC was a renegade operation run by Allen Dulles and Frank Wisner. In 1950 the OPC was renamed the Directorate of Plans and continued under the direct commandership of Frank Wisner. George F. Kennan, OPC overseer at the time, would strongly support the passing of NSC 10/2 and CIA covert actions in Italy and beyond.

Ganser writes:[47]

“…next to the Pentagon the U.S. Special Forces were also directly involved in the secret war against the Communists in Western Europe, as together with the SAS they trained the members of the stay-behind network. After the U.S. wartime secret service OSS had been disbanded after the end of the war the U.S. Special Forces were reborn with headquarters at Fort Bragg, Virginia, in 1952. General McClure established a Psychological Warfare Centre in Fort Bragg and in the summer of 1952 the first Special Forces unit, somewhat misleadingly called the 10th Special Forces Group was organised according to the OSS experience during the Second World War, and directly inherited the latter’s mission to carry out, like the British SAS, sabotage missions and to recruit, equip and train guerillas in order to exploit the resistance potential in both Eastern and Western Europe.

…At all times the U.S. Special Forces were set up in Fort Bragg in 1952 the name of the CIA covert action branch changed from ‘OPC’ to ‘Directorate of Plans’ (DP), and Wisner was promoted Deputy Director of Plans. Together with CIA Director Allen Dulles he intensified U.S. covert action operations on a global scale. Dulles authorised CIA assassination attempts on Castro and Lumumba as well as the CIA’s LSD experiments with unwitting subjects…”

Edward Lansdale who was chief of the Saigon Military Mission and a protégé of General Lemnitzer; who wanted to send a submarine to the shore outside Havana where it would create an “inferno of light.” At the same time, according to Lansdale’s plan, Cuba-based agents would warn the religious natives of the second coming of Christ and the Savior’s distaste for Fidel Castro. The plan was called ‘Elimination by Illumination,’ but was ultimately shelved.[48] It would be funny if such plans stayed on paper, but these men were responsible for the torture and deaths of countless individuals for the plans that made it into reality.

As soon as General Lemnitzer became Army Chief of Staff in 1959, he installed Lansdale at a desk in Deputy Defense Secretary Gilpatric’s office in the Pentagon. Lansdale was put in charge of Operation Mongoose under direct patronage of Lemnitzer with the main object to eliminate Castro in direct defiance of federal law prohibiting political assassinations. Operation Mongoose was an extensive campaign of terrorist attacks against civilians and covert operations carried out by the CIA and was run out of JM/Wave in Miami. Lansdale would participate in many covert operations including raids and bombings in Cuba and other targets all over Latin America.

In March 1962, General Lemnitzer, not taking a hint as to what happened to Dulles, Bissell and Cabell, decided it would be a good idea to propose Operation Northwoods to President Kennedy for approval. Operation Northwoods was a proposed false-flag operation against American citizens, which called for CIA operatives to both stage and actually commit acts of terrorism against American military and civilian targets and subsequently blame the Cuban government in order to justify a war against Cuba. The plan was drafted by General Lemnitzer specifically and had a striking similarity with NATO’s Operation Gladio. The logic of Northwoods was the stripe of Gladio. The general staff inclined towards prefabricated violence because they believed benefits gained by the state count more than injustice against individuals. The only important criterion was reaching the objective and the objective was ultra right-wing government.

There was not a single item in the Northwoods manual that did not amount to a blatant act of treason, yet the U.S. military establishment dispatched Top Secret – Justification for U.S. military Intervention in Cuba straight to the desk of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, for onward transmission to President Kennedy. Needless to say, President Kennedy rejected the proposal and a few months later General Lemnitzer’s term was not renewed as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, having served from October 1st 1960 to September 30th 1962.

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Operation Northwoods memorandum March 13, 1962. Source: https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/news/20010430/doc1.pdf.

However, NATO lost no time, and in November 1962 Lemnitzer was appointed commander of U.S. European Command and as Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) of NATO, the latter to which he served from January 1st, 1963 to July 1st, 1969.

Lemnitzer was a perfect fit to oversee the cross-continental Gladio operations in Europe. He had been a prime motivating force in setting up the Special Forces Group in 1952 at Fort Bragg, where commandos were trained in the arts of guerilla insurgency in the events of a Soviet invasion of Europe. Before long the men who proudly wore distinctive green berets were cooperating discreetly with the armed forces of a string of European countries and participating in direct military operations some of them extremely sensitive and highly illegal if not downright treasonous.

One of these operations was the NATO/CIA coalition which had sponsored at least two attempts to assassinate President de Gaulle.[49] In response to this, de Gaulle had kicked NATO’s headquarters out of France, removed France from NATO and had given Lemnitzer a summary order to quit NATO. If President de Gaulle’s orders had been denied, he would have been prepared to go to war, and thus there was a bit of reshuffling, but essentially the game continued intact.

[For more on the American Gladio Arm see Chapters 4, 7, 8, 9 & 13 of my book ‘The Empire on which the Black Sun Never Set’.]

De Gaulle vs. NATO

France is determined to regain on her whole territory the full exercise of her sovereignty.

– President of France Charles de Gaulle

It was thought by many of the pro-fascist imperialist persuasion that de Gaulle was ultimately going to play ball. That though he may have had his criticisms of fascism, he was at the end of the day an anti-communist and an imperialist and thus, it was inevitable that he would eventually ‘see the light’. This was something that the pro-fascists thought they could work with in the ‘restructuring’ of Europe amidst a Cold War.

Ganser writes in NATO’s Secret Armies[50]:

On the initiative of the U.S. and the British Special Forces SAS, a secret army was set up in France under the cover name ‘Plan Bleu’ (Blue Plan) whose task was to secretly prevent the powerful PCF [Communist Party of France] from coming to power. The Blue Plan, in other words, aimed to prevent France from turning red…The SAS, specialised in secret warfare, contacted the newly created French secret service Direction Generale des Etudes et Recherche (DGER) and agreed with them to set up a secret army in northern France across the Channel in the Bretagne.”

One month after having ousted the communists from the government, the French socialists attacked the military right and the CIA and exposed the Plan Bleu secret army. On June 30th, 1947, French socialist Minister of the Interior Edouard Depreux exposed that a secret right-wing army had been erected in France behind the back of politicians with the task to destabilize the French government. “Towards the end of 1946 we got to know of the existence of a black resistance network, made up of resistance fighters of the extreme-right, Vichy collaborators and [pro] monarchists…They had a secret attack plan called ‘Plan Bleu’, which should have come into action towards the end of July, or on August 6 [1947].”[51]

Ganser continues[52]:

The secret war against the Communists did not end when Plan Bleu was exposed and closed down in 1947. Much to the contrary, French Socialist Prime Minister Paul Ramadier saw to it that his trusted chiefs within the military secret service were not removed by the scandal. When the storm had passed he ordered Henri Ribiere, Chief of SDECE, and Pierre Fourcand, deputy Director of the SDECE, in late 1947 to erect a new anti-Communist secret army under the code name ‘Rose des Vents’ (Rose of the Winds, i.e. Compass Rose), the star-shaped official symbol of the NATO. The code name was well chosen, for when NATO was created in 1949 with headquarters in Paris, the SDECE coordinated its anti-Communist secret war closely with the miliary alliance. The secret soldiers understood that within its maritime original context the compass rose is the card pattern below the compass needle according to which the course is set, and according to which corrections are undertaken if the ship is in danger of steering off course.”

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(left) NATO’s symbol, (right) ‘Rose des Vents (Rose of the Winds i.e. Compass Rose) name of a French anti-communist secret army established in 1947. NATO’s first headquarters was established in France in 1949.

However, there was one very large mistake that was made in establishing NATO’s base in France. De Gaulle was not going to play ball after all…

After the Second World War there was increasing pressure for European nations to commit to the NATO diktat. President of France Charles de Gaulle (1959-1969) disagreed with this orientation. One of the major points of this disagreement was over the force de frappe (nuclear striking force), which de Gaulle believed should be kept firmly outside of NATO’s control. He refused the prospect of France getting automatically dragged into a shooting war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. De Gaulle’s relentless pursuit of French nationalism and independence in foreign and military policies was clearly incompatible with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s charter. When de Gaulle began talk of delivering Algeria her independence, it was decided by former allies, and members of his own military and police that de Gaulle had to go.

On April 21st, 1961, a plot to overthrow President de Gaulle, organised by the OAS (Organisation Armée Secrète, the French terrorist group run by Yves Guerin-Serac) swung into action. On that day, four disaffected generals known as the ‘ultra group’ staged a coup in Algiers. The civil caucus in Washington, Pentagon and NATO headquarters in France were all implicated in the plot to eliminate the French president and secure Algeria for the West. The coup leader, air force general Maurice Challe, was formerly commander of NATO’s forces in Central Europe.

The first outlines of the coup were agreed in the summer of 1960, when the former governor of Algeria, Jacques Soustelle, had a secret tête-à-tête with Richard M. Bissell. Bissell, the CIA Deputy Director of Plans (formerly called the OPC), the covert operations wing of the CIA, and close associate of Allen Dulles and Frank Wisner. In the same year, Challe stage-managed his resignation from NATO. In January 1961 the main plotters assembled, the chief item on the agenda was to form the OAS as an alternative government that would replace de Gaulle’s government once he had been toppled. Key figures in Plan Bleu were all present.[53] Challe’s forces in Algeria were secretly funded using channels closely connected to the French Gladio.[54] On the eve of the coup, Bissell, had an undisclosed meeting with Challe in Algiers. Challe was told that if he could get the country under control inside 48 hours, then the U.S. government would formally recognise his regime.[55] The putsch ultimately failed.

Ganser writes:[56]

When NATO was founded in 1949, its headquarters, including the SHAPE [Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe], were built in France. France was thereafter particularly vulnerable to NATO and CIA secret warfare as de Gaulle lamented – for together with NATO also the secret Gladio command centre CPC [Clandestine Planning Committee] was located in Paris as the Italian document ‘The special forces of SIFAR [Italian intelligence] and Operation Gladio’ of June 1959 revealed. ‘On the level of NATO the following activities must be mentioned: 1. The activity of the CPC of Paris…attached to SHAPE.’”

What this meant was that the Gladio command centre, the Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC) was located in Paris to directly coordinate with NATO’s headquarters. In other words, Gladio was working directly for the NATO command centre.

Ganser continues:

“Furthermore also the secret Gladio command centre ACC [ Allied Clandestine Committee] repeatedly met in Paris. It came as a massive shock to the White House in Washington when de Gaulle in February 1966 – due to a number of strategic and personnel motives that historians still struggle to explain – decided to challenge the United States head-on, and ordered NATO and the United States either to place their military bases in France under French control, or to dismantle them. The United States and NATO did not react to the ultimatum whereupon in a spectacular decision de Gaulle took France out of NATO’s military command on March 7, 1966 and expelled the entire NATO organisation together with its covert action agents from French territory. To the anger of Washington and the Pentagon the European headquarters of NATO had to move to Belgium. In Brussels, Mons and Casteau, new European NATO headquarters were being erected where they have remained until today. The Belgium parliamentary investigation into Gladio and secret warfare later confirmed that ‘in 1968 the Chair of CPC moved to Brussels.’ [in order to be with NATO] Research in Belgium furthermore revealed that the ACC secret warfare centre held a meeting with international participation in Brussels as late as October 23 and 24, 1990.

Belgium Gladio author Jan Willems drew attention to the sensitive fact that when de Gaulle withdrew the French army from the military-integrated command of NATO, some of the secret agreements between France and the United States were cancelled. ‘On this occasion it was revealed that secret protocols existed concerning the fight against Communist subversion, signed bilaterally by the United States and its NATO allies. De Gaulle denounced the protocols as an infringement of national sovereignty. Similar secret clauses were also revealed in other NATO states. In Italy Giuseppe de Lutiis revealed that when becoming a NATO member Italy in 1949 had signed not only the Atlantic Pact, but also secret protocols that provided for the creation of an unofficial organisation ‘charged with guaranteeing Italy’s internal alignment with the Western Block by any means, even if the electorate were to show a different inclination.’ And also in the initial NATO agreement in 1949 required that before a nation could join, it must have already established a national security authority to fight Communism through clandestine citizen cadres’.”

Not only was de Gaulle not going to go along with the secret armies of NATO, but he was going to actively intervene to ensure the sovereignty of Europe’s nations against the fascist imperialist end-goal of NATO and its secret Gladio arms. It was a full all-out-war in the underground world of intelligence and clandestine warfare, and de Gaulle was one of the very few that was fully equipped to play the game.

There would subsequently be over 30 assassination attempts on de Gaulle’s life during his presidency. After 43 years, in 2009, France would finally rejoin NATO, a decision made by President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has had “an interesting record of winning elections with dramatic perfectly timed post-terror interventions…”[57] It should be noted that there has been a great deal of effort to either flatly deny or downplay France’s role in Gladio, and the involvement of NATO, however, these are demonstrably false. When Italy’s Operation Gladio was finally revealed to the world in the early 1990s (more on this shortly), there was a media frenzy inquiring into whether other governments within Europe were also implicated.

The French along with the British denied that their governments had any involvement in the Gladio networks. Italian Prime Minister Andreotti, not wanting to be the only boat sunk, mercilessly shattered the French cover-up when on November 10th, 1990 he declared that France also had taken part in the very recent meeting of the Gladio directing body ACC (Allied Clandestine Committee) in Belgium on October 23rd, 1990. It was only with Andreotti’s accusation that France changed its tune and acknowledged its role in Gladio, with French Defence Minister Jean Pierre Chevènement claiming that the French secret army was “completely passive…”[58]

In the Quiet of a Small Town

“Sex trafficking, industrial paedophilia, the reports of snuff movies made for political and financial blackmail, or just for profit, were all entangled in a black cobweb of spies, officially connived drug running, the secret paramilitary network, and the constant meddling of NATO’s high command in the internal affairs of the country.”

– Richard Cottrell, Gladio: NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe

Belgium is made up of a Flemish and French ethnic population. During WWII, many Flemings either openly or symbolically sided with the Germans, in hopes of Flemish nationhood – even within a Nazi commonwealth – doing away with Belgium altogether.

Richard Cottrell writes in Gladio: NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe:[59]

A residue from wartime fraternisation with the Germans led to Nazi-style paganistic symbolism and mystical blood bonding ceremonies within the Belgian stay-behind network and elements of the national armed forces, which in any event inclined to the Right. This mystical streak was set for a chilling significance in shaping many of the perversion yet to be wrought on Belgium.”

Ganser writes in NATO’s Secret Armies:[60]

According to Belgian Gladio author Jan Willems, the creation of WUCC [Western Union Clandestine Committee] in spring 1948 had been a direct consequence of a public speech by British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin held in London on January 22, 1948. In front of the British parliament Bevin had elaborated on his plan for a ‘Union Occidental’, an international organisation designed to counter what he perceived to be the Soviet threat in Europe…”

Ernest Bevin (Britain’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs July 1945-March 1951) aided in the creation of NATO and was instrumental in the founding of the Information Research Department (IRD), a secret Cold War propaganda department of the British Foreign Office, specialised in pro-colonial, anti-communist, disinformation propaganda, including black propaganda.[61] His commitment to the West European security system, made him eager to sign the Treaty of Brussels in 1948. It drew Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg into an arrangement for collective security, opening the way for the formation of NATO in 1949.[62] Bevin also played a role in Parliament misinforming MPs and failing to extradite the Mufti of Jerusalem, while in French custody, who had been installed and funded by the British government in Palestine and had worked closely with the Nazis during the Second World War.[63]

Little Belgium soon after NATO’s move to Brussels, had the second most powerful and intrusive crime cartels in Western Europe. In a very short time, Europe’s cockpit was also its chief narcotics and illegal arms hub, with a sideline of sex trafficking. According to investigative journalist Richard Cottrell,[64] the CIA had recruited Belgian Nazis – mostly, but not exclusively, Flemish – as soon as the war ended, and selected them for high offices at state and provincial levels. Such ‘former’ Belgian Nazi figures were protected from justice and released from prison under the protection of the CIA. NATO’s machinations along with General Lemnitzer’s imported experts in counterinsurgency[65] were responsible for the formation of the Belgian Gladio operations; divided into SDRA-8 (French) and STC/Mob (Flemish) divisions.[66]

Cottrell writes:[67]

According to journalist Manuel Abramowitz – a leading investigator of the far Right in Belgium – neo-Nazis were egged on to infiltrate all the mechanisms of the state, with special attention reserved for the police and the army. By the 1980s, this level of penetration had become so deep – thanks to fascist fronts such as the neo-Nazi militia Westland New Post and its French speaking counterpart, Front de la Jeunesse – that Belgium’s military forces could be said to have fallen almost entirely under extremist control. Not once in the wake of the many false-flag operations over the coming decades, did convincing proof ever appear of a credible coordinated Left-wing subversive force operating on Belgian soil, while seditious organisations of the Far Right flourished openly.

Senator Hugo Coveliers chairman of the special investigating committee probing gangsterism and terrorism in Belgium (1988-1990) tracked the presence of incriminating materials to a special unit called the ‘judicial police’. Here is what Coveliers said on what became known as the ‘scandal of the X-Dossiers’:

Imagine, everywhere you hear that story about a blackmail dossier in which organisations of the extreme right are in the possession of pictures and videos on which a number of prominent people in and around Brussels have sex with young girls; minors it is said. The existence of this dossier has always been vehemently denied. Until it was proven that testimonies and videos of this affair indeed were in the possession of the police services.

The at first non-existing dossier turns out to exist. The videos without substance then turn out to be interesting enough after all to be handed over to the examining magistrate tasked with the investigation into the Gang of Nivelles [held responsible for some of the shop massacres]. But this person is subsequently afraid to testify about that! What do you think is going on here![68]

Cottrell, who is a former European Parliament MP and has conducted formal investigations ordered by the European Parliament, explores these avenues in greater detail in his book. He concludes that these sex-trafficking rings within Belgium, involving the abuse and murder of children, are encouraged among public officials for two reasons. The first is to produce incriminating blackmail making political retreat impossible. The second reason is that some of these activities that were recorded and retained in top secret files, were part of cultist initiation ceremonies.

Cottrell writes:[69]

It was alleged these involved paganistic neo-Nazi traits such as blood rituals, practised by elements within the state’s secret forces, as well as the orthodox military structure.”

In the context of this, NATO’s twitter scandal posting the Black Sun Nazi occult symbol[70] for international women’s day in 2022, might not have been a slip-up after all…

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The author can be reached at https://cynthiachung.substack.com/.

  1. Among the plethora of books H.G. Wells wrote, was “The New World Order,” (1940). It appears that Wells was among the very first to pioneer the now infamous term. 
  2. Dorril, Stephen. (2006) Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British fascism. Viking, London, New York, pg. 560-561. 
  3. Ibid, pg. 561. 
  4. Chung, Cynthia. (2022) The Empire on which the Black Sun Never Set: The Birth of International Fascism and Anglo-American Foreign Policy. See Chapter 2. 
  5. Dorril, Stephen. (2006) Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British fascism. Viking, London, New York, pg. 577. 
  6. Ibid, pg. 585. 
  7. For more on Otto Skorzeny see Chapters 6, 8 & 11 of my book “The Empire on which the Black Sun Never Set.” 
  8. Dorril, Stephen. (2006) Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British fascism. Viking, London, New York, pg. 15-16 
  9. Mosley wrote to Wells to congratulate him on a speech supporting ‘Liberal Fascism’. Mosley included a copy of his book The Greater Britain, and wrote “I am afraid the word ‘Liberal’ has not much relation in my book, but it certainly is an attempt to create a scientific Fascism which is free from the excess and repressions of the Continent…like most prophets, you will probably have the unpleasant experience of recognising many of your own teachings of the past reproduced and reshaped by less capable hands.” From Stephen Dorril’s book ‘Blackshirt.’ 
  10. Refer to Chapter 1 of my book “The Empire on which the Black Sun Never Set” for Mosley’s concept of a “scientific dictatorship” which was almost entirely influenced by H.G. Wells. 
  11. Ganser, Daniele. (2005) NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe. Frank Cass, London, New York, pg. 1. 
  12. Willan, Philip. (March 26, 2001) Terrorists ‘helped by CIA’ to stop rise of left in Italy. The Guardian. https://web.archive.org/web/20220721212738/https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/mar/26/terrorism
  13. Ganser, Daniele. (2005) NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe. Frank Cass, London, New York, pg. 28 
  14. Cottrell, Richard. (2015) Gladio, NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe: The Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia Terror Axis. Progressive Press. Richard Cottrell is a former European Parliament MP and investigative journalist. Cottrell has also conducted formal investigations commissioned by the European Parliament. 
  15. For more details around the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II see Richard Cottrell’s book Gladio, NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe
  16. Ganser, Daniele. (2005). NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe. Frank Cass, pg. 115-121. 
  17. Ibid 
  18. William L. Shirer. (1959) The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, pg. 192. 
  19. Cottrell, Richard. (2015) Gladio, Nato’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe: The Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia Terror Axis. Progressive Press. 
  20. Black Empire is in reference to a Fascist Empire. 
  21. Recall from Chapter 2 Kalergi’s Catholic Crusade for a Pan-Europe. 
  22. Cottrell, Richard. (2015) Gladio, NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe: The Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia Terror Axis. Progressive Press. 
  23. Recall in Chapter 1, that Mosley and his son were working for a Spanish travel agency that was organising Otto Skorzeny’s travel itinerary, which was likely connected to Aginter Press. 
  24. Cottrell, Richard. (2015) Gladio, NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe: The Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia Terror Axis. Progressive Press. 
  25. Ganser, Daniele. (2005). NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe. Frank Cass, pg. 212. 
  26. Ibid, pg. 212. 
  27. Cliadakis, Harry. (January 1979). The Political and Diplomatic Background to the Metaxas Dictatorship, 1935-36. Journal of Contemporary History. 14 (1): pg. 117–138. 
  28. Ibid 
  29. Mackenzie, W.J.M. (May 2002) The Secret History of SOE Special Operations Executive 1940-1945. Little, Brown Group Limited, pg. 703. 
  30. Mackenzie, W.J.M. (May 2002) The Secret History of SOE Special Operations Executive 1940-1945. Little, Brown Group Limited, pg. 722-723. 
  31. Murtagh, Peter. (January 1994) The Rape of Greece: The King, the Colonels and the Resistance. Simon & Schuster Canada, pg. 29. 
  32. Ibid 
  33. Ganser, Daniele. (2005). NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe. Frank Cass, pg. 213. 
  34. Ibid, pg. 213-215. 
  35. Ibid, pg. 213-215. 
  36. Ibid, pg. 213-215. 
  37. Ibid, pg. 215. 
  38. Ibid, pg. 215. 
  39. Blum, William. (October 2008) Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II. Common Courage Press, Maine, pg. 36. 
  40. Murtagh, Peter. (January 1994) The Rape of Greece: The King, the Colonels and the Resistance. Simon & Schuster Canada, pg. 41. 
  41. Ganser, Daniele. (2005). NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe. Frank Cass, pg. 219. 
  42. National Security Council. (Dec. 9, 1947) Memorandum from the Executive Secretary NSC 4https://web.archive.org/web/20220816000135/https://irp.fas.org/offdocs/nsc-hst/nsc-4.htm
  43. National Security Council. (June 18, 1948) Directive on Office of Special Projects NSC 10/2https://web.archive.org/web/20220815203120/https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1945-50Intel/d292
  44. For more on the Frank Church Senate Committee Hearings see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Committee. Retrieved October, 2022. 
  45. The United States Senate. Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence activities. Book IV: Supplementary detailed staff reports on foreign and military intelligence, pg. 36. 
  46. Powers, Thomas. (January 1979) The man who kept the secrets: Richard helms and the CIA. Alfred A. Knopf, pg. 37. 
  47. Ganser, Daniele. (2005). NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe. Frank Cass, pg. 57. 
  48. Kruger, Henrik. (1980) The Great Heroin Coup: Drugs, Intelligence & International Fascism. South End Press, pg. 143. 
  49. Cottrell, Richard. (2015) Gladio, NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe: The Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia Terror Axis. Progressive Press. 
  50. Ibid, pg. 87. 
  51. Faligot, Roger; Pascal, Krop. (May 1985) La piscine: Les services secrets francais 1944-1984. Seuil, pg. 85. 
  52. Ganser, Daniele. (2005). NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe. Frank Cass, pg. 90. 
  53. Blum, William. (October 2008) Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II. Common Courage Press, Maine, pg. 149. 
  54. Cottrell, Richard. (2015) Gladio, NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe: The Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia Terror Axis. Progressive Press. 
  55. Blum, William. (October 2008) Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II. Common Courage Press, Maine, pg. 149. 
  56. Ganser, Daniele. (2005). NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe. Frank Cass, pg. 98-99. 
  57. Cottrell, Richard. (2015) Gladio, NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe: The Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia Terror Axis. Progressive Press. 
  58. Ganser, Daniele. (2005). NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe. Frank Cass, pg. 17. 
  59. Cottrell, Richard. (2015) Gladio, NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe: The Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia Terror Axis. Progressive Press. 
  60. Ganser, Daniele. (2005). NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe. Frank Cass, pg. 128. 
  61. Burke, Jason (14 May 2022). Secret British ‘black propaganda’ campaign targeted cold war enemies. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/14/secret-british-black-propaganda-campaign-targeted-cold-war-enemies-information-research-department. Retrieved October 14, 2022. 
  62. Baylis, John (1982). Britain and the Dunkirk Treaty: The Origins of NATO. Journal of Strategic Studies. 5 (2): pg. 236–47. 
  63. See Chapter 11 of my book ‘The Empire on which the Black Sun Never Set.’ 
  64. Richard Cottrell is a former European Parliament MP and investigative journalist. Cottrell has also conducted formal investigations commissioned by the European Parliament. 
  65. See Chapter 8 of my book ‘The Empire on which the Black Sun Never Set.’ 
  66. Richard Cottrell. (2015) Gladio: NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe. Progressive Press. 
  67. Ibid. 
  68. Ibid. 
  69. Ibid. 
  70. https://mobile.twitter.com/RT_com/status/1501611271631695873. Retrieved September 12, 2022. 

لولا دا سيلفا.. رئيس البرازيل من طبقة الكادحين

الثلاثاء 29 تشرين اول  2022

إعداد: شروق محيدله

سياسي برازيلي بدأ من عالم الفقر والنضال النقابي وحوّل بلاده إلى قوة عالمية.. من هو لولا دا سيلفا؟

فيديوهات متعلقة

طفولة صعبة ومراهقة شاقة.. كيف عاش لولا دا سيلفا حياته؟

رماح اسماعيل 

المصدر: الميادين نت

31 تشرين اول 

عاش لولا دا سيلفا حياة قاسية، بين النشأة والطفولة والمراهقة، وصولاً إلى الرئاسة، ولأن تكوينه الأول كان في وسط فقير، كبر لولا وأخذ على عاتقه راية الفقراء، وتخليصهم من الظلم.

لولا دا سيلفا في مرحلة الشباب (أرشيفية)

قبل أن يكون رئيساً للبرازيل، إحدى الدول البارزة في أميركا اللاتينية، كان الرئيس المنتخب أمس لولا دا سيلفا طفلاً عاش في ظروف صعبة للغاية، تسبب بها الفقر المدقع الذي عانت منه أسرته. 

ثم انتقل دا سيلفا إلى مرحلة المراهقة التي لم تكن أفضل من مرحلة الطفولة، حيث كان معيلاً لعائلته، مما اضطره إلى العمل في أكثر المهن صعوبة، واحدة منها أفقدته أصبعاً في يده.

نشأت شخصية دا سيلفا في بيئة قاسية، فأثّرت بشكل مباشر في تكوين شخصيته، لكنها لم تخلق منه شخصاً فظاً، بل جعلته رحيماً بمن حوله، ذاق الفقر ومرارته فأراد أن يكون جسراً ليعبر فوقه فقراء البرازيل نحو حياة أفضل.

نشأته وطفولته

“لقد علمتني أمي كيف أمشي مرفوع الرأس وكيف أحترم نفسي حتى يحترمني الآخرون”.

نشأ دا سيلفا الذي ولد في 27 تشرين الأول/أكتوبر 1945، في أسرة فقيرة، أصلها من الشمال الشرقي للبرازيل، وكانت طفولته قاسية، حيث تعلم من والدته الكثير حول الحياة ومواجهة صعوباتها.

وكتب ريتشارد بورن في الجزء الأول من كتابه “لولا البرازيل” عن طفولة دا سلفيا، وجاء عنوان هذا الجزء بعنوان “قاسية وصعبة”، قائلاً إن لولا انتمى لأسرة مكونة من 7 أولاد وبنات، سافر والده مع ابنة عمه بعد أسبوعين فقط من مولد دا سيلفا إلى ساو باولو، للبحث عن عمل ثم انقطعت أخباره بعد فترة قصيرة، فظنت والدته أنه وجد وظيفة وبالتالي سافرت هي الأخرى إلى ساو باولو ومعها أطفالها.

ولكن سرعان ما اكتشفت أن زوجها تزوج من ابنة عمه بعد أن عاشوا قصة حب سرية، ولذلك اضطرت أن تسكن في غرفة واحدة في منطقة فقيرة في هذه المدينة، ولقد لعبت “أريستيدس” والدة دا سيلفا دوراً كبيراً في حياته وتكوين شخصيته، واعترف دا سيلفا بذلك.

بدأ لولا دا سيلفا مشواره التعليمي في سن مبكر، ولكنه توقف عن التحصيل الدراسي في سن العاشرة من عمره، عندما كان في السنة الخامسة من التعليم الأساسي بسبب الفقر الشديد والظروف الصعبة التي كانت تمر بها العائلة.

ولكن تلك الظروف الصعبة ساهمت في بناء شخصيته، وظهر هذا عندما تولى حكم البرازيل حيث وجه اهتماماً كبيراً للفقراء.

مراهقة ترافقت مع أعمال شاقة

لا بد أن شخصية دا سيلفا المناضلة تعود إلى خلفية عاشها في فترة شبابه، قاسى فيها ظروفاً صعبة للغاية، حيث عمل هذا الفتى في سن مبكرة من عمره كماسح للأحذية لفترة طويلة في شوارع ساو باولو، وكصبي في محطة وقود، ثم حرفي في ورشة.

ليعمل بعد ذلك ميكانيكياً لإصلاح السيارات، وبائع خضروات لكن كل هذه الظروف جعلت منه رجلاً قوياً، وانتهى به الحال كمتخصص في التعدين بعد التحاقه بمعمل “فيس ماترا” حيث نجح في الحصول على دورة تدريبية لمدة 3 سنوات من هناك.

وتعرض لولا لحادثة في سن الـ19 من عمره، أثناء عمله في إحدى مصانع قطع الغيار للسيارات، أدت إلى فقدانه أصبعه خنصر في يده اليسرى، وكان السبب في هذا هو إهمال صاحب المصنع الذي كان يعمل به.

وبعد هذا الحادث انضم دا سيلفا إلى نقابة عمالية بهدف تحسين أوضاع العمال، لأنه عانى الكثير ليحصل على علاج آنذاك.

وأثرت تلك الحادثة في نفسية لولا، مما دفعه للمشاركة في اتحاد نقابة العمال، بهدف الدفاع عن حقوق العمال وتحسين مستواهم وتحريرهم من قسوة أصحاب الأموال وظلمهم.

دا سيلفا خلال مشاركته في حركات العمال (أرشيفية)

حياته الأسرية

لم يكتب لزواج دا سيلفا الأول الاستمرارية، حيث توفيت زوجته الأولى “ماريا دى” عام 1970،  بسبب مرض التهاب الكبد الوبائي، أي بعد سنة واحدة فقط على زواجهما في عام 1969 لتنتهي بذلك حكايتهما معاً من دون إنجاب أطفال.

وفي عام 1974 تزوج من “ماريزا ليتسيا لولا دا سيلفا” والتي أصبحت السيدة الأولى في البرازيل وأنجب منها 5 أبناء.

محطات في حياته السياسية

صبغت ظروف دا سيلفا الصعبة حياته ومعتقداته، حتى جعلته صوتاً للمستضعفين ليس فقط في البرازيل بل حول العالم، وشكلت له قاعدة جماهيرية جلها من الفقراء والعمال وكل من يرزح تحت مظلة الظلم والاستغلال.

شارك لولا في شباط/فبراير من العام 1980، في تأسيس حزب العمال، ذو الأفكار التقدمية. وفي العام 1983، ساعد في تأسيس اتحاد نقابات (CUT). وفي العام 1984، انضم لحملات المطالبة بتصويت شعبي مباشر في الانتخابات الرئاسية البرازيلية، وهذا ما نجحوا في تحقيقه عام 1989.

وخاض دا سيلفا الانتخابات الرئاسية 3 مرات دون جدوى، قبل أن يستطيع تحقيق النصر في انتخابات العام 2002، وقد أُعيد انتخابه عام 2006.

وفي تموز/يوليو 2017، أدين بتهمة غسل الأموال والفساد في محاكمة مثيرة للجدل، وحُكم عليه بالسجن 9 سنوات ونصف. وبعد فشله في قضية استئناف الحكم، تم سجنه في نيسان/أبريل 2018 وقضى 580 يوماً في السجن.

أما في نيسان/أبريل 2021 أيّدت المحكمة العليا البرازيلية إلغاء إدانات بالفساد صادرة بحق الرئيس السابق لولا دا سيلفا ما جعله مؤهلاً للترشح للانتخابات الرئاسيّة عام 2020.

وفي أيار/مايو 2021، صرّح لولا أنه سيرشح نفسه لولاية ثالثة في انتخابات العام 2022، ضد الرئيس الحالي جايير بولسونارو، وتمكن من الفوز بولاية ثالثة في 30 تشرين الأول/أكتوبر.

اقرأ أيضاً: لولا دا سيلفا رئيساً للبرازيل بعد فوزه على بولسونارو في الجولة الثانية

Tomorrow starts today: Al Mayadeen marks 10 years with a new identity

10 October 2022 

Al-Mayadeen launches in its second decade with a new look in image, color and ink

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Ghassan Ben Jeddou 

Established under the presidency of late leader Hugo Chavez, teleSUR celebrates its 17th anniversary, at which Al Mayadeen CEO sent a letter of congratulations.

Al Mayadeen Media Network Ghassan Ben Jeddou, standing next to the President of teleSUR, Patricia Villegas.

On the occasion of the 17th anniversary of the launching of the Global South media outlet teleSURAl Mayadeen Media Network CEO, Mr. Ghassan Ben Jeddou, sent a heartening letter to the Venezuela-based television network, praising the steadfastness of the outlet’s vision and work against imperialist media.

TeleSUR was founded in 2005 – funded primarily by the Venezuelan government, as well as other neighboring countries in the region. It was launched under the presidency of revolutionary leader Hugo Chávez, who passed away in 2013. 

TeleSUR, like many alternative media outlets, challenges misleading neoliberal narratives that continue to demonize the struggles of the peoples of the Global South, push forward imperialist and exploitative narratives, and circulate war-mongering propaganda.

In his letter to the media outlet, Mr. Ghassan Ben Jeddou wrote: 

“The establishment of teleSUR was a strategic media event. It is not only an informative channel, in spite of its significant media role and success in Latin America and the world, but it was also indeed a bright and visionary decision from the internationalist leader, Hugo Chávez.

Today, on the anniversary of its establishment, we cannot but recall with much appreciation the channel’s journalistic professionalism, political commitment, strategic decisions, and humanitarian example. 

We extend our warm greetings to all the brave, creative, and resilient media workers in this steadfast outlet. Despite the numerous pressures that have been exerted against teleSUR, it is, however, still devoted to its values, and a reference for all the free peoples of the world. 

This is a tribute to the teleSUR administration on its success in cementing its position as one of the most important media outlets Worldwide.”

Moreover, Mr. Ben Jeddou extended his warm greetings to the President of teleSUR, Mrs. Patricia Villegas, remarking that “Patricia is not only a great president of a great channel, but she is also a media icon in the Global South and international community. 

With Patricia and teleSUR, we have established an influential, high-end, candid, professional, intellectual media partnership… We, at Al Mayadeen Media Network, will proceed in this cooperative partnership in full depth, strength, and a long-term vision.”

“The Al Mayadeen family yields heartful felicitations to all their friends and colleagues on the 17th anniversary of the establishment of teleSUR.

From the bottom of my heart, I extend to my colleagues at teleSUR, and to the dear captain of the ship Patricia, the most sincere congratulations. I do so with the conviction that this leading channel, whose headquarters are rooted in beautiful Caracas – the capital of victorious Venezuela over conspiracies, sanctions, blockades, and slander under the presidency of the unfaltering Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, resembles steadfast Venezuela, its great people, its vigorous leadership, and its iconic President.

Thus, teleSUR is destined to succeed, innovate, shine, and triumph.”

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US wants Argentina to seize Venezuelan plane over ‘sanctions’


3 Aug 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Argentinian Judge Federico Vilena has ordered that only 12 of the 19 seized Venezuelan plane crew members can leave the country while the other seven have been ordered to remain there.

An Emtrasur Cargo Boeing 747

Washington asked Argentina, on Tuesday, to seize a Venezuelan cargo plane that has been parked since June on its soil and is linked to the US sanctions against Iran. The plane had 19 crew members at a Buenos Aires airport since it arrived on June 8 carrying a shipment of auto parts.

The Boeing 747 was sold to Emtrasur, a subsidiary of the Venezuelan company Conviasa, by an Iranian company, Mahan Air, in October 2021. The two countries have signed a 20-year cooperation plan as a way to overcome the sanctions imposed against them by the US.

Both the previous Iranian owner of the Boeing 747 as well as the Venezuelan owner of the plane have been sanctioned by the US for different reasons. The US Department of Justice used this pretext to justify its request from Argentina to confiscate the plane.

According to AFP, Argentinian Judge Federico Vilena has ordered that only 12 of the 19 crew members plane crew can leave, but seven others, including four Iranian and three Venezuelan citizens, were ordered to stay. One of the Iranians that are ordered to remain in Buenas Aires is Gholam-Reza Qasemi, which the US alleges is an ex-IRGC member. 

“As alleged in the seizure warrant, in or around October 2021, Mahan Air violated the Temporary Denial Order and US export control laws when it transferred custody and control of the Boeing aircraft to EMTRASUR without US Government authorization,” the Justice Department claimed in a statement.

Furthermore, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said in a statement “The Department of Justice will not tolerate transactions that violate our sanctions and export laws.” 

The last time another country acted on US orders to seize Iranian cargo was when Greece seized an oil tanker sailing under an Iranian flag on May 26, even though Iran is not under EU sanctions.

The crew was kept on board and Iranian diplomats were prevented from visiting the ship until Iran’s ambassador to Athens was allowed to check on the crew. This was only after Iran retaliated against the theft of its cargo, by the seizure of two Greek tankers in the Gulf.

Read more: President Maduro: A new world has been born

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Welcoming speech of the Russian Minister of Defence at the opening of 10th Moscow Conference on International Security

August 17, 2022

The opening of the 10th Moscow Conference on International Security took place at Avangard Centre for Military and Patriotic Education of Youth within the framework of ARMY 2022 IMTF. The Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu, addressed the participants of the event:

Ladies and gentlemen!

It is a pleasure to welcome you to the 10th Moscow Conference on International Security.

This conference comes at a time of radical change in global and regional security. The unconditional dominance of the US and its allies is a thing of the past. On February 24, 2022, the start of the special military operation in Ukraine marked the end of the unipolar world.

Multipolarity has become a reality. The poles of this world are clearly defined. The main difference between them is that some respect the interests of sovereign states and take into account the cultural and historical particularities of countries and peoples, while others disregard them. There have been numerous discussions on this topic during previous sessions of the Moscow conference.

In Europe, the security situation is worse than at the peak of the Cold War. The alliance’s military activities have become as aggressive and anti-Russian as possible. Significant US forces have been redeployed to the continent, and the number of coalition troops in Eastern and Central Europe has increased manifold.

It is important to note that the deployment of additional NATO Joint Force formations on the bloc’s “eastern flank” had already started before the start of the special military operation in Ukraine.

NATO has dropped its masks. The aggressive nature of the bloc was no longer concealed by the wording of the coalition’s purely defensive orientation. Today, the alliance’s strategic planning documents enshrine claims to global dominance. Alliance’s interests include Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim.

In the West’s view, the established system of international relations should be replaced by a so-called rules-based world order. The logic here is simple and ultimatumatic. Either the alliance’s “democratic partner” candidate loses sovereignty and becomes supposedly on the “right side of history”. Or it is relegated to the category of so-called authoritarian regimes, against which all kinds of measures, up to and including coercive pressure, can be used.

Given that the Conference is attended by heads of defence agencies and security experts from different regions of the world, I would like to highlight some aspects of the special military operation in Ukraine.

In Ukraine, the Russian military is being confronted by combined Western forces that run the leadership of that country in a hybrid war against Russia.

The supply of weapons and military equipment to Ukraine is being stepped up, and training of the Ukrainian army is being carried out. Huge financial resources are transferred to maintain the viability of the nationalist regime.

The actions of Ukraine’s armed forces are planned and coordinated by foreign military advisers. Reconnaissance data is supplied from all available NATO sources. The use of armaments is supervised by Western specialists.

NATO’s efforts are aimed at prolonging the agony of the Kiev regime. However, we know for a fact that no one in NATO has any doubt that the goals of the Russian leadership’s special military operation will be achieved, and that plans to strategically and economically weaken Russia are failing. The dollar has not reached the ceiling of 200 roubles, as predicted by the US president, the Russian economy has stood firm.

The special military operation has dispelled the myth of “super-weapons” supplied to Ukraine by the West, which are capable of fundamentally changing the situation on the front. Initially, they were talking about deliveries of Javelin anti-tank systems, some kind of “unique” drones. Lately, the Westerners have been promoting the role of super-weapons with HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems and long-range howitzers. However, these weapons also grind to a halt in battle. They did not make a significant impact. The Russian weapons, for their part, have proved their best qualities in combat.

We are taking a close look at trophy weapons from the West. The features and their specific qualities are taken into account in order to improve the way combat operations are conducted and the effectiveness of Russian armaments.

The supply of NATO weapons to Kiev means that Western countries are responsible for their inhumane use and for the deaths of civilians in Donbass and in the liberated territories. Ukrainian armed forces operations are planned in Washington and London. Not only are the coordinates of the targets to be attacked provided by Western intelligence, but the input of this data into weapons systems is conducted under the full control of Western specialists.

Kiev’s role in the West’s combat approach has been reduced to supplying manpower, which is seen as expendable. This explains the huge loss of personnel in Ukraine’s armed forces and territorial defence formations.

So far, the real figures of dead soldiers and mobilised so-called territorial defence forces have been concealed by the Kiev leadership.

In time, however, this information will become public. The testimonies of POWs of AFU allow us to form a realistic picture of what is happening on the other side of the front. The dismissive attitude towards the loss of foreign soldiers reinforces the thesis that NATO has purely selfish interests in Ukraine. Clearly, Britain’s colonial experience as the main sponsor of the Kiev regime has come in very handy for London in dealing with the current leadership in Kiev.

Against this background, speculation is spreading in the media about the alleged use of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in the special military operation or the readiness to use chemical weapons. All of these information gibberish are lies.

From a military point of view, there is no need to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine to achieve its goals. The main purpose of Russian nuclear weapons is to deter a nuclear attack. Its use is limited to extraordinary circumstances as defined in the Russian guideline documents, which are open to public inspection.

The allegations about the possible use of chemical weapons in Ukraine are also absurd. Let me remind you that, unlike the US, such weapons were completely destroyed in our country back in 2017 as part of our international obligations. Meanwhile, poisoning provocations have become the hallmark of Western-sponsored so-called civil society organisations such as the White Helmets in Syria.

The information provocations are aimed at distracting attention from the facts discovered in Ukraine that US experts have conducted banned military and biological research.

Currently, a significant amount of data has been accumulated and is regularly made available to the general public. Work will continue in this direction.

US military-biological activities in Ukraine are not exceptional. Pentagon-controlled laboratories have been established and operate in many post-Soviet, Asian, African and Latin American countries. Local authorities generally have no control over research carried out on their premises that poses a lethal threat to the local population. The consequences of epidemics, I believe, were felt by all during the period of the fight against the spread of coronavirus.

I would like to focus separately on the humanitarian aspects of the special military operation. Compliance with the Geneva Conventions on the rules of war has always been and remains the focus of commanders at all levels. Since the beginning of the operation, orders have been issued stipulating the procedures to be followed by soldiers in dealing with civilians and enemy prisoners of war.

In the territories liberated from nationalists, the troops are actively involved in the delivery of humanitarian aid, the restoration of infrastructure and the maintenance of law and order. This was the case in Syria, in Nagorno-Karabakh, and it is also the case in Donbass.

On humanitarian issues, there has been fruitful cooperation with the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. We are grateful for the constructive, depoliticised cooperation of the leaders and staff of these organisations who interact with us. In particular, under the auspices of the UN and with Turkey’s active role, the difficult problem of grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports was resolved. The Red Cross specialists carry out an important mediation mission in relation to captured soldiers.

NATO has recently initiated a new phase of alliance enlargement, with Sweden and Finland joining the military bloc. The claim that the reason for this was the Russian special operation is untrue.

The practical rapprochement between these countries and the alliance has been ongoing for many years. In fact, the regional association NORDEFCO (Committee for Nordic Defence Cooperation) is a northern affiliate of NATO and serves as a cover for these countries’ participation in joint military training activities.

Of course, the official involvement of Helsinki and Stockholm in NATO’s strategic planning and the possible allocation of territory to these states for deployment of strike weapons will change the security environment in the Baltic region and the Arctic and will require a reconsideration of approaches to defence of Russian territory.

Certain conclusions have already been reached and are enshrined in the updated Maritime Doctrine approved by the President of the Russian Federation on July 31. Work will continue in this area.

The reinforcement of the NATO military grouping on the “eastern flank” completes the degradation of the trust and arms control mechanisms that emerged in Europe during the Cold War. A few years ago, experts proposed that the European experience should be used to build confidence-building measures, in particular in the Pacific Rim. Now, of all the “baggage” of the Euro-dialogue, only the idea of bloc confrontation is exported to Asia, which has not brought anything positive to security in Europe.

Today, no one remembers the US destruction of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Limitation Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty. Although previously these agreements were crucial for disarmament and confidence-building.

Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which was conceived as a platform for dialogue and consideration of different views, has become a generator of anti-Russian narratives.

Vienna Document 2011 remains formally in force, but there are no prospects for practical implementation. In the absence of trust between the parties, the verification mechanism effectively becomes a source of intelligence, which is not in the spirit of this agreement.

The situation with regard to the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty is also complicated. The agreement remains in force until 2026. On the Russian side the commitments are fulfilled, the declared levels of carriers and warheads are maintained within the established limits.

U.S. claims that Russia must earn the right to continue dialogue with the U.S. do not resist criticism. Arms control is a two-way street.

The result is only achievable if the interests and commitment of all participants are balanced. I believe that the Russian experience of interaction with the West in the field of disarmament shows that the so-called rules-based peace it promotes does not involve the implementation of treaty obligations in the traditional sense. This fact needs to be taken into account when entering into agreements, especially in the field of security and arms control.

Western opposition to the consolidation of a multipolar world, along with Europe, is most active in the Asia-Pacific region, where the US has begun to dismantle the existing ASEAN-based system of regional cooperation. This started with the announcement of the AUKUS initiative by the US, Australia and the UK. Plans to expand this partnership to include new regional partners have not been concealed. AUKUS is merging with NATO, which in turn claimed a dominant role in the Asia-Pacific region at the June summit. This is despite the fact that all NATO countries are thousands of miles away from the region.

On 2 August, the Russian Federation marked the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s entry into the war with Japan, the occasion for which was Tokyo’s militarist policy. The defeat of Japanese forces in the Far East effectively sealed the end of World War II and provided the start for the liberation of the peoples of Asia from colonial oppression. The assistance of the USSR was of key importance. We remember and are proud of the legacy of our ancestors, including those who laid the foundation for military cooperation between Russia and the countries of the Asia-Pacific region.

Another dangerous regional trend is the AUKUS focus on developing a nuclear submarine fleet in Australia. The implementation of this plan would have a complex negative impact on global and regional security, creating the conditions for undermining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The US claims that nuclear-powered submarines are needed in Australia ostensibly to offset China’s growing naval capabilities. This logic in fact replicates the actions of the US in justifying its exit from the Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missile Treaty. The collapse of this agreement was also motivated by the need to offset Russian and Chinese efforts to develop missiles with a range allegedly prohibited by the treaty.

In the global context, the appearance of a nuclear-powered fleet in Australia will provide an excuse for other states to begin developing similar armaments. Pandora’s box will be opened, the global nuclear arms race will resume.

AUKUS has the potential to develop into a politico-military alliance. It cannot be excluded that NATO’s experience with joint nuclear planning and joint “allied” nuclear exercises will also be transferred to the region. The technical basis for this is already being laid by the active promotion of US-made aircraft. The participation of nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states in joint exercises on the use of nuclear weapons is contrary to obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Transferring nuclear training from Europe will blow up the region.

Although it can be assumed that this is precisely the purpose of the US. The provocative landing in Taiwan of a third person of the US bureaucratic hierarchy is another move to destabilise the situation.

Block-less, equal interaction in the region is an achievement that should not be lost due to externally imposed phobias and attempts to counter a multipolar world.

Mechanisms for interaction and dialogue with extra-regional partners are created and are proving their relevance and effectiveness. First and foremost is the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ and Partners’ Meeting, the so-called “ADMM-Plus” format. Its diverse activities focus on security issues of relevance to the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition, there is positive experience of cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, of implementing mutually beneficial projects on a bilateral basis.

As before, we are ready to share our experience of combat training, in particular during the Vostok-2022 strategic exercise to be held in the near future.

Despite significant successes in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East, the threat of international terrorist groups taking over the initiative remains. The Syrian military, in cooperation with allies and partners and with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, continues to suppress spikes in terrorist activity. We see a particular danger in using the Kurdish factor to unsettle the situation in Syria.

The engagement of the guarantor countries in the Astana format remains virtually the only legal and effective mechanism to address security concerns in Syria. We welcome the increased engagement between the Syrian leadership and the Arab world. Overcoming contradictions created by outside forces is possible and necessary.

The role of the military in building trust between countries is an important element in the search for political solutions. We expect that the Moscow conference will be one of the rallying points for the stabilisation of the situation in the Near East.

After the rapid withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan, the situation in the Central Asian region remains extremely tense. Afghanistan’s new leadership faces serious military and economic challenges. The legacy of two decades of alliance troop presence is a disappointing one. As a result, there remains a high level of terrorist danger in the region.

The security problems of Central Asia can only be solved by coordinated action by all the countries and international organisations concerned. For our part, we will continue to support our Collective Security Treaty Organisation allies in enhancing the capabilities of national armed forces.

It is important to keep the topic of Afghanistan on the agenda of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation discussions. Russia, China, India, Iran and Pakistan together could make a significant contribution not only to stabilising the region, but also to preventing the threat from spreading beyond its borders.

The security of each region, despite the general trends of a multipolar world, has its own peculiarities.

For Africa, the specificity lies in the desire of the countries of the collective West to return to the order and rules of engagement typical of the colonial period. Neo-colonialism is imposed through military pressure on governments of sovereign countries and support for separatist and terrorist movements. A case in point is Libya, where statehood has still not been restored after the NATO invasion. Another example is the situation in West Africa, where European troops have been deployed on the pretext of combating terrorism. For decades, these EU missions had been fighting terrorists, training national security forces, until they recognised the utter failure of their own efforts.

I would like to point out that African governments and leaders are holding their own, as they call it, in the context of a multipolar world, to pursue their own agenda of independence, sovereignty, economic development and defence capabilities.

The Russian Ministry of Defence is seeking to expand cooperation with African countries in the field of military and military-technical cooperation. Interest in the participation of national teams and delegations from Africa in the Army International Games and the “ARMY 2022” IMTF has increased significantly. It is very encouraging that prominent military commanders from our friendly states – Burundi, Cameroon, Guinea, Mali, Sudan, Uganda, Chad, Ethiopia and the Republic of South Africa – are present in this hall today. We appreciate your support and intend to increase cooperation on mutually beneficial projects.

Latin America today faces serious security challenges because of the American desire to maintain influence in the region under the provisions of the so-called Monroe Doctrine. Liberal values, whose adherence is seen by the US as agreeing to live in a world based on their rules, in fact mask the true objective – to build up a military presence by blocking the possibility of sovereign development of states.

U.S. policy focuses on deterring engagement by countries in the region with any other pole of power outside Washington’s control. The purpose of this policy is to involve the region in a confrontation with Russia and the PRC, to destroy traditional ties and to block new forms of cooperation in the military and military-technical spheres.

Anti-Russian information campaigns are launched in Latin America, hiding the truth about the causes and course of the special military operation in Ukraine. Analogies can be drawn to the British actions during the conflict in the Falkland Islands. What is happening in the Western media today with the coverage of the Russian special military operation was also happening when the media was chorally broadcasting only one point of view – that of London.

The question arises: are such policies in the fundamental interest of the countries of the region? The answer is clear – no. We hope that during the discussions at the conference we will hear assessments of the situation in Latin America from our partners from Venezuela and Nicaragua.

The Tenth Moscow Conference on International Security has a special importance for the Russian Ministry of Defence as organiser of the forum for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the conference is taking place during the ongoing special military operation in Ukraine. Despite attempts of the US and NATO to isolate Russia once again, your participation in the forum is a visible confirmation that these plans have collapsed. We appreciate your support.

Secondly, a multipolar world is the reality of today. The transition from dominance by a single global leader to several centres of gravity is not an easy one. However, this creates real conditions for the development of sovereign states.

Thirdly, the role of military agencies is changing in the new realities. The military not only guarantees a secure environment for economic development, but through military cooperation it builds predictability and trust between countries.

Finally, this is the tenth anniversary conference, which allows for a kind of review of what has been achieved over the years. It is important to observe how the priorities of the discussions have changed, and which conclusions and recommendations from the forum have been put into practice over the years. A short historical overview, prepared by Russian experts, can be viewed on the monitors between plenary sessions.

I wish you all good health and interesting contacts and discussions during your stay in Moscow.

Thank you for your attention.

source: https://eng.mil.ru/en/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12433677@egNews (which is blocked by western freedom loving democracies, so you need a VPN to access it!)

Michael Hudson interviewed by Ben Norton (Multipolarista) Update with transcript

June 30, 2022

Economist Michael Hudson on inflation and Fed plan to cut wages: A depression is coming

Transcript:

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Hey, everyone, this is Ben Norton, and you are watching or listening to the Multipolarista podcast. I am always privileged to be joined by one of my favorite guests, Michael Hudson, one of the greatest economists living today.

We’re going to be talking about the inflation crisis. This is a crisis around the world, but especially in the United States, where inflation has been at over 8%. And it has caused a lot of political problems. It’s very likely going to cause the defeat, among other factors, of the Democrats in the mid-term elections in November.

And we’ve seen that the response of the US government and top economists in the United States is basically to blame inflation on wages, on low levels of unemployment and on working people.

We’ve seen that the chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, has said that inflation is being caused by wages supposedly being too high. We’ve also seen that the top economist and former Clinton administration official Larry Summers has claimed that the solution to inflation is increasing unemployment, potentially up to 10%.

So today I’m joined by economist Michael Hudson, who has been calling out this kind of neoliberal snake oil economics for many years. And Professor Hudson has an article he just published that we’re going to talk about today. You can find this at his website, which is michael-hudson.com. It’s titled “The Fed’s Austerity Program to Reduce Wages.” and I’m going to let Professor Hudson summarize the main points of his article.

Professor Hudson, as always, it’s a pleasure having you. Can you respond to the decision by the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates by 0.75%? It doesn’t sound like a lot – it’s less than 1% – but this was the largest rate hike since 1994.

And now we’ve already seen reports that there’s going to be a depression. The Fed chair is blaming this on wages. Can you respond to the position of the Fed and the inflation crisis in the US right now.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

For the Fed, the only two things that it can do is, number one, raise the discount rate, the interest rate; and number two, spend $9 trillion buying stocks, and bonds, and real estate mortgages to increase real estate prices, and to increase the amount of wealth that the wealthiest 10% of the population has.

To the wealthiest 10%, especially the 1%, it’s not only inflation that’s a problem of wages; every problem that America has is the problem of the working class earning too much money. And if you’re an employer, that’s the problem: you want to increase your profits. And if you look at the short term, your profits go up the more that you can squeeze labor down. And the way to squeeze labor down is to increase what Marx called the reserve army of the unemployed.

You need unemployment in order to prevent labor from getting most of the value of what it produces, so that the employers can get the value, and pay that to the banks and the financial managers that have taken over corporate industry in the United States.

You mentioned that while the Fed blames the inflation it on labor, that’s not President Biden’s view; Biden keeps calling it the Putin inflation. And of course, what he really means is that the sanctions that America has placed on Russia have created a shortage of oil, gas, energy, and food exports.

So really we’re in the Biden inflation. And the Biden inflation that America is experiencing is the result basically of America’s military policy, its foreign policy, and above all, the Democratic Party’s support of the oil industry, which is the most powerful sector in the United States and which is guiding most of the sanctions against Russia; and the national security state that bases America’s power on its ability to export oil, or control the oil trade of all the countries, and to export agricultural products.

So what we’re in the middle of right now isn’t simply a domestic issue of wage earners wanting higher salaries – which they’re not particularly getting; certainly the minimum wage has not been increased – but you have to put this in the context of the whole cold war that’s going on.

The whole US and NATO confrontation of Russia has been a godsend, as you and I have spoken before, for the oil industry and the farm exporters.

And the result is that the US dollar is rising against the euro, against sterling, and against Global South currencies. Well, in principle a rising dollar should make the price of imports low. So something else is at work.

And what’s at work, of course, is the fact that the oil industry is a monopoly, that most of the prices that have been going up are basically the result of a monopolization, in the case of food, by the marketing firms, like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, that buy most of the crops from the farmers.

The irony is that while food prices, next to oil prices, are the major factor that is soaring, farmers are getting less and less for their crops. And yet farmers’ costs are going up – up for fertilizer, up for energy, up for other inputs – so that you’re having enormous profits for Archer Daniels Midland and the food monopolies, of the distributors, and enormous, enormous gains for the oil industry, and also of course for the military-industrial complex.

So if you look at what’s happening in the overall world economic system, you can see that this inflation is being engineered. And the beneficiaries of this inflation certainly have not been the wage earners, by any stretch of the imagination.

But the crisis that the Biden policy has created is being blamed on the wage earners instead of on the Biden administration’s foreign policy and the basically the US-NATO war to isolate Russia, China, India, Iran, and Eurasia generally.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Professor Hudson, I want to talk about the increase in interest rates by the Fed. There has been a lot of attention to this, although, again, it’s 0.75%, which is not that big. But it’s of course going to have an outsize impact on the economy.

In your article, again, this is your column at michael-hudson.com, “The Fed’s Austerity Program to Reduce Wages,” you talk about the Fed’s “junk economics,” and you say that the idea behind raising interest rates by 0.75% is that:

raising interest rates will cure inflation by deterring borrowing to spend on the basic needs that make up the Consumer Price Index and its related GDP deflator. But banks do not finance much consumption, except for credit card debt, which is now less than student loans and automobile loans. Banks lend almost entirely to buy real estate, stocks and bonds, not goods and services.

So you argue that one of the effects of this is that it’s actually going to roll back homeownership in the United States. You note that the rate of homeownership has been falling since 2008.

So can you expand on those arguments? What will be the impact of the increase of the interest rates by the Fed?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, in order to get an economics degree which is needed to work at the Fed or at the Council of Economic Advisors, you have to take economics courses in the universities, and all of the textbooks say just what you quoted me as saying they say.

The pretense is that banks actually play a productive role in society, by providing the money for factories to buy machinery, and build plants, and do research and development, and to hire labor; and that somehow the money that banks create is all lent out for industrial economy, and that that will enable companies to make more money that they’ll spend on labor; and of course, as they spend more money on labor, that supports to bid prices up as the reserve army of the unemployed is depleted.

But that’s all a fiction. The textbooks don’t want to say that banks don’t play a productive role like that at all. And the corporations don’t do what the textbooks say.

If you look at the Federal Reserve balance sheet and statistics that it publishes every month, you’ll see that 80% of bank loans in the United States are mortgage loans to commercial real estate and mostly for home real estate. And of course the home mortgage loans have been nothing, like under 1% for the last 14 years, since 2008.

Only the banks and the large borrowers, the financial sector, have been able to borrow at these low rates. Homeowners all along have had to pay very high rates, just under 4%, and now it’s going above 4%, heading to 5%.

Well, here is the situation that the Federal Reserve has created. Suppose that you’re a family right now going out to buy a home, and you find out that in order to borrow the money to buy the home – because if the average home in America costs $600,000 or $700,000, people haven’t saved that much; the only way you can buy a home is to take out a mortgage.

Well, you have a choice: you can either rent a home, or you can borrow the money to buy a home. And traditionally, for a century, the carrying charge for financing a home with the mortgage has been about the equivalent of paying a rent. The advantage is, of course, that you get to own the home when it’s over.

Well, now let’s look at what’s happening right now. All of a sudden, the carrying charge of mortgages have gone way, way up. The banks are making an enormous gap. They can borrow at just around 1%, and they lend out at 4.5%. They get a windfall gain of the markup they have in mortgages, lending to prospective homeowners.

And of course, the homeowners don’t have enough money to be able to pay the higher interest charged on the mortgages that they take out. So they are not able to buy as expensive a home as they wanted before.

But they’ve been a declining part of the population. At the time Obama took office, over 68% of Americans owned their own home. Obama started the great wave of evictions, of 10 million Americans who lived in homes, essentially to throw them out of their homes, especially the victims of the junk mortgages, especially the lower income and racial minorities who were redlined and had to become the main victims of the mortgages.

America’s homeownership rate is now under 61%. What has happened? You’ve had huge private capital firms come into the market thinking, wait a minute, we can now buy these properties and rent them out. And we can buy them for all cash, unlike homeowners, we’re multibillionaires, we Blackstone, BlackRock.

You have these multibillion-dollar funds, and they say, well, we can’t make much money buying bonds or buying stocks that yield what they do today, now that the Federal Reserve has ground down interest rates. What we can do is make money as landlords.

And so they’ve shifted, they’ve reversed the whole shift away from the 19th-century landlordism to an economy based on financialization, and the wealthy classes making money on finance, to go back to making money as landlords.

And so they are buying up these homes that American homeowners can’t afford to buy. Because when you raise the mortgage rate, that doesn’t affect a billionaire at all. Because the billionaire firm doesn’t have to borrow money to buy the home. They have the billion dollars of their own money, of pension fund money, of speculative money, of the money of the 1% and the 10% to spend.

So what you’re having by increasing the interest rates is squeezing homeowners out of the market and turning the American economy into a landlord-ridden rental economy, instead of a homeowners economy. That’s the effect.

And it’s a windfall for the private capital firms that are now seeing that are making money as landlords, the old fashioned way, it worked for 800 years under feudalism. It’s coming back in style.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Professor Hudson, you point out in this article at your website that more than 50% of the value of U.S. real estate already is held by mortgage bankers. And of course, that percentage is increasing and increasing.

Now, you, Professor Hudson, have argued a point that I haven’t seen many other people make, although it’s an obvious, correct point, which is that there has actually been a lot of inflation in the United States in the past several years, but that inflation was in the FIRE sector: finance, insurance, and real estate.

We see that with the constant increase in real estate prices; they go up every single year; rent goes up every single year. The difference now is that there’s also a significant increase in the Consumer Price Index.

And there is an interesting study published by the Economic Policy Institute, which is, you know, a center-left think tank, affiliated with the labor movement; they’re not radicals, they’re progressives. And they did a very good study.

And they found – this was published this April – they found that corporate profits are responsible for around 54% of the increase of prices in the non-financial corporate sector, as opposed to unit labor costs only being responsible for around an 8% increase.

So they showed, scientifically, that over half of the increase of prices in the non-financial corporate sector, that is in the Consumer Price Index, over half of that inflation is because of corporate profits.

Of course, that’s not the way it’s discussed in mainstream media. That’s not the way the Fed is discussing it all. We see Larry Summers saying that we need to increase unemployment. Larry Summers, of course, was the treasury secretary for Bill Clinton.

He’s saying that the U.S. has to increase unemployment; the solution to inflation is increasing unemployment. Even though these studies show that over half of inflation in the Consumer Price Index is because of corporate profits.

I’m wondering if you can comment on why so many economists, including people as revered as Larry Summers, refuse to acknowledge that reality.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Most economists need to get employment, and in order to be employed, you have to give a picture of the economy that reflects how well your employer helped society at large. You’re not allowed to say that your employer is acting in ways that are purely predatory. You’re not allowed to say that the employer does not earn an income.

You talked about corporate profits and the classical economists. If you were a free-market economist like Adam Smith, or David Ricardo, or John Stuart Mill – these are monopoly rents. So what you call corporate profits are way above normal corporate rates of return, normal profits. They’re economic rents from monopoly.

And that’s because about 10 or 15 years ago, the United States stopped imposing its anti-monopoly laws. It has essentially let monopolies concentrate markets, concentrate power, and charge whatever they want.

And so once you’ve dismantled the whole legal framework that was put in place from the 1890s, from the Sherman Antitrust Act, down through the early 20th century, the New Deal, once you dismantle all of this state control, saying – essentially what Larry Summers says is, we’re for a free market.

A “free market” is one in which companies can charge whatever they want to charge for things; a free market is one without government regulation; a free market is one without government; a free market is a weak enough government so that it cannot protect the wage earners; it cannot protect voters. A “democracy” is a country where the bulk of the population, the wage earners, have no ability to affect economic policy in their own interests.

A “free market” is one where, instead of the government being the planner, Wall Street is the planner, on behalf of the large industries that are basically being financialized.

So you’ve had a transformation of the concept of what a free market is, a dismantling of government regulation, a dismantling of anti-monopoly regulation, and essentially the class war is back in business.

That’s what the Biden administration is all about. And quite frankly, it’s what the Democratic Party is all about, even more than the Republican Party. The Republican Party can advocate pro-business policies and pro-financial policies, but the Democratic Party is in charge of dismantling the legacy of protection of the economy that had been put in place for a century.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Yeah, and this is an article in Fortune that was originally based on an article in Bloomberg: “5 years at 6% unemployment or 1 year at 10%: That’s what Larry Summers says we’ll need to defeat inflation.” That’s how simple it is, you know, just increase unemployment, and then inflation will magically go away!

Now, I also wanted to get your response, Professor Hudson, to these comments that you highlighted in a panel that was organized by the International Manifesto Group – a great organization, people can find it here, their channel here at YouTube. And they held a conference on inflation. And you were one of several speakers.

And you highlighted these comments that were made by the Fed chair, Jerome Powell. And this is according to the official transcript from The Wall Street Journal. So this is not from some lefty, socialist website. Here’s the official transcript of a May 4 press conference given by the Fed chief, Jerome Powell.

In this press conference, he said, discussing inflation, he said, in order to get inflation down, he’s talking about things that can be done “to get wages down, and then get inflation down without having to slow the economy and have a recession and have unemployment rise materially.”

So this is another proposal. Larry Summers says 6% unemployment for five years, or 10% unemployment for one year. The Fed chair, Jerome Powell, says the solution is “to get wages down.” I’m wondering if you can respond to that as well.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, the important thing to realize is that President Biden re-appointed Jerome Powell. President Biden is a Republican. The Democratic Party is basically the right wing of the Republican Party, the pro-financial, the pro-Wall Street wing of the Republican Party.

Why on earth, if the Democrats were different from the Republicans, why would would Biden re-appoint an anti-labor Republican, as head of the Federal Reserve, instead of someone that would actually try to spur employment?

Imagine, here’s a party that is trying to be elected on a program of, “Elect us, and we will create a depression and we will lower wages.” That is the Democrat Party slogan.

And it’s a winning slogan, because elections are won by campaign contributions. The slogan is, “We will lower wages by bringing you depression,” is a tsunami of contributions to the Democratic Party, by Wall Street, by the monopolists, by all the beneficiaries of this policy.

So that’s why the Supreme Court ruling against abortions the other day is a gift to the Democrats, because it distracts attention from their identity politics of breaking America into all sorts of identities, every identity you can think of, except being a wage earner.

The wage earners are called deplorables, basically. And that’s how the donor class thinks of them, as sort of unfortunate overhead. You need to employ them, but it really it’s unfortunate that they like to live as well as they do, because the better they live, the less money that you will end up with.

So I think that this issue of the inflation, and what really causes it, really should be what elections are all about. This should be the economic core of this November’s election campaign and the 2024 election campaign. And the Democrats are leading the fight to lower wages.

And you remember that when President Obama was elected, he promised to increase the minimum wage? As soon as he got in, he said the one thing we cannot do is raise the minimum wage. And he had also promised to back card check. He said, the one thing we must not do is increase labor unionization with card check, because if you unionize labor, they’re going to ask for better wages and better working conditions.

So you have the Democratic Party taking about as hard a right-wing position as sort of Chicago School monetarism, saying the solution to any any problem at all is just lower wages and somehow you’ll be more competitive, whereas the American economy is already rendered uncompetitive, not because wages are so high, but because, as you mentioned before, the FIRE sector, the finance, insurance, and real estate sector is so high.

Rents and home ownership, having a home is too expensive to be competitive with foreign labor. Having to pay 18% of GDP on medical care, privatized medical care, prices American labor out of the market. All of the debt service that America has paid is pricing America out of the market.

So the problem is not that wages are too high. The problem is that the overhead that labor has to pay in order to survive, for rent, for medical care, for student loans, for car loans, to have a car to drive to work, for gas to drive to work, to buy the monopoly prices that you need in order to survive – all of these are too high.

None of this even appears in economic textbooks that you need to get a good mark on, in order to get an economics degree, in order to be suitably pliable to be hired by the Federal Reserve, or the Council of Economic Advisers, or by corporations that use economists basically as public relations spokesmen. So that’s the mess we’re in.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Professor Hudson, in your article at your website, michael-hudson.com, you have an important section about the quantitative easing policies. We were talking about how there has been inflation in the past decade, but then inflation was largely in the FIRE sector, pushing up, artificially inflating the prices of real estate and stocks.

You note that:

While home ownership rates plunged for the population at large, the Fed’s “Quantitative Easing” increased its subsidy of Wall Street’s financial securities from $1 trillion to $8.2 trillion – of which the largest gain has been in packaged home mortgages. This has kept housing prices from falling and becoming more affordable for home buyers.

And you, of course, note that “the Fed’s support of asset prices saved many insolvent banks – the very largest ones – from going under.”

I had you on to discuss, in late 2019, before the Covid pandemic hit, we know that the Fed had this emergency bailout where it gave trillions of dollars in emergency repo loans to the biggest banks to prevent them from from crashing, trying to save the economy.

I do want to talk about this as well, because sometimes this is used by right-wingers who portray Biden hilariously as a socialist. You were just talking about how the Democrats have a deeply neoliberal, right-wing economic program.

But of course, there is this rhetoric that we see from Republicans and conservatives claiming that Biden is a socialist. They claim that the reason there is inflation is because Biden is just printing money and giving money to people.

Of course, that’s not at all what’s happening. What has happened is that the Fed has printed trillions of dollars and given that to stockholders, to big corporations, and to banks.

And this is a point that I saw highlighted in that panel I mentioned, the conference on inflation that was organized by the International Manifesto Group. A colleague of yours, a brilliant political economist, Radhika Desai, she invited everyone to go to the Fed website and look at the Fed balance sheet.

And this is the Fed balance sheet from federalreserve.gov. This is the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System website. And it is pretty shocking to see this graph, which shows the total assets of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

US Federal Reserve assets balance sheet 2022

Back in 2008, the Federal Reserve had around $900 billion in assets. Now it’s at nearly $9 trillion in assets.

And we can see, after the financial crash, or during the financial crash, it increased to around $2 trillion. And then around 2014, it increased to around $4.5 trillion. And then especially in late 2019 and 2020, it skyrocketed from around $4 trillion up to $7 trillion. And since then, it has continued skyrocketing to $9 trillion in assets.

Where did all of that money go? And what was the impact on the economy, of course?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, the impact on the economy has been to vastly increase the wealth of the wealthiest 1% of Americans who own most of the stocks and bonds.

Sheila Bair, the former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, pointed out that a lot of this $8 trillion is spent to buy junk bonds.

Here’s the problem. The problem really began with President Obama. He inherited a system where you had the largest wave of commercial bank fraud in American history.

As my colleague Bill Black at the University of Missouri at Kansas City has pointed out, everybody knew that there was a bank fraud on. The newspapers referred to junk mortgages and “NINJA” borrowers: “no income, no jobs, no assets.”

So banks had written mortgages way above the actual value of homes, especially to racial and ethnic minorities, without any ability of the borrowers to actually pay.

And then these banks had packaged these mortgages, and sold them to hapless pension funds, and other institutional investors and to the European banks that are always very naive about how honest American banks are.

You had this whole accumulation of what the 19th century called fictitious capital. Mortgages for property that wasn’t worth anywhere near as much as the mortgage is for.

So if the mortgage was defaulted, if homeowners had jingle mail – in other words, you just mail the keys back to the bank and say, ok, take the house, I find I can buy a house now at half the price that Citibank or one of these other banks lent out.

Well, normally you’d have a crash of prices back to realistic levels, so that the value of mortgages actually reflected the value of property, or the value of junk bonds issued by a corporation reflected the actual earning power of the corporation to pay interest on the junk bonds.

So by the time Obama took over, the whole economy was largely fictitious capital. Well, Obama came in and he said, my campaign donors are on Wall Street. He called in the Wall Street bankers and he said, I’m the guy standing between you and the crowd with the pitchforks, the people who voted for me. But don’t worry, I’m on your side.

He said, I’m going to have the Federal Reserve create the largest amount of credit in human history. And it’s all going to go to you. It’s going to go to the 1% of the population. It’s not going to go into the economy. It’s not going to build infrastructure. It’s not going into wages. It’s not going to reduce the price of homes and make them more affordable to Americans.

It’s going to keep the price of these junk bonds so high that they don’t crash back to non-fictitious values. It’s going to keep the stock market so high that it’s not going to go down. It’s going to create the largest bond market boom in history.

The boom went from high interest rates to low interest rates, meaning a gigantic rise in the price of bonds that actually pay interest that are more than 0.1%.

So there was a huge bond market boom, a huge stock market, a tripling of stock market prices. And if you are a member of the group that owns 72% of American stocks, I think that’s 10% of the population, you have gotten much, much richer.

But if you’re a member of the 90% of the population, you have had to go further and further into debt just in order to survive, just in order to pay for medical care, student loans, and your daily living expenses out of your salary.

So if American wages were at a decent level, American families would not be pushed more and more into debt. The reason the personal debt has gone up in the United States is because families can’t get by on what they earn.

So obviously, if they can’t get by on what they earn, and they have to borrow to get by, they are not responsible for causing the inflation. They’re being squeezed.

And the job of economists, and of Democratic Party and Republican politicians, is to distract attention from the fact that they’re being squeezed and blame the victim, and saying, you’re doing it to yourself by just wanting more money, you’re actually creating the inflation that is squeezing you.

When actually it’s the banks, and the government’s non-enforcement of the monopoly policy, and the government support of Wall Street that is responsible for what is happening.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Very, very well said.

Professor Hudson, I should have highlighted another part of this graph here. This is, again, this is at the Federal Reserve Board website. It’s even more revealing when you look at the selected assets of the Fed, and you see that all of these assets basically are securities, securities held outright by the Fed.

We see that around 2008, the Fed had less than $500 billion in securities. And you have this policy of quantitative easing. And since then, basically all of the increase has been in securities. Of the roughly $9 trillion in assets the Fed holds, about about $8.5 trillion is in securities.

US Federal Reserve assets securities balance sheet 2022

I’m wondering if you can compare this to central banks in other countries. We’ve seen, for instance, that the Western sanctions on Russia were aimed at trying to destroy the Russian economy.

President Biden claimed they were trying to make the ruble into rubble. In fact, the ruble is significantly stronger now than it was before the sanctions. To such a degree that the Russian government and Russian national bank are actually trying to decrease the value of the ruble, because they think it’s a little overvalued; it makes it a little harder to be competitive.

So how does this policy of the US Fed having $8.5 trillion worth of securities compare to the policies of other central banks?

You have experience working with the Chinese government as an advisor. Do other governments’ central banks have this policy?

And and that $8.5 trillion in securities, what are those securities? Even from the perspective of these neoliberal economics textbooks that you were talking about, that people are taught in universities, this seems to me to be totally insane. I don’t see how there is even an academic, neoliberal textbook explanation for this policy.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Very few people realize the difference between a central bank and the national treasury. The national treasury is what used to perform all of the policies that central banks now do. The national treasury would be in charge of issuing money and spending it.

Central banks were broken off in America in 1913 from the Treasury in order to shift control of the money supply and credit away from Washington to New York. That was very explicit.

The original Federal Reserve didn’t even permit a Treasury official to be on the board of directors. So the job of a central bank is to represent the interest of the commercial banks.

And as we just pointed out, the interest of the commercial banks is to produce their product: debt. And they create their product against existing assets, mainly real estate, but also stocks and bonds.

So the job of the central bank here is to support the financial sector of the economy, and that sector that holds wealth in the form of stocks, bonds, and loans, and especially bank bonds that make their money off real estate credit.

Same thing in Europe, with Europe’s central bank. Europe is going into a real squeeze now, and has been going into a squeeze ever since you had the Greek crisis.

In Europe, because right-wing monetarist designed the euro, part of the eurozone rule is you cannot run a budget deficit, a national budget deficit of more than 3% of gross domestic product.

Well, that’s not very much. That means that you can’t have a real Keynesian policy in Europe to pull the economy out of depression. That means that if you’re a country like Italy right now, and you have a real financial squeeze there, a corporate squeeze, a labor squeeze, the government cannot essentially rescue either Italian industry or Italian labor.

However, the European central bank can, by the way that it creates credit, by central bank deposits, the European central bank can vastly increase the price of European stocks, bonds, and packaged mortgages. So the European central bank is very much like the commercial bank.

China is completely different, because, unlike the West, China treats money and credit as a public utility, not as a private monopoly.

And as a public utility, China’s central bank will say, what are we going to want to create money for? Well, we’re going to want to create money to build factories; we’re going to want to create money so that real estate developers can build cities, or sometimes overbuild cities. We can create money to actually spend in the economy for something tangible, for goods and services.

The Chinese central bank does not create money to increase stock market prices or bond prices. It doesn’t create money to support a financial class, because the Communist Party of China doesn’t want a financial class to exist; it wants an industrial class to exist; it wants an industrial labor force to exist, but not a rentier class.

So a central bank in a Western rentier economy basically seeks to create credit to inflate the cost of living for homebuyers and for anyone who uses credit or needs credit, and to enable corporations to be financialized, and to shift their management away from making profits by investing in plant and equipment and employing labor to produce more, to making money by financial engineering.

In the last 15 years, over 90% of corporate earnings in the United States have been spent on stock buybacks and on dividend payouts. Only 8% of corporate earnings have been spent on new investment, and plants, and equipment, and hiring.

And so of course you have had the economy deindustrialized. It’s this idea that you can make money financially without an industrial base, without a manufacturing base; you can make money without actually producing more or doing anything productive, simply by having a central bank increase the price of the stocks, and bonds, and the loans made by the wealthiest 10%.

And of course, ultimately, that doesn’t work, because at a certain point the whole thing collapses from within, and there’s no industrial base.

And of course, when that happens, America will find out, wait a minute, if we close down the economy, we’re still reliant on China and Asia to produce our manufacturers, and to provide us with raw materials, and to do everything that we need. We’re really not doing anything but acting as a world – well, people used to say parasite – as a world rentier, as getting something for nothing, as a kind of financial colonialism.

So America you could look at as a colonial power that is a colonial power not by military occupation, but simply by financial maneuvering, by the dollar standard.

And that’s what’s being unwound today as a result of Biden’s new cold war.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Professor Hudson, you criticized the strategy of simply trying to increase the interest rates to bring down inflation, noting that it’s going to lead to a further decline in homeownership in the United States. It’s going to hurt working people. I think that’s a very valid criticism.

I’m curious, though, what your take is on the response of the Russian central bank to the Western sanctions. We saw that the chair of the Russian central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, she – actually this is someone who is not even necessarily really condemned a lot by Western economists; she is pretty well respected by even, you know, Western neoliberal economists.

And she did manage to deal with the sanctions very well. She imposed capital controls immediately. She closed the Russian stock market. And also, in a controversial move, she raised the interest rates from around 9% up to 20%, for a few months. And then after that, dropped the rates.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

A few days, not a few months. That was very short. And now she has moved the interest rates way down.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Back to 9%.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

She was criticized for not moving them further down.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Yeah, well go ahead. I’m just curious. So she immediately raised it to 20%, and then has dropped the interest rates since then. I’m curious what you think about that policy. Yeah, go ahead.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

There is very little that a central banker can do when the West has declared a war, basically, a war on a country that is completely isolated.

The response has come from President Putin and from Foreign Secretary Lavrov. And they pointed out, well, how is Russia going to going to trade and get what it needs. And this is what the recent meetings of the BRICS are all about.

Russia realizes that the world is now broken into two halves. America and NATO have separated the West. Basically you have a white people’s confederation against all the rest of the world.

And the West has said, we’re isolating ourselves from you totally. And we think you can’t get along without us.

Well, look at the humor of this. Russia, China, Iran, India, Indonesia, and other countries are saying, hah, you say we we can’t get along without you? Who is providing your manufacturers? Who is providing your raw materials? Who is providing your oil and gas? Who is providing your agriculture, and the helium, the titanium, the nickel?

So they realize that the world is breaking in two, and Eurasia, where most of the world’s population is concentrated, is going to go its own way.

The problem is, how do you really go your own way? You need a means of payment. You need to create a whole international system that is an alternative to the Western international system. You need your own International Monetary Fund to provide credit, so that the these Eurasian countries and their allies in the Global South can deal with each other.

You need a World Bank that, instead of lending money to promote U.S. policies and U.S. investments, will promote mutual gains and self-sufficiency among the countries.

So already, every day in the last few weeks, you have had meetings with the Russians about this, who said, ok, we’re going to create a mutual trading area, starting among the BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

And how are we going to pay? We can’t pay in dollars, because if we have money in a dollar bank, or a euro bank in Europe, they can just grab the money, like they grab Venezuela’s money. They can just say, we’re taking all your money because, essentially, we don’t want you to exist as an alternative to the finance capital world that we are creating.

So essentially, Russia, China, and these other countries are saying, ok, we’re going to create our own international bank. And how are we going to fund it? Well, every member of the bank will contribute, say, a billion dollars, or some amount of their own currency, and this will be our backing. We can also use gold as a means of settlement, as was long used among countries.

And this bank can create its own special drawing rights, its own bank order, is what Keynes called it. It can create its own credit.

Well, the problem is that, if you have Brazil, for instance, or Argentina, joining this group, or Ecuador, that sells almost all of its bananas to Russia, how is it going to get by?

Well, if there is a BRICS group or a Shanghai Cooperation Organization bank, obviously the Western governments are not going to accept this.

So Russia realizes that as a result of Biden’s Cold War Two, there is going to be a continued rise in energy prices. You think gasoline prices are not high now? They’re going up. You think food prices are not high now? They’re going up more.

And Europe is especially the case, because Europe now cannot buy Russian gas to make the fertilizer to make its own crops grow.

So you’re going to have a number of countries in the Global South, from Latin America to Africa, being squeezed and wanting to trade with the Eurasian group.

And the problem is Russia says, all right, we know that you can’t afford to pay. We’re glad to give you credit, but we don’t want to give you credit that you’re going to simply use the money you have to pay your dollar debts that are coming due.

Because one of the effects that I didn’t mention of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates is there is a huge flow of capital from Europe and England into the United States, so that if you’re a billionaire, where are you going to put your savings? You want the highest interest rates you want. And if the United States raises interest rates, the billionaires are going to move their money out of England, out of the euro, and the euro is going back down against the dollar. It’s almost down to a dollar a euro.

The British pound is heading downwards, towards one pound per dollar.

This increase in the dollar’s exchange rate is also rising against the currencies of Brazil, Argentina, the African countries, all the other countries.

So how are they going to pay this summer, and this fall, for their food, for their oil and gas, and for the higher cost of servicing their dollar debts?

Well, for Eurasia, they’re going to say, we want to help you buy our exports – Russia is now a major grain exporter, and obviously also an oil exporter – saying we want to supply you and give you the credit for this, but you’re really going to have to make a decision. Are you going to join the U.S.-NATO bloc, or are you going to join the Eurasian bloc?

Are you going to join the White People’s Club or the Eurasian Club? And it really comes down to that. And that’s what is fracturing the world in these two halves.

Europe is caught in the middle, and its economies are going to be torn apart. Employment is going to go down there. And I don’t see wages going up very much in Europe.

You’re going to have a political crisis in Europe. But also you’ll have an international diplomatic crisis over how are you going to restructure world trade, and investment, and debt.

There will be two different financial philosophies. And that’s what the new cold war is all about.

The philosophy of US-sponsored finance capitalism, of making money financially, without industrialization, and with trying to lower wages and reduce the labor force to a very highly indebted workforce living on the margin.

Or you’ll have the Eurasian philosophy of using the economic surplus to increase productivity, to build infrastructure, to create the kind of society that America seemed to be growing in the late 19th century but has now rejected.

So all of this is ultimately not simply a problem of interest rates and central bank policy; it really goes beyond central banks to what kind of a social and economic system are you going to have.

And the key to any social and economic system is how you treat money and credit. Is money and credit going to be a public utility, or will it be a private monopoly run for the financial interests and the 1%, instead of a public utility run for the 99%?

That’s what the new cold war is going to be all about. And that’s what international diplomacy week after week is trying to settle.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Very, very well said. And I really agree about this increasing kind of bipolar order, where the US-led imperialist system is telling the world they have to pick a side. You know, as George W. Bush said, you’re either with us or you’re against us; you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists.

That’s what Biden is saying to the world. And we see the West has drawn this iron curtain around Russia. And now they’re threatening to do the same around China.

Now, of course, the difference is that China has the largest economy in the world, according to a PPP measurement. It’s even larger than the US economy. I don’t know how they can try to sanction the Chinese economy, considering China is the central factory of the world.

But this is related to a question I had for you, Professor Hudson, and this is from a super chat question from Manoj Payardha, and it’s about how Chinese banks say they’re not ready yet to develop an alternative to the SWIFT. He asked, how will the Third World pay Russia for resources?

And we’ve seen, maybe you can talk about the measures being implemented. India has this rupee-ruble system that they’ve created.

But I want to highlight an article that was published in Global Times. This is a major Chinese newspaper, and this is from April. And it quotes the former head of China’s central bank, who was speaking at a global finance forum in Beijing this April.

And basically he said, we need to prepare to replace Swift. He said the West’s adoption of a financial nuclear option of using SWIFT to sanction Russia is a wake up call for China’s financial development. And he said, “We must get prepared.”

So it seems that they’re not yet prepared. But this is something that you’ve been talking about for years. Or maybe you disagree and maybe you think they already are prepared with the SWIFT alternative?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well they’re already using an alternative system. If they weren’t using an alternative system – Russia is adopting part of the Chinese system for this – they wouldn’t be able to have banks communicate with each other.

So, yes, they already have a rudimentary system. They’re making it a better system that can also be immune from U.S. computer espionage and interference. So yes, of course there’s already a system.

But I want to pick up on what you said about Biden, how Biden characterizes things.

Biden characterizes the war of the West against Eurasia as between democracy and autocracy. By “democracy,” he means a free market run by Wall Street; he means an oligarchy.

But what does he mean by autocracy? What he means by autocracy, when he calls China an autocracy, an “autocracy” is a government strong enough to prevent an oligarchy from taking power, and taking control of the government for its own interests, and reducing the rest of the economy to debt peonage.

An “autocracy” is a country with public regulation against monopolies, instead of an oligarchic free market. An “autocracy” uses money and credit, essentially, to help economies grow. And when debts cannot be paid in China, if a factory or a real estate company cannot pay debts, China does not simply say, ok, you’re bankrupt, you’re going to have to be sold; anybody can buy you; the Americans can buy you.

Instead, the Chinese say, well, you can’t pay the debts; we don’t want to tear down your factory; we don’t want your factory to be turned and gentrified into luxury housing. We’re going to write down the debt.

And that’s what China has done again and again. And it’s done that with foreign countries that couldn’t pay the debt. When a debt that China has come due for China’s development of a port, or roads, or infrastructure, it says, well, we understand that you can pay; we will delay payment; we will have a moratorium on your payment. We’re not here to bankrupt you.

For the Americans, to the international funds, they’re saying, well, we are here to bankrupt you. And now if we lend you, we the IMF, lends you money to avoid a currency devaluation, the term is you’re going to have to privatize your infrastructure; you’re going to have to sell off your public utilities, your electric system, your roads, your land to private buyers, mainly from the United States.

So you have a “democracy” supporting bankruptcy, foreclosure, financialization, and privatization, and low wages by a permanent depression, a permanent depression to keep down wages.

Or you have “autocracy,” seeking to protect the interests of labor by supporting a living wage, to increase living standards as a precondition for increasing productivity, for building up infrastructure.

You have these two diametrically economic systems. And, again, that’s why there’s a cold war on right now.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

And there’s another super chat question here, Professor Hudson. You mentioned the International Monetary Fund, the IMF. We have talked about that many times. This is from Sam Owen. He asked, why do countries continue to accept bad IMF loans when they have such a poor track record? Is it just the US government meddling in the national politics? Are there cases of good IMF loans?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, what is a country? When you say a country to most people, people think, ok, let’s talk about Brazil; let’s talk about all the people in Brazil; you have a picture in the mind of the Amazon; you have a big city with a lot of people in it.

But the country, in terms of the IMF, is a group of maybe the 15 wealthiest families in Brazil, that own most of the money, and they are quite happy to borrow from the IMF, because they say, right now there’s a chance that Lula may become president instead of the neo-fascist Bolsonaro. And if Lula comes in, then he is going to support labor policies, and he may stop us from tearing down the Amazon. So let’s move our money out of the country.

Well, normally this would push the exchange rate of the cruzeiro (real) down. So the IMF is going to make a loan to Brazil to support the cruzeiro (real), so that the wealthy 1% of Brazil can move their money into dollars, into euros, into foreign currency and offshore bank incentives, and load Brazil down with debt, so that then when there is an election, and if Lula is elected, the IMF is going to say, well, we don’t really like your policies, and if you pursue a pro-labor, socialist policy, then there’s going to be a capital flight. And we’re insisting that you pay all the money that you borrowed from the West right back now.

Well, that’s going to lead Lula either to sit there, follow the IMF direction, and let the IMF run the economy, instead of his own government, or just say, we’re not going to pay the foreign debt.

Well, until now, no country has been in a strong enough position not to pay the foreign debt. But for the first time, now that you have the Eurasian group – we’ll call it BRICS, but it’s really Eurasia, along with the Southern groups that are joining, the Global South – for the first time, they can say, we can’t afford to stay in the West anymore.

We cannot afford to submit the economy to the IMF demands for privatization. We cannot submit to the IMF rules that we have to fight against labor, that we have to pass laws banning labor unions, that we have to fight against laborers’ wage, like Western democracies insist on. We have to go with the Chinese “autocracy,” which we call socialism.

And of course, when America accuses China being an “autocracy,” autocracy is the American word for socialism. They don’t want to use that word. So we’re back in Orwellian double-think.

So the question is what, will the Global South countries do when they cannot afford to buy energy and food this summer, without an IMF loan? Are they going to say, ok, we can only survive by joining the break from the West and joining the Eurasian group?

That is what the big world fracture is all about.

And I described this global fracture already in 1978. I wrote a book, “Global Fracture,” explaining just exactly how all of this was going to happen.

And at that time, you had Indonesia, you had Sukarno taking the lead, the non-aligned nations, India, Indonesia, were trying to create an alternative to the financialized, American-centered world order. But none of these countries had a critical mass sufficient to go their own way.

Well, now that America has isolated Russia, China, India, Iran, Turkey, all these countries, now it has created a critical mass that is able to go its own way. And the question is, now you have like a gravitational pull, and will this Eurasian mass attract Latin America and Africa to its own group, away from the United States? And where is that going to leave the United States and Europe?

BENJAMIN NORTON:

And we saw one of the clearest examples yet of this bipolar division of the world between, you know, the West and the rest, as they say, with this ridiculous meeting that was just held of the G7.

Of course, the G7 are the white, Western countries. And then they’ll throw in U.S.-occupied Japan in there, to pretend they’re a little more diverse.

But we saw that the G7 just held a summit, and basically the entire summit was about how can we contain China? How can we expand the new cold war on Russia into a new cold war on China?

And here’s a report in BBC: “G7 summit: Leaders detail $600bn plan to rival China’s Belt and Road initiative.” Now, I got a chuckle out of this. The idea that the US government is going to build infrastructure in the Global South, I mean, it’s pretty laughable.

It’s also absurd considering that China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which involves over half of the countries on Earth, is estimated at many trillions of dollars in infrastructure projects. So the US and its allies think that they can challenge that with $600 billion in public-private partnerships.

I should stress, of course, what they announced is going to be a mixture of so-called public initiative and then contracts for private corporations.

So it’s yet another giveaway to the private sector, in the name of building infrastructure.

But I’m wondering if if you can comment on the G7 summit that just was held.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, nothing really came out of it. They all said that they could not agree on any more sanctions against Russia, because they’re already hurting enough. India, in particular, stood up and said, look, there’s no way that we’re going to join the sanctions against Russia, because it’s one of our major trading partners. And by the way, we’re getting a huge benefit from importing Russian oil, and you’re getting a huge benefit by getting this oil from us at a markup.

So the G7 could not get any agreement on what to do. It is already at a stalemate. And this is only June. Imagine the stalemate it’s going to be in September.

Well, next week, President Biden is going to Saudi Arabia and saying, you know, we’re willing to kill maybe 10 million more of your enemies; we’re willing to help Wahhabi Sunni groups kill more of the Iranian Shiites, and sabotage Iraq and Syria. We’ll help you back al-Qaeda again, if you will lower your oil prices so that we can squeeze Russia more.

So that’s really the question that Saudi Arabia will have. America will send give it more cluster bombs to use against Yemen.  And the question is, is Saudi Arabia going to say, ok, we’re going to earn maybe $10 billion less a month, or however much they’re making, just to make you happy, and so that that you will kill more Shiites who support Iran?

Or are they going to realize that if they throw in their lot with the United States, all of a sudden they’ll be under attack from Iran, Russia, Syria, and they’ll be sitting ducks? So what are they going to do?

And I don’t see any way that Biden can actually succeed in getting Saudi Arabia to voluntarily earn less on its oil prices. Maybe Biden can say it’s only for a year, only for one or two years. But as other countries know, when America says only for a year or two, it really means forever. And if you don’t continue, then somehow they have a regime replacement, or a regime change and a color revolution.

So Biden keeps trying to get foreign countries to join the West against Eurasia, but there is Saudi Arabia sitting right in the middle of it.

And all that Europe can do is watch and wonder how it’s going to get by without without energy and without much food.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Yeah, in fact, Venezuela’s President Maduro just confirmed that the Biden administration has sent another delegation basically begging Venezuela to try to work out some deal because, of course, the U.S. and the EU have boycotts of Russian energy.

So it’s really funny to me that, after years of demonizing Venezuela, portraying it as a dictatorship and all of this, the U.S. had to decide, well, the war in Venezuela is not as important as the war on Russia right now; so we’re going to temporarily pause our war on Venezuela to stick the knife deeper into Russia.

But on the on the subject of the the G7 meeting, this was the hilarious comment made by the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in an article in Reuters titled “Europe Must Give Developing Nations Alternative to Chinese Funds.”

So echoing the same perspective that we hear from Biden, U.S. government officials constantly say that the US needs to challenge China in the Global South. So Europe pledged €300 billion – however, once again, important asterisk – “in private and public funds over five years to fund infrastructure in developing countries.”

So once again, we see another neoliberal private-public partnership. It’s going to be another public giveaway to private corporations.

And “she said that this is part of the G7’s drive to counter China’s multitrillion-dollar Belt and Road project.”

Now, this is really just tying everything together that we have been talking about today, Professor Hudson – in your article “The Fed’s Austerity Program to Reduce Wages,” you conclude the article noting that the depression that people in the United States are on the verge of facing because of these neoliberal policies – telling workers in the U.S. that they need to decrease their wages and be unemployed in order to stop inflation – you point out that:

Biden’s military and State Department officers warn that the fight against Russia is just the first step in their war against China’s non-neoliberal economy, and may last twenty years. That is a long depression. But as Madeline Albright would say, they think that the price is “worth it.”

And you talk about the new cold war against the socialist economy in China and the state-led economy in Russia.

So you predict not only a depression is coming. We have seen that in mainstream media outlets. Larry Summers said, you know, a depression could be coming for a few years. But you say, no, not only is a depression coming; it’s going to be a long depression. We could be seeing 20 years.

And basically the U.S. government and other Western leaders, as we see Ursula von der Leyen from the EU, they’re basically telling their populations, tighten your belts; we have decades of depression coming, because we have collectively decided, as Western leadership, that we are going to force the world through a long depression economically, or at least forced the West through a long economic depression, in order to try to halt the rise of China and Russia.

They’re basically telling their populations, suck it up, tighten your belts for decades, because in the end, the price is worth it in order to prevent the collapse of our empires.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

That’s right. When they’re talking about private-public initiatives, they’re talking about Pentagon capitalism. That means the government will give trillions of dollars to private firms and ask them to build infrastructure.

And if they build a port or a road in a Global South country, they will operate this at a profit, and it will be an enormously expensive infrastructure, because to make financial money off this infrastructure, you have to price it at the cost of production, which is Pentagon capitalism, hyper inflated prices; you have to pay management fees; you have to pay profits; you have to pay interest rates.

As opposed to the Chinese way of funding as equity. The Western mode of funding is all debt leverage. China takes as collateral for the infrastructure that it pays, an equity ownership in the port or whatever infrastructure in the Belt and Road that it’s building.

So you have the difference between equity ownership, debt-free ownership, where if it can afford to pay, fine; if it doesn’t make an income, there are no dividends to pay.

Or you have the debt leverage that is intended that the government cannot pay it, so that the government that will be the co-signer for the debt for all of this infrastructure will somehow be obliged to tax its whole population to pay the enormous super-profits, the enormous monopoly rents, the enormous debt charges of von der Leyen’s Margaret Thatcher plan.

Von der Leyen thinks that she can do to Europe and to America what Margaret Thatcher did to England. And if she does, then then America and Europe deserve it.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

And Professor Hudson, as we start wrapping up here, I know you have to go pretty soon, just a few short questions here at the end.

I’m wondering if what we’re also seeing is not only this fundamental crisis in the Western neoliberal, financialized economies, but it’s also this bubble that has burst, or at least this phase that is over.

At least this is my reading, I’m curious if you agree. In the 1990s, the peak of, you know, the so-called golden age of neoliberalism; we had Bill Clinton riding this wave, and it was the “end of history,” in Francis Fukuyama’s nonsense prediction and all that.

How much of that was not only based on this exorbitant privilege, as the French call it, of the dictatorship of the US dollar – we talked about that based on your book “Super Imperialism,” how the US was given this massive global free lunch economically because of dollar hegemony – but how much of it was not just that, but also the fact that in the 1990s and the first decade of the 2000s, the US and Western Europe had access to very cheap consumer goods from Asia and very cheap energy from Russia?

To me, it seems like those two factors are some of the most important reasons why this golden age of neoliberalism in the ’90s and early 2000s was even possible.

It was on the back of low-paid Asian workers, and based on this idea that Russia would permanently be, what Obama called it: a gas station.

Well, we’ve seen that, one, East Asian economies have lifted themselves up of poverty, especially China has ended extreme poverty and raised median wages significantly.

And now, of course, the West has sanctioned itself against buying Russian energy, massively increasing the cost of energy around the world.

So do you think that that bubble, or that brief moment of the end of history, the golden age of neoliberalism, that can never come back?

Because unless the West can succeed in overthrowing the Russian government and imposing a new puppet like Yeltsin, and overthrowing the Chinese government, it seems like that that the golden in the 1990s is never going to come back.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, you’ve left out the key element of the golden age: that is military force, and the willingness to assassinate any foreign leader that does not want to go along with US policy.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Of course.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

You’re neglecting what America did to [Salvador Allende]; you’re neglecting how America took over Brazil; America’s meddling and control, and in Europe, the wholesale bribery and manipulation of Europe’s political system, to put in charge of the [German] Green Party a pro-war leadership, an anti-environmental leadership, to put in charge of every socialist party of Europe right-wingers, neoliberals.

Every European socialist and labor party turned neoliberal largely by American maneuvering and meddling in their foreign policy.

So it’s that meddling that was intended to prevent any alternative economic philosophy from existing to rival neoliberalism.

So that when you talk about the end of history, what is the end of history? It means the end of change. It means stop; there will be no reform; there will be no change in the neoliberal system that we have locked in.

And of course, the only way that you can really end history is by what Biden is threatening: atomic war to blow up the world.

That is the neoliberal end of history. And it’s the only way that the neoliberals can really stop history. Apart from that, all they can try to do is to prevent any change that is adverse to locking in the neoliberal order.

So the “end of history” is a declaration of war against any country that wants to go its own way. Any country that wants to build up its own economy as a way that will keep the benefits of its economic growth in its own country, instead of letting it go to the global financial class centered in the United States and Britain.

So we’re talking about, neoliberalism was always a belligerent, implicitly military policy, and that’s exactly what you’re seeing in the proxy war of US and NATO in Ukraine today.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Yeah, very well said. That’s the other key ingredient: overthrowing any government that is a challenge, that shows there is an alternative, to try to prove the maxim that “there is no alternative.”

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Yes.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Here’s an interesting comment from Christopher Dobbie. He points out that in Australia, the average age for their first homeowner was 27 in 2001; now it’s 35, and increasing more and more by the year.

Now, in the last few minutes here, Professor Hudson, here’s another brief question that I got from someone over at patreon.com/multipolarista – people can go and support this show. One of my patrons asked this question: who who is hurt most by the Fed or other central banks raising interest rates? People, average consumers, or companies?

And obviously, you talked earlier about how the US Federal Reserve is different from other central banks, but it’s kind of an open question. Who is hurt more by raising interest rates?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, companies are certainly hurt because it means that any possibility of getting productive credit is raised. But they’re also benefited, because if interest rates raised go up high enough, then it will not pay corporate raiders to borrow money to take over and raid companies and empty them out, like they did in the 1980s.

So everything cuts both ways. Raising the interest rates have given commercial banks an excuse to raise the interest charges on credit card loans and mortgage debts.

So raising interest rates, to the banks, have enabled them to actually increase their margin of monopoly profits on the credit that they extend.

And that certainly hurts people who are reliant on bank credit, either for mortgages or for consumer debt, or for any kind of loans that they want to take out.

Basically, raising interest rates hurts debtors and benefits creditors.

And benefiting creditors very rarely helps the economy at large, because the creditors are always really the 1%; the debtors are the 99%.

And if you think of economies, when you say, how does an economy benefit, you realize that, well, if the economy is 1% creditors and 99% debtors, you are dealing with a bifurcation there.

And you have to realize that the creditors usually occupy the government, and they claim we are the country. And the 99% are not very visible.

Democracy can only be afforded if they population’s voting has no effect at all on the government, that it’s only symbolic. You can vote exactly which oligarch you want to rule your country. Ever since Rome that was the case, and it’s the case today.

Is there really any difference between the Republicans and Democrats in terms of their policy? When you the same central bank bureaucracy, the same State Department blob, the same military-industrial complex, the same Wall Street control, what does democracy mean in a situation like that?

The only way that you can have what democracy aims at is to have a government strong enough to check the financial interests, to check the 1%, acting on behalf of the 99%. And that’s what socialism is.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Very well said.

Here is another brief question from patreon.com/multipolarista – people can become a patron and help support the show over there.

This question, Professor Hudson, is about the proposal of an excess profits tax as an alternative to try to contain inflation. What do you think about the proposal of an excess profits tax?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, only the little people make profits. If you’re a billionaire, you don’t want to make a profit; you want to essentially take all of your return in the form of capital gains. That’s where your money is.

And the way you avoid making a profit is you establish an offshore bank or creditor, and you pay out all of your profits in the form of interest, which an expense. You expense all of what used to be, what really is, income. And you show no profits at all.

I don’t think Amazon has ever made a profit. You have huge, the biggest corporations, with all the capital gains, have no profits. Tesla is a gigantic stock market presence, and it doesn’t make a profit.

So the key is capital gains, is financial gains, stock market gains, gains in real estate prices, unearned income. That’s what the free lunch is.

You want to prevent profits being paid out in the form of interest. So I would vastly increase profits, by saying you cannot deduct interest as a business expense. It’s not a business expense. It’s a predatory parasitic expense. So you’re going to have to declare all of this as profit, and pay interest on it.

Pricing your output from a foreign offshore banking center, so that you don’t seem to make any profit, like Apple does, pretending to make all its money in Ireland, you can’t do that anymore. You’re going to have to pay a real return.

So the accounting profession has made profits essentially tax free. So the pretense of making money by taxing profits avoids talking about capital gains and all of fictitiously low profits that are simply pretended not to be profit, like interest, depreciation, amortization, offshore earnings, management fees.

All of these should be counted as profits, and taxed as such as they were, I’d say back at the Eisenhower administration levels.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

And finally, the last question here, Professor Hudson, someone asked about the U.S. government pressuring countries in Africa not to buy Russian wheat. And the U.S. is, of course, claiming that this wheat is supposedly stolen from Ukraine.

This article, this headline at Newsweek, it summarizes pretty well: “U.S. Warns Starving African Nations to Not Buy Grain Stolen by Russia.” Again, that “stolen” is alleged by the U.S.

But you actually have a really good column about this over at your website, which again is michael-hudson.com: “Is US/NATO (with WEF help) pushing for a Global South famine?

I know this could be a long point of discussion; it could be the entire interview. And I know you have to go soon. But just concluding here, I’m wondering if you could comment.

The United Nations itself has warned that there could be a famine, especially in Global South nations.

What do you think the role of these neoliberal policies and Western sanctions are in fueling that potential crisis?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, the wealthiest families in the world used to go every year, now they go every few years, to Davos, to Klaus Schwab’s Davos World Economic Forum. And they say, the world is overpopulated; we need about 2 billion human beings to starve, preferably in the next year or two.

So it’s as if the wealthy families have got together and say, how can we thin out the population that really we, the 1%, don’t need?

And in all of their policies, it is as if they’ve decided to follow the World Economic Forum and deliberately shrink the world population, especially in Africa and Latin America.

Remember, these are white people at the World Economic Forum, and that is their idea of how to retain equilibrium.

They’re always talking about “equilibrium,” and equilibrium is going to be for countries that cannot afford to grow their own food, because they have put their money into plantation crops and cotton to sell to the West, instead of feeding themselves – they’re just going to have to starve to contribute to world “equilibrium.”

BENJAMIN NORTON:

And while we’re on the subject of the World Economic Forum, I guess I should just briefly add – we’ve talked about this a little bit, but I just feel remiss not mentioning it – it’s interesting to see how right-wingers have seized on the World Economic Forum and begun criticizing it a lot.

Obviously, it’s worth criticizing. It’s a horrible neoliberal institution that represents the Western capitalist class. But we’ve even seen, you know, Glenn Beck, the right-winger, former Fox News host, he published a book about the Great Reset and the World Economic Forum.

I’m just wondering really quickly if you could respond to the idea that the World Economic Forum is like some “socialist” organization. Obviously, it’s the exact opposite.

But what do you say to these conservatives who have a right-wing critique of the World Economic Forum, and think it’s like secretly socialist, and Biden is a socialist.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

They look at any government or managerial power as socialist, not drawing the distinction between socialism and oligarchy.

The question is government power can be either right-wing or left-wing, and to say that any government power is socialist is just degrading the word.

However, as I mentioned before, almost all of the European “socialist” parties are neoliberal. Tony Blair was the head of something that called itself the British Labour Party. Gordon Brown was the head of the British Labour Party.

You can’t be more neoliberal and oligarchic than that. And that’s why Margaret Thatcher said her greatest success was creating Tony Blair.

You have the same thing in France; the French “socialists” are on the right-wing of the spectrum. The Greek “socialist” party, on the right-wing of the spectrum.

You have “socialist” parties around the world being neoliberalized.

So what does the word socialism mean? You want to go beyond labels into the essence.

And the question is, in whose interest is the government going to be run for? Will it be run for the 1% or the 99%?

And the right wing wants to say, well, the 1% can be socialist, because they’re taking over the government and that’s the big government, and we’re against it.

Well, the right-wing is taking over the government, but it’s not really what the world meant by socialism a century ago.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Yeah, very well said. I just always laugh when I see these right-wing critiques of the World Economic Forum. I mean, the World Economic Forum is the embodiment of capitalism. It is the group of the elite capitalists who get together to talk about how they can exploit the working class and help monopolize the global economy on behalf of Western capital.

So with that said, there still are many questions, but I know you have to go, and we’re already at an hour and a half.

I do want to thank everyone who joined. We’re at 1200 viewers right now, so it has been a really good response.

Professor Hudson, you’re very popular. You should do your own YouTube channel. Maybe we can talk about that, because every time I have you on, it’s always an amazing response that I get. And hopefully we can do this again more in future.

Aside from people going to your website, michael-hudson.com, is there anything else that you want to plug before we conclude?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, the book that I just wrote, “The Destiny of Civilization,” is all about what we’ve been talking about. It’s about the world’s split between neoliberalism and socialism. So that was just published and is available on Amazon. And I have two more books that are coming out very shortly.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Yeah, for people who are interested, I did an interview with Professor Hudson here at Multipolarista a few weeks ago about his new book, The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism.”

And of course, anyone who wants to support this show, you can go to patreon.com/multipolarista. And as always, this will be available as a podcast, if you want to listen to the interview again. I’m certainly going to listen to this discussion again. You can find that anywhere there are podcasts.

Professor Hudson, it’s always a real pleasure. Thanks so much for joining me.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

I enjoyed the discussion.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

And like I said earlier at the beginning, for me, I truly think it’s always a privilege, because I do think you’re one of the greatest living economists. So I always feel very privileged to have the opportunity to pick your brain about all of these questions.

And I want to thank everyone who commented, who watched, and who listened. I will see you all next time.

Sanctions against Russia are leading Latin America to the abyss

June 27, 2022

Machine translated from:  http://www.opciones.cu/internacionales/2022-04-13/las-extorsiones-contra-rusia-golpean-a-latinoamerica

The war situation between Russia and Ukraine, together with the numerous extortions that the United States and its allies have imposed against Moscow, not only hit economically this nation but also Latin American countries.

One of the most affected is Ecuador because if in 2021, 20% of the bananas it exported were destined to Russia (about 85 million boxes) now it has nowhere to put them and they will spoil with the consequent monetary loss.

Last year Ecuador obtained 706 million dollars for banana exports to the Eurasian giant; 142 million dollars for shrimp; 99 million dollars for flowers; 28 million dollars for fish and 17 million dollars for coffee.

Paraguay had Russia as its second buyer of beef and in 2021 it sent 79 213 tons which represented an income of 314 million dollars and now with the disconnection of Moscow from the international banking system (swift) it does not know how to collect or send the product.

Something similar is happening with Brazil. In the previous period, Brazil sold soybean to Russia for 343 million dollars, 167 million for poultry meat, 133 million for coffee and 117 million for beef.

As for Mexico, it sent cars, computers, beer, tequila, among other products, and bought fertilizers. If it lacks this supply, agriculture will suffer losses and food will become more expensive.

This situation will lead to a worsening of the economic crisis in those nations, with the consequent wage cuts, layoffs of workers and price increases.

The enormous pressures exerted by the United States for Latin American nations to join the policy of Russophobia that it has imposed on the planet by controlling the main media, could aggravate these problems.

For example, an intergovernmental cooperation agreement between Russia and Argentina for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, particularly in the areas of basic and applied research, construction and operation of nuclear power plants and reactors, would be halted.

In addition, Moscow has expressed its interest in participating in a tender for the construction of a dry storage facility for spent nuclear fuel at the Atucha II nuclear power plant in the South American nation.

Washington uses all kinds of extortion to that end: political influence, economic promises and blackmail, as was the case during the recent vote at the UN General Assembly to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. After the vote, several delegates expressed that for various reasons they had been forced to vote that way.

Due to the impact of the Western “sanctions” war, the supply of fertilizers has been affected, which poses a threat to Latin American farmers, but is advantageous for the United States, which manufactures large quantities of fertilizer. Already, U.S. producers are looking to increase exports to countries in the region.

Fertilizer prices are currently at an all-time high and in the first quarter of 2022 they rose by 30%, which exceeds those reached in 2008 during the global financial crisis.

Due to the “sanctions”, shipments from Russia have been interrupted and this country is one of the main producers and exporters globally.

Moscow is the largest exporter of nitrogen fertilizers and the second largest exporter of potash and phosphorus fertilizers.

In 2021 the Eurasian giant shipped fertilizers worth $12.5 billion. Among its main buyers were Brazil and the European Union with 25% respectively, and the United States with 14%.

As is to be expected, if the fertilizers do not arrive, agricultural production in these countries will be greatly affected.

This complex scenario comes at a time when the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UNFAO) reported that the food price index reached 159.3 points in March, an all-time high, while in February it had already beaten the record since the creation of the cost index in 1990.

The agency added that among the five categories that make up the index, four have never recorded such high prices: vegetable oils (248.6 points), cereals (170.1), dairy products (145.2) and meat (120.0).

Two of the categories increased prices in February due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict: cereals by 17% and vegetable oils by 23%. These countries together export 30 % of the wheat and 20 % of the corn consumed in the world.

The present and future prospects for the Latin American economies are considered difficult because they will have to face the high costs of food products, without yet recovering from the enormous losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a corollary, it can be stated that the string of extortions imposed by the United States, not only on Russia but also on more than 30 countries in the world, are leading several Latin American nations into an abyss.

The Musket and the Noodle Stall: A Strategic Comparison

June 23, 2022

Source

By Fred Reed

In big-chunk terms, in the world today we see a contest between the Chinese economy and the American military, between Chinese dynamism and American coercion. Sure, China has a military and the US has an economy. Yet the emphasis, and spirit are as described.

The United States gives priority to the military over civilian economy, with military spending increasing at the expense of internal infrastructure and social needs. By contrast, China focuses on infrastructure within and trade without. I wonder whether Americans are aware of the extent of this. And its likely consequences.

To read the Asian-based press—Asia Times, Nikkei Asia, the South China Morning Post, the Global Times, and various tech sites—is to see a constant stream of infrastructure projects in China and advancing trade outside. As perhaps many know China promotes the Belt and Road Initiative, a massive program to connect all of Eurasia, as well as Africa and Latin America in a huge trade zone connected by rail, highways, fiber optics, maritime links, and commercial treaties. If completed it will dwarf the United States.

China, a rising technological center, leads the world in civil engineering, manufacturing, Five G, trade, and clearly intends to maintain the lead. All power ultimately rests on economic power. Below a few news stories more or less randomly chosen from around the web. Can you think of American equivalents?

China Mandalay Rail Line

“New international railway route from Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality to Mandalay, southern Myanmar, has officially started operation, with the first freight train departing from Chongqing on Monday, which will arrive in Mandalay about 20 days earlier than what it takes on traditional routes.”

The port will also further connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative and increase Chinese influence in Myanmar. Key word: Trade

America leads in phenomenally expensive aircraft carriers with serious developmental problems and no particular purpose. Google “Ford class carriers.”

China’s high-speed rail network hit the 40,000-kilometer mark by the end of 2021, reaching out to 93 percent of domestic cities with a population of over 500,000, An Lusheng, deputy head of National Railway Administration, said on Friday. This comes as the country ramps up a push to build itself into a transportation power.”

Fast, pervasive transportation greatly facilitates almost everything. Beijing has said it will have 30,000 miles in a few years. key words: manufacturing, trade, connectivity.

The first China-Russia highway bridge, which stretches from Heihe, a border city in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, to the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk spanning the Heilongjiang River, opened to traffic on Friday, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported. It will open a new international highway that will boost the connectivity between cities in China and Russia.“ A few days ago. Here we have more of China’s program to tie all of Eurasia into one interconnected web. Note that it says the “first” bridge. Key words: Trade, connectivity.

China plans new high-volume space-launch facility

“The new Ningbo spaceport, the nation’s fifth such facility, will give a crucial lift to Beijing’s new space programs as its rivalry with the United States reaches space. The spaceport is said to be tailor-made for Chinese commercial aerospace manufacturers and service providers to one day wrest business and foreign orders from US rivals.”

Typical China. Planning five years in advance. If this follows the country’s pattern, construction will begin and continue without interruption until completed. Keyword: Commercial.

America leads the world in overpriced fighter aircraft with a history of unending engineering problems. Google “F-35.”

Cargo carried via New Land-Sea Corridor in western China grows 38% in Jan-May”

“With the RCEP coming into effect, the corridor has played a bigger role in boosting trade between China and ASEAN. On April 8, four trains left Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, carrying aluminum products, agricultural equipment, industrial equipment, chemicals and food to Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia

The RCEP, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, is a vast commercial agreement among whose members are all of ASEAN, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and China.”

Key word: Trade.

Multi-functional modular seabed trencher developed by a Chinese firm has recently completed 100 kilometers of pipelines construction in “Bangladesh’s first marine pipeline project, setting two world records in directional drilling and deep trenching.”

My knowledge of pipeline trenching would be zero even after three cups of coffee and a hearty breakfast. I note, though that it is in Bangladesh: More connection of China and everywhere else. It also sounds like good engineering. Key words: Trade, connectivity.

The CKU Railways will create significant trade opportunities for Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan while linking China directly to the Middle East via Rail, with spin off benefits throughout the region.”

China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan will be tied more into the Central Asian ecosystem. Construction begins next year. Key words: Trade, connectivity.

America is unchallenged in funny-looking Batplane intercontinental nuclear bomber costing, says Aviation Week, $640 million a copy as America prepares to fill intense world demand for nuclear war. Google “B-21.”

The China-Laos Railway: Yunnan to Vientiane by Bullet Train

Written by Coco Yang Updated Feb. 11, 2022

On December 3rd 2021, the 1,035-km (643-mile) China-Laos Railway was fully opened making possible a bullet train journey of only 10 hours from Kunming to Vientiane, capital of Laos. Key word: Trade.

China-Europe freight train trips top 50,000, yearly growth of 55% from 2016 to 2021

“The value of goods transported by the cargo service skyrocketed to $74.9 billion in 2021, up from $8 billion dollars in 2016, and its share in total trade between China and Europe has increased from 1.5 to 8 percent, according to the release China State Railway Group sent to the Global Times.” America will probably try to block this traffic because it goes through Russia. Again, coercion over competition. Key word: Trade, connectivity.

Proposed US military budget: $857 billion. Keywords: Profits, stupidity.

China Hosts over Sixty Percent of World’s Five G Base Stations

“China had set up a total of nearly 1.43 million 5G base stations as of the end of 2021….”

And many more this year. As can be found by browsing tech sites, China leads in Five G patents, installed base, technology, and manufacturing capacity. Keywords: Trade, manufacturing.

Many millions of Americans can’t read, a hundred thousand a year die of opioid overdoses, the economy is a trainwreck, and despair grows, but the Pentagon has Space Command to give America “Total Spectrum Dominance,” which presumably will pay our mortgages.

China’s digital yuan extends usage into finance scenarios

“SHANGHAI, June 17 (Reuters) – China’s digital yuan can now be used to buy wealth management products, pay for insurance policies, and extend bank loans, as the central bank further expands e-CNY’s application beyond retail shopping, though still only in pilot schemes.”

China is the world’s leading major country in digital currency. Beijing is low-key about it but implications for global finance worry the US. Keywords: Money, connectivity.

US leads world in pricey, unnecessary but glamorous and profitable nuclear-missile submarines. Google “Columbia class submarines.”

China moves toward STEM leadership

Worth reading. “American” prowess in technology increasingly rests on East Asian and Indian scientists and engineers as the US destroys its schools to further inclusiveness. Keywords: Abject, stupidity.

Value of China-Vietnam Cross-border Freight Trains More Than Triples in Q1”

US holds world lead in ratio of money given to the Ukraine to number of citizens living on sidewalks.

China leader in supercomputers: “As of June 2021, 188 of the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers were located in China, a figure which is a third more than that of its nearest competitor, the United States, which accounted for an additional 122 supercomputers. Together, the two nations account for around 60 percent of the world’s most powerful supercomputers.”

This needs to be read with caution. How the two stack up in aggregate computing power, whatever that means, I don’t know. The US just announced the first exascale computer at Oak Ridge. The Sunway Oceanlight from China is on many websites said to be exascale, but isn’t quite. The important point is that it is entirely of Chinese design from architecture to chips, using silicon of Chinese design and manufacture. It is remarkable that China can manage this in the face of American attempts to strangle the country technologically.

China Launches World’s Largest container Ship

A gorgeous monster. Check photo. China also has seven of the world’s largest cargo ports. Keyword: Trade

Trade deficit with China. Boring but worth a glance.

“During 2021, the United States exported $151,065,200,000 in products to China, but then imported $506,366,900,000 in products from China, resulting in $657,432,100,000 in total trade between the two countries–and a $355,301,700,000 deficit for the United States.” Keyword: Can you guess?

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Maduro: We Are All Part of Axis of Resistance

June 21, 2022

By Staff, Khamenei.ir

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the ‘Axis of Resistance’ is not just confined to certain countries across the world, but it refers to all those fighting colonialism and hegemonic powers.

“The Axis of Resistance exists throughout the world; it exists in Africa, in Asia, in the Middle East, in Latin America and in the Caribbean. The Resistance also belongs to the people who are fighting against neoliberalism, racism and various forms of colonization, political, economic, cultural colonization and cyber colonization,” Maduro said in an exclusive interview with the official website of Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei that was published on Monday.

“All of us who fight against colonialism, all of us who fight to decolonize our minds and our people, are part of the Axis of Resistance that stands against the methods of the imperialists for imposing hegemony on the world,” he added.

Maduro: We Are All Part of Axis of Resistance

Lauding the deeds of the Axis of Resistance throughout the years, Maduro said, “The 21st century is our century. It is the century of the unity of the people. It is the century in which people will be liberated. It is the century of justice and truth. Empires are in decline, and people’s projects for well-being, development and greatness have just begun. This century is our century.”

Pointing to a recent meeting with Imam Khamenei and the His Eminence’s statement about the very close relationship between Iran and Venezuela, Maduro said, “Since Commander Hugo Chavez’s first visit in 2001, Iran and Venezuela have established exemplary political, diplomatic, moral, and spiritual ties.”

“During this current trip, I’ve witnessed how there is an exemplary relationship between us in terms of our increasing cooperation. We’ve had many successes. So Imam Khamenei is right when he states that the relationship between the two countries is quite unique and extraordinary,” he noted.

Asked about his latest assertion regarding the Zionist occupation regime’s conspiracies against Venezuela through Mossad, Maduro said, “Imperialism and Zionism are conspiring against the progressive, revolutionary processes taking place in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially the Bolivarian Revolution.”

The Venezuelan president stressed, “This is because we are a true alternative, an alternative of truth and justice, an alternative of freedom, an alternative of democracy, and an alternative for realizing projects that are fully humane in the Latin American region and the Caribbean Sea. In addition to this, Mossad’s conspiracies are due to our strong position of solidarity with the Palestinian people and our support of them for their regaining their historical rights and for the Palestinian Resistance. Our support of them is strong and unique, and we will continue supporting them in this manner.”

Asked about the role of Iran’s anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani and the Quds Force over the last 20 years in strengthening the relationship between Tehran and Caracas, Maduro said he met General Soleimani in March and April of 2019 when he came to Venezuela during the time of US’ cyberattacks against the country’s power plants.

“I really didn’t know. I didn’t know him. I didn’t know how amazing he was, but the discussion I had with him was very pleasant. We reviewed everything during our meeting and he immediately suggested we get help from Iranian experts. Two or three days later, Iranian experts came to repair electrical services in Venezuela,” he added.

In response to a question regarding a saying by Imam Khamenei that, “If Prophet Issa [Peace upon Him] were among us today, he wouldn’t miss a moment to fight the leaders of global oppression and arrogance,” Maduro said, “We’re believing Christians. We’re the type of Christians who take action while praying and thinking. And Christ came into this world to fight the Empires. He came to confront the Roman Empires. He risked his life. He sacrificed his life to fight the Roman Empire.”

The Venezuelan leader said, “If there’s one good thing I can say about Christianity, it is its anti-imperialist nature and its seeking of truth and justice against the oppressors. I have no doubt that if Christ were among us today, he would have been at the forefront of the battle against imperialism, colonialism and all forms of oppression.”

During the interview, Maduro pointed to several meetings he had had with Imam Khamenei over the years as well as the meeting between Chavez and the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

“I’ve always admired Imam Khamenei’s excellent memory. That he recalls the memories of those days is important. In the talks that I have had with him, he has recalled some of the conversations he had with Commander Chavez where Commander Chavez shared some of his memories about Cuba and Commander Fidel Castro. There was a time when a hurricane was heading straight toward Cuba. It was a Category 5 hurricane. A conversation took place between Fidel and Chavez. Fidel said, “Chavez! What you need to do right now is to pray. Pray for us!” Chavez started praying. That day passed and the hurricane changed its course. It didn’t cross over Cuba. Chavez called Fidel and said, “It’s a miracle!” Fidel replied, “Yes, it’s because God helps Chavez and Chavez’s friends.” In the last talk that I had with Imam Khamenei, he told me this story in a friendly, kind way in memory of Commander Chavez and Commander Fidel Castro,” he said.

“Holding a conversation with Imam Khamenei truly fills one with spirituality and wisdom. He likes the Venezuelan people. He likes the people’s ideals, and he always offers us great ideas and recommendations,” Maduro underlined.

Gustavo Petro elected Colombia’s first leftist president

June 20, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Gustavo Petro becomes Colombia’s first leftist president after receiving 50.47% of the votes in the second round of the country’s presidential election.

Colombia’s new President Gustavo Petro and his Vice President Francia Marquez (Archive)

Gustavo Petro was elected the first ever left-wing president of Colombia on Sunday, after beating millionaire businessman Rodolfo Hernandez in a tense and unpredictable runoff election.

With all votes counted, Petro – the 62-year-old former mayor of Bogota – won with 50.4% compared to Hernandez’s 47.3%.

“As of today, Colombia is changing, a real change that guides us to one of our aims: the politics of love … of understanding and dialogue,” Petro said.

Hernandez, 77, accepted the result, in which he came up short by 700,000 votes, in a Facebook live broadcast.

“I hope that Mr. Gustavo Petro knows how to run the country and is faithful to his discourse against corruption,” he said.

Speaking to supporters at his party headquarters in Bogota, Petro stressed that “this is not a change to deepen sectarianism in Colombia. The change consists precisely of leaving hatred behind, leaving sectarianism behind.”

“We want a Colombia that through its diversity is one Colombia,” he added.

Colombia’s first black woman vice president

In the same context, Francia Marquez, 40, will become Colombia’s first black woman Vice President.

“The great challenge that all of us Colombians have is reconciliation,” said Marquez, adding that “the time has come to build peace, a peace that implies social justice.”

Leftist leaders congratulate Petro

Leftist leaders in the Latin American region were quick to congratulate Petro.

“Gustavo Petro’s victory is historic. Colombia’s conservatives have always been tenacious and tough,” tweeted Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Hernandez, 77, accepted the result, in which he came up short by 700,000 votes, in a Facebook live broadcast.

“I hope that Mr. Gustavo Petro knows how to run the country and is faithful to his discourse against corruption,” he said.

Speaking to supporters at his party headquarters in Bogota, Petro stressed that “this is not a change to deepen sectarianism in Colombia. The change consists precisely of leaving hatred behind, leaving sectarianism behind.”

“We want a Colombia that through its diversity is one Colombia,” he added.

Colombia’s first black woman vice president

In the same context, Francia Marquez, 40, will become Colombia’s first black woman Vice President.

“The great challenge that all of us Colombians have is reconciliation,” said Marquez, adding that “the time has come to build peace, a peace that implies social justice.”

Leftist leaders congratulate Petro

Leftist leaders in the Latin American region were quick to congratulate Petro.

“Gustavo Petro’s victory is historic. Colombia’s conservatives have always been tenacious and tough,” tweeted Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Chile’s President Gabriel Boric said, “Joy for Latin America! We will work together for the unity of our continent in the challenges of a world-changing rapidly.”

Similarly, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro considered that “the will of the Colombian people has been heard, it went out to defend the path to democracy and peace.”

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated “the people of Colombia for making their voices heard in a free and fair presidential election.”

Tough challenge for the new President

The electoral observer mission said one of Petro’s election monitors and a soldier were killed, both in the south.

Petro will have to deal with a country reeling economically from the coronavirus pandemic, a spike in drug-trafficking-related violence, and deep-rooted anger at the political establishment that spilled over into mass anti-government protests in April 2021.

Almost 40% of the country lives in poverty, while 11% are unemployed.

It is noteworthy that the new Colombian President was born on April 19, 1960, and is a well-known politician, economist, and activist who, in his youth, joined the April 19 Movement – a militant faction that participated in the internal armed conflict between 1974-1990.

The High Cost of American Friendship

June 19, 2022

Source

By Eamon Mckinney

Democracy is easily defined by most, but to America it means any country that subverts its own national interests to those of the U.S.

Henry Kissinger once famously said, “To be an enemy to America can be dangerous, but to be a friend can be lethal.” The aged but far from venerable Kissinger’s words have never been truer than they are today. America has a habit of redefining words to suit its own purposes. What the word “friend” means to America is interpreted differently by other nations. Of course friend is not the only word that means something different to America than it does to everyone else. Democracy is easily defined by most, but to America it means any country that subverts its own national interests to those of the U.S. The recent Summit of the Americas held in Los Angeles hosted a number of notable Latin America statesmen. There were however many notable absentees, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, the latter two are undeniably democracies but by virtue of their independent government policies they were not welcome at the American-hosted summit. According to America’s twisted version of democracy, only right-wing, neo-liberal, America-friendly countries can qualify as legitimate democratic governments, and by extension “friends.”

The days when America can dictate and bully Latin American nations are over. Though not as intended by the hosts, there was much unity and friendship in evidence at the Summit. The head of Mexico’s socialist Government Manuel Lopez Obrador refused to attend in protest at the exclusion of the three absent nations, a lower-level official was sent in his stead. The heads of state of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador also declined the invitation citing the same reason. This principled and courageous stance came with the understanding that they would be positioning themselves as American enemies, but they did it anyway. After two hundred years under the imperialist Monroe doctrine they will no longer tolerate being considered America’s backyard. The message from Latin America was clear, “we don’t need your version of friendship, and we will take our chances as your enemy.”

Although unstated, one of the main U.S. objectives at the Summit was to dissuade further Latin American engagement with China. The problem for America is that “south of the border” they prefer the Chinese version of friendship. That entails actually listening to the needs of their “friends”, something America is lamentably bad at. All the Latin countries are struggling with burdensome IMF debt and many are seriously close to default. They need investment in their economies and their infrastructure. China offers both without the internal interference in the nations’ domestic affairs. Respect for sovereignty and self-determination is what Latin Americans having been fighting for since the Spanish conquest more than 400 years ago. For the first time in centuries countries can see how that can now be achieved, and China is a big part of that scenario. America only offers co-operation on security, Latin America has security concerns but most of that concern is directed at America. The tone deaf empire needs to understand that Latin America has a new, much better friend.

The message the U.S. got from the Summit was a clear continent-wide rejection of American policies and its attempts to create an anti-China block. We can assume that American officials are getting used to such rejection by now. Attempts to create an anti-China alliance in Asia have also failed miserably, for many of the same reasons. No Asian country sees China as a threat, they see it as a regional leader whose economic miracle has concurrently raised the economies of its neighbours. The U.S. attempts to create security concerns where they don’t exist has gained zero traction among Southeast Asian nations. With the exception of the occupied nations of South Korea and Japan, China’s relationships with its Asian neighbours are excellent. “Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Jaakob said that “When Americans come to Asia they only want to talk about security, we have no pressing security concerns, when Asian nations get together we talk about trade, any problems can be resolved through negotiation and diplomacy”. The main security concern among Asian nations is the talk of the need for an Asian NATO. The recent U.S. attempts to place missiles aimed at China in six Asian countries unsurprisingly found no takers. If America was listening (doubtful), they would have heard that it is neither needed nor wanted in a region that just wants to do business. American friendship in Asia means making any enemy of China, and none consider that worth the price.

Another of America’s enemies, Russia has defied all attempts to destroy its economy and has rebounded to have the world’s strongest currency. The transparent motivations behind the Ukraine conflict have many nations quietly cheering Russia on in their fight against the common enemy, the Empire. The sanctions designed to destroy Russia found little support outside the usual suspects in the NATO clique. With the world facing catastrophic shortages of food, energy and capital it is increasingly Russia and China that countries are turning to for help.

While America’s enemies continue to enjoy much goodwill, how are America’s friends doing? Not so good. By joining in the absurd Anti-China Covid rhetoric spurred by Trump, Australia, Canada and Britain have committed economic suicide by alienating a valuable trade partner, just to please America. American friends in Europe will suffer through horrific food and energy shortages together with rapidly increasing inflation, all largely a result of the Ukraine provocation. Not forgetting the instigation of an unnecessary and dangerous war in their neighbourhood, a war that no one but America (NATO) wanted. And of course the Ukraine itself, goaded into a disastrous war against a much stronger foe, now finds itself facing defeat and destruction. All attempts by the hapless Zelensky at a negotiated peace are blocked by the West. Not while there are some Ukrainians still alive apparently. Despite the encouraging words of his American masters, the disposable Zelensky finds himself very much alone. The once prosperous post-Soviet Ukraine has turned into a bankrupt, burned-out shell of its former self. Zelensky may well retreat to his $45mil in Miami when it is all over, but the unfortunate Ukrainian people will suffer the consequences of American friendship for generations to come.

If America has its way, its “friends” in Taiwan will soon suffer the same fate as the Ukraine. Despite all attempts to provoke China into an action that would draw International outrage, and presumably sanctions, China has demonstrated considerable restraint. It understands the game being played and absent a foolish Declaration of Independence from Taiwan, it is unlikely to be drawn in. South Korea and Japan have been occupied nations since 1944. The American presence is overwhelmingly objected to by the citizens, yet they owe fealty to America. In the event of a China conflict, their U.S. bases would likely be the first targets in any China response. Yet both nations declined American requests to host China facing missiles in their countries.

The loss of American influence has accelerated tremendously in recent months, and it came at a bad time. America needs friends more than ever now and it is finding them increasingly hard to come by. Even long time “friends” and supplicants like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are shunning America’s call to produce more oil. Biden couldn’t even get MBS to take his phone call. Shamelessly they also turned to Venezuela to ask for oil, unsurprisingly they found no friends or solutions there either.

Returning to Henry Kissinger, by his definition, being a friend or enemy of America can be equally dangerous. “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests”

Those that consider themselves American “friends” should heed his words.

But credit where it is due, the U.S. is indeed inspiring a new spirit of friendship and co-operation among the nations of the world. Economic and security blocs of like-minded countries are expanding in Central Asia, Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. All of these blocs are anti-imperialist in nature, and by definition anti-American. More than a century of American imperialism is coming to a rapid end.

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