Russia Shutters Georgian Democracy

South Front

19.07.2019

Democracy is in danger once again. The treacherous Putin regime is pressuring Georgia with sanctions, prohibiting flights between the countries and putting it under duress. Naturally, the Russian bear showed its totalitarian face by answering with pressure, a democratic protest of civic society.

The pretext for the protests, which have rocked Georgia since June 21st was a visit by a member of the Russian Parliament and president of the assembly of MPs from Orthodox Christian countries – Sergei Gavrilov. As the head of the assembly, he addressed its session in the Georgian Parliament from the speaker’s seat as proposed by the receiving party.

Opposition politicians doused Gavrilov with water before he was escorted out of the building to protest the “occupier” whom, Georgian politicians stated, was acting as if Georgia was a Russian satellite state.

The United National Movement opposition party and its supporters condemned the occupation of the sacral stool by the Russian citizen. Street riots immediately broke out near the Parliament building. Protestors waved flags of Georgia, the European Union, the US and Ukraine, clashed with police, and stormed the Parliament. Obviously, they did not forget to chant anti-Russian slogans and demand that Putin, the Kremlin and “Russian occupiers” get out of their country. A Russian TV crew was also attacked because of its non-democratic coverage.

To provide some context to the “Russian occupiers” narrative, it’s important to know what the Georgians mean by “occupation”. They describe as occupied two de-facto independent states South Ossetia and Abkhazia. These states declared their independence in the early 1990s after a direct aggression from the Nazi regime of Zviad Gamsakhurdia. During the conflict in these republics, Georgian nationalists practiced mass repressions and cleansing of non-Georgian population. Since then, and until 2008, Russia had not recognized them as independent states. The situation changed in 2008 after war crimes were committed by the Georgian military in South Ossetia. Forces of the Saakashvili regime carried out massive artillery strikes on the city of Tskhinvali. Vehicles carrying refugees were shelled by Georgian troops and foreign mercenaries. Russian peacekeepers which had previously been deployed to South Ossetia were attacked. In the ensuing 5-day peace-compelling operation, Russian Armed Forces delivered a devastating blow to the Saakashvili regime by defeating its forces. The Russian Army reached Tbilisi, but did not enter the city. No territory was annexed and Russian troops returned to their permanent deployment sites. As a result of the conflict, Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.

In the following years, both republics repeatedly asked Russia to accept them into the federation. Moscow rejected these requests and worked with Abkhazia and South Ossetia as with allied, but independent states. In this light, the Georgian government uses the term “Russian occupation” to describe the Ossetians and Abkhazians who survived the ethnic cleansing of the 1990s and the war of 2008. However, there is a historical case that may explain Georgia’s attitude.

In 1918-1919, forces of the Georgian nationalists, assisted by foreign instructors, attempted to seize control of the city of Sochi and the nearby coastal strip of the Black Sea. They lost this conflict. Forces of Georgian radicals also carried out multiple war crimes in Abkhazia and Ossetia in the period from 1918 to 1920. If Tbilisi believes that any place where Georgian nationalists were once present is rightfully Georgian territory, that could explain which “Georgian territories” were occupied by Russia.

Despite the mentioned facts, it would be fair to note that most of these destructive events were instigated by a small radical part of the Georgian population, indoctrinated by radicalism and nationalism, and supported by Western funds. Most Georgians are friendly to Russians and the Russia state.

Democratic media outlets and civic society activists from Georgia, Russia and around the world united in their efforts to condemn Russian provocations and to praise the democratic actions of the Georgian population.  Some hotels and restaurants increased prices for ethnic Russians. Russia is the number one source of travelers visiting Georgia. Cinemas banned movies in Russian.

A host on pro-opposition TV channel Rustavi-2 came on air and continued to insult Russian President Vladimir Putin in an expletive-ridden statement.

On the evening of July 7th, George Gabunia began the program with obscene swearing at Putin. Gabunia addressed the Russian President in Russian and called him “the grubby occupant,” and also said that Putin and “his slaves” have no place on Georgia’s “beautiful land.”

A Georgian branch of the Soros Foundation “Open Society” accused official Tbilisi of “violating the law” because the authorities invited “Russian deputies who do not recognize the territorial integrity of Georgia” to the country. The NGO called for a response to the “anti-state actions” of the Russian Federation.

In 2019 alone, the Soros Foundation sent millions of dollars to projects in Georgia, including programs to combat “Russian disinformation” and the formation of a “right” perception of the Soviet past among the country’s residents.

Former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, who had his citizenship revoked, after he was convicted of abuse of office has openly supported the protests, saying that the government would fall against the pressure. He, too, blamed Russia and, more than likely, hopes to be allowed back in the country again, since he handled the situation in 2008 so well.

Initially, Georgian Prime Minister, Mamuka Bakhtadze called the United National Movement, founded in 2001 by Mikhail Saakashvili, and its backers “destructive political forces”, and said that they attempted to use the protest to seize power. But later, both the government and opposition decided that it’s better to blame Moscow for organizing the protests against itself because, you know, the only side interested in instigating anti-Russian protests in Tbilisi is Russia itself.

This brilliant explanation of the erupted political crisis did not stop conspiracy theorists from claiming that the June 21 event was a pre-planned provocation in interests of some Georgian elites affiliated with the Washington establishment. The groundless theory is that the goal of the provocation was to exploit anti-Russian hysteria in the internal political struggle. In the long-term perspective, this would strengthen the influence of the Washington establishment in the country.

The democratic action of the Georgian people finds no understanding within the Kremlin. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree prohibiting all flights from and to Georgia and urged tour operators to not organize visits to the country. Moscow enacted travel restrictions due to the potential of danger to Russian tourists.

Additionally, Russia reduced the amount of wine imports from the country saying it would increase investment and shift focus towards domestically produced wines. Although Georgia was not mentioned, Russia is the biggest purchaser of Tbilisi wine.

Lawmakers in Russia’s parliament unanimously backed a resolution on July 9th calling for sanctions to be imposed on Georgia.  The “evil mastermind” President Vladimir Putin, however, rejected the call saying that repairing strained relations with Russia’s neighbor was more important than reacting to the provocations of some scum. Putin  brazenly claimed he was against imposing sanctions on Georgia, “out of respect for the Georgian people.”

But, Georgia is already suffering from the travel ban. According to the head of the Georgian Hotel and Restaurant Federation 80% of the hotel bookings made by Russians had been cancelled. The potential loss to the country’s economy from reduced Russian tourism stands at about $710 million.

Declining export and tourism revenues will also cause Georgia’s current account deficit, which is already large at about 8% of GDP, to widen further.

The June 21 situation and the crisis could be explained in a wide range of ways.

If one takes into account the facts and their consequences, he could conclude that they played into Russia’s hands. The Georgian nationalists and radicals demonstrated that their position is weak and that they lack intellectual assets, international diplomatic and even media support. The Kremlin can state, with reason, that there is a Nazi threat in the Caucasus and react in its own way to contain this threat. The anti-Russian hysteria and threats against Russian citizens in Georgia allow Moscow to justify protectionist economic policies.

Another explanation is that these developments are part of the wider campaign to create tensions and destabilize the situation along Russia’s borders. By instigating tensions in the Caucasus, Russia’s geopolitical rivals are creating a basis for a possible military aggression against Russia and its allies on several fronts simultaneously. This aggression could be carried out by nationalist regimes which receive financial, technical and limited military support from the West. This is the worst case scenario for the entire region.

Most likely, the June 20 crisis was a pre-planned provocation by the Saakashvili faction and Ukrainian nationalists with the intended purpose of being used in the internal political struggle. In this event, they achieved their goal, the mobilization of nationalist and extremist elements of society. As to the situation on the international scene, a kind of detente in Russian-Georgian relations may start in the relatively near future.

The recent crisis demonstrated that, at any moment, even a minor pre-planned effort may be enough to instigate nationalist and radical sentiments of Georgian society. The Caucasus will remain one of the regions of constant geopolitical struggle and inter-ethnic hostility. It is difficult to imagine active development of the Georgian economy and stabilization of its political system under such conditions.

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The Saker interviews Stephen Karganovic

The Saker

The Saker interviews Stephen Karganovic

June 30, 2019

The Saker: Please introduce yourself and your past and present political activities.

Karganovic: My name is Stephen Karganovic. My background is Serbian, Russian, and Polish. On my father’s side I have been able to trace family roots to the town of Khmelita, Smolensk district. In the first half of the 19th century Yuri Karganovich held the by then probably obsolete office of стольник (stolnik) in the regional town of Iskorosten. Perhaps because of my ethnically ecumenical background, I prefer to identify myself simply as an Orthodox Christian. I am a law school graduate, also with a degree in philosophy. I have never engaged in political activities as such. What interests me are issues with a moral dimension, and if they also happen to impinge upon politics, so be it.

The Saker: You are one of the best “Srebrenica specialists” out there. So, could you please in your own words describe, step by step, what actually took place in Srebrenica from the moment the Bosnian-Muslims raided the Serbian villages around Srebrenica to the moment the grand “genocide” strategic psy-op was launched.

Karganovic: I became interested in what happened in Srebrenica in July of 1995, during the Bosnian war, when in 2001 at the Hague I became involved in the defense of a Bosnian Serb officer accused of war crimes before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. I was in America, of course, while the war was going on and knew nothing of Srebrenica at that time. Neither did I have any axe to grind in the controversies that sparked that conflict. I was raised and educated in the United States, had a very vague concept of my ethnic background(s), and neither I nor my family had suffered any detriment at the hands of the other contending parties, so I had no motive to favor one side or disfavor another. As we sifted through the evidence in order to construct a defense, I noticed that the prosecution’s case consisted of broad allegations and was bereft of specific facts to support the grave charges laid against the defendant, which included genocide, an accusation that takes much highly technical evidence to prove. As I witnessed firsthand the unconventional legal procedures of the Hague Tribunal, which is a polite way of saying its complete alienation from the traditions of civilized jurisprudence, I became shocked. There did not seem to be much substance to the charge sheets. The remark once made by a hubristic US judge that “we can convict a ham sandwich,” which sounded flippant to me when I read it many years ago, ultimately received its full embodiment in the operation of the Hague Tribunal, and I had a ring-side seat to watch that professionally unedifying show.

I went on to work in several other defense teams at the Hague in cases that were not related to Srebrenica. But to make the long story short, I quickly realized that Srebrenica was the mainstay of the Hague Tribunal, or ICTY, and that officially confirming the “genocide” and “8,000 men and boys” version of the narrative was its principal mission. I was bothered to see defendants convicted to decades-long imprisonment on the most heinous of charges and flimsiest proof, and a nation tarred with the most serious crime under international law, based on improvised and fabricated “evidence” that would not stand up in any non-political domestic court. So, I began to pay special attention to Srebrenica and to use the resources available to me at the Hague Tribunal to collect all the data I could lay my hands on about what happened there.

In 2008 at the Hague, under the laws of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, I founded a non-government organization “Srebrenica Historical Project,” dedicated to a contextual, multi-disciplinary study of this issue. Our goal is to get to the bottom of what happened, and how and why. Our colleagues, whose research articles you can read on our website, are of diverse ethnic backgrounds and professional profiles. Almost none are Serbian. They have in common a critical approach and a desire to factually deconstruct what the late Prof. Edward Herman aptly called “the greatest triumph of propaganda at the close of the twentieth century.” He was referring to Srebrenica, of course.

Instead of my presenting a possibly subjective account of what happened in Srebrenica, I recommend visiting our website. Our many authors give, I think, persuasive and factual answers to most Srebrenica questions.

The Saker: What has the impact of Srebrenica been on the Serbian people and the Serbian state? Who has benefited most from this?

Karganovic: Srebrenica’s impact has been to bewilder the Serbian people, who are under the firm impression that they are victims, not perpetrators, of genocide. After bewilderment came indignant rejection of the Srebrenica smear. Western governments and the Soros organization have invested huge sums in Serbia into propping up a bevy of phony “NGOs” with the principal task of indoctrinating the public in the Srebrenica genocide guilt complex. Their efforts have been a dismal failure, notwithstanding the country’s demoralized state and the covert support of Serbia’s quisling governments. The goal, of course, is to further morally break down and emasculate the Serbian nation, to lay on them a paralyzing guilt trip and to render them submissive and obedient, apologizing and atoning forever for acts of moral turpitude that, unlike the Germans, they did not commit. So far, that particular “use of Srebrenica,” as Diana Johnstone would put it, has been a resounding flop.

But another, and very lethal, use of Srebrenica has been a huge success. The Srebrenica narrative is the foundation stone and chief rationale of the “right to protect” (R2P) doctrine of cynical, predatory imperialist interventions that have destroyed and devastated a dozen mostly Muslim countries and claimed several million innocent Muslim lives. R2P’s phony rationale is the supposed failure in July of 1995 of Western countries and NATO to act robustly to prevent the “Srebrenica genocide.” Srebrenica as a metaphor for unbridled imperialist aggression has indeed been a slaughterhouse for Muslims, but not in Bosnia in 1995.

The Saker: Can you outline what is currently happening in Serbia? We hear of a possible conflict with the US-backed Kosovo Albanians, of a possible EU and/or NATO membership? What is really taking place?

Karganovic: In response to your question about what is happening in Serbia (I am in America right now) I will quote from an email that I received today from a friend who teaches at a university abroad but is currently on holiday in Serbia: “There are heavy rains and floods here – Belgrade has been flooded twice – with torrents sweeping away cars as if they were mere toys. There is general chaos in the entire country, and everything is falling apart. But the gang in charge are celebrating themselves as saints and saviors, and there seems to be nothing of greater importance to Serbs than to put on the shackles of the European Union!”

That is admittedly a pessimistic assessment, but I believe it to be close to the truth. Slavic nations generally are not politically sophisticated and can easily be fooled and manipulated by savvy conmen. The Ukraine is a notorious example. Serbs are not far behind; they have the political acumen of seven-year-olds. I read somewhere that young Germans nowadays watch Hitler’s histrionics and wonder how their parents and grandparents could have been so simpleminded as to put their faith in that buffoon and accept his leadership. Future generations of Serbs will undoubtedly be reviewing the performance of the loathsome character who is running their country into the ground today and will wonder how their parents and grandparents could possibly have tolerated his obnoxious misrule.

As for the news of conflict with US-backed Albanians in Kosovo, on the part of the quisling regime there is neither the will nor the means to enter into such a confrontation. The regime was installed in order arrange for Serbia’s legal renunciation of Kosovo and its capos are well aware that reneging on that commitment will have for them most unpleasant consequences. As for actually opposing anything, Serbia no longer has an army worthy of the name, hence no means with which to effectively assert or defend its interests. It is at the mercy of foreign imperialists and their bought and blackmailed local agents. NATO membership seems definitely on the horizon because incorporation in today’s Axis is an essential component of the planned Ostfront war, as much today as it was in 1941.

The Saker: What about Montenegro? Has the Empire been successful in breaking off Montenegro from Serbia and is what is happening nowadays with Montenegro similar to what the Empire did in the Ukraine? I hear that an “independent Montenegrin Orthodox Church” is being prepared, is that true? How toxic/important is this development (assuming it is true)?

Karganovic: The only reason that Montenegro is not labeled “Europe’s last dictatorship,” but Byelorussia is, is that unlike Lukashenko its blackmailed dictator Djukanovic is a servile Western lapdog. With many criminal indictments in Italy waiting to be activated against him at the slightest hint of disobedience, for drug, cigarette, and human trafficking, he has no choice but to be one.

The similarities between the “nation-building” procedures in the Ukraine and Montenegro are striking. What this refers to is the artificial insemination of the target population with a phony, completely fabricated identity entirely at odds with their genuine history and culture, all to their detriment and in the service of their geopolitical manipulators’ and enemies’ agenda. We already know the Ukrainian story and need not repeat it here. The Montenegrin story is precisely analogous. Since subservient local chieftains receive memos telling them what they are expected to do, one may safely assume that in one of those memos delivered to Djukanovic he was instructed to initiate the setting up of a non-Serbian Montenegrin identity in order to fragment and undermine Serbian ethnic and cultural space even further. He obeyed.

The result today are regime-sponsored and condoned anti-Serbian excesses that closely compete with those of the Ukrainian looneys and often boggle the imagination. A recent example is an Instagram message by a certain Mirna Nikcevic, a counselor at the Montenegrin embassy in Ankara, where she wrote contemptuously of the crowd of Montenegrin Serbs that gathered around the cathedral of Christ the Savior in Podgorica to protest the regime’s plan to take over the temples of the canonical Orthodox church and hand them over to a schismatic pseudo church it had set up, that she would “cram the assembled cattle [meaning Montenegrins asserting their Serbian heritage – S. K.] into the church and set it on fire.” That most undiplomatic remark was mildly reproved by Djukanovic’s foreign ministry, but it accurately reflects the dementia of his partisans.

An “independent” Montenegrin church, as a fitting complement to the country’s statehood and alleged ethnic specificity, was in fact created a few years ago in a way that even the Ukrainian lunatics, who serve as the model for Djukanovic and his crew, would have difficulty topping. This “church” founded by atheists (which is what former Communist youth leader Djukanovic admittedly is) was set up as an NGO and registered as such in a Montenegrin police station. Recognizing the autocephaly of the Ukrainian pseudo-church was a piece of cake for the corrupt ecumenical patriarch in Constantinople compared to his forthcoming task of legitimizing the Montenegrin sect. He will have to figure out how to do it when he gets the memo from NATO that this is the next thing that is expected of him. (It is true that the ecumenical Patriarch informed Djukanovic a few days ago that Montenegro never had an autocephalous church and never will have one. But the fickleness of the Patriarchate is legendary. With a little pressure here, and some financial inducement there, the latter having worked miracles in the Ukrainian affair, a canonical rationale for a flip flop can surely be found.) Toxic is one word for the phenomenon of using Orthodox church institutions for the self-destruction of Orthodoxy. Ominous is another word for it and, as sheikh Imran Hosein would say, it is a reliable sign of akhir al-zamaan.

The Saker: Who won the Yugoslav civil war, if anybody? Here forget about Slovenia – please focus on Croatia and Bosnia.

Karganovic: The war was won, in a manner of speaking, by the globalist power centers which engineered the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia. They got what they wanted, feeble and dependent statelets run by their hired hands instead of a unified country with weight in world affairs, which at home did not even perform badly. The losers were all the citizens of the former Yugoslavia without exception, not only those who perished in senseless mayhem instigated by foreign agents and executed by domestic fools, but also the miserable survivors who must now live in the resulting neo-liberal hellholes.

The Saker: Are there any Serbs left in the former UN Protected Areas in what is Croatia nowadays and, if yes, how do they live?

Karganovic: Yes, there is a very small number of Serbs left in present-day Croatia, their share in the total population hovering around the 3% mark, drastically down from a quarter of the population before the slaughter in the Nazi-satellite “Independent State of Croatia” during World War II. They are mostly elderly, waiting to die hopefully natural deaths, if permitted by their Croatian fellow citizens.

The Saker: Are there any Serbs left in the Muslim-controlled areas of Bosnia today?

Karganovic: Yes, they are a whopping and largely disenfranchised 5% of the population of that section of the country. For purposes of comparison, in the capital of Sarajevo, where before the outbreak of the hostilities in 1992 there were about 150,000 Serbs, there are now only a few thousand left.

The Saker: How much autonomy does the Republika Srpska have today? Focus on this: are the Serbs in Bosnia safe or at they at risk?

Karganovic: The Republika Srpska, which is the Serb-run entity within Bosnia and Hercegovina under the Dayton Agreement signed to end the war in 1995, is continually struggling to preserve the autonomy guaranteed to it under international law. Above the local authorities, there is a “High Representative” of the “international community” who is really the official in charge in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has arrogated to himself vast arbitrary powers to interpret laws, set up institutions, and dismiss democratically elected officials he deems unsuitable. It is a replication of the British colonial system. The Srebrenica genocide matter is being used as a pretext to dispute Republika Srpska’s legal and moral right to exist. No one is entirely safe in present-day Bosnia and Hercegovina.

The Saker: How do you see the future of Kosovo in general and of the Serbian minority in Kosovo specifically?

Karganovic: Until the results of NATO aggression in 1999 are annulled Kosovo will have no future, except as a narco and human organ trafficking pseudo state. Albanians are fleeing en masse the utterly incompetent and corrupt terror regime that was installed by NATO occupiers twenty years ago. The land is saturated with the depleted uranium munitions left over from the three-month NATO bombing campaign and is scarcely fit for human habitation. If you go to Kosovo, I would recommend you make your visit brief and bring your own canned food, avoiding contaminated local ingredients. Babies and animals are being born with hideous defects. Few people are aware of this, but Kosovo was targeted with the highest concentration of depleted uranium and other toxic substances during NATO’s 1999 “liberation war.” Being the majority of the population, Albanians are now paying a heavy price for NATO’s generous favors. Meanwhile, since Kosovo is a pot of gold in terms of its mineral and other resources, the chief liberators Wesley Clark and Madeleine Albright have made a financial killing by awarding themselves juicy business opportunities, while the “philanthropist” George Soros has his eye set on the enormously valuable Trepča mining complex. International corporations will get their choice pickings. Meanwhile, Albanians are dying of cancer and desperately moving out. There is a small remnant of Serbs still living in Kosovo which is spiritually and culturally their Holy Land. The future of that scene of ghastly crimes against humanity is in God’s hands.

The Saker: How many Serbs were displaced in total by the war and where do they reside nowadays?

Karganovic: Estimates are not reliable, but about a quarter of a million are thought to have been displaced from Croatia and as many from Kosovo. A further unknown number sought in Serbia safety from the war in Bosnia. We cannot be sure of the numbers, but we do have striking pictures which portray an exodus of biblical proportions.

The Saker: Are the Serbian refugees from Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo a major factor in Serbian politics? If yes, how, if not, why?

Karganovic: They are not a factor at all. They are not allowed to interfere with the policies pursued by the Western-installed Serbian political elite.

The Saker: Do you think that the US and/or NATO have the stomach to use force against Serbia if the Serbs move to protect the Serbian minority in Kosovo?

Karganovic: It is a moot question because the hypothetical situation envisaged by the question is unlikely to occur.

The Saker: What happened to Bishop Artemie and why did the Serbian Orthodox Church yield to the Empire’s pressure and took away his diocese of Kosovo? How is he now and how can the readers find out more about him?

Karganovic: In essence, the American ambassador in Belgrade told the Serbian Patriarch that Bishop Artemie was an obstacle to “normalization” in Kosovo and that it was highly desirable for him to be removed. Within four days, Bishop Artemie was dismissed on trumped-up financial malfeasance charges which after a decade have not been proved in a court of law. His ouster seems to have been a blessing in disguise. He is now leading a thriving “diocese in exile,” where he is joined by most of his Kosovo clergy and monastics. Catacomb parishes, as he aptly calls them, of the exiled diocese are springing up all over Serbia and countries with a Serbian diaspora. The diocese that was contemptuously cast away by the servile, ecumenist leadership of the Serbian Church has now become its salt, providing much needed spiritual nourishment to Orthodox believers. It is living proof of God’s ability to confound the adversary’s most carefully laid plans and to transform them for the good.

The Saker: What should Russia do to help Serbia? What is, in your opinion, the “solution” to the Serbian drama in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo?

Karganovic: That is an overtly political question and as I said, I don’t do politics. I will just say that what Russia can and should do is to never abandon Serbia. That will at the same time be the solution to the drama that you mention. But none of that will be purely the work of human hands.

 

Understanding America’s “regime change” strategy in Russia

June 19, 2019

Understanding America’s “regime change” strategy in Russia

by Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog

In what is a very timely admission taking into account the topic of my last article – 21st century international relations and decision-making, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (Служба внешней разведки Российской Федерации), Sergey Naryshkin, pointed to a low risk method of “hybrid” warfare and named a specific example where it is being implemented. RT reported the following on June 18th (emphasis my own):

“Western secret services are perfecting clandestine tools which are designed to weaken countries like viruses weaken bodies, the Russian foreign intelligence chief has said. This kind of warfare is currently used in Venezuela.

The criticism came from Sergey Naryshkin, who heads Russia’s foreign intelligence agency SVR. He said spies are constantly improving the tool used to dispose of governments that the West does not like.

‘We are talking about creating a universal algorithm for conducting clandestine influence operations in a continuous manner and on a global scale,’ he said. According to the official, this clandestine work ‘never stops and targets not only enemies, but also friends and neutral powers in the times of peace, crisis and war.’

‘It can be compared to the action of a virus; it can spend decades destroying a human organism without symptoms, and once diagnosed, often it’s too late to treat it.’

The methods used to influence and destabilize other nations include creating network-oriented structures that can operate on a premise of public activism, art, science, religion or extremism, the Russian official said. After collecting data on the fault lines in a targeted society, those structures are used to attack those weak points in a synchronized assault, overwhelming the nation’s capability to respond to crises.

Simultaneously the perpetrators push a narrative through local and global media and social networks that claims that the only way to resolve problems is to replace the government of the victim nation with another one, possibly with a direct foreign support.

‘We can observe this scenario being implemented in Venezuela,’ Naryshkin said.

The US is currently trying to replace Venezuela’s elected President Nicolas Maduro with another person, Juan Guaido, whom Washington recognized as the legitimate head of the South American nation.

Among others, the US backs his bid with economic sanctions against Venezuela and a massive diplomatic and media campaign in support of the pretender. Guaido’s attempts to actually seize power in Caracas have been futile, so far.

The Russian intelligence chief was speaking at an international security forum in Ufa, Russia, which is hosted by the Russian National Security Council. The event is meant for officials directly involved in policy making on security issues. Almost 120 nations are participating in this year’s gathering.”

I will start by saying that Naryshkin could reveal a lot more if he wanted to, but for obvious reasons is limited to presenting an abstract thesis – which RT “coincidently” relayed – as a sort of signal to Western intelligence agencies that Russia’s room to manoeuvre in the information space isn’t limited to just publishing “news”.

On the surface it might seem like he is just describing a banal coup d’état, where one state interferes in the internal affairs of another state for the purpose of overthrowing the government and bringing to power a political circle that is friendlier. If one prefers simplistic and digestible takeaways, then one can stop reading here – nothing new under the sun!

However, what the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service is alluding to is a far more complex and dense matter. As history has shown, the traditional coup d’état, akin to what has been seen in the MENA and South America for decades now, is not the same as the coup d’état that was rolled out in, for example, Ukraine in 2014. Why?

The precursor to the “colour revolution”

The main reason is that the West has been working on occupying MENA’s lands and raw materials for decades. If the countries of MENA can be said to be tribalistic in terms of structure and aims (more about daily survival than paying bills at the end of the month), then post-WW2 Europe is at first glance much more “developed” and “civilised”. I put these words in quotation marks because they are the generic phrases that organisations like the UN use when describing how MENA should aspire to become “more democratic” and “progressive” in order to “combat poverty” and become “prosperous”. In other words, MENA in general is not as technologically advanced as modern nation states with liberal “democracies”. This is not an insult to MENA; it is simply an observable fact based on the consequences of colonisation. Thus, the scheme for conquering MENA territory is more straightforward than it would be for conquering, for example, Eastern Europe. There is a leader, there is a small circle of wealthy elites, there is an army (armed loyalists), and there are farmers/manual labour workers. Anglo-Saxon colonisers managed to conquer the lands long before the victim nation is able to climb the ladder of scientific research and thus obtain more and more effective ways of defending themselves.

In the example of the Native Indians, the British already had basic guns, thus the former’s bows and arrows were inferior. In the case of Africa, notorious colonisers (which includes the British) arrived with the same guns and were faced with only spears and other relatively primitive weapons. Hence why almost the entire African continent was subjugated so easily. The difference between just general colonisation and a coup d’état can be seen most visibly after the CIA is formed: overthrowing a “dictator” becomes as simple as literally buying off the army (like how the UK pioneered the use of pirates), which allows the capitalist West to take care of business and use its media resources to report another “peaceful” and “successful” “democratisation” project. As soon as a leader manages to come to power and aims to challenge this subjugation (Gaddafi being the most recent MENA example, but there is also Patrice Lumumba and Thomas Sankara), they experience the same problem – they are simply overpowered by the more technologically advanced coloniser.

When it comes to coup d’états in the post-Soviet space, the game is different. For over 60 years the USSR had succeeded to repel the influence of the “free” (capitalist) Anglo-Saxons – thanks to a focus on scientific research and thus nuclear technologies – and create a tightly knit Union based on common history and culture. In the West the governments told their citizens that “on that side of the curtain they are ‘totalitarian’”, whilst in reality America & Co struggled to influence Soviet society and didn’t want their own citizens to see that in the Soviet system of governance everybody had something, as opposed to some people having everything (capitalism). In other words, the USSR was able to defend itself against the traditional coup d’état method.

Due to the fact that the USSR was a developed territory and had much more complex political structures than those of the average African country, it wasn’t as simple as just sending Thomas Lawrence or Sidney Reilly and duping local kingpins into signing agreements that essentially renounce raw material ownership rights. And it is also important to bear in mind that the Soviet intelligence agencies were doing battle with the CIA long before 1991. The changing of times simply obliged the West to update the coup d’état playbook before the target country progressed along the line of scientific development and establishes a defence mechanism that is technologically 20 years ahead of the US’ subversive tools.

Not being physically able to intimidate the USSR enough into submitting to its will since the latter had nuclear weapons, Uncle Sam realised that it was much more wiser and safer to blow it up from the inside. In this article I don’t want to digress too much from the central topic, thus I will not present a mass of details of how America managed to penetrate the USSR and inject it’s liberal ideas throughout society, but a good brief example I can give is the shipping of American clothes/fashion to Soviet ports, such as Odessa. Today this might be called “soft power”, but at the time in question such things served to convince people that individualism could give a more fruitful life than collectivism.

The 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine utilised an upgraded blueprint that was based on the one used to dismantle the Soviet Union (and spark the 1993 constitutional crisis). When the USSR collapsed in 1991, Ukraine found itself in the position of being the wealthiest inheritor of the Soviet legacy: its infrastructure, medicine, education, military, etc was the best in the region. Things started to go pear-shaped around 2004, when America’s interference started to reach new heights at the time of the “multi-vectoral” Kuchma, but the Ukraine of 2014 under Yanukovych was relatively-speaking above the water and swimming comfortably. In an attempt to oust Putin before Russia comes even closer to China, strengthens, and forms the backbone of the emerging Eurasian bloc, America planned to disrupt the equilibrium in Ukraine and violently tear it away from the Russian nation. But the problem for America was “how to make this process look organic? After all, to simply invade Ukraine with the US Army would result in the liquidation of the United States of America itself.”

I will not use precious article space recounting what happened in 2013/2014 in Ukraine, since I have created an archive dedicated to it, but I think the video below – John Tefft in 2013 preparing the terrain in Donetsk for what was about to happen – encapsulates the essence of it very well: US NGOs brainwashed society into flirting with liberalism and its noxious “democracy”, similar to that virus Sergey Naryshkin spoke about; local Galician militant formations are formed (main example: “Right Sector”) and capture administration buildings in Western Ukraine, before eventually being transported to Kiev for the February “revolution”.

“Colour revolution 2.0”

What I really want to focus on is the coup d’état model that is being deployed by America & Co in 2019. So far we can say that there are 3 versions of the coup d’état technology (I am being deliberately simplistic, and I use provisional names and descriptions, since I am still researching this topic):

  1. Traditional coup d’état – a simple smash and grab, effective against the so-called “third world” (examples: Laos, Guatemala, Zaire);
  2. “Colour revolution” – temporarily hijacking “civil society”, effective against more technologically sophisticated states but not superpowers (examples: Egypt, Syria, “independent” Ukraine);
  3. Algorithmic probing (can be thought of as “colour revolution 2.0”) – seizing control over the nation from the ground-up, effective against allies of nuclear superpowers post-2015, when the Minsk Agreements were signed and Russian jets touched down at Hmeymim airbase in Syria (examples: Venezuela, Hong Kong, Russia, Serbia).

Before starting to elaborate on version No. 3, which concerns the post-Syrian-war (I stress, Russia ended the war in 2015 – everything that happened afterwards is just behind the curtain negotiations concerning the next 50+ years of global order) world, it is necessary to present some of the reasons why version No. 2 no longer works:

  • Social media hashtag campaigns like those seen during the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood “revolution” no longer have the same effect due to the exponentially increasing mobilisation of anti-coup (“pro-Russia”/“pro-Assad”/“pro-Maduro”/“pro-Nasrallah”) social media users;
  • It became too difficult to keep the aesthetics of the operation consistently clean – the “White Helmets” may do something that discredits their alleged authenticity, the speaker of the Rada may state that “Hitler was a great leader”, a senior Qatari figure may admit live on TV that Qatar funded militant groups in order to remove Assad, Bana might botch a tweet, a video may emerge showing a “FSA” leader reading a script in front of an American producer, etc;
  • The popularity of mainstream media is becoming less and less (not to mention the effect of Trump’s “fake news” PR campaign), and the popularity of both non-Western state media (RT, Sputnik, Press TV, Telesur, etc) and independent (or apparently independent) media is exponentially growing;
  • Alternative social media websites/apps have since become popular amongst English speakers (VKontakte, Telegram, Instagram, Gab, Snapchat, etc);
  • Eurasia was able to study the past behaviour of the both West’s traditional resources and social media users, allowing to refine its existing resources and to even create new, specialised ones;
  • The existence of independent and anti-coup journalists who are prepared to travel between different theatres (for example, Syria and Venezuela) and expose the pattern of the West’s “regime change” methods.
  • The weakening of the effect of smearing expressions like “anti-Semitism” due to the accumulation effect of reports about Israeli crimes in Gaza and the West Bank;
  • The general strengthening of Eurasia and the decline of the liberal West (and the opportunities it has to violate international law as a result), thus the citizens of the former don’t have a reason to believe that the latter is the paradise it pretends it is;
  • etc.

In other words, the geopolitical reality we have today is not at all the same as the one that we saw before Russia’s involvement in Syria – the highest stakes chessboard in the grand game. Lessons were learnt from the past and enough time has passed for changes to be calculated and implemented. Today, superpowers are obliged to invest exponentially more resources in technologies (hence why Russia wants to invest heavily in the AI sector), since understanding the enemy’s technologies is the difference between them successfully or unsuccessfully penetrating society. And it’s not a coincidence that Naryshkin starts to use terms like “virus”. But what does he really mean? What are the design differences between a regular “colour revolution” and what we are seeing today in, for example, Venezuela?

Firstly, a “colour revolution” is designed to hijack “civil society” over a period of several months (less than 6 months), obtain the support of the elites, and aims to put the target leader in front of two bad choices – a trap: to quell protests means to be depicted by the West’s NGO’s as a “dictator”, and thus the West doesn’t risk receiving a information blow to its rear (if Western society doesn’t agree with something the government is doing, an adversary can exploit it and disrupt the socio-economic situation of a western country or of many western countries); to not quell the protests means to simply hand over power. This explains what happened to Viktor Yanukovych – he did not give the order to Berkut to disperse Maidan for fear of being permanently stained in the Western media, so Joe Biden and his band of merry putschists, after a bit of sniper theatrics to keep the protests alive, took the Rada. Lose-lose. In this scenario Russia could do nothing since a) Ukrainians and their elites are ultimately to blame for flirting with the West, and b) Yanukovych chose the passive option, and thus the only thing Moscow could do was to quickly forecast the consequences and move several step ahead of the US (hence the supercomputers that know about the Yugoslavia war). The result? The Minsk Agreements and the driving of the US’ “anti-Russia” project into a dead end.

Secondly, a “colour revolution” hijacks momentary social discontent in relation to a particular issue, inflates it, and then unleashes it in a very focused manner. The discontent needs to be fed financially and thus can be left to extinguish if plans change. It should be noted here that the target society must already show signs of fragmentation: the work to gradually tear Ukraine away from the bosom of Russia (since the collapse of the USSR) has been ongoing for decades, and over time Kiev succumbed to the West’s Banderist poison, thus the 2014 coup simply brought to the surface what had been boiling below since the times of the NKVD’s battle with OUN-UPA. Syria is very similar –Wahhabism had been nibbling away at the Levant for decades. Of course, the ties between Hafez/Bashar al-Assad and the Russia/USSR have existed for over 30 years, but it cannot be said that the two countries have had a relationship based more on pragmatism.

Thirdly, a “colour revolution” involves the creation of an informational hologram that proverbially floats above the target territory, creating a parallel timeline (example: the green/black/white French mandate flag as the actual Syrian flag, and the Higher Negotiations Committee as the actual UN recognised government of Syria – both of which are of course frauds but allow NATO members to bomb Syria without any indignation from the Western general public), but starts to fade as soon as the balance of forces in the war on the ground tips in the target’s favour (not even the US media machine can sell the narrative that East Aleppo still hasn’t been recaptured by Assad).

Fourthly, a “colour revolution” does not aim to reprogram all the layers of non-elite society in all regions of the country – it only aims to introduce liberal ideas and maintain the support of both those who are already brainwashed and those who succumb to the inculcation. Those who were anti-liberal before will remain anti-liberal post-coup, and thus pose a threat to the puppet regime. Ukraine here is an excellent example of this, where the profoundness of the historical Novorossiya vs Galicia line of divide could be overcome with a few cookies and $5 billion in NGO money.

Version No. 3 of the coup d’état, which in this article I refer to as “algorithmic probing”, is thus designed to: take place over a longer period of time; be fed at the expense of the target government and link together various sources of social discontent; be able to work in conditions where there is no existing ground-based warfare and the likelihood of there being any in the future is low; reprogram the national consciousness and hook all layers of society as geographically far and as wide as possible; make steps towards success even if the elites remain loyal to the target leader.

In situations where the target’s security apparatus is the same, if not better, than the belligerent’s; where society’s average level of trust in the leader is the same, if not higher than the belligerent’s; and where the target’s defence capabilities match, if not overpower, the belligerent’s offensive capabilities; it becomes far too risky for the belligerent to try the “colour revolution” scheme, since failure can compromise any future coup d’état attempts – the coup leader can be detained and may spill the beans concerning who gave him orders and what they were, as well as any valuable intelligence information. The failed coup in Turkey in 2016 was the warning signal to Washington that the habitual “colour revolution” technology will not work in the “multipolar” Eurasian space (hint: Turkey received coup-thwarting intel from allies).

In Venezuela the US is revising its coup d’état technology in real time. There are signs of the “colour revolution” technology: a puppet opposition leader who calls for protests in the street; the expression “the Maduro regime”; imposition of sanctions to give the illusion that the Venezuelan government is starving its own people; even statements like “all options are on the table”, which is PR-friendly way of saying there are no options. There are also some faint signs of “algorithmic probing”: the transferal of assets in the US belonging to the Venezuelan state to the hands of Juan Guaido; the dragging out of the coup d’état (it’s been going on for much longer than 6 months); there is no civil war in the country and it’s unlikely there will be any in the near future, despite the presence of US NGOs in the country.

However, the initial “colour revolution” attempt failed because Russia and China – nuclear superpowers – helped Caracas to weather the storm and keep society together. Later the Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA moved its assets to Moscow, Russia sent polite green men to calm down the US, and Moscow and China both sent humanitarian aid (as well as “humanitarian aid”) for the sanctioned people of the country, and Juan Guaido was exposed so much so that even his rich boyfriend Richard Branson was obliged to throw him under the bus:

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But in this example, like vis-à-vis the Syrian war, Russia doesn’t have to do much informational work in order to justify its involvement, simply because ties between Caracas and Moscow already existed before the Bolton-Pompeo tandem came to power, and Russia would be acting within international law anyway. I.e., the door was slammed shut in the face of the CIA, and in order to re-open it America’s only option is to either remove Russia’s nuclear weapons (and in order to do this the S-400 must be removed from the equation) or to overhaul Venezuelan society at the grass roots level.

The “colour revolution” version of the coup d’état even more so does not work in Putin’s Russia. He has succeeded to build a system that leaves no holes for CIA mice (e.g. successors of Gorbachev, Yeltsin, or other notorious liberal saboteurs) to scurry though. Some might call it “authoritarian”; others might call it coup d’état-resistant.

The CIA-orchestrated Boris Nemtsov assassination served as a test balloon, to learn if the Ukrainian scheme can be repeated (death[s] from gunfire -> protests and clashes with law enforcement -> target president flees). The aim was to gather enough people in Moscow for a “march in memory of Nemtsov” and to replicate what happened on Independent Square in Kiev, but this time outside of the Kremlin (how convenient for propagandist photographers – he was killed on the bridge next to the Kremlin!).

Not enough people came, and the security agencies succeeded to block the path to the Kremlin. Russian senator Evgeny Federov did a fantastic job of explaining this in more detail:

The next experiment was the Navalny card in the run-up to the 2018 presidential election. I recommended to delve into the material found here for more details about this. In brief, the CIA tried to use the image of children being arrested by OMON during unsanctioned protests in order to shake Russian society. The result? Putin outlawed it, and of course, Western propagandists were howling “repression”. Putin won the election anyway, in the presence of international observers too.

Fast forward to the most recent (at the time of writing) provocation – the case of Ivan Golunov, who works for the liberal propagandist agency “Meduza” – and we see familiar things: a fifth-columnist is used as a battering ram designed to shake society and remove the evil “dictator”. An unsanctioned “Golunov is a hero” march took place on June 12th, and analysis of the footage shows that it has nothing to do with journalism and everything about putting Putin in a bad light. The crowd even chants “Russia without Putin”, and one hired clown in particular gave the message a visual aspect.

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Evgeny Federov noted that the Golunov club refused the government’s offer to hold a sanctioned rally on June 16th, since the US needs images of “innocent journalists and activists” being detained by “evil” OMON. Federov’s statement in full:

“There is no doubt that it is an attempt to interfere. Both the US State Department and Brussels made official statements on this issue. They have included their forces, and we know them well, many of the participants in the illegal demonstration are well known to us. From the photos in the police vans, you may remember that these forces repeatedly came out before. Personally, I saw them on Pushkin Square, when Navalny took them there.

These are obvious foreign forces, the fifth column on the territory of Russia, they became active on June 12th. For them, they just need a reason, but the reason has already disappeared, Golunov was released, but they don’t care. The team arrived, the money was received, and they need to put it to use. The actions of the protesters are connected to the general system of shaking the situation that is practiced in the West, primarily in the US. It is enough to see how events were prepared in Ukraine, in Georgia, in Moldova, how they were prepared in hundreds of other countries through foreign intervention using the orange technology method.

Everything happens in the same way everywhere. Firstly, a sacred victim is selected, and then proven groups who don’t care about the cause are used. The main thing for them is that the performance is against Russia and in support of foreign handlers. Completely the same scheme works in Russia concerning garbage collection and in Ekaterinburg. No matter what the reason, the most important thing is to continue to shake the situation. And I stress that the Americans managed to do this many times. At the second echelon, they usually involve separatists, and this is also being prepared in Russia.”

Ollie's MacBook:Users:O-RICH:Downloads:Screenshots:Screenshot 2019-06-19 at 00.00.00.pngThus, instead of holding a sanctioned march on June 16th, a “support Golunov” event took place. The turnout for this rally was pathetic. As Federov says, Putin neutralised the Golunov bomb by releasing the “journalist” and sacrificing some police generals. Of course, the social media attacks followed the same script as with Navalny’s unsanctioned protests and arrests (there is no indignation vis-à-vis Kirill Vyshinsky’s detention, naturally):

The fifth column media in Russia in unison started to promote the “I/We are Golunov” NGO campaign. UK newspapers presented the situation as Putin “backing down” and claimed that the “independent press is harassed, which in reality means that the FSB doesn’t let the fifth column breathe. There were also attempts (example) to stretch the Golunov template over other “unlawful arrests”. And the cherry on the cake is that it turns out that the clown Navalny was present at the unsanctioned Golunov march:

There are of course other examples of US-instigated agitation in Russian society – ranging from churches in Ekaterinburg to pension reform – but they all show the same traits of a “colour revolution” and encounter the same problem: Putin is one step ahead of them.

Long story short, America’s post-Syrian war application of its “colour revolution” technology is inadequate when it comes to toppling either the leaders of nuclear superpowers or the leaders of their ally countries (and it’s not just Eurasia that is the target of these attacks – Trump also attacks the EU [example and example], the individual states of which qualify, if to use Naryshkin’s expression, as “friends and neutral powers in the times of peace, crisis and war”). And taking into account the activity of both Russia and China in Africa today, this inadequacy can mean that the “third world” countries that previously were bulldozed by the most basic method of capturing state power may start to escape from the net of colonisation and enjoy the protection offered by Russia’s “algorithmic counter-probing”. After all, that’s what Venezuela is basically doing, and it’s the only reason Maduro, like Assad, is still in power.

Why do I use the word “algorithmic”?

If we recall, in my previous article I introduced the idea that the foreign policy decision-making of nuclear superpowers is being assisted by supercomputers, simply because the way in which we communicate and send/receive data is becoming exponentially quicker, and the human brain is not able to process such data at such speed. Because of this rapidity of communication, it has meant that one state can encroach on the sovereignty of another state (both digitally and physically), deal a blow, and withdraw to relative safety before the target has the time to adequately respond. Thus, the deployment of the S-400 allowed Russia to establish certain rules in international relations that a) take pressure off Russia’s nuclear weapons – the deterrent of all deterrents, and b) exert pressure on America in such a way that Washington currently – and probably not for the next 25 years at least – has no way of countering it.

So we understand from the description directly above that, like in any system, there can be latency/lag when it comes to responding. I have mentioned in the past how Russia was caught off balance with the first “White Helmets” false flag (Ghouta in 2013, which was designed by buy the jihadists time), since it used a media technology that has not been seen before. The second false flag – Khan Shaykhun – was much less sucessful since Russia had already deployed its jets, was able to learn from the previous false flag, and thus adjusted its algorithm (see my previous article, especially the section about media disinformation with complex equations) and deploy a counter media campaign. The third false flag – Douma – was even more of a failure.

The aim of the adversary is to outmanoeuvre the rival in the global information space via a coordinated media and ground campaign (coined by some as “fourth generation warfare”). The “White Helmets” have to film the false flag, and the agencies have to spread the fake footage in parallel, coordinating it with the general daily topics in such a way that the consumer feels that their regular “trustworthy” news service is the same as it’s always been – because of course, the last thing a neoliberal government wants is its subjects starting to entertain the idea that one’s government is sponsoring Al Qaeda. In other words, the higher the geopolitical stakes, the more technologically sophisticated the methods used in the information space.

In this affair it’s not just about the speed of a “hybrid” attack, but also about its composition. One can have the most rapid “input->process->output” informational algorithm, but it is useless if it cannot provide multiple angles of attack.

Here is a very abstract (rushed) diagram I made just to illustrate this point. The black circle represents a designated point in time, when all media resources will parrot “Assad gassed his own people” in sync. The objective of America is to coordinate as many “chemical attack reports” as possible, thus making it look “credible”. The red arrows represent Russia’s counter attack, which will prevent the black circle from growing (the West employing more media resources/NGOs to disseminate the disinformation) or moving forward (the West using the same amount of resources, but reporting “updates” later along the timeline). This is how the attempt to execute a fourth false flag was negated – see hereherehere, and here for examples. As I mentioned in another article, this same preventative tactic was used in Donbass a lot to stop the US’ aggressive exertion of pressure. Of course, the map is not the territory, and the diagram below is not supposed to literally depict how the Russian Ministry of Defence’s supercomputer works.

Ollie's MacBook:Users:O-RICH:Downloads:Untitled Diagram.pngThe reader may be thinking “You said that Syria was an example of a ‘colour revolution’, not of ‘algorithmic probing’, so why use it as an example?” The answer is: Syria is not a nuclear superpower, and thus “colour revolution” technology (albeit incrementally improved over the many years of the war) worked. In the case of Russia, “colour revolution” technology doesn’t work, period. So the US’ only option is to try to inject this “virus”, as Naryshkin calls it. Thus, America’s aim is to encroach on the Russian information space without the Russian authorities having the time to repel attacks. When viewed from a gestalt perspective, America would thus have a permanent presence in the Russian information space, since by the time Russia has plugged one hole, another blow will have been landed from another angle.

Navalny, Golunov, the Yeltsin Center, RBK, Kommersant, Novaya Gazeta, Meduza, Roizman, Kasparov, Kasyanov, Gorbachev, Solzhenitsyn – America sure has a lot of assets at its disposal, but they all suffer from the same problem: they are designed to make Western people hate the Russian world (I doubt Russians care what rats like Jeremy Hunt thinks), but they do not noticeably shake the internal situation in Russia. And after all, it is the Russian people themselves who determine the legitimacy of the Russian government, not Joe Blogs in Coventry. As a result, America’s only hope in relation to paralyzing Putin’s legacy is to create a phantom Russian identity that can spark a civil war. This is a topic for another article, but the Russia-friendly reader mustn’t immediately start losing sleep, since I am talking about processes that need 10-20 more years before we can start to judge whether or not America’s coup d’état technology has adapted to the CIA’s needs.

One thing is for sure: as long as the Russian state is viable and self-sufficient, social unrest will remain for Washington only a wet dream, not a reality. And it’s not excluded that the socio-economic situation inside America and/or the EU will buckle before any Yankee algorithms start to poison the roots of the Russian state. After all, America has a rear, Russia also has information-disseminating resources, and the S-400 isn’t going anywhere. And what sort of technology does China have? Imagine if Russian and Chinese supercomputers are interconnected? Actually don’t, because I don’t want to give the reader a headache!

Afghanistan, the Forgotten Proxy War. The Role of Osama bin Laden and Zbigniew Brzezinski

Part II

Global Research, May 08, 2019

Read Part I from the link below.

Afghanistan, the Forgotten Proxy War

By Janelle Velina, April 30, 2019

Below is the second half and conclusion of “Afghanistan, the Forgotten Proxy War”. While the previous sections examined the economic roots of imperialism, as well as the historical context of the Cold War within which to situate the Mujahideen, the following explores the anatomy of proxy warfare and media disinformation campaigns which were at the heart of destabilizing Afghanistan. These were also a large part of why there was little to no opposition to the Mujahideen from the Western ‘left’, whose continued dysfunctionality cannot be talked about without discussing Zbigniew Brzezinski. We also take a look at what led to the Soviet Union’s demise and how that significantly affected the former Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and many other parts of the world. The United States has been at war in Afghanistan for four decades now, and it will reach its 40th year on July 3, 2019. 

The original “moderate rebel”

One of the key players in the anti-Soviet, U.S.-led regime change project against Afghanistan was Osama bin Laden, a Saudi-born millionaire who came from a wealthy, powerful family that owns a Saudi construction company and has had close ties to the Saudi royal family. Before becoming known as America’s “boogeyman”, Osama bin Laden was put in charge of fundraising for the Mujahideen insurgents, creating numerous charities and foundations in the process and working in coordination with Saudi intelligence (who acted as liaisons between the fighters and the CIA). Journalist Robert Fisk even gave bin Laden a glowing review, calling him a “peace warrior” and a philanthropist in a 1993 report for the Independent. Bin Laden also provided recruitment for the Mujahideen and is believed to have also received security training from the CIA. And in 1989, the same year that Soviet troops withdrew, he founded the terrorist organization Al Qaeda with a number of fighters he had recruited to the Mujahideen. Although the PDPA had already been overthrown, and the Soviet Union was dissolved, he still maintained his relationship with the CIA and NATO, working with them from the mid-to-late 1990s to provide support for the secessionist Bosnian paramilitaries and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the destruction and dismantling of Yugoslavia.

The United States would eventually turn Bin Laden into a scapegoat after the 2001 terrorist attacks, while still maintaining ties to his family and providing arms, training, and funding to Al Qaeda and its affiliates (rebranded as “moderate rebels” by the Western media) in its more recent regime change project against Syria, which started in 2011. The Mujahideen not only gave birth to Al Qaeda, but it would set a precedent for the United States’ regime-change operations in later years against the anti-imperialist governments of Libya and Syria.

Reagan entertains Mujahideen fighters in the White House.

With the end to the cycle of World Wars (for the time being, at least), it has become increasingly common for the United States to use local paramilitaries, terrorist groups, and/or the armed forces of comprador regimes to fight against nations targeted by U.S. capital interests. Why the use of proxy forces? They are, as Whitney Webb describes, “a politically safe tool for projecting the U.S.’ geopolitical will abroad.”
Using proxy warfare as a kind of power projection tool is, first and foremost, cost-effective, since paid local mercenaries or terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda will bear the burden of combat and casualties rather than American troops in places like Libya and Syria. For example, it costs much less to pay local paramilitaries, gangs, crime syndicates, terrorist groups, and other reactionary forces to perform the same military operations as U.S. troops. Additionally, with the advent of nuclear weapons it became much more perilous for global superpowers to come into direct combat with one another — if the Soviet Union and the United States had done so, there existed the threat of “mutually assured destruction”, the strong possibility of instantaneous and catastrophic damage to the populations and the economic and living standards of both sides, something neither side was willing to risk, even if it was U.S. imperialism’s ultimate goal to destroy the Soviet Union.
And so, the U.S. was willing to use any other means necessary to weaken the Soviet Union and safeguard its profits, which included eliminating the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan even if it had neither the intent nor the means of launching a military offensive on American soil. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union had the means of producing a considerably large supply of modern weapons, including nuclear deterrents, to counter the credible threat posed by the United States. To strike the Soviet Union with nuclear missiles would have been a great challenge for the United States, since it would have resulted in overwhelming retaliation by the Soviet Union. To maneuver this problem, to assure the destruction of the Soviet Union while protecting the U.S. from similar destruction, the CIA relied on more unconventional methods not previously thought of as being part of traditional warfare, such as funding proxy forces while wielding economic and cultural influence over the American domestic sphere and the international scene.

Furthermore, proxy warfare enables control of public opinion, thus allowing the U.S. government to escape public scrutiny and questions about legal authorization for war. With opposition from the general public essentially under control, consent for U.S.-led wars does not need to be obtained, especially when the U.S. military is running them from “behind the scenes” and its involvement looks less obvious. Indeed, the protests against the war on Vietnam in the United States and other Western countries saw mass turnouts.

And while the U.S.-led aggression in Vietnam did involve proxy warfare to a lesser degree, it was still mostly fought with American “boots-on-the-ground”, much like the 2001 renewed U.S.-led aggression against Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In contrast, the U.S. assault on Afghanistan that began in 1979 saw little to no protest. The Mujahideen even garnered support from large portions of the Western left who joined the chorus of voices in the Western mainstream media in demonizing the PDPA — a relentless imperialist propaganda campaign that would be repeated in later years during the U.S. wars on Libya and Syria, with the difference being that social media had not yet gained prominence at the time of the initial assault on Afghanistan. This leads to the next question: why recruit some of the most reactionary social forces abroad, many of whom represent complete backwardness?

In Afghanistan, such forces proved useful in the mission to topple the modernizing government of the PDPA, especially when their anti-modernity aspirations intersected with U.S. foreign policy; these ultra-conservative forces continue to be deployed by the United States today. In fact, the long war on Afghanistan shares many striking similarities with the long war on Syria, with the common theme of U.S. imperialism collaborating with violent Sunni extremists to topple the secular, nationalist and anti-imperialist governments of these two former ‘Soviet bloc’ countries. And much like the PDPA, the current and long-time government of the Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party in Syria has made many strides towards achieving national liberation and economic development, which have included: taking land from aristocratic families (a majority of whom were Sunni Muslims while Shia Muslims, but especially Alawites, traditionally belonged to the lower classes and were treated as second class citizens in pre-Ba’athist Syria) and redistributing and nationalizing it, making use of Syria’s oil and gas reserves to modernize the country and benefit its population, and upholding women’s rights as an important part of the Ba’athist pillars.

Some of these aristocratic landlords, just like their Afghan counterparts, would react violently and join the Muslim Brotherhood who, with CIA-backing, carried out acts of terrorism and other atrocities in Hama as they made a failed attempt to topple the government of Hafez al Assad in 1982.

The connection between the two is further solidified by the fact that it was the Mujahideen from which Al Qaeda emerged; both are inspired by Wahhabist ideology, and one of their chief financiers is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (as well as Israel, a regional imperial power and a key ally of the United States). In either case, these Wahhabi-inspired forces were vehemently opposed to modernization and development, and would much rather keep large sections of the population impoverished, as they sought to replace the PDPA and the Ba’athists with Sunni fundamentalist, anti-Shia, theological autocracies — Saudi-style regimes, in other words.

These reactionary forces are useful tools in the CIA’s anti-communist projects and destabilization campaigns against independent nationalist governments, considering that the groups’ anti-modernity stance is a motivating factor in their efforts to sabotage economic development, which is conducive to ensuring a favourable climate for U.S. capital interests. It also helps that these groups already saw the nationalist governments of the PDPA and the Syrian Ba’ath party as their ‘archenemy’, and would thus fight them to the death and resort to acts of terrorism against the respective civilian populations.

Zbigniew Brzezinski stated in a 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur in response to the following question:

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

[Brzezinski]: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Once again, he makes it clear that the religious extremism of the Mujahideen fighters was not an issue for Washington because the real political value lay in eliminating the PDPA and putting an end to Soviet influence in the Greater Middle East, which would give the U.S. the opportunity to easily access and steal the country’s wealth. And in order to justify the U.S. imperialist intervention in Afghanistan, as well as to obscure the true nature of the Mujahideen fighters, the intervention needed to be accompanied by a rigorous mass media campaign. The Reagan administration — knowing full well that American mainstream media has international influence — continued the war that the Carter administration started and saw it as an opportunity to “step up” its domestic propaganda war, considering that the American general public was still largely critical of the Vietnam War at the time.

As part of the aggressive imperialist propaganda campaign, anyone who dared to publicly criticize the Mujahideen was subjected to character assassination and was pejoratively labelled a “Stalinist” or a “Soviet apologist”, which are akin to labels such as “Russian agent” or “Assadist” being used as insults today against those who speak out against the U.S.-backed terrorism in Syria. There were also careful rebranding strategies made specifically for Osama bin Laden and the Mujahideen mercenaries, who were hailed as “revolutionary freedom fighters” and given a romantic, exoticized “holy warrior” makeover in Western media; hence the title of this section. The Mujahideen mercenaries were even given a dedication title card at the end of the Hollywood movie Rambo III which read, “This film is dedicated to the brave Mujahideen fighters of Afghanistan”; the film itself added to the constructed romantic image as it portrayed the Mujahideen fighters as heroes, while the Soviet Union and the PDPA were portrayed as the cartoonish villains. The Rambo film franchise is well known for its depiction of the Vietnamese as “savages” and as the aggressors in the U.S. war on Vietnam, which is a blatant reversal of the truth.

The Hollywood blockbuster franchise would be used to make the Mujahideen more palatable to Western audiences, as this unabashed, blatantly anti-Soviet propaganda for U.S. imperialism attracted millions of viewers with one of the largest movie marketing campaigns of the time. Although formulaic, the films are easily consumable because they appeal to emotion and, as Michael Parenti states in Dirty Truths, “The entertainment industry does not merely give the people what they want: it is busy shaping those wants,” (p. 111). Rambo III may not have been critically acclaimed, but it was still the second most commercially successful film in the Rambo series, grossing a total of $189,015,611 at the box office. Producing war propaganda films is nothing new and has been a long staple of the Hollywood industry, which serves capitalist and imperialist interests. But, since the blockbuster movie is one of the most widely available and distributed forms of media, repackaging the Mujahideen into a popular film franchise was easily one of the best ways (albeit cynical) to justify the war, maintaining the American constructed narrative and reinforcing the demonization campaign against Soviet Russia and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Now, outside of the cinema, CBS News went as far as to air fake battle footage meant to help perpetuate the myth that the Mujahideen mercenaries were “freedom fighters”; American journalists Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, although decidedly biased against the Soviet Union and its allies, documented this ruse in which the news channel participated. In terms of proxy warfare, these were just some of the ways used to distract from the fact that it was a U.S.-led war.

The dedication title card as it originally appeared at the end of the film Rambo III.

In Afghanistan, proxy forces provided a convenient cover because they drew attention away from the fact that U.S. imperialism was the root cause of the conflict. The insurgents also helped to demonize the targets of U.S. foreign policy, the PDPA and the Soviet Union, all the while doing the majority of the physical combat in place of the American military. In general, drawing attention away from the fact that it has been the United States “pulling the strings” all along, using proxy forces helps Washington to maintain plausible deniability in regard to its relationship with such groups. If any one of these insurgents becomes a liability, as what had happened with the Taliban, they can just as easily be disposed of and replaced by more competent patsies, while U.S. foreign policy goes unquestioned. Criminal gangs and paramilitary forces are thus ideal and convenient tools for U.S. foreign policy. With the rule of warlords and the instability (namely damage to infrastructure, de-industrialization, and societal collapse) that followed after the toppling of the PDPA, Afghanistan’s standard of living dropped rapidly, leading to forced mass migrations and making the country all the more vulnerable to a more direct U.S. military intervention — which eventually did happen in 2001.

Zbigniew Brzezinski: godfather of colour revolutions and proxy wars, architect of the Mujahideen

The late Brzezinski was a key figure in U.S. foreign policy and a highly influential figure in the Council on Foreign Relations. Although the Polish-American diplomat and political scientist was no longer the National Security Advisor under Ronald Reagan’s presidency, he still continued to play a prominent role in enforcing U.S. foreign policy goals in upholding Washington’s global monopoly. The liberal Cold War ideologue’s signature strategy consisted of using the CIA to destabilize and force regime-change onto countries whose governments actively resisted against Washington. Such is the legacy of Brzezinski, whose strategy of funding the most reactionary anti-government forces to foment chaos and instability while promoting them as “freedom fighters” is now a longstanding staple of U.S. imperialism.

How were the aggressive propaganda campaigns which promoted the Mujahideen mercenaries as “freedom fighters” able to garner support for the aggression against the former Democratic Republic of Afghanistan from so many on the Western left who had previously opposed the war on Vietnam? It was the through the CIA’s use of ‘soft-power’ schemes, because leftist opinion also needed to be controlled and manipulated in the process of carrying out U.S. foreign and public policy. Brzezinski mastered the art of targeting intelligentsia and impressionable young people in order to make them supportive of U.S. foreign policy, misleading a significant number of people into supporting U.S.-led wars.

The CIA invested money into programs that used university campus, anti-Soviet “radical leftist activists” and academics (as well as artists and writers) to help spread imperialist propaganda dressed up in vaguely “leftist”-sounding language and given a more “hip”, “humanitarian”, “social justice”, “free thinker” appeal. Western, but especially American, academia has since continued to teach the post-modernist “oppression theory” or “privilege theory” to students, which is anti-Marxist and anti-scientific at its core. More importantly, this post-modernist infiltration was meant to distract from class struggle, to help divert any form of solidarity away from anti-imperialist struggles, and to foster virulent animosity towards the Soviet Union among students and anyone with ‘leftist’ leanings. Hence the phenomenon of identity politics that continues to plague the Western left today, whose strength was effectively neutered by the 1970s. Not only that, but as Gowans mentions in his book, Patriots, Traitors and Empires: The Story of Korea’s Struggle for Freedom:

“U.S. universities recruit talented individuals from abroad, instill in them the U.S. imperialist ideology and values, and equip them with academic credentials which conduce to their landing important political positions at home. In this way, U.S. imperial goals indirectly structure the political decision-making of other countries.” (pp. 52-53)

And so we have agencies and think-tanks such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) which has scholarly appeal and actively interferes in elections abroad — namely, in countries that are targets of U.S. foreign policy. Founded in 1983 by Reagan and directed by the CIA, the agency also assists in mobilizing coups and paid “dissidents” in U.S.-led regime change projects, such as the 2002 failed attempt against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, as well as helping to create aggressive media campaigns that demonize targeted nations. Another instance of this “soft power” tactic of mobilizing U.S.-backed “dissidents” in targeted nations are the number of Sunni Islamic fundamentalist madrassas (schools) sponsored by the CIA and set up by Wahhabi missionaries from Saudi Arabia in Afghanistan — which started to appear in increasing numbers during the 1980s, reaching over 39,000 during the decade. Afghanistan’s public education institutions were largely secular prior to the fall of Kabul in 1992; these madrassas were the direct, ideological and intellectual antitheses to the existing institutions of education. The madrassas acted as centres for cult-like brainwashing and were essentially CIA covert psychological operations (psy-ops) intended to inspire divisiveness and demobilize younger generations of Afghans in the face of imperial onslaught so that they would not unite with the wider PDPA-led nationalist resistance to imperialism.

The NED’s founding members were comprised of Cold War ideologues which included Brzezinski himself, as well as Trotskyists who provided an endless supply of slurs against the Soviet Union. It was chiefly under this agency, and with direction provided by Brzezinski, that America produced artists, “activists”, academics, and writers who presented themselves as “radical leftists” and slandered the Soviet Union and countries that were aligned with it — which was all part of the process of toppling them and subjugating them to U.S. free market fundamentalism. With Brzezinski having mastered the art of encouraging postmodernism and identity politics among the Western left in order to weaken it, the United States not only had military and economic might on its side but also highly sophisticated ideological instruments to help give it the upper hand in propaganda wars.

These “soft power” schemes are highly effective in masking the brutality of U.S. imperialism, as well as concealing the exploitation of impoverished nations. Marketing the Mujahideen mercenaries as “peace warriors” while demonizing the PDPA and referring to the Soviet assistance as an “invasion” or “aggression” marked the beginning of the regular use of “humanitarian” pretexts for imperialist interventions. The Cold War era onslaught against Afghanistan can thus be seen as the template for the NATO-led regime change projects against Yugoslavia, Libya, and Syria, which not only involved the use of U.S.-backed proxy forces but also “humanitarian” pretexts being presented in the aggressive propaganda campaigns against the targeted countries. It was not until 2002, however, that then-American UN representative Samantha Powers, as well as several U.S.-allied representatives, would push the United Nations to officially adopt the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine into the Charter — which was in direct contradiction to the law that recognizes the violation of a nation’s sovereignty as a crime. The R2P doctrine was born out of the illegal 78-day NATO air-bombing of Yugoslavia from March 24 to June 10, 1999. And although plans to dismantle Yugoslavia go as far back as 1984, it was not until much of the 1990s that NATO would begin openly intervening — with more naked aggression — starting with the funding and support for secessionist paramilitary forces in Bosnia between 1994-1995. It then sealed the 1999 destruction of Yugoslavia with with the balkanization of the Serbian province of Kosovo. In addition to the use of terrorist and paramilitary groups as proxy forces which received CIA-training and funding, another key feature of this “humanitarian” intervention was the ongoing demonization campaigns against the Serbs, who were at the centre of a vicious Western media propaganda war. Some of the most egregious parts of these demonization campaigns — which were tantamount to slander and libel — were the claims that the Serbs were “committing genocide” against ethnic Albanians. The NATO bombing campaign was illegal since it was given no UN Security Council approval or support.

Once again, Brzezinski was not the National Security Advisor during the U.S.-led campaign against Yugoslavia. However, he still continued to wield influence as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a private organization and Wall Street think tank. The Council on Foreign Relations is intertwined with highly influential NGOs who are essentially propaganda mouthpieces for U.S. foreign policy, such as Human Rights Watch, which has fabricated stories of atrocities allegedly committed by countries targeted by U.S. imperialism. Clearly, unmitigated U.S. imperial aggression did not end with the destruction of the former Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, nor with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The post-Cold War years were a continuation of U.S. imperialism’s scramble for more spheres of influence and global domination; it was also a scramble for what was left of the former ‘Soviet bloc’ and Warsaw Pact. The dismantling of Yugoslavia was, figuratively speaking, the ‘final nail in the coffin’ of whatever ‘Soviet influence’ was left in Eastern Europe.

The demise of the Soviet Union and the “Afghan trap” question

Image on the right: Left to right: former Afghan President Babrak Karmal, and former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Karmal took office at around the same time (December 1979) the PDPA requested that Moscow intervene to assist the besieged Afghanistan.

The sabotage and subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union meant that only one global hegemon remained, and that was the United States. Up until 1989, the Soviet Union had been the barrier that was keeping the United States from launching a more robust military intervention in Afghanistan, as well as in Central and West Asia. While pulling out did not immediately cause the defeat of Kabul as the PDPA government forces continued to struggle for another three years, Mikhail Gorbachev’s decision to withdraw Soviet troops arguably had a detrimental impact on Afghanistan for many years to come. Although there was no Soviet military assistance in the last three years of Najibullah’s presidency, Afghanistan continued to receive aid from the USSR, and some Soviet military advisers (however limited in their capacity) still remained; despite the extreme difficulties, and combined with the nation’s still-relatively high morale, this did at least help to keep the government from being overthrown immediately. This defied U.S. expectations as the CIA and the George H.W. Bush administration had believed that the government of Najibullah would fall as soon as Soviet troops were withdrawn. But what really hurt the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan’s army was when the Soviet Union was dismantled in 1991; almost as soon as the dissolution happened and Boris Yeltsin (with U.S. backing) took over as Russia’s president, the aid stopped coming and the government forces became unable to hold out for much longer. The U.S. aggression was left unchecked, and to this day Afghanistan has not seen geopolitical stability and has since been a largely impoverished ‘failed state’, serving as a training ground for terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda. It continues to be an anarchic battleground between rival warlords which include the ousted Taliban and the U.S. puppet government that replaced them.

But, as was already mentioned above, the “Afghan trap” did not, in and of itself, cause the dismantling of the Soviet Union. In that same interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Brzezinski had this to say in response to the question about setting the “trap”:

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

[Brzezinski]: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Likewise with Cuba and Syria, the USSR had a well-established alliance with the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, one of mutual aid and partnership. Answering Kabul’s explicit request for assistance was a deliberate and conscious choice made by Moscow, and it just so happened that the majority of Afghans welcomed it. For any errors that Leonid Brezhnev, the General Secretary at the time, may have made (which do deserve a fair amount of criticism, but are not the focus of this article), the 1979 decision to intervene on behalf of Afghanistan against U.S. imperialism was not one of them. It is true that both the Soviet and the U.S. interventions were military interventions, but the key difference is that the U.S. was backing reactionary forces for the purposes of establishing colonial domination and was in clear violation of Afghan sovereignty. Consider, too, that Afghanistan had only deposed of its king in 1973, just six years before the conflict began. The country may have moved quickly to industrialize and modernize, but it wasn’t much time to fully develop its military defenses by 1979.

Image below: Mikhail Gorbachev accepts the Nobel Peace Prize from George H.W. Bush on October 15, 1990. Many Russians saw this gesture as a betrayal, while the West celebrated it, because he was being awarded for his capitulation to U.S. imperialism in foreign and economic policy.

Other than that, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the Soviet Union imploded due to an accumulating number of factors: namely, the gradual steps that U.S. foreign policy had taken over the years to cripple the Soviet economy, especially after the deaths of Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov. How Gorbachev responded during the U.S.-led onslaught against Afghanistan certainly helped to exacerbate the conditions that led to the dissolution. After the deaths of Brezhnev and Andropov, the Soviet Union’s economy became disorganized and was being liberalized during much of the 1980s. Not only that, but the Reagan administration escalated the arms race, which intensified after they had scrapped the ‘detente’ that was previously made in the mid-1970s. Even prior to Reagan’s hardline, bombastic rhetoric and escalation against the USSR, the Soviet Union was already beginning to show signs of strain from the arms race during the late-1970s. However, in spite of the economic strains, during the height of the war the organized joint operations between the Soviet army and the Afghan army saw a significant amount of success in pushing back against the Mujahideen with many of the jihadist leaders either being killed or fleeing to Pakistan. Therefore, it is erroneous to say that intervening in Afghanistan on behalf of the Afghan people “did the Soviet Union in.”

In a misguided and ultimately failed attempt to spur economic growth rates, Gorbachev moved to end the Cold War by withdrawing military support from allies and pledging cooperation with the United States who promised “peace”. When he embraced Neoliberalism and allowed for the USSR to be opened to the U.S.-dominated world capitalist economy, the Soviet economy imploded and the effects were felt by its allies. It was a capitulation to U.S. imperialism, in other words; and it led to disastrous results not only in Afghanistan, but in several other countries as well. These include: the destruction of Yugoslavia, both wars on Iraq, and the 2011 NATO invasion of Libya. Also, Warsaw Pact members in Eastern Europe were no longer able to effectively fight back against U.S.-backed colour revolutions; some of them would eventually be absorbed as NATO members, such as Czechoslovakia which was dissolved and divided into two states: the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Without Soviet Russia to keep it in check, the United States was able to launch an unrestrained series of aggressions for nearly two decades. Because of his decision to withdraw from the arms race altogether, in a vain attempt to transform the Soviet Union into a social democracy akin to those of the Nordic countries, Gorbachev had deprived the Russian army of combat effectiveness by making significant cuts to its defense budget, which is partly why they were forced to evacuate. Not only that, but these diplomatic and military concessions with the United States gave them no benefit in return, hence the economic crisis in Russia during the Yeltsin years. Suffice to say, the Gorbachev-Yeltsin years are not remembered fondly in Russia and many regard Gorbachev as a traitor and Western agent who helped to bring the Soviet Union to its collapse. In more recent years, efforts are being made to assess the actions taken by Gorbachev with regards to Afghanistan; this includes going against and revising the resolution put forth by him which suggested that the USSR intervention was “shameful”.

In short, Afghanistan did not cause the Soviet Union’s demise even if it required large military spending. More accurately: it was Gorbachev’s impulsive decision to quickly discard the planned economy in favour of a market economy in order to appease the United States, who made the false promise that NATO would not expand eastward. If there was a real “trap”, it was this and Gorbachev played right into the hands of U.S. imperialism; and so, the Soviet Union received its devastating blow from the United States in the end — not from a small, minor nation such as Afghanistan which continues to suffer the most from the effects of these past events. For many years, but especially since the end of WWII, the United States made ceaseless efforts to undermine the USSR, adding stress upon stress onto its economy, in addition to the psychological warfare waged through the anti-Soviet propaganda and military threats against it and its allies. Despite any advances made in the past, the Soviet Union’s economy was still not as large as that of the United States. And so, in order to keep pace with NATO, the Soviet Union did not have much of a choice but to spend a large percentage of its GDP on its military and on helping to defend its allies, which included national liberation movements in the Third World, because of the very real and significant threat that U.S. imperialism posed. If it had not spent any money militarily, its demise would most likely have happened much sooner. But eventually, these mounting efforts by U.S. imperialism created a circumstance where its leadership under Gorbachev made a lapse in judgment, reacting impulsively and carelessly rather than acting with resilience in spite of the onslaught.

It should also be taken into account that WWII had a profound impact on Soviet leadership — from Joseph Stalin to Gorbachev — because even though the Red Army was victorious in defeating the Nazis, the widespread destruction had still placed the Soviet economy under an incredible amount of stress and it needed time to recover. Meanwhile, the convenient geographical location of the United States kept it from suffering the same casualties and infrastructural damage seen across Europe and Asia as a result of the Second World War, which enabled its economy to recover much faster and gave it enough time to eventually develop the U.S. Dollar as the international currency and assert dominance over the world economy. Plus, the U.S. had accumulated two-thirds of the world’s gold reserves by 1944 to help back the Dollar; and even if it lost a large amount of the gold, it would still be able to maintain Dollar supremacy by developing the fiat system to back the currency. Because of the destruction seen during WWII, it is understandable that the Soviet Union wanted to avoid another world war, which is why it also made several attempts at achieving some kind of diplomacy with the United States (before Gorbachev outright capitulated). At the same time, it also understood that maintaining its military defenses was important because of the threat of a nuclear war from the United States, which would be much more catastrophic than the Nazis’ military assaults against the Soviet Union since Hitler did not have a nuclear arsenal. This was part of a feat that U.S. imperialism was able to accomplish that ultimately overshadowed British, French, German, and Japanese imperialism, which Brzezinski reveals in his book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives: an unparalleled military establishment that, by far, had the most effective global reach which allowed the U.S. to “project forces over long distances”, helping it to assert its global domination and impose its “political will”. And what makes the American Empire distinct from the Japanese Empire, British Empire, and other European empires is that one of the bases for its ideology is the socially constructed international hierarchy of nations, and not races as was the case with the other aforementioned empires. This constructed international hierarchy of nations is more effective because it means not only greater expansionism, but also the greater ability to exercise global primacy and supremacy. More specific to Central Asia and the Middle East, the Wahhabist and Salafist groups propped up by the CIA were always intended to nurture sectarianism and discord in order to counter a mass, broad-based united front of nations against imperialism — an example of divide-and-conquer, which is an age-old tradition of empire, except this time with Neoliberal characteristics.

Therefore, the Mujahideen against Afghanistan should not be thought of simply as “the Afghan trap”, but rather as the U.S. subjugation and plundering of West and Central Asia and an important milestone (albeit a cynical one) in shaping its foreign policy with regards to the region for many years to come. If one thing has remained a constant in U.S. foreign policy towards West and Central Asia, it is its strategic partnership with the oil autocracy of Saudi Arabia, which acts as the United States’ steward in safeguarding the profits of American petroleum corporations and actively assists Western powers in crushing secular Arab and Central Asian nationalist resistance against imperialism. The Saudi monarchy would again be called on by the U.S. government in 2011 in Syria to assist in the repeated formula of funding and arming so-called “moderate rebels” in the efforts to destabilize the country. Once again, the ultimate goal in this more recent imperial venture is to contain Russia.

Cold War 2.0? American Supremacy marches on

The present-day anti-Russia hysteria is reminiscent of the anti-Soviet propaganda of the Cold War era; while anti-communism is not the central theme today, one thing remains the same: the fact that the U.S. Empire is (once again) facing a formidable challenge to its position in the world. After the Yeltsin years were over, and under Vladimir Putin, Russia’s economy eventually recovered and moved towards a more dirigiste economy; and on top of that, it moved away from the NATO fold, which triggered the old antagonistic relationship with the United States. Russia has also decided to follow the global trend of taking the step towards reducing reliance on the U.S. dollar, which is no doubt a source of annoyance to the U.S. capitalist class. It seems that a third world war in the near future is becoming more likely as the U.S. inches closer to a direct military confrontation against Russia and, more recently, China. History does appear to be repeating itself. When the government of Bashar al Assad called on Moscow for assistance in fighting against the NATO-backed terrorists, it certainly was reminiscent of when the PDPA had done the same many years before. Thus far, the Syrian Arab Republic has continued to withstand the destabilization efforts carried out by the Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups and Kurdish militias at the behest of the United States, and has not collapsed as Libya, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan did.

But what often gets overlooked is the repeated Brzezinskist formula of funding highly reactionary forces and promoting them as “revolutionaries” to Western audiences in order to fight governments that defy the global dictatorship of the United States and refuse to allow the West to exploit their natural resources and labour power. As Karl Marx once said, “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.” Such a phenomenon is no accident or a mere mistake. The geopolitical instability that followed after the overthrow of the PDPA ensures that no sound, united, and formidable opposition against U.S. imperialism will emerge for an indefinite number of years; and it seems that Libya, where the Brzezinskist-style of regime change also saw success and which is now a hotbed for the slave trade, is on the same path as Afghanistan. This is all a part of what Lenin calls moribund capitalism when he discussed the economic essence of imperialism; and by that, he meant that imperialism carries the contradictions of capitalism to the extreme limit. American global monopoly had grown out of U.S. foreign policy, and it should go without saying that the American Empire cannot tolerate losing its Dollar Supremacy, especially when the global rate of profit is falling. And if too many nations reject U.S. efforts to infiltrate their markets and force foreign finance capital exports onto their economies in order to gain a monopoly over the resources, as well as to exploit the labour of their working people, it would surely spell a sharp decline in American Dollar hegemony. The fact that the United States was willing to go as far as to back mercenaries to attack the former Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and fight the Soviet Union, as well as to spend billions of dollars on a highly elaborate but effective propaganda campaign, shows a sign of desperation of the American Empire in maintaining its global hegemony.

Since the end of World War II the United States has been, and is by and large still, the overwhelming world-dominating power. It is true that the American Empire is in decline, in light of increasing trends towards “de-Dollarization,” as well as the rise of China and Russia which pose as challenges to U.S. interests. Naturally, Washington will desperately try to cling on to its number one position in the world by accelerating the growth of its global monopolies — whether it is through placing wholly unnecessary tariffs against competitors such as China, or threatening to completely cut Venezuelan and Iranian oil out of the global market — even if it means an increasing drive towards World War III. The current global economic order which Washington elites have been instrumental in shaping over the past several decades reflects the interests of the global capitalist class to such an extent that the working class is threatened with yet another world war despite the unimaginable carnage witnessed during the first two.

When we look back at these historical events to help make sense of the present, we see how powerful mass media can be and how it is used as a tool of U.S. foreign policy to manipulate and control public opinion. Foreign policy is about the economic relationships between countries. Key to understanding how U.S. imperialism functions is in its foreign policy and how it carries it out — which adds up to plundering from relatively small or poorer nations more than a share of wealth and resources that can be normally produced in common commercial exchanges, forcing them to be indebted; and if any of them resist, then they will almost certainly be subjected to military threats.

With the great wealth that allowed it to build a military that can “project forces over long distances,” the United States is in a unique position in history, to say the least. However, as we have seen above, the now four decade-long war on Afghanistan was not only fought on a military front considering the psy-ops and the propaganda involved. If anything, the Soviet Union lost on the propaganda front in the end.

From Afghanistan we learn not only of the origins of Al Qaeda, to which the boom in the opioid-addiction epidemic has ties, or why today we have the phenomenon of an anti-Russia Western “left” that parrots imperialist propaganda and seems very eager to see that piece of Cold War history repeat itself in Syria. We also learn that we cannot de-link the events of the 2001 direct U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and what followed from those of 1979; Afghanistan’s colonial-feudal past, its break from that with the 1978 Saur Revolution, and the U.S.-led Mujahideen are all as much of a part of its history (and the Greater Middle East, by extension) as the events of 2001. It cannot be stressed enough that it is those historical conditions, particularly as they relate to U.S. foreign policy, that helped to shape the ongoing conflict today.

Obviously, we cannot undo the past. It is not in the interests of the working class anywhere, in the Global South or in the Global North, to see a third world war happen, as such a war would have catastrophic consequences for everyone — in fact, it could potentially destroy all of humanity. Building a new and revitalized anti-war movement in the imperialist nations is a given, but it also requires a more sophisticated understanding of U.S. foreign policy. Without historical context, Western mass media will continue to go unchallenged, weaning audiences on a steady diet of “moderate rebels” propaganda and effectively silencing the victims of imperialism. It is necessary to unite workers across the whole world according to their shared interests in order to effectively fight and defeat imperialism and to establish a just, egalitarian, and sustainable world under socialism. Teaching the working class everywhere the real history of such conflicts as the one in Afghanistan is an important part of developing the revolutionary consciousness necessary to build a strong global revolutionary movement against imperialism.

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Originally published by LLCO.org on March 30, 2019. For the full-length article and bibliography, click here.

Janelle Velina is a Toronto-based political analyst, writer, and an editor and frequent contributor for New-Power.org and LLCO.org. She also has a blog at geopoliticaloutlook.blogspot.com.

All images in this article are from the author; featured image: Brzezinski visits Osama bin Laden and other Mujahideen fighters during training.

EVA BARTLETT ON “THE SILENCED VOICES OF THE SYRIAN PEOPLE”

Eva Bartlett 

In February 2019, I joined a very informative panel of journalists and activists speaking on a variety of current and important issues, including control of media and their role in war propagandizing–along with NGOs, Syria, the White Helmets, and much more. I traveled after that panel and have been busy working on a number of things since, so didn’t have the chance to share this till now.

Here is my segment, during which I present examples of Syrian voices ignored by media and some of media’s blatant lies, contrasting what I saw and heard on the ground on 11 trips to Syria.

Originally uploaded at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVsVrhu4OQU

Please also see these incredible presentations:

Patrick Henningsen, War – the ultimate goal of all propaganda
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntyPWXj9anY

Vanessa Beeley -The tale of the White Helmets in the Western media,on the ground in Syria and beyond
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDD0BBNC_mA

 

Related links (chronological order of mention):

-Talk With American-Syrians in Latakia, part 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc2HRk42O-w

-Talk With American-Syrians in Latakia, part 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvFeGIoISLo

-Father Frans van der Lugt quote
https://dissidentvoice.org/2015/10/deconstructing-the-nato-narrative-on-syria/

-Dr Hussam al Samman, Madaya anecdote
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHhvSvl4XCs

-Dr Amer Ghantous on media lies around Daraa
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMtz25fCTEo

-Dr Amer Ghantous full interview
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwr7RcyG7WI

-Madaya starvation:
https://www.mintpressnews.com/order-returns-to-western-syria-civilians-recount-horrors-rebel-rule/232380/
-men from Madaya speak on terrorists hoarding food, starving civilians
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-Ktf7UkHx8
-al-Waer, Dec 2015, food and supplies entering al-Waer
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1109530025723657&set=a.1128530780490248.1073741883.100000000104830

-Homs starvation and words of civilians:
https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/liberated-homs-residents-challenge-notion-of-revolution/
-Douma—terrorist rule, CW lies
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/429349-syrians-tell-terrorists-white-helmets/
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/428514-douma-civilians-chemical-hoax/

Douma Medical Student Testimony Contradicts Mainstream and White Helmets Chemical Accusations
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wx3I8S9ih1M
A look at a part of the labyrinth of tunnels built by the terrorists formerly occupying Douma
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlmRdYTSjPE
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-fisk-ghouta-damascus-a8307726.html
-Omran Daqneesh lies & exploitation

http://www.mintpressnews.com/mintpress-meets-father-iconic-aleppo-boy-says-media-lied-son/228722/

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/391958-aylan-omran-child-victims-syria-propaganda/

Omran Daqneesh Father on boy’s mild injuries
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpL6jETGvvI

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/401994-omran-aleppo-boy-syria/
-Daraa hospital and school damage & terrorist snipers proximity, May 2018
https://www.facebook.com/EvaBoBeeva/posts/1925005744176077
https://www.facebook.com/EvaBoBeeva/posts/1925893510753967
https://twitter.com/EvaKBartlett/status/1011971483961307136

-Daraa September 2018
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-busuQHngc
-Foua & Kafraya suffering:
https://21stcenturywire.com/2016/09/06/syria-the-children-of-kafarya-and-foua-are-crying-in-the-dark/

-Zahraa, Homs:Where is the West’s compassion & condemnation following terror attacks in Middle East?
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/330702-terrorism-west-hypocrisy-syria/

-university hospital children injured by terrorist attacks
https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/university-hospital-damascus-meeting-victims-of-western-backed-mortar-and-rocket-terrorism/
-mortar terrorism
https://zeroanthropology.net/2014/09/11/the-terrorism-we-support-in-syria-a-first-hand-account-of-the-use-of-mortars-against-civilians/

-Lyse Doucet/BBC dishonest journalism
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/408618-syria-war-propaganda-media-west/
-Mhardeh

https://www.mintpressnews.com/mhardeh-a-call-from-a-martyred-christian-town-for-syrias-full-liberation/250281/
https://www.globalresearch.ca/mhardeh-a-syrian-christian-town-besieged-and-targeted-by-the-west/5659638

Mhardeh: Shadi Shehda on his murdered children, mother, and wife, killed by terrorists in Idlib
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVSyWz–e5c
-Aleppo normal life

Life in Old Aleppo, around the historic Citadel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqtTjbrm4Ec

old Aleppo shop owner: Just leave us in peace and we will re-build
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfopq-QLYHQ

Fares Shehabi on improved life in Aleppo since liberation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz22FUMViLs

Fares Shehabi: Aleppo Factory Defying al Qaeda An Example of Rising Up Undefeated
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2uyKdrpBLc&t=6s

Old Aleppo: November 2016 Terrorist Snipers Vs Today’s Peace
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPMTXEZcIiE

Signs of Reconstruction Among the Destruction in Old Aleppo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7lKj5AeVm8

Syrian Independent MP on Western Sanctions: “They are directly affecting the Syrian people”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=419PwNIFjuI

From A Main Square in Aleppo That Was Sniped & Bombed By “Moderate” Terrorists
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyHB0f3DdZ4&
Aleppo Taxi Driver and Singer 🙂
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7UOaN214tQ

Ibrahim, an Aleppo Resident, Speaks About Experiences as Syrian Army Volunteer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_f13cJGJrQ&

Shops Re-Opened in Old Aleppo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BbRgYhYDrk

Reconstruction in Aleppo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiMgNbLDCG0
Lively Clothes Market, Aleppo–The City That Did NOT Fall
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmgq5uU5UVM

Steadfast Syrian Taxi Driver: I love my Country, Leadership, Army
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H43oanu7MyQ

Cuba – “The Equilibrium of the World” – and Economy of Resistance

February 13, 2019

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

Cuba – “The Equilibrium of the World” – and Economy of Resistance

The Forth International Conference for “The Equilibrium of the World” took place in Havana., Cuba from 28 to 31 January 2019. The Conference, organized by the José Marti Project of International Solidarity, was sponsored by UNESCO and a number of local and international organisms and NGOs. It coincided with the 60th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and as such was also a celebration of that successful demonstration to the world that socialism, solidarity and love for live can actually survive against all odds – and, yes, Cuba, has faced more hardship than any other country in recent history, through boycotts, embargoes and all sorts of economic sanctions, heinous military infiltrations and assassination attempts, initiated by the United States and followed, largely under threats from Washington, by most of the western world.

Viva Cuba! – A celebration well deserved – and in the name of José Marti, who was born 166 years ago, but whose thoughts and spiritual thinking for a new world are as valid today as they were then. They may perhaps best be summarized as love, solidarity, justice, living well for all and in peace. These principles were taken over by Fidel and Raul Castro, the Che and Hugo Chávez. They transcend current generations and reach far beyond Latin America.

The conference had many highlights; brilliant speakers; a torch march was organized at the University of Havana in honor of José Marti; and the organizers offered the participants an extraordinary music and modern ballet performance at the National Theater.

From my point of view some of the important messages came from the representative of China, who talked about the New Silk Road, or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), of building bridges and connecting countries and people, whereas the west was building walls. A Russian speaker sadly admitted that it took his government a long time and relentless trying to build alliances with the west – until they realized, relatively recently, that the west could not be trusted. Professor Adan Chavez Frias Chavez, Hugo’s brother, described an invasive history over the past 100 years by the United States of Latin America and called upon the brother nations of the Americas and the world to bond together in solidarity to resist the empire’s infringement and steady attempts to subjugate sovereign nations – with a vision towards a multipolar world of equals, of sovereign nations living together in peaceful relations.

***

My own presentation focused on Economy of Resistance. And what a better place than Cuba to talk about economy of resistance! Impossible. Cuba has a 60-year history of successful resistance against a massive embargo, ordered by Washington and followed by almost the entire western world, thus demonstrating that the west has been reduced to a US colony. This was true already during the Cold War, but became even clearer when the Soviet Union “fell”. Here too, the west, led by Washington, was instrumental in the collapse of the USSR – but that’s another story – and the US grabbed the opportunity to become the emperor of a unipolar world. Cuban troops also resisted and conquered the attempted US Bay of Pigs (Playa Girón) invasion launched by President Kennedy in 1961 – and not least, Fidel Castro survived more than 600 CIA initiated assassination attempts.

The principles of Economy of Resistance cover a vast domain of topics with many ramifications. This presentation focused on four key areas:

  • Food, medical and education sovereignty
  • Economic and financial sovereignty
  • The Fifth Column; and
  • Water Resources – a Human Right and a vital resource for survival.

On food, health and education sovereignty – Cuba is 100% autonomous, as far health and education go.

However, Cuba imports more than 70% of the food her citizens consume and that, at present, mostly from the European Union. Cuba has the capacity and agricultural potential to become not only fully self-sufficient, but to develop and process agricultural produce into an agricultural industry and become a net exporter of agricultural goods.

This process might be addressed as a priority policy issue. However, it will take some time to fully implement. Meanwhile, it may be wise to diversify imports from other parts of the world than the EU – i.e. Russia, China, Central Asia, friendly ALBA countries – because Europe is not trustworthy. They tell you today, they will always honor your purchasing contracts, but if the empire strikes down with sanctions – as they did recently for anyone doing business with Iran, Cuba may be “cooked”.

Spineless Europe will bend to the orders of Washington. They have demonstrated this time and again, not least with Iran, despite the fact that they signed the so-called Nuclear Deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, on 14 July 2015 (the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, UK, Russia, France, and China—plus Germany and the EU – and Iran), after which Obama lifted all sanctions with Iran – only to have Trump break the agreement and reimpose the most draconian sanctions on Iran and on enterprises doing business with Iran. The US government, and by association Europe, does not adhere to any agreement, or any international law, for that matter, when it doesn’t suit them. There are plenty of indications – Venezuela today, to be followed by Nicaragua and Cuba. These should be valid signals for Cuba to diversify her food imports until full self-sufficiency is achieved.

Already in 2014, Mr. Putin said the ‘sanctions’ were the best thing that could have happened to Russia. It forced her to revamp her agriculture and rebuild her industrial parks with the latest technology – to become fully independent from imports. Today, sanctions are a mere propaganda tool of the west, but they have hardly an impact on Russia. Russia has become the largest wheat exporter in the world. – Cuba could do likewise. She has the agricultural potential to become fully food-autonomous.

On Economic and financial sovereignty – four facets are being addressed. The first one, foreign investments, Cuba may want to focus on (i) technology; (ii) assuring that a majority of the investment shares remains Cuban; (iii) using to the extent possible Cuba’s own capital (reserves) for investments. Foreign capital is bound to certain conditionalities imposed by foreign investors, thus, it bears exchange rate and other risks, to the point where potential profits from foreign assets are usually discounted by between 10% and 20%; and (iv) last but not least, Cuba ought to decide on the sectors for foreign investors – NOT the foreign investor.

Following scenario, as propagated by opposition lawyer and economist, Pablo de Cuba, in Miami, should be avoided:
“Cuba cedes a piece of her conditions of sovereignty and negotiates with foreign investors; puts a certain amount of discounted debt at the creditors’ disposal, so as to attract more investments in sectors that they, the investors choose, for the internal development of Cuba.”

As the hegemony of the US dollar is used to strangle any country that refuses to bend to the empire, a progressive dedollarization is of the order, meaning, in addition to the US dollar itself, move progressively away from all currencies that are intimately linked to the US dollar, i.e. Canadian and Australian dollars, Euro, Yen, Pound Sterling – and more. This is a strategy to be pursued in the short- and medium term, for the protection against more sanctions dished out by the US and its spineless allies.

Simultaneously, a rapprochement towards other monetary systems, for example in the east, especially based on the Chinese gold-convertible Petro-Yuan, may be seriously considered. Russia and China, and in fact the entire SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), have already designed a monetary transfer system circumventing the western SWIFT system, which has every transaction channeled through and controlled by a US bank. This is the key motive for economic and financial sanctions. There is no reason why Cuba could not (gradually but pointedly) join such an alternative system, to move out of the western claws of embargo. The SCO members today encompass about half of the world population and control one third of the globe’s GDP.

Drawbacks would be that the import markets would have to be revisited and diversified, unless western suppliers would accept to be paid in CUC, or Yuan through a system different from SWIFT. Moving away from the western monetary transfer system may also impact remittances from Cubans living in the US and elsewhere in the west (about US$ 3.4 billion – 2017 – less than 4% of GDP). It would mean departing from monetary transactions in the Euro and European monetary zones.

Be aware – the future is in the East. The West is committing slowly but steadily suicide.

Another crucial advice is – stay away from IMF, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), World Trade Organization (WTO) – and the like. They are so-called international financial and trade organizations, all controlled by the US and her western “allies” – and tend to enslave their clients with debt.

Case in Point – Mexico: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), a leftist, has little margin to maneuver Mexico’s economy, inherited from his neoliberal predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto. Mexico’s finances are shackled by the international banking system, led by the IMF, FED, WB and by association, the globalized Wall Street system. For example, AMLO intended to revive PEMEX, the petroleum state enterprise. The IMF told him that he first had to “financially sanitize” PEMEX, meaning putting PEMEX through a severe austerity program. The banking community agreed. In case AMLO wouldn’t follow their “advice”, they might strangle his country.

The CUC versus the Peso, a dual monetary system (CUC 1 = CuP 25.75), has also been used by China up to the mid-80s and by Germany after WWI, to develop export / import markets. However, there comes a time when the system could divide the population between those who have access to foreign currencies (CUC-convertible), and those who have no such access.

Also, the convertibility of the CUC with the Euro, Swiss franc, Pound Sterling and Yen, make the CUC, de facto, convertible with the dollar – hence, the CUC is dollarized. This is what Washington likes, to keep Cuba’s economy, despite the embargo, in the orbit of the dollar hegemony which will be used in an attempt to gradually integrate Cuba into the western, capitalist economy. – However, Washington will not succeed. Cuba is alert and has been resisting for the last 60 years.

The Fifth Column – refers to clandestine and / or overt infiltration of opposing and enemy elements into the government. They come in the form of NGOs, US-CIA trained local or foreigners to destabilize a country – and especially a country’s economy – from inside.

There are ever more countries that do not bend to the dictate of the empire and are targets for Fifth Columns – Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Pakistan and more – and Cuba?

The term, “Fifth Column” is attributed to General Emilio Mola, who during the Spanish civil war in 1936, informed his homologue, General Francisco Franco, that he has four columns of troops marching towards Madrid, and that they would be backed by a “fifth column”, hidden inside the city. With the support of this fifth column he expected to finish with (the legitimate) Republican government.

The process of “infiltration” is becoming ever more sophisticated, bolder and acting with total impunity. Perhaps the most (in)famous organization to foment Fifth Columns around the world, among many others, is the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the extended arm of the CIA. It goes as a so-called NGO, or ‘foreign policy thinktank’ which receives hundreds of millions of dollars from the State Department to subvert non-obedient countries’ governments, bringing about regime change through infiltration of foreign trained, funded and armed disruptive forces, sowing social unrest and even “civil wars”. Cases in point are Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Libya – and more – and now they attempt to topple Venezuela’s legitimate, democratically elected Government of Nicolás Maduro.

They work through national and international NGOs and even universities in the countries to be ‘regime changed’. Part of this ‘Infiltration” is a massive propaganda campaign and intimidation on so-called allies, or client states. The process to reach regime change may take years and billions of dollars. In the case of Ukraine, it took at least 5 years and 5 billion dollars. In Venezuela, the process towards regime change started some 20 years ago, as soon as Hugo Chavez was elected President in 1998. It brought about a failed coup in 2002 and was followed by ever increasing economic sanctions and physical military threats. Earlier this year, Washington was able to intimidating almost all of Europe and a large proportion of Latin America into accepting a US-trained implant, a Trump puppet, Juan Guaidó, as the interim president, attempting to push the true legitimate Maduro Government aside.

To put impunity to its crest, the Trump Government blocked 12 billion dollars of Venezuela’s foreign reserves in NY bank accounts and transferred the authority of access to the money to the illegitimate self-appointed interim president, Juan Guaidó. Along the same lines, the UK refused to return 1.2 billion dollars-worth of Venezuelan gold to Caracas. All these criminal acts would not be possible without the inside help, i.e. the “Fifth Column”, the members of which are often not readily identifiable.

It is not known, how often the empire attempted ‘regime change’ in Cuba. However, none of these attempts were successful. The Cuban Revolution will not be broken.

Water resources – is a Human Right and a vital component of an economy of resistance.

Water resources will be more precious in the future than petrol. The twin satellites GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) discovered the systematic depletion of groundwater resources throughout the world, due to over-exploitation and massive contamination from agriculture and industrial waste. Examples, among many, are the northern Punjab region in India with massive, inefficient irrigation; and in Peru the Pacific coastal region, due to inefficient irrigation, unretained runoff rain- and river water into the Pacific Ocean, and destruction of entire watersheds through mining.

Privatization of water resources, not only of drinking water and water for irrigation, but of entire aquifers, is becoming an increasing calamity for the peoples of our planet. Again, with impunity, giant water corporations, led by France, the UK and the US are gradually and quietly encroaching on the diminishing fresh water resources, by privatizing them, so as to make water a commodity to be sold at “market prices”, manipulated by the water giants, hence, depriving ready access to drinking water to an ever-growing mass of increasingly impoverished populations, victims of globalized neoliberal economies. For example, Nestlé and Coca Cola have negotiated with former Brazilian President Temer, and now with Bolsonaro, a 100-year concession over the Guaraní aquiver, the largest known, renewable freshwater underground resource, 74% of which is under Brazil. Bolsonaro has already said, he would open up the Amazon area for private investors. That could mean privatization of the world’s largest pool of fresh water – the Amazon basin.

Economic Resistance means – Water is a Human Right and is part of a country’s sovereignty; water should NEVER be privatized.

For Cuba rainwater – on average about 1,300 mm / year – is the only resource of fresh water. Cuba, like most islands, is vulnerable to rainwater runoff, estimated at up to 80%. There are already water shortages during certain times of the year, resulting in droughts in specific regions. Small retention walls may help infiltrate rainwater into the ground, and at the same time regulate irrigation, provide drinking water and possibly generate electricity for local use through small hydroelectric plants.

The National Water Resources Institute (INRH – Instituto Nacional de Recursos Hidráulicos), is aware of this issue and is formulating a forward-looking water strategy and planning the construction of infrastructure works to secure a countrywide water balance.

Other challenges include the hygienic reuse and evacuation of waste water, as well as in the medium to long run an island-wide Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

In Conclusion, Economic Resistance might be summarized as follows:

  • Self-sufficiency in food, health services and education. Cuba has achieved the latter two and is now aiming at achieving 100% agricultural autonomy – and in the meantime is advised diversifying food import markets.
  • Economic and financial sovereignty, including progressive dedollarization, deglobalizing monetary economy and creating internal monetary harmony.
  • The “Fifth Column” – always be aware of its existence and with perseverance keep going on the path of past successes, preventing the Fifth Column’s destabilizing actions.
  • Water resources autonomy – achieving countrywide Integrated Water Resources Management, with focus on protection, conservation and efficient water use.

***

George Soros Person of the Year?

By Stephen Lendman
Source

The London-based Financial Times (FT) calls itself “the world’s leading global business publication.”

Around the time of its 19th century founding, it described itself as the friend of “The Honest Financier, the Bona Fide Investor, the Respectable Broker, the Genuine Director, and the Legitimate Speculator” when its readership was largely comprised of London’s financial community.

Today its reach is global, publishing business, economic, financial and geopolitical news – polar opposite journalism the way it’s supposed to be.

It supports what demands condemnation, operating like other Western media, using journalism as advocacy for powerful interests, hostile to world peace and the public welfare.

James Petras slammed the way the FT operates, backing US-led NATO wars, endorsing illegal sanctions, supporting powerful political and monied interests.

Petras cited a “journalist who was close to the (FT’s) editors suggest(ing) it should be called the ‘Military Times’ – the voice of a declining empire.”

Annually it chooses a Person of the Year. Earlier ones included Trump, Angela Merkel, ECB president Mario Draghi, Goldman Sach CEO Lloyd (just a banker “doing God’s work,” the money god, of course) Blankfein, Obama, Bush II, Alan Greenspan, Tony Blair, Rupert Murdock, Saudi king Faisal, Margaret Thatcher, Henry Kissinger – you get the picture, a virtual rogue’s gallery of warlords, imperialists, crooks, and other scoundrels.

This year it named neoliberal globalist/international con man George “(As a market participant, I don’t need to be concerned with the consequences of my actions”) Soros. 

The award should have been for the international con man person of the year, glorifying market manipulation, grand theft, economic and political chaos, along with endless imperial wars.

Soros made billions of dollars the old-fashioned way, by all sorts of dirty tricks – including notoriously sabotaging European monetary policy by attacking the European Rate Mechanism (ERM) through a highly leveraged speculative assault on the British pound, forcing its devaluation and ERM breakup, making a billion dollars in short order on this scheme alone.

He made billions more from the 1997 East Asian currency crash, profiting from global turmoil. 

Backing Hillary in 2016, he financed anti-Trump protests, including hooligans disrupting some of his campaign events, using violence and other dirty tricks to turn voters against him – unsuccessfully as things turned out.

All the money and mischief he aimed at Trump failed to put Hillary in the White House where he wanted her, easily bought to serve his interests.

Moscow’s Prosecutor General earlier called his Open Society Institute and Open Society Institute Assistance Foundations “threat(s) to Russian national security and constitutional order.”

MoveOn.org is a Soros front group, involved with other dubious NGOs, their activities serving his interests.

In 1998, he called for a “comprehensive political and military strategy for bring down Saddam Hussein.” Five years later, Bush/Cheney’s aggression obliged him.

He supports global wars for huge profits. He takes credit for “Americaniz(ing) eastern Europe” by exploiting its wealth and people.

He believes “America should be replaced by a world government with a global currency under UN rule.”

He wants national sovereignty replaced by centralized control over money, populations, resources and markets – an undemocratic ruler-serf global society unfit to live in except for rulers and profiteers.

He once said “(w)e need a global sheriff.” Maybe he had himself in mind. He’s one of the world’s worst, profiting from the misery of others.

Naming him person of the year was another black mark on the FT and what it notoriously stands for.

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