Archive | November 10th, 2012

EU wins Nobel Peace Prize

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem Sr

www.lalkar.org

The Norwegian committee that selects the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize have upset one or two people this year with their choice of the European Union (EU) as the recipient of the (supposedly) prestigious prize for 2012.  The EU received the prize for its contribution to “the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.”

In the run up to the announcement there was speculation in the press as to who would win.  This wasn’t merely to fill space in newspapers and on broadcasts but an attempt to try and make the prize seem important to the majority of people who otherwise probably wouldn’t even notice that the prize-giving had taken place.  Luke Harding on guardian.co.uk 12 October at 07.00 BST, named a host of possible winners and quoted the odds given to each of the candidates by bookmakers Paddy Power.  His tips ranged from Gene Sharp (6-4 favourite) to outsider Julian Assange (16-1).  For comic effect he gave the odds of some of the long-shots which included Facebook (33-1) and the EU (40-1)!

The selection has been praised (mainly by EU leaders and supporters), vilified as some kind of lefty/liberal plot to upset right-wingers by the Telegraph, UKIP members and Tory grandees, laughed at with incredulity by various journalists and semi celebrity commentators.  There was even booing and shouts of derision from the assembled press and media representatives as the Chairman of the Nobel Committee, Thorbjoern Jagland made the announcement.

To the Greek, Spanish, Irish and Portuguese masses suffering under strict austerity measures it must seem increasingly like the EU that their countries are members of is waging a war of attrition on them!  And the austerity measures being used by European governments to try and get out of the current crisis of overproduction that is an unavoidable part of capitalism is in many ways just that, a war of attrition against the poor by the capitalist rulers and owners of wealth and all who create it.   This attack on the masses is certainly not a promotion or protection of their human rights, and the understanding of this is spreading across the working masses who live in Europe as, country by country, they are called upon to give up everything to save the maximum profits and fabulous wealth of their masters.

Of course the EU leaders are not only involved in bringing misery to those who live in Europe: the sanctions placed on Iran, to name but one victim, have led to many shortages, causing poverty and therefore deaths.  The individual countries that make up the EU have their own catalogues of violent intrusions into the affairs of sovereign countries which are far too numerous to show here in full but here is a small example of the recent ones:

1. The break up of Yugoslavia and the wars that followed cannot be attributed solely to US imperialism – Germany and Britain played major roles in the destruction of that sovereign country, parts of which have now been sucked into the EU.

2. British imperialism was right there at the side of US imperialism at every stage of the planning and implementation of the terroristic invasions and all-out wars on Afghanistan and Iraq.

3. French and British imperialism played a massive role in the destruction and pillage of Libya and is doing so in the covert war by proxy on Syria, while other European countries are also involved in that to a greater or lesser degree.  This includes Switzerland, a country that constantly promotes itself as a peace-loving neutral state.

4. The majority of EU member states are well known arms dealers.  The arms are developed and produced by national or multi-national companies within the EU and ministers of the various national governments, or sometimes of the EU government itself, help to sell them to ‘friendly’ regimes.

Of course there are many ways to destabilise and impoverish other countries. In the 1990s, EU fishing fleets overfished and dumped toxic waste in the sea around Somalia, totally destroying the fish stocks off the Horn of Africa. The result was to drive desperate former Somali fishermen to resort to piracy to feed their families. There are estimates that EU fleets stole five times the commercial value of fish from Somali waters that Somalia receives in ‘foreign aid’ each year.  But economically devastating poor countries and leaving the people of said countries with the stark choice of starving or picking up a gun is what imperialism does – and then the EU super-parasites have the temerity to call the Somali pirates ‘parasites!  Only the mentally deranged could call this the promotion of peace.

In his will, Swedish industrialist and inventor, Alfred Nobel, stated that the Peace Prize should be awarded to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” It was later on that institutions, as opposed to “persons”, were included as possible prize recipients.  Even if we were to accept that Alfred Nobel may have meant institutions as well when he said “the person”, the question must arise as to what is an institution? Surely to win this prize even an ‘institution’ must have all the “persons” within it working (or professing to be working) for a common cause, i.e., peace, etc?  Can anyone say that to award a peace prize to the European Union is in any way in line with the rather obvious spirit in which Alfred Nobel set out his wishes?

So far we can say without any doubt that the EU is neither peaceful nor is it working for peace.  We can equally say that the EU does not, cannot, qualify as a candidate, let alone winner, of this prize if the original instructions as set out by Alfred Nobel are applied.

So the last question must be does the Nobel Peace Prize have any relevance?  We would argue that on many occasions the committees that make the decisions have ripped to shreds the credibility of this prize, to the extent that it now stands stark nakedly exposed as a tool/weapon of imperialism.  This assertion of course requires some proof if we want it to be taken seriously and for that purpose we will look at some of the previous winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.

1. The prize has often been used to attack socialist countries, as happened when it was given to Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident who was working to destabilise and break up China under the guise of ‘human rights.’  This was in 2010 amid many anti-China stories being run through the imperialist media.  Likewise in 1989 the prize went to the Dalai Lama to help keep his anti-China campaign in the limelight.

2. In 1975 Andrei Sakharov, the Soviet dissident, was given the prize when all he wanted was the break-up of the Soviet Union and the return of capitalism at a faster rate than did the revisionists who by that stage had control of the Kremlin.

3. The leader of the forces of capitalist restoration in Poland, Lech Walesa, got the prize in 1983 when he had made no contribution to peace at all – on the contrary, all his efforts were designed to fool the Polish workers into believing that a future of milk and honey awaited them if they just overthrew their government and fully restored capitalist oppression to Poland.

4. The arch revisionist and destroyer of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, won the prize in 1990.

5. Amnesty International also received this prize in 1977 for their anti-Soviet lies and rumours that helped drive people in the West away from any real understanding of the socialist countries.

6. In 1973 the prizewinners were named as Henry A. Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, the respective negotiators of the US and Vietnamese delegations at the peace meetings to end the Vietnam War.  At this time Kissinger was actually overseeing the secret bombing of Laos.  Comrade Le Duc Tho declined the prize.

7. In 2009 the prize went to Barack H. Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”. This was quite breathtaking as his only achievement at that date was getting elected as President of the USA.  He had already declared, however, that he was trying to get out of the Iraq war, but that he would be stepping up the predatory war against Afghanistan.  That is not exactly by anyone’s measure  the promotion of peace, unless, of course, the reference is to the peace of the grave that US imperialism has extended to so many people from so many races in every corner of the world.

The only real peace for the peoples of the whole world will come when the system of imperialism has been thrown off and finally buried.  Then we will build a sane world and we won’t need any prizes except the happy smiles on the faces of children who will never know, as they do now, the pain of hunger while warehouses of food rot because no one can afford to buy it.  Children who will laugh and play and not constantly await falling bombs or a drone smashing into them and incinerating their little bodies every time they hear aircraft engines.

The Nobel Peace Prize is not relevant to the struggles of the working classes. If it ever did have any significance or progressive content, this has long since disappeared.

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Capitalism isn’t Working

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem Sr

www.lalkar.org

The government’s Universal Credit scheme will replace housing benefits, jobseeker’s allowance, tax credits, income support, employment and support allowance with a single payment, there will a maximum of £350 per week (including rent) paid to single claimants and maximum of £500 (including rent) for a family of no matter what size. Meaning a family of three and family of ten will get a maximum of £500 (including rent) a week.

Families with children are the new hate-group. Blogs and comment sections of the newspapers are full of Malthusian bile about there being too many people in the world and how people who can’t afford to have children shouldn’t have them, so initially the government thinks it won’t get too much flak for reducing the standard of living, health and life chances of families with children.

They also think they won’t get too much flak, at least altogether in an organised way as this new universal credit scheme won’t come in for everybody at the same time. It will first be “piloted” in parts of north-east England from next April 2013.

The northeast takes in a lot of poor areas with high unemployment but rents are much lower than they are in the south east and only families with children are likely to see a real drop in income. And families with children don’t count as the whole Malthusian faux left who read The Guardian to the Daily Mailers all hate them.

To go back to Universal Credit. Six months after the Northeast pilot, in October 2013, Universal Credit will come into force across Britain for new claimants. Existing claimants will be transferred to the new Universal Credit system in stages up until 2017. By that time Tweedledee may have replaced Tweedledum and this new system may have been replaced by some other benefits cutting plan, but let’s continue looking at Universal Credit for now.

£350 a week welfare (including rent) really does not represent a drop for most single claimants even in London living in a private flat (most of it would go on the rent of course); but £500 a week (including rent) is a real threat to families with children living in the south east (and a few other high-rent spots) . Families with children require a bigger flat/house and a private rent in London would really eat away at the £500 a week, leaving very little over.

What’s a poor unemployed family in London to do? Well sit tight is one option, economise on food, heat and clothing and hope an adequately paid job (or two) will turn up. Move to a smaller  cheaper flat (with too few bedrooms for the number of children). Another option is to move well away from London to Oldham or some other low-rent town (though the jobs will be pretty thin on the ground), or fourthly there is the subversive option (and only works if the family is two parent): in this scenario the parents can officially split up, divide the children between them, rent two different flats and collect a maximum of £500 for each separated parent making a total of £1000 Universal Credit between them; granted most of that would go on the two rents, but there would still be about double the money for food, heat and clothing.

It will be interesting to see when Universal Credit comes in how people with children begin to shift the pieces round the chessboard so they can manage.

News might seep out slowly as opposition to Universal Credit is likely to be muted, partly because it is being introduced in dribs and drabs and partly because it will affect different groups very differently.  Clever bit of Divide and Rule on the part of the bourgeoisie.

A couple of other benefit changes coming in next April (2013) might make more noise. The cutting or removal of council tax benefit has not attracted much attention, It seems pensioners will still get council tax benefit on the present basis, but everyone else (and that includes the working poor as well as the unemployed and disabled) will get their council tax benefit seriously reduced. As this cut is being introduced in one fell swoop, it has a potential to unite, or at least focus the mind.

As for housing benefit, it is being removed completely for under 25’s unless they have a child, whether the threat of being forced to go home to Mummy, sleep on some-one’s floor, (or even out in the street) might make some under 25’s decide to have a quick baby remains to be seen, but it may.

There is another cut to housing benefit; anyone previously on full housing benefit who has an extra bedroom will get their benefit reduced. This largely affects older tenants whose children have grown up and left and some people see this cut as fair because there’s a housing shortage. But please whose fault is it that there is a housing shortage, not the granny with an extra bedroom that’s for sure, and as there is a housing shortage, even if granny would be OK about downsizing how can the granny move into a smaller council flat when there aren’t enough of them to go around either

The one and only answer to the housing problem is more housing, either by building new housing or renovating unused housing. The government is talking about private companies being encouraged to build a few tens of thousands new “units” This country needs 3 million new homes and it needs them now. What the country is actually getting is lots and lots of cuts.

Capitalism anyone? No thanks, it doesn’t work.

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Ford Closures: Making Workers Pay for Capitalist Failure

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem Sr

www.lalkar.org

In Britain…

The announced closure next summer of the Ford Transit van factory in Southampton with the loss of up to 1,500 jobs, plus the closure of part of Fords Dagenham site at the same time, is but the latest convulsion in the global overproduction crisis, a crisis that is nowhere more obvious at present than in the automotive industry. With the world car market saturated and many European production lines running at only 70% of full capacity, competition between rival producers is acute. In their desperation to carve out market share, manufacturers seek to undercut rivals in a frantic price-cutting war which it is anticipated will cost each of the major European manufacturers several hundred million euros in lost profits this year.

Desperate to claw back these losses and hang on to market share, the capitalist can see only one way through: slash labour costs. The same overproduction crisis that drives down the price of cars thus also drives down the price of the labour power sold by the worker. Increasingly the worker is told by the capital: work longer, for less pay, with less pension and degraded working conditions, then just maybe your factory can stay open and your job be saved (for now).

Shamefully, rather than striving to unite the working class behind the common struggle to defeat capitalism and spurning the notion that workers should be made to pay for a crisis for which they are not responsible, the trade unions routinely content themselves with doing sectional deals over redundancies, wages and conditions in the hope of preserving jobs in one place – at the inevitable expense of jobs somewhere else. Such deals, done in the name of “pragmatism”, perfectly complement the divide and rule strategy of the capitalist. It is true that sometimes such deals may temporarily contrive to hang on to some jobs for some of the time, as for example in GM’s Ellesmere Port plant last spring, where Unite sold its members a two year pay freeze as the price for winning a fat order and “saving” the plant. But this stay of execution for Ellesmere Port jobs, hailed by Unite “militant” Len McCluskey as “extremely good news”, comes at a cost.  Workers everywhere will see the downward pressure on wages and conditions intensify with each new such “pragmatic” sacrifice. As David Bailey, Professor of International Business Strategy and Economics at the University of Coventry, told Channel 4 News at the time, GM had played a game of “divide and rule”. “It’s classic for them: you announce you’re going to cut capacity, you don’t say where – and then all parties compete in a race to be the chosen plant.”

Of course, for the Labour party such cosy class-collaboration is right up their street. Back in May Miliband’s shadow industry minister Chuka Umunna kibbutzed on UCATT’s annual conference to cheer on Unite’s performance at Ellesmere Port, urging this as a template for other unions to follow. Vacuously warning that “the voice of protest is important” but “the voice of progress must be heard as loudly too”, he extolled the virtues of union members as “wealth creators for this country”, telling delegates that “We must be shouting your success from the rooftops in helping business to succeed, in helping people to get on, to meet their aspirations. Like GM’s recent announcement that it will build a new generation of Astra cars at Ellesmere Port – I went on television to say this was a shining example of trade unions as a force for economic progress for our country, working in partnership with management and the government.”

The craven message from Labour to workers could not be clearer: sell yourself cheaper, create more wealth for the capitalist, and pray that the capitalist will thank you for saving his skin by letting you keep your job – for now. And what keeps the Labour party living in the style to which it has become accustomed? Why, the subs deducted from millions of union members. Not only are these hapless “wealth creating” wage slaves expected to act as selfless saviours of capitalism, they are also expected to go on funding the same social democratic racket that has more than any other ideological instrument protected capitalist power.

Umunna rubbed the point home himself when he thanked UCATT delegates for giving him his tawdry career: “let me say thank you to each and every one of you for the support this union gave me in the lead up to the 2010 General Election – I would not be standing here as a Member of Parliament, let alone the Shadow Business Secretary, without yours and others’ help.”

Let the working class remedy this shameful situation without delay, breaking the union link with Labour and forging unions which will stop the class retreat preached by the likes of Umunna. Let Ford workers raise the demand that the plants in Southampton and Dagenham be taken into public ownership if Ford cannot run them successfully, and let that demand be taken up on a class-wide basis.

…and in Belgium

The overproduction crisis which is driving the capitalist class offensive is international, and requires a no less international counter-offensive by the working class. A day or two before news of Ford’s UK job cuts broke, a much larger massacre of jobs was announced at Ford’s Genk plant in Belgium. Workers frustrated by do-nothing social democratic union leadership in Britain could learn from the example being set by some militants over there.

In a statement on 24 October, the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB) explained that “4300 jobs at Ford will be eliminated, while another 6000 jobs will disappear indirectly. The municipality of Genk is located in the Belgian province of Limburg, in the midst of a region that was already devastated with the closure of the coalmines some twenty years ago.

“At the beginning of 2010, Opel announced the end of its production in its Antwerp plant, resulting in the loss of 2600 jobs. Four months ago, there was the closure of the PSA (Peugeot-Citroën) factory in Aulnay, France, and the elimination of 8000 jobs. Everywhere, the difficult situation of the European automobile industry is invoked as the reason: too many plants for too small a demand and too high losses.

“But the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB) demands: ‘Why do the workers have to pay for this overcapacity? They are not responsible for this crisis. They are not responsible for the anarchy of capitalist production, based on the search for profit for the few rather than on the satisfaction of the people’s needs.’

“For the Limburg chairman of the PTB, Stany Nimmegeers, the situation is clear: ‘For years on end now, the workers have made sacrifices of all sorts, supposedly in order to assure the plant’s future. In the latest collective bargaining agreement of 2010, they even lost 12% of their salary. It has been 50 years now that the workers of Genk have produced cars of a very high quality, resulting in enormous profits for the shareholders. In 2011, Ford realized a record worldwide profit of 8 billion euro. Just like PSA and Opel, Ford wants to make the workers bear the brunt of the crisis. With as a consequence the further decrease in their purchasing power and thus less consumption, leading to even more overcapacity in the long run… In 50 years’ time, Ford has received such an amount of State subsidies, paid with the Belgian taxpayers’ money, and Ford has made such an amount of profit with the sweat of the Limburg workers, that this plant in fact belongs to the workers. The public authorities need to seize the plant.’”

Such an approach clearly strikes a chord with the working class in Genk, where the party obtained 8.6% of the vote in recent municipal elections, returning three communist councillors.

The party has declared its support for the unions’ fight, beginning with a 24 hour strike in Genk, the only Ford plant in Limburg that is still operational.

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KENYA: Victims of British brutality and torture allowed to go to court

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem Sr

www.lalkar.org

In the June issue of Proletarian, issue 48, (The Kenya Papers) it was reported that four elderly Kenyans seeking justice and recompense for the torture they suffered at the hands of the British in the 1950s have helped uncover hidden evidence of the brutality of British rule across all its ‘dominions.’  The evidence was in the form of colonial papers brought to Britain before Kenyan independence, of which the government originally denied the existence but which were uncovered after historian, Professor David Anderson, expert witness for the litigants in the case against the British Crown, gave evidence of having seen the papers at Hanslope and provided various details about them.

Unfortunately the most damning evidence of British torture and murder had been destroyed, with only relatively low level information sent back to Britain – but that may be more than enough to prove the case for the three  Kenyans who are still proceeding with their cases (one has withdrawn his claim).

The article told the tale of rampant thievery of land, and anything else that wasn’t nailed down, extreme torture and murder on an enormous scale by British troops and colonial militias.  Kenyans, especially from the Kikuyu tribe who had held the best land, were the main targets of British atrocities although other tribes were also treated with bestial disregard.  That the Kikuyu, organised into the Land and Freedom Army, fought back against being expelled from their lands brought the British colonial regime to bloody frenzy.

Many ‘historians’ and apologists for the British racist rulers of Kenya often refer to the worst ‘excesses’ of Britain’s forces as being a response to horrible ‘Mau Mau’ (as the British dubbed the patriots of the Land and Freedom Army) ‘atrocities’ or at ‘best’ they claim that ‘both sides were as bad as each other’.  The Proletarian article rubbishes these unproven claims and points out facts such as Governor Evelyn Baring’s dispatch, for the purpose of slaughtering freedom fighters, to the forests of “Lincoln bombers to carry out a programme of indiscriminate carpet-bombing. Between June 1953 and October 1955 the RAF conducted over 900 sorties and dropped nearly 6m bombs. Lack of time and a dearth of reliable intelligence meant bombing was rather haphazard, but many people living in the forests had been killed or wounded by air attack by June 1954.”  He did this careless of the fact that the overwhelming majority of the people being killed in the forests were among the thousands of innocent refugees who had sought refuge there form British barbarities.

Governor Baring wasn’t satisfied with that amount of murder and mutilation and the next phase of his “backlash consisted in rounding up even more Kenyans, stealing their land and livestock as he did it, and forcing ever more people into concentration camps and work camps, where mass ‘screenings’ took place. Violent interrogations and torture (including “most drastic” beatings, solitary confinement, starvation, castration, whipping, burning, rape, sodomy, and forceful insertion of objects into orifices) were used to extract information and confessions. Those suspected of being Mau Mau, or who had had confessions beaten out of them, could be hanged. More than a thousand Kenyans were executed on the basis of this ‘evidence’.”

As far as equality in violence goes the figures tell the story: of the 50,000 deaths that can be attributed to the ‘emergency’, more than half were from disease and malnutrition in the many vast concentration camps that the colonial rulers called ‘villages’. At least half of those who died in that way were children under the age of 10.

Of those who didn’t die of disease or malnutrition, the British probably killed in excess of 20,000 ‘Mau Mau’ or suspected ‘Mau Mau’. For their part, the liberation fighters killed fewer than 2,000 Kenyans, overwhelmingly agents of the British government, while 32 Europeans and 26 Asians were also killed.  If this is any kind of ‘parity’, the lives of Kenyans are shown to be worth very little against the lives of Europeans in the minds of those in charge of the ‘outposts’ of the British Empire.

An article in the Morning Star (MS) on 7 October 2012 entitled ‘Historic Court win for Empire torture victims’ by Paddy McGuffin tells how Wambugu Wa Nyingi, Jane Muthoni Mara and Paulo Muoka Nzili have at long last won the right to sue the British government for their suffering after the British Governments lawyers, who have been twisting and turning trying to deny any British liability for the horrors suffered by Kenyans during British rule lost this last argument as well.

Amazingly, the British government’s first response to the legal moves by the surviving Kenyan victims to sue for compensation was to claim that the Kenyan government, as the successor through independence to the colonial administration, should be sued as they were now responsible.  Even a British bourgeois judge could see how ludicrous that was and dismissed the British government’s objection to the case being heard.  The next argument of the lawyers representing HM Government seeking to get the case disallowed was to claim that too much time had elapsed to get a ‘fair trial’ as most of the individuals accused were long since dead and could not defend themselves.

That Morning Star edition of 7 October also mentioned this in its editorial which finished with the words; “Our government which feels free to pontificate to other states on human rights abuses, is resorting to procedural nitpicking in order to sweep these crimes under the carpet. It is immaterial whether the individuals who gave the orders, who held sway in Britain’s colonies and who covered up these and similar atrocities, are alive or dead.  Their actions were fully in line with the iron fist of British colonialism revealed from the days of slavery, the 19th century scramble for Africa and the desperate bloody effort to hold on to empire’s ill-gotten gains.

“The names of individuals matter less than honest acknowledgement of the scale of human suffering visited on a third of the world so that a tiny social elite could become very rich, with crumbs from the rich men’s table finding their way to an aristocracy of labour to secure its collaboration with the ruling class.….”

There is nothing in this quote we would argue with but we would ask the Morning Star and the CPB whose programme the MS follows, if you now understand that British imperialism plundered much of the world and that the crumbs of this plunder was used to buy the “aristocracy of labour” to collaborate with the ruling class just who do you think that “aristocracy of labour” is?  If, as we do, you think it is to be found in the Labour Party and the trade-union bureaucracy that is Labour controlled, why do you continue to try to spread illusions that the Labour Party is somehow ‘better’ than other bourgeois parties?

We wish these three elderly Kenyans every success (although the government could well find other reasons to try get the case dismissed) and we declare our hope that the peoples who suffered under British rule follow them to highlight to the world just what it means to be occupied under British Rule.

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Even in cases of extradition to the No 1 imperialist aggressor there is no equality

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem Sr

www.lalkar.org

The extradition of British citizens to the US for trial on charges which do not relate to them personally committing any crime in the USA, or even, in many cases, ever having been in the US, is an affront to natural justice and another example of the biggest bully in the playground making the rules up as he goes along – with the total acquiescence of  the lesser bullies.

Recently we have seen the Home Secretary, Theresa May, break the long time habit, built up since the 2003 the Extradition Act was agreed with the US by the then Labour government without any debate, of accepting without question any ‘request’ from the US to have any UK citizen dragged over the Atlantic in chains.

Gary McKinnon, (hacking name ‘Solo’) accused in 2002 of committing the biggest military computer hack of all time, has never denied either the hacking of US military computer systems from his girlfriend’s aunt’s house in London or that he left messages on them.  It seems many ‘hackers’ are prone to autism or autism makes them prone to hacking – either way Gary McKinnon has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and depression.

The charge sheet, according to US imperialism, of hacking into 97 United States military and NASA computers over a 13-month period between February 2001 and March 2002 includes

1) That he deleted critical files from operating systems shutting down the US Army’s Military District of Washington network of 2,000 computers for 24 hours.

2) That he posted a notice on the military’s website: “Your security is crap”.

3) Following the September 11 attacks, he deleted weapons logs at the Earle Naval Weapons Station, rendering its network of 300 computers inoperable and paralyzing munitions supply deliveries for the US Navy’s Atlantic Fleet.

4) Copying data, account files and passwords onto his own computer.

US imperialism claims that the cost of finding and solving the problems he caused was over $700,000.

And yet his extradition to the tender mercies of US imperialism’s brutal prison regime has been blocked.  We certainly are not complaining that this man will not now taste US penal hospitality but why have others been forced to take the trip that he has now been spared?

It cannot be because his crimes, if indeed he is guilty of anything, were only carried out in Britain because Abu Hamza is not accused of doing anything in the US and, indeed, has also never been to that country.  That goes also for Babar Ahmed and Talha Ahsan also taken to the US on the same day as Abu Hamza just 10 days before McKinnon’s extradition was blocked.

Abu Hamza has not admitted the charges made against him and it is widely believed that any evidence against him in Jordan is based on ‘confessions’ of others extracted under torture (such ‘confessions’ being notoriously unreliable).  Such ‘evidence’ as exists in London is very scanty and poor.  Babar Ahmed has never been charged with anything, mainly because of a lack of evidence.  The Metropolitan Police have collected some information, they say, on Babar Ahmed, but this will never see the light of a court in this country.  It was passed, such as it is, onto the US where ‘evidence’ doesn’t require even as much verification as English courts would demand

So perhaps it is McKinnon’s illness that makes him different, since after all, to quote Theresa May’s words, “Mr McKinnon’s extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with Mr McKinnon’s human rights.”  That sounds suspiciously like someone who understands that in America McKinnon would probably serve the rest of his life in solitary confinement but again, why is she suddenly worried about someone’s suffering at the hands of US imperialism?  She had just sent a group of men to just that fate 10 days earlier knowing full well that they will suffer.

Abu Hamza has diabetes, high blood pressure, psoriasis, no hands and he is blind in one eye.  Yet even in the UK, he was detained in Belmarsh Prison as a Category A escape risk. He has suffered chronic sleep deprivation resulting from hourly night-time checks since 2004, such that he will, in the opinion of a consultant psychiatrist, be unable properly to deal with the details of his case – let alone the fact that he will never see his family again.  Even if they can afford to go to America they will probably be refused visas.

Another extradite, Talha Ahsan, also suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome but that wasn’t a problem for the Home Secretary 10 days earlier.

So is it the colour of the prisoners concerned that makes the real difference?  That certainly seems nearer the mark – and add to that the fact that they are Moslems, militant Moslems at that. All the anti-Moslem prejudices that are being pushed by the news industry, popular media and successive governments have been operating on full power to ensure that these men had no chance of escaping extradition.

McKinnon had plenty of high profile support which was denied to Hamza and co. such as the 80 British MPs who signed an Early Day Motion calling for any custodial sentence imposed by an American court to be served in a prison in the UK (of course, an EDM is not really much support but marginally better than nothing).  In mid-November 2008, the rock group Marillion announced that it was ready to participate in a benefit concert in support of Gary McKinnon’s struggle to avoid extradition to United States. Many other pop stars and celebrities have given Gary verbal support, including Sting, Trudie Styler, Julie Christie, David Gilmour, Graham Nash, Peter Gabriel, The Proclaimers, Bob Geldof, Chrissie Hynde, Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross.  In the political field, support for his campaign against extradition has been voiced by David Cameron, Boris Johnson (Mayor of London), Terry Waite, Tony Benn, Chris Huhne, Lord Carlile, the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party of England and Wales and Liberty.  The Scottish Newspaper The Herald  and The Daily Mail have also supported his right to both a trial and any possible term of imprisonment to be in Britain.  The National Autistic Society can happily support McKinnon’s claim to be allowed to stand trial in the country he lives in and where any possible crime was committed, and yet not a peep has been heard from them in the case of fellow autistic sufferer, Talha Ahsan, when he was handed over to the US..

It doesn’t take a genius to work out why all these people didn’t raise so much as a whisper against the actual extradition of a bunch of Asian, Moslem radicals ten days prior to Gary McKinnon being spared – but for the record, the USA is not the home of human rights, nor is Britain for that matter, but, people who live here and are accused of crimes here should be tried here and if found guilty serve their sentence here where at least their families can keep some contact.

Posted in Campaigns, UKComments Off on Even in cases of extradition to the No 1 imperialist aggressor there is no equality

SYRIA: Lalkar mourns the death of Comrade Wissal Farha Bagdache

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem Sr

 

Lalkar mourns the death of Comrade Wissal Farha Bagdache and sends it heartfelt condolences to the Central Committee of the Syrian Communist Party and close friends and relatives of Comrade Bagdache.   As a mark of our respect we reproduce here the statement issued by the Central Committee of the Syrian Communist Party, on 21 October, in this regard.  Editor.

Comrade Wissal Farha Bagdache, the president of Syrian Communist Party, has passed away

The Central Committee of Syrian Communist Party mourns Comrade Wissal Farha Bagdache, the president of Syrian Communist Party, who has passed away on Sunday 21st October 2012.

Comrade Wissale Farha Bagdache was born in 1930 and joined the Syrian Communist Party in 1945. She had been elected as a member of the Syrian Parliament 4 times as deputy of the Syrian Capital City ‘Damascus’.

The Central Committee of Syrian Communist Party elected her as General Secretary of the Central Committee in 1995 after the 8th Congress of the Party.

The 11th Congress of the party in 2010 elected her as president of the Party.

In this sad moment, the Syrian Communists emphasise their steadfastness in the struggle under the banner of Marxism – Leninism and Proletarian Internationalism, and for Defending the Homeland and defending the interests of the people.

Syrian Communist Party, Central Committee

http://www.syriancp.org

syriancommunistparty@gmail.com

Posted in SyriaComments Off on SYRIA: Lalkar mourns the death of Comrade Wissal Farha Bagdache

Hail Chávez’s Electoral Victory

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem Sr

www.lalkar.org

Hugo Chávez and the ‘Great Patriotic Pole’ (GPP), the alliance of left parties led by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) – which includes the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) who supported and worked for the Chávez campaign – have won a comfortable victory in the Venezuelan Presidential Elections.  The size of the victory, with Chávez a clear 10 percentage points ahead of his nearest opponent, is significant in a country that doesn’t make voting mandatory and yet secured a turnout of over 80% of those eligible to vote.  This shows the importance that ordinary Venezuelans placed on these elections, rightly perceiving that their future could be very different depending on which way the vote went.

The main opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles, acknowledged defeat quickly, probably against the advice of US ‘advisors’, but it shouldn’t be taken from this that he and the ‘Coalition for Democratic Unity’ (made up of a variety of rightist parties) ‘played fair’ or honourably during these elections.   Henrique Capriles, who refers to himself politically as “left of centre” but is a member of the right wing Justice First Party, although getting 44% of the vote, had most of his support clustered in the three states he managed to win.  Meanwhile Chávez claimed victory in 21 out of the 24 states, including some that were supposed to be opposition strongholds.  Despite these figures, the imperialist press is still referring to this election as ‘close’ and a ‘tight contest with a narrow win for the incumbent’ and this is being done for two reasons:

1. To try and make the result look tenuous – because the one thing Chávez (and those who stand with him) do is to set a terrible (for imperialism) example to the rest of South America, not to mention countries further afield.

2. To support the claims of Capriles that there was a huge violation of normal electoral procedure in regard to press coverage and intimidation of voters (among other things).  The line being ‘suggested’ by the ‘impartial’ imperialist media is that if the elections had been ‘fair’ their man (literally) would have won because it was so close!

Regarding point 1, the facts speak for themselves as the table [A] below shows – all figures taken from the Venezuelan ‘National Electoral Council’ (CNE).  The margins of this result, especially with an 80%+ turnout, if achieved in elections in Britain or the USA, would be called a landslide and a massive mandate for the winning candidate.

As far as point 2 goes, the claims that President Chávez had huge press and TV coverage during these elections that was denied to his main opponent, Capriles, is almost funny, and anyone with any sense of irony will be amused if not amazed by the claims.  Capriles is ‘Washington’s man’ and as such will have had no shortage of money pumped into his campaign both from the wealthy in Venezuela and direct from Washington.  He will have been supplied with up to date technology and advisors on political and media manipulation.  In most countries around the world that are targeted for ‘regime change’ through elections, this is usually enough to get the ‘Washington’s puppet’ into the top job, but Chávez has something most progressive and anti-imperialist governments don’t have: oil!  And lots of it! This his government has diverted away from the grasping hands of imperialism and its puppets so that it can pay for work, food and housing programmes for the poorest in Venezuela.  Also, Venezuela is not isolated from the rest of the world, and the imperialist press is freely available there and their radio and TV channels can be accessed as they broadcast from nearby countries.  Also along with the ‘outside’ advertising of ‘their man’, there are major private TV and radio channels operating within Venezuela giving total support to Capriles.  That Chávez appeared on the State TV regularly is hardly surprising either, as he is involved with many news items etc. on many subjects not just the elections.  In fact one dirty trick of the Capriles camp proves that there were internal Venezuelan TV channels supporting him.  In early July 2012 Capriles published a document allegedly showing that the government had ordered all military personnel not to view private television networks. The publication coincided with a political TV advertisement that Capriles was running at the time aimed at the military.  The document was proved by state-run news agency Agencia Venezolana de Noticias to be a crude forgery, showing the document alongside the original and highlighting the changes.  Based on non-classified military order 4926 from September 2011, the document had been re-dated to 31 July but was published several weeks before that date, still bearing the original signature of the minister of defence in September 2011, Carlos José Mata Figueroa (who had been replaced in January 2012). The document bore the original document number, and had the “not classified” stamps replaced with “confidential”, but retained the original “NOCLAS” (“not classified”) classification mark.  The source of the document was not identified but all the imperialist countries have large military/espionage departments dealing with dirty tricks of this type and US political ‘advisors’ to Capriles would certainly be aware of how such things would work.

Another ‘trick’ that certainly had the fingerprints of the CIA all over it had been carried out earlier in March 2012 when at a Capriles rally, a group of armed men began firing guns “in an apparent effort to break up the rally”. According to news reports, five people were injured, including the son of an opposition member of the National Assembly of Venezuela. Capriles was subsequently taken safely from the scene. Journalists for TV channel Globovisión had been covering the rally; according to reporter Sasha Ackerman, both she and her cameraman were threatened by the armed men, who confiscated their equipment and footage of the shootings. A Globovisión statement the next day tried to claim that the armed men were PSUV supporters, saying “These groups wore red shirts identifying them with a political tendency. More importantly, it was an armed and organized group that fired weapons against people”. Venezuela’s justice minister, Tarek El Aissami, said that the attacks were perpetrated by opposition supporters “to generate this show”, while some witnesses said that Capriles’ bodyguards “were the ones to start shooting”. The state news service Agencia Venezolana de Noticias reported that a local resident said that a group of individuals arrived on motorbikes, changed from yellow shirts to red in front of her house, and then began shooting.

Opposition supporters had been violently attacking journalists at opposition campaign events, including reporters for local public station Catatumbo Television at an event in Zulia, and reporters for VTV at events in Aragua, Tachira and Barinas.

It is well know that President Hugo Chávez has had cancer and during the election received treatment for cancer in Cuba including radiation, chemotherapy, and two operations.  Venezuelan journalists sympathetic to the opposition were busy fueling rumours about Chávez’s cancer claiming that they had access to medical sources.  This was designed to sap the morale of Chávez supporters and make them worry about the wisdom of voting for someone who may not even survive the elections.  This sordid speculation was jumped on immediately and taken up with glee by the imperialist media who went into a virtual frenzy about whether Chávez would live through the elections, and there being no clear successor in the PSUV etc, etc.

One thing that neither the Venezuelan opposition nor their puppet-masters in Washington could use for the purpose of dirty tricks and confusion was the ballot itself.

Voters first register themselves by inputting their name, national identity number and thumbprint into a console. They then cast an electronic vote for their preferred party candidate on a touch-screen. Their vote enters the central counting system and is also printed so that they can confirm that it has been recorded properly before putting this hard copy in a ballot box (more than half the contents of which will later be cross-checked with the electronic data to ensure the system has not been hacked).

Voters must then sign a form to confirm they have cast a vote. Before they leave, the little finger on their left hand is marked with indelible purple ink so they cannot return to vote a second time.

This system is 100% fraud proof and has been recognised as such by outside political institutions,” said Luis Guillermo Piedra, of the National Electoral Council, and even former US president Jimmy Carter has described the system as superior to that of the US- although that in itself is no great achievement!  It is this secure system of voting that has really saved Venezuela from the post election result announcement violence that some other target countries have faced from US puppet oppositions who immediately challenge the result and bring their hired mobs onto the streets to take by force what they couldn’t win by the ballot.  Indeed, so used is everyone to that particular scenario that one rabidly right-wing website, The Daily Caller, reported at 8.10 pm, 7 October 2012: “Tanks in the streets as Venezuelan electoral council declares Hugo Chávez victory.” And later at 10.50pm the same day, he declared in terms so laced with hatred that we can only imagine the writer slavering at the thought of a possible violent overthrow of the elected Venezuelan President: “According to the Associated Press, Venezuela’s electoral council has declared that Hugo Chávez beat Henriques Capriles in Sunday’s presidential election with about 54 percent of the vote, despite exit polls showing otherwise.

“Venezuela Twitter users have claimed Chávez’s victory was wrought with election fraud, and that the socialist incumbent president sent tanks into the streets of his country as those exit poll reports showed him losing. A picture of the tanks surfaced on Twitter Sunday evening.

“The British Guardian newspaper reported that Chávez also sent troops armed with AK-47s into Venezuela’s streets to fight against any protests in case unrest came as a result of the news.

Presumably to the chagrin of the half-wit who wrote those words (perhaps the Guardianwriter shared those feelings with him/her?) – but to the relief of most Venezuelans – there was no post election violence.  We have no copy of the above ‘quoted’ exit polls but the pollsters were back and forth all the way through the election and rarely were they all in tandem as the list in table [B] below shows.

‎As for tanks and troops with AK47s on the streets of the capital, pictures relayed through Twitter or any other of the social media can be from anytime sent from anywhere and are no proof of anything!  The Guardian newspaper is a paid up, fully-fledged part of the imperialist lie machine and not the principled teller of the truth that many woolly-minded liberals think it is.  If you can understand why the Sun writes what it does, why can’t you see that theGuardian does exactly the same job but with a different target audience?

But what if tanks and troops were on the streets in case of organised violence from the opposition when they lost through the ballot box?  Has there not been justification enough around the world with the many US backed colour ‘revolutions’?

Wasn’t 2002 justification for such caution remembering when the US used its puppets to remove Chávez in a coup?

That illegal government that took his place for a matter of 47 hours was recognised immediately by the US, and they have not forgiven the Venezuelan masses for rising up ten years ago and putting their elected President back in office.  We shall give the last words on that subject to comrade Chávez: “Let the dogs of the empire bark, that’s their job; ours is to battle to achieve the true liberation of our people.”

Looking now at this latest electoral struggle and victory of Chávez, the parties and organisations that make up the Great Patriotic Pole and the poorest Venezuelan people who support them, we cannot but be impressed.  The imperialists are accusing Chávez of buying votes with the many programmes for the poor, but they themselves have never been against buying votes.  What really upsets them is that if these programmes are bribes, then he is using them all the time whether there is an election or not, and he is using the oil to finance these constant ‘bribes’ to raise the standards of the poor, when any imperialist can see that oil revenues should be invested in the realisation of even greater profits for the wealthiest few – not wasted on the many poor.  However, as impressed as we are with the conduct of President Chávez, there are some who call themselves ‘progressive’ and sit in judgement (not in judgement of the imperialists of course) twittering and writing material for liberal trendies to discuss and eventually to use as excuses for not supporting anti-imperialist struggles.  Such an organisation is ‘Human Rights Watch’.  This group, at a time when the US and its puppets were drooling at the prospect of ending Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, in July this year published a detailed study entitled “Concentration and Abuse of Power in Chávez’s Venezuela,” which claimed to expose the Chávez “regime’s many arbitrary attacks on the judiciary, the media, and human rights defenders.”  Saying of the Venezuelan government’s policies: “At best, much energy, hope, and money are devoted to policies that bring short-term relief to targeted groups at the long-term expense of those groups themselves and all others.”  These pro-imperialist so-called human-rights watchers similarly attacked Gaddafi’s Libya and now attack Syria just of each of these went under the imperialist cosh.  So disgusting is ‘Human Rights Watch’ that only the bourgeoisie, Social-Democratic traitors, revisionists, Trotskyists and assorted cretins would give them any credence at all.

Sincere messages of congratulations have poured into President Chávez from all over the world and comrade Chávez has taken the opportunity, following his re-election, of once again condemning imperialism, especially of the US variety, and of speaking of the barbaric torture and murder of a close friend and comrade, Colonel Gaddafi, at the hands of US and EU mercenaries and puppets.  He once more stated total support for Syria and President Assad as they face terrorist war from those same sources. Returning to the election he had just won, he said: “We didn’t just defeat Capriles. We also defeated an international coalition. This wasn’t just a domestic battle.”

He said voters had been inundated with 500,000 automated messages from the US and Europe urging them to back Capriles.

How much did this cost? Who has the capacity to do such a thing?” he asked. “The great transnational phone companies were supporting Capriles. It was electoral harassment.”

As the State Elections loom, Capriles and other leaders of the Democratic Unity Coalition are now preparing to struggle on behalf of their US masters in the state governor elections in December. They and their US backers were hugely disappointed at winning a majority vote in only three of Venezuela’s 24 states on 7 October, and will now try to win more governorships, hoping to chip away at Chávez’s popular influence.  We wish the Venezuelan people and their elected President, Hugo Chávez, every success in destroying the dreams of the reactionaries yet again.

TABLE A

Candidate

Party Votes %
Hugo Chávez Great Patriotic Pole 8,136,964 55.25
Henrique Capriles Democratic Unity Roundtable 6,499,575 44.13
Reina Sequera Workers’ Power 69,533 00.47
Luis Reyes Authentic Renewal Organisation 8,169 00.05
María Bolívar United Democratic Party for Peace 7,339 00.04
Orlando Chirinos Party for Socialism and Liberty 4,105 00.02
Valid votes 14,725,685 98.11
Invalid/blank votes 284,899   1.89
Total 15,010,584 100.00
Registered voters/turnout 18,606,798 80.67

 

TABLE B

Established Venezuelan pollsters

Voting intention (%)
Pollster Publication date Chávez Capriles Radonski
Hinterlaces Jan 2012 50 34
IVAD Feb 2012 57 30
Hinterlaces Mar 2012 52 34
IVAD Mar 2012 56.5 26.6
Consultores 21 Mar 2012 46 45
Datanálisis Mar 2012 44.7 31.4
Varianzas April 2012 49.3 45.1
GIS XXI May 2012 57 21
Varianzas May 2012 50.5 45.7
GIS XXI June 2012 57.0 23.0
Consultores 21 June 2012 47.9 44.5
Hinterlaces June 2012 51 34
Consultores 21 July 2012 45.9 45.8
IVAD July 2012 54.8 32.9
Varianzas July 2012 50.3 46.0
Datanálisis July 2012 46.1 30.8
Hinterlaces July 2012 47 30
GIS XXI Aug 2012 56 30
Varianzas Aug 2012 49.3 47.5
Hinterlaces 16 Aug 2012 48 30
Datanálisis 20 Aug 2012 46.8 34.2
Consultores 21 24 Aug 2012 45.9 47.7
IVAD 2 Sept 2012 50.8 32.4
Hinterlaces 6 Sept 2012 50 32
Consultores 21 19 Sept 2012 46.2 48.1
Datanálisis 24 Sept 2012 47.3 37.2
Hinterlaces 25 Sept 2012 50 34

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Afghanistan: 11 years of imperialist brutality and of heroic Afghan resistance

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem Sr

www.lalkar.org

7 October 2012 marked the eleventh anniversary of the start of the US-led predatory war in Afghanistan.  Following the 9/11 events in New York and Washington in 2001, in which 2,977 people were killed, and using these events as a pretext for a war long in preparation, the US and other imperialist countries and their satellites invaded Afghanistan and overthrew its legitimate government, calling this barbaric war of pillage and spoliation ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’.

Losses of Afghan and Iraq wars

Not content with one illegal war of aggression, and puffed up by its apparent early successes, the US, leading a coalition of the willing, the coerced and the subservient, marched into Iraq in ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’, lacking even the shred of a pretext, let alone a cause, for the war against Iraq.  It managed to overthrow the Iraqi regime, capture its head of state, Saddam Hussein, and have him subsequently subjected to judicial murder in a kangaroo court lacking all credibility.

The latter war lasted 8 years and 8 months.  By December 2011, when the main body of aggressor troops left, 4,486 US and 318 non-US soldiers had been killed in Iraq.  Operation Enduring Freedom, the longest war in US history, marches on and is not due to wind down  until the end of 2014.  By the beginning of October 2012, the Afghan war had claimed the lives of 3,196 aggressor troops, 2,130 of them Americans and 433 British.

Thus, these two wars have so far claimed the lives of 8,000 soldiers of the invading armies. In addition, 6,500 veterans are documented as committing suicide each year; that is, 18 veteran suicides every day (one every 80 minutes), according to the Department of Veteran Affairs. Even on the assumption that a mere half of the veteran suicides can be attributed to the veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and extra 36,0000 deaths would have to be included in the total casualty lists.  Let it be remarked in passing that, for every successful suicide attempt, 20 failed attempts are made.

In comparison with the loss of human life suffered by the victims of these imperialist wars, the imperialist losses simply fade into insignificance.  By 2007, the Iraq war had claimed the lives of 1.5 million Iraqis according to the British Opinion Research Business Survey.  Even though this war carried on for a further 5 years, no new studies were undertaken to get an up-to-date figure for the loss of Iraqi lives, most probably owing to intense US opposition.

As to the economic cost, at the start of the Iraqi war in 2003, former president George W Bush guessed that the wars would cost $50-$60 billion.  Actually, however, a 2011 study by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies estimated the cost of the wars to be $4.4 trillion, excluding medical costs for injured veterans or reconstruction aid to Afghanistan. And these wars have been conducted on tick, as is only too obvious from the spiralling US public debt which, from being $6.4 trillion in March 2003, had risen by 1 October 2012 to $16 trillion.

As for material damage to Iraq, a country which prior to the first Gulf War had a standard of living comparable to that of Spain, it has been all but destroyed, with its infrastructure, health and education system in tatters – thanks to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

‘Achievements’ of Operation Enduring Freedom

Confining ourselves to Afghanistan, here are the shameful achievements of Operation Enduring Freedom:

1. 3 million Afghans made refugees, accounting for a third of the global refugee populations;

2. Life expectancy reduced to a mere 48.1 years, the fifth lowest in the world; and Afghanistan is one of only five countries in which female life expectancy is below that of male life expectancy;

3. Infant mortality at 134 per 1,000 live births is the highest in the world, with maternal mortality rates being the second highest in the world;

4. 75% of the population is illiterate, with female illiteracy rates higher still;

5. As regards the status of women, a husband has the right to beat his wife with impunity. Under new legislation being promoted by the Karzai government, it will be illegal for a woman to go out without being accompanied by a male or to be in the same workplace as men, or for women to be shown on television in the same room as men – so much for women’s liberation under the benign heel of the occupation forces!

6. According to Bashir Sarwari,  head of the mental heath department, half the Afghan population suffers from psychological problems wrought by the conditions of war to which the Afghans have been subjected by the freedom-loving imperialist powers and their armies of occupation;

7. Heroin production is double that of 2002;

8. GDP per capita is a miserable $528.

This then is the hideous reality consequent upon 11 years of imperialist war and occupation, undertaken in the name of democracy, human rights, status of women, peace, prosperity and the rule of law!

In an attempt to ensure its own domination, and safeguard the selfish interests of the robber barons of monopoly capitalism, imperialism has pressed into service the most venal and degenerate elements of Afghan society, who act as traitors to their motherland in return for being allowed to indulge in corruption and drug dealing on an industrial scale.

Since 2002, Afghanistan has been the recipient of $60bn in civilian aid.  As was to be expected in a country rated as the world’s third most corrupt, these vast amounts, instead of being used to benefit the Afghan people, as the Karzai government had promised, have largely lined the pockets of highly-placed corrupt politicians, officials and warlords. According to the Deputy Governor of the Afghan Central Bank, up to $8bn a year is regularly smuggled out of the country. Zia Masood, former Vice President, not so long ago flew into Dubai with $52m.  The present Afghan ambassador to Britain, Mohammed Daud Yaar, is accused of fraud by the US authorities.  Not surprisingly, he secured his appointment through intense lobbying of the Afghan President.

In 2005, 9 tons of heroin were discovered in the office of a close ally of Karzai, Mohammed Akhunzada, who later entered the Afghan Senate.  The following year (2006), heroin was found in the car of Haji Zahar Qadir, who at the time was being considered by Karzai to be the head of the border police.  Presently he is one of the leading figures in the lower house of the Afghan parliament.

More than two-fifths of foreign aid, presumably for the benefit of the Afghan people, finds its way back to the western accounts of the scoundrels running Afghanistan on behalf of their imperialist masters.  In July 2012, an international conference in Tokyo agreed to supply Afghanistan with $16bn of development aid over a 4-year period in an effort to achieve a semblance of stability and thus protect the interests of its imperialist occupiers.  Doubtless most of this money, as in the past, will find its way into the pockets of a small coterie of corrupt stooges who carry out imperialism’s behests and befoul  the Afghan body politic.

No wonder then that these stooges are totally isolated from the Afghan masses and spend their lives in splendid isolation, grabbing whatever they can while the occupation lasts.

Imperialism facing defeat

For all the massive deployment of troops, drone attacks, night raids, use of the utmost brute force and torture, resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of Afghan lives, imperialism  is facing defeat in Afghanistan.  It has been forced to accept that Afghan forces would take over lead responsibility for security from the middle of 2013, and that most of the imperialist soldiery would leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. These decisions were made by the 28-member warmongering Neo-Nazi  Nato alliance at its meeting in Chicago on the weekend of 19-20 May 2012.  In their statement, the Nato leaders said that the decision to draw down forces was irreversible – thus signalling the beginning of the end of a very unpopular war.

As a matter of fact, Nato, realising the impossibility of winning this war, has for some time been adopting the strategy of training Afghan security forces with a view to transferring security and combat operations to the local forces trained and mentored by officers from the imperialist countries, that is, the strategy of using Afghans to fight against Afghans.  Seeing through this strategy, the patriotic elements in the Afghan forces,  closely coordinating in all probability with the resistance, have hit back with the tactic of what has come to be known as Green on Blue attacks, whereby Afghan soldiers, or members of the resistance wearing Afghan army or police uniforms, turn their guns on Nato soldiers.  Such attacks have claimed the lives of 51 Nato troops in the first 10 months of 2012, bringing the death toll in such attacks to 109 since 2007.

Consequent upon an alarming increase in such attacks, and in response to “elevated threat levels”,  Nato on 18 September 2012 announced that it would restrict partnership and mentoring with Afghan National Security Forces below battalion level – a move that undermines Nato’s ability and willingness to train Afghan forces in sufficient numbers to be able to take over responsibility for national security by the end of 2014.  Not without reason did John Baron of the ruling Conservative Party observe that the change “threatens to blow a hole in our exit strategy, which is heavily reliant on these joint operations continuing”.

Already on 21 January the former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, had threatened to withdraw French troops from Afghanistan and suspend military training and assistance for its security personnel after the killing of four French soldiers by an Afghan soldier the previous day.  Another eight French soldiers were wounded in these shootings, which were part of a pattern of incidents in which members of the Afghan security forces have killed their supposed mentors and trainers from the imperialist countries.

Sarkozy’s successor, Hollande, has announced that all French troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2012.  Canada and the Netherlands have brought their troops home.  New Zealand has decided to take the same path as France and South Korea, by deciding to withdraw its forces quicker than had earlier been planned.

The majority of the populations of the countries waging this war are opposed to it, in view of which, combined with the fierce resistance of the Afghan people, Nato’s plans to continue the occupation in some reduced form beyond 2014 may, indeed are likely to, end up in smoke.

Only solution – foreign troops must leave

Rory Steward, a Conservative member of the British parliament, a former military officer and one of the very thoughtful military analysts, made this penetrating observation on this score:

But keeping foreign troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 will not secure the country’s future either. Every year since 2004, generals and politicians have acknowledged a disastrous situation, produced a new strategy and demanded new resources. They have tried ‘ink-spots’ and ‘development zones’; counterinsurgency and nation-building; partnering and mentoring; military surges, civilian surges and reconciliation. Generals and ministers called 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 ‘decisive’ years in Afghanistan. None was. None will be” (‘It is time for the West to be honest about Afghanistan, Financial Times,23 September 2012).

Mr Stewart says that in the absence of “victory”, three alternative strategies have been proposed: training the Afghan security forces; political settlement with the Taliban; and a regional solution.  He rejects them all in the light of the experience of preceding years.  “So,”  he concludes, “there is no military solution, and no political solution either.  Nor will there be before the troops leave”, adding that “what is certain is that foreigners haven’t, and now cqn’t  [provide a solution]”.

It was never going to be the case that the very foreigners who created the problem in the first place by invading Afghanistan, toppling its government, and brutalising its population, could ever be part of the solution.  Afghans do not like their country to be the victim of unprovoked foreign aggression.  They do not like to be bullied in their own country by foreign soldiers.  In this, they are no different from people elsewhere.  In this context we cannot help quoting the following remarks of Rodric Braithwaite, a former Chairman of Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee, written in the course of his review of Losing small wars, a book by Frank Ledwidge, a former military intelligence officer:

And you do not need to be an anthropologist to understand that, like people anywhere, ordinary Afghans do not take kindly to foreign soldiers breaking into their homes at night, insulting their women, turning everything upside down and taking their men away to unknown destinations. When their families are killed by foreign bombs, they are not mollified by the argument that even more civilians are killed by the Taliban. Instead of being divided from the terrorists, they join them part-time. Soldiers may hand out sweets to village children and assure their parents that they come with the best intentions. But hearts and minds are not won.

“It is not only the British who have failed. The French failed for similar reasons in Algeria. So did the Americans in Vietnam…”  (‘The failure of British leadership in Iraq and Afghanistan,Financial Times, 12 August 2011).

Being a former Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, Mr Braithwaite cannot help characterising those belonging to the anti-imperialist resistance in Afghanistan, or anywhere else for that matter, as “terrorists”, nor can he help pinning on them the responsibility for a greater number of Afghan casualties than are caused by the occupying powers who, lacking any support among the Afghan people, can only continue the occupation through brutality, death and destruction – all of which is well documented.  If we put aside these prejudices of his, Mr Braithwaite is right in maintaining that foreign soldiers, knowing what they do, are not best placed to win Afghan hearts and minds.

Be that as it may, as imperialism undertakes the task of withdrawing the bulk of its forces from Afghanistan, it is faced with yet another nightmarish problem, that is, the logistics of this withdrawal.

Spectre of Dr Brydon

Invading Afghanistan and toppling the Afghan regime was easy. The imperialist armed forces marched into the country with a swagger.  Eleven years later, having suffered a most humiliating defeat, their attempt to extricate themselves from the disaster of their own making has all the ingredients of yet another disaster, and turning their exit into an ignominious rout.

In attempting to make an exit from Afghanistan, the Nato forces are haunted by the image of the exhausted Dr Brydon riding a half-dead pony into the garrison town of Jalalabad following Britain’s humiliating retreat from Kabul in 1842.  His skull shattered, he was the lone member of the British army to have escaped death or capture.  No foreign army has ever returned from Afghanistan without being fired on.

It will take a long time to bring back over a quarter of a million soldiers and private contractors presently occupying Afghanistan, as well as the massive amounts of military materiel brought by the invading banditry into Afghanistan.  The scale of the task is self-evident from the following figures:

1. Number of troops to be brought back:  US, 90,000; UK 9,500; others, 29,500 – a total of 129,000.

2. In addition there are 134,000 US logistics personnel who are enlisted as members of the US army.

3. As regards equipment, there are 70,000 trucks, mostly armoured, to be repatriated.  Of these, 49,000 belong to the US army, 3,500 to the British, and 17,500 to other members of this criminal fraternity.

4. On top of these vehicles there is other equipment packed in 120,000 containers, 100,000 of which belong to the US, 11,500 to Britain and 8,500 to others.

The value of all US merchandise of death is conservatively estimated at $49bn, and the cost of resetting this equipment for future use is estimated at $15bn.

Then there is the daily transit fee of $1m demanded by Pakistan, as well as the annual $500m US funding for transit countries of central Asia.

The value of the UK’s equipment is of the order of £4-6bn.  The cost of transporting 11,500 20ft containers to the UK is estimated at £48m, if transported by sea/ground, £96m if transported through of combination of ground, air and rail, or £144m by air.

As to the route for the exit, a glance at the map shows that there is no easy way out.  The most accessible, quickest and cheapest is the port of Karachi to the south.  However, the roads to reach it are made precarious by the intensity of the resistance and the troubled relations between Islamabad and Washington.  The alternative – the northern distribution network through central Asia – too is problematic: it goes through steep avalanche-prone passes, traverses bad roads and treacherous railway lines, presenting an easy target for attacks by forces ready to pilfer from passing convoys. A 5,000km trek through central Asia out to sea via Russia and the Baltic, or across the Caspian region towards the Mediterranean, does not make for a smooth ride.

The potential cost in lives will be huge if things go wrong in the process of withdrawal – either because of attacks by the resistance or of the harsh terrain.  In the words of Carola Hoyes, from whose article ‘Bringing it all back home’ (Financial Times, 17 May 2012), the figures in this section have been taken:

Troops may no longer be riding home on ponies, but Nato faces many of the same hazards as Brydon and previous generations of invaders”.

The spectre of Dr Brydon is haunting Nato as it contemplates the logistics of withdrawal of most of its forces from Afghanistan.

Plans to continue in occupation

Beaten though they are, the imperialists are not proposing completely to  leave Afghanistan any time soon.  The US has concluded the Enduring Strategic Partnership (ESP) agreement with the Afghan government.  Signed by US president Barack Obama and his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, in May 2012, the ESP will allow the US to continue stationing on Afghan soil 20,0000 of its troops, including special forces, until 2024. Under ESP, US armed forces will control air power, in addition to directing the Afghan national security forces through trainers and advisors; and Afghanistan will received $4bn a year in military assistance.  All of this is designed to ensure the long-term US occupation of the country.

Britain, too, will keep 200 special forces personnel, along with 90 officers, to service an elite training academy for Afghan officers.

The US is busy building an intelligence centre for drone warfare, a special operations facility at Kandahar airfield, as well as carrying out a vast extension of the airbase at Bagram and a logistics hub at Camp Marmal on the Uzbekistan/Tajistan border.

Man proposes, God disposes

This, then, is US imperialism’s long-term plan and its attempt to snatch victory out of the jaws of a humiliating defeat.  But, as the old saying goes, Man proposes, God disposes.  Standing in the way of the implementation of this plan are:

1. First and foremost, the continued Afghan resistance to the occupation in any form. If the massive imperialist forces ,with all the firepower and the latest killing machines at their disposal, could not overwhelm the Afghan resistance, it is hardly to be expected that a force of 20,000 will somehow be able to achieve it.

2. Second, there are disagreements within the US military on the correct strategy, and disputes in Washington, both within the political establishment as well as between the political and military elites – not to speak of the rising opposition of the American people to this dirty war.

3. Third, this plan is based on the unrealistic assumption that the Karzai government and its security forces will be able to take over from the occupation regime and the occupation forces.  The corrupt Karzai government is a creation and a puppet of the occupying powers and, as such, enjoys no legitimacy among the masses.  As to the Afghan security forces, they are incompetent and unable to  operate on their own – a third of their members routinely desert shortly after joining, while a significant minority harbour sympathy for the resistance, a sympathy which provides the only possible explanation for the phenomenon of Green on Blue attacks, which have driven an armed truck through Nato’s strategy of stabilising the occupation by reliance on the Afghan National Army and police.

4. Fourth, for Nato’s strategy to succeed, it must secure the full cooperation of the Pakistani government and, more crucially, it must secure the full cooperation of the Pakistani army establishment.  It is most unlikely that Pakistani cooperation will be forthcoming.  Even if, and it is a big if, the Pakistani civilian and military elite were desirous of such cooperation, the Pakistani  masses will oppose it most fiercely, harbouring as they do passionate anti-American sentiments.  The killing of Osama Bin Laden on Pakistani territory by American special forces, who reached their target in violation of Pakistani sovereignty, without as much as informing in advance, let alone securing the consent of, the Pakistani authorities, has compromised the latter and incensed the broad masses of the Pakistani people.

5. Adding further fuel to an already-raging inferno are the continuing American drone attacks within Pakistan.  Since Obama’s accession to the US presidency, there have been in Pakistan over 300 drone attacks, which have claimed the lives of 3,341 innocent people, including 176 children.  The most egregious of these attacks was the one which took place in November 2011, in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were slaughtered while asleep.  A 2010 UN report observed that “the US’s ill-defined licence to kill threatens the rules to the right to life and prevention of extra-judicial killings”. Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial killings, while describing drone strikes as war crimes, has remarked pointedly that “some states want to invent laws to justify new practices”.

Even ignoring other Pakistani interests in Afghanistan, in the light of American conduct it is tantamount to believing in miracles to entertain hopes of Pakistani cooperation in the continued US occupation of Afghanistan.

Conclusion

Although in the end US plans are bound to fail, the war in Afghanistan is set to continue, as is the resistance of the Afghan people to the continued occupation of their country.  The  solidarity movement in the imperialist countries, while taking satisfaction from the defeat suffered thus far by imperialism, and the victories scored by the Afghan national resistance, must not rest complacently.  It must intensify its efforts and mobilise the masses of the working class against the continued war against, and occupation of, Afghanistan.  It must inculcate in the masses the spirit of non-cooperation in every form and it must proclaim loud and clear the slogan:

Victory to the Resistance!

Posted in AfghanistanComments Off on Afghanistan: 11 years of imperialist brutality and of heroic Afghan resistance

Capitalism in Dire Straits

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem Sr

www.lalkar.org

Discovery of ‘fiscal multipliers’

The IMF, famed for its imposition of fierce Structural Adjustment Programmes on countries unfortunate enough to require its assistance to support their economies devastated by the imperialist tribute extracted from them by various ‘international’ financial institutions, has done a 180 degree turn.  Now that it is the imperialist countries themselves that are in trouble, the IMF has suddenly discovered that austerity can cause permanent damage to an ailing economy.

In its annual publication, World Economic Outlook, published in October 2012, it for the first time in its history urged caution in the application of austerity measures.  In justifying itself it uses the quasi-mathematical (QM) language of bourgeois economics which believes that economics is all a question of statistical measurement on which reliable predictions can always be made.  Here is how Martin Wolf of the Financial Times puts the question:

The IMF argues, boldly and controversially, that fiscal multipliers have been far greater than normal in the Great Recession…Its conclusion is that multipliers have been in the range of 0.9 to 1.7, instead of the standard assumption of 0.5. This means that a tightening of, say, 5 per cent of GDP, roughly the cyclically-adjusted tightening expected of Spain between 2009 and 2013, would lower GDP by between 5 and 9 per cent, other things being equal. If anything close to this were true, even the fiscal deficit would fail to improve, as revenue fell and spending rose.” (‘The Fund warns and encourages’, 17 October 2012).

“fiscal multiplier” is QM-speak to describe the inevitable shrinking of the economy that is caused by any slashing of government spending.  Because the economy shrinks, tax returns also shrink (not to speak of the rising cost of unemployment and other social benefits), leaving the government with less money to pay the creditors who had insisted on a higher proportion of government income being used to pay them rather than to provide services for the population.

Raising taxes on the working people has exactly the same effect.  A recent example to illustrate this point is provided by Portugal:

As consumer spending is declining, so too are tax revenues. As part of its 2012 budget, the government anticipated that sales taxes would produce revenues 11.6 percent higher than in 2011. Instead, revenues were down 2.2 percent in the first eight months of this year, as the tax increases suffocate the economy” (see Raphael Minder, ‘Austerity protests are a rude awakening in Portugal’, New York Times, 15 October 2012).  The result is that, despite months of severe austerity (or because of months of severe austerity?), Portugal’s public debt is now a scary 124% of GDP, up from 107% as recently as last April.  Of course, the efforts to impose austerity on the masses do give rise to resistance, even in Portugal:

“The turning point came in September when Mr. Passos Coelho offered a plan to redistribute social security funds by cutting employers’ social security taxes while significantly raising those of employees. Although the measure was meant to lower labor costs, the outcry from workers was so ferocious that he was soon forced to withdraw it.

“But the damage was already done. The misstep is now credited with having rattled the social and political cohesion that had underpinned Portugal’s painful but steady progress”(ibid.).

In fact, the IMF has realised, with deep austerity the shrinkage of tax returns may be so bad that the government in question becomes even less able than it had been originally to service its debts, while being in ever greater need to borrow more in order to maintain essential services.  Even the IMF cannot fail to realise that this is a hiding to nothing for the imperialist creditors whose interests it unfailingly represents.  It therefore advises its constituency: look, it’s better to collect smaller amounts than your entitlement from your debtors rather than to drive them into bankruptcy and get nothing at all.

It seems, however, that the IMF’s reluctantly-discovered common sense is unlikely to influence the creditors’ behaviour in practice. It has, after all, to be remembered that many of the creditors, if they do not receive their entitlements on the due date, are themselves likely to fall behind in meeting their own payments, and facing higher interest payments on their own debts as a result.  For them, to collect their money is a matter of life or death.

This is what explains the explosion of anger expressed by Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, against Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, who is clearly convinced by the arguments of the austerity softeners and would like to see the IMF’s recommended policies implemented.  She came under attack at a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in Tokyo:

Wolfgang Schäuble said Christine Lagarde had appeared to contradict the IMF’s own stance in advocating an easing of austerity, noting that the fund had ‘time and again’ warned that high debt levels threatened economic growth.

 “‘When there is a certain medium-term goal, it doesn’t build confidence when one starts by going in a different direction,’ Mr Schäuble said. ‘When you want to climb a big mountain and you start climbing down the mountain, then the mountain will get even higher’.” (Claire Jones and Peter Spiegel, ‘Schäuble and Lagarde clash over austerity’, Financial Times, 12 October 2012).

Furthermore, while calling for easing their demands on debtors, the IMF apparently sees no contradiction in simultaneously calling on the imperialist countries to “act decisively” to reduce their indebtedness.  How they are supposed to do this without reducing expenditure or increasing taxation (either of which takes demand out of the economy) is not explained:

In a communiqué at the end of a three-day meeting here in Tokyo, the members of the International Monetary Fund warned that global growth was slowing as the persistent debt crises in developed countries dragged down growth in emerging markets. The statement said quick action was needed to ‘break negative feedback loops and restore the global economy to a path of strong, sustainable and balanced growth’.”

Moreover, “The I.M.F. warned that economic stagnation in richer countries hurt poorer ones, which rely on exports to the developed world to lift themselves out of poverty.” (Martin Fackler, ‘IMF urges leaders to act decisively on debt’, New York Times, 14 October 2012).

With even the IMF emitting self-contradictory advice, the general opinion is that the IMF’s suggestions of going easy on austerity are unlikely to be followed:

“…as far as its involvement in rescue programmes for Greece – and potentially Spain and Italy – is concerned, the fund will find it easier to change its mind than its policies. Its junior role in the rescue “troika”, alongside the European Commission and the European Central Bank, means it will have to convince its more sceptical fellow lenders that slower fiscal consolidation would be helpful.

“The WEO section on fiscal multipliers is a very important finding … says Jacob Funk Kierkegaard at the Peterson Institute think-tank in Washington. ‘But it is likely to make only a marginal difference in forward-looking changes to [rescue lending] programmes’ “. (Alan Beattie, ‘Troika a barrier to IMF new fiscal faith’, Financial Times, 12 October 2012).

Since it is Germany which is providing the lion’s share of the rescue money for the ailing banks and governments of the peripheral European countries, if Germany demands tough austerity as a condition of dishing out its rescue funds, then tough austerity it shall be, however disastrous that might be according to ‘fiscal multipliers’ for the debtor nations in question.

Of course, the German economy too is very adversely affected by the reduced budgets of its customers.  Austerity in Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Italy, etc., hurts Germany too. Those operating in capitalist economic crisis are damned whatever they do – but it’s good to blame ‘the irresponsible’, rather than the true culprit – capitalism itself – and to make the scapegoats suffer!  Those capitalists who do survive the crisis will emerge bigger and stronger than ever, so all of them are trying to make sure that they are the ones to survive.

Crisis deepens

The World Economic Outlook had nothing but bad news for capitalism.  It was a question of bad news, more bad news, and yet more bad news.  Here are some of its findings:

(a) For the UK

“The world’s economic watchdog also slashed its forecast for UK growth, in its sharpest downwards revision for any advanced economy. It now expects the UK economy to shrink by 0.4pc this year, instead of growth of 0.2pc as it expected in July.” (see Rebecca Clancy, ‘Austerity has hurt UK growth, says OBR’, Telegraph, 17 October 2012).

In fact, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), applying the concept of fiscal multipliers, has concluded that the effect of the government’s austerity programme is so severe that there can be no hope of reaching debt reduction targets by the time originally envisaged (2015). Indeed, the calculations indicate that the government has under-estimated the cuts needed to reduce public indebtedness (always assuming that this is even possible) to a manageable level by £15bn, i.e., by nearly 20%. This £15bn hole could apparently be plugged by immediately raising VAT to 23%, estimates Chris Giles of the Financial Times ‘UK austerity squeeze set to run until 2018’, 9 October 2012).  But has he taken into account the ‘fiscal multiplier’?

Somewhat unexpectedly the UK avoided a double-dip recession in the third quarter of 2012 by showing 1% growth for the period.  However, most financial analysts are attributing this to a one-off Olympics boost, and are warning of continued weakness in the British economy that is likely to lead to a triple-dip if not a quadruple-dip recession in months ahead.

(b) For the Eurozone

Growth is forecast at -0.4% in 2012 and 0.2% in 2013 (although 0.7% had been predicted last July).  In Germany growth is predicted at 0.9% both for 2012 and 2013, whereas Spain is predicted to shrink by 1.5% this year and 1.3% next.

Of course, if things are bad in general for the eurozone, the so-called peripheral countries, Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Portugal, who have to date been worst hit by the crisis and have had to apply for financial support of different kinds from the various international financial institutions, are by far in the worst straits.  When Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, visited Athens in October, the New York Times commented:

Three years of spending cuts imposed largely at her insistence have reduced Greece’s gross domestic product by a staggering 25 percent and wrecked its mainstream political parties” (Editorial, ‘Mrs Merkel goes to Athens’, 11 October 2012). Unemployment in Greece is now 24% and 50% for young people!

As for Spain, not only has unemployment just officially hit 25% (51% among the young) but “The indicators are grim: Cement production has reached its lowest level since the 1960s. Car sales are down 37 percent from last year. And on weekdays the public squares of Madrid are filled with the unemployed — young and old — whiling away the hours.

“Even the wealthy are feeling the strain. In the boat slips of Barcelona, ‘For Sale’ signs hang on nearly every moored yacht.” (Landon Thomas Jr, ‘Spain waits, and Europe frets’, New York Times, 16 October 2012).

Spain’s one consolation, if such a thing can be a consolation is that:

In terms of national debt, Spain is nowhere near as badly off as nearly bankrupt Greece, whose debt burden is nearly 200 percent of the size of its economy. In Spain’s case, the number is 90 percent — the same as France’s.

As it turns out, this is not much consolation: “The main worry is not the size of the debt, though, but how quickly it has been amassed. By next year, when it is expected to rise to 96 percent, Spain’s debt burden will have grown by nearly one-third since 2011 [and it has been implementing severe austerity measures throughout that period], according to the International Monetary Fund. That rate of debt expansion outpaces every other country in the world and is the result of a plummeting economy, high interest rates and the burden of rescuing Spain’s collapsing banks.” (ibid.)

It is not, however, only the peripheral countries in the eurozone which have problems:

The IMF has warned that unless the eurozone resolves its capital crisis, European banks’ balance sheets will contract severely, further damaging growth and pushing unemployment beyond already record highs in the region.

“In its global financial stability report, the IMF concluded that capital flight from the eurozone’s periphery to the bloc’s core, driven by fears of a break-up of the currency union, had sparked ‘extreme fragmentation’ of the euro area’s funding markets. The fund said this was causing renewed pressure for banks to shrink their balance sheets, particularly those in countries with fiscal woes.

“Delays in resolving the crisis meant that unless eurozone officials beefed up their policy response, European banks would dump $2.8tn worth of assets – more than 7 per cent of their balance sheets – by the end of next year. Banks in the periphery would shed just short of 10 per cent of their assets.

“The deleveraging would weigh on growth and add to increasingly high unemployment levels in the region. Businesses would suffer as bond markets proved unable to plug the gap left by banks.

“‘The expected amount of bank deleveraging is now higher [than forecast in April] because of lower expected earnings, higher losses linked to worsening economic conditions and greater funding pressures on banks’, the fund said. “ (Claire Jones and Michael Steen, ‘IMF warns Eurozone on capital flight’, Financial Times, 10 October 2012).

France is also under pressure, although one hears relatively little about this. On 25 October, one of its big banks, Banque Nationale Paribas had its credit rating downgraded by Standard & Poor’s from double A minus (with a negative outlook) to A plus. The credit rating agencies expect BNP Paribas to be adversely affected by a fall in house prices in France, itself a reflection of economic turbulence.

(c) For ‘advanced’ economies in general

The IMF has revised its forecast for 2013 growth from 2% forecast in April to 1.5%.

(d) For the United States

The scale of America’s fiscal problems was underscored just hours before the meeting in Tokyo, when the Obama administration announced that the budget deficit this year would reach $1.1 trillion, exceeding $1 trillion for a fourth straight year. While that is down from last year, United States deficits had never topped half a trillion dollars before the 2008 financial crisis.” (Martin Fackler, op.cit.)

The result of the crisis of capitalism in the home territory of the richest and most powerful imperialist country in the world is that “For the first time since the Great Depression, median family income has fallen substantially over an entire decade … By last year, family income was 8 percent lower than it had been 11 years earlier, at its peak in 2000 …” (David Leonhardt, ‘Standard of living is in the shadows as an election issue’, New York Times, 24 October 2012).

(e) For ‘emerging’ economies

Taking Brazil as an example, Brazil’s growth is expected to fall to 1.5% for 2012 (as opposed to an estimate made by the IMF only last July of 2.5%), while for 2013 the estimate for growth has been revised downwards from 4.7% to 4%. The story for China and India was similar. China is expected by the World Bank to attain a growth of 7.7% for 2012.  This may sound fantastic, but the figure is seriously down from last year’s 9.3%, and it is the first time this century that China’s annual growth rate has fallen below 8%.

Brazil is particularly angry at US policies of quantitative easing that are pushing up the exchange rate of the Brazilian rial:

Opponents contend that the Fed’s third round of quantitative easing – nicknamed QE3 – has triggered volatile capital inflows into emerging markets, leading to an appreciation of their exchange rates, weighing on trade, and creating threats to financial stability.

“Guido Mantegna, Brazil’s finance minister and one of the Fed’s most vociferous critics … labelled the Fed’s ultra-loose monetary policy as ‘selfish’.” (Claire Jones and Ben McLannahan, ‘Fed chief rounds on stimulus critics’, Financial Times, 15 October 2012).

It is, however, obvious that the US too needs to find ways of boosting its exports, finding ways of reducing unemployment (or at least preventing it from rising any further) if it is to avoid unmanageable social unrest – it has already been under some pressure from the ‘Occupy’ movement.  Its quantitative easing policy is specifically designed to improve the competitivity of its exports on the world market through devaluation of its currency.  This of course does not prevent it from hysterical accusations that China is manipulating its currency – apparently only the US is entitled to do that.  But in actual fact, China does not need to manipulate its currency to be competitive, since the massive inflows of capital into China in recent years have equipped it with most modern and productive machinery.  Combined with lower labour costs, this makes China very competitive in the world markets.

(f) For the world in general

The IMF “foresees global growth of 3.3 percent in 2012 and 3.6 percent in 2013, down from 3.5 percent this year and 3.9 percent next year when it made its last report in July. New estimates suggest a 15 percent chance of recession in the United States next year, 25 percent in Japan and above 80 percent in the euro area.

Financial market stress, government spending cuts, stubbornly high unemployment and political uncertainty continue to dampen growth in high-income countries, the fund said. At the same time, the emerging-market countries that fuelled much of the recovery from the global recession, like China and India, have continued to cool off, with global trade slowing.

“‘The recovery has suffered new setbacks, and uncertainty weighs heavily on the outlook,’ the fund said, warning that its forecasts might be overly optimistic if policy makers in Europe and the United States fail to carry out pro-growth policies. ‘Downside risks have increased and are considerable’.”

Furthermore, “The report found that more than half a billion young people are neither working nor studying, and estimated that the world would need to create about 600 million new jobs in the next 15 years just to keep the unemployment rate constant.”  (Annie Lowrey, ‘IMF lowers its forecast for global growth’, New York Times, 9 October 2012).

Conclusion

We leave it to Chris Giles of the Financial Times (‘Pessimistic prognosis points to more pain’, 9 October 2012) to sum up the conclusions to be drawn from the above:

The International Monetary Fund has raised a question that should strike fear into any finance minister’s heart: will the current global slowdown persist beyond the next couple of years?

“If the answer to the question posed in the World Economic Outlook is Yes, it suggests the potential for growth, in both advanced and emerging economies, has been permanently damaged. People will be poorer than hoped and deficits more difficult to close.”

All the advances of modern science, all the massive increases in productivity, and where do we end up – under capitalism ? In the soup kitchen!

Posted in EducationComments Off on Capitalism in Dire Straits

Aliens Amongst Us

NOVANEWS

 

Mark Glenn

http://theuglytruth.wordpress.com

Doubtless now that he–mass murderer Anders Breivik–has been ‘safely’ put away behind bars, receiving a paltry 21 year sentence for his massacre of 77 innocent Norwegian children (roughly 3.2 months for each murder) people are sleeping a little better, feeling a little safer…

‘Yes’, they tell themselves with believable-to-no-one-but-themselves conviction …‘That wild dog is off the streets now and behind bars where he belongs…Time to move on…’

The problem of course with this misplaced sense of (non-existent) security is that it’s as crazy as Breivik’s behavior itself. The product of mere wishful thinking, there is no reason or rationality in it, given that the singular motivating factor in all of it is raw, visceral fear, pure and simple. The adult version of sucking your thumb and clutching a blankey during a nervous moment, individuals such as these—‘feeling a little better and sleeping a little easier’ because of Breivik’s (let’s not forget—temporary) incarceration—do so only by holding fast to the fantasy that he was/is a lone nut or some sort of societal birth defect that occurs but once in a million.

Reality however is another animal altogether. Breivik is not as much ‘that wild dog’ in the general sense as he is ‘THAT wild dog’ in the specific. The man who lamented the destruction of his beloved white European culture so much that he willingly became an instrument of that same destruction by butchering almost 80 white European children (and simply because of their political views) was neither a lone wolf, a lone nut nor a one man army. Truth be told, the only thing differentiating him from the (as of this moment) unseen & unknown others just like him is the time stamp of his particular ‘event’—July 22, 2011—the day he went off like a time bomb and carried out his mission of killing scores of innocent people.

Yes, that’s right on both points—(1) Breivik is not just one of a few hundred or a few thousand, but rather, one of several million or even hundreds of millions of like-minded creatures, all speaking the same anti-Islamic/pro-Judaic language. He is an assembly-line prototype, designed with a specific purpose in mind (namely mass-murder) that happened to emerge first from the womb while millions of his identical-twin siblings are still in the process of being delivered.

And (2) Breivik was on a ‘mission’.

Yes, we can state with both confidence and authority that Norway’s most notorious Judeo-Christian jihadist–in the years leading up to his infamous massacre—was someone else’s plaything after being captured, cultivated, and programmed like some apocalyptic alarm clock. As a tin soldier in someone’s toy box, Breivik had his spring wound as tight as it would go, at which point he was set loose by individuals who stood to gain greatly from the inevitable Armageddon he would personally deliver.

In more clinical terms, he is a symptom, a side effect, and a carrier for someone else’s disease…More than that though he is a stick figure sketched into the scenery by those profiting from such a script. Similar to others these days whose hatred for Islam is outdone only by their love for all things Jewish, Breivik was/is a parking lot for someone else’s thoughts and ideas, or, like those unfortunates in the 1986 science-fiction horror film Aliens, a human cocoon where the freshly-laid eggs of this extraterrestrial monster gestate until they are ready to be born, at which point the beast bursts forth from the host’s body in an explosion of flesh, blood and gore.

But let us be clear about something here–This aforedescribed ‘captured/cultivated/programmed’ thing was not the dramatic scenario seen in some political/science-fiction thriller produced out of Jewish Hollywood such as ‘Manchurian Candidate’ or ‘Total Recall’. It was not a case of an otherwise sane, happy-go-lucky, come-what-may Anders Breivik with a smile on his face and song in his heart walking down the street one day whistling something from the Sound of Music when all the sudden a non-descript van pulls up and he’s grabbed by men in black suits who take him off someplace where he is broken into tiny pieces and then reassembled into Norway’s version of The Terminator…

Rather, this ‘extreme makeover’ eventually producing almost 80 dead children on Norway’s Utoya Island took place over the course of years and with virtually no drama involved, save of course the occasional heated political argument at some family get-together, pub or rally. Like a long, drawn out adolescence, Breivik’s coming of age was–no pun intended—as silent as death…Slow as an inch worm burrowing through the brain or a dog infected with rabies that shows no signs of distress until the inevitable rampage takes place.

This is not to say however that Breivik’s morphing into the human time bomb he became was undetectable. As much as removed-from-reality individuals may view him as an anomaly or a question mark, the fact nevertheless is that as a piece on a geo-political chess board being moved and maneuvered by other hands, his checkmate of almost 80 innocent kids was as foreseeable as an approaching hurricane. Beginning with the Mossad-engineered terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001, as Zionist witches and warlocks began casting their magic spells in conjuring up the war to end all wars between the Islamic and Christian peoples—Breivik (as well as hundreds of millions of others in America, Europe and elsewhere) became a mental slave to the highly-addictive/highly-toxic psychological substance they were peddling and which he injected into his veins whole hog at every opportunity.

It was just a matter of time then before the otherwise harmless pooch Breivik finally succumbed to the sanity-destroying effects of this poison and became the rabid dog history will now remember him for being. The only surprise in the entire matter is that it took this long to finally materialize, given the tsunami of violent, anti-Islamic/pro-Judaic conditioning the western world has been subjected to now these last 11 years..

And so, in trying to wrap its collective mind around this holocaust of nearly 80 Norwegian children due entirely to their politically-unacceptable opinions viz-a-viz Israel and Islam, a sane world is forced to isolate and understand the source of this horrendous crime lest it repeat itself, which it most surely will, barring some unforeseeable quirk of historical fate.

As with all illnesses—physical, mental or otherwise—everything is traceable to a source. Rather than view the present pandemic of anti-Islamicism mal-affecting the West–manifesting itself not only in mass murders such as Breivik’s but as well in the ‘legal’ bloodbaths such as the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc–as a fluke or quirk, a society keen on its own survival must view them as predictable examples of cause and effect.

That being said then, in this case the prime mover of the terrible drama taking place in Norway and elsewhere was not some inexplicable ‘act of God’, the moodiness of Mother Nature or the roll of some cosmic dice. Rather, it is the deliberate and all-too-predictable result of an agenda deliberately put into motion by interested parties with a mindset that is alien to all historically-known norms of decency, morality, and sanity.

Put simply, these aliens amongst us–i.e. the organized Jewish interests who psychologically engineered the prototype Breivik, as well as his twin siblings we hear about on a daily basis–working feverishly to bring about this ‘clash of civilizations’ between the West and the Islamic world are the dictionary definition of madness wrapped in human skin. Mass producing in assembly-line fashion today’s ticking-time-bombs through their uncontested and incontestable control of mass media, they are every bit as real and dangerous as the xenomorphs depicted in the 1986 science-fiction horror film by James Cameron. Similar to their film counterparts, these aliens amongst us do not have an identity crisis. They know exactly who they are, what they are, and what they are doing. There is no ‘higher law’ other than their own. As a language, compassion is as foreign to them as Greek is to Martian. Today’s xenomorphs (working out of innocuous-sounding organizations such as ‘Stop Islamization of America’, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, AIPAC, ADL, and maintaining websites such as ‘Jihad Watch’ and many others) view innocent human life as just a means to an end for their own personal survival. For them, all that matters is the propagation of their species and its ‘ethics’, in this case, the State of Israel and the continued monopolistic hold that organized Jewish interests maintain worldwide over money, politics, media, culture, etc.

And Anders Breivik—as well as many, many others–was their ‘baby’. Like an abandoned child raised by wolves from birth, under their spiritual direction the otherwise civilized Breivik became feral, wild and as mad as his mentors. Like them, he believed that the god of destruction he came to know intimately through the catechism classes taught by his alien spiritual advisors was pleased and appeased by the ritual sacrifice of innocent human beings, resulting then in the black mass taking place on Utoya Island which he officiated as high priest tempore.

And, as we said earlier, although Breivik may have been the first, he is certainly not the only or the last. Similar to the horrific scene in Aliens, where a giant queen xenomorph patiently sits, giving birth to hundreds of millions of these hellish creatures, so too is there an army out there numbering in the hundreds of millions just waiting to be born…Feeble-minded individuals, as impressionable as soft butter and unable to resist the seduction known as Zionism, this alien evangelism whispering in their collective ear like a bat out of hell and who years ago–on 9/11/2001 to be precise–consecrated themselves to holy war against Islam that could have but one result—the ‘Clash of Civilizations’–and but one beneficiary—Israel.

And we must make no mistake about it–these aliens amongst us–capturing the Breiviks of the world and forcefully impregnating them with this deadly apocalyptic seed–are indeed the most dangerous organisms mankind has ever faced. Truly other-worldly, they are dedicated, fanatical creatures hell-bent upon bringing about this non-reality known as Jewish utopianism–this mad dream thousands of years a-bubbling and a-boiling in the witches’ cauldron, a giant human pyramid of sorts, with them and their alien mindset/agenda at the very top and the rest of the Gentile world occupying various stages underneath both inferior and servile in nature.

And, as should be painfully obvious to everyone by now, more than 10 years into the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ and this ‘war to end all wars’, these xenomorphs, with their accumulated power and superb, fanatical organizational skills are willing–necessary or not–to bring the world down around them in accomplishing this mission. Like the Sirens of Greek mythology who lure unsuspecting sailors at sea to their deaths with their hypnotic voices, so too are today’s organized Jewish interests luring entire ships of state to come crashing into the rocks of national bankruptcy, political unrest and social upheaval. Due to their alien mindset they cannot live peaceably or cooperatively with any species other their own. Every planet, every civilization they invade, they immediately go to work in destroying that habitat by removing every Gentile characteristic that is intrinsic to the continued existence of that civilization. They must own, control, dominate and then devour, just as their alien constitution demands, and if every single human being on the planet must die in bringing about this alien agenda, then so be it. In the non-reality of this mal-adjusted mindset, not just the world, but indeed, the entire universe revolves around them and their species. Without them, all known creation, without any nucleus and thus without any cohesion or purpose, would simply cease to exist. In their limited, extraterrestrial myopia, everything, from one end of the universe to the other is mere illusion, with neither form nor the substance of God, or as Yossi Klein Halevi, author of ‘Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist’ once wrote–

“My view of history was that billions of people who lived, suffered and died were no more than extras in a Jewish drama, and that human experience was really Jewish experience. I came to believe that the anti-Semites were right, except in the reverse; that the Jews did secretly control the world, but benevolently. How else to explain the Holocaust if not as evil trying to destroy the source of all good? I was ready to concede that there were decent people who weren’t Jews, but decent peoples? Only the Jews.”

Unlike the xenomorphs in James Cameron’s film however, what makes these aliens amongst us so dangerous is that they do not appear alien at all. The financial, political and media resources they’ve spent centuries in acquiring have been well-used in masking their real nature and identity. They walk amongst us, speaking a language that appears friendly, civil and easy on the ears. Through the use of media black magic, they make us laugh on cue and cry on cue. Through their control of churches and other social platforms, they lecture us on ‘brotherly love’, on the evils of racism, intolerance and xenophobia while at the same time these xenomorphs utilize these moral themes in motivating us to go out and commit mass murder for them in Muslim countries around the world.

Unlike their counterparts in the film, these aliens amongst us are not forced to chase down and capture their victims. Rather, they seduce and confuse them, resulting in entire civilizations lining up at the main door of the mother ship so that hundreds of millions can then surrender themselves and their children as future cocoons where this alien agenda can gestate until it is born in the form of war, war, and more war in the Middle East (and beyond) for Israel’s benefit.

Although it is certainly true that Breivik was their creature, and that the aliens amongst us responsible for re-programming him into Norway’s version of The Terminator did so with mass murder on their mind, this is not to say that his masterpiece of mass murder was part of the plan. The collective panic on the part of organized Jewish interests responsible for writing his program (as well as subcontractors such as Pamela Geller, Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer et al) was easy to see and measure as they furiously tried distancing themselves from his actions, despite the personal satisfaction they doubtless experienced in seeing so much innocent blood spilled.

No, it was not supposed to turn out this way, both in terms of timing and location, wherein the human time bomb Breivik detonated prematurely. Rather than reaching critical mass within the confines of his own home country of Norway, what his programmers had planned was him doing so within one of the preferred battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria or wherever else organized Jewish interests want white European Christians fighting and killing Muslims for Israel’s benefit.

But that’s how it is with human time bombs programmed to kill innocent others en masse…Whether it’s Anders Breivik of Norway, Jared Loughner of Arizona, Sikh Temple shooter Wade Michael Page, movie theater gunman James Holmes or any of the other angry white males living in the West who from infancy have been nursed on a daily diet of Zionist media conditioning that glorifies and sanctifies violence against defenseless people, sometimes they ‘lose it’ long before they are supposed to. Sometimes the programming in their software goes haywire or the fuse comes up a little short and as a result these bombs detonate prematurely outside those pre-planned war theaters where organized Jewish interests stand to profit the most.

And this, ladies and gentlemen of planet earth, is the future all of us can expect, as these suicide bombers live, breathe and walk amongst us, capable of going off at any moment, taking not only us, but our loved ones as well, as the entity responsible for creating these monsters—organized Jewish interests–simply watch it all from the safe distance that their expensive, high-rise office buildings and board rooms provide them, without pity, without remorse and simply chalking up the latest tragedy as ‘collateral damage’ necessary for the continued existence of Israel.

In James Cameron’s Aliens, the only sane individual amidst a gaggle of money-grubbing, opportunistic corporate predators was Ripley, the pilot who had seen the viciousness of these creatures up close in a previous mission. Throughout the film, as she describes in great detail the vicious, unchanging and unregenerate nature of these xenomorphs, her warnings fall on deaf ears. She is shouted down, marginalized, ridiculed, ignored, sanctioned, and silenced. She is confined to quarters, deprived of earning a decent living, had the threat of criminal prosecution hanging over her constantly, and for reasons made clear later when it was revealed that some of these corporate characters saw great riches in utilizing these xenomorphs as weapons of mass destruction.

It was not until they themselves saw the nature of the beast in a manner up close and personal that those around her came to understand that this creature cannot be contained, controlled, or rehabilitated…That there can be no ‘peaceful co-existence’ with it nor any ‘safe distance’ between the xenomorphs and human civilization.

And, as demonstrated in the film, that there was only sane policy in dealing with these monsters—to nuke their home planet, lest they board their mother ship and invade the farthest reaches of the galaxy in search of future cocoons for the propagation of their species.

Likewise, as we—the sane members of Gentile civilization–weigh what has befallen us, not only in terms of the various Anders Breiviks but as well the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and all the other locations that organized Jewish interests have decided are to be destroyed and made ‘fit’ for alien habitation, a similar awareness of the nature of this problem must occur as well. These aliens amongst us cannot be contained, controlled, or rehabilitated…Nor can there can be any ‘peaceful co-existence’ with them nor any ‘safe distance’ between the xenomorphs and human civilization.

The only safe option is to ‘go nuclear’ with them and utterly annihilate the source of their identity, leaving ‘not one stone upon another’.

However, not in the sense that countries must be annihilated with some apocalyptic instrument created in the minds of madmen bent upon destroying the human race…

Rather, it must be done—indeed as it should have been done thousands of years ago—with the most effective weapon that sane societies have in their arsenal—reason and rationality. What we are battling here is religiously-inspired madness, pure and simple. No different than a destructive, mind-altering drug that renders otherwise healthy, productive individuals into the xenomorphs seen today, producing not only prototypes such as Anders Breivik, but as well the apocalyptic wars in the Middle East and elsewhere, this drug needs to be classified not as the therapeutic substance its addicts claim it is but rather as pure, distilled, undiluted poison. Judaism and all its manifestations, most importantly its ‘chosen-ness’ and its filial affection for the use of violence, pillage, duplicity and a whole host of other characteristics associated with lower life forms must be diagnosed as the mental illness that it is, and more importantly, its utter incompatibility with the continued existence of the human species.

To do any less is to sit by and watch as these aliens amongst us dissolve away the same human civilization that has taken thousands of years to create, leaving behind only a wasteland of what was humanity…

…at which point these aliens amongst us, having bled us out of our own existence, simply board their mother ship and depart in search of new civilizations to devour and destroy…

2012 Mark Glenn

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