Archive | October 25th, 2013

Dónde Están? Where are the Disappeared?

NOVANEWS
by KATHY RENTENBACH

Dónde están? Where are they? They still don’t know. “Los desaparecidos”. “The disappeared.” They want to know.

Forty years is a long time.  The Moneda, the presidential palace, bombed on 9/11/73.  President Allende, the first socialist president of Chile, dead on 9/11/73.

Nixon and Kissinger danced a jig together and breathed a sigh of relief.  They couldn’t have another Cuba on their hands. January ’59 seemed like yesterday.  And, Che Guevara had  been dead only 6 years. How audacious of Chile: voting in a socialist president, nationalizing the copper mines, giving land to the poor, free milk to children.

Enter General Augusto Pinochet and the DINA (Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional-secret police) with more than a little help from the CIA. “La dictadura” was 1973-1990. Congress dissolved, political parties and unions banned, constitution rewritten.

People started disappearing. Men, women and children.  Babies taken from murdered parents and given to the military families to raise.

Pinochet wasn’t just suppressing the Left but rather exterminating. A state of siege begun.

Decrees (“los bandos”), torture, DINA, silence, curfews, shootings, murder, disappearances, fear, violations, more torture, more decrees, more silence and finally obedience of the terrorized.

Dónde están?

allendebanner

Large banner of Allende.

I was swept up in the  40th anniversary commemorative march on 9/8/13. I flew a total of 14 hours to this long splinter of a country tucked between the mighty Pacific and the mightier Andes. Land of volcanoes and earthquakes and Pablo Neruda. Land of deserts and icebergs and Manuel Rodríguez.

I was with 20 other activists mainly from the USA, one from Venezuela, two from Nicaragua.  We were there to  witness past and present Chilean history: the houses of torture, now houses of memory, the history of the dictadura.  There were 60,000 in the streets and at least one helicopter overhead to watch out for our welfare. We marched in solidarity with the “Agrupación de Familiares de Ejecutados Politicos-Chile”, an organization representing the families of Chile’s disappeared, detained and executed.

Dónde están?

Our coordinators said we would be able to avoid the inevitable tear gas, water cannons and police clash by veering off at the end of the march and not concluding at the General Cemetery.  They were right.

Although the press was full of breathtaking action photos of tanks, carabineros (uniformed police), flaming bottles, hurled rocks, the march was a peaceful slow walk with banners and signs, chanting and songs, from Los Héroes plaza in central Santiago past the Moneda, to the General Cemetery about 3 miles away. The many street dogs wove in and out of the marchers panting in the sun.

cemetery

Patio 29, General Cemetery. dumping ground of the executed.

***

We had had a guided tour of the General Cemetery the day prior.  President Allende’s impressive tomb was bedecked with bouquets of flowers; Victor Jara, the Chilean musician who was tortured and murdered, lies in a crypt high in a wall. There is a ladder leading up to it so people can leave their offerings. We laid flowers at the grave of Orlando Letelier, one of Allende’s former ministers who was killed in a car bombing in Washington DC in l976 with his aide, Ronni Moffitt.

The tentacles of the DINA.

Patio 29 in the cemetery is a special place.  This is the area, a “potter’s field”, where bodies of the detained, tortured and assassinated were dumped. Sometimes 2-3 to a grave. Pinochet said that was an “economical” use of space.   Their iron crosses, now rusted, are inscribed “NN” for “no nombre.”  It is now a national monument. After the dictadura ended remains were removed and identified, as best as possible, with DNA analysis.  Some remains are still in question.

***

Dónde están?

José Ramón Ascencio Subiabre was mine. We made our acquaintance on 9/8/13, on that spring day with clear skies. He was mine and everyone’s.

I had marched and José Ramón Ascencio Subiabre had marched with me. In spirit. He is nowhere to be found.  He would have been 68 this year.

José was the face on my placard.  The human rights groups had all carried placards. A sea of faces and names of the disappeared.  Los desaparecidos.

I looked at José and José seemed to peer back at me.  Young, intense and handsome.  He had been 30 years old, married, an artisan.

And, a member of the Communist party.

He was doomed.

They came for him at his job in the waning of the day. In a white Fiat and a yellow Chevy truck, 6 members of the DINA, the fearsome secret police arrived.  It was just 4 days after Christmas ’75. A hot summer day, no doubt, in Santiago, Chile. Already two years into La Dictadura.

The infamous Villa Grimaldi on the outskirts of Santiago was his next stop.  Eye witness reports say he was “savagely tortured” and placed in “the tower” in a cell 70 cms wide by 2 meters tall with several others. Few survived the “Tower”. Jose was never seen again.  He became a desaparecido. (www.memoriaviva.com)

blindtortured

Representation of bound and blindfolded torture victim stuffed in a small closet.

Dónde están?

He wasn’t forgotten. His case has been in the courts since then. Villa Grimaldi, once a major torture center of the DINA, is now a peace park and a memorial site.

If you are unfamiliar with torture you can find a 4 page alphabetized list of the wide variety of methods used here: www.memoriaviva.com on pages 10-14. Electric shock was easy, effective and cheap. The methods were taught at the “School of the Americas” through which passed the best of the latin american military. It is now called “WHINSEC” (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) and located at Fort Benning in Columbus, GA.  There are many people involved in trying to put an end to The School of the Americas.  See www.soaw.org. Chile still sends soldiers through the school.

Dónde están?

We toured 3 places which had been houses of torture (2 of which are now houses of memory):  Los Tres y Cuatro Alamos, Londres 38, Nido 20.  None had been military quarters. All were regular suburban houses. They say that people heard the screams of the tortured but were too afraid to intervene. Instead, they crossed over to the other side of the street.

It was difficult for our group to hear what had happened inside the houses. They showed us the tiny narrow closets where the tortured were bound, blindfolded and stuffed in solitary confinement for days. We saw an example of “la parrilla” (the grill), a steel bedframe to which a victim was bound and electricity applied.  Our Chilean speakers were some of the lucky survivors.  They don’t want their history forgotten.

allendetomb

Allende’s tomb.

Dónde están?

General Manuel Contreras, now 84, (once the powerful leader of the DINA and right hand man to Pinochet) and Brigadier Miguel Krassnoff, 67, also of the DINA (both graduates of the School of the Americas) are now in jail in Chile.  Their luxury prison (where they could play tennis if they chose and lived in their separate cabins) was recently closed and they were moved to a less luxurious one just this September. Both have said the DINA didn’t kill or disappear anyone. They maintain all the  disappeared are in the general cemetery and that no one was tortured by the DINA.

Dónde están?

AFEP, Associación de Familiares de Ejecutados Politicos, founded in 1976, is a group who fights for justice for the murdered. We met with them to hear their history.

They said because of the number of cases that AFEP has filed the government has assigned a special minister to process them. They don’t just talk to the government or the courts but use direct actions to make their demands known.  In early September they had done their most recent action. They chained themselves inside the Ministry of the Interior to demand that formal complaints be forwarded through the system.

The president of this group, Alicia Lira Matus, explained how her husband had been killed by the dictatorship and her brother tortured.  Her brother escaped from his jail by tunneling out, lived clandestinely afterward but died prematurely in 2008 due to his prior torture.

There are many groups demanding to know the final resting place of the disappeared, demanding justice and reparations for the tortured and murdered. A few of the killers and torturers are in jail. Most are not. But the past 40 years has shown that they will be pursued relentlessly.

“Ni perdon, ni olvido”. No pardoning and no forgetting.

40 years is a long time.

A cardboard sign posted 9/11/13 at Londres 38, a former torture center in Santiago, declared in black and red magic marker in large block letters:

“Tenía 20 años in 1973. Lleva 40 años desaparecido.”

Roughly translated: “I was 20 years old in 1973. 40 years disappeared.”

Pinochet (arrested in England in 1998 by Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzón through international law) deftly sidestepped his jail time by claiming dementia from his wheelchair.

He was nonetheless legally probed until the end of his days. He died in 2006 at age 91 with an embezzled $28 million in  foreign banks. He was denied a state funeral.

grill

Sample of the grill, La parrilla, used in electrocutions.

Dónde están?

Dedicated to the memory of José Ramón Ascensio Subiabre and los desaparecidos.

Posted in South AmericaComments Off on Dónde Están? Where are the Disappeared?

Dónde Están? Where are the Disappeared?

NOVANEWS
by KATHY RENTENBACH

Dónde están? Where are they? They still don’t know. “Los desaparecidos”. “The disappeared.” They want to know.

Forty years is a long time.  The Moneda, the presidential palace, bombed on 9/11/73.  President Allende, the first socialist president of Chile, dead on 9/11/73.

Nixon and Kissinger danced a jig together and breathed a sigh of relief.  They couldn’t have another Cuba on their hands. January ’59 seemed like yesterday.  And, Che Guevara had  been dead only 6 years. How audacious of Chile: voting in a socialist president, nationalizing the copper mines, giving land to the poor, free milk to children.

Enter General Augusto Pinochet and the DINA (Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional-secret police) with more than a little help from the CIA. “La dictadura” was 1973-1990. Congress dissolved, political parties and unions banned, constitution rewritten.

People started disappearing. Men, women and children.  Babies taken from murdered parents and given to the military families to raise.

Pinochet wasn’t just suppressing the Left but rather exterminating. A state of siege begun.

Decrees (“los bandos”), torture, DINA, silence, curfews, shootings, murder, disappearances, fear, violations, more torture, more decrees, more silence and finally obedience of the terrorized.

Dónde están?

allendebanner

Large banner of Allende.

I was swept up in the  40th anniversary commemorative march on 9/8/13. I flew a total of 14 hours to this long splinter of a country tucked between the mighty Pacific and the mightier Andes. Land of volcanoes and earthquakes and Pablo Neruda. Land of deserts and icebergs and Manuel Rodríguez.

I was with 20 other activists mainly from the USA, one from Venezuela, two from Nicaragua.  We were there to  witness past and present Chilean history: the houses of torture, now houses of memory, the history of the dictadura.  There were 60,000 in the streets and at least one helicopter overhead to watch out for our welfare. We marched in solidarity with the “Agrupación de Familiares de Ejecutados Politicos-Chile”, an organization representing the families of Chile’s disappeared, detained and executed.

Dónde están?

Our coordinators said we would be able to avoid the inevitable tear gas, water cannons and police clash by veering off at the end of the march and not concluding at the General Cemetery.  They were right.

Although the press was full of breathtaking action photos of tanks, carabineros (uniformed police), flaming bottles, hurled rocks, the march was a peaceful slow walk with banners and signs, chanting and songs, from Los Héroes plaza in central Santiago past the Moneda, to the General Cemetery about 3 miles away. The many street dogs wove in and out of the marchers panting in the sun.

cemetery

Patio 29, General Cemetery. dumping ground of the executed.

***

We had had a guided tour of the General Cemetery the day prior.  President Allende’s impressive tomb was bedecked with bouquets of flowers; Victor Jara, the Chilean musician who was tortured and murdered, lies in a crypt high in a wall. There is a ladder leading up to it so people can leave their offerings. We laid flowers at the grave of Orlando Letelier, one of Allende’s former ministers who was killed in a car bombing in Washington DC in l976 with his aide, Ronni Moffitt.

The tentacles of the DINA.

Patio 29 in the cemetery is a special place.  This is the area, a “potter’s field”, where bodies of the detained, tortured and assassinated were dumped. Sometimes 2-3 to a grave. Pinochet said that was an “economical” use of space.   Their iron crosses, now rusted, are inscribed “NN” for “no nombre.”  It is now a national monument. After the dictadura ended remains were removed and identified, as best as possible, with DNA analysis.  Some remains are still in question.

***

Dónde están?

José Ramón Ascencio Subiabre was mine. We made our acquaintance on 9/8/13, on that spring day with clear skies. He was mine and everyone’s.

I had marched and José Ramón Ascencio Subiabre had marched with me. In spirit. He is nowhere to be found.  He would have been 68 this year.

José was the face on my placard.  The human rights groups had all carried placards. A sea of faces and names of the disappeared.  Los desaparecidos.

I looked at José and José seemed to peer back at me.  Young, intense and handsome.  He had been 30 years old, married, an artisan.

And, a member of the Communist party.

He was doomed.

They came for him at his job in the waning of the day. In a white Fiat and a yellow Chevy truck, 6 members of the DINA, the fearsome secret police arrived.  It was just 4 days after Christmas ’75. A hot summer day, no doubt, in Santiago, Chile. Already two years into La Dictadura.

The infamous Villa Grimaldi on the outskirts of Santiago was his next stop.  Eye witness reports say he was “savagely tortured” and placed in “the tower” in a cell 70 cms wide by 2 meters tall with several others. Few survived the “Tower”. Jose was never seen again.  He became a desaparecido. (www.memoriaviva.com)

blindtortured

Representation of bound and blindfolded torture victim stuffed in a small closet.

Dónde están?

He wasn’t forgotten. His case has been in the courts since then. Villa Grimaldi, once a major torture center of the DINA, is now a peace park and a memorial site.

If you are unfamiliar with torture you can find a 4 page alphabetized list of the wide variety of methods used here: www.memoriaviva.com on pages 10-14. Electric shock was easy, effective and cheap. The methods were taught at the “School of the Americas” through which passed the best of the latin american military. It is now called “WHINSEC” (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) and located at Fort Benning in Columbus, GA.  There are many people involved in trying to put an end to The School of the Americas.  See www.soaw.org. Chile still sends soldiers through the school.

Dónde están?

We toured 3 places which had been houses of torture (2 of which are now houses of memory):  Los Tres y Cuatro Alamos, Londres 38, Nido 20.  None had been military quarters. All were regular suburban houses. They say that people heard the screams of the tortured but were too afraid to intervene. Instead, they crossed over to the other side of the street.

It was difficult for our group to hear what had happened inside the houses. They showed us the tiny narrow closets where the tortured were bound, blindfolded and stuffed in solitary confinement for days. We saw an example of “la parrilla” (the grill), a steel bedframe to which a victim was bound and electricity applied.  Our Chilean speakers were some of the lucky survivors.  They don’t want their history forgotten.

allendetomb

Allende’s tomb.

Dónde están?

General Manuel Contreras, now 84, (once the powerful leader of the DINA and right hand man to Pinochet) and Brigadier Miguel Krassnoff, 67, also of the DINA (both graduates of the School of the Americas) are now in jail in Chile.  Their luxury prison (where they could play tennis if they chose and lived in their separate cabins) was recently closed and they were moved to a less luxurious one just this September. Both have said the DINA didn’t kill or disappear anyone. They maintain all the  disappeared are in the general cemetery and that no one was tortured by the DINA.

Dónde están?

AFEP, Associación de Familiares de Ejecutados Politicos, founded in 1976, is a group who fights for justice for the murdered. We met with them to hear their history.

They said because of the number of cases that AFEP has filed the government has assigned a special minister to process them. They don’t just talk to the government or the courts but use direct actions to make their demands known.  In early September they had done their most recent action. They chained themselves inside the Ministry of the Interior to demand that formal complaints be forwarded through the system.

The president of this group, Alicia Lira Matus, explained how her husband had been killed by the dictatorship and her brother tortured.  Her brother escaped from his jail by tunneling out, lived clandestinely afterward but died prematurely in 2008 due to his prior torture.

There are many groups demanding to know the final resting place of the disappeared, demanding justice and reparations for the tortured and murdered. A few of the killers and torturers are in jail. Most are not. But the past 40 years has shown that they will be pursued relentlessly.

“Ni perdon, ni olvido”. No pardoning and no forgetting.

40 years is a long time.

A cardboard sign posted 9/11/13 at Londres 38, a former torture center in Santiago, declared in black and red magic marker in large block letters:

“Tenía 20 años in 1973. Lleva 40 años desaparecido.”

Roughly translated: “I was 20 years old in 1973. 40 years disappeared.”

Pinochet (arrested in England in 1998 by Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzón through international law) deftly sidestepped his jail time by claiming dementia from his wheelchair.

He was nonetheless legally probed until the end of his days. He died in 2006 at age 91 with an embezzled $28 million in  foreign banks. He was denied a state funeral.

grill

Sample of the grill, La parrilla, used in electrocutions.

Dónde están?

Dedicated to the memory of José Ramón Ascensio Subiabre and los desaparecidos.

Posted in EducationComments Off on Dónde Están? Where are the Disappeared?

Machiavelli in the House of Saud

NOVANEWS
by PEPE ESCOBAR

Life is good if you’re a member of the Gulf Counter-revolution Club, officially known as Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). You can crush the Arab Spring at will. You can hire goons all across dar-al-Islam to advance a sectarian Sunni-Shi’ite divide. You can be deeply implicated in the destruction of Syria. You can treat a significant part of your own population as third-class citizens.

Not only you get away with it; you get rewarded with expensive toys. And in one particular case – Saudi Arabia – even with a two-year seat at the UN Security Council.

Not to mention that the House of Saud expertly gets away with manipulating Islam as the pillar of its “legitimacy”. The House of Saud controls the Hajj – which took place this week; an enormous logistical operation that “legitimizes” its role as leader of Sunni Islam, and automatically, the whole Islamic world. Well-informed Muslims though are very much aware of the fallacy – as much as they’re aware of how the House of Saud is fast transforming Mecca into a Vegas-style pay-per-prayer luxury resort. Who’s profiting? Certainly not the pilgrims.

This week, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced it had notified congress about selling more state-of-the-art heavy metal for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). That breaks down into “various munitions and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support” to Riyadh for US$6.8 billion and to Abu Dhabi for $4 billion.

Weaponizing “our” Wahhabi bastards is the sweetest deal for the industrial-military-Orwellian Panopticon complex. Sequestration? Tight budgets? Who cares? There’s a never-ending contractor bonanza in the Gulf – inbuilt in the narrative of the benign superpower “benefactor” of those helpless oil and gas monarchic monopolies defending them against assorted evildoers; one day the evildoer is Iraq, the next day Iran, the next day could be their own people, so one’s gotta be prepared.

Once in a while Israel exhibits the requisite raised eyebrow, but that’s just for show. Israel and the GCC have a de facto alliance against the bloc regionally known as the axis of resistance – Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah. Israel would not prevent the GCC from gorging on F-15 Eagles, F-16 Desert Falcons, assorted air-launched cruise missiles, satellite-guided bombs and plenty of high-tech communication gear. Just your average, innocent “military and defense cooperation”.

There are glitches in this cozy relationship, of course. Currently, the House of Saud is livid facing the possibility of a negotiated solution for the Iran nuclear dossier – immediately after the Russian-US deal on Syria’s chemical weapons. Yet now the House of Saud has even managed to find a pulpit to voice its anger; Saudi Arabia has just won a two-year, rotating UN Security Council seat for the first time – taking over from Pakistan as an Asia-Pacific representative.

The House of Saud has always refrained from competing for a Security Council seat in the past. But now – facing its fabricated version of an “existential threat”, which is not only Iran but also Assad in Syria – it’s time to act.

So get ready to watch an angry, fearful, medievalist oil kingdom notorious for its spectacular record on human rights and women’s rights, and so fond of lashings and beheadings, pontificating on the global stage about…human rights. This is what US Think Tankland describes as “seeking a more active role in key international bodies”. When that applies to “our” bastards, of course; otherwise it’s about “terror states” trying to subvert the international order.

A number of House of Saud princes are now engulfed in a lethal battle for the Saudi succession – as King Abdullah is about to meet his maker. Are these princes worthy of Machiavelli? Don’t hold your breath.

Machiavelli taught us that individual will is as crucial as international power play in determining foreign policy decisions. The Florentine stressed how fortuna (fortune) can be capricious, and how history can be contingent. So how does a great Prince steer his state? By deployingvirtu (virtue).

Oh no, this has nothing to do with the guilt-ridden Christian mish-mash, which also happens to be a crucial pillar of the “American exceptionalism” concept. It’s all got to do with classical values predominant in the Ancient World – from Greece to Persia. Virtue as in knowledge, strength, courage, and cunning.

So under this gold standard, Vladimir Putin certainly qualifies as a worthy Prince. Deng Xiaoping certainly did. Hassan Rouhani in Iran may reveal himself to be of the same caliber. But what about those angry, fearful, intolerant, yet heavily weaponized Arab princes? You don’t need to be a pilgrim to Mecca-as-Disneyland to find your answer.

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The Speculative Endgame: The Government “Shutdown” and “Debt Default”, A Multibillion Bonanza for Wall Street

NOVANEWS
Global Research

The “shutdown” of the US government and the financial climax associated with a deadline date, leading to a possible “debt default” of the federal government is a money making undertaking for Wall Street.

A wave of speculative activity is sweeping major markets.

The uncertainty regarding the shutdown and “debt default” constitutes a golden opportunity for “institutional speculators”. Those who have reliable “inside information” regarding the complex outcome of the legislative process are slated to make billions of dollars in windfall gains.

Speculative Bonanza

Several overlapping political and economic agendas are unfolding. In a previous article, we examined the debt default saga in relation to the eventual privatization of important components of the federal State system.

While Wall Street exerts a decisive influence on policy and legislation pertaining to the government shutdown, these same major financial institutions also control the movement of currency markets, commodity and stock markets through large scale operations in derivative trade.

Most of the key actors in the US Congress and the Senate involved in the shutdown debate are controlled by powerful corporate lobby groups acting directly or indirectly on behalf of Wall Street. Major interests on Wall Street are not only in a position to influence the results of the Congressional process, they also have “inside information” or prior knowledge of the chronology and outcome of the government shutdown impasse.

They are slated to make billions of dollars in windfall profits in speculative activities which are “secure” assuming that they are in a position to exert their influence on relevant policy outcomes.

It should be noted, however, that there are important divisions both within the US Congress as well as within the financial establishment. The latter are marked by the confrontation and rivalry of major banking conglomerates.

These divisions will have an impact on speculative movements and counter movements in the stock, money and commodity markets. What we are dealing with is “financial warfare”. The latter is by no means limited to Wall Street, Chinese, Russian and Japanese financial institutions (among others) will also be involved in the speculative endgame.

Speculative movements based on inside information, therefore, could potentially go in different directions. What market outcomes are being sought by rival banking institutions? Having inside information on the actions of major banking competitors is an important element in the waging of major speculative operations.

Derivative Trade

The major instrument of “secure” speculative activity for these financial actors is derivative trade, with carefully formulated bets in the stock markets, major commodities –including gold and oil– as well as foreign exchange markets.

These major actors may know “where the market is going” because they are in a position to influence policies and legislation in the US Congress as well as manipulate market outcomes.

Moreover, Wall Street speculators also influence the broader public’s perception in the media, not to mention the actions of financial brokers of competing or lesser financial institutions which do not have foreknowledge or access to inside information.

These same financial actors are involved in the spread of “financial disinformation”, which often takes the form of media reports which contribute to either misleading the public or building a “consensus” among economists and financial analysts which will push markets in a particular direction.

Pointing to an inevitable decline of the US dollar, the media serves the interests of the institutional speculators in camouflaging what might happen in an environment characterized by financial manipulation and the interplay of speculative activity on a large scale.

Speculative trade routinely involves acts of deception. In recent weeks, the media has been flooded with “predictions” of various catastrophic economic events focusing on the collapse of the dollar, the development of a new reserve currency by the BRICS countries, etc.

At a recent conference hosted by the powerful Institute of International Finance (IIF), a Washington based think tank organization which represents the world’s most powerful banks and financial institutions:

“Three of the world’s most powerful bankers warned of terrible consequences if the United States defaults on its debt, with Deutsche Bank chief executive Anshu Jain claiming default would be “utterly catastrophic.”

This would be a very rapidly spreading, fatal disease, … I have no recommendations for this audience…about putting band aids on a gaping wound,” he said.

“JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon and Baudouin Prot, chairman of BNP Paribas, said a default would have dramatic consequences on the value of U.S. debt and the dollar, and likely would plunge the world into another recession.” (…)

Dimon and other top executives from major U.S. financial firms met with President Barack Obama and with lawmakers last week to urge them to deal with both issues.

On Saturday, Dimon said banks are already spending “huge amounts” of money preparing for the possibility of a default, which he said would threaten the global recovery after the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

Dimon also defended JPMorgan against critics who say the bank has become too big to manage. It has come under scrutiny from numerous regulators and on Friday reported its first quarterly loss since Dimon took over, due to more than $7 billion in legal expenses. (Emily Stephenson and Douwe Miedema, World top bankers warn of dire consequences if U.S. defaults | Reuters, October 12, 2013

What these “authoritative” economic assessments are intended to create is an aura of panic and economic uncertainty, pointing to the possibility of a collapse of the US dollar.

What is portrayed by the Institute of International Finance panelists (who are the leaders of the world’s largest banking conglomerates) is tantamount to an Economics 101 analysis of market adjustment, which casually excludes the known fact that markets are manipulated with the use of sophisticated derivative trading instruments. In a bitter irony, the IIF panelists are themselves involved in routinely twisting market values through derivative trade. Capitalism in the 21st century is no longer based largely on profits resulting from a real economy productive process, windfall financial gains are acquired through large scale speculative operations, without the occurrence of real economy activity. at the touch of a mouse button.

The manipulation of markets is carried out on the orders of major bank executives including the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas.

The “too big to fail banks” are portrayed, in the words of JPMorgan Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon’s, as the “victims” of the debt default crisis, when in fact they are the architects of economic chaos as well as the unspoken recipients of billions of dollars of stolen taxpayers’ money.

These corrupt mega banks are responsible for creating the “gaping wound” referred to by Deutsche Bank’sAnshu Jain in relaiton to the US public debt crisis.

Collapse of the Dollar?

Upward and downward movements of the US dollar in recent years have little do with normal market forces as claimed by the tenets of neoclassical economics.

Both JP Morgan Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon and Deutsche Bank’s CEO Anshu Jain’s assertions provide a distorted understanding of the functioning of the US dollar market. The speculators want to convince us that the dollar will collapse as part of a normal market mechanism, without acknowledging that the “too big to fail” banks have the ability to trigger a decline in the US dollar which in a sense obviates the functioning of the normal market.

Wall Street has indeed the ability to “short” the greenback with a view to depressing its value. It has also has the ability through derivative trade of pushing the US dollar up. These up and down movements of the greenback are, so to speak, the “cannon feed” of financial warfare. Push the US dollar up and speculate on the upturn, push it down and speculate on the downturn.

It is impossible to assess the future movement of the US dollar by solely focusing on the interplay of “normal market” forces in response to the US public debt crisis.

While an assessment based on “normal market” forces indelibly points to structural weaknesses in the US dollar as a reserve currency, it does not follow that a weakened US dollar will necessarily decline in a forex market which is routinely subject to speculative manipulation.

Moreover, it is worth noting that the national currencies of several heavily indebted developing countries have increased in value in relation to the US dollar, largely as a result of the manipulation of the foreign exchange markets. Why would the national currencies of countries literally crippled by foreign debt go up against the US dollar?

The Institutional Speculator

JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank America, Citi-Group, Deutsche Bank et al: the strategy of the institutional speculators is to sit on their “inside information” and create uncertainty through heavily biased news reports, which are in turn used by individual stock brokers to advise their individual clients on “secure investments”. And that is how people across America have lost their savings.

It should be emphasized that these major financial actors not only control the media, they also control the debt rating agencies such as Moody’s and Standard and Poor.

According to the mainstay of neoclassical economics, speculative trade reflects the “normal” movement of markets. An absurd proposition.

Since the de facto repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and the adoption of the Financial Services Modernization Act in 1999, market manipulation tends to completely overshadow the “laws of the market”, leading to a highly unstable multi-trillion dollar derivative debt, which inevitably has a bearing on the current impasse on Capitol Hill. This understanding is now acknowledged by sectors of mainstream financial analysis.

There is no such thing as “normal market movements”. The outcome of the government shutdown on financial markets cannot be narrowly predicted by applying conventional macro-economic analysis, which excludes outright the role of market manipulation and derivative trade.

The outcome of the government shutdown on major markets does not hinge upon “normal market forces” and their impacts on prices, interest rates and exchange rates. What has to be addressed is the complex interplay of “normal market forces” with a gamut of sophisticated instruments of market manipulation. The latter consist of an interplay of large scale speculative operations undertaken by the most powerful and corrupt financial institutions, with the intent to distorting “normal” market forces.

It is worth mentioning that immediately following the adoption of the Financial Services Modernization Act in 1999, the US Congress adopted the Commodity Futures Modernization Act 2000 (CFMA) which essentially “exempted commodity futures trading from regulatory oversight.”

Four major Wall Street financial institutions account for more than 90 percent of the so-called derivative exposure: J.P. Morgan Chase, Citi-Group, Bank America, and Goldman Sachs. These major banks exert a pervasive influence on the conduct of monetary policy, including the debate within the US Congress on the debt ceiling. They are also among the World’s largest speculators.

What is the speculative endgame behind the shutdown and debt default saga?

An aura of uncertainty prevails. People across America are impoverished as a result of the curtailment of “entitlements”, mass protest and civil unrest could erupt. Homeland Security (DHS) is the process of militarizing domestic law enforcement. In a bitter irony, each and all of these economic and social events including political statements and decisions in the US Congress concerning the debt ceiling, the evaluations of the rating agencies, etc. create opportunities for the speculator.

Major speculative operations –feeding on inside information and deception– are likely take place routinely over the next few months as the fiscal and debt default crisis unfolds.

What is diabolical in this process is that major banking conglomerates will not hesitate to destabilize stock, commodity and foreign exchange markets if it serves their interests, namely as a means to appropriate speculative gains resulting from a situation of turmoil and economic crisis, with no concern for the social plight of millions of Americans.

Speculation in Agricultural  Commodities: Driving up the Price of Food Worldwide and plunging Millions into Hunger

One solution –which is unlikely to be adopted unless there is a major power shift in American politics– would be to cancel the derivative debt altogether and freeze all derivative transactions on major markets. This would certainly help to tame the speculative onslaught.

The manipulation through derivative trade of the markets for basic food staples is particularly pernicious because it potentially creates hunger. It has a direct bearing on the livelihood of millions of people.

As we recall, “the price of food and other commodities began rising precipitately [in 2006], … Millions were cast below the poverty line and food riots erupted across the developing world, from Haiti to Mozambique.”

According to Indian economist Dr. Jayati Ghosh:

“It is now quite widely acknowledged that financial speculation was the major factor behind the sharp price rise of many primary commodities , including agricultural items over the past year [2011]… Even recent research from the World Bank (Bafis and Haniotis 2010) recognizes the role played by the “financialisation of commodities” in the price surges and declines, and notes that price variability has overwhelmed price trends for important commodities.” (Quoted in Speculation in Agricultural Commodities: Driving up the Price of Food Worldwide and plunging Millions into Hunger ByEdward Miller, October 05, 2011)

The artificial hikes in the price of crude oil, which are also the result of market manipulation, have a pervasive impact on costs of production and transportation Worldwide, which in turn contribute to spearheading thousands of small and medium sized enterprises into bankruptcy.

Big Oil including BP as well Goldman Sachs exert a pervasive impact on the oil and energy markets.

The global economic crisis is a carefully engineered.

The end result of financial warfare is the appropriation of money wealth through speculative trade including the confiscation of savings, the outright appropriation of real economy assets as well as the destabilization of the institutions of the Federal State through the adoption of sweeping austerity measures.

The speculative onslaught led by Wall Street is not only impoverishing the American people, the entire World population is affected.

Posted in USAComments Off on The Speculative Endgame: The Government “Shutdown” and “Debt Default”, A Multibillion Bonanza for Wall Street

Leery of Lies: American Distrust in Media Hits Record High

NOVANEWS
Global Research

“That’s why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
―George Carlin

Recently a poll was conducted among Americans to determine the extent to which people have faith in mainstream media to report the news accurately.

The result showed that a staggering sixty percent of Americans do not trust the media in the United States — an all-time record.

More and more people are realizing that mainstream media serve as nothing more than well-funded mouthpieces for corrupt leaders. They work hand-in-hand to deliver news that suits corporate agendas (namely, spin and lies). Mainstream media exists to parrot the drivel and propaganda of the global elite:

“Speaking figuratively is the preferred way of talking by officials who want to appear to be saying something substantive when they have nothing substantive to say. In many cases, it is meaningless trash talk, a hidden way of lying. President Obama is a master of it.” (See “Talking Trash”: War, Economic Crisis and the Lies of History“)

The encouraging news is that alternative and independent media websites like Global Research are seeing an influx of new readers from around the world. It means that people are looking for news stories that reflect facts, not ones that are bought and paid for. As John Kozy writes:

“Those familiar with my work know that I believe that knowledge belongs to everyone, not just to those who discover it. So I post my pieces where anyone who wants to read them can access them freely. But although the knowledge is free, the means of promulgating it are not. Everyone knows that it is costly to design, print, and distribute books and magazines, but few seem to realize that it costs money to host and maintain websites too.

So if you appreciate the writings of authors that appear on a website, remember that supporting them requires that you support the site too, for the site is what makes it possible for you to read them. Supporting GlobalResearch.ca is not just an act of generosity, it is also an act of gratitude for what it makes available to you every day.”
John Kozy, Ph.D., retired professor of philosophy and logic (www.jkozy.com)
For list of articles by John Kozy, visit: http://www.globalresearch.ca/author/john-kozy

Please help us reach even more readers with the truth and facts. Consider making a donation or starting a membership with Global Research. Visit our online store to purchase bestselling books and DVDs for yourself and your friends.

In the face of widespread conflict, suspicion and doubt, help Global Research continue to be a voice of truth so that we can turn this time of distrust into an era of global awakening.

Support independent media!

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on Leery of Lies: American Distrust in Media Hits Record High

Why the Attack on Sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki is Unacceptable!

There are certain types of articles (reports and/or commentaries) from mainstream media organizations that when re-published in Muslim media should automatically be attended by an official disclaimer (or qualifying statement on why it is being included for reader’s review). The Associated Press article below is one such example.
In reading this article, my mind traveled back to a federal courtroom in downtown Dallas during the second trial of “The Holy Land 5.” I remember feeling a sense of outrage when one of the defense attorneys stated, in her closing arguments, “We all know that Hamas is a terrorist organization.” After the proceedings ended, and again later that same day, I voiced my opposition to that line of argument on two grounds: (1) it is patently false; (2) in a post-9/11 world where committed Muslims have been officially made the new boogeymen on the block, it is a profoundly short-sighted and counterproductive courtroom strategy to make!
As in the present case involving Dr. Ali Al-Timimi , the attorneys representing the brothers in Dallas were a seasoned mix – and contracted by the Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA). In the end, however, the strategic mind-set behind that pronouncement may have been a major factor in why the brothers were ultimately found guilty of a manufactured offense that they never should have been put on trial for in the first place! The jury saw a connection between HLF and HAMAS; and since both the prosecution and the defense recognized Hamas as “terrorist,” guilty as charged became a forgone conclusion.
Now we have the appeals hearing for Ali Al-Tamimi in another US courthouse in Northern Virgina; with yet another seasoned attorney, Jonathan Turley, making the argument that the late Anwar Al-Awlaki may have been a government informant. And once again we have this writer feeling a sense of outrage on two counts: (1) the accusation flies in the face of the character of the Anwar Al-Awlaki that many of us knew; (2) and he is no longer with us to defend himself. Does that matter? Yes!

Posted in YemenComments Off on Why the Attack on Sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki is Unacceptable!

Was US Born Cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki a Government Informant?

 

NOVANEWS

Lawyers for a Muslim scholar convicted in 2005 of soliciting treason on Friday pressed a judge to order prosecutors to disclose information they believe could show that American-born al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki was once a government informant.

 

Ali Al-Timimi of Fairfax was the spiritual leader for a group of northern Virginia Muslims who played paintball to train for holy war. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for exhorting some of them to join the Taliban and fight against the U.S. after the Sept. 11 attacks. Several of them got as far as Pakistan, training with a militant group called Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Al-Timimi’s lawyers said Friday at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Alexandria that they are suspicious about a 2002 visit al-Awlaki paid to al-Timimi. The defense now suspects al-Awlaki, who has since been killed, went there as an informant to get incriminating information on al-Timimi. If so, they say al-Awlaki’s role as an informant should have been disclosed at trial.
At the meeting, al-Awlaki purportedly tried to get al-Timimi’s help in recruiting men for jihad, but al-Timimi rejected him. Al-Timimi’s lawyer, Jonathan Turley, said government documentation of the meeting would refute the case made at trial by prosecutors that al-Timimi was urging Muslims to fight. They also say it would show that al-Timimi had been in the government’s crosshairs back in 2002, which would have contradicted other testimony that the government did not begin investigating al-Timimi until 2003.
The suspicions about al-Awlaki stem from newly discovered information that FBI agents involved in Al-Timimi’s case may have facilitated al-Awlaki’s return to the United States in 2002. Al-Awlaki had been imam of a northern Virginia mosque at the time of the 2001 attacks but left the U.S. shortly thereafter.
He had contact with some of the Sept. 11 hijackers, and in years after the 2001 attacks emerged as a top al-Qaida leader before being killed in a drone strike in 2011. There has been debate as to whether al-Awlaki hid long-held al-Qaida sympathies in his time in the U.S. or radicalized after leaving the years after Sept. 11.
Also released earlier this year were FBI documents showing that agents observed al-Awlaki in 2001 and 2002 hiring prostitutes, but never brought charges against him.
Prosecutors say they’ve turned over everything required of them. In court papers and at Friday’s hearing, they gave no information on whether al-Awlaki may have been an informant. Instead, they say they are only obligated to turn over information that would assist the defense, and said the law gives prosecutors the discretion to make that determination.
The law “does not entitle any defendant to the disclosure of the extent and nature of the government’s investigative tools or tactics simply because he suspects that materials are in the government’s possession that might prove interesting to him,” prosecutor Gordon Kromberg wrote.
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said she will issue a written ruling later on the motion, but expressed doubt about the defense requests. She said she was persuaded in part because of secret evidence the government submitted in the case, which even Turley, who holds a security clearance, has not been allowed to see.
Al-Timimi attended Friday’s hearing but did not speak, wearing a jail jumpsuit and sporting long hair and a beard significantly grayer than at his 2005 trial.

Posted in USA, YemenComments Off on Was US Born Cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki a Government Informant?

IMF: Kuwait’s Finances Sound, Public Sector Needs Reform

NOVANEWS

CEO of Crescent Petroleum Majid Jafar (2nd L), CEO of Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company Sheikh Nawaf Al-Sabah (2nd R) and CEO of Kuwait Energy Sara Akbar participate in a question-and-answer session during the Oil & Money conference in London, Oct. 2, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Luke MacGregor )
By: Amer Thiab al-Tamimi

 

In late September, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a report that objectively assessed the Kuwaiti economy and listed its strengths and weaknesses. The report pointed out that the rise in oil prices has led to a surplus in Kuwait’s general budget and current account. The report said that the surplus remained high and has reached 33% of the 2012 gross domestic product, despite the rise in current expenditure allocations.

According to the finance minister, the budget achieved a surplus of 12.7 billion Kuwaiti dinars [$45 billion] in fiscal year 2012-13. That was due to higher oil prices and to an oil production level of about 3 million barrels per day, which is approaching full capacity. The total 2012 current account is $79.8 billion and is estimated to be $72.1 billion for 2013.

These indicators confirm the strength of Kuwait’s financial situation, enhance its ability to meet its domestic and foreign obligations, raise its financial reserves and increase the value of Kuwaiti-owned assets abroad. Over the past two years, the Kuwaiti government has raised the funding of the “future generations fund” from 10% to 25% of total government revenues.

The performance of the oil sector is strong, but the non-oil sector has room for improvement. The report said that the growth rate in the non-oil sector went from 0.9% in 2009 to 2.2% in 2012. That rate is expected to reach 3.3% in 2013 and may rise to 4.4% in 2014. After the Central Bank of Kuwait cut its discount rate to 2.0%, the potential to improve the level of indebtedness of the non-oil sector has become attainable, which would improve the investment opportunities for several economic activities.

The IMF report showed that bank credit rose in June at an annual rate of 6.3%. Local banks have high liquidity. At the end of August, bank deposits totaled 34.6 billion dinars [$122.5 billion], of which 29.8 billion [$105.5 billion] were for the private sector and 4.8 billion [$17 billion] for the public sector. Of that, 28.2 billion dinars [$99.9 billion] were used to fund various economic sectors, which confirms that the funding remains below the banks’ financial resources. So, cutting the discount rate is possible.

The financial situation is sound, but are the macroeconomic conditions satisfactory? Kuwaiti officials should not relax and avoid making important and difficult decisions due to the availability of funds, the improved performance of the non-oil sector to some extent and the strength of the banking system.

Public spending reveals that there is more current spending than capital spending. Even the capital expenditure allocations are not entirely spent due to bureaucratic problems, weak implementation and slow decision-making at all administrative levels. So projects approved in the development plan from 2010-11 to 2013-14 have been disrupted. And a project that is supposed to take two years now takes five, not to mention the high capital costs. The private sector remains absent from these development projects and from projects related to infrastructure and facilities such as electricity, water, telecommunications, transportation, education and health care. According to the plan, the private sector will undertake and own a number of projects. But present laws have disrupted the private sector’s role in housing, utilities, oil and other vital projects. The plan, which has stressed raising the private sector’s contribution in the local production, has not achieved the desired results so far, as it approaches the end of its time frame.

Human development is still far from achieving its goals. The country still depends on imported labor, which makes up 84% of the total labor force in the country. In past years — when the plan was supposed to be implemented — the government adopted, under pressure from parliament, policies that raise salaries and benefits in public institutions. That has caused fewer citizens to join the private sector. It goes without saying that public sector employment has become a significant burden on the state, not only financially but also economically and socially, with high rates of underemployment in various institutions and lower productivity among employees who are citizens.

The policy to support employment in the private sector has failed in raising the national employment rate after public salaries were raised. Salaries are important in attracting citizens to the labor market, but the educational system is still unable to provide the skilled workforce required by private sector enterprises. In this context, the IMF report noted the need to enhance the quality of education and vocational training and encourage women to join the workforce. According to statistics, about 20,000 Kuwaitis enter the job market every year. So new concepts of employment are needed. Kuwait also needs to improve working conditions and expand privatization, which expands the private sector.

In conclusion, Kuwait’s financial situation is sound, but the country still has significant structural problems that must be addressed.

 

Posted in KuwaitComments Off on IMF: Kuwait’s Finances Sound, Public Sector Needs Reform

Zionist Puppet Saudi UN Envoy: Iran Has No Role in Syria Solution

NOVANEWS

Abdallah Yahya A. Al-Mouallimi, Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations, addressed the General Assembly after a report concerning Syria was released, March 2, 2012 (photo by UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras)
By: Raghida Dergham

Saudi ambassador to the United Nations Abdallah al-Mouallimi stressed that any discussion regarding the Syrian issue at the Geneva II conference should be “in preparation for a real political transition of power. But if this is not the goal, there will be ambiguity in the situation that is not consistent with reality.”

In an interview with Al-Hayat just after Saudi Arabia was elected a non-permanent member* of the UN Security Council, Mouallimi stressed that Riyadh rejects “reducing the Syrian issue to the topic of chemical weapons,” calling on the council to “deal with the issues in its entirety.”

He criticized “the negative role played by Iran, which is not eligible to play an active role in peacemaking and creating a new Syria.” He called on Tehran to “abandon its backing for the regime and the armed groups supporting it.”

He explained that Iran’s support for Hezbollah in Lebanon amounted to “interference in the affairs of Arab countries” and stressed the need for the newly elected Iranian leadership to pair “words with deeds.”

Here is the text of the interview.

Al-Hayat:  You are joining the Security Council for the first time as an elected member, while you are in a battle with the UN, one aspect of which is the kingdom’s decision to cancel its traditional speech before the General Assembly. Where is this path taking you?

Mouallimi:  Saudi Arabia is joining the Security Council and is in a state of full agreement with the UN.* We are a founding member and are committed to its charter. We have supported the UN’s activities for the past seven decades, and continue to support them in any way we can, whether in terms of financial, moral or human support. We appreciate the significant role the UN plays in peacemaking and promoting economic and social development, given that it is the only forum that brings together all countries of the world in a single location.

Al-Hayat:  Why did you cancel your speech before the General Assembly? What was your message?

Mouallimi:  It’s not appropriate to give the decision to cancel our speech more importance than necessary. First of all, canceling speeches before the General Assembly is optional. We don’t need more speeches, but rather more action. Maybe we expressed this principle in practice, because we ourselves need the UN to ensure that there will be more actions, results and output. With regards to speeches and addresses, there have been many of these over the years.

Al-Hayat:  Many Saudi officials have talked about their displeasure with the state of affairs at the UN. Thus, [the decision to cancel the speech] was a political message expressed indirectly. How will you build on this message going forward?

Mouallimi:  To the best of my knowledge, no official statement has been issued by any Saudi official on this matter, so I cannot comment on this part. But our principle is clear, we want more actions from the UN and the International community, not more words.

Al-Hayat:  What actions do you want?

Mouallimi:  We want the international community to shoulder its responsibility toward the Palestinian cause — toward Jerusalem and Israeli settlements and toward the continuous provocations by the settlers. We want the international community as a whole to have a larger role in the negotiations that are currently taking place. It is unacceptable to leave this issue to the Israelis alone, allowing them to dictate their own terms and impose their desires. We also want the international community to be more effective when it comes to responding to the aspirations of the Syrian people. The international community has recently limited its attention to the chemical weapons issue. While the chemical weapons issue is important, it does not represent the essence of the problem in Syria. We want the international community to be more effective in solving international disputes and not to leave them to worsen year after year, becoming just files.

Al-Hayat:  Let’s talk for a bit about the Syrian file, which has gone back to the Security Council. Currently, there is an international celebration of the resolution of the chemical issue, and you are outside the Security Council. How will you act when you become a member [of the Council]?

Mouallimi:  Saudi Arabia has never been outside of the international consensus. We agree with the idea of international legitimacy, with legitimate international decisions and with what is agreed upon by the international community. We are not necessarily removed from this context. The Syrian issue cannot be reduced to the chemical weapons issue. When we sense that it has been reduced to this, we call for widening the framework to consider the issue in all its dimensions. We do not object to this decision, but we want the international community to deal with the whole issue.

Al-Hayat:  This decision gave Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a key role as a partner in implementation. It had been said that his regime lost its legitimacy, but now he is an active partner in implementing this resolution. How are you reconsidering your strategy?

Mouallimi:  Going back to the negotiating table and reconsidering policies is a natural thing that continuously occurs. But the decision to accept or reject the Syrian leadership is up to the Syrian people. The Syrian people have spoken, and [their decision] has been confirmed by all standards and reports. The Syrian people are still insistent on a new regime that is comprehensive and free. [According to the people], the Syrian regime and those who have blood on their hands should not have a role in the [future] leadership. Thus, we stand with the Syrian people, and support their aspirations and desires. We will continue to support them in their aspirations. We maintain that the goal of any international initiative or any conference should be to prepare for a real political transition of power in Syria.

Al-Hayat:  US Secretary of State John Kerry believes it is necessary to set a date for the Geneva II conference. UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will head to the region. Will he visit you? And will you object to him visiting Iran?

Mouallimi:  I do not know if he will visit the kingdom or not. I think that this matter is first and foremost up to Mr. Brahimi. In addition, it depends on his schedule. If he wants to visit Saudi Arabia, he will find the doors open to him. The decision to visit any other country is on him, and we cannot impose conditions on where he visits.

Al-Hayat:  So you don’t object to him consulting with Iran on the Syrian issue?

Mouallimi:  We want the brotherly nation of Iran to play a more positive role in this regard.

Al-Hayat:  What is this positive role, specifically?

Mouallimi:  To abandon its support for the Syrian regime.

Al-Hayat:  But we know that this will not happen.

Mouallimi:  Supporting the regime and armed elements that are fighting on its side means that Iran is not qualified to have an active role in peacemaking and creating a new Syria.

Al-Hayat:  Do you still oppose inviting Iran to Geneva II, as you were opposed to them being invited to Geneva I, where you also decided not to participate?

Mouallimi:  We are not concerned with whether or not we participate in the conference. What’s important is that the Syrian people participate and achieve their aspirations.

Al-Hayat:  The Syrian National Council announced that it would not participate in the conference, and you have been accused of not using your influence with the opposition to get them to come to Geneva.

Mouallimi:  This is an accusation we do not deny. We do not use our influence with the Syrian opposition to push them in one direction or another. We [merely] help the Syrian people to achieve their aspirations. While the Syrian people are represented by their leadership — the National Coalition — we do not use our influence to push them in one direction or another.

Al-Hayat:  President Assad said that he does not believe Geneva II will be held. Thus, for his part, he doesn’t believe there is any room for Geneva II, or any indication that it will be held. There seems to be a consensus between the two opinions — your opinion and his opinion — on this matter. You continue to arm the Syrian opposition, despite the American-Russian-Iranian agreement, and despite the atmosphere that indicates a potential breakthrough in that relationship.

Mouallimi:  I’m in New York, not in an atmosphere involving armament. I’m here talking about an atmosphere of diplomatic work, within the scope of the UN. Saudi Arabia’s stated and fixed position is that we call on all international parties to help the Syrian people defend themselves.

Al-Hayat:  What will be your strategy when it comes to Syrian affairs in the Security Council? Are accountability and punishment part of this strategy, knowing that you presented a draft resolution to the UN?

Mouallimi:  The draft resolution is currently in the General Assembly and is being discussed by Saudi Arabia, Arab states and some other parties.

Al-Hayat:  What does it stipulate?

Mouallimi:  Part of what it stipulates is the need to hold all those who commit war crimes or crimes against humanity accountable. This includes the use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta [region east of Damascus]. It also stipulates the need to bring all perpetrators to international justice in any form. We are committed to this. This has been called for by Arab League resolutions and in previous General Assembly resolutions. We will continue to maintain this position, both inside and outside the Security Council.

Al-Hayat:  Do you think that the reception Iran has received in the UN and in the United States will strategically affect your relations with Washington?

Mouallimi:  We were among the first to welcome the new direction taken by the Iranian leadership. Furthermore, the Saudi king was one of those who congratulated new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The king sent senior officials to Rouhani’s inauguration ceremony. Yet we hope that this new Iranian orientation will be coupled with deeds and not just words and phrases.

Al-Hayat:  And what about repairing Saudi-US relations?

Mouallimi:  The relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States is old and firmly established. It is based on common interests, values and goals.

Al-Hayat:  But there is now a strategic shift in the US position.

Mouallimi:  Do you think its possible that the United States could say Saudi Arabia is not an important country in US strategy? This is totally out of the question, even if there was a shift as you said. If you look at President Barack Obama’s speech in the General Assembly, he reiterated US policy constants, which include a commitment to strategic interests and common interests shared with friendly states throughout the world — particularly in the Arab Gulf region.

Al-Hayat:  Let’s talk a little bit about Egypt. You took a clear position opposed to that of the United States. How are you discussing this matter with Washington?

Mouallimi:  We discuss it by talking about defending the interests of the Egyptian people. We ask all powers in the world to respect the will of the Egyptian people, and to deal with them not as if they are a minor that needs guardianship, advice or guidance, but rather as a great nation that has a history, culture and an impressive record. Therefore, we are talking with our friends in France, the United States, Europe and throughout the world about the need to give the Egyptian people the opportunity to develop naturally and the need to allow the government to implement the road map that it has committed to and which includes specified dates. We believe that the policy of arm-twisting and imposing decisions on the Egyptian people — wherever it is coming from — will not bring about positive results in relations with Egypt and the Egyptian people.

*[Editor’s Note: On Oct. 18, Saudi Arabia rejected its seat on the UN Security Council.]

Posted in Iran, Saudi Arabia, SyriaComments Off on Zionist Puppet Saudi UN Envoy: Iran Has No Role in Syria Solution

Haniyeh Discusses Hamas Ties With Egypt, Iran in Speech

NOVANEWS
Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, prays before delivering a speech in Gaza City, Oct. 19, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)

For weeks now, Palestinian media circles have been abuzz with anticipation of Hamas’ historical speech, which was to be given by its leader Khaled Meshaal. This comes amid regional political developments and the movement’s ongoing efforts to reassess its alliances and relations with Arab states.

Knowledgeable sources inside Hamas, however, told Al-Monitor that internal considerations, the attention focused on the Gaza Strip as a result of the prevailing tensions with Egypt, and the stumbling reconciliation efforts with Fatah have driven the movement to decide that Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Meshaal’s deputy, would give the speech instead. This decision was made in particular because he would be face-to-face with other Palestinian figures, as opposed to appearing on television or a video conference. This would deprive him to a certain degree of vitality and the potential for interaction.

As Hamas planned, the speech lasting 90 minutes was given on Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Rashad Shawa Cultural Center, the largest such venue in the Gaza Strip. It received great media coverage and was attended by Al-Monitor’s correspondent, in addition to over 500 personalities from various parties, sectors, official and non-governmental institutions, including intellectuals and journalists.

The mobilization dimension

The timing of the speech was probably not spontaneous. Rather, it was necessary in light of the internal and external developments that Hamas has had to contend with. Haniyeh successfully reaffirmed, however, his ability to address people’s emotions and feelings. Meanwhile, he refrained from announcing specific political stances or historically pivotal decisions, as was persistently rumored in the past weeks through media outlets close to Hamas, which made it seem as if the speech would include surprises on many issues.

This was perhaps the most clearly defined moment that saw Haniyeh speak in his dual capacity as prime minister of Gaza and deputy chairman of Hamas’ Political Bureau. He repeated the phrase, “I address you on behalf of the movement and the government.” Yet, he mentioned the movement’s name 18 times, and contented himself with alluding to the government only four times.

The speech highlighted Hamas’ dilemma in trying to reconcile between “governance and resistance.” It did not seem to garner much support from some of Hamas’ cadres, whom Al-Monitor’s correspondent met with on the sidelines of the occasion. They saw in Haniyeh, through this speech addressed to the Palestinian people, a prime minister, and not a leader of Hamas.

Despite that, via Haniyeh’s speech, Hamas chose to emphasize a number of stances relating to internal matters and reconciliation efforts. While the man did not add anything new to these dossiers, he did reveal, in an unprecedented move, his opinion on the instigation of security unrest in Gaza meant to topple his government through calls for action by the Tamarod movement, which he did not specifically name. This matter was addressed by Al-Monitor in a previous article

In this regard, Haniyeh only said, “Any attempt to clone the regional scenario in Gaza will fail. It cannot succeed on the unwavering Palestinian scene, which possesses a great deal of resilience in the face of occupation, chaos and lawlessness.” These words of his were met with welcoming applause from the audience, particularly the leaders of governmental security agencies whose presence was noteworthy.

But, what drew the attention of Al-Monitor’s correspondent was the total absence of leaders from the Islamic Jihad Movement, Hamas’ closest ally, as well as representatives from Fatah. Noteworthy though, was the presence of leftist factions’ leaders, such as the Popular and Democratic fronts, despite that their relationship with Hamas is not at its best.

Many Palestinian political factions expressed their satisfaction towards Haniyeh’s speech because he opened the door for discussion pertaining to mechanisms needed to implement reconciliation. These same factions pointed out the positive change of attitude expressed in his words about resistance and political action. In this regard, Haniyeh revealed that national meetings were being organized by a member of Hamas’ Political Bureau, Imad al-Alamy, with the aim of discussing the current situation on the Palestinian scene, and the need to launch a comprehensive national dialogue.

It is important to note, though, that Haniyeh’s speech led to a rift inside Fatah between those who saw in it a repeat of old, futile talk, and those who considered it a serious invitation on which they could build.

No apologies

It no longer is a secret that Hamas suffered a regional setback emanating from the successive developments engendered by the loss of some of its allies, following the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. As a result, the movement tried to reestablish its alliances with Iran, and reduce the level of tension that prevailed in its relationship with Egypt. These efforts were evident when the deputy chairman of its Political Bureau, Moussa Abu Marzouk, asserted in an interview on the Al Mayadeen channel, which has close ties to Syria, that Meshaal raised the Syrian revolution’s flag by mistake, and that Hamas maintained its strong relations with Iran, in the latter’s capacity as the state that most strongly supported the movement. This support had waned, however, as a result of Hamas’ position on the Syrian crisis.

Some sources inside Hamas told Al-Monitor they wished that Haniyeh would confirm these intentions to restore the movement’s alliances, in light of the stifling crisis that it has to contend with. According to the sources, this would be done through the adoption of new positions that would facilitate reconciliation with Iran, and turn a new page with Syria. But, Haniyeh contented himself with saying: “Hamas does not flirt nor does it plead with anyone. It does not regret nor does it apologize for honorable positions, just to placate others. It does not feel that it is in the type of trouble necessitating that others be paid to save it from.”

A close associate of the decision-makers in Gaza wondered, after attending the speech, how helpful such words would be in speeding up complete reconciliation with Iran, at a time when steps taken by both sides lately seemed to reflect seriousness toward achieving that.

Egypt’s presence was marked in Haniyeh’s speech. He reaffirmed the same positions in regard to internal developments in that country, and Hamas’ lack of involvement in the security incidents that occurred in the Sinai, which he condemned. He did add a new twist by calling on the Egyptian judiciary to provide Hamas with any information that needed to be followed up, so that all doubts and concerns could be eliminated.

However, his speech did not allude to the ouster of Hamas’ strategic ally, the Muslim Brotherhood. It did not contain vocabulary such as “coup” and  “return to legitimacy,” which Hamas-affiliated media outlets had incessantly been repeating as of late. The same source close to Hamas considered this development as reflecting the movement’s conviction that matters would not return to what they were prior to Morsi’s ouster, and as an attempt to minimize the losses resulting from the strained relationship with the current regime in Cairo.

The most noteworthy aspect of Haniyeh’s speech though, was his failure to allude to any imminent confrontation with Israel. This can be regarded as a sign that the truce between them has remained stable. This is despite that the speech came on the second anniversary of the prisoner exchange deal, which, after saluting the Qassam Brigades, he considered as having negated all Israeli red lines.

Finally, Haniyeh, who prepared well for this speech eagerly awaited by many Palestinians, exhibited a great deal of cohesiveness, despite the blows suffered by Hamas. The speech did not, however, come to reflect a quantum leap in Hamas’ behavior, as many expected. Haniyeh’s confirmation of already known facts perhaps indicated that the situation on the Palestinian scene would remain deadlocked until further notice.

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