Archive | May 17th, 2016

Africa Liberation Day at 53: Pentagon and CIA Continue to Destabilize Continent

NOVANEWS
 
int-au

Today the African Union faces formidable development and security challenges 

May 25, 2016 marks the 53rd anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU) since 2002.

The holiday commonly known as Africa Day or Africa Liberation Day, comes during a period of increasing interference from the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

At a summit in 1963 held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at least 32 African heads-of-state gathered to form the OAU in efforts to foster the rapid decolonization of the continent and to move towards greater cooperation among the various governments. From the onset the OAU encompassed diverse and conflicting views on how Africa should move towards unity.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the-then president of the Republic of Ghana and founder of the ruling Convention People’s Party (CPP), called for the immediate formation of a continental government with integrated military, economic and social systems. Nkrumah believed that if Africa did not unite imperialists would reverse the minimal gains made by the national liberation movements and political parties.

Other more moderate and conservative states represented in the so-called Monrovia and Brazzaville Groups advocated a more gradualist approach. Others even within the progressive forces did not embody the militant commitment to unification and socialism as Nkrumah and Guinean leader President Ahmed Sekou Toure, who along with Modibo Kieta of Mali had formed the Ghana-Guinea-Mali Union in 1960.

Nkrumah stressed at the founding OAU Summit that “On this continent, it has not taken us long to discover that the struggle against colonialism does not end with the attainment of national independence. Independence is only the prelude to a new and more involved struggle for the right to conduct our own economic and social affairs; to construct our society according to our aspirations, unhampered by crushing and humiliating neo-colonialist controls and interference.” (May 24, 1963)

He went on saying “From the start we have been threatened with frustration where rapid change is imperative and with instability where sustained effort and ordered rule are indispensable. No sporadic act or pious resolution can resolve our present problems. Nothing will be of avail, except the united act of a united Africa. We have already reached the stage where we must unite or sink into that condition which has made Latin America the unwilling and distressed prey of imperialism after one-and-a-half centuries of political independence.”

Nkrumah was overthrown three years later at the aegis of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the U.S. State Department and other imperialist entities. His ideas nonetheless are still relevant today in light of the growing militaristic and intelligence penetration of the African continent.

Some Examples of Imperialist Militarism Today: The DRC and Mercenary Interests

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a leading opposition figure was exposed for having hired mercenaries from the U.S. to provide security for his campaign.

Moise Katumbi, a former governor of Katanga Province, who is now a presidential candidate has faced allegations that he hired mercenaries to assist him in the bid to become leader of the mineral-rich state in Central Africa. On May 9, Katumbi was questioned by the authorities in DRC when he denied the accusations.

Reuters press agency said “The enquiry could lead to charges that carry a prison term and could also tie Katumbi in legal knots that could derail his campaign to succeed President Joseph Kabila at elections scheduled November. Many Congolese people say Katumbi is the strongest opposition candidate to succeed Kabila, given his personal wealth and popularity as the former governor of Congo’s main copper-producing region. He also owns a soccer team.”

Senegal Signs Defense Pact With Pentagon

The Senegalese government in West Africa has signed a military agreement with the Pentagon giving Washington full access to the country.

Dakar participated in the Flintlock military exercises that are conducted annually by the Pentagon working in conjunction with other African and European states. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) coordinates these military maneuvers along with similar operations in various regions of the continent.

Relations between Senegal and neighboring Gambia have been strained for years. The U.S. escalation of military cooperation and economic assistance to Senegal are only fueling tensions in the region.

An article in Reuters reported “The Defense Cooperation agreement ‘will facilitate the continued presence of the U.S. military in Senegal,’ said Senegal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mankeur Ndiaye. The agreement ‘will also help to enhance security cooperation and further strengthen defense relations to face common security challenges in the region.’” (May 2)

War Threatened in Western Sahara

In the Western Sahara, Africa last colony, there are threats of war from Morocco, a close ally of the U.S. Morocco occupies Western Sahara in contravention of the official policy of both the AU and the United Nations. (AllAfrica.com, April 29)

Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony where Morocco took administrative control in the 1970s. A resistance movement known as the Polasario Front grew out of the demand for full national independence.

After years of fighting a ceasefire agreement between Morocco and Polasario prompted the establishment of MINURSO in 1991, formally recognized as a United Nations mission. The UN will vote once again on whether to extend the mandate of MINURSO. The UN mandate provided for an internationally-monitored referendum in which the people of Western Sahara could choose whether to pursue independence from or integration with Morocco. This promised referendum has not been held.

The AU maintains official recognition of the Western Sahara people which caused the Kingdom of Morocco to withdraw from the regional organization. Western Sahara has phosphates and other minerals making it a source of potential wealth in northwest Africa.

CIA Trains Children as Spies in Somalia

The imperialist-backed government in Somalia, where the CIA has a field station, the agency is providing training to children as spies who target members of Al-Shabaab in the ongoing counter-insurgency campaigns in the Horn of Africa. These training programs are carried out through the Somalia National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) which works closely with the CIA.

Western imperialist states such as the U.S. and those within the European Union (EU) fund and train the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) deploying 22,000 troops that work alongside the Somalia National Army.

Sputnik News reported on April 7 that, “In an interview with The Washington Post, the boys said that the country’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) had been using them as ‘finger-pointers’. They would be sent to dangerous neighborhoods where al-Shabaab insurgents were hiding and told to point out their former comrades. On many occasions their faces were not covered, although the agents concealed their own. It’s scary because you know everyone can see you working with them. The children were used on other missions to collect intelligence and sometimes told to wear NISA uniforms. According to the boys, they were threatened if they refused to cooperate, and their parents didn’t know where they were.”

Africa Must Unite Against Imperialism

Only an upsurge from the left and anti-imperialist forces can fulfill the visions of a true united Africa in line with the work of Nkrumah, Gaddafi and other revolutionary leaders. The worsening economic crisis due to the decline in commodity prices and western sponsored destabilization is reversing the advances made in regard to growth and development over the last decade.

Africa Liberation Day remains a vehicle to propagate the genuine liberation and unification of the continent under a socialist system. ALD demonstrations have been held annually in various cities across the North America since 1972.

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Nazi regime imposes “general closure” on Palestinian territory

NOVANEWS

Nazi regime imposes “general closure” on Palestinian territory for Nazi ‘Independence’ day

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Nazi regime declared a “general closure” on Gaza and the occupied West Bank since midnight on Tuesday and continuing until midnight on Thursday as Nazi celebrates its Memorial and Independence day.

The general closure was implemented on the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip yesterday, marking Nazi Memorial day, and will continue until the finish of Nazi ‘Independence’ day on Thursday.

Crossings from the West Bank and Gaza are only being permitted in humanitarian cases. However, a representative of Zionist puppet Ab-A$$ has requested approval for Palestinians in need of serious medical assistance.

Nazi army spokesperson said the closure was implemented following an army “security assessment” and added that the closure restrictions included the passage of products and the movement of people into the Nazi state and its illegal Nazi Jewish settlements.

Debilitating poverty and lack of employment drives many workers in the occupied West Bank to enter I$raHell in search of work. Nazi imposition of closures on the Palestinian territory has severely affected the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who depend on entering the Nazi state, or its illegal Nazi Jewish settlements, for employment opportunities.

The number of Palestinians employed, both documented and undocumented, in the Nazi state and its illegal Nazi Jewish settlements for the first quarter of 2016 was 114,000, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).

The average unemployment rate for the Palestinian territory was 26.6% for this same period: 18% in the West Bank and a staggering 41.2% in Gaza. The poor state of the Palestinian territory’s economy is largely attributed to the decades-long Nazi military occupation of the West Bank and the nearly nine year Nazi blockade on the Gaza Strip which severely undermines any economic developments.

Nazi regime movement restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank as recently as a few weeks ago during the Jewish holiday of Passover, including implementing a full closure on the besieged enclave of Gaza.

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Maduro Government Imposes State of Emergency in Venezuela

Venezuela Maduro

Venezuela was placed under a nationwide “State of Exception and Economic Emergency” Monday as its government continued to face both social unrest created by the country’s economic meltdown and a drive by the political right to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

While the Venezuelan president said that the decree was necessary to confront “international and national threats against our fatherland,” including both military intervention from abroad and a coup at home, the most pressing challenge to his government is coming from Venezuelan workers and poor who are unable to live under conditions of massive poverty, soaring prices and growing unemployment.

The country’s economy has plummeted in tandem with the price of oil, which is now selling for roughly one third of what it cost in 2014 and accounts for 95 percent of export earnings.

Recent weeks have seen a growing wave of looting by people frustrated with their inability to either find or afford basic foods and other necessities of life. Crowds have stormed supermarkets, shopping centers and government food dispensaries across the country.

With the value of the country’s minimum wage now reaching only $40 a month, large sections of the population are reduced to eating two or fewer meals a day, with meat, chicken, fish and other sources of protein well beyond their reach.

“We are officially declaring May as the month that [widespread] hunger began in Venezuela,” said Oscar Meza, Director of the Documentation Center for Social Analysis of the Venezuelan Federation of Teachers.

Meanwhile the state-run health care system is in a state of collapse. Venezuelan government figures cited by the New York Times show that the mortality rate among infants under a month old has increased by more than a hundredfold since 2012, while there are five times as many deaths of mothers giving birth in hospitals. These death rates reflect a lack of basic medicines and supplies as well as the effects of continuous daily blackouts that shut down incubators and other equipment.

Workers throughout the country have suffered devastating cuts in real wages, with inflation pegged at 700 percent this year and projected to rise as high as 1,642 percent next year.

While the only sector to have received wage increases commensurate with the soaring inflation rate is the military, the government has sought to freeze existing contracts and resisted negotiating new ones.

There are increasing signs of working class militancy amid these catastrophic conditions. Workers at the Central University of Venezuela have continued job actions, blocking all of the main entrances to the facility on Monday with picket lines and burning tires. Meanwhile, the country’s electrical workers announced plans to launch a nationwide general strike by next week after five years in which the government has refused to negotiate a new contract.

The conditions are developing for a social explosion on the scale of theCaracazo of 1989, the mass uprising against IMF-dictated austerity measures—imposed during a previous fall in oil prices—that the government attempted to drown in blood.

In announcing the state of emergency last Friday, President Maduro warned that “Washington is activating measures at the request of Venezuela’s fascist right, who are emboldened by the coup in Brazil.”

The right-wing opposition, organized in the MUD (Democratic Unity Roundtable) electoral coalition is attempting to organize a recall vote that would force new elections. The MUD, which won a super-majority in the federal legislature last December, has reportedly collected nearly two million signatures supporting a recall, but leading government officials have accused it of fraud and warned that the vote will not take place.

The collaboration between the MUD and US government agencies is undeniable, with the American embassy openly supporting its activities and outfits like the National Endowment for Democracy funneling money to the political right.

Support for ousting the Maduro government, however, has spread far beyond the MUD’s well-heeled upper middle class constituency, with polls showing the president’s popularity rate plummeting to anywhere between 15 and 25 percent.

Justifications given for the state of emergency were less than convincing. Maduro and his supporters cited statements made by Alvaro Uribe, the former right-wing president of Colombia, at a conference in Miami last week rhetorically calling for foreign military intervention in Venezuela to aid the opposition. It also pointed to a background briefing given by two US intelligence agents who speculated that Maduro could be brought down, including by a coup from within his own party or the military.

It is entirely possible that the Maduro government will use the state of emergency to suspend the constitutional right to seek a recall vote and thereby derail the right’s campaign. This, however, will do nothing to dampen the anger of millions of Venezuelans over their inability to secure food and health care for their families.

In addition to the state of emergency, Maduro has announced plans to hold military exercises next weekend “to prepare ourselves for any scenario.”

The scenario of mass social upheavals is far more likely than that of a foreign invasion, and there are growing signs that the government is resorting to repression against the working class to sustain itself in power.

The turn to the military comes on the heels of “Operation Liberation of the People” launched last year, which has seen police and military collaborating in mass arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial executions in the name of a war on crime waged in poor and working class neighborhoods. Last Tuesday, a crackdown resulted in the arrest of 1,130 people and killing of at least nine.

Under the severe impact of the global capitalist crisis on Venezuela’s economy, the economic and political setup introduced in Venezuela 17 years ago with the coming to power of the former army officer Hugo Chavez has reached an impasse.

The right-wing corporate media internationally has gloated over the deepening crisis of the Maduro government and the growing hunger and misery of the Venezuelan masses, proclaiming both a manifestation of the “failure of socialism.”

This is a lie. While the late Chavez and his successor Maduro proclaimed their policy to be that of “Bolivarian socialism” or “Twenty-first century socialism,” they have led a capitalist government that has defended private property in an economy in which a greater share of production was in the hands of the private sector than before Chavez became president.

The limited social assistance programs initiated under Chavez served, as he himself boasted, to protect the rich by reducing the immense class tensions in what historically has been one of the continent’s most unequal nations.

Meanwhile, on the strength of rising oil prices, the financial sector reaped record profits, while a layer known as the boliburguesia, composed of government officials and businessmen with ties to the government, enriched themselves off of corruption, smuggling and currency manipulation schemes that siphoned hundreds of billions of dollars out of the economy.

As the present crisis demonstrates, the government failed to either develop vital infrastructure or diversify the national economy to reduce its dependence upon oil exports, 40 percent of which went to the US market.

With the collapse in oil prices, the ability to maintain social programs and subsidized imports has evaporated, and the full weight of the crisis is being imposed upon the backs of the working class.

Reduced revenues that could go to buy desperately needed food and medicine are instead being directed by the Maduro government to meet interest and service charges on Venezuela’s debt to the international banks. It has rigorously denied reports that it will default on some $10.5 billion in debt servicing costs that come due this year.

The White House Monday declared itself to be “quite concerned about the wellbeing of the people of Venezuela” and called for all “interested parties” to “work together peacefully to try to find solutions.”

This is so much eye wash. Washington views the intense crisis in Venezuela, Brazil and elsewhere on the continent as an opportunity to reassert US hegemony in Latin America, counter the growing influence of China and inflict blows against the working class.

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NATO Build-up in Romania and Moldova Directed against Russia

NATO-Russia

The drive by the US and EU imperialism to militarily encircle and ultimately dismantle Russia and China is pushing the world closer to a devastating conflagration. The rapid and reckless militarization of Eastern Europe that occurred after the overthrow in 2014 of the Russian-backed government in Kiev, highlights the enormous dangers confronting the population of the region and of the entire world.

The recent activation at the Deveselu airbase in Romania of the first land-based element of the NATO missile defense system has provoked a harsh reaction from Moscow. Notwithstanding the declarations of various NATO officials about countering North Korean or Iranian missiles, the Russians justifiably see it as an attempt to break the nuclear deterrence status quo.

Adm. Vladimir Komoyedov, chairman of the State Duma’s defense committee, called the missile system “a direct threat to us”, and added “They are moving to the firing line […] this is not about Iran, but about Russia with its nuclear capabilities.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, quoted by news agencies, said, “This is not a defense system. This is part of a US nuclear strategic potential brought on to a periphery. In this case, Eastern Europe is such a periphery.” He then threatened, “Those people taking such decisions must know that until now they have lived calm, fairly well-off and in safety. Now, as these elements of ballistic missile defense are deployed, we are forced to think how to neutralize the emerging threats to the Russian Federation.”

The extremely volatile and dangerous nature of the developing situation is exemplified by an article that appeared in the online edition of the New York Times on the day the new missile system was inaugurated. The article quoted Russian commentator Konstantin Bogdanov, who said, “The antimissile sites in Eastern Europe might even accelerate the slippery slope to nuclear war in a crisis. They would inevitably become priority targets in the event of nuclear war, possibly even targets for preventive strikes.

“Countries like Romania that host American antimissile systems might be the only casualties,” he wrote, “whereas the United States would then reconcile with Russia ‘over the smoking ruins of the East European elements of the missile defense system.’”

Over the past two years, Romania, Poland and the Baltic states have been the scene of almost continuous rounds of military drills by the NATO armed forces. NATO strategists view these countries as a future battleground, and American troops, part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, are arduously feeling out the local terrain and infrastructure in preparation for war.

In addition to the concentration of military hardware and troops that is set to increase in the coming period, Romania is also agitating for the creation of a permanent NATO flotilla to counter Russia in the Black Sea, to be manned mainly by the Black Sea countries of Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. On his visit to Bucharest on the April 21, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced his intention to join the Romanian initiative.

In a major escalation of the militarization of Eastern Europe, US and Romanian forces are involved in exercises with Moldovan troops taking place between May 2 and May 20 on the Moldavian side of the border. The exercise, dubbed Dragoon Pioneer, involves around 200 US soldiers and marks the first time in the former Soviet Republic’s history that NATO troops have entered the country, in flagrant violation of the Moldovan constitution, which stipulates its neutrality.

Moldova is engaged in an ongoing territorial conflict with the breakaway Republic of Transnistria, with which it, supported by Romania, fought a brief war in the 1990s. Transnistria enjoys the backing of Russia, which maintains a peacekeeping force of around 1,500 troops on its territory. Russian forces stationed there reacted by staging their own exercises to coincide with the American presence in Moldova. Russian units also took part for the first time in the May 9 Victory Day parade organized by the authorities in Tiraspol, a gesture condemned by Moldova as “harming bilateral relations.”

The presence of the American troops was accompanied by a propaganda campaign aimed at revising the historical role of the Soviet Red Army in the liberation of Europe from the Third Reich. American hardware was displayed in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau on both May 8 and 9, with both Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti and Party of Communists leader Vladimir Voronin stressing the “massive contribution” of the US in defeating Nazi Germany. After the end of the operations in Moldova, the US troops will reenter Romania to join Romanian, British and Moldovan soldiers in the Sarmis 16 military exercises.

The militarization of Romania and the war preparations are carried out by the imperialist powers in collusion with the local elites entirely behind the backs of the population. Nothing resembling a public debate or any mention of the immense dangers posed by these policies has taken place.

Romania was one of the first NATO countries to increase its defense budget to 2 percent of GDP, a measure demanded by the US and adopted last year in a “National Pact” overseen by the country’s president, Klaus Iohannis, and supported by all the bourgeois parties. To support the bloated military spending and comply with EU spending demands, the technocratic Government headed by Dacian Ciolos is supervising further attacks on the livelihoods of workers, including major privatization drives in mining, energy and healthcare.

The drive towards war and the endless austerity measures are growing increasingly incompatible with the thin veneer of parliamentary democracy that was established by the new ruling classes in Eastern Europe after the restoration of capitalism in the 1990s. The admission last year by former Social Democratic President Ion Iliescu that his administration participated in the CIA torture program, and that it was done without blinking an eye in order to secure the country’s admission to NATO, should serve as a stark warning to the working class as to the criminal character of these ruling oligarchies. A return to the naked dictatorial forms of rule that prevailed before the Second World War is more than a theoretical possibility.

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US War Crimes against Women: The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)

NOVANEWS

Interview

 
rawa

Please tell us about RAWA, you and your struggle, and the difficulties facing your country.

The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), is the oldest women’s organization in Afghanistan that fights for freedom, democracy, social justice, and secularism. RAWA’s founder was Meena who formed this group at a young age in 1977, with the help of some other female university students in Kabul. Meena was assassinated in Quetta, Pakistan in 1987 by agents of KHAD (Afghanistan branch of KGB) with the help of the bloodthirsty fundamentalist gang of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. She was only 30-years-old. What distinguishes RAWA from other associations is the fact that we are a political organization. When RAWA was found, Afghanistan was under the oppression of the USSR puppet government and later Russian invasion, and Meena felt that the struggle for independence, freedom, and justice was inseparable from the struggle for women’s rights. After Meena’s martyrdom, RAWA continued fighting against the Afghan Islamic fundamentalists and their international backers till today.

RAWA still work underground in most parts of Afghanistan but faces enormous difficulties. The Jehadi leaders, warlords with bloody pasts of horrific crimes, are in control of the current government and parliament, and have their separate kingdoms in different parts of Afghanistan. Abdullah Abdullah, the CEO of Afghanistan, is one of these Jehadi leaders who belongs to the criminal gang of Shorae Nizar. This creates a dangerous situation for us as these thugs our biggest enemies who do not hesitate in hindering our work and harming us. In other parts of Afghanistan where the Taliban fundamentalists are in control, RAWA faces the same oppression. All our members use pseudonyms for protection and we can never go public with our work. Despite these obstacles, it is still possible for us to continue our political activities in most parts of the country due to our contact with locals and the fact that their hatred for these criminals translates into support for us.

Our political activities include publishing our magazines and articles, and mobilizing women to get this consciousness and join our struggle. We collect and document the killings, raping, pillage, extortion, and other crimes of these warlords in remote parts of Afghanistan. Our social activities are providing education to women (not just literacy classes but social and political awareness as to their rights and how to achieve them), emergency aid, making orphanages, and health-related activities.

How is Afghanistan more than 14 years after the US invasion?

The US has committed heinous crimes in Afghanistan in the past decade, killing thousands of innocent people in airstrikes and night raids, and torturing innocent Afghans in their black sites inside their bases. The Bala Baluk massacre in Farah province in 2009 that killed 147 innocent Afghans, the Panjwai massacre in Kandahar province in 2012 that killed 16 innocent Afghans, the killing of twelve innocent children in Kunar province in 2013, and the MSF hospital strike of 2015 in Kunduz province that killed 42 and injured more than 30, are only a few incidents of the bloodshed caused by US/NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Despite this, the biggest treason the US has committed in Afghanistan is the re-installment of Islamic fundamentalist criminals in power. As history has always shown and the present proves, no foreign intervention or occupation is entirely successful without the cooperation of a group of treacherous domestic mercenaries of the occupant country. Today Afghanistan is ruled by bloodthirsty fundamentalist warlords and criminals who share the Taliban’s ideology and have committed crimes worse than that of the Taliban in the past. The Northern Alliance, composed of the most traitorous and misogynist elements of warlords and military commanders were imposed on our people through three historically fraudulent elections. These criminals led the civil war of 1992-1996 that killed more than 65,000 civilians in Kabul alone and plundered the city. Their militias committed systematic murder, rape, gang-rape, extortion, robbery, arbitrary detention, cut off women’s breasts, nailed nails into skulls, performed horrible killing rituals, and hundreds of other crimes. Instead of facing prosecution in international courts for these crimes, these killers enjoy full impunity and fatten their bank accounts with the West’s support. Countless reports by international bodies such as the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have documented the crimes committed by powerful warlords all over Afghanistan, both in the past and present. Despite this, we know that this support is unwavering and will continue for decades.

The new government of Afghanistan called the ‘National Unity Government’ is headed by long-time US mercenary Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah of Northern Alliance, who were united by a John Kerry brokered agreement after the two could not agree on the results of the rigged and disgusting presidential elections which was full of fraud (the result of this election was officially released a year later!). Ashraf Ghani’s deputies were prominent criminals Rashid Dostum and Sarwar Danish, while Abdullah’s running mates were Mohammad Khan and Mohammad Mohaqiq, another two famous criminals. The first thing the new government did was sign the Bilateral Security Agreement that legitimized the long-term presence of the US in our homeland and was the document that officially sold our independence to the US. There is no new face in the government. The only difference is that this time, the famous criminals of Khalq and Parcham faction who were the puppets of the USSR have also been given a chunk of the power, despite being implicated in a Death List  which revealed the names of 5000 political activists and intellectuals who were killed by the regime in the 1970s and 80s. Needless to say, such a puppet regime cannot bring peace, freedom, democracy, justice, and women’s rights even if they go through elections a hundred times.

According to the UN, the Taliban’s reach is widest now since 2001. The suicide attacks by the Taliban, and the constant war between the Afghan government and Taliban has made life hell for our people. The civilian death rate for 2015 has been the highest ever recorded and a large portion of that is made up of women and children. While the wounds the Taliban gave our people are still bleeding, peace talks are ongoing to include the Taliban in the government. Instead of putting them on trial for their heinous crimes they are being invited to the government to complete the circle of fundamentalist, mercenary criminals in Afghanistan. How can such a criminal force bring peace by taking power?

Today Afghanistan’s economy is in shambles. More than 60 billion dollars was donated to Afghanistan for the so-called reconstruction effort but not even cents reached our people and filled the pockets of mafia in and out of the government. In the past thirteen years not one project has contributed to rebuilding the base of the country. No basic infrastructure has been built in the country and unemployment hits new peaks every day.

Poverty and hunger in Afghanistan is among the highest in the world, comparable only to African nations. Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate in the world, millions suffer from hunger and malnourishment. 25% of the children in Afghanistan are engaged in labor to feed their families, which deprives them of school and other basic rights.

Afghanistan has been named the most corrupt country in the world for the past few years. Thanks to the US invasion, Afghanistan is a narco-state today. It is not just the top producer of drugs providing 90% of the world’s opium, but also has the highest user of drugs too with around 3 million addicts. In the recent London conference, Ashraf Ghani stated that of the 500 billion USD income of drugs in Afghanistan, 480 billion has flowed back to Europe. This not only highlights the failure of the West in its so-called war on drugs in Afghanistan, but raises doubts of their involvement in this business.

Regarding women of Afghanistan, whom Washington promised to liberate, what is their situation today?

The Afghan women’s dire situation under the medieval-minded Taliban was exploited by the US as one of the main reasons to invade Afghanistan in 2001. Let us look at how this “liberation” has panned out.

Like all the people of Afghanistan, women are crushed between several forces in a continuous war and insecurity that has plagued our country for more than a decade: the US and its allies, Jehadi and Taliban fundamentalists, and now the newly-emerged ISIS.

The parliament has attempted to legalize stoning to death for adultery, wife-beating, and honor killing. Most of the women in Afghan jails today were sentenced by the misogynist judiciary for “moral crimes” such as running away from home from cruel husbands and in-laws, eloping with a lover, etc. Countless cases of public lashing and executions have been carried out by mock courts of Taliban, and local warlords and Mullahs in all parts of Afghanistan.

The situation of women today is catastrophic. Violence against women has risen to unprecedented levels today. Women suffer from domestic violence, rape, gang-rape, sexual abuse, murder, immolation, honor-killing, underage and coerced marriage to men much older than them, exchange of girls in marriage for items, and tens of other such misfortunes. Young girls have been tortured in basements, have had their noses, lips, and ears chopped off, deprived of food, and beaten to death by their families or in-laws. What we hear in the media is only the tip of the iceberg.

In 2001, the US and its allies used the plight of Afghan women as an excuse to occupy Afghanistan, they specially used the image of an Afghan woman called Zarmina who was publicly killed by Taliban in the Kabul sports stadium. But just few weeks ago the same public execution of an Afghan woman was released but the Western media turned a blind eye on it and they even did not report it.

The rates of self-immolation have reached new heights. Many women burn themselves alive as they see no other solution to their problems. The legislators, judiciary, and police all over Afghanistan are misogynist fundamentalists who impose their anti-women mentalities in the form of laws, and offer full impunity to the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes. It is only natural that in such a situation, violence against women will only continue to rise.

Last year, Afghanistan witnessed the most horrific crime ever committed against an Afghan woman in broad daylight in central Kabul, under the nose of the local policemen and government. Farkhunda, a 26-year-old student, was lynched by a mob of thugs who falsely accused her of burning the Quran. She was kicked, punched, run over by a car, stoned, then burned and thrown in the dry Kabul river. Most of Farkhunda’s killers were released days after their arrest. Out of the four remaining, one was sentenced to just 10 years in prison and the other three to 20 years. Their death penalties were overturned in what were ridiculously brief court sessions.

Later that year, 19-year-old Rukhshana was stoned to death by a Taliban kangaroo court in a Mullah-dominated western province of Afghanistan for eloping. Her screams echoed around the country as she was slowly murdered by an angry crowd of Taliban. A delegation was sent by Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president, to investigate and punish the perpetrators of the crimes. The delegation was headed by a Mullah who backed the Taliban and openly championed the stoning of the young girl as being Islamic and legal a few days after the incident. The investigation was unsurprisingly futile.

Perhaps the clearest reflection of the mindset of the current legislature came from Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, a prominent Afghan legislator, whose heated interview with Isobel Yeung culminated in a blatant threat: “Maybe I should give you to an Afghan man to take your nose off”, a reference to the mutilation of a 20-year-old Reza Gul, whose husband chopped her nose off  for the “moral crime” of running away from her home.

Afghanistan still has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with thousands of women dying during childbirth every year. The official literacy rate stands at 18% although considering the ground reality the rate is much lower than this. Afghanistan is rightfully called one of the worst places to be a woman.

The US has made a joke out of democracy and women’s rights in our country by supporting the most misogynist criminals in the government, but shamelessly using the symbolic presence of female officials to deceive the world about the actual situation. Most of these women are tied to the same fundamentalist parties and criminals, and are as undemocratic and misogynist, as their male counterparts. The others are simply using this opportunity to stuff their bank accounts from the gold rush of foreign aid. The other achievements of women such as reopening of schools and jobs for women are limited to a few urban cities of Afghanistan, with majority women still suffering in the current hellfire.

Right now the Afghan puppet government is negotiating with Gulbuddin and want to take off his name from black list of the UN and give him legal protection and impunity. But this is the most notorious Afghan warlord and enemy of women’s rights who used to throw acid on the faces of women who were seen in public.

The US uses these superficial ‘gains’ as pretext to continue its military occupation of Afghanistan, threatening that they will be lost after its so-called withdrawal. It is a basic truth that hard-fought gains made by the true struggle of women are never lost, and the US uses these cosmetic changes as a smokescreen to justify its invasion to the people of the world.

How do the Afghan people in general see the US “long stay” (occupation) in Afghanistan?

Afghans are feed-up, they know that the West has betrayed them, they came with long claims of “human rights”, “women’s rights” and “democracy”, but in fact they pushed Afghanistan towards disasters and mafia state and everything they did were just cosmetic changes. They are fed-up with the crimes and brutalizes of the US forces in Afghanistan over the past 15 years because tens of thousands of Afghan were killed by their bombs and shootings but in fact terrorism was nourished more than before. They are fed-up that the West is relying on the most brutal and inhuman bands and in the name of “war on terror” actually supports terrorists and use terrorism as a weapon to defeat its rivals like Russia and China.

Why do you think the US is so interested in your country?

At this point, after more than a decade of US aggression in several countries in the region, we think there remains no doubt in anybody’s mind that the US is present in our country and other countries for its own interests. The geopolitical position of Afghanistan offers the US a one-of-a-kind advantage in the region: access to its biggest rivals in the world, Russia, China, India, and Iran. The US has built gigantic military bases and its second largest embassy in the world, and has thousands of military personnel and private contractors stationed in different parts of Afghanistan. This military set up points to the US’s attempt to keep its adversaries under its thumb, and continue pursuing its bigger aims in the region. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, the treacherous, fundamentalist-ridden government of Afghanistan, coupled with a worn-out, war riddled population that has been suppressed for four decades and is too tired to fight back, provides the optimum conditions for the US’s operations here. The traitors of the Afghan state not only sold out Afghanistan, but have kept silent about the brutal crimes of the US forces and defended all its acts of aggression in the country.

Afghans now know that the US just uses Afghanistan as its front in Asia to advance its regional agenda which is to promote terrorism to turn Asia into a burning point on the earth to stop the military and economic advancement emerging powers in this continent.

If you track every significant change in Afghanistan’s situation, such as the relocation of the Taliban – and the war, insecurity, terror, and unrest that automatically follows them – to the northern regions, they all serve a certain interest of the US. In this case it would be causing instability near, and even instigating Russia. It is important to point out here, that contrary to what is generally propagated about the Taliban being lackeys of Pakistan, and to a smaller extent, Iran, the truth is that ultimately it is the US that is holding the leash of these brutes. The Taliban are the reserve force of the US who will utilize them whenever it sees the need. It is no secret that the bloodthirsty Taliban regime was created and nurtured by the US, and will be used whenever the need arises. The Taliban serve a dual purpose for the US today: they justify the continuation of the “war on terror”, and serve as their proxies in parts of Afghanistan that are not under the control of the so-called government. Today, nothing in Afghanistan can occur or change without the US’s permission and it would be quite naïve to think otherwise. This situation also exposes the lie the US government told the world in 2014 about ending its war in Afghanistan by withdrawing its troops and ending the Afghan war. The US continues to have a strong foothold in Afghanistan for its geostrategic purposes.

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A Timeline of CIA Atrocities

NOVANEWS
 
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The following article was initially published in 1997. It is in part based on the work of William Blum. Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, 1995 (GR Ed. M. Ch.)

By Steve Kangas

The following timeline describes just a few of the hundreds of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA. (1)

CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: “We’ll put you in power if you maintain a favorable business climate for us.” The Agency then hires, trains and works with them to overthrow the existing government (usually a democracy). It uses every trick in the book: propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, purchased elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, death squads and even assassination. These efforts culminate in a military coup, which installs a right-wing dictator. The CIA trains the dictator’s security apparatus to crack down on the traditional enemies of big business, using interrogation, torture and murder. The victims are said to be “communists,” but almost always they are just peasants, liberals, moderates, labor union leaders, political opponents and advocates of free speech and democracy. Widespread human rights abuses follow.

This scenario has been repeated so many times that the CIA actually teaches it in a special school, the notorious “School of the Americas.” (It opened in Panama but later moved to Fort Benning, Georgia.) Critics have nicknamed it the “School of the Dictators” and “School of the Assassins.” Here, the CIA trains Latin American military officers how to conduct coups, including the use of interrogation, torture and murder.

The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (2) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an “American Holocaust.”

The CIA justifies these actions as part of its war against communism. But most coups do not involve a communist threat. Unlucky nations are targeted for a wide variety of reasons: not only threats to American business interests abroad, but also liberal or even moderate social reforms, political instability, the unwillingness of a leader to carry out Washington’s dictates, and declarations of neutrality in the Cold War. Indeed, nothing has infuriated CIA Directors quite like a nation’s desire to stay out of the Cold War.

The ironic thing about all this intervention is that it frequently fails to achieve American objectives. Often the newly installed dictator grows comfortable with the security apparatus the CIA has built for him. He becomes an expert at running a police state. And because the dictator knows he cannot be overthrown, he becomes independent and defiant of Washington’s will. The CIA then finds it cannot overthrow him, because the police and military are under the dictator’s control, afraid to cooperate with American spies for fear of torture and execution. The only two options for the U.S at this point are impotence or war. Examples of this “boomerang effect” include the Shah of Iran, General Noriega and Saddam Hussein. The boomerang effect also explains why the CIA has proven highly successful at overthrowing democracies, but a wretched failure at overthrowing dictatorships.

The following timeline should confirm that the CIA as we know it should be abolished and replaced by a true information-gathering and analysis organization. The CIA cannot be reformed — it is institutionally and culturally corrupt.

1929

The culture we lost — Secretary of State Henry Stimson refuses to endorse a code-breaking operation, saying, “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.”

1941

COI created — In preparation for World War II, President Roosevelt creates the Office of Coordinator of Information (COI). General William “Wild Bill” Donovan heads the new intelligence service.

1942

OSS created — Roosevelt restructures COI into something more suitable for covert action, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Donovan recruits so many of the nation’s rich and powerful that eventually people joke that “OSS” stands for “Oh, so social!” or “Oh, such snobs!”

1943

Italy — Donovan recruits the Catholic Church in Rome to be the center of Anglo-American spy operations in Fascist Italy. This would prove to be one of America’s most enduring intelligence alliances in the Cold War.

1945

OSS is abolished — The remaining American information agencies cease covert actions and return to harmless information gathering and analysis.

Operation PAPERCLIP – While other American agencies are hunting down Nazi war criminals for arrest, the U.S. intelligence community is smuggling them into America, unpunished, for their use against the Soviets. The most important of these is Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s master spy who had built up an intelligence network in the Soviet Union. With full U.S. blessing, he creates the “Gehlen Organization,” a band of refugee Nazi spies who reactivate their networks in Russia.

These include SS intelligence officers Alfred Six and Emil Augsburg (who massacred Jews in the Holocaust), Klaus Barbie (the “Butcher of Lyon”), Otto von Bolschwing (the Holocaust mastermind who worked with Eichmann) and SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny (a personal friend of Hitler’s). The Gehlen Organization supplies the U.S. with its only intelligence on the Soviet Union for the next ten years, serving as a bridge between the abolishment of the OSS and the creation of the CIA. However, much of the “intelligence” the former Nazis provide is bogus. Gehlen inflates Soviet military capabilities at a time when Russia is still rebuilding its devastated society, in order to inflate his own importance to the Americans (who might otherwise punish him). In 1948, Gehlen almost convinces the Americans that war is imminent, and the West should make a preemptive strike. In the 50s he produces a fictitious “missile gap.” To make matters worse, the Russians have thoroughly penetrated the Gehlen Organization with double agents, undermining the very American security that Gehlen was supposed to protect.

1947

Greece — President Truman requests military aid to Greece to support right-wing forces fighting communist rebels. For the rest of the Cold War, Washington and the CIA will back notorious Greek leaders with deplorable human rights records.

CIA created — President Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947, creating the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Council. The CIA is accountable to the president through the NSC — there is no democratic or congressional oversight. Its charter allows the CIA to “perform such other functions and duties… as the National Security Council may from time to time direct.” This loophole opens the door to covert action and dirty tricks.

1948

Covert-action wing created — The CIA recreates a covert action wing, innocuously called the Office of Policy Coordination, led by Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner. According to its secret charter, its responsibilities include “propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage, demolition and evacuation procedures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.”

Italy — The CIA corrupts democratic elections in Italy, where Italian communists threaten to win the elections. The CIA buys votes, broadcasts propaganda, threatens and beats up opposition leaders, and infiltrates and disrupts their organizations. It works — the communists are defeated.

1949

Radio Free Europe — The CIA creates its first major propaganda outlet, Radio Free Europe. Over the next several decades, its broadcasts are so blatantly false that for a time it is considered illegal to publish transcripts of them in the U.S.

Late 40s

Operation MOCKINGBIRD — The CIA begins recruiting American news organizations and journalists to become spies and disseminators of propaganda. The effort is headed by Frank Wisner, Allan Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham. Graham is publisher of The Washington Post, which becomes a major CIA player. Eventually, the CIA’s media assets will include ABC, NBC, CBS, Time, Newsweek,Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Copley News Service and more. By the CIA’s own admission, at least 25 organizations and 400 journalists will become CIA assets.

1953

Iran – CIA overthrows the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in a military coup, after he threatened to nationalize British oil. The CIA replaces him with a dictator, the Shah of Iran, whose secret police, SAVAK, is as brutal as the Gestapo.

Operation MK-ULTRA — Inspired by North Korea’s brainwashing program, the CIA begins experiments on mind control. The most notorious part of this project involves giving LSD and other drugs to American subjects without their knowledge or against their will, causing several to commit suicide. However, the operation involves far more than this. Funded in part by the Rockefeller and Ford foundations, research includes propaganda, brainwashing, public relations, advertising, hypnosis, and other forms of suggestion.

1954

Guatemala — CIA overthrows the democratically elected Jacob Arbenz in a military coup. Arbenz has threatened to nationalize the Rockefeller-owned United Fruit Company, in which CIA Director Allen Dulles also owns stock. Arbenz is replaced with a series of right-wing dictators whose bloodthirsty policies will kill over 100,000 Guatemalans in the next 40 years.

1954-1958

North Vietnam — CIA officer Edward Lansdale spends four years trying to overthrow the communist government of North Vietnam, using all the usual dirty tricks. The CIA also attempts to legitimize a tyrannical puppet regime in South Vietnam, headed by Ngo Dinh Diem. These efforts fail to win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese because the Diem government is opposed to true democracy, land reform and poverty reduction measures. The CIA’s continuing failure results in escalating American intervention, culminating in the Vietnam War.

1956

Hungary — Radio Free Europe incites Hungary to revolt by broadcasting Khruschev’s Secret Speech, in which he denounced Stalin. It also hints that American aid will help the Hungarians fight. This aid fails to materialize as Hungarians launch a doomed armed revolt, which only invites a major Soviet invasion. The conflict kills 7,000 Soviets and 30,000 Hungarians.

1957-1973

Laos — The CIA carries out approximately one coup per year trying to nullify Laos’ democratic elections. The problem is the Pathet Lao, a leftist group with enough popular support to be a member of any coalition government. In the late 50s, the CIA even creates an “Armee Clandestine” of Asian mercenaries to attack the Pathet Lao. After the CIA’s army suffers numerous defeats, the U.S. starts bombing, dropping more bombs on Laos than all the U.S. bombs dropped in World War II. A quarter of all Laotians will eventually become refugees, many living in caves.

1959

Haiti — The U.S. military helps “Papa Doc” Duvalier become dictator of Haiti. He creates his own private police force, the “Tonton Macoutes,” who terrorize the population with machetes. They will kill over 100,000 during the Duvalier family reign. The U.S. does not protest their dismal human rights record.

1961

The Bay of Pigs — The CIA sends 1,500 Cuban exiles to invade Castro’s Cuba. But “Operation Mongoose” fails, due to poor planning, security and backing. The planners had imagined that the invasion will spark a popular uprising against Castro -– which never happens. A promised American air strike also never occurs. This is the CIA’s first public setback, causing President Kennedy to fire CIA Director Allen Dulles.

Dominican Republic — The CIA assassinates Rafael Trujillo, a murderous dictator Washington has supported since 1930. Trujillo’s business interests have grown so large (about 60 percent of the economy) that they have begun competing with American business interests.

Ecuador — The CIA-backed military forces the democratically elected President Jose Velasco to resign. Vice President Carlos Arosemana replaces him; the CIA fills the now vacant vice presidency with its own man.

Congo (Zaire) — The CIA assassinates the democratically elected Patrice Lumumba. However, public support for Lumumba’s politics runs so high that the CIA cannot clearly install his opponents in power. Four years of political turmoil follow.

1963

Dominican Republic — The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Juan Bosch in a military coup. The CIA installs a repressive, right-wing junta.

Ecuador — A CIA-backed military coup overthrows President Arosemana, whose independent (not socialist) policies have become unacceptable to Washington. A military junta assumes command, cancels the 1964 elections, and begins abusing human rights.

1964

Brazil — A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the democratically elected government of Joao Goulart. The junta that replaces it will, in the next two decades, become one of the most bloodthirsty in history. General Castelo Branco will create Latin America’s first death squads, or bands of secret police who hunt down “communists” for torture, interrogation and murder. Often these “communists” are no more than Branco’s political opponents. Later it is revealed that the CIA trains the death squads.

1965

Indonesia — The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Sukarno with a military coup. The CIA has been trying to eliminate Sukarno since 1957, using everything from attempted assassination to sexual intrigue, for nothing more than his declaring neutrality in the Cold War. His successor, General Suharto, will massacre between 500,000 to 1 million civilians accused of being “communist.” The CIA supplies the names of countless suspects.

Dominican Republic — A popular rebellion breaks out, promising to reinstall Juan Bosch as the country’s elected leader. The revolution is crushed when U.S. Marines land to uphold the military regime by force. The CIA directs everything behind the scenes.

Greece — With the CIA’s backing, the king removes George Papandreous as prime minister. Papandreous has failed to vigorously support U.S. interests in Greece.

Congo (Zaire) — A CIA-backed military coup installs Mobutu Sese Seko as dictator. The hated and repressive Mobutu exploits his desperately poor country for billions.

1966

The Ramparts Affair — The radical magazine Ramparts begins a series of unprecedented anti-CIA articles. Among their scoops: the CIA has paid the University of Michigan $25 million dollars to hire “professors” to train South Vietnamese students in covert police methods. MIT and other universities have received similar payments. Ramparts also reveals that the National Students’ Association is a CIA front. Students are sometimes recruited through blackmail and bribery, including draft deferments.

1967

Greece — A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the government two days before the elections. The favorite to win was George Papandreous, the liberal candidate. During the next six years, the “reign of the colonels” — backed by the CIA — will usher in the widespread use of torture and murder against political opponents. When a Greek ambassador objects to President Johnson about U.S. plans for Cypress, Johnson tells him: “Fuck your parliament and your constitution.”

Operation PHEONIX — The CIA helps South Vietnamese agents identify and then murder alleged Viet Cong leaders operating in South Vietnamese villages. According to a 1971 congressional report, this operation killed about 20,000 “Viet Cong.”

1968

Operation CHAOS — The CIA has been illegally spying on American citizens since 1959, but with Operation CHAOS, President Johnson dramatically boosts the effort. CIA agents go undercover as student radicals to spy on and disrupt campus organizations protesting the Vietnam War. They are searching for Russian instigators, which they never find. CHAOS will eventually spy on 7,000 individuals and 1,000 organizations.

Bolivia — A CIA-organized military operation captures legendary guerilla Che Guevara. The CIA wants to keep him alive for interrogation, but the Bolivian government executes him to prevent worldwide calls for clemency.

1969

Uruguay — The notorious CIA torturer Dan Mitrione arrives in Uruguay, a country torn with political strife. Whereas right-wing forces previously used torture only as a last resort, Mitrione convinces them to use it as a routine, widespread practice. “The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect,” is his motto. The torture techniques he teaches to the death squads rival the Nazis’. He eventually becomes so feared that revolutionaries will kidnap and murder him a year later.

1970

Cambodia — The CIA overthrows Prince Sahounek, who is highly popular among Cambodians for keeping them out of the Vietnam War. He is replaced by CIA puppet Lon Nol, who immediately throws Cambodian troops into battle. This unpopular move strengthens once minor opposition parties like the Khmer Rouge, which achieves power in 1975 and massacres millions of its own people.

1971

Bolivia — After half a decade of CIA-inspired political turmoil, a CIA-backed military coup overthrows the leftist President Juan Torres. In the next two years, dictator Hugo Banzer will have over 2,000 political opponents arrested without trial, then tortured, raped and executed.

Haiti — “Papa Doc” Duvalier dies, leaving his 19-year old son “Baby Doc” Duvalier the dictator of Haiti. His son continues his bloody reign with full knowledge of the CIA.

1972

The Case-Zablocki Act — Congress passes an act requiring congressional review of executive agreements. In theory, this should make CIA operations more accountable. In fact, it is only marginally effective.

Cambodia — Congress votes to cut off CIA funds for its secret war in Cambodia.

Wagergate Break-in — President Nixon sends in a team of burglars to wiretap Democratic offices at Watergate. The team members have extensive CIA histories, including James McCord, E. Howard Hunt and five of the Cuban burglars. They work for the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP), which does dirty work like disrupting Democratic campaigns and laundering Nixon’s illegal campaign contributions. CREEP’s activities are funded and organized by another CIA front, the Mullen Company.

1973

Chile — The CIA overthrows and assassinates Salvador Allende, Latin America’s first democratically elected socialist leader. The problems begin when Allende nationalizes American-owned firms in Chile. ITT offers the CIA $1 million for a coup (reportedly refused). The CIA replaces Allende with General Augusto Pinochet, who will torture and murder thousands of his own countrymen in a crackdown on labor leaders and the political left.

CIA begins internal investigations — William Colby, the Deputy Director for Operations, orders all CIA personnel to report any and all illegal activities they know about. This information is later reported to Congress.

Watergate Scandal — The CIA’s main collaborating newspaper in America, The Washington Post,reports Nixon’s crimes long before any other newspaper takes up the subject. The two reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, make almost no mention of the CIA’s many fingerprints all over the scandal. It is later revealed that Woodward was a Naval intelligence briefer to the White House, and knows many important intelligence figures, including General Alexander Haig. His main source, “Deep Throat,” is probably one of those.

CIA Director Helms Fired — President Nixon fires CIA Director Richard Helms for failing to help cover up the Watergate scandal. Helms and Nixon have always disliked each other. The new CIA director is William Colby, who is relatively more open to CIA reform.

1974

CHAOS exposed — Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh publishes a story about Operation CHAOS, the domestic surveillance and infiltration of anti-war and civil rights groups in the U.S. The story sparks national outrage.

Angleton fired — Congress holds hearings on the illegal domestic spying efforts of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s chief of counterintelligence. His efforts included mail-opening campaigns and secret surveillance of war protesters. The hearings result in his dismissal from the CIA.

House clears CIA in Watergate — The House of Representatives clears the CIA of any complicity in Nixon’s Watergate break-in.

The Hughes Ryan Act — Congress passes an amendment requiring the president to report nonintelligence CIA operations to the relevant congressional committees in a timely fashion.

1975

Australia — The CIA helps topple the democratically elected, left-leaning government of Prime Minister Edward Whitlam. The CIA does this by giving an ultimatum to its Governor-General, John Kerr. Kerr, a longtime CIA collaborator, exercises his constitutional right to dissolve the Whitlam government. The Governor-General is a largely ceremonial position appointed by the Queen; the Prime Minister is democratically elected. The use of this archaic and never-used law stuns the nation.

Angola — Eager to demonstrate American military resolve after its defeat in Vietnam, Henry Kissinger launches a CIA-backed war in Angola. Contrary to Kissinger’s assertions, Angola is a country of little strategic importance and not seriously threatened by communism. The CIA backs the brutal leader of UNITAS, Jonas Savimbi. This polarizes Angolan politics and drives his opponents into the arms of Cuba and the Soviet Union for survival. Congress will cut off funds in 1976, but the CIA is able to run the war off the books until 1984, when funding is legalized again. This entirely pointless war kills over 300,000 Angolans.

“The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence” — Victor Marchetti and John Marks publish this whistle-blowing history of CIA crimes and abuses. Marchetti has spent 14 years in the CIA, eventually becoming an executive assistant to the Deputy Director of Intelligence. Marks has spent five years as an intelligence official in the State Department.

“Inside the Company” — Philip Agee publishes a diary of his life inside the CIA. Agee has worked in covert operations in Latin America during the 60s, and details the crimes in which he took part.

Congress investigates CIA wrong-doing — Public outrage compels Congress to hold hearings on CIA crimes. Senator Frank Church heads the Senate investigation (“The Church Committee”), and Representative Otis Pike heads the House investigation. (Despite a 98 percent incumbency reelection rate, both Church and Pike are defeated in the next elections.) The investigations lead to a number of reforms intended to increase the CIA’s accountability to Congress, including the creation of a standing Senate committee on intelligence. However, the reforms prove ineffective, as the Iran/Contra scandal will show. It turns out the CIA can control, deal with or sidestep Congress with ease.

The Rockefeller Commission — In an attempt to reduce the damage done by the Church Committee, President Ford creates the “Rockefeller Commission” to whitewash CIA history and propose toothless reforms. The commission’s namesake, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, is himself a major CIA figure. Five of the commission’s eight members are also members of the Council on Foreign Relations, a CIA-dominated organization.

1979

Iran — The CIA fails to predict the fall of the Shah of Iran, a longtime CIA puppet, and the rise of Muslim fundamentalists who are furious at the CIA’s backing of SAVAK, the Shah’s bloodthirsty secret police. In revenge, the Muslims take 52 Americans hostage in the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

Afghanistan — The Soviets invade Afghanistan. The CIA immediately begins supplying arms to any faction willing to fight the occupying Soviets. Such indiscriminate arming means that when the Soviets leave Afghanistan, civil war will erupt. Also, fanatical Muslim extremists now possess state-of-the-art weaponry. One of these is Sheik Abdel Rahman, who will become involved in the World Trade Center bombing in New York.

El Salvador — An idealistic group of young military officers, repulsed by the massacre of the poor, overthrows the right-wing government. However, the U.S. compels the inexperienced officers to include many of the old guard in key positions in their new government. Soon, things are back to “normal” — the military government is repressing and killing poor civilian protesters. Many of the young military and civilian reformers, finding themselves powerless, resign in disgust.

Nicaragua — Anastasios Samoza II, the CIA-backed dictator, falls. The Marxist Sandinistas take over government, and they are initially popular because of their commitment to land and anti-poverty reform. Samoza had a murderous and hated personal army called the National Guard. Remnants of the Guard will become the Contras, who fight a CIA-backed guerilla war against the Sandinista government throughout the 1980s.

1980

El Salvador — The Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, pleads with President Carter “Christian to Christian” to stop aiding the military government slaughtering his people. Carter refuses. Shortly afterwards, right-wing leader Roberto D’Aubuisson has Romero shot through the heart while saying Mass. The country soon dissolves into civil war, with the peasants in the hills fighting against the military government. The CIA and U.S. Armed Forces supply the government with overwhelming military and intelligence superiority. CIA-trained death squads roam the countryside, committing atrocities like that of El Mazote in 1982, where they massacre between 700 and 1000 men, women and children. By 1992, some 63,000 Salvadorans will be killed.

1981

Iran/Contra Begins — The CIA begins selling arms to Iran at high prices, using the profits to arm the Contras fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. President Reagan vows that the Sandinistas will be “pressured” until “they say ‘uncle.’” The CIA’s Freedom Fighter’s Manual disbursed to the Contras includes instruction on economic sabotage, propaganda, extortion, bribery, blackmail, interrogation, torture, murder and political assassination.

1983

Honduras — The CIA gives Honduran military officers the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual – 1983, which teaches how to torture people. Honduras’ notorious “Battalion 316″ then uses these techniques, with the CIA’s full knowledge, on thousands of leftist dissidents. At least 184 are murdered.

1984

The Boland Amendment — The last of a series of Boland Amendments is passed. These amendments have reduced CIA aid to the Contras; the last one cuts it off completely. However, CIA Director William Casey is already prepared to “hand off” the operation to Colonel Oliver North, who illegally continues supplying the Contras through the CIA’s informal, secret, and self-financing network. This includes “humanitarian aid” donated by Adolph Coors and William Simon, and military aid funded by Iranian arms sales.

1986

Eugene Hasenfus — Nicaragua shoots down a C-123 transport plane carrying military supplies to the Contras. The lone survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, turns out to be a CIA employee, as are the two dead pilots. The airplane belongs to Southern Air Transport, a CIA front. The incident makes a mockery of President Reagan’s claims that the CIA is not illegally arming the Contras.

Iran/Contra Scandal — Although the details have long been known, the Iran/Contra scandal finally captures the media’s attention in 1986. Congress holds hearings, and several key figures (like Oliver North) lie under oath to protect the intelligence community. CIA Director William Casey dies of brain cancer before Congress can question him. All reforms enacted by Congress after the scandal are purely cosmetic.

Haiti — Rising popular revolt in Haiti means that “Baby Doc” Duvalier will remain “President for Life” only if he has a short one. The U.S., which hates instability in a puppet country, flies the despotic Duvalier to the South of France for a comfortable retirement. The CIA then rigs the upcoming elections in favor of another right-wing military strongman. However, violence keeps the country in political turmoil for another four years. The CIA tries to strengthen the military by creating the National Intelligence Service (SIN), which suppresses popular revolt through torture and assassination.

1989

Panama — The U.S. invades Panama to overthrow a dictator of its own making, General Manuel Noriega. Noriega has been on the CIA’s payroll since 1966, and has been transporting drugs with the CIA’s knowledge since 1972. By the late 80s, Noriega’s growing independence and intransigence have angered Washington… so out he goes.

1990

Haiti — Competing against 10 comparatively wealthy candidates, leftist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide captures 68 percent of the vote. After only eight months in power, however, the CIA-backed military deposes him. More military dictators brutalize the country, as thousands of Haitian refugees escape the turmoil in barely seaworthy boats. As popular opinion calls for Aristide’s return, the CIA begins a disinformation campaign painting the courageous priest as mentally unstable.

1991

The Gulf War — The U.S. liberates Kuwait from Iraq. But Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, is another creature of the CIA. With U.S. encouragement, Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. During this costly eight-year war, the CIA built up Hussein’s forces with sophisticated arms, intelligence, training and financial backing. This cemented Hussein’s power at home, allowing him to crush the many internal rebellions that erupted from time to time, sometimes with poison gas. It also gave him all the military might he needed to conduct further adventurism — in Kuwait, for example.

The Fall of the Soviet Union — The CIA fails to predict this most important event of the Cold War. This suggests that it has been so busy undermining governments that it hasn’t been doing its primary job: gathering and analyzing information. The fall of the Soviet Union also robs the CIA of its reason for existence: fighting communism. This leads some to accuse the CIA of intentionally failing to predict the downfall of the Soviet Union. Curiously, the intelligence community’s budget is not significantly reduced after the demise of communism.

1992

Economic Espionage — In the years following the end of the Cold War, the CIA is increasingly used for economic espionage. This involves stealing the technological secrets of competing foreign companies and giving them to American ones. Given the CIA’s clear preference for dirty tricks over mere information gathering, the possibility of serious criminal behavior is very great indeed.

1993

Haiti — The chaos in Haiti grows so bad that President Clinton has no choice but to remove the Haitian military dictator, Raoul Cedras, on threat of U.S. invasion. The U.S. occupiers do not arrest Haiti’s military leaders for crimes against humanity, but instead ensure their safety and rich retirements. Aristide is returned to power only after being forced to accept an agenda favorable to the country’s ruling class.

EPILOGUE

In a speech before the CIA celebrating its 50th anniversary, President Clinton said: “By necessity, the American people will never know the full story of your courage.”

Clinton’s is a common defense of the CIA: namely, the American people should stop criticizing the CIA because they don’t know what it really does. This, of course, is the heart of the problem in the first place. An agency that is above criticism is also above moral behavior and reform. Its secrecy and lack of accountability allows its corruption to grow unchecked.

Furthermore, Clinton’s statement is simply untrue. The history of the agency is growing painfully clear, especially with the declassification of historical CIA documents. We may not know the details of specificoperations, but we do know, quite well, the general behavior of the CIA. These facts began emerging nearly two decades ago at an ever-quickening pace. Today we have a remarkably accurate and consistent picture, repeated in country after country, and verified from countless different directions.

The CIA’s response to this growing knowledge and criticism follows a typical historical pattern. (Indeed, there are remarkable parallels to the Medieval Church’s fight against the Scientific Revolution.) The first journalists and writers to reveal the CIA’s criminal behavior were harassed and censored if they were American writers, and tortured and murdered if they were foreigners. (See Philip Agee’s On the Run for an example of early harassment.) However, over the last two decades the tide of evidence has become overwhelming, and the CIA has found that it does not have enough fingers to plug every hole in the dike. This is especially true in the age of the Internet, where information flows freely among millions of people. Since censorship is impossible, the Agency must now defend itself with apologetics. Clinton’s “Americans will never know” defense is a prime example.

Another common apologetic is that “the world is filled with unsavory characters, and we must deal with them if we are to protect American interests at all.” There are two things wrong with this. First, it ignores the fact that the CIA has regularly spurned alliances with defenders of democracy, free speech and human rights, preferring the company of military dictators and tyrants. The CIA had moral options available to them, but did not take them.

Second, this argument begs several questions. The first is: “Which American interests?” The CIA has courted right-wing dictators because they allow wealthy Americans to exploit the country’s cheap labor and resources. But poor and middle-class Americans pay the price whenever they fight the wars that stem from CIA actions, from Vietnam to the Gulf War to Panama. The second begged question is: “Why should American interests come at the expense of other peoples’ human rights?”

The CIA should be abolished, its leadership dismissed and its relevant members tried for crimes against humanity. Our intelligence community should be rebuilt from the ground up, with the goal of collecting and analyzing information. As for covert action, there are two moral options. The first one is to eliminate covert action completely. But this gives jitters to people worried about the Adolf Hitlers of the world. So a second option is that we can place covert action under extensive and true democratic oversight. For example, a bipartisan Congressional Committee of 40 members could review and veto all aspects of CIA operations upon a majority or super-majority vote. Which of these two options is best may be the subject of debate, but one thing is clear: like dictatorship, like monarchy, unaccountable covert operations should die like the dinosaurs they are.

Posted in USAComments Off on A Timeline of CIA Atrocities

Brazil: 2012 Interview with MST Leader João Pedro Stédile on Dilma Government’s Agrarian Reform Program

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Founder and coordinator of the MST estimates that the moment [2012] is the ebb of the popular movement.

For more than 30 years in the struggle of landless rural workers, João Pedro Stédile, a gaucho of Italian descent, became known for the direct way he manifested his political opinions. In this exclusive interview with ABCD MAIOR, the coordinator of the MST (Movement of Landless Rural Workers) estimates that Brazil is going through an ebb in the popular movement. Stédile gives a grade of eight to President Dilma Rousseff and five for the entire government, which brings together sectors of the bourgeoisie and workers.

[Update: The MST despite its critique of the Rousseff government has issued a powerful statement condemning the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff]

There is very little left formulation on the national situation. You fall into the management of the PT within the model of neo-developmentalism? Why?

The formulation that social movements made, including the MST, Via Campesina, is that the governments of Lula and Dilma are the result of a political front of classes of Brazilian society. Society participates from the big bourgeoisie to the poorest. And this gives stability and popularity to the government, but it keeps the government as a composition of classes with heterogeneous decisions and, sometimes, even contradictory, now benefiting the bourgeoisie, now the workers, now the poorest. On the economic front, the government itself is self-defined as neo-developmentalist. It is an important alternative to the toucan project [nickname for the PSDB – Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (Brazilian Social Democracy Party)], and imperialism, neoliberalism. The neo-developmentalism seeks to develop policies that generate economic growth and income distribution. This is important, but insufficient. For the serious problems of Brazilian society, such as full employment, land for all landless, universal education, decent housing for all and access to culture, can only be solved with structural reforms. What are these reforms? Tax reforms, agrarian reform, educational reform, stopping the allocation of R$ 200 billion of budget for the payment of interest on domestic debt and prioritize education, health and national technology. These reforms will only be viable in Brazilian society, with the resumption of mass mobilization and if we have, within the government, a balance of power of parties more committed to the workers.

Was there an alternative for the Brazilian people, or is another model of development possible, considering the national and international conjuncture at the beginning of this century?

Politics is the art of seeking the impossible. Where should you look to put together forces leading to changes in favor of workers? Initially, the heterogeneous alliance was important to defeat the neoliberal bourgeoisie and subordinate to the interests of foreign capital. But over these past ten years, we have taken steps that could move society, to democratize the media and mobilize the people to a new development program. And our criticism, as a social movement, is that the federal government settled for popularity ratings, with the stability that the alliance with the conservatives has generated. And it did not have the courage to stimulate a debate in society on structural reforms.

What are the limits of the development project proposed by Lula and now Dilma Rousseff?

The structural limit is that you can have policies that create economic growth, and to distribute the income, but do not build a more egalitarian and just society. Instead, the capitalists continue gaining more and more. And it is the nature of capital, the ongoing process, independent of the government, of accumulation and concentration of wealth. The second limit, at the same time, is that current policies do not change the Brazilian economy’s dependence on international capital,  the market, investors and technology.  So we can grow, distribute income and the economy remains increasingly dependent on international capitalism, which is a danger to our sovereignty and the future of our people. We need a project geared to the domestic market, for the development of our people and investing heavily in technology nationwide. The third limit of the neo-developmentalism: 30% of all taxes are meant to pay interest and amortization of internal debt to the bankers and their shareholders. According to Márcio Pochmann [Brazilian economist], this account for only 20 thousand families. This is a powerful instrument of income concentration and waste of public money. We need to get this R$ 200 billion and put it into productive investments, education, health and technology. Fourth, are the external attacks that come with the crisis, the de-industrialization of the economy, denationalization of our natural resources and currency speculation by the market. Then the crisis of capitalism that will come out, can compel the Government to bring to society a new development project.

Regarding land reform, what are the advances and retreats during these ten years?

Over the past decade, there has been progress in terms of land reform. Land reform is a public policy that will lead to the democratization of land ownership, as well, to the largest possible number of citizens. In the last ten years, the concentration of land ownership has increased. And even worse, concentrated in the hands of businesses outside of agriculture and of foreign capital. Dilma’s government could not even solve the social problem of 150,000 families encamped, some for more than five years, along Brazilian roads. Therefore, the Dilma government abandoned agrarian reform, deluded by the success of agribusiness that produces, makes money, but concentrates wealth and land and increases poverty in the countryside.

Regarding the Dilma government, how do you assess the ideological point of view: from one to ten, what grade?

President Dilma has a good personal and ideological performance, give her an eight. The composition of her government, formed by the political forces that have control of the ministries, is far worse than under Lula. They are arrogant and unaware of the priorities of the people. They are still navigating with the social policies of the Lula government. Give them a five.

In your opinion, does the class struggle still exist? Does the unity of rural and urban workers remains a cause and a necessity?

Capitalism is a mode of production that generates social classes, not only different, between owners of capital goods, sellers of labor, peasants, as antagonistic classes. So if there is capitalism, there is class struggle. And to solve the problems of the rural and urban working classes it is necessary to build the unity of interests. This unity consolidates in proposed programs, in common collective actions, in political parties that give them ideological unity, and especially in mass mobilizations. This must be the constant effort of all leaders and organizations of the working class. Seek unity in many different ways, in order to have enough strength to face powerful enemies. The alliance of the working class sectors with sectors of the bourgeoisie, can even result in votes and stable governments. But they do not solve the structural problems of society and, sooner or later, they will explode. Just study a little history of our people.

Progressive municipal administrations, as São Bernardo [a city near São Paulo], can help strengthen organizations like the MST who defend family farming and economic solidarity?

We are devotees of Saint Antonio Gramsci[1], most interesting of the Italian saints, especially because he was wise and committed to the  workers. And he said that the class struggle occurs in all areas of modern society. Be it in electoral disputes, be it in many spaces of small powers, which he called the “extended state.” Therefore, all spaces, a newspaper, a radio, a community television, a union, a city, a state government … all are spaces that can accumulate forces for the  working class project or can accumulate forces for capitalists and exploiters. We believe and advocate that local governments can and should be spaces critical to develop public policies in favor of the needs of the people, democratic popular participation in municipal decisions, etc. In the specific case of peasants, local governments can do much, either in universal education, in guaranteeing the purchase of food products for schools, school lunches and other public demands of the municipality. At least pressure these governments in applying laws, for example, limiting the use of pesticides, which poison the population, environmental control laws, etc.

Are there vanguard parties and organizations concerned with this construction? What movements do you see as political actors in the immediate future and the medium-term?

Unfortunately, in the generic sense and including all rural and urban classes, we have had a period of ebb of the mass movement. And this political force withdrew from the class acting in disputes of the society. However, these periods are limited, at some point there will come a new process of ascent. Nobody knows when or how. And during times of reascension it is possible to rearticulate organizational forms and political-ideological forces. So we are now living an apathy, in terms of political organization, which leads only to contested elections. These are necessary, but insufficient for the working class project. So, in difficult times like this, we must invest in the training of militants, in stimulating social struggle, and the construction of alternative media … until the tide changes..

The MST has long denounced the control of politics by the judiciary in Brazil. This offensive of the right around the political exploitation of the monthly allowance[2] as a tool to combat the PT [Worker’s Party], is this part of the same process of subordinating justice to political rights?

Sure. The Brazilian ruling class is very smart and experienced. Not for nothing that they have given the orders for 500 years. The ruling class knows it does not have hegemony in the federal government. Participates, but not able to mandate. So, to counteract the forces of the working class in the last ten years, the priority of the bourgeoisie, besides making money in the economy, has been using up the judiciary and the media to combat the ideas and programs of the working class. And the recent episode of the STF [Supremo Tribunal Federal – Federal Supreme Court] is just one chapter of this offensive and hegemonic control that the bourgeoisie has on the judiciary and use it against those who are clearly committed to the working class.

The MST has planned initiatives to denounce this kind of legalization of politics?

We are talking with other social movements and popular forces of the working class, with the CUT [Central Única dos Trabalhadores – Unified Workers’ Central], unions etc. … and immediately we are proposing that, in every state and region of the country, there will be plenaries, with the largest number of social activists, so that, at base, to discuss what to do to counter this offensive. And we will discuss all sorts of possible actions, the response in the media where we have control, in mass actions, and even in the legislatures. We cannot sit still and be quiet. Because the judiciary attempts to criminalize those who struggle, or that advocate structural changes.

What weight do you assign to the regulation of the media in building a democratic and socially just country? How can an independent media, able to confront mass information by the big media networks, be created?

The ruling class has the hegemonic control of the media, one of its main weapons to maintain control of the population, to trick it and make the class struggle against the people and workers. Therefore, it is essential we work in two directions:

a) fight for the democratization of the media. It is absurd that the control that O Globo[3]exercises over Brazilian society, and still funded with public money, for example.

b) build our own popular media, to make this contest of ideas in a democratic way, but with the same conditions.

Notes:

[1] Ed. Note: Stedile is joking by labeling Gramsci a “saint.”  Gramsci was an Italian Marxist, founder of the Italian Communist Party and imprisoned for his opposition to Benito Mussolini and fascism.

[2] The “monthly allowance” scandal involved payments to various Worker’s Party deputies and senators.
[3] O Globo is the massive Brazilian media company that owns newspaper, journals and radio and television networks.

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Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (MST) Statement on the Suspension of President Dilma Rousseff

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This is an institutional and anti-democratic coup that disrespects the will of 54 million voters.

The Landless Workers Movement (MST) publicly expresses its disgust and dissatisfaction regarding the decision of the Senate, this Thursday (May 12), in admitting the process of impeachment against President Dilma Roussef and temporarily removing her from the post. We are sure, as stated in the text of the case, that the President did not commit any crime with fiscal peddling. If this is to be considered a crime, the vice president, Michel Temer, who now assumes the Presidency, and Senator Anastasia, the rapporteur of the process and former governor of Minas Gerais, should also be accused.

This is an institutional and anti-democratic coup that disrespects the will of 54 million voters and was orchestrated by the most conservative sectors of society, particularly the neoliberal business sector, subservient to the interests of U.S. companies, a coup supported by a permanent campaign of mass media – especially Globo – and by a selective action of the sectors of the judiciary.

Supporters of Pres. Dilma Roussef, outside her office on May 12.

The coup endorsed by the Senate does not only disrespect the views of the public about who should be the head of state, but, as announced by Temer, intends to apply a recessive and neoliberal program, one that left sad memories for the Brazilian people from the times of the Collor-Cardoso governments. It is anti-popular and represents a social backlash that was repeatedly rejected by the majority at the polls. Unable to live with democracy and submit to the popular will, the elites have removed the President without any evidence of crime, just so their project of social cuts, unemployment and privatization is able to take place.

Michel Temer’s “Bridge to the recession” will only lead to the accentuation of social and economic crisis and widen the political instability of the country. The newly announced government, for its history, does not represent a rupture with the corrupt methods, which we all have denounced in the streets. We hope that the Senate will redeem itself when it judges the merit. And if it does not, the democratic party forces opposed to the coup should appeal to the Supreme Court. Brazilian society knows we are facing an economic, political, social and environmental crisis. This crisis will not be overcome with coups. What is needed is a broad debate in society that agglutinates most popular and social forces, to seek to build a new national project to confront the crisis.

Regarding the established political crisis, we defend the idea, alongside other popular movements, that only a deep political reform that returns to the people its right to choose their legitimate representatives, can be a real way out. The current Congress has no condition or political will to do so. Hence the need for the Senate to approve the holding of a plebiscite that gives the people the right to convene a constituent assembly, to move forward a political reform to conduct general elections under democratic conditions.

The MST will remain mobilized in defense of democracy and social rights, together with the Brazil Popular Front and the thousands of workers who will not accept the coup. We will keep our struggle against landlordism and agribusiness, for a popular agrarian reform and for the constitutional right of all rural workers to have land and a dignified life in the rural areas.

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Brazil’s Acting President Michel Temer Used to Be US Intelligence Informant

NOVANEWS
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Brazil’s new interim president, Michel Temer, was an embassy informant for US intelligence, WikiLeaks has revealed.

According to the whistleblowing website, Temer communicated with the US embassy in Brazil via telegram, and such content would be classified as ”sensitive” and ”for official use only.” 

Two cables were released, dated January 11, 2006 and June 21, 2006.

One shows a document sent from Sao Paolo, Brazil, to – among other recipients – the US Southern Command in Miami. In it, Temer discusses the political situation in Brazil during the presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Regarding the 2006 elections, when Lula was re-elected, Temer shared scenarios in which his party (PMDB) would win the elections. He declined to predict the race, however, but said there would be a run-off and that “anything could happen.”  Temer said the PMDB would elect between 10 and 15 governors that year, and that the party would have the most representatives in the Senate and thus the House of Representatives.

This would mean that the elected president would have to report to PMDB rule. “Whoever wins the presidential election will have to come to us to do anything,” Temer reportedly said.

Temer has replaced Dilma Rousseff, who was suspended from office earlier this week, after the Senate approved impeachment against her. Rousseff was suspended from her post for at least 180 days after senators voted 55 to 22 to punish her for manipulating budget data, ahead of her re-election in 2014. The left-wing politician claimed that Brazil was in a strong economic position, but since she convincingly won the vote, the economy has unraveled, putting Brazil in the worst recession for decades.

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Zionism’s Roots Help Us Interpret I$raHell Today

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It was an assessment no one expected from the deputy head of the Israeli military. In his Holocaust Day speech last week, Yair Golan compared current trends in Israel with Germany in the early 1930s. In today’s Israel, he said, could be recognised “the revolting processes that occurred in Europe … There is nothing easier than hating the stranger, nothing easier than to stir fears and intimidate.”

The furore over Gen Golan’s remarks followed a similar outcry in Britain at statements by former London mayor Ken Livingstone. He observed that Hitler had been “supporting Zionism” in 1933 when the Nazis signed a transfer agreement, allowing some German Jews to emigrate to Palestine.

In their different ways both comments refer back to a heated argument among Jews about whether Zionism was a blessing or a blight. Although largely overlooked today, the dispute throws much light on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Those differences came to a head in 1917 when the British government issued the Balfour Declaration, a document promising for the first time to realise the Zionist goal of a “national home” for the Jews in Palestine. Only one minister, Edwin Montagu, dissented. Notably, he was the only Jew in the British cabinet. The two facts were not unconnected. In a memo, he warned that his government’s policy would be a “rallying ground for anti-Semites in every country”.

He was far from alone in that view. Of the 4 million Jews who left Europe between 1880 and 1920, only 100,000 went to Palestine in line with Zionist expectations. As the Israeli novelist A B Yehoshua once noted: “If the Zionist party had run in an election in the early 20th century, it would have received only 6 or 7 per cent of the Jewish people’s vote.”

What Montagu feared was that the creation of a Jewish state in a far-flung territory dovetailed a little too neatly with the aspirations of Europe’s anti-Semites, then much in evidence, including in the British government.

According to the dominant assumptions of Europe’s ethnic nationalisms of the time, the region should be divided into peoples or biological “races”, and each should control a territory in which it could flourish. The Jews were viewed as a “problem” because – in addition to lingering Christian anti-Semitism – they were considered subversive of this national model.

Jews were seen as a race apart, one that could not – or should not – be allowed to assimilate. Better, on this view, to encourage their emigration from Europe. For British elites, the Balfour Declaration was a means to achieve that end.

Theodor Herzl, the father of political Zionism, understood this trenchant anti-Semitism very well. His idea for a Jewish state was inspired in part by the infamous Dreyfus affair, in which a Jewish French army officer was framed by his commanders for treason. Herzl was convinced that anti-Semitism would always exclude Jews from true acceptance in Europe.

It is for this reason that Mr Livingstone’s comments – however clumsily expressed – point to an important truth. Herzl and other early Zionists implicitly accepted the ugly framework of European bigotry.

Jews, Herzl concluded, must embrace their otherness and regard themselves as a separate race. Once they found a benefactor to give them a territory – soon Britain would oblige with Palestine – they could emulate the other European peoples from afar.

For a while, some Nazi leaders were sympathetic. Adolf Eichmann, one of the later engineers of the Holocaust, visited Palestine in 1937 to promote the “Zionist emigration” of Jews.

Hannah Arendt, the German Jewish scholar of totalitarianism, argued even in 1944 – long after the Nazis abandoned ideas of emigration and embraced genocide instead – that the ideology underpinning Zionism was “nothing else than the uncritical acceptance of German-inspired nationalism”.

Israel and its supporters would prefer we forget that, before the rise of the Nazis, most Jews deeply opposed a future in which they were consigned to Palestine.

Those who try to remind us of this forgotten history are likely to be denounced, like Livingstone, as anti-Semites. They are accused of making a simplistic comparison between Zionism and Nazism.

But there is good reason to examine this uncomfortable period.

Modern Israeli politicians, including Benjamin Netanyahu, still regularly declare that Jews have only one home – in Israel. After every terror attack in Europe, they urge Jews to hurry to Israel, telling them they can never be safe where they are.

It also alerts us to the fact that even today the Zionist movement cannot help but mirror many of the flaws of those now-discredited European ethnic nationalisms, as Gen Golan appears to appreciate.

Such characteristics – all too apparent in Israel – include: an exclusionary definition of peoplehood; a need to foment fear and hatred of the other as a way to keep the nation tightly bound; an obsession with and hunger for territory; and a highly militarised culture.

Recognising Zionism’s ideological roots, inspired by racial theories of peoplehood that in part fuelled the Second World War, might allow us to understand modern Israel a little better. And why it seems incapable of extending a hand of peace to the Palestinians.

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