Archive | January 21st, 2017

USA: Inauguration

NOVANEWS

Inauguration: “Who Would be In Charge If an Attack Hit the Incoming President, Vice President and Congressional Leaders”, Commentary on CNN Report

trump obama

CNN has put together a report entitled Who is Survivor at Inauguration.

The CNN report focusses on who would be in charge if the incoming president, vice president and Congressional leaders were the object of a terrorist attack.

While security is in place and there is no specific, credible threat, a quirk in America’s rules for succession raises questions about who would be in charge if an attack hit the incoming president, vice president and congressional leaders just as the transfer of power gets underway. CNN’s Brian Todd reports.

This CNN report is notoriously “suggestive”. Is it intended to inform US public opinion or does it constitute a rather unsubtle propaganda ploy, which presents a scripted scenario of political assassination at the Inauguration on January 20th?

“Who is the ‘designated survivor’ at inauguration” intimates that the president-elect could be killed?

The report also intimates that if “Disaster” were to occur following the killing of the president, vice president and Congressional leaders, Obama Cabinet Members would so to speak regain control of the White House (see CNN titles below)

What is the purpose of this twisted report which was broadcast live on January 17th, 2017. Is there a hidden agenda?

We invite our readers to view this controversial CNN report. You can comment on the Global Research Facebook page.

Michel Chossudovsky, GR Editor 

Video CNN, 2017

Posted in USAComments Off on USA: Inauguration

Is Serbia Preparing for Elections or a New Balance of Powers

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Adelina Marini

The year 2016 marked the rapid deterioration of relations between countries of the Western Balkans, having the most difficult situation be in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the key is held by Serbia. Over the last weeks Belgrade’s tone sharply deteriorated and radicalised, which resonates in Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo too. All this could turn out to be a rehearsal for the complete change of the geopolitical balance of power coming with the election of Donald Trump as US President, which bodes nothing good for the Western Balkans, and thus for the European Union. There are three lines of tension, which are carrying heavy voltage currently. The first one is Serbia – Bosnia and Herzegovina, the second one is Serbia – Croatia, and the third one is Serbia – Kosovo. Serbia – Montenegro is another channel, along which tension is being transferred. In addition to all that, there are elections upcoming in Serbia this year.

The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is especially difficult, many comparing the pressure to the pre-war atmosphere in former Yugoslavia. Despite the serious stirring of the country’s European perspective, the three ethnic peoples are in serious conflict, stimulated by the neighbouring “their own”. Croatia demands that the Dayton peace agreement be re-negotiated, so that BiH turns into a federation. This was taken poorly in Sarajevo and a retaliation reaction followed – prosecution of Croatian war veterans. And in Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik keeps on challenging the very foundations of Dayton, completely undisturbed. In September, he organised an anti-constitutional referendum, which officialised the date January 9th as the entity’s national holiday, despite all reactions against this vote both from within BiH and the international community as well.

During the celebration itself, when the creation of the republic in the beginning of the war in BiH was being noted, Mr Dodik stated that there is going to be a second referendum for the separation of the entity from BiH and its accession to Serbia. He talked about the creation of Greater Serbia uniting all Serbs in the region, which caused sharp reactions and scare. The RS holiday was honoured at the highest levels from Serbia. President Tomislav Nikolić, who is counting on winning a second term at the Serbia presidential elections this spring, honoured in person the celebrations during one of which RS demonstrated military prowess as well. Milorad Dodik’s actions enjoy Belgrade’s full support. Support also came from Prime Minister Vučić, who sent an unambiguous congratulations letter on the event of the celebration.

Tension between Serbia and Croatia has been smoldering for quite some time, but did escalate lately after another block by Croatia of the opening of a chapter of Serbia’s negotiation process with the EU. Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić reacted sharply and turned up the anti-Croatian rhetoric in the country. The cherry on the cake was placed by the statement of the special envoy of Prime Minister Vučić to Zagreb on the occasion of the celebration of Orthodox Christmas. In the presence of Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Vladimir Božović stated that Serbia is going to defend the right of the Serbian minority with all means possible. This statement was qualified by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Davor Ivo Stier as being a recycling of the theses of Slobodan Milošević.

Tension has risen considerably between Serbia and Kosovo as well. Relations between the two countries have not been exactly smooth for a long time now, despite the progress in the Priština-Belgrade dialogue with the EU facilitation. This dialogue is part of Serbia’s negotiation process with the EU – chapter 35. The reason for the lack of smoothness is the non-compliance with many of the agreements, which is due to the lack of political will in Kosovo authorities, frequent political clashes in the young republic, and the tension in Northern Kosovo. Since the start of the year, Serbia has changed its approach. Last week was dominated by the events surrounding the Serbian arrest warrant for Ramush Haradinaj – former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army – on charges of war crimes.

A French court let Haradinaj go free under bail, which caused a wave of reactions in Belgrade. President Tomislav Nikolić blamed the entire European Union for the ruling of the French court, stating that a directive was sent down that the Serbian warrant is not to be honoured. Most media, even those critical to Aleksandar Vučić’s government, went head over heel in publishing discoveries that Albanians are paying huge amounts for lobbying and bribes all over Europe in order to prevent the extradition of Haradinaj to Serbia. What is more, Belgrade claimed that Albanians are planning terrorist attacks against Serbian embassies in Europe. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs Ivica Dačić sent out warnings and requests that the security detail around Serbian embassies in the EU be increased.

This scandal had not yet subsided when Belgrade brewed up another and much more dangerous drama. On Saturday, Serbia decided to run the first train between Belgrade and Mitrovica (in Northern Kosovo) in 18 years. The line’s opening was supposed to mark another step in the normalisation of relations, but it turned into an ugly provocation. The train was painted in the colours of the Serbian flag and on it, in 21 languages, was written “Kosovo is Serbia”. On the inside, the train was pasted with pictures of the frescoes in the Orthodox monastery in Kosovo. Kosovar authorities asked that the EU forbids the train entering Kosovo due to danger of an armed conflict.

Meanwhile in Serbia tension was also being kindled by information that the Albanians were preparing a sabotage of the railway. Messages popped up that there were explosives in place along the tracks, none of which was found to be true in a later investigation. Kosovo special forces were deployed (with no knowledge of this by NATO as it turned out later), ready to stop the train. Prime Minister Vučić ordered in the last possible minute to stop the train, right at the border with Kosovo. This action of his was presented as an attempt to prevent an armed conflict. President Nikolić tuned in once more stating that Serbia is prepared, if need be, to send its army into Kosovo to defend the Serbian population there. His rhetoric chilled the blood. There were appeals already appearing on the first pages of Serbian press, calling to do everything necessary to prevent a new war in the region.

Russia too is talking of the danger of war and the EU recommends that tension is lowered by all sides. There is no way, however, to neglect other signals as well that Serbia has rapidly switched the rhetoric. At the very start of the year Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs Ivica Dačić gave a provocative interview, in which he sent out a threat to all countries in the region, which had recognised Kosovo. In his words, Serbia is waiting for the moment when they will be in need of support in some international organisation, but will not get it from Serbia.

Elections or preparation for a new political reality?

Some analysts explain what is going on with the upcoming presidential elections in Serbia this spring, which will be an extremely close call. There is once more talk about having preliminary parliamentary elections on the same day. There were snap elections in Serbia last year too, without any particular political necessity. There is no such necessity this year too. President Nikolić won back in 2012 his first term with the list of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of Aleksandar Vučić. In this year’s elections, however, the party is not at all willing to stand behind Nikolić once more. Regardless of whether he will receive support from Vučić, the former associate of Serbian radicals Tomislav Nikolić has already announced that he will also run on his own.

Should this happen, the SNS will have to present their own candidate, but polls are showing that no one except Vučić himself would be able to win against Nikolić. Among the other candidates is the radical Vojislav Šešelj. The opposition is once again in disunity and so far there are no visible chances that it will come up with a common candidate. So everyone await the decision of Aleksandar Vučić. Tradition in Serbia calls for sharpening of rhetoric in election years, but this time the situation went out of control, which poses the question whether Serbia may be preparing for the new world order following Donald Trump’s inauguration. His coming to power shifts the balance of powers quite significantly. So far the USA guaranteed the post-war status quo on the Balkans. As a leading NATO member the USA served as a deterrent to any attempts at redrawing borders on the Balkans.

Trump, however, believes NATO to be an outdated organisation and, besides, he sympathises with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is interested in preserving Russia’s influence in the Balkans. With no USA participation NATO would be unable to prevent a new conflict in the Balkans if Serbia, for example, were to decide to take advantage of the wind of change and take Kosovo back and Republika Srpska secedes from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aleksandar Vučić is attempting to present himself as the only one capable of preserving the peace in the region, but this time it is not that certain he will succeed. Should he lose the presidential elections, it might also spell the beginning of his decline at the parliamentary ones as well. Vučić so far has been the only one who presented himself as a pro-European politician, but the new situation reminds of the ancient saying that a leopard can’t change its spots.

The EU is less unified than ever and elections are coming in several key countries. This means that if something should happen in the Balkans, the most vulnerable countries could hardly expect any aid from allies. There are elections coming in Germany this year, in France, and Great Britain is possessed with the process of exiting the EU and, besides, it relies on Trump for brokering a beneficial trade agreement. The Balkans are left on their own, and this time the situation looks worse than it did in the 1990-ies, because the international system of values is shifting with the coming to power of anti-everything-sentimental populists and radicals. With so many raging conflicts in strategically important global hotspots, the Balkans might just turn out to be something no one wants to deal with.

Anyway, it is worth it that the EU be pro-active this time and not stand aside and call the sides to sort it out between themselves, for if fire ignites in the Balkans, the EU will burn as well for sure.

Translated by Stanimir Stoev

Posted in SerbiaComments Off on Is Serbia Preparing for Elections or a New Balance of Powers

“Being There” – Why Palestinian and Israelis should be worried about Trump’s presidency

Jared Kushner and Donald Trump

By Uri Avnery

Perhaps he is lying all the time.

Perhaps he is lying about being a liar.

Perhaps he is cheating about being a cheat.

Perhaps he is just posing as an impostor.

Perhaps he has misled us all about his misleading.

Perhaps he is a very shrewd manipulator, who has led us all into believing that he is a megalomaniac simpleton.

Well, Friday 20 January was President Donald Trump’s first day in office.

President Donald Trump – we must get used to these three words.

“A man who knows nothing and believes that he can solve everything?”

The only one thing that can be said with some certainty is that nothing is certain. That this man is totally unpredictable. That we are in for four years of uncertainty, waking up every morning wondering what he is up to today.

He will be the entertainer-president. As he was the entertainer-candidate. I confess that every morning, when I took into my hand the daily newspaper, the first thing I was looking for was the latest

item about Trump. What did he do? What did he say? Whatever it was, it was always entertaining.

The question is: do we really want the most powerful man in the world to be an entertainer? Or an overblown egomaniac? Or a totally self-absorbed narcissist? A man who knows nothing and believes that he can solve everything?

This is a dangerous world. From today on, it will be a lot more dangerous.

Let’s think for a moment about the red button.

“Some of the most terrible wars in history were started by nincompoops”

There are several red buttons around the world, and several fingers of leaders (including ours) hovering over them. Thinking about Trump’s finger makes me nervous.

Some of the most terrible wars in history were started by nincompoops.

Think about Word War I, with its many millions of dead, started by a nobody, a Serbian fanatic.

World War II, with its many tens of millions of dead, was started by Adolf Hitler, a quite primitive person. When he crossed the border into Poland, he did not dream of starting a world war. Until the very last moment he did not believe that Great Britain, an “Aryan” country he admired, would declare war on him.

President Trump seems to know nothing about history. Nor about much else, except real estate and making money. He also does not seem to really listen to others when making decisions. Wow.

Some 45 years ago I read a book by a Polish-American writer, Jerzy Kosinsky, called Being There. It was about a mentally handicapped gardener whose rich boss died and left him alone. All his knowledge was confined to gardening and television.

By some accident he became involved in politics. His simple answers to all questions were conceived as profoundly wise. Things like “You have to water the roots if you want to have sweet fruit.”

He climbed the political ladder to the top, become the advisor to the president. I don’t remember if he actually became president. Trump did.

Curiously enough, I remember a German movie I saw when I was nine years old. Not a very important or sophisticated one. Yet here I remember it, 84 years later.

It’s about a young man from a well-to-do family who falls in love with the daughter of an ordinary carpenter. His family absolutely refuses to allow him to marry the daughter of such a lowly handyman.

One evening the old carpenter sits in his pub and finds a fly in his beer. He hits his huge fist on the table and cries out: “This swinishness must end!”

For a moment there is silence. Then shouts of “Bravo!” come from all directions.

The suitor seizes the opportunity. He founds a party, makes deals, runs the old man for elections and in the end – that was still the Weimar republic – gets him elected as prime minister.

Now the young suitor’s family is happy to have him marry the girl, but her father adamantly refuses. “Who are you to marry the daughter of the prime minister?” he asks.

Out for revenge, the suitor, who also writes the prime minister’s speeches, changes the pages in the middle of one of the old man’s speeches in the Reichstag. So the old man announces: “I am a total failure, I am a complete idiot…”

I don’t remember the end.

Jared Kushner, champion of “the most fanatical elements” in Israel

Who is the young man who directed Trump’s campaign? His Jewish son-in-law, of course, Jared Kushner.

Kushner, like Trump, is a real estate dealer. Like Trump, he was born rich, and devoted his life to getting richer. Now he is Trump’s main political advisor.

Kushner is also an ardent Zionist. That means that he wouldn’t dream of coming and settling in Israel, but instead supports the most fanatical elements in this country.

It seems to be a rule that the further a Jew is removed from the past and future battlefields of Israel, the more fanatically Zionist he is. This Jared is very far removed.

One of his pieces of advice, it seems, was to appoint as US ambassador to Israel another rich Jew, David Friedman. This person is such a fanatical right-wing Zionist that he is financially involved in the settlement of Beit El (“House of God”), one of the most right-wing colonies in the West Bank. Some would call it fascist.

A diplomatic curiosity: the Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, and the US ambassador to Israel are both ultra-right US-born Jewish Zionists. If they changed places, no one would notice.

Aiding and abetting land thieves

Let me remind readers what these settlements are all about.

When the Israeli army occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in 1967, these territories were as populated as the US Midwest. Much of the land belonged to private farmers or absentee landlords, and the rest was “government land”.

During Ottoman times, the land reserves of the villages and towns were registered in the name of the sultan, whose heir was the British High Commissioner, whose heir was the Jordanian monarch, whose heir is now the commander of the Israeli occupation army.

Now the Israeli settlers come and just take this land, private or “government” owned, and turn it into their homes. No payment to anyone. Sheer robbery.

Now Americans like Friedman, Kushner and others come and encourage the settlers to steal even more, even offering money to help them along.

History tells us that such things don’t last forever. Sooner or later such things end in a bloodbath. But on that day, Friedman. Kushner and Trump will be far, far away.

So why am I now writing about Trump?

Well, first of all because it’s a historic day. I don’t like historic days. I remember such a day when young men with festive torches and arcane symbols on their arms were parading through Berlin.

But there is also another reason I don’t want to write about Israel just now.

We are in the middle of the biggest scandal in Israel’s history. The prime minister and the owner of our largest mass-circulation newspaper are being investigated for bribery, and so are foreign tycoons who have kept Binyamin Netanyahu supplied for years with the world’s most expensive cigars and his wife with the world’s most expensive pink champagne. (It’s the “pink” that provides the added gossip value).

No, I am not going to write about this now. Sorry.

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Palestine: the international community screws up, again

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US-Israel blood-soaked handshake

…and so does the Palestinian leader, again

By Stuart Littlewood

The Middle East peace conference which took place in Paris on 15 January was the usual farce, with Israel and Palestine, the subjects under discussion, both staying away. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called the talks “useless” and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was off opening an embassy in Vatican City and meeting the Pope while 70 nations gathered to take part in another peace pantomime. It ended with a pathetic declaration urging both sides to “officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution”.

Is this what the much-trumpeted two-state solution looks like?

Everyone knows Netanyahu and the Israeli regime have never wanted peace. Land-grabbing and ethnic cleansing is what they do, so the jackboot of Israeli occupation must remain firmly on the Palestinians’ neck. He was bound to treat any peace conference with utmost contempt. And Abbas’s crass absence was not only another slap in the face to all who sympathise with the Palestinians’ plight and to the millions of campaigners who fight for their cause, but also another disservice to the Palestinian people.

I call the conference declaration “pathetic” because no-one in the international community, as far as I’m aware, has actually told us what the two-state solution they keep banging on about will look like – or even what they think it should look like. No-one, that is, since the former Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, and his so-called “generous offer” to the Palestinians in the summer of 2000.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip, seized by Israel in 1967 and occupied ever since, comprise just 22 per cent of pre-partition Palestine. When the Palestinians signed the Oslo accords in 1993 they agreed to accept the 22 per cent and recognise Israel within “Green Line” borders (i.e. the 1949 armistice line established after the first Arab-Israeli war). Conceding 78 per cent of the land that was originally theirs was an astonishingly big-hearted concession on their part.

But it wasn’t enough for greedy Israel. Barak’s “generous offer” demanded the inclusion of 69 Israeli settlements within the 22 per cent Palestinian remnant. It was obvious on the map that those settlement blocs created impossible borders and already severely disrupted Palestinian life in the West Bank. Barak also demanded the Palestinian territories be placed under “temporary Israeli control”, meaning Israeli military and administrative control, probably indefinitely. The generous offer also gave Israel control over all the border crossings of the new Palestinian state. What nation in the world would accept that? But the ludicrous reality of Barak’s two-state solution was cleverly hidden by propaganda spin.

Since when did Her Majesty’s Government favour negotiating with the perpetrator of criminal acts and crimes against humanity?

Later, at Taba in Egypt, Barak produced a revised map but withdrew it after his election defeat. The ugly facts of the matter are well documented and explained by organisations such as Gush Shalom, yet the Israel lobby’s stooges continue to peddle the lie that Israel offered the Palestinians a generous peace on a plate. Is Barak’s crazed vision of the two-state solution the one the 70 nations have in mind?

Britain’s stance on Palestinian independence has always been nonsensical. I remember former Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt announcing that we would not recognise a Palestinian state unless it emerged from a peace deal with Israel. London “could not recognise a state that does not have a capital, and doesn’t have borders”.

Where did he suppose Israel’s borders are? And is Israel within them? Where did he think Israel’s capital is? And where did Israel claim it to be? In other words, is Israel where Israel is supposed to be? If not, how could he possibly recognise it, let alone align himself with it? “We are looking forward to recognising a Palestinian state at the end of the negotiations on settlements because our position is again very straightforward: We wish to see a two-state solution, a secure and recognized Israel side by side with a viable Palestine, Jerusalem as a joint capital and agreed borders,” Burt said.

Negotiations about illegal settlements? Since when did Her Majesty’s Government favour negotiating with the perpetrator of criminal acts and crimes against humanity? At around the same time Hillary Clinton had rejected in advance an anticipated Palestinian bill in the UN against unlawful Israeli settlement building. According to her, Israel’s illegal squats could be resolved through “negotiations” between Palestinians and Israelis and to hell with international law. Burt embraced this “solution” instead of enforcing international law and upholding justice, as he should have. He cooperated with the most dishonest peace brokers on the planet to revive discredited, lopsided direct talks. It’s been the same story with every other UK foreign secretary.

UN Resolution 242, a work of evil

So why, after decades, is the Palestinian homeland still under foreign military occupation and total blockade when international law and the United Nations have said it shouldn’t be?

And why are the Palestinians being pressured – yet again – to submit to “direct negotiations”, victim versus armed invader haggling and pleading for their freedom?

The answer appears to lie in the hash made of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967. Here is what it said:

The UN Security Council…

Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,

Emphasizing further that all member states in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the charter,

1. Affirms that the fulfilment of charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories [i.e. Gaza, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights belonging to Syria] occupied in the recent conflict;

(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

2. Affirms further the necessity

(a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;

(b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;

(c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every state in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;

3. Requests the secretary-general to designate a special representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the states concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution;

4. Requests the secretary-general to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the special representative as soon as possible.

It was adopted unanimously.

Article 2 of the UN Charter states, among other things, that all members “shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered” and “shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations”.

Nothing too difficult there for people of integrity and goodwill, one would have thought. But after 49 years nothing has happened to give effect to the charter’s fine words or to deliver the tiniest semblance of peace, or allow the Palestinians to live in security, free from threats or acts of force. Israel still occupies the Holy Land and the Golan Heights with maximum brutality while law and justice, the cornerstones of civilisation, have evaporated.

This dereliction of duty began with careless use of language – or more exactly the deliberate non-use of a certain word, the “the” word, which should have been inserted in front of “territories” but was purposely omitted by the schemers who drafted the resolution.

Behind the scenes there was no intention of making Israel withdraw

Arthur J. Goldberg, the US ambassador to the UN in 1967 and a key drafter of Resolution 242, stated:

There is lacking a declaration requiring Israel to withdraw from the (or all the) territories occupied by it on and after 5 June 1967. Instead, the resolution stipulates withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal. And it can be inferred from the incorporation of the words “secure and recognized boundaries” that the territorial adjustments to be made by the parties in their peace settlements could encompass less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories.

According to Lord Caradon, then the UK ambassador to the UN and another key drafter,

the essential phrase which is not sufficiently recognised is that withdrawal should take place to secure and recognised boundaries, and these words were very carefully chosen: they have to be secure and they have to be recognised… It was not for us to lay down exactly where the border should be. I know the 1967 border very well. It is not a satisfactory border, it is where troops had to stop in 1947, just where they happened to be that night, that is not a permanent boundary…

He later added:

It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of 4 June 1967… That’s why we didn’t demand that the Israelis return to them and I think we were right not to.

Professor Eugene Rostow, then US undersecretary of state for political affairs, had also helped to draft the resolution. He was on record in 1991 that Resolution 242

allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until “a just and lasting peace in the Middle East” is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces “from territories” it occupied during the Six-Day War – not from “the” territories nor from “all” the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Israel was not to be forced back to the fragile and vulnerable Armistice Demarcation Lines (the “Green Line”).

Israel could thus keep the territory it seized as long as the Zionist regime avoided making peace. Even if it did make peace it could keep some unspecified territory, presumably what it had stolen in terror raids before the 1967 war.

In the meantime, Arab leaders had picked up on the fact that the all-important “the” word in relation to territories had been included in other language versions of the draft resolution (e.g. the French document) and it was therefore widely understood to mean that Israel must withdraw from all territories captured in 1967. Unfortunately, under international law, English is the official language and the English version ruled.

For Israel, Foreign Minister Abba Eban said:

As the representative of the United States has said, the boundaries between Israel and her neighbours must be mutually worked out and recognised by the parties themselves as part of the peace-making process. We continue to believe that the states of the region, in direct negotiation with each other, have the sovereign responsibility for shaping their common future. It is the duty of international agencies at the behest of the parties to act in the measure that agreement can be promoted and a mutually accepted settlement can be advanced. We do not believe that member states have the right to refuse direct negotiation…

Eban seemed to forget that Israel was in breach of international law.

“Acquisition of territory by war is inadmissible,” right?

So, here was Israel, aided by the devious drafters, pressing for direct negotiations as far back as 1967 and sensing that the defenceless and impoverished Palestinians under their heel would be easy meat.

But the Soviet deputy foreign minister, Vasily Kuznetsov, wasn’t fooled.

In the resolution adopted by the Security Council, the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” becomes the first necessary principle for the establishment of a just and lasting peace… We understand the decision taken to mean the withdrawal of Israel forces from all, and we repeat, all territories belonging to Arab states and seized by Israel following its attack on those states on 5 June 1967.

Kuznetsov dismissed Goldberg’s border-adjustment argument, saying that the clause concerning the inadmissibility of territorial acquisition trumped any consideration for secure boundaries. He argued that the security needs of Israel “cannot serve as a pretext for the maintenance of Israel forces on any part of the Arab territories seized by them as a result of war”.

Your average native English speaker would not have been fooled by the missing word either. To the man on the Clapham omnibus “withdrawal from territories occupied in the recent conflict” plainly means “get the hell out of the territories you occupied in the recent conflict”.

US Secretary of State Dean Rusk, writing in 1990, remarked:

We wanted [it] to be left a little vague and subject to future negotiation because we thought the Israeli border along the West Bank could be rationalized; certain anomalies could easily be straightened out with some exchanges of territory, making a more sensible border for all parties… But we never contemplated any significant grant of territory to Israel as a result of the June 1967 war. On that point we and the Israelis to this day remain sharply divided… I’m not aware of any commitment the United States has made to assist Israel in retaining territories seized in the Six-Day War.

And how had UN members so conveniently forgotten about the Palestinian lands seized and ethnically cleansed before 1967? You know, those important Arab towns and cities and hundreds of villages that had been allocated to a future Palestinian state in the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan but were seized by Jewish terrorist groups and Israeli militia while the ink was still drying on the document? Had they also forgotten that the Palestinians were never consulted on the UN’s decision to hand over their lands to aliens, mainly from Europe, and with no ancestral links to the ancient Holy Land? The borders set down in the 1947 Partition Plan and incorporated into a UN resolution are certainly “recognised” because they were duly voted on and accepted even by the Zionists and their allies, were they not?

As everyone knows, Israel has never declared its borders nor respected the UN-specified borders. It is still hell-bent on thieving lands and resources, so no border is ever secure enough or final. Of course, a Palestinian state, if or when it emerges, is equally entitled to secure borders but the Israeli regime is unlikely to agree. It wants total control. So, going down the talks path again and again is fruitless. Borders should be imposed by the proper international bodies and enforced. That has to be the start-point. Adjustments can then be made with mutual consent once Israeli troops are no longer in occupation.

Incidentally, Article 33 of the UN Charter says that the parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger international peace and security, shall first of all seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.

Should the parties fail to settle it by those means, Article 37 says they must “refer it to the Security Council. If the Security Council deems that the continuance of the dispute is in fact likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, it shall decide whether to take action under Article 36 or to recommend such terms of settlement as it may consider appropriate”.

Article 36 declares that “in making recommendations under this Article the Security Council should also take into consideration that legal disputes should as a general rule be referred by the parties to the International Court of Justice in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the Court”.

Isn’t the Israeli occupation a legal dispute? How much longer must we wait to see the UN Charter complied with? Which brings us back to the question: why wasn’t Abbas at the conference batting for Palestine’s freedom and a just solution based on law? His presence would have put Netanyahu on the wrong foot.

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Trump and the Deep State

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Global Research News Hour Episode 167
Donald_Trump 2

You have to go back to Nixon to find a president with as strong negative views about the agency. But the agency did not get this kind of public disparagement from Nixon.” –

Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA official, in an interview with AlterNet. [1]

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Length (59:28)

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)  

Donald Trump has finally taken his oath of office and assumed the role of President of theUnited States of America.

His inauguration on Friday, January 20th coincided with numerous protests both inWashington and in cities across the US and around the world.

Trump’s rise to power and his cabinet picks have provoked numerous questions. Will he indeed build a wall between Mexico and the US? Will he register Muslims? What will become of the Free trade agreements like NAFTA which he has vowed to scrap or renegotiate? If he is mending relations withRussia, what will that mean for current hot-spots Syria and Ukraine, and for foreign policy generally?

On this week’s Global Research News Hour we take a look behind the scenes to determine how political events such as the recent election, are being manipulated to achieve elite ends, and the consequences for US democracy, and perhaps the future of Humanity.

Dr. Jack Rasmus is a progressive journalist, radio host, former union organizer and local president, and author. Hs upcoming book, ‘Central Bankers on the Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Next Depression’ will be released in April.

Professor Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, and Editor of Global Research.

Mark Robinowitz is a writer, political activist, ecological campaigner and permaculture practitioner and publisher of oilempire dot us, a political map to connect the dots. campaigner and permaculture practitioner for over three decades.

 LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Length (59:28)

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)  

The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca . The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in everyThursday at 6pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario –1  Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border.

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia, Canada. – Tune in  at its new time – Wednesdays at 4pm PT.

Radio station CFUV 101.9FM based at the University of Victoria airs the Global Research News Hour every Sunday from 7 to 8am PT.

CORTES COMMUNITY RADIO CKTZ  89.5 out of Manson’s Landing, B.C airs the show Tuesday mornings at 10am Pacific time.

Cowichan Valley Community Radio CICV 98.7 FM serving the Cowichan Lake area of Vancouver Island, BC airs the program Thursdays at 6am pacific time.

Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in  Saint John, N.B. airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 10am.

Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday Morning from 8:00 to 9:00am. Find more details at www.caperradio.ca 

Notes:

1) http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/trump-cia-war

Posted in USAComments Off on Trump and the Deep State

A Spectre Hovers over Davos World Economic Forum: Populism and the Trump Presidency

NOVANEWS
World Economic Forum

From January 17th to 21st, the Swiss enclave of Davos-Klosters is the venue of the 47th World Economic Forum. This gathering constitutes one of the exclusive clubs where the principal corporations coordinate orientations and launch strategic alignments. Together with the Bilderberg Club — a less visible and more reduced space of similar characteristics — the Davos Forum aims to become a kind of parallel private global government, placing leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, technological innovation and vertical forms of direction over and above democratic national order and traditional forms of international interrelation such as the United Nations.

In this opportunity, the last day of the meeting coincides suggestively with the inauguration of the forty-fifth US President, property magnate Donald Trump. In spite his having a relatively adequate profile for the meeting –at least with respect to monetary capacity — Trump, elected mandatory of a country belonging to the G-20, was not formally considered in the invitations, since his mandate had not yet begun. Nevertheless, members of his Government were expected, such as the designated Director of The National Economic Council, Gary Cohn — former president of Goldman Sachs and a regular participant in Davos.

Image: Telesur

Other significant – and somewhat surprising – absences, from the political world, are the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Hollande. Another announced absence is the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who also announced that he will not attend the protocol acts in which Trump will assume his mandate, a decision that is highly relevant, considering that the two countries are related through the economic space of NAFTA.

With respect to the World Economic Forum, the most outstanding participant will without doubt be Xi Jinping, this being the first time that a Chinese President comes to this hyper summit of capitalism.

But Trump, the great absent figure, will be present in all the roundtables, interventions and dialogues. The phantasm of discontent generated by financial hypertrophy and the concentration of capital scares the members of the club of the wealthy and has a name: populism.

The succession of neo-nationalist triumphs, such as Trump or the Brexit, together with the expectation of possible political advances of the ultra-right in upcoming elections in the Netherlands, France, Germany or the Czech Republic, sounded an alarm among the governors of the corporate world. The real threat that protectionism could modify the chess-board of globalization that the corporations have put together to facilitate their movements, is a scenario in the face of which the Davos conclave cannot not remain passive.

The perspective that an important part of the populations suffering from austerity and poverty, because of the systemic debacle, would decide to turn their backs on the regionalisation projects controlled by economic power, such as the European Union, is an image that could hardly be accepted by the Davis clan.

As the call to the 2017 Davos Forum, whose leitmotif is “Responsive and responsible leadership”, points out:. “The weakening of multiple systems has eroded confidence at the national, regional and global levels. And, in the absence of innovative and credible steps towards their renewal, the likelihood increases of a downward spiral of the global economy.”

If it were not for the political events, the Forum would continue advancing impassively towards the capitalist reconversion that it proposes and which has been called the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

This ‘revolution’ — in the words of the Founder and President of the Forum, the almost eighty-year-old German professor Klaus Schwab – “is characterized by the fusion of technologies that are erasing the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres.”  The earlier technological revolutions, Schwab points out, used water and steam to mechanize production, electricity to massify it and electronics and computing to automate it.

In this ‘new world’ in development, the promoters of Davos — the principal enterprises of the planet — see exponential opportunities for business. In the framework of refined business prospects, designed to outline the possible advantages for those who acquire their products and adhere to their illusions, it is clear that they feel obliged to also allude to the enormous possibilities that this could bring to millions of persons. In these arguments over potential benefits, there is a possible “and complete (!)” reconversion of the degenerative environmental process — that these same enterprises have brought about – with unlimited possibilities that are derived from combined and integrated action — says Schwab — of “artificial intelligence, robotics, the internet of things, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, nano- and biotechnology, the sciences of matter, new devices for storing energy and quantum computing.”

These knights of the order (and under the order) of money are daring and they dare to revolutionize the world. The only thing that seems unchangeable in their imagination is the existence and pre-eminence of economic power over the well-being and the sovereign decision of the majorities.

Nonetheless, in this edition of Davos, it does not appear viable to advance in the absolutist plans of social technologization without taking into account, at least minimally, the social chaos that they have produced in the past. And they will produce even more, if the technological innovations take on the increased velocity that they desire. While today, extreme poverty, hunger and social inequality are already devastating vast latitudes, there is a risk they will increase even more if the “fourth revolution” is managed by these corporations and their lackeys.

A complete and integrated automation in production brings about the elimination of millions of jobs. In absence of an inversion of power relations, between the effective power of peoples and concentrated economic power, we can expect brutal competition among wage earners begging for subsistence in exchange for their total existential surrender.

Even the analysts of the corporate camp foresee a probable widening of the gaps between the better paid segments — those that require knowledge and specialization — and other kinds of tasks — essentially services of little value added, habitually reserved for the poorest among the poor.

From a positive perspective, for human beings the technological transformation could signify a growing liberation from tasks, an increase of creative options and possibilities, an extension of life and well-being, which could lead to a profound and interesting reconsideration on life perspectives that do not have work as the centre, the main condition or the cause of exclusion.  But without a true social and popular mediation, it would simply bring about an increase in business efficiency, leaving a great part of humanity in the garbage bin of maladaptation and the consequent disqualification as waste material.

What the worried businessmen, academics and politicians in Davos fear, associating it with the tragedies of fascism of the past century, what they despise, calling it “populism”` — thus indicating a visceral and plutocratic rejection of the “popular” — is in fact a clear signal that the peoples are emitting in rejection of the prior business visions that promised marvellous benefits for all through the route of neoliberalism.

In a sense, in the present edition of Davos, there may be something that is beginning to be socialized. Uncertainty no longer appears to be an exclusive prerogative of the dispossessed.

16/01/2017

(Translated for ALAI by Jordan Bishop)

Posted in USAComments Off on A Spectre Hovers over Davos World Economic Forum: Populism and the Trump Presidency

Trump’s Top Priorities

NOVANEWS
 
trump

What he should and will do may be world’s apart. His top priorities should be world peace, stability, mutual cooperation with all nations, making America a model state, unlike its current pariah status, along with equity and justice for everyone.

No president in US history reached that standard. Jack Kennedy came closest. Franklin Roosevelt gave Americans vital New Deal policies during the nation’s Great Depression. In large measure, he also bore responsibility for WW II.

Lyndon Johnson waged war on poverty while waging far greater war abroad, dividing the nation in the process, his unpopularity forcing him out of the 1968 race despite his Great Society achievements.

Ignore what politicians say. Follow only what they do. Trump delivered a promising inaugural address, striking a far different tone than most of his predecessors, refreshingly omitting phony rosy scenario hyperbole.

He pledged to serve all Americans straightaway. Saying he’ll “fight for you with every breath in (his) body, and (he’ll) never, ever let you down” is hollow rhetoric without meaningful policy initiatives backing it.

Replacing corporate enriching Obamacare with something worse is no way to fulfill his pledge. Nor is waging war on social justice if that’s what he has in mind.

The pro-Hillary, anti-Trump New York Times outrageously called his ascension to power “a hostile takeover” of the nation’s capital. The self-styled newspaper of record is unrelenting in its maliciousness – furious over an outsider defeating its favorite, wanting revenge, disgracing itself more than already.

Trump:

“We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.”

The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action. Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done.”

Strong stuff! Nothing Obama, Bush/Cheney, the Clintons and most other US presidents matched it in words or deeds.

Trump no longer is a private citizen. He’s America’s 45th president and armed forces commander-in-chief, an enormous responsibility for anyone.

He’s got bully pulpit power, along with the power and influence of his incumbency. Will he back his lofty rhetoric with positive actions?

Will he serve all Americans responsibly as promised or just its privileged few – the way it’s largely worked before?

Will he be a warrior or peace president? Is his pledge to combat terrorism real or just another ploy to continue US imperial madness?

Will he get along with Russia, China and all other sovereign independent nations or maintain adversarial relations?

Will he do the right things or be just another dirty politician? Will the Trump era be looked back on as transformational or disturbing continuity?

According to Sputnik News, “(t)he Trump Administration will consider the invitation to (Syrian conflict resolution) negotiations in Astana after its official receipt, and will not participate in any negotiations until the formation of a clear US vision of a resolution to the Syrian crisis.”

Earlier Trump complained about wasting trillions of dollars on foreign wars, accomplishing nothing but disaster. Will he curb imperial madness or continue it? Pretexts are easy to create to do what he wishes.

He took dead aim at destructive trade deals sending US jobs abroad. He wants NATO used to combat terrorism, not wage war on other countries, so he said earlier.

He rhetorically challenged longstanding US tradition. Will he initiate the most sweeping changes in American policy since FDR’s New Deal, LBJ’s Great Society, and the Reagan era?

Will his agenda improve things at home and abroad or worsen them? As a newly inaugurated president, it’ll take time to tell.

He deserves a chance to prove his mettle. He’s the first US president letting ordinary Americans communicate with his administration directly – via Twitter.

I’ve done it numerous times, urging him to do the right things in brief comments and links to some of my articles. He’ll get this one.

Incoming tweets are read by staff, checking for possible threats, along with likely gauging public sentiment, other than what polls reveal.

Trump used his inaugural address to communicate directly with ordinary Americans, hoping for improved public approval.

The only way to get it is through responsible governance – legislatively and by executive actions as necessary.

On January 20, a new era in America began – the fullness of time to tell if for good or ill.

Posted in USAComments Off on Trump’s Top Priorities

Trump Intelligence: Sometimes Really Big Lies Are Good – When Seen to Be Lies!

CIA-trump

The US secret intelligence community bet everything on de-legitimizing Donald Trump by claiming that secret sources and methods demonstrated that the Russians hacked the US election. The evidence has not been forthcoming, and there has been such a powerful collection of voices to the contrary that it is the secret world that has de-legitimized itself, at least in the USA.

The US mainstream and progressive media bet everything on the assumption that Hillary Clinton was the inevitable candidate, and in the process demonstrated such a bias against the winning candidate and such a blindness to the will of the public that the US media is now called “fake news” – the public rejects the assertion that skeptical citizens are purveying “fake news.”

The US political duopoly – the Republican and Democratic parties that some say are two wings of the same bird – fought against Donald Trump to the very end. Julian Assange has promised an exciting 2017 – some expect him to do to the Republicans what he did to the Democrats. Political parties are now impotent.

For those in Europe who worry about what an “unshackled” Donald Trump might do to America – and to America’s relations with Europe – it may be helpful to reflect on the fact that Trump has spoken clearly about being against war and waste; against trade deals with secret clauses that disadvantage the public; and against political corruption – “play to pay.” He is, in short, against conventional wisdom and against the “Establishment” that has spent centuries fencing the commons and marginalizing the individual citizen.

For all of his flaws, Donald Trump, according to some observers represents a restoration of the voice of the people. As Europe deals with the millions of illegal immigrants displaced by America’s elective wars in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, it might do well to consider the possibility that Donald Trump represents the end of the central banking and central politics era – and the end of centralized secret intelligence without accountability – and the beginning instead of a new era where US foreign policy will be about legitimate commerce and peace for all instead of forced globalization and war as a profit center for the few.

It is too early to tell if Donald Trump will be a populist president. While he has chosen business and military elites to replace the political elites in the service of Wall Street – Donald Trump is a “Main Street” president – it remains to be seen if he will follow his instincts and pursue intelligence reform, media reform, and electoral reform.

What might a new world order look like if Donald Trump were to rebuild the US Government?

An end to waste and over-charging. Iran and Donald Trump have one big thing in common: they both believe that Boeing and Airbus and everyone else are double-charging, and we should be paying half the list price for everything. Under Donald Trump the various complexes, from the military-industrial to the pharmaceutical to the agricultural complex are headed for a sharp decline in earnings and excess profits.

The beginning of the open source era. While there is no evidence that Donald Trump intends to create the Open Source Agency (OSA) that his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was briefed on in 2014, it is clear that a new era of evidence-based governance relying on ethical legal open sources to produce Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), has begun. The spies can no longer repress what they have long called “open sores.” It will take time, but it is possible that a Trump Administration could see that the open source era should include two new elements no one is talking about yet:

Creating the World Brain. Education, intelligence, and research are all broken. They do not do holistic analytics and true cost economics. Bearing in mind the centrality of the five billion poor as the engine of future prosperity, a Trump Administration may reject the neo-conservative attempts to double-down on investments in propaganda – lies – and instead seek to create a means for providing everyone in the world with free access to truthful information “one cell call at a time.” The education of the individual on a just enough, just in time basis, not government regulation and micro-management, is how we heal ourselves.

Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE). Beyond OSINT lies OSEE – OSEE can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in a fraction of the time as a fraction of the cost of the current dysfunctional industrial-donor paradigm. As a businessman, Donald Trump understands that the cheapest way to keep all those pesky illegal immigrants home is to stop supporting dictators while simultaneously enabling free solar energy, unlimited free desalinated water, free Internet, and free open source housing and other infrastructure advances. The industrial era that concentrated wealth is over – the information era of distributed 3D-printing and a re-birth of local sustainability has begun.

An end to elective wars, regime change operations, and drone assassinations. The foreign policy coup of the neo-conservatives that led to multiple foreign wars is over; the year-long soft coup against Donald Trump by the Establishment has been defeated. Europe should expect America to stop supporting both the United Nations (UN) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); to stop placing our military in overseas bases where they serve other countries instead of our own; and to re-focus the US intelligence community on producing decision-support relevant to peace and prosperity instead of engaging in crimes against humanity around the world.

New possibilities for Internet-enabled democracy. Although the Internet is very broken – and Facebook and Google have shown themselves to be above the law and ready to censor any opinion not approved by Eric Schmidt or George Soros – Parag Khanna among others has illuminated possibilities is his two books Connectography and Technocracy. If Donald Trump created the Trump Channel that places before the public a balanced budget with line item detail; if he demands that all legislation be posted in advance of being voted on; and most importantly, if he created a 24/7 interactive polling infrastructure that empowers all citizens including the 47% that did not vote at all in 2016, to be engaged informed citizens, not only would he bury the two-party tyranny, he would create new national conversation Of, By, and For all US citizens – a new global standard.

An end to Empire, an end to Central Banking. The Holy Grail of democracy is to be found in the death of Central Banking. Central banking – the creation of false wealth out of nothing and the imposition of both interest and exchange rates too easily manipulated with income taxation that exempts banks and fraudulent non-profits from taxation, have been the death of democracy. While the soft coup has been defeated, there is still a war going on in America, between those who wish to continue sacrificing the American public at the altar of globalization and concentrated wealth; and those who wish to end the Empire rooted in central banking and secret agencies managing global criminal networks, in favor of a restored America the Beautiful.

Emergence is not pretty. In my view, Donald Trump is the ugly duckling. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. This may surprise many in Europe, but from where I sit as a former infantry officer, former spy, and champion of open source everything, Donald Trump is the change agent we have all been praying for. He absolutely merits every possible courtesy.

Posted in USAComments Off on Trump Intelligence: Sometimes Really Big Lies Are Good – When Seen to Be Lies!

The Syria Peace Talks in Astana. Will Trump Administration Participate?

NOVANEWS
 
Flag-map_of_Syria.svg

During six years of Obama’s war, three rounds of Geneva talks failed – because of US obstructionism.

Neocons infesting Obama’s administration wanted endless war for regime change, not peace; mass slaughter and destruction, not conflict resolution; chaos, not calm.

Will Trump go a different way? It’ll take a while to find out. Much depends on what he decides. Sunday is his third day in office.

Though active pre-inauguration, Friday and Saturday, he won’t hit the ground running until Monday – even though working days are every day for presidents.

Russia extended an invitation to his administration to participate in Astana, Kazakhstan Syria peace talks – specifically National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Delegations from Syria, Russia, Iran, Turkey, an umbrella group representing opposition terrorists (excluding ISIS and al-Nusra), and pro-Western UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura are attending.

According to acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner, “(g)iven our presidential inauguration and the immediate demands of the transition, a delegation from Washington” won’t be participating.

Trump’s secretary of state designee Rex Tillerson hasn’t yet been confirmed. On Monday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee members will vote on his nomination.

Republicans hold a one seat majority. Neocon senators Marco Rubio (FL) and John McCain (AZ) haven’t said if they’ll support or oppose him.

With or without majority Foreign Relations Committee approval, he’s likely to get the needed 50 or more full Senate votes to become Trump’s chief foreign policy official.

Until then, the office of secretary of state is being run by lower-level bureaucrats, including Obama holdover Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon, Jr.

US ambassador to Kazakhstan George Krol will attend Syria peace talks as an observer. On February 8, follow-up discussions will be held in Geneva, hopefully with full US participation, committed for conflict resolution – not rage for endless war like Obama.

Astana talks will focus on confirming ceasefire terms agreed to by Russia, Iran and Turkey, based on the provisions of Security Council Resolution 2254 – effective midnight December 29, ISIS and al-Nusra excluded.

According to an unnamed source close to the talks, no new initiatives are planned. “The key task is to confirm” ceasefire agreement terms.

From the opposition’s side at the talks will be exclusively representatives of armed groups, who can undertake straight obligations to observe truce.

For the first time, Syrian officials and opposition group representatives will hold face-to-face talks. Whether success is possible this time, unlike earlier, remains to be seen.

Astana was chosen as a neutral venue. Talks are scheduled for January 23 and 24, maybe longer if necessary – to be followed by a news conference when completed.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on The Syria Peace Talks in Astana. Will Trump Administration Participate?

Cuban “Left” Opposition and Annexationists: Two Wings of the Same Eagle

NOVANEWS
drapeau-cuba

In my previous article, titled “The End of Ideology in Cuba?,” I created a fair amount of controversy in stating, “I have always maintained that the most dangerous opposition to the Cuban Revolution comes from the so-called left, and not from the openly right Plattists, or annexationists.”

The majority of readers praised the article; many others participated in the serious debate; and only a couple very strongly objected to it, mainly singling out that particular sentence.

Thus, let us deconstruct the perception. It mentions the “openly right Plattists, or annexationists.” This means that there exists in Cuba both the openly pro-U.S. opposition and the hidden annexationists. The latter comprises these so-called “leftists.” Their narratives are carefully constructed to include some (mild) criticism of the American economic, social and political systems. They do not openly accept capitalism as an alternative, as opposed to the annexationists, who quite frankly do hold the U.S. up as their model. An American who has been living in Cuba as the adopted country for a number of years wrote some thoughtful positive comments on the article and the issue of socialism versus capitalism:

“Up North, in its simplest form, you could reduce it to acceptance of the ‘lesser evil.’ Both systems are flawed, but conveniently, socialism is more flawed, so let’s simply not go there. Any changes to capitalism are purely cosmetic with the objective of avoiding socialism. Here [in Cuba], since we have already arrived at socialism, the argument presented is: capitalism has some good features, let us just add (‘sumar’) those to socialism. Since the approach is to add to (‘sumar’), rather than subtract from (‘restar’), capitalism – that is what makes the objective here reverse to the one up North. Instead of improving socialism with the goal of avoiding capitalism, their idea is to adopt capitalism’s best features, as though both systems were compatible, with interchangeable parts, which of course they are not.”

This is a very good point indeed. One Cuban whom I consulted likened it to “using the spare parts of a Timex watch to fix a Rolex.” In this analogy, of course, the Rolex is socialism, while the Timex is capitalism. Nevertheless, the pieces making up both brands are just not compatible. It may be argued by some of the so-called “left” that Cuba is introducing certain market economy measures that amount to capitalism. However, the market economy existed long before capitalism, even in the most “primitive” systems. It is not an exclusive feature of any one system: capitalism did not invent it. In contrast, Cuba’s changes amount to improving the Rolex but with Rolex brand parts, and not some old pieces from a totally different and incompatible brand.

Thus, the “left” opposition objectively contributes to the American Dream of restoring capitalism in Cuba, even though they of course vehemently deny this. To portray their anti-capitalist image, some of them even define themselves as “democratic-socialists” as opposed to the Cuban socialist system, which is supposedly an authoritarian-type of socialism. The U.S.-centric view of systems specializes in adding hyphenated tickets to concepts, such asdemocratic-socialists. “Democracy” is perhaps the most manipulated concept in politics, an analysis that goes beyond the scope of this short article. Suffice it to mention for the moment that, based on the U.S.-centric view, the term democracy serves as a code word to contradict socialism. In Cuba, when this “democracy” tag is appended by sleight-of-hand, those in the North interested in subverting the Cuban Revolution know that the individuals espousing hyphenated socialism are in their ideological camp.

These and other similar trends within the “leftist” opposition, although seemingly in contradiction with each other, have at least one feature in common. Coming from different angles, they all converge into one common mindset: the Cuban system and government are “authoritarian,” the Communist Party of Cuba and the Army are omnipresent, and the system is centralized whereby the state plays too much of a leading role (even though Cuba has been decentralizing since 2008, but on its own terms within socialism). This opposition outlook ostensibly favours socialism, but their “socialism” is so very democratic. In order to foster this image, every incident in the Cuban system is pounced upon in order to paint Cuba as authoritarian. By relying mainly on some intellectuals, the “leftists” have set their sights on atomizing and dividing Cuban society, with the goal of destroying the unity it has been building since 1959.

In contrast, other Cuban commentators supporting the openly right annexationist trend criticize the Cuban government for not going far enough or fast enough in adopting what they also call “capitalist measures.” The annexationists openly advocate capitalism for Cuba under the tutelage of the U.S. This tendency also blames the “authoritarian” government for holding back what they envisage as Cuba’s inevitable slide into capitalism. Thus, “democracy” is manipulated by both the so-called “leftists” and the openly pro-U.S. and capitalist right.

There is another common denominator linking these two seemingly opposite extremes. There is no doubt that in Cuba today people engage in lively discussion and debate about improving Cuba’s socialism and political system. The attitude toward the U.S. in the new and complicated post-December 17, 2014 context is, of course, tied to these controversies. These deliberations are taking place at many levels and in various circumstances in the Cuban social and political systems. Carrying on a long-standing tradition, these debates constitute a feature of Cuban political culture. If, at this time, one takes the Cuban media as an example, a range of opinion articles is increasingly being published in the official press, such as Granma and Juventud Rebelde. Some of the pieces are written by what one could call “alternative” journalists and writers, such as Iroel Sánchez, Elier Ramírez, Enrique Ubieta, Luis Toledo Sande and Esteban Morales, just to name a few. These intellectuals and many others have their own active blogs and they participate daily through social media to resist the U.S.-led cultural war.

However, when the “left” or right opposition describes Cuba for the benefit of both foreign and some domestics consumption (and make no mistake about it, their views can be found in the foreign press hostile to Cuba), they invariably applaud and highlight what they call “opposition” or “alternative” journalists. The “leftist” opposition forces, supposedly the epitome of pluralism, cite only themselves and like-minded opponents, a very monolithic approach. This is also how the U.S. establishment media deals with debate. They cite only their own kind: a perverse consanguinity. In contrast, the real Cuban alternative intellectuals (only some of whom are mentioned above), those who work within the system for improvements, are blacklisted (or even vilified) by the “leftists.” They bestow these credentials on what they consider bona fide “alternatives,” invariably stirring up a backwash of invitations for both the “left” and right to travel to the U.S. or appear on foreign media in Cuba in exchange for delivering the goods: “Cuba is authoritarian or a dictatorship. Amen.” This quid pro quo is quite flagrant, to the extent that for a Cuban to receive these credentials from them could be considered the kiss of death.

Thus, both the “leftist” opposition and the openly right-wing annexationists are two wings of the same American eagle. One cannot underestimate their influence on some intellectual sectors in Cuban society – it would be naive to do so. However, it would also be wrong for the two wings to overestimate their appeal to Cuban society, because Cuban socialism is characterized by an exceptionally high level of political consciousness broadly accumulated over many decades. This allows Cuban revolutionaries and patriots to see through their manipulation and thus in the process further enrich the Cuban Revolution’s ideological heritage.

Source Prensa Latina

http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?o=rn&id=8265&SEO=cuban-left-opposition-and-annexationists-two-wings-of-same-eagle

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