Archive | March 28th, 2017

Nazi regime and Russia are Not on The Verge of War. They are Allies!


Israel and Russia are Not on The Verge of War. They are Allies!

There are no circumstances under which Russia will go to war with Israel over Syria. Doing so would be wholly contrary to Russia’s policies and strategic interests.
Putin Netanyahu

The alternative media community, especially its social media iteration, is experiencing collective psychosis in hallucinating that “Israel” and Russia are on the verge of war with one another.

The prevailing narrative is that Israeli “Defense Minister” Lieberman’s threat to destroy Syria’s air defense systems is tantamount to a declaration of war against Russia, with the assumption being that Moscow is on a crusade against Zionism and has thus become Tel Aviv’s worst enemy.

There’s no diplomatic way to say this, but the presumptions on which such a crazy conclusion has been reached are absolutely and utterly wrong.

Far from being Israel’s hated nemesis like many in the alternative media community wishfully pretend that it is, Moscow is one of Tel Aviv’s closest allies, and this is entirely due to President Putin’s deliberate policies. Not only does he enjoy a very strong personal friendship with Netanyahu, but President Putin also sees a lot of opportunity to advance his country’s interests in Israel through the large Russian diaspora there.

Russia wants to compete with the US for influence in Israel for several interrelated reasons.

Firstly, Judaism is one of Russia’s four official religions as stipulated by the 1993 constitution, thus partially making Russia a “Jewish State” in the technical-legal sense. To be fair, though, Russia is also an Orthodox, Muslim, and Buddhist country too by the same measure.

Coupled with the Russian diaspora in Israel, Moscow seeks to leverage these religious-personal connections in order to acquire greater clout over the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which in turn would be expected to boost Russia’s global Great Power prestige (which is exceptionally important to its leadership).

As a “reward” for its positive involvement in helping to resolve this seemingly intractable issue, Russia might expect Israel to grant its state companies important contracts in building, servicing, and/or investing in any potential Eastern Mediterranean pipeline from the offshore Leviathan gas field to the EU, which would exponentially increase Moscow’s influence on the global energy market and consequently on world affairs in general.


To be absolutely clear, I respectfully disagree with this approach for principled reasons, though I understand why Russia has embarked on it, and what it hopes to reap from its multifaceted engagement with Israel.

Returning to the current context and topic of this article, there’s no way whatsoever that Russia would ever even consider lobbying a volley of nuclear missiles at Israel no matter what Netanyahu does in Syria, even if he delivers on his government’s threats to destroy the country’s air defense systems.

In such a frightful scenario, Russia would assuredly issue a sharp diplomatic rebuke against Israel and probably take symbolic measures to express its disapproval, but it won’t ever preemptively intervene and stop Israeli jets from bombing Syria because its mandate is strictly to fight terrorism, and not defend Syria’s borders from outside state aggression.

Moreover, it’s an open fact that Russia and Israel have established mechanisms to coordinate their military action in Syria so as to avoid inadvertent clashes, which is hardly the behaviour that anyone would expect from two parties on the brink of an all-out nuclear exchange against each other.

Let’s face it — Russia and Israel are high-level and comprehensive strategic allies with one another, though this by no means signifies that Moscow is incapable of “balancing” its relations between Tel Aviv and Damascus.

In fact, it’s this very tricky diplomatic “balancing act” which might actually be somewhat restraining Israel from taking more aggressive action in Syria, as it understands that there’s a certain limit to what it can do and “get away with” before it overly embarrasses Russia and negatively impacts on bilateral relationships.

Everyone knows that Russia has deployed S-400 air defense missiles in Syria, and this fact was reported on with much fanfare and enthusiasm in the alternative media community, both through its professional outlets and on social media. Many people naively assumed that this would put a stop to Israel’s occasional strikes in Syria, yet several high-profile ones have occurred in the time since, in spite of the presence of the S-400s.

This can only be interpreted as proof that Russia has no desire to overstep its anti-terrorism mandate and defend Syria’s external borders, nor would it even want that heavy responsibility if Damascus offered it.

In addition, the fact that these strikes happened without any noticeable interference from the Russian side can be taken as visible confirmation that the mechanisms earlier described between Moscow and Tel Aviv are working properly in avoiding any inadvertent clashes between the two sides.

This does not mean, however, that Russia condones Israel’s illegal military activity in Syria (especially its latest bombing), but just that it passively stands by and chooses time and again to avoid becoming involved in what Moscow sees as a strictly bilateral issue between Tel Aviv and Damascus.

Nevertheless, a blatant act of state-on-state aggression such as attempting to obliterate Syria’s nationwide anti-air defense systems wouldn’t be tolerated by Russia, and would probably compel President Putin to freeze relations with “Israel” due to the unacceptable diplomatic embarrassment that Netanyahu would have inflicted on Moscow.

Netanyahu, for his part, is keenly aware of the limits of what he can and cannot do in Syria without risking Russia’s genuine ire, so it is extremely unlikely that he will carry through on his Defense Minister’s threat. That being said, however, Israel — being the quintessential rogue state that it is — might backstab Russia by doing this anyhow so long as its leadership believes that the “cost-benefit” calculation “justifies” such action.

The only realistic scenario for that to happen would be if Israel was convinced — whether “rightly” or wrongly — that Iranian and Hezbollah activity in Syria posed an “imminent threat” to its interests that would surpass any perceived indirect negotiating/”balancing” benefits vis-a-vis these parties that Tel Aviv’s alliance with Moscow provides.

It’s been speculated that Russia is very understanding of Israel’s concerns about Iran and Hezbollah in Syria, and that Moscow might even be discretely pressing for Damascus to draw up a “face-saving” plan for ensuring these forces’ post-war withdrawal from the country, so if that’s the case, then Israel has no reason to further escalate its aggression against Syria under the false pretexts of combating these two Resistance actors.

The fact that Tel Aviv issued its latest threats, however, indicate that this speculation might not be entirely true, since it would logically follow that any successful Russian efforts on this front would negate whatever “reason” Israel might have for jeopardizing its mutually advantageous alliance with Moscow.

Another possible explanation might be that Syria doesn’t agree with Russia’s rumored suggestions in this respect and therefore isn’t going along with them, which from Tel Aviv’s perspective might cause it to recalculate that its alliance with Moscow is disposable because it has failed to bear fruit on one of its most important fronts.

Much more likely, however, is that there isn’t any secret Russian-Israeli understanding to conspire against Iran and Hezbollah’s post-war presence in Syria, and that Israel’s latest threat was issued independently of its relationship with Russia, though of course only time will tell what the truth really is.

To get back to the topical issue at hand, any large-scale state-to-state attack that Israel might launch against Syria probably wouldn’t be stopped by Russia, but it would definitely ruin the relationship between Moscow and Tel Aviv. Russia isn’t going to go to war against Israel for the sake of saving Syria and formally going beyond its specific mandate, no matter how much millions of people might wish that it would under those circumstances.

Even so, Russia is a proud and dignified civilization-state which won’t accept the global humiliation that would ensue from passively allowing such a massive aggression to occur under its watch, despite it legally not being Russia’s responsibility to protect Syria’s external borders or to prevent state aggression against its military, which is why it would be forced to freeze all ties with Israel in response.

In that scenario, Russia’s “balancing” policy would come to an abrupt end and Moscow might reactively realign its regional priorities with the Resistance Bloc of Iran and Hezbollah instead of remaining “impartial” like it currently is, though still taking care not to do anything which could be perceived as stoking Israel’s paranoia that Russia might also be in the process of becoming a “threat” to it too.

To wrap everything up, no realistic case can be argued that Russia is on the verge of war with Israel. Historical facts such as the unprecedented Russian-Israeli Strategic Partnership, the public existence of bilateral military coordination mechanisms in Syria, and the sincere personal friendship between President Putin and Netanyahu, categorically disprove any such claims.

While it might be “fashionable” to pretend that Russia is opposed to Israel, that’s simply not true at all, no matter how much people in the alternative media community might deeply wish for it to be so. Even in the disastrous event that Israel decides to launch an all-out conventional attack against Syria and escalate its presently ongoing Yinon Plan of divide-and-rule “Arab Spring” Hybrid War into something much larger, there’s no way that Russia would intervene, although it would clearly be displeased and would have to take appropriate diplomatic countermeasures in order to save its prestige.

The bottom line is that supporters of the Syrian Arab Republic mustn’t let their optimistic well wishing desires cloud their analytical judgment and objective appraisal of reality, because failure to do so will only result in the creation of an alternative universe totally divorced from the world in which we truly live.

And that, folks, leads to legitimately “fake news” such as the hysterical claims that Russia is about to go to war with Israel.

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Colombia Looks to Speed up Implementation of FARC Peace Deal

  • Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Cuban President Raul Castro, and FARC leader Rodrigo Londono "Timochenko" after signing the peace deal in Havana.
    Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Cuban President Raul Castro, and FARC leader Rodrigo Londono “Timochenko” after signing the peace deal in Havana. | Photo: Reuters
As the FARC continues to demobilize, authorities now look to secure the peace deal in Colombia.

The Colombia government and leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC, began Saturday a two-day meeting to speed up the implementation of the peace agreement that brings an end to the country’s long-running internal armed conflict.

RELATED: Jose Mujica, Felipe Gonzalez to Oversee Colombia’s Peace Accord

“In this meeting, we will make a progress assessment with the purpose of making the necessary decisions to accelerate the implementation of the agreements,” said both parties in a joint statement.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, also known as Timoleon Jimenez or “Timochenko,” headed the meetings in the city of Cartagena, a tourist hub located on the Caribbean Sea.

“We are not going to renegotiate or open the door to renegotiate the agreements, of course if we can achieve improvements in the agreements they are welcome, but it has to be mutually agreed between the parties,” said Santos Friday.

According to the measures outlined in the agreement, 7,000 guerrilla members are now gathered in 19 transition zones across the country where they are expected to leave their weapons and begin their reintegration into Colombian society after decades in the jungle.

RELATED: State Violence Is the Cause of Colombian Conflict Says ELN

The disarmament process, coordinated with the United Nations, is expected to be completed by early June, and the former members of the rebel group will form a political party.

Former President Alvaro Uribe, the strongest opponent of the peace agreement, has been critical of the fact that the deal paves the way for the FARC to become a legal political force in the country’s elections.

Four months ago, Colombia reached a peace deal to end the 52 years of armed conflict that has claimed the lives of more than a quarter of a million Colombians and displaced more than 7 million more.

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Ecuador: From Marxist Guerrilla to State Lawmaker

From Marxist Guerrilla to State Lawmaker: The Life and Times of Rosa Mireya Cardenas
  • Former Alfaro Vive Carajo rebel Rosa Mireya Cardenas was recently elected to the Andean Parliament.
    Former Alfaro Vive Carajo rebel Rosa Mireya Cardenas was recently elected to the Andean Parliament. | Photo: Andes Agency / Facebook

Cardenas’ message now is for Ecuador never to return to its dark past when the state used violence as a tool of social control.

The room was dark, cold and dirty. Rats scurried past her naked body, climbing over her legs, trying to reach the pieces of bread scattered around her.

But she could not move or cry. Otherwise, she was told, the dogs would bite.

RELATED:  Ecuador: 22 Indigenous, Social Movement Groups Endorse Moreno

They had placed cold water to drip on her head and had left a pack of dogs to attack her if she tried to get up.

The days of electrocution, physical beatings and no food and water eventually tore her down.

“I was convinced I was going to die there, I even decided I was going to die there,” Rosa Mireya Cardenas recalled more than three decades later.

It was the summer of 1984 and Cardenas, on route from Panama to Nicaragua, was captured by what she believes were CIA agents at the Juan Santamaria airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. Taken to a safe house, she was physically and psychologically tortured for eight days straight.

Cardenas, a member of Alfaro Vive Carajo, a former Marxist guerilla group based in Ecuador, was grilled relentlessly by the agents over her involvement with AVC and other leftist movements in Latin America. From there, she was turned over to the Ecuadorean military, where under the regime of Leon Febres-Cordero, she endured more brutality and torture.

Now, 33 years later, the former guerilla revolutionary has been elected to South America’s Andean Parliament, winning one of the highest numbers of votes to secure her new post as legislator.

From guerilla tactics to electoral politics

But how did a militant activist stigmatized as criminal get elected to political office?

The answer lies in the original aims of AVC, as well as the start of the Citizen’s Revolution under President Rafael Correa.

In the spring of 1983, the union of students, workers, campesinos, socialists, communists and others from the revolutionary left sought to fill what they perceived as a void of political leadership, just a year before “the most repressive government in Ecuador’s history” came to power.

“(There) existed in the popular movement … scattered union struggles and guilds, local peasant movements without a national cause,” explained Cardenas, adding that even “during the insurgent struggle we never deviate(d) from a political objective.”

And it was years after the brutality of Febres-Cordero’s rule, that Correa’s government, elected in 2006, set up the Truth Commission, carving out space for AVC members and other torture victims during Ecuador’s most repressive era, to seek some semblance of justice.

CIA torture and Operation Condor

It was after first being tortured in the safe house in Costa Rica, and then by the Ecuadorean military, that Cardenas speculated that the torture tactics she endured were the same used under Operation Condor — the covert but coordinated U.S.-backed regional counterinsurgency strategy that assassinated and disappeared thousands of left-wing activists across multiple countries in the 1970s and 80s in the name of propping up right-wing dictatorships in South America and quashing the threat of communist expansion.

“Undoubtedly and with complete assurance,” Cardenas told teleSUR when asked about the ties, adding that the torture methods were the same in both Costa Rica and Ecuador, and that they fit descriptions of CIA interrogation strategies.

“After eight days, they sent me back to Ecuador, without any legal basis, and they placed me again in the hands of the Ecuador military. And here in the barracks, it was an underground building, they applied the same tactics that they used in Costa Rica — no food, no sleep, putting cold water and electrocuting me, they laughed at me, made fun of me,” she recalled.

“The agents who intervened had foreign accents,” she added, explaining that Costa Rica did not even have a military or police institution at the time, giving her more reason to believe she was tortured by CIA agents.

Indeed, the quarters where Cardenas endured physical and psychological brutality in Quito, Ecuador, was a torture lab built using a CIA manual. While Ecuador has never officially been linked to Operation Condor, evidence alarmingly suggests otherwise.

A report released in 2010 by the Truth Commission found that 68 percent of the 456 victims that endured violent human rights violations between 1984 and 2008 were brutalized under the government of Febres-Cordero, in power from 1984 to 1988. The report also found that torture and illegal detention occurred the most under his rule.

Detained for another five months in Quito and charged with illicit association, Cardenas regained her freedom in January 1985 after being declared innocent by judges.

Reviving “Alfarismo” and the Citizen’s Revolution

In her early years with AVC, Cardenas traveled from Nicaragua, where she worked alongside the Sandinista National Liberation Front, to Libya, where she received political and military training. For, indeed, AVC’s goal was to recover Alfarismo — that is, to revive the legacy of Eloy Alfaro, president of Ecuador from 1895 to 1901 and then again from 1906 to 1911, and his revolutionary spirit.

“What is Alfaro Vive’s contribution? It is precisely to piece together the image of Eloy Alfaro, to show that Alfaro’s struggle was a struggle of the people, not of the elites, to bring back these objectives which we continue to fight for,” Cardenas told teleSUR.

The group worked for years to assimilate back into civilian life, working with human rights and cultural organizations to dispel their reputation of violence that was propagated by the Febres-Cordero regime. But it was through the work of the Truth Commission that Ecuadoreans learned of the brutality its members faced at the hands of the state.

“The space created by the Truth Commission was important to integrate us into the … Citizen Revolution, which opened up large spaces for participation, mobilization and social organization through the Constituent Assembly,” explained Cardenas, referring to the process that rewrote Ecuador’s constitution in 2008.

WATCH: Reparations in Ecuador for state torture

She said the aims of AVC in 1983 were mirrored in Correa’s Citizen Revolution, the program of progressive social and economic transformation launched under the banner of 21st Century Socialism when his government took office in 2007. They were both inspired by Eloy Alfaro’s radical Liberal Revolution and interested in “democracy, social justice, economic independence, national sovereignty and Latin American unity.”

The Truth Commission denounced the crimes committed by the government of Febres-Cordero, taking into account the testimonies of victims and their family. After it was created in May 2007, AVC members, alongside other victims, were given a space in the government’s Support Committee. Over the years, they have poured over confidential state files from that period.

Since then, a reparation process has seen been set up for the victims of Febres-Cordero’s government, consisting of “the prosecution and punishment of perpetrators, the dignification of memory and possible economic compensation”, explained Cardenas.

Claiming a struggle against history

In the Andean Parliament now as a member of Alianza Pais, Correa’s left party, Cardenas will be working to promote gender equality, fair trade and the work of social organizations, among other initiatives.

RELATED: Ecuador Latin Kings Gang Transformed by Citizens’ Revolution

But with Ecuador’s second round of presidential elections slated to take place April 2, the country stands at a critical crossroads. South America’s leftist resurgence — commonly referred to as the Pink Tide — has seen recent blows, with neoliberal governments in Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil rolling back progressive gains of recent years. If neoliberal, right-wing former banker Guillermo Lasso is elected as president, Ecuador would be set to course through that same trajectory.

However, all of the latest polls predict a win for Alianza Pais’ left-wing candidate, Lenin Moreno, who led his conservative rival by over 10 percent in the first round of voting.

Cardenas, and others who are part of the anti-imperialist left, hope that Ecuador will stay on its left-wing path of the past decade.

For her one message now is to never “repeat the history of the period when violence was established as a state policy.”

That, she said, is “beyond the legitimate desire for justice … not only to heal, but to claim a struggle against history.”

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Over 2 Million Protest Chile’s Pinochet-Era Pension System

  • Demonstrators take part in a protest against the pension system in Valparaiso, Chile.
    Demonstrators take part in a protest against the pension system in Valparaiso, Chile. | Photo: Reuters
Organizers say it was the largest-ever protest against the private pension system in Chile.

Hundreds of thousands of people took the streets in cities across Chile Sunday to protest the private pension system known as AFP, in what the organizers have called the largest march for the cause in the history of the movement.

RELATED: Over 500,000 Chileans Protest Pinochet’s Private Pension System

The march, organized by workers’ organizations and trade unions, kicked off at 11:00 a.m. local time in the capital city Santiago’s in Plaza de las Armas, as well as several other cities.

According to organizers, 800,000 took part in the marches in Santiago and a further 2 million across the country.

“We hope today we will have a lot of people and show that the social movements are saying, ‘We don’t want anymore AFP,'” a protester with the Cabreados Movement told Chile’s Bio Bio TV at the demonstration in Santiago. “(AFP) is already a failure, and our political actors need to know that the social movements won’t stop.”

Luis Messina, spokesperson for the CNT labor union, predicted that Sunday’s demonstration would be a “historic” march. “Perhaps the largest in history,” he said. The protest comes after several marches in the country demanded President Michelle Bachelet end the AFP private pension system which puts the average retirement pension below the minimum wage.

The contested system also forces workers to deposit a portion of their wages and an administrative fee into accounts managed by private hands. This system handles savings for about 10 million working Chileans.

Last year, the pension fund was modified to reflect changes in the country’s mortality rates starting mid-2016. Workers who retire will now receive close to 2.1 percent less money for their retirement.

The pension system in Chile is a remnant from the era of the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, which violently ruled the country from the 1973 military coup against President Salvador Allende until 1990. Much of the era’s policies, which introduced aggressive neoliberalism and sweeping privatization, are still in the Chilean Constitution.

RELATED: Chile Strike Against Pinochet-Era Pension System Turns Violent

“We call on all the working families of Chile to go massively this Sunday, to make it clear that we don’t want more AFP, private or state-run, and we will not tolerate cosmetic reforms that don’t give a real solution to the low pensions or to the permanent scam that has targeted us Chilean workers due to AFP for more than 36 years,” said the organizers ahead of the march.

Mauricio Mattus, the spokesman of the Movement of Independent Citizens No+AFP, which translates to “No More AFP,” called on all Chileans to participate.

“This is a citizen movement and not a political one, he said. “For that reason, we also make a call not to attend with political allusions, this is a transversal movement in which everyone can join but is far from having a political tendency,” he said.

In August 2016, 350,000 people protested in Santiago against the pension system that President Michelle Bachelet promised to reform. The government is expected to present such a plan in about a month.

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New Biopic of Black Revolutionary Angela Davis in the Works

  • Angela Davis
    Angela Davis | Photo: Reuters

The film will focus on the militant activist’s work and the trajectory of her life.

A new film about the life and legacy of Black revolutionary Angela Davis is in the works.

RELATED:  Angela Davis Nails Root of Terror, Racism and Islamophobia

“Angela Davis: An Autobiography” will focus on the militant activist’s work and the trajectory of her life. Forest Whitaker will serve as executive producer, and Sidra Smith, the person behind the 2012 documentary “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners,” will be co-producer.

Davis herself will also serve as an executive producer along with her niece, playwright Eisa Davis. One of Whitaker’s upcoming films also includes Ryan Coogler’s Marvel flick Black Panther.

Davis was a leader of the U.S. Communist Party in the 1960s. After her allegiances were discovered in 1969, she was dismissed from her role as acting assistant professor in the philosophy department at the University of California, Los Angeles.

RELATED: From ‘Black Power’ to Black Lives Matter: 50 Years of Resistance

She was also a former member of the Black Panthers.

In 1970, she was charged with murder, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy for suspected involvement in a courtroom shootout but was later acquitted of all charges. She returned to academia soon after, publishing a number of books about civil and women’s rights, racism, healthcare and prison reform as well as poverty and grassroots resistance.

Now a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Davis’ most iconic books include the 1981 classic, “Women, Race and Class” and the 2003 book, “Are Prisons Obsolete?”

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