Archive | January 14th, 2018

Canada Should Play Conscientious Role in Korea

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Featured image: A family eats ice cream in North Korea (Source: Eva Bartlett)

Lawyer Chris Black and Prof. Graeme MacQueen are helping build a revitalized peace movement. Part of that involves standing up to the barrage of propaganda on North Korea, and demanding that our government play a more positive role in defusing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. We discuss their recent op-ed article in the Toronto Star, the less-known reality of Korea, and the U.S. as a stopping block to peace.

Posted in Canada, South KoreaComments Off on Canada Should Play Conscientious Role in Korea

Long-overdue release of Hassan Diab in France highlights failure of bogus “terror” charges

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Photo: Friends of Hassan Diab

Lebanese-Canadian professor Hassan Diab was ordered released and all charges against him dropped by a French investigative judge on his case yesterday, 12 January 2018. Diab was extradited from Canada and held for three years in solitary confinement in France on the basis of bogus “terrorism” charges despite clear evidence of his innocence. While the struggle isn’t over, as the French state can appeal, this is an important victory for Hassan Diab and against the use of “terror” charges to terrorize oppressed communities.

Of course, French state persecution continues – from the use of anti-terror laws and the “state of emergency” to impose fear and repression on oppressed communities through police violence and surveillance to the charges against BDS activists for advocacy for Palestine to, atop the list, the over 33 years of imprisonment of Lebanese Communist struggler for Palestine, Georges Ibrahim Abdallah.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Hassan Diab, his wife Rania Tfaily, his dedicated French and Canadian legal team and all of the Justice for Hassan Diab campaigners who have struggled for years for his release from years of unjust imprisonment in French prison and extradition from Canada on the basis of bogus “terrorism” charges. Yesterday, he was ordered released after three years of solitary confinement and the charges against him dropped. He is working now to come back to Canada.

Of course, the struggle isn’t over. French officials can pursue another appeal to attempt to shore up their bogus terror case – and we’ve seen how the French state refuses even the rule of its own judiciary in the case of the struggler Georges Ibrahim Abdallah. Nevertheless, this is an important victory for Hassan Diab and against the use of “terror” prosecutions on the basis of secret evidence, evidence obtained through torture and politically-motivated intelligence agencies.

See more information:

http://iclmg.ca/civil-liberties-coalition-welcomes-the-rel…/
http://www.justiceforhassandiab.org/french-investigative-ju…
http://www.cbc.ca/…/o…/charges-dropped-hassan-diab-1.4484443

We are reprinting below the statement of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group on the case:

CIVIL LIBERTIES COALITION WELCOMES THE RELEASE OF CANADIAN HASSAN DIAB IN FRANCE

Jan. 12, 2018 – After a decade-long ordeal, French judges have dropped all allegations against Canadian Hassan Diab and ordered his immediate release.

“We are overjoyed for Hassan, his partner Rania, and their two children, that this ordeal is finally coming to a close,” said Tim McSorley, national coordinator with the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. “That Hassan Diab was extradited in the first place continues to raise serious questions about Canada’s judicial process. For now, though, we look forward to seeing Hassan safe and sound back in Canada.”

Hassan Diab was arrested by the RCMP for extradition to France in 2008, on allegations that he participated in the 1980 bombing of a synagogue in Paris that killed 4 bystanders. He was extradited to France in 2014. Since then he has spent more than three years in pre-trial detention, as investigative judges weighed whether to proceed to trial.

Since 2008, the ICLMG has joined Rania, Hassan’ lawyers, the Justice for Hassan Diab support committee and others in questioning the evidence presented against Hassan, and criticizing the Canadian extradition system that allowed him to be sent to France in the first place.

It is important to remember that at the time of the extradition hearings, Justice Maranger described the evidence against Hassan as “illogical”, “very problematic,” and “convoluted,” but that the low threshold for evidence under Canada’s extradition law left him no choice but to commit Dr. Diab to extradition. “It will be important to remain vigilant to ensure that no other Canadian faces the ordeal that Hassan has been through,” said McSorley.

The ICLMG congratulates Rania, Don Bayne and all of Hassan’s lawyers, and the support committee for their tireless work in ensuring that an innocent man was not forgotten and is finally being freed.

Posted in FranceComments Off on Long-overdue release of Hassan Diab in France highlights failure of bogus “terror” charges

No charges for Nazi soldier who killed Palestinian child returning from swimming

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Nazi army officer who opened fire on a car of Palestinian civilians, killing a 15-year-old boy, will not be prosecuted, it was reported today.

Mahmoud Badran was killed, and four friends wounded, after returning from a swimming pool on the night of 21 June 2016.

At the time, the Nazi military claimed the forces responsible believed the car of youngsters were responsible for throwing stones at Route 443 in the occupied West Bank.

An investigation by the Nazi Military Police Criminal Investigation Division (MPCID) has now concluded that the “mistake” was a reasonable one to make in the circumstances, despite the fact that the officer opened fire in violation of the regulations.

According to Haaretz, the officer in question is a platoon commander in the Kfir Brigade, which is based in the occupied West Bank. He, and two colleagues, were driving towards Jerusalem in plain clothes when they noticed stones and an oil patch on the road, and a bus parked up on the side.

After driving to where they believed the stones had been thrown from, the officer and soldiers got out and opened fire on a car driving on a road under Route 443. Open-fire regulations in the West Bank state that when a vehicle does not endanger the soldiers, shots must be fired in the air.

According to rights group B’Tselem, “massive fire” was directed at the vehicle of Palestinian youngsters, despite the fact that there was zero indication its occupants were responsible for the stone-throwing (and even if there had been, lethal force was unjustified).

The MPCID investigation similarly concluded that the officer had not seen the stone throwers, and targeted the car purely due to its proximity to the site. Despite such findings, no indictment will be filed against the officer, not even for causing death by negligence.

According to Haaretz, the officer faces dismissal for his conduct during the incident. The army spokesperson told the paper that the findings were still being examined by the Military Advocate General’s office ahead of a final decision.

At the time, B’Tselem predicted that the investigation would produce no results, slamming “the military law enforcement system” as “a whitewashing mechanism”.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on No charges for Nazi soldier who killed Palestinian child returning from swimming

US Likely Took Course to Demolish Iran Nuclear Deal 

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Russia, as well as the European Union, remains committed to the Iran nuclear deal, despite the recent US waiver of sanctions against the country.

Moscow would oppose any attempts to undermine the existing nuclear agreement between P5+1 countries and Iran, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has stated.

“The JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] cannot be amended and we will oppose any attempts to hamper it,” Ryabkov said.

The minister went on by saying that Trump’s move raises questions concerning his negotiability on international issues, adding that Moscow will insistently explain to Washington the viciousness of its sanction policy towards both Tehran and Pyongyang.

“We have a very negative stance on yesterday’s decisions and statements announced by Washington, our worst expectations are coming true,” Ryabkov said commenting on Trump’s words, saying that the US thus demonstrate their preference for the use of power to solve issues.

The minister underlined that statements by US President Donald Trump will be very carefully studied in the DPRK and other countries and may influence the existing tensions on the Korean peninsula.

“According to our estimates, our American colleagues act in such a way as to constantly find opportunities to increase tensions on the Korean peninsula. Despite the signs that there has been some shift in the direction toward political dialogue, here we also note intra-Korean contacts, which are very important — despite this, Washington is looking for ways to constantly remind everyone, including in Northeast Asia, that it is committed to pressuring and methods of force, and, using this same American terminology, keeping all the options on the table,” the deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry added.

The diplomat added that there was no sense in overestimating Trump’s decision on waiving the sanctions, as the United States was seeking to undermine the JCPOA and is reinforcing a categorical approach to Iran-related issues.

“The prospect of the US withdrawal from the Iran deal will deliver a very serious blow to the whole system of international agreements and to the enhancing of the nuclear non-proliferation regime,” Ryabkov said.

Speaking about a new deal on Iran, which the US has claimed to elaborate, the minister stressed that Moscow could hardly understand how it might look like.

“We do not understand what our American colleagues mean when they start to negotiate the development of some new agreement, which, as they think, will ‘correct the shortcomings’ of the existing agreement,” Ryabkov said.

“It has been announced in advance that Iran, Russia and China are not invited to negotiations concerning this agreement. This is the US’ decision, the content of the talks and their subject is unclear. But for us, strictly speaking, they are of little interest because the JCPOA is not subject to correction,” Ryabkov stressed.

US Sanctions

“Of course, the decisions on enlargement of the sanction list [as for Iran] by including 14 individuals and entities, including the citizens of foreign states, not only the Iranian institutions and organizations, spark concerns,” Ryabkov has commented on the US sanctions on 14 individuals and entities over Iran’s human rights abuses and ballistic missile program, including the ones from China and Malaysia.

The minister called on the international community to consolidate efforts aimed at securing the Iranian nuclear deal.

“We think that in this context, the international community should double its efforts aimed at consolidation of the approach to the protection of the JCPOA shared by Russia, the Europeans and China in favor of its strict and full implementation by all the participants,” Ryabkov said.

The statement was made in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s announcement on January 12 of his decision to waive sanctions on Iran as required by the JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal. Trump, however, specified it would be the last time he signs the waiver unless the deal is modified.

This move follows the common path the US president took in relation to the Islamic Republic ever since his election campaign. When elected, he reaffirmed opposition to the deal officially in late October 2017, refusing to re-certify it and accusing Tehran of violating the spirit of the agreement.

However, the president still does not contest Tehran’s compliance with the deal at the international level, while at the same time not excluding the possibility of withdrawing from the deal if the agreement is not improved. Other JCPOA signatories have called on the United States to comply with the agreement’s provisions, saying that the deal had yielded results and was non-negotiable.

READ MORE:

Trump Decides to Extend Iran Sanctions Waiver, But for the Last Time — WH

Posted in USA, IranComments Off on US Likely Took Course to Demolish Iran Nuclear Deal 

US Army awards Sikorsky to supply 17 Black Hawk helicopters to Saudi

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The US Army has awarded Sikorsky, a leading American aircraft manufacturer based in Connecticut, a contract worth nearly $200 million to supply 17 Black Hawk helicopters to Saudi Arabia.

The terms of the “firm-fixed-price” agreement between the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, and the army were announced Thursday by the Department of Defense.

Saudi Arabia is expected to receive eight UH-60Ms for the kingdom’s National Guard, while the other nine helicopters will go to the Royal special security forces.

The UH-60M Black Hawk, a medium-lift, rotary-wing helicopter, has been in use by military forces around the world since it was first introduced in 1979.

It has multi-mission capabilities and can be used in combat search-and-rescue, airborne assault, command-and-control, medical evacuation, search-and-rescue, disaster relief and fire-fighting.

Sikorsky will begin work under the $193.8 million deal to manufacture the helicopters with an estimated completion date of the end of 2022.

The deal comes as the US is under pressure to suspend its arms sales to the Saudi regime, which has been waging a deadly military aggression against Yemen since 2015.

At least 13,600 people have been killed since the start of the war.

During his first trip to Saudi Arabia last year, President Donald Trump signed a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis, with options to sell up to $350 billion over a decade.

Facilitated by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, the massive package includes missiles, bombs, armored personnel carriers, combat ships, terminal high altitude area defense (THAAD) missile systems and munitions.

The announcement generated backlash in Congress, with Republican Senator Rand Paul promising to work to block at least parts of the package.

The Trump administration is looking to loosen restrictions on American arms sales to boost the country’s weapons industry.

The move seeks to ease export rules for military equipment “from fighter jets and drones to warships and artillery,” according to officials familiar with the plan.

Posted in USA, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on US Army awards Sikorsky to supply 17 Black Hawk helicopters to Saudi

South and North Korea Talks: A Thaw in Relations?

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BAMN_a

Gregory Elich interviewed by Eugene Puryear and Sean Blackmon.

The recent talks between North and South Korea, what if any progress was made in thawing relations between the two countries, what to expect politically from the Winter Olympics being held in South Korea, and why South Korean President Moon continues to desire close relations with the

Posted in North Korea, South KoreaComments Off on South and North Korea Talks: A Thaw in Relations?

Trump’s craving for more nukes a ‘rip off’ that only benefits military industrial complex

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The Trump administration’s blueprint for building more nuclear warheads to contain “strategic competitors” is a “rip-off” that only benefits manufacturers, not the American people, foreign policy analyst Robert Naiman told RT.

The plan to expand the US low-yield nuclear arsenal, outlined in the draft of the upcoming Nuclear Posture Review leaked to the media, is an “outrageous and foolish” idea that will add nothing to US national security, argues Robert Naiman, policy director at Just Foreign Policy and president of the Truth Out organization.

“The United States has already more than enough nuclear weapons, and the idea of building more is foolish, dangerous and unnecessary and robbery of other priorities,” Naiman told RT. By channeling money into more nukes, Trump betrays his voters, who expected him to focus on infrastructure projects at home, he added.

“He talked about America First, rebuild America, people thought that meant we’re going to fix the roads and the bridges. Nah, we are going to build more nuclear weapons,” Naiman said.

While the nuclear plan is expected to be unveiled by Trump next month, the rather hawkish draft is still in the works and requires congressional approval, Naiman noted. He hopes lawmakers contest it.

Naiman also hopes other countries will not be “so stupid as to take the bait” and allow themselves to be dragged into an expensive new arms race. The funds that would be funneled into the pockets of arms manufacturers are US taxpayer dollars, stolen “under pretext of defending the US,” he stressed.

“Every billion dollars that are spent on nuclear weapons is a theft from education and healthcare and medical advances and roads – things that people need. Things that people need. We can’t eat nuclear weapons, we can’t educate ourselves with nuclear weapons. It’s a rip off.”

Attempts by the Trump administration to justify the nuclear build-up by claiming Russia and China pose a threat to the US do not hold water as “nobody really thinks that any sane person is going to do nuclear weapons in a strategic competition.”

While Russia and China are indeed “strategic competitors” to the US, the “idea that this means we need to produce more nuclear weapons doesn’t follow at all,” Naiman argued. In terms of nuclear deterrence, according to Naiman, it is not the quantity of nuclear weapons that matters, but the mere fact that the country possesses them.

The analyst believes it will be weapons manufacturers who will be the primary beneficiaries of the shift in nuclear policy, which is “not in the interest of the world” and “not in the interest of the majority of people in the United States.”

“The huge driver of this is the Pentagon industrial complex. Pentagon contractors are going to make money off producing nuclear weapons,” Naiman said, stressing that “parochial interests” of certain military industry players might be behind the overhaul. “We are not going to be more safe if we spend money on weapons that we don’t need.”

Posted in USAComments Off on Trump’s craving for more nukes a ‘rip off’ that only benefits military industrial complex

Salafi mission calls into question Saudi concept of moderation and policy in Yemen

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Muhammad bin Salman and moderate islam

By James M. Dorsey

Plans to open a Salafi missionary centre in the Yemeni province of Al Mahrah on the border with Oman and Saudi Arabia raise questions about Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s concept of a moderate form of Islam.

The questions are prompted by the fact that Prince Muhammad has so far put little, if any, flesh on his skeletal vow last October to return his ultra-conservative kingdom to “moderate Islam”.

The crown prince has created expectations of more social liberalism with the lifting of a ban on women’s driving, a residual of Bedouin rather than Muslim tradition, as well the granting of female access to male sporting events; the legitimisation of various forms of entertainment, including cinema, theatre and music; and the stripping away of the religious police’s right to carry out arrests.

While removing Saudi Arabia as the only Muslim country that didn’t permit women to drive or allow various recreational activities, Prince Muhammad has yet to conceptualise what a rollback of Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism would mean in a nation whose public life remains steeped in a puritan interpretation of the faith. (The lifting on the ban of women entering stadiums leaves Iran as the only country that restricts female access to male sporting events.)

Sectarian crutches

The disclosure of the plan for a Salafi mission suggests Prince Muhammad may only want to curb ultra-conservatism’s rough edges. It also calls into question Saudi policy in Yemen that is reminiscent of past failures.

Saudi Arabia’s conflict with Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, a Zaydi Shia Muslim sect with roots in a region bordering the kingdom, dates to Saudi employment of Salafism to counter the group in the 1980s.

The plan harks back to the creation of an anti-Shia Salafi mission near the Houthi stronghold of Saada that sparked a military confrontation in 2011 with the Yemeni government, one of several wars in the region. The centre was closed in 2014 as part of an agreement to end the fighting.

Prince Muhammad’s use of ultra-conservative Sunni Islam in his confrontation with the Houthis was also evident in the appointment as governor of Saada of Hadi Tirshan al-Wa’ili, a member of a tribe hostile to the Shia sect, and a follower of Saudi-backed Islamic scholar Uthman Mujalli. Mr Mujalli reportedly serves as an advisor to Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the exiled, Saudi-backed Yemeni president.

“Over the past 40 years, the Saudi government has invested heavily in Salafi-Wahhabi-style madrasas and mosques in the northern areas, only to realise that this programme was jeopardised by the Zaydi revival movement. If the Houthis were to be defeated in their home province, it is likely that the Salafi-Wahhabi programme will be revived, and implemented more fiercely than in previous years,” said Yemen scholar Gabriele vom Bruck.

The disclosure of the Al-Mahrah plan coincided with a damning 79-page United Nations report that condemned Saudi, Iranian and United Arab Emirates interventions in Yemen. The report concluded that Saudi and UAE proxies threatened peace prospects and that a secession of South Yemen that includes Al-Mahrah had become a distinct possibility.

Questionable “moderation”

The questions about Prince Muhammad’s concept of a moderate Islam go beyond Yemen. The arts, including cinema, remain subject to censorship that is informed by the kingdom’s long-standing ultra-conservative values. A football player and a singer are among those who face legal proceedings for un-Islamic forms of expressing themselves.

The government last year introduced physical education in girls’ schools and legalised women’s fitness clubs, but has yet to say whether restrictions on women competing in a variety of Olympic disciplines will be lifted.

The example of Yemen suggests that little has changed in Saudi Arabia’s four-decade-old, $100 billion global public diplomacy campaign that promoted Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism as an anti-dote to revolutionary Iranian ideology.

Similarly, and perhaps more importantly, it has yet to indicate whether male guardianship, gender segregation, dress codes that force women to fully cover, and the obligatory closure of shops at prayer times will be abolished. Also, the government has still to declare a willingness to lift the ban on the practice of non-Muslim faiths or adherence to strands of Islam considered heretic by the ultra-conservatives.

The example of Yemen suggests that little has changed in Saudi Arabia’s four-decade-old, $100 billion global public diplomacy campaign that promoted Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism as an anti-dote to revolutionary Iranian ideology.

Yemen is but one extreme of the spectrum. The Saudi-funded and operated grand mosque in Brussels is the other. Saudi Arabia, responding to Belgian criticism of the mosque’s ultra-conservative management, last year appointed as its imam, Tamer Abou el Saod, a 57-year-old polyglot Luxemburg-based, Swedish consultant with a career in the food industry. Senior Saudi officials have moreover responded positively to a Belgian government initiative to prematurely terminate Saudi Arabia’s 99-year lease of the mosque so that it can take control of it.

In contrast to Yemen, where the use of ultra-conservatism is a deliberate choice, Prince Muhammad may feel constrained in his moderation quest in the kingdom by the fact that his ruling Al Saud family derives its legitimacy from its adherence to ultra-conservatism. In addition, the kingdom’s ultra-conservative religious establishment has repeatedly signalled that the views of at least some its members have not changed even if it has endorsed the crown prince’s policies.

Saudi Arabia last September suspended Saad al-Hijri, a prominent scholar in charge of fatwas, or religious edicts, in the province of Asir, for opposing the lifting of the ban on driving because women allegedly had only  half a brain that is reduced to a quarter when they go shopping. Sheikh Saad made his comment after the Council of Senior Scholars, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body, had approved the move.

Ultra-conservative mood music

By the same token, no public action was taken against Sheikh Salih al-Fawzan, a member of the council, who declared on his website that “If women are allowed to drive they will be able to go and come as they please day and night, and will easily have access to temptation, because as we know, women are weak and easily tempted”. A video clip of Sheikh Salih’s view was posted on YouTube in October. It was not clear when the scholar spoke or whether he had approved the posting.

A main thrust of Prince Muhammad’s drive to return to moderate Islam is the fight against extremism, involving among others the creation of a centre to oversee the interpretations of Prophet Muhammad’s teachings in a bid ensure that they do not justify violence.

There is indeed little doubt that the kingdom is serious about countering extremism. Opposing extremism, however, does not automatically equate to moderation or concepts of tolerance and pluralism. Prince Muhammad has yet to clarify if those concepts are part of his notion of moderation. His track record so far is at best a mixed one.

Posted in Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on Salafi mission calls into question Saudi concept of moderation and policy in Yemen

Michel Chossudovsky in Winnipeg and Vancouver, January 15-16: North Korea and the Danger of Nuclear War

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Please forward this article on social media

We are at a dangerous crossroads. Miscalculation could lead to the unthinkable.

What distinguishes the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis from today’s crisis is that Kennedy and Khrushchev were acutely aware of the dangers of nuclear annihilation. Trump is not.

Fire and Fury: “We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” accusing Kim Jong-un, of being a “rocket man” on “a suicide mission.”

“Mistakes” often determine the course of world history. 

North Korea and the Danger of Nuclear War

Presentations by Michel Chossudovsky

Monday January 15, 2018

Two lectures in Winnipeg:

University of Manitoba (66 Chancellors Cir.)

Room 244, University College

2:30-4:00pm

University of Winnipeg (515 Portage Ave.)

Eckhardt-Grammatte Hall (room 3C00) Third Floor Centennial Hall

7:00-9:00pm (doors open at 6:30pm)

Winnipeg FB page:https://www.facebook.com/events/143083896347193/

Come to Prof. Chossudovsky’s lectures in Winnipeg to hear what you can do to stop this war.

Eckhardt-Grammate Hall, University of Winnipeg is wheelchair accessible. Take the escalator or elevator to the third floor. Lecture theatre is located on the far south side next to the escalators.

There are various downtown parking lots and parkades around the University of Winnipeg, each may have different rates and restrictions. Map available here:

Sponsored by Menno Simons College, Peace Alliance Winnipeg, and The Geopolitical Economy Research Group.

Michel Chossudovsky will also be speaking in Vancouver on January 16, 2017

Vancouver Public Library,

350 West Georgia Street
VancouverBC V6B 6B1

7.00pm- 9.oopm

The event on January 16 is organized by The Vancouver based Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) in collaboration with the Centre for Reearch on Globalization (CRG). 

The Vancouver Library venue coincides with the January 16 Canada – U.S.  “Vancouver Group,” meeting  on North Korea, which will be attended by foreign ministers from several countries including South Korea.

For further details on the Tillerson-Freeland “Vancouver Group” venue see the background article by Graeme McQueen and Christopher Black

A brief press conference is scheduled at the Public Library at 6.00pm prior to Michel Chossudovsky’s presentation.

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. He is the author of eleven books. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages.

FREE ADMISSION. Donations gratefully accepted. Q&A to follow lecture.

Draft Transcript of Presentation 

The host organizations have limited resources, Donations in support of the events in Winnipeg and Vancouver are much appreciated

Other References on Nuclear War

How Canada Can Lead North Korean Peace Talks at Vancouver Summit

By Christopher Black and Prof. Graeme McQueen, January 06, 2018

Targeting North Korea: Can a Nuclear War be Averted? Conversations with Michel Chossudovsky and Carla Stea

By Michael WelchProf Michel Chossudovsky, and Carla Stea, December 16, 2017

VIDEO: The Privatization of Nuclear War, Towards a World War III Scenario:

By James Corbett and Prof Michel Chossudovsky, December 11, 2017

“Wipe the Soviet Union Off the Map”, 204 Atomic Bombs against 66 Major Cities, US Nuclear Attack against USSR Planned During World War II

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, December 10, 2017

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, December 09, 2017

God is on the Side of Us Americans. “He May Guide Us to Use It [Nuclear Weapons] In His Ways and for His Purposes”: Truman

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, October 27, 2017

“In a Nuclear War the Collateral Damage would be the Life of All Humanity”. Conversations with Fidel Castro: Hiroshima and the Dangers of a Nuclear War

By Fidel Castro Ruz and Prof Michel Chossudovsky, October 03, 2017

The Strategies of Global Warfare: War with China and Russia? Washington’s Military Design in the Asia-Pacific

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, November 07, 2017

Towards a World War III Scenario? The Role of Israel in Triggering an Attack on Iran?

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, December 09, 2017

The Globalization of War, America’s “Long War” against Humanity

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, October 27, 2017

America had first Contemplated Nuclear War against both China and North Korea in 1950

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, October 16, 2017

Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, October 12, 2017

North Korea versus the United States: Who are the Demons? North Korea Lost 30% of Its Population as a Result of US Bombings in the 1950s

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, September 25, 2017

Fukushima: Nuclear War without a War

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, December 16, 2017

Posted in USA, North KoreaComments Off on Michel Chossudovsky in Winnipeg and Vancouver, January 15-16: North Korea and the Danger of Nuclear War

In Almost All Western Colonies No Alternative Views Allowed, Victims Blame Themselves

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Featured image: Cinta in pink shirt

Her name is Cinta, which in Bahasa Indonesia means simply Love.

She lives in a tiny village near Sukadana town, in Indonesian West Kalimantan, otherwise known as Borneo – the biggest island in Asia, the second biggest in the world – now totally destroyed by unbridled logging, palm oil plantations and mining,perpetrated by countless,and due to corruption and savage capitalism, unregulated local and multi-national companies.

Nearby Sukadana there is a national park, Gunung Palung. It is vast and by Indonesian standards, well guarded, although even here, at its edges, several desperate local people are beginning to burn the ancient forest, while engaging in various other nature-destroying commercial activities.

I talked to them and soon I understood: they actually have no choice. Nothing is given to them by the state, and they have to live. They have to survive, somehow.

Cinta’s mother

I talked to Cinta’s mother. She has no money, and no mobile phone. She has been to the nearby city only once in her entire life, and it was when a relative of hers got seriously ill. After talking for several minutes, mother begins to cry; desperate, humiliated and helpless.

I asked her whether the family realizes that the political and economic system in her country is thoroughly rotten. She nodded.

I asked whether she knows that in many other countries things are very different. She has no idea.She stared at me, blankly. This remote village was her entire universe. She never heard anything about socialism or communism or even about stuff like social democracy. After the great massacres of the leftists and intellectuals after the Western-orchestrated 1965 coup, even the word ‘Communism’ became illegal, as a prominent Indonesian historian Asvi Marvan Adam told me. Banned also were words like ‘class’, just in case anyone would like to ignite ‘class struggle’.

Cinta’s family thinks, and they say that they know, that Western multi-party ‘democracy’ is a total farce. With dozens of competing political parties (all owned by Indonesian businessmen and right-wingers), local poor people (the great majority of Indonesia’s inhabitants) have absolutely no power, no say in the way their country is being governed.

It is not only in Indonesia, of course, although Indonesia is an extreme, almost grotesque case. I was told several years earlier by a Cambodian peasant near the border with Vietnam:

“Vietnamese have only one political party – Communist – but their people participate in governing their nation much more than we, Cambodians do, despite the fact that we have several political parties. When we get sick, we have to cross the border to Vietnam and we get help. When we get hungry, we do the same. You see; you cannot eat political parties, no matter how many of them there are…”

The peasant at the Cambodia-Vietnam border knows intimately two totally distinct political systems, because he lived just 500 meters from the borderline. But even in the capital, Phnom Penh, where anti-Communism is something resembling a new religion and has been already converted into the best ‘prerequisite’ for getting a well-paid job at an international NGO or at a foreign embassy, the situation is thoroughly different. There, conveniently, nobody knows anything. The only way is the Western way, with its clichés and pre-fabricated simplistic slogans.

*

The West is manufacturing simplistic, uniformed and one-sided ‘pseudo reality’ for all of its colonies and client states. It is one-type-fits-all sort of ‘pseudo reality’, intended to sustain collaborators and their regimes and to make the voices of people who are tormented, completely irrelevant. In fact, those who are robbed of everything are not supposed to even realize that they are being bled.

Actually, the majority of people who live in the neo-colonies are fully aware of the fact that they are suffering, but do not understand why? They tend to blame themselves, or each other: for being too lazy, too irresponsible, for producing too many children, or simply for not knowing how to compete or to get ahead.

Moreover in some countries where the propaganda is too extreme (like in Indonesia), many do not even realize, anymore, into what deep shit they have been thrown.

A few years ago, when I was filming the documentary film “Surabaya – Eaten Alive By Capitalism” (for the Latin American network TeleSur), I literally stumbled over a woman who was living in a slum, washing her dishes just a few steps away downstream from a place where a child was naked and defecating into the same polluted waterway. She had no electricity, no clean water, and her ‘house’ was made from rusty metal sheets. I asked her how she felt about being so poor, while just few steps away rich people were burning money as if there was no tomorrow in a luxury mall. She looked at me for a few moments, then grabbed a broom and chased me down the gangway, screaming like possessed:

“How dare you insult me like that? You called me poor? I’m not poor!”

A few months later, in the enormous Mathare slum in Nairobi, Kenya, a gangster with the nickname Fire,literally cried in front of my camera:

“I’m 32 year old, but I feel so old… I had several friends but they are all dead; I’m the only one who is still alive.”

My friend gangster ‘Fire’, Matare, Nairobi, Kenya

Fire worked with me on a film, as my guide and a bodyguard. I liked him a lot. I trusted him. He was a good man who had made many mistakes in life, but then tried to correct them and find his way out of the terrible trap and vicious cycle of poverty and violence. He was aware of his condition and of the condition of his fellow slum-dwellers. However, living in Kenya, a country which became a neo-colony of the West, as well as some sort of a ‘service station’ for the US, UK, Israeli and other militaries and intelligence agencies, he was never told that there are different political, economic and social systems than the one in which he grew up – a savage capitalism and total subservience to the Empire.

He wanted to ‘make it’, to ‘help his slum’, to change his life and the lives of his neighbors. But he was not aware of the fact that some great and fundamental change could come from a revolution, from a radical change. All his life he was told that the only way forward was some sort of personal ‘improvement’, because the system in which he had been living was essentially right and just.

In that system, of course, the great majority of people are living in misery – they are terribly abused, exploited and unprotected. The violence, terribly low life expectancy and hopelessness are just logical by-products of a brutal neo-colonialist and turbo-capitalist system; they are not the results of shortcomings of a specific group of people or of some individuals.

Fire was very intelligent. I told him then, personally, what I’m writing here now. He understood. He understood well. But when we were parting, he said:

“I agree with you, but people here were never told any of these things. Almost nobody comprehends what is going on in our slums. We are only taught how to blame each other. Nobody here would ever blame the UK or the US. We were all told that our misery is fully our own fault.”

*

In Northern Kenya, not that far from the border with war-torn Somalia, I once visited a neat wildlife preservation facility. There were cute orphaned rhinos being taken care of by well-trained staff, as well as other protected but endangered species. The facility was owned and administered by a British family, and there was very high fee charged at the gate.

After the visit, when I drove out, right outside the gate,which was manned by two robust dudes armed with submachine guns, I spotted two humble crosses. As I drove further down the dirt road, there were more and more crosses on both sides of my car. I stopped at a local deprived grocery store and asked about what I saw. A wrinkled woman explained to me in her broken English:

“There is a drought here… a famine… People die while they try to get away; they drop dead… Villagers have no strength to carry them back; they just bury them on the spot.”

Protecting animals is often very good business, an excellent commodity. Animals are cute, and they look (and often really are) defenseless. People who are starving are rough, unrefined, and scary-looking. Those who are dying from hunger or disease are far from enchanting. Saving their lives is often not such a good business.

I asked a food seller: “They feed, wash and shrink animals, but not people?”

She had no idea what ‘shrink’meant, but about the other things she was sure:

“We are worth nothing. We are poor.”

I asked her whether she was angry, whether she found this system insane, beastly, in short: absolutely repulsive?

Her big hands were rough, carved with deep wrinkles. The wrinkles looked like those dry rivers around Nairobi. Then I saw her eyes and I realized: she was most likely younger than me, perhaps in her early 30’s. She looked 60 or older. She looked like she will most likely not live much longer.

She looked back at me:

“Angry? Why? It is all in His hands”.

She looked up.

I looked down. ‘That’, I thought ‘is definitely not going help you’. Then I bought five cans of condensed milk that I didn’t need, and some crackers.

I drove away; angry like hell, going 100km/h on narrow dirt tracks, cloud a of dust behind me, rising towards the sky.

Later, my Ugandan friend, a leading left-wing politician Arthur Tewungwa, wrote to me:

“The animals roam on land that has fuck all to do with Kenyans per se. Madness! Lord Aberdare owns 300,000 acres, Cholmondely the same etc. Elephants, rhinos, hippos are pests to poor villagers and they can’t anyway afford to go and see them as they are shuffled across the border by “beaters” depending on which side tourists are. Comedy!”

But it is a comedy, which ruins tens of thousands of human lives, while nobody dares to protest.

*

It is often simply unbelievable, how people who have been robbed of everything, are fooled into believing that in this wide world there are absolutely no alternatives and no better arrangements for society. Or they were taught not to think at all along these lines.

Religions help to keep poor and plundered people in submission, of course, and the West has historically both been implanting and then supporting the most radical forms of religion, in virtually all of its colonies. Not just one sort of religion, but all of them, the more extreme and fundamentalist, the better.

For three full years I lived in the South Pacific, where I wrote a book, I believe the only one of its kind, describing the terrible plight of Micronesia, Melanesia and Micronesia – a part of the world which is being literally liquidated by the various cruel geopolitical and military interests of the US, Australia, New Zealand, UK, France and Taiwan. The book is called Oceania.

There, some island nations including Tuvalu, Kiribati and Marshall Islands, are literally disappearing from the face of the Earth, or more precisely becoming uninhabitable because of climate change and the rising of ocean levels.

People are forced to evacuate their countries. But are they blaming imperialism, unbridled capitalism, and Western selfishness? Far from it! All the newspapers and media outlets are to some extent controlled by the foreigners, through ‘foreign aid’ or through the ‘educating and training’ of local journalists abroad. The education system is dependent on foreign funding as well. Consequently, capitalism is never questioned. Western imperialism is hardly ever mentioned.

The streets of Apia, the capital of Samoa, or of any other capital in Oceania, are no strangers to tall, blond young men wearing white shirts and black nametags that read Jesus Christ. They are ‘ambassadors’; they belong to all sorts of extremist religious movements and fundamentalist Christian sects based in the United States, from Jehovah Witnesses to Mormons.

Churches in Oceania are brutally exploiting most of the poor and helpless citizens. They are literally blackmailing parishioners into paying unreasonably high dues. There is constant fear of sexual abuse and rape on their premises, but there is also the tremendous pressure of local ‘cultures’ to force all islanders into religious straightjackets. There is also absolutely no criticism of these practices from the West. Why? The answer is simple: extremist religious practices keep people in total ignorance and full obedience towards religion itself, towards the feudal family structures, but also towards the economic and political regimes. And all the political regimes of Oceania are corrupted and upheld by the Western powers and lately by Taiwan.

And so, the West (US, UK and France) have been blowing up their nukes in this part of the world, essentially experimenting on people, but there is hardly any ideological challenge that Europe, US and Australia have to face here, perhaps with the certain exception of France in its colonies.

Marshall Islands – Ebeye – pollution from nearby US military base at Kwajalein, Marshall Islands

The US shoots long-range missiles from California to the center of the largest atoll in the world – Kwajalein on the Marshall Islands – but no one is taught that it is all an absolute insanity. ‘Kwaj’ proper is off limits to almost all people (it is fully controlled by the US military) who are only allowed to work on the base as manual workers, commuting by filthy ferry from the horrid and overpopulated nearby island of Ebeye. Around 90% of the people on Ebeye are suffering from diabetes, because they are literally forced to eat shit, as the country, like most of Oceania,has become (already some decades ago) a dumping ground for the most unhealthy food produced in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Both the former Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, Tony deBrum, as well as the Paramount Chief Mike Kabua, once told me how outraged they were, but do common people realize what has been and is being done to them?

First the monstrous nuclear experiments and destruction of Bikini Atoll, and now, these bizarre star wars in the middle of the once pristine atolls. And on top of it, the nation is facing global warming and almost inevitable demise.The Compact of Free Association with the United States” (in reality, an agreement which allows the US to colonize, ‘legally’,a great part of Micronesia) is never challenged and very rarely even questioned.

As elsewhere in the colonized world – the rich are profiting, while the poor (great majority) are plundered and destitute. While being looted, the have-nots are smiling or even dancing. They never heard from their TV sets or at school (if they ever went to one) that they are actually the victims. Living in misery is their karma or fate, or punishment for something they committed, by something supernatural. It is a truly great arrangement for the religious leaders, and especially for the Empire. For Washington, London and Paris it is simply: mission accomplished!

*

For hundreds of millions of girls like Cinta, it means: their lives will never change. It will be the same as the lives of their parents and grandparents, and it will consist of near slavery, of no security, of bad but unbreakable marriages, endless religious rituals and absolute ignorance about the fact that there are many alternatives and countless other ways how lives could be lived.

Not only that the Empire is spreading nihilism to all of its colonies; it is also censoring all people-oriented and revolutionary alternatives.

It is incredible how successful it is! It really is, so far. Only so far… It cannot continue like this, forever.

One day in the not so distant future, girls like Cinta may finally wake up; they will break their shackles and with newly discovered pride and hope, depart to the mountains to fight for their nation. Ciao Bella Ciao style!

How does one give them the impulse? How does one make them see, to realize their condition?

At night, in the city of Ketapang, I could not sleep. I was tossing and turning, thinking about the girl named Cinta. I had to go back before leaving Borneo. I had to talk to her and to her parents: to tell them it was all totally wrong, and that there is another life possible.

I went to a local shopping center. I bought her a green bear and few small gifts in a Japanese store. In the morning, instead of continuing my work in an area that had been destroyed by mining and palm oil plantations, I instructed my driver to go back to Cinta’s village.

But she was gone. Her entire family was gone. A neighbor informed me:

“They went to far away fields, to work on a durian plantation. They will not return for several weeks”.

I left the green bear in the village. I cursed imperialism and modern day slavery, and then I left.

Once again, the Empire had won. But we are not helpless either. Now my readers, on all continents, will learn about that little girl named Cinta. The stories of enslaved people are the same, all over the world. There are Cintas in Honduras, in Uganda, in Yemen, in Marshall Islands.

Imperialists should know: we are documenting, we are watching, day and night. We are connecting the stories of their victims, on all continents. We are connecting real people. And El Pueblo Unido, jamas sera vencido! ‘United, people will never be defeated!’

Alternative views can be censored, at least for some time. But the ability to dream, the capacity to hope, is eternal. And it is stuff consisting of dreams and hopes that is the most frightening enemy of the tyrants.

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