Archive | January 18th, 2018

The Devastating Impact of Plastic Waste: David Attenborough, Britain and “Environmental Missions”

NOVANEWS

 

Featured image: Sir David Attenborough (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Few documentaries have had quite this impact, so much so that it has ushered in the unfortunate combination of war and plastic, two terms that sit uneasily together, if at all.  Tears were recorded; anxiety levels were propelled as Sir David Attenborough tore and tugged at heart strings in his production Blue Planet II.  The oceans, warned the documentary maker, is becoming a toxic repository, and humans are to blame. 

More than eight million tons of plastic eventually finds an oceanic destination.  Decomposition will take centuries.  For Attenborough, one scene from the series stood out. 

“In it, as snowflakes settle on the ground, a baby albatross lies dead, its stomach pierced by a plastic toothpick fed to it by its own mother, having mistaken it for healthy food.  Nearby lies plastic litter that other hungry chicks have regurgitated.”   

For Attenborough, plastic supplies a certain demonology for the environmental movement, a vast and urgent target that requires mass mobilisation and action.

“There are fragments of nets so big they entangle the heads of fish, birds, turtles, and slowly strangle them.  Other pieces of plastic are so small that they are mistaken for food and eaten, accumulating in fishes’ stomachs, leaving them undernourished.”

To firstly declare war against something deemed valuable, even indispensable, to preservation, distribution and storage over a multitude of products, to name but a few purposes, is lofty.  To also identify the casus belli against the inanimate again finds haunting resonance with other failed conflicts: the war against drugs, for instance, or that against terrorism. Will this war go the same way?

Guilty consciences are powerful motivators, and fewer guiltier than the affluent, or mildly affluent.  Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is one, a figure who has decided to embrace the environmental cause with vote grabbing enthusiasm.

“In the UK alone,” she intoned, “the amount of single-use plastic wasted every year would fill 1,000 Royal Albert Halls.”

May’s direction is far from surprising.  There is Attenborough propelling a movement, and there are the votes that went begging in 2017.  A Tory think-tank, Bright Blue, found that many who refused to vote for her party in the last general election considered environmental initiatives key.  Its polling “shows that climate change is the second highest issue younger people want senior politicians to discuss more, second only to health, and actually the top issue for 18- to 28-year-olds.”

In getting on the cart against plastic, May has attempted, unconvincingly, to reassure critics that moving Britain out of the EU would not result in a lowering of environmental standards.  Britannia will remain responsible.  Her government, she spoke with confidence at London Wetland Centre, would “leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it”. 

What Sir David says, goes, though May has suggested a slow approach that would eradicate all avoidable plastic waste in the UK by 2042.  (What, then, is unavoidable?  The question remains unanswered.)  “Plastic-free” aisles are to be encouraged; taxes and charges on takeaway containers are being proposed.  None of these, it should be noted, entails Parliamentary regulation, retaining the old British approach of gradualism in action. No revolutions, please.

Supermarket chains smell climbing profits, luring the ecologically minded to shelves and fridges like willing prey.  One such outlet is Iceland, a chain that wasted little time getting on the radio and airwaves to ride the green belt.  Targets have been advertised, and it promises to remove plastic packaging from all its own labelled products over the next five years.  Even better, goes the fine print, it will enable those with less heavily laden wallets to shop and stay green.

Companies such as Proctor & Gamble, makers of Head & Shoulders Shampoo, have collaborated to produce a recycled shampoo bottle using plastic found in beaches.  This, in turn, pads out it advertising campaigns.  Use our shampoo, and feel good about yourself.

The guilty consciences were whirling and emoting on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday as callers spoke of efforts to spend a week free of plastic, but ignobly failing before their friends, neighbours and fellow citizens, all of whom had managed to go one day further.  There were accounts about how French and German supermarkets ensure that fruits and vegetables are free, emancipated from the confines of plastic, and, it would seem, ready to salve the conscience of the green consumer.

In Britain, Attenborough’s environmental influence has become priestly for such individuals as Oswestry schoolteacher Mandy Price.  She has roped her daughter in as well in what has become a social media campaign featuring #doitfordavid, shared 125,000 times within a matter of hours.

“It has been shared on every continent apart from Antarctica,” praises Emily Davies of the Border Counties Advertiser.

This arms race of satisfying a bruised conscience has an undeniable merit in so far as it acknowledges some of the disastrous consequences of humanity’s addiction to the accessible and the easy.  Ambitious Mandy, for instance, speaks of her Facebook page “receiving photographs from lots of different people who are collecting plastic, even from holidaymakers in Cuba who have seen the posts and have recorded their own two-minute beach clean on the beautiful oceans there.”

But within such wars lie the seeds of, if not failure, then the coming of another problem.  In the British case, enduring snobbery is pointed to.  In Australia’s Northern Territory, environmental groups conceded in dismay that a ban single-use plastic bags less than 35 microns in thickness introduced in 2011 had not reduced plastic bag litter at all. On the contrary, the amount had increased.

This is a battle against human behaviour, against patterns of consumption and use in the human estate. It is, if nothing else, an attempt at behavioural adjustment and revolution.  Such a tall order, such a mission, but one that provides Mandy with rosy affirmation rather than dimming scepticism. 

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Is Bitcoin a Reaction to US Dollar Hegemony?

NOVANEWS

Blockchain technology and the birth of the so-called cryptocurrencies finds deep roots in three contributing factors: the advance of technology: the manipulation of global economic and financial rules; and the persistent attempt to weaken the national economies of countries that geopolitically challenge the US power system. In this first article I address these issues from a financial point of view, in the next analysis I intend to dive into the geopolitical aspects and broader the perspective on how Russia, China and other nations are taking advantage of a decentralized financial system.

Many national economies seem to have begun the process of protecting themselves from what seems like an inevitable economic trend. De-dollarization — dumping dollars for other goods of value — has become popular not only with countries but also with ordinary individuals as a result of global technological growth and increasing access to the Internet. The financial markets are generally reflecting this same trend.

The US dollar is the world’s most dominant reserve currency. The planning and financial rules that accompany this situation are decided in the United States for the benefit of Washington and a few of her allies. This has been reflected in the creation of the petrodollar, the abolition of the gold standard, and the most recent financial crisis of 2008, with the senseless process of quantitative easing. All these economic decisions have been made with the precise aim of prolonging American domination of the global economy, artificially propping up an unsustainable financial system.

The practical consequences of this unsustainability have led over time to thoughts of a practical alternative, both to escape from the domination of the dollar and to re-anchor the economy to real value. The need to circumvent this situation has become especially urgent for countries with a large amount of dollar-denominated debt, or where they face the prospect of being excluded from the SWIFT international payment system.

It is therefore not accidental that countries like Iran and Venezuela, but also Russia and North Korea, have resorted to alternative methods to operate in the global economic space. Washington’s political decision in 2012 to remove Iranian banks from SWIFT immediately set off alarm bells for several countries. The need to escape from the possibility of being excluded from SWIFT became urgent for countries under the threat of Washington. An alternative payment system was thus born in 2015, christened the Cross-Border Interbank Payments System (CIPS), unsurprising founded by China. Basically a copy of the SWIFT system, it serves the role of being a backup system should the Americans seek to exclude from SWIFT recalcitrant countries. A more radical solution has been sought by Venezuela, with the country creating its own virtual currency. President Maduro has announced the creation of a crypto state currency based on the value of oil and supported by barrels of oil worth over five billion dollars. Venezuela has been forced to take this step because of a scarcity of US dollars in the country brought on by the economic warfare visited on the it by Washington, which has succeeded in driving the country into a deep crisis.

This search for fresh liquidity is a gamble for Maduro, who even hopes to be able to trade with allied countries in the new currency, thus circumventing international bans. Even North Korea is said to operate in bitcoin, thereby circumventing the international system of prohibitions and blockades.

The sanctions on Russia, and the influence that Washington exerts with the dollar on the global economic system, has led Moscow and Beijing to a de-dollarization agreement, establishing the yuan gold standard. Russia sells hydrocarbons to China, which pays for them in yuan, then Russia immediately converts the yuan into gold at the Shanghai Gold Exchange, in the process bypassing Washington’s sanctions.

This situation is being replicated in country after country. The United States increases financial and economic pressure on countries through such international bodies as the IMF and the World Bank, then these countries organize amongst themselves to push back against the interference. Technology has facilitated this strategy of decentralization against the center that is London and Washington, the financial heart and primary cause of manifold global problems. Firstly, the possibility of the unlimited printing of dollars has distorted global economies, inflating stock markets and causing national debts to grow out of control. Even the gold markets are manipulated by virtue of the abundance of easy money and such ponzi-scheme tools as derivatives and other forms of financial leverage. All too predictably, as seen in 2008, if it all comes crashing down, the central banks are going to bail out their partners through the mechanism of quantitative easing, guaranteeing unlimited cashflow and leaving taxpayers, along with the small players in the financial markets, to carry the burden.

It is probably too early for the common man to understand what is happening, but in fact the dollar is depreciating in relation to some more tangible assets. But gold continues to be corralled by parallel financial mechanisms and other financial instruments created for the sole purpose of manipulating the financial markets on which the common man depends in search of modest gains. As with others, the gold market suffers from the combine power of the US dollar, centralized financial institutions and market manipulation. Entities such as the FED (and their owners), criminally colluding and working with private banks, hedge funds, rating agencies and audit companies, have made immense wealth by driving the world into a debt scam that has stripped normal citizens of their future.

What is happening in the cryptocurrency markets in not only occurring in parallel with the spread of the Internet, smartphones and the increasing ability to operate in the digital world, but is also seen as a safe haven from centralized financial regulators and central banks; in other words, from the dollar and fiat currencies in general. Whether bitcoin will prove to be a wise long-term investment is yet to be seen, but the concept of cryptocurrencies is here to stay. The technology behind the idea, the blockchain, is a definitive model for decentralized economic transactions without any intermediary that can manipulate and distort the market at will. It is the antidote to the debt virus that is killing our society and spreading chaos around the world.

Washington is now left to deal with the consequences of its demented actions against its geopolitical adversaries. The decision to remove Iran from the SWIFT system, and the ongoing economic war against Russia and Venezuela, have pushed the People’s Republic of China to obviate any direct attacks on its financial system by creating an alternative economic system. The goal is to warn the United States and her allies that an economic alternative exists and is already operational, ready to be opposed to the Euro-American system if necessary. Washington does not seem to want to renounce the role of manipulator and ruler of world speculative finance, and the obvious result of this is the creation of a financial system that is slowly working against the current one. Lack of anonymity and the centrality of systems seem to be the two fundamental elements of the current financial system that orbits around London and Washington. An anonymous, decentralized and technologically reliable system could be exactly what Washington’s geopolitical adversaries have been looking for to end the US-Dollar hegemony.

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Canada Embraces US War Threats against North Korea. “Epic Fail” of Vancouver Group

NOVANEWS

Yesterday (2017-01-16) Canada hosted a meeting of Foreign Ministers to discuss the situation concerning North Korea and nuclear weapons. What it amounted to was a bunch of U.S. sock puppets gathering to display subservience to the incredible double standards and lies promulgated by the U.S. It should be noted that the 20 invitees were the countries that had militarily supported the UN vote as the U.S. took advantage of a boycott by the USSR and the absence of China in order to start the international part of the war in the first place. Except of course, Russia and China, who also participated in the war, with the latter handing the U.S. one of its largest battlefield defeats in the process, were not invited.

As host of the event, Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland welcomed the participants, and in particular noted the presence of “Rex Tillerson, my friend.” She then laid out the clear parameters of U.S. foreign policy, saying

“No true progress can be made in addressing instability in the Korean peninsula until North Korea commits to changing course and verifiably and irreversibly abandoning all of its weapons of mass destruction.”

Umm, where to start? Perhaps we could start with Libya, who voluntarily gave up their nuclear program and ended up on the hit list of a U.S. created no fly zone. Well sure, they had oil, and Chinese investments, and a plan to create a gold based African currency, but really what we wanted was democracy and freedom – you know, the kind that the al-Qaeda group in eastern Libya were attempting to set up.

Or we could go back to Iraq, where there was no nuclear program, no weapons of mass destruction, no al-Qaeda, no Taliban, nothing to do with 9/11. There was only the lying and conniving of the U.S. as it sought to destroy another ‘regime’ – oh, and oil, and a bit of gold, and again the desire to sell oil not using the U.S. petrodollar.

But maybe one should simply look at the incredible double standard of the U.S. As the only country to ever have used nuclear weapons – unnecessarily as current historians indicate (it was about Russia – oh wait, it still is in the global picture – one of Freeland’s favorite bête noires) – a signatory to the NPT which states,

“Article VI – Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

The U.S. has abrogated that section and others on an ongoing basis, with actions against Iran and Russia, and for Israel, indicating as usual that their word is not worth the ink their names are signed with.

Later she commented,

“We in Canada understand…that it is vital that we come together…to confront aggression. Nowhere in the world do we see the proliferation of weapons and materials of mass destruction on the scale of North Korea’s programs.”

First off, “we” do not understand your perspective, other than as a shill for the U.S. empire. North Korea’s nuclear program is miniscule when compared to that of the U.S., Russia, Israel, Pakistan and India (the latter three are also outside the NPT). The U.S. in particular, under both Obama and Trump, have started a huge process of recalibrating their nuclear forces, the largest sector of the U.S. economy.

Freeland continues,

“We cannot stand by and let this threat persist. At stake are the safety and security of all the people of the world.”

Actually, that is true, but not for Freeland’s intentions. Yes, safety and security are at stake but mainly because of the U.S. known “first strike” nuclear planning, their known tendency to bomb the shit out of countries that don’t obey them (thus they become “shitholes”), and the general ignorance, hubris, arrogance, and lack of critical thought in all U.S. state agencies.

Sorry, I interrupted Ms Freeland,

“As a global community we have shown both by word and in deed that we will not accept North Korea as a nuclear threat to the world.”

Yes, in deed “we” certainly have. The U.S. signed on to the Iranian treaty that puts upon Iran the most stringent inspection terms of any IAEA actions in the world. At the same time Trump threatens to pull out of the treaty every six months which effectively kills any desire for other countries to invest in Iran, thus further limiting their economy. At the same time, old sanctions (an act of war in itself) are not removed, and new ones are imposed and threatened.

Did I mention Iraq and Libya? Yes I think I did.

It is the U.S. posturing, its arrogance, superciliousness, and above all its stated first strike nuclear policy that is the greatest threat to world peace today. The global community – in this case in Vancouver consisting of 20 countries, (admittedly a bit better than the 9 that supported the U.S. on the Jerusalem embassy vote) – has not shown anything by word and deed, but generally has been the victim by word and deed of many, many U.S. imperial actions against those that do not kowtow to their military/industrial/corporate/financial/political complex.

More from Freeland,

“Our message is clear. The pursuit of nuclearization will bring you neither security nor prosperity. Investing in nuclear weapons will lead only to more sanctions and to perpetual instability on the peninsula.”

Once again, all too true for the wrong intentions. That instability is brought about by U.S. interference in the region, aimed not so much at North Korea as at China and Russia. The history of South Korea indicates that prosperity is brought about by killing thousands of one’s own citizens who disagree with whichever U.S. supported dictator is in place at the time, supported by Japanese military functionaries, and then said dictators support the large Korean oligarchs – the chaebols – that control the largest businesses of all kinds in South Korea.

That would be North Korea’s fate if it gives up its nuclear weapons – an imposed dictatorship of some kind after another incredibly cruel and brutal U.S. attack . Having suffered complete devastation by the U.S. air force at the end of the Korean war, and now witnessing current actions against Iraq and Libya, the North Koreans would be well advised to keep their nuclear arsenal.

Canada and the U.S. always invoke the “international community” and “global community” aspects of their wishes and desires, wilfully oblivious to the information that indicates that these communities see the U.S. as the largest threat to world peace today. As the U.S. empire continues to slowly degrade itself to the level of a “shithole” country, Ms Freeland, on Canada’s behalf, is very willing to kiss her “friend’s” ass and take Canada down the hole with them.

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Trump’s “Shithole” Countries: US Bans Haiti, Belize and Samoa From Temporary Visas

NOVANEWS

The decision by Homeland Security was announced less than a week after Trump asked why the U.S. had to take in immigrants from “shithole” countries

The Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday that Belize, Haiti and Samoa will no longer be eligible for temporary work visas. The announcement is scheduled to be published by the Federal Register on Thursday, exactly a week after U.S. President Donald Trump referred to African nations and Haiti as “shithole” countries during an Oval Office meeting on immigration reform.    

During the meeting where the president discussed the status of the roughly 800,000 immigrants who had benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, by shielding them from deportation, which was terminated by his administration, Trump had reportedly questioned why the U.S. needs to take in immigrants from “shithole” countries, rather than from countries like Norway sparking criticism by lawmakers and social and political actors who slammed Trump’s racism and overall immigration policies.

The H-2A and H-2B visas given to seasonal workers in agriculture and other industries are available to citizens of 80 countries. Haiti had been included in that list since 2012, after a successful lobbying campaign by humanitarian groups and both Republican and Democratic lawmakers to make Haiti eligible for short-term worker visas that could help Haitians recover from the catastrophic 2010 earthquake.

DHS’s official notice provides reasons for the elimination of each country. In the case of Belize the notice cites concerns over human trafficking and for Samoa it claims the Samoan government does not cooperate in accepting back their nationals once they’ve been ordered to leave the U.S..

For Haiti, the document claims the measure was taken due to a “high rate of overstaying the terms,” and to recipients’ “historically demonstrated high levels of fraud and abuse.”

DHS’s reason to ban Haitians from the visas does not hold up. According to Reuters, a 2016 DHS report claims that only 65 Haitians entered the United States on H-2A visas for agricultural work, and an amount “too low to report” entered on H-2B visas for non-agricultural seasonal work during the 2016 fiscal year.

This is not the first immigration measure taken by the Trump administration that affects Haitians. In November 2017, the DHS announced its decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status granted to Haiti under the former President Barack Obama on Jan. 21, 2010 as an immediate response to the Jan. 12 earthquake.

The measure had allowed 59,000 Haitians to stay in the U.S. legally but it will expire this Monday, leaving many Haitian immigrants under threat of deportation.

 

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Breaking – Tillerson Unveils ‘New’ US Syria Plan: ‘Assad Must Go!’

Confirming that the US military presence inside Syria had little to do with fighting ISIS, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson unveiled in detail today the real US strategy for Syria: overthrow of the Assad government. 

In a speech at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and introduced by President George W. Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Secretary Tillerson vowed that the United States military would continue to occupy Syrian territory until three conditions are met:

First: ISIS must be destroyed. 

This condition is made all the more problematic by the well-reported fact that it is the United States government that at every turn seems to pull ISIS chestnuts out of the fire. From handing them weapons to allowing them to escape when they are trapped in places like Raqqa, it almost seems like the US does not want to really see the end of ISIS.

Second: Assad must go. 

Tillerson’s admission that this is a sine qua non for any US military departure from Syria confirms that the Trump foreign policy is no different from that of Hillary Clinton or her former boss, President Obama. Recall that as part of his “thank you” tour, President-elect Trump reiterated promises made by candidate Trump to break with the past:

We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past. We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments. …In our dealings with other countries we will seek shared interests wherever possible…”

It is clear that he lied, as it is reported that he signed off on this new Syria strategy last month at a meeting of his National Security Council.

Secretary Tillerson said today that new elections should be held in Syria and that President Assad should lose:

The United States believes that free and transparent elections … will result in the permanent departure of Assad and his family from power… Assad’s regime is corrupt, and his methods of governance and economic development have increasingly excluded certain ethnic and religious groups… Such oppression cannot persist forever.

Tillerson’s speech reveals that the old myth about the Syrian people “rising up” to overthrow Assad is still very much viewed as Gospel truth in Washington:

…our expectation is that the desire for a return to normal life … will help rally the Syrian people and individuals within the regime to compel Assad to step down.

Translation: we are going to continue to make life miserable for you until you overthrow Assad. Then it will return to “normal.” Presumably the people of Syria understand what “normal” life after a US “liberation” looks like from examples like LibyaIraq, and Ukraine.

Tillerson also made the bizarre assertion that US troops will remain in Syria to prevent the Syrian government from re-establishing control over the parts of Syria abandoned by a defeated ISIS. So the legitimate government of Syria will be prevented by an illegal United States military occupation from reclaiming its own territory? This is supposed to be a coherent policy?

Third: Refugees must be returned to Syria.

Secretary Tillerson said today at Stanford University:

America has an opportunity to help people who have suffered greatly. The safe and voluntary return of  refugees serves the security interests of the U.S. and our allies and partners. We must give Syrians a chance to return home and rebuild their lives.

But the one event that led to the biggest return of refugees back to Syria was violently opposed by the US government: the Syrian government’s liberation of east Aleppo from al-Qaeda control!

For additional consideration:

The US military is busy creating a 30,000-strong Kurdish militia to reportedly guard Syria’s borders with Turkey and Iraq. NATO-ally Turkey is violently opposing US moves to further arm Kurd groups that it considers terrorist.

The discredited “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) is back in Washington begging the Trump Administration to re-open the CIA weapons pipeline. The FSA is perhaps best known for immediately handing any weapons it gets from Washington directly to al-Qaeda in Syria. Will Trump’s neocon-filled ecosphere convince him to once again put some wind in al-Qaeda’s sails?

Will Congress awake from its slumber and finally dust off the part of the Constitution directing the Legislative Branch to decide on matters of war and peace? It’s probably an ill-advised bet, however there are a few whispers on Capitol Hill that a shift in US military focus from anti-ISIS to anti-Assad and anti-Iran might be slightly problematic.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has just unveiled a 100 percent neocon approved “new” US policy for Syria: No more pussyfooting around. We won’t abandon our project in Syria like Obama “abandoned” Libya (presumably, as the neocon myth goes, on the verge of becoming a new Switzerland after its “liberation” only to be thrust back into the mire by Obama’s premature withdrawal).

President Trump is set to out-neocon the neocons with this foolish and destructive policy. The showman is shown to be nothing but a fraud.

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The Ustasha and the Rising Tide of Neo-Nazi Politics in Croatia

NOVANEWS
The European Union’s Balkan Double Standard

Over the past several years, analysts and commentators have noticed a rising tide of domestic support for the Croatian homegrown Nazi movement of the Second World War, the Ustashe, which actively exterminated Serbs, Jews, and Roma in the territory it controlled from 1941-45. Far from condemning this alarming development, the Croatian government, the European Union, and non-state actors within it have tacitly and actively supported the rising tide of sympathy towards the Ustashe.

This disconnect between the ostensible “European values” of human rights and tolerance that the European Union claims to represent, and its tacit support of trends towards extremist politics in Croatia will have a significant impact on the increasing trend of Euroscepticism in Serbia and other Balkan states. Furthermore, the Union’s unabashed condemnation of legitimate populist movements in Europe, including but not limited to the Brexit campaign, as “racist” and “xenophobic,” while quietly supporting genuinely extremist political elements will contribute to the increasingly popular perception of the EU as a hypocritical entity.

Surge in Ustasha Sympathy

The Republic of Croatia has, since its independence, often reverted to the imagery of its Second World War predecessor; the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). The NDH was a puppet state sponsored by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, and was administered by the Ustashe.

Ustasha symbol right

During its brief four-year lifespan, the NDH made use of a form of clerical fascism built on the basis of discrimination and systematized liquidation of non-Croatian elements within its boundaries. It was responsible for the deaths of anywhere between 300,000 to 600,000 Serbs and tens of thousands of Jews and Roma.

While restricted by law, Ustashe symbolism is freely exhibited at sporting events, political rallies, and all manners of public gatherings. The penalties for these displays are often restricted to a small monetary fine. By comparison, German law (Strafgesetzbuch section 86a) stipulates that a fine and/or a sentence of up to three years imprisonment will be administered.

Ustasha support among football hooligans (including a recent event during Euro 2016 where Croatian fans openly brandished swastikas) has been popular for decades; a more alarming trend is the active and tacit support of the Ustashe movement and legacy coming from the Croatian government. Earlier this year, the government of Croatia was condemned for appointing Zlatko Hasanbegovic, a prominent and open admirer of the Ustashe regime to be the country’s minister of culture. Croatia’s president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, is an avid fan of the pro-Ustashe musician Marko Perkovic “Thompson” and, while describing the Ustashe regime as “criminal”, also stated in the past that the NDH “at least protect[ed] the interests of the Croatian people” during its short and incredibly violent reign.

Silence at Best, Encouragement at Worst

Despite ongoing reports by international NGO’s of state-sponsored discrimination against Croatian Serbs and routine desecrations of Serbian churches and cultural monuments at the hands of pro-Ustashe elements in the country, the European Union has remained almost completely silent on the issue of growing pro-Ustashe sympathies in the Croatian government and political scene.

Rather than condemn the rising tide of Ustashe sympathy in the country or denounce the appointment of Ustashe sympathizers to some of the Croatian government’s highest ministries, the European Union has chosen to tacitly support the creeping return of political extremism to Croatia. On June 15th, an exhibition dedicated to Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac was held at the European Parliament, one of the EU’s most important institutions of governance. Cardinal Stepinac, who served as the Croatian Catholic Archbishop of Zagreb from 1937 to 1960, was an active supporter of the Ustashe regime and according to prominent Balkan historian Bernd Jurgen Fischer “had close association with the Ustashe leaders as the archbishop of the capital city, had issued proclamations celebrating independent Croatia, and welcomed the Ustashe leaders.”

The European Union has yet to respond to any of the criticisms lodged against it for hosting an event dedicated to a key supporter of a Nazi-backed regime that murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians during the Second World War.

A recent definition (pictured below) of the Ustashe regime in the leading German language dictionary ‘Duden’ as a “movement which fought against ‘Serbian centralism’” has also provoked a firestorm of controversy and a rapidly growing online petition sponsored by the humanitarian organization 28 Jun.(full disclosure: we are both members of this organization). The definition makes no reference to any of the Ustashe’s well-documented and numerous crimes against civilian populations, giving it the appearance of a legitimate political movement with reasonable aims. These recent events are contributing to the growing sentiment among many Serbs who feel alienated by the European Union, and as if a double standard is being applied with regards to Serbia.

Loss of Credibility

Since Serbia attained candidate status in 2011, the European Union has imposed on it a host of requirements and stipulations that ostensibly deal with human rights and unresolved issues stemming from the Yugoslav Conflicts of the 1990’s. The Serbian government has largely complied with the conditions imposed on it by the European Union and has committed itself to the EU through acts such as extraditing members of its own government and “normalizing” relations with the Republic of Kosovo (a self-declared state which unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008) at the behest of the European Union. Additionally, many EU states voted in favour of a failed UN resolution that sought to classify the controversial events in Srebrenica in 1995 as “genocide”.

Given the fact that the European Union has both passively supported the rise tide of extremist political inclinations in one of its member states by refusing to condemn it and actively supported it by hosting exhibitions in its honor, Serbs’ enthusiasm for joining the EU will likely continue to wane. The European Union has demonstrated a lack of integrity and even-handedness in upholding its stated human rights values by enforcing relatively harsh standards for Serbia while imposing virtually none on Croatia, even going as far as openly supporting some of Croatia’s worst historical human rights abusers. Coupled with growing Eurosceptic sentiments in both Serbia and Europe as a whole, the European Union’s quiet support of radicalized politics in Croatia could jeopardize the EU’s strategic goals of acquiring Serbia as a member.

Furthermore, the double standard shown by the European Union in its dealings with Croatia and Serbia represent yet another example of the moral hypocrisy of the European Union. While top EU officials were quick to denounce legitimate populist movements such as the Brexit campaign as racist and xenophobic, those same officials and institutions have done nothing but tacitly support genuinelyextremist politics in Croatia. Eurosceptic parties such as Front Nationale and the Austrian Freedom Party are routinely branded as “far right” and “radical” while political extremism in Croatia is allowed to flourish. If the European Union does not take steps to meaningfully combat this moral hypocrisy, then it is likely that the trend of increasing skepticism towards the Union will continue to rise unabated.

Nenad Dumanovic is the founder and principal of Impressify, an Alberta-based content marketing company. He is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s Honours political science program and wrote his thesis on Bitcoin and the political, legal, and regulatory ramifications of digital currency and financial technology. Nenad is an active member of 28. Jun, a Canada- based not-for- profit organization and is launching Konstantine, a digital magazine about current events in the Balkans in Winter 2016.

Posted in CroatiaComments Off on The Ustasha and the Rising Tide of Neo-Nazi Politics in Croatia

Extremist Ideological Background of Croatia’s Role in the Destruction of Yugoslavia

NOVANEWS

On the occasion of 20th anniversary of the end of the civil war on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia (1991−1995) it is necessary to reassess the real causes and cardinal perpetuators of the process of Yugoslavia’s internal and external bloody destruction.

Introduction

In the western scientific literature the “liberal democracy” scholars (as journalists and policymakers) have, for the last 25 years a standard cliché which is that the cause of Yugoslavia’s destruction is the Serbs as a nation[1] and that Yugoslavia’s only destroyer was Slobodan Milosevic – the “Balkans butcher”.[2] However, the same scholars (and journalists and policymakers) paid no attention to other internal or external “destroyers” of the country. In the case of Croatia, the authoritarian and neo-Nazi (Ustashi) regime of Dr. Franjo Tudjman’s Croatian Democratic Union (the HDZ) played a central role.

To illustrate for example, Franjo Tudjman is not included into the anthology of the top-20th century South-East European strongmen, authoritarian rulers and dictators, edited by Bernd J. Fischer, however Slobodan Miloshevic is.[3] This text is to contribute more accurately to the dialogue on the reasons and causers of Yugoslavia’s death in 1991−1995, especially as relating to Franjo Tudjman’s Ustashi regime in Croatia.

The HDZ in Power

The HDZ took power in Croatia with a majority, after the spring parliamentary and presidential elections in 1990. The party (est. in 1989) had an absolute majority in Croatia’s Parliament (Sabor) with Franjo Tudjman as both Croatia’s President and the party leader – a fact which allows the HDZ to establish, in effect, a full scale dictatorship in Croatia for the decade to 2000. A direct consequence of such electoral results in Croatia, inspired also by the electoral results in Bosnia-Herzegovina, was election in Serbia of Slobodan Miloshevic and his Socialist Party of Serbia (the SPS) in December 1990. The election of Miloshevic and his SPS in Serbia was Serbia’s answer to the electoral results in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina – two Yugoslav republics in which the ultra-right political parties won power at the eve of the new civil war.

The majority of the Serbs in ex-Yugoslavia feared the Ustashi regime in Croatia, followed by the Islamic fundamentalist Party of Democratic Action (the SDA) of Alija Izetbegovic in Bosnia-Herzegovina. These were, largely, the driving forces for Serbia’s electorate  voting for its own strongman and nationalist to protect their brethren Serbs in other Yugoslav republics (Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina) fearing a continuation of the WWII Magnum Crimen against the Serbs.[4] For Croatia’s Serbs (the “Survivors” of the WWII Ustashi-led holocaust), especially in the Krajina region, Franjo Tudjman was a new Ante Pavelic (the WWII Nazi Croat leader) with the HDZ mirroring the WWII Nazi Croat Ustashi movement.[5]

HDZ’s authorities using the propaganda of creation of a Greater Serbia, soon succeeded in introducing a state-building at absolute odds with the idea of political liberal democracy and a society of multicultural and multiethnic coexistence. The party’s policy was mainly based on traditional Croatian clerical right-wing nationalism somewhat mirroring the extreme Croat national movement and rhetoric of the 1941−1945 Independent State of Croatia (the NDH). A German Nazi NSDAP salutation was even used in the Parliament in Zagreb by the HDZ’s members during the official parliamentary sessions.[6]

Nevertheless, in the HDZ’s Croatia a new political elite was much less interested in introducing of the Western liberal model of political democracy based on the rights and role of the Parliament in the national political system, free media and speech, than in continuation of the WWII policy of the “Final Solution” of the Serb Question in a Greater post-WWII Croatia with attempts to annex a greater part of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In such political atmosphere the ultra-right and even Nazi ideologies found ground in post-socialist Croatia – a country directly supported by Vatican and Western democracies and primarily by Germany. Among all ex-socialism East European countries, Croatia was the best example of transition from a state socialism to quasi-democracy by brutal nationalism and exclusivism.

Creation of a new ideological foundation is essential in the process of making a new state. In the 1990s war-time Croatia, the new political leadership of the HDZ drawn on extreme nationalistic and ultra-right political-national ideology, broadly based on Serbophobia, in order to gain massive public support for their political goals.

An ideological framework of anti-Serbism was the main ground on which the HDZ’s Government was building a new independent state of Croatia, creating a new army, security forces, institutional framework and promoting a “democratic and pro-European Croatia”. It is of extreme importance to stress that establishing a new order was essential in the chaotic atmosphere of the final collapse of the state socialism system with its own norms and values.  Croatia’s declaration of state independence in June 1991 and the outbreak of the conflict against both the central authorities in Belgrade and Croatia’s Serb population who decisively opposed living in any kind of independent Croatia taking primarily into account their  bloody experience from the time of the WWII NDH.

Furthermore, establishing a new normative order was important to legitimize political actions of the new authorities and to mobilize the ethnic Croats for the state-building process and above all for the “Final Solution” of the Serb Question in Croatia. Thus, the new Government succeeded in directing mass actions of the ethnic Croats in regime-approved ways: a war against the Yugoslav army and Croatia’s Serbs in the mid-1991 and finally the ethnic cleansing of majority of Croatia’s Serbs in the mid-1995. The ultra-right nationalistic ideology provided the biggest part of the content of the new Croatia’s order and values, with profound ethno-political consequences.

The pravashi

The Croat ultra-right nationalism and nationalistic ideologies are mainly based on the 19th century ideology of the Croat “state rights”, favored and maintained by the pravashi (the rightists). They and their groups and political parties espouse the same ethno-political goals as the leader of the 19thcentury extremist and racist strand of the same Croat national movement and Croatian Party of Rights (the HSP, est. 1861), Ante Starchevic. They appropriated the very essential elements of the HSP national ideology:

  1. A creation of a Greater Croatia with Bosnia-Herzegovina and some other South Slavic territories.
  2. An extermination of all Orthodox Serbs from a Greater Croatia or their Croatization.[7]

Ante Starchevic urged the creation of a Greater Croatia, not recognizing the existence of any other South Slavs except the Croats and Bulgarians.[8] His ideology and the HSP party’s program and narrative were markedly colored by anti-Serb tone. Consequently, both of them became the main ideological framework for the extermination of the Serbs on the territory of the NDH, 1941−1945 and for the ethnic cleansing of the Serbs by Tudjman’s regime in 1995 (the “Flash” and “Storm” military-police operations in May and August). In 1895, the even more radical and nationalistic Pure Party of Rights (the ČSP) was established, headed by Josip Frank whose members and ideological followers took active participations in the pogroms against the Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina during the WWI.[9]

The post-Yugoslav HSP, as the largest and most influential the extreme Ustashi party, was re-established in February 1990 by domestic and émigré Croat Nazi Ustashi followers. The party  soon became relatively popular with a membership of approximately 100.000 by 1992, when the party received 7 percent of the vote for the national Parliament. However, the HSP became a “favorable opposition party” of the HDZ in the 1990s and as such, in reality, unofficial spokesman of the ruling HDZ. The coalition between these two ultra-right nationalistic parties resulted in the HDZ violating the Croatian electoral law in 1995 in order to permit the HSP to cross the statutory 5 percent threshold (5.1). After 1993 when the party leadership changed, the HSP became a tool of the ruling HDZ in Croatia’s political arena. In February 1996 the HSP was cleansed of all party leadership who opposed HDZ-HSP coalition and cooperation.

Different factional struggles within the pravashi bloc led to the creation of several new ultra-right political parties in Croatia like the HSP-1861, the Croatian Pure Party of Rights, the National Democratic League and the Independent Party of Rights. All of them, including unofficial groups and movements of the Croat extremists, trying to propagate their nationalistic messages through mass media almost totally controlled by the governmental HDZ. In these media efforts only those groups who had been “approved” by the HDZ (firstly the HSP) succeeded in sending their messages to the audience.

A “Herzegovinian lobby”

One of the most important features of Croatia’s political scene in the early 1990s was the fact that the HDZ itself was gradually passing to the hands of a “Herzegovinian lobby” (like Vladimir Sheks, Vice Vukojevic, Gojko Shushak) within the party leadership, which meant that the WWII Ustashi ideology and practice ultimately won against all other options in both the Central Board of the HDZ and the Government of Croatia.[10] However, the crucial point of this HDZ’s course was that  the party and State leadership became crucially dependent on – even governed – by the Croat (Ustashi) émigré groups with whom the HDZ “Herzegovinian lobby” had extremely close relations, especially Gojko Shushak, a Minister of Defense, who was manager and owner of several firms in Canada before returning to Croatia in 1990 to become a member of the Central Board of the HDZ. Franjo Tudjman favored Gojko Shushak exactly for the reason that he was a key figure in maintaining contacts with a Croat diaspora which was giving substantial financial support for the HDZ’s policy.

This “Herzegovinian lobby” succeeded in strengthening it’s own position within the HDZ, primarily by using regional identity as a basis for establishing necessary networks of power, influence, and favors (for instance, with Herzegovinian extremist Ivic Pashalic). The HDZ’s “Herzegovinians” are usually seen as the cardinal factor which firmed Tudjman as a dictatorial strongman in the party and the state.

Tudjman’s sympathy with and support to the “Herzegovinian” extremists is unquestionable, especially in authoritarianism on the domestic front and in dealing with Croatia’s Serbs. He was driven by his personal and his HDZ party’s “historic mission” to bring State independence for (a Greater) Croatia and to finally solve the Serbian Question within her borders. He shared the standpoint of the traditional Croat nationalists, that all aspects of the transition from State socialism to (quasi)liberal democracy and market economy have to be subordinated to the State-building process. Nonetheless, Tudjman was astute enough to project a “democratic” image abroad. This prevented many  foreign observers and politicians from recognising the reality of his ultra-right views and politics, especially in dealing with Croatia’s Serbs.

A Rehabilitation of the WWII NDH

From the point of ideology of the extreme Croat nationalism, the cardinal goal of ultra-right nationalistic parties, groups, ideologists and politicians was to create, for the first time after 1102, an independent, as well as a Greater and finally “Serben-frei” Croatia. In the 1990s it was ultra-right nationalistic ideology that provided the main background for creation of the new order and values in the HDZ’s Croatia.

For all Croat ultra-nationalists, a crucial political reference in regard to the state-building process is the (1941−1945 created) NDH. They finally succeeded – with great support by Tudjman and his HDZ – to rehabilitate the NDH and even to recognize its contribution to the Croat State-building efforts. This was achieved mainly by a brutal falsification of historical facts and self-interpretation of historical events and the role and deeds of the Croat Ustashi personalities. For the HDZ’s Croatia there were at least four reasons for praising the Ustashi WWII state:

  1. The NDH gave a political-historical foundation for the post-Yugoslav Croatia’s statehood.
  2. It annexed majority of  Croat claimed South-East European territories and as such became a kind of historical realization of a Greater Croatia projected by Pavao Ritter Vitezovic in 1700.[11]
  3. The Ustashi regime showed a way of solving the “Serb Question”, thus, in regard to this historical process, became a blueprint for the coming generations of the Croat “patriots”.
  4. The existence of the NDH provided a necessary link of a self-imagined “proof” of the so-called “Thousand-year-old” legal continuity of the Croatian statehood.

All political parties and organizations in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina of the “Croatian rights” openly propagated their direct connections with the NDH and its führer (poglavnik) Ante Pavelic who himself was a member of the “Croatian Rights” party.[12] Here is worth to notice that Franjo Tudjman, during the WWII, fought for several months in the Ustashi uniform – a fact which gave a huge credibility to him in the eyes of any Croat extremist despite his Communist past.

It seems obvious that the ultimate ethno-political goals of both the pre- and WWII Ustashi movement and post-Yugoslav “Croat Rights” are  identical including the concept of “solving” the “Serb Question” in a Greater Croatia. This was largely the case with the re-established HSP in 1990. Originally this party defined its program exclusively in relation to the NDH and the WWII Ustashi movement widely using various NDH symbols and iconography. Nevertheless, an original 1990 HSP’s leader, Dobroslav Paraga, never accepted any fascist or Nazi face of the NDH even claiming that the State was anti-fascist.[13]

For all Croat extremists, including Tudjman himself, the NDH represented democratic wishes of overwhelming majority of ethnic Croats for their own independent state (from Yugoslavia as a “Greater Serbia”) and was legitimate continuation of the independent Kingdom of Croatia which became incorporated into the Kingdom of Hungary in 1102. Furthermore, all of them deny any engagement of the NDH’s regime in any systematic and organized persecutions or genocide committed on the racial, confessional or ethnic grounds. Moreover, the HSP insists that the Ustashi terror against the Serbs in 1941−1945 was provoked by the Serbs themselves, i.e. by the Partisan uprising in July 1941 against the legitimate and internationally recognized NDH[14] neglecting the fact that the Ustashi genocide against the Serbs started three months before the outbreak of the Serb-(Partisan and non-Partisan) revolt in the NDH.

HSP’s political cynicism even indulged absurd claims that many of the massacred Serb civilians had, in fact, been killed by the Serb-Chetniks or Partisans dressed in the Ustashi uniforms. Nevertheless, a common issue among all Croat extremists regarding the “Serb Question” is the WWII practice of creation of an Autocephalous Croatian Orthodox Church as a bridge toward the final Catholization and Croatization of Croatia’s Serbs.

The excuse for Ustashi violence in the NDH is usually followed by the claim that the Nazifascist feature and iconography of the NDH were forced upon the Ustashi authorities by Germany and Italy, that the Ustashi Government did as much as possible to protect the Jews within the NDH, and finally, and of the crucial importance, that the real number of murdered Croatian Serbs is very much overestimated by the pro-Serb Yugoslav authorities after the WWII.

For instance, instead of 700.000 killed people in the death camp of Jasenovac (“Yugoslav Auschwitz”, of whom 500,000 were the Serbs) today official Croatia recognizes just 86.000. In the other words, Jasenovac is a great Serbian falsification and political propaganda: a myth projected by the supporters of an idea of a Greater Serbia.[15] For the Croat extremists, among the victims of Jasenovac the largest number have been the ethnic Croats but not the Serbs.[16] The Croat rightists as apologists for the Ustashi movement claim that the NDH is falsely represented for pure political reasons and therefore the picture of the NDH has to be repainted. However, such repainting or rewriting of the NDH’s history is at odds with historical sources and scientific account of non-partisan historiography. Finally, Dr. Franjo Tudjman himself, as a professional historian, in his most important book (Wastelands of Historical Reality) sought to minimize the crimes of the Ustashi regime in the WWII against both the Serbs and the Jews.[17]

A rehabilitation of the legacy of the NDH and Ustashi ideology with the NDH’s iconography was, however, only a formal problem for Franjo Tudjman and his HDZ who have been officially ambivalent toward it. Tudjman knew very well that any close association with the NDH and Ustashi ideology and iconography will cause many problems for Croatia’s image abroad especially among the cluster of the Jewish communities and political lobbies. However, on the other hand, for Tudjman the NDH was giving the State-building example, as Croatia for the centuries did not have any experience of a real and internationally recognized statehood. For that reason, for the HDZ’s ideologists the NDH became a crucial element for completing the main party’s task – to unify within the umbrella of the HDZ all different strands of Croatness.

In addition, the NDH was giving a link to Vatican as the main supporter of both the Ustashi and the HDZ regimes and ideology.[18] Subsequently, the HDZ’s authorities did not and do not openly endorse the Ustashi movement and the NDH, as it is the case with of “Croat rightists”, but on the other hand both Tudjman and his HDZ had avoided any clear denunciation of the NDH’s Nazi, totalitarian, genocidal and above all Serbocide aspects. Moreover, the HDZ’s Croatia adopted all important symbolic and iconographic aspects of the WWII NDH (like kuna currency, state insignias, etc.) and dedicated streets, squares and monuments in Croatia to the Ustashi WWII officials. Tudjman himself as a President of Croatia nominated, for instance, two ex-WWII Ustashi officials to high state posts: Ivo Rojnic – Ustashi commander in Dubrovnik who became Croatia’s ambassador in Argentina and Vinko Nikolic – an official in the Ministry of Education of the NDH who gained a Parliamentary seat. With the rehabilitation of the Nazi NDH, Tudjman’s Croatia was also rehabilitated as was the WWII Croatian Roman Catholic Church headed by an Archbishop of Alojzije Stepinac who directly collaborated with the Ustashi regime.[19]

A linguistic nationalism or purification of the official standardized Croat language in the public usage, but mainly from the Serb language based lexemes was an agenda of the Croatization of Croatia by Tudjman regime.[20] However, a lexical purification of the Croatian language in Tudjman’s Croatia was executed, basically, according to the NDH’s pattern. One of the first steps in the process of Croatization and purification of the Croat language by the new HDZ’s authorities was to make a clear difference between the Croat and Serb languages from lexical, orthographic and grammatical points of view. This was undertaken in a set of scientific editions by the linguists and philologists who have been at the same time trying to present and a “proper” history of the Croat language. The ultimate aim was to prove that the Croat and the Serb always have been two different ethno-national languages and of the most importance, that the Shtokavian dialect was always the Croat national language, not only the Serb.[21] The final ethno-political consequence of the HDZ’s policy of linguistic nationalism was that the Serb ethnic name was expelled from the official name of the standardized language and its orthography in Croatia and likewise everything in connection with the Serbs in regard to the Croat language.[22]

Nevertheless, as the best means to hide its de facto support for the Ustashi ideology and the WWII NDH’s legacy, Tudjman’s regime officially  supported the “anti-fascist” Josip Broz Tito’s Partisans from the WWII[23] with the political rhetoric of the post-Yugoslav Croatia building her own Statehood, the “anti-fascist” People’s/Socialist Republic of Croatia, post 1945.

However, at the same time, the HDZ created a clear atmosphere in Croatia in which the victims of the Ustashi terror (primarily the Serbs) are regarded as the national enemies. To illustrate, to January 1996 around 3,000 “Partisan” monuments were destroyed or removed in Croatia.[24] Tudjman launched an initiative to transform the memorial centre to the Jasenovac death camp  (on the Sava River on Croatia’s side) from the “victims of fascism” to the “victims of the civil war” – an initiative which also camouflaged association with the NDH, which pleased all Croat extremists.

Even before the beginning of the civil war in Croatia in 1991 the Croat security forces heavily structurally damaged the Jasenovac museum building and a large part of documentation and torture evidence simply disappeared. The monument itself was not destroyed or damaged since it is composed by four Ustashi “U” letter-symbols.

Franjo Tudjman, a Ph.D., in history, ran in to conflict with the Yugoslav Communist authorities in the mid-1960s when he started to refute the official number of murdered ethnic Serbs in Jasenovac as too high, accusing at the same time the Yugoslav Communists for deliberately falsifying the truth on Jasenovac. It cost him dismissal from the post of a head of the Institute for the History of the Workers Movement in Croatia (in Zagreb) but this action marked the beginning of the process of Tudjman’s transformation from a Partisan General, to the Croat nationalist and extremist. Nonetheless, his cosmetic political moves, as removing a prominent Ustashi extremist Tomislav Merchep from the HDZ’s Executive Committee at the Third General Convention of the HDZ in October 1995, could not hide the HDZ’s infatuation with the Ustashi iconography, ideology, legacy and ethno-political goals.

Conclusions

Tudjman’s and HDZ’s preoccupation with Croatia’s state-building and solving the “Serb Question”, rather than establishing liberal-democratic political systems and institutions, meant that the NDH’s legacy continued to play very important role in the HDZ’s strategy and policy of creation of the new order and values. In the other words, the political-ideological mainstream of the HDZ’s Croatia was and is grounded in the NDH’s legacy.

Today, as a result of the HDZ’s policy of extreme ethno-confessional nationalism, Croatia is, since mid-1995, “more ethnically homogeneous than ever was in the historic past”.[25] The Serb population on the present-day territory of Croatia fell from 24 percent in 1940 to 12 percent in 1990 and 4 percent in 1996 with the practice of its everyday assimilation (Croatization) and emigration from Croatia.

Notes:

[1] T. Judah, The Serbs: History, Myth & the Destruction of Yugoslavia, New Haven−London: Yale University Press, 1997.

[2] S. L. Woodward, Balkan Tragedy: Chaos and Dissolution After the Cold War, Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1995.

[3] B. J. Fischer (ed.), Balkan Strongmen: Dictators and Authoritarian Rulers of Southeast Europe, London: C. Hurst & Co. (Publishers) Ltd, 2006. For the matter of clarification, Slobodan Miloshevic was a Montenegrin, probably even born in Montenegro in the village of Ljeva Rijeka. At the wartime of the 1990s, as today as well, Serbian political scene was and is completely occupied by the persons who are either not Serbs, not born in Serbia or by those whose origin is out of Serbia living in Serbia as the first generation of immigrants. Many of them even did not learn properly to speak Serbia’s Serbian language of the Ekavian dialect. On the sociolinguistic aspect of the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia and Serbian national question, see [В. Б. Сотировић, Социолингвистички аспект распада Југославије и српско национално питање, Нови Сад−Србиње: Добрица књига, 2007].

[4] On the holocaust of Serbs (Magnum Crimen) in the Independent State of Croatia, 1941−1945, see [V. Dedijer, The Yugoslav Auschwitz and the Vatican, Prometheus Books, 1992; B. M. Lituchy (ed.), Jasenovac and the Holocaust in Yugoslavia: Analyses and Survivor Testimonies, New York: Jasenovac Research Institute, 2006; V. Novak, Magnum Crimen: Half a Century of Clericalism in Croatia, I−II, Jagodina: Gambit, 2011; E. Paris, L. Perkins, Genocide in Satellite Croatia, 1941−1945: A Record of Racial and Religious Persecutions and Massacres, Literary Licencing, LLC, 2011].

[5] On the WWII Nazi Croatia, see [S. Trifkovic, Ustaša: Croatian Fascism and European Politics, 1929−1945, The Lord Byron Foundation, 2011; R. McCormick, Croatia under Ante Pavelic: America, The Ustaše and Croatian Genocide, London−New York, I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd, 2014].

[6] See the USA documentary movie [Truth is the Victim in Bosnia, 1992 at https://youtu.be/fNqHfIugmaU].

[7] For a more detailed discussion of this issue, see [В. Крестић, Геноцидом до Велике Хрватске. Друго допуњено издање, Јагодина: Гамбит, 2002].

[8] On Croatian national identity, see [A. J. Bellamy, The Formation of Croatian National Identity: A Centuries-Old Dream, Manchester−New York: Manchester University Press, 2003].

[9] On the ideology of the Croatian Party of Rights, see [M. Gross, Povijest pravaške ideologije, Zagreb: Institut za hrvatsku povijest, 1973; M. S. Spalatin, “The Croatian Nationalism of Ante Starčević, 1845−1871”, Journal of Croatian Studies, 15, 1975, 19−146; G. G. Gilbert, “Pravaštvo and the Croatian National Issue”, East European Quarterly, 1, 1978, 57−68; M. Gross. A. Szabo, Prema hrvatskome građanskom društvu. Društveni razvoj u civilnoj Hrvatskoj I Slavoniji šezdesetih I sedamdesetih godina 19. stoljeća, Zagreb: Globus nakladni zavod, 1992, 257−265]. On historical account of the political parties’ ideologies in Croatia, see [Ј. Хорват, Странке код Хрвата и њихова идеологија, Београд: Политика, 1939]. On the pogroms of Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the Great War, see [В. Ћоровић, Црна књига: Патње Срба Босне и Херцеговине за време Светског Рата 19141918, Удружење ратних добровољаца, 1996].

[10] The Herzegovinians are traditionally considered as the most belligerent and confrontational mental group within the territory of ex-Yugoslavia. On mental and cultural characteristics of the Yugoslavs, see [В. Дворниковић, Карактерологија Југословена, Београд: Просвета, 2000].

[11] P. R. Vitezović, Croatia rediviva: Regnante Leopoldo Magno Caesare, Zagreb, 1700.

[12] On Pavelic’s biography, see [B. J. Fischer (ed.), Balkan Strongmen: Dictators and Authoritarian Rulers of Southeast Europe, London: C. Hurst & Co. (Publishers) Ltd, 2006, 228−271].

[13] For instance, see, interview with Paraga in [Danas, Zagreb, 1991-03-5].

[14] The NDH was recognized by Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Japan, Spain, National China, Finland, Denmark and Manchuria. It existed from April 10th, 1941 to May 15th, 1945 [S. Srkulj, J. Lučić, Hrvatska Povijest u dvadeset pet karata. Prošireno i dopunjeno izdanje, Zagreb: Hrvatski informativni centar, 1996, 105].

[15] On Tudjman’s Croatia’s dealing with the population losses in the NDH and the rest of Yugoslavia, see [V. Žerjavić, Population Losses in Yugoslavia 1941−1945, Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest, 1997]. Compare with [С. Аврамов, Геноцид у Југославији у светлости међународног права, Београд, 1992].

[16] See, for instance, Election Declaration of the Croatian Party of Rights in 1992 [Izborna deklaracija Hrvatske stranke prava, Zagreb, 1992, 3].

[17] F. Tudjman, Bespuća povijesne zbiljosti, Zagreb: Matica Hrvatska, 1989.

[18] On direct links between the NDH and Vatican, see [Tajni dokumenti o odnosima između Vatikana i ustaške NDH, Zagreb, 1948; V. Dedijer, Vatikan i Jasenovac. Dokumenti, Beograd, 1987; D. Živojinović, D. Lučić, Varvarstvo u ime Hristovo. Prilozi za Magnum Crimen, Beograd, 1988; M. Bulajić, Misija Vatikana u Nezavisnoj Državi Hrvatskoj, I−II, Beograd, 1992; М. А. Ривели, Бог је с нама: Црква Пија XII саучесника нацифашизма, Никшић: Јасен, 2003; Д. Р. Живојиновић, Ватикан, Католичка црква и југословенска власт 19411958, Београд: Просвета−Терсит, 1994, 11−127].

[19] On Stepinac’s case, see [A. Benigar, Alojzije Stepinac hrvatski kardinal, Rim, 1974; S. Alexander, The Triple Myth. A Life of Archbishop Stepinac, New York, 1987; М. А. Ривели, Надбискуп геноцида: Монсињор Степинац, Ватикан и усташка диктатура у Хрватској 19411945, Никшић−Јасен, 1999].

[20] A linguistic nationalism was a common issue in all former East European countries after 1990 as the language was and still is understood as the main identifier of the (ethno)nation. On the linguistic nationalism in ex-Yugoslavia in the 1990s, see [S. Barbour, C. Carmichael (eds.), Language and Nationalism in Europe, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, 221−239].

[21] On this issue, as examples, see [V. Brodnjak, Razlikovni rječnik srpskog i hrvatskog jezika, Zagreb, 1991; M. Moguš, Povijest hrvatskoga književnoga jezika, Zagreb: Globus nakladni zavod, 1993; M. Kačić, Hrvatski i srpski. Zablude i krivotvorine; Zagreb: Zavod za lingvistiku Filozofskoga fakulteta Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, 1995; M. Lončarić, Hrvatski jezik, Opole: Uniwersytet Opolski – Instytut Filologii Polskiej, 1998]. Compare with [П. Милосављевић, Срби и њихов језик. Хрестоматија, Приштина: Народна и универзитетска библиотека, 1997].

[22] M. Okuka, „O osamostaljivanju hrvatskog književnog jezika“, А. Кюннапа, В. Лефельдта, С. Н. Кузнецова (ред.), Микроязыкиязыкиинтерязыки. Сборник в честь ординарного профессора Александра Дмитриевича Дуличенко, Тарту, 2006, 231. On the Serbian point on the Croat, Serb and Bosnian languages, see [B. Tošović, A. Wonisch, (eds.), Die serbische Sichtweise des Verhältnisses zwischen dem SerbischenKroatischen undBosniakischen, I/4, Novi Sad: Institut für Slawistik der Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz−Beogradska knjiga, 2012].

[23] For the matter of historical accuracy, the Partisans of Josip Broz Tito (half Slovene and half Croat) during the WWII have not be fighting against the Germans, Italians and Ustashi forces if they are not attacked by them. Moreover, during the whole war the Partisans collaborated primarily with the NDH regime and its armed forces but with the Germans as well. Therefore, the “anti-fascist” aspect of Tito’s Partisans and the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (the KPJ) is falls and invented by the Yugoslav communists themselves. On this issue, see [М. Самарџић, Сарадња партизана са Немцима, усташама и Албанцима, Крагујевац: Погледи, 2006; В. Б. Сотировић, Кривотворине о Јосипу Брозу Титу, Брозовим партизанима и Равногорском покрету, 1941. г.1945. г., Виљнус: Југославологија – Независни истраживачки центар за југословенске студије, 2014]. About Josip Broz Tito, see [В. Адамовић, Три диктатора: Стаљин, Хитлер, Тито. Психопатолошка паралела, Београд: Informatika, 2008, 445−610; П. Симић, З. Деспот, Тито: Строго поверљиво. Архивски документи, Београд−Службени гласник, 2010; П. Симић, Тито: Феномен 20. Века. Треће допуњено издање, Београд: Службени гласник, 2011; J. Pirjevec, Tito in tovariši, Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba, 2011; V. Dinić, Tito (ni)je Tito. Konačna istina, Beograd: Novmark doo, 2013].

[24] Vreme, Beograd, 1996-01-15.

[25] S. Barbour, C. Carmichael (eds.), Language and Nationalism in Europe, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, 228.

Posted in CroatiaComments Off on Extremist Ideological Background of Croatia’s Role in the Destruction of Yugoslavia

Croatia’s Far Right Draws Strength From Diaspora

NOVANEWS

The radical and revisionist messages of far-right Croatian politicians and historians find a sympathetic audience among many members of Croatia’s huge émigré community.

Scattered over almost two centuries across the globe – in Germany, the US, Canada, Argentina and Australia – most members of the Croatian diaspora are still closely linked to their homeland.

The Croatian state responds in kind; it pledges to take “special care” of Croats living abroad, a pledge outlined in the country’s 1990 constitution. Subsequently, Croatia has set up the Central State Office for Croats Abroad, as well as a government body, the Council for Croats Abroad.

More controversially, some in the diaspora maintain close ties with the extreme right in Croatia, pushing a very sympathetic view of the Fascist Ustasa movement that ran the so-called Independent State of Croatia, NDH, under German-Italian patronage during World War II.

In late December, the appointment of Ante Juric, a prominent representative of the Croat community in Australia, to the government’s Council, attracted media attention.

Controversy arose after Juric told a Croat-language TV show on Australia’s SBS radio that the NDH was not a reviled Nazi satellite state but “a Croatian state, and I’m glad it was – while [its leader, Ante] Pavelic was for me one of the greatest Croats in history”.

Right-wingers in Germany rely on Church

People gathered in a Catholic mission in Frankfurt to watch Jasenovac – the Truth – projection organised by the Croatian right-wing party, In the Name of the Family – Project Homeland. Photo: In the Name of the Family – Project Homeland

Germany is home to the biggest Croat community in Europe, numbering some 440,000 people – equal to just over 10 per cent of Croatia’s total population.

Searching for better life, many Croats left what was then Yugoslavia for Germany back in the 1960s, and this trend has continued, increasing after Croatia joined the EU in 2013.

Danijel Majic, a German-Croat journalist who writes about right-wing extremism in Germany for the daily Frankfurter Rundschau, says the connections between parts of Croatian diaspora in Germany and the far right in Croatia are well established.

Croatia’s conservative Christian values NGO, “In the Name of the Family”, has a de facto branch in Germany. This was the NGO that pushed successfully for a referendum in Croatia in 2013 on marriage, defining it as an exclusively heterosexual union and effectively blocking the path to legalised gay marriage.

The NGO also helped file a successful plea for the legal rehabilitation of Filip Lukas, an intellectual close to the Ustasa regime. In July, the Zagreb County Court quashed the verdict passed decades ago by Yugoslav courts, rehabilitating him in full.

Majic says the Catholic Church provides important help for rightist movements among the émigrés.

“The only serious infrastructure among the Croat émigrés in Germany are the missions of the Catholic Church there … Since they the only ones that can offer venues for different political rallies or debates, almost exclusively for rightist politicians and NGOs,”  he says.

While Majic says the German Catholic Church often “is not informed” about the activities organised within Croat Catholic missions, they are part-financed by the German Catholic Church, which is also financed partially from the German state budget.

Among those visiting these missions is Croatia’s far-right TV star Velimir Bujanec, host of the controversial TV show, Bujica, which is shown on the four biggest local TV stations in Croatia and aired abroad.

He has become increasingly influential thanks to the high-level guests appearing on his show, and his acquaintances, who include Croatia’s President, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic.

Another controversial figure, Admiral Davor Domazet Loso, recently visited the German cities of Munich, Stuttgart and Offenbach on a mission organised by a Croatian priest.

In September, as tensions peaked between Croatia and Slovenia over the disputed waters in the Piran Gulf, Domazet Loso released an inflammatory statement declaring that the Croatian military “could be in Ljubljana in two days”.

Majic says events in the diaspora are organised also with the help of right-wing news sites, like Dnevno.hr and its weekly magazine 7 dnevno.

“It is a part of an obvious system, a political concept under which the Catholic Church, in a way, fosters far-right positions,” Majic adds.

Goal is to rewrite wartime history

One of the more controversial events organised for Croatian communities abroad was the screening of Jasenovac – the Truth, a documentary on the Ustase-run concentration camp made by Jakov Sedlar (image on the right).

The film that premiered in Zagreb in April 2016, was screened also in cities across Germany, such as Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Offenbach and Darmstadt.

Croatian right-wing party In the Name of the Family – Project Homeland, tied to the NGO, organised some of these screenings.

It has been fiercely criticised for seeming to downplay the crimes committed by the Ustasa in the camp, where over 83,000 Serbs, Roma, Jews and leftists were killed between 1941 and 1945.

Majic says the right-wing radicals in the diaspora constantly push a narrative that the Ustasa “weren’t as bad as the Communists”, and even that “the Ustasa weren’t villains at all”.

The recent verdict of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY, against six Bosnian Croat officials, and the suicide in court of one of those convicted, Slobodan Praljak, resonated strongly among Croatian communities in Germany, with the Church clearly taking the side of those who claimed Praljak was innocent and blamed the ICTY for his death.

After some Croat Catholic missions announced that Church services would be held in Germany for Praljak, the German Catholic Church distanced itself with a statement noting that “pastoral staff serving the dioceses should not question the verdict of The Hague Tribunal”.

Memories of the Croatian war of independence in the 1990s also loom large among the Croatian diaspora in Germany; back then, many members of the diaspora were actively involved in it.

Croatian communities collected money to buy arms for Croatia, which was under a UN-imposed embargo on arms reaching former Yugoslavia. They also assisted the Croat side in the three-way war in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995, between Bosnian Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks.

“I remember that Croats in Frankfurt gathered money to buy a tank for the HVO [the Bosnian Croat armed force] in Kupres [in Bosnia] … I also remember how young men went to the war in Croatia as well. Some would go to fight during the vacation and then return to work in Germany,” Majic says.

Community in Latin America is in decline

Argentinian Croats protesting against former Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic statements on post-WWII crimes committed by anti-fascist Partisans. Photo: Facebook

Another sizeable Croat community is located in Argentina, which is home to around 250,000 of people of Croat decent.

However, many of these left what was then Austria-Hungary back in the 1900s, and have weaker ties to the country.

In Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, only around 5,000 of them have Croatian citizenship and can vote in the country’s elections.

The first wave of Croats reached Argentina in the later 19th and early 20th centuries. Mostly came for economic reasons, after a vine disease devastated the vineyards on which many people depended in the coastal region of Dalmatia.

The second wave of arrivals that came after World War II, were mostly affiliated to the Ustasa regime, reaching Argentina from refugee camps in Italy and Austria, after the Communists took power in Yugoslavia in 1945.

Among them were some of the highest NDH officials, including Pavelic himself, as well as Eugen “Dido” Kvaternik who was in charge of the NDH concentration camps.

Along with them came Catholic clergy and intellectuals who opposed the new Communist regime.

While the role of the Latin American diaspora was strong during Yugoslav times, when it was seen as a dissident hub, its role has declined since the 1991-95 war in Croatia.

During the 1990s, however, members of the diaspora in Argentina gathered money to buy arms for Croatian forces in both Croatia and Bosnia. Arms were bought from Argentina and the deals involved some of top Argentinean officials, including the then President, Carlos Menem.

In 2013, an Argentinean court jailed Menem for seven years for taking part in an illegal shipment of arms to Croatia defying the UN embargo. The sentence was later commuted to house arrest.

Some Croats from Argentina went to Croatia to fight during the war as volunteers. One of them, Branko “Pilino” Pilsel, who was killed by the Yugoslav army in 1991 in Dalmatia, still has a special place in the memory of the community in Argentina.

Kazimir Katalinic, who was 18 when he left Yugoslavia in 1945, wrote a four-volume book, From Defeat to Victory, chronicling the Croatian diaspora from 1945 to 1990, which the far-right former Culture Minister of Croatia, Zlatko Hasanbegovic, helped to promote.

However, the influence of the radical diaspora in Argentina had faded, as former NDH officials or political dissidents slowly die away.

The turnout of Croat voters in Argentina in Croatia’s recent elections or referendums has been low.

Due to their lack of interest and because they can only cast votes in Buenos Aires, only 181 people voted in the second round of the Croatian presidential elections in 2015 and 130 in the parliamentary elections in 2016.

While now small in size, the diaspora in Argentina remains mostly oriented to the right. Its members voted against Croatia’s accession to the EU in 2012, and in favour of defining marriage as an exclusively heterosexual union in the 2013 referendum.

More radical elements among them also downplay the crimes committed in Jasenovac.

In 2017, at the Croat community centre in Buenos Aires and on their radio show Croacias Totales, members of a revisionist Croatian NGO, the Society for Research into the Threefold Jasenovac Camp, held lectures in which they insisted that Jasenovac had not been a concentration camp after all.

Despite much documentation and historical research to the contrary, the NGO claimed that Jasenovac was merely a labour camp under the Ustasa – and only became a death camp when the Communists took over.

Most members of the Croatian diaspora there follow the Croacias Totales radio show, which also has its website, as well as a Facebook page. These sites closely follow various events in Croatia, and replay controversial messages from Croatian clergy, among others.

Other radio shows such as Bar Croata and Croacia en mi corazon [Croatia in my heart], are all present on Facebook as well.

Some in the diaspora in Argentina keep up with the far right in Croatia by watching TV shows like Bujica and Markov trg, which was put under a temporary ban of local Z1 TV in 2016 after its host, Marko Juric, warned people in Zagreb to beware of so-called “Chetniks” lurking in the city’s Serbian Orthodox church.

Members of the diaspora in Argentina also criticised the recent verdict against six Bosnian Croat officials in the papers and radio shows.

Posted in CroatiaComments Off on Croatia’s Far Right Draws Strength From Diaspora

Syrian Air Defense Ready to Destroy Turkish Warplanes If They Attack Afrin 

NOVANEWS

Syria’s Air Defense Forces are ready to react to any Turkish hostile action in Afrin and the Damascus government will consider the Turkish military operation there as an act of aggression, deputy foreign minister Faisal Meqdad told reporters on January 18, according to the state-run news agency SANA.

“We warn the Turkish leadership that if they initiate combat operations in the Afrin area, that will be considered an act of aggression by the Turkish army,” the deputy foreign minister said adding that if a Turkish warplane attacks Syria it will become a legitimate target.

Meqdad continued emphasizing that Afrin and other northern areas of the country, currently not under control of Damascus, are still the territory of Syria.

The statement comes after Turkish top officials have once again announced that Turkish forces are ready to launch a military operation against Kurdish militias in northern Syria, particularly in the area of Afrin.

Posted in Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Syrian Air Defense Ready to Destroy Turkish Warplanes If They Attack Afrin 

Facebook and Google Outline Unprecedented Mass Censorship at US Senate Hearing

NOVANEWS

This Facebook group includes “a dedicated counterterrorism team” of “former intelligence and law-enforcement officials and prosecutors who worked in the area of counterterrorism.”

Behind the backs of the US and world populations, social media companies have built up a massive censorship apparatus staffed by an army of “content reviewers” capable of seamlessly monitoring, tracking, and blocking millions of pieces of content.

The character of this apparatus was detailed in testimony Wednesday from representatives of Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, chaired by South Dakota Republican John Thune.

The hearing was called to review what technology companies are doing to shut down the communications of oppositional political organizations. It represented a significant escalation of the campaign, supported by both Democrats and Republicans, to establish unprecedented levels of censorship and control over the Internet.

Armed with increasingly powerful artificial intelligence systems, these technology companies are free to remove and block the communications of their users at the behest of the government, in a seamless alliance between Silicon Valley and the major US spy agencies.

Monika Bickert, head of Global Policy Management at Facebook, told lawmakers that the social media giant now employs a security team of 10,000 people, 7,500 of whom “assess potentially violating content,” and that, “by the end of 2018 we will more than double” the security team.

This group includes “a dedicated counterterrorism team” of “former intelligence and law-enforcement officials and prosecutors who worked in the area of counterterrorism.” In other words, there is a revolving door between the technology giants and the state intelligence and police forces, with one increasingly indistinguishable from the other.

Bickert pointed to the growing use of artificial intelligence to flag content, saying Facebook does not “wait for these… bad actors to upload content to Facebook before placing it into our detection systems,” bragging that much of the “propaganda” removed from Facebook “is content that we identify ourselves before anybody” else has a chance to view it.

She added that Facebook has partnered with over a dozen other companies to maintain a blacklist of content, based on “unique digital fingerprints.” This means that if a piece of content, whether a video, image, or written statement, is flagged by any one of these companies, it will be banned from all social media. This database now includes some 50,000 pieces of content and is constantly growing, officials said.

In other words, the technology giants have created an all-pervasive system of censorship in which machines, trained to collaborate with the CIA, FBI, and other US intelligence agencies, are able to flag and block content even before it is posted.

Juniper Downs, global head of Public Policy and Government Relations at YouTube, likewise boasted that Google uses “a mix of technology and humans to remove content,” adding that YouTube relies on a “trusted flagger program” to provide “actionable flags” based on the flaggers’ experience with “issues like hate speech and terrorism,” words that imply that these “trusted flaggers” are connected to US intelligence agencies.

“Machine learning is now helping our human reviewers remove nearly five times as many videos as they were before,” Downs said, adding that Google’s censorship machine is virtually automated. She said that this year there will be “10,000 people across Google working to address content that might violate our policies.”

Downs declared that since June YouTube has “removed 160,000 videos and terminated 30,000 channels for violent extremism.” The company has “reviewed over two million videos” in its collaboration with “law enforcement, government,” and “NGOs.”

Downs stated that Google is actively engaged in promoting what she called “counter-speech,” that is, the promotion of propaganda narratives. She also pointed to Google’s Jigsaw program as deploying “targeted ads and YouTube videos to disrupt online radicalization,” and “redirecting” users to content that Google approves of.

The hearing also featured the testimony of Clint Watts, a former FBI official, former US Army officer, fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and a leading promoter of social media censorship.

Watts presented the hearing with an unhinged justification for what these massive powers might be used for, in a hypothetical scenario he dubbed “Anwar Awlaki meets PizzaGate.”

“The greatest concern moving forward,” he said, “might likely be a foreign intelligence service, posing as Americans on social media, infiltrating one or both political extremes in the US and then recruiting unwitting Americans to undertake violence against a target of the foreign power’s choosing.”

In this formulation, social opposition, what he calls the “political extremes,” including left-wing politics, is the product of foreign intervention and therefore treasonous. It is also defined as “terrorist” in content and therefore criminal.

Watts expressed extreme fear over the widespread growth of opposition to the policies of US imperialism. He arrogantly decried, “Lesser-educated populations around the world predominately arriving in cyberspace via mobile phones will be particularly vulnerable to social media manipulation.”

The content of Thursday’s testimony points the far-advanced preparations for the establishment of police state forms of rule.

The effort to control speech online is driven by a ruling elite that is immensely fearful of social opposition. Amid growing social inequality and the ever-mounting threat of world war, broad sections of the population, and in particular the working class, are increasingly disillusioned with the capitalist system. Having no social reform to offer, the ruling elites see censorship as the only means to prop up their rule.

Given the explosive content of the statements made at Thursday’s hearing, it is extraordinary that they received no significant coverage in either the print or broadcast media.

The hearing took place just one day after the World Socialist Web Site carried its live webinar, “Organizing Resistance to Internet Censorship,” featuring WSWS chairperson David North and journalist Chris Hedges.

Posted in MediaComments Off on Facebook and Google Outline Unprecedented Mass Censorship at US Senate Hearing


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