Archive | December 12th, 2019

Sudan’s Withdrawal from Yemen Is Part of Its Alignment with the U.S.

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research,

In an October article, I made the argument that Yemen has become Saudi Arabia’s “Vietnam” because despite their technological, demographical and economical advantage over Yemen, it has completely failed to break the Yemeni resistance, headed by the Houthi-led Ansarullah Movement. Although “Saudi Arabia mobilized about 150,000 of its soldiers and mostly Sudanese mercenaries,” this large force has not been able to break the dogged Yemeni resistance.

The Ansarullah Movement announced in November that 4,335 Sudanese soldiers have been killed in the ongoing conflict in the country since 2015, with military spokesman Yahya Seri, saying that the Sudanese people, like other peoples in the region, were subjected to false propaganda by the media to conceal facts. Seri revealed that the 15,000 Sudanese mercenaries were divided on the northern border under the supervision of Saudi Arabia and on the south and west coast under the supervision of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He then went onto to allege that Sudanese soldiers in the last two years have conducted sexual abuse against women and children, war crimes and violations of human rights – reminiscent of Sudanese war crimes in Darfur and South Sudan.

Many parties and deputies in Sudan have stated that the presence of Sudanese military forces in Yemen had a negative effect on the relations of the peoples of the two countries and called for the withdrawal of these forces. Former President Omar al-Bashir, who was overthrown by the military coup in Sudan earlier this year, argued that Sudanese forces should take part in the Yemeni war at every opportunity possible to help their Saudi friends.

However, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok said that he would recall Sudanese troops from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, correctly asserting thatWhat Happened in Sudan?

“There is no military solution to the conflict in Yemen, either from us or from the other side of the world. The problem needs to be solved by political means.”

This is part of Sudan’s efforts to normalize relations with the West by demonstrating it is a responsible country, with Hamdok even having talks with U.S. officials to discuss the process of removing Sudan’s name from the list of countries that support terrorism. Although Washington lifted the economic sanctions imposed on Sudan since 1997 in October 2017, they did not remove Sudan from the “list of countries supporting terrorism” that was imposed in 1993 for hosting al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Yemeni Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser al-Atıfi asked Sudan to withdraw its troops from the country just days ago in a written statement, explaining that the UAE does not want peace in Yemen, before reiterating their call “to the Sudanese regime to withdraw its troops from Yemen before it is too late.” With this, Hamdok announced the reduction of Sudanese forces in Yemen from 15,000 to 5,000. Part of this effort to completely withdraw from the impoverished Arab country.

The question then remains why Sudan is now withdrawing from Yemen. Sudan has now demonstrated that it wants to act to serve its own direct interests, in which it has none in Yemen. Hamdok has a clear vision for Sudan, that is becoming ever closer to the U.S. His vision for Sudan is to become a leading country in the region that yields significant influence, however, it appears Hamdok does not have much self-confidence and believes this can only be achieved by aligning with Washington.

Discussing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that has been a source of tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia, Hamdok added that he wanted to bring the two rival countries together with the Washington to reach an agreement between the three African countries. These tensions started when Ethiopia began construction of a dam in 2011 to increase its electrical capabilities, which worries Egypt as it relies on for 90% of its water needs from the Nile. Egypt believes this waterflow from the Ethiopian highlands could be affected by the dam. Although it was Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who requested Trump to help mediate during a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly summit in September, Sudan is demonstrating that it also wants to spearhead efforts to normalize relations between Ethiopia and Egypt.

Hamdok’s efforts to expand Sudanese influence has been in complete opposition to former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir who wielded the military with great power. By withdrawing from Yemen and supporting dialogue so that the tense relations between Ethiopia and Egypt can be eased shows a Sudan that is changing dramatically. With its improving relations with the U.S., Sudan could become a state in northeast Africa that is more aligned to Washington in a region that is increasingly coming under Chinese influence, and it all begins with Sudan’s slow withdrawal from Yemen.

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Militants Push Syrian Army Back in Southern Idlib

By South Front

On December 11, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Army and the special forces unit, known as the “Red Bands”, attacked and captured the area of al-Katibat al-Mahjura in southeastern Idlib. Units of the Syrian Army deployed there were caught off-guard and withdrew after a few hours of clashes.

Al-Katibat al-Mahjura [the abandoned base in Arabic] is a former base of the Syrian Air Defense Forces. It overlooks the village of Umm al-Tinah controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. When the army captured the base last week, pro-government sources speculated that it may use it to advance further into southern Idlib. However, another week of inactivity allowed militants to regroup and take this facility back.

It’s interesting to note that militants’ advance took place amid another round of the Astana format talks, which are designed to find a political solution of the conflict. Nonetheless, as long as al-Qaeda-style groups operate in Idlib, this will not be possible.Video Player00:0002:14

A unit of the Syrian Army in northwestern Hama shot down on December 11 an armed unmanned aerial vehicle launched from the militant-held area. The UAV was armed with several small-diameter munitions and appeared to be of the same type that had been repeatedly used to attack the Russian Hmeimim airbase on the Syrian coast. The renewed UAV attacks are another sign of the growing escalation in the region.

Meanwhile, the situation in northeastern Syria appears to be stabilizing. The Syrian Army and the Russian Military Police reopened the M4 highway in northeastern Syria after the withdrawal of Turkish-backed militants from the Shirlrak silos near Ayn Issa. According to state media, the army completed its deployment south of the highway, between the town of Tell Tamr in northern al-Hasakah and the town of al-Truaziyah in northern Raqqa.

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The Bloomberg Factor: Authoritarianism, Money and US Presidential Politics

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Global Research,

Political rottenness may be bottomless.  Consider the following description of a political aspirant for the White House, this person being from the Democratic Party.  His “liabilities as a political candidate are so glaringly obvious that it’s easy to dismiss his presidential bid as a vanity project.”  The author goes on to describe what can only be seen as a template of sorts.  “He is utterly devoid of charisma, has no real organic base in the Democratic Party, and is a viable candidate only because he’s filthy rich and is willing to inundate the race by opening up his nearly limitless money pit.” 

At a pinch, Jeet Heer, writing in The Nation, might have been describing Donald Trump in 2015. But this treatment is afforded to the cash-heavy Michael Bloomberg, accused of representing “another strand of authoritarian politics.” 

Heer has a point, but it is a prosaic one.  The nature of most political systems is that they produce a type of political candidate deemed acceptably pestilential.  The danger for US presidential politics was long in coming; that the Founding Fathers, in their vision of republicanism, would fail to prevent the next emperor from emerging.  Restraints, fetters and oversights have long been the stuff of this idea: you cage the emperor-to-be, render the figure accountable.  The modern presidency, with all the accoutrements of the entangling state, has achingly chafed against them.   

Abraham Lincoln can be seen to be a pioneer in this regard, and almost peerless in terms how he expanded the position of the executive power in the US.  As the civil war against the South bloodied and bled the state from April 1861, he came to be seen as authoritarian and loose with the Constitution.  He self-arrogated one prerogative after another, usurping Congressional powers in ordering the blockade of Southern ports, initially calling for 75,000 militia troops and a further 40,000 three-year volunteers.  Then came the suspension of habeas corpus.  As with previous figures accused of having Caesar’s pretensions, he was assassinated.    

The Trump presidency has certainly been a cause of alarm for those fearing the onset of a new tyranny.  The Donald has been casually venal in office, outsourced its functions for personal gain and treated his position as a theatrical extension of a social media presidency.  The distinction between political manipulation deemed acceptable by the Constitution’s framers, and abuse deemed unconstitutional, is currently being tested and is unlikely to make the distance.

As the impeachment drama unfolds in the House, the clutch of Democratic candidates has done nothing to suggest that this trend in American politics is shifting.  Messy, discordant and disparate, the field remains cluttered.  The departure of Kamala Harris, and the entry of former New York mayor Bloomberg, was a strong suggestion of things to come, a sort of social Darwinian culling in the offing.  Harris might have been an identitarian’s identity-kit politician, an antidote against white-male chauvinism, but her positions were unclear and elastic.  Her departure from the race, however, threw up an inescapable fact: to run for the White House entails having pockets so capacious as to be obscene.    Say No to Bloomberg

As Harris campaign manager Juan Rodriguez noted in a memo,

“To effectively compete with the top campaigns and make the necessary investments in the critical final 100 days to the [Iowa] caucus, we need to reduce expenditures elsewhere and realign resources.” 

This is the language of budgeting, corporate outlays, and management, a far cry from presidential majesty.

Bloomberg’s bid furnishes a similar claim. It is an announcement that the only way of removing a wealthy white male with authoritarian tendencies is to supplant him with another, even wealthier one.  His candidacy is already teasing out gushers and admirers.  Michael Starr Hopkins, a promiscuous strategist who worked with the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Delaney, insists that Bloomberg cannot be dismissed out of hand.

“In a normal election cycle, I would not give much attention to his candidacy, certainly not as a Democrat.  But as we all know, this is not a normal election cycle, and the fallout from the re-election of Donald Trump would only enforce his authoritarian tendencies.” 

Hopkins evaluates Bloomberg and finds an impressive figure able to defeat Trump.  “He is better than Trump in every way.  Successful businessman, check.  Dedicated philanthropist, check.  Effective politician, check.”

This flurry of enthusiasm for the improved Trump – the one who actually succeeds at the President’s pretensions – has not been in a minor key.  Thomas Friedman, holding forth from the New York Times, was “glad” Bloomberg had stuck his oar in. “Today ‘billionaire’ has become a dirty word and a disqualifying status for many in the left of the Democratic Party.  To me, that is as nonsensical as dismissing Elizabeth Warren as a ‘communist’ who wants only to confiscate your money.” 

The non sequitur remains Friedman’s glaring strong suit, but deployed in this way shows how far gone the state of US politics is.  He digs into the usual reserves of justification as to why a voter might go for the wealthy authoritarian with Caesar’s ambitions.  Bloomberg was “not just some wealthy dude who made his money betting on derivatives on Wall Street and now pops off about the need to cut taxes.”  He “risked everything”; he showed pluck in starting “a business that took on giant incumbents and outperformed them and boosted productivity.”     

Fellow New York Times stable mate Bret Stephens is of like mind, and method.  If you accepted the proposition that “trouncing Donald Trump is essential to the preservation of liberal democracy, then it won’t do to cross fingers and hope he stumbles.”  Bloomberg’s addition “would be a gift to Democrats, the country and the world.  Sneer at it at your peril.”  

Bloomberg is pushing his own credentials by boosting those of the incumbent. But he does so using the very same language that failed to convince voters against Trump’s merits: well cured experience and ample readiness for office. “I think Trump is getting stronger and I think he would just eat alive the candidates.”  His rivals, he continued to explain to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, lacked “practical” plans and “management experience and the President’s job is a management job.”  So the logic of the moneyed authoritarian, the executive bully in politics, comes full circle.  Trump’s legacy, on some level at least, is assured.   

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Sudanese Transitional Government Faces Profound Challenges

Administration holds discussions seeking to resolve conflict and normalize relations with the West

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Global Research,

Interim Prime Abdallah Hamdok of the Republic of Sudan visited the United States during early December seeking to have sanctions lifted against his newly-created administration.

In meetings with members of Congress and the National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, Hamdok requested the removal of Sudan from the list crafted by Washington of those states ostensibly involved in supporting “terrorism.”

These events come in the aftermath of a series of negotiations with internal opposition groups inside Sudan. Some of these grouping are armed and have been engaged in military operations against the former administration of the ousted President Omer Hassan al-Bashir.

Al-Bashir was overthrown in a military coup on April 11 amid ongoing mass demonstrations and rebellions which had spread throughout the oil-rich nation. The protests began during December 2018 over the rise in food prices and soon escalated into demands calling for the removal of the National Congress Party (NCP) government.

With the removal of al-Bashir, a new Transitional Military Council (TMC) was established in an effort to end the unrest. After the continuing post-coup demonstrations and a massacre of civilian protesters in June outside the defense ministry headquarters where a sit-in was being held, the TMC agreed to the creation of an interim coalition administration composed of the FFC and the military junta.

Sudan demonstrations during 2019

The new Prime Minister Hamdok is attempting to reconfigure the posture and image of the Sudanese government. He has opened up negotiations with the political parties and coalitions which created the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) movement and the TMC as well as seeking to resolve the conflicts led by the several groups within the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) based in Darfur, North Kordofan, South Kordofan, Blue Nile and other regions.

New Prime Minister Makes Further Overtures to Washington

While in the U.S., Hamdok addressed the Atlantic Council in Washington requesting the removal of sanctions and the delisting of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism. He emphasized that the presence of leading military figures in the transitional government should not deter the Trump administration from normalizing relations with Khartoum.

His addressed pointed out that the civilian and military forces are working together to create a new political dispensation. Nonetheless, the prime minister noted that doubts remain in the U.S. among leading officials that a genuine transition is still not assured.

In an article published by the Sudan Tribune on December 6, it says that:Military and Opposition Forces Reach Agreement in Sudan While Tensions Persist

“Hamdok disclosed that he has a negotiating team in Washington that is conducting talks with the American administration on the delisting process. The direct and frank style that Hamdok adopted during the event shows an increase of confidence on the SST’s (State Sponsored Terrorism) rescission as he used in the past to make law-profile statements. The lifting process requires a formal review for over six months.”

National Security Advisor O’Brien said in a public statement that the U.S. administration is willing to delist Sudan from the SST. There were however, outstanding issues related to removing Khartoum from the list as these were compensation to families of those killed in an attack on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the destruction of USS Cole off the coast of Yemen in 2000 and the commitment by the interim government to assist the U.S. in its war against terrorism.

The previous NCP administration of President al-Bashir had denied any culpability in the attacks on the USS Cole warship or the embassy bombings in East Africa which killed hundreds of people. In addition, the NCP government had categorically rejected any responsibility for funding or training those organizations such as al-Qaeda which have been the propaganda target of Washington in its so-called anti-terrorist campaigns internationally.

Hamdok went as far as to pledge support to the Trump administration in carrying out joint operations against alleged terrorist groups operating in the North and West Africa region in recent years. The prime minister reiterated this position in a quote published by the Wall Street Journal stressing:

“When it comes to combating terrorism, we would like to benefit from U.S. experience, not only of training but intelligence sharing, gathering, equipment, training.”

Revolutionary Transformation Stifled by the Neo-Colonial Status Quo

Such statements from Hamdok shed light on the political outlook of the interim government now operating in Khartoum. How does this foreign policy posture towards Washington differ fundamentally from what was being pursued under former President al-Bashir?

The NCP government had been cooperating with the U.S. in its war against Yemen since March 2015. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have engaged in massive bombing and ground operations in Yemen under the guise of preventing the Ansurallah (Houthis) Movement from taking control of the entire country, the most underdeveloped in the Middle East region.

U.S. warplanes guided by the Pentagon’s targeting and refueling technology have facilitated the war against Yemen which has killed thousands and displaced many more. The social impact of the war on Yemen has been designated as the worse humanitarian crisis in the world today.

Although Hamdok announced after returning to Khartoum from Washington that Sudan had reduced the number of troops serving in Yemen from 15,000 to 5,000, he restated a commitment to maintaining his government’s participation in the continuing war which is in line with U.S. foreign policy towards Iran. The Ansurallah is accused of receiving military and political support from Tehran, a claim the Iranian government has denied. (See this)

Since the military coup against al-Bashir, both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have pledged $3 billion in assistance to Khartoum to prop up the interim administration. Just recently, the Sudan Tribune reported that the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) had conducted joint exercises with Qatar.

The Sudan Tribune article reports that:

“According to a statement by the Qatari Defense, the military exercise was attended by Major General Rashid bin Nasser, Head of Qatar’s Authority of Military Institutes and Colleges, and Major General Hafez al-Taj Makki the Red Sea Governor.

Al-Nasser praised the military training of the Qatari officers saying it would enable them to carry out their duties. However, he did not speak about the duration of the training of the exercises. The Sudanese army did not issue a statement about this exercise. On 29 November, the Eritrean government issued a statement accusing Qatar of continuing to provide military support to the opposition groups. Asmara did not accuse the Sudanese transitional government of taking part in this plot but stressed that Qatar uses Sudan as a springboard for its subversive activities.”

Of course states such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar operate within the imperialist sphere of influence and not only in the Middle East. There are numerous interventions through their military operations by these Gulf monarchies in the internal affairs of African nations such as Djibouti and Eritrea.

The Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) has been highly critical of the role of Saudi Arabia and the UAE in recent developments involving the interim government under Prime Minister Hamdok. Their criticism was so severe that it prompted a response from the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash.

In an article published by the Middle East Monitor, its reveals:

“Gargash explained that Al-Khatib’s comments: ‘are based on used and abused ideological concepts associated with his party.” He continued: ‘Our relationship with Khartoum is historic, and the Arab role in supporting Sudan in its current circumstances is necessary.’ It is noteworthy that Al-Khatib delivered a speech in the Omdurman region, last Friday, accusing the UAE and Saudi Arabia of ‘quick intervention during the first days of the uprising’ in Sudan against Al-Bashir regime.”

The SCP in October called for mass demonstrations demanding the dismantling of the former governing party the NCP. The Communists have rejected the political agreements between the opposition FFC and the TMC.

Consequently, the direction of the foreign policy of the interim government is clearly reflective of its class politics related to the domestic situation. The Sudanese people will not be fully liberated within the context of imperialist domination. A struggle for genuine revolutionary democracy and self-determination is the only solution to the current crisis of governance and economic instability.

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Bolivia: The 21st Century Coup d’État and Its Crimes Against Humanity

By Alex Anfruns

Global Research,

After the coup d’état, repression is advancing by leaps and bounds in Bolivia. The dictatorship persecutes the “narco-traffickers”, “vandals” and “terrorists”, that is to say: the social movements, former members of the government, peasants and indigenous people who demonstrate and are assassinated by the army (35 dead and more than 800 wounded). The de facto government criminalizes international human rights observation missions, the ombudsman’s office and even journalists, calling them “digital warriors” or “computer terrorists”. In so doing, it seeks to bury the truth under a mountain of false accusations.

Ultimatum to democracy, parade of neo-fascism

Since the October 20 elections, Bolivia has been going through a political crisis that is far from over. In the framework of an electoral process that received special attention from the international media, the vice-president of the Electoral Tribunal resigned for obscure reasons, casting a shadow of suspicion over Evo Morales’ victory by 47.08% of the votes cast. A difference of 10% (648,180 votes) over former right-wing president and candidate Carlos Mesa was enough to win the elections in the first round.

In fact, Mesa did not wait for the results to denounce what for him was an advertised fraud: he had been predicting it for months. Self-fulfilled prophecy or flight forward? Meanwhile, billionaire Fernando Camacho, whose name appears on the “Panamanian Papers” and who had lost a lucrative market share in his gas distribution contracts when Evo Morales arrived in government in 2006 and decided to nationalize the hydrocarbons to renegotiate the contracts, announced a 48-hour deadline for Evo to resign.

It was in that context when the violence of the opposition was unleashed with an unknown fury: the departmental electoral tribunals and headquarters of the MAS burned, their representatives such as the mayor of Vinto in Cochabamba Patricia Arce, the former vice minister of interculturalism Feliciano Vegamonte were lynched and assaulted….but also the directors of media such as Bolivia TV and CSUTCB Radio (Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores Campesinos), José Aramayo, the latter being tied to a tree, giving rise to a scene more typical of the medieval Inquisition.

The president of the chamber of deputies Víctor Borda resigned after denouncing the burning of his house and the kidnapping and aggression in his home of his brother, lawyer Marco Antonio Borda, by members of the “Civic Committee of Potosí”. Days later, his brother made public a video addressed to international organizations, while he was recovering in a hospital bed. In it, he denounced that “apparently there were orders to attempt against my life to ask for the resignation of my brother (…) If the President had not resigned, my life would have been in danger”. Mining Minister César Navarro also resigned after the fire at his home in Potosí and the attempt to hang his nephew. The same script is meticulously applied by criminals acting under the cover of so-called “civic committees”, financed by Fernando Camacho. Everything fits: Camacho himself unscrupulously threatened those who resisted the coup, saying that he had prepared a black list of “traitors” in a “Pablo Escobar style”.

Interlude masterfully played by the OAS, score written by Washington

With a view to the October 19 elections, Bolivia had implemented all the recommendations of the Organization of American States (OAS) regarding the improvement of the electoral process. Several meetings had taken place between the government of Evo Morales and Secretary Almagro. It was necessary to ensure the much-desired “transparency” and “credibility” in the face of the usual suspicions directed towards governments considered “populist”. The rapid-counting system called TREP was part of that reassuring mechanism… But that supposed life jacket turned out to be a spearhead. The gear of media manipulation was lubricated to perfection by attempting to erase the traditional recount in a country where the rural and indigenous vote has historically been favorable to MAS.

The former vice president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) Antonio Costas, who resigned from his post, did not do so because he questioned the functioning of the TREP quick count, which he considered positive because it “generates a lot of trust and discourages fraud. However, he believed that “the process could be interrupted by a hacking” of a concurrent company of the audit. After verification by Costas and the TSE, the TREP data after the stop detected as a hack was the same. Because, when they gave the first report “the advance was very strong, with around 10%”. According to Costas, “the data was not modified”: “The OAS engineers were with the TSE all the time at the time of the TREP transmission, taking photographs of the advance very closely and the TSE had an advance until 22h of almost 94%, but we had suspended the information at 83%. It was the knowledge of the OAS that the development from 83 to 94 % in a reasonable period with 380 operators transmitting the information”. There was also no violence during election day: “more than 200 observers have certified the tranquility of the day”.

The president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), María Eugenia Choque, clarified that the TREP “was suspended in order to avoid confusion with the result of the departmental computer system”. The official assured that they decided to suspend this system because the departmental courts started with the official computation and the TES could not “have two results working at the same time. According to Chancellor Diego Pary, “there was no interruption in the TREP,” but the official count replaced it. But “at the request of the observation missions, the TREP count was restarted 24 hours later. A new trend was unveiled, incorporating votes from more remote regions of the country.

The coup d’état in Bolivia has brought to light the double game of the OAS. It immediately announced, even before the final results were known, that the electoral process was not credible. The U.S. State Department was quick to assert that “the United States strongly supports the October 23 OAS observation report, which reveals a number of irregularities that need to be corrected. Thus it made clear to the “free world” what was the position of the world gendarme towards the Bolivian electoral process.

Evo Morales’ government then accepted his proposal to send an audit mission. But candidate Mesa rejected the OAS mission, fanning the flames. The coordinator of the OAS electoral audit even had to resign to give credibility to the report, as he was the author of a series of articles against the Morales government! Yet Evo accepted his replacement and pledged to make the result binding. Finally, the OAS audit’s preliminary communiqué on the electoral process arrived a week later, two days ahead of schedule. It was not surprising that it denounced irregularities. President Evo accepted new elections. But Mesa and Camacho rejected them. Despite President Evo’s announcement that he would respect the conclusions of the OAS report and allow new elections, the opposition followed its coup strategy. Its objective was precise: to force Evo out, to persecute masism and thus put an end to a collective historical subject.

Shortly before his resignation speech, Evo Morales acknowledged that the OAS had made “a political and not a technical report”. Having overcome another coup attempt shortly after becoming president in 2006, Evo’s government could have prepared for that eventuality. Wikileaks’ revelaton of confidential cables could have even helped anticipate the modus operandi. On August 21, 2009, Hillary Clinton asked her embassy in La Paz: how prepared is the opposition to use violence if necessary? Do you have any plans to counter security forces for defensive or offensive purposes? In another cable on September 10, 2009, Hillary insisted, “Do opposition leaders or groups plan to protest or demonstrate if they suspect election fraud? Do they have a plan to abstain from voting or attempt to commit fraud?Bolivia: The OAS and US Help Overthrow Another Latin American Government

In contrast to the speed with which the OAS issued its first incendiary communiqué, the final report arrived with great delay almost a month later, on December 4. In response, a hundred international experts have demanded that “it withdraw misleading statements about the elections, which have contributed to the political conflict and have served as one of the ‘justifications’ most used to consummate the military coup”. Given this precedent, as well as recent examples of OAS interference in the cases of Nicaragua and Venezuela, it will be necessary for the people to draw their own conclusions. After the coup in Bolivia, what country will take the OAS seriously, enabling it to issue certificates of democracy?

Media war at its peak

Against the backdrop of a properly mediatized suspicion of fraud, violence took on increasing dimensions, although it was tolerated. After being singled out as government supporters, journalists and public service media workers were attacked, humiliated and prevented from working. The police seemed not to act after the opposition came to meet them and convinced them to join the coup. It was probably prepared in advance. The mutiny of police forces in Cochabamba and other departments was duly staged and mediatized by banners announcing “We don’t want dialogue, all together for democracy!” and others visualizing a rude caricature of President Evo hanging face up from his private parts. The psychological and media warfare reached its peak when fear seized masism, as the criminal attacks of the opposition counted on the passivity of the police forces and the army barracks. With their help, an authentic strategy of terror could be carried out: members of the government were threatened, kidnapped, their private homes burned with impunity, and they ended up resigning their positions under the pressure of reprisals against their families.

To the left, Cochabamba police riot greeted by civilians equipped with helmets, truncheons and artisanal rocket launchers (photo: France 24). To the right, children’s illustrations broadcast on social networks by the Cruceña Youth Union, aimed at disguising violence.

In those moments, with the betrayal of the security forces, the destiny of plurinational Bolivia was at stake. It was the event that tipped the balance in favor of a coup strategy conceived as a set of combined forces. An opposition whose sole purpose was to sabotage democracy. Its objective? Allowing once again the plundering of national wealth and preventing the industrial development of Bolivia from its significant reserves of lithium. The military command entered the scene: it “suggested” to President Morales that he resign the presidency for the good of the country. On November 10, Evo Morales was forced to resign in order to end the violence of the opposition and avoid a bloodbath. Significantly, the shock groups or motorcyclists went out to celebrate the arrival of what they consider democracy… many of them still hooded!

Once the coup was consummated, those same forces went out to repress without any qualms those who resisted, whom private sector media described as “mobs“, “vandals,” or “radicals. Contrary to the idea that one could get a “dictatorship” installed 14 years ago, the private press combined with the use of social networks played a crucial role in justifying the coup d’etat through a propaganda campaign in which the role of the victim and the aggressor was inverted and President Evo Morales demonized. In what tyrannical regime could the media have become so open and free on the side of coup sectors?

It’s time to call the facts by name. Neofascist groups played a decisive role in this real coup. A privileged place was reserved for them, favouring the organisation of armed militias acting in cooperation with the police forces. Groups like the Unión Juvenil Cruceñista, defined by the International Federation of Human Rights as a “fascist paramilitary group”. On November 25, its members occupied the headquarters of the Santa Cruz Federation of Peasant Workers’ Unions to burn their equipment and documentation. In Bolivia, the thugs and the military are now making their own rules. It is impossible to imagine in the current context any kind of “transition” without continuing the bloodshed.

Imputing the Massacres to the victims themselves

On Friday, November 15, a march of peasants from the 6 Federations of the Tropic of Cochabamba was on the Huayllani bridge, from Sacaba to Cochabamba. This strategic place of connection with the capital of the department was the object of an important security forces deployment to prevent the coca growers of the Chapare from entering the city. The result was a bloody massacre that resulted in 9 deaths and dozens of wounded. Through videos recorded by the peasants themselves, the excessive use of chemical weapons could be evidenced. In addition, several testimonies evidenced the use of military weapons used by soldiers from helicopters flying over the place. On the same day, Jeanine Añez had signed decree 4078 allowing the Armed Forces to use military weapons without further responsibility, with the aim of neutralizing the social movements in favor of Evo Morales. This document also specified that all public and private entities of the State should provide support to the Military Forces. The media and social networks inoculated in people’s minds the crazy idea that the marchers had shot each other to attract attention, and that the government’s repression was justified to “pacify the country” after the coup.

In Senkata, El Alto, a new massacre took place that the private sector media justified as a sort of “preventive attack,” using the idea that the demonstrators, presented as “terrorists,” would have sought to provoke an explosion of the gas plant that would have made the city of El Alto disappear.

De facto President Añez spared no resources in presenting the aggressor as a victim and vice versa: “we never thought of attacking, we were being attacked (…) from the Army (…) no bullets  were fired (…) There was information from experts telling us that if a flame ignites in Senkata, all of El Alto can fly. Those who conceived this trope reached the pinnacle in the art of propaganda. However, contrary to the lie repeated a thousand times that the army did not shoot “not a single bullet,” different testimonies affirm that the mortal victims were targeted from helicopters.

During its observation mission, the IACHR (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights), which is not suspected of bias in favor of Evo’s government, collected numerous testimonies of the Sacaba and Senkata massacres and denounced that currently there is “no guarantee of the independence of the judiciary” in Bolivia. In response, on December 6, the self-proclaimed president approved the “supreme decree 4100” with the aim of compensating the families of the 35 dead and hundreds injured by the repression she herself ordered. The price to buy their silence? 50,000 bolivianos, just over 7,000 dollars. A fully-fledged “blackmail” for the spokespersons of the victims, who have already announced their willingness to take the case to the United Nations. Immediately a group of spokespersons replied: “We don’t want your money, it’s blackmail”. The silence of the victims is not bought. The IACHR declared its concern at the decree, for including a clause that would make it impossible for victims to appeal to international bodies to claim their rights. This would represent a violation of the commitments undertaken when ratifying the Rome Statute, in particular the principle of non-applicability of statutory limitations in the matter of crimes against humanity.

Frenetic political-judicial persecution

The persecution, arbitrary detentions and death threats against those responsible for the dismissed government and their families are increasing day by day. The same pattern used to achieve the coup remains active until the dictatorship’s goal of ending all resistance to the coup is achieved. This is how anyone who can be used as a scapegoat to launder their crimes continues to be preventively detained.

In recent weeks, the Bolivian Ombudsman’s Office, which confines itself to carrying out an assessment of human rights and counting the victims, has been harassed and its workers were prevented from carrying out their work. Its representative in Cochabamba, Mr. Nelson Cox, questioned “the role played by the Attorney General’s Office and the Police with respect to the cordon and protests in the Ombudsman’s Office facilities, calling those bodies permissive in the face of acts of aggression. The mere existence of this organization is unacceptable to the coup plotters. Rabid at this small demonstration of resistance, the representatives of the de facto government incite their followers to attack the members of the Defensoría even in their private homes: “They have carried out explosions of firecrackers in my home, they have accused me of committing illicit acts, of drug traffickers, murderers, terrorists (…), they have made threats against my daughters and my family” – declared Mr. Cox.

Far from being satisfied with having seized power by force, the de facto government is aware that its legitimacy hangs by a thread. That is why the repression must take a prominent turn until the next elections are organised. Without delay, special anti-terrorist units were presented with great pomp, presumably announcing the next crimes that will go unpunished.

Without fear of ridicule, on December 6, the self-proclaimed president announced the creation of an “inter-institutional committee for the defense of victims for political and ideological reasons of the last 14 years”. Shortly before, Añez had congratulated the spokesman of the paramilitary gangs that terrorized the population in the decisive moments of the coup, acting with the complicity of the police and the army (house fires, lynchings, racist attacks, etc.).

And if it was still necessary to demonstrate the kind of people Añez considers victims, on the same day four miners were released who were convicted for the torture and murder of the deputy interior minister Rodolfo Illanes in August 2016.

On 11 November, the president and former vice-president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), Maria Eugenia Choque and Antonio Costas, were arrested along with 34 members.

On November 27, Chuquisaca governor Esteban Urquizu was preventively detained for “leaving office” after he resigned on November 10.

On December 3, former Minister of Productive Development Susana Rivero Guzmán denounced “Death threats to my son, destruction of our small house in La Paz and a hostile climate of intimidation of the family. For that reason, she announced her willingness to “turn to international human rights protection bodies.

On December 4, Idelfonso Mamani, a former member of the TSE (Supreme Electoral Tribunal), was arrested. The accusation read: “it is presumed that the TSE assigned the printing of the electoral material to one printing press, however, the work was done by another”.

On December 6, the departure from the country of former Economy Minister Luis Arce Catacora was announced, who was able to benefit from the asylum offered by Mexico. On the same day, former Communication Minister Amanda Dávila was accused of using funds from the State Publishing House to print MAS campaign material. Dávila denounced having been the victim of a montage through a photo of the visit of Morales’ daughter.

This non-exhaustive list allows us to understand that what is underway is a frenetic political-judicial persecution against all members of previous Morales governments, casting a shadow of suspicion on the issue of corruption, in order to challenge and completely erase the memory of 13 years of the process of change in Bolivia, whose economic and social balance has been recognized worldwide, in particular by reducing extreme poverty by 23%.

Confession of crimes against humanity

Because the best defense is attack, “government minister” Murillo, who incited “hunting” members of the ousted government and tried to intimidate those who defended them, has made public his intention to bring Evo Morales before the International Criminal Court in The Hague “for crimes against humanity,” blaming him for the 35 deadly victims, even after his resignation and exile from the country. To endorse a president who has deposed the responsibility for the victims of a regime that has militarized the country and repressed protest is to show boldness without limits, or a way to convince himself of the impunity he believes he can count on after resuming full relations with the United States.

Murillo undoubtedly tries to use everything in his power to invest the victim and the aggressor. This is how he has tried to present Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera as a “confessed terrorist” and a “narco-guerrilla”, reactivating the imaginary vision of the Cold War dictatorships. He has also widely released an audiotape in which Morales is supposedly heard encouraging the blockade of cities in order for the population to resist the coup. Whether an authentic or false document, the preamble to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, clearly inspired by the French declaration of 1789, implicitly foresees the right to rebellion in situations marked by the absence of democratic and constitutional guarantees: “It is essential that human rights be protected by a rule of law, so that man is not compelled to the supreme recourse of rebellion against tyranny and oppression.”

In fact, the de facto government of Añez-Murillo was imposed by an army whose first mission has been to crush protest and teach the humble people of rural areas a lesson, depriving them of their right to vote and their participation in democratic life after centuries of exclusion. Its foreseeable function is to conceal and justify the current wave of repression. But the dignfied people of the Plurinational State of Bolivia carry on their backs an experience of centuries of resisting with iron determination the tyranny of colonialism and its successors. It is time to understand that disinformation campaigns are a global mechanism whose objective is to break the sovereignty of the peoples of the world and demolish the bridges of solidarity. The apostle of Cuban independence José Martí summed it up in an unbeatable way: “Nations that remain strangers must rush to know one another, like soldiers about to go into battle together (…)”

Posted in USA, BoliviaComments Off on Bolivia: The 21st Century Coup d’État and Its Crimes Against Humanity

Libya Is Likely to Become a Proxy Battlefront Between Greece and Turkey

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research,

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has certainly opened up pandora’s box in Libya that is now difficult for him to close after he made a series of gross miscalculations and aggression against Greece. This has triggered a crisis all across the Eastern Mediterranean. With Libya in a state of war since the NATO-jihadist alliance removed and murdered long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two prominent forces have emerged from the initial chaos, the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord in coalition with the Muslim Brotherhood who control the capital city of Tripoli, and the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by General Khalifa Haftar, who controls about 80% of the country and has the backing of the Libyan Parliament based in Tobruk. Alliances are beginning to form and play out as a proxy in Libya.

The Erdoğan-Tripoli deal to steal Greek maritime space to exploit gas and oil deposits has hit a major roadblock as hostilities continue to increase between Greece and Turkey. Not only has the U.S., Russia, the European Union and Israel denounced Turkey’s moves in the Eastern Mediterranean, Egypt, Italy and France have all categorically supported Greece’s position and have vowed to intervene to any Turkish aggression.

As part of the wider Eastern Mediterranean crisis, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said yesterday that Turkey is willing to use the military to steal oil and gas from Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The comments come as today Cyprus, France and Italy will conduct the “CYP/FRA/IT 2019 naval exercise in the island’s EEZ,” demonstrating that Paris and Rome want a greater role and influence in the Eastern Mediterranean by cooperating with fellow EU states – Cyprus and Greece.  The U.S. is also aiming to capitalize on pressuring Turkey for its strengthening relations with Russia in recent times, with Congress likely to lift a 1987 arms embargo against Cyprus today, which was already approved by the Senate in the middle of the year.

Meanwhile, the Turkish-Greek border has been intensified. Although Turkey violates Greek airspace on a daily basis resulting in an equal number of Greek jets chasing off Turkish warplanes, Tuesday was especially intense as 38 Greek jets surrounded and chased off over 20 Turkish jets, with a Greek military source saying “we had fun.” This comes as Turkey announced it is willing to use military force against Greece to exploit oil and gas close to Greek islands. This resulted in a flurry of responses from the Greek government and military all announcing that they are not afraid to respond to any Turkish aggression.Erdogan Opened a Pandora’s Box in Libya that Will be Difficult to Close

Athens is also taking diplomatic and soft power steps to prevent Turkey from beginning a military confrontation with Greece. Athens has utilized the EU mechanisms to ensure backing against Turkish hostilities, with Ursula Von Der Leynen, the new President of the European Commission, saying on Monday:

“We are on your side [Greece], Turkey’s action in the Aegean is unacceptable, we will send a clear message to Turkey.”

Greece also took the step of expelling the GNA (Government of National Accord) Ambassador, prompting the way for the LNA to have European recognition as it is only openly backed by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This expulsion of the GNA Ambassador saw the LNA’s Navy Chief Faraz al-Mahtawi state on Greek television that he will personally sink Turkish ships if they arrive in Libya after Erdoğan threatened to militarily intervene in the North African country.

And this is exactly where the Greek-Turkish battle will take place, through a proxy in Libya and not directly with each other. Mahtawi, a Philhellene who was trained at the Greek Naval School, engaged in race politics by saying in perfect Greek on television that Fayez el-Sarraj, the Prime Minister of the GNA, was “not a Libyan, but a Turk,” as his ancestry is Ottoman Turkish colonists to Libya, while he also expressed his hope for Greek support.

With Greece, Egypt and Cyprus in a military alliance, Athens is now expanding its military cooperation further. A move of particular strategic importance made by the Greek military leadership, was the signing of a memorandum of military cooperation between Greece and the UAE, which if we recall, is a key ally of Haftar and opposed to Turkey. This comes as reports are circulating that the UAE and Saudi Arabia are preparing an air operation in coordination with Haftar to defeat the GNA in Tripoli.

It also comes as Libyan Parliament representatives are arriving in Athens to hold discussions with the Greek government. If the Libyan representatives can convince Athens to recognize them, there is likely to be a domino effect of several EU states withdrawing their recognition of the GNA, isolating Turkey further who has not received any international support for the crisis it began in the Eastern Mediterranean. Even Russia, which has strengthened relations with Turkey to the annoyance of NATO, has continued its consistent policy of following international law, with Russian Ambassador Andrei Maslov to Greece saying on Wednesday that “the rules laid down by the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea should be fundamental. There are no alternatives.” This of course is problematic as Turkey is one of only 15 UN members, out of 193, that has not signed it.

Although Turkey claims it is enacting international law, it has not specified which one. This has created a crisis all over the Eastern Mediterranean that is likely to spill over into Libya as Haftar’s forces continue to advance on Tripoli. Although it is unlikely Greece and Turkey will go to war, we can expect a proxy to emerge between the two rival countries with the battlefield being Libya.

Posted in Greece, Libya, TurkeyComments Off on Libya Is Likely to Become a Proxy Battlefront Between Greece and Turkey

NATO Summit – and 2020 Planned Aggression

By Peter Koenig

Global Research,

A recent article “NATO is Brain Dead” described the obsolescence Of NATO and NATO’s defense mechanisms against non-existence enemies. Amazing – with pretense of protection and security in Europe and the world, against Russia and China and fighting against “terror” – as the endless war against endless terror fought by the same forces which create the endless terror – is a very lucrative absurdity.

Now we learn from the French Peace Movement which was present at the 70th Birthday at Buckingham, London – that the horrors of NATO planned for the coming year – and if not stopped – they will be sowing destruction way beyond – are even more horrific than originally imagined. We also lean that Macron – who coined the by now legendary phrase “NATO is Brain Dead” is intimately part of the new NATO deal, Macron, again has launched a “nasty boy” propaganda, while in reality embracing NATO wholeheartedly.

Where is Charles De Gaulle when the world needs him!

Please read below – and spread this message to friends and foes – so as to divulge another lie of one of our European leaders – and be sure that there is NO truth that can ever be expected from the west.

***

2019.12.11 Mouvement de la Paix

Communicated

NATO Summit: an even more aggressive and increasingly expansionary military alliance

Contrary to the media preparation cleverly orchestrated by President Macron, the NATO summit held in London on December 5 and 6, 2019 has not led to a questioning of this military alliance dating back to the Cold War. , on the contrary.

After celebrating 70 years of NATO at Buckingham Palace, the Heads of State and Government unanimously adopted a final declaration stating that “terrorism in all its forms and manifestations … remains a persistent threat to us all “and that” Russia’s aggressive actions pose a threat to Euro-Atlantic security “and for the first time showcasing China’s rise as a” challenge “for NATO. Thus we want to justify the revival of the arms race, a new enlargement of NATO in the Balkans with this year the accession of North Macedonia after the accession of Montenegro in 2018 and the implementation of NATO Readiness Initiative (NRI) announced by Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General. From 2020, NATO will be able to mobilize 25,000 soldiers, 300 fighter planes and 30 combat ships from the different armies of the partner countries in less than 30 days.

The London summit is therefore very much part of the aggressive and expansionist strategy of the United States, as analyzed by the international counter-summit organized in London on November 30 by pacifist forces from all over the planet – including the Peace Movement and the French collective “No à l’OTAN”. NATO no longer has “North Atlantic” as the name, because we are witnessing a dangerous globalization of NATO present on all continents through defense agreements with many countries.

The decisions taken in London reveal Emmanuel Macron’s statements on NATO’s “brain death” for what they are: a smokescreen aimed at putting France back as a champion of accelerated military integration. European Union, presented as an act of autonomy vis-à-vis NATO while it perfectly meets the objectives of NATO to finance more military spending by the European countries themselves while building capacity military facing Russia presented as a threat.

In 2020, Europe will be the setting for the Defender 2020 maneuvers, the biggest maneuvers since the end of the Cold War, when troops from the United States will deploy to Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. to go to the borders of Russia, crossing Eastern Europe. These maneuvers will culminate in April-May 2020 and France will participate without questioning their provocation vis-à-vis Russia.

President Macron has undoubtedly succeeded in getting himself talked about before the summit and he has obtained that is indicated in the joint statement the opening of a group of “prospective reflection” on the strategy of the Atlantic Alliance; in fact, France will remain in NATO an unconditional ally of the strategies decided in Washington.

The pacifist counter-summit decided to intensify its actions in 2020 to denounce NATO as a factor of war and insecurity and to demand its dissolution, in favor of a security alternative that includes all the countries of the continent. European. The Defender 2020 maneuvers will be the occasion for the mobilization of public opinion against NATO, an instrument of war in the service of North American hegemony, in favor of a Europe of peace in a safer world.

The Peace Movement

NATO – No Need – NATO-EXIT: The Florence Declaration

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Deutsche Bank Breaks Down How Tomorrow’s Election Will Impact UK Markets

By Zero Hedge

Global Research,

A team of Deutsche Bank macro analysts led by Oliver Harvey has produced its latest note economic note about Brexit expounding on the bank’s near-to-medium-term view on the outlook for British markets.

The bulk of the note is an examination of how the Conservative policy manifesto stacks up against Labour, while also examining how each party’s platform might impact longstanding economic trends in Britannia, including weak productivity (since the crisis, the UK has exhibited the most tepid productivity performance of any major economy, according to the OECD’s data)…

…and a standard of living that hasn’t yet recovered to surpass its pre-crisis peak.

And let’s not forget about taxes. Labour hopes to hike the capital gains tax on investment income, while also raising the inheritance tax and several other levies.

Looking further down the road, DB’s team said they “find it difficult to be bullish sterling until more detail is provided on Brexit outcome.” Strategists are increasingly expressing trepidation about Boris Johnson’s insistence that the Conservatives won’t allow an extension of the next meaningful Brexit deadline (that is, the Dec. 31, 2020 deadline to finish trade-deal talks)Can the UK Election Solve the Brexit Impasse?

In the near term, the biggest risks are related to the outcome of Thursday’s vote. Conservatives are ahead in the polls, but it’s likely they won’t win an outright majority. So, the first question is what kind of coalition will they form? Two possible iterations are: an alliance with the DUP and/or Brexit Party, or a minority government with the support of the Liberal Democrats. In the event of the former we would be very negative on the pound and bullish UK rates.

Neither route is free of problems for the Tories. The DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) has been a persistent thorn in No. 10’s side since last summer, and both they and the Brexit Party have criticized Johnson’s deal. If they win enough seats, they could try to force Johnson to scrap the deal and push for another round of negotiations, which would probably infuriate both the EU27 and the British public. If the Conservatives end up partnering with the Lib Dems, they might need to commit to a second Brexit referendum in order to pass Johnson’s deal. In the short term, at least, this would present a more optimistic outlook for the pound and UK markets more broadly.

In terms of growth, a Conservative majority followed by implementation of the government’s Brexit deal in January could trigger a bounce in consumer sentiment, in turn lifting growth in the short term. It probably goes without saying, but however the Tories choose to handle the situation, the composition of the governing coalition will be of critical importance to markets.

For example, DB’s team believes business investment would rise if the government (presuming a Tory plurality) agrees to extend the Dec. 2020 deadline, thereby increasing the chances of a lasting trade deal that’s agreeable to both sides.

Polls have consistently shown Conservatives with a sizable lead. But as DB shows, there’s not much of a relationship between the percentage of the vote and number of seats won.

Still, Labour’s program of massive public spending hikes is attractive to the average Joe who is tired of austerity and eager for better broadband access.

Labour’s party manifesto is ambitious, and includes nationalizing the broadband arm of BT Group (formerly British Telecom) to bring free broadband to all of Britain before 2030. The manifesto also calls for much higher regional investment to help smooth out the stark economic inequalities between various regions.

Johnson’s Conservatives are way ahead in the polls. But as investors learned during the Brexit referendum, polls can’t always be trusted.

And anybody who agrees with DB’s long-term skepticism about the pound can probably pick up some OTM puts for a reasonable price.

Posted in Campaigns, UKComments Off on Deutsche Bank Breaks Down How Tomorrow’s Election Will Impact UK Markets

Ukraine Might Finally See Peace, Unless the US ‘Deep State’ Sabotages It First

By Andrew Korybko

Global Research,

The intense diplomatic efforts undertaken by Presidents Putin and Zelensky finally yielded credible hope that peace might eventually return to Ukraine following their first-ever face-to-face meeting during this week’s Normandy Summit in Paris, but the greatest obstacle that both leaders will have to surmount is the subversive efforts of Trump’s ‘deep state’ foes to sabotage the peace process by Color Revolution means.

Prospects For Peace

This week’s Normandy Summit in Paris represented a tremendous step towards the long-sought goal of finally bringing a lasting peace to Ukraine after the latest diplomatic efforts undertaken by Presidents Putin and Zelensky during their first-ever face-to-face meeting. The two leaders reached an agreement alongside their French and German counterparts to continue with the so-called “Steinmeier formula” of holding OSCE-monitored elections in the rebel regions sometime next year in parallel with Ukraine enacting the constitutional reform mandated by the Minsk Accords in order to ultimately return control of the international border to Kiev. Chairman of the Duma Committee on International Affairs Leonid Slutskiy celebrated this development for “exceeding expectations” because it “unblocked and restarted the peace process”, while Merkel reportedly told President Putin right before their joint press conference that “today you are a winner.”

“Deep State” Dangers

While there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done by both Kiev and the rebels, the latest Normandy Summit proved that Zelensky is staying true to his word in sincerely trying to bring peace to his country after he and his party received an unprecedented mandate from the people during this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections to do so. It took a remarkable amount of political will to publicly reaffirm the Minsk Accords that his predecessor signed despite Poroshenko never having had any intention of abiding by them in hindsight, especially since Zelensky is increasingly forced to confront an ever-vocal hyper-nationalist “opposition” at home with a clear track record of violence and even coups. Undeterred, the Ukrainian leader even committed to exploring the possibility for another prisoner swap with Russia, a ceasefire in Donbas, and the pullback of his country’s military forces from the area of operations as goodwill gestures under the right conditions.

Left to their own without any external interference, there’s little doubt that peace would eventually return to Donbas, but the problem is that there are some powerful foreign forces that don’t want to see that happen, namely President Trump’s “deep state” foes who are obsessed with doing anything that they can to thwart his desired rapprochement with Russia by encouraging Ukraine to continue the failed civil war as a proxy conflict against Moscow’s national security interests which they hope would indefinitely perpetuate the New Cold War. Trump is already facing enormous pressure by the so-called “opposition” as a result of the manufactured Ukrainegate impeachment scandal, and with the Democrats about to enter the primary season early next year, it’s entirely conceivable that their “deep state” allies might try to provoke the breakdown of the Donbas peace process in order to compel the President into offering even more military aid to Ukraine so as to “save face” before the voters but ruin his chances for a meaningful rapprochement with Russia before the election in exchange.

The Significance Of President Putin’s Srebrenica Statement

The most realistic way in which this scheme could be advanced is through the leverage of their NGO, intelligence, and on-the-ground “agent” influence over that same hyper-nationalist “opposition” that was earlier described as becoming increasingly vocal in their condemnation of Zelensky’s peace efforts. Their narrative is that he’s “selling out the country” even though the end result of the peace process as agreed upon by all parties through the Minsk Accords would arguably result in the exact same victory that Kiev is aiming for, albeit in a responsibly phased fashion alongside some constitutional concessions for sustaining stability in the conflict-plagued southeastern region after the war officially ends. His opponents, however, want a Croatian-like “Operation Storm” ethnic cleansing of the Russian-affiliated people of Donbas in order to send a message to all of their “fellow” dissatisfied citizens that there will be a bloody price to pay if they ever dare to follow in their footsteps.

President Putin knows that the West will never recognize the worst ethnic cleansing in Europe since World War II so he instead sought to change his narrative tactics by warning about a second “Srebrenica” if Kiev jumps a few steps ahead of the peace process by demanding the return of its military forces to the international frontier before Donbas’ elections and the completion of the country’s subsequent constitutional reform. This statement, while intended to put additional pressure upon Ukraine by the comparatively responsible members of the West (such as Trump, Macron, and Merkel) to abide by its international commitments, caught Russia’s “brotherly” Serbs off guard since it strongly implied some measure of guilt on their part for the so-called “genocide” that they’ve been falsely accused of carrying out since 1995 but which was completely discredited by the research conducted by many independent experts such as Stefan Karganovic for example.

Whether a faux pas or a sign of something sinister such as the impending sell-out of Kosovo that some strongly suspect is in the cards, the point to focus on in this context is that President Putin’s rhetoric was intended to achieve the immediate effect of scaring the West using its own “genocide” mythology in order to counteract the pernicious influence of Trump’s “deep state” foes in possibly sabotaging the peace process. The means through which they could accomplish this mostly boil down to encouraging another Color Revolution, which could also serve the indirect purpose of putting pressure on oligarch Kolomoysky who allegedly wields enormous influence over Zelensky and also recently threatened to “switch sides” towards Russia after previously financing Neo-Nazi death squads. Accepting the likelihood of this asymmetrical threat, the question becomes one of whether the Ukrainian security services can be relied upon to remain loyal to their internationally recognized president or not, and if so, whether they can responsibly respond to a nascent Color Revolution without unwittingly worsening it.

Assessing The Threat

It’s difficult to answer these questions from afar, but one can reasonably speculate that the odds are in Zelensky’s favor. After all, the successful conclusion of the peace process would result in an incontestable victory for Kiev despite the constitutional concessions that it’ll have to undertake beforehand, something that all of its servicemen want to see happen even though some would prefer for it to be preceded by an ethnic cleansing without any constitutional concessions being made. Those hyper-nationalist and sometimes outright fascist forces are probably in the minority despite being so vocal and highly visibly in both the media and the streets that one would be forgiven for thinking otherwise since they would have already undermined the peace process before this point had they been in the majority or had the power to overturn the will of the aforesaid. They’re still a threat, but they can only succeed with their scheme through a Color Revolution, the viability of which depends on the “moderate majority” of the security forces’ response to any such incipent threat.

The use of disproportionate force against anti-state provocateurs who take advantage of mostly peaceful protesting crowds and/or the unprovoked use of force in the first place against the latter category of demonstrators could incite the public to spill out into the streets at a much larger scale than some of their members already threatened to do in order to pass the critical threshold whereby a Color Revolution could prospectively succeed. The Ukrainian security services aren’t known for their discipline so it’ll be difficult for them to deal with this scenario, though they might be able to handle it if they stay focused and are briefed by their superiors about the specific nature of the threat that they’re responding to which always attempts to tempt them into triggering a self-sustaining cycle of violence that eventually destabilizes the state and ultimately leads to either a regime change or unconventional (civil, terrorist, etc.) war. Their response to any impending Color Revolution will be the test that determines whether or not the peace process succeeds.

Concluding Thoughts

Ukraine has never been closer to peace since the civil war first began almost six years years ago, yet it still has a long way to go considering the rest of the steps that must first be undertaken (especially elections in Donbas and Kiev’s constitutional reform) and the intense efforts of Trump’s “deep state” foes to thwart this by proxy via the influence that they wield over the country’s Color Revolution-prone hyper-nationalist “opposition”. If Kiev and the rebels succeed in carrying out the mutual concessions mandated by the Minsk Accords, then Ukraine will finally be reunited, with any malcontents in the southeast being able to simply move to Russia by taking advantage of the passport program that began earlier this year which the author correctly predicted was intended to facilitate their migration eastward instead of legally enabling their region’s incorporation into Russia like many “wishfully” speculated at the time. Looking forward, there’s certainly a reason for observers to be hopeful about the prospects for peace, though they also shouldn’t get their hopes unrealistically high either.

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The Warfare State Lied About Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. They Will Lie Again.

By Tho Bishop

Global Research,

Today the Washington Post published a bombshell report titled “The Afghanistan Papers,” highlighting the degree to which the American government lied to the public about the ongoing status of the war in Afghanistan. Within the thousands of pages, consisting of internal documents, interviews, and other never-before-released intel, is a vivid depiction of a Pentagon painfully aware of the need to keep from the public the true state of the conflict and the doubts, confusion, and desperation of decision-makers spanning almost 20 years of battle.

As the report states:

The interviews, through an extensive array of voices, bring into sharp relief the core failings of the war that war is inseparable from propaganda, lies, hatred, impoverishment, cultural degradation, and moral corruption. It is the most horrific outcome of the moral and political legitimacy people are taught to grant the state. persist to this day. They underscore how three presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump — and their military commanders have been unable to deliver on their promises to prevail in Afghanistan.

With most speaking on the assumption that their remarks would not become public, U.S. officials acknowledged that their warfighting strategies were fatally flawed and that Washington wasted enormous sums of money trying to remake Afghanistan into a modern nation….

The documents also contradict a long chorus of public statements from U.S. presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting.

None of these conclusions surprise anyone that has been following America’s fool’s errand in Afghanistan.

What makes this release noteworthy is the degree to which it shows the lengths to which Washington to knowingly deceive the public about the state of the conflict. This deception extends even to the federal government’s accounting practices. Notes the report, the “U.S. government has not carried out a comprehensive accounting of how much it has spent on the war in Afghanistan.”America’s Lost War in Afghanistan

As the war has dragged on, the struggle to justify America’s military presence. As the report notes:

A person identified only as a senior National Security Council official said there was constant pressure from the Obama White House and Pentagon to produce figures to show the troop surge of 2009 to 2011 was working, despite hard evidence to the contrary.

“It was impossible to create good metrics. We tried using troop numbers trained, violence levels, control of territory and none of it painted an accurate picture,” the senior NSC official told government interviewers in 2016. “The metrics were always manipulated for the duration of the war.

Making Washington’s failure in Afghanistan all the more horrific is how easily predictable it was for those who desired to see the warfare state for what it is.

In the words of Lew Rockwell, in reflecting on the anti-war legacy of Murray Rothbard:

War is inseparable from propaganda, lies, hatred, impoverishment, cultural degradation, and moral corruption. It is the most horrific outcome of the moral and political legitimacy people are taught to grant the state.

On this note, it is important to note that the significance of the Washington Post’s report should not distract from another major story that has largely been ignored by mainstream news outlets.

Recently, multiple inspectors with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have come forward claiming that relevant evidence related to their analysis of the reported 2017 chemical gas attack in Syria. As Counterpunch.org has reported:

Assessing the damage to the cylinder casings and to the roofs, the inspectors considered the hypothesis that the cylinders had been dropped from Syrian government helicopters, as the rebels claimed. All but one member of the team concurred with Henderson in concluding that there was a higher probability that the cylinders had been placed manually. Henderson did not go so far as to suggest that opposition activists on the ground had staged the incident, but this inference could be drawn. Nevertheless Henderson’s findings were not mentioned in the published OPCW report.

The staging scenario has long been promoted by the Syrian government and its Russian protectors, though without producing evidence. By contrast Henderson and the new whistleblower appear to be completely non-political scientists who worked for the OPCW for many years and would not have been sent to Douma if they had strong political views. They feel dismayed that professional conclusions have been set aside so as to favour the agenda of certain states.

At the time, those who dared question the official narrative about the attack – including Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Rep. Thomas Massie, and Fox News’s Tucker Carlson – were derided for being conspiracy theorists by many of the same Serious People who not only bought the Pentagon’s lies about Afghanistan but also the justifications for the Iraq War.

Once again we are reminded of the wise words of George Orwell, “truth is treason in an empire of lies.”

These attacks promoted as justification for America to escalate its military engagement in the country, with the beltway consensus lobbying President Trump to reverse his administration’s policy of pivoting away from the Obama-era mission of toppling the Assad regime. While Trump did respond with a limited missile attack, the administration rejected the more militant proposals promoted by some of its more hawkish voices, such as then-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

In a better timeline, the ability of someone like Rep. Gabbard to see through what increasingly looks like another attempt to lie America into war would warrant increased support in her ongoing presidential campaign.

Instead, we are likely to continue to see those that advocate peace attacked by the bipartisan consensus that provides cover for continued, reckless military action abroad.

Posted in Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq, SyriaComments Off on The Warfare State Lied About Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. They Will Lie Again.

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