The EU continues targeting the Civilian Population of Syria with US-led sanctions while scraping the arms embargo…
Beirut - Under withering pressure from Washington and the UK, the European Union met this week to decide whether to increase the pressure on the Syrian public by repealing the March 2011 arms embargo that was intended to prohibit arms shipments to Syria and whether or not to continue economic sanctions against the Syrian public.
On 5/27/13 it decided to open the flood gate of arms flow into Syria and to keep the civilian targeting economic sanctions in place.
Lobbying for scrapping the arms embargo, set to expire at midnight on 31 May, had reached nearly historic intensity at EU HQ in Brussels, London and Washington. Recently, the US State Department demanded that every one of the 27 European Ambassadors posted in the US appear at the State Department for “consultations to avoid any misunderstandings about what the White House was expecting at the upcoming EU meeting.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry had been urging the EU to gut the arms embargo so as to expedite weapon shipments to the rebels. It currently appears that Britain now has the support of France, Italy and Spain, while Germany appears neutral and Austria, Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic are still opposed. ”Fine for him to say, but what is Washington willing to do?” one European foreign minister opposed to lifting the ban put it to BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet.
This week’s EU meeting, which was postponed three months ago, raised again the obligation of the international community to respect the laws of armed conflict and the Geneva Convention with respect to protecting the civilian population during armed conflicts and virtually every other international humanitarian law requirement.
For the American administration, designing and applying economic sanctions in order to pressure a population to break with its government to achieve regime change or any other political objective, as in the case of both Syria and Iran are fundamentally illegal under US law.
Just as soon as a group of Syrian-Americans and/or Iranian-American file a class action lawsuit in US Federal District Court ( the Court will have in persona and subject matter jurisdiction and the Plaintiffs will have standing to sue, given that they are American citizens) and the day after filing when they would no doubt file a Motion petitioning the Court for an Interim Measure of Protection (injunction) immediately freezing and lifting the US-led sanctions against the two countries civilian population, pending the final Court (Jury Trial) on the merits, the Obama administration is going to face serious judicial challenges to its outlawry.
William Hague, the UK Defense Minister, was quite active the past several days supporting the various Syrian militias’ arguments including: “The EU arms embargo must be lifted because the current economic sanctions regime is ineffective.” Presumably the right honorable gentleman means by “ineffective” that these brutal sanctions have not broken with will of the populations to settle their own affairs without transparent foreign interference. This is true if by “effective” Hague means that the US-led sanctions, that target Syria’s civilian population for purely political purposes of regime change, will cause the people of Syria, who unlike their leaders, are the ones directly affected by the sanctions to revolt over the lack of medicines and food stuffs plus inflation at the grocery stores,
Mr. Hague surely must be aware that very rarely, if ever at all in history, have civilian targeted sanctions designed to cause hardships among a nation’s population for purely political purposes actually broken the population such that they turned against their governments. Both the Syrian and Iranian sanctions have confirmed history’s instruction that the civilian targeting sanctions imposed from outside tend to have the exact opposite intended effect. This is true particularly modernly with more available information, and that the populations turn not against their national governments but rather against those foreign governments viewed as being responsible for these crimes.
The British, French, Turks and the Americans ( the latter, not actually an EU member but then, who would know from its involvements in EU deliberations?) were the zealots in Brussels advocating amendment of the imposed arms embargo so that weapons can be sent to “moderate” forces in these countries largely nurtured and sustained “opposition”.
The UK Defense Minister gave his colleagues repeated assurances that weapons would be supplied only “under carefully controlled circumstances” and with clear commitments from the opposition…We have to be open to every way of strengthening moderates and saving lives rather than the current trajectory of extremism and murder” have apparently convinced very few.
Unanimity was needed to repeal the embargo and several countries were opposed. So it was allowed to lapse. One Austrian official told the BBC that allowing lethal weapons to be sent into a war zone “would turn EU policy on its head.” Another European diplomat insisted that “It would be the first conflict where we pretend we could create peace by delivering arms,” the diplomat said. “If you pretend to know where the weapons will end up, then it would be the first war in history where this is possible. We have seen it in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Weapons don’t disappear; they pop up where they are needed.”
Oxfam warned before and after the vote of “devastating consequences” if the embargo ends.”There are no easy answers when trying to stop the bloodshed in Syria, but sending more arms and ammunition clearly isn’t one of them,” the aid agency’s head of arms control, Anna Macdonald told the media this week.
The result of the predicted 5/27/13 European Union meeting prevented the renewal of the arms embargo on Syria, raising the possibility of a new flow of weapons to various jihadist militias working with Qatar and Saudi Arabia, among others, to bring down the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Sustaining a personal rebuke of sorts given that the EU did not affirmatively oppose the embargo as he had hoped, William Hague, the British foreign secretary, told the media after more than 12 hours of stormy talks: “While we have no immediate plans to send arms to Syria, it gives us the flexibility to respond in the future if the situation continues to deteriorate and worsen,”
As a claimed safeguard of some kind, according to EU officials, the European Union declared that member states who might wish to send weapons to Syrian rebels “shall assess the export license applications on a case-by-case basis” in line with the organization’s rules on exports of military technology and equipment.
Some of the 27 EU countries are now even more concerned that anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons given to “moderate” militiamen (per Libya?) would end up Lord knows where, in the hands of salafist, jihadist-takiferi militants, including those from the al-Nusra Front, which has pledged fealty to al-Qaeda in Iraq.
The current embargo includes the following:
- Ban on export/import of arms and equipment for internal repression since May 2011
- “Non-lethal military equipment” ( there exists no such thing- all military equipment can become lethal in one way or another-ed) and technical assistance allowed under certain conditions since Feb 2013
- All Syrian cargo planes banned from EU airports
- EU states obliged to inspect Syria-bound ships or planes suspected of carrying arms
- Assets freeze on 54 groups and 179 people responsible for or involved in repression (many who are not involved in decision making and have no assets abroad are included-ed)
- Export ban on technical monitoring equipment
In February this year, EU foreign ministers agreed to enable any EU member state to provide non-lethal military equipment “for the protection of civilians” or for the opposition forces, “which the Union accepts as legitimate representatives of the Syrian people“.
Absence of a centralized command structure and massive human rights abuses by jihadist fighters asserting themselves as legitimate substitutes for the Assad government, are additional reasons for the current alarm
As is its habit recently, the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s diplomatic service, has spoken on both sides of this critical issue. On the one hand it has cautioned against “any counterproductive move” that could harm the prospects of the Geneva conference and suggests extending the embargo to allow “more time for reflection”. On the other suggesting that lifting the arms embargo would only prolong the war.
The practice of targeting a civilian population by outsiders in order to achieve political objectives such as regime change is fast heading for the dustbin of history given its blatant violation of all norms of international humanitarian law and common decency reflected in the values of most societies.
This week revealed on which side of history the European Union has chosen to anchor itself on the issue of targeting civilian populations in a blatant attempt to achieve regime change. It affirmatively voted “to renew all the economic sanctions already in place against the Syrian government.”
One imagines, as surely the EU is aware, that officials are not suffering much from the economic sanctions, but rather it is the exactly those the EU claims to want to help, who will continue to suffer rises in the cost of living generally as well as the sanctions causing shortages of medicines and medical equipment as well as specialized cancer treatments and other medicines for seriously ill drug-dependant citizens.
Across Syria these days, one is able to examine massive evidence that this ancient civilization, the historic bastion of nationalist Arabism and since the 1948 Nabka, an essential pillar of the growing culture of Resistance to the Zionist occupation of Palestine, is becoming awash with foreign arms being funneled to “rebels” by countries advocating regime change.
This observer has been researching foreign arms transfers into certain Middle East countries since last summer in Libya, where to a lesser degree the identical foreign actors were involved in facilitating the transfer of arms and fighters to topple the then, “Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.”
During a recent stay in Syria, I was able to observe first hand, substantial demonstrative evidence supporting the thesis that American, Zionist and Gulf intelligence agencies as well as private arms dealers from these countries top the list of more than two dozen countries benefiting from the crisis in Syria by injecting arms. These countries gain politically and financially, via governmental and black market arms transfers.
Which countries are sending the most weapons into Syria to arm militia?
A list of the top 24 countries, among the more than three dozen that are currently involved in sending weapons to Syria to achieve regime change include: USA, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, UK, France, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Brazil, Portugal, Poland, Yugoslavia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, and Argentina.
Above: one of the periodic lists complied of foreign weapons confiscated from foreign fighters in Syria. Aug.-late September, 2012
Nearly two-thirds of the above listed arms suppliers are members of NATO and constitute almost half of NATO’s 28 country membership.
Russia is not included in the above list because it is the main supplier of arms to the Syrian government. Yet, one finds older USSR era weapons and even some more recent vintage Russian arms in rebel hands, the latter from the decade (12/79-2/89) of Soviet, occupation of Afghanistan. Also offering Russian weapons are a growing number of black market arms dealers of whom there is no shortage along the Turkey-Syrian border and elsewhere. This recent visitor to Syria was offered near the Old City, AK 47’s (Russian Kalashnikovs) or Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG) for $ 1,800 (in Lebanon today and before the Syrian crisis the price was around $800. After some bargaining and starting to walk away a couple of times, the “special one-time only price for an American friend” dropped to $ 750 each. Russian made Dragunov sniper rifles are being offered at $ 6,500 but can be bought for around $ 5000.Buying arms these days in Syria is a caveat emptor proposition. Fake weapons and military rejects/defects are also being offered by hustlers from nearby countries including Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.
The involvement of numerous countries in the Syrian crisis as arms suppliers and political operatives was tangentially referenced by the recent UN Security Council Statement of 12/25/12 which admits the existence of foreign actors and implies their arms supplying activities by urging “all regional and international actors to use their influence on the parties concerned to facilitate the implementation of the (Eid al Adha) ceasefire and cessation of violence.”
Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Bashar al-Jaafari observed last week: “This part of the [Security Council] press statement, mentioned for the first time, proves Syria’s view repeated since the beginning of the crisis on the existence of Arab, regional and international parties influencing the armed groups negatively or positively. Therefore, those parties need to be addressed.”
One of the key challenges for the UN and Arab League envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi whose aides told this observer at the Dama Rose hotel on 10/22/12 where we were staying, is: “We need to persuade key countries in the Middle East, but also internationally, not to support the rebels with arms.
The failed initiative of envoy El Brahimi, was the third ceasefire attempt to date following the December 2011Arab League proposal and the April 2012 Kofi Annan initiative, both of which were endorsed by the Syrian government and most of the world community. Some rebel militia, but not nearly enough, did endorse the Brahimi four day Eid al Adha ceasefire only to have it collapse this past weekend. To his credit, Brahimi continues his work.
The same Brahimi sources suggested that the United States may also be supplying man-portable air-defense systems (Manpods) to rebels in Syria. According to Russian Foregin Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich, speaking on 12/15/12: “At the same time, it is also well-known that Washington is aware of supplies of various types of arms to illegal armed groups operating in Syria. Moreover, the United States, judging by admissions by American officials that have also been published in American media, is conducting coordination and providing logistical support for such supplies.” NBC News, based in New York reported in July that Syrian insurgents had obtained two dozen US MANPADS, delivered from Turkey.
A month after the October 2011 death of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in Tripoli that the U.S. was committing $40 million to help Libya “secure and recover its weapons stockpiles.” Congressional sources report that the Obama administration is fully aware that quantities of these arms are current in Syria and more in transit.
With respect to arms moving from Libya to Syria, on the night of Sept. 11 Libya time, in what was his last public meeting, US Ambassador Christopher Stevens met with the Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, and accompanied him to the consulate front gate just before the assault began. Although what was discussed has not yet been made public, Washington sources including the pro-Zionist Fox News speculate that Stevens may have been in Benghazi negotiating a weapons transfer, from Libya to Syria.
Earlier this year, Assistant Secretary of State for Political and Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro expressed concerns that the increasing flow of Libya arms was far from under control. Speaking to the Stimson Center in Washington D.C. on 2/10/12 Shapiro said: “This raises the question — how many weapons and missiles are still missing? The frank answer is we don’t know and probably never will.”
According to a 10/14/12 report by the Times of London, a vessel flying the Libyan flag named Al Entisar (Victory), loaded with more than 400 tons of cargo, docked in southern Turkey 35 miles from the Syrian northern border. While some of the undeclared cargo was likely humanitarian, staff accompanying UN envoy Brahimi during his recent Syrian trip report the Al Entisar also carried the largest consignment of foreign weapons to date, including surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, RPG’s and MANPADS destined for Syria.
Partly because of the jihadists and arms entering Syria from its northern border, southern Turkey is increasingly referred to here in Damascus as “New Afghanistan”, given its matrix of jihadists, salafists, wahabists, and battle-hardened panoply of arriving foreign would-be mujahedeen and al Qaeda affiliates.
One teenage al Qaeda wannebe explained to the author that his specialty was making and using homemade specialized knives as shown in this photo. He also delivered a mini-lecture he said was based on a Koranic Hadith explaining why severing heads of animals and adversaries is actually the most humane method. He gave earnest assurances that if allowed to perform a one-time demonstration, this observer would feel no pain and he would post the photo on Facebook!
Remarkably, as was witnessed in 2007, during the conflict at the Nahr al Bared Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon, some of the arriving eager jihadists in “New Afghanistan” actually believe that they are fighting against Zionist forces near occupied Palestine and not killing fellow Arabs in Syria.
Some, but not all of the many types of small arms flowing into Syria in large numbers, and viewed by this observer include:
7.62mm Tabuk (Yugoslavia) rifles, Mass rifles (UK), 7.62 mm rifles (Poland), 12 mm rifles (Italy), 7.62 mm Kalashnikovs (several countries versions), 9 mm ‘fast gun’, (Austria), 7.62 mm Val (Belgium), G3 7.62 mm G3 rifles (Germany), 7.5mm model 36 rifles (France), M16 and a variety of sniper and other rifles (USA), 7.62 rifles (Bulgaria, 10.5 Uzi and other automatic machine guns, three types of hand grenades (Israel), 9 mm guns (Canada), 7 mm guns (Czech Republic), 7 mm guns (Brazil).
Photo: 10.23.12 Syria
Israeli weapons are among the most frequently found in Syria as was the case in Libya. Israeli arms dealers are claimed to have recently intensified links with Blackwater International and also are currently smuggling through the Golan Heights, the tri-border area of south Lebanon, occupied Palestine and Syria.
The observer also examined and was briefed on M72 LAW and AT-3 anti-tank missiles developed by the United States. But the extent of their use is difficult to verify. Most of the arms shown in accompanying photos are from the main urban centers and near the Turkish, Iraqi, Lebanese and Jordanian borders.
In tightly built up urban areas such as Homs, Idlib and Aleppo, door to door fighting includes a battle among snipers. According to one Syrian military intelligence source in whose Damascus office this observer discussed the subject, the most frequently confiscated sniper rifles currently being found in the hands of “rebels” include:
· the U.S. Army & USMC M1903-A4 (also: USMC M1903-A1/Unertl), the U.S. Army & USMC M1C & M1D and U.S. Army M21;
Photo: Damascus 10/23/12: American weapons from Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey and NATO stores are entering Syria with the aid of Qatar and Saudi Arabia and black market arms dealers.
· the Israeli M89SR Technical Equipment International 7.62x51mm NATO Semi-automatic, Galil Sniper Rifle and the T.C.I. M89-SR,
· the British .243 Winchester, 7.62x51mm NATO/.308 Winchester,.300 Winchester Magnum, and the 338 Lapua Magnum Bolt action sniper rifles.
Photo: Syria 10/13/12: The most frequently confiscated sniper rifles currently being found in the hands of “rebels” in Syria include the above shown U.S. Army & USMC M1903-A4. Other US sniper rifles include the USMC M1903-A1/Unertl), the U.S. Army & USMC M1C & M1D and U.S. Army M21
A few Afghanistan era Russian Dragonov SVD and SV-98 sniper rifles have also been confiscated among an assortment of others.
Foreign jihadists have some access to Soviet-era DShK heavy machine guns or ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft cannons which are used for anti-aircraft and fire support. Both use fairly scarce high-explosive rounds and armor-piercing rounds, which are capable of penetrating the armor of the Syrian military’s BMP infantry fighting vehicles. The ZU-23-2 “Sergey”, also known as ZU-23, is a Soviet towed 23 mm anti-aircraft cannon. Vehicle mounted Zu-23-2’s are relatively easy to spot by government aircraft and artillery units are used to attack a target and quickly flee to avoid counter strikes.
On 10/25/12 Russia reiterated its claims that the US assists and coordinates arms deliveries to foreign-sponsored insurgents battling the Syrian government forces. Russia’s chief military officer said that Syrian armed groups have acquired US-made weapons, including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. This observer saw many weapons from more than a dozen types of IED’s (improvised explosive device) to medium sized artillery pieces but no missiles.
Photo: 10/24/12 Damascus, Syria
Improvised Explosive Devices are a key rebel weapon with many arriving from Iraq and camps near Hataya, Turkey. Many DIY (do it yourself) improvisations have been uncovered across Syria in both urban and rural areas. This observer examined and was briefed on several types, including those shown above.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry issued statement of 10/25/12, “Washington is aware of the deliveries of various weapons to illegal armed groups active in Syria. Moreover, judging by the declarations of US officials published in US media, the US coordinates and provides logistical assistance in such deliveries.”
Some analysts in Damascus claim that Syria’s potential military strength has not been as effective as it could be in the current urban fights against rebels. The government appears very strong militarily if one studies the statistics regarding Syria’s large and disciplined army which continues its support and also given its sophisticated long range missiles, air defense systems that have deterred an airborne attack from Israel. One reason progress has at times appeared slow against the “rebels” according to some local analysts was a certain initial unpreparedness to confront highly motivated guerrilla militia in downtown densely populated areas. These kinds of battles, it is claimed, require a mobile infantry, armored flexibility and very effective use of light arms. The Assad government’s “adapt, catch up and go on the offensive” paradigm is developing rapidly according to US Senate Armed Service Committee sources who assert that the Syria army has actually become battle hardened, tougher, stronger and more disciplined over the past several months. But it has taken time and has incurred a significant cost.
Weapons examined by this observer in Syria during 10/12 include some of the more than 1,750 new American sniper rifles channeled from Iraq and NATO supply stores to rebel militia.
How foreign weapons are entering Syria
As widely speculated particularly in the regional media, foreign supplied weapons to “rebels” arrive by air, sea and mainly by land from Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and occupied Palestine.
Israel is reported, by some researchers in Damascus who have been covering the crisis for nearly 20 months, to be sending arms to Syria from Kurdistan, having had much experience in Africa, South America and Eastern Europe via Mossad and Israeli black market arms dealing. What Israel did in Libya in terms of a wide spread arms business it is also trying to do in Syria. Israeli arms, according to Syrian and Lebanese sources are being transported into Syria from along the tri-border area of South Lebanon, near Shebaa Farms, close to Jabla al-Saddaneh, and Gadja. In addition, Israeli smugglers have increasingly, over the past five months, been seen by locals moving arms inside Syria via the Golan Heights. These violations of Syrian and Lebanese sovereignty raise serious questions about the vigilance of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone (UNDO) based in the Golan Heights as well as the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Lebanese Army as well as National Lebanese Resistance units near the ‘blue line’ to stop the illicit Israeli arms transfers.
The recent arrival in southern Turkey and along the northern Syrian border of Blackwater mercenaries is expected to increase the foreign arms flow. Currently using the name Academi (previously known as Xena- Xe Services LLC, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide) Academi is currently, according to Jane’s Defense Weekly, the largest of the US governments “private security” contractors. Details of its relationship with the US Defense Department and the CIA are classified.
Is there a coherent US policy toward the Syrian crisis?
Secretary of State Clinton has been announcing recently that the U.S. is increasing its “non-lethal support” (i.e. direct shipments as opposed to boots on the ground or ballistic weapons) according to her Congressional liaison office. She also confirmed that Washington is working with its friends and allies to promote more cohesion among the disparate Syrian opposition groups with the aim of producing a new leadership council following meetings scheduled for Doha in the coming weeks.
Photo: Syria: 10/24/12
Examples of US, UK and NATO “non-lethal aid” equipment taken from militia in south and north Syria between 5/2011 and 10/2012.
However, to the consternation of the State Department, General David Petraeus the former US commander of NATO forces in Iraq, now director of the CIA acknowledged, during his senate confirmation hearings. “Non-lethal aid to combatants, including communication equipment, is sometimes more lethal and important than explosive devices due to the logistical advantages they provides on the battlefield.”
In tandem with the US, the UK and several European governments are supplying “non-lethal” aid to the Syrian opposition, including satellite communications equipment according to Syria security sources.
There is also plenty of anecdotal and demonstrative and probative evidence in Syria of human weapons patterned on the “Zarqawi model” which refers to the bloody al Qaeda in Mesopotamia campaign named for its leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi after U.S. troops occupied Iraq.
In a speech this week in Zagreb, Croatia, this week, Secretary of State Clinton insisted that any group seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad must reject attempts by extremists to “hijack” a legitimate revolution. She added, “There are disturbing reports of heavily armed foreign extremists going into Syria and attempting to take over.” Clinton used her strongest words to date concerning risks that the uprising in Syria could be overtaken by militants who do not seek a democratic replacement or the reforms that the current government claims it is trying to implement. She told her conferees: “We made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition. They can be part of a larger opposition, but that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice. We also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution. There are disturbing reports of heavily armed extremists going into Syria and attempting to take over.” Clinton advised her colleagues that the US has become convinced that the SNC does not represent the interests of all ethnic and religious groups in Syria and that it has little legitimacy among on-the-ground activists and fighters, and has done little to stem the infiltration of Islamist extremists into the opposition forces.
Clinton’s language is being interpreted by some as evidence that a post-election Obama Whitehouse, she he win on November, may move toward the Russian, Chinese, and Iranian position and away from, what one Congressional source derisively labeled, “ the view from the Gulf gas stations” i.e. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and some other despotic monarchies.
The intervention in Syria by more than three dozen countries supplying weapons must be stopped. Both sides of the Syrian crisis need to manifest by actions, not just words, a serious commitment to meaningful dialogue. The above noted arms supplying countries, and others off stage, have a solemn obligation to their citizens and to the world community to immediately halt the shipment of arms.
They should, and their people should demand that they do without further delay, honor the words of Isaiah 2:3-5….”and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
Granted, perhaps a cliché and certainly far easier said than done.
Yet, as Oregon’s late great US Senator Wayne Morse used tell audiences around America during the Vietnam War, quoting General George Marshall, “The only way we human beings can win a war is to prevent it.”
It’s time for the international community to end the Syrian crisis diplomatically, stop funneling arms and cash fueling hoped for regime change elements. Instead, they must demand that all the involved parties immediately engage in serious dialogue and settle their differences.
On Jan. 26, 2012, the European Union and 22 member states signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced. They have now joined the US and seven other nations that signed the treaty last October.
Though initiated by the US, Japan is the official depository of the treaty.
Removal of the Three Strikes clause, in which users accused of three counts of piracy would be barred from the Internet, paved the way for the EU to adopt ACTA last month.
Related to ACTA, a chapter in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) “would have state signatories adopt even more restrictive copyright measures than ACTA,” reports the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Both ACTA and TPP were developed without public input and outside international trade groups, like the World Trade Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Leaked cables published by Wikileaks in 2009 exposed early drafts of ACTA, resulting in a firestorm of controversy. Those cables, coupled with later releases, showed that ACTA negotiations began in 2006 and were controversial even to participating states. An historical summary of the treaty’s progress through December can be found here.
ACTA Violates Magna Carta and US Constitution
Like PIPA and SOPA, two domestic internet censorship bills that prompted major websites to blacken their name or website in a Jan. 18th protest, ACTA allows accusers of copyright infringement to bypass judicial review.
Please support my work by reading the full piece at Activist Post. Thanks!
The Head Of The IMF Warns Of A “1930s Depression”
Are we on the verge of another Great Depression? Christian Lagarde, the head of the IMF, said this week that if dramatic action is not taken immediately we could actually see conditions “reminiscent of the 1930s depression” and that no country on earth “will be immune to the crisis”. Right now, financial panic is sweeping across Europe, but most Americans are not too concerned about it because they simply don’t understand how important the EU is. The truth is that the EU has a much larger population than the United States does. The EU has an economy that is nearly as large as the economies of the United States and China combined. The EU hasmore Fortune 500 companies that the United States does, and the banking system of Europe is substantially larger than the banking system of the United States. Anyone out there that believes that a massive financial collapse in Europe would not dramatically affect the rest of the globe is being delusional. The European debt crisis is one of the biggest stories that we have seen in a long, long time and the coming financial meltdown is going to permanently change the global economy.
So far, politicians in Europe have held 19 high-level emergency meetings in an attempt to solve this crisis.
All of their efforts have failed.
Right now, this is the situation in Europe….
-Most EU governments are drowning in toxic levels of debt
-Bond yields have risen dramatically this year and this has caused borrowing costs for most EU members to soar
-In an attempt to get debt under control, governments all over Europe are implementing brutal austerity measures and this is causing European economies to slow down substantially
-There is a tremendous lack of confidence in the European financial system at this point and this is causing a massive credit crunch
-The credit crunch is causing the money supply to drop significantly in almost every nation in the EU
-Major banks all over Europe are massively overleveraged and are on the verge of failing
This is all so similar to what we saw back during the early 1930s.
In fact, things have gotten so bad that prominent world leaders are now using apocalyptic language when describing the situation in Europe.
Just check out what the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, recently said about Europe. Speaking at a State Department conference in Washington D.C. this week, Lagarde made the following very shocking statements….
*“The world economic outlook at the moment is not particularly rosy. It is quite gloomy”
*“There is no economy in the world, whether low-income countries, emerging markets, middle-income countries or super-advanced economies that will be immune to the crisis that we see not only unfolding but escalating”
*“It is not a crisis that will be resolved by one group of countries taking action. It is going to be hopefully resolved by all countries, all regions, all categories of countries actually taking action.”
*“No country or region is immune. All must take action to boost growth. Work must start in the eurozone countries and must continue relentlessly. The risks of inaction include protectionism, isolation and other elements reminiscent of the 1930s depression.”
*“This is exactly the description of what happened in the 1930s, and what followed is not something we are looking forward to.”
But didn’t the politicians in Europe recently reach a deal which was supposed to fix all this?
Well, unfortunately the deal basically did nothing to fix the underlying financial problems that Europe is facing.
In fact, global financial markets seem entirely unimpressed by this recent deal. A recent article by Professor Peter Morici detailed some of the problems with the deal….
Investors are rejecting the euro deal, because the agreement does not effectively meet the funding needs of Italy and other Mediterranean governments, address the weak balance sheets of European commercial banks, or fix the underlying structural flaws in the euro architecture.
The €440 billion European Financial Stability Facility is providing short-term funding—guaranteed by 17 Eurozone member states as a whole—to tide over the more troubled governments.
However, those bailouts impose huge cuts in spending and tax increases. Coupled with austerity plans also adopted by France and other healthier European states, those packages are pushing Europe into a recession that could last several years.
What is even worse is that there are signs that this recent deal is already unraveling. Some EU nations have decided that they are not sure that they want to go along with the program.
The following comes from a recent article in the Telegraph….
Amid fresh warnings that Europe is triggering a 1930s-style global depression, the German chancellor faced open rebellion against the key plank of her Brussels accord. The leaders of Hungary and the Czech Republic told a joint conference in Budapest they were ready to reject the planned treaty changes and implied move towards a centralised tax system. Czech prime minister Petr Necas said he was “convinced that tax harmonisation would not mean anything good for us”.
In Poland, we are actually seeing people march in the streets to protest against this new agreement….
Poles marched under banners that read: “We want sovereignty, not the euro.” They were protesting against the Brussels deal that could see EU countries, including those outside the eurozone, face penalties for breaking tough centralised spending laws.
So not only does this new deal not address the fundamental problems that Europe is facing, there is also a tremendous amount of doubt about whether or not it will eventually be approved.
Meanwhile, the brutal austerity measures that are being implemented all over Europe are pushing many EU nations into recession.
The EU (led by Germany and France) and the IMF have been pushing financially troubled nations all over Europe to make incredibly deep budget cuts. But these very deep budget cuts have had a devastating economic impact.
In a recent article, I discussed how brutal austerity measures have already pushed the economy of Greece into a full-blown depression….
Just look at what happened to Greece. Greece was forced to raise taxes and implement brutal austerity measures. That caused the economy to slow down and tax revenues to decline and so government debt figures did not improve as much as anticipated. So Greece was forced to implement even more brutal austerity measures. Well, that caused the economy to slow down even more and tax revenues declined again. In Greece this cycle has been repeated several times and now Greece is experiencing a full-blown economic depression. 100,000 businesses have closed and a third of the population is living in poverty. But now Germany and France intend to impose the “Greek solution” on the rest of Europe.
Right now, the flow of government money is drying up all over Europe and so is the flow of money from the banks. European banks are shrinking their balance sheets and have dramatically cut back on lending in order to meet new capital requirements that are being imposed upon them.
All of this has created an environment where there is not much credit flowing in Europe at all. When there is a credit crunch of this magnitude, it causes the money supply to start to shrink. This is already happening all over Europe as a recent article in the Telegraph noted….
All key measures of the money supply in the eurozone contracted in October with drastic falls across parts of southern Europe, raising the risk of severe recession over coming months.
Right now, we are seeing the money supply in each of the “PIIGS” nations fall at a staggering rate. The following comes from the same Telegraph article referenced above….
Simon Ward from Henderson Global Investors said “narrow” M1 money – which includes cash and overnight deposits, and signals short-term spending plans – shows an alarming split between North and South.
While real M1 deposits are still holding up in the German bloc, the rate of fall over the last six months (annualised) has been 20.7pc in Greece, 16.3pc in Portugal, 11.8pc in Ireland, and 8.1pc in Spain, and 6.7pc in Italy. The pace of decline in Italy has been accelerating, partly due to capital flight. “This rate of contraction is greater than in early 2008 and implies an even deeper recession, both for Italy and the whole periphery,” said Mr Ward.
Those numbers scream “Recession, Recession, Recession“.
There may be one glimmer of hope on the horizon. The Federal Reserve has been lending huge amounts of money to the European Central Bank and the European Central Bank has been lending that money out to European banks. In turn, the European banks have been using much of that money to buy up European government bonds. It is a massive Ponzi scheme, but it has stabilized bond yields in Europe for now. This scheme was described in a recent article by Simone Foxman….
That’s because the European Central Bank may have already introduced roundabout measures that will solve some of Europe’s big problems—it’s making investing in peripheral sovereign debt a huge profit opportunity for banks.
Theoretically, financial institutions will be able coin money by borrowing ultra-cheap from the ECB and buying higher yielding sovereign debt.
Essentially, it appears the ECB might allow European banks to pledge everything but the kitchen sink in return for funds. First, the new policy allows European banks to hold far fewer assets as collateral in exchange for funding from the ECB—freeing up liquidity to the tune of €103 billion ($134 billion). More importantly, relaxing collateral restrictions could also allow European banks to use even somewhat risky sovereign assets as collateral for bond purchases.
But this Ponzi scheme cannot go on indefinitely. A lot of European banks are already starting to run out of collateral for these loans as one Australian news source recently explained….
“If anyone thinks things are getting better, they simply don’t understand how severe the problems are,” a London executive at a global bank said. “A major bank could fail within weeks.”
Others said many continental banks, including French, Italian and Spanish lenders, were close to running out of the acceptable forms of collateral, such as US Treasury bonds, that could be used to finance short-term loans.
Some have been forced to lend out their gold reserves to maintain access to US dollar funding.
So will the European Central Bank keep lending them money once they are out of collateral?
If they do, the ECB itself could potentially be in a great deal of danger.
The truth is that the ECB is already playing with fire. So far, the European Central Bank has spent over 274 billion dollars buying up European government bonds in an attempt to keep bond yields down.
How many toxic assets can the ECB buy up before they get into real trouble?
That is a very interesting question.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world is becoming increasingly concerned about the financial panic that is sweeping Europe.
For example, Australian banks have been given one week to perform a stress test that evaluates their ability to survive in the event of a European financial collapse.
Why all the urgency?
Do they know something that we don’t?
Just like back in 2008, we are seeing massive problems at some of the largest banks in the world.
On Thursday, Fitch Ratings downgraded a whole bunch of the world’s most prominent banks….
The banks included Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, as well as Europe’s Barclays, Societe Generale and BNP Paribas.
Germany’s Deutsche Bank and Switerzland’s Credit Suisse were also downgraded.
The global banking system is a giant house of cards. There is simply way too much debt, way too much leverage and way too much risk.
On average, major banks across Europe are leveraged 26 to 1.
If the value of the assets held by those banks declines by just 4 percent, they will be wiped out.
Yes, that is how serious things are.
And already we are starting to see major banks fail in Europe.
This week it was revealed that Germany’s second largest bank is going to need a bailout. The following comes from a Sky News report….
Germany’s second largest bank, Commerzbank, is reportedly in discussions with the German government about a bailout after regulators said it needed to raise more money to cope with a potential default on its loans to governments.
“Intense talks” have been going on for several days, according to sources who spoke to the news agency Reuters.
So if Germany’s second largest bank is failing, are any banks in Europe safe?
Just like we saw back during the 1930s, we are starting to see a run on banks all over Europe.
In fact, according to a recent Der Spiegel article, a run on Greek banks has been going on for a while now and is rapidly accelerating….
He means that the outflow of funds from Greek bank accounts has been accelerating rapidly. At the start of 2010, savings and time deposits held by private households in Greece totalled €237.7 billion — by the end of 2011, they had fallen by €49 billion. Since then, the decline has been gaining momentum. Savings fell by a further €5.4 billion in September and by an estimated €8.5 billion in October — the biggest monthly outflow of funds since the start of the debt crisis in late 2009.
If you can believe it, approximately 20 percent of all bank deposits in Greece have been withdrawn since the start of 2011.
It is going to take a miracle to prevent a massive financial collapse from happening in Europe in 2012.
Unfortunately, there do not appear to be any miracles for Europe on the horizon.
Source: The American Dream
EU beekeepers gain in genetic contamination case…
On Sept. 6, the European Union’s top court paved the way for farmers and beekeepers to recoup losses when their crops or honey become genetically contaminated from neighboring GM fields.
The European Court of Justice ruled that all food products containing GMOs – whether intentional or not – must undergo an approval process.
This marks a much stricter view than that being pushed by European Union Commissioner for health and consumer affairs, John Dalli, who wants no regulation of foods genetically contaminated “by accident,” a ludicrous idea given that coexistence ensures genetic contamination.
At the center of the dispute is Bavarian beekeeper Karl Heinz Bablok who joined with several others in suing the state when its research plots of Monsanto’s GM corn, MON 810, contaminated his honey.
In 2008, an administrative court banned Bablok from selling or giving away that honey. But in a bizarre turn, the Augsburg court also ruled that beekeepers have no claim to protection against the growing of GM crops. They immediately filed a new lawsuit. 
Discussing today’s ruling, attorneys for the beekeepers noted that they may now have “a claim for damages against a farmer if MON 810 pollen from his cultivation gets into their honey.” 
Attorneys Dr Achim Willand and Dr Georg Buchholz explained:
“If the beekeeper can no longer sell his honey, this is considered a major impairment causing a claim for damage. If the beekeeper moves his bees in order to prevent this impairment, it is also possible that the cultivator is liable for the additional work and expense of the beekeeper.”
They added that the “decision is important not only for beekeeping, but in general for the production of food and feed, as well as for trade.”
The new ruling will also apply to “imports containing traces of material from genetically modified crops that don’t have sufficient approval within the EU,” they said.
The European Court of Justice only “interprets EU law and does not settle the dispute itself,” notes Inf’OGM, a French group that maintains a neutral position on GMOs. Member states like Germany, France and Spain can apply the ruling however they deem fit in particular cases of genetic contamination. 
In describing the questions before the court, Inf’OGM explained that Monsanto failed to seek approval for genetically modified pollen. Instead, MON 810 approval only covers flour, gluten, semolina, starch, glucose and corn oil.
MON 810 approval is currently under reconsideration. It has been linked to organ damage in test animals  and its approval may be withdrawn. Until last year, it was the only GM crop approved for cultivation in the EU, although a total of 40 GMO food and feed products have been approved for sale. 
One of Commissioner Dalli’s first acts after taking office in 2010 was to lift the 13-year ban on BASF’s GM potato, Amflora. Sweden, Germany and the Czech Republic took the bait and immediately suffered from 47 contamination events. 
Today’s ruling also overturns the court’s Advocate General recommendation this February which found that genetic material inadvertently transferred from GM corn to other living organisms “is no longer viable and is thus infertile, is not a living organism and, therefore, cannot be regarded as a GMO.” 
In that same recommendation, however, the AG maintained that any products containing GMOs should be regulated.
Thijs Etty, a transnational environmental lawyer specializing in biotechnology and EU law, told Food Freedom, “The Court’s ruling underscores the EU’s zero-tolerance stance towards non-authorized GMOs, and signals a sensitive loss for Monsanto and the EU Commission.”
Etty explained that the EU Commission “has been working hard to loosen if not abandon the zero-tolerance policy,” citing a recent regulation “allowing ‘low level presence’ of non-authorized GMOs in feed imports.”
Today’s ruling puts that new regulation into question.
GMO opponents won a brief reprieve last year when Commissioner Dalli’s initial proposal to radically overhaul existing GM approval rules was later rebuked. The controversial proposal was dropped after the European Commission’s legal counsel determined the new rules violated EU and international trade laws. 
Of note, the European Food Safety Authority, which rules on GMO safety, has been under fire for hiring members with financial interests in the biotech industry. EFSA chair Diana Banati resigned last year after it was revealed she served as a consultant to biotech corporations including Monsanto, Bayer and BASF. 
Four other EFSA board members also have substantial ties to the food industry. One has financial interests in the GM seed industry (Piet Vanthemsche) and another is a chief lobbyist for the German food industry (Matthias Horst). Milan Kovác and Jirí Ruprich both have links to food industry bodies, EFSA admitted. 
“Today’s decision is an important victory for beekeepers, but also GMO-opponents and environmental NGOs,” concluded Etty.
But it’s not a complete victory. Though not as bad as in the U.S., GMO label laws still leave European consumers in the dark since meat, milk and eggs from animals fed GM feed are exempt, which bulldozes consumers into supporting the biotech industry.
Colorado employs, houses, feeds, educates and medically cares for an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 illegal aliens and their children. (Sources: www.fairus.org , www.cairco.org) Why? Answer: elected officials at the state and federal levels refuse to enforce immigration work laws. That includes Governor John Hickenlooper, Senators Mark Udall, Michael Bennett and U.S. House members from Colorado. Therefore, illegal employers enjoy immunity from internal enforcement.
Colorado features several “Sanctuary Policy” cities whereby city councils such as Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs have voted to give immunity from discovering “immigration status” when caught by police. Many Coloradans have paid with their lives from illegal aliens being cut loose back into the general population after being stopped. The most famous recently involved Francis Hernandez. Police cut him loose 17 times until he killed two older women and a child at a Baskin-Robins ice cream parlor. Another illegal named Garcia Gomez, caught and released three times, executed Denver Officer Donald Young at a wedding party. Another illegal named Ruizz ran over Justin Goodman. Police forensics caught him five months later with a two page rap sheet. He had been let go every time police arrested him until he killed Goodman.
MASSIVE FRAUD GOING ON IN COLORADO
It is a federal violation to house, transport or employ an illegal alien. Fines run from $2,000.00 per illegal hired and up to five years in prison for anyone employing illegal aliens. Nonetheless, because state and federal agencies will not enforce the laws, emboldened employers hire illegals. Unfortunately, those illegals create added costs to Colorado taxpayers.
Try a frying-pan crackling cost to Colorado taxpayers of $1.1 billion annually according to www.Cairco.org. The costs nationally run $346 billion annually across 15 federal agencies according to the Edwin Rubenstein report at www.TheSocialContract.com.
The costs accelerate when unlicensed drivers operate vehicles, get drunk and suffer accidents. Insurance rates rise for legal drivers. Unemployment for Coloradans causes food stamp usage, welfare and lost tax revenue. Illegals send back billions of dollars in cash transfers which further bleed America’s treasury. Their kids inundate Colorado schools as they use “free” breakfast and lunch programs, ESL programs and school supplies.
“Foreign inmates crowd [Colorado] prisons” by Kirk Mitchell, June 6, 2011, Denver Post journalist, depicts the gravity of the problem.
“Criminals find their way to Colorado prisons from Mongolia, Iraq, the Czech Republic, the Fiji Islands and 75 other nations,” reported Mitchell. “Those foreign inmates will likely be eligible for deportation as soon as their sentences are complete…since 2005, the number of Colorado’s foreign-born inmates has increased 51 percent to 1,953….in a 2010 letter to federal authorities, state Attorney General John Suthers decried the $58 million price tag for holding the prisoners in fiscal year 2008. It costs more than $30,000 a year to house each of the inmates.”
“To receive less than full reimbursement for the use of state facilities to house illegal immigrants is an unacceptable, unfunded federal mandate,” Suthers said.
While state lawmakers attempt to find ways to lighten the financial load, no one, not the Denver Post, not Governor John Hickenlooper, not the Colorado legislature will address the root causes of why illegal aliens continue to manifest throughout the workforce in Colorado.
The Denver Post knows about the massive fraud continuing in Colorado but never, ever investigates it. The four major TV stations will not pursue criminal complaints. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement officials (ICE) in Denver overlook roofing companies, fast food companies, restaurants, landscape, motels and construction companies that hire tens of thousands of illegal within Colorado.
BIG KOZY BROTHERHOOD OF CORRUPTION
Why and how do 300,000 illegal aliens continue living and working in Colorado for the past 20 years? Answer: big business, small business, corrupt business and dishonest leaders share the fault. Specific Coloradan citizens that own companies and profit by their illegality—cause and support massive illegal alien corruption. But taxpayers pay the subsidies.
“When looking at the overall cost of crime, keep in mind that there are some 1,873 illegal aliens currently in Colorado prisons for committing such crimes,” said Peter Wagner of www.darksideofillegalimmigration.com. “Using an average cost for rape, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and burglary, that puts the burdened costs of those 1,873 perpetrators at $454,638,909. And that doesn’t count all the illegal alien criminals in the jails or the murders.”
The Federation for American Immigration Reform, FAIR, recently published a report: The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Coloradans
“They used some slightly different numbers that puts the direct costs of illegal immigration on Colorado taxpayers at $1.1 BILLION a year,” said Wagner. “Their report does not include the indirect and collateral costs. The report also details that the tax contributions of illegal aliens are nowhere near the costs.”
This past month, Governor Hickenlooper cut $322 million out of educational funding for Colorado schools. With such enormous costs to Colorado’s debt ridden financial situation, why wouldn’t Hickenlooper, Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennett stand up for the rule of law? Why would Hickenlooper support the current sanctuary city policy of Denver, which he did while he served as mayor to Denver? Why would two U.S. Senators support the Dream Act that rewarded gross illegality, but they won’t support law enforcement?
Why would so many elected officials side with and support 300,000 illegal aliens in Colorado?
Answer: follow the money! No matter how much harm continues with the illegal immigration predicament, a few people in high places make a lot of money.
Until enough Americans suffer financial ruin and the loss of their homes and jobs along with failing school systems, the corruption and fraud will continue in Colorado and across the nation. It’s as American as apple pie.
Hundreds of thousands of US State Department documents, in the form of cables from hundreds of embassies and consulates around the world, give us an in-depth picture of American interests and activities such as never before seen. Yet as we peruse cables that chronicle the changing faces of US diplomacy, there is one constant: Cuba.
Everywhere, from Dushanbe in the mountains of Tajikistan to Paris, from Kiev in the Ukraine to Sydney in Australia, American diplomats are busy watching over a small island in the Caribbean Sea with an obsessive malice. Like a professional womanizer who was once rebuffed by a small-town beauty, Uncle Sam can’t seem to get over it. The diplomats monitor all Cuban activities, make note of every Cuban utterance, and report every sighting of a migratory Cuban with the enthusiasm of a birdwatcher. It seems that the US has lost none of its Cold War passion for Cuba.
In far-away Uzbekistan, the US Ambassador is promoting the US case against Cuba and duly reports to Mme Clinton:
UNCLAS TASHKENT 000524 SIPDIS DEPT FOR WHA/CCA E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PHUM, KDEM, PREL, UZ SUBJECT: UZBEKISTAN/DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITHCUBAN PEOPLE REF: SECSTATE 46997 (U) on the margins of a May 5 meeting with Foreign Minister Norov, the Ambassador informed the Uzbek government of U.S. plans to mark solidarity with the Cuban people on May 21. In addition, the Embassy has placed a box in the Embassy newsletter ‘Dostlik’ marking the date and has added a brief statement about it on its web site. NORLAND
In a few days, the US diplomats “celebrate a day of solidarity with the Cuban people”.“Embassy Tashkent continues to promote and prepare for solidarity with the Cuban people on May 21. We have raised points with appropriate high-level Uzbek officials and have placed information on our website and in our quarterly English and Uzbek languages publication, ‘Dostlik’.
Now that takes me back to the 1970’s! In Brezhnev’s day, the Soviets were regularly mustered to express their solidarity with “the people of Cuba”, “the people of Vietnam”, “the people of Korea”, etc, and eventually it began to bore us all to tears. The Soviet Union was abandoned largely due to this boredom, and now the Uzbeks (and all the rest) are being offered the same boring dish again, only this time “the people of Cuba” represents little more than the catchphrase of CIA operatives in Miami.
When Uzbekistan established diplomatic relations with Cuba, the US ambassador vented his hurt feelings in a confidential cable. The Ambassador comments: Uzbekistan has only a minimal diplomatic relationship with Cuba, but we thought it important to make this demarche so our Uzbek interlocutors will see that the US government raises human rights issues around the world, not just with the GOU.
When a Cuban delegation visited Uzbekistan, US embassy staff snooped like jilted lovers. When the Uzbeks told them to mind their own business, the spurned Ambassador cabled home: The Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s refusal to discuss this event with the Embassy is particularly laughable. Only a handful of employees work at the America’s Desk, and the same officials who were “unable” to give us any information were likely involved with the Cuban delegation’s visit. Some guys just don’t understand that “No” sometimes means “No”!
Frozen in time, Cold War ideology and language is still de rigueur in the State Department, as one sees in this cable from Ukraine:
Ukraine’s Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights (known as the Human Rights Ombudsman), Nina Karpachova was in rare form during the Regions party congress in December. During a feisty speech, she declared that her lowest professional moment had come during the 2005 session of U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, where Ukraine’s Orange government had instructed her to vote “against Cuba, a small island nation that has helped us.” Pressed to explain that comment at a January 16 meeting with Ambassador, during which he passed her information about Cuba’s dismal human rights record, Karpachova launched into a lengthy defense of the Castro regime, praising the dictator for, among other things, curbing illiteracy and running summer camps for Ukrainian children affected by the 1989 Chornobyl disaster. Karpachova even blamed Cuba’s poor economic record on the U.S. embargo, which she advocated lifting.
The sulky Ambassador still insisted on having the last word. He: expressed surprise that a representative of a party that purportedly believes in business would ignore the fact that the socialist policies of the Castro regime were the primary cause of Cuba’s economic problems.
Caught recruiting spies in Bolivia, the US embassy cables Washington: Fulbright student Alex van Schaick reported to the Bolivian Foreign Ministry February 7 that he had been asked by Post’s Assistant Regional Security Officer to report contacts with Venezuelan and Cubannationals to the Embassy. Eventually the Americans apologized and the US diplomat was sent home.
The US continues to exert pressure on the UN to expand the decades-old US embargo of Cuba, but all efforts have been in vain. Every cable dealing with the UN includes these telling words: On embargo of Cuba we remain isolated. The US record of brokering UN resolutions against Cuba is even more dismal than their Middle Eastern efforts. Cuba is the one issue Americans cannot get traction on; they are always met with resolutions against their policy.
In Baku, Azerbaijan, the US ambassador coaxed the Azerbaijani foreign minister to support the US embargo, but received this strong response: On the Cuba Embargo resolution, Mammadyarov said that Azerbaijan had been “with the 184 countries.” Mammadyarov said that over 1,000 Cubans had been educated in Azerbaijan during the Soviet period, primarily at the oil academy and international law department, and that there is a large Azerbaijan diaspora inCuba. Mammadyarov also said that Azerbaijan could not have many embassies in South America because it had so few fluent Spanish speakers, so Cuba was an important element along with Mexico and Brazil. Responding to the Ambassador’s question about what interest Cuba would have in having an embassy in Baku, Mammadyarov said that this would be the first Cuban embassy in the Caucasus, with Cuba having over 145 embassies, mainly smaller one to two person posts.
In contrast, Armenia, after much prevarication, agreed to support the US, and it was “a grand gesture”, the Ambassador writes.
Diplomatic exchanges with Cuba are routinely met with American sabotage. The US Ambassador in Vilnius proudly reported: Last year, we succeeded in blunting an effort by some in Lithuania to recognize Cuba.
Despite continuous American efforts, the cables show that the winds of change are blowing in Cuba’s favor. A secret cable from Brasilia details the US Ambassador’s meeting with a Presidential adviser: The Ambassador asked what Garcia thought would come of the EU decision to lift its sanctions. Garcia said he did not see Raul Castro giving any type of concession to foreign pressure, and that the EU move was a sign that there is a perception Cuba is changing. He noted that in Brazil, both businesses and the press that had been critical of Brazil’sCuba policy have changed their tune. Businesses are now interested in investing, and there is less criticism in the press.
We are working on Spain
After Spanish Minister Dezcallar visited Cuba, he was immediately interrogated by the US ambassador. The cables show that the Spaniard attempted to mollify the Americans by claiming that the trip to Cuba: hadn’t immediately accomplished much for Spain, but said that through its new engagement, Spain would be able to exert influence and push for “Western values” as the Cuban transition advanced.
Dezcallar urged the American to take the long view, and called for ongoing, and discreet, coordination between the US and Spain. But the ambassador is not placated. In the cables, he: emphasized Washington’s deep disappointment with the trip, which was not only a surprise but even a bit of a spectacle as world power Spain’s FM went to Cuba and came away with nothing. He noted that Moratinos didn’t meet with dissidents, and didn’t even try to correct the record when Cuban FM Perez Roque called the dissidents “mercenaries” in the pay of the US.So much for Spain’s independence! Their foreign minister is being told off like a schoolboy!
A cable from Poland shows that the US policy of Cuban isolation is quickly eroding:Szlajfer said there was a serious problem within the EU on Cuba policy. The Spanish had been attempting since 2004 to revise EU policy towards Cuba, saying that the EU’s hard line had brought no results and that therefore there should be a shift towards engagement with both the government and the opposition.
The Polish government still officially opposes engagement with “the Castro regime” and toes the hard line according to US dictat, but in the cables Szlajfer noted that times are a’changing: not only Spain, but also France and Great Britain might be playing a different game. Szlajfer added that their tough line on Cuba had diminished Poland’s influence with these countries and was affecting Poland’s commercial opportunities in the region. Ending the cable on a positive note, Ambassador Fried of the State Department cheered the Poles by assuring them: “We are working on Spain”.
The Czech Republic continues to cooperate with US orders. Like other pro-US outposts in Eastern Europe, they do all they can to isolate Cuba. The US ambassador reports: The Czechs continue to look for ways to raise support within the EU for a Cuba common position with teeth. The Czech NGO initiated an anti-Cuban conference and gained a pat on the head in US State Department cables.
Estonia is another obedient client state, and Estonian leaders are always ready to oblige their masters. A confidential cable from Tallinn relays an Estonian condemnation against Spain for being too soft on Cuba: Kahn [an Estonian diplomat] called Spain’s position, as the new EU President, both “strange and difficult to understand.” Spain is trying to encourage EU states to improve relations with Cuba at the expense of ties with the opposition, according to Kahn. In contrast, Kahn emphasized that the GOE supports engaging the Cuban Government, but only as a means to influence Cuba towards democracy. Estonia cannot accept any policy that forgets about the Cuban opposition. Kahn laid out three elements of Estonia’s Cuba policy: all meetings with the GOC have to be balanced by meetings with the democratic opposition; Cuba must free its political prisoners; and Cuba should be encouraged to undertake reforms providing democracy, free speech and freedom of assembly.
Khan noted, however, that because the GOE is so far removed from Cuba, and receives the majority of its information about Cuba from the press, that Estonia cannot be as staunch and active a supporter of democratic change as is, for example, the Czech Republic.
In another cable, the Ambassador of Estonia is interrogated over Cuba:
5. (C) Did the host country offer or deliver humanitarian or other assistance to the Cuban people in the wake of the major damage caused by Hurricanes Gustav (August 30) and Ike(September 8)? — No.
6. (C) What is the nature of investments (and names, if known) that host country businesses have in Cuba? What host country businesses participated in the Havana Trade Fair (November 3)? – There is no foreign direct investment in either direction between Estonia and Cuba. No Estonian businesses participated in the Havana Trade Fair.
7. (C) Are there any bilateral trade agreements between host country and Cuba? –
There are no bilateral trade agreements between the countries.
8. (C) Are there any exchange programs between host country and Cuba, including but not limited to: scholarships for host country nationals to study in Cuba; Cuban-paid medical travel for host country nationals; and Cuban doctors working in host country? — There are no official exchange programs between Estonia and Cuba and Estonia.
Estonians are eager to support US interests and will always side with the US, even against fellow EU members. In a cable, the US representative in Tallinn, Goldstein, “expressed our concern over Spanish FM Moratinos’ visit to Havana in April”. He received a very satisfactory reply: Estonia fully understands and agrees with U.S. concerns, and has quietly supported the Czech Republic, Poland, and other like-minded EU member states in EU fora. Juhasoo-Lawrence added that Estonia understands dictators such as Castro and what they can do to their people, and does not see any reason to ease up on him now. The EU, she said, is divided on this issue between new and old member states.
In contrast, Belarus has been much too independent for US tastes. The ambassador in Minsk reports with chagrin: A delegation from Cuba led by Minister of Government Ricardo Cabrisas visited Belarus and during the visit, the Cuban representative signed an agreement to purchase 100 buses manufactured by the Minsk Automobile Factory (MAZ) and discussed possible purchases of Belarusian farm machinery and trucks.
The cables note further: In a July 2007 greeting sent to Fidel Castro on the occasion of Cuba‘s “Rebellion Day,” Aleksandr Lukashenko called Cuba ”Belarus’ main strategic partner in Latin America”. They acknowledge that “thousands of Belarusian children from Chernobyl-affected zones who have traveled to Cuba for rest and recuperation since 1991.”
The ties are political as well. A Minsk cable acknowledges that: Belarus is actively working to reinvigorate the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and set up Lukashenko as the eventual successor to Cuban leader Fidel Castro as the next “Papa” of the anti-West block. Lukashenko is the ideal anti-globalist leader — he is young (51 years old), energetic, bold, and he sits at the helm of a growing, stable (for now) economy in the heart of Europe.
Could it be the reason for the US vehement attitude to Belarus? In a fit of green-eyed pique, the US refused to allow Lukashenko to refuel in Iceland as he returned from the 2006 meeting of Non-Aligned States. The American ambassador cabled that he had checked whether Iceland: had received a landing clearance request from Belarusian President Lukashenko, who had reportedly intended to refuel in Iceland on his way to the NAM summit. Gudjonson said Iceland had not, and gave assurances that any such requests would be denied.
The cable goes on to reveal that: The U.S. and EU imposed visa bans and froze the assets of the most odious GOB officials. When the USG and Canada refused to grant a refueling request to a Belarus delegation returning from Cuba, Lukashenko announced Belarus would respond by refusing overflight clearances to aircraft carrying USG and Canadian official delegations. More recently, the GOB announced it would freeze the assets of President Bush and Secretary Rice in Belarusian banks. These announcements remain ambiguous and even comical” …as they were certainly intended to be.
The Ukraine no longer complies with US demands. A cable from Kiev says that despite the US demarche, a Ukrainian diplomat told the ambassador: that Cuba continues to provide substantial assistance for the “Chornobyl children” [belonging to families affected by the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear disaster] and that Ukraine’s position is to oppose the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. Ukraine would support the EU statement on the annual UNGA resolution introduced by Cuba condemning the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba. In another cable, the Embassy states: The Ukrainian parliament passed a resolution a few days earlier condemning embargoes on Cuba. Ukraine remains grateful for ongoing Cuban medical assistance for victims of Chornobyl.
Cuba is renowned worldwide for its extraordinary commitment to help all countries in need, regardless of politics. After an earthquake in Peru, the US ambassador in Peru was forced to admit in a cable: Cuban assistance has reportedly been targeted and effective, if not directly coordinated with the GOP. Cuba has sent at least two field hospital teams that have offered high-impact quality service, according to observers. At one camp where a U.S. Medrete team had been sent to provide services, a Cuban team had already been set up.
Cuba is no longer alone. The cables also document that when Bolivian President Evo Morales visited Peru, he: criticized U.S.-Latin American FTAs and called for continued struggle against colonialism, imperialism, and neoliberalism. He also praised Fidel Castro as a “father” and welcomed the presence of Hugo Chavez’s ALBA in Peru.
Relations with Russia: more profitable business
Russia has not yet succeeded in mending fences with Cuba, but the effort is there: Prime Minister Putin called for Russia to rebuild (its) positions in Cuba. The US Ambassador in Moscow reports on several upcoming events between the GOR and Cuba in 2010:
– Russia will host a preparatory meeting for the April 2010 Russian-Cuban Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Commercial, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation.
Foreign Minister Lavrov will participate in the 9th Annual Havana Book Exhibition as a special invited guest. Lavrov will lead a delegation that includes heads of the Russian Ministry of Culture and the Russian Press Agency
Cuba will host a meeting of the Russian-Cuban Intergovernmental Commission. Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin would likely lead the Russian delegation. Sechin’s last visit to Cuba was in July 2009 and resulted in several agreements, including a $150 million loan for Cuba to purchase Russian agricultural machinery.
Russia was currently providing humanitarian aid to Cuba in the form of grain shipments, with plans to send 100,000 tons of grain to Cuba this year. Also, the GOR plans to increase the number of scholarships granted to Cubans; 100 Cuban students received scholarships in 2009 to study in Russian universities.
In a secret/not-for-foreigners (NOFORN) cable, the US Ambassador informs the State Department that: Russia did not have a preference for working with Raul or Fidel Castro. As a general trend, Cuba-Russia ties were becoming stronger, but that the relationship had not changed significantly since Raul Castro came to power in 2008.
The cable continued with a report from a Russian academician: Russia perceived a difference between the two Castro brothers in how they viewed the Cuba-Russia relationship. Raul spent more time in the Soviet Union and Russia than Fidel and understood Russia better. Russia believed Raul to be the more pragmatic brother, according to Davydov, and that he did more to encourage outside investment in Cuba from a number of sources, including Russia. The MFA confirmed that Russia and Cuba were looking for mutually beneficial investment opportunities in Cuba.
Cuban President Raul Castro visited Moscow January 28 to February 4, 2009. Raul Castro and Medvedev signed a number of agreements … Russia also pledged two shipments of grain, of 25,000 and 100,000 metric tons, worth USD 37 million. Cuba has agreed to purchase or lease seven Russian-made aircraft. In addition, Kamaz, Russia’s largest truck manufacturer, has agreed to sell its trucks in Cuba and to establish a Cuban assembly plant with Cuba’s Tradex. Russia’s principal exports to Cuba are aircraft, heavy machines, and equipment. Cuba’s principal exports to Russia are sugar, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and cigars.
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin negotiated a series of economic cooperation deals withCuban government officials in Moscow. A Gazprom-led consortium created in 2008 to develop Venezuela’s gas and oil fields signed a cooperation agreement with Cuba Petroleo to jointly work on exploration, production, and refining. Norilsk Nickel agreed to fund exploration of ore reserves inCuba, with the prospect of mining them in the future. Carmaker AvtoVAZ signed a deal to service its cars in Cuba. Sechin’s extensive role in mid-wifing the Russian-Cuban relationship likely reflects PM Putin’s personal interest in reasserting a Russian presence in the Western Hemisphere.
Cables also discuss the possibility of: enhanced military cooperation of Russia with Cuba. Deputy Chairman of the State Duma’s Committee on International Affairs Andrei Klimov told RIA-Novosti that “If America installs antiballistic missile (ABM) systems next to the Russian border, Russia too may deploy its systems in those states that will agree to take them.” Leonid Ivashov, head of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, told RIA-Novosti that the West was creating a “buffer zone” around Russia and that in response, Russia might expand its military presence in Cuba or other places.
The cables show that the need for support of Cuba is far from over. Americans will do well if they will ask their government to cease squandering their resources in this yesterday’s fight against a small island in the Caribbean.
Vladimir Putin is the most popular leader in the world today. His personal approval ratings are in the stratosphere, usually well-above 80 percent. He is admired for his quiet, confident manner and for having restored Russia to its former greatness following the chaotic breakup of the Soviet Union. The Russian people love Putin. Parents name their children after him, vodka and caviar producers use his name to boost sales, and his face appears on the tee-shirts of students and young people. It’s unthinkable that he would step down after his term as prime minister is over a year from today. The Russian people want him to stay on and run for a third term as president, and that’s probably what he’ll do.
Putin and George Bush were supposedly good friends, but US-Russian relations have steadily deteriorated since February 10, 2007 when Putin gave a speech at a conference in Munich. In his 45 minute presentation, Putin gave his views on how world leaders should manage global security issues. It was a succinct but hard-hitting analysis that rankled US diplomats and infuriated the Bush White House. Here’s an excerpt from the speech.
Vladimir Putin: “The universal, indivisible character of security is expressed as the basic principle that “security for one is security for all”. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said during the first few days that the Second World War was breaking out: “When peace has been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries everywhere is in danger.”
Midway through the speech, Putin gave a pointed critique of US foreign policy and the dangers it poses to global security.
Putin: “What is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it refers to one type of situation, namely one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making.
It is world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.
And this certainly has nothing in common with democracy. Because, as you know, democracy is the power of the majority in light of the interests and opinions of the minority.”
By this time, everyone attending the conference could see that Putin was not talking about the threat of terrorism, but the threat of preemption, aggression and global dictatorship. And, even though Putin tried to characterize his views as ‘a frank discussion among friends’, it was clear that he was singling out the United States as the world’s biggest troublemaker.
Putin: “Unilateral and frequently illegitimate actions have not resolved any problems. Moreover, they have caused new human tragedies and created new centers of tension. Judge for yourselves: wars as well as local and regional conflicts have not diminished. And no less people perish in these conflicts – even more are dying than before. Significantly more, significantly more!
Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force – military force – in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. As a result we do not have sufficient strength to find a comprehensive solution to any one of these conflicts. Finding a political settlement also becomes impossible.
We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?
In international relations we increasingly see the desire to resolve a given question according to so-called issues of political expediency, based on the current political climate.
And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasize this – no one feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them. Of course such a policy stimulates an arms race.
The force’s dominance inevitably encourages a number of countries to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, significantly new threats – though they were also well-known before – have appeared, and today threats such as terrorism have taken on a global character.
I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security.” ( read the whole speech here )
This is why Washington hates Putin and why western media disparage him as an “autocrat”, because he has identified himself as an opponent of the unipolar world view. He does not accept the theory that (as George H. Bush said) “That whatever the US says, goes”. He seeks a multipolar world where individual states are treated equally and with respect. But Putin’s naivete is a bit surprising. Did he really think that criticizing US meddling around the world would lead to constructive changes in policy? US foreign policy doesn’t change. It is immutable, relentless and vicious. America owns the world and demands that foreign leaders obey Washington’s directives. “Follow orders, or else”; that’s all one needs to know about US foreign policy.
Putin: “I am convinced that the only mechanism that can make decisions about using military force as a last resort is the Charter of the United Nations… Along with this, it is necessary to make sure that international law have a universal character both in the conception and application of its norms….”
This type of idealistic blather is unworthy of a shrewd leader like Putin. Where do we see any evidence that the UN prevents wars or that international law serves any purpose other than to provide an excuse for future aggression by the US or Israel? The UN means nothing to Bush, Obama or anyone else who occupies the White House. It’s just one of many props that’s used to achieve strategic objectives.
Putin wants to reduce weapons and troops on both sides of the Russia-Europe border, but the US plans to deploy missile systems to Eastern Europe and push NATO/US forces and military bases into Central Asia, thus, encircling Russia and destabilizing the region. Bush/Obama’s plan for missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic would integrate US nuclear facilities around the world providing the US with a first-strike capability that Russia will have to counter with more targets in Europe. Putin can’t allow this threat to Russia’s national security to go unanswered. Whether he wants to reduce the number of nuclear weapons or not is irrelevant, he will be forced to escalate. Missile Defense has made an another arms race unavoidable.
Putin may have stumbled in his early years as president, but he’s shown that he’s a quick learner who now understands how to handle the US. Along with US/NATO military bases sprouting up throughout Central Asia, and CIA-sponsored “color coded” revolutions toppling regimes that had been friendly to Moscow; Putin has had to deal with US-funded NGOs operating in Russia that are working to destabilize the government. These faux-human rights organizations are now watched carefully by Russian intelligence agencies and often harassed by right wing, nationalist youth groups, like “Nashi”.
Putin’s real “awakening” came about when Georgia’s President Mikail Saakashvili invaded South Ossetia 4 years ago. At the time, all of the western media reported that Russia had started the war, but now we know that wasn’t the case. Here’s a brief summary of what really happened by former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev:
“For some time, relative calm was maintained in South Ossetia. The peacekeeping force composed of Russians, Georgians and Ossetians fulfilled its mission, and ordinary Ossetians and Georgians, who live close to each other, found at least some common ground….What happened on the night of Aug. 7 is beyond comprehension. The Georgian military attacked the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali with multiple rocket launchers designed to devastate large areas….Mounting a military assault against innocents was a reckless decision whose tragic consequences, for thousands of people of different nationalities, are now clear. The Georgian leadership could do this only with the perceived support and encouragement of a much more powerful force. Georgian armed forces were trained by hundreds of U.S. instructors, and its sophisticated military equipment was bought in a number of countries. This, coupled with the promise of NATO membership, emboldened Georgian leaders into thinking that they could get away with a “blitzkrieg” in South Ossetia…Russia had to respond. To accuse it of aggression against “small, defenseless Georgia” is not just hypocritical but shows a lack of humanity.” (“A Path to Peace in the Caucasus”, Mikhail Gorbachev, Washington Post)
Gorbachev’s account is accurate, but leaves out some important details. There aren’t any military installations in Tskhinvali. In fact, there aren’t any military targets at all. It’s an industrial center consisting of lumber mills, manufacturing plants and residential areas. It’s also the home of 30,000 South Ossetians. When Saakashvili ordered the city to be bombed by warplanes and shelled by heavy artillery, he knew that he’d be killing hundreds of civilians in their homes and neighborhoods. But he ordered the bombing anyway.
The Georgian army entered the city unopposed after most of the townspeople had fled across the border into Russia. The old and infirm huddled in their basements while the tanks rumbled bye firing at anything that moved. Some critics have compared the assault to Israel’s invasion of Gaza where the full force of a modern army was used against a civilian population. It’s a fair comparison.
Less than 24 hours after the initial invasion, Russian armored units swarmed over the border and into Tskhinvali scattering the Georgian army without a fight. Journalist Michael Binyon summed it up like this, “The attack was short, sharp and deadly—enough to send the Georgians fleeing in humiliating panic.” Indeed, the Georgians retreated in such haste that many of them left their weapons behind. They simply dropped their guns and ran. It was a complete rout and another black-eye for the US-trained army.
By the time Tskhinvali was liberated, the downtown area was in engulfed in flames and the bodies of those who had been killed by sniper-fire were strewn along the streets and sidewalks. The city’s only hospital had been reduced to smoldering rubble. All told, more than 2,000 civilians were killed in an operation that was clearly engineered and supported by the Bush White House.
The clash in South Ossetia was a valuable lesson for Putin who had hoped that US/Russia relations would gradually thaw. Now he knows that’s not possible. When another nation kills your people, everything changes. Each side becomes more inflexible and the prospects for peace dim. At the same time, US strategic objectives in Central Asia haven’t changed at all, so Putin must prepare for the next confrontation. That’s why he’s strengthening alliances that challenge US dominance in the region and in the world. That’s why he’s looking for opportunities to weaken US power and erode US prestige. That’s why he wants to dump the dollar. It’s all preparation.
When trouble breaks out, Putin will be ready. Russia is fortunate to have such a leader.
Excerpts from a speech to the H.L. Mencken Club, Baltimore, October 23, 2010
Two weeks ago the first “gay pride parade” was staged in Belgrade. Serbia’s “pro-European” government had been promoting the event as yet another proof that Serbia is fit to join the European Union, that is has overcome the legacy of its dark, intolerant past. Thousands of policemen in full riot gear had to divide their time between protecting a few hundred “LBGT” activists (about half of them imported from Western Europe for the occasion) and battling ten times as many young protesters in the side streets.
The parade, it should be noted, was prominently attended by the U.S. Ambassador in Belgrade Mary Warlick, by the head of the European Commission Office, Vincent Degert of France, and by the head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission in Serbia, Dimitris Kipreos. Needless to say, none of them had attended the enthronment of the new Serbian Patriarch a week earlier. Two days later, Hillary Clinton came to Belgrade and praised the Tadic regime for staging the parade.
Mrs. Clinton et al are enjoying the fruits of one man’s two decades of hard work in Eastern Europe. George Soros can claim, more than any other individual, that his endeavors have helped turn the lands of “Real Socialism” in central and eastern Europe away from their ancestors, their cultural and spiritual roots. The process is far from over, but his Open Society Institute and its extensive network of subsidiaries east of the Trieste-Stettin line have successfully legitimized the notions that only two decades ago would have seemed bizarre, laughable or demonic to the denizens of the eastern half of Europe.
The package was first tested here in America. Through his Open Society Institute and its vast network of affiliates Soros has provided extensive financial and lobbying support here for
- Legalization of hard drugs: We should accept that “substance abuse is endemic in most societies,” he says. Thanks to his intervention the terms “medicalization” and “non-violent drug offender” have entered public discourse, and pro-drug legalization laws were passed in California and Arizona in the 90s.
- Euthanasia: In 1994 Soros—a self-professed atheist—launched his Project Death in America (PDIA) and provided $15 million in its initial funding. (It is noteworthy that his mother, a member of the pro-suicide Hemlock Society, killed herself, and that Soros mentions unsympathetically his dying father’s clinging on to life for too long.) PDIA supports physician-assisted suicide and works “to begin forming a network of doctors that will eventually reach into one-fourth of America’s hospitals” and, in a turn of phrase chillingly worthy of Orwell, lead to “the creation of innovative models of care and the development of new curricula on dying.”
- Population replacement: Soros is an enthusiastic promoter of open immigration and amnesty & special rights for immigrants. He has supported the National Council of La Raza, National Immigration Law Center, National Immigration Forum, and dozens of others. He also promotes expansion of public welfare, and in late 1996 he created the Emma Lazarus Fund that has given millions in grants to nonprofit legal services groups that undermine provisions of the welfare legislation ending immigrant entitlements.
Soros supports programs and organizations that further abortion rights and increased access to birth control devices; advocate ever more stringent gun control; and demand abolition of the death penalty. He supports radical feminists and “gay” activists, same-sex “marriage” naturally included. OSI states innocently enough that its objectives include “the strengthening of civil society; economic reform; education at all levels; human rights; legal reform and public administration; public health; and arts and culture,” but the way it goes about these tasks is not “philanthropy” but political activism in pursuit of all the familiar causes of the radical left—and some additional, distinctly creepy ones such as “Death in America.”
Soros’s “philanthropic” activities in America have been applied on a far grander scale abroad. His many foundations say that they are “dedicated to building and maintaining the infrastructure and institutions of an open society.” What this means in practice? Regarding “Women’s Health” programs in Central and South-Eastern Europe, one will look in vain for breast cancer detection programs, or for prenatal or post-natal care. No, Soros’s main goal is “to improve the quality of abortion services.” Accordingly his Public Health Program has focused on the introduction of easily available abortion all over the region, and the introduction of manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) abortion in Macedonia, Moldova, and Russia. Why is Soros so keen to promote more abortions? Overpopulation cannot be the reason: the region is experiencing a huge demographic collapse and has some of the lowest fertility rates in the world. Unavailability of abortions cannot be the answer either: only five European countries had more abortions than live births in 2000: the Russian Federation, Bulgaria, Belarus, Romania and Ukraine. The only answer is that Soros wants as few little European Orthodox Christians born into this world as possible.
Soros’s Public Health Programs additionally “support initiatives focusing on the specific health needs of several marginalized communities,” such as “gays” and AIDS sufferers, and promote “harm reduction” focusing on needle/syringe exchange and supply of methadone to adicts. His outfits lobby governments to scrap “repressive drug policies.” Over the past decade and a half the Soros network has given a kick-start to previously non-existent “gay” activism in almost all of its areas of operation. The campaign for “LGBT Rights” is directed from Budapest, publishing lesbian and gay books in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia, opening Gay and Lesbian Centers in Ukraine and Rumania. Its activists routinely attack the Orthodox Church as a key culprit for alleged discrimination of “LGBTs.”
Education is a key pillar of Soros’s activities. His Leitmotif is the dictum that “no-one has a monopoly on the truth” and that “civic education” should replace the old “authoritarian” model. Even under communism Eastern Europe has preserved very high educational standards, but the Soros Foundation seeks to replace the old system with the concept of schools as “exercise grounds” for the “unhindered expression of students’ personalities in the process of equal-footed interaction with the teaching staff, thus overcoming the obsolete concept of authority and discipline rooted in the oppressive legacy of patriarchal past.” The purpose of education is not “acquisition of knowledge”: the teacher is to become the class “designer” and his relationship with students based on “partnership.” Soros’s reformers also insist on an active role of schools in countering the allegedly unhealthy influence of the family on students, which “still carries an imprint of nationalist, sexist, racist, and homophobic prejudices rampant in the society at large.”
“Racism” is Soros’s regular obsession, but he had a problem finding it in racially non-diverse East European countries. This has been resolved by identifying a designated victim group—gypsies (“Roma”). His protégés now come up with policy demands to “protect” this group that could have been written by Rev. Jesse Jackson:
- anti-bias training of teachers and administrators;
- integration of Romani history and culture in the textbooks at all levels;
- legally mandated arffirmative action programs for Roma;
- tax incentives for employers who employ them;
- access to low-interest credit for Roma small family businesses;
- setting aside a percentage of public tenders for Roma firms;
- legislation to fight “racism and discrimination” in housing;
- adoption of “comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation”;
- creation of mechanisms “to monitor implementation of anti-discrimination legislation and assist victims of racial discrimination in seeking remedies”;
- recognition by governments of “the Roma slavery and the Holocaust through public apology along with urgent adoption of a package of reparatory measures.”
A budding race relations industry is already in place, with the self-serving agenda of finding “discrimination” in order to keep itself in place for ever.
To make his agenda appear “normal” to the targeted population, millions of East Europeans are force-fed the daily fare of OSI agitprop by “the Soros media”—the term is by now well established in over a dozen languages—such as the B-92 media conglomerate in Serbia.
The social dynamics Soros uses to penetrate the target countries is interesting. To thousands of young East Europeans to become a “Soroshite” represents today what joining the Party represented to their parents: an alluring opportunity to have a reasonably paid job, to belong to a privileged elite, for many to travel abroad. The few chosen for the future new Nomenklatura go to Soros’s own Central European University in Budapest. In all post-communist countries Soros relies overwhelmingly on the sons and daughters of the old Communist establishment who are less likely to be tainted by any atavistic vestiges of their native soil, culture and tradition. The comparison with the janissary corps of the Ottoman Army is more apt than that with the Communist Party. The new janissaries, just like the old, have to prove their credentials by being more zealous than the Master himself.
The key ideological foundation for Soros’s beliefs is the same: that all countries are basically social arrangements, artificial, temporary and potentially dangerous. A plethora of quotes from his writings will make it clear that he thinks that owing allegiance to any of them is inherently irrational, and attaching one’s personal loyalty to it is absurd. Like Marx’s proletarian, Soros knows of no loyalty to a concrete country. He could serve any—or indeed all—of them, if they can be turned into the tools of his Wille zur Macht. In 1792, it could have been France, in 1917 Russia. Today, the United States is his host organism of choice because it is so powerful, and its media scene is open to penetration by his rabidly anti-traditionalist and deeply anti-American worldview and political agenda.
Textbooks and educational curricular reforms pushed by Soros in Eastern Europe indicate that he is trying to perform crude dumbing down of the young. Within months of coming to power in October 2000 the “reformists” within Serbia and their foreign sponsors insisted that schools—all schools, from kindergarden to universities—must be reformed and turned from “authoritarian” institutions into poligons for the “unhindered expression of students’ personalities in the process of equal-footed interaction with the teaching staff, thus overcoming the obsolete concept of authority and discipline rooted in the opressive legacy of patriarchal past.” They started with primary schools, with a pilot program of “educational workshops” for 7-12 year olds. The accompanying manual, sponsored by UNICEF and financed by the Open Society, denigrades the view that the purpose of education is acquisition of knowledge and insists that the teacher has to become the class “designer” and his relationship with students based on “partnership.”
The reformers devote particular attention to the more active role of schools in countering the allegedly unhealthy influence of the family on students, which “still carries an imprint of nationalist, sexist, [anti-Roma] racist, and homophobic prejudices rampant in the society at large.” The time-honored Balkan tradition of slapping childrens’ bottoms when they exceed limits is now presented in the elementary classroom as a form of criminal abuse that should be reported and acted upon. Traditional gender roles are relativized by “special projects” that entail cross-dressing and temporary adoption of opposite gender names.
Soros’s vision is hostile even to the most benign understanding of national or ethnic coherence. His core belief—that traditional morality, faith, and community based on shared memories are all verboten—is at odds even with the classical “open society” liberalism of Popper and Hayek, by whom he swears. His hatred of religion is the key. He promotes an education system that will neutralize any lingering spiritual yearnings of the young, and promote the loss of a sense of place and history already experienced by millions of Westerners, whether they are aware of that loss or not. Estranged from their parents, ignorant of their culture, ashamed of their history, millions of Westerners are already on the path of alienation that demands every imaginable form of self-indulgence, or else leads to drugs, or suicide, or conversion to Islam or some other cult.
To understand Soros it is necessary to understand globalization as a revolutionary, radical project. In the triumph of liberal capitalism, the enemies of civilization such as Soros have found the seeds of future victory for their paradigm that seeks to eradicate all traditional structures capable of resistance. The revolutionary character of the Open Society project is revealed in its relentless adherence to the mantra of Race, Gender and Sexuality. His goal is a new global imperium based that will be truly totalitarian. But he is making a colossal miscalculation. He does not realize that the unassimilated and unassimilable multitudes do not want to be the tools of his will to power. Illegal aliens in America, Algerians in France, Turks in Germany and Pakistanis in Britain have their own, instinctive scenario, and it does not entail leaving Soros and his ilk in positions of power, or alive.
“The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those who made him their president.” Czech Republic citizen
As a nation, we need reasonable, common sense oriented and rational leaders that place the interests of the American people above foreign countries, foreign people and their interests. We need a president that addresses our needs, our interests and our rights—under the U.S. Constitution, to pursue as Jefferson said, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
We cannot pursue even basic human services when we don’t enjoy a job! We cannot enjoy liberty when 41.8 million of us subsist on food stamps while the FAT CATS and president in Washington DC continue to outsource, offshore and insource American jobs to foreign people—giving them jobs and wealth while it deprives us of the same.
We voted them into office to serve us! Why don’t they? Why do they do it? Why did many of them get their butts handed to them on a platter in Tuesday’s election? Why do they think about their own wealth and power rather than serving American citizens?
November 2, 2010 answered the question and again, in 2012, we will answer the question for Barack Obama and more members of Congress that betray us, our jobs and our citizenship.
Patrick Henry answered, “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”
At least the incoming Speaker of the House, John Boehner, (R-OH), got it, “Across the country right now, we are witnessing a repudiation of Washington, a repudiation of big government and a repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to the people.”
Unfortunately, the people re-elected one of the most incompetent members back into the U.S. Senate by the name of Harry Reid. Shows how totally dumb and completely stupid the majority of voters in Nevada—with the highest unemployment, trashed schools, bankrupted hospitals, bursting prisons, anchor babies, crime, welfare and massive illegal alien population. Nevada represents the next California as those numbers grow. Reid voted against “English” as our national language. He voted to help illegal aliens rather than deport them. He does not serve Americans at all. He’s old, senile and out of touch—but he’s back!
However, thankfully we don’t have to endure Nancy Pelosi’s face again as Speaker of the House. She represents incompetence and all that’s wrong with the House of Representatives: she didn’t listen to the people on the Health Care bill. Her own state provides the result of not enforcing immigration laws: 4,000,000 illegals roam California, it suffers bankruptcy while its cities collapse in trash, ruined schools, gangs, drugs and Americans fleeing for their safety!
Nonetheless, Tea Party and Republican candidates took 60 House seats in an election where Obama lamented, “We suffered a shellacking!”
With 15 million Americans unemployed and another 41.8 million subsisting on food stamps, along with millions of home foreclosures—will this Congress and president NOW serve us by stopping massive legal immigration flows of 3.1 million annually, and 1.0 million illegal alien migration flows annually? Will Congress stop bleeding jobs out to China with a $700 billion annual trade deficit? Will Congress stop ‘free’ trade and enact ‘fair’ trade to bring manufacturing, textile, IT, steel, auto and other jobs back to America?
They better, because two years from now, the American public will throw Obama out of the White House and more incompetents out of Congress.
We’re sick of Congress not serving us, but in fact, it serves foreign interests at our expense. We’re tired of it and our retaliation will continue to be through the most powerful tool in our Republic: our votes!
As proceedings begin against Iceland’s former Prime Minister, Geir Haarde, for the banking crisis of 2008, at least two thousand Icelanders took to the streets in two days of protest this weekend. Iceland joins over a dozen other nations protesting economic measures taken out on the public while banks and large corporations receive bailouts. Class war is on, and it’s gone global.
Mass protests were also held in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Italy, France, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Serbia, Romania, Poland, and the U.S., according to reports from several sources. Folks around the world reject corrupt banking practices and bailouts, while social services are cut and tens of millions have been forced into joblessness and homelessness.
Dori Sigurdsson, an Icelandic blogger, reports that when Parliament returned from recess on October 1st, they were met by a loud, angry crowd who tossed eggs, bread, dairy products and keys at them. People slept outside the Parliament building the night before its return session. He’s posted videos and several images.
Dori notes, “because of the lack of help from the Goverment for the public, many are now losing their houses and cars.” In a nation of only 317,000, 12 percent (or 40,000) have lost or are about to lose their homes, he says. Icelanders condemn the injustice of large companies and their CEOs having had their debts forgiven by government, while theirs are not.
Three other officials were charged with “misconduct in the lead up to, during and following the banking crisis,” reports Ice News. Parliament voted to prosecute only Haarde for negligence, under a 100-year-old law that has never before been used.
Icelanders are also angry that only the former PM is being charged. One commenter on the Ice News article noted, “Is this not a total betrayal of the people?” And criminal, to reasonable minds.
Eggs hit Prime Minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, who rode into power as Iceland’s most beloved political leader with a 75% approval rating. She was installed in January 2009 after a coalition of Social Democrats and Left-Greens formed to replace the Independence Party-led coalition government, headed by Haarde, which was terminated. Should other nations terminate their corrupt governments?
The Guardian notes widespread protest across Europe “amid growing fury at austerity measures being imposed… Disruption in more than a dozen countries this week included a national strike in Spain and a cement truck driven into the Irish parliament’s gates.” Press TV also reported on protests planned in several nations last week. (See cement truck video here.)
Even in the US, thousands recently protested in Washington, D.C. for jobs instead of wars. ANSWER Coalition’s Brian Becker told reporters that the US spends a billion dollars every two days for its military invasions. That’s much lower than the trillion dollars a year that Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute calculates. We do know that Congress spends 58 percent of its discretionary budget on the military.
Many economists note that unemployment in the US is two to three times higher than what the Labor Dept. reports. In July, economists put the number at 28 percent, compared to the 9.5 percent rate reported by the feds. For September, the Christian Science Monitor showed unemployment at 16.7 percent, while the feds reported 9.6 percent.
In the US where 95% of the public rejected both Wall Street bailouts (under Bush and under Obama), we learned that banksters then rewarded themselves with million dollar bonuses. The boldness of their depravity is sure to have its rebound effect. Is it time to terminate this government, too?
The Guardian also reported that a “UN agency has warned of growing social unrest because of a long ‘labour market recession’ that could last until 2015.” 2015!
Thank goodness mortgage squatters are growing in number in the US. This is even before it was discovered that “foreclosure mills” fabricated documents to seize peoples’ homes. Some of those mills do not even hold legal title, Ellen Brown reports.
Another night, another 200 eggs.
In Iceland, the Guardian noted, “Birgitta Jónsdóttir, one of three MPs to join the protesters, said: ‘There is a realisation that the IMF is going to wipe out our middle classes.’” That’s true of every nation sucked into the greed of banksters, the US included.
Protesters are out again right now, Monday night, Dori told me (6 pm Eastern, 10 pm Iceland time).
“The protest is still on, and it is peaceful – but with lots of noise that can be heard in the Parliament building.”
Both images by Dori Sigurdsson, used with permission.