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No Lesser Evil, Not this Time

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counterpunch.org

No Lesser Evil, Not this Time

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John Halle and Noam Chomsky recently published at Halle’s blog their defense of “lesser evil voting”, “AN EIGHT POINT BRIEF FOR LEV (LESSER EVIL VOTING)”. In it they make an argument that by electing Clinton (i.e. by voting for her in swing states) this allows for the continuing growth of the left and reduces the amount of harm that will be caused over the next four years. I do not doubt their desire for radical change, nor do I doubt that they make these arguments because they find them morally justifiable in consideration of the consequences of our actions. Yet, it is dubious whether we can consider Clinton an LEV, just as much as it is dubious whether electing Clinton would enable the growth of the Left. I am not arguing from what they call a “politics of moral witness”, but argue in the same analytic vein that they have placed their brief. That is, is Clinton on topics such as climate change, trade, and militarism actually an LEV in comparison to Trump? Taking their criteria of consequences over rhetoric, there seems at best a “dimes worth of difference” on these topics.

For instance, on climate change they state that Trump “denies the existence of global warming, calls for increasing use of fossil fuels, dismantling of environmental regulations and refuses assistance to India and other developing nations as called for in the Paris agreement, the combination of which could, in four years, take us to a catastrophic tipping point.” What is left unsaid is that Clinton only rhetorically accepts the existence of climate change, that under her tenure at the State Department she pushed for privatization of PEMEX, for more fracking, and has continuously stated she would continue policies beneficial to fossil fuel companies. Further, and known most likely to both Halle and Chomsky, the Paris agreement dropped the more direct language on reparations for ecological debt that were part of the Lima draft agreement, for the less direct language about transferring knowledge and research to aid in reducing effects. Nor has it mattered whether a Democrat or a Republican is in power in terms of global CO2 emissions, which rise in either case, as production is moved around the world-system in accordance with the trade agreements pushed by both parties. Thus, the consequences for the planet are identical whomever is elected. Halle and Chomsky would be hard pressed to dispute that fact.

Together with climate change, the issue of trade agreements is highly pertinent, seeing as the ramping up of production is a major reason why companies want these agreements. It is clear that Clinton has only rhetorically changed her position on TPP, just as Bill did with NAFTA. Those trade agreements are principle mechanisms causing migration, such as in Mexico, where NAFTA destroyed the livelihood of farmers. Further, they increase resentment in the working class, typically alienated due to the weakening of the labor movement, who see their jobs go overseas and their wages slashed. This increases ethnic/racial tensions as the working class is pitted against itself in an ever more brutal competition for declining employment and livelihood, a negative feedback loop breeding racists and reversing the strides made during and post-Civil Rights Movement. The worse of it all, these agreements are entrenching even more the power of corporations, who will now be able to sue nation-states based on the fact that regulations harm profit. This is clearly a grotesque attack on environmental regulations, one much more likely to do damage than rhetorical denials.

On militarism, we have a candidate, Clinton, with a clear record, from Serbia to Libya, from Honduras to Paraguay, of supporting coups, militarization of authoritarian regimes, breaking international law, and genuinely following the neoconservative playbook in trying to make the 21st Century another century of American hegemony and empire. Militarism is highly destructive on the environment, and the US military is one the principal consumers of fossil fuels, on top of dispersing environmentally destructive materials around the world (agent orange, depleted uranium, etc.). When Halle and Chomsky write, “Trump has also pledged to increase military spending while cutting taxes on the rich, hence shredding what remains of the social welfare “safety net” despite pretenses”, this could just as easily apply to Hillary, a candidate who has already stated she would like to expand Plan Colombia-style policy in the Western Hemisphere. Further, we know Hillary supported the destruction of welfare, the repeal of Glass-Stegall, and has pushed for privatizing social security (Bill supported this at the 2012 convention with the Simpson-Bowles budget).

If we focus on domestic racial and ethnic relations, clearly Trump’s rhetoric has emboldened white supremacists and reactionary nationalists. Yet once more, how likely is it that an oligarch whose companies use undocumented labor and maquiladoras is actually going to build a wall or change trade deals? Obviously Trump doesn’t mind lying and saying whatever just to say it, that is basically his entire campaign. It was Obama who has been the deporter-in-Chief, and it is Clinton’s State Department supporting a coup in Honduras that increased the migration of children. The ban on Muslims Trump supports is possible because of the Islamophobia that Clinton herself is a part of stoking, along with the surveillance apparatus that was extended under the Obama Administration. And the Democrats have not used their executive power to curtail police abuses, but only continued to do what they do well, which is the theatre of nothing.

Thus, we seem to have words versus action. Halle and Chomsky say we are supposed to be concerned with action and consequences, yet tell us to vote against words and strategically support the action and consequences as the LEV. It is to take the unknown and make it a bogey, when we know the known is already a bogey. Or stated differently, Trump is a wild card and we really have no clue in many instances what he will do. We know it will be reprehensible, but so will Clinton’s actions. Even on the topic of nuclear weapons, with the Obama Administration recent updating of the arsenal, it is safe to assume that both Clinton and Trump consider them an option (MAD still being official policy, a lunatic with a finger on the gun). Thus, there is no “high probability” of either candidate being worse than the other. In this election there is no LEV, not even slightly.

What we are deciding is to vote for the cause or the effect. Hillary and neoliberalism/neoconservativism in general are the cause of the Trump-style authoritarian populism that now haunts the US. There is little evidence that Hillary is a lesser evil, that her presidency will cause less harm. Actually, it seems we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t with no less damneder a situation on the horizon. Hillary’s presidency would solidify much of neoliberalism and imperialism, and continue to buttress the corrupt, rotten formal institutions of our society. In my opinion, their conclusion is a fool’s bargain: “by dismissing a “lesser evil” electoral logic and thereby increasing the potential for Clinton’s defeat the left will undermine what should be at the core of what it claims to be attempting to achieve.” In an electoral season where people are itching for principle, they call for pragmatism, a pragmatism that has only ever seen in my lifetime the ideological spectrum swing to the right, where now we have a Republican in Democrat’s clothing against a Republican in demagogue robes.

At least we agree, the real work is never this quadrennial circus. That begs the question, why participate in it at all? Green Panther Party anyone?

Andrew Smolski is a writer and sociologist.

Written by Mika

31. jula 2016. at 07:35

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The United States and NATO Are Preparing for a Major War With Russia

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thenation.com

The United States and NATO Are Preparing for a Major War With Russia

By Michael T. KlareTwitter July 7, 2016

Throughout the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton has made a point of trying to mend fences with right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by eschewing any criticisms of Israel whatsoever. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik)

On Monday in Philadelphia, the Democrats ratified what Hillary Clinton’s website touted as “the most progressive platform in party history.” On several issues—the minimum wage and trade, for example—the platform took positions closer to those espoused by Clinton’s erstwhile primary rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. On a few issues, though, Clinton’s campaign dictated a platform that took more moderate positions. One was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the document doesn’t mention Israel’s occupation or its settlements. That was in line with Clinton’s position: Throughout the Democratic primary, she has made a point of trying to mend fences with right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by eschewing any criticisms of Israel whatsoever.

Arriving at the final platform was a long journey, during which Clinton’s delegates had to beat back challenges on her pro-Israel orthodoxies over and over again. During the past two months Democrats gathered three times to set the platform, first to hear testimony from witnesses chosen by the campaigns, then twice to flesh out the platform before passing a draft on to this week’s Democratic National Committee. At the second session, in late June in St. Louis, a month before the convention, the platform committee sat through a series of lengthy debates. It was past one in the morning before Israel came up and the last proposed amendment—to the language about the Mideast conflict—was read aloud.

In the two paragraphs of the platform dealing with Israel, the document called for supporting Israel and pushing for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. James Zogby, the head of the Arab American Institute and a longtime party activist, read aloud a proposed amendment in an unmistakably Midwest accent. Zogby wanted to add language that would explicitly mention Israel’s occupation and strip out the platform’s condemnation of the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS).

“We didn’t recognize a Palestinian state in our platform until 2004, after George Bush did it,” Zogby said during the debate. “We have an opportunity here to send a message to the world, to the Arab world, to the Israeli people, to the Palestinian people, and to all of America: that America hears the cries of both sides, that America wants to actually move people toward a real peace.”

“The term ‘occupation’ shouldn’t be controversial,” Zogby, a Lebanese-American, added. “If our policy says it’s an occupation and settlements are wrong and they inhibit peace, why can’t our politics say it? It doesn’t make sense!”

Zogby mentioned several times that the proposed changes had come from Bernie Sanders himself. Sanders began his campaign avoiding foreign policy altogether, but eventually became more outspoken on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, taking Netanyahu to task not only for the Israeli settlement project and continued occupation but also for Israel’s conduct of the 2014 war against the besieged Gaza Strip.

The move was a natural one for Sanders. These days, criticisms of Israel are issued among not only from the left-wing of the Democratic Party, but much of its base. American liberals have become disenchanted with Israel as its occupation becomes more permanent. Then the Israeli government led a fight against the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal with a misinformation campaign that saw denunciations of Netanyahu among Democratic members of Congress—once a stronghold of unconditional support for Israel. As a result, Pew polls show a consistent trend of liberal Democrats shedding their unquestioning support for the Jewish state.

Like on the minimum wage, Sanders stood at the vanguard of a widespread emerging progressive sentiment. Now his delegates to the platform committee would be doing battle—civil, though it was—with Clinton’s delegates over one of Washington’s most contentious issues. In the end, it would be Sanders who would make decisions of how hard to press the debate. Party activists and progressive Democrats wondered if the candidate would take the fight all the way to the convention floor.

* * *

Stirrings of a debate over Israel-Palestine in the platform had become apparent as Sanders and Clinton each announced their delegates to the committee; Sanders got five positions and Clinton six. Among Sanders’s picks were Zogby, with his long record of advocating for pro-Palestinian causes, and Cornel West, the loquacious left-wing academic who has advocated for the controversial BDS movement. On Clinton’s side, a medley of more establishment delegates—among them Ambassador Wendy Sherman, a former undersecretary of state and Clinton campaign surrogate, and Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress (where I used to work), which has played a role in Clinton’s play to mend fences with Netanyahu and Israel.

The Clinton campaign’s delegates to the platform committee and its witness to the hearings held firm on this stance. Asked by West, Robert Wexler, a former congressman called to testify before the committee before the platform’s drafting, said the document should not refer to “what you refer to as occupation”—let alone settlements.

At the drafting hearing, the issue would reemerge. Zogby read aloud the initial plank calling for a two-state solution. “Here we add our language,” he said, proposing his amendment to insert a call for “an end to occupation and illegal settlements.”

BDS also came up. Initially dismissed by pro-Israel forces, now that BDS is a burgeoning grassroots movement, pro-Israel advocates speak of it in apocalyptic terms—often equating the peaceful activism with the violent terrorism faced by Israelis. Sanders hasn’t endorsed the BDS movement, nor has he condemned it. Clinton, on the other hand, has made a point to attack the movement: in a letter to her top funder, the Israeli-American businessman and philanthropist Haim Saban, Clinton proclaimed BDS “counterproductive” and vowed to advocate against it. The promise was fulfilled in the platform draft. The Democratic Party committed itself to “oppose any effort to delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement.”

Zogby’s amendment sought to strip the language out. “They were pretty damn insistent on it,” he told The Nation of the Clinton campaign’s efforts to keep the plank. “It was gratuitous, is what it was. You wanna say we oppose efforts to delegitimize Israel? Go ahead and say it. I personally think Netanyahu does more to delegitimize Israel than anybody, but go ahead.”

At the drafting hearing, the Clinton campaign defended the inclusion of the anti-BDS plank. “I think the drafters were very careful here not to say outright we oppose BDS, but basically to say if, in fact, there is a delegitimization of Israel through BDS,” said Sherman at the hearing, “this is not a good thing for anyone.”

What was supposed to be a 16-minute debate about Zogby’s amended language turned into more than a half an hour of back and forth. Committee members stated their support for and opposition to the amendment as Representative Elijah Cummings, the committee chair, allocated minutes.

As the debate went on, Zogby brought up 1988—when he had also tussled with Wendy Sherman, who worked for the Dukakis campaign. “I remember being in this same situation with Wendy Sherman in 1988,” he told the committee, “when we called for mutual recognition, territorial compromise and self-determination for both people.”

Sherman acknowledged the shared history: “Jim is right,” she said. “He and I haven’t grown any older since 1988 when we tread this same territory.”

* * *

The Democrats’ 1988 debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in fact tread a very different territory. In 1987, Palestinians had risen up in the First Intifada, overwhelming peaceful organizing against the occupation that was met by Israel’s overwhelming military force. As the 1988 conventions approached, consciousness of the Palestinians’ plight was growing among Americans. Thanks to a campaign organized by, among others, Zogby’s Arab American Institute, seven state Democratic Parties endorsed Palestinian self-determination. The moves became a source of worry for pro-Israel lobbyists. “We’re deeply troubled,” an American Jewish Committee official said at the time, “by any outcropping of the kinds of views we are seeing in some of these states. But I am confident they do not reflect American opinion in general, nor the mainstream of the Democratic Party.”

In 1988, Zogby was acting as a delegate for another progressive primary insurgent, Jesse Jackson. By the time of the convention, Jackson’s campaign had long since lost its race for the nomination, but his supporters and delegates sought to infuse the Democratic Party with the left-leaning vigor that spurred Jackson’s unprecedented run. Zogby, who then as now served on the platform committee, wanted to have the Democratic Party recognize the Palestinians as a people with basic rights. At the time, even such a basic proclamation was controversial, and inserting the language into the party platform would be an uphill battle.

Some party elites bristled at the notion that the Jackson campaign would seek to introduce a pro-Palestinian plank. “Although such a proposal would have no chance of being included in the platform,” reported The Chicago Tribune, “the mere possibility that it might be discussed disturbs many Democrats. ‘It would be bad,’ said a party leader. ‘Rhetoric would be unleashed which Republicans would like to dine out on.’”

As the platform committee met, Zogby fought to include language endorsing “self-determination” for the Palestinians. It was to be a call for a two-state solution: mutual recognition between Israelis and Palestinians. But the effort faltered: the plank was “debated by the committee and defeated without rancor,” reported The Chicago Tribune. Zogby and his allies in the Jackson campaign were determined to press on: they gathered enough signatures to introduce a minority plank to the platform at the convention in Atlanta later that summer. “That was the main platform fight in ‘88, the Israeli issue,” said Gov. Bill Richardson, who served on the platform committee. “You want to avoid a platform floor fight as much as possible,” he added, because independent voters and media pay closer attention once the conventions roll around.

Zogby suspected he had many Democratic delegates behind him. According to a Los Angeles Times/CNN survey released in July 1988, nearly two-thirds of Dukakis’s delegates supported “giving the Palestinians a homeland in the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.” Of Jackson delegates, 90 percent supported the notion. But the results were inconsistent: An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll of delegates found that a narrow majority opposed endorsing a Palestinian State. What’s more, anonymous survey results don’t always transfer over to votes made in public.

Those who wanted to amend the platform feared that even some Jackson delegates might not end up voting for the plank. A compromise was brokered: Jackson gave Zogby his blessing to introduce the language and have it debated on the floor, but the amendment would be withdrawn before a vote was taken.

Though there would be no vote, a spirited debate ensued. Zogby read aloud his plank and was met by vociferous opposition. New York Senator Chuck Schumer, then in the House, condemned the plank. Daniel Inouye, a senator from Hawaii known for strong pro-Israel views, called it “a vicious kick in the teeth of America’s interests in that part of the world.” Both Schumer and Inouye were booed by convention delegates.

“The tensions were very high about Middle East policy,” Jesse Jackson told The Nation, recalling the fight in a June interview. “We felt it was the peoples both fighting for a state. And we had to go from a ‘no talk’ policy to a ‘let’s talk’ policy.”

The conversation over Palestinian self-determination had broken new ground for the party. “[O]nly a few years ago, even to discuss an idea so contrary to U.S. policy and to Israel’s view of security would have been unimaginable,” a New York Times editorial proclaimed. Zogby, remarking on the convention floor, said, “The deadly silence that submerged the issue of Palestinian rights has been shattered.”

Though no pro-Palestinian plank would end up on the platform, Jackson’s policy of “let’s talk” would soon become official American policy—and even led to a breakthrough. Though to this day no Palestinian state exists and Israel’s occupation has become more entrenched, a peace process toward a two-state solution was begun just three years after the 1988 fight when, at the Madrid Conference, Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization began unofficial talks. A year later, following a round of secret talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn, presided over by Bill Clinton, to mark the Oslo Accords—a peace deal that yielded, if not a state, the mutual recognition between the two people Jackson’s delegates had called for.

Bill Richardson said Jackson delegates like Zogby helped bring the party along to the two-state solution. “I think they launched a useful effort that led to that historic handshake,” recalled Richardson, who along with Zogby and other figures in the 1988 fight was on the White House lawn that day.

“I didn’t feel vindicated,” Jackson said, recalling the Oslo Accords. “What happened that day could have happened years before.”

* * *

In St. Louis last month, as the early hours of Saturday morning ticked away, Elijah Cummings finally called a vote on Zogby’s Israel amendment. “It was pretty clear how it was going to go down,” one committee member recalled to The Nation. Throughout the long day, string of lopsided vote tallies had beaten back progressive efforts to get planks in the platform that took aggressive stances on trade, wages and climate change.

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The amendment fell by an eight-to-five vote. “It stung,” the committee member said.

In Orlando on July 9, as the full 187-member platform committee gathered to make the additional changes to and approve the 2016 Democratic platform, party activists took another shot. Maya Berry, the executive director of the Arab American Institute, introduced two amendments to the platform that followed on the same changes Zogby had tried to make in St. Louis: one calling for an end to settlements and occupation and another calling for rebuilding the Gaza Strip. Berry and Cornel West gave impassioned speeches, followed by Clinton supporters opposing the additions. Neither amendment passed.

Still, Zogby is not entirely despondent. “Last time we were just trying to get Palestinians recognized as an entity,” Zogby told The Nation. “They wouldn’t let me use the ‘P-word’”—Palestinian—“in the platform. This time we were talking about occupation and settlements and the suffering of people in Gaza. It was a much richer discussion than we had last time.”

The draft language in the 2016 platform, for the first time, spoke of a Palestinian self-determination not just for the sake of Israel’s security, calling for a solution that provides the Palestinians with “independence, sovereignty, and dignity.” Some members of the platform committee lauded the addition. “The language in the platform is different from what it was on 2012, a little more balanced,” a second committee member said. “My view is that it sets us in a more progressive direction than four years ago.”

Other figures from the 1988 fight, however, were less sanguine. Asked whether he thought the Democratic Party had changed on Israel-Palestine issues, Jesse Jackson demurred. “Not very much. Not very much,” he said. “There’s no winners until there’s a resolution.” Jackson went on, “There’s no other nation in the world that could play the broker role. But we’re not inclined to play it. The very term ‘fair’ was put off limits.”

As it was when, 28 years ago, he introduced a minority plank that would never get voted on, Zogby understood his odds were more than long. “I knew we wouldn’t win, so there’s no ‘disheartening’ to it,” he responded when asked if he was upset at the loss. Like many amendments to the draft platform introduced by Sanders delegates, Zogby went into the platform debate without the votes to carry the day. Other similarities with the 1988 fight persisted: “The intensity, the nervousness of the other side was about the same. They didn’t want it debated then, they don’t want it debated now.”

When he was pushing for Palestinian rights in 1988, Zogby sought and received permission from Jackson to push the minority plank at the platform on the convention floor. In the runup to the convention in Philadelphia, Democratic and pro-Palestinian activists spoke of the possibility of pressing forward against Clinton’s mealy-mouthed platform. But on July 11, Sanders endorsed Clinton, ending his run for the Democratic nomination, and his campaign from there forward sought to avoid a confrontation. “It is not easy to introduce a minority plank without the campaign’s blessing,” Zogby told The Nation. “But then Bernie decided not to go forward.”

“I would have preferred to continue the debate as a minority plank,” Zogby went on, “both because it gives the issue much deserved exposure and would provide Bernie with greater leverage enabling him to press for structural reforms. At the same time, I’m going to respect that Bernie didn’t want to continue. I can only imagine the pressure to which he was subjected and the exhaustion he must feel.”

Clinton’s moderate tack on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had finally prevailed among her party. With the Clinton’s Democratic Party shying away from so much as mild criticisms of Israel—even avoiding basic truths about the conflict—liberals who focus on the Middle East are left wondering whether, if she can prevail over Donald Trump in the general election, Clinton will stand up for liberal values and Palestinian rights.

Written by Mika

31. jula 2016. at 07:33

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Serbia accuses Croatia of fascism justification

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neweurope.eu

Serbia accuses Croatia of fascism justification

By Violetta Rusheva Violetta Rusheva is a journalist at New Europe.

EPA/KOCA SULEJMANOVIC Scene

Published 22:04 July 28, 2016

Updated 22:04 July 28, 2016

Written by Mika

28. jula 2016. at 22:49

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Behind The CIA Desperate Turkey Coup Attempt

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williamengdahl.com

Behind The CIA Desperate Turkey Coup Attempt
By F. William engdahl
18 July 2016

On the evening of July 15, a group of Turkish army officers announced that they had staged a military coup d’etat and had assumed control of the country. They claimed that Erdogan was in a desperate flight for his life and that they were now in the process of restoring order. The only problem for those army officers and their sponsors far away in Langley, Virginia and Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania– where Turkish political operator, Fetullah Gülen, hides in exile under CIA protection–is that they did not succeed. Behind the coup attempt is a far more dramatic story of the huge geopolitical shift that the often unpredictable political survivor, President (still) Recep Erdogan, was in the midst of making when Gülen’s loyalists made their desperate, now apparently failed coup attempt. What follows is a series of Q&A remarks to the background of the dramatic events unfolding in a pivotal part of the geopolitical order.

Q: How would you comment on the events of Friday to Saturday evening, when the army carried out a coup? Are these events were predictable? WE: The coup was a reaction to the recent dramatic geopolitical shift of Erdogan. It was instigated by networks in Turkey loyal to the CIA. It clearly was a desperate move, ill-prepared.

Q: What do you think are the real reasons for such a move of the army? WE: This was a network of officers inside the Army loyal to the Fetullah Gülen Movement. Gülen is a 100% CIA controlled asset. He even lives since years in exile in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania having gotten safe passage and a green card by former top CIA people like Graham Fuller and the former US Ambassador to Ankara.

Gülen has been a decades-long mad project of the CIA to weaponize political Islam as an instrument of regime change. Recall that in 2013 there were mass protests against Erdogan in Istanbul and elsewhere. That was when Gülen, who previously had made a deal with Erdogan’s AK Party, broke and criticized Erdogan as a tyrant in the Gülen-controlled media such as Zaman. Since then Erdogan has been moving to root out his internal most dangerous adversary, Gülen and friends, including raids on Zaman and other Gülen-controlled media. This is not about a battle between the White Knight and Evil Knievel. It is about power pure in Turkish politics. If you are interested in the details of the Gülen CIA project I urge readers to look in my book, The Lost Hegemon (German: Amerikas Heilige Krieg).

Q: Do you think these events in Turkey could lead to civil war, as interpreted by some commentators? WE: I doubt that. The Gülen Movement in the past two years has been severely reduced in influence by Erdogan and his head of intelligence—purges etc. The traditional so-called Ataturk Army as State Guardian is long gone …since the 1980s.

What is interesting to watch now will be the foreign policy of Erdogan: Rapprochement with Russia, reopening talks on the Russia Turkish Stream gas pipeline to the Greek border. The simultaneous Erdogan rapprochement with Netanyahu. And most critical, Erdogan’s apparent agreement, part of Putin’s demands for resumption of ties, that Turkey cease efforts to topple Assad by covertly backing DAESH or other terrorists in Syria and training them in Turkey, selling their oil on the black market. This is a huge geopolitical defeat for Obama, probably the most incompetent President in American history (even though he has some serious competition for the title from George W. Bush and Clinton).

Q: How should we interpret the information alleged that Erdogan sought asylum in Germany, and do you think that Germany would not approve? WE: There are many wild rumors. I have no information on that.

Q: How do you put the United States and Russia in relation to recent events? WE: It should be clear from what I have said that Washington was behind the coup as their impotent reaction to the major Erdogan geopolitical shift since June, when he fired Davotoglu as Prime Minister and named loyalist Binali Yıldırım. At that point Erdogan simultaneously turned away from the Washington anti-Assad strategy in Syria and towards Israel (who is in a sharp geopolitical conflict with Washington these days), towards Russia and now, even towards Assad in Syria.

Q: What impact on developments has the fact that Turkey is a member of NATO? WE: This is difficult to assess. Washington desperately needs Turkey in NATO for its global strategy, especially in controlling oil flows of the Middle East, and now its natural gas. This is why the moment it was clear the coup would fail, Obama and company “embraced” their “friend” Erdogan. It’s called damage control in intelligence parlance.

Q: Do you believe that it is good for Turkey that Erdogan and the current government is removed in this way, rather than in the elections? WE: By the time I am writing this, it appears he is firmly still in power, perhaps more than before.

Q: How do you think the events in Turkey may affect the European Union? WE: The EU is in the process of dissolving as a project. It was always a monstrous idea, encouraged in the 1950s by Churchill, by the early CIA and their European friends like Monnet, in order for the US better to control Europe. That was obvious when President Obama made his brazen intervention into British politics to tell the British not to exit the EU. The European Union is a monstrous top-down faceless bureaucracy, unelected, unanswerable to the people, sitting in Brussels next to NATO headquarters.

Brexit started the dissolution. It will now go rather fast now is my feeling. Perhaps Hungary will be next if the CIA is not able to do a color revolution against Orban before their October referendum on “Huexit.” France? Marie Le Pen’s supporters and millions of French are fed up with dictates from Brussels. Look at the recent criminal decision, despite huge scientific evidence that glyphosate, the widest-used weed killer in the EU, is carcinogenic, to ignore all health and safety evidence even of EU governments, and arbitrarily re-approve it for 18 more months of poisoning of the food and the population. This is not what the people of Europe or anywhere deserve from their civil servants.

Q: How do you think the events in Turkey may affect the migrant crisis, and do you expect the reopening of so-called Balkan route for refugees? WE: It’s too early to say. If Erdogan and Assad, brokered by Putin and Russia, and perhaps some cooperation from Israel, manage to make true peace in Syria, the refugee flow from the war could cease. People want to return home, rebuild their lives in their own country.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

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Written by Mika

18. jula 2016. at 10:53

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Serbia Is Marching Into NATO Servitude at Full Speed

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russia-insider.com

Serbia Is Marching Into NATO Servitude at Full Speed

Stefan Karganović (The Vineyard of the Saker) 21 hours ago | 1,934 22

Serbia’s pathetic defense minister, Zoran Djordjevic, was seen dutifully in attendance in Warsaw last Thursday where he rubbed shoulders with NATO notables and associated freaks (e.g. the guest of honor, Ukrainian killer-lady, Nadiya Savchenko). Apparently delighted that its minister was treated to such generous photo-ops in Warsaw, Serbia’s defense ministry triumphantly averred that NATO’s invitation to Djordjevic to attend the gathering was proof that “the Serbian government enjoys the status of a stable and responsible NATO partner.”

How enjoyable that status will ultimately turn out to be remains to be seen. Serbia’s slow but steady drift toward NATO means that the message that President Putin pointedly addressed to the Atlantic alliance’s Eastern European satellites – that making their territory available for the deployment of weaponry that threatens Russia’s security will make them a legitimate retaliatory target in case of nuclear hostilities – may end up being applicable to Serbia as well. Unless, that is, its dilettantish government comes to its senses, or Serbia’s vehemently anti-NATO and pro-Russian public reads to their rulers the long overdue “riot act”.

A few months ago, with little fanfare and mostly out of the public’s field of vision, the Serbian government deepened its NATO involvement (it is already enrolled in the “Partnership for Peace” program) by signing an additional Status of Forces agreement with the Alliance although, technically, it is not a member. The eventual disclosure of this perfidy caused a brief uproar before the public retired again to its customary torpor. However, the reaction, brief as it was, left no doubt that the Serbian people utterly abhor NATO and everything that is associated with it.

But public sentiment is only a part of it. Neutrality is not a matter of preference but a policy officially enshrined in Serbian law, which explicitly forbids joining any military block. However, legal obstacles have not been known to discourage Serbia’s political elite once it receives marching orders from its Western masters. They recently signed an ominous Status of Forces agreement, granting NATO troops unlimited access to the country’s facilities and NATO soldiers diplomatic immunity and impunity before Serbian courts for any act of personal wrongdoing. In conformity with previously signed agreements, NATO personnel already sit ensconced in the Serbian Defense Ministry. They are presumably engaged in “cooperation” and imparting “advice” to the military of the country they ruthlessly and illegally bombed 17 years ago.

The stark fact is that NATO is the only security threat that Serbia faces on its horizon.The audacity of the NATO-Serbia Status of Forces agreement is best appreciated in contrast to the terms of Yugoslavia’s brief March 1941 accession to the Axis Pact (NATO being its obvious successor today). That episode was cut short two days after the signing by an army coup which infuriated Hitler and precipitated his decision to invade and crush Yugoslavia 10 days later. The Axis, however, had required Yugoslavia only to remain neutral for the duration of the war, guaranteeing its territorial integrity, and pledging never to demand the use of Yugoslavia’s territory for military purposes. Whether in the long run these promises would have been kept is a matter of speculation, but they were made and signed. In contrast, NATO has already conducted a brutal military campaign against Yugoslavia (Serbia being its major component), it dismembered the country after the 1999 aggression by occupying and then granting “independence” to its vassal territory of Kosovo, and now it has obtained the approval of the servile government of what remains of the country for its military personnel to move about without hindrance and with diplomatic immunity. By demanding from Serbia to join in anti-Russian sanctions, the NATO/EU tandem has also made it clear that it will in fact tolerate nothing resembling Serbian neutrality. The 1941 deal with Hitler seems vastly more advantageous by any comparison.

As might be expected, NATO membership is opposed by a stratospherically elevated percentage of the Serbian population. However, numerous well-financed pro-NATO “NGOs” and lobbying groups are working overtime in Serbia to paint a positive picture of the Alliance and the supposed benefits that await Serbia upon joining it.

Their activities should not be underestimated. The way the equally unpopular NATO membership issue was managed in neighboring Montenegro might give a clue to how the matter is likely to be handled in Serbia as well. In Montenegro it was categorically stated by the ruling regime that there was no need for a referendum on NATO membership and that the rubber stamp legislature was entirely qualified to settle the issue as it sees fit, without popular interference. The stealth, no advance notice, no public debate procedure by which the Status of Forces agreement was recently adopted by the Serbian parliament is probably the model which will be followed to give a fig leaf of legality to Serbia’s eventual membership in NATO, notwithstanding the fact that, as indicated by most polls, it is an idea abhorred by as much as 90% of the population.

The rather infantile arguments advanced by the pro-NATO lobby to push for closer political coordination with the Alliance and eventually membership amount essentially to two main points. First, it is argued rather circularly that since almost all of the countries surrounding Serbia are already NATO members it would be geopolitically awkward for Serbia not to be. The same argument, assuming it had any validity at all, could have been advanced to motivate Switzerland, literally surrounded from all sides by Nazi-controlled territory during World War II, to be “practical” and to join the Axis camp.

The second bogus argument has to do with the nebulously conceived “Euro-Atlantic integrations,” of which NATO is said to constitute a key component. This narrative is presented in terms that recall the illusionist “civilizational choice” rhetoric used not too long ago to further besot the gullible Ukrainian masses, except that in Serbia the only people deluded by it (or corrupted and blackmailed, as the case may be) enough to take it seriously are members of the completely self-contained and alienated political ruling class and its media and NGO enablers.

It is clear to everyone in Serbia who is capable of thinking straight that NATO’s underlying objective in absorbing the country into its military and political framework is exactly the same as was Hitler’s seventy-five years ago. It is to do with the planned war against Russia and the necessity of taking full control of the strategic rear before the assault is launched. Color revolution rumblings in Serbia are part of the same process of imposing “full spectrum dominance” and replacing 99% subservient puppets by a new set that would be obedient 100%.

The realization that NATO is surreptitiously seizing one position after another and stealthily entrenching itself in Serbia provoked a brief outburst of popular indignation in Belgrade several months ago, when 20,000 citizens turned out onto the streets to protest. That may not seem much by robust Greek or French standards, but in comatose Serbia it qualifies as an impressive demonstration. However, for sustained political activism much more is needed than the haphazard activism of a few uncoordinated volunteers with no resources to organize the masses or serious backing from any significant geopolitical player.

The demoralized and passive Serbian people undoubtedly bear the principal burden of responsibility for allowing the ruling coterie of corrupt renegades to jerk them and their country around, drawing them into the disaster that NATO membership and alignment with Russia’s enemies will inevitably turn out to be. But official Russia also has a huge share of responsibility in the matter. It does little to mobilize and encourage its friends in Serbia, devoting itself, instead, to the hopeless task of reforming the governing elite and persuading it to mend its ways. Unless Russia is prepared to lose Serbia by default, which would be a tragedy for both countries which for centuries have been bound by common values, it must act quickly to address its message directly to the Serbian people and to make them, instead of their alienated rulers, the focus of its policy.

Russia has nothing to expect from the scum which constitutes Serbia’s governing class. They will not change their ways before – in the memorable words of Nikita Khrushchev – shrimp learn to whistle, if then.

Written by Mika

14. jula 2016. at 08:55

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US transfers two Guantánamo Bay inmates to Serbia

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theguardian.com

US transfers two Guantánamo Bay inmates to Serbia

Two inmates from the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay were transferred to Serbia on Monday as the Obama administration pressed ahead with its long-held goal of shutting the widely condemned facility at the US naval base in Cuba.

The transfer of Yemeni national Mansur Ahmad Saad al-Dayfi and Tajik national Muhammadi Davlatov to Serbia reduced the number of detainees at Guantánamo to 76, with 27 of those approved for transfer once an appropriate country can be found, US officials said.

Facility left with 78 detainees after departure of Fayiz Ahmad Yahia Suleiman, almost six years after his transferral was approved

“The United States appreciates the generous assistance of Serbia as the United States continues its efforts to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement, calling it a “significant humanitarian gesture”.

It was the first time the United States has transferred Guantánamo Bay prisoners to Serbia, a Pentagon spokesman said.

After meeting Serbia’s Prime Minister-designate Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Victoria Nuland, the US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, said the Obama administration was grateful to Serbia for taking the two inmates.

Vucic said Serbia acted in line with good cooperation it has with the United States.
“Other countries took over (inmates), Germany took them, it was natural (for us) to do that … I think this speaks well about our country and that this is a good signal for the future,” Vucic said.

The transfers came just a day after another Yemeni national, Fayiz Ahmad Yahia Suleiman, was transferred to Italy.

Davlatov, 37, also known as Umar Hamzayevich Abdulayev, was approved for transfer nearly six years ago by six US government departments and agencies. Al-Dayfi, 37, also known as Abdul Rahman Ahmed, was approved for transfer in October by a review board that determined his detention was no longer necessary for national security, the defense department said in a statement.

The Obama administration had notified Congress of its intent to transfer the two men, as required by law, a state department official said on condition of anonymity.

President Barack Obama had hoped to close the prison during his first year in office in 2009 but has faced opposition from many Republican lawmakers as well as some fellow Democrats.

Most of the inmates remaining at the prison have been held without charge or trial since being detained following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Al-Dayfi traveled to Afghanistan in mid-2001, trained at an al-Qaida training camp, and was wounded by a coalition airstrike, according to a US military profile last year.

While a secret 2008 military assessment made public by the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group portrayed al-Dayfi as a high-threat al-Qaida member, the military profile released last year said he probably exaggerated his involvement with al-Qaida. No al-Qaida leaders have identified him as a member, it said.

Davlatov was a member of the Islamic Movement of Tajikistan who was thought to have received training at an al-Qaida camp, according to a 2008 secret assessment by a military task force made public by WikiLeaks.

Written by Mika

12. jula 2016. at 08:28

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Brexit hit the fan

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economist.com

Adrift

Europe | Jul 1st, 19:05

THE campaign to leave the European Union repeatedly urged Britain to “Take back control”. It is now a week since voters narrowly opted for Brexit, and the country has seldom looked so wildly off the rails. The prime minister has handed in his notice. The leader of the opposition is struggling to survive a coup. The pound hit a 31-year low against the dollar and banks lost a third of their value, before stabilising. Meanwhile there is talk in Scotland and Northern Ireland of secession.

Every one of these calamities was predicted in the event of a Leave victory, and yet still the country seems transfixed by what it has brought upon itself. It is time to snap out of the daze. The country needs a new leader, a coherent approach to negotiating with the EU, and a fair settlement with those nations within its own union that voted Remain. The damage to Britain’s prosperity and to its standing in the world is already grave, and will become far worse if the country now fails to “take back control” of its future.

The sick man of nowhere

Brexit’s grisly first week, and the misery ahead, have already provoked buyer’s remorse. More than 4m people have signed a petition calling for a re-run of the vote. An instant rejection of the result would be wrong. Although we regret the Brexit vote, 34m people have cast their ballot and the result was clear. A straight rematch would be no fairer than allowing England’s footballers another crack at Iceland, which inflicted a second humiliation a week after the referendum.

And yet Britain’s fate is still highly uncertain. Although Britons opted to leave the EU, Brexit comes in 57 varieties. The mildest sort would be an arrangement like Norway’s, involving continuing access to Europe’s “single market” in return for the free movement of people from EU countries and a contribution to the EU budget. At the opposite extreme, Britain could cut its ties entirely, meaning no more payments into the EU budget and no more unlimited migration—but no special access to the market which buys nearly half Britain’s exports, either. Voters were told they could have it all. They cannot.

The Norwegian option would do the least damage to the economy. It would also be the best chance to preserve the union with Scotland and Northern Ireland, both of which voted Remain. The ruling Scottish Nationalists, who lost an independence referendum in 2014, always said that Britain’s leaving the EU would justify another ballot on independence. They are right—especially since in 2014 many Scots voted to stay in Britain in order to remain in the EU. But independence would be painful: it might mean promising one day to adopt the euro and hardening the border with England, with which Scotland trades more than it does with the EU. Under a Norwegian-style deal, Scots might prefer to stick with England. The Nationalists should wait to see a deal before asking for a new referendum.

In Northern Ireland Brexit raises other problems. One is the prospect of resurrecting the border between north and south, a dismal piece of symbolism which might be avoided if Britain got a Norwegian settlement. Another shamefully overlooked snag is that Britain’s exit from Europe will break the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, in which Northern Ireland’s peace process was underpinned by the EU. This treaty has kept the peace in the UK’s most troubled region for nearly 20 years. Fixing the mess will be an urgent task for the prime minister.

Point of no Breturn

Who should that be? Tory party members, who have the final say, may favour one of the victorious Leave campaigners, a mediocre bunch who have disgraced themselves during the campaign: lying about inflated budget payments and phantom Turkish migrants, before vanishing after the vote when the Brexit hit the fan. None of them would make a worthy prime minister. And yet the very falseness of the prospectus they flogged may be their best qualification for the job. Britain’s next leader must explain to 17m voters that the illusion they were promised—all the EU’s benefits with none of its obligations—does not exist. Only when the authors of the Brexit fantasy themselves return from Brussels without this magical deal might Leave voters accept that a compromise is necessary.

European leaders are in no mood to negotiate with their bolshie neighbour. That is why Britain should delay as long as it can before invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, the mechanism for a Brexit negotiation, which sets a two-year deadline. For every extra month that the cost of Brexit sinks in, the possibility of a fudge will increase. Angela Merkel, a champion procrastinator who, like her French and Dutch counterparts, faces angry elections next year, may also feel that accommodating some British demands, such as allowing an emergency brake on the free movement of people during “surges” (perhaps applied across the EU), would be possible, though she may find it hard to sell the idea to other European leaders.

Given that nearly half of British voters did not want out, it is likely that a majority might prefer a Norwegian compromise to complete isolation. Whatever deal takes shape in Brussels will be so far from what was promised by the Leave campaign that it will surely have to be put to the British public again, through a general election, another referendum or both. It is even possible that the whole notion of Brexit may stall. A thin majority have said they would prefer life outside the EU to life inside. But it may be that, when faced with the question of whether to endorse a Norway-like deal that entails many of the costs of being in the single market without having a say in the rules, many would rather stay in the EU after all.

Negotiating over Brexit will stretch the tolerance of both British voters and European leaders. Yet the EU specialises in muddled compromises and talking its way around referendums. After months of economic hardship, and a recession-induced fall in immigration, British voters may be ready to think differently about the balance between immigration, the economy and their place in Europe. By far the most likely outcome of this sorry situation remains Brexit. But it would be wrong completely to discount the possibility of an inelegant, humiliating, and yet welcome, Breversal.

Written by Mika

2. jula 2016. at 14:36

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