miércoles, 31 de agosto de 2016
¿Cómo se controla a un continente, Europa por ejemplo? Controlando su provisión de energía. La fuente "natural" de gas para Europa es Rusia. El Imperio no quiere. Entonces, de golpe, aparecen los chicos malos de Medio Oriente, cuya misión última es reventar la infraestructura de determinados países, volviendo incontrolables los territorios de otros y favoreciendo, finalmente, el tránsito de los gasoductos por territorios considerados previamente como menos probables desde el punto de vista económico o político.
Resumiendo: las "primaveras árabes", las "revoluciones de color" en la Europa del Este, los "fanáticos islámicos", en Medio Oriente y el norte de Africa, la "crisis de refugiados" en Europa y, por último, la invasión por parte de la NATO de "países hostiles" con "regímenes sanguinarios" tienen que ver, en última instancia, con todo esto. Restarle importancia a Rusia como proveedora de energía a Europa, y aumentar la importancia del Imperio como controlador de los países alternativos de suministro gasífero. Sí, se trata de resumen ultra simplificador de la situación, chicos, pero sin este dato elemental no se entiende la historia contemporánea de, digamos, los últimos 25 años.
La provisión de energía a Europa es un negocio fastuoso y una herramienta política de primer orden. Si los europeos no vivieran en babia todo el tiempo podrían haber solucionado ellos solitos este dilema sin la necesidad de disparar un solo tiro, una sola bomba. Para eso, claro está, tendrían que tener los pantalones puestos y una mínima seriedad y autoconfianza. El momento no ha llegado todavía, aunque no hay que perder las esperanzas. "No supe, no quise, no pude", etcétera; los latinoamericanos sabemos de todo esto, mal que nos pese.
El mapa de arriba muestra la provisión de gas que, partiendo de Rusia y de varios países de Oriente Medio y Asia Central, termina en diversos países europeos. La leyenda que se reproduce abajo del mapa es importante, ya que muestra los gasoductos ya existentes, los proyectados, los que fueron dejados de lado y los que todavía se están discutiendo. El análisis que sigue fue escrito por Evgeny Satanovsky y apareció originalmente en el sitio ruso VPK; posteriormente fue traducido por "AlexD" para SouthFront, donde fue publicado hoy. A ver si les gusta:
Título: Political games on pipes: ‘Turkish Stream’ may merge with the competitors
Texto: It is unlikely the relations between the Russian Federation and Turkey, regardless of the good intentions demonstrated by both parties, will return to the state prior to the Fall of 2015 when Moscow and Ankara’s interests collided head-on in Syria.
The decision to down the Russian fighter jet was a move designed to demonstrate the unhappiness of R.T. Erdogan for the destruction of his plans. Today this crisis is overcome, at least formally. As a result of the collapse of several areas of the Turkish economy, domestic and foreign political problems as well as security, the Turkish president is forced to try to improve relations with Russia and Israel. The leadership of the Russian Federation agreed to meet, but as much as we can understand, the relations with Turkey will be built on the basis of pragmatic calculations, lacking the confidence that Ankara has lost.
The negotiations between Presidents Putin and Erdogan on August 9 in St Petersburg caused a flurry of commentaries in the West and were devoted (at least in the public sphere) to the restoration of economic relations of the two countries. Let us look at the results, basing on the material from the expert of the Institute of the Near East Studies, E.O. Kasaiev, prepared for the institute and dedicated to one of the main topics of the two-sided meeting of the highest level: the renewal of the “Turkish Stream” project. The format of the talks that were attended by ministers and heads of state-owned companies from both sides, contributed to this. The results of prior negotiations caused commentaries from many observers, including at the highest level, indicating the impact this project will have on the energy supply system to Europe if it is built.
From branch to branch
The construction of the gas pipeline project “Turkish Stream” was conceived in December 2014 in response to the EU’s obstruction of the construction project of the “South Stream” pipeline which was supposed to be laid on the bottom of the Black Sea from the Anapa district of the Bulgarian port Varna. The planned line from Russia into Turkey was supposed to consist of four streams (as the “South Stream”) with a capacity of up to 63 billion cubic metres per year. A quarter of the natural gas was intended for Turkey, the remaining amount was to be transported to the German border, from where it was supposed to be taken by consumers in Southern Europe. By Gasprom’s assessments, the total cost of the installation of the four streams amounted approximately 11.4 billion Euros.
Following the downing in November of last year of the Russian bomber SU-24 in Syria by the Turkish Air Force, with the cooling of relations between Moscow and Ankara, the project was frozen. In the period of aggravated relations Ankara officially stated that Turkey would dispense with the Russian blue fuel, although Gasprom’s deliveries supply approximately 60 percent of the Turkish gas market needs. In June, Erdogan officially apologised for the incident. Later in Ankara, there were talks of resuming the project.
The “Turkish Stream” is already prepared on the Russian side in its practical implementation: in Russia, the infrastructure is ready for the supply of the gas into the line, the pipes are bought for the maritime section and the contracts for the construction are signed. The Russian side sent the intergovernmental agreement project to Ankara before the political falling out. However, the project configuration has undergone a change: from four lines, each 900 kilometres were reduced to two. Each one of them has to have a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic metres per year for the Turkish market and southern Europe. From the border with Turkey the line presumably will continue the projected gas pipeline “Poseidon” through Greece and the Ionian Sea to the south of Italy.
It is important to receive from the Turkish side the approval of a section of the agreement. The intergovernmental agreement signed by Ankara is missing as well. According to Erdogan, his country wants to assume half the costs of the construction of its section of the gas pipeline. In this case, it is vital to change restrictions entered against them by the Russian Federation to attract construction workers from Turkey. Characteristically, on the eve of Putin and Erdogan’s meeting, Bulgaria renewed its interest in the resumption of work on the “South Stream” project. Following the advice of the European Commission, Sofia lost approximately 400 million Euros per year from the transit of the raw material. However Russia has not received from them the guarantee for the resumption of work.
At the end of the meeting of the two leaders in St Petersburg, the Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Aleksandr Novak said that realistically the laying of the first branch of the “Turkish Stream” would be completed in the second half of 2019. According to him, the intergovernmental agreement can be signed in October. In his turn, the head of Gasprom Aleksey Miller declared that the company is conducting negotiations with their Turkish partners on this project.
On August 15 the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, M. Chavushoglu suggested to connect this line to the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), which, according to plans, will have Azerbaijani gas flowing to Europe in the “Southern Gas Corridor” project, connecting with the TANAP and TAP (Trans-Adriatic Pipeline) lines, the source being the gas field “Shah Deniz” with a reservoir of approximately 1.2 trillion cubic metres. According to Chavushoglu, with the help of the “Turkish Stream” the country will buy each year 16 billion cubic metres of Russian gas for the domestic market. The remaining volumes can be exported through the TANAP.
On that line, an additional 1850 kilometres of pipes are planned, delivering six billion cubic metres of gas per year for the domestic market by 2018 and ten billion cubic metres for transit to Europe for the beginning of 2020. The cost of the project is estimated at 9.3 to 11 billion dollars. The TAP with a length of 882 kilometres and an initial throughput capacity of 10 billion cubic metres per year must take the gas from the “Shah Deniz-2” gas fields to the TANAP line on the border of Greece and Turkey. The gas pipeline must cut through the Balkans, Adriatic Sea and southern Italy and enter into the Italian Snam network. The cost of the project is 5.6 billion Euros. Greece, Albania and Italy have signed in 2012 the agreement for the construction of the TAP.
Evaluating the “Turkish Stream” project, it is worth mentioning that it can balance the 20-year old system of gas routes through the Turkish and European Union territories, which cause intense reactions in several countries, namely Belarus, Poland and the Ukraine to Georgia, Iran and Azerbaijan.
A modest export from Iran
On the one hand, the “Turkish Stream” will complicate the Iranian entry into the natural gas European market. On the other, it can strengthen the interest of Western governments in Iranian fuel as an alternative. Since 2014 the EU has expressed its interest in it. The Iranian authorities declared that they are ready to export gas to Europe through the “Nabucco” pipeline. The USA proposed to Iran to join the TANAP system. Thus in 2015 the production level of gas in Iran reached 192.5 billion cubic metres (in Russia it was 573.3 billion cubic metres). In 2015, Iran sold 8.3 billion cubic metres, of which 7.8 billion to Turkey (in 2014, it was 8.9 billion), and 0.5 billion cubic metres to Armenia (in 2014, it was 0.7 billion). From January to May 2016, Iran exported to Turkey 3.35 billion cubic metres. Its share in the Turkish gas import in these past five months amounted to 16.79 percent.
Turkey, regardless of the construction of the “Southern Gas Corridor” and the renewal of the supply project from Russia, plans to intensify the import of the blue fuel from the Islamic Republic. Teheran and Ankara do not publish the price for gas but according to some information, it is about 480 dollars for one thousand cubic metres. The Russian raw material costs one and a half times cheaper. Iran, until recently, did not agree to provide their Turkish clients discounts, as does Gasprom. Turkey has won the lawsuit in the International Court of Arbitration to receive discounts on Iranian gas, bought in 2011. The plaintiff asked for a compensation of 35.5 percent of the current price and to receive it in monetary equivalency or additional supplies of the raw material.
It seems that in the short term Iran will not be able to seriously increase the delivery of gas to Turkey. The majority of fields in the Islamic Republic are situated in the south. The existing system of gas lines does not always provide the delivery even of the contracted amount, when the demand increases in the IRI itself. The capacity of the “Iran-Turkey” lines consists of 14 billion cubic metres per year, but for an extension of the network, neither Teheran nor Ankara have the funds. There are high risks of terrorist acts since the pipeline passes through Kurdish territories.
In 2015 Iran proposed to transport Azerbaijani and Turkmeni gas through its territory into Turkey and distant EU, although that project will unlikely be supported by Azerbaijan because of Iran’s position in the Karabakh conflict, in which Teheran is formally neutral, but seriously respects the position of Yerevan.
Baku does not see the risks
Azerbaijan, developing the “Shah Deniz-2” deposit, is one of the main investors and major participant in the construction of the transport infrastructure for gas exports to the EU. The cost of implementing the “Southern Gas Corridor” is approximately 13 billion dollars. The beginning of deliveries of raw materials from the “Shah Deniz-2” is slated for 2018. The main deliveries will enter the European market in an unclear price environment and the uncertainty behind it. Thus Baku does not look at the “Turkish Stream” as a serious threat to its gas strategy.
Baku believes that if the underwater part of the pipeline passes in parallel with the “Blue Stream”, there will be a technical possibility of deliveries of Russian gas through the TANAP pipeline, which will secure its required load and will reduce the payback period. As the Director of International Relations of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) A. Ramezani mentioned, the Islamic Republic, having Western sanctions lifted earlier this year, could have used Russian-developed “Turkish Stream” pipeline for the delivery of its gas to Europe if this line was deemed most appropriate for Iran.
The double-sided gas transport project between Russia and Turkey is obviously not in the interests of Georgia. It stays on the sidelines of the blue fuel transit and from appropriate revenues, which are important in the deteriorating economy and social position of the country. In 2015 the Georgian centre of global research held a conference dedicated to the “Turkish Stream”. Politicians and experts criticised the authorities for not trying to connect to the Russian-Turkish project with the given national interests.
Kiev is against the “Turkish Stream”. According to the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin, the warming of relations between the Russian Federation and Turkey will not worsen the relations of Kiev and Ankara, but if the “Turkish Stream” will be implemented, all of Europe will lose, not only the Ukraine. According to him, Russia wants to create on the Turkish territory a gas hub, which will not fall under European laws. Meanwhile, a significant amount of Russian blue fuel flows through the Trans-Balkan gas pipelines through the Ukraine to the Turkish market.
It should be noted that the Ukraine speaks not only against the “Turkish”, but also against the “Nord Stream-2”, on which Russian gas it is assumed will be transported on the bottom of the Baltic Sea to Germany and from there to other European countries.
At the end of June, the Polish Office of Competition and Consumers (UOKiK, local anti-monopoly regulator) also came forward against the creation of the joint venture between Gasprom and five European companies (for the construction and management of the “Nord Stream-2” pipeline). Information appeared on August 12 that the potential participants of the project (Gasprom, Engie, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Unipe and Wintershall) have refused to create the consortium. But realizing that in the long run Europe requires uninterrupted supply of vast quantities of natural gas at reasonable prices, Gasprom most likely will continue negotiations with the Europeans on the prospects of the “Nord Stream-2”. The prognosis is that the demand for natural gas in Europe by 2030 will grow to about 150 billion cubic metres.
The transit agreement with Moscow on the supply of Russian gas to Europe expires at the end of 2019, for which the Ukraine receives approximately two billion dollars. With the loss of this revenue the economic situation in the country will be critical. Kiev will not have the means to quench western creditors. If they launch the “Turkish Stream”, fully load “Nord” and build the “Nord-2”, the Ukraine will lose the transit status. According to data from “Ukrtransgas”, in 2015 67.1 billion cubic metres of Russian gas was transported (8% more than in 2014), of which 64.2 billion cubic metres were for the EU countries and 2.9 billion cubic metres for Moldova.
As for Belarus, there, experts believe the rejection of the “South Stream” as a defeat of Russia in Europe and the “Turkish Stream” as an instrument of pressure on the transit countries. Minsk believes that in the conditions of confrontation between the Russian Federation and the West Belarus’ role as mediator will be required, it will become the centre of decision-making in Eastern Europe, the importance of transit will increase and it is not excluded the construction of the second stage of “Yamal-Europe” pipeline. Fortunately Gasprom owns 100 percent “Beltransgas”, bought for five billion dollars and the gas pipeline “Yamal-Europe”, passing through Belarusian territory. Russia loads Belarusian pipes to full capacity (over 45 million cubic metres), therefore, to increase the flow it is necessary to build a new line.
It should be noted that “Yamal-Europe”, transnational export pipeline, in operation since 1999, links gas fields of the Northern Western Siberia with customers in Europe. It starts in the gas transit node in Torzhok (Tver province) and passes on the territory of the Russian Federation, Belarus, Poland and Germany. The final compressor station in the West is “Malnov” in the Frankfurt an der Oder district, close to the German-Polish borders.
The new gas infrastructure, built by the Russian Federation, will provide Belarus not only additional tax revenues to the budget and investments, but a chance to use the gas pipeline as leverage on Moscow as in the Ukrainian example. From the beginning of 2016, Minsk is seeking a lowering of prices on the Russian blue fuel. Belarus considers it normal to pay on the principle of equal profitability of supplies to Europe against the collapse of gas prices in the EU.
However, in case of a price increase Minsk wants to keep the right to return to the old price, the cost of the gas in Yamal plus the transit fees. Russia decided to cut the export of oil to Belarus in the third quarter from 5.3 million tons to 3.5 million. In July Aleksandr Novak gave us the reason that this is done in connection with the incomplete payment by Belarusian consumers of Russian gas.
There is no consent
Regardless of the promises of Ankara, to finance half of the construction of the “Turkish Stream”, before starting the work Russia must receive the necessary packet of documents, including intergovernmental agreements, verify the route and the number of branches of the line. If Turkey agrees to the construction of one branch, having the capacity, sufficient for covering at least her needs, the project will be unprofitable for Gasprom. It is not necessary for Moscow to provide Turkish companies discounts on gas before receiving the signed documents from Ankara.
The project is not to the advantage of Bulgaria, which loses the current and potential transit fees. Sofia tries to save its status and transit revenues by reanimating the “South Stream”. However its financial resources for the construction of the pipeline are limited.
The resumption of negotiations on the “Turkish Stream” makes Kiev nervous. With the help of this pipeline, Russia will bypass the Ukraine, but a compromise is possible. Theoretically the Ukrainian gas transportation system (GTS) is required as an emergency backup for pumping gas to the EU. Obviously the Ukrainians will insist on the extension of the transit contract with Gasprom. The commissioning of the construction of the Russo-Turkish line could be indirectly beneficial to the Ukraine, who stopped buying Russian gas directly since the fall of 2015. Additional volumes of the raw material on the EU market will lower the prices of the Russian gas, purchased by Kiev in reverse from European suppliers.
It is unlikely that Belarus will convince Russia of the necessity to expand the existing gas transportation capacities. She is moving closer to the West and the expansion of export infrastructure through her territories entails risks for Gasprom. The aggravation of relations with Russia in the oil sphere also affects the situation.
Georgia is aware of the feasibility of its participation in the realisation of the “Turkish Stream” but there is a small probability that it will be a reliable partner for the Russian Federation.
For Iran it is more lucrative to come to an agreement with Turkey on the construction of the essential infrastructure for the export of its gas to Europe instead of joining the “Turkish Stream”.
The latter is a competitor for the “South Gas Corridor” which is being built with the participation of Azerbaijan. The entry into exploitation of the Russo-Turkish pipeline will lower the competitiveness of Azerbaijani gas on the European market.
The EU will bet on the TANAP and TAP projects to replace Russian gas with Azerbaijani. In the long term, Iran could be the resource base for the “Southern Gas Corridor”.
La echaron nomás. De ahora en más habrá que ver cómo resiste, si es que lo hace, el pueblo brasileño. Una pena, Dilma. Una verdadera pena. Leemos en el Página/12 de hoy:
Título: Golpe consumado
Texto: Los opositores a la expresidenta Dilma Rousseff consiguieron 61 votos para consumar el impeachment que la referente del PT denunció como un golpe de estado durante su defensa ante la Cámara alta. Del total de 81 senadores, 20 se opusieron al golpe contra Dilma, que fue llevada a juicio político acusada de cometer irregularidades al emplear transferencia de recursos frente al déficit fiscal, una práctica habitual en gestiones anteriores.
Rousseff estaba ya suspendida del cargo desde el 12 de mayo por decisión de la Cámara de Diputados, que votó el inicio del proceso. Ahora, el Senado puso fin a su mandato tras cinco años y medios en el cargo, con una reelección en 2014 con 54 millones de votos.
Durante su defensa realizada el lunes, la expresidenta brasileña denunció un golpe de Estado, impulsado por el PMDB de Michel Temer, exvicepresidente aliado, quien asumirá esta misma tarde para partir como jefe de Estado hacia la cumbre del G-20 en China.
El proceso de "impeachment", enmarcado en varios escándalos de corrupción que salpican prácticamente a toda la clase política brasileña, dañó en los últimos meses la imagen internacional de Brasil, castigado desde tiempo por una dura crisis económica.
En la foto de abajo, Michel Temer, hasta ayer presidente interino del Brasil. Este mismo miserable asume hoy la presidencia brasileña en forma "definitiva". Mirale nomás la cara:
No es ninguna novedad que los grandes medios de la prensa corporativa mienten. La novedad es que la gente comienza a darse cuenta. Leemos, a propósito de la cobertura mediática de las elecciones presidenciales en los EEUU, la siguiente nota de Carey Wedley en el sitio web Antimedia:
Título: Mainstream Media Admits It May “Never Recover” from 2016 Election
Texto: In a revealing statement that flew largely under the radar earlier this month, the mainstream media admitted it would never recover from its irresponsible and negligent coverage of the 2016 presidential election. A recent column published in the New York Post referred to the media’s reporting as “the complete collapse of American journalism as we know it.”
In his article for the Post, Fox News contributor Michael Goodwin discussed the media’s pro-Clinton bias – one recognized by supporters of virtually every other presidential candidate, from Bernie Sanders to Jill Stein to Gary Johnson and, of course, Donald Trump. Even Americans who don’t necessarily have a horse in the 2016 race notice the slant.
“By torching its remaining credibility in service of Clinton,” Goodwin wrote, “the mainstream media’s reputations will likely never recover, nor will the standards. No future producer, editor, reporter or anchor can be expected to meet a test of fairness when that standard has been trashed in such willful and blatant fashion.”
Indeed, he is correct in this regard. The Clinton machine has effectively infiltrated corporate media. Last year, the Intercept reported MSNBC failed to disclose that multiple pundits who spoke favorably about Clinton were actually employees of a consulting firm hired by her campaign.
More recently, embarrassing DNC leaks released in July revealed DNC officials attempted to craft narratives painting Sanders in a negative light to undermine his campaign. They also organized a secret fundraiser with the Washington Post and were careful to keep it under the radar. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the now-disgraced former chairman of the DNC, along with one of her colleagues, personally contacted MSNBC to complain when one of its anchors criticized Clinton and suggested she drop out. Per a “deal” with the DNC, one POLITICO writer sent an article critical of Clinton to the DNC for suggestions before he sent it to his editor.
Though Goodwin has previously implied he does not support the Republican nominee, he still argues “Any reporter who agrees with Clinton about Trump has no business covering either candidate.”
There is no question the mainstream media has sided with the political establishment in its decision to craftnarratives that paint Clinton as a competent leader who is the only option in the face of a catastrophic Trump presidency. Indeed, in spite of Clinton’s lack of popularity among the general population, the media continues tosuggest she is the only thing standing between America and its descent into fascism.
While the degree of negative press Trump has received is undeniably staggering, Goodwin failed to recognize — at least in this article — that like Clinton, Trump is wildly unpopular and dangerous. Though mainstream media is undoubtedly fervent in their coverage of Trump’s absurdity, it is arguably irresponsible not to point out the gaping problems with his xenophobic, violent, non-factual rhetoric.
But therein lies the problem: rarely does the mainstream media devote as much time to questioning Hillary Clinton, her rhetoric, and her policies. As the Hill noted earlier this month:
“Some would argue that Trump deserves it because of controversial rhetoric or falsehoods around X, Y, Z… [But] when looking at honesty/trustworthy numbers, it’s Clinton who — in the eyes of the public — has more issues in that department.”
As Politifact documented, Clinton has lied on multiple occasions, and the media’s lack of outrage and refusal to focus on her dishonesty lends credence to Goodwin’s assertions.
Goodwin is openly right-wing. He appears regularly on Fox News and has previously asserted President Obama is not doing enough to combat Islamic extremism. And though he is correct in pointing out the pro-Clinton bias, his employment at the New York Post and ongoing appearances on Fox — two icons of mainstream media — obliterate any chance of his media criticisms being taken seriously.
The New York Post has been owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. since 1976. In that time, the Post has developed a reputation for sensationalism and inaccurate reporting. While they deserve mild credit for covering controversial issues like police brutality and the secrecy and corruption surrounding the infamous 28-pages of the 9/11 commission report, a long line of ethical controversies mars their credibility — so much so that even a Fox News anchor has questioned the paper’s legitimacy.
Little needs to be said about Fox News’ out of touch, delusional take on the world, though it is worth noting that according to an analysis by Politifact, 58 percent of Fox News’ content is mostly false, false, or “pants on fire.”
The reputations of the New York Post and Fox News precede Goodwin’s argument, no matter how true it may be that the media is in Hillary Clinton’s pocket. What his assertion should have contended is that American journalism was a lost cause long before the 2016 election — something Americans have increasingly and rightfully begun to recognize.
From the corporate media’s flagrantly irresponsible coverage of the Iraq War during the Bush years to the media’s ongoing blackouts of relevant news in favor of more superficial, inconsequential stories, Goodwin’s assertion that 2016 is the year American journalism died is as factual as the content churned out by Fox News.
2016 has merely been its funeral procession.
martes, 30 de agosto de 2016
De no mediar un milagro Dilma Rousseff, presidenta constitucional, electa, de la República Federativa del Brasil, va a ser desplazada de su cargo como consecuencia de un golpe parlamentario. Sugerimos que entre los intereses detrás del golpe están los que quieren quedarse con una Petrobrás privatizada. La nota que sigue es de Martín Granovsky y salió en la contratapa de Página/12 de hoy:
Título: Estupro a la democracia
Texto: Cada 11 minutos una mujer es violada en Brasil. Si es negra, joven y pobre tiene más posibilidades de sufrir una agresión. Los estudios de Antropología les pusieron título a los datos: cultura del estupro.
Después de asistir a la sesión del Senado contra Dilma Rousseff, cualquiera puede reemplazar la palabra “mujer” por “Constitución” y la palabra “negra” por “democracia” y verá que la teoría puede aplicarse a la política sin forzar nada. Nada.
Los senadores de la oposición avanzaron un nuevo capítulo en la violación de las reglas del debido proceso. Vulneraron los derechos políticos de Dilma, que si no hay un milagro perderá la presidencia y quedará inhabilitada por ocho años para la política. Y aplastaron los derechos humanos de los brasileños: en octubre de 2014 votaron en primera y segunda vuelta por Dilma contra Aecio Neves y le dieron la victoria. Desde aquel alud de 54 millones de votos a hoy, con un golpe en marcha, pasaron menos de dos años.
“Ahora, la ruptura democrática se da por medio de la violencia moral y los pretextos constitucionales para que gane apariencia de legitimidad el gobierno que asume sin el amparo de las urnas”, dijo Dilma. “Se invoca la Constitución para que el mundo de las apariencias encubra hipócritamente el mundo de los hechos.”
No es un tema de forma, porque en democracia la forma es fondo. Una constelación formada por la gran banca internacional, los gigantes de la empresa brasileña, una parte de la Justicia, los megamedios, todos los parlamentarios del PSDB y la mayoría de los legisladores del PMDB tratan de construir apariencias para violar la Constitución.
Brasil no vive bajo un régimen parlamentario. Pero el Congreso censura a la Presidenta que tiene mandato hasta el 31 de diciembre de 2018.
Los diputados deben fundamentar su acusación contra Dilma como en cualquier proceso. Pero uno explicó la acusación honrando al oficial que torturó a la Presidenta cuando era guerrillera y otros dedicaron el voto a madres, hijos y cuadros.
Tal como denunciaron cuatro congresistas ante la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, a Dilma hasta le restringieron el tiempo de sus testigos. Es decir, el derecho a defensa. Cuando fue notificado de que la petición había llegado a la CIDH, el canciller José Serra dijo: “Son unos brutos, diríjanse al Senado”. En política internacional la representación la asume el Poder Ejecutivo, no el Congreso. Un resumen y el texto completo de la petición a la CIDH pueden leerse aquí: http://bit.ly/2bzINaZ. Para brutalidades consultar a Serra.
Ayer mismo, en el Senado, varios senadores criticaron el desempeño de Dilma en el gobierno. Pero en un juicio político los senadores son jueces, no parlamentarios en medio de una interpelación. Los jueces preguntan y después sentencian. No replican.
El presidente de la Corte Suprema, Ricardo Lewandowski, encargado de dirigir las sesiones del Senado, dejó que alegremente los senadores esquivaran su papel de jueces. Pero corrigió a Dilma: “Le pido que no hable más nada del gobierno interino”, exigió tras las menciones de Rousseff al “gobierno usurpador” y “golpista”. “La condena exige pruebas cabales de que se haya cometido, dolosamente, un delito de responsabilidad fiscal”, explicó Dilma. “Sin delito, es golpe”, sintetizó.
Es equivocado pensar que el juicio político sin derechos es una cosa y la política otra. Son dos caras de lo mismo. Para observar lo que ocurre en Brasil no hace falta ningún diario del futuro. Ningún diario del lunes. Como citó la propia Rousseff, Temer ya impuso límites de gasto fiscal hasta el 2037 que ni siquiera las políticas sociales podrán perforar. Su gobierno también impulsó la baja de edad de imputabilidad y la tercerización laboral. “Van a precarizar”, anunció en el Senado Roberto Requiao, uno de los pocos del PMDB fieles al proyecto original. “En Brasil no se va a poder nacer ni trabajar.”
La Policía Federal busca meter preso a Lula, el único del PT en condiciones de competir en las presidenciales de 2018. Las policías militares (que en Brasil son las malditas provinciales) lubrican cada vez más el gatillo fácil o, como ayer, reprimen manifestantes en San Pablo. El futuro ya llegó.
Dilma, ayer, se equivocó de interlocutores. Les habló a los senadores, no al pueblo. Pero no es por sus debilidades políticas que los esclavócratas de Brasil quieren echarla. Es para ser fieles a la cultura del estupro que practican desde el siglo XVI.
Las limitaciones de la élite política alemana son cada vez más palpables, evidentes y embarazosas para buena parte de la población de ese país. En momentos cruciales para Europa, tal vez sea un buen momento para un cambio, se pregunta más de uno. ¿Qué es lo que habría que cambiar? La siguiente nota de RT ofrece algunas claves:
Título: La trampa estadounidense a Angela Merkel: cómo EE.UU. convirtió a Alemania en su "Estado vasallo"
Epígrafe: El control de EE.UU. sobre Alemania se basa en cuatro pilares: las finanzas, la 'americanización' de la élite política alemana, los recursos de información y las bases militares de la OTAN, explica el politólogo Dmitri Sedov.
Texto: En la relación entre EE.UU. y Alemania "hay una serie de factores evidentes y no evidentes" que hacen de Alemania "un Estado vasallo" de Washington, escribe en su nuevo artículo para el portal Fondsk el politólogo ruso Dmitri Sedov, que subraya que esta situación es "uno de los pilares del orden mundial moderno".
Para este experto, la declaración de Washington y Londres después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial sobre la "inclusión de la Alemania derrotada en la sinfonía de las naciones libres de Europa" fue desde el principio una mentira, ya que lo que británicos y estadounidenses querían en realidad era "descartar para siempre el resurgimiento de los alemanes como rivales y como jugador global capaz de pasarse al lado del enemigo".
Según explica el analista, el control de las potencias anglosajonas sobre Alemania se realiza por medio de cuatro instrumentos principales: las finanzas, la 'americanización' de la élite política alemana, los recursos de información y las bases militares estadounidenses en Alemania, que albergan un arsenal de armas nucleares tácticas.
En cuanto al primer factor, el politólogo recuerda que tras el acuerdo firmado en 1958 entre el entonces presidente del Banco Central de Alemania, Karl Blessing, y las autoridades estadounidenses, la mayor parte del oro alemán se encuentra en el Banco de la Reserva Federal de Nueva York y Alemania no tiene la posibilidad de retirarlo.
Alemania es el segundo país con mayores reservas bancarias de oro del mundo después de EE.UU.
En enero de 2013, el Bundesbank anunció que cambiaba de estrategia y que quería repatriar a Alemania tanto las 374 toneladas depositadas en el Banco de Francia en París como las 300 toneladas almacenadas en la Reserva Federal de Nueva York. Sin embargo, en junio de 2014 la agencia de noticias Bloomberg informó de que el Gobierno de Angela Merkel decidió "eliminar un potencial factor de irritación" en las relaciones entre Berlín y Washington y abandonó la idea de que el oro volviera a Alemania.
'Americanización' de la élite alemana
La mayor parte de la élite política alemana está ya 'americanizada'. Mientras tanto, prosigue el autor del artículo, toda una red de instituciones y organizaciones gubernamentales y no gubernamentales estadounidenses actúan para atraer a la élite alemana a la órbita política de EE.UU. La más importante de ellas es la ONG American Council on Germany (Consejo Estadounidense para Alemania, o ACG), que trabaja bajo la tutela del Consejo de Relaciones Exteriores.
"El principal objetivo del ACG es imponer a los socios alemanes enfoques y estándares norteamericanos con los que se pretende debilitar su conexión con la tradición europea y convertirlos en los conductores de la política de la globalización", explica Sedov, quien agrega que "la mayor parte de la élite política alemana está ya 'americanizada'".
El control sobre los medios
Según el politólogo, los esfuerzos de Washington por controlar los medios de comunicación alemanes ya no se limitan a la mera participación del capital estadounidense.
Los medios de comunicación alemanes "seleccionan de manera consciente y con habilidad" los flujos de información para imponer la ideología del atlantismo, opina el experto.
Sedov explica que el principal gerente de estos flujos de información es la Oficina de Impresión Federal, que está estrechamente vinculada al ACG y posee fuertes mecanismos de influencia en los medios de comunicación.
Mientras tanto, un número relativamente pequeño de medios alemanes que se posicionan como independientes están siendo marginados y no tienen ninguna influencia.
La OTAN como una herramienta de control
La falta de pensamiento independiente hace que Merkel siga la política de EE.UU., lo que la convierte en una líder débil a los ojos de los votantes
El autor recuerda que las tropas de EE.UU. todavía están presentes en Alemania, "lo que significa que la soberanía de la República Federal de Alemania sigue siendo limitada".
En este sentido, Sedov cita al general retirado de EE.UU. William Odom, que asesoró sobre cuestiones militares al consejero de seguridad nacional estadounidense Zbigniew Brzezinski, y que además fue director adjunto del Estado Mayor del Ejército de EE.UU. para la inteligencia y director de la Agencia Nacional de Seguridad.
De acuerdo con Odom, la OTAN no fue creada con el objetivo de protegerse de la amenaza soviética, sino como "un instrumento dirigido contra Alemania".
"Merkel es incapaz de cambiar la situación"
Analizando todos estos aspectos, Sedov concluye que "Angela Merkel se encuentra en una posición muy difícil".
Y es que, a pesar de que hoy en día "Alemania tiene todas las razones para actuar en el escenario mundial como una fuerza independiente", la política alemana sigue subordinada a los intereses de EE.UU., señala el politólogo.
En su opinión, Angela Merkel es incapaz de cambiar esta situación, que requiere "un político de otra escala".
"La falta de pensamiento independiente hace que Merkel siga la política de EE.UU., lo que la convierte en una líder débil a los ojos de los votantes", destaca el analista, que pone como ejemplos la ausencia de críticas serias a Washington tras el escándalo de espionaje, la postura de Merkel sobre el acuerdo entre la UE y Turquía y sobre la situación en Ucrania, entre otras cuestiones.
"La señora canciller federal debe darse cuenta de que su política se contradice cada vez más con las expectativas de los alemanes, pero no hace nada", concluye el experto.
lunes, 29 de agosto de 2016
Curioso el silencio en torno a la intervención turca en Siria estos últimos días. Mucha niebla, mucha información en las sombras. La nota que sigue es de Mark Sleboda y fue reproducida ayer en el sitio web Moon of Alabama. A ver qué opinan:
Título: The Turkish Invasion Of Syria As Path To "Regime Change"
Texto: The US-backed Turkish invasion of Syria with its proxies in tow now moves further into Syria to seize Al-Bab in a landgrab to create Erdogan's (and the U.S. neocon Brookings Institute's) long desired jihadi "safe haven"/"no fly zone" for al-Qaeda & friends to operate and stage from with impunity from Russian and Syrian airstrikes.
Al-Bab is a "backdoor" on key routes south to Aleppo from the Turkish border.
Turkish supplies for the Islamic Army of Conquest offensives in South Aleppo and Latakia: arms, ammo, supplies, even artillery, tanks have been reported as flowing like water over the Turkish border
Turkey is obviously not coordinating its incursion with the Syrian government which condemns it as a violation of its sovereignty. The Kremlin's impotent calls for Turkey to coordinate with Damascus while waving the old Geneva communique have been completely ignored. Unfortunately there is little they can do at this point without engaging in a full scale war with Turkey and the U.S. in Syria. Something the Kremlin lacks the will to do. Turkey/U.S. intend that their proxies take Aleppo as leverage in settlement negotiations to force Assad to step down, or partition if that fails.
Both the Turkish and FSA flags, (not the Syrian flag), were raised over "liberated" Jarablus
Securing the Jarablus corridor from a westward YPG advance in attempts to link their "cantons" east and west along the Turkish border prevents supply lines to "Syrian rebels" from Turkey from being cut. That's why Turkey has taken action here while however grudgingly accepting Kurdish control over large stretches of Syrian-Turkish border everywhere else without taking action. The ratlines to the "rebels" are Turkey's primary concern here. Kurds are an important but demonstratively second concern.
Turkey's incursion was backed by US air-cover, drones, and embedded special forces per the WSJ. These were there largely to prevent Russia and Syria from even thinking about taking action against the invading forces.
Turkey is moving into Syria not just with its own military, but with thousands of "rebel opposition groups" including US-backed FSA brigades allied with AlQaeda/Nusra/Sham and the child head-chopping al-Zinki who are reported to form the vanguard. Syrian territory is outright being turned over to them by the Turkish military, simply exchanging control from one group of terrorist jihadis (ISIS) to others who are more media acceptable and more direct proxies of the Erdogan regime, the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
That said, ISIS has not resisted the Turkish advance at all - simply "melting away" (or exchanging one set of uniforms for another?). No stay-behinds, no suicide bombers, no IEDS, nothing. No fighting. Zero casualties. Turkish and "Syrian rebel" forces literally strolled in to Jarablus taking selfies and posing for cameras. Tag-team turnover.
The Kurdish YPG/SDF have proven that they have become nothing but lickspittle currs for the U.S., despite being betrayed, dutifully responding to the leash and withdrawing from Manbij which they bled for, and all positions east of the Euphrates on Biden's orders as he staged a press conference in Ankara with Erdogan. They have served their part in providing another layer of pretext for Turkey to invade Syria.
Layers of Pretext for Turkish invasion of Syria:
- "Liberating" Jarablus from ISIS to give it to al-Qaeda
- Giving Jarablus to al-Qaeda to deny it to Kurds
- Safe/No Fly Zone for al-Qaeda
- Neocon Plan B - Partition of Syria (if necessary)
The question has been raised about Russia's and Syria's supposedly "muted response" to all this and that their existing protestations (linked below) to the contrary are actually "lies" and that both are somehow in agreement and collusion with everything Erdogan is doing above in some kind of grand Eurasian alliance conspiracy and agreement to end the conflict in Syria ...
Right? This theory is really too absurd and far-fetched wishful thinking to warrant addressing. See Moscow: Russian Foreign Ministry Expresses Concern About Turkish Operation in Syria", Damascus: Syria condemns Turkey’s breach of Syria’s sovereignty in Jarablos
What kind of response do you expect? Do you think Russia would shoot U.S. and Turkish planes out of the sky and bomb Turkish forces in Syria? The Turkish coup upheaval aside, the Turkish military is still large enough several times over to crush the small Russian military taskforce in Syria. To say nothing of where things would go from there in a war with NATO.
What did Russia do when U.S., UK, France etc quietly put their own special forces and troops on the ground in Syria over the last year? What was the Kremlin's response just days ago when the U.S. declared a no fly zone over their SDF proxies attacking Syrian government forces and threatened to shoot down Russian jets?
Nothing. They did nothing then just like their "muted" objections now. Not because they want it to happen or are "in on it" but because there is nothing they can do about it short of openly attacking and going to war with the U.S. and Turkey (i.e. NATO) which the Kremlin is NOT willing to do for Syria.
They are likewise not going to make threats or demands about violations of Syria's sovereignty that they will not and cannot back up. Such bluster is not their style. It achieves nothing. They will continue to play the long game in Syria and hope events still turn their way without direct military confrontation with the U.S. and Turkey. They continue to push for a negotiated settlement on terms favorable to Damascus. Everyone is still playing the charade that they are all in the conflict in Syria to fight terrorists when we all know that it is just a front and the symptom for regime change. That game goes on, just now with Turkey upping the ante.
The U.S. and Turkey want a negotiated settlement too - they are just not willing to accept the current status of forces and intend to escalate and create new facts on the ground, primarily in and around Aleppo, that they hope will force Russia to accept that "Assad Must Go!" ensuring a settlement more favorable to them.
Erdogan has actually always been much louder and more insistent in demanding a "safe haven"/"no fly zone" for the proxies over the Jarablus corridor than the US. Erdogan pushed for it several times, and Obama refused, apparently infuriating his own State Department, CIA, and foreign policy elite in the process. Now Erdogan's tantrums and witch-hunt over the lack of Western support during the attempted Kemalist military coup, have blackmailed Obama into acceding to this, in order to restore relations.
Overall, however the US has put the hegemon's name, power, and prestige on the line for "Assad Must Go!" They simply cannot accept anything less than regime change. In the end, particularly after Clinton comes to power in the U.S. early next year and escalates the situation further than Obama has been willing as he tries to run out the clock, I am afraid that Russia will simply throw up their hands and walk away with whatever they can still get - not willing to go to World War III over Syria. A gambit the U.S. has no such reservations about. And that is the Kremlin's weakness, and why red line after red line of their's keeps getting crossed closer and closer to Russia's borders itself.
When Russia itself is at last on the line and in the targets, it may not have any friends left willing to stand by it.
[Note by b:
I can not decide which side has the upper hand. The "west" or Russia and its allies. Mark's well thought out version above may be spot on. But little birds tell me that all is going along a common Russian-Turkish plan to which the U.S had to acquiesce. Russia's potential threat to Turkey, should it try to cheat, is seriously arming the PKK Kurds. Remember the anti-armor missiles and that one MANPAD they recently used? Those were warnings. Both versions make sense in their own. But can both be right?]
viernes, 26 de agosto de 2016
Darayya, o Daraya, es un suburbio ubicado al sur-suroeste de la ciudad de Damasco, capital de la República Arabe de Siria. Desde prácticamente los comienzos del "conflicto" sirio (como sabemos, en realidad un intento de invasión por parte de las fuerzas de la NATO y de las monarquías del Golfo) Darayya estuvo ocupado por "rebeldes" (en realidad, fanáticos islámicos a sueldo de las monarquías del Golfo y cumpliendo órdenes de la NATO). Desde ayer Darayya, o Daraya, pasa a ser un suburbio normal de un país normal. Lástima la montaña de escombros en que quedó el suburbio y el 70% del resto de Siria. En fin, algún día habrá un Nuremberg para los responsables de todo esto. Leemos en el sitio web libanés Al Manar:
Título: ¿Cuáles serán las repercusiones de la victoria de Darayya?
Texto: Darayya, un “icono” de la “insurrección” siria, ha sido finalmente liberada por el Ejército tras 4 años de ocupación por parte de las milicias takfiris.
El jueves entró en vigor el acuerdo para la entrega de la ciudad al Ejército por parte de los insurgentes, señaló la agencia oficial SANA.
Situada en la Guta Occidental, no lejos del aeropuerto de Mazze, sede de los servicios de Inteligencia del Ejército del Aire, ella constituía el principal bastión de los grupos terroristas en la región.
Según los términos del acuerdo, los militantes que no se acojan a la ley de amnistía, serán enviados a Idleb, una provincia controlada por el Yaish al Fatah, una coalición cuya columna vertebral es el Frente al Nusra, en el norte de Siria. En total, unos 700 militantes se encaminarán hacia el norte bajo la supervisión de organizaciones internacionales.
Los militantes entregarán todas sus armas ligeras, medias y pesadas al Ejército.
“El paso siguiente será la entrada del Ejército en la localidad”, indicó a AFP una fuente militar.
Unos 4.000 civiles y combatientes que han dejado las armas y se han acogido a la amnistía irán a regiones bajo control del gobierno alrededor de Damasco mientras la ciudad se limpia de explosivos y se restablecen los servicios.
De acuerdo a AFP, los militantes que controlaban Darayya pertenecen a dos grupos takfiris locales: Aynad al Sham y La Brigada de los Mártires. Según As Safir, el Frente al Nusra se encontraría también presente en la ciudad.
El Ejército había progresado en estos dos últimos días y estaba a punto de cortar la ciudad en dos. Los militantes quedaron confinados a un espacio de sólo 1 km2. Las pérdidas sufridas les llevó finalmente a rendirse.
Los terroristas del Sur de Siria buscaron en una ocasión romper el asedio de Darayya, una operación bautizada como “Hiya lil lah”, pero ella se saldó con un fracaso y esto provocó una crisis de confianza entre las milicias de Darayya y las del Sur, controladas por la célula MOQ -compuesta por diversos servicios de inteligencia extranjeros- en Jordania.
La victoria de Darayya tendrá un impacto sobre toda la Guta Occidental y en el Sur de Siria. Según AFP, este acuerdo de rendición supone un golpe de grandes consecuencias para los grupos armados, que ha provocado amargura y resentimiento en las filas de dichos grupos.
Esto supone también el fin de la campaña en la Guta Occidental. Ahora sólo queda al Ejército sirio la Guta Oriental para liberar en la provincia de Damasco.
Al mismo tiempo, la victoria de Darayya ha liberado a unos 2.500 soldados sirios de la 42º Brigada de la 4º División Mecanizada, que pueden ser enviados ahora a otros frentes. Esta 42º Brigada es una de las unidades de élite más experimentadas del Ejército sirio.
Dirigida por el veterano Mayor Haizam, esta Brigada ayudó a capturar las ciudades estratégicas de Al Maliha y Yabrud en 2014 y también participó en la campaña de Al Zabadani. Ella ha luchado en muchas ocasiones al lado de Hezbolá.
Esta Brigada será ahora enviada con toda probabilidad a Alepo para participar en los combates que tienen lugar al sur de la provincia.
jueves, 25 de agosto de 2016
Concluimos el día con una imagen que puede herir la sensibilidad de los lectores de Astroboy. Tres monjas italianas exhiben impúdicamente sus hábitos en las playas de ese país, en lo que se ha interpretado como una deliberada adhesión a esa nefasta costumbre musulmana de usar burkinis en la playa. Se recomienda alejar a los niños de la pantalla y pasar rápido este post. No vaya a ser.
Actualización: Andan circulando por la web varias fotos que permiten advertir las tremendas diferencias existentes entre una burkini y un traje de neoprene. Fijate vos también, para que no te agarre desprevenido este verano:
Francamente no sabemos qué decir sobre esto que sigue. Como que la mano se pone cada vez más pesada, Rusia se cansó de avisar, los chicos de la NATO siguen creyéndose vivísimos, la prensa de Occidente continúa en Saturno y los líderes del planeta siguen en sus morondangas sin levantar la cabeza para ver qué está pasando. Entendemos que nunca antes se había visto el nivel de imbecilidad y coloniaje mental de los gobiernos de Europa Occidental.
Se acerca el otoño en el Hemisferio Norte; lo que vaya a ocurrir ocurrirá pronto.
Título: Statements of the Russian Ministry of Defense on a major readiness exercise
Epígrafe: Russian Defence Minister General of the Army Sergei Shoigu has declared the start of an unannounced combat readiness inspection of the Central, Southern and Western MD troops.
Texto: Upon the decision of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces, the troops of the Southern MD, separate formations and units of the Western and Central Military Districts, the Northern Fleet, the Aerospace Forces, the Airborne Troops are put on full combat readiness. Intensive preparations for the Caucasus-2016 strategic exercise are held in the Southern MD.
The Russian Defence Minister ordered to check within 24 hours the capability of troops to perform missions under full combat readiness within the inspection; to deploy formations and units at the assigned ranges and training areas, to prepare for training task performance; to estimate the readiness of the Southern MD to deploy self-sufficient groupings in order to localize crisis situations; to check troop buildup capabilities of Central and Western MDs in the south-west strategic direction; to carry out full procedure of preparation of the Armed Forces for protection of national interests in case of security treat. Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly also informed military attaches of the unannounced combat readiness inspection of the Russian Armed Forces. He stressed that the activities were conducted in strict compliance with the Vienna Document 2011.
Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov has informed foreign military attaches accredited in Moscow of the unannounced combat readiness inspection of the Russian Armed Forces which had started in the Central, Southern and Western Military Districts upon the decision of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. According to the Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov, the military diplomats have received detailed information concerning the activities. He stressed that the activities were conducted in strict compliance with the Vienna Document 2011: “We have informed in good faith the OSCE member-states as well as China and Iran of the started unannounced inspection through the official channel,” said Anatoly Antonov. Answering questions about the time frame of the inspection, he mentioned that the activities would have been finished by August 31.
miércoles, 24 de agosto de 2016
Dolida nota de John Pilger en el Counterpunch de hoy a propósito de la inocencia reconocida a Slobodan Milosevic (foto; hasta ayer, el "Carnicero de los Balcanes"; a partir de hoy, "ex- presidente de Serbia") por las ratas crueles de La Haya. Lástima que la misma se declara quince años después de haber destrozado un país (gracias, NATO) y diez años después de la muerte del acusado (gracias, USA):
Título: Provoking Nuclear War by Media Texto: The exoneration of a man accused of the worst of crimes, genocide, made no headlines. Neither the BBC nor CNN covered it. The Guardian allowed a brief commentary. Such a rare official admission was buried or suppressed, understandably. It would explain too much about how the rulers of the world rule. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague has quietly cleared the late Serbian president, Slobodan Milosevic, of war crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, including the massacre at Srebrenica. Far from conspiring with the convicted Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, Milosevic actually “condemned ethnic cleansing”, opposed Karadzic and tried to stop the war that dismembered Yugoslavia. Buried near the end of a 2,590- page judgement on Karadzic last February, this truth further demolishes the propaganda that justified Nato’s illegal onslaught on Serbia in 1999. Milosevic died of a heart attack in 2006, alone in his cell in The Hague, during what amounted to a bogus trial by an American-invented “international tribunal”. Denied heart surgery that might have saved his life, his condition worsened and was monitored and kept secret by US officials, as WikiLeaks has since revealed. Milosevic was the victim of war propaganda that today runs like a torrent across our screens and newspapers and beckons great danger for us all. He was the prototype demon, vilified by the western media as the “butcher of the Balkans” who was responsible for “genocide”, especially in the secessionist Yugoslav province of Kosovo. Prime Minister Tony Blair said so, invoked the Holocaust and demanded action against “this new Hitler”. David Scheffer, the US ambassador-at-large for war crimes [sic], declared that as many as “225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59” may have been murdered by Milocevic’s forces. This was the justification for Nato’s bombing, led by Bill Clinton and Blair, that killed hundreds of civilians in hospitals, schools, churches, parks and television studios and destroyed Serbia’s economic infrastructure. It was blatantly ideological; at a notorious “peace conference” in Rambouillet in France, Milosevic was confronted by Madeleine Albright, the US secretary of state, who was to achieve infamy with her remark that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children were “worth it”. Albright delivered an “offer” to Milosevic that no national leader could accept. Unless he agreed to the foreign military occupation of his country, with the occupying forces “outside the legal process”, and to the imposition of a neo-liberal “free market”, Serbia would be bombed. This was contained in an “Appendix B”, which the media failed to read or suppressed. The aim was to crush Europe’s last independent “socialist” state. Once Nato began bombing, there was a stampede of Kosovar refugees “fleeing a holocaust”. When it was over, international police teams descended on Kosovo to exhume the victims of the “holocaust”. The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing “a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines”. The final count of the dead in Kosovo was 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the pro-Nato Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). There was no genocide. The Nato attack was both a fraud and a war crime. All but a fraction of America’s vaunted “precision guided” missiles hit not military but civilian targets, including the news studios of Radio Television Serbia in Belgrade. Sixteen people were killed, including cameramen, producers and a make-up artist. Blair described the dead, profanely, as part of Serbia’s “command and control”. In 2008, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Carla Del Ponte, revealed that she had been pressured not to investigate Nato’s crimes. This was the model for Washington’s subsequent invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and, by stealth, Syria. All qualify as “paramount crimes” under the Nuremberg standard; all depended on media propaganda. While tabloid journalism played its traditional part, it was serious, credible, often liberal journalism that was the most effective – the evangelical promotion of Blair and his wars by the Guardian, the incessant lies about Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction in the Observer and the New York Times, and the unerring drumbeat of government propaganda by the BBC in the silence of its omissions. At the height of the bombing, the BBC’s Kirsty Wark interviewed General Wesley Clark, the Nato commander. The Serbian city of Nis had just been sprayed with American cluster bombs, killing women, old people and children in an open market and a hospital. Wark asked not a single question about this, or about any other civilian deaths. Others were more brazen. In February 2003, the day after Blair and Bush had set fire to Iraq, the BBC’s political editor, Andrew Marr, stood in Downing Street and made what amounted to a victory speech. He excitedly told his viewers that Blair had “said they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath, and that in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating. And on both of those points he has been proved conclusively right.” Today, with a million dead and a society in ruins, Marr’s BBC interviews are recommended by the US embassy in London. Marr’s colleagues lined up to pronounce Blair “vindicated”. The BBC’s Washington correspondent, Matt Frei, said, “There’s no doubt that the desire to bring good, to bring American values to the rest of the world, and especially to the Middle East … is now increasingly tied up with military power.” This obeisance to the United States and its collaborators as a benign force “bringing good” runs deep in western establishment journalism. It ensures that the present-day catastrophe in Syria is blamed exclusively on Bashar al-Assad, whom the West and Israel have long conspired to overthrow, not for any humanitarian concerns, but to consolidate Israel’s aggressive power in the region. The jihadist forces unleashed and armed by the US, Britain, France, Turkey and their “coalition” proxies serve this end. It is they who dispense the propaganda and videos that becomes news in the US and Europe, and provide access to journalists and guarantee a one-sided “coverage” of Syria. The city of Aleppo is in the news. Most readers and viewers will be unaware that the majority of the population of Aleppo lives in the government-controlled western part of the city. That they suffer daily artillery bombardment from western-sponsored al-Qaida is not news. On 21 July, French and American bombers attacked a government village in Aleppo province, killing up to 125 civilians. This was reported on page 22 of the Guardian; there were no photographs. Having created and underwritten jihadism in Afghanistan in the 1980s as Operation Cyclone — a weapon to destroy the Soviet Union — the US is doing something similar in Syria. Like the Afghan Mujahideen, the Syrian “rebels” are America’s and Britain’s foot soldiers. Many fight for al-Qaida and its variants; some, like the Nusra Front, have rebranded themselves to comply with American sensitivities over 9/11. The CIA runs them, with difficulty, as it runs jihadists all over the world. The immediate aim is to destroy the government in Damascus, which, according to the most credible poll (YouGov Siraj), the majority of Syrians support, or at least look to for protection, regardless of the barbarism in its shadows. The long-term aim is to deny Russia a key Middle Eastern ally as part of a Nato war of attrition against the Russian Federation that eventually destroys it. The nuclear risk is obvious, though suppressed by the media across “the free world”. The editorial writers of the Washington Post, having promoted the fiction of WMD in Iraq, demand that Obama attack Syria. Hillary Clinton, who publicly rejoiced at her executioner’s role during the destruction of Libya, has repeatedly indicated that, as president, she will “go further” than Obama. Gareth Porter, a samidzat journalist reporting from Washington, recently revealed the names of those likely to make up a Clinton cabinet, who plan an attack on Syria. All have belligerent cold war histories; the former CIA director, Leon Panetta, says that “the next president is gonna have to consider adding additional special forces on the ground”. What is most remarkable about the war propaganda now in floodtide is its patent absurdity and familiarity. I have been looking through archive film from Washington in the 1950s when diplomats, civil servants and journalists were witch-hunted and ruined by Senator Joe McCarthy for challenging the lies and paranoia about the Soviet Union and China. Like a resurgent tumour, the anti-Russia cult has returned. In Britain, the Guardian’s Luke Harding leads his newspaper’s Russia-haters in a stream of journalistic parodies that assign to Vladimir Putin every earthly iniquity. When the Panama Papers leak was published, the front page said Putin, and there was a picture of Putin; never mind that Putin was not mentioned anywhere in the leaks. Like Milosevic, Putin is Demon Number One. It was Putin who shot down a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine. Headline: “As far as I’m concerned, Putin killed my son.” No evidence required. It was Putin who was responsible for Washington’s documented (and paid for) overthrow of the elected government in Kiev in 2014. The subsequent terror campaign by fascist militias against the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine was the result of Putin’s “aggression”. Preventing Crimea from becoming a Nato missile base and protecting the mostly Russian population who had voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia – from which Crimea had been annexed – were more examples of Putin’s “aggression”. Smear by media inevitably becomes war by media. If war with Russia breaks out, by design or by accident, journalists will bear much of the responsibility. In the US, the anti-Russia campaign has been elevated to virtual reality. The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, an economist with a Nobel Prize, has called Donald Trump the “Siberian Candidate” because Trump is Putin’s man, he says. Trump had dared to suggest, in a rare lucid moment, that war with Russia might be a bad idea. In fact, he has gone further and removed American arms shipments to Ukraine from the Republican platform. “Wouldn’t it be great if we got along with Russia,” he said. This is why America’s warmongering liberal establishment hates him. Trump’s racism and ranting demagoguery have nothing to do with it. Bill and Hillary Clinton’s record of racism and extremism can out-trump Trump’s any day. (This week is the 20th anniversary of the Clinton welfare “reform” that launched a war on African-Americans). As for Obama: while American police gun down his fellow African-Americans the great hope in the White House has done nothing to protect them, nothing to relieve their impoverishment, while running four rapacious wars and an assassination campaign without precedent. The CIA has demanded Trump is not elected. Pentagon generals have demanded he is not elected. The pro-war New York Times — taking a breather from its relentless low-rent Putin smears — demands that he is not elected. Something is up. These tribunes of “perpetual war” are terrified that the multi-billion-dollar business of war by which the United States maintains its dominance will be undermined if Trump does a deal with Putin, then with China’s Xi Jinping. Their panic at the possibility of the world’s great power talking peace – however unlikely – would be the blackest farce were the issues not so dire. “Trump would have loved Stalin!” bellowed Vice-President Joe Biden at a rally for Hillary Clinton. With Clinton nodding, he shouted, “We never bow. We never bend. We never kneel. We never yield. We own the finish line. That’s who we are. We are America!” In Britain, Jeremy Corbyn has also excited hysteria from the war-makers in the Labour Party and from a media devoted to trashing him. Lord West, a former admiral and Labour minister, put it well. Corbyn was taking an “outrageous” anti-war position “because it gets the unthinking masses to vote for him”. In a debate with leadership challenger Owen Smith, Corbyn was asked by the moderator: “How would you act on a violation by Vladimir Putin of a fellow Nato state?” Corbyn replied: “You would want to avoid that happening in the first place. You would build up a good dialogue with Russia … We would try to introduce a de-militarisation of the borders between Russia, the Ukraine and the other countries on the border between Russia and Eastern Europe. What we cannot allow is a series of calamitous build-ups of troops on both sides which can only lead to great danger.” Pressed to say if he would authorise war against Russia “if you had to”, Corbyn replied: “I don’t wish to go to war – what I want to do is achieve a world that we don’t need to go to war.” The line of questioning owes much to the rise of Britain’s liberal war-makers. The Labour Party and the media have long offered them career opportunities. For a while the moral tsunami of the great crime of Iraq left them floundering, their inversions of the truth a temporary embarrassment. Regardless of Chilcot and the mountain of incriminating facts, Blair remains their inspiration, because he was a “winner”. Dissenting journalism and scholarship have since been systematically banished or appropriated, and democratic ideas emptied and refilled with “identity politics” that confuse gender with feminism and public angst with liberation and wilfully ignore the state violence and weapons profiteering that destroys countless lives in faraway places, like Yemen and Syria, and beckon nuclear war in Europe and across the world. The stirring of people of all ages around the spectacular rise of Jeremy Corbyn counters this to some extent. His life has been spent illuminating the horror of war. The problem for Corbyn and his supporters is the Labour Party. In America, the problem for the thousands of followers of Bernie Sanders was the Democratic Party, not to mention their ultimate betrayal by their great white hope. In the US, home of the great civil rights and anti-war movements, it is Black Lives Matter and the likes of Codepink that lay the roots of a modern version. For only a movement that swells into every street and across borders and does not give up can stop the warmongers. Next year, it will be a century since Wilfred Owen wrote the following. Every journalist should read it and remember it.
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.