lunes, 31 de octubre de 2016
La nota que sigue es una (inusual) reflexión de Pepe Escobar aparecida hoy en el sitio web Strategic Culture Foundation. El chico leyó a Baudrillard (foto) y extrae conclusiones. A ver si les gusta:
Título: American Dream, Revisited
Texto: Will Trump pull a Brexit times ten? What would it take, beyond WikiLeaks, to bring the Clinton (cash) machine down? Will Hillary win and then declare WWIII against her Russia / Iran / Syria «axis of evil»? Will the Middle East totally explode? Will the pivot to Asia totally implode? Will China be ruling the world by 2025?
Amidst so many frenetic fragments of geopolitical reality precariously shored against our ruins, the temptation is irresistible to hark back to the late, great, deconstructionist master Jean Baudrillard. During the post-mod 1980s it was hip to be Baudrillardian to the core; his "America", originally published in France in 1986, should still be read today as the definitive metaphysical/geological/cultural Instagram of Exceptionalistan.
By the late 1990s, at the end of the millennium, two years before 9/11 – that seminal «before and after» event - Baudrillard was already stressing how we live in a black market maze. Now, it’s a black market paroxysm.
Global multitudes are subjected to a black market of work – as in the deregulation of the official market; a black market of unemployment; a black market of financial speculation; a black market of misery and poverty; a black market of sex (as in prostitution); a black market of information (as in espionage and shadow wars); a black market of weapons; and even a black market of thinking.
Way beyond the late 20th century, in the 2010s what the West praises as «liberal democracy» – actually a neoliberal diktat - has virtually absorbed every ideological divergence, while leaving behind a heap of differences floating in some sort of trompe l’oeil effect. What’s left is a widespread, noxious condition; the pre-emptive prohibition of any critical thought, which has no way to express itself other than becoming clandestine (or finding the right internet niche).
Baudrillard already knew that the concept of «alter» - killed by conviviality - does not exist in the official market. So an «alter» black market also sprung up, co-opted by traffickers; that’s, for instance, the realm of racism, nativism and other forms of exclusion. Baudrillard already identified how a «contraband alter», expressed by sects and every form of nationalism (nowadays, think about the spectrum between jihadism and extreme-right wing political parties) was bound to become more virulent in a society that is desperately intolerant, obsessed with regimentation, and totally homogenized.
There could be so much exhilaration inbuilt in life lived in a bewildering chimera cocktail of cultures, signs, differences and «values»; but then came the coupling of thinking with its exact IT replica – artificial intelligence, playing with the line of demarcation between human and non-human in the domain of thought.
The result, previewed by Baudrillard, was the secretion of a parapolitical society - with a sort of mafia controlling this secret form of generalized corruption (think the financial Masters of the Universe). Power is unable to fight this mafia - and that would be, on top of it, hypocritical, because the mafia itself emanates from power.
The end result is that what really matters today, anywhere, mostly tends to happen outside all official circuits; like in a social black market.
Is there any information «truth»?
Baudrillard showed how political economy is a massive machine, producing value, producing signs of wealth, but not wealth itself. The whole media / information system – still ruled by America - is a massive machine producing events as signs; exchangeable value in the universal market of ideology, the star system and catastrophism.
This abstraction of information works as in the economy – disgorging a coded material, deciphered in advance, and negotiable in terms of models, as much as the economy disgorges products negotiable in terms of price and value.
Since all merchandise, thanks to this abstraction of value, is exchangeable, then every event (or non-event) is also exchangeable, all replacing one another in the cultural market of information.
And that takes us to where we live now; Trans-History, and Trans-Politics – where events have really not happened, as they get lost in the vacuum of information (as much as the economy gets lost in the vacuum of speculation).
Thus this quintessential Baudrillard insight; if we consider History as a movie – and that’s what it is now – then the «truth» of information is no more than post-production synch, dubbing and subtitles.
Still, as we all keep an intense desire for devouring events, there is immense disappointment as well, because the content of information is desperately inferior to the means of broadcasting them. Call it a pathetic, universal contagion; people don’t know what to do about their sadness or enthusiasm – in parallel to our societies becoming theaters of the absurd where nothing has consequences.
No acts, deeds, crimes (the 2008 financial crisis), political events (the WikiLeaks emails showing virtually no distinction between the «nonprofit» Clinton cash machine, what’s private and what’s public, the obsessive pursuit of personal wealth, and the affairs of the state) seem to have real consequences.
Immunity, impunity, corruption, speculation - we veer towards a state of zero responsibility (think Goldman Sachs). So, automatically, we yearn for an event of maximum consequence, a «fatal» event to repair that scandalous non-equivalence. Like a symbolic re-equilibrium of the scales of destiny.
So we dream of an amazing event – Trump winning the election? Hillary declaring WWIII? - that would free us from the tyranny of meaning and the constraint of always searching for the equivalence between effects and causes.
Shadowing the world
Just like Baudrillard, I got to see «deep» America in the 1980s and 1990s by driving across America.
So sooner or later one develops a metaphysical relationship with that ubiquitous warning, «Objects in this mirror may be closer than they appear».
But what if they may also be further than they appear?
The contemporary instant event/celebrity culture deluge of images upon us; does it get us closer to a so-called «real» world that is in fact very far away from us? Or does it in fact keep the world at a distance – creating an artificial depth of field that protects us from the imminence of objects and the virtual danger they represent?
In parallel, we keep slouching towards a single future language – the language of algorithms, as designed across the Wall Street / Silicon Valley axis – that would represent a real anthropological catastrophe, just like the globalist/New World Order dream of One Thought and One Culture.
Languages are multiple and singular – by definition. If there were a single language, words would become univocal, regulating themselves in an autopilot of meaning. There would be no interplay – as in artificial languages there’s no interplay. Language would be just the meek appendix of a unified reality – the negative destiny of a languidly unified human species.
That’s where the American «dream» seems to be heading. It’s time to take the next exit ramp.
domingo, 30 de octubre de 2016
Catherine Austin Fitts (foto), del sitio web The Solari Report (https://solari.com/blog) posteó ayer una de las mejores entrevistas que hemos escuchado en el año. Más que una entrevista, es un largo diálogo que mantuvo con ese extraño analista ruso denominado The Saker, del blog http://thesaker.is. No tiene desperdicio, especialmente la segunda mitad. No pierdas un segundo y escuchala:
Título: The Emerging Multipolar World with Saker: Russia, Syria & Recommendations for a Trump Presidency
sábado, 29 de octubre de 2016
La foto muestra a los miembros del Comité Central del Partido Comunista Chino, presidiendo el plenario del partido el jueves pasado. La exacta significación de lo que sigue se nos escapa, aunque la seriedad de las caripelas sugiere solemnidad. Al Presidente Xi se lo ha ungido como “hexin”, que suena un poco a infalibilidad papal o algo así. La nota que sigue es de Macarena Vidal Liy para el diario español El País:
Título: Xi Jinping refuerza su poder en una reunión clave del Partido Comunista
Subtítulo: El 6 Pleno del Comité Central le concede el título de "núcleo", que le equipara con Mao o Deng
Epígrafe: El poderoso presidente chino, Xi Jinping, ha logrado una victoria crucial para consolidarse como el líder indiscutible de su país y arrinconar a sus rivales, al comienzo de un año de transición dentro del régimen. El 6 Pleno, la reunión anual de los principales dirigentes del régimen, le ha declarado “núcleo” (“hexin”) del Partido Comunista. Es un título honorífico, pero con importantes connotaciones en la política de China y que le pone a la altura de líderes históricos como Mao Zedong y Deng Xiaoping.
Texto: El nuevo estatus confirma oficialmente que Xi “es el líder más importante del partido. Nadie debe tocarlo”, explica Willy Lam, profesor en la Universidad China de Hong Kong. "Sus enemigos este año van a mantenerse muy callados".
La designación se ha divulgado en un comunicado al término del Pleno, una cita que ha reunido durante cuatro días a casi 400 dirigentes a puerta cerrada y dentro de un estricto cordón de seguridad en un hotel militar del oeste de Pekín. El documento, distribuido por la agencia oficial, Xinhua, insta a los 89 millones de militantes del Partido Comunista de China a “unirse firmemente en torno al Comité Central, con el camarada Xi Jinping como núcleo”.
Xi ya es el líder más poderoso de su país en décadas. Además de su calidad de secretario general del Partido, presidente de la Comisión Militar Central y jefe de Estado, encabeza toda una serie de comisiones cuyas competencias abarcan desde la seguridad del estado a la reforma económica.
“Núcleo” es una palabra que Deng utilizó para referirse a él mismo, a Mao Zedong, y a Jiang Zemin, su sucesor, para describir a los grandes líderes del Partido y señalar que sus órdenes no debían discutirse. Pero durante el mandato de Hu Jintao (2002-2012), el término cayó en desuso. Hu nunca fue declarado “núcleo” y su etapa se caracterizó por un mando colegiado, en el que las principales decisiones se tomaban por consenso más o menos estricto de los miembros del Comité Permanente, el órgano de poder más alto del partido.
A comienzos de este año varios dirigentes regionales empezaron a recuperar el término y aplicarlo a Xi, en medio de una campaña del entorno del presidente para reclamar “lealtad” a los mandos del partido. Pero su uso desapareció al cabo de unos meses, al parecer debido a la resistencia de otros cuadros a reconocerle ese estatus especial.
El propio comunicado de este jueves parece querer matizar el alcance de la designación. El documento insiste en la importancia de una dirección colegiada, la regla interna que el partido aprobó en pleno post-maoísmo, después del trauma de la Revolución Cultural, para evitar que una sola persona pudiera acumular tanto mando como el Gran Timonel. La dirección colegiada es un sistema que “al que siempre hay que adherirse, y que ninguna organización o individuo debe violar bajo ninguna razón o circunstancia”, insiste.
La clausura del Pleno da el pistoletazo de salida a un año de transición que culminará el próximo otoño con la celebración del nuevo Congreso del Partido, una reunión que solo se celebra cada 5 años y en la que cerca de 2.000 delegados nombrarán a los nuevos integrantes de los tres principales órganos de poder: el Comité Permanente, de siete miembros; el Politburó, de 25, y el Comité Central, de casi 400 miembros, permanentes o alternos.
En el Comité Permanente solo continuarán Xi y su primer ministro, Li Keqiang; el resto debe jubilarse, al haber superado los 68 años, la edad que establecen las normas internas. En el Politburó se abren seis huecos.
A lo largo de este año, las diversas facciones del Partido debatirán entre bambalinas cómo repartirse las vacantes y quién debe ocupar qué cargo. Será una lucha feroz: Xi quiere rodearse en lo más alto de sus partidarios, mientras que otras facciones, como el Grupo de Shanghai o la Liga de Jóvenes Comunistas, no quieren perder el poder de que gozaban hasta ahora. Algunos analistas han anticipado la posibilidad de que el presidente chino quiera prorrogar su mandato más allá de los diez años previstos y continuar cinco años más, hasta 2027.
Y ahí es donde, advierte Lam, es especialmente relevante el nuevo estatus de Xi. Los dirigentes “núcleo”, subraya, “no tienen límite de tiempo, ni de edad, para su mandato. Pueden continuar en el cargo todo el tiempo que quieran. Como los emperadores”.
Aunque no todo será más fácil para el nuevo “hexin”. Acumular más poder implica también acumular más responsabilidad directa sobre la marcha del país, advertía el analista Zhang Lifan, en una entrevista previa. Y China es un país cuya economía ha visto aminorar su crecimiento, en el que las empresas estatales mantienen aún un enorme poder y cuyo ascenso genera una enorme desconfianza entre sus países vecinos. “El manejo de un poder muy centralizado no es muy fácil. Cuando el poder se acumula demasiado, gestionarlo todo al mismo tiempo es complicado”.
Concederle el título de “núcleo” no es la única medida favorable a Xi que ha adoptado el Pleno. Los miembros del Comité Central han aprobado también dos documentos que intensifican la lucha contra la corrupción, uno de los pilares del mandato del líder chino, y la vigilancia de la disciplina interna.
viernes, 28 de octubre de 2016
Si les interesa el aspecto metodológico de cómo el Imperio tiene agarrada de los huevos a media Europa, Africa, Asia y América Latina, les recomiendo esta linda nota de Manlio Dinucci publicada hoy en Red Voltaire. Las herramientas son tres: “Libre comercio”, ONGs y PsyOps. En cada caso, el cipayaje local pone lo suyo, como corresponde. Al pie de la nota, el sitio web aclara:
“Este artículo reproduce la intervención de Manlio Dinucci en el Foro Europeo 2016 «La “Vía China” y el contexto internacional», realizado en Roma el 15 de octubre de 2016 y organizado conjuntamente por la Academia de Marxismo de la Academia china de Ciencias Sociales y la Asociación Político-cultural Marx XXI.”
Título: La influencia de Estados Unidos y la OTAN en las relaciones de la Unión Europea con China
Epígrafe: Al intervenir en un foro internacional, el geógrafo italiano Manlio Dinucci sintetiza su análisis sobre el arsenal que Estados Unidos ha venido acumulando para imponer su voluntad al mundo. Este trabajo reviste especial importancia ya que esa voluntad claramente asumida de dominación y esa organización unipolar del mundo son precisamente lo que Siria, Rusia y China cuestionan hoy por la vía de las armas.
Texto: Entro de inmediato en el quid de la cuestión. Pienso que no podemos hablar de las relaciones entre la Unión Europea y China sin abordar la influencia que Estados Unidos ejerce sobre la Unión Europea, tanto directamente como a través de la OTAN.
Hoy en día, 22 de los 28 países miembros de la Unión Europea (21 de los 27 después de la salida del Reino Unido) son miembros de la OTAN, reconocida por la Unión Europea como «base fundamental de la defensa colectiva». Y la OTAN se halla bajo el mando de Estados Unidos: el Comandante Supremo de las fuerzas de la OTAN es siempre un general estadounidense nombrado directamente por el presidente de Estados Unidos y todos los demás mandos de la OTAN también están en manos de militares estadounidenses. La política exterior y militar de la Unión Europea se ve así fundamentalmente subordinada a la estrategia estadounidense, tras la cual se alinean las principales potencias
Esa estrategia, claramente enunciada en los documentos oficiales, es trazada en el momento histórico en que la situación mundial cambia como resultado de la desintegración de la URSS. En 1991, la Casa Blanca declara en la National Security Strategy of the United States:
«Estados Unidos queda como el único Estado que dispone de una fuerza, de un alcance y de una influencia en todos los aspectos –político, económico y militar– realmente globales. No existe sustituto del liderazgo estadounidense.»
En 1992, en su Defense Planning Guidance, el Pentágono subraya:
«Nuestro primer objetivo es impedir que cualquier otra potencia domine una región cuyos recursos sean suficientes como para engendrar un poderío mundial. Esas regiones incluyen Europa occidental, el Asia oriental, el territorio de la ex Unión Soviética y el Asia sudoccidental.»
En 2001, en el informe Quadrennial Defense Review –publicado una semana antes de la guerra de Estados Unidos y la OTAN contra Afganistán, área de primera importancia geoestratégica en relación con Rusia y China–, el Pentágono anuncia:
«Existe la posibilidad de que surja en la región un rival militar con una formidable base de recursos. Nuestras fuerzas armadas deben conservar la capacidad de imponer la voluntad de Estados Unidos a cualquier adversario, ya sean Estados o entidades no estatales, cambiando el régimen de un Estado adverso o ocupando un territorio extranjero hasta que se alcancen los objetivos estratégicos estadounidenses.»
En base a esa estrategia, la OTAN –bajo el mando de Estados Unidos– ha emprendido su ofensiva en el frente oriental: luego de haber destruido la Federación Yugoslava mediante la guerra, desde 1999 hasta este momento la OTAN ha abarcado todos los Estados del desaparecido Pacto de Varsovia, 3 Estados de la antigua Yugoslavia, 3 de la antigua URSS y dentro de poco abarcará otros (comenzando por Georgia y Ucrania, esta última ya está de hecho en la OTAN), moviendo bases y fuerzas, incluso nucleares, hacia zonas cada vez más cercanas a Rusia. Al mismo tiempo, en el frente sur, estrechamente vinculado al oriental, la OTAN bajo el mando estadounidense destruyó el Estado libio –también recurriendo a una guerra– y también trata de destruir el Estado en Siria.
Estados Unidos y la OTAN hicieron estallar la crisis ucraniana y, acusando a Rusia de «desestabilizar la seguridad europea», arrastraron Europa a una nueva guerra fría, principalmente por voluntad de Washington –y a expensas de las economías europeas, ampliamente afectadas por sanciones y contrasanciones– para destruir las relaciones económicas y politicas entre Rusia y la Unión Europea, [relaciones] nefastas para los intereses estadounidenses. En esa misma estrategia se inscribe el creciente traslado de fuerzas militares estadounidenses hacia la región Asia/Pacífico, con objetivos antichinos. La US Navy anunció que, en 2020, tendrá concentrado en esa región el 60% de sus fuerzas navales y aereas.
La estrategia estadounidense está enfocada hacia el Mar de China Meridional, cuya importancia subraya el almirante Harris, jefe del PaCom (el mando militar estadounidense para el Pacífico): por ahí transitan anualmente 5 000 millardos  de dólares en mercancías por vía marítima, incluyendo un 25% de las ventas mundiales de petróleo y un 50% de las ventas de gas natural.
Estados Unidos quiere controlar esa vía marítima en nombre de lo que el almirante Harris define como una «libertad de navegación fundamental para nuestro modo de vida aquí y en Estados Unidos» y atribuye a China «acciones agresivas en el Mar de China Meridional, similares a las de Rusia en Crimea». Así que la US Navy «patrulla» el Mar de China Meridional.
Tras Estados Unidos llegan las principales potencias europeas: en julio pasado, Francia pidió a la Unión Europea «coordinar el patrullaje naval en el Mar de China Oriental para garantizar una presencia regular y visible en esas aguas ilegalmente reclamadas por China». Y mientras Estados Unidos instala en Corea del Sur sistemas «antimisiles» –pero capaces de lanzar también misiles nucleares, como los instalados contra Rusia en Rumania y próximamente en Polonia, además de los que llevan los navíos de guerra desplegados en el Mediterráneo– el secretario general de la OTAN Jens Stoltenberg recibe el 6 de octubre, en Bruselas, al ministro de Exteriores sudcoreano Yun Byung-se para «fortalecer la asociación de la OTAN con Seúl».
Esos hechos y muchos más demuestran que en Europa y en Asia se está aplicando la misma estrategia. Es el intento desesperado de Estados Unidos y las demás potencias occidentales por conservar la supremacía económica, política y militar en un mundo en plena transición, donde están surgiendo nuevos actores estatales y sociales.
La Organización de Cooperación de Shanghai (OCS), nacida del acercamiento estratégico entre China y Rusia, dispone de recursos y capacidades de trabajo que pueden convertirla en el área de integración económica más grande del mundo. La organización de Shanghai y los países del grupo BRICS (Brasil, Rusia, India, China, Sudáfrica) son capaces, con sus organismos financieros, de tomar en gran parte el lugar que actualmente ocupan el Banco Mundial y el Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI), dos instituciones que durante los últimos 70 años permitieron a Estados Unidos y las principales potencias occidentales dominar la economía mundial mediante préstamos dignos de usureros a los países endeudados y otros instrumentos financieros. Los nuevos organismos pueden concretar a la vez la desdolarización de los intercambios comerciales, con lo cual privarían a Estados Unidos de la posibilidad de transferir a otros países su propia deuda al imprimir el papel moneda utilizado como divisa internacional dominante.
Para mantener su cada vez más tambaleante supremacía, Estados Unidos no sólo utiliza la fuerza militar sino también otras armas a menudo más eficaces que las armas propriamente dichas.
* Primera arma: los llamados «acuerdos de libre comercio», como la «Asociación Transatlántica de Comercio e Inversiones» (TTIP) con la Unión Europea y la «Asociación Transpacífica» (TPP) cuyo objetivo no es solamente económico sino también geopolítico y geoestratégico. Es por eso que Hillary Clinton califica la asociación Estados Unidos-Unión Europea como el «objetivo estratégico más grande de nuestra alianza transatlántica», proyectando una «OTAN económica» que integraría [la OTAN] política y militar.
El proyecto está claro: formar un bloque político, económico y militar Estados Unidos-Unión Europea, también bajo el mando de Estados Unidos, para oponerlo al área euroasiática en ascenso, que a su vez se basa en la cooperación entre China y Rusia; y oponerlo también a los BRICS, a Irán y a cualquier otro país que se sustraiga al control de Occidente.
Como las negociaciones sobre el TTIP encuentran dificultades para avanzar, a causa de las divergencias en materia de intereses y de una amplia oposición en Europa, actualmente tratan de recurrir al «Acuerdo Económico y Comercial Global» (CETA) entre Canadá y la Unión Europea, que no es otra cosa que un TTIP disimulado ya que Canadá es firmante del NAFTA  con Estados Unidos. El CETA será probable firmado por la Unión Europea el próximo 27 de octubre, en ocasión de la visita del primer ministro canadiense a Bruselas.
* Segunda arma: la penetración en los países designados como blancos para desintegrarlos desde adentro. Se recurre para ello a los puntos débiles que todo país puede presentar: la corrupción, el deseo de ganar dinero, el arribismo político, el secesionismo fomentado por grupos de poder locales, el fanatismo religioso, la vulnerabilidad de las masas ante la demagogia política. Apoyándose también, en ciertos casos, en un descontento popular justificado hacia la conducta del gobierno del país.
Los instrumentos de penetración son las llamadas «organizaciones no gubernamentales» (ONGs) que en realidad obedecen al largo brazo del Departamento de Estado y de la CIA, que con enormes medios financieros han organizado las «revoluciones de colores» en el este de Europa y que también trataron de realizar una operación similar en Hong Kong con la llamada «Revolución de los Paraguas» («Umbrella Revolution»), tendiente a fomentar movimientos similares en otras zonas de China pobladas por minorías.
Esas mismas organizaciones operan en Latinoamérica, fundamentalmente tratando de subvertir las instituciones democráticas en Brasil [país miembro del grupo BRICS], saboteando así a los BRICS desde adentro.
Otro instrumento de la misma estrategia son los grupos terroristas, como los grupos armados e infiltrados en Libia y en Siria para sembrar el caos, contribuyendo a la destrucción de Estados enteros que son al mismo tiempo agredidos desde el exterior.
* Tercera arma: las «PsyOps» (Operaciones psicológicas) que se realizan a través de los canales mediáticos mundiales, operaciones que el Pentágono define de la siguiente manera:
«Operaciones planificadas para influir a través de determinadads informaciones sobre las emociones y motivaciones, y por tanto en el comportamiento de la opinión pública, de organizaciones y gobiernos extranjeros, con el fin de inducir o fortalecer actitudes favorables a los objetivos predeterminados.»
Mediante esas operaciones, que acondicionan a la opinión pública para que acepte la escalada belicista, se presenta a Rusia como responsable de las tensiones en Europa y a China como responsable de las tensiones en Asia, acusándolas simultáneamente de «violaciones de los derechos humanos».
Permítanme una última consideración. Por haber trabajado en Pekín en los años 1960, donde contribuimos juntos a la publicación de la primera revista china en italiano, puedo decir que viví una experiencia formativa fundamental en el momento en que China –liberada desde hacía apenas 15 años del control colonial, semicolonial y semifeudal– se hallaba completamente aislada y ni Occidente ni las Naciones Unidas la reconocían como Estado soberano.
De aquel periodo quedaron profundamente grabados en mi recuerdo la capacidad de resistencia y la conciencia de aquel pueblo –por entonces 600 millones de personas– inmerso, bajo la dirección del Partido Comunista, en la construcción de una sociedad con bases económicas y culturales totalmente nuevas. Pienso que aquella capacidad es también necesaria hoy en día para que la China de nuestros tiempos, que está desarrollando su enorme potencial, logre resistir ante los nuevos planes imperiales de dominación, contribuyendo con ello a la lucha decisiva por el porvenir de la Humanidad: la lucha por un mundo sin guerras, donde triunfe la paz indisolublemente vinculada a la justicia social.
 1 millardo = 1.000 millones
 También designado con las siglas TLCAN (Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte) o ALENA, el NAFTA es un tratado de libre comercio entre Estados Unidos, Canadá y México. Nota de la Red Voltaire.
La excepcional nota que sigue es de Paul Craig Roberts (político conservador del Partido Republicano, ex funcionario de Ronald Reagan) y salió publicada hoy en varios portales, además del suyo (http://www.paulcraigroberts.org). En ella, el autor les comunica a sus compatriotas estadounidenses algunos problemitas y/o dilemas del actual proceso electoral de ese país, a saber: (1) la democracia en los EEUU no existe; Wall Street y otras corporaciones se la llevaron puesta hace tiempo. (2) Se prepara un fraude en los mecanismos de voto electrónico a los efectos de favorecer a la candidata de la oligarquía financiero-militar. Por último, (3) casi todo el aparato mediático de ese país se estaría prestando alegremente a favorecer, preparar y alentar esta estafa. Como dicen por acá: democracia o dictadura, chicos.
Título: The Failure of US Democracy
Subtítulo: How The Oligarchs Plan To Steal The Election
Texto: I am now convinced that the Oligarchy that rules America intends to steal the presidential election. In the past, the oligarchs have not cared which candidate won as the oligarchs owned both. But they do not own Trump.
Most likely you are unaware of what Trump is telling people as the media does not report it. A person who speaks like this:
- is not endeared to the oligarchs.
Who are the oligarchs?
— Wall Street and the mega-banks too big to fail and their agent the Federal Reserve, a federal agency that put 5 banks ahead of millions of troubled American homeowners who the federal reserve allowed to be flushed down the toilet. In order to save the mega-banks’ balance sheets from their irresponsible behavior, the Fed has denied retirees any interest income on their savings for eight years, forcing the elderly to draw down their savings, leaving their heirs, who have been displaced from employment by corporate jobs offshoring, penniless.
— The military/security complex which has spent trillions of our taxpayer dollars on 15 years of gratuitous wars based entirely on lies in order to enrich themselves and their power.
— The neoconservartives whose crazed ideology of US world hegemony thrusts the American people into military conflict with Russia and China.
— The US global corporations that sent American jobs to China and India and elsewhere in order to enrich the One Percent with higher profits from lower labor costs.
— Agribusiness (Monsanto et.al.), corporations that poison the soil, the water, the oceans, and our food with their GMOs, hebicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers, while killing the bees that pollinate the crops.
— The extractive industries—energy, mining, fracking, and timber—that maximize their profits by destroying the environment and the water supply.
— The Israel Lobby that controls US Middle East policy and is committing genocide against the Palestinians just as the US committed genocide against native Americans. Israel is using the US to eliminate sovereign countries that stand in Israell’s way.
What convinces me that the Oligarchy intends to steal the election is the vast difference between the presstitutes’ reporting and the facts on the ground.
According to the presstitutes, Hillary is so far ahead that there is no point in Trump supporters bothering to vote. Hillary has won the election before the vote. Hillary has been declared a 93% sure winner.
I am yet to see one Hillary yard sign, but Trump signs are everywhere. Reports I receive are that Hillary’s public appearances are unattended but Trumps are so heavily attended that people have to be turned away. This is a report from a woman in Florida:
«Trump has pulled huge numbers all over FL while campaigning here this week. I only see Trump signs and sickers in my wide travels. I dined at a Mexican restaurant last night. Two women my age sitting behind me were talking about how they had tried to see Trump when he came to Tallahassee. They left work early, arriving at the venue at 4:00 for a 6:00 rally. The place was already over capacity so they were turned away. It turned out that there were so many people there by 2:00 that the doors had to be opened to them. The women said that the crowds present were a mix of races and ages».
I know the person who gave me this report and have no doubt whatsoever as to its veracity.
I also receive from readers similiar reports from around the country.
This is how the theft of the election is supposed to work: The media concentrated in a few corporate hands has gone all out to convince not only Americans but also the world, that Donald Trump is such an unacceptable candidate that he has lost the election before the vote.
By controllng the explanation, when the election is stolen those who challenge the stolen election are without a foundartion in the media. All media reports will say that it was a run away victory for Hillary over the misogynist immigrant-hating Trump.
And liberal, progressive opinion will be relieved and off guard as Hillary takes us into nuclear war.
That the Oligarchy intends to steal the election from the American people is verified by the officially reported behavior of the voting machines in early voting in Texas. The NRP presstitutes have declared that Hillary is such a favorite that even Repulbican Texas is up for grabs in the election.
If this is the case, why was it necessary for the voting machines to be programmed to change Trump votes to Hillary votes? Those voters who noted that they voted Trump but were recorded Hillary complained. The election officials, claiming a glitch (which only went one way), changed to paper ballots. But who will count them? No «glitches» caused Hillary votes to go to Trump, only Trump votes to go to Hillary.
The most brilliant movie of our time was The Matrix. This movie captured the life of Americans manipulated by a false reality, only in the real America there is insufficient awareness and no Neo, except possibly Donald Trump, to challenge the system. All of my life I have been trying to get Americans of all stripes—academics, scholars, journalists, Republicans, Democrats, right-wing, left-wing, US Representatives, US Senators, Presidents, corporate moguls and brainwashed Americans and foreigners—out of the false reality in which they exist.
In the United States today a critical presidential eletion is in process in which not a single important issue is addressed. This is total failure. Democracy, once the hope of the world, has totally failed in the United States of America.
jueves, 27 de octubre de 2016
La nota que sigue, de Philip Pullella para YahooNews, habla de la grata sorpresa que para muchos (no todos) significan las medidas del Papa Francisco para la renovación de la Iglesia. Por ejemplo, en la reciente designación de 16 nuevos cardenales en todo el mundo, directamente puenteando a la burocracia vaticana. Vayamos a la nota:
Título: Pope Francis is turning out to be a surprising, secretive, shrewd manager
Texto: Father Ernest Simoni, a 88-year-old Albanian, was watching Pope Francis on television this month when, to his astonishment, he heard the pontiff mention his name.
Francis announced that the simple, white-haired Roman Catholic priest, who had spent many years in jail during Albania's communist dictatorship, was to become a cardinal.
It was the first that Simoni, or any of the other 16 new cardinals named by Francis at the same time, had heard of their elevation to the prestigious rank.
"I did not believe either my ears or eyes," Simoni told Reuters in Albania. "The pope said it, but I could not believe it. 'Can he be talking about another Ernest?' I said to myself."
But more significantly, the pope had also kept nearly the entire Vatican hierarchy in the dark about his decision, which he announced on Oct. 9 to thousands of pilgrims.
The episode illustrates how Francis has used his own distinct management style to try to shake up the Church since his election in 2013. He is keeping his cards close to his chest as he tries to push through a progressive agenda to make the Church more welcoming in the face of conservative opposition.
Interviews with a dozen current and past Vatican officials and aides paint a portrait of Pope Francis, a Jesuit who turns 80 in December, as eschewing filters between him and the outside world. He carries his own black briefcase, keeps his own agenda, and makes many of his own calls.
In contrast, his two immediate predecessors, Benedict XVI and John Paul II, worked hand-in-hand with the Vatican bureaucracy, which is known as the curia.
Behind Francis's approach is a clear mandate, received from the worldwide cardinals who elected him in 2013, to overhaul the curia.
Over the decades the Vatican's administration has collected some of the Church's most orthodox officials, partly because of the lieutenants that Francis's two highly-conservative predecessors called to their entourages in Rome.
As a result, Francis believes that only by reducing the power of the curia - including surprising it on some decisions - can the 1.2 billion-member Church embrace those who have felt marginalized, such as gays and the divorced.
The approach has scored Francis some victories, such as bypassing conservative bishops to streamline the procedures by which Catholics can obtain marriage annulments.
There have also been setbacks, such as putting too much power in one cardinal's hands to resolve financial problems and later having to rein him in.
Some internal critics say he relies too much on snap judgments and others have urged greater transparency. They say his decisions to set up new structures, such as an economy ministry and an external advisory council of eight cardinals from around the world, were divisive and that he could have enacted change by putting new people at the top of existing departments.
One of the most striking differences between Francis and his two predecessors is that it is virtually impossible to determine who, if anyone, is really close to him.
The personal secretaries of Benedict and John Paul - respectively Georg Ganswein, now an archbishop, and Stanislaw Dziwisz, now a cardinal - were always at their side and became celebrities in their own right, the powerful gate-keepers to get to the pope.
By contrast, few people know the identities of Francis's two priest-secretaries - Father Fabián Pedacchio Leaniz from Argentina and Father Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, an Egyptian. Both have other part-time jobs in the Vatican and do not appear or travel with him.
"He does not want any filters," said a person who knows the pope well. "Sometimes he will tell one of his secretaries 'so-and-so is arriving in a few minutes' and that is the first they hear of it. Sometimes he tells one without telling the other."
This person, like most of the others interviewed for this article, has had direct dealings with Francis and all spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to the media.
This year, an Argentine visitor told a guard at a Vatican gate that the pope was expecting him. Phone calls had to be made to determine he was not a prankster. The pope had not told anyone he had invited the visitor.
One person close to the pope said he likes to manage this way because it gives him freedom to bypass rigid channels of communication and makes it impossible for anyone to become indispensable, as top aides of previous popes did.
Francis likes to break rules and then change them once the shock has died down. Two weeks after his election, he included women in a liturgical service open only to men. Later, he ordered that the rules be formally changed worldwide.
Pope Benedict's sudden resignation in February 2013 brought to a climax one of the most turbulent periods in modern Vatican history, including the arrest of his butler for leaking documents that exposed corruption and cronyism.
Francis watched from afar as Benedict's papacy unraveled under the weight of successive scandals.
After he was elected, he appointed trusted people to lower or mid-level positions in Vatican departments, where they can be his eyes and ears. For example, Pedacchio, his Argentine secretary, also works in the department that decides who will become bishops.
Monsignor Battista Mario Salvatore Ricca, an Italian who runs the Vatican guest house where the pope lives, was given a position at the Vatican bank as the link man between a supervisory commission of cardinals and the board of directors.
"He is sometimes like the leader who says 'I don't care what the generals say, I will tell Lieutenant so-and-so to take that hill'," said a source, adding that the pope enjoyed rattling an inefficient bureaucracy with what the source described as "joyful destruction".
Several of those interviewed said Francis puts much stock in his immediate gut feelings about people. When he takes a liking to someone he can become blind to their faults and when he does not, it is hard to reverse that first impression, they said.
Francis was impressed by Cardinal George Pell of Sydney when he met the Australian in 2013. In meetings cardinals held among themselves before that year's conclave, the former Australian Rules football player stood out not only for his height and broad shoulders but also for his command of financial matters.
Months after his election, Francis, hoping to put an end to Vatican financial scandals, moved Pell to Rome to head a new ministry, the Secretariat for the Economy.
After initially giving him sweeping powers, the pope later significantly trimmed them back when other departments accused Pell of treating them in an overbearing way and of being condescending to the Italian-dominated curia.
Pell's position in the Vatican has also been weakened by allegations of sexual abuse when he was in Australia. Pell denies the allegations and the pope has said he will withhold judgment until an Australian investigation is over.
In another controversial appointment, Francis, acting on a recommendation, named Francesca Chaouqui, a 32-year-old Italian public relations expert, to a commission advising him on reform. On July 8, 2016, a Vatican court convicted her of helping to leak embarrassing internal documents to journalists.
Insiders say the Pell and Chaouqui cases are examples of Francis making decisions too quickly.
Even though his health is good, they say he feels he has little time left and many things still to do; that perhaps explains the hastiness of some of his decisions.
Francis appears to enjoy sending signals that he alone is calling the shots.
When his predecessors spoke to the media on papal flights they were always flanked by the secretary of state or the deputy secretary of state. The stage management suggested that behind the man in white, there stood a centuries-old bureaucracy.
Under Francis, those prelates now stay out of sight in the front section of the plane.
Cuando un congresista del Imperio, días después de recomendar a su electorado que no vote al candidato de su propio partido, cambia súbitamente de opinión y decide votarlo, podemos estar seguros de una cosa: vio encuestas en serio, no la sanata estadística que se arroja estos días como pochoclo para consumo de los ya convencidos. Se viene hablando, por el momento en voz baja, de la Avalancha Trump. ¿Será cierto? Varios motivos explicarían el fenómeno, entre los cuales la podredumbre en torno a Hillary no es uno menor. Sobresalen, sin embargo, otros dos: (1) Trump sería el candidato anti-sistema; (2) Trump garantiza que no habrá guerra con Rusia. Leemos en Zero Hedge de hoy:
Título: Top Republican Congressman Says He'll Vote For Trump Weeks After Dropping His Support
Texto: Just three weeks ago, after the infamous 2005 tape of Donald Trump's lewd remarks about women publicly emerged, one of the more prominent republicans, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) abandoned his endorsement of Trump “I’m out,” he told Fox 13 in Salt Lake City on Oct. 7. “I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president. “It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine,” Chaffetz added.
It did not take him long to change his mind and last night Chafetz announced on Twitter that he will be voting for Donald Trump.
"I will not defend or endorse @realDonaldTrump, but I am voting for him. HRC is that bad. HRC is bad for the USA," he wrote on Twitter, referring to Hillary Clinton.
Chaffetz's fellow Utahn, Sen. Mike Lee, called on Trump to withdraw from the presidential race after the recording was made public.
Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has long been a foe of Clinton.
He said Wednesday that he expects years' worth of further hearings on Clinton's private email server use while secretary of State.
Chaffetz was the first of several GOP congressmen who yanked their endorsement from Trump after the recording’s publication.
Other prominent republicans who tacitly pulled their support include House Speaker Paul Ryan who vowed he would neither campaign for nor defend Trump ahead of Election Day.
Eleven women have since accused Trump of kissing or groping them without permission before his entrance into politics. Trump has fiercely denied the allegations, accusing the media of fixating on them to boost Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
miércoles, 26 de octubre de 2016
A continuación reproducimos una dolida nota de Nicolas J S Davies publicada ayer en el sitio web Strategic Culture Foundation. Su tema: la impunidad del Imperio frente a sus atropellos, saqueos, genocidios, propaganda y doble rasero para casi todo. Davies es autor del libro Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq, entre otras contribuciones éditas. Acá va:
Título: US Impunity Erodes World Justice
Texto: In the past week, Burundi and South Africa have joined Namibia in declaring their intention to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). They are likely to be followed by a parade of other African countries, jeopardizing the future of an international court that has prosecuted 39 officials from eight African countries but has failed to indict a single person who is not African.
Ironically, African countries were among the first to embrace the ICC, so it is a striking turnaround that they are now the first to give up on it.
But it is the United States that has played the leading role in preventing the ICC from fulfilling the universal mandate for which it was formed, to hold officials of all countries accountable for the worst crimes in the world: genocide; crimes against humanity; and war crimes – not least the crime of international aggression, which the judges at Nuremberg defined as “the supreme international crime” from which all other war crimes follow.
As the ICC’s founding father, former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz, lamented in 2011, “You don’t have to be a criminologist to realize that if you want to deter a crime, you must persuade potential criminals that, if they commit crimes, they will be hauled into court and be held accountable. It is the policy of the United States to do just the opposite as far as the crime of aggression is concerned. Our government has gone to great pains to be sure that no American will be tried by any international criminal court for the supreme crime of illegal war-making.”
The U.S. has not only refused to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC over its own citizens. It has gone further, pressuring other countries to sign Bilateral Immunity Agreements (BIA), in which they renounce the right to refer U.S. citizens to the ICC for war crimes committed on their territory.
The U.S. has also threatened to cut off U.S. aid to countries that refuse to sign them. The BIAs violate those countries’ own commitments under the ICC statute, and the U.S. pressure to sign them has been rightly condemned as an outrageous effort to ensure impunity for U.S. war crimes.
Resistance to U.S. Impunity
To the credit of our international neighbors, this U.S. strategy has met with substantial resistance. The European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution stating that BIAs are incompatible with E.U. membership, and urged E.U.- member states and countries seeking E.U. membership not to sign them.
At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as
At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”
Fifty-four countries have publicly refused to sign BIAs, and 24 have accepted cut-offs of U.S. aid as a consequence of their refusal. Of 102 countries that have signed a BIA, only 48 are members of the ICC in any case, and only 15 of those countries are on record as having ratified the BIAs in their own parliaments.
Thirty-two other ICC members have apparently allowed BIAs to take effect without parliamentary ratification, but this has been challenged by their own country’s legal experts in many cases.
The U.S. campaign to undermine the ICC is part of a much broader effort by the U.S. government to evade all forms of accountability under the laws that are supposed to govern international behavior in the modern world, even as it continues to masquerade as a global champion of the rule of law.
The treaties that U.S. policy systematically violates today were crafted by American statesmen and diplomats, working with their foreign colleagues, to build a world where all people would enjoy some basic protections from the worst atrocities, instead of being subject only to the law of the jungle or “might makes right.”
So current U.S. policy is a cynical betrayal of the work and wisdom of past generations of Americans, as well as of countless victims all over the world to whom we are effectively denying the protections of the U.N. Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and other multilateral treaties that our country ignores, violates or refuses to ratify.
Avoiding the jurisdiction of international courts is only one of the ways that the U.S. evades international accountability for its criminal behavior. Another involves an elaborate and well-disguised public relations campaign that exploit the powerful position of U.S. corporations in the world of commercial media.
Major Propaganda Funding
The U.S. government spends a billion dollars per year on public relations or, more bluntly, propaganda, including $600 million from the Pentagon budget. The work of its P.R. teams and contractors is laundered by U.S. newspapers and repeated and analyzed ad nauseam by monolithic, flag-waving TV networks.
These profitable corporate operations monopolize the public airwaves in the U.S., and also use their financial clout, slick marketing and the support of the U.S. State Department to maintain a powerful presence in foreign and international media markets.
Foreign media in allied countries provide further legitimacy and credibility to U.S. talking-points and narratives as they echo around the world. Meanwhile, Hollywood fills cinema and TV screens across the world with an idealized, glamorized, inspirational version of America that still mesmerizes many people.
This whole elaborate “information warfare” machine presents the United States as a global leader for democracy, human rights and the rule of law, even as it systematically and catastrophically undermines those same principles. It enables our leaders to loudly and persuasively demonize other countries and their leaders as dangerous violators of international law, even as the U.S. and its allies commit far worse crimes.
Double Standards in Syria / Iraq
Today, for instance, the U.S. and its allies are accusing Syria and Russia of war crimes in east Aleppo, even as America’s own and allied forces launch a similar assault on Mosul. Both attacks are killing civilians and reducing much of a city to rubble; the rationale is the same, counterterrorism; and there are many more people in the line of fire in Mosul than in east Aleppo.
But the U.S. propaganda machine ensures that most Americans see one, in Mosul, as a legitimate counterterrorism operation (with Islamic State accused of using the civilians as “human shields”) and the other, in east Aleppo, as a massacre (with the presence of Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the former Nusra Front, virtually whited out of the West’s coverage, which focuses almost entirely on the children and makes no mention of “human shields”).
The phrase “aggressive war” is also a no-no in the Western media when the U.S. government launches attacks across international borders. In the past 20 years, the U.S. has violated the U.N. Charter to attack at least eight countries (Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria), and the resulting wars have killed about two million people.
A complex whirlwind of conflict and chaos rages on in all the countries where the U.S. and its allies have lit the flames of war since 2001, but U.S. leaders still debate new interventions and escalations as if we are the fire brigade not the arsonists. (By contrast, the U.S. government and the Western media are quick to accuse Russia or other countries of “aggression” even in legally murky situations, such as after the U.S.-backed coup in 2014 that ousted the elected president of Ukraine.)
Systematic violations of the Geneva Conventions are an integral part of U.S. war-making. Most are shrouded in secrecy, and the propaganda machine spins the atrocities that slip through into the public record as a disconnected series of aberrations, accidents and “bad apples,” instead of as the result of illegal rules of engagement and unlawful orders from higher-ups.
The senior officers and civilian officials who are criminally responsible for these crimes under U.S. and international law systematically abuse their powerful positions to subvert investigations, cover up their crimes and avoid any accountability whatsoever.
When British playwright Harold Pinter was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, he bravely and brilliantly used his Nobel lecture to speak about the real role that the U.S. plays in the world and how it whitewashes its crimes. Pinter recounted a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in London in the 1980s in which a senior embassy official, Raymond Seitz, flatly denied U.S. war crimes against Nicaragua for which the U.S. was in fact convicted of aggression by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Seitz went on to serve as Assistant Secretary of State, U.S. Ambassador to the U.K., and then Vice-Chairman of Lehman Brothers.
As Pinter explained: “this ‘policy’ was by no means restricted to Central America. It was conducted throughout the world. It was never-ending. And it is as if it never happened.
“The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.
“Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn’t know it.
“It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”
If in 2016 the world seems to be more violent and chaotic than ever, it is not because the United States lacks the will to use force or project power, as both major party candidates for President and their military advisers appear to believe, but because our leaders have placed too much stock in the illegal threat and use of force and have lost faith in the rule of law, international cooperation and diplomacy.
After a century of commercial dominance, and 75 years of investing disproportionately in weapons, military forces and geopolitical schemes, perhaps it is understandable that U.S. leaders have forgotten how to deal fairly and respectfully with our international neighbors. But it is no longer an option to muddle along, leaving a trail of death, ruin and chaos in our wake, counting on an elaborate propaganda machine to minimize the blowback on our country and our lives.
Sooner rather than later, Americans and our leaders must knuckle down and master the very different attitudes and skills we will need to become law-abiding global citizens in a peaceful, sustainable, multipolar world.
¿Por qué motivo envían los rusos una flota importante (liderada por el portaaviones Almirante Kuznetsov) a las costas sirias en estos días? Primero veamos la nota de Alexander Mercouris aparecida recientemente en el sitio web The Duran:
Título: Confirmed: Russia deploys Kuznetsov aircraft carrier to defend Syrian coast
Epígrafe. Russia's use of its aircraft carrier in the Syrian conflict is principally intended to learn lessons for the design of more potent such warships in the future, rather than to change the situation in Syria itself.
Texto: On the one hand it is described as a major escalation, as if the Admiral Kuznetsov was a US style supercarrier. On the other hand there has been a great of deal of derision, with the ship called an obsolete rust bucket dangerous mainly to its crew.
Where does the truth lie?
The Admiral Kuznetsov is the first and only Russian aircraft carrier capable of launching fighter aircraft conventionally. The preceding Kiev class carriers were smaller ships, which could only launch a small number of aircraft vertically.
Contrary to what reports say, Admiral Kuznetsov is by the standards of navy carriers a relatively new ship. She was launched in 1985, commissioned in the then Soviet navy in 1990, but only became operational after prolonged trials in 1995.
The US navy currently operates 10 Nimitz class supercarriers. If the age of a ship is determined by its date of launch; then three of the US navy’s Nimitz class supercarriers are older than Kuznetsov; if by date of commission, then five are; if by entry into service then six are.
The Russian navy had no previous experience of operating carriers, so the lengthy time scale of her sea trials between commission and entry into service is not surprising.
In addition what undoubtedly extended this period before her full entry into service was the political and economic crisis Russia experienced during the 1990s. Given the severity of this crisis, it is a wonder a ship as large and complicated as Kuznetsov was brought into service at all.
Either way talk of Kuznetsov as some sort of archaic ship from a bygone era is exaggerated, whilst jokes about Kuznetsov being “….practically old enough to have been deployed in the 1905 Russo-Japanese war….” are simply silly.
The Admiral Kuznetsov is expected to deploy off Syria, carrying 15 warplanes, including new MiG-29K/KUB fighters and the Su-33a, shown here.
Aircraft carriers as it happens tend to be long-lived ships. Coral Sea, a US Medway class carrier, served in the US Navy from 1947 to 1990. By the standards of aircraft carriers Kuznetsov is not an old ship.
What is true about Kuznetsov is that because she was the first of a type of ship of which the Russians had no previous experience, and because of the fraught period during which she was commissioned and brought into service – which made it impossible to sort out her teething problems properly – Kuznetsov suffers by comparison with US navy carriers from design flaws and from engine problems.
The ship’s engines are unreliable, because they are insufficiently powerful for a ship of this size.
The Russians when they built Kuznetsov lacked suitable nuclear reactors for this type of ship (they were designed for the intended follow-on Ulyanovsk carrier, which because of the 1990s crisis was however never built). They also lacked conventional engines large enough for a ship of this size, which was roughly twice as heavy as the largest other ship the Russian or Soviet navy had commissioned before.
The Russians accordingly came up with a complicated solution of using multiple steam turbines and turbo-pressurised boilers to make up for the lack of power of the individual engines. Like all complicated arrangements, this arrangement is unreliable and prone to breakdown, with the engines experiencing stress especially in heavy seas.
To compound the trouble with the engines, they were built by a plant in what is now independent Ukraine. As political relations between Russia and Ukraine deteriorated, servicing of the engines by this plant became increasingly erratic, and has now stopped completely.
It is these problems with the engines that account for the practice of accompanying Kuznetsov on long range deployments with a tug.
The tug in question – the Nikolai Chiker – is the most powerful tug in the world. This same tug played a key role in successfully hauling Kuznetsov’s uncompleted sister ship Varyag from Ukraine to China in 2005, where she has now become the Chinese carrier Liaoning.
The fact Kuznetsov is accompanied by a tug on long range deployments has provoked some derision. However it is common practice in any navy to accompany large surface warships with service ships, and accompanying Kuznetsov with a tug ensures in Kuznetsov’s case that the carrier will get to where the Russian naval staff are sending it. The engine problems will not affect Kuznetsov’s Mediterranean deployment when the carrier finally reaches its position.
Kuznetsov suffers from other problems, which are unsurprising given that Kuznetsov is so much bigger and so different to any other ship the Russian navy has ever previously commissioned, and the unhappy times when it was launched.
There are for example known to be problems with Kuznetsov’s water pipes, which have a history of breakdowns and of freezing up in Arctic weather. These problems too however will not affect Kuznetsov’s capabilities as a warship when the carrier finally reaches the eastern Mediterranean, and the close proximity of Russian bases in Sevastopol and Tartus means they can be dealt with quickly if they arise.
Once this deployment is ended Kuznetsov will go through a lengthy refit, which unlike previous refits is intended to be practically a rebuild. With Russia developing a new range of much larger and more powerful engines, Kuznetsov’s current unsatisfactory engines will finally be replaced, and the other teething problems like the problem with the water pipes will finally be addressed.
Ultimately this is a potent warship, bigger than any other carrier other than those operated by the US navy, and once the refit is done it will be a powerful asset. In the meantime the ship already provides the Russian fleet with a carrier capability matched by no other navy apart from that of the US.
In saying this it is important to stress however that the US navy carrier force – with its 10 nuclear powered supercarriers – dwarfs the capability of any other navy, including Russia’s, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Neither the Kuznetsov, nor any other carrier the Russians might build, nor any other navy, can match or rival it.
A more pertinent criticism of Kuznetsov is that though Kuznetsov is a large ship (at 55,000 tonnes standard weight and with a 305 metre length Kuznetsov is midway between a US Medway class carrier and a US Forrestal class supercarrier) the air group it carries at 40-50 aircraft is relatively small (by comparison a smaller US Medway class carrier carried an air group of 75-80 aircraft in the 1980s).
This suggests that Kuznetsov is inefficient in its use of its spaces, a fact which again reflects Russian inexperience designing this sort of ship when Kuznetsov was built. However it also partly reflects differences in Kuznetsov’s intended role.
At the time Kuznetsov was built the Russians did not envisage using their carriers for the sort of long range carrier type operations carried out by the US navy. Unlike US navy supercarriers Kuznetsov prioritises air defence of the fleet rather than long range strikes. That explains why Kuznetsov’s fighter aircraft take off from the carrier using a ski jump rather than steam catapults.
Ski jump takeoffs put less stress on the pilots and shorten takeoff times, enabling more aircraft to take off from the carrier more quickly, which can be important in an air defence situation.
The penalty is that aircraft are limited in the loads they can carry by comparison with aircraft launched by steam catapults.
For air defence – the purpose for which Kuznetsov was designed – this is unimportant since fighter aircraft carrying out air defence missions only carry light air to air missiles rather than heavy air to ground missiles and bombs.
However it does significantly reduce the air group’s capability to carry out long range strikes. Combined with the relatively small size of the air group, this means that Kuznetsov’s ability to carry out long range ground strikes is fractional compared to that of a US navy supercarrier.
If Kuznetsov is not really designed to carry out long range ground strikes, why are the Russians deploying Kuznetsov off the coast of Syria?
The plan to deploy Kuznetsov to the eastern Mediterranean was made many months ago, long before the recent collapse in relations with the US over Syria. The decision therefore can have nothing to do with deterring the US from declaring a no fly zone over Syria, as some people are suggesting.
Most likely the intention is to gain experience operating aircraft against ground targets from an offshore carrier. This is not something the Russians have ever done before. Even if Kuznetsov’s capability to do it by comparison with a US navy supercarrier is marginal, the fighting in Syria does at least give the Russians an opportunity to try it out to find out how it is done and what it involves.
That way they can learn lessons that will help them with the design of the far more powerful ships that are to come (see here and here).
In other words the deployment of the Kuznetsov to the eastern Mediterranean is essentially a training exercise. It does not merit either the derision or the hype that has been created around it.
Y acá va la nota de “The saker” para UNZ Review:
Título: Making Sense of the Russian Naval Task Force Off the Coast of Syria
Texto: The AngloZionst Empire’s propaganda machine, otherwise known as the corporate media, has had great difficulty deciding what it should say about the Russian naval task force that has been sent to Syria. The Americans have decided to express their usual contempt for anything Russian and describe this force as centered on the “geriatric” aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, while the Brits chose to describe it as a formidable “armada” about to completely obliterate the moderate terrorists in Syria.
My friend Alexander Mercouris has recently written a superb analysis explaining that, in reality, this task force was neither geriatric nor that formidable. Rather than repeating it all here, I prefer to write what I will consider a follow-up to this excellent piece with a few more details added. The first step will be to debunk a few fundamental misconceptions.
Let’s begin with the Russian aircraft carrier.
The “Heavy Aircraft-Carrying Cruiser Admiral of the Soviet Fleet Kuznetsov”
Did you know that the Russian don’t even call the Admiral Kuznetsov an aircraft carrier? The official designation of the Kuznetsov is “Heavy Aircraft-Carrying Cruiser”. It is important to understand why.
What is, in your opinion, an aircraft carrier? Or, let me put it this way, why does the United States maintain a force of 10-12 heavy aircraft carriers? If you believe Ronald Reagan, it is to “forward deploy” and bring the war to the Soviets (that was, then, the rationale for a 600 ship navy and US carriers in the northern Atlantic). Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that US, British, French aircraft carriers are a colonial rule enforcement tool. You park one or two aircraft carrier battle groups a few hundred miles from a disobedient country, and you bomb the shit out of it until it rolls over. That is, in reality, the only rationale for these immense structures. And the beauty of it is that you can threaten most of the planet and that you do not depend on allies agreeing to your mission. So, we can say that US and other western aircraft carriers are a long range power projection capability used against weak and poorly defended countries.
Why weak and poorly defended only?
Here is the ugly secret that everybody knows: aircraft carriers cannot be defended against a sophisticated enemy. Had the Cold War turned hot, the Soviets would have simultaneously attacked any US carrier in the north Atlantic with a combo of
* Air launched cruise missiles
* Submarine launched cruise missiles
* Surface ship launched cruise missiles
* Submarine launched torpedoes
I cannot prove the following, but I can just testify that I had plenty of friends in the US military, including some who served on US aircraft carriers, and they all understood that US carriers could never survive a Soviet saturation attack and that in case of a real war they would have been kept away from the Soviet shores. I will only add here that the Chinese apparently have developed specialized ballistic missiles designed to destroy carrier battle groups. That was then, in the early 1990s. Nowadays even countries like Iran are beginning to develop capabilities to engage and successfully destroy US carriers.
The Soviets never built any real aircraft carriers. What they had were *cruisers* with a very limited number of vertically launched aircraft and, of course, helicopters. These cruisers had two main purposes: to extend the reach of the Soviet air defenses and to support the landing of a force from the sea. One very special feature of these aircraft carrying Soviet cruisers is that they had very large (4,5-7 tons) cruise missiles designed to strike at high-value enemy ships, including US aircraft carriers. You can read up on the “Kiev-class” aircraft carrying cruiser here. Another key characteristic of these Soviet aircraft-carrying cruisers is that they carried a rather lame aircraft, the Yak-38which was plagued by problems and would have been a very easy target for US F-14s. F-15s, F-16s or F-18s. For that reason, the Kiev-class air-defenses were centered on its surface-to-air missiles and not on its complement of aircraft. By time the Kuznetsov was built, the Soviet had developed aircraft which were at least equal, if not superior, to their western counterparts: the MiG-29 and, especially, the SU-27. And that gave them the idea of building a “real” aircraft carrier.
The decision to built the Kuznetsov was an extremely controversial one which faced a lot of opposition. The Kuznetsov’s “selling points” were that she was a much superior air defense platform, that she could carry vastly superior aircraft and, last but not least, that she could compete for prestige with the US heavy aircraft carriers, especially the planned but never built nuclear-powered follow-on generation. I find that argument wholly unconvincing and nowadays I am pretty confident that most Russian naval force planners would agree with me: Russia does not need US-style aircraft carriers and if she needs any aircraft carriers at all, then they would have to be designed around a *Russian* mission requirement and not just to copy the Americans.
[Sidebar: I would love to get on my favorite soapbox and tell you all the bad things I think about aircraft carriers in general and why I think that the Russian Navy should be submarine and frigate centered, but this would take up too much space. I will just say that I much rather have many frigates or corvettes than a few heavy cruisers].
So the Kuznetsov ended up being a mega-compromise and, as compromises go, a pretty good one. Think of it: even though the Kuznetsov packs 12 massive Granit anti-ship missiles, it has, at least potentially, a complement of aircraft bigger than the French Charles de Gaulle (50 vs 40). Initially, the Kuznetsov carried 12 pure air to air SU-33, but now these will be gradually replaced with 20 much more modern MiG-29K and its 24 Ka-27 helicopters will be replaced by the most advanced reconnaissance and attack helicopter on the planet, the Ka-52K. The Kuznetsov still has two major weaknesses: a frankly dated propulsion (see the Mercouris article) and a lack of on-board AWACs aircraft. The latter is a direct consequence of the design philosophy of the Kuznetsov which was never intended to operate much beyond 500-1000km from the Russian border (again, the crucial roughly under 1000km Russian force planning philosophy).
To sum this all up: the Kuznetsov is a fine aircraft carrier which nevertheless reflects a compromise design philosophy and which was never intended to project Russian power at long distances the way western, especially US, carriers have.
Now let’s turn to the rest of this Russian naval task force
The rest of the Russian naval task force around the Kuznetsov
One big name immediately stands out: the Heavy Nuclear Rocket Cruiser Peter the Great. This is one heavy beast and currently the most heavily armed ship on the planet. I won’t even go into all the details here, check this article for a list of armamentsif you are interested, suffice to say here that this battlecruiser can do everything: anti-air, anti-ship, anti-submarine. She is packed with top of the line sensors and advanced communications. Being the flagship of the Northern Fleet she is also the de-facto flagship of the entire Russian Navy. Last, but not least, the Peter the Great carries a formidable array of 20 Granit anti-ship missile. Please note that the combined firepower of Granit anti-ship missiles of the Kuznetsov and Peter the Great is 12+20 for a total of 32. I will explain why this important below.
The rest of the task force is composed of two Large Antisubmarine Ships (destroyers in western terminology), the Vice-Admiral Kulakov and the Severomorsk, and a number of support vessels. The Kulakov and the Severomorsk are based on the Udaloy design and are modern and all-around capable combat ships. All these ships will soon be merged into one force, including two small missile ships (corvettes in western terminology) which carry the famous Kalibr cruise missiles and which specialize in attacking surface ships. Finally, though this will not be advertised, I believe that this task force will include at least two Akula-class nuclear attack submarines, one Oscar-II cruise missile submarine (armed with another 12 Granit cruise missiles) and several Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines.
To sum this all up.
The Russian naval task force is a Russian attempt to bring together a number of ships which were never designed to operate as a single naval task force far away from Russia. If you wish, it is a clever Russian “hack”. I would argue that it is also a rather successful one as this task force as a whole is a very impressive one. No, it cannot take on all of NATO or even the USN, but there are a number of things which it can do very effectively.
Now we can turn to the big question,
What can the Russian naval task force in Syria really do?
Before looking at the bigger picture, there is one detail which I think deserves to be mentioned here. Nearly every article I read about the Granit cruise missile says that it is an anti-ship cruise missile. I also wrote that above in order to keep things simple. But now I have to say that the Granit probably always had a “B” mode, “B” as in “beregovoy” or, if you prefer, “coastal” or “land” mode. I don’t now whether this mode existed from day 1 or whether it was added later, but it is now certain that the Granit has such a mode. It was probably a fairly minimalistic capability, without fancy guidance and other tricks (which the Granit has in its main anti-ship mode), but the Russians have recently revealed that the upgraded Granits now have a *real* (“complex”) land attack capability. And that requires a totally new look at what that means for this task force. This is what we know about the new and improved Granit (which the Russians refer to as 3M45):
* Mass: 7 tons
* Speed: Mach 1,5-2
* Range: 500-600km
* Warhead: 750kg (conventional and nuclear capable)
The Granit is also capable of some very advanced things, including having one missile flying at 500m or higher to detect the target and the rest of them skimming the surface while receiving the data from the high-flying one. These missiles are also capable of automatically attacking from different directions to better overwhelm air defenses. They can fly as low as 25m and as high as 17,000m. What this all means is that these Granits missiles are very capable tactical-operational range missiles in their own right. And considering that there are at the very least 32 such missiles in the Russian task force (46 if a Oscar-II class sub is also present), that means that this task force has a tactical missile firepower similar to an entire rocket brigade! Should things go very wrong, this task force could not only seriously threaten any USN/NATO surface ship within 500km of Syria, but also every single city or military base in this range. I am rather surprised that the western fear-mongers missed this one because it ought to scare NATO pretty badly
To be honest here, some specialists are expressing major doubts about the land-attack capabilities of the Granit. Everybody knows that these are relatively old and very expensive missiles, but nobody knows how much effort was really put in their modernization. But even if they are not nearly as capable as advertised, the fact that 32 to 46 of such missiles we be sitting just off the Syrian coast will be a formidable deterrent because nobody will ever know what these missiles can do until they actually do it.
The combined capabilities of the Russian naval task force and the S-300/S-400 missiles deployed in Syria give the Russians a world-class air-defense capability. If needed the Russians could even throw in A-50 AWACs from Russia protected by MiG-31BMs. What most observers do not realize that is that SA-N-6 “Grumble” which forms the core of the air defenses of the Peter the Great is a S-300FM, the modernized naval variant of the S-300. It is also capable of the amazing Mach 6 speed, has 150km range, an added infrared terminal capability, a track-via-missile guidance system which allows it to engage ballistic missiles and an altitude envelope of 27,000m. And, guess what – the Peter the Great has 48 such missiles (in 20 launchers), roughly the equivalent of 12 S-300 batteries (assuming 4 launchers per battery).
One of the major weaknesses of the Russian deployment in Syria has been the relative low number of missiles the Russians could fire at any one time. The US/NATO could simply saturate Russian defenses with large numbers of missiles. Frankly, they can still do it, but this has now become much, much harder.
Can the Russians now stop a US attack on Syria? Probably not. But they can make it much harder and dramatically less effective.
First, as soon as the Americans fire, the Russians will see it and they will warn the Syrian and Russian armed forces. Since the Russians will be able to track every US missile, they will be able to pass on the data to all the air defense crews who will be ready by the time the missiles arrive. Furthermore, once the missiles get close, the Russians will be able to shoot down a lot of them, making it necessary for the Americans to conduct battle damage assessment from space and then re-strike the same targets many times over.
Second, stealth or no stealth, I don’t believe that the USN or the USAF will risk flying into Russian controlled airspace or, if it does, this will be a short-lived experiment. I believe that the Russian presence in Syria will make any attack on Syria a “missile only” attack. Unless the Americans take down the Russian air defenses, which they could only if they want to start WWIII, US aircraft will have to stay outside the Syrian skies. And that means that the Russians have basically created their own no-fly zone over Syria and a US no-fly zone is now impossible to achieve.
Next, the Kuznetsov will be bringing a number of fixed and rotary wing aircraft including 15-20 Ka-27 and Ka-52K helicopters, and 15-20 SU-33K and MiG-29K (I don’t think there has been an official figure announced). What the Russians have said is that the fixed wing aircraft will be upgraded to be able to attack ground targets. Will all that make a difference? Maybe, on the margins. It will definitely help deal with the expected influx of moderate terrorists coming from Mosul (courtesy of the US operation to flush them into Syria), but the Russians could have simply moved more SU-25 or even SU-34 to Khmeimin or Iran at a much smaller cost. Thus in terms of its air-wing, I fully agree with Mercouris – this will be mainly a real-life training opportunity and not a game changer.
This deployment is highly uncharacteristic of what the Russians have been training for. They have basically found a way to reinforce the Russian contingent in Syria, especially against Hillary’s “no fly zone” nightmare. However, this is also a case of making virtue out of necessity: the operation in Syria was always too far from the Russian border and the Russian force in Syria always to small for its task. Furthermore, this deployment is not sustainable in the long term, and the Russians know it. They have successfully imposed a “Yankee no fly zone” over Syria long enough for the Syrian to take Aleppo and for the Americans to vote for their next President. After that, the situation will either get dramatically better (Trump) or dramatically worse (Hillary). Either way, the new situation will require a completely different Russian strategy.
PS: I am aware of the semi-official Russian announced plans to build a modern aircraft carrier, probably a nuclear one, with catapults and all. For whatever it’s worth, I am very much opposed to this idea which I find wasteful and which does not fit the Russian defense doctrine. The new generation of Russian subs (SSNs and SLBMs), however, gets my standing ovation.