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May 05, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Leaked: USA's Feb 2018 Plan For A Coup In Venezuela
by Tyler Durden Sun, 05/05/2019 - 11:20 2 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via Off-Guardian.org,
A detailed plan from "UNITED STATES SOUTHERN COMMAND" dated "23 FEBRUARY 2018" was issued with the title "PLAN TO OVERTHROW THE VENEZUELAN DICTATORSHIP 'MASTERSTROKE'" and is here presented complete.
This document was personally signed by Admiral Kurt W. Tidd , who was the Commander (the chief), at SOUTHCOM , and he was thus the top U.S. military official handling Venezuela. But this was far more than just a military plan.
It was comprehensive -- directing military, diplomatic, and propaganda, policies -- regarding the Trump Administration's planned "Overthrow" of Venezuela's Government. His plan has since guided the Administration's entire operation, including "the capacities of the psychological war," regarding Venezuela.
It instructed SOUTHCOM:
Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises." ...
intensifying the undercapitalization of the country, the leaking out of foreign currency and the deterioration of its monetary base, bringing about the application of new inflationary measures." ...
Fully obstruct imports, and at the same time discouraging potential foreign investors in order to make the situation more critical for the population." ... compelling him to fall into mistakes that generate greater distrust and rejection domestically" ...
To besiege him, to ridicule him and to pose him as symbol of awkwardness and incompetence. To expose him as a puppet of Cuba." ...
Appealing to domestic allies as well as other people inserted from abroad in the national scenario in order to generate protests, riots and insecurity, plunders, thefts, assaults and highjacking of vessels as well as other means of transportation, with the intention of deserting this country in crisis through all borderlands and other possible ways, jeopardizing in such a way the National Security of neighboring frontier nations. Causing victims and holding the Government responsible for them. Magnifying, in front of the world, the humanitarian crisis in which the country has been submitted to."
Structuring a plan to get the profuse desertion of the most qualified professionals from the country, in order 'to leave it with no professionals at all', which will aggravate even more the internal situation and along these lines putting the blame on of Government."
the presence of combat units from the United States of America and the other named countries, under the command of a Joint General Staff led by the USA."
It was posted online at the Voltairenet site , and was first copied to a web archive on 14 May 2018 . So, it has been online since at least that date. However, because the photo in it of the document wasn't made available via software which includes the individual symbols, but presented only the full visual image of the paper document, it still hasn't yet gone viral on the Web.
Here, therefore, is the first appearance, on the Web, of the full document, that's manually copied, character-by-character, so that each phrase in this document becomes, for the first time, web-searchable, and thereby conveniently available for journalists and historians to quote from.
This prophetic document -- the source for what has happened afterward in and to Venezuela -- might therefore finally receive the public attention that it so clearly merits.
The document starts with propaganda against Venezuela's existing Government (and it totally ignores the extent to which the pre-existing U.S. economic sanctions against Venezuela had actually caused these problems ), and it then proceeds to present the U.S. plan to overthrow the 'dictatorship'. (Tidd refers to Maduro only as "the Dictator," except at the very start and very end.
At the end, he commands "the denouncement toward Maduro's regimen" and he also uses the phrase "the enemy" to refer to him -- as if there had been the U.S. Constitutionally required authorization, by the U.S. Congress, of this "war." The close urges "the dispatch of a UNO military force for the imposition of peace, once Nicolas Maduro's corrupt dictatorship is defeated." The U.N. is militarily to "impose" "peace," after the U.S. and its allies have conquered Venezuela.)
Although Tidd placed 100% of the blame for Venezuela's problems upon Maduro, and ignored the crucial extent to which U.S. economic sanctions had caused them, his plan emphasized that the U.S. must actively make things even worse for the Venezuelan public than America's economic sanctions had yet done.
His coup-plan is loaded with such statements, and, in fact, opens with one:
"Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises."
So: he wasn't naive. America's induced suffering upon Venezuelans was part of his plan for Venezuelans, in order to get them to do what the U.S. regime wants them to do -- overthrow Maduro. Furthermore, the United States Government has had extensive successes in previous such operations. One example is that this was how Chile's Salvador Allende was brought down in 1973 (at a time when the U.S. Government's claims to have done it for 'national security' reasons had much more credibility than its current excuse of helping the Venezuelan people does, because the supposedly ideological Cold War was still on).
The only excuse that the perpetrators can come up with, this time around, is "to put an end to the Venezuelan nightmare and the awakening of theirs beloved nation at a luminous dawn, in which the vision of fortune, true peace and tranquility predominate for their fellow citizens."
Impoverish the nation, in order to help Venezuelans attain "true peace and tranquility." That's the plan.
Here is the document's entire text:
23 FEB 2018PLAN TO OVERTHROW THE VENEZUELAN DICTATORSHIP "MASTERSTROKE"
UNITED STATES SOUTHERN COMMAND 23 FEBRUARY 2018
The Venezuelan Chavista dictatorship staggers as a result of its frequent internal problems; there is a great shortage of foodstuffs, an exhaustion of the sources of foreign currency and a rampant corruption. The international support, won with petrodollars, becomes scarcer each time and the purchasing power of its national currency is in a constant downfall.
Such scenario is not supposed to change, but the Venezuelan present-day leaders, as they usually do, in their despair to preserve their power, are capable to appeal to new populist measures that perpetuate their positions of privilege; the only mechanism that sustains them obstinate to the struggle to hold on their positions.
Maduro's corrupt regimen will collapse but regrettably, the divided opposing forces, legitimate defenders of democracy and the well-being of their people, do not have power enough to put an end to the Venezuelan nightmare and the awakening of theirs beloved nation at a luminous dawn, in which the vision of fortune, true peace and tranquility predominate for their fellow citizens.
The internal disputes, the supreme particular likings, the corruption similar to the one of their rivals, as well as the scarcity of rooting, do not grant them the opportunity to make the most of this situation and to give the necessary step to overturn the state of penury and precariousness in which the pressure group, that exercises the leftist dictatorship, has submerged the country. We are at the presence of an unprecedented criminal action in Latin America.
This affects the entire region, there is no respect to international right and local political alternatives are unacceptable.
Democracy spreads out in America, continent in which radical populism was intended to take over. Argentina, Ecuador and Brazil are examples of it. The rebirth of democracy has the support of the most valuable determinations, and the conditions in the regions run in its favour.
It is the time for the United States to prove, with concrete actions, that they are implicated in that process, where overthrowing Venezuelan dictatorship will surely mean a continental turning point.
It is the first opportunity of the Trump Administration to bring forward the vision in reference to security and democracy. Showing its active commitment is crucial, not only for the administration, but also for the continent and for the world.
The time has come to
Step to speed up the definite overthrow of Chavismo and the expulsion of its representative:Undermining the decadent popular support to Government.
Securing he the present-day dictator's irreversible deterioration
- Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises.
Increasing the internal instability to a critical level.
- Developing actions to encourage the egocentrism and the verbal incontinence of the Dictator, compelling him to fall into mistakes that generate greater distrust and rejection domestically, while continuing to minimize the international significance of his public figure.
- To beseige him, to ridicule him and to pose him as symbol of awkwardness and incompetence. To expose him as a puppet of Cuba. Exacerbating the division among members of the governing group. Revealing the differences in his living conditions with respect to those of his followers, at the same time to incite them to keep on increasing those divergences. Highlighting examples as the ones of Rafael Ramirez from PDVSA and Nelson Mercengtes from gthe BCV.
- Making his government unsustainable, forcing him to claudication, to negotiate or to run away, as other close collaborators have done.
- Making provisions for a back or escaping door, in case he finally chooses to look for a safe port out of his country.
Using the army officers as an alternative of definite solution.
- Intensifying the undercapitalizatioin of the country, the leaking out of foreign currency and the deterioration of its monetary base, bringing about the application of new inflationary measures that increase its deterioration and that simultaneously provoke the citizens with less access -- who support the present-day rulers -- and those who are best positioned, to see their social status threatened or affected. Establishing that the use of bitcoin, Petro, is a key element in the deterioration of the economy, which is an unconstitutional and illegal manipulation of the national currency, useable for money laundering.
- Fully obstructing imports, and at the same time, discouraging potential foreign investors in order to contribute to make more critical the situation of the population -- mainly in the sphere of oil, essential for any attempt of recuperation of the national economy.
- Appealing to domestic allies as well as other people inserted from abroad in the national scenario in order to generate protests, riots and insecurity, plunders, thefts, assaults and highjacking of vessels as well as other means of transportation, with the intention of deserting this country in crisis through all borderlands and other possible ways, jeopardizing in such a way the National Security of neighboring frontier nations. Causing victims and holding the Government responsible for them. Magnifying, in front of the world, the humanitarian crisis in which the country has been submitted to.
- Making use of the generalized corruption and the originating profits from their operations with prohibited drugs, to do away with their image in front of the world and their domestic followers.
- Promoting fatigue inside the members of the PSUV, inciting the annoyance and nonconformity among themselves, for them to break noisily away from the line of the Government; for them to refuse the measures and restrictions which also affect them, inciting the rising of internal politic factions, which divides it in its schism, making it as weak as the the opposition is. Creating frictions between the PSUV and "Somos Venezuela".
- Structuring a plan to get the profuse desertion of the most qualified professionals from the country, in order "to leave it with no professionals at all", which will aggravate even more the internal situation and along these lines putting the blame on of Government.
- Continuing hardening the conditions inside the Armed Forces to carry out a coup d'etat before concluding 2018, if the crisis does not make the dictatorship to collapse or the dictator does not decide to move aside.
- Continuing setting fire to the common frontier with Colombia. Multiplying the traffic of fuel and other goods. The movement of paramilitaries, armed raids and drug trafficking. Provoking armed incidents with the Venezuelan frontier security forces.
- Recruiting paramilitaries mainly in the campsites of refugees in Cucuta, La Guajira and the north of Santander, areas largely populated by Colombian citizens who emigrated to Venezuela and now return, run away from the regimen to intensify the destabilizing activities in the common frontier between both countries. Making use of the empty space left by the FARC, the belligerency of the ELN and the activities in the area of the Gulf Clan.
- Preparing the involvement of allied forces in support of the Venezuelan army officers or to control the internal crisis, in the event they delay too much in taking the initiative.
- Establishing a speedy time line that prevents the Dictator to continue winning control on the internal scenario. If it's necessary, act before the elections stipulated for next April.
- Getting the support of the allied authorities of friendly countries (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Panama and Guyana).
- Organizing the provisioning, relief of troops, medical and logistic support from Panama. Making good use of the facilities of electronic surveillance and signals intelligence, the hospitals and its deployed endowments in Danen, the equipped airdromes for the Colombian Plan, as well as the landing fields of the old-time military bases of Howard and Albrook, as well as the one belonging to "Rio Halo". In addition, the Humanitarian Regional Center of the United Nations, designed for situations of catastrophes and humanitarian emergency, which has an aerial landing field and its own warehouses.
- Moving on the basification of combat airplanes and choppers, armored conveyances, intelligence positions, and special military and logistics units (police and military district attorneys and prisons).
- Developing the military operation under international flag, patronized by the Conference of American Armies, under the protection of the OAS and the supervision, in the legal and media context, of the Secretary General Luis Almagro. Declaring the necessity that the continental commandment be strengthened to act, using the instrument of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, in order to avoid the democratic rupture.
- Binding Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Panama to the contribution of greater number of troops, to make use of their geographic proximity and experience in operations in forest regions. Strengthening their international condition with the presence of combat units from the United States of America and the other named countries, under the command of a Joint General Staff led by the USA.
- Using the facilities at Panamanian territory for the rear guard and the capacities of Argentina for the securing of the ports and the maritime positions.
- Leaning on Brazil and Guyana to make use of the migratory situation that we intend to encourage in the border with Guyana.
- Coordinating the support to Colombia, Brazil, Guyana, Aruba, Curacao, Trinidad and Tabago and other States in front of the flow of Venezuelan immigrants in the event of the crisis. Promoting international participation in this effort, as part of the multilateral operation with contribution of the States, Non-Profit Organizations and international bodies. Supplying the adequate logistic, intelligence, surveillance and control support.
- Anticipating, specially, the most vulnerable points in Arauca, Puerto Carreno and Ininda, Maicao, Barranquilla and Sincelejo, in Colombia, and Roramia, Manaos and Boa Vista, in Brazil.
- Silencing the symbolic presence of Chavez-representative of unit and popular support-, and in the other way around, keeping the harassment to the Dictator as the only responsible of the crisis in which he has submerged the nation.
- Holding the Dictator and his closer followers responsible, in the first place, for the prevailing crisis due to his inability to find the way out that the Venezuelans are in need of.
- Intensifying the media denouncement about the cubanization of Venezuela.
- Outstandingly intensifying the denouncement toward Maduro's regimen, considering him:
- A criminal
- A illegitimate
- A thief of the wealth of the Venezuelan people
- Someone who plunders the national treasury to carry out his evasion
- Highlighting the incompetence of the mechanisms of integration created by the regimens of Cuba and Venezuela, specially the ALBA and PETROCARIBE, in order to tackle the situation of the country and their inability to find solutions to the problems that the citizens are facing.
- Increasing, inside the country and through the mass media established abroad, the dissemination of designed messages based on testimonies and publications originated in the country, making use of all the possible capacities, including the social networks.
- Claiming, through that mass media, the need to put an end to this situation because of its unsustainable essence.
- Justifying and assuring through violent means the international backup to the deposal of the dictatorship, displaying an extensive dissemination, inside the country and to the entire world, through all the open means and the capacities of the psychological war of the US ARMY.
- Assuring that the disclosed images and reports of the military actions are approved by the General Staff to prevent their manipulation and use by the enemy.
- The United States should entirely back up the OAS, strengthening the image of the OAS and other multilateral institutions for the inter-American system, as instruments for the solution to the regional problems.
- Promoting the request of the the dispatch of a UNO military force for the imposition of peace, once Nicolas Maduro's corrupt dictatorship is defeated.
George Soros and Neoliberalism Still Own the Democrats
George Soros Remarks delivered at the Brussels Economic Forum – In English-German-Italian
May 08, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
"Avaaz claims to unite practical idealists from around the world.  Director Ricken Patel said in 2011, "We have no ideology per se. Our mission is to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want. Idealists of the world unite!"  In practice , Avaaz often supports causes considered progressive, such as calling for global action on climate change , challenging Monsanto, and building greater global support for refugees.   
During the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests , Avaaz set up Internet proxy servers to allow protesters to upload videos onto public websites. 
Avaaz supported the establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya, which led to the military intervention in the country in 2011. It was criticized for its pro-intervention stance in the media and blogs. 
Avaaz supported the civil uprising preceding the Syrian Civil War . This included sending $1.5 million of Internet communications equipment to protesters, and training activists. Later it used smuggling routes to send over $2 million of medical equipment into rebel-held areas of Syria. It also smuggled 34 international journalists into Syria.   Avaaz coordinated the evacuation of wounded British photographer Paul Conroy from Homs . Thirteen Syrian activists died during the evacuation operation.   Some senior members of other non-governmental organizations working in the Middle East have criticized Avaaz for taking sides in a civil war.  As of November 2016, Avaaz continues campaigning for no-fly zones over Syria in general and specifically Aleppo . (Gen. Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, has said that establishing a no-fly zone means going to war against Syria and Russia.  ) It has received criticism from parts of the political blogosphere and has a single digit percentage of its users opposing the petitions, with a number of users ultimately leaving the network. The Avaaz team responded to this criticism by issuing two statements defending their decision to campaign. wiki
Yes, pilgrims, my professional deformation leads me to find pattern where there may be none. BUT, OTOH, there may BE a pattern. It would be logical for there to exist connective tissue that relates the Sorosistas, The Clintonistas, the media freaks, Tom Perez' DNC, etc., etc., ad nauseam. ...
And then, there is Neil Ferguson the British epidemiologist who sold #10 on the idea of a national lock-down that looks to destroy the UK economy and political system. Antonia Staats his married mistress is a major figure in AVAAZ. He broke curfew twice to get a little bit of that. Coincidence? pl
Outrage Beyond , 07 May 2020 at 06:41 PMEven a small amount of google searching suggests that Avaaz is simply another Zionist-funded pro-Israel controlled opposition cutout type of organization. Funded by Zionist George Soros. Main honcho Ricken Patel is associated with Zionist lobby group J Street.Deap , 07 May 2020 at 06:46 PM
Per the commentary above, supported the regime change operation in Syria (a longstanding Zionist goal, refer to the Clean Break plan.)
Bottom line: not a leftist organization. Faux leftist, controlled opposition, Zionist. Neocons are probably delighted with Avaaz.It was a ground hog day nightmare when I read the AVAAZ website and found all the "progressive" chestnuts, alive, well and kicking into high gear. This AVAAZ agenda fuels the politics in my state, California, so I know each element well plus how each of of them has failed us so badly. They all teeter on OPM, which the state wide corona shut down has decimated.Deap , 07 May 2020 at 07:04 PM
What pillow talk went on between AVAAZ agent Antonia Staats and her Imperial College of London paramour Neil Ferguson right before he briefed Trump/Pence on their corona "we are all gonna die" projections.
It all happened so fast - from runs on toilet paper in Australia reported on March 2 to global shutdown on March 16 due to this Imperial College model in just two weeks. Who and what communication network was behind this radical global shift that generated virtually no push back? The message quickly became one case of corona and we are all gonna die. How did that find such a willing audience?
I keep hearing that same echo in my nightmares, never let a crisis go to waste - now with this very distinct German accent on the face of a red-lipped blonde. Too weird to see this AVAAZ "global" network is so darn interested in over-turning a US Supreme Court Citizens United ruling - the old Hilary Clinton rallying cry. What is with that - they care in Malaysia?
Thank you for sunshining this very curious operation and its all too familiar cast of known characters lurking in its history, shadows, funding and leadership circle. Injecting them with Lysol is the better plan.
It is one thing to sic Barr-Durham on US government operations, but who can even explore let alone touch the world of global NGO's.
It does explain where a lot of the Bernie Sanders fervor comes from and how it sustains this energy despite defeat in the US election polls. The AVAAZ agenda winning the hearts and minds of many young people around the world. It will be their world to inherit, if they go down this path; not ours. God speed to all of them. Namaste. Dahl and naan for everyone.A little internet search also questions if AVAAZ is an intelligence community funded operation, linking key Obama administration players.turcopolier , 07 May 2020 at 07:11 PM
Good indoor fun during our national lockdowns - track AVAAZ in all its permutations and recurrent players. Samantha Powers and her hundreds of FISA unmasking requests comes to mind as well as her role in the AVAAZ games played in Syria.
Some AVAAZ fodder from a random internet search: Tinfoil hat fun times - keep digging.
......."Curiously, however, the absence of routine information on the Avaaz website -- board of directors, contact information, etc. -- raises the possibility that the organization is one of innumerable such groups created around the world by intelligence organizations with secret funding to advance hidden agendas.
This was the gist of a 2012 column by Global Research columnist Susanne Posel, headlined Avaaz: The Lobbyist that Masquerades as Online Activism. She alleged that Avaaz purports to be a global avenue for dissent, but channels reform energies on the most sensitive issues into such pro-U.S. positions as support for Israel and the Free Syrian Army......."AVAAZHarlan Easley , 07 May 2020 at 08:06 PM
It is interesting that AVAAZ stopped accepting foundation and corporate money years ago. So, where do they get their money?Looking at him and her. She is out of his league. He is beta soy boy material.Fred , 07 May 2020 at 08:16 PM
You're probably right.Deap,J , 07 May 2020 at 09:48 PM
"Who and what communication network ..." ... " but who can even explore let alone touch the world of global NGO's."
Have you noticed how fast Project Veritas gets shut down, how Twitter, FB, etc silence any effective opposition to the message of the left?
"It is one thing to sic Barr-Durham on US government operations,..."
Perhaps now that FlynnFlu is evaporating in the disinfecting sunlight some sunshine should be applied to the H1B visa holders at the aformentioned social media companies and add in Google, Bing, Oath etc. and see how many Communist operatives are there, in addition to "essential employee" non-citizen lefty's pushing the anti-American propaganda. A dinner invitation to Jeff Bezos and his paramore might provide some interesting conversation on just who at Amazon might be involved in the same type of anti-western operations; compare their corporate response to distribution operations in the US vs. France as an example.
Furthermore, observe the Google leadership team discussion of the 2016 elections.
Minute 12:30 CFO Ruth Porat
Minute 27:00 Q&A Sergey Brin response on matching donations to employee causes.
Make sure to watch minute 52 on H1B visa holders. With 30,000,000 unemployed Americans just how many of those visas does Google need now? (I don't recall any organization telling China they need open borders immigration since thier hispanic/african/caucasian population percentages are effectively zero, so we might wonder who has been behind that message for the past few decades and why it is only directed at Western democracies).
And the inevitable campaign against "low information" voters and "fake news". I wonder what their take on Russian election interference is now? (Russia cyber trolling! minute 54:44.)
56:20 The inevitable arc of "progress". Make sure you join the fight for Hilary's values. That's the actual corporate leadership message. See the final round of applause at 1:01. Our new overlords know best. Too bad they don't own a mirror, or an ability to reflect on why someone can see the same data and come to a different conclusion of than these experts.
That's just a scratch on the surface. How much money flowed through the Clinton Global Initiative, which NGOs got some cleansed proceeds, which elections were influenced, professors and research sponsored, local communities "organzied". There's plenty to look at and "Isreal, Soros, Zionists" are the least of it.State sponsorship?james , 07 May 2020 at 11:04 PMavaaz always struck me like some intel agency psyc op... maybe israel like the poster outrage beyond implies.. either way - one could read stay away based on everything about them..eakens , 08 May 2020 at 01:26 AMAvaaz means change in Farsi. Interesting.LondonBob , 08 May 2020 at 03:31 AMA friend of a friend is a research scientist at Imperial in biology, he is as lefty as they get and I think would be happy to falsify his research to serve his political goals. Besides Imperial is a hard science uni, UCL is top in the University of London for medicine.CK , 08 May 2020 at 08:34 AM
Soros and his organisations should be made persona non grata, as the Russians and Hungarians have. Extraordinary his influence in the EU, he has picked up where the Soviet Union left off, funding every organisation that demoralises society, from gay rights to immigration promotion to ethnic lobbies, even in Eastern European countries where there are no minorities.An unusual thing happens once; it could be happenstance.turcopolier , 08 May 2020 at 08:59 AM
The thing happens again; it is Reconnaissance.
The thing happens yet again; it is war.
JA. Pols , 08 May 2020 at 09:17 AM
That is for us to learn.We came, we saw, he died (cackle)... Assad must go...BABAK MAKKINEJAD , 08 May 2020 at 09:33 AM
Promoting chaos....Cui bono?
eakenDiana Croissant , 08 May 2020 at 09:35 AM
Avaaz means "song" in Persian.The one woman standing up to a pompous judge who has called her "selfish" for wanting to earn the money it takes to feed her child is the heroine of this week's news.
Hers is the story of our Democratic Republic, born in the Age of Reason. Voltaire's Candide comes to the best conclusion for the way our elected representatives should make decisions: what works best to help INDIVIDUALS tend their own gardens is the form of government we should pursue.
It's true that young people have hearts and good intentions, but older people in most cases have brains and understand human nature better.
This older person--even when she was young--always distrusted a popular uprising or growing movement.
And if Obama and Hillary are for it, I know I am against it. (That's a more specific life lesson I've learned.)
Nov 26, 2019 | www.currentaffairs.org
In Bolivia, within the course of a month, one of the most successful contemporary governments to call itself "socialist" has been replaced by an unelected right-wing leadership that has killed protesters, promised to restore the rule of Christianity, and demanded the jailing of former president Evo Morales as a " terrorist. " What went wrong?
Let us review the most uncontroversial facts of what happened in Bolivia. Evo Morales, the country's first indigenous leader, had been praised for his sound management of the country's economy, which "experienced a spectacular run of economic growth and poverty reduction." Even harshly critical media assessments mentioned "the country's growing economy and shrinking inequality," and the New York Times noted that "tiny, impoverished Bolivia, once a perennial economic basket case, has suddenly become a different kind of exception -- this time in a good way," as the country became South America's fastest-growing economy . As with China, the heavily state-led economic program of Bolivia -- which included successful nationalization of certain parts of industry -- threatens free market orthodoxies about the inevitable catastrophe of socialism and state "intervention in the economy." (According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, "the importance of the government's nationalization of hydrocarbons to Bolivia's economic progress over the past 13 years cannot be overemphasized.")
But by 2019, Morales had been in office for 12 years, and his popularity had ebbed. As Christine Mathias writes in Dissent, even some on the left, including former indigenous supporters, had begun to question his leadership :
They raised concerns about Morales's desire to remain in office indefinitely, alleged corruption in his inner circle, his administration's response to recent fires in the Amazon, and especially its extractivist development model. Aymara leader Felipe Quispe presented some of the most damning critiques, describing [Morales' Movimiento al Socialismo] as "neoliberalism with an Indian face."
Morales ran for a fourth term this year. Previously, the new Bolivian constitution that Morales had introduced imposed term limits. There was a referendum on whether to scrap term limits in 2016, and Morales lost narrowly. Bolivia's Supreme Court then overturned the results of the referendum, allowing Morales to run again.
Now, I've seen a lot of mockery directed at the Bolivian court for this decision, which said that barring Morales from running violated his "human rights." It is seen as a transparent power-grab by Morales, and a sign that his rule was undemocratic and illegitimate, because he simply had "cronies" rewrite the law.
A few bits of context are important, though. First, the president actually has less direct control over the makeup of the Bolivian court than the United States president has over the composition of our Supreme Court. And second, the ruling was not actually as crazy as it is being made to sound. The ruling was based on the American Convention of Human Rights , which Bolivia is a signatory to. The relevant section reads as follows:
Article 23. Right to Participate in Government
1. Every citizen shall enjoy the following rights and opportunities:
a. to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;
b. to vote and to be elected in genuine periodic elections, which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and by secret ballot that guarantees the free expression of the will of the voters; and
c. to have access, under general conditions of equality, to the public service of his country.
2. The law may regulate the exercise of the rights and opportunities referred to in the preceding paragraph only on the basis of age, nationality, residence, language, education, civil and mental capacity, or sentencing by a competent court in criminal proceedings.
As you can see, every citizen is guaranteed the right to be elected in periodic elections, and that right can be regulated only on the basis of a number of very particular grounds. "Having served in office previously" is not one of those grounds. Now, your instinct here may be to say "Oh, but that's silly , of course term limits are permitted, it would be ridiculous to say that term limits are a violation of human rights." The entire argument made by legal textualists like Antonin Scalia, however, is that it doesn't matter what you might have meant , it matters what the law says. If the drafters of a law believe that you should be able to restrict people from running for office based on their previous service in office, they need to put that in the rights convention, otherwise that exception won't be valid.
I am not saying that I am anti-term limits, or that I share Scalia's theory of jurisprudence, although it's worth remembering that term limits do prevent people from choosing the candidate that they might want the most and are a restriction on democracy (after all, Obama would probably still be president if we adopted the democratic principle that "the candidate the most people would want to vote for should win the election"). I am saying that it's not obvious that the Supreme Court was simply mindlessly throwing out the rule of law, and that the reactions after the Court's decision (some called the decision itself a "coup") was not justified.
This is important, because now that Morales has been forced out of power by an illegitimate leader, every effort is being made to paint him as having been illegitimate himself. (The New York Times , using the language preferred by the right-wing government , calls him a "strongman.") And if these arguments are correct, it undermines critics of the anti-Morales coup. After all, if he was an autocrat who himself had no democratic mandate and disrespected institutions, it was less bad for his successors to seize power, even if they did so without being elected. The present Bolivian "leadership" has made a very strong effort to portray themselves as "restoring" a democracy that Morales had "undermined" (with the new self-declared president saying that "the coup d'état was by Evo Morales") even as they behave undemocratically themselves, so it's important to actually scrutinize the facts and remember what happened.
I find Morales' decision to keep running indefinitely to be frustrating, and a sign that he was relying more on his personality than a political movement, but I do not think that he disrespected the law any more than Michael Bloomberg did when he had the New York City Council get rid of term limits. I would not have called Bloomberg an "illegitimate" mayor or a "dictator," nor would I say that he was not the "real" mayor of New York and could justly be overthrown by the NYPD. So I think Morales was within his rights to run again, and since his term has not expired, and he was forced out by threats of violence, he should still be considered the president of Bolivia.
What of the election itself? American media has reported on the election as if it was self-evident that Morales stole it or committed election fraud. The central allegations here, however, do not appear to hold up. Read the analyses from Kevin Cashman in Jacobin and Mark Weisbrot in MarketWatch , who both provide careful explanations of how the Bolivian election actually worked, as opposed to vague innuendos.
We know that, as protests escalated after the election, Morales lost the support of members of the Bolivian police and that the military "encouraged him" to resign. Morales fled to Mexico; he says his life was threatened and a bounty was put on his head . His home was ransacked , and a racist right-wing minor legislator, Jeanine Añez, declared herself president of the country .
She vowed to be a mere caretaker until new elections could be held, "[telling] reporters that her only aim was to unite the country and restore it to the path to democracy," and saying that her mission in office was "to call for clean and transparent elections with all the qualified political actors as soon as possible." Of course, that word "qualified" should have been the tip-off from the beginning that Añez would soon unilaterally declare Morales ineligible to run .
But it was very evident that she was lying about her intentions, which were not to preside over a "caretaker" government but to re-establish right-wing rule after a decade of successful socialism. She acted like " anything but a caretaker ," and has "been putting her own ideological stamp on South America's poorest nation as she pursues the opposition's long-held dream of undoing nearly 14 years of socialist rule under former president Evo Morales." She "replaced Bolivia's top military brass, cabinet ministers and the heads of major state-owned companies with appointees of her own." She immediately moved to reshape the county's foreign policy, reinstall Catholic rituals, and gave soldiers immunity from prosecutor for murdering protesters. Sure enough, "within hours, a confrontation between soldiers and Morales supporters near Cochabamba left nine dead." (It is ironic that Áñez had previously "denied that Morales had been the victim of a coup," saying "a coup d'etat is when there are soldiers in the streets.")
Añez's government barely pretended to care about equality. She brought a giant Bible to her swearing-in, and said "the Bible has returned to the government palace." As the press noted, this was "a pointed attack on Morales, since the constitution he passed in 2009 placed Christianity on equal footing with indigenous spiritual traditions." Añez's open Christian supremacist ideology was evident even when she was making half-hearted gestures toward inclusiveness:
"We want to be a democratic tool of inclusion and unity," said the 52-year-old religious conservative, sitting at a table bearing a huge open Bible and crucifix.
Añez was not just repudiating Morales, socialism, and secular pluralism, but the indigeneous population more broadly. She had previously "published provocative posts on Twitter mocking Indigenous people's culture, branding their religious rites 'satanic' and calling Mr. Morales a 'poor Indian. '"
She "quickly set up a transition cabinet with almost no indigenous people, but full of business elites who oppose Morales." At a public rally by a close Añez ally, a speaker cried: "We have tied all the demons of the witchery and thrust them into the abyss. Satans, get out of Bolivia now." As one analyst noted, her government seems to be " thinking that what Bolivia needs right now is a purge. "
And the purge is underway. The interim interior minister threatened "to arrest lawmakers loyal to ousted President Evo Morales for alleged acts of subversion and sedition," even though Morales' MAS party still technically held a legislative majority. He " announced the creation of a 'special apparatus of the Prosecutor's Office' that will crack down on elected officials from Morales' Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party, which controls about two-thirds of the legislature," and "said he would be publishing a 'list' of legislators he claims are guilty of 'subversion' and that those individuals will be blocked from continuing their duties as representatives and will be subject to arrest starting Monday." He "began by promising to hunt down Mr. Morales's top former minister, Juan Ramón Quintana, who has gone into hiding," saying "We're going to go hunting for Juan Ramón Quintana because he is an animal that feeds on the blood of the people."
The Wall Street Journal reported :
Several MAS officials have been detained, fled the country or have sought refuge in foreign embassies. Meanwhile, debate has brewed over whether the party, which still enjoys wide support, should even be allowed to exist due to the alleged electoral manipulation.
The Journal quotes a Morales critic saying: "MAS is dead We have a saying here: When the dog dies, so do the fleas."* * * *
Surely, some things are clear here. The new right-wing government is not actually interested in democracy, but in destroying socialism and indigenous power. They're literally threatening to "hunt down" socialist legislators. They don't want fair elections. They want elections that have socialists either excluded from running or intimidated by force. Why is Evo Morales in Mexico? He's not there because he wants to be in Mexico. He's there because if he had stayed in Bolivia he might have been jailed as a "terrorist" or killed. I do not know why there is " debate " over whether what happened in Bolivia was a "coup." The elected president fled the country at the direction of the military and has been branded a criminal by an unelected leadership that has murdered protesters and explicitly vowed to destroy socialism and restore Christian rule.
Yet now we enter the topsy-turvy world of the U.S. media, whose response to the Bolivian coup has been a case study in Chomsky and Herman's theory of "manufacturing consent."
The Wall Street Journal , unsurprisingly, has heralded the ousting of Morales as a victory for democracy . "No one should shed a tear" for Morales, its editorial board said. Bolivia's "people have suffered enormously" under Morales, it said, citing no evidence. (Hard to know what to cite when what the people have suffered from its record growth and diminishing poverty .) The Journal said that "Bolivian law forbids a candidate caught in fraud from running again," though it did not cite which Bolivian law allows unconfirmed allegations to override court precedents. Another editorial, " Morales Made Bolivia A Narco State ," essentially repeated the word "narco" over and over, emphasizing that Morales started as the head of the coca grower's union, to convince readers to think of him as nothing but a drug trafficking dictator. (The editorial had the audacity to center criticism of Morales around his violations of indigenous people's rights, said the military "suggested" he step down, and suggested that he simply ran illegally, failing to mention the court decision that allowed him to participate and the justifications given by the court.)
One expects this stuff from a fascist-sympathizing Murdoch paper, of course. But the New York Times has been just as bad, full of sentences like: "Morales's grip on power unraveled after he tried bending electoral rules to stay in power for a fourth term in October, flouting constitutional term limits he himself had set." (Again, a Supreme Court decision allowed him to run under the terms of a treaty.) " How an Unknown Female Senator Came to Replace the Bolivian Strongman Evo Morales " is an incredible article. It does not quote any socialist legislators, but quotes plenty of figures from the conservative opposition, including heavy quotation from a "cement magnate." It discusses the "transition talks," and says that Añez was brought to the capital to "pre-empt any power grab," without noting that she was doing the power grab. The article treats the conservatives as pragmatic and patriotic restorers of order who were concerned with preventing a slide into chaos and wanted to maintain the constitutional order. "We knew that she was the only constitutional thread we had." Calling Morales a "strongman" is bad enough. He is a democratically elected president, and the Times did the opposition's work for it by printing a word that suggested Morales was an illegitimate tyrant. (Even if you believe this year's elections were fraudulent, Morales' term does not expire until January!) Perhaps because of public outcry about this use of a loaded, and arguably racist, term, the Times later stealth-edited "strongman" out of the headline and replaced it with "president," without offering a correction or apology.
The Times editorial board published an incredible editorial blaming Morales for what happened, saying that "the country's growing economy and shrinking inequality propped him up for years. But its democracy and its institutions suffered, and that's what brought him down." (The idea of being "propped up" by a growing economy is funny.) "Predictably," the Times editors said, stodgy old leftists were denouncing the "coup," but "what brought Mr. Morales down was not his ideology or foreign meddling, as he claimed, but the arrogance of the populist , evident in so many other parts of the world -- the claim to be the ultimate arbiter of the will of the people, entitled to crush any institution that stands in his way." The Times editorial is an interesting example of how institutions in other countries are spoken of differently than they would be in our own. It says Morales had the country's Supreme Court "by now stuffed with his loyalists, rule that limiting his time in office somehow violated his human rights." Our Supreme Court, of course, is not "stuffed with loyalists," even though it too is a nakedly political institution . Of Añez, all it said was that she was "offering to lead the country to new elections," and that Morales "would do well to call on his backers to clear the way."
Witness, too, this Times op-ed , written in sorrow and lament , about how Bolivia offers "lessons on how to fix semi-democracies," saying that the coup was "a reminder that the process of stopping semi-democratic leaders is likely to be semi-democratic as well." But Morales was elected! The op-ed pretends there is no difference between Morales's democratic election and Añez's seizure of power without an election. "Blaming the coup is to blame the symptoms and ignore the overall shock on the system caused by the preceding democratic backsliding . Fixing a semi-democracy will not always follow strict democratic playbooks The best that can be hoped for is that the military sides with moderate civilians, democratic norms, and constitutional rule."
Here, we would do well to remind ourselves that anything can be cloaked under euphemisms: mass murder can be "restoring order," overthrowing an elected government can be "preserving democratic rule." And the most dangerous political actors are going to have a very strong incentive to use these kinds of euphemisms, which is why it's important for ordinary people to be extremely skeptical, and why newspapers shouldn't quote powerful people's words as if they are facts. ( Order Restored Amid Unrest, Government Says is a headline that could easily mean A Dozen Unarmed Protesters Murdered In Cold Blood. )
When you are reading about Bolivia in the U.S. press, make sure to ask critical questions: Whose voices are being quoted here, and whose voices don't I hear? What is taken as being self-evident that should actually require some proof? How are words being shaded in ways that could disguise what is actually going on? Is one action being described two different ways when done by two different people? (When X does it, they're a "strongman" or "caudillo" and when Y does it they are a "caretaker" or "interim leader.") Propaganda often looks very reasonable, on the surface, especially to those of us who don't have access to the facts on the ground. Every word needs to be read carefully to see how our perceptions of reality are being manipulated.
One interesting thing about propaganda, as Noam Chomsky has pointed out, is that you can often find the truth buried within it. U.S. newspapers often do report all the facts you need to know in order to understand what is going on, but the analysis and framing buries those facts. (I've previously written about how the Holocaust, far from being unknown, was reported in the pages of the New York Times as something trivial not worth caring about.) You need to notice the small stuff. For example, when someone is quoted talking about how "when a dog dies, the fleas do too," that sounds an awful lot like they're probably going to try to destroy the socialist movement. Amid all the Wall Street Journal 's discussions about whether or not to call the "transition" a "coup," you will find little sentences like: " debate has brewed over whether the party, which still enjoys wide support, should even be allowed to exist due to the alleged electoral manipulation. " Um, there is debate over whether a movement with wide support should be allowed to exist? Who is "brewing" this debate?
When Añez announced that Morales couldn't run in a new election, Current Affairs predicted that the next thing that would happen was a new election which wouldn't be legitimate, but which would quickly be declared legitimate. Sure enough, MAS legislators are being persecuted and threatened, and Evo Morales is being told that if he comes back to the country he will be tried as a terrorist.
No election held under these conditions can be legitimate, and it will inevitably be worse than the "fraud-marred" original election. But when the right wins, they will declare democracy restored. In fact, fake elections are historically a powerful tool of the right.
The 1933 German election was not a real election, because the Nazis' opponents were systematically persecuted and threatened. But they used it to claim they had a democratic mandate. This is also what happened in Brazil: The most popular Workers Party candidate, Lula, was barred from running, and cleared the way for the far-right Jair Bolsonaro to take power.
This is what the Bolivian right needs now: an "election" in which the most popular opposition candidate is barred from standing, and the majority party is threatened and intimidated. Then, when the right narrowly wins the election (as Bolsonaro and Hitler did) they will demand recognition for the "people's will." If you do not notice what is happening, you need to read some more history! This is a very old story and has been told many times.
Oct 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
vk , Oct 24 2019 1:37 utc | 29Military coup attempt imminent in Bolivia as Evo Morales makes a desperate call for resistance to the people:
Militares que planejaram golpe tentam consumá-lo em conjunto com oposição, afirma Evo
The argument the Bolivian right-wing is using is exactly the same the Brazilian one used after the 2014 results: election fraud. The vice-president of the Bolivian Supreme Electoral Court has already renounced in protest after the institution caved in to the pressure and suspended the publication of the results:
Vice-presidente do TSE da Bolívia renuncia e diz que resultados preliminares estão corretos
Evo Morales is much more fragile than Nicolás Maduro -- even though Bolivia's economy has been much better. The key here is that, in Latin America, every period of economic growth is destined to be followed by a period of economic crisis because it's impelled to follow the neoliberal model of development by the USA. The left-wing presidents are then forced to overcome this through straight up government spending in order to at least alleviate extreme poverty that ravages the subcontinent.
But the hardest challenge for the socialists in Latin America are its armed forces: after the 1950s, they were turned into American subsidiaries, each one with a military doctrine that focuses on fighting the "internal enemy" (i.e. the socialists). No Latin American military is able to fight a single conventional war, they are essentially glorified militarized police forces. Maduro has the FANB; Morales doesn't have the Bolivian Armed Forces on his side.
Let's wait and see how it evolves.
Meanwhile, neoliberalism rots. Bolsonaro already know his fate:
Bolsonaro diz que Brasil 'não está livre de problema do Chile' e defende 'endurecimento da lei'
It must be hard to realize, after years of hallucination and messianic complex, that you were just a disposable puppet of the Americans.
However, things are not so simple in Brazil: the majority of the Left is reactionary and pacifist; the Brazilian people has a high tolerance for misery, is very docile and doesn't have a curriculum of violent uprisings or revolutions.
A Brazilian prefers to suffer in silence than having to risk his life for a greater cause and, since the 1960s, has an inexplicable fascination with the USA and everything American (Bolsonaro ran his campaign openly as the "Brazilian Trump").
Jun 20, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
Clarity emerges around the political persecution of Lula, Brazil's former president. But what is still blurry for many is the actual case against him, writes Vijay Prashad.
Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research
Brazil's former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has now been in prison since April 2018. More than 400 Brazilian lawyers have signed a statement that expresses alarm at what they see as procedural irregularities in the case against him. They call for the immediate release of Lula. The Asociación Americana de Juristas – a non-governmental organization with consultative status at the United Nations – has called Lula a political prisoner. Lula was convicted of corruption and money-laundering, despite a lack of solid evidence. Two lawsuits against him remain unfinished.
Now, more evidence emerges about the collusion of the lead judge and the lead investigator in the prosecution of Lula thanks to excellent reporting from The Intercept . The political motivations are now on the record: they, on behalf of the oligarchy, did not want Lula – who remains hugely popular – to be the 2018 presidential candidate of the Workers' Party (PT). Brazil's right-wing has begun a horrible campaign to malign the journalists of The Intercept , notably its editor Glenn Greenwald. Using the same tactics of hate, misogyny, and homophobia to defame their journalists, they hope, will distract from and delegitimise the damning evidence of their corrupt tactics.
Clarity now emerges around the political persecution of Lula. But what is still blurry for many is the actual case against him. The details of his case remain murky, with many who sympathise with Lula unsure of how to understand the corruption charges and his apparent conviction. This newsletter is dedicated to providing a primer on Lula and the case against him.
Who is Lula?
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (73 years old), a metalworker and trade union leader, helped found the PT, Brazil's main left party. He won two consecutive elections to govern Brazil from 2003 to 2010. At the close of his second term, Lula had an approval rating of 86 percent – the highest in the country's history. His poverty reduction programs – particularly his hunger alleviation schemes – earned his government praise from around the world, which is why some are calling for him to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Income redistribution through social programs such as Bolsa Família, Brasil sem Miseria, the expansion of credit, the increase in decent work, and the increase in the minimum wage lifted almost 30 million (out of 209 million) Brazilians out of poverty. The number of public university campuses more than doubled, leading to a 285 percent increase in Afro-Brazilians attending institutes of higher education. Brazil paid off its debts to the IMF and the government discovered a massive new oil reserve in the Santos Basin, off the coast of São Paulo. This oil will eventually change Brazil's strategic position in the world.
Why was Lula arrested?
There are two narratives that exist to answer this question. The first -- the official narrative, propagated by the bourgeoise -- is that Lula is in prison on charges of corruption and money laundering. His cases remain pending before the courts. Curitiba's Public Prosecutor's Office – led by Deltan Dallagnol – was in charge of an investigation around corruption allegations at Brazil's state energy firm, Petrobras. Because a car wash became part of the money laundering investigation, the Task Force was known as Lava Jato (Car Wash). The Task Force uncovered activity by contractors such as OAS and Odebrecht, who had – it turns out – remodelled an apartment on the coast and a farm in the interior that were supposedly owned by Lula. These firms, it was said by the Task Force, had gained concessions from Petrobras. The Task Force argued that Lula benefited from the contractors, who in turn benefitted from state largess. This was the allegation.
The second narrative -- further substantiated by recent reporting from The Intercept of collusion between the main judges in the case against Lula -- shows evidence of political persecution and a coordinated attempt to stop Lula from winning the presidential election and put a halt to the country's progressive social agenda. In this narrative, the corruption charges against Lula were manufactured in order to recover the right-wing's control of the government, despite a lack of evidence against him.
Lola Alvarez Bravo, "Unos Suben y Otros Bajan," 1940.
Is there evidence against Lula?
Actually, no. The prosecutors could not prove that Lula had ever owned the apartment or the farm. Nor could they prove any benefit to the contractors. Lula was convicted – bizarrely – of unspecified acts . Former OAS director Léo Pinheiro, who had been convicted of money laundering and corruption in 2014 and was to serve 16 years, gave evidence against Lula; for this evidence, his sentence was reduced. There was no material evidence against Lula.
Who convicted Lula?
Judge Sérgio Moro convicted Lula. He became a celebrity and is now the minister of justice in the government of President Jair Bolsonaro. It is clear that Bolsonaro won the election because Lula was not permitted to run. Moro's conviction delivered the presidency to Bolsonaro, who then rewarded Moro with the ministry appointment.
Moro not only tried Lula in his court, but also in the court of public opinion. The corporate media was on the side of the prosecution, and leaks from the court created an image of Lula as the enemy of the people. Bizarrely, the press often seemed to have information from the court before Lula's defence attorneys. When Lula's lawyers filed a habeas corpus petition to get him out of jail, the army's commander-in-chief sent the Supreme Court a message on Twitter to instructing them not to grant the petition. The petition was denied.
Should Lula have been allowed to run for president?
The Brazilian Code of Criminal Procedure says that one can only go to prison when their appeals run out. Article 5 of the Constitution notes,"No one shall be considered guilty before the issuance of a final and unappealable prison sentence." Why Lula went to jail in the first place requires an investigation. Judge Moro argued that it was because he was found guilty in the Appeal Court based on a plea bargain. This is murky. The UN's Human Rights Committee said that Lula should have been allowed to run for president last year because his appeals had not been exhausted. Not only did the judiciary and the prosecutors not allow Lula to run, but they also did not allow him to meet the press and so influence the election.
What has been the role of the United States in the Lava Jato investigation?
Odd how the US Department of Justice officials visited Judge Moro during the investigation, and how US Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said in 2017 that the U.S. justice officials had "informal communications" about the removal of Lula from the presidential race. On 6 March 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice said that it would transfer 80 percent of the fines it received from Petrobras to the Public Prosecutor's Office to set up an "anti-corruption investment fund." It is fair to say that this is a payment to the Lava Jato team for its work on removing Lula from the presidential race.
What was the real corruption in this case?
Messages seemed to constantly be exchanged between the Moro and the Lava Jato team led by Dallagnol. These have now been revealed by The Intercept and scrutinized by a range of forensic and political analysts. It is clear that the judge and the prosecutor colluded to find Lula guilty and lock him away. The first instance of corruption is this brazen collusion between two parts of the government. The second instance of corruption is the role of the United States in this case, and the pay-out to Dallagnol's department for services rendered.
The persecution of Lula is a story that is not merely about Lula, nor solely about Brazil. This is a test case for the way oligarchies and imperialism have sought to use the shell of democracy to undermine the democratic aspirations of the people. It is the methodology of democracy without democracy, a Potemkin Village of liberalism.
At Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, we are studying this phenomenon closely. You have already seen our dossier on the hybrid war against Venezuela and our dossier on lawfare in Brazil. The arrest of human rights defenders from Julian Assange to Ola Bini as well as the arrest of whistle-blowers from Chelsea Manning to David McBridge are part of this chilling effect against the sentinels of democracy.
We are taking seriously this evisceration of democracy. We are going to look at the role of money in elections (test case: India) and voter suppression, as well as the reduction of 'politics' to the festival of elections, the allowance of states to crush the basic institutions of civil society, and the role of immiseration in the defeat of the democratic spirit. We need a new theory of actually-existing democracy.
Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, journalist, commentator and a Marxist intellectual. He is the executive director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and the chief editor of LeftWord Books.
This article is from Tricontinental .
Nov 02, 2018 | www.wsws.org
On Wednesday, October 17, Vladimir Kara-Murza, a leading Russian liberal oppositionist, was interviewed by Keith Gessen, editor of the n+1 magazine, in an event hosted by Columbia University's Harriman Institute for the Study of Eurasia, Russia and Eastern Europe. The event was a stark testimony to the advanced preparations for a US-backed "color revolution" in Russia, i.e., an imperialist-orchestrated and funded movement of a section of the oligarchy and upper middle class to topple the Putin regime, similar to those that have taken place in Ukraine and Georgia.
Vladimir Kara-Murza is one of the many shadowy figures of Russian politics who, while little known to most people inside or outside Russia, are playing a key role in directing and supporting the US anti-Russia policy and the course of the Russian pro-US liberal opposition. The son of Vladimir Kara-Murza, Sr., who was a major figure in the oligarch-controlled Russian media under Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr. worked for many years as the right-hand man of Boris Nemtsov, one of Yeltsin's key allies in the 1990s and a right-wing political opponent of Putin, who was assassinated in 2015 under murky circumstances.
Along with Nemtsov, Kara-Murza was an early backer of the US congressional passage of the Magnitsky Act in 2012, which targets Russian oligarchs and officials who support the Putin regime and are accused of corruption and human rights abuses. He has lobbied for the adoption of similar legislation by governments throughout the world. Through this work, Kara-Murza also became close to the late John McCain, one of Washington's foremost supporters of "color revolutions" throughout the territory of the former Soviet Union. In August, Kara-Murza served as a pallbearer at McCain's funeral, along with former Vice President Joe Biden and the actor Warren Beatty.
Since 2014, Kara-Murza has worked for the Open Russia Foundation, which was founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who rose to become one of the most powerful and richest oligarchs of Russia during the 1990s and was imprisoned by Putin in 2003.
In short, Kara-Murza has been at the center of the operations for a color-revolution-type movement in Russia for years. And this is precisely what he was invited to speak on with the self-styled leftist and Russia expert Keith Gessen, founding editor of the n+1 magazine, one of the most popular magazines among pseudo-left circles. (Gessen also teaches at Columbia University's Journalism School and is the brother of Masha Gessen, who has been heavily involved in the anti-Putin media propaganda for many years.)
The event started with Keith Gessen asking Kara-Murza about the assassination of Boris Nemtsov which the latter, of course, attributed to the Kremlin. For most of the discussion, however, Kara-Murza detailed his involvement in the preparations for a color revolution in Russia.
Kara-Murza insisted that "the history of Russia teaches us that big political changes in our country can start quickly and unexpectedly." He referred to both the 1905 Revolution and the February Revolution of 1917, which, as Kara-Murza pointed out, even took Lenin by surprise, and then the collapse of the USSR "in three days" in 1991. "This is how things happen in Russia", he insisted, and "the problem with this is that nobody is prepared. We [at the Open Russia Foundation] see it as our mission to begin those preparations for future change now. We cannot afford to not be ready again. Most of the things we do inside of Russia is targeted at preparing for this future transition."
The Open Russia Foundation, he continued, had 25 regional branches and a series of working groups which were already elaborating plans for political reforms and constitutional changes for the post-Putin period. Furthermore, they were focusing on "work with the new generation, the people who will be in charge of Russia" through training and education programs. Lastly, they were doing "international" work, which he himself was in charge of, which included "outreach" directed, again, at preparing the "future transition."
When later asked by an audience member how he saw the future of Russia in the next few decades, he declared that this change would come not within the next few decades, but within the next few years.
When he was asked from the audience whether the latest pension reform, which is opposed by over 90 percent of the population, could trigger the kind of "sudden change" he was expecting, Kara-Murza said: "It could but it doesn't have to. There is always the argument that it's [going to be] something of a socio-economic nature. Actually, if we look at the two decades of Putin, the peak of the protests was in December 2011 when the middle class was booming. It was about dignity, it had nothing do to with social issues. The trigger will not be necessarily economic."
He continued, "The only really shaky point [for Putin] was when so many people felt insulted that the government was wiping its feet over them. I think it's going to be something like that. A color revolution of dignity," like the events in Ukraine in 2014. In other words, what Kara-Murza and the Open Russia Foundation are working on is the promotion of a right-wing middle-class movement similar to the Maidan in Ukraine, which would provide the basis for a coup to topple the current government.
The key figures and mechanisms for such a "color revolution" were also addressed at some length. Keith Gessen asked how Kara-Murza viewed the campaign of the blogger Alexei Navalny, who, as the WSWS has written, is a far-right, pro-US figure who cloaks his right-wing program behind murky phrases about corruption. Just how fraudulent and politically calculated this focus is became clear in the discussion when Keith Gessen asked whether Navalny's focus on corruption as the center of his political platform was "a winning platform." Kara-Murza responded: "Yes, it is. Corruption is such a widely understandable issue. It's an issue that everybody is aware of."
In the discussion, a graduate student from Harriman asked whether the Open Russia Foundation had a "particular road map" for what to do when the "sudden event" Kara-Murza expected actually occurred. Kara-Murza replied: "If there were a model, it would be something like the Polish roundtable [of 1989]. The way we want a transition to happen in Russia is peaceful and smooth. We don't want a violent revolution. Russia has had enough revolutions. The problem is that the people who are in power today are doing everything for a revolution to occur."
Then, he went into the figures who would be included in such a roundtable. "Of course, Boris Nemtsov would have been at the roundtable", but, he assured his audience, there were many others. The figures he named were: Yevgeni Roizman, the mayor of Yekaterinburg, who is a notorious far-right-winger, with deep ties to the local mafia. In Russia, he became known above all through his alleged "drug" relief program, which has involved heavy physical abuse of drug addicts.
He also named Galina Shirshina, a member of the liberal opposition party Yabloko (which Nemtsov led until his assassination) as well as Lev Shlosberg, a local politician in Pskov who is also a leading member of "Yabloko." Finally, Kara-Murza named Dmitri Gudkov, who is heading the opposition "Party of Changes" with Ksenia Sobchak, the daughter of Putin's mentor Anatoly Sobchak, who ran as a presidential candidate this year .
"Navalny and Khodorkovsky would obviously also be at the roundtable", Kara-Murza added. When Gessen asked "What about the Communists?" Kara-Murza said that Sergei Udaltsov, the leader of the Stalinist and National Bolshevik "Left Front", may also hope for a seat at the roundtable. "We have very different views, but we have a good personal relationship. He's a decent human being, politically and on a human level."
Then, he added, "there are also many nationalists who are not controlled by the Kremlin" and who could join the roundtable. Throughout the event, Kara-Murza repeated that he and his allies were the true patriots and Russian nationalists, as opposed to Putin and the oligarchs and officials around him. "I just don't want to bore everyone with a long list of names," he said, as he concluded his enumeration of prospective of roundtable participants.
Like all Russian liberal oppositionists, Kara-Murza makes a hue and cry about rigged elections under Putin. Yet at no point did he even mention the possibility of an election before or after such a "roundtable," the participants of which have most evidently already been discussed and set.
There could hardly be a more open statement about the complicity of the so called opposition forces in Russian in a premeditated, US-backed plot to overthrow the Putin regime and install another, more pro-US, right-wing government in its place.
Kara-Murza speaks for a section of the oligarchy which not only seeks to gain control over the social and economic wealth of Russia, but also fears that a continuation of the Putin regime will threaten not only Russia's geopolitical position, but also social revolution. They see their main goal in making sure that a reshuffling within the oligarchy and upper middle class takes place, to assure both a reorientation of Russian foreign policy more directly in line with the interests of imperialism, and the ongoing suppression of the working class.
The complete indifference toward the implications of these policies for the masses of working people in Russia was at full display when Kara-Murza defended the process of capitalist restoration and the 1990s as time when Russia was actually make headway on the world stage: Russia was included in the G8 and finally internationally recognized, Kara-Murza stressed.
He contemptuously dismissed any criticism of the 1990s by referring to this decade as the "supposedly horrible 90s." The fact that the Russian economy experienced the worst collapse recorded in modern history for peacetime; that life expectancy plummeted, that hundreds of thousands committed suicide and were driven into substance abuse and that workers were going without pay for months and years, all of this is evidently of no concern to him.
Underlining the recklessness of the whole operation, the question of the potential consequences of a "color revolution" was not even raised. But anyone who looks at the past three decades of US foreign policy knows where this type of intervention of leads: civil war, ethnic strife, dictatorial regimes, and decades of economic, social and economic crisis. In the case of Russia, a "color revolution" would most likely mean the violent break-up of the Russian Federation -- many opposition leaders in fact argue for different borders of Russia. It would, moreover, raise the very immediate danger of a nuclear catastrophe: what if a section of the military resorts to the vast nuclear arsenal of Russia to defend its interests? And what will the US military and NATO do if a color revolution underway in Russia suddenly threatens to go astray? Will they intervene directly militarily?
The involvement of Keith Gessen in this dubious event is revealing. At no point did he raise something akin to a critical question. His role was nothing but to ask polite questions and provide Kara-Murza with a platform. A self-styled leftist, Gessen has translated and published the writings of Kirill Medvedev, a leading figure in the Russian Socialist Movement (RSM), a Pabloite formation in Russia. This year, he published a novel "A Terrible Country" in which he, yet again, promotes the Russian pseudo-left. In 2014, the RSM fully backed the far-right coup in Kiev. In Russia itself, the RSM has long shifted toward full support for Alexei Navalny's right-wing "anti-corruption campaign," ignoring or dismissing his history of support for Russian fascism and racism. The role of Gessen in this event is emblematic of the role of these forces as handmaidens US and European imperialism.
It was befitting for Columbia University's Harriman Institute to host this event: the first interdisciplinary Russia institute to be formed after the beginning of the Cold War, it has historically been associated with US imperialist plotting against first the Soviet Union and then Russia. To this day, the Harriman Institute, which is a non-profit, functions primarily as a think tank as well as an educational and recruiting center for Washington's foreign policy establishment and the CIA.
For much of its existence, the Harriman Institute was dominated by the figure and work of Zbigniew Brzezinski who, for over half a century, played a central role in elaborating the world strategy and justifying the war crimes of US imperialism. One of Brzezinski's political trademarks was his advocacy for fostering political opposition and insurrections in the Soviet Union, to undermine the regime and thus fight what he saw as one of the US's main competitors for the control of Eurasia. The "color revolution" strategy of US imperialism since 1991 stands in precisely this tradition. Now as then, far-right forces within the elites and fake left tendencies are the props of imperialism "on the ground."
Events like the one at Columbia reveal much about the state of world politics. "Color revolutions" which will impact the lives of hundreds of millions and threaten civil and all-out nuclear war, are being discussed and plotted behind the exclusive doors of an Ivy League institution with an audience of some 50 people, most of whom are graduate students and professors who, one may assume, either already are on the payroll of the CIA and the State Department or seeking to get there.
The Putin regime offers no alternative to these imperialist machinations. Like the sections of the oligarchy that Kara-Murza speaks for, Putin and his cronies have emerged out of and enriched themselves on the basis of the destruction of the Soviet Union which was carried by the Stalinist bureaucracy hand-in-gloves with imperialism. It considers not imperialism, but the Russian working class to be its main enemy, and, hence, responds to every imperialist provocation is a response of desperate attempts to find a deal with imperialism, largely behind closed doors, and the promotion of nationalism and militarism at home.
This sinister event is a warning to the international working class about the advanced preparations for the next step in the efforts of US imperialism to topple the Putin regime and bring the resources of Russia under its direct control: it is high time for workers both in the US and in Russia to intervene in politics on an independent basis to put an end to these dangerous conspiracies of imperialism through the struggle for socialism.
Sep 21, 2018 | johnhelmer.net
Journalists arranging tuxedo events to give themselves prizes are even sillier than Hollywood actors at the Oscar ceremony. There are also no comedians to tell jokes to neutralize the gastroenteric reflex that is always brought on in audiences by a surfeit of brown-nosing. For the British children in the audience who don't know what that term means, the Private Eye term is the more onomatopoetic -- arslikhan.
Meg Bortin, the second editor of the Moscow Times and one of the shortest termers, has been rolled out for today's celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Times. The true anniversary actually fell in March, eight months ago. But if that was the point from which to hang the anniversary celebration, Bortin couldn't call herself the "founding editor in chief".
She's also awarded herself the job of rewriting Russia's past and future, and demonstrate how brown her nose still is. "The question for the next 20 years, " she opines in today's edition , "is whether the paper can retain this independence -- a willingness to look at the news in Moscow and Russia and tell the truth, even if that truth is sometimes displeasing to the authorities."
This is mock-bravery. The authorities Bortin recognized in Moscow at the time – the ones in residence at Spaso House – were the only ones she dared not, never thought of displeasing. She also ran an editorial policy that dared not controvert their policy. Bortin reserved special venom – the adjective "pro-communist" – for the Congress of People's Deputies, elected two years earlier; its Speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov; and the executive chamber then known as the Supreme Soviet. Bortin knew none of them; had no sources in the factions or the party leaders' offices; and detested them all, insisting that the reporting of the Times should depict them and their debates as anti-democratic, communistic, anti-American, etc., etc.
In April of 1992, the Congress had overwhelmingly rejected then President Boris Yeltsin's attempt to take emergency powers. It had also approved the draft new Russian constitution prepared by the Constitutional Commission led by the very young lawyer, Oleg Rumyantsev. By September, Rumyantsev's draft for a parliamentary republic of roughly the French type, was headed for enactment if and when the Congress was reconvened. That should have been in October, as had been planned.
That session was also certain to reject the economic policy programme ("reform" in Bortin's list of approbative nouns) delivered to the Kremlin by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), through Yegor Gaidar, then half-way through his six months as acting prime minister. Detested throughout the country, Gaidar was another of Bortin's approbative nouns.
The showdown between Bortin and I came on September 1, 1992, after I had filed a 12-paragraph news story, entitled "Khasbulatov postpones People's Congress session." Read the original despatch here . My sources were from Speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov's office; from the Congress factions; from staff in Gaidar's office; and from the Kremlin. The big news was that Khasbulatov had decided not to allow the Congress to resume its session in October. The significance was that he was postponing the conflict of powers between the executive and the legislature. Khasbulatov thought, the story reported, that he was buying time to give Yeltsin more rope to hang himself; the president was polling 30% or less approval in Moscow at the time. Khasbulatov thought the showdown would come eventually, but he wanted to appear to be keeping himself above the fray, and mobilize a cross-party consensus behind the new constitution. If the time came to drive Yeltsin from power, Khasbulatov thought it could, and should be done constitutionally. In retrospect, Khasbulatov's misjudgement was colossal. In time he has admitted it.
Bortin, though, didn't understand then, has never understood what was happening. But she wouldn't allow my little news story to run. She would also brook no direct-source reporting from the congress, the constitutional commission, or the parties then in opposition to the president. That led to that showdown of all showdowns in newsrooms the world over – the showdown over the truth. It also led to a brief but noisy episode of clinical hysteria from Bortin, and a confession from Bortin's publisher, Derk Sauer, one of the Dutch co-owners of the Times.
Bortin had been an embarrassment to Sauer, which he apologized for, telling me that an American national was necessary to secure the funding on which the Moscow Times depended. I was polite enough not to enquire what funding he was talking about; I already knew. The occasion was that I – now the only (American) reporter from the original team under the first editor, Michael Hester, still at work in and on Russia – had refused to attach the required derogatory adjectives to the parliamentary opposition to Yeltsin, and refused to report the IMF programme with the required noun, "reform". Not even my sources at the IMF Moscow office, including the French protégé of IMF Director Michel Camdessus, accepted that guff from Gaidar. But Bortin did, so she fired me on September 3, 1992. Sauer then rehired me with an increased salary to be paid each month on condition I didn't report what had happened, and didn't join the competition .
In 1994, after two years at the Moscow Times, Bortin went off to a sanatorium in Paris. She reports in her blog that she is writing a memoir called Desperate to be a Housewife and a manual called The Everyday French Chef. It's been a case of – if you can't stand the heat, go to the kitchen.
After her exit, Sauer's US money began to dwindle, so he applied to Mikhail Khodorkovsky to keep the Times's press rolling. Khodorkovsky's money was followed by other oligarchs, and some especially Russophobic Finns, until now Sauer himself is reported to be contemplating enrolment in the ranks of Mikhail Prokhorov, in a unit as elite as Muammar Qaddafi's female battalion once was, if not quite as handsome.
Bortin missed out. It takes chutzpah to claim that "when the first issue of Russia's first independent English-language daily came out the next morning -- on Friday, Oct. 2, 1992 -- no one could have imagined the impact The Moscow Times would have in the months and years ahead." The only accurate term in that account is "daily"; the Moscow Tribune was in English, and had been coming out independently, but weekly, for more than two years earlier. As for the future conditional about noone imagining what impact the Moscow Times would have, the only word Bortin got right there is "noone". That's because the Times has been wrong on every major position it has taken over the past twenty years. It hasn't been independent; it hasn't had any impact. It is neither as cleverly comic, nor as linguistically memorable as The Exile, whose editors, Mark Ames and Matt Taibbi, have been erased from Bortin's 20-year anniversary roll.
For all these years then the Moscow Times has been to Russia as ersatz coffee was to Germans during World War II. You might say that if you start a war and lose it, you deserve to have ersatz coffee instead of the real thing. Those who think the Moscow Times is the real thing have lost their war, but can't be weaned off their taste for their ersatz. From nose to mouth in twenty years – not far, no taste.
Sep 07, 2018 | politics.slashdot.org
ebonum ( 830686 ) , Friday September 07, 2018 @10:50AM ( #57269044 )fibonacci8 ( 260615 ) writes:Clinton Meddling ( Score: 3 , Insightful)
Fair Question: Did Clinton meddle in the Russian election?Re: ( Score: 2 )DogDude ( 805747 ) , Friday September 07, 2018 @11:06AM ( #57269140 )
Yes, but it was George Clinton. P-Funk was behind it all along.Re:Clinton Meddling ( Score: 5 , Insightful)avandesande ( 143899 ) , Friday September 07, 2018 @11:16AM ( #57269216 ) Journal
Why would that matter one way or the other?Re:Clinton Meddling ( Score: 4 , Interesting)thegarbz ( 1787294 ) writes:
Does the concept of 'blowback' matter, ie that the USA might actually be responsible for some of the bad things that happen to it? Would Hillary have been a stronger candidate if she had not taken part in globalist 'nation-building' activities?Re: ( Score: 2 )DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) , Friday September 07, 2018 @11:19AM ( #57269238 ) Homepage
No it doesn't. Not across borders. Nations reserve the right to internally bitch and moan about what happened to them regardless if it is blowback or not. That is how things work on two different sides of a fence. It just happens to work better when you're fully in control of the media too.Re:Clinton Meddling ( Score: 2 , Informative)
Because when you fuck with people, they often have the desire to fuck with you right back. Preferably in the exact same way you did to them. This is typically known as "the cycle of violence".
For example, did you know the US meddled in the 1996 Russian election to get Yeltsin re-elected? It's absolutely true, a lot of people were proud of it at the time and it wasn't a secret. [i.redd.it] He was in fifth place with ratings in the single digits before the Americans got involved. This was disastrous for Russia, as the oligarchs and Western neo-liberal economists made a mess of things. This started the chain of events that led directly to Putin seizing power four years later. Action, reaction.KalvinB ( 205500 ) , Friday September 07, 2018 @11:30AM ( #57269334 ) HomepageRe:Clinton Meddling ( Score: 4 , Informative)
Yes, she did.
Aug 27, 2018 | www.unz.com
Bill the Cat , says: July 24, 2018 at 12:06 am GMT
To add to the list of things that the Russians had on Hillary .
IIRC, she was Sec of State at the time the US election-meddling-and-color-revolution brigade tried to rig the Russian elections against Putin.
Putin does not seem to be the sort to let emotion be more important than policy, but I've always wondered that to the small extent the Russians did take a pop at Hillary's campaign, if it didn't bring a bit of a smile to Putin's face to know he was just giving back the hits he'd already taken from her.
Hillary of course was incompetent in having America interfere in Russian elections. That campaign never had a chance as Putin is a lot more popular in Russia than Hillary is in America. So, she took a pot shot at a rival world leader knowing (or at least some smart people did) that it would have no effect and that Putin would win that election anyways.
And of course Hillary the Arrrogant could never imagine that another player in the game would get to take a turn, and that others might interfere in her election, and she knew she'd run and she knew she'd rig the Dem party to get the nod, in the same way the NED and the Soros NGO's tried to interfere in Russia.
By Marcus Day and Kristina Betinis
25 May 2018
The Northwestern University Buffett Institute for Global Studies hosted a roundtable event in the Chicago area on May 23 titled, "The Kremlin's Global Reach," moderated by Medill journalism professor and Washington Post veteran Peter Slevin. The panel showcased the institute's first "Distinguished Visitor," Strobe Talbott, former deputy secretary of state in the Clinton administration, president of the Brookings Institution think tank from 2002 to 2017, and a key architect of US imperialist strategy in relation to the breakup of the USSR in the 1990s.
Also present were political science professor Jordan Gans-Morse, public opinion pollster Dina Smeltz, lecturer and former US ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly and historian John Bushnell.
The event took place amid a steady escalation of US militarism against Syria, Iran and Russia. Just two days earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered an ultimatum to Iran demanding a capitulation to the US in the face of additional sanctions. This followed on the heels of the Trump administration's scrapping of a nuclear agreement reached in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group, the US, UK, France, Germany, China and Russia. Earlier this month, the US relaunched a naval force, the Second Fleet, in the North Atlantic in preparation for military confrontation with Russia.
The political perspective of the event was clear from Slevin's opening questions: "What is to be done? How do you solve a problem like Vladimir Putin?"
Str obe Talbott outlined three main challenges faced by the current Russian government: its internal problems, including economic and demographic decline; the "threat from the Islamic world, it's the southern belly and it's very vulnerable;" and finally, potential conflict with China over access to natural resources. "They know Russia has resource wealth and human poverty that could spell trouble down the line," Talbott said.Read also: Is (or can be) the western Far (Hard) Right a friend of Russia? The Ukrainian Test
To the question, "Do we have another Cold War?" Talbott answered, "Yes, we've got a Cold War. It's the old McCarthy line: If it quacks like a duck, and it walks like a duck, it's a Cold War."
In line with this reactionary narrative, Talbott presented the conflict between the US and Russia as one between "democracy" and "tyranny," while some of the other panelists admitted that is not the way the conflict is viewed in Russia and Europe.
Later, Talbott emphasized the challenge to US hegemony posed by the Balkans, particularly Serbia, citing their cultural and religious affinities with Russia. In 2015, Montenegro entered NATO.
Historian John Bushnell raised only one objection against the panel's official State Department line. Referring to the 2014 US-German-led coup in Ukraine, he said, "The Russians, I think with some justification, point out that John McCain didn't need to show up in Kiev. There was no reason for a top State Department official [Victoria Nuland] to be caught giving advice, deciding who would sit in the next Ukrainian cabinet. There clearly was a direct American intervention in Ukrainian politics. "
A number of the panelists interrupted at this point, some laughing nervously, others strongly protesting.
Slevin, in concluding the discussion, posed the question of regime change in Russia, stating, "How does this end? How does Putin fall? Retire? Get replaced? What is the fate of Vladimir Putin?"
The main obstacle to regime change in Russia was, according to the panelists, the chaos it would inevitably unleash. Kelly emphasized at different points in the discussion that there is no plan for succession in Russia after Putin. He said, "There really is no succession plan. And in many ways, that is absolutely terrifying. Because if everything does depend on one man, do we really want to push Russia to the edge with more sanctions, and try and undermine their regime? Because if there is no successor, then you have a similar situation without any kind of management of the transition that we had in '91, with a country that has thousands of nuclear weapons and chaos."Read also: Breakdown in North Korea Talks Sounds Alarms on Capitol Hill
However, expressing the position of significant sections of the Democratic Party, aligned with the US state-military-intelligence apparatus, Talbott concluded, "Putin has presided over Russia in a way that is very, very much like the Soviet Union. That didn't work. This won't work. He will be an aberration. It would also help if we had a different president in the United States."
A notable feature of the event was its casual militarism. In introducing himself, Kelly noted that the US has recently provided both Georgia and Ukraine with Javelin anti-tank weaponry.
In line with the propaganda pumped out about the US media and political establishment, the panel speakers presented a picture of reality turned upside down: Russia was presented as an aggressive, expansionist power, and a growing threat to the American way of life. In fact, it is the US government and its imperialist allies which have increasingly encircled Russia via NATO expansion, crippled its economy with sanctions and sought to provoke a military conflict.
As US Defense Secretary James Mattis noted in releasing the Pentagon's new National Security Strategy, "Great power competition -- not terrorism -- is now the primary focus of US national security."
Before the audience assembled by this national security institute, which appeared to include only a handful of undergraduate students, these leading political figures spoke more bluntly about imperialist foreign policy than they would normally do on national television or in supposedly democratic arenas like the US Congress.
The WSWS wrote in 2016 that the establishment of the Buffett Institute at Northwestern -- with the assistance of a $101 million donation from Roberta Buffett Elliott, the sister of billionaire Warren Buffett -- was part of an international effort of the capitalist elite to transform leading universities into ideological centers of imperialist military strategy.Read also: Exxon Mobil Exits Joint Oil Ventures With Russia Due to Sanctions
At the time of the Buffett Institute's founding, university students and faculty protested the appointment as its head of former the US commander in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, whose qualifications were based on military rank and bellicose politics, rather than any academic credentials. Northwestern faculty members charged that he "advocates instrumentalizing the humanities and social sciences research to advance US soft power."
The International Youth and Students for Social Equality are leading the opposition internationally to the transformation of colleges and universities into think tanks for imperialism and militarism. Contact the Socialist Equality Party to start an IYSSE chapter on your campus.
Apr 27, 2018 | www.fort-russ.com
Superficially this is going to boil down, in the nuts and bolts sense, to how the Armenian constitutional court interprets an 'untested' major change to the constitution set up back in 2015 – where some Presidential powers were transferred over to the Prime Minister, and what this means in terms of 'who' actually holds certain powers in Armenia. Recall that Sargsyan was President for some years before just becoming PM earlier in April, just recently.
In short, one possibility is that the focus on Sargsyan this whole time was something similar to a ruse, getting the opposition to 'bark up the wrong tree'. Sarkissian may be in fact the one with the power now. Sarkissian isn't just also a Republican and part of Sargsyan's inner circle, they are in fact in the same family. We won't get into the details of the drama of the Sargsyans and the Sarkissians in Armenia's troubled history since the 1990's, the plots and assassinations of which all Armenians are familiar with during those darkest of days (which may be returning). But Sarkissian is in there as President, with Karapetyan acting as PM – all connected tightly to the Sargsyan run Republican Party and the Sargsyan clan themselves.
Sargsyan is a polarizing name in Armenian society, as these are polarizing times. But what's interesting here is how in the process of the Color tactic, what's common is that an individual single 'dictator' is widely demonized, and all social energies of opposition are drawn to condemning and opposing whatever cult of personality exists around this 'dictator', leading the 'regime'.
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This means that Sargsyan stepping down on the one hand of course gives the opposition a 'victory', the lone despot is done for – but it's unlike other victories in the process of the tactic, as we'll explain below. At the same time it deflates popular opposition support, as their focus was on Sargsyan the man. Intellectually, anyone in Armenia could tell you that of course this is a whole family network. But psychologically it apparently works out quite differently. You may recall during the early years of the Syrian invasion, that some informally floated Atlanticist proposals included Ba'ath Party rule, or co-rule, but with a new head of state other than Assad the man. For these reasons and more, we may expect all sorts of Atlanticist pressure to fall on Karapetyan.
Essentially, Sargsyan has stepped down – the opposition was quick to declare 'victory'. I want to state clearly, in no uncertain terms, that the declaration of victory – prematurely – is a major dimension of the Color Revolution tactic in all iterations, historically. The mechanism is fairly banal, mundane. If victory is declared, and believed, it wraps up (even skips) the final steps in acquiring a transfer of power. It's a border-line bluff, one that only becomes true if you believe it, after-the-fact. One thing to remember is that in this tactic, timing is everything. The order of events is everything. The timing and order of events will determine whether the tactic succeeds or fails. The abstract psychological and organizing methods of the tactic are critical, but problems of timing and order of events throws everything sideways.
This is critical, however. Undermining, co-opting, creating dual-power structures, and infiltrating bureaucracies is a critical dimension of the Color tactic. Bureaucracies, whether civil, military, or intelligence, have an internal logic. People live and work their lives everyday in certain structures. They engage every day in double-think: they carry on their duties and obligations even while having suspicions – whether sneaking or even outright proof – that those above them don't quite have their facts straight and are operating on bad information. People whisper by the water cooler. Everyone who has ever worked for a living and had managers above them, understands this process.
Thus, if the opposition declares victory, the president apparently steps down, the water cooler talk becomes more serious. Even though the 'old regime' still has institutional power, if the secondary and tertiary employees of the bureaucracy simply believe that power has transferred, then power will effectively transfer because employees will stop following managers directives, which leads to a break-down in the command chain, order, and basic functionality as one would imagine.
That means that even while bureaucracy managers (civil, military, intelligence) may know that the old regime still has institutional power, their ability to effectively convince or otherwise influence their subordinates dissipates when these bureaucracy rank and file workers no longer believe that the ruling bodies still have power. They are likely to leak critical information to the opposition, resign, even join the opposition for perhaps simply quality-of-life/opportunistic/pragmatic reasons.
But the final declaration of victory is also the final moment of catharsis, and so it actually takes the steam out of the rolling protest movement. Therefore, the victory declaration is a double-edged sword.
So this time it looks like perhaps a trap was set. Sargsyan steps down for what is in reality, his own 'tactical' reason. The opposition declares this as a victory of their own, thus increasing their own profile and power perception tremendously.
It is likely, if this is true then, that Sargsyan's resignation was a major surprise to the opposition and it was not timed or planned in terms of the opposition's power-transfer strategy overall. They are thrown off guard, Sargsyan steps down but as this was not the result of a final ultimatum based upon an actual 'passing of power to the people' as the opposition typically claims – this means that Sargsyan has much more room to maneuver and determine for himself the terms and details of his resignation, and what comes into its place afterwards. Neither the military nor the courts forced Sargsyan to resign.
In other words, his resignation did not come with the realization of new snap elections. EU or 'international' mediators have not been brought in, as is the case with EU countries or countries 'trying' to enter the EU as full members, like Macedonia. In that sense, Armenia has a few notches more sovereignty than Macedonia or any EU candidate or member-state.
Rather, the already institutionalized line of presidential succession was observed. Power passed from Sargsyan not to opposition leader Pashinyan, but to Karapetyan – Sargsyan's hand picked no 2 man. So far, this 'thwarting' of the color tactic then is successful, and this stage of the counter-tactic was also successfully used in Macedonia when power transfered from Gruevski not to the opposition's Zaev, but to Dmitriev, who was able to hold things together for another year and a half until May of 2017, when finally Zaev slithers in. As we know, in the end, for the Russians involved in helping Macedonia thwart the color tactic, the candle was ultimately not worth the game, and the Atlanticist structure led by Zaev was allowed to mostly assume power last year in May.
The opposition would then look for some way that Karapetyan can be broken off from Sargsyan and Sarkissian.
The Republican Party, of Sargsyan, is still in power. Those soldiers you saw marching with the protesters? Evidence emerged they were 'encouraged' by wealthy individuals the pro-American Armenian diaspora to the tune of thousands per head. The military will be charging them for violating the expected or obvious rules in play surrounding soldiers participating while on duty and in uniform in legally questionable or opposition activities.
So as Pashinyan today 'restarts' the protests, he faces a problem. He was able to capitalize and generate opposition to the cult of Sargsyan. With Sargsyan 'gone', and with Pashinyan still not satisfied , a section of the rank-and-file opposition goes over to the idea that this is about Pashinyan (and not Sargsyan). So, the opposition loses support. This is exactly the rut that Macedonia's Zaev found himself in, until the breakthrough in May of last year.
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So we have two layers of confusion, several possible traps – that are 'wrong doors' to push through or some 'wrong trees' to be barking up. Who has the power? Again, the 2015 constitutional changes have been 'untested' in court. Perhaps Sargsyan is a false target – the (also) Republican Sarkissian may be holding the keys, or maybe its Karepetyan. One can see instantly how this meandering maze of structures and interests can confuse not only external actors like the US, but even those operating very intimately within Armenian power structures.
There is a science to the Color Revolution, and likewise but lesser known, a science to countering these. While Gene Sharp wrote authoritatively on these subjects, he is better known for his work on the 'revolution' part, than the 'counter-coup' against it.
This is a subject which I have devoted no small amount of time to writing about, in detail, in the past. In particular, on the situation in Armenia going back to the 2015 'Electric Yerevan' situation. In my piece on the Electric Yerevan from 2015, I explore the tactical, social-psychological, and sociological (class) dimensions. From the feedback from readers and peers in my field, the piece seems to be considered a great primer or summary of the tactic broadly applied. It can be read here: Electric Yerevan and Lessons on the Color-Spring Tactic
Some of our readers may not know that my background before the Center for Syncretic Studies and its Fort Russ project here in the Balkans, I was – in Los Angeles – a professional labor and community organizer, strategist, and negotiator for a local in one the US's two major trade union federations, SEIU.
The tools we used were in large part pioneered by many unknown labor organizers from a century ago, often 'bolshevik' or 'anarchist' agitators who (in fact quite honestly) fought against the robber barons of the Gilded Age. Many of the 'truisms' and 'insights' were distilled into a few accessible books, like 'Rules for Radicals' by Saul Alinsky.
I subsequently took this experience, and have consulted both Macedonians and Russians – activists, officials, experts, and journalists (including some readers may know) – and shared these in order to help stop the Color-Spring tactic from finding success.
What's clear is that the last three and four years, the Russians have clearly been working on the science of the 'counter-coup' – how to cancel, stop, redirect, or mitigate the color revolution tactic. They found some success in Macedonia at first, but ultimately arrived at what appears as a loss or set-back. However, it did delay the process significantly, by about two years, and allowed other facts on the ground to emerge in the interim.
We saw this used first in Libya, and then in Syria. These entailed mass mobilizations for government support. I wrote in 2015 in 'Electric Yerevan':
"What the government of Armenia can do is utilize the same science of organizing, and work the protests in reverse. They should not, under most conditions, use the state gendarmes to evict the encampments. Rather, they must cut the head and take control of the body."
In conclusion, what we are witnessing right now is tremendously fascinating, and outside of the practical and immediate questions posed, gives us tremendous insights into how power actually functions and operates in countries which only have 3rd or 4th tier levels of sovereignty.
Please make the Fort Russ project viable through your support of J. Flores' Patreon, by following this link here
Fatima Manoubia • 2 days ago ,Jonathan Murray • 2 days ago ,
The fact that mass protests continue after Sargsyan´s resignation is the proof ( if more was neede, It seemed to me a colour revolution all the way since the beginning, by the "style" of the protesters...) that this is not about Sargsyan perpetuating himself at power or even his alleged corruption, but to overthrow the legitimate government by a minority of liberal economically accomodated people ( look at the images that these are not Armenian proletarians...) who have no other way to grab power through elections as happened to the nazis in the Ukraine ( or everywhere...)
Of course, rivers of money have run in Armenia amongst the ranks of the military and police who have joined these "protests"....Todd Millions • 2 days ago ,
Excellent analysis Joaquin. Young people are easily bought with dreams - Armenia needs to offer them an alternative dream, and also to confront them with their past so they can understand the likely consequences of their revolt.Fatima Manoubia • 2 days ago ,
Armenia!? I thought you were describing Canada! Missed the header and started on the inbred hill bandit clan plotting & maneuvering. Lashings of apology.
Though in the interest of translation-Your excellent description and analysis describe
what is known here in the- Frosty Bananas Republic ,as-The Harem Eunuchs Coup.
Well nigh a tradition at this point.
Under direct isreali direction and ownership-rather than management of Darkest Yankydom at this point. NOT an improvement on any axis.
You can see this in the further(!) degeneration of our cut rate ever whored Treasonous "Elites".Mr. Costelol Fatima Manoubia • 2 days ago ,
I find interesting, in order to locate the source after these "protests" that Pashynian is calling to block highways and roads and access to government building/facilities the same way/script they followed the Catalan independentists when they were trying to declare unilateral independence from Spain obviating at least half the electorate in Catalonia....adam • 2 days ago ,
They have bused in their supporters, but all in all it's not a large support base. The crucial thing is not letting them buy off the security establishment.J Flores Mod adam • 2 days ago ,
Good of you to think it through.
However, you said violence cannot be resorted to. What about in Kiev? In a recent Putin docu, he claims the West asked him to sway the Kiev leadership away from violence. He did, he says. "The next day," they did the coup. Putin claims they tricked him. I doubt that. I doubt he believed there'd be no coup. But it's cause for pause.
During street protests in the West, violence is always used to stop things. It's showy but easy; it gives coppers a chance to pretend they're important. But you're saying Armenia just doesn't have enough sovereignty (due to unreliable state tools, disloyal defense forces) to rely on basic law enforcement (i.e., arresting people who are literally destabilizing the country)? I can believe that, I guess. (Wonder how much that "band" System of a Down are involved in this crap.)
Whatever the case, it's still big evil's game being played. Are you encouraging lightweights to sumo fight heavyweights? There's another problem: everything's in reaction, in defense. That's alright when we're preventing hot war, but not while in the middle of a psych war. You have to beat the anglos to the punch on something.Larchmonter445 J Flores • 2 days ago ,
Under most conditions, it should be avoided, is what I said. It can be some 'last resort' - but, by the time that the Maidan protests came to mass violence, it was really too late for Berkut to do anything.anon45487956 adam • 2 days ago ,
True. And the US had tried for ten years to make the Maidan finally work. It took paid snipers killing over a hundred, including scores of Berkut.Larchmonter445 • 2 days ago ,
I suggest creating strong barriers and gatekeepers between national-international exchanges.And national government oversight over groups with ties to foreign entities.Melotte 22 Larchmonter445 • 2 days ago ,
Much to think about with this article.
Armenia is a crucial piece for Putin and Russia's security. The two militaries have been close.
Thus the urgency to inject instability and Color tactics.Larchmonter445 Melotte 22 • 2 days ago ,
You are right, Armenia is crucial for Russian security but without Russia Armenia would be an easy target for Turkey and Azerbaijan. It would be a suicidial act to let western vultures infiltrate and organize violent protests similar to what happened in Ukraine.
In order to prevent that Russia must get involved and not repeat the mistake of not interfering in Ukraine prior Maidan. Crucial point is to prevent Russophobia, which failed in Ukraine. And why not use their tactics and so called NGO. Russia must be way more active in this hybrid war. It is always on defending side.anon45487956 • 2 days ago ,
Russian diplomats in Armenia have met with the opposition leaders and there is communication going on.
I think they are not going to let the US steal Armenia and turn it against Russia.
There is a prepared approach that started with Maria Zakharova's social media words yesterday immediately signaling Russia's friendship with the Armenian people.
The official representative of Russian foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said on the events in Armenia in the social network Facebook.
"The people who has power even in the most difficult moments of its history to be separated and to maintain respect for each other, despite the categorical differences, great people. Armenia, Russia always with you!" -- wrote Maria Zakharova.
It won't be soon forgotten that Putin was the world leader who has given the Armenian holocaust its proper recognition. He did that despite the Turks and Erdogan's resistance and threats at the time to any world recognition of their crimes against the Armenians.
Well, we're in the middle of a transitional period, political circuses are going to be main attraction in town until it's over.Hope everyone puts in some effort to minimize casualties and avoid tragedies
Apr 27, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 | Apr 26, 2018 5:00:45 PM | 35
Lots of people are misreading events in Armenia; allow Flores to walk you through what's occurring. And for the record, here's Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement from yesterday. 6
Here Garrie compares and contrasts the two mini-Summits occurring in just a few hours: Kim/Park and Xi/Modi.
Apr 24, 2018 | russia-insider.com
"The people are against my rule," Sargsyan, who took office as prime minister after serving as Armenia's president for 10 years, said in a statement.
"I am leaving my post."As Bloomberg reports, the announcement came as demonstrators flooded the streets of the capital, Yerevan, for an 11th day on Monday demanding Sargysan's resignation, and hours after police released opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan from overnight detention.
Pashinyan's arrest prompted the largest protest to date on Sunday , while scores of troops joined the anti-government movement on Monday for the first time.
Sargsyan's election as Prime Minister was largely perceived as a power grab because Sargsyan will largely retain the same powers that he held during his two terms in the Presidential capacity, and took place just after Armenia's April 9th transition from a presidential system to that of a prime ministerial one.
But as The Duran's Frank Sellers detailed previously, this social unrest (and now resignation) has all the markings of a Ukraine-esque Western-backed effort at regime change to once again disrupt Russia.
Western backed Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been heavily involved in post Soviet Armenia's education system, community and charity works. These NGOs have been selling the public on the perception that Armenia's economic woes are directly the result of their corrupt, Russia friendly government, as well as Russia itself.
Hence, the concept that Sargsyan's government has only made matters for the population worse is the grievance upon which much of the unrest hinges. With Sargsyan seen as being in bed with the Russians, and his further development of Armenia's ties with Russia, these protests therefore possess a potentially disastrous outcome, both domestically, for the Armenians, and also geopolitically, as it threatens Russia's position in the region.
However, Armenia has been playing both sides of the fence in recent years, as it has additionally been moving closer to the European Union, signing itself to a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the European bloc, attempting to deepen diplomacy and economic ties with the West, while simultaneously making commitments to Russia's economic initiatives in the region. Russia gets a villainous wrap over the fact that Russia is playing both sides of the Nagorno Karabakh-Azerb conflict, as Russia is the benefactor of both players, the common perception, derived from the propaganda of these NGOs, is that Russia benefits by stoking the conflict.
The situation, in effect, represents a powder keg scenario, with all the elements in place to provoke the necessary popular discontent that would play into an attempt at regime change.
And, indeed, this situation has all the markings of a color revolution, as the ring leader for this movement, Nikol Pashinyan, is already calling it a "velvet revolution", an allusion to the regime change that took place in Czechoslovakia in 1989.Pashinyan has called upon protesters to obstruct roadways and prevent the opening of governmental offices, and has been so bold as to declare that the Armenian government "no longer holds legitimacy", and that all government agencies and police personnel should only be obedient to "committees" appointed by his revolution.
Keep in mind, however, that Sargsyan hasn't, thus far, broken any law, nor violated the Armenian constitution, so, Pashinyan's claim against Sargsyan's legitimacy can only be viewed as a baseless instigation for further violence and an obstinate unwillingness to look for a middle ground scenario, or peaceful resolution to the situation at hand. An unwillingness to compromise satisfies one of the key factors that is commonly seen in many color revolutions.
The typical manner in which Western backed color revolutions unfold is when a peaceful protest about legitimate grievances are hijacked to become the catalyst for a violent revolution. If we consider the EuroMaidan revolution that took place in 2014, a peaceful protest turned violent after the slaughter of the "heavenly hundred" by mystery snipers, killing police and protesters both, in order to help the conflict along to a point of no return to peace.
To date, the situation on the streets of Yerevan seems to be going in a similar direction, as the protests have already turned semi violent, with police officers sustaining knife wounds. Note that this sort of behaviour is foreign to the Armenian psyche. Western provocateurs are often present to stir up mayhem when these tragedies occur. Pictured here are some of the assailants, observe also that the fellow on the left is not an Armenian.
Sadly, as Sellers concludes, many Armenians are of the persuasion that by changing their government and rejecting Russia as Armenia's strategic partner, in favour of hopeful Western integration, Armenia will realize greater economic opportunity, and a vastly improved standard of living for the average Armenian.
However, what does history show us about just what Western-backed regime changes bring to their victim nation? Let's observe the economic situation in the Ukraine before and after the coup d'état, as reported by Vesti :
If we evaluate the results of the new government, they're simply disastrous for the country. In the year before the coup, the GDP was estimated at $180 billion, in 2017 it's expected to be half as much, $90 billion.
The average salary in the country was more than halved, from $408 per month to $196 last year. The exchange rate of the hryvna fell three and a half times, from 8 to 27 per dollar. As the main high-tech enterprises are destroyed, the economy acquired a colonial structure.
More and more raw materials are exported, being nearly 80% of exports. Half of this is agrarian. Total export volume fell by 57%. Foreign direct investment fell by at least four times, from 6 billion a year to one and a half. That's practically nothing. And out of this nothing, however, most of the investment still comes from Russia.
The national debt has been increasing all the time and has now become difficult to be paid back. It was 64 billion dollars which then became 80 billion. Many millions of its citizens have left the country in search of a better life. Some of them went to the West, some to Russia. The health system and the education system have deteriorated.
The system of legal proceedings as well. Corporate raiding became the norm. Corruption increased. The country broke into pieces.
Poroshenko and his team deceived everyone: the West, and Russia, and their people in terms of the country's prospects, the practices of the new government, and the Minsk Agreements.
An about-face with regards to Russia, and an adherence to the West, however, not only fails to present the economic outcome that many Armenians might hope for, but it presents a very real danger in the form of a greater escalation of conflict with its neighbor Azerbaijan , with regards to Nagorno Karabakh, the last such major conflict costed the lives of some 6,000 Armenians, and approximately 30,000 Azeris.
Additionally, if these protests continue to move in a violent direction, and categorically seek regime change , if the government does not step down in favor of the opposition, but instead opts to call in the military to defend itself, then the situation could lead to a destabilization of the country . During such a period of chaos, it is not unthinkable that the Azerbs could seize the opportunity to launch a fresh campaign to take Nagorno Karabakh while Armenia's government and forces are concerned with preserving order elsewhere.
Such a renewed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan produces results that are simply unpredictable, concerning the geopolitical implications regarding the involvement of Russia and NATO, seeing as Armenia hosts Russian military bases, while Azerbaijan is host to a NATO base , but if the Armenians have broken off its relations with the Russians in the favor of the West, Russian involvement is left in a state of bewilderment, while the conflict devastates Russia's economic and military perspective in the region. This, therefore, holds the possibility of being the next proxy war between Russia and the West.
Therefore, these protests are exceedingly dangerous, not just for the region, but also relevant to the geopolitical balance of power between the east and west, due to the possibilities that could be unleashed if these protests escalate out of control. While protests against Sargsyan's government isn't anything new, considering the protests of recent years, the protests taking place at the present time differ from its predecessors in the sense that previous riots were confined only to Yerevan, whereas the current uprising is national in its scale, and therefore presents a much greater concern.Meanwhile, the well meaning populace of Armenia has no idea that their grievances are being played upon by international interests like a pawn on a global chess board.
Apr 23, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Armenia is operating under the Russian (really post-Soviet) model of the oligarchs and mafia directly owning/looting the government, as opposed to the Western model where looting is outsourced to foundations and multinationals, which then compensate the oligarchs.
A lot of folks here are very aware of the coercion and mass media brainwashing that goes on in the West, but choose to ignore the same (or worse) brutal practices that occur in the corrupt kleptocracies that make up the "Axis of Resistance" and their allies for political reasons.
Almand | Apr 22, 2018 9:40:24 PM | 52 Don Bacon , Apr 22, 2018 10:14:55 PM | 56Ara , Apr 22, 2018 8:31:13 PM | 42
Armenia is operating under the Russian (really post-Soviet) model of the oligarchs and mafia directly owning/looting the government, as opposed to the Western model where looting is outsourced to foundations and multinationals, which then compensate the oligarchs.
I'm no expert on the forms of corruption, but there's plenty to think about in your statement. Your "Western model" surely seems correct. The US system of "corporate personhood" makes the oligarchs just like us, only more so of course. . .
George Orwell -- 'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."39. There are not only American agents there but also Turkish, Iranian, Georgian and definitely Russian. So what? We are talking about the current leaders and their close relatives. How they get so much income that they buy whole apartment buildings in Los Angeles. These are not regular incomes but extortions and controlling whole economies.
And the former president wants to shift his nominal position in the state and still have the man made authority to control the economic lifelines. This situation is true in almost all of former soviet countries, that is why it is so easy for outside forces to come and give it a kick and their whole system crumbles down in revolutions.
These revolutions mostly happen when people eventually get convinced that things can't get any worse than their current situation and they have nothing else to lose.
The only people that have normal lives in Armenia are those who have a relative in the West who is sending them money on a regular basis. The rest live like homeless bums. And people come here and say it is CIA ran operation, without considering human miseries of a decade. This is really insulting.
Apr 20, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
An unusual triple alliance is emerging from the Syrian war, one that could alter the balance of power in the Middle East, unhinge the NATO alliance, and complicate the Trump administration's designs on Iran. It might also lead to yet another double cross of one of the region's largest ethnic groups, the Kurds.
However, the "troika alliance" -- Turkey, Russia and Iran -- consists of three countries that don't much like one another, have different goals, and whose policies are driven by a combination of geo-global goals and internal politics. In short, "fragile and complicated" doesn't even begin to describe it.
How the triad might be affected by the joint U.S., French and British attack on Syria is unclear, but in the long run the alliance will likely survive the uptick of hostilities.
But common ground was what came out of the April 4 meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meeting in Ankara, the parties pledged to support the "territorial integrity" of Syria, find a diplomatic end to the war, and to begin a reconstruction of a Syria devastated by seven years of war. While Russia and Turkey explicitly backed the UN-sponsored talks in Geneva, Iran was quiet on that issue, preferring a regional solution without "foreign plans."
"Common ground," however, doesn't mean the members of the "troika" are on the same page.
Turkey's interests are both internal and external. The Turkish Army is currently conducting two military operations in northern Syria, Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield, aimed at driving the mainly Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) out of land that borders Turkey. But those operations are also deeply entwined with Turkish politics.
Erdogan's internal support has been eroded by a number of factors: exhaustion with the ongoing state of emergency imposed following the 2016 attempted coup, a shaky economy , and a precipitous fall in the value of the Turkish pound. Rather than waiting for 2019, Erdogan called for snap elections this past week and beating up on the Kurds is always popular with right-wing Turkish nationalists. Erdogan needs all the votes he can get to imlement his newly minted executive presidency that will give him virtually one-man rule.
To be part of the alliance, however, Erdogan has had to modify his goal of getting rid of Syrian President Bashar Assad and to agree -- at this point, anyhow -- to eventually withdraw from areas in northern Syria seized by the Turkish Army. Russia and Iran have called for turning over the regions conquered by the Turks to the Syrian Army.
Moscow's goals are to keep a foothold in the Middle East with its only base, Tartus, and to aid its long-time ally, Syria. The Russians are not deeply committed to Assad personally, but they want a friendly government in Damascus. They also want to destroy al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, which have caused Moscow considerable trouble in the Caucasus.
Russia also wouldn't mind driving a wedge between Ankara and NATO. After the U.S., Turkey has NATO's second largest army. NATO broke a 1989 agreement not to recruit former members of the Russian-dominated Warsaw Pact into NATO as a quid pro quo for the Soviets withdrawing from Eastern Europe. But since the Yugoslav War in 1999 the alliance has marched right up to the borders of Russia. The 2008 war with Georgia and 2014 seizure of the Crimea were largely a reaction to what Moscow sees as an encirclement strategy by its adversaries.
Turkey has been at odds with its NATO allies around a dispute between Greece and Cyprus over sea-based oil and gas resources , and it recently charged two Greek soldiers who violated the Turkish border with espionage. Erdogan is also angry that European Union countries refuse to extradite Turkish soldiers and civilians who he claims helped engineer the 2016 coup against him. While most NATO countries condemned Moscow for the recent attack on two Russians in Britain, the Turks pointedly did not .
Turkish relations with Russia have an economic side as well. Ankara want a natural gas pipeline from Russia, has broken ground on a $20 billion Russian nuclear reactor, and just shelled out $2.5 billion for Russia's S-400 anti-aircraft system.
The Russians do not support Erdogan's war on the Kurds and have lobbied for the inclusion of Kurdish delegations in negotiations over the future of Syria. But Moscow clearly gave the Turks a green light to attack the Kurdish city of Afrin last month, driving out the YPG that had liberated it from the Islamic State and Turkish-backed al-Qaeda groups. A number of Kurds charge that Moscow has betrayed them .
The question now is, will the Russians stand aside if the Turkish forces move further into Syria and attack the city of Manbij, where the Kurds are allied with U.S. and French forces? And will Erdogan's hostility to the Kurds lead to an armed clash among three NATO members?
Such a clash seems unlikely, although the Turks have been giving flamethrower speeches over the past several weeks. "Those who cooperate with terrorists organizations [the YPG] will be targeted by Turkey," says Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said in a pointed reference to France's support for the Kurds. Threatening the French is one thing, picking a fight with the U.S. military quite another.
Of course, if President Trump pulls U.S. forces out of Syria, it will be tempting for Turkey to move in. While the "troika alliance" has agreed to Syrian "sovereignty," that won't stop Ankara from meddling in Kurdish affairs. The Turks are already appointing governors and mayors for the areas in Syria they have occupied.
Iran's major concern in Syria is maintaining a buffer between itself and a very aggressive alliance of the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia, which seems to be in the preliminary stages of planning a war against the second-largest country in the Middle East.
Iran is not at all the threat it has been pumped up to be. Its military is miniscule and talk of a so-called "Shiite crescent" -- Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon -- is pretty much a western invention (although the term was dreamed up by the King of Jordan).
Tehran has been weakened by crippling sanctions and faces the possibility that Washington will withdraw from the nuclear accord and re-impose yet more sanctions. The appointment of National Security Advisor John Bolton, who openly calls for regime change in Iran, has to have sent a chill down the spines of the Iranians. What Tehran needs most of all is allies who will shield it from the enmity of the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia. In this regard, Turkey and Russia could be helpful.
Iran has modified its original goals in Syria of a Shiite-dominated regime by agreeing to a "non-sectarian character" for a post-war Syria. Erdogan has also given up on his desire for a Sunni-dominated government in Damascus.
War with Iran would be catastrophic, an unwinnable conflict that could destabilize the Middle East even more than it is now. It would, however, drive up the price of oil, currently running at around $66 a barrel. Saudi Arabia needs to sell its oil for at least $100 a barrel, or it will very quickly run of money. The on-going quagmire of the Yemen war, the need to diversify the economy, and the growing clamor by young Saudis -- 70 percent of the population -- for jobs requires lots of money, and the current trends in oil pricing are not going to cover the bills.
War and oil make for odd bedfellows . While the Saudis are doing their best to overthrow the Assad regime and fuel the extremists fighting the Russians, Riyadh is wooing Moscow to sign onto to a long-term OPEC agreement to control oil supplies. That probably won't happen -- the Russians are fine with oil at $50 to $60 a barrel -- and are wary of agreements that would restrict their right to develop new oil and gas resources. The Saudi's jihad on the Iranians has a desperate edge to it, as well it might. The greatest threat to the Kingdom has always come from within.
The rocks and shoals that can wreck alliances in the Middle East are too numerous to count, and the "troika" is riven with contradictions and conflicting interests. But the war in Syria looks as if it is coming to some kind of resolution, and at this point Iran, Russia and Turkey seem to be the only actors who have a script that goes beyond lobbing cruise missiles at people.
Apr 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
rkka , 4 years agoMy vote is 'both'
As the global financial collapse unfolded in 2008-2009, I recall the delight that many Anglosphere commentators expressed over the prospect that the oil price collapse would devastate Russia economically, causing the Russian people to rise against Putin and all his works, and put FreeMarketReformers back in charge in Russia.
And once it became clear in the spring of 2009 that oil prices were rapidly recovering and that Russia's vast financial reserves were more than sufficient to absorb the blow, these same Anglosphere commentators expressed frustration that Russians had been insufficiently impoverished to overthrow Putin and put FreeMarketreformers back in charge.
It is as if the Angosphere Foreign Policy Elite and Punditocracy (AFPE&P)had no idea what Russians suffered in the '90s at the hands of FreeMarketReformers, suffering so severe that deaths were exceeding births by almost a million a year.
And President Obama recently revealed his utter cluelessness about Russia's present realities:
Mar 21, 2018 | www.unz.com
CalDre , Next New Comment March 21, 2018 at 5:28 pm GMT@EliteCommInc.EugeneGur , Next New Comment March 21, 2018 at 5:51 pm GMT
As such Russia still gravitates towards "a strong man" style of leadership.
Ironically it was the US and its ((advisers)) that first handed all of the Russian wealth over to the ((oligarchs)), and then, later, supported Yeltsin when he illegally dissolved the Rada and arrested their leaders (generally known as the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis) (they had also supported him earlier, back when he was only President of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic and Gorbachev was head honcho, when Yeltsin sent tanks to bomb the Rada/Parliament, during the so-called "August coup"). As a result, so that "their man" had all the authority he needed to crush any dissent, the US and "West" fully supported the "authoritarian" Constitution adopted later that year to cement Yeltsin's powers.
But of course now they blame Putin and the "Russian character" for it. Because, you know, that is how the "West" rolls.
taking on democratic principle is just not as breezy as assumed
Yes and that is why there is not one country, aside perhaps from Switzerland, that is even remotely democratic. The US is an utter oligarchic tyranny. Some other countries in Europe may have some minimal claim at a semblance of democracy but it all collapses under closer scrutiny. Heck many European countries still have their monarchies, including, probably in the most extreme form, the UK.@EliteCommInc.annamaria , Next New Comment March 21, 2018 at 5:57 pm GMT
Russia has yet to untangle some several hundred years of central authority style leadership and taking on democratic principle is just not as breezy as assumed.
This is such a cliche phrase. Could you specify where exactly do you see stellar examples of "democratic principles" ? In the UK with its unelected upper chamber of the parliament and the Prime Minister, also not elected directly by the citizens? In the US, with its two-party system in indirect elections? In Australis, with its compulsory voting?
Today's Russia is as democratic as any Western country, more so than some. Whatever peculiarities our political system has is due to our history, the same as in any other country. The same as in the UK, with their "constitutional" monarchy in the absence of actual constitution. The same as in the US, with their voting system designed by Founding Fathers. Russia is large and divers; some centralized authority is needed to keep it together structurally and mentally, that is all.@Johannannamaria , Next New Comment March 21, 2018 at 6:15 pm GMT
The whining is coming for the land of Bush the lesser, Cheney five deferments, Rice mushroom cloud, Chicago-style elections, and the Lobby strict censorship over the US Congress (only Israel-firsters are allowed). Wouldn't it be great if the US first punish her own criminals, including banksters and dual-citizenship spies? Four million civilians -- including a multitude of children -- were slaughtered in the Middle East since 1999 to satisfy the desires of Israel-firsters, MIC, and oilmen. And yet, the major war criminals who pushed for the wars of aggression (a supreme crime) are wondering free: from Bush and Kristol to Clinton and Powers@Alexander Peters
"We reject the American regime. Why not treat the Russian regime equally?"
-- And why "we" should treat them equally? The American "regime" has been thoroughly zionized so that an expression of patriotism by the US brass is looked upon as a great courage: http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/03/votel-mattis-and-dunford-must-be-on-the-same-page.html
Comment section: " all these statements by Votel are true and it took a good deal of courage to make them in public." -- Get it? Just stating truthfully that Syria has won a civil war is an anathema to the Lobby and it takes a great personal courage by a four-star general in the United States Army who has been commander of United States Central Command to testify the truth for the US Congress.
Russian Federation is an independent state. The US is ZUSA -- Ziocon United States of America. Ukraine has become the Kaganat of Nuland, and the UK has become a personal estate of the Friends of Israel. For example, Boris Johnson proclaimed himself a committed Zionist: http://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/boris-johnson-zionist/
Boris Johnson, Theresa May, and Gavin Williamson are not working for the UK citizens -- they are working for the Lobby (The Friends of Israel), which explains their indecency re Skripal affair. They are defaming the United Kingdom with their behavior: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/03/21/uk-ambassador-craig-murray-asks-aware-fact/
Mar 11, 2018 | off-guardian.org
Mark Rice-Oxley, Guardian columnist and the first in line to fight in WWIII.
The alleged poisoning of ex-MI6 agent Sergei Skripal has caused the Russophobic MSM to go into overdrive. Nowhere is the desperation with which the Skripal case has been seized more obvious than the Guardian. Luke Harding is spluttering incoherently about a weapons lab that might not even exist anymore . Simon Jenkins gamely takes up his position as the only rational person left at the Guardian, before being heckled in the comments and dismissed as a contrarian by Michael White on twitter. More and more the media are becoming a home for dangerous, aggressive, confrontational rhetoric that has no place in sensible, adult newspapers.
For example, Mark Rice-Oxley's column in today's Guardian:
Oh, Russia! Even before we point fingers over poison and speculate about secret agents and spy swaps and pub food in Salisbury, one thing has become clear: Russia appears lost, a global menace, a moral vacuum, a far greater threat than it ever was during the cold war.
Read this. It's from a respected "unbiased", liberal news outlet. It is the worst, most partisan political language I have ever heard, more heated and emotionally charged than even the most fraught moments of the Cold War. It is dangerous to the whole planet, and has no place in our media.
If everything he said in the following article were true, if he had nothing but noble intentions and right on his side, this would still be needlessly polarizing and war-like language.
To make it worse, everything he proceeds to say is a complete lie.
Usually we would entitle these pieces "fact checks", but this goes beyond that. This? This is a reality check.
Its agents pop over for murder and shopping
FALSE: There's no proof any of this ever happened. There has been no trial in the Litvinenko case. The "public inquiry" was a farce, with no cross-examination of witnesses, evidence given in secret and anonymous witnesses. All of which contravene British law regarding a fair trial.
even while its crooks use Britain as a 24/7 laundromat for their ill-gotten billions, stolen from compatriots.
TRUE sort of: Russian billionaires do come to London, Paris, and Switzerland to launder their (stolen) money. Rice-Oxley is too busy with his 2 minutes of hate to interrogate this issue. The reason oligarchs launder their money here is that WE let them. Oligarchs have been fleeing Russia for over a decade. Why? Because, in Russia, Putin's government has jailed billionaires for tax evasion and embezzling, stripped them of illegally acquired assets and demanded they pay their taxes. That's why you have wanted criminals like Sergei Pugachev doing interviews with Luke Harding, complaining he's down to his "last 270 million" .
When was the last time a British billionaire was prosecuted for financial crimes? Mega-Corporations owe literally billions in tax , and our government lets them get away with it.
Its digital natives use their skills not for solving Russia's own considerable internal problems but to subvert the prosperous adversaries that it secretly envies.
FALSE: Russiagate is a farce, anyone with an open-mind can see that . The reference to Russians envying the west is childish and insulting. The 13, just thirteen, Russians who were indicted by Mueller have no connection to the Russian government, a nd allegedly campaigned for many candidates , and both for and against Trump. They are a PR firm, nothing more.
It bought a World Cup,
FALSE: The World Cup bids are voted on, and after years and years of investigation the US/UK teams have found so little evidence of corruption in the Russia bid that they simply stopped talking about it. If the FBI had found even the slightest hint of financial malpractice, would we ever have stopped hearing about it?
invaded two neighbours
False: A European Union investigation found that Georgia was to blame for the start of the (very brief, very humiliating) Russo-Georgian war . It lasted a week. That a week-long conflict started by the other side is evidence of "global threat" in a world where Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have happened is beyond hypocritical it is delusional.
Regarding the second "neighbour": Ukraine. Ukraine and Russia are not at war. Ukraine has claimed to have been "invaded" by Russia many times but has never declared war. Why? Because they rely on Russian gas to live, and because they know that if Russia were to ever REALLY invade, the war would last only just a big longer than the Georgian one. The "anti-terrorist operation" in Ukraine was started by the coup government in 2014. Since that time over 10,000 people have died. The vast majority killed by the governments mercenaries and far-right militias many of whom espouse outright fascism .
bombed children to save a butcher in the Middle East.
MISLEADING: The statement is trying to paint Russia/Assad as deliberately targeting children, which is clearly untrue. Russia is operating in Syria in full compliance with international law. Unlike literally everybody else bar Iran. When Russia entered the conflict, at the invitation of the legitimate Syrian government, Jihadists were winning the war. ISIS had huge swathes of territory, al-Qaeda affiliates had strongholds in all of Syria's major cities. Syria was on the brink of collapse. Rice-Oxley is unclear whether or not he thinks this is a good thing.
Today, ISIS is obliterated, Aleppo is free and the war is almost over. Apparently Syria becoming another Libya is preferable to a secular government winning a war against terrorists and US-backed mercenaries.
And now it wants to start a new nuclear arms race.
FALSE: America started the arms race when they pulled out of the anti-ballistic missile treaty. Putin warned at the time it was a dangerous move . America then moved their AEGIS "defense shield" into Eastern Europe . Giving them the possibility of first-strike without retaliation. This is an untennable position for any country. Putin warned, at the time, that Russia would have to respond. They have responded. Mr Rice-Oxley should take this up with Bush and Cheney if he has a problem with it.
And before the whataboutists say, "America does some of that stuff too", that may be true, but just because the US is occasionally awful it doesn't mean that Russia isn't.
MISLEADING: America doesn't do "some of that stuff". No, America aren't "occasionally awful". They do ALL of that stuff, and have been the biggest destructive force on the planet for over 70 years. Since Putin came to power America has carried out aggressive military operations against Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria. They have sanctioned and threatened and carried out coups against North Korea, Ukraine, Iran, Honduras, Venezuela and Cuba. All that time, the US has also claimed the right to extradite and torture foreign nationals with impunity. The war crimes of American forces and agencies are beyond measure and count.
We are so used to American crimes we just don't see them anymore. Imagine Putin, at one his epic four-hour Q&A sessions, off-handedly admitting to torturing people in illegal prison camps . Would we ever hear the end of it?
Even if you cede the utterly false claim that Russia has "invaded two neighbours", the scale of destruction just does not compare.
Invert the scale of destruction and casualties of Georgia and Iraq. Imagine Putin's government had killed 500,000 people in Georgia alone, whilst routinely condemning the US for a week-long war in Iraq that killed less than 600 people. Imagine Russia kidnapped foreign nationals and tortured them, whilst lambasting America's human rights record.
The double-think employed here is literally insane.
Note to Rice-Oxley and his peers, pointing out your near-delusional hypocrisy is not "whataboutism". It's a standard rhetorical appeal to fairness. If you believe the world shouldn't be fair, fine, but don't expect other people not to point out your double standards.
As for poor little Britain, it seems to take this brazen bullying like a whipping boy in the playground who has wet himself. Boycott the World Cup? That'll teach them!
FALSE: Rice-Oxley is trying to paint a picture of false weakness in order to promote calls for action. Britain has been anything but cooperative with Russia. British forces operate illegally in Syria , they arm and train rebels. They refused to let Russian authorities see the evidence in the Litvinenko case, and refused to let Russian lawyers cross-examine witnesses. Britain's attitude to Russia has been needlessly, provocatively antagonistic for years.
Russians have complained that the portrayal of their nation in dramas such as McMafia is cartoonish and unhelpful, a lazy smear casting an entire nation as a ludicrous two-dimensional pantomime villain with a pocketful of poisonous potions .Of course, the vast majority of Russians are indeed misrepresented by such portrayals, because they are largely innocent in these antics.
TRUE: Russians do complain about this, which is entirely justifiable. The western representation of Russians is ignorant and racist almost without exception. It is an effort, just like Rice-Oxley's column, to demonize an entire people and whip up hatred of Russia so that people will support US-UK warmongering.
Most ordinary Russians are in fact also victims of the power system in their country, which requires ideas such as individual comfort, aspiration, dignity, prosperity and hope to be subjugated to the wanton reflexes of the state
FALSE: Putin's government has decreased poverty by over 66% in 17 years . They have increased life-expectancy, decreased crime, and increased public health. Pensions, social security and infrastructure have all been rebuilt. These are not controversial or debated claims. The Guardian published them itself just a few years ago. That is hardly a state where hope and aspiration are put aside.
Why is Russian power like this: cynical, destructive, zero-sum, determined to bring everything down to a base level where everyone thinks the worst of each other and behaves accordingly?
MISLEADING FALLACY: This is simply projection. There is no logical basis for this statement. He is simply employing the old rhetorical trick of asking WHY something exists, as a way of establishing its existence. This allows the (dishonest) author to sell his own agenda as if it solves a riddle. Before you can explain something, you need to establish an explanandum something which requires explaining. This is the basic logical process that our dear author is attempting to circumvent. We don't NEED to explain why Russian power is like this, because he hasn't yet established that it is .
I think there are two reasons. The most powerful political idea in Russia is restoration. A decade of humiliation – economic, social and geopolitical – that followed its rebirth in 1991 became the defining narrative of the new nation.
MISLEADING LANGUAGE: Describing the absolute destruction caused by the fall of the USSR as "rebirth" is an absurd joke. People sold their medals, furniture and keepsakes for food, people froze to death in the streets.
At times, even the continued existence of the Russian Federation appeared under threat.
TRUE: This is true. Russia was in danger of Balkanisation. The possibility of dozens of anarchic microstates, many with access to nuclear weapons, was very real. Most rational people would consider this a bad thing. The achievement of Putin's government in pulling Russia back from the brink should be applauded. Especially when compared with our Western governments who can barely even maintain the functional social security states created by their predecessors. Compare the NHS now with the NHS in 2000, compare Russia's health service now to 17 years ago. Who do you think is really in trouble?
The second reason is that the parlous internal state of Russia – absurdist justice, a threadbare social safety net, a pyramid society in which a very few get very rich and the rest languish – creates moral ambivalence.
PROJECTION: he actually makes this statement without even a hint of irony. The Tory government has killed people by slashing their benefits, and homeless people froze to death during the recent blizzards. The overall trend of British social structure has been down, for decades. Poverty is increasing all the time , food banks are opening and people are increasingly desperate. We are trending down. 20%, one in five British people, now live in poverty .
In that same time, as stated above, Russia's poverty has gone down and down. 13% of Russians live in poverty, almost half the UK rate. In 2014, before we sanctioned Russia, it was only 10%. Even the briefest research would show this. Columnists like Rice-Oxley go out of their way to avoid inconvenient facts.
What is to be done? I wouldn't respond with empty threats, Boris Johnson. No one cares.
Here we come to the centre of the shrubbery maze, up until now the column was just build up. Establishing a "problem" so he can pitch us a "solution".
There are only two weaknesses in this bully's defences. The first is his money. Britain needs to do something about the dodgy Russian billions swilling through its financial system. Make it really hard for Kremlin-connected money to buy football clubs or businesses or establish dodgy limited partnerships; stop oligarchs from raising capital on the London stock exchange. Don't bother with sanctions. Just say: "No thanks, we don't want your business."
FALSE: This shows not even the most basic understanding of the way money works. Money being made in Russia and spent in London is bad fo Russia. Sending billionaires back to Russia would inject money INTO the Russian economy. Either Rice-Oxley is actually a moron, or he is being deliberately dishonest.
What he REALLY means is that we should put pressure on the oligarchs, not to the hurt the Russian economy, but in the hopes the oligarchs will turn on Putin and remove him by undemocratic means.
He is pushing for backdoor regime change. And if you think I'm reading too much into this, then here
The second is public opinion. The imminent presidential election is a foregone conclusion, but the mood in Russia can turn suddenly, as we saw in 1991, 1993 and 2011-2012.
Notice how quickly he dismisses the democratic will of the Russian people. Poor, stupid, "envious" Russians aren't equipped to make their own decisions. We need to step in. "Public opinion" turning means a colour revolution. It means US backed regime change in a nuclear armed super-power. Backed by the cyberwarriors paid to spread Western propaganda online.
Maybe it's time to try some new digital hearts-and-minds operation. In the internet age, Russians have already shown how public opinion can be manipulated. Perhaps our own secret digital marvels can embark on the kind of information counter-offensive to win over the many millions of Russians who share our values. Perhaps they already are.
The hypocrisy is mind-blowing, when I read this paragraph I was dumb-founded. Speechless. For months we've been hearing about how terrible Russia is for allegedly interfering in the American election. Damaging democracy with reporting true news out of context and some well placed memes.
Our response? Our defense of our "values"? Use the armies of online propagandists our governments employ – their existence was reported in the Guardian – in order to undermine, or undo the democratic will of the Russian people. Rice-Oxley is positing this with a straight face.
Russia is such a destabilising threat to "our democratic values", such a moral vacuum, that we must use subterfuge to undermine their elections and remove their popular head of state.
Rice-Oxley wants to push and prod and provoke and antagonise a nuclear armed power that, at worst, is guilty of nothing but playing our game by our rules and winning. He wants to build a case for war with Russia, and he's doing it on bedrock of cynical lies.
It's all incredibly dangerous. Hopefully they'll realise that before it's too late. For all our sakes.
vexarb says March 11, 2018Meanwhile, back in the real world, Putin's 10 year plan for the future of Russia. Putin is a builder, like Peter the Great. He is a seeker after excellence, like Catherine the Great. If his 10 year plan can achieve the half of what he set out in his recent speech, the name Putin will go down in history with the same sobriquet.Jay Q says March 10, 2018
The most important part of Putin's March 1st speech:
And on the village level, because that's where most of the real work of the world is done, a snippet BTL from Auslander who lives in the Crimea: "the first implications of anti corruption efforts are obvious in our little village. We'll see how it pans out but everyone can, and should, assist in this task. The proof will be in the pudding when The West starts screaming about certain kind, gentle and innocent 'businessmen' who end up counting trees [in Siberia?] for a decade or three."Take a look at this wretched piece in the Guardian:M. says March 10, 2018
I wonder how much longer the general readership over there will cotton on to the pro-war and propaganda agenda of the Guardian and leave it en masse? It's as dishonest as The Sun."Poor little Britain", with half the population, a much smaller territory ,and being part of the largest military alliance in the world, spends only 10 billions less than Russia in "defense". One of those "defense" strategies included in the budget, one that all those commentators vilifying Russia conveniently ignore, is to blow up weddings, funerals and entire villages with missiles fired from drones. No trial, no public kill list, no record of people killed, no accountability. That is sanctioned, extra-judicial murder of suspects and everyone around them. And these progressive commentators, eager to spread prosperity by any mean, seem to be ok with it.Greg Bacon says March 10, 2018
Update: as I was writing this I noticed that The Guardian has a piece by (of all people!), Simon Jenkins, which, yes, takes for granted that the assassination attempt was carried out by the Russians, but asks if there is a moral difference between that and killing suspects with drone strikes. For that, he has been labeled an useful idiot and "an apologist for attempted mass murder on British soil". Highly amusing if you ask me, but also a terrifying example of how straying if only a little bit from the official line ("yes, the Russians tried to kill this guy, they are the worst, but maybe we should have a look at ourselves and our (kind of) inappropriate tendency to murder everyone we want") has to be punished. There are no ifs or buts while at the two minutes of hate. Now even the pieces that are there to give a semblance of balance have to be torn apart by those liberal, prosperity loving persons that can´t seem to be able to condemn the murder of children at will. Now it is time to express hatred towards Goldstein, I mean, of course, Putin and everything Russia.This,,,"Russia appears lost, a global menace, a moral vacuum, a far greater threat than it ever was during the cold war." Should be changed to "The Guardian appears lost, a global menace, a moral vacuum, a far greater threat than it ever was during the cold war."stevehayes13 says March 10, 2018
All suffering from PTDS AKA Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome.The Russophobes over at the Guardian (and the rest of the corporate media) would be well advised to review the trial of Julius Streicher at the Nuremberg Tribunal.Sheila Coombes says March 10, 2018The Guardian has consistently propagandised for regime changes inspired by Washington NeoCons, those of Libya, Syria, Ukraine and is ramping up their propaganda machine toward North Korea, Venezuela and now Russia itself having promoted destabilisation on its borders in Ukraine.Big B says March 10, 2018
I find it the ultimate paradox that a publication purporting to be 'liberal' acts so enthusiastically for deadly regime changes from this once Trotskyist but now extreme Right Wing group. There is nothing 'liberal', 'humanitarian', or moral about promotion of deadly regime changes that have destroyed previously peaceful nations and murdered hundreds of thousands in the process. Guardian for the geopolitical goals of the self-declared 'exceptional' Empire, the new 'master race' that of the US.One final observation on the Skripal case (for now): this stuff is so toxic. We don't know what the stuff is: nevertheless, we know it is so toxic, can only be made by a state, and needs careful expert handling. We know this because every paper and TV channel has by now emphasised that this stuff is so toxic, etc. If we missed the "nerve agents and what they do to you" coverage: we can ascertain for ourselves from the men in the hazmat suits, the this stuff must be so toxic. The Army have now been deployed: on hand after completing the largest CW exercise ever held, 'Toxic Dagger'; they are now employing their specialist skills to carry out "Sensitive Site Operations" because this stuff is you get it by now. In another piece of pure theater: police in hazmat suits were examining the grave of Alexander and Liudmila Skripal because even after a year or more buried underground, you can't be too careful, because this stuff is A woman from the office next to Zizzi was taken ill (maybe she had the risotto con pesce) because even after a week, and next door, traces of this stuff can still beDomesticExtremist says March 10, 2018
11 (or 16) people were hospitalised from the effects of 'this stuff': the first attending officer, Nick Bailey, is only just out of ICU and lucky to be alive. The Skripal's are not so lucky: and on "palliative care" according to H de Bretton-Gordon. Yet the eye-witness calling himself 'Jamie Paine' was close enough to get coughed on; and the unnamed passing doctor and nurse that attended the Skripals at the scene, clearing their airways, are all fine (despite being hospitalised). Yet PC Bailey nearly died? Funny that?
When first you practice to deceive: someone in the propaganda department must have noticed this glaring inconsistency. Enter, stage right, former Met Chief Ian (now Lord) Blair (guess who was leading the Met when Litvinenko was poisoned?): to clarify that PC Bailey was contaminated when he was the first officer to enter the Skripal's home – not attend them in Salisbury. This allowed the Torygraph and Fox to speculate that Yulia brought a contaminated present for her father (which she kept in a drawer for a week, because this stuff is so toxic?). The Torygraph's previous spin: that Skripal was poisoned for his contributions to the Pissgate dossier were torpedoed by Orbis (Steele's company). Speaking on Radio 4: after pushing the Buzzfeed "14 other deaths" dodgy dossier; Blair said "So there maybe some clues floating around in here." Yes, clues that you are lying? This is pure theater: only it is more Morecambe and Wise than Shakespeare.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/09/russian-spy-may-have-poisoned-home-police-believe/Theatre indeed.BigB says March 10, 2018
Check out the report from C4News (mute the sound).
Two guys plodding around in fluorescent breather suits, another couple with gas masks, but behind them firemen in normal uniform and no gas masks and the reporter 20 feet in front, in civvies wih no protective gear at all.
Virulent nerve agent threat? Theatre, and not very convincing at that.Another day, another story: now the BBC, Torygraph (contradicting its own article above), Wiltshire Police, and Nick Bailey himself all confirmed that he became ill after attending the Skripals. So now we know they are lying: the house story concocted by Blair was a complete fabrication. The "nerve agent" appears to be only selectively toxic!flaxgirl says March 10, 2018
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/08/russian-spy-poisoning-police-officer-struck-rare-nerve-agent/It just seems like the so very patronizing nonsense you'd see in a right-wing publication.Edwige says March 10, 2018Or the tune you'd hear played on the "mighty wurlitzer".BigB says March 10, 2018Flaxgirl: a bit OT, but not too much as this event does not seem to have too much basis in reality: on the question of fabrication the UK Home Office held an event this week – Security and Policing 2018 – where the "Live Demo Area" was sponsored by Crisis Cast. I though you might interested? Are they providing critical incident training: or the critical incidents themselves is a legitimate question after the events in Salisbury?Francis Lee says March 10, 2018
As featured on UK Column News (from 22:52.)
https://www.ukcolumn.org/ukcolumn-news/uk-column-news-6th-march-2018I suppose by now we should be used to the nauseating, self-righteous bluster dished out on a daily basis by the Anglo-Zionist media. The two minutes hate by the flabby 'left' liberals who now have apparently joined forces with the demented US neo-cons in openly baying for a war against Russia. How, exactly did these people expect Russia to react to the abrogation of the ABM agreement, marching NATO right up to Russia's doorstep, staging coups in the Ukraine and Georgia, having the US sixth fleet swanning around in the Black Sea? Of course, Russia reacted as any other self-respecting state would react to such blatant provocations. And this includes the US during the Cuba crisis and its self-proclaimed right to intervene in its sphere of influence – Latin America – and for that matter anywhere else on the planet. And it does so A L'outrance.Jen says March 10, 2018
But I was foregetting, the Anglo-Zionist axis has a divine mission mandated by the deity to reconfigure the world and bring democracy and freedom to those "Lesser breeds without the Law" (Kipling). Of course, this updated version of 'taking up the white man's burden' by the 'exceptional people' may involve mass murder, mayhem, destruction and chaos, unfortunately necessary in the short(ish) run. But these benighted peoples should realise it is for their own good, and if this means starving to death 500,000 Iraqi children through sanctions, well, it was 'worth it' according to the lovely Madeline Albright. This is the language and methodology of a totalitarian imperialism. As someone has remarked the Anglo-zionist empire is not on the wrong side of history, it is the wrong side of history.
The arrogance, ignorance and crass venality of these people is manifest to the point of parody.I agree with Mark Rice-Oxley that Russian oligarchs should pull their money out of Britain and return it to Russia to invest in businesses there. That would be the ethical thing for them to do, to fulfill their proper tax obligations and stop using Britain as a tax haven.Jen says March 11, 2018
I hear that Russia has had another bumper wheat harvest and is now poised to take over from Australia as the major wheat exporter to Egypt and Indonesia, the world's biggest buyers of wheat. So if Russian oligarchs are wondering where to put their money in, wheat production, research into improving wheat yields and the conditions wheat is grown in are just a few areas they can invest in.
Be careful what you wish for, Mr Rice-Oxley – your wish might come true bigger than you realise!On top of what I said yesterday, if Russian oligarchs do pull all their money out of Britain, the British economy would crash, it being highly dependent on the services sector (constituting 80% of Britain's GDP in 2016 according to Wikipedia) and the financial services industry in particular. So if all those Russian billions swirling through Britain's financial system are "dodgy", that's because the system itself encouraged those inflows.David C. Lee (@worldblee) says March 10, 2018
Who's really "dodgy", Mr Rice-Oxley?"Poor little Britain" which actually spends on par with Russia in terms of its military budget, despite the fact that a) it's a much smaller country to defend and is surrounded by water, and b) it's part of NATO with the US as its staunch defender so it really doesn't need a standalone military anyway.Emily Durron says March 9, 2018The Guardian are scum. Lying, deceiving, warmongering, hating scum. I would love to parachute them all into East Ghouta.Fair dinkum says March 9, 2018"It's them, over there, they are evil. We must stop them. They are coming for us, they will take our children and steal our i phones !!! Arrgh!!!" "I'll have another strong short black thanks"bevin says March 9, 2018Their world is falling apart- in Korea and the Middle East the Empire is on the verge of eviction. All the certitudes of yesteryear are dissolving. Even the Turks, who, famously, held the line in Korea when the PLA attacked and the US Eighth Army fled south, are now on the other side. The same Turks who hosted US nuclear armed strategic missiles so openly that the USSR sent missiles of its own to Cuba.Thomas Peterson says March 9, 2018
As to the UK, the economy is contracting and the economic infrastructure is cracking up- living standards are plummeting and the only recourse of those responsible for the mess-the officers on the bridge- is propaganda. Like the Empire the British Establishment has been living on the fruits of its own propaganda for so long that, when it is exposed as merely empty bullying, there is nothing left but to resort to more lies in the hope that they will obscure raw and looming reality.
In The Guardian newsroom the water is three feet deep and rising inexorably, the ship is sinking and all hands are required to bail or the screens will go black. There is no time to wait for developments, for investigations to be completed, for evidence- every ounce of strength must be thrown into the defiance of nature, the shocking nakedness of reality.
There is something very significant about the way that simultaneous attacks of impotent russophobic dementia are eating away the brains of the rulers on both sides of the Atlantic.
The game, which has been going the same way for about 500 years, is up. The maritime empire is becoming marginal and the force that it has used, throughout these centuries, no longer overwhelms. The cruisers and carriers no longer work except to intimidate those not worth frightening.
There is only one thing left for the Empire and its hundreds of thousands of apparatchiki-from cops to pundits, from Professors to jailers- either they adjust to a new dispensation because the Times are Changing or they blow themselves and the whole planet up.From what's emerging now, it seems there simply were no assassins wandering round Salisbury. Instead, it appears Mr Skripal for some reason has a house full of nerve gas, or enough of it at least to take out himself, his daughter and a policeman who inspected the premises.Thomas Prentice says March 9, 2018Cleary the Guardian was swallowed up by England's fascist regime controlled by the City of London when it surrendered its hard drives to the regime for examination and/or destruction in the wake of the Snowden revelations.vierotchka says March 9, 2018
The Guardian ownerships also sold their souls -- although the Guardian had already been in decline before they nabbed Glenn Greenwald. When he left, the Guardian lost ALL presumptive credibility.
Now The Guardian is just an organ of regime propaganda like the BBC (thank GOd for OffGuardian) and here is the island nation AGAIN asserting its dominance over the whole world, but this time on behalf of his brawnier brother, the EUSE, aka Exceptional US Empire.
One wonders how much longer the Russians will put up with this now that it is CLEAR that -- for the first time ever -- the Russians have complete military and nuclear superiority over "The West."
I'll bet Putin won't invade Ukraine, Germany, France, Brussels and England from the North and from the sea in the wintertime.
The Big Problem Is YThat Americans are afraid -- frightened -- but they are NOT afraid or frightened of a particular tbhing -- it is a generic fright. So they are no longer afraid of nuclear war. Trotsky said A'meria was the strongest nation but also the most terrified' and nothing has changed except military and nuclear superiority along with economic clout has shifted to Russia and China. Were Americans afraid of nuclear war -- or say, of an invasion from Saskatchewan or Tamaulipas -- there might be hope.
But somewhere along the time beginning with Clinton, Americans didn't worry their pretty little heads about nuclear war or American wars on everybody anywhere any longer so long as it didn't disturb their creature comforts and shopping and lattes by coming to the homeland. The Nuclear Freeze movement was, after all, a direct response to Reagan's "evil empire" military buildup in the 1980s and then voila he and Gorbachev negotiated away a whole class of nuclear weapoms and Old Bush promised NAto wouldn;t expand. Hope. Then that sneaky little bastard Clinton started expanding Nato on behalf of the Pentagon / CKIA / NSA / miklitary /congressional industyrial complex.
None of this suggests tht it will end pretty.vierotchka says March 9, 2018
Maybe it's time to try some new digital hearts-and-minds operation. In the internet age, Russians have already shown how public opinion can be manipulated. Perhaps our own secret digital marvels can embark on the kind of information counter-offensive to win over the many millions of Russians who share our values. Perhaps they already are.
He really is taking Russians for idiots and fools!There is one key element that proves that the Russians didn't do it: The Russians aren't so clumsy as to poison over a dozen other people at the same time.MichaelK says March 9, 2018The whole piece is an emotionally charged rant, bordering on hysteria, based on a transparent tissue of lies, distortions and absolutely stunning hypocrisy; and this coming from the 'liberal' 'left of centre' Guardian!
It's rather scary. The Guardian screaming for a crusade aimed at toppling the Russian system and replacing it with something else, something closer to 'our values.' The moralizing is shocking and grotesque. I really wish the ground would just open up and swallow the Guardian whole. We'd be far better off with out it.
Paulo | Dec 11, 2016 9:24:53 AM | 130Jesus Christ, US turning to a dictatorship with its info war and censorship. Ex-US envoy to Russia calls for branding RT 'foreign agent' over 'involvement' in elections
Feb 15, 2018 | russia-insider.com
Bruno Bardorosso , February 2, 2018 2:09 PM
The US is interfering in Russia's elections. On behalf of Putin.
Feb 15, 2018 | off-guardian.org
This appeared in the Guardian today (thanks to Peter in the comments for alerting us):
We won't bother doing an analysis of its lies, stupidities and racism. Simon Tisdall, author of the piece, could easily find out the reason Putin is virtually certain to return as president isn't because the election is rigged but because people in Russia overwhelmingly support him. Even Gallup admit that much. Even the more level-headed western outlets acknowledge it . It's a fact beyond dispute. Putin doesn't need to rig anything on order to win an election.
But Tisdall's brutish conviction is proof against facts. Any facts, even Western-backed facts. Instead of doing even basic research he prefers to riff for umpteen paragraphs on something that is a total, demonstrable lie .
Fact-based reality is not the one Tisdall and his peers live in any more. They don't see it. And when it's presented to them they think it's Kremlin propaganda. In the matter of Russia they have become over the last few years blind and deaf to reason and fact. They are the most dangerous of deceivers -- those who believe their own lies. Even the best of them now truly thinks anyone who questions their Russia=Evil narrative is a paid Kremlin agent. These well-paid supposedly well-educated people are on Twitter literally asking anyone who challenges them what the weather is like in St. Petersburg.
The sheer wanton deception, the outright, blunt and brutal propagandising is getting worse. It's attaining new heights of spittle-flying hate. And in concert the war drums are beating again in Syria and Ukraine.
And we can be sure this is going to continue up until and for some while after the Russian election is done.
Supposing any of us live that long.
Because, without unnecessary alarmism, we have to be aware xenophobia of this magnitude comes with a risk. In the past it has always been a prelude to war. And if this current case isn't an exception, humanity is not going to survive. Not even those Guardian journos snug in their cosy hubris. Hubris isn't bomb-proof sadly.
The Guardian allowed comments on this article for six whole hours. Long enough to make it clear the suicidal, fact-blind, cultist insanity ATL is not shared by most who read it. Yes there are predictable cries of "putinbots" and predictable agenda-setting claims such as that Corbyn needs to be tougher on Putin (look forward to this becoming a major facet of the next UK general election), but for all that it's the rational observations that get the most upvotes. And that's even after the mods have scoured and censored as is their wont.
Here are a couple of the best.Comments
Being Russian, residing in Moscow and having never before voted for V. Putin because he
was once chosen and promoted by B. Yeltsin and the oligarchs (so praised by Western
"liberals"), this time I am not so sure about my vote, and there is a chance I may vote for
V. Putin for the first time. There are some 2-3 reasons for me to vote for V. Putin (and
some - against him), and one of the strongest among pro-Putin stimuli - the writings of
Western "progressivists" like this article.
I do not like lies and fakes, and S. Tisdall presents many of such stuff.
1. How can V. Putin "steal" the victory if anyone knows he leads in opinion polls by a huge
margin? There are several services, doing monitoring of public opinion, including the
"Levada centre", officially designated as a "foreign agent" in Russia and generally well
accepted by Western colleagues.
2. To call Alexei Navalny the "most credible challenger" is to tell lies: it was always a
communist, coming second after Putin at all the previous presidential elections with
some 15% - 20% (30% in 2000) of votes, and this time P. Grudinin is taking the 2nd
position in the polls (and most likely in elections too).
3. To say that Putin's "political opponents are virtually invisible" is to spread obvious fake
news - see, for example, the results of monitoring TV-programmes by communists on
February 6, 2018: https://msk.kprf.ru/2018/02/08/37248/ (in Russian; in short, V. Putin
got 14 only positive mentions; P. Grudinin -13 mentions, with 69% negative ones; M.
Suraikin, hard-line communist and opponent of P. Grudinin -11 mentions with no negative
ones; V. Zhirinovsky -10 mentions with no negative ones, etc.).
The more anti-Putin writings of this kind appear in Western mass-media (and are covered
in Russia), the larger portion of Russians would vote for V. Putin because: first, people
remember well how they lived under Yeltsin's rule in the 1990's who was so generously
backed up by the West, and second - everyone can see what has happened with standards
of living (and with prospects of just staying alive) after Western-backed
"democratization" of the Ukraine, Libya, etc.
Pemulis 8h ago
"There are no presidential debates, no unsanctioned opinion polls."
Credible external polls indicate consistently high approval for Putin. Obviously this is
influenced by his stranglehold on information, but even Navalny's internal polling shows
a high level of approval for Putin.
thinlkandleap1234 6h ago
I am unable to take this nonsense about Putin and democracy seriously any longer, and
especially so when we have to endure it from outlets such as the Guardian and the BBC.
In July 2013, the Egyptian military staged a coup d'etat which overthrew a democratically
elected Government: Obama did nothing, other than to insult the intelligence of ordinary
Americans by disregarding the Federal Laws that required him to cut off military and
other forms of aid to democracy-suppressing regimes; the BBC did nothing, other than to
have the now disgraced former Prime Minister Blair on the Radio 4 Today programme
justifying the actions of al-Sisi and the Generals (and he followed this up with an article in
this very newspaper where he did the same thing); and the UN did nothing, other than to
arrange to have Ms Yousafzai mouth some empty platitudes about girls' education in
some children's forum at the headquarters of this tawdry and discredited institution. The
BBC and the EU and the other usual suspects whipped up dissent in the Ukraine in order
to bring about the overthrow of the lawful - and elected - government, and thereby
plunge that unhappy country into internal conflict akin to a civil war. As for the United
States, Hillary Clinton and her henchpersons in the DNC did a lot of chicanery to ensure
that Senator Sanders was denied the opportunity to go up against Donald Trump in the
November 2016 presidential election. We in the UK are even being sold the lie that Putin
swung the vote for Brexit in June 2016, although quite how he is supposed to have done
this is something that no one bothers to explain. All in all, the hypocrisy is appalling: so
perhaps we should just shut about it, and attend, here in the UK, to the problems
attaching to the failed and failing state that is our own country.
avenir 8h ago
So the guardian's Mi6 assets still want regime change. Im sure they'll supply you with a
rifle a one-way ticket to Finland and cooperation of a US multi billionaire nutcase to help.
Oops that's the plot of billion dollar brain.
Oh Simon! such hyperbole. There are many (and regular) independent polls conducted by
western polling firms and not one of them gets less than 80% support at home for Putin.
This kind of silly sabre rattling just diminishes the impact of anything the Guardian has to
say on Russia. Navalny is a no hoper and polling over the whole of Russia will be lucky to
get 5%, he'll fare better in Moscow but nowhere near enough. He's just another western
backed stooge, a stalking horse for the wests babe in arms Khordokovsky, sat patiently
waiting in Berlin. How about an in depth report on why Putin has ratings western leaders
would die for and how he manages to maintain them over such a long period? Something
interesting and meaningful not just the ill informed, alarmist pap that comes out of the
foreign office, the armed forces and govt backed 'institutes' like RUSI.
Jim Scott says February 12, 2018The outstanding feature of the MSM and particularly the modern Guardian is that it will not under any circumstance allow an alternative view to be put by the pro Syrian side of the argument. They would not dare allow Eva Bartlett or Vanessa Beeley to use their own voices to reply to the fact free claims of Guardian journalists who happily promote the views of the terrorists through the perspective of the White Helmets and the UK based Muslim Brotherhood man who calls himself the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.Alan says February 10, 2018
Can anyone recall the Guardian talking to the majority Syrian citizens who want Assad as President and who are not in terrorist controlled areas. There are many Syrians who have become refugees due to the illegal invasion but who never get interviewed, only the Al Qaeda terrorists get a voice.
This is today's Guardian a mish mash of propaganda, populism! and salacious click bait, while heavily restricting discussion on important issues. Shame on these cowardly traitors of truth.Does Mr Tisdall claim to be a journalist as I see no evidence of this, unless being employed by a state organ qualifies one for such?MichaelK says February 9, 2018I have real Russians in my large and extended family, and they all admire and pretty much adore Putin, especially after the shameful years typified by Yeltsin.George Cornell says February 9, 2018
One of the amusing things about Russia, is that the leadership have discovered and understood that they don't need to produce 'propaganda' about the West, like the old Soviets did, all they need to do is tell the truth about the West and use openly available western sources; which is somewhat ironic.
As an aside, sorry; I've just watched the movie 'Kill the Messenger' about the journalist Gary Webb who wrote a series of articles linking the CIA with gun-running and drug-running on a massive scale in the 1970's. Webb's
story, unfortunately, was to big to tell and the rest of the quality press turned on him and basically destroyed him and his career. What struck me about the movie was how closely Webb's story, what happened to him, the reaction of the rest of the press to his staggering revelations about massive criminality at the heart of government, echoes the way Assange has been savaged by the Guardian and the rest of them. Webb, like Assange became the story, diverting attention away from the information they gathered and released. There are so many parallels between what happened to Webb and the way Assange's reputation has been undermined and how both of them were taken 'out of circulation.'
In the movie Webb says that he was never fired by an editor and never told what to write because nothing he'd written really mattered or threatened any vested interests or powerful people or the state.Simple Simon.vexarb says February 9, 2018Shock Poll: Most Countries Prefer Putin Over Trump – Forbesvexarb says February 9, 2018
https://www.forbes.com › 2017/08/16 › s
[I wanted t, present a similar global poll for PM May but could not find one]80% of Ukrainians would prefer Vovo to any of their current leaders.mohandeer says February 9, 2018
Anyone done a poll in Britain?Tisdale pukes lies and disinformation and Guardian readers choose not to swallow it – no wonder CiF was closed.mohandeer says February 9, 2018Reblogged this on Worldtruth and commented:MichaelK says February 9, 2018
ExcellentOne of the things that irritates me about the 'liberal' Guardian is how they simply love to preach and moralize about well, almost everything everywhere, as if they and the West represent so kind of 'moral civilization' superior to everyone a 'progressive vanguard' with a mandate from providence to lead the world in the right direction in all things. They truly believe that they are both 'right' and 'good' and have a duty to help and save other countries and peoples from their backwardness, ignorance and darkness. The Guardian's writers are innocent, to a degree that's staggering as well as being incredibly dangerous, because, fundamentally they are self-delusional and soaked in a form of 'liberal imperialist' dogmatism and faith that's been the mainstay of western thinking and beliefs for centuries, and allowed us to justify crimes we've committed on a vast global scale, wiping entire countries and civilizations off the map, holocaust after holocaust after holocaust. And now, since the fall of Soviet Russia we've been on a roll smashing state after state and leaving a great swathe of mass-destruction and mass-slaughter behind our military juggernaut, which the fools at the Guardian honestly believe isn't a giant killing machine covered in body parts and gore, red and monsterous to behold; but a gleaming, white ambulance covered in peace signs and slogans about 'peace' 'love' and 'human rights'.shaksvshav says February 9, 2018It is difficult to believe that crude and crazy Western propaganda convinces anyone in Russia: https://thesaker.is/re-visiting-russian-counter-propaganda-methods/jdseanjd says February 9, 2018
People here must by now be finding it increasingly tiresome and predictable." Control the Media"MichaelK says February 9, 2018
" Ruin the youth with sex & drugs"
These are 2 of the 25 points in a strategy for world domination drawn up by Adam Weishaupt, ex Jesuit professor of canon law, in 1773 for the Rothschilds Banksters.
This is dealt with in William Guy Carr's 1955 book: Pawns in the Game.
I first saw this book referenced in a 1 hr 4 mins youtube video by Ted L. Gunderson. Worth the hour.
Put in youtube search box: Ex Head of FBI Tells All.
John Doran.I think it's a sign of terminal decline when the leading members of a ruling elite begin, seemingly and in public, to act like they actually believe in their own propaganda, regardless of how far it is from reality and truth.Jen says February 8, 2018
They keep sermonizing like religious fanatics and they're increasingly dogmatic and aggressive in their utterances, clinging to their beliefs no matter what.
That there's more actual evidence that there was far more 'stealing' and 'rigging' in the last US presidential elections, especially inside the Democratic Party, doesn't bother them at all. That the US has a system that structurally allows electoral 'stealing' on a vast scale, where the will and votes of the people can be overturned and the candidate with the most votes 'loses', doesn't register with them. And what about the UK? Here magically a party with only 42% of the votes cast in an election, can be transformed into a powerful government with a huge majority over all the other parties combined! And this happens over and over again. 42% becomes a 'landslide' and a 'mandate' from the electorate, and this is called 'democracy' and gives us the right to lecture everyone else and the Russians?!' "For years," the [US Senate minority report] said, "Vladimir Putin's government has engaged in a relentless assault to undermine democracy and the rule of law in Europe and the US. Mr Putin's Kremlin employs an asymmetric arsenal that includes military invasions, cyber-attacks, disinformation, support for fringe political groups, and the weaponisation of energy resources, organised crime, and corruption" 'jdseanjd says February 9, 2018
Dear Mr Tisdall, are you sure the people who researched and compiled that report weren't hired hacks from Hollywood who normally write scripts for science fiction movies?
Has anyone else noticed that the arsenal Moscow supposedly employs to undermine democracy and the rule of law in Europe and the US is the very same arsenal (plus more, such as using other countries' impeachment laws to get rid of Presidents the US doesn't like, as in Brazil in 2016) that the US uses to erode and weaken democracy and stability across the world including Europe?Pots & Kettles Projection?Mikalina says February 8, 2018
You have to wonder what they've got on him to make him put out such insane drivel?
John Doran."obviously rigged poll" – er, Honduras?Mikalina says February 8, 2018
"screams of outrage from the West" – er, whimpers of 'where's that?' AND – isn't that where we sent an awful lot of electronic surveillance equipment to help that nice man we got into government last time?
You know, the one that let's us use the country for a military base – sopoooo strategically useful. Was a little worried there that closing down the computers when the opposition was obviously winning was a tad blatant, but, no.
That nice man has been endorsed by US and UN. Oh, you are worried about the UN delegation investigating the election fraud, er, sorry, result? One's from Guatemala, one's from El Salvador and one's from, yes, of course, the US. No problems there. I don't think anyone's reporting the riots in the streets, the protest marches and the 30 dead. Result.Boris Johnson or Sergei Lavrov? End of .rtj1211 says February 8, 2018The easiest way to dismember this nonsense is to talk to ten real Russians. Real Russians were seriously alarmed by the 'nuke Russia' Hillarybilly psycho nonsense in 2016, not because they seriously believed it, but they worried that in a mad world, could they easily disregard it? Amazingly enough, real Russian people who hope to have babies do not want depleted uranium in their neighbourhoods.MichaelK says February 8, 2018
These ordinary Russians have no interest in invading eastern Europe, bombing America and really have no desire for war with Ukraine. They are interested in things like going out with friends, having a nice holiday, meeting interesting people, finding a partner to marry and raise a family with. They are, in other words, exceedingly normal people.
They do not take kindly being told that the man they desire as President does not represent them. I can say with certainty that President Putin represents Russians considerably more diligently than the Washington patsies found in Western European offices of state. If I were a Russian citizen, I would vote for him, despite him not being either Jesus Christ MkII nor a drunken puppet of Western bankers.
As a UK citizen, I do not expect President Putin to agree to win-lose deals with the UK, his job as Russian President is to ensure that dodgy UK charlatans do not screw his country something chronic. I would consider him amenable to deals which benefits both parties. Watch Washington try and trash anything like that .
Mercifully, Russians take little notice of UK media. Hopefully they realise that fewer and fewer Brits do eitherWhat I find grotesque, bizarre and frightening is the attitude of the journalists in relation to grooming the public to support war, as if they won't end up frying too like everyone else! They reallys seem immune to rational thought and the dangers of demonizing Russia and the seemingly inexorable momentum towards WW3. Do they believe they'll escape the nuclear holocaust 'cause they write for the Guardian? The way they appear to think is truly frightening and underneath the brittle liberal gloss their extraordinarily reactionary too. They are all, basically, neoconservatives with a dreadful, sanctimonious tone that's insufferably smug. They love putting their virtue on display and preen themselves like peacocks.Don DeBar says February 9, 2018I honestly think they are so ignorant of history, politics and human behavior generally that they cannot make the connection of cause to effect. They aren't afraid of being fried because it hasn't occurred to them that such a thing is even possible. It's pretty slow-going in the minds of the folks who live in imperially privileged fantasy-land.Harry Stotle says February 8, 2018Not just Gallup, The Pew Research Centre found high levels of confidence (amongst Russian citizens) in Putins leadership.The Cad says February 8, 2018
But as we all know, the Guardian long ago abandoned fact based journalism – its one of the reasons so many articles are evicerated BTL.
By the way, which leader is Tisdall referring to?
Does he seriously expect the laughing stock of Europe, or at least her own party, Theresa May, to make weighty pronouncements about a sovereign leader who enjoys the kind of national goodwill she can only dream about?
In contrast I can hardly wait for Zoe Williams next bout of tabloid style sycophancy for the horrific HRC.Odd that his diatribe against Russian elections is a description of British ones.MichaelK says February 8, 2018The Guardian is actually getting worse and worse when covering foreign policy and especially the West's official enemies, who are slammed in the dock, with the charges shouted at them, but rarely, if ever allowed to come with a word in their defence or even the opportunity to deny the charges or protest their innocence.Don DeBar says February 9, 2018
Let's face it, the western media is grooming the public for the next war WW3, yet the hacks at the Guardian seem strangely and frighteningly sanguine about the prospect. I often wonder, just how stupid does one have to be to write for the Guardian these days?Q. – "how stupid does one have to be to write for the Guardian these days?"Paul says February 8, 2018
A. – Very.The Guardian joins the BBC in attacks of all sorts on Russia, China and Syria. The BBC has been giving almost daily reports of child deaths in Gouta while never mentioning the mortar bombs that go the other way, unguided, into resedential areas of Damascus. No mention either of mass child deaths in Yemen which is being treated like a WW2 ghetto. The same goes for Idlip. Alongside such slanted coverage we also have the "analysts" who assure us "Yes! The Russians really are after our guts for garters. Believe me Old Boy!" The "experts" have never been more obviously run by the MoD, some are right out of the bunker. The recent intensity of this avalanche of propaganda suggests things are being geared up in preparation for War. Maybe there is something they haven't told us, like the date?Captain Kemlo says February 8, 2018
The Guardian has swung hard Right and can never recover it's reputation. Thank Goodness for sites like this!!Tried to read the original article but foundered after a few paragraphs. It wasn't so much the (de haut en bas) tone but the evidence free content. Tisdall is almost unreadable anyway.argonut says February 8, 2018You were fortunate not to reach the comments. Albion has become an albatrossAdmin says February 8, 2018There were lot of the usual – and possibly to some extent astroturf – Russophobic comments, but many intelligent ones as well. And, as Catte says, the latter tended to get more up-votes. And that is allowing for the moderator censorship.argonut says February 9, 2018I don't know. Apart from very few, I found the bulk of the comments initially infuriating but ultimately depressing. A disgraceful article, whose putrescence certainly drew the zombies – the guardian readership these days. I've abandoned it, and visit only on occasion, eg when highlighted by 'you'. The sooner its demise the better. Regards, an ex-pat who subscribed to the guardian for 15 yrs (20 yrs ago)Francis Lee says February 10, 2018The only Journos in the Graun that were ever worth reading were Jonathan Steele and Seamus Milne. Since their departure we are now left with cossetted, fanatical hacks from the Ministry of Truth telling us what to think. There is not a smidgen of compromise, diplomacy, or God forbid, 'peace' as an option from this chorus of jihadist neo-cons seemingly spoiling for a war.
Perhaps the only exception comes in the shape of Peter Hitchens who writes for the Mail on Sunday who adopts a high-Tory realist persective: namely, that war, particularly nuclear war, is bad and should be avoided at all costs, and it is not a good or even legal policy to interfere in the internal affairs of other sovereign states.
Oh, how utterly passe, intone the soi-disant enlightened ones. Now doubt we should – they have – adopted the position in International Relations as outlined by Mr Francis 'end of history' Fukuyama.
"Dictators and human rights abusers like Serbia's Milosevic could not hide behind the principle of sovereignty to protect themselves as they committed crimes against humanity, particularly in the multi-ethnic states like Yugoslavia where the borders of the sovereign state in question were themselves contested, under these circumstances outside powers, acting in the name of human rights and democratic legitimacy, had not just the right but the OBLIGATION to intervene." Yep, 'White Man's Burden' circa 1995.
I don't suppose it was of any import than Milosevic was acquitted of these 'crimes' by the International Court after his death in prison from a heart attack. But simply consider the sanctimonious bluster above and remember the old axiom, 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions ' though truth to tell I am not convinced about the goodness or otherwise of the intentions.
There is a particular passage in Orwell's 1984 where Winston Smith and two of his co-workers are having their lunch when they overhear a defender of the faith describing the party's role in the elimination of the enemies of Oceania. From a nearby table a party member – like our Guardian journos – holds forth "what was horrible was that from the stream of sound that poured out of his mouth, it was almost impossible to distinguish one word. Just once Winston caught a phrase -complete and final elimination of Goldsteinsim – jerked out very rapidly , and as it seemed, all in one piece all like a line of type cast solid. For the rest it was just a noise, a quack-quack-quacking "
Winston's intellectual colleague sitting at the same table was wont to comment.
"There is a word in Newspeak' said Syme 'I don't know whether you know it: it is duckspeak, to quack like a duck. Applied to an opponent it is abusive, applied to someone you agree with it is praise"
Unquestionably Syme would be vaporised. (1984 p.62.63)
Prescient or what?
Duckspeak, the lingua franca of 'liberal journalists' – a group of propagandists not far from clinical schizophrenia
[ edited by Admin for typo ]
Dec 27, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com
Opinion A column or article in the Opinions section (in print, this is known as the Editorial Pages). December 26 at 6:54 PM
VLADIMIR PUTIN boasts of popularity ratings that Western leaders, Donald Trump included, can only dream of -- 85 percent and above since Russia's invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Yet Mr. Putin remains unwilling to test those numbers against real competition. On Monday, the state election commission banned his most popular opponent, Alexei Navalny, from running in the presidential election scheduled for March 18 -- meaning that Mr. Putin will face no serious opposition to obtaining another six-year term.
Mr. Navalny, who has attracted a broad following across Russia by campaigning against corruption, was proscribed on the basis of trumped-up fraud charges that the European Court of Human Rights ruled invalid . His real offenses were helping to lead opposition to Mr. Putin's last reelection, in 2012; producing videos documenting Kremlin criminality, such as the more than $1 billion in property amassed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev; and bringing out tens of thousands of followers in cities across Russia this year to denounce the regime.
Mr. Navalny was credited with 27 percent of the vote when he ran for mayor of Moscow in 2013, and his presentation of his case against Mr. Medvedev had been viewed 25.7 million times on YouTube as of Tuesday. Still, the conventional political wisdom in Moscow holds that Mr. Putin could easily best Mr. Navalny in the presidential election, bolstering both his international and domestic credibility.
He nevertheless prefers to stage a Potemkin vote in which his only challengers will be two perennial candidates, one Communist and one ultra-nationalist, and Ksenia Sobchak , a 36-year-old celebrity who has called the election "a high-budget show." Mr. Navalny has now called for a boycott, which means that the Kremlin's reported goal of a 70 percent turnout may be impossible to reach, barring fraud. In one recent poll, only 58 percent said they would vote.
... ... ...
Dec 23, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Pavlos December 20, 2017 at 11:08 pmTrump won't get dragged into war, although his conniving nature may try to make it look like that if it serves some ulterior motive of his. Trump will race on his own volition (not get dragged by others) to war because he's already been chomping at the bit for war as evident in how he's been baiting Iran and N. Korea alike, just as Bush baited Saddam Huessein, then bait and switched Osama Bin Laden for Saddam. So if not war with one (Iran), then with the other (N. Korea), or with both.Fran Macadam , says: December 20, 2017 at 11:22 pm
Why? Because like all Republican politicians, Trump's a businessman and proud of it, (Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.) And because war is good for American business, a lesson that was learned from WWII from which was created the military-industrial-complex and the Permanent War Economy under which we've lived ever since.
That bit's key to understanding the whole unwavering GOP attack on social services and desire to deregulate and privatize everything, not because of evil "socialism" as the Republican constituency is hypnotized with propaganda into believing, but because there's no money to be made in government expenditures otherwise. The whole GOP agenda has been and is about public expense for private gain. All the blather about shrinking the government is smokescreen. The real agenda is about directing all government spending towards private contractors with none wasted on things like social services, medicare, or Social Security.
Economic aspects of politics can't be ignored and separated from social aspects of politics which is how conservatism in America has helped create the current political mess, by turning a blind eye and dittohead to economic matters in order to push the chosen, preferred social agenda.
As Coolidge said, "The business of America is business." So since the US is ruled by money of markets, there can be no getting one's moral back up and all Jesus over social immorality, only to ignore the immorality of the marketplace and thereby fail to push for a moral economy along with a moral society. Such misidentification of the problem will only result in missing the mark, in inappropriate rather than on the mark effective solutions to problems.
Trump is simply a braggart who likes to exaggerate by talking in superlatives, so it's fitting that Trump ran on the GOP ticket, because he's but another child of the Father of Lies, who superlatively lies about his wealth being billions instead of millions to swell his pride in being a mammon worshipper, and going to war is and will be as it certainly has been part and parcel of such hubris.To be fair, the Saudi dictators have always been best friends with America's elites – think Bandar Bush, the grounding of all air traffic in the United States after 9/11, except the Saudi evacuation planes spiriting Saudi royals out of the country so they could not be questioned. And there is the locus of the Likud Israeli party friendship with the Saudis, and Trump is certainly nothing if not onside with his good friend, the Israeli PM.Fran Macadam , says: December 20, 2017 at 11:40 pmI'd like to believe either the Repubs or Dems were the answer, except both are near unanimous in their support for the military industrial complex and its expanding wars. Note the 98-2 vote to make Russia a permanent enemy. I believe the resistors were bipartisan, lonely as they are in either party, in reality separate branches of an imperial War Party.mohammad , says: December 20, 2017 at 11:50 pmMake no mistake: if there is going to be an attack on Iran by Americans, it is not because MbS wants it, it is because the Americans love war.leonard , says: December 21, 2017 at 12:38 am
I am convinced that most (some 90%) Americans are open or closeted Neo-cons/liberal-interventionists/war-hawks. Some are shamelessly and openly so (John Bolton), but many are so without showing it or even being aware of it. The hawk in them is restlessly waiting for an opening, an excuse, to come out and proclaim what they have ever beenDon't worry, w Captain Marmalade at the helm, the US will mess this all up by itself just like it has again and again and again.Kronsteen1963 , says: December 21, 2017 at 1:04 amBush 41 dragged us into a coalition war over Kuwait. Clinton dragged us into a coalition war in the Balkans. Bush 43 dragged us into a war in Iraq. Obama dragged us into a secret war when he destabilized Syria and Lybia, which unleashed ISIS. All for the right reasons, of course (sarcasm).charles cosimano , says: December 21, 2017 at 1:42 am
You might be right, but I fail to see how that would be different than the last 30 years.Finally.Kronsteen1963 , says: December 21, 2017 at 1:47 am
It should have been done 37 years ago.BTW, Politico has a story about how the Obama Administration shot down DEA drug trafficking investigations of Hezbollah to support the Iran nuclear deal. I would like to read your comments about it, particularly in light of the comments you made above about Trump.Pro ivic , says: December 21, 2017 at 2:57 am
https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-investigation/Parents always tell kids to choose their friends carefully. With pals like Netanyahu and the Saudi bogus "crown prince", Trump clearly didn't follow that advice.Nelson , says: December 21, 2017 at 3:12 amThat looked like a promotional video made by defense contractors. Anyway it's crazy. If they go to war I hope we stay out of it.ludo , says: December 21, 2017 at 3:49 amThat video looks like a Nazi's wet dream, I mean the undiluted fascistic element is overwhelming, it's like getting a peek at an alternate dimension, not even a society, of pure militaristic "hathos" festooned by a limitless cloud of lies.Adamant , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:03 am
The worst of humanity is engrafted in that video, by which, I mean the unalloyed lying stupidity of war: imperialist expansionism, nationalist revanchism, and plutocratic supremacism, haloed by the grey mist–the dehumanzing pixelated mist–of the most dehumanizing endeavor man can undertake, for the most dehumanizing of modern causes: fascistic capitalism, the kind that fueled WWII (In this latter case, under the guise of religious supremacism or religious survivalism, but, in any case, only an obvious guise as far as the grotesque House of Saud is characteristically concerned).Echoing Noah above, this doesn't appear to be a production of the Saudi government, but having a contingent of the Saudi population gung-ho for a Sunni/Shi'a Ragnarok is concerning in itself. Both KSA and Iran will fight each other to the last Yemeni before any direct conflict arises.Floridan , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:04 am
This is the scenario that should be keeping us all up at night:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/20/exclusive-us-making-plans-bloody-nose-military-attack-north/The greatest myth of warfare -- "Once our forces invade the people will rise up against their government and welcome us a liberators."AB , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:42 amFran Macadam: To be fair, the Saudi dictators have always been best friends with America's elites – think Bandar Bush, the grounding of all air traffic in the United States after 9/11, except the Saudi evacuation planes spiriting Saudi royals out of the country so they could not be questioned.muad'dib , says: December 21, 2017 at 7:17 am
It wasn't the royals -- it was the bin Laden family itself. The people who knew Osama best. I never understood why we didn't insists that, with all airplanes grounded, they had to have a US Air Force pilot -- who then would have flown them to Gitmo for a sit-down on their newly famous relative. Instead the highest levels of government -- how high did you have to go to get permission to fly? -- broke into their busy schedules to be briefed and let them go.
The whole thing still stinks. We really need to have an investigation into the role of Saudi Arabia in American foreign policy; especially the Iraq Wars.
In the meantime, Frack Baby Frack! The less oil we have to import from there, Venezuela, or anyplace crazy the better.Michelle , says: December 21, 2017 at 8:05 am
President Trump's new best friend, MBS, is going to get us dragged into a new war in the region. Watch.
But her E-mails Good Thing the witch from Chappaqua isn't in the White House
If the Saudis are foolish enough to try that they will get their ass so thoroughly kicked that "who were the Al Saud?" will a trivial pursuit question on par with "Who were the Romanov's?" 10 years from now, and if the US is foolish enough to let them do that, watch the Global Economy collapse as the Strait of Hormuz gets closed for a few years.
The best military in the Middle East is Hezbollah (Trained & equipped by the Iranian, blooded and forged by the Israelis) the only thing they don't have is an air force. Let them have a half way decent air wing, and they would be on par or better than the USMC.
All that beautiful hardware has to be put to good use, after all if you don't use it you can't replace it. Think of all that beautiful money to be made in hardware replacement
Trump also declined to support Kurdish independence, which the Israeli right supports and would have undermined Iran (which has a restive Kurdish minority) and Iran ally Iraq.
Supporting the Kurds would have pissed off his best buddy Erdogan, in that Turkey has the largest Kurdish minority population of all the Middle Eastern countries (about 20% of population) and the largest military in the Middle East. Not a good idea, especially if you don't want them to become buddy buddy with their eastern neighbor.
Oh, did I mention that Saudi Arabia has a substantial Shiite minority (10 to 15% of the population) who isn't exactly thrilled to live under Wahhabi rule.
Watching the Saudis (a country that has to import plumbers from South Asia because it's below the dignity of the locals to be plumbers) getting their asses handed to them, watching the Dumpster's poll rating jump up to the 80% mark before cratering down to 15%, watching the Trump recession that would follow would almost be worth it if I didn't have to suffer the consequences of "Real American's(TM)" idiocy. It would be almost as much fun as watching Brexit.And President Ted Cruz or Clinton would be different how?Siarlys Jenkins , says: December 21, 2017 at 9:02 am
It's a pretty safe assumption that a President Clinton would work to uphold the treaty her predecessor signed with Iran. Cruz, like the rest of the GOP hawks, would probably (like Trump) be actively working to undermine it and provoke Iran. She'd want more money for social and infrastrucure spending, less for military.
Pavlos has it right. The GOP (and a lot of Democrats) think war is good for business and are happy to funnel obscene amounts of money to the military-industrial complex under the guise of "national security."Underestimating Iran would be a mistake. Trying this in real life would make Iran, very roughly, into "Saudi Arabia's Vietnam."Alex (the one that likes Ike) , says: December 21, 2017 at 9:44 am
"What is the national anthem of Saudi Arabia?"
"Onward, Christian Soldiers."
Reminds me of 1975, when I said that the Cuban army marching band was going to adopt a new theme song, "We Are Marching to Pretoria."It depends on what you imply when saying that it has lit up Arab social media, Rod. "Damn those Saudis are strong!" type of reaction means that social media are lit up. "LOL, what sorry comedian a-holes those Saudis are!" type of reaction also means that social media are lit up.Ark712 , says: December 21, 2017 at 9:49 amSo we are going to give North Korea a "Bloody nose" and invade Iran where they will welcome us as liberators with flower petals?collin , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:09 am
Is this what it will finally take Trump supporters to realize they made a mistake, or will they once again move the goal posts?
I am sure they will say "hurr-durr Clinton voted for the war", as if Republicans were not calling anyone against it a traitor.I can't decide if this truly 'government' backed or some Saudia wackos let their freak loose. At least the wackos are going after Iran and not the US. It is probably really nothing than an expensive Youtube comment but it does indicate that Saudia Arabia population really desires War somewhere and somehow.SDS , says: December 21, 2017 at 11:15 am
Although this is probably forgotten in 1 month, the Middle East appears to be following similar paths as Europe in the 1900 – 1914. We have lots of secret Allies and treaties with enormous tensions that is hungry for a battle."And President Ted Cruz or Clinton would be different how?" Probably not at all .. Which is what's so tragic, really .Gunner , says: December 21, 2017 at 12:05 pmThe Saudis couldn't invade a Dunkin Doughnuts without the West helping them.TR , says: December 21, 2017 at 12:11 pmPaul: Keep your jokes to yourself. They're too painful.EngineerScotty , says: December 21, 2017 at 12:58 pm
Noah172: Astute analysis and advice.The foreign policy of a President Hillary Clinton would probably be too hawkish for my tastes–and certainly she wouldn't enjoy strong relations with Russia (given evidence, in this hypothetical, that Putin was actively interfering in the election to support her opponent)–but it wouldn't be the amateur hour that we've gotten so far with Trump. Clinton would still have a functioning diplomatic corps, instead of sacking half the State Department. She wouldn't be trading insults with foreign heads of state on Twitter. She'd likely be not trying to undermine the Iran deal. And she'd not be performing fellatio on the likes of Netanyaho, Ergodan, and MbS, as Trump has been eagerly doing.Hound of Ulster , says: December 21, 2017 at 1:24 pm
Really. At what point does the "as bad as Trump's foreign policy has been, Clinton wudda been worse" refrain stop? Trump is already the worst foreign policy president since LBJ–he only needs a Vietnam War to his name to blow past him. And he has none of Johnson's domestic achievements.The last time an Arab dictator tried to attack the Iranians he could only get a draw that bankrupted him and lead, by a series of second-order consequences, to his downfall.George , says: December 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm
The Iranians had just, when they were attacked by Iraq, had thier revolution and had liquidated thier officer corps. Think about that. Iranians as polity may, for the most part, dislike the rule of the clerics, but they are intensely patriotic and will fight to the last man/woman to defend the Persian homeland. Underestimate them at your peril.When Iran's proxies in Yemen -- the Houthis -- are launching missiles at airports and the Royal Palace, I don't think this type video is very surprising and as propaganda goes really a big deal. It is pretty low level saber rattling if it is a Saudi Government produc, or what you would see a million times over among Americans if it is the work of just a bunch of young Saudi yahoos. Oh, and MSAGA -- Make Saudi Arabia Great Again!leonard , says: December 21, 2017 at 2:09 pmSo Charles Cosimano. I'm assuming you'll be the first to sign up?TTT , says: December 21, 2017 at 2:17 pmNoah172 , says: December 21, 2017 at 2:23 pmIsrael has never fought side-by-side with the US in any of the wars it has sent the us to fight [and die for and pay for] at the instigation of the settlers/occupiers.
Since the U.S. has never fought any wars for Israel, that makes the score 0:0 then.muad'dib wrote:Elijah , says: December 21, 2017 at 4:23 pm
But her E-mails Good Thing the witch from Chappaqua isn't in the White House
What ignorant drivel. Clinton is plenty hawkish (she cheered on Trump's April missile strike on Assad, and urged him to go much further). Moreover, as I wrote above, this video seems to be youthful fan fiction, not carrying any Saudi government imprimatur (let alone endorsement from Trump). Rod is speculating that the US will eventually join Saudi Arabia in a war against Iran, but Rod is no seer, whatever his other attributes.
Supporting the Kurds would have pissed off his best buddy Erdogan
Poppycock. Trump is hardly Erdogan's poodle. Trump gave heavy armaments to the Syrian Kurds (O had limited their support to small arms) and wants to move our embassy to Jerusalem, both decisions angering Erdogan. Erdogan would also liked to have seen Assad deposed.I'm not going to offer an opinion on the efficacy of Saudi Arabia's army, and neither should you. Remember how everyone warned us about Iraq's Republican Guard?) Few of us know what we're talking about. On the larger point: are you all taking drugs? Some video "lights up" Arab social media and therefore Trump is taking us to war against Iran?? What?!FoolMeOnce , says: December 21, 2017 at 4:48 pm
Let me be the dink who reminds you: Peak Oil
Merry Christmas!We should warn the Saudis not to choose vain, arrogant, bloodthirsty plutocrats as leaders. Oh .grumpy realist , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:09 pmMuad'dib:james , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:31 pm
(especially the Straits of Hormuz aspect. The Iranians just have to mine it so that one or more cargo ships get holed and got to the bottom at strategic bends and nobody ain't shipping no Saudi Oil nowhere. Have fun with $300/bbl oil economies, guys China will make out like a bandit, considering it's now the world leader in solar power.As a clever newspaper writer said about Jesse Ventura: Jesse is a lot smarter than most folks think he is, but not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. Like Jesse, Trump is smart enough to avoid unnecessary war. However, war may just become "necessary" when the heat of his Russia investigation becomes unbearable, and Trump needs the ultimate distraction. When (not if) that happens, either North Korea or Iran will be in trouble -- perhaps both. Millions will most likely die, billions of dollars will be spent, and the US will create an entirely new generation of terrorists. This will not end well.Noah172 , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:58 pmEngineerScotty wrote: "The foreign policy of a President Hillary Clinton wouldn't be the amateur hour that we've gotten so far with Trump" No, it would be the ruthlessly effective professionalism of the reset with Russia and the ouster of Qaddafi. /sarc She wanted and wants Assad deposed. How well would that have gone?Fran Macadam , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:46 pm
She wouldn't be trading insults with foreign heads of state on Twitter
Clinton has insulted Putin any number of times on social media and in interviews. On the Colbert program just last September, she claimed that he worked against her election because of sexism, and claimed that he "manspread" during a meeting with her.
And she'd not be performing fellatio on the likes of Netanyaho, Ergodan, and MbS
Netanyahu and Erdogan do not get along, so it's pretty hard to please both of them simultaneously. Like muad'dib, Scotty has it in his head that Trump is a poodle of Erdogan, but the latter would disagree. Heavy weapons to Syrian Kurds, Jerusalem -- Erdogan is not fully pleased with Trump.
If Scotty thinks the Clintons are hostile to Saudi Arabia, he hasn't been paying attention (does he ever?).
Trump is already the worst foreign policy president since LBJ -- he only needs a Vietnam War to his name to blow past him
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"In the meantime, Frack Baby Frack! The less oil we have to import from there, Venezuela, or anyplace crazy the better." That would be sane. But the elites have decided to export it at a cut rate, to undermine Russia as the supplier in Europe, in order to foment regime change by crashing the Russian economy. Why did you think we had such low fuel prices all of a sudden?Alex (the one that likes Ike) , says: December 22, 2017 at 6:22 am
No, the fuel extracted from American soil does not accrue to the benefit of the American people, but to the profits and plans of elites.Elijah , says: December 22, 2017 at 7:47 am
As a clever newspaper writer said about Jesse Ventura: Jesse is a lot smarter than most folks think he is, but not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. Like Jesse, Trump is smart enough to avoid unnecessary war. However, war may just become "necessary" when the heat of his Russia investigation becomes unbearable, and Trump needs the ultimate distraction. When (not if) that happens, either North Korea or Iran will be in trouble -- perhaps both. Millions will most likely die, billions of dollars will be spent, and the US will create an entirely new generation of terrorists. This will not end well.
Except that "heat" of his investigation is almost extinguished already."Except that "heat" of his investigation is almost extinguished already."Donald ( the left leaning one) , says: December 22, 2017 at 12:48 pm
Exactly.Noah and Engineer Scotty -- There is a reasonable compromise. Both of you are right. Trump is a disaster and we know Clinton was terrible. There is no point in arguing about whether she would be worse. I happen to think In some ways she wouldn't be as bad. She wouldn't be engaged in stupid twitter fights with dictators. But she might be better at leading us into some stupid war in Syria. Trump will stumble into some war with no support. Clinton would have had lots of support for whatever mindlessly stupid bloodbath she wanted to start.EngineerScotty , says: December 22, 2017 at 3:44 pmThat would be sane. But the elites have decided to export it at a cut rate, to undermine Russia as the supplier in Europe, in order to foment regime change by crashing the Russian economy. Why did you think we had such low fuel prices all of a sudden?EngineerScotty , says: December 22, 2017 at 3:57 pm
No, the fuel extracted from American soil does not accrue to the benefit of the American people, but to the profits and plans of elites.
Unless the "elites" you are talking about are the Saudis–who are well-known for flooding the market with cheap crude periodically to undercut the competition (they can still produce oil for far less than anywhere else), and have many reasons to be suspicious of Russia–this makes no sense.
Oil obtained by fracking is far more expensive to produce than oil obtained by simply drilling a well in the Arabian Desert and quickly finding a gusher. The US can meet its domestic needs, but isn't that great of a net exporter -- prices have to be sufficiently high before high-volume production becomes cost-effective.
And if you don't think that either the Saudis or the American oil industry have the ear of Trump, you're smokin' something.
The "elites" that oppose Trump have rather little political power at the present moment. Don't confuse cultural elites (who don't like the Donald one bit) with the gazillionaires who actual control the petroleum industry, and are more than happy to do business with whoever is in charge in Washington.
Trump–ignorant and fatuous and unworldly as he may be–is an "elite" by virtue of the office he holds. Do not forget that.
Noah and Engineer Scotty -- There is a reasonable compromise. Both of you are right. Trump is a disaster and we know Clinton was terrible. There is no point in arguing about whether she would be worse. I happen to think In some ways she wouldn't be as bad. She wouldn't be engaged in stupid twitter fights with dictators. But she might be better at leading us into some stupid war in Syria. Trump will stumble into some war with no support. Clinton would have had lots of support for whatever mindlessly stupid bloodbath she wanted to start.
Fair enough–though I think that Hillary's foreign policy would likely be similar to that of her husband. Far from ideal, but not disastrous. Of course, Bill got to hold office in a time when the Soviet Union (and its constituent parts) was in shambles, China was still a third-world country, North Korea was no threat to anyone but South Korea, Islamic extremism was far less of a problem, and even the Israelis and Palestinians were talking, and on roughly equal terms. Now is a much more dangerous time.
One of my biggest concerns about Trump's foreign policy–and a major difference from how Hillary would have governed–is his utter disdain for diplomacy. As noted, he (and Tillerson) have been busy setting the State Department ablaze, and many, many, many seasoned diplomats (career civil servants, not political appointees) have left Foggy Bottom, some of their own accord, some not. Some Trump defenders claim this is part of "draining the swamp", and many critics claim this is a purge of anyone not loyal to Trump personally–and these two claims may be opposite sides of the same coin.
But there is something else. Trump seems to think that international diplomacy ought to be conducted like real-estate deals: Two high-rollers (CEOs or heads of state) meet on the golf course, hash out a deal, and the lawyers work out the details; and that having a large staff of people trained in understanding a potentially-hostile foreign country is simply unnecessary. In short, he acts as though he believes the entire system of international diplomatic protocol, is a racket. Perhaps he has a point here; and perhaps he does not–as the old saying goes, don't knock down a wall unless you know what loads it is bearing.
But you'll notice that neither Russia, nor China, nor Israel, nor Iran, or Germany, nor any other player on the world stage, have been engaging in similar purges of their diplomatic services.
Sep 20, 2014 | abundanthope.net
On 21 st of September, the so-called "opposition" in Moscow and St. Petersburg is planning demonstrations that should gather 50-thousand people in the streets against (here I laughed) cessation of Russian aggression in Ukraine and the Russian suppression of Ukrainian independence.
Do you think that Putin has so many enemies in Moscow and St. Petersburg that out of despair and powerlessness people have to go out on the streets?
"Actually, we want to change the government, we do not want Putin. We are tired of his politics. We wait until we receive a new political movement and the resources that Russia has will not be in the hands of only a narrow number of the so-called "managers of Russia" and will be more parcelled out in the community. Here in Moscow actually are people who do not want Putin in power. But we do not go out on the streets rather talk among themselves. We do not have any tools, any party, no movement of which we would really identify with ".
These are the words of my friend, a forty-year-old resident of Moscow, who considers herself to be Putin dissident. The demonstrations in Moscow and St. Petersburg are organized by the so-called autonomous group People's Will (Narodnaya Volya).
In the era of Russia's encirclement by NATO, the upcomig regular weapons shipments for Ukraine money, it is not a surprise that Putin is taking preocupations against the so-called "pro-democratic" NGOs in Russia. It was after all NGOs in Kiev that led the coup.
"It expresses the need to understand the common struggle of all the oppressed people for their liberation from the oppression of the state, imperialist policy, regardless of who it comes from" "Freedom to nations, death to empires." – those are the ideas that Russian Nationalists preached during a demonstration in March.
Quite a different opinion on this subject has Mateusz Piskorski, a frequent visitor to Moscow and Ukraine. Founder of the European Centre for Geopolitical, in an interview which I conducted with him said about an organized demonstration on 21st of September:
"It's hard for me to imagine that someone has collected so many people with so much support for Putin in Russia reaching 80%. It made me curious: even existing opponents of Putin in case of the Crimea and the Ukraine fully support Putin. I think we sooner would gather 50,000 people under the banner of harder proceedings for Ukrainian crisis. Many Russian environments believes that Putin should have long ago defended civilians against Kiev attacks and long ago entered the army there. "
"At this stage, having that kind of support, Putin does not need to use any repressions because the opposition is a trace and artificial, i.e. Orchestrating in one way or another, financed, (today already illegally funded) by those who financed Euromaidan in Kiev. We even have a personal coincidence. The new United States Ambassador Jeffrey Teft, preparing earlier Euromaidan, (he was ambassador in Kiev earlier, worked with these NGOs – and indeed located in the pay of the Department of State in Ukraine), today he continues the same action in Moscow. He does not take into account that Russia is a country and Ukraine was not – or it will not be so easy, for sure. It would be necessary to pump there a lot more money than the $ 5 billion of which Americans told in the context of Ukraine ".
Mr. Matthew is right that now the Americans are trying to do 'more'. Russia is a country larger than Ukraine. So measures to be taken also need to be bigger. If you still do not know where you can take a 'pro-democracy dollars' this can help you:
The American Congress brought a bill, prepared by 26 Republicans, among which is jammed Russophobe, John McCain. Document number 2277 is placed on the official website of the Congress of the United States and is called "Russian Aggression Prevention Act 2014″, which can be translated as "the act of preventing aggression by Russia in 2014." In addition to all kinds of sanctions, to increase military presence and conduct military exercises around the borders of Russia, as well as increased activity in the field of educational exchange programs and cultural events held in the territory of the former Soviet Union, i t shall provide annual commitments of $ 10 billion in the period 2015-2017, for "the development of democracy in Russia " . We can read it on Infowars.
However, Putin is not stupid that's why he is dealing with NGO in American fashion. Now all NGOs in Russia are trampled as agents of influence and must formally demonstrate their funding.
In a statement published on March 26, Catherine Ashton – the same Margaret Ashton, whose conversation with the Estonian foreign minister leaked to the Internet telling us about the fact that behind the snipers firing at civilians stood the leaders of maydan. She stated that inspections and searches (NGOs) are carried out on vague grounds of legal concern, because they seem to be aimed at further undermining civil society activities in Russia.
The same open society which we saw in Kiev during the 'spontaneous' protests. George Soros, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar Network Omidyar and his foundation, as well as the National Endowment for Democracy, which is largely funded by the US Congress is one of the 'pro-democracy movements in Ukraine that funded the 'democracy' .
We may have the impression that Russia is in fact a totalitarian state like North Korea where there are almost no civil liberties. But let's not be naive. There's a reason why such institutions are officially called the agents of foreign influence in Russia. Just look at the coup d'état in Ukraine organized by them to know why.
Russia in its modern history has scored a single limited intervention in Georgia. USA attacks one country after another based on false evidence and their 'democratic intervention' we can probably count in tens.
As explicitly said Brzezinski, the trophy for the United States is Eurasia – that is why Putin cannot be summer for 'pro-democracy' movements in Moscow, unless he wants to share the fate of Qaddafi. The United States and its vassals from EU do not like it. They do not like strong, independent Russia that can speak for itself. So that is way they want to install a more 'pro-democracy' government in Moscow.
Mateusz Piskorski summed it in the aforementioned interview which he gave me;
"As long as Europe does not have its own leaders, Putin's popularity will grow. Hope was in the Germans and Merkel. But it proved that the influence of the United States is stronger than the German business and German citizens. Currently, tests are conducted that say that a large part of European societies would see Vladimir Putin as their own leader or prime minister. Putin, in contrast to other 'pro-democracy' puppets knows how to clearly articulate its national interest. On this political background to what we look right now, he looks like a real leader. "
Konrad Stachnio is an independent Poland based journalist, he hosted a number of radio and TV programs for the Polish edition of PrisonPlanet , exclusively for the online magazine " New Eastern Outlook"
First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2014/09/20/try-new-maidan-in-russia-doubt-it/
Jan 16, 2015 | The Guardian
Patriotic group formed to defend Russia against pro-democracy protesters by Shaun Walker
The group, which calls itself anti-Maidan, said on Thursday it would fight any attempts to bring Russians on to the streets to protest against the government. Its name is a reference to the Maidan protests in Kiev last year that eventually led to the toppling of former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych.
"All street movements and colour revolutions lead to blood. Women, children and old people suffer first," said Dmitry Sablin, previously a long-standing MP from President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party, who recently became a senator in Russia's upper house of parliament.
"It is not acceptable for the minority to force its will upon the majority, as happened in Ukraine," he added. "Under the slogan of fighting for democracy there is instead total fear, total propaganda, and no freedom."jgbg -> RunLukeRun, 16 Jan 2015 06:36
BINGO....well done. You've got Neo Nazi's, US Aid, CIA infiltrators, indiscriminate slaughter and Nazi battalions....all in just 8 sentences. great job
I guess these are exactly the sort of people who will enrich the EU:
Nazis on the march in Kiev this month
Would you like to claim that the Azov and Aidar battalions aren't a bunch of Nazis?
Here's a Guardian article about Azov.
The State Department funding of NGOs in Ukraine "promoting the right kind of democracy" to the tune of $5 billion is a matter of record, courtesy of "Fuck the EU" Nuland.
As for CIA involvement, the director of the CIA has visited Ukraine at least twice in 2014 - once under a false identity. If the head of the equivalent Russian organisation had made similar visits, that would be a problem, no?
TuleCarbonari -> garethgj 16 Jan 2015 06:21
Yes, he should leave Syria to paid mercenaries. Do you really want us to believe you still don't know those fighters in Syria are George Soros' militias? Come on man, go get yourself informed.
jgbg -> Strummered 16 Jan 2015 06:19
You can't campaign for greater democracy, it's dangerous, it's far too democratic.
The USA cannot pay people to campaign in Russia to have the right kind of democracy i.e. someone acceptable to the US government at the helm.
Instead of funding anti-government NGOs in other countries, perhaps the USA should first spend the money fixing the huge inequalities and other problems in their own country.
jgbg -> Glenn J. Hill 16 Jan 2015 06:12
What???? Have you been smoking?? Sorry but your Putin Thugs are NOT funded by my country.
I think he is referring the the NGOs which have spent large sums of money on "promoting democracy" in Georgia and Ukraine. Many of these are funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and the US State Department. Some have funding from organisations which are in turn, funded by George Soros. These organisations were seen to back the Rose Revolution in Georgia and both revolutions in Ukraine. Georgia ended up with a president who worked as a lawyer in a US firm linked to the right wing of the Republican Party. Ukraine has a prime minister who was brought up in the USA and a president whom a US ambassador to Ukraine described as "our insider" (in a US Embassy cable leaked by Wikileaks).
The funding of similar organisations in Russia (e.g. Soldiers' Mothers) has been exposed since a law was brought in, requiring foreign funded NGOs to register and publish annual accounts.
Just because some Russians are paranoid about US interference, that doesn't mean they are wrong.
Anette Mor -> Hektor Uranga 16 Jan 2015 06:09
He was let out to form a party and take part in Moscow mayor election. He got respectable 20%. But shown no platform other than anti- corruption. There is anti-corruption hysteria in Russia already. People asked for positive agenda. He got none. The party base disintegrated. The court against him was because there was a case filed. I can agree the state might found this timely. But we cannot blaim on Russian state absence of positive position in Navalny him self. He is reactive on current issues but got zero vision. Russia is a merit based society. They look for brilliance in the leader. He is just a different caliber. Can contribute but not lead. His best way is to choose a district and stand for a parliament seat. The state already shown his is welcomed to enter big politics. Just need to stop lookibg to abroad for scripts. The list of names for US sanction was taking from his and his mates lists. After such exposure he lost any groups with many Russians.
Anette Mor -> notoriousANDinfamous 16 Jan 2015 05:50
I do not disregard positive side of democracy or negative side of dictatorship. I just offer a different scale. Put value of every human life above any ideology. The west is full of aggressive radicals from animal activists and greens to extremist gays and atheists. There is a need to downgrade some concepts and upgrade other, so yhe measures are universal. Bombing for democracy is equaly bad as bombing for personal power.
Anette Mor -> gilstra 16 Jan 2015 05:41
This is really not Guardian problem. They got every right to choose anti-Russian rant as the main topic. The problem is the balance. Nobody watching it and the media as a whole distorting the picture. Double standards are not good too. RT to stay permitted in the UK was told to interrupt every person they interview expressing directly opposite view. Might be OK with some theoretical conversation. But how you going to interrupt mother who just most a child by argument in favor of the killer? The regulator said BBC is out of their reach. But guardian should not be. Yet every material is one sided.
Asimpleguest -> romans
''The New Ukraine Is Run by Rogues, Sexpots, Warlords, Lunatics and Oligarchs''
"Decisions should be made in Moscow and not in Washington or Brussels," said Nikolai Starikov, a nationalist writer and marginal politician.
Never mind that he's marginal politician. This man really knows how to express himself briefly:
An Interview with Popular Russian Author and Politician Nikolai Starikov
Those defending NATO expansion say that those countries wanted to be part of NATO.
Okay. But Cuba also wanted to house Soviet missiles voluntarily.
If America did not object to Russian missiles in Cuba, would you support Ukraine joining NATO?
That would be a great trust-building measure on their part, and Russia would feel that America is a friend.
This article contains unacceptable, apparently carefully wrapped up, distorsions of what is happening in Russia. A piece of journalism which tell us something about the level of propaganda that most mainstream media in our 'free' west have set up in the attempt to organise yet another coup, this time under the thick walls of the Kremlin. This newspaper seem to pursue this goal, as it shows to have taken sides: stand by NATO and of course the British interests. If this implies misguiding the readers on what is taking place in Russia\Ukraine or elsewhere (Syria for example) well...that's too bad, the answer would be. Goals justify the means...so forget about honesty, fair play and truthfullness. If it needs to be a war (we have decided so, because it is convenient) then... lies are not lies...but clever tools that we are allowed to use in order to destroy our enemy.
The patriots are most probably a neurotic sort of reaction to what most Russians now perceive to be an attempt from NSA, CIA..and more in general of the US/EU geo-political strategies (much more of the US, of course, as the EU and Britain simply follow the instructions) to dismantle the present Russian system (the political establishment first and then the ARMY).
The idea is to create an internal turmoil through some pretexts (gay, feminism, scandals...etc.) in the hope that a growing movement of protesters may finally shake up the 'palace' and foster the conditions for a coupe to take place. Then the right people will occupy the key chairs. Who are these subdued figures to be? They would be corrupted oligarchs, allowing the US to guide, control the Russian public life (haven't we noticed that three important ministers in Kiev are AMERICAN citizens!)
But, from what I understand, Russia is a democratic country. Its leader has been elected by the voters. Contrary to what is happening here in the west (where all media seem to the have joined the club of the one-way-thinking against Russia), some important media of that country do have a chance to criticize Putin and his policies. That's right, in a democratic republic. But, instead, the attempt to enact another Maidan, that is a FASCIST assault to the DUMA, would require a due response.
Thus, perhaps we could without any Patriots of the sort, that may feed the pernicious attention of western media. There should merely be the enforcement of the law:
a minority can express their opinion, as long as they do not attempt to overthrow the parliament, which is an expression of Russian people.
"The 'orange beast' is sharpening its teeth and looking to Russia," said The Surgeon, whose real name is Alexander Zaldostanov.
Actually, he used a Russian word "зверек", not "зверь". The latter can be rendered as "beast" but what he said was closer to "rodent", a small animal. So, using this word he just stressed his contemptious attitude rather than a degree of threat.
There is at least anecdotal evidence that Maiden protestors were paid - see: http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-and-eu-are-paying-ukrainian-rioters-and-protesters/5369316 .
These patriotic groups do seem extreme, but probably less extreme and odd than many of the current Ukrainian crop of politicians. Here is an article from the New York Observer that will get you up to speed....
The New York Observer:The New Ukraine Is Run by Rogues, Sexpots, Warlords, Lunatics and Oligarchs
Robert Sandlin -> GreenKnighht
Did you forget the people in charge of the Ukraine then were Ukrainian communists.That many of the deaths were also ethnic Russian-Ukrainians.And the ones making policy in the USSR as a whole,in that period were mostly not ethnic-Russians.The leader was Georgian,his secret police chief and many of their enforcers were Jewish-Soviets.And his closest helpers were also mostly non-ethnic Russians.Recruited from all the important ethnic groups in the USSR,including many Ukrainians.It is a canard of the Wests to blame Russia for the famine that also killed many Russians.I'm sick of hearing the bs from the West over that tragic time trying to stir Russophobia.
Well, you know a government is seriously in the shit when it has to employ biker gangs to defend it.
Robert Sandlin -> seventh
Really? The government doesn't employ them. Defending the government is the job of the police and military. These civilian volunteers are only helping to show traitors in the pay of Westerners that the common people won't tolerate treason like happened in Ukraine, to strike Russia.Good for them,that should let potential 5th columnists know their bs isn't wanted in Russia.
I watch here in full swing manipulation of public opinion of Europeans, who imagines that they have "democracy" and "freedom of speech". All opinions, alternative General line, aimed at all discredit Russia in the eyes of the population of Europe ruthlessly removed the wording that Putin bots hinder communication "civilized public." And I am even more convinced that all this hysteria about "the problems of democracy in Russia" is nothing more than an attempt to sell Denyen horse (the so-called democratic values) to modern Trojans (Russians).
jezzam -> Bulagen
All the wealthiest, healthiest and happiest societies adhere to "so-called democratic values". They would also greatly benefit the Russian people. Putin opposes these values purely because they would threaten his power.
sashasmirnoff -> jezzam
The "wealthiest, healthiest and happiest societies"? That is description of whom?
I will generalize here - if by those you mean the "West" you are mistaken. The vast majority of it's populace are carrying a huge burden of personal debt - it is the bank that owns their houses and new autos. There is a tiny stratum that indeed is wildly wealthy, frequently referred to as the 1%, but in fact is much less numerous.
The West is generally regarded as being the least healthy society, largely due to horrifying diet, sedentary lifestyle, and considerable stress due to (amongst other things) the aforementioned struggle to not drown in huge personal debt.
I'm not certain as to how you qualify or quantify "happiness", but the West is also experiencing a mental health crisis, manifested in aberrant behaviour, wild consumption of pharmaceuticals to treat or drown out depression, suicide, high rates of incarceration etc. All symptoms of a deeply unhappy and unhealthy society.
One more thing - the supposed wealth and happiness of the West is predicated on the poverty and misery of those the West colonizes and exploits. The last thing on Earth the West would like to see is the extension of "democratic values" to those unfortunates. That would totally ruin the World Order.
Robert Sandlin -> kawarthan
Well the Ukrainians have the corner on Black and Brown shirts.So those colors are already taken.Blue,Red,White,maybe those?
Paultoo -> Robert Sandlin
Looking at the picture of that "patriotic" Russian biker it seems that Ukraine don´t have the corner on black shirts!
Why do these uprisings/ internal conflicts seem to happen to energy producing countries or those that are on major oil/gas pipeline routes far more often than other countries?
Jackblob -> WardwarkOwner
I don't see any uprising in Canada, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, China, Mexico, the UAE, Iran, Norway, Qatar, etc.
So what exactly is your point?
Petros -> Sotrep Jackblob
Well there is problem in Sudan Iraq Syria Libya Nigeria . you have conflicts made up by USA to change governments and get raw materials . so ward is right . you just pretending to be blind . in mexico ppl dying pretty much each day from corrupt people .
If you scrap off the BS from this article they do have a point, because it has been a popular tactic of a certain country to change another countries government *Cough* America *Cough* by organising protests/riots within a target country
if that doesnt work they escalate that to fire fights and if that doesn't work they move onto say Downing a aeroplane and very quickly claiming its the other side fault without having any evidence or claim they have WMD's well anything to try to take the moral high ground on the situation even thou they caused the situation usual for selfish, arrogant and greedy reasons.
Jackblob -> PullingTheStrings
For some reason I do not trust you to discern the BS from the truth since your entire comment is an act of deflection.
The truth is most Russians are very poor, more poor than the people of India. This latest economic turmoil will make it even worse. Meanwhile, Putin and a handful of his cronies hold all the wealth. He proved he did not care about his people when he sent the FSB to bomb Moscow apartment buildings to start a war in Chechnya and ultimately to cancel elections.
Now Putin sees the potential for widespread protests and he is preparing to confront any protests with violent vigilante groups like those seen in other repressive countries.
Bob Vavich -> Jackblob
Wow, this is quite an assertion that Russians are poorer than Indians. I have been to India and I have been to Russia and I don't like using anecdotes to make a point. I can tell you that I have never seen as much poverty as in India. I can also tell you that when I drove through the low income neighborhood of Detroit or Houston, I felt like I was in a post apocalyptic world. Burned out and boarded up houses. Loitering and crime ridden streets. I can go on and on about social injustice. Regardless your comments are even more slanted than the assertion you are making about "Pulling the Strings".
Jackblob -> Bob Vavich
I was just as surprised to learn that Indians earn more than Russians. My source for that info comes from PBS's latest broadcast of Frontline entitled "Putin's Way".
Also, I doubt you've visited many small and lesser known cities in Russia. It's as if the Soviet Union had just collapsed and they were forgotten. Worse, actually.
Weren't the Maidan protests anti-democracy since they used violence to remove a democratically elected leader? Just another anti-ruskie hit piece from the Guardian.
We in the West love democracy, assuming you vote for the right person.
In the US you only get 2 choices - it may be twice as many as you get with a dictatorship but it's hardly democracy.
E1ouise -> Hamdog
Yanukovych was voted out of office by the *elected parliment* after he fled to Russia. Why don't you know this yet?
secondiceberg -> E1ouise
Excuse me, he was forced out of the country at gunpoint before the opposition "voted him out" the next day.
Bosula -> secondiceberg
Yes. That is correct. And armed Maidan thugs (Svoboda and Right Sector) stood around the Rada with weapons while the vote taken.
Also the 'election' of the coup government was unconstitutional under article 111 of the Ukraine's own Constitution (Goggle - check for yourself). This is an undisputed and uncomfortable 'fact' which the US and the EU never mention (never) when drawn on the issue.
The soviet union didn't go through some kind of denazification akin to Germany after it disintegrated. Russia today looks more and more like Germany after WWI - full of self pity and blaming everyone but themselves for their own failures.
Down2dirt -> Sourcrowd
I would like to hear more about that denazification of Germany and how did that go.
Since the day one the West and the GDR used nazis for their laboratories, clandestine and civil services...State owned museums still refuse to give back artwork to their rightful owners that were robbed during 1930-45.
I don' t condone Putin's and Russia polity (one of the most neoliberal countries), but you appear to be clueless about this particular subject and don' t know what you are talking about.
Bosula -> Sourcrowd
Are you thinking about Ukraine here, maybe?
A more interesting story would have been the similarities between this anti maidan group in Russia and Maidan in Kiev.
Both have have their military arm, are dangerous and violent, and both very nationalistic and right wing. Both appear to have strong links to politicians as well.
Such an analysis might show that Russian and Ukrainian nationalist groups have more in common than they would like to believe.
TuleCarbonari -> Bosula
A very important difference is the Russians are defending their elected government. The Ukrainians were hired by the West to promote a coup d'etat against an elected government, this against the will of the majority in Ukraine and only 3 months from general election in the country. The coup was indeed a way of stopping the elections.
Oh I see Russia has re-entered the media cross hairs in a timely fashion. I wonder what's going to happen in the coming weeks.
MarcelFromage -> Flinryan
I wonder what's going to happen in the coming weeks.
Nothing new - the Russian Federation will continue its illegal occupation of Crimea and continue to bring death and destruction to eastern Ukraine. And generally be a pain for the rest of the international community.
secondiceberg -> MarcelFromage
And the US will continue to murder innocent civilians in the Middle East, Northern Africa and wherever else it wants to plant its bloody army boots. And will also continue to use its NGO's and CIA to foment colour revolutions in other countries, as it did in Ukraine. Kiev had its revolution. Eastern Ukraine is having its revolution. Tit for Tat.
CIF seems flooded by Putin's sock puppets, i.e. mindless robots who just repeat statements favouring pro-Putinist dictatorship.
To be sure, there's much to hope for in the US democracy, where bribery is legal. I'm not sure whether bribery in Russia is a legal requirement or just a fact of life. But certainly Russia is far from democratic, has actually never been.
Bosula -> Velska
You can take your sock off now and wipe your hands clean.
secondiceberg -> Velska
What kind of democracy is the US when you have a federal agency spying on everything you do and say? Do you think they are just going to sit on what information they think they get?
What will you do when they come knocking at your door, abduct you for some silly comment you made, and then rendition you to another country so that you will not be able to claim any legal rights? Let Russia look after itself in the face of "war-footing" threats from the U.S.
Fight for social justice and freedom in your own country.
"All street movements and colour revolutions lead to blood. Women, children and old people suffer first,"
That's why they are ready to use weapons and violence against a foe who hasn't really been seen yet.
"Decisions should be made in Moscow and not in Washington or Brussels,"
I think decisions about Ukraine should be made in Kiev.
Bosula -> cichonio
Yes. Decisions should be made in Kiev, but why are they being made in Washington then? How much does this compromise Kiev as its agenda is very different from the agenda the US have with Russia. Ukraine is weakened daily with its civil war and the killing its own people, but this conflict benefits the US as further weakens and places Russia in a new cold war type environment.
Why are key government ministries in Ukraine (like Finance) headed by overseas nationals. Utterly bizarre.
secondiceberg -> cichonio
So do I, by the legally elected government that was illegally deposed at gunpoint. Ukraine actually has two presidents. Only one of them is legal and it is not Poroshenko.
Bob Vavich -> cichonio
Yes, if they are taken by all Ukrainians and not a minority. Potroshenko was elected with a turnout of 46%. Of this he scored say over half, hardly a majority. More likely, the right wing Western Galicia came out to vote and the Russian speaking were discouraged. What would one expect when the new government first decree is to eliminate Russian as a second official language. Mind you a language spoken by the majority. Makes you think? Maybe. Probably not.
"Personally I am a fan of the civilised, democratic intelligent way of deciding conflicts, but if we need to take up weapons then of course I will be ready," said Yulia Bereznikova, the ultimate fighting champion.
This quite illustrates Russians way of doing. Smart, open to dialogue and patient but dont mess with them for too long. Once on their horses nothing will stop them.
They are ready to fight against the anti Russian sentiment injected from outside citing Ukraine and Navalny-Soros, not against democracy.
"It is not acceptable for the minority to force its will upon the majority, as happened in Ukraine," he added. "Under the slogan of fighting for democracy there is instead total fear, total propaganda, and no freedom."
After witnessing what happened during Maidan, and subsequently to Ukraine, I understand some Russians reluctance to see a similar scenario played out in Russia.
That being said, I am also wary of vigilantism.
"Pro-democracy" protests? They have democracy. They have an elected leader with a high approval rating. Stop trying twisting language, these people are not "pro-democracy" they are anti-Putin. That, as much as this paper tries to sell the idea, is not the same thing.
Drumming up odd-balls to defend the elected government in Russia is all well and good, but I would think the other 75% (the ones who like Putin, and aren't in biker gangs) should get a say too.
As for the anti-Maidan quotes - of course that was organised. Nuland said so, for crying out loud. Kerry and others were there, Brennan was there. Of course the Western powers were partly involved. And it wasn't peaceful protests, it was violence directed against elected officials, throwing Molotov cocktails at policemen. It culminated in the burning alive of 40+ people in Odessa.
Btw, Shaun is always very best at finding the most important issues to raise?
It's an interesting point, what happened in the Ukraine was an undemocratic coup which was justified after the fact by an election once the previous incumbent was safely exiled.
Had that happened to a pro-western government we'd be crying foul. But because it happened to a pro-Russian government it's ok.
I don't blame Russians for wanting to avoid a repeat in their own country.
The Crimea referendum "15% for" myth - Human rights investigations
The idea that only 15% of Crimeans voted to join Russia is speeding around the internet after an article was published in Forbes magazine written by Professor Paul Roderick Gregory.
Professor Gregory has, dishonestly, arrived at his 15% figure by taking the minimum figure for Crimea for both turnout and for voters for union, calling them the maximum, and then ignoring Sevastopol. He has also pretended the report is based on the "real results," when it seems to be little more than the imprecise estimates of a small working group who were apparently against the idea of the referendum in the first place.
It appears that Professor Gregory is intent on deceiving his readers about the vote in Crimea and its legitimacy, probably as part of the widespread campaign to deny the people of Crimea their legitimate rights to self-determination and to demonize Russia in the process.
This is not an unexpected result. EU and US governments are going out of way to stir people's opinion in the former Soviet republics. And they also set the precedent of conducting at least two "revolutions" by street violence in Ukraine and a dozen - elsewhere. There are obviously people in Russia who believe the changes have to be by discussion and voting not by street disturbance and stone throwing.
Reduced to facts in the article, a group in Russia said that they will come out and protest in the streets if there are anti-government demonstrations. They said that their side also needs to be represented, since the protesters don't represent the majority.
That's all. What is so "undemocratic" about that? Or can only pro-Western people ever demonstrate? In a democracy a biker with a tatoo is equal to an urbane lawyer with Western connections. That's the way democracies should work.
About funding for Maidan protesters "for which there is no evidence". This is an interesting point. There were students from Lviv who said they were given "college credit" for being at Maidan. And how exactly have tens of thousands of mostly young men lived on streets in Kiev with food and clothes (even some weapons) with no support?
Isn't that a bit of circumstantial evidence that "somebody" supported them. I guess in this case we need to see the invoices, is that always the case or just when Russia issues are involved?
Very sad news from Russia. If Putin or the government doesn't condemn this project of the "patriots", if he and government doesn't react against announcement of civilian militia's plan to use violence, I'll truly turn to observe Putin as a tsar.
The ethics of Russians will be on display.
Anette Mor -> rezeviciPeraIlic
There are specific politicians who rejected participation in normal political process but chosen street riots instead. The door to politics is open, they can form parties and take part in elections. but then there is a need for a clear political and economical platform and patience to win over the votes. These people refuse to do so, They just want street riots. Several years public watch these groups and simply had enough. There is some edgy opposition which attracts minority but they play fair. Nobody against them protecting and demonstrating even when the call for revolutionary means for getting power, like communists or national-socialists. But these who got no program other than violent riots as such are not opposition. They still have an agenda which they cannot openly display. So they attract public by spreading slander and rising tension. Nothing anti-democratic in forming a group of people who confront these actions. They are just another group taking part in very complex process.There is evidence, but also recognition from US officials. That at least is not a secret anymore.
by Shaun Walker: "Maidan in Kiev did not appear just like that. Everyone was paid, everyone was paid to be there, was paid for every stone that was thrown, for every bottle thrown," said Sablin, echoing a frequently repeated Russian claim for which there is no evidence.Indeed, Shaun! On what would you like us to believe so much money had been spent?
Is the US training and funding the Ukraine opposition? Nuland herself claimed in December that the US had spent $5 billion since the 1990s on "democratization" programs in Ukraine. On what would she like us to believe the money had been spent?
We know that the US State Department invests heavily -- more than $100 million from 2008-2012 alone -- on international "Internet freedom" activities. This includes heavy State Department funding, for example, to the New Americas Foundation's...
...Commotion Project (sometimes referred to as the "Internet in a Suitcase"). This is an initiative from the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative to build a mobile mesh network that can literally be carried around in a suitcase, to allow activists to continue to communicate even when a government tries to shut down the Internet, as happened in several Arab Spring countries during the recent uprisings.
RandolphHearst -> PeraIlic,
You antipathy against the author speaks volumes about the contents of his article.
susandbs12 , link
All of this stems from the stupid EU meddling in Ukraine.
We shouldn't get involved in the EUs regime change agenda. Time to leave the EU.
And also time for us to not get involved in any wars.
Thank you, thank you all, you wonderful putin-bots. I haven't enjoyed a thread so much in ages. Bless you all, little brothers.
susandbs12 -> daffyddw
Putinbot = someone who has a different opinion to you.
Presumably you want a totalitarian state where only your views are legitimate.
Grow up and stop being childish and just accept that there are people who hold different views from you, so what?
Pro democracy protests?? Would that be same protests that Kiev had where Neo-nazis burned unarmed police officers alive, or the ones in Syria when terrorists (now formed ISIS) where killing Government troops? Are these the pro-democracy protests (all financed via "US aid" implemented by CIA infiltrators) that the Guardian wants us to care about?
How about the reporting on the indiscriminate slaughter of Eastern Ukrainians by Kiev's government troops and Nazi battalions?? Hey, guardian??!!
Anette Mor -> Strummered
Democracy is overrated. It does not automatically ensure equality for minorities. In Russia with its 100 nationalities and all world religions simple straight forward majority rule does not bring any good.
A safety net is required. Benevolent dictator is one of the forms for such safety net. Putin fits well as he is fair and gained trust from all faith, nationalities and social groups. There are other mechanisms in Russia to ensure equality. Many of them came from USSR including low chamber of Russian parliament called Nationalities chamber. representation there is disproportional to the number of population but reflecting minorities voice - one sit per nation, no matter how big or small.
The system of different national administrative units for large and small and smallest nationalities depending how much of autonomic administration each can afford to manage. People in the West should stop preaching democracy. It is nothing but dictatorship of majority. That is why Middle East lost all its tolerance. Majority rules, minorities are suppressed.
kowalli -> Glenn J. Hill
US has a separate line in the budget to pay for such "democratic" protests
kowalli -> Glenn J. Hill
U.S. Embassy Grants Program. The U.S. Embassy Grants Program announces a competition for Russian non-governmental organizations to carry out specific projects.
and this is only one of them, many more in budget.
like ISIL, Right Sector, UÇK?
They are right
Oct 24, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.comMoscow Exile , October 21, 2017 at 7:52 pmTypical Daily Telegraph shite on Russia, which rag is, on occasion, referred to by a well known troll as a reliable source of information (his other sources being the ever truthful and objective BBC, RFE/RL, RBK, Moscow Times, Meduza etc.) about Russia, which shows how little the writers for the Tory Rag really know about the Evil Empire:marknesop , October 22, 2017 at 10:09 am
Putin's chic challenger Ksenia Sobchak insists she's a real candidate and not a Kremlin stoogeWhy is Navalny so frequently described as the 'fiery opposition figure'? What is 'fiery' about him? He is far from a dynamic speaker, and 'critic' just about covers his act – I have yet to see anything like a 'Navalny Plan' to get Russia to its next progressive iteration, only vague nods to more freedom and democracy. Who gives a fuck about freedom and democracy if you don't have a job that will allow you a decent standard of living? Where's the Navalny economic plan?kirill , October 23, 2017 at 4:47 pm
Let me save you the trouble; in the extremely unlikely event that Navalny came to power, he would be given a script by his western backers. That's why he doesn't need a plan. It would be just like the shock therapy plan of the 90's, just like the remove-subsidies-privatize-everything plan for Ukraine. Create a Russian one percent of fabulously wealthy, and throw crumbs to the rest to shut them up.
Encourage internal dissent and gradual disassembling of the country into independent states, always touted as the very model of democracy and choice.The script is [from] 1917. Navalny is supposed to be the passionate revolutionary fighting the corrupt old system and represents the voice of the people. In reality, it is the exact opposite: Navalny is a boring nobody who represents the interests of the USA and is a colour revolution puppet.
Jul 18, 2017 | www.msn.com
Harris' meetings with Clinton's donors signal that they are rallying behind her as the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee. Harris has emerged as a leading figure in the Trump Resistance; Politico reported that the hearings regarding Trump's connections to Russia have enabled the Democratic Party to frame her as Trump's most aggressive critic. In response to one of the hearings she was involved in, she launched the slogan "courage not courtesy." However, despite this catchy slogan, Harris has historically lacked the courage to hold her donors accountable when they have broken the law.
The nomination of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin provoked criticisms over his tenure as CEO of OneWest Bank. In 2013, California prosecutors claimed to have discovered over 1,000 foreclosure law violations, but the California Attorney General's office failed to file any action against the bank. At the time, Kamala Harris was California's attorney general. Many questioned why Harris didn't take any action given the evidence her office uncovered.
"We went and we followed the facts and the evidence, and it's a decision my office made," Harris told The Hill . "We pursued it just like any other case. We go and we take a case wherever the facts lead us."
Harris' vague defense is insufficient. The Democratic Party has branded her as a leader of the Trump Resistance without addressing why Harris avoided a criminal investigation that involved donors to her campaign.
In 2011, Mnuchin's wife at the time, Heather Mnuchin, gave $8,750 to Harris' 2011 campaign. OneWest Bank donated $6,500 to Harris' 2011 election. Heather Mnuchin also donated $850 to Harris' 2014 election for California attorney general.
In 2014, the Center for American Progress graded California's campaign donor recusal laws a "C." The state's lax laws allowed Harris to decide not to recuse herself from deciding whether or not to prosecute OneWest Bank.
Mnuchin donated to multiple Republicans' campaigns in 2016, but Harris was the only Democrat he donated to .
Harris also has ties to billionaire Democratic Party donor George Soros, who was one of the two owners of OneWest Bank at the time. Coincidentally, before Harris passed on the opportunity to file action against OneWest Bank, Soros was pouring money into California criminal policy initiatives that Harris was pushing.
In 2011, Harris' former aide Lenore Anderson was hired as campaign manager for Californians for Safety and Justice, which was financed by Soros' Open Society Foundations. In 2014, TheLos Angeles Times reported, "The organization operates under the umbrella of a San Francisco-based nonprofit clearinghouse, which effectively shields its donor list and financial operations from public view." The report cited that since 2012 Soros had led a four-year, $16 million campaign to change California criminal policy, which Harris was deeply involved in as California attorney general. Lenore Anderson also led Vote Safe, another Soros' funded organization.
In 2014, Soros and hedge fund billionaire John Paulson sold OneWest for $3.4 billion. In 2015, Soros donated the maximum amount to Harris' Senate campaign. Also in 2015, Harris spoke at Soros' 2020 Vision Conference in San Francisco with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and at Soros' Democracy Alliance Conference .
This background information on Harris' relationship to her donors provides context as to why the Democratic establishment is rallying behind her. However, any politician that doesn't hold corporate and special interests accountable only results in more corruption.Since Hillary Clinton's unexpected loss to Donald Trump , her donors have strategized with Democratic leadership about how to revive the failing party.
Billionaire George Soros held a closed door conference with wealthy donors in November 2016 that addressed how to "take back power" and was attended by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
On the weekend of Trump's inauguration, David Brock hosted a retreat for the most prolific Democratic donors to figure out how to "kick Donald Trump's a--."
On July 15, Page Six reported that Sen. Kamala Harris, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, met with top Clinton donors in the Hamptons.
Many figures in Clinton's inner circle attended, including Clinton's 2008 Campaign National Finance co-Chair Michael Kempner, donors Dennis Mehiel and Steven Gambrel, and Democratic National Committeeman Robert Zimmerman. Harris also attended a separate luncheon hosted by one of Clinton's top lobbyist bundlers, Liz Robbins.
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[May 27, 2018] Northwestern University roundtable discusses regime change in Russia Defend Democracy Press Published on www.defenddemocracy.press
[Mar 11, 2018] Reality Check: The Guardian Restarts Push for Regime Change in Russia by Kit Published on Mar 11, 2018 | off-guardian.org
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